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.


Monday, Aug 17

Progressive Review - The crime capital of mid-coast Maine, Topsham - with a population of 9,100 - will be getting tasers for its police. Topsham suffers six personal crimes each year for every 10,000 citizens, less than one sixth as many as in Portland, Maine, and less than five percent per 10,000 as Boston, MA. In this part of Maine, however, people are considered more hazardous than moose, even ones that break into an office building as happened recently. Instead of using a taser on the miscreant moose, it was tranquilized by two biologists from the state department on inland fisheries and wildlife. With two injections the animal was subdued and removed form the building on a tarp. But apparently the police don't consider that as much fun as tasers. Where is the money coming from to subdue humans? Counter intuitively, from the Obama stimulus package.

Maine is getting its own 44 cent stamp

Brunswick Times Record - Although a handful of enthusiastic Harry Potter fans lobbied for Hogwarts, the new elementary school scheduled to open in Brunswick in 2011 will likely be named for a true historical figure instead of a whimsical academy of witchcraft and wizardry. School Board member Jim Grant said that of the more than 240 responses received, the top three choices for the new school's name are Joshua L. Chamberlain Elementary School, with 58 submissions; Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, with 27 submissions; and McKeen Street Elementary School, also with 27 submissions. . . Hogwarts School, the fanciful moniker fancied by fans of the Harry Potter series

David Sharp, Brattleboro Reformer - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is coming to Maine to get a firsthand look at a new way of reducing construction costs and time needed to build bridges that was pioneered at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Dubbed the "bridge in a backpack," the system features a durable carbon fiber fabric that's unfolded, inflated and coated with a resin at the job site, then filled with concrete. A small bridge can be built in one day using the system. The composite shell extends the life of the bridge beyond those of traditional concrete-and-steel construction, said Habib Dagher, director of the university's Advanced Structures and Composites Center. . . The first bridge, the 36-foot Neal Bridge in Pittsfield, was completed last year for the Maine Department of Transportation as a demonstration project. A 46-foot-long bridge will be completed by the end of the month in North Anson, Dagher said.

Dana Wilde, Bangor Daily News -
Damn. Another dead bat. This one is in the middle of the driveway. Its wings are spread. You can see its little flat face, sort of mouselike and even cute if it weren't for the notion that bats are underworld creatures that carry diseases. . . I e-mailed the University of Maine Extension in Waldo County about our dead bats, which set off a round of wildlife expert e-mails, and eventually I was talking on the phone with Wally Jakubas, mammal group leader with the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He told me that contrary to popular belief, bats have rabies no more frequently than any other north woods animals. You still don't want to handle one because they do bite - from fear, not ferocity - and could be sick. . . His theory, based on other calls he and his colleagues have received, is that this summer's miserable weather is a likely cause. He said bats thrive in heat, which is why they hole up in 110-degree attics. This summer being cool and wet, the adult bats probably have been debilitated and had some difficulty nursing their young. These young bats, somewhat malnourished, grew up weakened. The cool weather made them even weaker, causing them to have trouble catching insects efficiently. The young bats are dying of starvation.

Despite No Child Left Behind, school consolidation and all the other wonders of faux school reform, Maine students aren't doing their part to make their politicians look good. Over the past three years, Maine Educational Assessment scores find that those meeting or exceeding standards in math and reading for 4th & 8th graders have risen only four to six points - most of that probably due to teaching to the test.


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