Friday, April 30, 2010
A topless march downtown in Farmington today has the town and much of Maine in an uproar. In the photo in this Sun Journal story by Staff Writer Donna Perry is a sign with a message on it with a very loosely interpreted Bible passage. "God created us naked and he liked it."
It is sourced to the book of Genisis, the creation chapter, in the Bible but the actual verse reads more along the lines of, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day."
Conservative Christians in Maine and around the region are concerned this march will prompt a whole round of sinning and have further linked it to their homosexual agenda saying the march is meant to promote gay and lesbian rights.
The marchers have said they are only hoping to remind people that going topless in Maine is legal, both for men and women and are hoping to get people used to that idea. The March starts at 1 p.m. and the temperatures are expected to be in the high 50s and low 60s in the region.
It should be an interesting event.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Maine officials say workers are fired if they visit porn sites during work. Not so the Fed. #mepolitics #SEC #crooks #crazygovernment
Solid report here by the Sun Journal's Rebekah Metzler localizing a national story.
Apparently the federal government didn't have this same standard for its employees or contractors at the Securities and Exchange Commission and those folks pulling down in excess of $200,000 a year got to keep their jobs even after evidence surfaced that many were spending their full work days downloading explicit material instead of regulating the financial markets. Talk about crazy government.
The Washington Post report:
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Depending on your mindset this will make you smile or groan. A little skiing action here at Sugarloaf. Nice photos by Ethan Austin too. The thing Mainers can be happy about is we are not in Vermont where some places lost power and saw up to 2 feet of snow, according to the Associated Press.
A skier enjoys some new snow at Sugarloaf on Wednesday, April 28. The resort will close on Sunday May 2.
The Rosa Scarcelli campaign was the subject of this recent report from the MCPIR, it's online and in print in several Maine newspapers but not on the MCPIR's page yet. You can read it online at Sun Journal or the Forecaster. It's a pretty deep look at the candidate and her background in the family business.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The cost of the governor's race will easily exceed $1 million on the private funding side alone. #megov #mepolitics
Great update here from the AP on the funds coming in for Maine's gubernatorial campaigns. More numbers are still trickling in but the top fund raiser, so far, appears to be Poloquin with $860,000. I wonder what the total in privately spent dollars on these campaigns will go to and how much of it is U.S. Senate jostling? Just a thought and a question on the campaigns of both GOP and DEMs and how they shake em down to two. Should be an interesting campaign season.
Auburn looks to save by consolidating fire and police, to some degree. Story is fetching chatter. #auburnmaine
Good story here by the Sun Journal's Leslie Dixon. Hopefully we are seeing the slow-but-steady signs of an economy rebounding slightly.
Manufactured housing is a big employer in Oxford County so any signs of an uptick in the industry would be welcomed news indeed.
Monday, April 26, 2010
This story about the Lewiston Police putting their crime map data online was first reported three days ago by the Sun Journal. Now it appears the AP is sourcing the story to the Portland Press Herald, several days after it happens..
NEWS NOW? not really.
Also a link to the actual crime-mapping site was included in the Sun Journal report but not the re-write AP did of the Portland Press Herald story, three days later. Did I mention it was three days after the Sun Journal had this online and in print?
This has got 'em talking this a.m. Looks like the O.K. Corral visits Portland for a day. Pretty interesting story here. Comments on the story are also interesting in several ways this a.m.
On a side note:
Permits for concealed firearms are also way up, so their are some people keeping their gun rights to themselves and not having a party or a protest about it.
These are important conversations for Americans to have but it feels like the dialogue has gone so far beyond rational discourse that the route back is nigh impossible to sight.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
This AP report in the Sun Journal today is interesting on Otten and his jobs stance in his campaign to be the GOP nominee for governor in Maine. It's also worth noting that Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe and her husband Jock McKernan, Jr., a former Maine governor himself, will be in Newry Sunday for a function of the District 41 Lions Club. Nearby Bethel named it's giant snowwoman for the Senator a few years back but we doubt there'll be any big news made Sunday.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
It was one of those days where we had plenty of action on the west-Central Maine news front. Today's paper was lively and rich with a great Earth Day enterprise story by Sun Journal Staffer Bonnie Washuk. The report looks at how Maine stacks up to other states in the areas of air, water and land health.
Also Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert, off to Haiti today to help rebuild a school, announced he was banning with a group of U.S. Mayors in urging the Congress to close the so-called gun show "loophole" to prevent criminals from getting guns. We have a short Q&A with Gilbert and also a clip from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign on our website now.
In Jay, a Pan Am freight train went off the tracks at the aptly named Crash Road junction. There were no injuries but damage to the railroad and road crossing appeared extensive.The road and railroad are expected to be closed for two days according to officials.
Should be another news-packed Sun Journal on Friday. Phew...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Good story here by the Falmouth Forecaster's Steve Mistler updating the status of the on-going conversation by Maine DOT on transit in the state. Lewiston-Auburn residents interested in more ways to travel should be interested in this. Mistler includes some good links back to state resources here too.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Mayor Gilbert reaches out to residents each month at during his coffee chats at different places around the city. This week his honor will be at Burger King on Lisbon Street. If you've got suggestions, questions or ideas for the mayor he encourages you to join him from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is great outreach by the mayor of Maine's second largest city.
