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.


Thursday August 27


Maine Women - On September 12th, Maine's new breastfeeding in the workplace law will officially go into effect. The law states that an employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a clean room or location, other than a bathroom, where an employee may breast feed in privacy.

Dirigo Blue - Bob Emrich, one of the founders of Stand for Marriage Maine (the group behind the so-called people's veto of LD 1020), has this opinion piece: "Look at the facts and decide for yourself. Let's start by comparing Maine's marriage law before and after the change. The state of Maine held the historic definition of marriage in highest regard throughout Maine law. That law told us why 'traditional monogamous marriage' was well worth state government protection and promotion. Maine law said, 'The union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage is of inestimable value to society.' . . . With the repeated use of words like "tradition" and "historical," Emrich would have you believe that this section of the law has been on the books since Maine became a state in 1820. What he doesn't mention is that this part of the law, Sec. 650, was added to Title 19-A in 1997.

An interview with Lynn Williams

Boston Globe - US Airways says it will increase fees for first and second checked bags by $5 for domestic flights. . . US Airways now will charge $20, instead of $15, for the first checked bag and $30, up from $25, for the second, when bags are checked online. Travelers who check bags at the airport will pay $25 for the first and $35 for the second -- an extra $5 per bag. Continental will join US Airways in exacting a $50 second checked-bag fee on trans-Atlantic flights, echoing recent moves by American and Delta. The carriers will exempt top-tier frequent fliers, first-class passengers, and active-duty military personnel from the fees.

On Top Magazine - A California-based gay rights group has asked Maine officials to investigate the financial background of the coalition of groups behind an effort to repeal gay marriage in the state. Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger has contacted campaign ethics officials in Maine and asked for an investigation. Karger alleges the group Stand for Marriage Maine of illegally shielding the names of individual donors. "I believe the four founders of Stand For Marriage Maine are merely conduits for those wishing to hide their contributions," Karger says . . . "These entities are laundering money to evade the disclosure of the actual contributors to Stand for Marriage Maine," he adds. . . The group's first financial disclosure report raised eyebrows when it listed total contributions from individual donors at a paltry $400 out of $343,689.50 reported. "By way of comparison," Karger says, "last year, the Protect Marriage, Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California disclosed more than 60,000 individual contributors of $100 and above. Thousands more contributed under that amount to repeal same-sex marriage in that state."

Maine Biz - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has approved Record Hill Wind's environmental permit application for the $120 million wind farm it wants to build along Record Hill, Flathead Mountain and Partridge Peak ridgelines in the Oxford County town of Roxbury. . . As a condition of Record Hill's permit, the company must hire a third-party inspector to monitor compliance with permit conditions during construction, which is expected to begin next year. Record Hill Wind is a joint venture formed by Lyme, N.H.-based Wagner Forest Management and Independence Wind, the company [Angus] King founded in 2007 with former Maine Public Broadcasting Network President Robert Gardiner. The project will have the capacity to generate 50.6 megawatts of electricity annually, but the company estimates it will operate at around 34% capacity on an annual basis.

Forecaster - A new wine made from Maine grapes and produced by a Falmouth family in their old chicken coop will be available in markets starting this week. Steve Melchiskey and Nanci Kahn have been working to find the right vines and the right blends for a decade at their farm on Hurricane Road. In a renovated space on the first floor of the old chicken coop, they've crushed grapes and let them macerate and ferment in large steel tanks. Then with a pencil, roll paper and a graduated cylinder, they've mixed and tasted until finding the right blend. "We field blend," Melchiskey said, holding up the cylinder. "Just a couple of percentages difference and it really changes the flavor of the wine."

Press Herald - Cheverus High School will sharply limit the use of backpacks this year to ease the strain on students' backs and clear some clutter from hallways and classrooms. "We have too many students who carry excessive weight in their backpacks," said John Mullen, principal of the private school. "(And) we're a fairly small school and we don't have broad hallways and expansive classrooms, and these backpacks eat up a lot of space." Students will be allowed to bring backpacks to school, but they'll have to stow them in lockers until the end of the day. Twice a day, the school will extend between-class breaks from three minutes to six minutes to give students time to retrieve anything they need for classes, but the backpacks will have to stay put. . . Mullen said he became concerned about backpacks at Cheverus, especially after hearing health professionals say that growing kids shouldn't carry more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight. He put a scale in his office last year and found that one young student who weighed 78 pounds was hauling around a 36-pound backpack.

Brunswick Times Record - When the old Brunswick High School was built in 1937, according to alumni, a time capsule was buried - likely in a cornerstone of the brick building nearest the intersection of Spring and McKeen streets. Additionally, members of the class of 1972 have reported to the Brunswick High School Alumni Association that they also buried a capsule. As demolition of the school grew near this spring, efforts began in earnest to track down the capsules. To date, however, nothing has turned up. It's not for lack of trying. In late May, before steam shovels and bulldozers began razing the old school, a group of alumni joined town arborist Peter Baecher of the Department of Parks and Recreation to scour the old school's grounds with two metal detectors, searching for any sign of the time capsules.. . . Architect Alan Kuniholm of PDT Architects said Tuesday that with demolition nearly complete, nothing resembling a time capsule has yet been discovered..


Coastal Senior College Study Circle discussion course at Camden Public Library, Jean Picker Room Wednesdays, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., September 23 to November 18. Led by Matt Clarke. An intellectual history inquiry into root contradictions in american capitalism, corporate governance, and Wall Street. This Study Circle investigates several claimed system defects of the American political economy. Info: 594-6453 or


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