- Saturday 3 - 5 p.m. Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick
- Saturday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Lee Hall, Wishcamper Center, USM, 34 Bedford Street. Portland
Tuesday, March 11
Phoenix - About 40 people attended a meeting in East Bayside to discuss the viability of establishing a collaborative arts and innovation center in the city of Portland. The Portland Arts and Creative Enterprise, as envisioned by the organizers, would be a place for artists, entrepreneurs, and makers to work, build, and test new ideas. It would involve local academic institutions such as the University of Southern Maine and the Maine College of Art; it could provide studio and incubator space for artisans and techies, as well as a new life for city-owned buildings in Bayside.
Monday, March 10
Fears that the New England pipeline would soon be reversed to transport Canadian tar sands to the Maine coast were sparked last year when oil companies poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign that ultimately defeated an anti-tar sands referendum in the coastal town of South Portland, Maine. The referendum would have barred a proposal to construct a tar sands pipeline terminal on the city's waterfront.
Newsweek reports that Poland Spring water outsold Coca Cola in the New York metropolitan area by 36 percent. Poland Spring is owned by Nestle's which has been working hard to privatize Maine water. As Commnity Water Justice points out:"Nestlé has been a champion in the commodification of our water commons and hooking the public on the idea of bottled water."
Bangor Daily News - The University of Maine System’s seven campuses and the system office are each working to close their share of a $36 million budget gap for fiscal year 2015 and are at varying stages of the painful process. Much of the gap will be filled by cutting employees. UMS Chancellor James Page told the Legislature that up to 165 positions will be eliminated, plus an extra 95 positions if the Legislature moves ahead with proposed cuts
The Maine House has rejected early voting
Second graders raise over $23,000 for food pantry
MSNBC takes note of Shenna Bellow
Supreme Court agrees to rehear beach access case
Mutant lobsters in Casco Bay
Sunday, March 9
Tuesday, March 4
Maine farm income is $500-600 million a year
Customers bet more than $1.1 billion on slot machines at two casinos last year.
Some fun farm facts from Ag Classroom
• The average number of days in which the temperature reaches 90° F or above ranges from one
in northern Maine to five in southern Maine, while the average number of days in which the
temperature is 32° F or below ranges from 187 days in northern Maine to 156 days in southern
• The growing season is about 135 days.
• The soils of most of central and northern Maine are characterized as glacial till. The soils of this
region are somewhat acidic but treated with lime they are highly productive for farming.
• Much of the soil in southern and central Maine are lake and ocean bottom soils which are free of
stones and are excellent for farming.
• Maine leads the world in production of wild blueberries.
• Maine is 2nd in the nation in the production of maple syrup and Maine’s Somerset County produces
more maple syrup than any other county in the country.
• Maine ranks 8th in the nation among producers of fall potatoes.
• Maine leads the nation in production of brown eggs.
Sunday, March 2
Maine CSA directory
Media Mutt, The Bollard - On Jan. 3, WCSH-TV anchor Pat Callaghan aired a long interview with Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, during which he gingerly inquired about a possible conflict of interest. “Some people get concerned about who’s influencing Congress,” Callaghan said. “Your husband is, runs a lobbying firm or is a partner in it. Is that …” Collins cut him off with a sharp “No,” and Callaghan seemed to shrivel. “Oh, OK,” he said. The senator interrupted again to say her husband, Tom Daffron, is the chief operating officer of a “small consulting firm. He does no lobbying.” As Dan Aibel at the Collins Watch website pointed out, that reply was disingenuous. While Daffron himself doesn’t lobby anymore, the company he oversees, Jefferson Consulting Group, does plenty of it, listing lobbying as one of its three “practice areas” on its website.
WCSH - Portland Buy Local celebrated the opening of its new office space on Congress Street. The non-profit formed in 2006 when a few business owners noticed the high number of local businesses that were shutting down.Eight years later, Portland Buy Local has more than 450 members. "If you even just buy one gift locally that you didn't before, that makes a huge difference to our local economy," Coffee By Design Owner Mary Allen Lindemann said. "So we've noticed businesses that are locally owned are having record-breaking seasons because of Buy Local Portland."
