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.


Thursday July 2

National Health Statistics Reports Number 17, July 1, 2009Photo of the day: Nick Howard tiptoes across the ramp of the flooded dock at the Gardiner boat landing.

Sun Journal - Hannaford supermarket will give away an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 reusable tote bags at two stores in Augusta, and one in Winthrop, at the end of July as part of a push to wean more customers off paper and plastic bags. Spokesman Mike Norton said combined, customers at all Hannaford locations already take home 12 to 15 percent of groceries sold in their own cloth bags, saving 54 million paper and plastic bags a year. The company would like to see if it can get that figure higher. Hannaford has done single-tote giveaways before, Norton said, but nothing so broad: three stores, bagging all groceries in totes, all week.

What doesn't get discussed in these articles is a key flaw in the tote bag program: parking lot amnesia on the part of the customer. Your editor has over 10 tote bags, but at times all of them are in his front hall and at other times they are sitting in the car as he approaches the checkout counter. He addressed this problem with Adam Nappi at Freeport's Bow Street Market and Adam posted some signs to remind customers to bring their bags in. It works pretty well . . . as long as you park in front of one of the signs.

Sun Journal - Two people told Rumford police dispatcher Sue Milligan on Wednesday morning that they saw a 17-foot-long boa constrictor enter the Rumford canal here behind Bartash's store. . . Because an apparent large snake sighting isn't a police matter, Milligan said she alerted the Maine Warden Service. "Once it gets into the water, it's not our problem," Milligan said. Wardens will be investigating, spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said early Wednesday evening via e-mail.

Les Otten's logo similarities to that of the Obama campaign is attracting some national attention, the latest in the LA Times

Bangor Daily News - The rate of adult obesity in Maine continues to expand. According to the 2009 report released by the Trust for America's Health, 24.7 percent of Maine adults are clinically obese compared with 23.7 percent in last year's report.. . . Maine dropped from the 34th most obese state to the 35th, but it retains the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of adult obesity in New England. . . Gov. John Baldacci recently celebrated the signing of three new state laws aimed at bucking the obesity trend. One requires chain restaurants operating in Maine to prominently post the calorie content of their foods. The other two laws address obesity through Maine schools, one by encouraging the collection of students' body mass index data to be used for public health research, and the other by encouraging schools to expand physical education programming.

Baldacci is off the mark pushing the BMI as an accurate indicator. It works for Flat Stanley and other two dimensional creatures. For three dimensional humans it gets badly skewed as you move away from average height. We discuss this in the national edition.


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