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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.

1/3/10

DOWN EAST NOTES

Press Herald - Verrill Dana LLP, a Portland-based law firm, ranks 8th in the country for the percentage of female partners, according to a national survey of law firms with more than 100 attorneys. Law 360, a news source for lawyers, conducted the survey this fall.

Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sersema, asked by a reader which small city has the liveliest/best dining scene, replied: "Thinking back over the past year, I think I'd give the honor to Portland, Maine (which is where I'm getting my fabulous smoked salmon and mussels for tomorrow night)."

Down East - If you take the average debt incurred by a student obtaining a four-year degree at a public institution in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia last year (for Maine the average is $23,792) and compare it to their 2008 median household income (Maine's is $46,581), you find that Maine is the fourth least affordable jurisdiction, behind only Alabama, Iowa and Mississippi. Maybe this financial burden is one of the reasons why new figures out this week show Maine to be one of only three states in the nation with a shrinking population.

Press Herald - An astronomical high tide coupled with a powerful snowstorm caused widespread flooding and road closures along the Maine coast Saturday. Meteorologists say it was the 14th highest tide recorded in Portland's history. Portland's tide reached 12.92 feet, which is 1.42 feet above the predicted high tide and almost a foot above tidal flood stage, which is 12 feet. Meteorologists said this ranks as the 14th highest tide since Portland began keeping records in 1912. The record for the highest tide was set on Feb. 7 during the blizzard of 1978. It reached 14.17 feet and had a storm surge of 3.5 feet.

Forecaster - The Regional School Unit 1 superintendent said that a projected 84 percent cut in state subsidy in the next few years might actually be optimistic. . . RSU 1 is already coping with a state subsidy loss of nearly $600,000, the impact of a $63 million state spending curtailment ordered this fall by Gov. John Baldacci that includes a $38 million cut in Education Department funds to support local schools. Shuttleworth and his staff planned to cover much of the loss through staff development cuts and not filling vacant positions.

Independent Eliot Cutler says that, if elected governor, he wll end Dirigo and Maine Care and instead provide "essential health care services for all Maine residents through a new statewide framework."

Susan Cover, Kennebec Journal reports that the last time a Maine Democratic governor succeeded another one was back in 1850, when John Hubbard of Hallowell succeeded John Dana of Fryeburg. . . "Since then, we've had long strings of Republican governors, the most recent of which was from 1937 to 1955, when Democrat Ed Muskie broke that run. Muskie has been credited with fathering a new era of Democratic politics in Maine, but since he left office in 1959, we've had only four Democratic governors: Clinton Clauson, Ken Curtis, Joe Brennan and John Baldacci.

The League of National Bicyclists lists Maine as the third most bike friendly state.

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