- 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
Wednesday, April 23
Maine house sales are up ten percent in the first quarter over last year, compared with a 7% decline nationally. Included are a 31% jump in Arookstoock County and 28% in Sagadahoc. Cumberland is up 13%. The price change for the state, however is only up 1%.
Part of Portland’s Baxter Boulevard will become a car-free zone on Sundays starting next month, giving the city a mile-long paved park for bicycling, roller-blading, skateboarding or just hanging out next to Back Cove.
A University of Maine survey of 11 Gulf of Maine locations suggests that numbers of young lobsters have declined by more than half their 2007 levels – significant since lobsters typically take about eight years to reach the legal harvesting size. Maine lobsters were 85 percent of the nation’s lobster catch in 2012. Warmer ocean temperatures, pollution, atmospheric conditions and changes in predation and availability of food could all be to blame, say scientists, state officials and industry leaders...
Wednesday, April 16
Press Herald - The city of Portland is appealing a federal court ruling against its ban on panhandling and other activity in street medians.. . .While the city argued the ban was a matter of public safety, the plaintiffs argued that it interfered with their rights to free speech. In February, U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled the ordinance was unconstitutional because it does not apply to people who stand on medians to post campaign signs.
Press Herald - Maine is likely to suffer a shortage of medical professionals in the coming years unless the industry boosts student enrollment at health care-related schools in the state and recruits more workers from outside Maine, according to a report ...The workforce development problem will be especially dire in the fields of dentistry and psychology, in which two-thirds of all current practitioners in the state are older than 50 years old, said the report, by the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information. Occupations for which nearly half of the existing practitioners are older than 50 include pharmacists, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses, it said.
It's not enough to justify him being elected governor, but a tip of the hat to Eliot Cutler for supporting our proposal to have a shifting sales tax by season to catch all those summer visitors. His plan: "A seasonal sales tax rate of 7 percent from May 1 through October 30, excluding auto sales and building materials, and a rate of 5 percent during the rest of the year, for estimated new revenues of $90 million." He also would raise restaurant and lodging sales taxes to 8 percent.
Al Diamon in the Phoenix takes a slap at the Maine Greens, arguing that they're not effective and "come off as a party badly in need of adult supervision." But whatever weaknesses the Greens may have, they come off a lot better than papers like the Phoenix that are too busy finding the best bar in town to get their readers seriously involved in politics. As we have noted in the past, "The so-called alternative weeklies , with sadly few exceptions, foster a compliant corpacool culture in which hipness is defined by one's purchases; dissent is limited to critiques of style, activism is something you do at the gym, and politics the last refuge of the hopelessly dull. When the faux-hip "alternative weeklies" began replacing the underground newspapers of the 1960s and 70s, they gave the impression that when the revolution started, the guerrillas would come down the mountains on Head skis listening to their Walkmen."
Shenna Bellows has raised less than half as much as Susan Collins but then she doesn't have pals like World Wrestling's Vince and Linda McMahon dumping out of state money into her account. If you want the more glutton-free candidate, Bellows is your choice.
Mike Tipping, Press Herald - The tax haven bill, which is estimated to save the state $5 million a year in recovered taxes, passed with mostly party-line votes in the House and Senate, but is expected to soon be vetoed by Gov. LePage. It’s a shame that this has become a partisan issue and that the governor will likely step in to protect these accounting tricks...In fact, recent polls by Hart Research on behalf of Americans for Tax Fairness found that it’s by far the most popular proposed change to the nation’s taxation system, with the support of around 80 percent of voters.
It could be worse
Red Bridge NB: The Woodstock Fire Department responded to reports of rapid flooding of the Meduxnekeag River in Red Bridge, New Brunswick.... Four cows in danger of drowning were transported safely. According to Woodstock Fire Chief Rick Nicholson, the water rose over two feet in less then an hour.
Monday, April 14
Saturday, April 12
“Those retrenchment (layoff) notices are off the table for now,” Kalikow said Friday afternoon at the USM Faculty Senate meeting. She said she made up her mind at 2 p.m., just as the meeting began, and didn’t even have time to tell the affected faculty.
The room erupted in applause and backslapping as she revealed the news.
The surprise announcement came as the Faculty Senate unveiled a draft 27-point proposal for alternative cuts and about two dozen students traveled to Augusta to lobby state lawmakers. The students met with members of the Portland delegation and the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee...
Students’ actions included drafting emergency state legislation seeking to freeze the cuts and analyze the system’s financial data, publishing several analytical pieces picking apart the fiscal argument for the cuts, and media-messaging that got the attention of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and philosopher and liberal hero Noam Chomsky.
