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The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.

6/28/09

Sunday, June 28

Portland Press Herald - Three years after first winning seats on the Portland City Council, the Green Independent Party can claim some success in pushing its agenda through City Hall. Political observers say the three Greens on the council have proved to be effective consensus-builders on their core issues, such as reducing the city's energy usage and revamping land-use and transportation plans to encourage more housing downtown and less reliance on automobiles. "These are the guys who are moving and shaking," said Christopher O'Neil, the Portland Community Chamber's liaison to City Hall. "There is some question among Portlanders as to whether Portland should be moving or shaking, but the fact of the matter is ... they are the ones driving the agenda."

Maine is the state where the American Green Party began and which has the largest percentage of registered Greens in the country.

Brunswick Times Record - Maine Yankee plans to continue suing the federal government until it takes away the nuclear waste the company is storing in Wiscasset. With the Obama administration's plan to restart the lengthy search for a central dump site, Maine electric ratepayers might find themselves benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in judicial awards, if Maine Yankee eventually prevails in court. . . Maine Yankee was shut down in 1997 after 35 years of energy generation. Currently, the nuclear waste created during the nuclear plant's operation is stored on a 12-acre site on Bailey Point in Wiscasset.

Governor Baldacci has signed a bill that permits people to stand around liquor stores sniffing little cups, swilling the contents and then saying something like the old New Yorker cartoon, "It's a modest domestic but you will admire its pretensions." Agency liquor stores can now has 12 liquor tastings a year with each customer limited to 1.5 ounces.

Bangor Daily News - Six Peaks Island artists . . . spent the past four months designing six unique recycling barrels to be placed adjacent to already existing public trash cans around the island. "The idea behind the project is to promote recycling by using art to attract people to the receptacles," said Mary Anne Mitchell, the lead organizer of the project.

Boston Globe - Sales of organic milk have plunged and farmers who got lucrative deals from a dairy industry that was thirsty for the stuff now can't get rid of it. The volume of organic milk sold nationwide is projected to drop nearly 15 percent this year compared with 2008, according to some industry estimates. Already, one Vermont farm has closed its organic business and others are expected to follow, threatening what was one of the few bright spots in the state's struggling dairy industry. Some say the allure of organic milk - from cows that munch on expensive organic grain and aren't injected with hormones - evaporated when the financial crisis hit and the price of conventional milk sank. In some regions, organic milk is $7.50 per gallon compared with around $2.50 per gallon for nonorganic milk. Others blame the influx of organic farmers: Vermont, which supplies much of the organic milk for the Boston market, saw the number of organic dairy farmers grow to 201 from 114 in the past three years. Now, some farmers, many of whom incurred big debt to convert their farms to organic, can barely pay their bills.

Police Blotter - Todd Thomas is in Cumberland County jail after allegedly attempting to run down his wife with his Chevrolet dump truck. They both had been drinking at a friend's house and she had left to walk home after they had an argument. Thomas allegedly tried to hit her but ran off the road and into a tree instead.

Northern Mainers gathered
in Bangor this weekend to rally for universal healthcare

It's the seventeenth year that a Maine summer camp has welcomed Israeli and Palestinian teenagers to talk peace and get to know each other. Nearly 4,000 teens have attended the program. . . Seeds for Peace - After camp, Seeds of Peace continues programming throughout the school year to assure that summer gains are not lost. Maine Seeds participants conduct presentations and outreach activities across Maine and other New England states, in addition to regularly attending group meetings.

Seeds for Peace - In 2000 Seeds of Peace developed a The Portland Project to address the violence erupting in its own backyard. Since then the program has expanded to include other cities in Maine and is now called Maine Seeds. Portland and Lewiston are now among the largest refugee resettlement cities in the United States. They have witnessed a sudden surge in racial and ethnic tension. Candidates are drawn from prominent middle schools in the city and are chosen with the consent of the local school board through a series of interviews and an essay contest.

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