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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.

7/14/09

Tuesday July 14

MAINE NOTES

Bangor Daily News -
According to Dr. Dora Anne Mills of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 30 of Maine's summer camps, primarily in the southern half of the state, have been hit by the virus, which often targets children and young adults. . . As of July 10, the Maine CDC had confirmed 203 cases of H1N1 - 114 in year-round residents and 89 in visitors from out of state. Of the latter group, Mills said, most are youngsters attending Maine's approximately 200 summer camps. But in addition to the number of laboratory-confirmed cases, Mills said there are at least 10 times as many "probable" cases and possibly many more than that.

Sun Journal - Last year at this time, 325 kids were attending summer camp at Central Maine Community College. This year, there are 259 kids, a 20-percent decrease, said Dave Gonyea, who heads the summer camp programs for the college. . . At Camp Wewannago at the Lewiston YMCA, the aquatic day camp was retooled for younger campers when organizers concluded the tough economy would mean fewer registrations, said director Pam Gallant. The program has 30 campers in grades K-4, compared to last year's 60 in grades K-6.

The Maine Development Foundation estimates that poor road maintenance costs state drivers as much as $260 million a year and may cause up to a third of the 200 fatal crashes

Examiner -
A letter was sent from the Department of Marine Fisheries to all lobster license holders regarding trap reductions. Currently, license holders can have up to 800 traps in the water. The letter discusses limiting traps to fishermen in a tiered system that would be based on: landings, tax records, tags purchased, affidavits. All four proposals discussed include reducing a fisherman's traps by about 25%; 800 down to 600 and so on. The discussion of trap reduction could not come at a worse time for lobstermen. Boat prices for lobsters has dropped to under three dollars a pound in some areas.


The Portland Community Rowing Association is a new club that offers youth and adult programs for all skill levels. The non-profit organization, which is coached by volunteers, provides an outlet for rowers in the Portland area at both the recreational and competitive levels.

Brunswick Times Record - Lewella Francis, 100, of Georgetown, recently played the organ at a wedding. Not only did she play the wedding march, she entertained guests for more than an hour with her music. . . "I think there should be music at a wedding." Then she launched into "Oh Promise Me," followed by several of her other old-time favorites. . . During the 1920s, before attending Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, Lewella accompanied silent movies shown at the local grammar school. She couldn't recall the movies, but remembered one in which "an elderly couple were deserted by their children. I can still see them walking up to the poorhouse. It was a sad, sad movie."

Ecoworldly - In these days of ever-diminishing fish stocks and major threats to marine ecosystems, good news is hard to come by. But over the past few years, one fish species in particular - the Atlantic Haddock - has made a dramatic comeback, surpassing even peak levels from pre-decline years. While scientists are still debating the cause(s) of this, New England fishermen are nothing short of exuberant - especially given the concurrent decline of multiple, commercial "ground fish" stocks, such as cod, halibut, and pollock. . . According to The New England Fisheries Management Council (which regulates fishing from Connecticut to Maine), 13 of the 19 ground fish stocks are currently over-fished, and are still in a major state of decline. The lone exception is the haddock

Discovery Magazine - The fungus that caused the notorious Irish potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s is spreading among tomato and potato plants in the northeastern United States. Known as late blight, the fungus spreads easily among plants by airborne spores. This year's epidemic has taken root at major garden retailers, eventually invading not only home gardens but also major commercial and organic farms. The disease causes dark lesions on the plant's leaves and stems; tomatoes then turn brown and decay, emitting a rotten odor. . . So far, outbreaks have been sporadic but spread over a wide geographic area, with infected plants reported from South Carolina to Maine and west to Ohio. Conventional farmers can control the blight with fungicide, while those looking to grow the plants organically can combat its spread with neem oil, which must be applied weekly.

Forecaster -
In late June the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association released a late blight alert for potatoes and tomatoes. The disease has already been spotted in New York and Pennsylvania. MOFGA responded by advising CSAs and organic farms to take the unusual step of preventive spraying. Usually organic farms don't spray fungicides until a disease has infected a crop.

WMTW - Maine School Area District 6 Superintendent Suzanne Lukas will keep her job following a review by the School Board. The MSAD 6 School Board met in executive session at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Buxton on to discuss the superintendent's performance. Publicly, the members said public demands to fire Lukas or call for her resignation will not be fulfilled.

The controversy has lingered since the June 12 commencement ceremony for Bonny Eagle High School, at which Lukas denied student Justin Denney his diploma after he bowed to his family on stage. Denney and his father, Carl Hoffses, attended the meeting, saying they may seek a lawsuit against the district.

Portland Press Herald - The University of Maine and University of Southern Maine are launching a broad new education and research effort to create a greener society. The schools have received a $20 million, five-year federal grant to create the Sustainability Solution Initiative, which will be based at UMaine in Orono.

