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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.

9/23/09

September 23

Maine Politics - Michael Heath, the fiery anti-gay crusader who has led the far-right Maine Christian Civic League for fifteen years, has resigned. Notice of his departure comes just 45 days away from the statewide referendum on same-sex marriage, the right Heath has most doggedly opposed. An announcement posted on the League's website says that Heath will now be working as a "private consultant." Heath has told the press that he plans to spend time "teaching solar cooking to needy Africans." While Heath's resignation and exile has provoked jubilation from the blogosphere and the twitterverse, MPBN reporter Anne Ravana has a historical warning: "This is the third time Heath has offered or announced his resignation from the organization. In 1998, after the League faced a severe drop in donations and an internal dispute over financial records, Heath announced he'd be departing for a job in Washington D.C., which never panned out. In 2005 Heath wrote that he sensed the Catholic Bishop of Portland felt his leadership was hurting the fight against the gay rights movement. Heath offered to resign, but ended up staying on board." That's right, much like the legions of the undead, Heath has risen again and again from what seem like career-killing blows. So watch out. He may yet be back to devour your brains and/or civil rights.

The Phoenix - We do, however, realize that with this bold stroke, gay-rights advocates have lost a strong ally. No one (at least no one in Maine) could be counted on to be more vitriolic, more out-there-loony-fringe, more intolerant than Mike Heath when it came to acknowledging that gay people are people too. Of course the timing couldn't be worse - now all those election-season campaign ads from the No On 1 campaign won't be able to show video of Mike Heath spouting off and say to viewers, "You're not like him, are you? Vote No On 1."

Portland gets
a new 70-seat theater on Temple Street.

The Portland city hall tower clock, restored in 2007, is running ten minutes fast. Says one city hall worker, "Those of us who work in City Hall are very aware of the chimes, and it was discussed. I sit in my office and I listen to those chimes and it tells me when I'm late for my meeting. But since it's off, I'm early."

The Phoenix - The Camden International Film Festival is celebrating its fifth aniversityu with movies on poverty, overfishing, peak oil, and the plight (and/or) ambition of children who grow up too quickly.

Maine's court system has won a federal grant of nearly half a million dollars to boost the state's so-called Family Drug Court Program. . . The drug courts focus on substance abuse problems that surface when adults enter the court system because of child abuse and neglect issues, the two say. The approach is a collaborative effort that includes judges, state prosecutors, law enforcement representatives, treatment providers and others. . . The state's drug courts have successfully graduated 39 parents, reunited 42 children with their families and seen 20 babies born to drug free mothers enrolled in the program.

Maine Public Broadcasting - Cold River Vodka, based in Freeport says its Cold River Classic Vodka and Blueberry Vodka is now available in 19 states, as well as western Canada and London. . . Cold River Vodka was founded in 2005. Its Blueberry Vodka was named to Wine Enthusiast's "Top 50 Spirits" list earlier this year, and Cold River Classic Vodka won a Double Gold Medal at the 2008 World Spirits Competition held in San Francisco.

Boston Globe - Maine business regulators report a modest increase in home foreclosures in the state during the second quarter of 2009.

Press Herald - Roxanne Quimby, the philanthropist known for buying huge tracts of northern woodlands, has purchased a vacant building on Congress Street to house an artist residency program. Quimby plans gallery space and four to six studios in the three-story building at 660 Congress St. She wants to offer high-achieving artists free studio space, stipends and daily meals with other artists.

Sanford News - A bear was spotted passing behind Sanford Junior High School on Main Street on Tuesday afternoon. Animal Control Officer Lauren Masellas described the bear as more than 100 pounds and approximating the size of a "good huskie-looking Saint Bernard."
She added that the bear was probably just exploring and trying to establish its territory. As a young animal, it probably had not figured out yet how to stay away from humans. "Thankfully, they do figure that out quickly," she added.

Press Herald - Tired of being regulated by the city, Portlands cab drivers are looking to start a union. . . Many drivers are at odds with the city over a proposed change at the Portland Jetport. Currently, the Jetport allows 51 taxis to wait in a designated lot to pick up fares. The changes would drop that number to just 25. Drivers say that would send those taxis into the city, where there are too many as it is, and there just wouldn't be enough work to go around.


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