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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.

9/28/09

September 28

GAY MARRIAGE

The Maine View - No On 1 has received several more endorsements. The Maine Children's Alliance, Maine Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers Maine Chapter, Community Counseling Center and Kids First center all came out in support of maintaining same-sex marriage in Maine.

The American Psychological Association, after carefully reviewing years of research on parenting and child outcomes, concludes that "there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation." In summation, the Association found "that adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish."

According to Dr. David Lilly, president-elect of the Maine Psychological Association, social scientists have long understood that marriage as a cultural institution can have a profound effect on the lives of married people, connecting them socially and ordering their lives. "Allowing same-sex couples to join in marriage can enhance their legal and emotional security, and can benefit the children being raised by gay and lesbian couples," said Dr. Lilly. "Children benefit not only from strong emotional bonds with both parents, but also from the stability and assurance stable legal bonds provide."

Catherine Stakeman, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers Maine Chapter reiterated these findings saying, "The vast experiences of social work, and the scholarship of our discipline, tell us that children thrive when raised by families who are loving and caring, regardless of the structure of that family unit."

Catholics for Marriage Equality has urged Catholics and all Mainers to vote no on Question 1 on the November 3rd ballot, despite an appeal from Bishop Joseph Malone in opposition to marriage equality presented via DVD in parishes statewide. C4ME said that it is speaking out because it wants "the diocese to know that it is not speaking for all faithful Catholics."

"The informed consciences of many Catholics compel them to reject the bishop's political opinion about same-sex marriage," said Anne Underwood, a founding member of C4ME. "Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament reserved to the Church to define and administer. Civil marriage is a right of the state to define and with it comes over 300 state benefits to better the lives of our families and children. No church can morally deprive families and children of state recognition."

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION

Maine Public Broadcasting - Proponents of Gov. John Baldacci's school consolidation law maintain that now is no time to repeal the two-year-old law. But opponents claim the law's failure to lower education expenses in some instances, while actually raising costs in others, is evidence that the state mandate is simply unworkable for a large segment of Maine communities.

For a little more than two years, former Stonington legislator Skip Greenlaw has been leading the charge against the state's mandatory school consolidation law that continues to be ignored by more than 100 Maine school districts. Greenlaw says it's bad enough that the state asked communities to hold public votes on a plan they didn't want. Now, he says, those that didn't capitulate to the state's wishes will eventually have to pay a price. "The state wants to go out and penalize people for using their judgment to the tune of $6.9 million. . . . I think it's absolute blackmail."

More than 80 percent of Maine students are enrolled in districts that comply with the consolidation law, but Greenlaw says that's largely because they live in more populated regions of the state. . .

Proponents had originally hoped to reduced the state's 290 school districts down to 90. But after two years, 218 still remain. Greenlaw says the law's fine for those towns that want it, but those that don't should be able to opt out without paying a penalty.

"I guess there were three things in this law we want," he says. "We want to get away from the mandatory consolidation requirement; we want to get away from the penalties; and we want those units that have consolidated, that have found out -- like Pownal found out after they consolidated that there was a 25 percent increase in their taxes -- we want them to have an opportunity to get out of the arrangement."

CRYPTOZOO MUSEUM TO OPEN IN DOWNTOWN PORTLAND


Wikipedia - Cryptozoology refers to the search for animals which are considered to be legendary or otherwise nonexistent by mainstream biology. This includes looking for living examples of animals which are extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical support but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported, such as Bigfoot and el Chupacabra; and wild animals dramatically outside of their normal geographic ranges, such as phantom cats

Cryptomundo - It's taken six years, but as of November 1, the International Cryptozoology Museum will publicly open in a permanent space in downtown Portland . . . The museum has found a public home at 661 Congress Street, in the Arts District, just down the street from the world-famous Portland Museum of Art, the Children's Museum, and the State Theater, next to a local landmark, Joe's Smoke Shop. Also, it will sit right across from The Fun Box Monster Emporium. One great stimulation to this public opening occurred thanks to the exhibition, "Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale," at the Bates College Museum of Art in 2006. The centerpiece of the collection is the once elusive eight feet tall, 400-pound "Crookston Bigfoot," created by Wisconsin artist Curtis Christensen. .

THE MAINE STREAM


The Maine Campus describes this year's Common Ground Fair in Unity. . . The fair is the oldest of its type in the county and receives thousands of visitors from all across the United States

Sun Journal - In its heyday of the 1960s, Rumford's largest employer, the paper mill, employed over 3,000 people. . . They were high-paying jobs, the kind that gave workers enough money to buy homes, shop local businesses and comfortably raise families. Just over 10,000 people lived in Rumford then. The town got millions in tax revenue from the mill. The whole rural region was buoyed by its success. Today, after waves of layoffs, the mill is down to about 700 employees. The latest blow was announced two weeks ago: another 100 jobs gone with the shutdown of another paper machine, leaving two in operation. With equipment being sold off, the mill's valuation is expected to drop by a third; the town is slated to lose nearly $1 million in taxes annually because of it. Rumford's population now hovers somewhere below 6,500.

Sun Journal - The retaining wall running along Main Street in New Auburn is scheduled for a face lift next year as part of the city's beautification project. Eager young people from Franklin Alternative High School are getting a lesson in community organizing as they collect 700 surveys aimed at gathering public opinion about the project and its direction. . . Instead of repainting the surface, the city will repair the deteriorating concrete and install panels featuring the work of area students, who will be helped by local artists. . . The survey asks what type of theme people would like to see depicted on the wall - historical, social (portraits of town founders or celebrations) or an environmental theme featuring the town's natural resources. The survey also asks who should produce the art - local artists, professional artists, students or community volunteers.

Maine Public Broadcasting - Opponents of the TABOR 2 tax cap unleashed a firestorm of criticism against the 2009 Maine Piglet Book that has been released by the Maine Heritage Policy Center. The conservative think tank maintains its book contains more than $2 billion dollars in wasteful government spending over the last five years. But opponents say there are numerous examples that were never funded by state taxpayers, and in other instances, never funded at all. . .

Boston Globe - Even though wet weather has stunted the growth of many pumpkins, the biggest-pumpkin winner at the annual Maine State Giant Pumpkin and Squash Contest did pretty well. Al Berard of Sanford was pleased with his pale, 896.5-pound entry at the Cumberland County Fair. Berard, who is vice president of the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization, later explained that a high elevation 4 or 5 feet and good drainage seemed to be key this year. The Portland Press Herald reports the world record is held by Joe Jutrus of Rhode Island, who grew a 1,689-pound pumpkin two years ago. John Powers of Harpswell, who grew a 1,130-pound entry in 2006, is the record-holder for both Maine and the Cumberland County Fair event.

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