WGME - Senator Susan Collins announced Bath Iron Works will be getting $33 million for service work from the U.S. Navy. The money will help fund service work on the previous generation DDG-51 Destroyers. B.I.W. has had financial issues as of late, and has been forced to layoff dozens of employees.


WCSCH - The only mail collection box in Otisfield could soon disappear. Otisfield is a small town with about 1,700 year round residents. It doesn't have a Post Office and the mail is all routed through Oxford. But there is one blue USPS mail Collection box outside the Town Office. Postal Service officials say there is not enough mail being dropped at the site, so the box is being removed. A spokesperson for the Postal Service says collection boxes must average 25 pieces of mail each day. The box in Otisfield averages just six.

Morning Sentinel, China - Spencer Aitel should have been cutting hay Monday. Instead, he was collecting beer bottles and examining acres of hay and alfalfa flattened by vandals to see what, if anything, could be salvaged to feed his cows. "Apparently, we had a keg party we weren't invited to. And it ended up being a mud run, too," said Aitel, who owns Two Loons Farm, an organic dairy farm, with his wife, Paige Tyson. "We have quite a bit of alfalfa on the ground that's flattened. They flattened several acres of field.". . . In addition to beer bottles, cans and broken glass, there is a large burn spot left by a bonfire. "You can tell where the keg was, by the blue and white plastic cups concentrated in that area," Aitel said. Worst of all are the deep ruts left by vehicles spinning over the field. . . "We just wish somebody had notified us ahead of time," Aitel said. "There's only a couple of houses down there. None of the (houses) overlook the field where the party was."

Boston Globe - A New York developer who wants to build a 30-story tower now that's bought the Portland Press Herald's downtown properties is trying to recover about $2 million invested indirectly with the now-defunct company managed by Bernard Madoff, court documents show. . . In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Cacoulidis downplayed the impact of the loss on his family, calling it "small stuff." He said it would have no bearing on his ability to invest in property in Portland.

Headline of the day - Headline of the day: "Coyotes often Misunderstood" . . . Wiscasset Newspaper - Most of us shrink at the prospect of meeting a coyote in the wild, or even hearing one howling in the night. But if the truth be known, these creatures we have come to fear have been much aligned and much misunderstood, [Bridget] Green says. For the past four months, she has been raising a coyote pup inside her home. But if you come to visit, he won't come running out to greet you. "They're very skittish," Green says. "They won't confront humans unless you're getting too close to their den, or threatening their young," she says. "These animals don't just go after people."

Forecaster - The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $41 million spending bill that includes funding for a military reserves training center in Brunswick. The $13 million Armed Forces Reserve Center has been sought by the redevelopers of Brunswick Naval Air Station to train and assist an estimated 600 Army and Air National Guard reservists in the region. . .
A citizen group monitoring environmental clean-up at Brunswick Naval Air Station is pushing for future zoning restrictions that could affect how developers use or contribute to the groundwater beneath the base. Although such restrictions are in place at other Superfund hazardous waste sites, including the former Loring Air Force Base, the redevelopment authority in Brunswick is urging that such controls should only be put in place after the U.S. Navy conveys all the base property. . . Although the citizen group isn't opposed to adding the restrictions later, it wants them mentioned in zoning amendments MRRA is proposing for the base. . . George Schott, the developer behind several commercial successes in Auburn, confirmed Friday that he is trying to purchase the 702 military housing units associated with Brunswick Naval Air Station. . . "Most of my communication has been through e-mail," Schott said. "Nothing is set in stone."

High speed trains - such as being proposed of the Downeaster route - sound good until you buy your ticket. Riding on the high speed Acela, for example, costs considerably more than taking a conventional train between Washington and New York. This point is hardly ever mentioned in coverage of high speed rail plans.

Bangor Daily News - Maine will receive more than $27 million in federal stimulus funding for weatherization and renewable energy projects. The federal Department of Energy announced the funding Friday. . . The weatherization funds will help tighten up and insulate nearly 4,400 Maine homes over the next three years. . . Maine developed the nation's first weatherization program in 1973.

Walter Hubble, author of a new book, Portland, City By the Sea," will give a reading at Longfellow Books, 1 Monument Way, Portland at 7 pm, July 23

The ever funky Casco Bay Boaters: All through the 1960s, '70s and '80s, boats sprouted windmills, solar panels, solar-heated showers and underwater electricity-generating propellers. In the late 1990s a French company, Lagoon, outfitted a sailing catamaran with electric motors to give vacation renters a noiseless option for inshore cruising. Its heirs, the Lagoon 420 and 421, are sailing catamarans-double hulls being easier to handle, especially in shallow coastal or island waters-with electric and diesel-electric options. Lagoon has stationed them in rental fleets in 50 resort locations worldwide for testing the sail-hybrid option.

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