While the students were keeping up high-profile protests, behind-the-scenes discussions and diplomacy continued between faculty members and administrators.
Friday, April 11
Researchers seeking cause of moose decline
LePage threatens lives of 60,000 low income Mainers
Maine’s four-month scallop season that ended in March apparently will be the state’s strongest in years, despite a harsh winter and new regulations unpopular with some fishermen, preliminary data show.
Maine facts: WCSH-TV signed on in 1953 from studios at the Congress Square Hotel in downtown Portland. The station was owned by the Rines family through their Maine Broadcasting System; the family had built the hotel in 1896, and established WCSH radio (970 AM, now WZAN) on the top floor in 1925. The name: W Congress Square Hotel.
Thursday, April 10
Portland Press Herald - You can’t get there from here.
Some businesses and town officials fear that old Maine saying could turn out to be true if state lawmakers pass a bill to eliminate dozens of signs on the Maine Turnpike and interstate highways.
Business owners and representatives of communities from Arundel to Lubec condemned the measure Tuesday at a three-hour public hearing before the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, saying it would hurt tourism by making it harder for visitors to find rural attractions.
The bill, developed by the Maine Turnpike Authority and the state Department of Transportation, seeks to create standards for turnpike and interstate signs and bring Maine into compliance with federal standards that define which attractions merit signs. Officials say Maine could lose millions of dollars in federal funding if it doesn’t meet the standards.
Along the turnpike and interstate highways are three types of signs.
The green signs that mark upcoming exits would not be affected by the legislation. Also unaffected would be the blue “services” signs advertising businesses such as restaurants, gas stations and tourist attractions. Each business pays $1,500 a year, per sign, to have its logo displayed.
The bill concerns “supplemental guide signs,” which are brown with white lettering and give exit numbers for destinations that aren’t immediately off the highway interchanges. Those signs, like the green directional signs, are publicly funded.
The state’s proposal would alter 30 percent of the supplemental guide signs on the turnpike, Interstate 295 and Interstate 395, a 5-mile road between Bangor and Brewer.
A total of 68 of the 225 signs would be affected, including 26 that would be removed. Forty-two would either be moved closer to the places they point out or be removed but qualify for logo signs.
Peter Mills, executive director of the turnpike authority, and Deputy Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note were the only people who spoke in favor of the bill at Tuesday’s hearing...
The standards have been in effect for years, but Maine has erected signs over the years that do not adhere to them, Mills said. He said signs are supposed to provide direction to drivers clearly and effectively, and should not serve as advertisements for particular businesses, as the federal standards say.
Attractions like universities, national and state parks, and major recreational areas qualify for supplemental guide signs if they meet certain guidelines for numbers of visitors and distance from interchanges, the standards say. Many businesses and attractions that don’t qualify could instead buy logo space on the blue service signs, which typically are posted before exits to indicate what services and attractions are available there.
Some towns, including Arundel, Hallowell and Topsham, would lose signs directing drivers to them because they have populations of less than 10,000 and are not considered major attractions.
After the Maine Mall opened in 1971, the state refused to put a sign for the Mall on the turnpike. So Allen, who became the mall’s first general manager, got the city to rename Payne Road to Maine Mall Road in 1975, and the Maine Mall Road exit sign served the purpose.
Sen. David Burns, a Republican who represents towns in Washington County, said tourism is critical for the county’s economy, and removing signs for places like Quoddy Head State Park and Roosevelt Campobello International Park because they’re too far from the attractions would hurt the area.
Under the proposed legislation, ski areas with a minimum vertical drop of 1,000 feet and 40 or more maintained trails would qualify for supplemental signs.
Gregory Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association, said he opposes the bill because removing signs for smaller ski areas – like Lost Valley in Auburn – would hurt an industry that plays an important role in the state’s rural economy.
Todd Shea, town manager of Arundel, said it would be unfair to remove a sign for Arundel, while pointing out that more than five miles of the turnpike go through the town.
Hallowell officials echoed his concern, saying it is essential for the town’s small businesses that visitors find their way downtown.
Wednesday, April 9
For years, fishery managers have had to rely on historical catch data to plan for the upcoming season. But thanks to climate change, conditions in the Gulf of Maine are diverging from past patterns. Over the past decade the pace of the warming in the Gulf has increased ten-fold. For now, that means that the lobster catch is exploding, but it could also be a signal of trouble to come. Even in good years, a sudden boom in lobsters numbers, if not well managed, can be devastating for the fishermen who end up with such a glut of lobsters that prices plummet.
