The Coastal Packet

Sunday, October 4

Portland's flood prone development area

Press Herald - Portland’s Bayside neighborhood has been struck by significant floodwaters twice in 14 months... in an area prime for development that also is vulnerable to storms and sea level rise. ...The city has yet to take aggressive steps to address the flooding or adapt to the reality that water levels are rising in the Gulf of Maine.

Friday, October 2

How LePage is making the poor poorer

Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post - A savings account can be a powerful thing, especially for someone struggling to make ends meet. A little extra money on the side—even the tiniest of sums—can be a life-preserving cushion in the case of an unexpected injury, illness, or sudden unemployment. Building a financial base can also be a ticket out of poverty for families long relegated to economic hardship.

In Maine, though, the governor has fired up a debate about whether an individual can have a bit of money in the bank and still need governmental assistance. Starting as early as Nov. 1, Maine is going to limit the financial assets of welfare recipients, effectively discouraging them from saving money.

The state will place a $5,000 cap on the savings and other assets of residents enrolled in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program. Those whose bank accounts, secondary vehicles and homes, and other assets considered non-essential by the government, exceed the limit will no longer be eligible to participate in the food stamp program. An individual's primary home and vehicle won't count toward the limit.

....The unintended consequences of asset tests, like the one soon to be implemented in Maine, can be crippling, according to a growing pool of people who oppose such requirements. They argue that impoverished Americans, hoping to break from the cycle of poverty, are instead further bound by it. Many in Maine, struggling to make ends meet, will no longer put money aside, since doing so could jeopardize their ability to eat.

"There's a reason most states have moved away from asset tests," said Ezra Levin, who is the associate director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a nonprofit organization that fights poverty. Levin specializes in tax and asset-building policies, and is highly critical of LePage's plan. "The tests are counterproductive. They don't help people become self-sufficient. They actually do just the opposite."

Thursday, October 1

50 years of Peter, Paul and Mary

MPBN - "Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey Celebrate 50 Years of Peter, Paul and Mary" will be taking place at the Merrill Auditorium - Saturday evening, October 3rd at 7:30. Tickets are available thru PortTIX.

Why are so many Maine towns named after foreign places


Drop off sites for your old paint

PaintCare, an organization for the paint industry has announced the start of a program in Maine that allows Mainers to drop off unwanted paint for recycling at no charge. The program was established by 2013 legislation, and currently operates in eight states nationwide, including three in New England (CT, RI, VT). You can find a drop off site here.

Earle Shettleworth stepping down after 40 years guiding state historic preservation

MPBN - After more than forty years as Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Earle Shettleworth today stepped down from the post. Shettleworth is credited with helping identify and save hundreds of historic homes, mills, churches and libraries from neglect or demolition, and for helping raising the awareness of Maine's historic places.

Portland local businesses support hike in minimum wage

Beacon - A membership survey  by Portland Buy Local found that 69% of member business owners support the citizen initiative advanced by Mainers for Fair Wages to increase the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

Only 12% of the 105 respondents to the survey expressed opposition to the proposal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2017 and a dollar a year after that until it reaches $12 in 2020, which will likely be on the ballot in November, 2016, while 19% were undecided.

Roughly half of respondents currently pay their hourly employees a starting wage lower than $12 an hour, with 30% paying a starting wage of less than $10.10.

Brennan takes it in Portland mayoral debate

Press Herald

Wednesday, September 30

Police blotter

Dear Josh D-----

Sir, we appreciate that you sent us this photo. Of course we are concerned. We asked the driver of Unit #22 if there had been any mishaps while on patrol today and he said there had been no trouble.

Further review of the photo led us to believe that he might have been withholding information.

We brought him into the office for a few more questions. Lt. Kenison advised me that his uniform was slightly askew. His pants were not present but he was wearing a damp, dark blue Speedo and there was a snorkel in his gun belt. The snorkel was not issued and was being carried in his issued, baton holder.

We have more questions for him but he claimed that he had a water bubble in his right eardrum and he could not hear us. He said he needed to to go find a Q-Tip. Due to the possibility of a workers compensation situation, we released him from the inquiry.

We will discuss it with him in the morning. In the meantime we do always take complaints seriously and will inform you the outcome of the investigation.

Sgt. Tim Cotton
Bangor Police Department

Tuesday, September 29

Maine Dems rename annual dinner

MPBN - The Maine Democrat Party's biggest fundraiser is now named in honor of former Maine Sen. George Mitchell and longtime Labor Secretary Frances Perkins. The Perkins-Mitchell Dinner is a rebranding of the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Sanford planning largest municipal broadband network in state

Press Herald - Sanford is planning to create the largest, fastest broadband network in the state, one that will allow residents to download movies in seconds and businesses to compete regardless of where they are located.
...City officials say the new loop will be an important catalyst for economic development, give the city a competitive advantage to attract new businesses, and provide residents and existing businesses with consistent and affordable access to high-speed Internet.

Monday, September 28

Black sea bass threaten lobster trade

Sun Journal - As waters warm off the coast of New England, black sea bass are moving north and, fishermen say, threatening ,,, the lobster...Some fishermen and lobstermen [are] saying the best solution is to ease restrictions on catching the newcomers.

South Portland puts fee on plastic bags

Forecaster - City councilors voted unanimously to make South Portland the second city in the state to charge a fee for single-use shopping bags, and to ban polystyrene food containers. The second reading of the single-use bag ordinance was almost halted by Councilor Tom Blake, who favored an ordinance that would ban single-use bags, too, a path that Falmouth is poised to explore.

Friday, September 25

A different kind of mayoral candidate for Lewiston


Maine already laying off federally funded employees

Bangor Daily News - State employees whose positions are all or partially funded with federal government money have received layoff notices effective Sept. 30, but a spokesman for the state’s finance department said  that the layoffs will be rescinded if Congress can reach a budget deal.

Thursday, September 24

Afraid it won't work

Press Herald - Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald, a longtime critic of public assistance programs, wants to publicize the names and addresses of Mainers on welfare by creating an online registry of recipients.

Sorry, afraid it won't work. We already have online access to the names of stupid Lewiston mayors and Maine governors and it doesn't seem to do any good.  - CP

Susan Collins voted against GOP proposed ban on late term abortions

Sun Journal

LePage donates again to his donors

Maine Beacon - An analysis by the Maine Center for Economic Policy  shows that the proposal to cut the state income tax to four percent, which makes up part of a ballot initiative announced yesterday by the Maine Republican Party and Governor Paul LePage, would primarily benefit Maine’s wealthiest residents. “The Governor’s plan to reduce and eventually eliminate Maine’s income tax is a huge giveaway to the wealthy that will jeopardize funding for schools and other services vital to Maine families and businesses. Implementing a four percent flat tax by 2021 will cost nearly $600 million, roughly half of current state funding for K-12 education,” said MECEP executive director Garrett Martin in a statement.

Wednesday, September 23

Maine food stamps would disappear with government shutdown

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says a government shutdown the end of this month could mean that 230,000 Mainers would lose their food stamps:

"A politically motivated government shutdown would be a real hardship for thousands of Maine families, veterans and seniors who depend on food stamps to help make ends meet each month. It's shameful that some Congressional Republicans are trying to use their opposition to Planned Parenthood to force a government shutdown at the expense of families struggling to put food on the table."