Portland Buy Local diretory
Lobster catch only 1 percent below last year's record
Friday, February 28
But while she’s been dubbed “the Elizabeth Warren of Civil Liberties” by the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee, she also finds herself seeing eye to eye with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on issues of national security and foreign policy.
“I think he and I do share a lot in common in terms on our perspective on NSA surveillance and the USA Patriot Act and I think it would be very exciting to work with Republicans in the Congress to restore our checks and balances, to restore our individual liberties,” she told U.S. News in an interview.
Bellows is campaigning on repeal of the U.S. Patriot Act and wants to severely curb the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program – two issues that resonate with the left wing of the Democratic Party as well as libertarian-minded voters who propped up Ron Paul’s strong showing in the 2012 presidential caucuses there.
“What I think we need is targeting based on individualized suspicion, reasonable suspicion that people are engaged in criminal or terrorist activity,” she says in response to a question about what she thinks the NSA should be able to monitor.
Collins, seeking her fourth term, supports reforms to improve transparency and accountability but would not curtail the program to the extent Bellows wants to.
“As we increase transparency and erect further barriers to intelligence collection, we must be careful that we do not put our country at greater risk of attack,” she said in a statement last month.
Bellows’ candidacy was being largely ignored by national media until she revealed earlier this month she had raised more money than Collins during the last quarter.
Wednesday, February 26
Under the LePage administration, aid to towns, or revenue sharing funds to towns, has plummeted. If the Legislature did not blunt these proposed cuts, aid to towns would decline by 79 percent in Fiscal Year 2015.
Tuesday, February 25
Phoenix - A surfeit of salt manufacturers have cropped up in the state over the last few years, harvesting salt near the immense Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast by the Gulf of Maine. The Bay of Fundy boasts the greatest tidal range in the world (upwards of 50 feet), which makes the region a primary resource for independent harvesters, all of whom are eager to note the differences between sea salt, which has a mineral content of around 30 percent, and mass-produced table salt, where minerals are filtered out and trace anti-caking chemicals are added.
Common Dreams - “Maine’s lakes generate more than $3.5 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 52,000 jobs,” says Rebecca Kurtz, Executive Director of the Maine Lakes Association. “Yet the health of these treasured and invaluable assets is declining as non-point source pollution is flushed across the land and into our lakes"... “It’s important to understand that Maine’s lakes are really fragile and we’re heading toward a tipping point on many of them,” said Peter Lowell, Executive Director of Lakes Environmental Association. “We are much closer to losing our traditional water quality than most people realize."
Press Herald - The 2012 Census of Agriculture, which was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, shows that while the number of working farms declined by 4 percent nationally, the number of Maine farms has increased slightly since the last census was done in 2007. The data... also show that Maine has more working farms than any other state in New England, with Massachusetts and Vermont ranked second and third. The number of farms in New England as a whole also increased during the five-year period.
In 2012, there were 8,174 farms operating in Maine, up from 8,136 in 2007 and 7,196 in 2002.
Tagging a young moose can be tricky
Vermont and Maine tied for least restrictive on ex-felon voting
Working Maine - A group of Maine lobstermen who are members of the newly formed Maine Lobstering Union took classes in Maryland last week on the legal aspects of their union, how to reach out to lobstermen to talk to them about the union, how to organize a meeting, and more.