I love that a Sun Journal fan on facebook used the word piquant to describe today's editorial on the topless marchers and pistol packing supporters. If you haven't seen the stories or the editorial you shouldn't miss it. It may lighten an otherwise dreary and damp Friday afternoon.
If you have yet and you live in Auburn you may want to read Mayor Dick Gleason's open letter to the citizen.
Gleason's letter follows:
An open letter to the citizens of Auburn:
Working with staff, he spent months preparing the budget. He was pleased to announce that, if it were not for state revenue sharing shortfalls, the Auburn tax rate would have in fact, dropped again.
That, in itself, is a remarkable accomplishment. Instead of congratulating and thanking him, the Auburn City Council voted to direct the city manager to cut one million dollars from his proposed budget.
It turns out that no matter what he proposes, it will create what is known as a "domino effect" which is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence.
Here are some examples of the "domino effect" of proposed cuts:
1. Drop the School Resource Officer program: What we save in dropping this will be offset by spending more in juvenile arrests, court time, and social costs
2. Halt Capital Projects: We would realize short term financial benefits by saddling long term financial burdens upon future councils—and that burden will be felt as soon as next year.
3. Reduce snow plowing overnight: By reducing our overnight plowing it could increase school cancellations, extend the school year, and have labor contract ramifications.
4. Stop funding special events: We could save money by not funding the Balloon Festival, Liberty Festival, Dempsey Challenge, but we lose in terms of community spirit and community building.
5. Labor reduction: We save personnel costs but are losing hours of service to our citizens. For example, we will only have the Clerk’s office open in the afternoons. We unilaterally reduce non-union wages at the risk of having them unionize and only cost the City more money in the long run in terms of contract administration and legal costs.
This Tuesday night will be our final city council meeting before final budget decisions. I am asking Auburn citizens to demand that the original proposed budget be restored. They can start by calling or emailing the city councilors. Their contact information is available at AuburnMaine.org
Second, concerned citizens should attend the meeting in Auburn Hall this Tuesday, April 20 at 7pm.Now is the time to keep from dropping our fine city to its knees.
Dick Gleason, Mayor
City of Auburn, Maine
Mayor's office: (207) 333-6601 x 1216
Business office: (207) 784-5868
Thursday, April 15, 2010
It's a bit chilly today but the state's wildlife park opens for the season today. They've remodelled several of the habitats for the live animals there and if you want a great place to see the wildlife of Maine and many of the most interesting animals in North America this should be on your Maine bucket list. Think zoo, but more homey.
Here's some great video by the Sun Journal's Russ Dillingham.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Governor Applauds Agreement on Job Creation Plan
AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today applauded the bipartisan agreement reached in the Legislature on a job creation investment package. The Governor held a public signing of the legislation today at the State House.
“Once again, we have managed to overcome partisan differences and do what is right for our State,” Governor Baldacci said. “Last week, it appeared as if we had reached an impasse, but through hard work and patience we have crafted a job creation package that is responsible and balanced.”
Governor Baldacci worked directly with Legislative Leaders over the weekend to reach a compromise that was approved by the Legislature today.
“Democratic and Republican Leaders, including members of the Appropriations Committee, worked together in good faith to develop a job creation package that will put people to work this year, make critical investments in highways, rails and ports, and strengthen Maine’s economy.”
The bond package includes:
· $24.8 million in highway construction and repair;
· $7 million to protect rail service in Aroostook County;
· $5 million to expand rail service in Lewiston-Auburn;
· $4 million to help restore rail service in Western Maine along the Mountain Division Line;
· $6.5 million for a new deep-water port in Portland;
· $500,000 for the Small Harbor Improvement Program;
· $5 million for the advanced equipment for the University of Maine to build a component manufacturing sector for wind power; and
· $5 million for a community-based teaching clinic operated by a college of dental medicine and for upgrades to community-based health and dental care clinics around the State.
In addition, the agreement includes up to $7 million in cash that was originally slated for the State’s Budget Stabilization Fund to provide the balance of the resources necessary for the purchase of the Aroostook Rail line. It also includes language that would immediately place $7 million into the BSF with any year-end surplus.
The Governor will also issue an Executive Order creating an oversight panel that to monitor and review elements of the take over of the Aroostook rail line. The panel will assure transparency and guide policy questions during the transition to a new operator, and will include representatives of the Executive and Legislative Branches as well as private sector and nonprofit economic development representatives.
The agreement also makes changes in the current questions scheduled for the June ballot, including:
· Part B is reduced by $1.25 million (The Small Enterprise Growth Fund is reduced from $5 million to $4 million; The Maine Historic Preservation Commission is reduced from $1.5 million to $1.25 million)
· Part D is reduced by $12 million, eliminating the proposal to bond for energy efficiency programs;
· Part E is reduced by $250,000 (Funding for working Maine waterfronts is reduced from $2 million to $1.75 million).
The investment package totals $57.8 million, with $13.5 million being eliminated from the current June ballot. Total new bonding in the proposal would be $44.3 million.
The bond package, which required a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, must now be approved by voters.