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Maine News

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Plum Creek proposal gets go-ahead from state panel
No substantial changes were made to the unprecedented plan for Moosehead Lake development.

225 workers brace for plant's closure
Town and state officials will make one try to keep Whatman operating in Sanford beyond 2009.

BILL NEMITZSixth-graders campaign for new voters

Baldacci wants budget requests cut
Department heads, who seek $600 million more than Maine can afford, must trim 10 percent.

Community colleges in line for budget increase
If approved, the seven community colleges would add $2.2 million each of the next two years.

Pingree, Summers critical of bailout
The 1st District candidates say quick action is essential, but protecting taxpayers is a top priority.

Now, you can get there from here by air
Flights between southern and northern Maine return on Tuesday on New England Air Transport.

McCain seeking to delay debate to deal with financial bailout
Barack Obama challenges his Republican opponent's position, insisting that Friday's debate proceed.

Penny tax proposed for new civic center
One cent on every sale would generate some $40 million a year, Cumberland County's manager says.

Dirigo Health claimed savings off by 66 percent
Maine’s insurance chief says savings were actually $48.7 million, enough to keep it steady.

Home sales drop 19 percent in Northeast
But experts predict that the region will recover from the housing slump faster than other areas.

Tough questions abound with Wall Street crisis
Americans understand why a bailout is needed, but that doesn't make it right.

When does Election Day arrive? It could be today
A powerful early-voting trend will see some states cast half their ballots prior to Nov. 4.

Bangor Daily News
Women voters give Democrat Barack Obama the edge over Republican John McCain in the presidential race in Maine, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted this week exclusively for WLBZ 2, WCSH 6 and the Bangor Daily News.

AUGUSTA, Maine — State departments and agencies are requesting some $655 million in spending above current levels for the next two-year budget, with some requests based on higher energy costs and others for new or expanded services.

State regulators on Wednesday endorsed Plum Creek’s historic development plan for nearly 1,000 house lots, two large resorts and hundreds of thousands of acres of land conservation in the Moosehead Lake region. Despite pleas and strong words from plan opponents, the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission did not make any substantial changes to Plum Creek’s unprecedented proposal during 17 hours of deliberations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Fund for a Healthy Maine will come under closer legislative scrutiny if recommendations approved Wednesday by a panel of Maine lawmakers are adopted.

BANGOR, Maine — Within the past couple of years, wood pellet stoves have emerged as a cheaper alternative to No. 2 heating oil and a less labor-intensive option than regular firewood.

House passage of a bill to allow more oil drilling off the U.S. coast is being hailed by some as a responsible way to address the country’s energy problems. The legislation has many drawbacks, … more

The fastest-growing group of Maine tourists may be entering the state by a dock, not a highway. The cruise ship business, over the last 10 years, has given coastal communities a substantial influx of

Wherever I travel across Maine, families, small businesses and other hardworking people share with me their anxiety that the growing financial crisis threatens their economic security, their savings

Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA -- Gov. John Baldacci told state department heads Wednesday to look for ways to cut their budgets by 10 percent in light of budget requests that are $654 million more than the state can afford.

State OKs plan for Plum Creek
State regulators on Wednesday endorsed Plum Creek's historic development plan for nearly 1,000 house lots, two large resorts and hundreds of thousands of acres of land conservation in the Moosehead Lake region.

2 more towers slated for Manchester
MANCHESTER -- Look up. The landscape downtown and at the eastern border of Manchester will be different next year.

GARDINER: City taking new look at energy costs
GARDINER -- A new committee will look at ways to cut energy costs in all city departments.

FARMINGDALE: Town stalls tax penalty
FARMINGDALE -- Tardy taxpayers in Farmingdale won't see interest build up on their unpaid taxes until Nov. 17, the Board of Selectmen decided Wednesday night.


Woman worthy of early release from life of abuse
Douglas Graves of Ellsworth was a cruel man. Three of his four daughters say that he abused them and their mother. His youngest daughter, Carol, says she was severely physically, sexually and emotionally abused by him for 31 years, beginning when she was 5 years old.

Augusta should elect new representative: Blodgett
The upcoming election is giving the voters many opportunities to vote for new people in the various races.

Sun Journal
Police: Maine teens tried to go to Canada
HOULTON (AP) - Two Maine teenagers who tried to flee to Canada in a stolen Jeep Cherokee are in hot water.

Maine official lowers Dirigo's savings estimate
AUGUSTA (AP) - It looks like financing for Maine's program to promote affordable health care will remain limited, perhaps just enough to keep it steady - and stuck.

Web site estimates taxes under McCain, Obama
PORTLAND (AP) - Voters whose bottom line is taxes can use a new online tool to calculate what their own bottom line would be with the IRS under a Barack Obama or John McCain administration.

Lottery sales facing shortfall
LEWISTON (AP) - Maine lottery officials are blaming the soft economy for a $90,000 shortfall over the last two months.

Plum Creek deliberation near end
BANGOR (AP) - Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission gave its approval to one of the most contentious elements of Plum Creek Timber Co.'s proposed development plan for the Moosehead Lake region as it neared the end of final deliberations.

Facing charges, ranger on leave
AUGUSTA (AP) - An Allagash Wilderness Waterway ranger accused of hunting moose at night and out of season has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Woman admits stealing $43,700 from elderly
BANGOR - The prosecutor called it elder abuse. The defense attorney said it was the result of an illness. Members of Gamblers Anonymous warned the judge to expect more cases just like it.

Debate would feature substance vs. eloquence
If Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain meet Friday in Oxford, Miss., for the first of their three scheduled debates, the TV and radio audience is likely to set a record for such an event. Nearly 40 million Americans watched some, or all, of each political convention and there is no reason for diminished interest in these debates. In fact, the Oct. 2 exchange between vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joe Biden might outdraw McCain and Obama.

Dirigo Funding to Increase
The state's Dirigo Health program is poised to get the most funding it has from private insurers in the last four years of its existence.

Conservative Website Raises Ire of State Employees
A new website funded by the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center is causing an uproar from legislative employees, state workers and others who woke up today to find their salaries posted on the Internet. As A.J. Higgins reports, critics of the plan believe the website amounts to an invasion of privacy, but its supporters say that the information brings greater transparency to state government.

Former MBNA Employees Allege Predatory Practices
Two former MBNA employees from Maine have been blowing the whistle on what they called 'predatory credit card company practices.' Their testaments helped launch a national campaign by the consumer group AFFIL - which stands for Americans For Fairness in Lending. It's calling for an end to "abusive lending practices that trap millions of Americans in unending cycles of debt".

MSEA quick to point out inaccuracies in MHPC data

Ellsworth American
Statehouse, Government Coverage Will Continue with New Reporter
ELLSWORTH — A consortium of weekly and daily newspapers in Maine has announced that in-depth coverage of the Maine Statehouse and state government will continue under an agreement reached with Christopher Cousins, who has been a Maine journalist for the past 10 years.

Timing Issues Contribute To Drop in State Tax Revenues
AUGUSTA — State tax revenue was down $6 million for the first two months of the fiscal year that began July 1.

$50M-$100M for Mainers
Pingree Supports Bond to Help Weatherize Homes
AUGUSTA — House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree would like to see a bond of between $50 million to $100 million floated next year to help weatherize Maine homes and stimulate the development of alternative energy.