Wednesday, February 19
Monday, February 17
Sunday, February 16
Bowdoin College officials are disputing many of the claims made by those trying to sell the Harriet Beech Stowe property in Brunswick. Vice President Scott Hood issued the following statement to Huffington Post :
There is no factual basis for the claim that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote any part of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the house now for sale at 28 College Street in Brunswick, Maine. Historians and Stowe scholars have long acknowledged that the book was written at a different home in Brunswick (63 Federal Street) where the author lived with her husband while he was teaching at nearby Bowdoin College. This property on Federal Street was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The house and adjacent structures were purchased by Bowdoin College in 2001. The only "evidence" offered about the other property on College Street is an assertion that receipts were found in the house connected with the rental of a room by Stowe. To our knowledge, these receipts, if they exist, have never been subjected to examination by a professional scholar or historian, or by a museum specialist or archivist. In our view, this counter-claim about the location of Stowe’s work is merely an attempt to sell a once-moved historic Brunswick house at an inflated price. MOREWillie Nelson is coming to the Bangor waterfront on June 19th
Salon - Back in 2013, the lawmakers of the state of Maine decided to freeze state merit and longevity pay for its state troopers. According to a report in the Bangor Daily News, for at least some state troopers — and their families — the consequences have been dire. Speaking to the state Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, two off-duty state troopers testified in support of a bill to restore roughly $6 million to the Maine’s general and transportation funds in order to reestablish merit and longevity pay increases. One trooper said that he has at times been forced to feed his family of six with roadkill, while the other claimed that his children have had to wake up in the cold because he could not afford furnace oil. "“During the winter seasons, we often have to buy heating oil a few gallons at a time, because we rarely can afford the minimal delivery amount,” Trooper Elgin Physic said to the committee. “Due to the merit stoppage, I had to sell my wife’s engagement ring, military souvenirs from the war and other personal items just to make ends [meet].”
Loberstmen fall overboard more frequently than some would think
Wednesday, February 12
Maine ACLU - The United States District Court for the District of Maine declared that a Portland ordinance that prohibits anyone from standing on a median strip for any reason but planting political campaign signs, including for all other forms of protected free-speech activity, is unconstitutional. The challenge to the ordinance was brought on behalf of two activists, who have a long history of standing on median strips holding political issue signs, and a young woman who stands on medians asking for personal financial assistance.
Portland sought to defend its ordinance as necessary to protect the public safety of pedestrians and drivers. The Court agreed that protecting public safety is very important, but it rejected the city’s argument that this ordinance is necessary to accomplish that goal.
Portland had voluntarily agreed to cease enforcement of the ordinance pending the outcome of the litigation. Today’s decision permanently enjoins enforcement.
A copy of the Court’s decision can be found here.
Man, Biddeford really blows...We should move! I hear Sanford is pretty shitty too!
Dude, I hooked up with this chick in Sanford, and now I've got AIDS.
I parked my car in Sanford to run in the store and my change got stolen out of it!
Dude, now that we graduated from Wells High School we should totally move to Sanford!
Note: We don't really understand this phenomenon. Just reporting it.
Tuesday, February 11
Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine has begun distributing several of its beers in Italy.
Press Herald - Long before CVS made national news by announcing that it will stop selling tobacco products, Maine’s Downeast Pharmacy made the same decision. Michael Fiori, a Brunswick resident who owned the 17-store chain in Maine and Vermont, stopped selling tobacco at all of his stores on March 17, 1993. ...“It was really almost radical for its time,” he said....In Freeport, the Bow Street Market stopped selling tobacco in early January. Its owner, Adam Nappi, said that was a goal when he opened a new, bigger store in 2011. He wanted to make sure the business was financially secure before taking the plunge. .. Nappi said the store is giving up $100,000 per year in revenue, but it’s a small and “diminishing” percentage of the overall revenue.
WCSH - Representative Chellie Pingree, a strong advocate for local farms, wrote legislation that ended up in the final [farm] bill including 150 million dollars to help promote farmer's markets. The farm bill also eliminates a five percent surcharge for organic crop insurance, helping to level the playing field for organic farmers. And some smaller family farms in Maine will be able to take advantage of diversified crop insurance which allows whole farms to be insured, not just specific crops.
David Swanson will be in Maine this weekend to discuss and sign copies of his new book, War No More: The Case for Abolition. Swanson is the host of Talk Nation Radio. He helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011. Swanson was press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org and works for RootsAction.org. Swanson is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet. Both programs are on Saturday:
Saturday, February 8
Wednesday, February 5
We can make water plans now and avoid the sort of crisis now facing California, or we can let others pursue their predatory goals at our eventual expense.
- Maine still practices democracy pretty well. Not in the governor’s office, to be sure, but power is decentralized enough that hundreds of towns still make a lot of choices. As the problems with regional school systems shows, attempts to move to more centralized government can be at odds with Maine’s inherent principles. Democracy is disappearing in many parts of America, starting with Washington DC, so the Maine’s democratic and independent tradition is a draw. Mainers also believe in reciprocal liberty – i.e. I can’t have my liberty if you don’t have yours – which is why it leads other states on some issues like gay rights. And, thanks in no small part to its agricultural and seafaring background, Mainers intrinsically understand that competition and cooperation are not opponents but allies.
