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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.

8/10/09

Monday, Aug 10

THE MAINE STREAM

WGME -
The National Weather Service says last month went down as the second-wettest and eighth-coldest July on record in Portland. . . The city got 8.6 inches of rain, which was more than 5 inches above normal. . . The month also had 22 days with a trace or more of precipitation, topping the previous mark of 21 days.

Change - The Canadian mega-giant Tim Hortons has decided to co-sponsor a rally in Rhode Island hosted by the National Organization for Marriage. . . the same National Organization for Marriage that is currently leading campaigns to take away the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Maine to marry, and the same group fighting marriage equality in places like Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Lynne Williams, Bangor Daily News
- The battle looming in Maine about what entity will most effectively increase broadband throughout the state must be won by an entity that will increase - not limit - access to the Internet. Since the Internet can be used almost without limit, it is absolutely necessary that we not cede control of broadband, and Internet access, to a corporate entity, particularly one that is experiencing so much trouble just trying to deliver basic 20th century telephone service to its customers. While the University of Maine System has the technical capacity to participate in the initial goal of increasing broadband and Internet access, in essence bridging the last mile between the Internet and nonusers, our ultimate goal should be community ownership of the means of Internet access. Once the technical aspects of the digital divide are overcome, public ownership is the only way to truly protect and democratize this aspect of the commons. . . .

Maine Biz - The Maine Department of Labor estimates that 419 Maine residents have exhausted the maximum 79 weeks of benefits and anticipates the total will rise to 953 by the time Congress is back in session next month, according to Capitol News Service. . . Maine's unemployment rate in June was 8.5%, meaning there were 59,864 Mainers who were jobless and looking for work. That number does not include what the Maine Department of Labor calls "discouraged workers," those who have given up on looking for a job after exhausting all benefits, the news service reported.

Sun Journal - The Supreme Court decided it won't hear appeals from two Maine Indian tribes that argued they have sovereign powers over their tribal government affairs. The cases involved the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and the Houlton Band of Maliseets, both of which claimed they weren't subject to Maine's Human Rights Act. A federal judge ruled two years ago that the Micmacs, a tribe of about 1,000 members based in Presque Isle, wasn't subject to state employment laws or the Maine Human Rights Act in a lawsuit stemming from the tribe's 2001 firing of three Aroostook County women. The women complained to the Maine Human Rights Commission that their terminations violated the Maine Whistleblower Protection Act. But that ruling was overturned last spring by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The tribe then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Tom Bell, Press Herald -
Alisa Coffin, owner of The Great Impasta in Brunswick, doesn't just practice environmental conservation at her Italian restaurant; she delights in it. Coffin can barely contain her grin as she shows off the new accelerated hand dryers in her bathrooms, which use half the energy of a normal hand dryer, or the low-flow spray nozzle she bought to rinse her dishes. The latter cost only $30 to buy, and paid for itself in less than a month of use. . . Not only is The Great Impasta one of only 25 Maine restaurants to be certified under the state Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Leaders program, Coffin helped the state to create the program two and a half years ago. . . Coffin's belief about minimizing waste extends to her trash disposal practices. Over the last three years, she has reduced the volume of trash collected at the restaurant by two thirds.



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