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Maine News

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, December 4, 2008

Portland Press Herald
New Legislature faces immediate test
Few incoming groups of Maine lawmakers have faced a larger budget deficit.

Women lead Legislature for first time
Libby Mitchell is now Senate president and Hannah Pingree is the new speaker of the House.

Unions make concessions to boost aid bid
United Auto Workers leaders suspend laid-off workers' pay and delay medical fund payments.

Big Three unlikely to force closures here, dealers say
But some think a declining market might drive some dealerships out of business.

School jobs left open, signaling start of cuts
Portland must offset a $1.8 million reduction in state aid, as soon as possible.

Swastikas painted on downtown buildings
The former Public Market is one location targeted. Civil-rights advocates are concerned.

Guard seeks to lower altitudes for pilot training
Residents in the Maine military space expressed concern if the flight ceiling drops to 500 feet.

Brunswick squadron chief relieved of post
Cmdr. Llewellyn Lewis loses his command after crash-landing his P-3 Orion in Afghanistan.

Gorham bypass to open on Friday

Spend conservation fund efficiently
The Energy and Carbon Savings Trust should go after the least-expensive ways to conserve.

Adults shouldn't try to minimize student cheating
Educators' responses to a new survey are almost as troubling as its findings.

Heating oil contracts: Mainers paying the price for Wall Street hype
Contracting to pay a fixed price for oil meant dealers had to contact to buy it at a certain price, too.

Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s glass ceiling developed a few more cracks Wednesday as women were sworn in as Senate president and House speaker. And in one of its first acts, the newly seated Legislature elected Maine’s first female attorney general.

BANGOR, Maine — The bad economy appears to have eaten its way into the food business in Maine. The 22-year-old Shaw’s Supermarket near the Bangor Mall is scheduled to close on Jan. 31, and an unspecified number of jobs will be eliminated from the Hannaford Bros. corporate headquarters in Scarborough.

MIAMI — Trial was delayed Wednesday to allow time for a possible plea deal for a man arrested with a collection of weapons and military-style gear on charges of threatening to assassinate President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

Citing the need for stronger financial leadership, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems President Michelle Hood announced Wednesday that Blue Hill Memorial Hospital is under new management.

State regulators voted Wednesday to delay work on a critical planning document in order to allow additional dialogue about how development pressure is affecting the Unorganized Territory.

SEARSPORT, Maine — Police believe the semiautomatic handgun taken from Randall Hofland after he held the Stockton Springs Elementary School fifth grade hostage five weeks ago was the same one reported stolen by a retired sea captain.

ORONO, Maine — As the future of some of Maine’s wood-based businesses hangs in the balance, more than 100 people gathered this week to discuss how biotechnology can be used to stimulate the existing forestry industry in both Maine and Atlantic Canada.

As one half of the brand-new marquee for the Bangor Opera House dangled from a crane Wednesday afternoon, a passenger in a car driving past flagged Penobscot Theatre producing artistic director Scott Levy down. “Looks good, Scott!” she said, stopped in traffic at the intersection of Main and Union streets in downtown Bangor. “Looks excellent, it really does.”

BANGOR, Maine — An Eastern Maine Medical Center employee suffered minor injuries Wednesday crossing busy State Street when she was struck by a vehicle driven by another hospital worker.

SAD 67 students who show signs of intoxication at school will be subject to Breathalyzer testing under a new school policy, school officials said Wednesday.

Although the price tag for a government bailout of the auto industry has …

A prepared military needs places to practice its maneuvers, which are often loud and disruptive. To meet its readiness requirements, the military should find the best place to do this training with the least disruption on the ground.

Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA -- The members of the 124th Legislature took their seats Wednesday on a day marked by tradition, hope and history.

AUGUSTA CMP pitches expansion
AUGUSTA -- Tim Basham's property in China borders high-voltage transmission lines Central Maine Power Company hopes to upgrade as part of a billion-dollar overhaul of the state's electrical grid.

Low-flight plans draw opposition
FARMINGTON -- Air National Guard representatives say their pilots need to fly as low as 500 feet over western Maine terrain to better train for, or combat, terrorism from the sky.

State makes 1st foray into carbon-trading auctions
AUGUSTA -- Regulations under consideration by a new state agency may soon help Maine make good on promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by investing in energy efficiency and new low-carbon technologies.

SAD 16 board holds last meeting as standalone school unit
FARMINGDALE -- The School Administrative District 16 Board of Directors held its last meeting of 2008 Wednesday.

AUGUSTA Capitalizing on an identity
AUGUSTA -- Augusta has a capital-sized identity crisis to figure out.

SAD 67 policy clears way for Breathalyzer testing Intent is to keep kids from coming to school events intoxicated
SAD 67 students who show signs of intoxication at school will be subject to Breathalyzer testing under a new school policy, school officials said Wednesday.