- Maine has long been a highly favored place for artists, musicians and writers. We tend to take it for granted, but it is, in fact, a major attribute of the state.
- Maine is an excellent place to redefine the relationship between the urban and the rural as well as the urban and the natural. The emphasis on natural foods, outdoor activity and ecological protection make this a good place for, say, college majors in eco-urbanism or for town and city plans that deal specifically with this issue.
- Maine has a massive amount of land that is not being used, as it once was, for farming. With drought and other crises affecting America’s food supply, we should be consuming far more than ten percent of our own agricultural output. And finding ways to help younger Mainers go into farming to fill the gap being created by retiring seniors would help greatly. But to do this, we have to stop thinking of planning primarily in urban terms. We need tax incentives for processing and distribution centers, and subsidies for new farm programs and new farmers.
- Maine is cool atmospherically as well as culturally. In fact, it’s the third coolest state in the union, after Alaska and North Dakota. Given the growing climate crisis this is a big asset, but how does Maine remain Maine if it becomes too appealing to other Americans? This is the sort of issue that needs to be thought and talked out.
But with the Civil War, the economic progress collapsed for a variety of reasons, including the extraordinary death rate of Maine soldiers in the Civil War and the decline in the influence of Maine politics. In a 2011 article he described other effects:
The age of sail was over and “to make matters worse, after the war the commerce of the nation began moving east to west on the expanding railroads."Those at home watched the state’s coastal trade and most of its once-thriving textile industry collapse, cut off from southern markets and sources of cotton. The fishing fleet contracted as the cost of everything from insurance to canvas exploded. Farmers, cut off from seaborne markets, were forced to abandon their farms, and many would flee to the south and west where, on the advice of soldiers’ letters, they could expect to find better soils and transportation links. Lumbermen decamped for the forests of the Great Lakes and, not long thereafter, the Pacific Northwest, where entire lumbering towns were settled almost exclusively by people from the Machias area.
Bear in mind that the rest of the country is getting hotter, drier, and more crowded. As the recent traffic disaster during Atlanta’s snow storm illustrated, when a society becomes more urbanized, its citizens lose skills of survival their parents and grandparents had. They become dependent on a system that is in ore than a few ways, dysfunctional.
Tuesday, February 4
“Deaths from overdoses on heroin or opioids in general are quite high relative to our population,” said state Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, referring to heroin and similar synthetic drugs like methadone and oxycodone. Gideon is sponsoring a bill to give police, volunteer firefighters, drug users and their family members access to Narcan, also known by its generic name naloxone, to administer when someone is in the often-fatal respiratory distress that happens during an overdose.
Statistics released last month by the Maine Attorney General’s Office showed that the number of opiate overdose deaths in the state rose from 156 in 2011 to 163 in 2012 – almost the same number of people who died in traffic crashes that year.
The number of overdoses attributed to heroin jumped from seven in 2011 to 28 in 2012, the last year for which figures are available. The state medical examiner expects the total for 2013 to be higher still.
Police say people who are accustomed to prescription painkillers are now turning to heroin because it is less expensive and more available
Monday, February 3
Many states cutting imprisonment more than Maine
Kansas co-op buys Oakhurst Dairy
Portland Press Herald -The campaign for gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler experienced a shakeup recently when it parted ways with field director Brandon Maheu, who held an obscure post that provides critical support services for an independent contender. ... Maheu, who had done similar work for the Maine Democratic Party and former gubernatorial candidate Patrick McGowan, declined to comment and referred all questions to the campaign. Ted O’Meara, Cutler’s campaign manager, wouldn’t provide a lot of detail, but he cautioned against reading too much into the staffing change. “We parted ways amicably and mutually,” O’Meara said. “We were happy with the work Brandon did for us and we wish him well.” It’s unclear if Maheu feels the same way. His Twitter account has been scrubbed of any mention of his past affiliation with Cutler. His pro-Cutler tweets from the past few months appear to have been deleted.
