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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.

8/23/09

Sunday August 23


THE MAINE STREAM

Waldo Village Soup - Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage seeks players for a full-scale live chess game Sunday, Sept. 13, from 2 to 4 PM at the Farmhouse, 45 Edgecomb Road. Live Chess uses 32 real people as chess pieces playing on a huge outdoor chess board 32 feet square. Ray Estabrook of The Game Loft characterizes the game as "Chess meets Worldwide Wrestling. It is fast, funny, and ferocious … and not to be missed. Chess players of all ages and abilities are welcome to join in the fun. Actual chess experience is irrelevant. The kings (team captains) will be played by "Bloody Red" Russell Kahn, local chess and art teacher extraordinaire, battling Warren "Dark Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" Falconer. The public is invited to watch the game or to participate in the action on the board - both roles are expected to be engaging, if not all that educational.

Boston Globe - Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman says the state's unemployment rate in July was 8.4 percent, down from a revised 8.6 percent in June. The preliminary figure released Friday is 3 percentage points higher than the July 2008 figure.

Mary Pat Flaherty, Washington Post - With so much forest and so little light, the crews of Life Flight of Maine would be picking their way through pitch-black if not for the $12,000 night-vision goggles each member wears. The goggles are one element of an extensive safety regimen that sets Life Flight apart from many medical helicopter programs in the country. And the donations and state money that paid for them and other upgrades speak to how Maine's sole helicopter medevac program has come to be viewed as a public utility among the for-profit companies that dominate the industry. Maine has fewer than 1.3 million residents, scattered across 35,000 square miles, making it a very rural state. Yet no for-profit medical helicopter services operate here, and Life Flight of Maine has just two helicopters. "That's about the right number to meet patient need. Not demand, not convenience, but need," said Thomas P. Judge, executive director of the small nonprofit program. He is a harsh critic of the industry's accident rate, unregulated growth and resistance to mandatory safety measures. More

Examiner - The top five best educated states are all located in the northeast, according to the Morgan Quitno Press annual reference book. They are Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine. The five states at the opposite end of the scale are: Arizona in last place, preceded by Nevada, Mississippi, California, and Alaska.

Brunwick Times Record - The Orr's and Bailey Islands Fire Department has received an $18,720 federal grant designed to help departments provide 24-hour staffing and assure adequate protection to their communities

Beth Brogan, Times Record - Statistics indicate that Harpswell is the least affordable town in Maine in which to live. . . During the past 18 months, the Harpswell Affordable Housing Committee has worked to develop draft ordinance amendments that, if approved at the March 2010 town meeting, would require future developers of subdivisions to include affordable housing in town. . . According to the current draft, the proposed ordinance amendments would allow conversions of any single-family house into a duplex. It would also require developers of all subdivisions of five or more lots or units to create affordable housing as well - although that housing could be developed through a variety of methods. Developers would be required to provide affordable housing equal to 20 percent of the total number of lots or units. For example, a developer of high-end condominiums could also build affordable housing at another site, or buy an existing property elsewhere and convert it to affordable housing. The developer also could pay into an Affordable Housing Fund, similar to the town's Open Space Fund, to be used, according to the draft amendments, "solely for the construction, acquisition and maintenance of affordable housing ..."

Augusta Insider - The hurricane watch issued last year as Kyle blew by was the first in Maine in 17 years, since 1991's Hurricane Bob. Bob, classified as a major hurricane while at sea, made landfall in New England as a Category 2 storm . . . In New England, we have to go back a bit further to find a major hurricane making landfall. 1954's Hurricane Carol made landfall on Long Island and Connecticut as a Category 3 storm. It caused around 700 fatalities and $4.7 billion worth of damage in 2009 dollars. Before that, the New England Hurricane of 1938 struck Long Island as a Category 3 hurricane and had major impact on southern New England, and the 1869 Atlantic hurricane season saw two hurricanes make landfall in New England. . . Cold water tends to slow and weaken hurricanes. Even if a hurricane reached Category 5 strength in the open ocean, it would take a special set of circumstances for any storm to retain Category 5 or 4 intensity as it reached landfall in New England. Moreover, Maine is in a unique - and for us, advantageous - geographical position, protecting us from even most northeastern hurricanes. It is far likelier for a hurricane to stay west and make first landfall on Long Island or Cape Cod, or stay east and make first landfall on Canada's Maritime Provinces, than hit anywhere on the Maine coast. The most common path for hurricanes affecting New England is over Long Island, through Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and eventually onwards to Maine. By the time a hurricane goes through all that landmass, it has likely weakened to tropical storm level. . . .

Visits to Acadia National Park are up over last year according to the National Park Service

Matthew Stone, Morning Sentinel - KV Federal Credit Union members on both sides of the institution's proposal to become a bank and merge with Kennebec Savings Bank are trading their last barbs as credit union members start to vote on the proposition. The debate about the two Augusta-based institutions' proposed union has gone on almost a year since the institutions' leaders in September 2008 announced their intentions to merge. The wrangling is likely to end in the coming weeks, however, as credit union members cast their votes. The credit union sent ballots to its members on Saturday; members have until Sept. 21 to decide whether they support a merger that would create a five-branch bank with more than $700 million in assets, according to bank officials and documents provided to credit union members. The combined institution would carry Kennebec Savings Bank's name and employ 100 at locations in Augusta, Oakland, Waterville and Winthrop. The merger would be Maine's first between a credit union and a bank; it would be among the first 20 of that type nationally, according to CU Financial Services, a Portland firm that tracks credit union conversions. . . A member group opposed to the merger, calls KV Members Matter, is waging a more public campaign against the credit union's conversion and merger plans. . . "The credit union's running fine. It can sustain itself," said Richard "Blackie" Bechard, of Augusta, a Members Matter steering committee member. "The credit union is good; the bank is good. And they each have their place in the community."

The case against the merger

Kennebec Journal - Big irritation can come in small packages. Or, in the case of fleas, dozens of tiny, jumping, biting, blood-sucking packages. And this summer, according to some experts, this place is jumping with the little buggers. . . Judging from the calls he's gotten so far this summer, Jim Dill, pest management specialist for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said some people seem overrun with flea infestations even though, overall, the flea population may not actually be higher than usual. . . Pest management experts and veterinarians recommend treating pets with products such as Frontline Plus, Advantix, Advantage and Revolution. They warn against using cheaper alternatives found at general merchandise stores, and against mixing treatments. . . Burnham said The Kennel Shop, which has eight stores in Maine, sells De Flea, a line of natural products including shampoo and flea sprays to be used on pets and upholstery, carpets and furniture.

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