Portland fighting rash of bias grafitti
The discovery of several swastikas spray-painted on Portland buildings has civil-rights advocates concerned that some people feel such expressions are acceptable.

On Maine Politics

It's time to think outside the box for our schools
State budget woes mean big cuts for education. And that means school boards, administrators, teachers and parents are struggling to come up with the least painful ways to rein in spending.

Maine's governorship the last male bastion
This is almost the last editorial we'll write on this subject. As soon as the state elects a female governor, we'll write our last one.

SEVERIN M. BELIVEAU : Don't throw more taxpayer money into bottomless pit of greed
It is apparent that Congress' record $75 billion infusion into our financial institutions has not produced the results promised by President Bush and Secretary Henry Paulson.

DAN BILLINGS : Memo to Democrats: It's all downhill from here
It's a tough time to be a Republican. The November election resulted in the election of a Democratic president by a significant margin and an increase in the Democrats' majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

GORDON L. WEIL : Budget cutters need scalpels like surgeons, not axes like lumberjacks
This is the week that the newly elected Maine Legislature arrives in Augusta.

Sun Journal
In Dirigo state, women lead
AUGUSTA - It's likely that Margaret Chase Smith, Maine's first female senator, would be delighted to know that a pair of women are leading Maine's Legislature for the first time.

Navy sub set to be deactivated at Kittery
KITTERY (AP) - The Navy's only research submarine is coming to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where it will be inactivated after nearly 40 years in service.

Lawmakers pass anti-hate order
AUGUSTA (AP) - Maine's Legislature passed a resolution denouncing acts and suggested acts of hate and violence in reaction to postelection incidents suggesting violence against President-elect Barack Obama.

Landmark pick, as a prosecutor
Rep. Janet Mills of Farmington is a landmark choice for attorney general, but not because she's the first woman to hold the prestigious office. She is the latest in a long tradition of women holding powerful political positions in Maine.

124th Legislature Kicked Off In Augusta

Members of the Maine House and Senate kicked off the 124th legislative session today with a series of organizational formalities that included the election of presiding officers and those nominated to the state's constitutional posts. Gov. John Baldacci administered the oath of office to all 186 members of the Legislature and emphasized that bipartisanship will be imperative in the months ahead as lawmakers work to close an $800 million budget gap during a difficult economic period.

Teen Birth Control Expected To Be Challenged

December 3, 2008 Reported By: Anne Ravana

The Family Planning Association of Maine held the first of a series of forums in Bangor last night, where several doctors, parents and teens talked about their efforts to preserve teens' ability to obtain birth control and other reproductive health services without their parents' consent. The association expects that state law will be challenged by at least one bill in the upcoming legislative session.

Mishaps Raise Questions About Aging P-3 Orion Aircraft

December 3, 2008 Reported By: Keith McKeen

The crash of a P-3 Orion airplane in Afghanistan has cost a naval officer in Brunswick his job. Commander Llewellyn Lewis of Brunswick Naval Air Station was removed as a squadron commander after the aircraft he was piloting crash-landed at Bagram Air base in October. This and other recent P-3 mishaps are raising questions about the safety of the aging aircraft.

State Officials Ponder Future For Unwanted Horses

December 3, 2008 Reported By: Susan Sharon

State agriculture officials, veterinarians and animal rescue organizations are struggling with a difficult problem that's made worse in a bad economy: what to do with all the unwanted horses in the state? Estimates put the number of horses at risk of going hungry or in need of surrender in Maine at more than 500. As Susan Sharon reports, options for getting rid of them are limited and expensive.

Times Record

Bathport upgrade gets initial OK...(full story)

P-3 Orion pilot relieved of duty...(full story)

Council weighs greater scrutiny of development...(full story)

History made with Mills as new AG...(full story)

Ellsworth American
State’s Budget Woes Threaten Maine’s $50 Million Shellfish Industry
ELLSWORTH — Faced with the difficult decision to either cut key programs or raise license fees at the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Governor John Baldacci on Monday directed Commissioner George Lapointe to come up with a better idea.

School Consolidation Plan Goes to the Voters Tuesday
ELLSWORTH — As intricate as a business merger and as thorny as a prenuptial agreement, negotiations to combine Ellsworth, Union 96 and six Union 92 towns into a single regional school unit have been in the works for over a year.

The Committee Got It Right
In a Nov. 26 editorial, the Bangor Daily News scolded the Legislature’s Transportation Committee for taking “the indefensible action of indefinitely shelving a compromise plan for state-owned Sears Island.” We believe the Committee, whose co-chairman is Sen. Dennis Damon (D-Hancock County) got things exactly right with regard to the proposal that, in theory, would set aside about two-thirds of the 931-acre Penobscot Bay island for conservation while allowing future port development on about 300 acres.