STRANGE TIDES CONT'D
Wired - From Maine to Florida, the Atlantic seaboard has experienced higher tides than expected this summer. At their peak in mid-June, the tides at some locations outstripped predictions by two feet.
The change has come too fast to be attributed to melting ice sheets or anything quite that dramatic, and it's a puzzle for scientists who've never seen anything quite like it.
"The ocean is dynamic. It's not uncommon to have anomalies like this but the breadth and the intensity and duration were unique," said Mike Szabados, director of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's tide and current program. . .
Szabados said that two main factors appear to have contributed to the extra high tides. First, there were steady winds out of the northeast throughout this anomaly. Second, the ocean current running from Florida up along the coast weakened. While the associations between these phenomena and the tides are provocative, it's too early to tell how fully they explain this unexpected tidal event. . .
John Boon, professor emeritus of oceanography at Virginia Institute for Marine Studies, thinks it could be part of a long-term global trend that's tied in with the Pacific region's El Nino weather pattern
THE MAINE STREAM
Back in May the West Bath Fire Department had its outdoor benches stolen. Thanks to Higmo's - a lumber and logging firm in Brunswick - it now has a new one that is unlikely to be hauled off. Reports the Times Record: On Tuesday morning, Higmo's owner Allen Higgins arrived with a girthy wooden replacement: So substantial in mass that Higgins needed the arm of his logging rig to lower it into place. . . The old benches, which Demers said had been used frequently since their installation during the summer of 2007, never turned up. The chief put a note on the fire station's sign with the message "Thank you for stealing our bench" with the hope that a little guilt might make the thieves return it. . . "We heard some rumors that some kids stole them and threw them into the woods somewhere for fun," Demers said. "It was sad. They weren't something we used property tax money on. We had used donations to get some benches for the guys to sit on out here."
Village Soup - The research vessel Tioga [from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution] traveled to Maine in an attempt to discover the cause of a severe increase in the algae called alexandrium fundyense in the early part of the summer. . . "It was a pleasant surprise that the concentrations of causative organisms had decreased quite a bit in recent weeks," said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Senior Scientist Dennis McGillicuddy on July 27. "There are indications that at least along part of the Maine coastline the bloom may be beginning to terminate.". . .On July 30, McGullicuddy said Maine's monitoring agencies are very effective in protecting public health. "Even with the blooms we've had this year there haven't been any illnesses at all from shellfish that was legally harvested," he said. "I'm a seafood lover myself and I have no qualms about eating mussels from any restaurant or fish market in Maine."
The Norway Police Department arrested three men for growing a drug that is far less hazardous than gin or vodka. 255 marijuana plants were seized. Incidentally, one of the things we've concluded after decades of covering the disastrously failed war on drugs is that a key reason the cops want to keep going after pot is that marijuana plants are physically more bulky than other drugs and if they didn't have it on their agenda they couldn't have enough arrests to justify their bloated anti-drug budgets.
Brunswick Times Record - An increased voter turnout in Freeport routed opposition from a majority of Durham and Pownal residents to pass a $22.7 million operating budget for Regional School Unit 5, the first ever operating budget of the newly-consolidated school district. Voters in the three towns collectively approved the budget by a vote of 1,058 to 786. The bulk of votes favoring the school spending proposal came from Freeport, where voters cast 883 votes for the budget and 113 against. Durham voters flunked the budget by a vote of 117 to 330. Pownal residents cast only 58 votes in favor of the budget compared with 343 against. . . Freeport voters . . . will see their education spending decrease by 1.28 percent from last year. . . . Durham also saw an increase of 169 votes cast, the majority of which were directed toward rejecting the budget. The 121 additional votes cast against the budget perhaps reflects a change in the education spending increase - from 7 percent to 19 percent . . . [In Pownal the budget] will impose a 25 percent increase in education spending on the town. "If they had to pay 25 percent, you wouldn't be seeing these people putting their flags up (to approve budget articles)," said Pownal resident Neil Peaslee at the July 21 meeting.
Not generally known is how long politicians have been trying to save money by consolidating school districts in the name of some educational virtue. Some years back, Bill Kauffman in Chronicles noted that Harvard President James Conant started the trend after Sputnik when everyone was worried that the Soviets were going to get the edge on us. "According to Conant, defenders of human-scale education were still living in a dream world which knew neither nuclear weapons nor Soviet imperialism. They believe they can live and prosper in an isolated, insulated United States.'' Conant, the barbarian, triumphed: The number of school districts plummeted from 83,000 in 1950 to 18,000 in 1970."
Restoration of Wood Island Light is underway
Budget cuts endanger the Maine Folklife Center.
The Ski Channel lists Sugarloaf as one of the ten best ski towns for singles.
Maine Today - The 48 Hour Film Project comes to Portland on the weekend of August 14th. Filmmakers from all over the Portland area will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world. . .
Village Soup - The Midcoast Chapter of the Maine Women's Network invites members, guests, and the general public to a grand picnic -- networking-style. . . from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, on the lawn of Down East Magazine in Rockport. Bring a brown bag lunch and a lawn chair or blanket and MWN will supply the lemonade and the opportunity to network with others. Attendance is free, but organizers still need attendees to register so they know how many are coming. Parking is limited in the Down East Enterprise parking lot and along Route 1, so carpooling is encouraged. The rain date is Thursday, Aug. 6 -- same time, same place.