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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.

7/6/09

Monday July 6


Picture of the day comes from the Natural Resources Council: "Great blue heron headed for a little privacy on the beaver pond behind the Public Safety Building in Wilton. Photo by Tony Nazar of Wilton, Maine."

Casco Bay Boater - For the past several months, Lezime Thibeault has been creating an exact replica of the horse-powered, flat-bottomed boats known as wanagans that carried cargo and goods from Grand Falls, New Brunswick, up the river to depots in Madawaska, Fort Kent and beyond. . .
Once a common site on the St. John River, the flat-bottomed wanagan could navigate in shallow waters where craft with deeper draws could not, Thibeault explained. "These boats brought in tobacco, beans, groceries, and all the supplies needed by people and the lumber camps," he said. "The rivers were the roads back then.". . .

Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space - Killer drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) [are] now being flown over Afghanistan-Pakistan war zones from pilots sitting in New Mexico. . . The drone market is exploding and there is an effort underway to turn Brunswick Naval Air Station into a UAV testing center after the base closes next year. Informed sources tell us that the plans for Maine include drones from BNAS flying up and down the Maine coast peering at boats and people for "homeland security" reasons. . . This drone killing machine is the Pentagon's answer to escalating war costs and difficulty with recruiting.

NY Times covers the healthcare debate in Maine - Though Maine has only 1.3 million residents, the challenges of insuring the entire population are complex. The state has large rural, poor and elderly populations with significant health needs. It has many small businesses and seasonal workers, and few employers large enough to voluntarily offer employees insurance. Meanwhile, most insurers no longer find it profitable to sell individual coverage here, leaving a few companies to dominate the market.
"So many people are being priced out of the private market," said Lisa McSwain, who runs a steeple restoration company in Edgecomb. "In my community, where so many people are self-employed, everyone wants a public option."

If you tried to get some state business done today and failed it's because it was the first of the shutdown days designed to save around $14 million. Future days are Aug. 7, Sept. 4, Oct. 9 and Dec. 24. State parks will stay open.

TALES

Elizabeth Peavey, Bollard
- When I appointed myself to speak at my mother's funeral last month, those closest to me weighed in that it might be a risky proposition. "You are?" asked one friend, somewhat incredulous. "Don't forget to rehearse," said one of my mother's dearest friends. (This, from a woman who has supported my writing and speaking career with only a little less zeal than my mom had and knew I was no stranger to a lectern.) "Remember, this isn't about you," said another person in my inner circle, and another, "Don't go on too long" - although I don't remember who those last two were, so it might've been me (I had a lot of voices in my head in those first frenzied days following Mom's death).

Notwithstanding these cautionary words, I was resolute. It was as though I had been training for this moment all my life, starting my sophomore year of high school, during which my drama teacher knocked my Maine accent out of me through after-school drills. She would sit at her desk at the front of the room, I would stand at the back, and she'd instruct me to repeat a word after her. "Say 'there,' she'd command, hitting that r with her crisp Michigan accent. "They-ah," I'd respond, oblivious to our different articulations. "I said there," she'd repeat. "That's what I said: they-ah," I'd respond brightly. The volley went on - "there," "they-ah," "there," "they-ah" - until that Eliza Doolittle moment occurred and, by jove, I hit my r. From they-ah, there was no turning back. . . The rest of the story


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