“We’re encountering conditions that really we’ve never seen before,” Andrew Pershing of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute told the Morning Sentinel.
Lobster landings in the Gulf of Maine have hit record highs in recent years, but scientists warn that this may be the boom before the bust. While current warmer water temperatures have put the fishery right at the temperature sweet spot for lobsters, anything above 20º C is extremely stressful for lobsters and can cause a deadly outbreak of shell disease. In 1999, lobstering in Long Island Sound collapsed without warning after a record-breaking hot year unleashed a shell disease epidemic.
Lobsters make up 80 percent of the value of Maine’s fisheries, and support not only the fishermen, but also the boat builders, mechanics, bait sellers and local tourist industry. The economies of the northernmost counties in Maine are 90 percent dependent on lobstering.
Even though he has gone through five court-appointed attorneys, Nisbet says he doesn’t want to represent himself at trial, as a judge has ordered. Joshua Nisbet, 36, of Scarborough, who is charged with holding up a convenience store in South Portland at knifepoint, faces as much as 30 years in prison if he is convicted of robbery. He has no legal training, and has said he doesn’t want to represent himself.
But the judge in the case, Justice Thomas Warren, said Nisbet’s behavior and the fact that he has gone through five court-appointed lawyers since his arrest in 2011 has left “no other alternative” than to order Nisbet to represent himself. The judge issued the order last month after Nisbet’s most recent attorneys, Jon Gale and Neale Duffett, sought to withdraw from the case, claiming in a motion that Nisbet threatened Gale while they met with him in the Cumberland County Jail on Feb. 26. According to the motion, Nisbet told them, “I don’t care if I get 15 years, when I get out, I will be outside your house with a high-powered BB gun and I will take your eye out. I’m not getting life. I’ll never forget. I’m coming after you when I get out."
Artists make Portland cool, then can't find space to work
Maine ranked second for support of local food
Tuesday, April 8
Brunswick council votes against full environmental review of train facility: "Neighbors of the facility, led by the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition, contend the enormous facility is ill-suited to a residential neighborhood. They have raised concerns about noise, pollution and vibrations as well as how the building will affect their property values."
Augusta area roads picked as worst in Maine
Cross campus coalition takes on university cutbacks
Monday, April 7
WGME - Police are looking for the person who went "number two" on the city's historic Two Penny Bridge. People in Waterville are offended to learn that a large pile of human excrement was found on the footbridge that spans the Kennebec River. A Winslow man used a bucket of water to wash it off yesterday. Waterville and Winslow police and public works officials reportedly said cleaning up human waste is not their responsibility.
Long good piece on USM student protests
You can now get burning permits online
Press Herald - Eliot Cutler’s campaign trumpeted its popularity on Facebook last week, saying its more than 20,000 “likes” outpace his competitors, Paul LePage and Mike Michaud. What the independent candidate for governor’s campaign didn’t say was this: It has paid Facebook $16,000 to promote the campaign page, and that overall likes to a page are not a reliable measure of audience engagement.
Spring must be coming: The snow is melting and the bumps are blossoming
As we await a constitutional amendment or public election finance legislation to counteract the gross Supreme Court decisions on campaign funding, it might be useful to take a hint from the underrated activists promoting local and healthy food, who are, in fact, among the most effective organizers of our era.
After all, law doesn’t solve all our problems and, when it does, it often takes an extraordinary long time. Meanwhile there is plenty that can be done.
Such as changing the language we use and how we use it.
For example, the growing local food movement is boosted by the fact that people can walk into an increasing number of markets and find labels indicating nearby origins of a particular item. Other food is marked as organic or sugar and gluten free. The secret is not just laws for firewalls but labels for eyeballs.
What if we treated politicians the same way as we do corn or bread and label those relying on local and reasonable funding as organic pols, while the rest – generically modified by oligarchs (or GMO) - as outsourced pols? Clean local money vs. dirty offshore money.
Change the labels to whatever works, but the point is that we have the ability to alter attitudes about this rotten situation by the very language we use and how we use it.
For example, at a state, county, or city level, normally non-political organizations like churches, small business organizations, and non-profits could come together to reach a consensus on what a clean election would look like. The logical starting point would be how much, if any, non-local money a responsible candidate could accept in order to win the group’s easily visible Clean Candidate label. The other candidates would de facto become the dirty ones.
As a case in point, Senator Susan Collins, who is running for reelection in my state of Maine, would not qualify. The Collins Watch has noted, “One couple gave Sen. Susan Collins more than any other--the legal maximum of $10,400--during the most recent filing period. And there's a good chance you've heard of them: Linda and Vince McMahon, the duo behind World Wrestling Entertainment [who have a] history of virulent homophobia and misogyny.”
