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.


Wednesday, Aug 12


Chellie Pingree
did a pretty good job on the Colbert Report. She had clearly been told not to look shocked at anything Colbert said. Colbert asked Colbert-type questions such as whether her district was in that part of Maine that was in Canada and whether allowing gay marriages was a gateway to allowing men to marry lobsters, but the best moment was recounted by WGME: "'Can I see your hand for a moment?' Colbert asked. The two were sparring over whether wind is a renewable resource. Colbert - or at least, Colbert's character - claimed wind could run out like oil. Putting things in a different context, he took the Democratic lawmaker's hand and started blowing on it. 'Is this generating any electricity?" he asked. "It's generating some heat over here.' 'Do you run out of that after a while?' Pingree quipped.

Press Herald, Wells
- After nine years of living and working in Maine, Laura and Dean Franks fear they may have to uproot their lives in a matter of weeks. The British couple have been operating their restaurant, Laura's Kitchen, on a visa for investors. Their first visa allowed them to stay for five years. They got two-year extensions without any trouble until this month.
That's when they learned that their application had been denied and that they had 30 days to leave the country. It was deemed that their business, which they say is profitable, was . . . The Frankses hope community support can help their cause. They have reached out to members of Maine's congressional delegation and have started a letter-writing campaign. On Sunday, they distributed about 125 form letters, along with contact information for President Obama, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Maine Business - 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.

Nuwire Investor - Despite rising rates of home sales under $200,000 in cities such as Portland, housing values are predicted to deflate anywhere from 10 to nearly 13 percent. . . Portland home sales are projected to be sluggish through the remainder of the year with the market forecast by Housing Predictor to deflate average home values at 11% in 2009. Fewer foreclosures than many other areas of the country have kept the housing market more stable in Bangor, despite some foreclosures and short sales. Maine ranks as one of the lower states in terms of foreclosures, at least partially insulated from the fall-out of the financial crisis because there was much less lending by major national lenders in the state than other more populated areas. . . Bangor housing values are forecast to deflate 10% on average in 2009. As bargain hunters turned out, home sales picked up in Lewiston from an over supply of inventory. The supply has been cut by bargain hunters, who saw a ripe market for the taking as more homeowners defaulted on their mortgages. But the market should make inroads towards stabilizing over the next few quarters with forecast housing deflation for 2009 to average 11%.. . . Bar Harbor saw growth like it never had before during the real estate boom before it came crashing down. Now the resort community has an abundance of condominiums to rent for vacationers. . . The housing market is projected to be hit hard by the downturn in the economy, and is forecast to suffer average housing deflation of 13% in 2009, the highest anywhere in the state.

Boston Globe - Saco councilors have approved plans for a solar project in the southern Maine city. The Council unanimously approved an option for Grid Solar to enter into a 20-year lease with the city to install solar panels on city-owned land as part of its solar power project. . . Under the agreement, GridSolar will pay an annual lease fee of $25,000 for the currently vacant property as well as property taxes on all improvements there.

Chris Busby, Bollard - Portland may be one of the most "livable cities" in America, as Forbes recently rated it, but its downtown Parkside neighborhood has blocks that must rank among the most unlivable in the country. "It's a strange neighborhood to have in a nice town like this," said Ken, a 29-year-old musician who tends bar at one of the city's classiest restaurants and has lived in an apartment on Grant Street for the past three years. "We have a lot of beatings. You hear a lot of ruckus at all hours of the day and night," he said. "You walk to the gas station a block away and get asked to buy crack. . . I'e gone outside and seen six to 10 prostitutes lined up there by the cops, all on cell phones saying, 'They got me again.' I've had windows broken, bikes stolen out of the hallway. There's always something going on.”


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