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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.

2/26/10

DOWN EAST SATURDAY

MAINE PUBLIC BROADCASTING - Popham Beach, near Bath, is one of Maine's most popular state parks, visited by an estimated 175,000 people every year. In recent years though, there's been increasingly less beach to visit, especially where the Morse River flows into the ocean. Since 2007, the sea has advanced more than 200 feet in parts. . . State authorities are also concerned by the ocean's rapid advance. A recently-constructed bathhouse -- part of a $1.4 million development -- is getting within feet of the water's edge. And in an effort to prevent it from getting any closer, conservationists have placed bundles of dead trees along the water's edge. State Geologist Robert Marvinney says when the bathhouse project was begun less than three years ago, the site of the building was four times as far away from the water's edge as it is now.

WGME - At a news conference in Augusta , a group of religious leaders from all over the state and the nation gathered to speak out in support of a bill currently up for debate in the legislature. It's titled "An act to ensure humane treatment of special management unit prisoners". If it passes, it would limit the amount of time prisoners can be placed in solitary confinement and keep mentally ill prisoners out of it entirely. The group says putting prisoners in solitary is inhumane. They say that segregation used in Maine prisons amounts to torture, and it needs to be stopped.

SUN JOURNAL - Bill Murray's math lesson of the day revolved around a bag of trash. His third-graders at Sherwood Heights Elementary School in Auburn started with an 18-pound bag of trash that the school custodian pitched aside. Armed with rubber gloves, the kids took out all the paper, plastic, anything that could be composted and anything that the class could reuse. "We took out all kinds of stuff that does not belong in the landfill," said Murray, a 1980 graduate of Edward Little High School. What was put back into the garbage bag weighed less than a pound. Many of Murray's lessons, regardless of subject, have a reduce, reuse, recycle spin. "It's an overall theme," said Murray, a first-year teacher at the school. "There is not anyone in this classroom that is not engaged," he said. . .

STRANGE MAINE - The Washington County railroad has gone all the other railroads in the country one better in the matter of accommodating its patrons. A passenger one day last week lost a set of false teeth out of the window. The loss was reported to the obliging conductor, who stopped the train, backed to the scene of catastrophe, where the missing molars were found and returned to their owner. - Kennebec Journal, April 10, 1908

PORTLAND DAILY SUN - Maine syrup makers produced 395,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2009, in what was considered a banner year, particularly for northern producers. Last year's output marked an increase of 65 percent over 2008 production of 240,000 gallons, which was considered a down year due to erratic weather; lingering winter cold slowed sap flow, and deep snow made it difficult for producers to get into the woods, producers noted. . . This year is stacking up as another potentially strong year like 2009. . . . "The weather has been perfect," said Kathy Hopkins, Extension educator with University of Maine. "When the nights are 20 or so and the day warms up to 40 or so, that's just perfect weather to stimulate sap flow."

MAINE PUBLIC BROADCASTING - A committee of lawmakers has reached a compromise that will allow a controversial police surveillance scanner to remain in use, under certain safeguards. . . The amendments include a provision to only store data on non-offenders collected by the camera for 21 days -- South Portland police currently keep the data for 30 days before purging it. There's also a provision. . . to ensure that this data is kept confidential. But most importantly, . . . there's an amendment to establish a working group to monitor the use of the ALPR. This group will include both law enforcement officials and civil liberties advocates who are concerned with privacy constitutional issues. . . . The MCLU says it is satisfied with the compromise, even though it falls short of the complete ban it had originally sought

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