The Coastal Packet: Down East Notes

Wednesday, May 20

Down East Notes

WCSH - Only seven states ranked higher than Maine for poor road conditions; eight ranked worse for having structurally deficient bridges. TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group, conducted the research into the road conditions of all 50 states... The report found 26 percent of Maine's rural roads have pavement that is in poor condition. Fifteen percent of the state's rural bridges are structurally deficient.

Press Herald - Former speaker of the Maine House Glenn Cummings will be the next president of the University of Southern Maine, officials announced after the incoming president said he couldn’t take the job because of upheaval at his current university.... Harvey Kesselman, who was supposed to take office at USM on July 1, said  that he would remain as acting president at Stockton University in New Jersey. That school’s president resigned in April after New York financier Donald Trump blocked the school’s plan to open a campus in a shuttered casino on the boardwalk that the university had purchased for $18 million.

Sun Journal - The Maine Office of the Attorney General released figures that showed 208 people died in Maine last year from drug overdoses, up 18 percent over 2013. It made 2014 the deadliest year on record for drug deaths.

America Blog - Nestle is in the final stages of a deal that would allow them to purchase Oregon’s public water supplies from the Columbia River Gorge. Similar to Chris Christie’s recent fast-tracking of WIPA (a deal which allows NJ municipalities to sell their public water supplies to international corporations without public consent), the deal with Nestle is another water privatization plan that is bad for consumers and communities. The proposal would allow the food conglomerate to extract over 118 million gallons of publicly owned water from the Columbia River Gorge on an annual basis, and then sell it for exponential profits. Nestle’s target — Oxbow Springs — is a public water supply that is currently being used to water an endangered salmon hatchery.

Bangor Daily News - A bill sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, would allow physician-assisted suicide in Maine but only with a range of caveats, including that the patient has to take lethal drugs by his or her own hand. Katz’s bill, which is modeled after a law in Vermont, would apply to adults who are terminally ill and who have a limited life expectancy and includes legal protections for physicians, health care facilities and insurance companies. 

Sun Journal - Gov. Paul LePage wants to further crack down on drug use by welfare recipients by eliminating food stamps and cash payments to families for recipients with a drug conviction. He also wants to require screenings that could result in drug testing for all participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The anti-wind project scandal

Bangor Daily News - Bath shipbuilders will take to the streets Thursday for a “solidarity” rally as Bath Iron Works navigates its way through the company’s largest labor unrest in decades. The action follows a March 24 event where nearly 1,000 members of the International Association of Machinists Union Local marched the length of the shipyard at midday to rally support and to protest a variety of changes proposed by BIW President Fred Harris... As caps on defense spending result in fewer Naval contracts, Harris said the changes, including outsourcing work and cross-training employees, will increase the shipyard’s efficiency and keep the costs of building destroyers competitive.

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