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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.

1/12/10

DOWN EAST NOTES

Maine attorney general and gubernatorial Steven Rowe proposed a law to deny mentally ill prisoners psychiatric care until they had completed their sentences. - Solitary Watch

WCSH - The Portland International Jetport is preparing for a major face lift.Plans were presented to the Portland City Council Finance committee on Monday night. The renovation is ambitious. There will be a 137,000 square foot addition to the existing terminal, doubling its size. Three new gates will go in, which will allow another carrier to fly out of the Jetport. Highlighting the project will be four additional security screening lanes, bringing the total to eight, and new explosive detecting equipment will be provided through a 9 million dollar grant from the Transportation Safety Administration. . . The last major renovation of the Jetport took place in 1995, and there have been several smaller projects since. In those 15 years, Jetport usage has gone up by more then 60%. The numbers continue to climbing. While cities like Boston and Manchester have seen a 10% drop in air traffic over the past several years, Portland is up by the same amount. . . The price tag is high, about 75 million dollars -- but none of that money comes out of the city budget.

Maine Public Broadcasting - South Portland police became the first police department in the state to incorporate a controversial license plate surveillance system, which uses cameras mounted on top of a cruiser to search for stolen vehicles and traffic violators. The Automated License Plate Reader has sparked criticism from civil liberties groups and others, who say the system raises privacy concerns. . . "This system is yet one more piece in a growing trend toward a surveillance society," says Shenna Bellows of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. One thing that worries her about the Automated License Plate Reader, she says, is the fact that all the data collected by it is stored for 30 days. "In a free society we have a right to be left alone, a presumption of innocence, and this system is part of a greater trend toward greater surveillance of individual citizens' daily movements," Bellows says.

Art Daily - The Portland Museum of Art finished 2009 with the second-highest attendance in Museum history and the highest attendance in a decade. With 161,000 visitors, the Museum had an increase of 11,000 visitors over the previous year. The highest attendance record was set in 2000 with 188,000 visitors with the success of two exhibitions by legendary artists Ansel Adams and N. C. Wyeth. The Museum's 2009 success was due to the extremely popular exhibition Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography, which broke attendance records for the months of January and February. Records were also broken for this exhibition on Free Friday evenings with more than 3,000 people visiting the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. each Friday night.

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