According to Wikipedia, “McMahon has a $12 million penthouse in Manhattan, a $40 million mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, a $20 million vacation home, and a 47-foot sports yacht named Sexy Bitch. Forbes has noted McMahon's wealth at 1.1 billion dollars.”
To put this in some perspective, with that wealth the McMahons could give every Maine adults almost a thousand dollars although it was far cheaper and easier to cozy up to Susan Collins.
Despite the view of anti-justices Roberts and Scalia, there is nothing in the Constitution that allows someone of such distance and disconnection to bully voters in another state.
We need to start thinking of such people and the candidates who live off them much as we do unsafe and dirty food. After all, even if they were edible they would be the sort of things we wouldn’t let our children eat.
And we shouldn’t be too polite about it After all, the system has completely failed us in this matter. We need to find new language – like clean and dirty candidates – based on where they get their money.
And the local and organic food folk have shown us how to start.
Saturday, April 5
Collins Watch - According to the filings at FEC.gov, one couple gave Sen. Susan Collins more than any other--the legal maximum of $10,400--during the most recent filing period. And there's a good chance you've heard of them: Linda and Vince McMahon, the duo behind World Wrestling Entertainment.... At issue for Maine voters in the mutual support between Collins and the McMahons is (among other things) the WWE's history of virulent homophobia and misogyny: While Collins fancies herself a champion of civilty, McMahon has made her fortune trafficking in ugly sterotypes and sexually-tinged violence--up to an including a mock gay wedding played for laughs and storylines about sexually predatory lesbians.
According to Wikipedia, “McMahon has a $12 million penthouse in Manhattan, a $40 million mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, a $20 million vacation home, and a 47-foot sports yacht named Sexy Bitch. Forbes has noted McMahon's wealth at 1.1 billion dollars.”
American Water Blog - A paper was published in the journal Environmental Health that could have significant health and policy repercussions across the country. Titled “A cross-sectional study of well water arsenic and child IQ in Maine schoolchildren”, the study shows a clear correlation between arsenic and decreased cognitive function in children. ... They looked at 272 third through fifth graders in three Maine school districts, comparing arsenic levels in their home wells to their scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children tests... The results are pretty clear. Even after removing the effects of maternal education and IQ and the quality of their home environment, children with higher levels of arsenic in their water scored lower on general intelligence tests.
Press Herald - “Frontline,” public television’s award-winning investigative program, will air a segment later this month on the reform of solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison in Warren. click image to enlarge. “Solitary Nation” offers “a shocking look at the practice of isolation” and the effort to limit its use – an area in which Maine is recognized as a leader nationally, according to a news release announcing the show...In Maine, the transfer to solitary for punishment now has to be approved by the warden, rather than a supervisor, a change adopted under Ponte. Keeping an inmate there for more than three days must be approved by the corrections commissioner. The prison also is required to look at what prompted the inmate’s disruptive behavior and what can be done to change it. If a prisoner has a mental illness, that must be considered before assigning him to solitary.
Profile of Shenna Bellows in the Daily Beast - Bellows is pressing her case aggressively from the start, delaying her interview with The Daily Beast so she could slam Collins for dragging her feet on raising the minimum wage and the release of a CIA torture report. (“It’s time we have a leader in Washington who does the right thing not because they are pushed or have cover, but because it’s the right thing to do.”)
Rise in Maine's heroin use and deaths
Monday, March 31
WCSH - Equality Maine has a lot to celebrate, for 3 decades they've been fighting for equal treatment in the workplace and in the legislature for the lesbian, gay and transgender community.[March 22] marked their 30th anniversary celebration. Equality Maine President Jane Clayton joked, "our best and brightest volunteers haven't even been on this earth for 30 years," at the banquet. Over the decades they have fought to end workplace discrimination of gay and lesbian people, to stop legislation that would have banned same sex marriage and, triumphantly, fought to secure marriage equality for all consenting adults in the state of Maine.
Test Obsession update - Maine students in grades three through eight scored lower on the state’s reading and math exams in 2013 than they did the year before.The tests were taken by nearly all students last October and are used to satisfy state and federal school accountability requirements. The scores also are used to determine each school’s grade on its Maine Department of Education-issued report card. About 69 percent of the students tested demonstrated that they were reading at grade level, according to a statement released by the state Department of Education on Monday. That’s down from 71 percent the year before.....Next year, students will take an exam that tests them on the Common Core standards, a set of expectations that 45 states have adopted for their students. Educators predict that the new exam will be harder and that students scores will drop further as a result. - From the Sun Journal.
