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Maine News

Friday, August 8, 2008

Maine News for Friday, August 8, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Maine gets a break on tax-happy reputation
Using improved data, a foundation ranks the state's burden at 15th in the nation, instead of among the worst.

Social service agencies brace for heat-aid requests
Churches, towns and other assistance providers are already getting requests for winter help.

City to give pier project 75-year lease
That may spark a battle with the state. The city also wants the deep-water berth built first.

No lull at luxury inns
Despite the slow economy, business seems strong at Maine resorts that cater to tourists who want plenty of amenities.

China spares no expense for opening of Olympics
Communist country spends $40 billion for a spectacular start to the Summer Games being held in Beijing.

Developer is betting on slots at race track
Gene Beaudoin will begin a petition drive this fall to put the question to voters to help fund work for new town center.

Jobless claims hit highest point in 6 years
The most recent snapshot of layoff filings turns out to be worse than economists expected.

Firewood heat has its hazards
It's getting pricier and more difficult to find, can pose a danger if burned unsafely and creates a risk of being shorted on a delivery.

Games give view of more than sports in China
Human rights abuses should also be part of the story when the Olympics open tonight.

Nation deserves to know anthrax case details
If the Justice Department's conclusion is correct, then the story can be told.

MARGO CLARK and ANNIE FISCHERObama best for women's rights
John McCain's 'pro-life' credentials prove that he doesn't respect the choices women make.

This summer's days are bittersweet
A vacation on a Maine island carries reminders that our accomplishments can be fleeting.

Protests vital elements of a democratic society

Bangor Daily News
Parties gear up for fall campaign

AUGUSTA, Maine - With the general election three months away, Democratic and Republican party leaders say they have the teams in place to carry their candidates to victory.

State group fears 'death by hypothermia'

BANGOR, Maine - The two words Maine Community Action Association President Matthew Smith hears most when he asks those at the forefront of helping Maine families get heating fuel assistance are 'fear' and 'desperation.'

Bangor: Sunny Corner fuel program raising funds

BANGOR, Maine - An emergency heating assistance program that captured international attention last winter is back.

Bar Harbor: NPR chief says affiliates aid program authenticity

BAR HARBOR, Maine - The president and CEO of National Public Radio, speaking Wednesday evening at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, told a crowd of about 160 people why he thought NPR’s audience has grown significantly in the past decade while those of other major media outlets have declined.

Pair chasing a world record in copter flight fuels up at BIA

BANGOR, Maine - At 5:23 a.m. Thursday, pilot Scott Kasprowicz's Agusta Grand helicopter appeared as just a pinprick of light coming from the southeast, above the city.

Kings offer festival $40,000 matching grant

BANGOR, Maine - With a recent substantial donation from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and gifts from other individuals and companies, the fundraising goal for the American Folk Festival has reached 77 percent.

Hermon: Maine McCain team mocks Obama plans

HERMON, Maine - Maine supporters of Sen. John McCain touted the Arizona senator's all-of-the-above approach to energy policy at an event Thursday and couldn't resist poking fun at his opponent’s plan by handing out individual tire pressure gauges.

Baldacci gets B-minus from conservation league

The Maine League of Conservation Voters gave Gov. John Baldacci a grade of B-minus for his administration’s environmental policies during the past two years.

Maine man held on Obama assassination threat

MIAMI - A former Hampden man who authorities said was keeping weapons and military-style gear in his hotel room and car appeared in court Thursday on charges he threatened to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Food and Fuel

A recent report from the World Bank concluding that biofuels are a major contributor to rapidly rising food prices adds urgency to the need for a thorough analysis of alternative energy sources to ensure they don't have unintended negative consequences.

Olympic Expectations

In an era when reality shows are more popular than, well, reality, the Olympic games beginning today in Beijing are likely to offer more complaints about judging than 'American Idol,' more unfettered emotion than 'Big Brother' and the rivalry of 'Survivor.'

Jerald Terwilliger: Cold War veterans deserve recognition
We answered the call to serve our country. We volunteered or were drafted. We spent our tour of duty in the military with pride and honor. While we were in faraway places our friends, loved ones and family were left behind.

Gabriel Schoenfeld: Anthrax was not the FBI at its best

The FBI’s investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks was the most complex and important in the bureau's history.

August 8 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
The idea that Maine has one of the nation's highest tax burdens -- if not the highest -- has burned state officials for years.