Nearly half of Maine households are one mishap away from financial ruin, according to a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. The scorecard calculated the value of liquid assets-savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts. It found that 43.5% of American households and 46.5% of Maine households would fall into poverty within three months in the event of a sudden job loss, medical emergency, or other shock to their finances.
About 80 percent of Maine’s businesses are family-owned, according to the nonprofit Institute for Family-Owned Businesses in Brunswick. Less than 30 percent survive to the second generation and less than 13 percent make it to the third generation.
Wednesday, January 29
Students First used three “pillars” to assess each state: (1) whether the state includes comprehensive teacher evaluations, expanded pathways to teaching, merit pay for teachers, and prohibits seniority bumping during layoffs and tenure; (2) whether states issue a school report card, has a parent “trigger” option, voucher system, and promotes charter school creation and financing; (3) whether the state law allows for the state or municipalities to take-over “low-performing” schools, includes measures of fiscal “efficiency,” has removed all class size restrictions (except for grades K-3), and elimination of traditional teacher pension plans.
In Maine in 2011, 30% of 4th graders scored below basic, while 70% were at or above basic (further broken down to 32% rated at or above proficient and 6% advanced). In Louisiana, 45% of 4th graders scored below basic, with 55% at or above (and 23% and 2%). In Maine in 2011, 20% of 8th graders scored below basic, while 80% were at or above basic (further broken down to 39% at or above proficient and 4% advanced). In Louisiana, 34% of 8th graders scored below basic, with 66% at or above (and 22% and 1%).
Mike Tipping, Bangor Daily News - Senator Troy Jackson has a bit of a hill to climb in the Second Congressional District Democratic Primary, according to an internal poll released by opponent Senator Emily Cain’s campaign this week. In an initial match-up question on the poll, Cain led with 32% of the vote to Jackson’s 17% (and Alden Smith’s 2%).
Saturday, January 25
“We’re seeking tough, active lobstermen: you could be a family who’s been fishing for generations [or] a new, hard-nosed skipper striking out on your own,” an announcement issued this week by the firm stated.
Jason Watt, executive producer and owner of Watt Pictures and a partner with Al Roker Entertainment, said Roker’s company is in the process of developing a “pitch package” for the proposed show to take to potential network partners. Some talks with networks already have been held, he said Friday. The pitch package would identify prospective people and locations to be featured in the show and also include some edited video footage, among other things. The idea may be pitched to network officials as early as February. Potential network partners include the History Channel, Discovery Channel and A&E.
"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America."
MPBN - Home sales in Maine grew nearly 14 percent in 2013. That's according to the Maine Association of Realtors. The industry group says more than 13,000 existing single family homes were sold during the 12-month period, a jump of 13.60 percent over 2012. The median price for those homes also rose, by nearly 3 percent, to $175,000. The median sales prices indicates that half the homes sold for more and half for less.
Bowdoin Daily Sun - Bowdoin is on track to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020... Bowdoin’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 were 22% lower than in 2008.
Thursday, January 23
King and Pingree noted that FEMA took those locally generated reports into consideration the last time flood zone lines were redrawn, in 2009. This time, the agency has been “reluctant to accept the same data generated by engineers on behalf of other coastal communities,” Pingree wrote.
Working Waterfront explains sea smoke: Maine is back in the deep freeze this week, with temperatures at dawn a few degrees either side of zero. Along the coast, we're seeing a phenomenon over the waters of Penobscot Bay that often coincides with that frigid air, known locally as sea smoke. "It's actually called Arctic sea smoke," explained meteorologist Ken McKinley of Rockport...
"It's like a steaming cup of coffee," he said, which is exactly what it looks like, though on a much larger scale. Tongues of steam flare up over the open waters outside harbors and coves, with some of the columns reaching up as high as 20 feet. The cause, said McKinley, is "the really cold air flowing across the warmer water warms the air." Water temperatures, despite the cold snaps Maine has experienced this year, remain in the 40s, significantly higher than the air temperatures.
When the air over the surface of the water is warmed—relatively speaking—it rises, now holding slightly more moisture. "Warmer air can hold more water vapor," he said. But as it quickly comes into contact with the frigid air that dominates the atmosphere, it can no longer hold the water as a gas, and droplets precipitate out, visible as vapor.