MPBN - Paralegals and other legal professionals at a Topsham law firm have formed a union. The International Association of Machinists - or IAM - has negotiated an agreement with legal professionals at McTeague, Higbee, Case, Cohen, Whitney & Toker. The new three-year contract includes wage increases, improved health, pension and grievance benefits, improved paid time off and more, says Carol Sanborn, paralegal and bargaining committee member."The only way to really have a voice that matters is when people are a unit, collectively," Sanborn says. The firm has 13 lawyers. About 20 legal professionals are in the union bargaining unit, Sanborn says.The IAM Union represents 3,900 Maine workers, including shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works, workers in paper mills and manufacturing, as well as municipal workers and the newly-created Maine Lobstering Union.
Sun Journal - Bucking the national trend, Maine adults in the middle income range actually struggled more than their low-income counterparts to pay medical bills. About 35 percent of mid-range earners — with incomes between about $33,000 and $93,000 a year for a family of four — faced problems or were unable to afford their bills during the prior year, compared to 32 percent of those earning less. Many middle-income Mainers receive no government aid and don’t earn enough to buy a health policy with sufficient coverage, the survey results noted.
Saturday, March 22
Common Dreams - People sat on the floor and leaned against walls as chants and even songs broke out amid discussions about "next steps" for holding the university accountable. "We're using this as a space to organize," said Meaghan LaSala, student in Women and Gender Studies...Occasionally, laid-off faculty addressed the crowd in emotionally-charged statements just moments before or after receiving notice.Meanwhile, at a nearby university event for gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud, students took to the microphone to speak out against budget cuts.
Wednesday, March 19
According to a new investigative report by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the LePage administration over the past two years has privately developed a plan to dramatically increase logging on Maine’s public lands without disclosing the plan to Maine lawmakers or the public and without providing a science-based justification or opportunity for public comment. Internal documents secured by NRCM reveal that the state foresters and land managers responsible for timber management in Maine’s public forests initially were excluded from discussions of the plan, which departs radically from a decades-long state policy to grow bigger, older trees in Maine’s public forests. NRCM believes that the administration’s plan, which calls for a 27 percent increase in logging, would result in unsustainable overcutting on lands valued for their wildlife habitat, backcountry recreation, and high-quality timber. Approximately 400,000 acres of Maine’s forests, which comprise less than 3 percent of the state’s 17.6 million acres of timber lands, are publicly owned and managed for commercial timber and other public values.
Monday, March 17
Update on Michaud's replacement election in 2nd District
Sunday, March 16
Yesterday I knocked a door that had two registered Greens, the spouse and the daughter. The husband answers the door, I ask him if the other two are there.
He asks why, I tell him it's to get my friend on the ballot. He asks what party, I tell him the Maine Green Independent Party.He gets a confused look on his face and turns around and yells at his wife, "You're still registered as a Green!?!?" She yells back, "Yeah?" He turns back to me with an angry smirk on his face, "she doesn't want to sign-- I just asked her." And he shut the door in my face.
Paul LePage described Medicaid expansion as "sinful." Other details of LePage's counter-Christian theology are not available at present.
For a more Christian (and sensible) view of the matter
Thursday, March 13
Fred Horch has turned in his petition sheets to become the Green Independent candidate for Senate District 24, which includes Brunswick, Harpswell, Freeport, Pownal and North Yarmouth.
Wednesday, March 12
About Portland's new food co-op
Michael Michaud's own poll finds him with 39 percent of the vote, compared to 35 percent for Gov. Paul LePage. Independent candidate Eliot Cutler trails with just 16 percent. This is the eighth consecutive public poll that shows Michaud leading the race, but almost all within the margin of error.
NY Times - In the 1980s, moose numbered about 4,000 in the northwest part of [Minnesota]; today, there are about 100. In Northeast Minnesota, the population has dropped by half since 2006, to 4,300 from more than 8,800. In 2012, the decline was steep enough — 35 percent — that the state and local Chippewa tribes, which rely on moose meat for subsistence, called off the moose hunt. ... Researchers elsewhere, along the southern edge of moose territory in New Hampshire and Montana, are also beginning to notice declines in the animals’ numbers. Seth Moore, a wildlife biologist in Grand Portage, theorizes that recent years of warmer, shorter winters and hotter, longer summers have resulted in a twofold problem. The changing climate has stressed out the moose, compromising their immune systems. And warmer temperatures have allowed populations of white-tailed deer, carriers of brain worm — which is fatal to moose — to thrive.
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: