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Maine News

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, August 21, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Panel eyes ways to help Mainers stay warm
State House: Lawmakers examine options such as energy audits, changes in regulations and more aid.

Maine Senate OKs Baldacci's nominees

Governor withdraws pesticides nominee
The decision follows a committee's rejection of Deborah Aldridge, an organic blueberry grower.

Unionization bill gets high profile in state
Election 2008: Sides form over a labor measure to let employees form a union without secret-ballot votes.

Opponents hoping to sink Saco's shark tournament
The Humane Society calls such events cruel and wasteful, but local organizers cite the benefits, including fundraising.

Voting system flaws hurt where it counts
Eight years after the debacle in Florida, doubts remain at American polling places.

Lower drinking age a solution only for colleges
Some higher education leaders want to push this problem off their campuses.

Stories with Internet links useless without computers

Bangor Daily News
Bangor: Hollywood Slots celebrates hotel grand opening

BANGOR, Maine - Hollywood Slots on Wednesday unveiled the final component of its $132 million-plus gambling and entertainment complex.

Quebec onstage: Folk fest to spotlight our northern neighbor

This year, thousands of tourists have flooded Quebec City as it celebrates the 400th anniversary of its founding. Can't make it to Quebec this year? Don't worry. The American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront is bringing a bit of Quebec to you when Bangor's summer event opens this Friday.

Ex-Mainer pleads not guilty to Bush, Obama threat

MIAMI - A man formerly from Maine who authorities said kept an arsenal of weaponry and military gear pleaded not guilty Wednesday to threatening to assassinate both President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Wet summer weather boosts Maine's wild blueberry crop

ELLSWORTH, Maine - The stretch of wet weather this summer may have put a damper on a few vacation plans, but it has boosted the prospects for the state's wild blueberry crop.

Northern Maine cancer rate studied

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick - A medical researcher from Maine is in New Brunswick this week hunting for clues about why people living in counties along the border have higher than average rates of cancer.

'Grandfamily' summit focus on law, kinship

There are about 11,000 children in Maine being raised by family members other than their parents - aunts and uncles, grandparents, older siblings and others.

Gambling board lifts gaming expansion hiatus

AUGUSTA, Maine- Noting that everyone was ignoring it anyway, the Maine Gambling Control Board has opted not to extend its request for an intermission before any more casino-style gambling venues are authorized.

Lincoln wind farm gets mixed reviews

LINCOLN, Maine - Al Roy gets a lovely view of the sun rising over Rollins Mountain and glinting off Egg Pond. So do fellow Egg Pond Road residents Harry Washburn and Donald Smith.

Old Town: Red Shield financing delayed

OLD TOWN, Maine - Employees at Red Shield Environmental will have to wait until September to learn the fate of the mill that they were hoping would be restarted by the end of this month.
Weatherization Day

With heightened concern over expected high heating bills this winter, many have looked to government for solutions. While increased funding from Washington for LIHEAP and state support for energy efficiency is important, community groups and individuals can step in now to help.

Unnecessary ESA Re-write

The Endangered Species Act has rightly been criticized for being slow and cumbersome. Eliminating a key provision of the act - which requires agencies that promote development, such as the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Reclamation, to consult with agencies charged with protecting wildlife - is not the solution.

August 21 Letters to the Editor

Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA -- Lawmakers serving on a special panel on energy issues met for the first time Wednesday to talk about what the state can do to help thousands of people heat their homes this winter.

Community leaders to meet today on heating
AUGUSTA -- Social service groups, local government officials and oil fuel dealers will convene today to target issues that could affect Maine residents when the bitter winter months set in.

Focus on union voting method
Legislation that would allow organizers to unionize workplaces without secret-ballot elections has the potential to significantly shift the balance of power in the workplace, a fact being highlighted in Maine this summer by television ads and other marketing initiatives.

CHELSEA Town to mull new school
CHELSEA -- An initiative to erect a new building to house Chelsea Elementary School advances to its next step early next week.

Organic farmer shot down as board choice
Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday withdrew his nomination of an organic blueberry grower to the Board of Pesticides Control after intense lobbying against her by groups that represent conventional farmers.

Allen postpones, Dems gear up for convention


Agencies, groups mobilize forces on energy front
It's going to take a lot of work to help Mainers cope with high energy prices.

LIZ SOARES OF AUGUSTA : Car-free days help you help environment
I was going to write an entire column detailing how I spent a car-free day, but I realized that would be too boring.

GORDON L. WEIL, A CONSULTANT, PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR : Political conventions are scripted, boring ... maybe
The 2008 Democratic National Convention may achieve something that for more than a quarter of a century has been lacking in such gatherings.


Ammons' departure from paper 'a terrible loss'
I was very disappointed to read in this morning's newspaper (Aug. 12) that Patty Ammons was leaving the paper. What a terrible loss this will be to her many readers.

U.S. needs to return to sound monetary system
The American people were given a bill of goods by the international bankers. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created a central private bank, the sole purpose of which was to destroy the dollar that was once backed by gold and silver.

Democrats should make national debt major issue
The Democratic party has an opportunity to become the party of fiscal responsibility, taking from Republicans a perception that contributed greatly to the election of Ronald Reagan.

Sun Journal

Panel opens review of Maine energy issues
AUGUSTA (AP) - House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, convening a new legislative task force, isn't ruling out action by the lame-duck Legislature on heat and energy issues later this year.

Governors, premiers to meet
BAR HARBOR (AP) - Maine will be the host when New England governors and premiers from eastern Canada meet next month to talk about energy, transportation and economic development.

Barge strikes bridge, but no major damage
SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) - A barge that was being towed out of Portland Harbor struck the Casco Bay Bridge on Wednesday. No injuries were reported and the Coast Guard said there appeared to be no major damage.

Rating cardiac care in Maine State's hospitals fall within range of national average
Nearly everyone gave an aspirin to patients coming through the door with a heart attack. Were they sent home with instructions on how to take care of themselves? Not always.

Passengers are a costly proposition
The Lewiston and Auburn city councils have approved $20,000 to study whether passenger flights should fly from A-L airport.

Debate reminds faith should be in God, not government
The "civil forum" featuring presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain may not have been as exciting as Michael Phelps winning his eighth Olympic gold medal, but it was civil and it was a forum from which emerged useful information.

Beware Obama
His father and grandfather were both born in the Muslim faith. He was enrolled in a public school and called the prayer by the imam, according to a column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, "one of the most beautiful sounds at sunset."

College knowledge
After reading the article on Aug. 19 stating college presidents say lowering the drinking age could help, I couldn't even finish reading the paper without stopping to write this letter while the details were fresh in my mind.

OTB Facility Being Investigated
All bets could be off for a Waterville off-track betting facility which is under investigation by the Maine State Harness Racing Commission for alleged unidentified violations of its OTB license. The commission has scheduled a hearing next month to determine whether Autotote, a subsidiary of Scientific Games, is properly licensed as an OTB at John Martin's Manor and in compliance with any associated requirements involving the serving of food and alcohol. Pending their findings, commissioners could suspend or even revoke the facility's OTB license.

Anti-Plastic Bottle Campaign Launched in Portland
"Take Back The Tap" is the name of a new initiative aimed at convincing the public to drink more tap water and less from plastic bottles. In Portland, the anti-bottle campaign comes on the heels of a city council resolution urging the state's congressional delegation to support a federal clean water trust fund to insure that municipalities have clean, safe tap water. But the fledgling pro-tap water campaign goes a step further. It urges local restaurants to take bottled water off their menus. Keith McKeen reports.

Task Force Developing Energy Plan
A special legislative task force formed to develop a plan to help Mainers with heating costs this winter met at the State House today to gather information on the resources available through state agencies and what they may be lacking. As Anne Ravana reports, House and Senate leaders are still in the very early stages of putting together a bipartisan plan to help Mainers get through what promises to be a very expensive -- if not disastrous -- heating season.

Allen to address Democratic National Convention

Hoffman decision denied by U.S. Justice Souter

McKane considers year-round daylight savings for state

Senate coasts through nomination process

Ellsworth American
Here Comes the Sun
EASTPORT — As Maine grapples with its addiction to fossil fuels, some alternative energy visionaries are looking to the sun and moon as renewable sources of energy.

In East Blue Hill, A Solar Subdivision
BLUE HILL — The next time Maine endures a catastrophic ice storm, the lights will be burning brightly within the 11 homes being planned for Pond House Trail.

Harnessing the Tides
EASTPORT — You don’t need a graduate degree in fluid dynamics or hydrokinetics to appreciate the energy inherent in the sea.

State Financial Services Commissioner Tapped for University Post
AUGUSTA — The Governor’s commissioner of financial services, Becky Wyke, has been tapped to be the vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Maine System — the second job she’s been offered in less than a month.

Veto Question on Tax Hikes To Appear on Nov. Ballot
AUGUSTA — Taxes on beer, wine, soda and health insurance passed at the end of the legislative session to fund the state’s subsidized insurance plan known as DirigoChoice will be challenged on the November ballot.

Forecasters Trying to Gauge Impact of Oil Prices on State Revenue
AUGUSTA — State revenue forecasters are working to determine how much worse an already bad situation can get if oil prices don’t come down.

Average Heating Oil Price Down to $4 a Gallon
AUGUSTA — The average price of heating oil has dropped this week to $4 per gallon — down 42 cents from last week — along with the price of a barrel of crude.

Food License Hikes Intended to Help Pay for Health Inspections
AUGUSTA — The state is increasing license fees on places that sell and make food — from convenience stores to maple syrup producers — to raise money to help pay for health inspections.