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.


Friday, Aug 21

Press Herald - A proposal that would have created bike lanes on both sides of Ocean Avenue between Forest and Washington avenues has failed – at least for the time being. . . The proposal likely will come back to the nine-member City Council on Sept. 9 for reconsideration. The original proposal called for the city to establish 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes on both sides of Ocean Avenue – which would eliminate 254 of the 277 non-metered, on-street parking spaces.

Betty Jespersen, Morning Sentinel - Amy LeBlanc grows 20,000 organic tomato seedlings in 150 varieties. Now she is working to stave off a devastating plant epidemic from ruining the 200 tomato-laden plants she has in the field. . . The culprit is late blight, the fast-spreading fungal-like disease that attacks potatoes and tomatoes. The current infection is killing crops in 13 states in the Northeast. Researchers have established the disease was brought in on tomato seedlings grown commercially in the South and distributed through large retailers and garden centers across the Northeast. . . Experts say growers should look for late-blight-resistant varieties of seeds and tubers to plant. But for now, they say, the task is to clean up infected plant residue and prevent the spores from surviving the winter on living tissue. As painful as it might be, people need to pull up diseased plants and destroy them, say University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators.

NY Times - When government scientists went looking for mercury contamination in fish in 291 streams around the nation, they found it in every fish they tested, the Interior Department said, even in isolated rural waterways. In a statement, the department said that some of the streams tested were affected by mining operations, which can be a source of mercury pollution, so the findings, by scientists at the United States Geological Survey, do not necessarily reflect contamination levels nationwide. But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the findings underlined the need to act against mercury pollution. Emissions from coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury contamination in the United States. A quarter of the fish studied had mercury levels above safety levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency for people who eat the fish regularly, the Interior Department said.

Voice of America - In the northeastern U.S. state of Maine, the tradition of boat building dates back hundreds of years. Today, boat yards employ about 5 percent of the state's work force, and their industry generates over $600 million a year for the Maine economy. With fishermen and pleasure seekers alike plying the state's 7,000 miles of coastline, there has been a steady demand for Maine-built boats. . . Maine is famous for its traditional, wooden lobster boats. . . By using a fiberglass mold of the boat's hull, boat builders can produce a series of vessels with a uniform design. But Ralph Stanley, like many traditional boat builders, thinks the material limits creativity. "I thought about going into fiberglass, but if I did," he says, "I could never change that mold. And every boat I've built I see something I'd like to change on the next one, so that would be lost, so I stuck with wood.". . . In order to accommodate families who would like to sail, she says, Builders are incorporating labor-saving devices into their boats to accommodate families who would like to sail, but "might not otherwise have time for doing it the old-fashioned way.". . . While the recession has deeply affected the boat industry over the past couple of years, almost everyone, including Cuyler Morris, is optimistic about the future. "Seventy-two percent of the world is covered with water," he says. "People are always going to boat. There's always going to be a demand for boats built in Maine because of the quality, attention to detail." For Maine's traditional wooden boat builders like Ralph Stanley, the future is less certain. Stanley spends most of his time these days playing his fiddle; an instrument he crafted out of the same wood he's long used to build his signature lobster boats.
Just heard Matt Fogg at at Freeport's Azure Cafe. His eclectic command of the jazz piano heritage is amazing and well worth catching. The cafe offers jazz on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6 pm.

Matt Wickenheiser, Press Herald - Developers of tidal energy projects off the coast of Maine should find it easier to negotiate the complex sea of state and federal regulations, under an agreement reached Wednesday. The deal, signed in Washington by Maine Gov. John Baldacci and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, is designed to streamline the federal and state licensing process for offshore projects. . .
The agreement attempts to reduce obstacles that may arise because both FERC and Maine agencies have licensing authority over offshore tidal energy projects.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders have a gay marriage video that plays on Maine's history of independence and respect for individualism.

Back in the Carter years, 32 solar panels were installed on the White House roof. They were removed by the ever farsighted Ronald Reagan. Now one has been recovered and acquired by the Smithsonian. The source: Unity College in Maine which used sixteen of them until 2005 above the college cafeteria.

Where to rent a bike in Portland


Blogger Mattthew said...

Hi Sam!

Thanks for the kind words about my playing! I appreciate it and I hope you will introduce yourself the next time our paths cross.


Matt Fogg

September 12, 2009 9:28 PM  

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