Wood: Maine's winter weapon
FARMINGDALE -- With heating oil prices still hovering at $4.40 per gallon and with fears rising of a severe winter, Gov. John Baldacci is starting to encourage Mainers to use wood heat this winter rather than oil.

State seeks volunteers in latest milfoil invasion
BELGRADE -- Biologists and lake-association members want volunteers to join their campaign to eradicate an aggressive invasive plant species from Salmon Lake.

AUGUSTA -- A judge has refused to ban a former teacher from receiving letters and other items from the student with whom he had an illicit sexual relationship.

AUGUSTA -- More than two dozen Maine veterans who were wounded during Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq wars have been honored at the Statehouse with special state-issued medals.

Crackdown on drunken driving coming to capital
AUGUSTA -- Augusta police plan to step up patrols in the coming weeks as part of a campaign to nab drunken drivers.

Senator strolls shops, streets of Skowhegan
SKOWHEGAN -- In a bit of a departure from a standard downtown stroll by U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe Thursday, the senator was stopped by a fan on the street.

Brunswick land trust deal scrutinized
A controversial proposal to sell seven acres of conservation land on Crystal Spring Farm to a developer will go before members of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust this fall.


More data will resolve need for special session
Meanwhile, Gov. John Baldacci's office is try to weigh all of the pros and cons -- and there are many -- before deciding whether to call a special session.

JOSEPH R. REISERT : Solzhenitsyn's clear vision saw through Soviet Union, also U.S.
One of the 20th century's most courageous defenders of human rights, and one of its greatest writers, died last Sunday. Honored in his native Russia with a magnificent public memorial service and celebrated in front-page obituaries, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn has been remembered primarily for his struggle for freedom against the totalitarian despotism of the Soviet Union.


U.S. may be the poorest country in the world
I read a while back that our national debt and unfunded liability (Medicare, Social Security, FDIC, Mortgage Guarantees, etc.) was $47 trillion ($47,000,000,000,000) and our population about 320 million people (320,000,000).

We need American solutions to energy woes
It's time for America to go after the tremendous energy resources we have right here at home.

Will you miss drama of Manny being Manny?
The time had come for Manny Ramirez to go. The Red Sox brass and Red Sox nation had been putting up with him for a long time. It was time to cut the apron strings. He had played (if you want to call it that) his way out of Boston.

Potholes in the road of driving expenses
Two recent items about the cost of driving caught my eye.

Sun Journal
Soaring heating oil prices ignite firewood demand
DURHAM (AP) - On a recent scorching-hot summer day, workers at Reed's Firewood used heavy equipment to cut and split logs into firewood until it was too dark to see.

Group renews call for health care in Maine
AUGUSTA (AP) - A coalition called Health Care for America Now says insurance company profits and executive salaries are too high.

31,000 stimulus checks unclaimed in Maine
AUGUSTA (AP) - Gov. John Baldacci says government tax agencies and private service groups will help thousands of Mainers who have not claimed their economic stimulus checks to get their money.

Wounded Maine veterans honored
AUGUSTA (AP) - More than two dozen Maine veterans who were wounded during Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq wars have been honored at the State House with special state-issued medals.

DEP: Androscoggin not improved
LEWISTON - A group created to protect and preserve the mid-coast rivers delta is calling for the southern part of the Androscoggin River to be given a better water-quality classification.

The gold medal in posturing
If gold medals were awarded for politicking, competition between the United States and China would be too close to call. Not since the sunset of the Soviet Union have testy global affairs so overshadowed an Olympiad.

Blond ambition
What does it say when perhaps the most bipartisan energy proposal belongs to Paris Hilton?

MPBN repeating news, not covering it
When was the last time Maine Public Broadcasting covered a selectmen's meeting in Woodstock? Or a car accident in Rangeley? Or the flooded animal shelter in Norway? Or a high school baseball game in Lewiston? Or a new hotel in Auburn?

Claims Of Excessive Private Health Insurance Industry Profits
An association of progressive groups released a study today detailing what they claim are excessive profits in the nation's private health insurance industry. Maine’s Health Care for America Now Coalition is part of a national effort that is promoting affordable, quality healthcare for all. Singling out companies like Anthem Health Plans of Maine, the coalition says it's time that private health insurers place people before profits. But an Anthem spokesman says the coalition's findings do not reflect the broader implications of doing business in Maine. A.J. Higgins reports.


Looking forward to a cold home this winter

Maine’s third party: A look at the influence of the state’s Green Independent Party

Collins camp to tracker: You’re not fooling us