Solar Energy bill becomes law without Gov. LePage’s signature

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Energy Issues, Environment, Issue 40

ReVison Energy installs solar car battery chargers like this one at their headquarters in Portland. Photo by Ramona du Houx

ReVison Energy installs solar car battery chargers like this one at their headquarters in Portland. Photo by Ramona du Houx

A solar energy bill that passed through the legislature with overwhelming support became law without his Governor Paul LePage’s signature.

“For a decade lawmakers have worked together in a bipartisan manner to move Maine’s energy policy forward, and we continue to do so with this law,” said Democratic Senator Eloise VItelli of Arrowsic, the sponsor of the bill.“Maine is one of the most oil-dependent states in the country. This law will give the people in our state an opportunity to do something about that.”

Maine spends $5 billion per year importing fossil fuels and is the most petroleum-dependent state for home heating, with more than 70 percent of households using it as their primary heating source. According to a 2010 report, rooftop solar panels alone could provide 24 percent of Maine’s electricity.

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Issue 40: Will LePage hold Maine back without innovation bonds and ACA healthcare

April 22nd, 2014 · Filed under: Issue 40

ISSUE 40: Will LePage continue to hold Maine’s economy back without innovation bonds and Affordable Care Act healthcare?

EDITORIALS—

The VolturnUS floating offshore wind turbine 1/8th pilot at it's launch. VolturnUS is the only offshore wind turbine in the Americas. photo by Ramona du Houx

Will LePage continue to hold Maine back by vetoing innovation bonds and healthcare? -

Rep. Seth Berry: Maine needs small business and innovation bond package -

CAPITOL NEWS—

Speaker’s bill to increase property tax credit

Task force to find funds to end student hunger becomes law without LePage’s signature -

LePage’s veto of ACA funds keeps healthcare from 70,000 Mainers

Maine DHHS transparency bill fighting fraud vetoed by LePage

Budget eliminates and reduces DHHS wait lists for people with disabilities, ups reimbursements for struggling nursing homes

Maine’s first-in-nation bill to help foster children finish college

LePage’s veto spree hurts people, the environment, education, jobs and Maine’s quality of life -

Gov. LePage’s dangerous actions make bad national news for Maine

JOB NEWS—

Maine to get $600,000 to help increase value of crops grown in the state

Maine lawmakers pass $50 million job bond plan

President Obama announces over $500 million in job training and apprenticeship grants

1441444_10153424507255383_194496931_nCongressman Michaud makes a strong case to close the wage gap

WORKERS RIGHTS—

President issues executive order prohibiting retaliation against employees of federal contractors who discuss salary

LePage’s proposed “Business Zones” were anti-workers rights

ART AND ENTERTAINMENT—

DSC_8234-copyNouveau Cirque Theater comes to Maine with Bowdoin College’s Harrison Bergeron

Artists combat human trafficking in Brunswick, Maine

Maine Arts Education Day at the Capitol a success

VETERANS’—

Rep. Fowle’s Maine veterans court bill heads to governor’s desk

Michaud visits Togas

SCIENCE—

ed03fcd529a284100b84109c07603df4East Coast’s first ocean acidification bill

International design award for innovative Bigelow Laboratory

FDA finds Bigelow Laboratory in compliance with standards for first-in-nation shellfish toxin method

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT—

Maine parents protest by returning products containing toxic chemicals to Walgreens in Portland, Bangor

Jackson’s thermal energy bill to look at renewable biomass for energy production becomes law

$1 million federal grant to protect Maine coastal lands

Lawmakers advise LePage to strengthen mining rules, protect waters and taxpayers
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Rep. Seth Berry: Maine needs small business and innovation bond package

April 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Issue 40

The VolturnUS 1:8 first offshore floating wind turbine in the Americas started producing electricity on June 13, 2013. Maine's Innovation Bond program jump started the UMaine project.

The VolturnUS 1:8 first offshore floating wind turbine in the Americas started producing electricity on June 13, 2013. Maine’s Innovation Bond program jump started the UMaine project.

By House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham

We have to face some hard truths about Maine’s economy. We are struggling to shake off the effects of the recession. Others are passing us by when it comes to recovery, but Maine does have a great thing going for it when it comes to possibilities for job creation.

I have the honor of co-chairing the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future. This bipartisan panel has done some really amazing work to spur job creation and move our economy forward. Just this week, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed a set of bond investments created by our committee, which are targeted to help small businesses grow, and to boost high tech innovation.

Many of these are long overdue investments that support the little guy: small but promising businesses from around the state, as well as our farmers, foresters, and fishermen.

Maine needs these investments now to address our lagging job creation.

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Nouveau Cirque Theater comes to Maine with Bowdoin College’s Harrison Bergeron

April 19th, 2014 · Filed under: Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Issue 40

Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo was Maine's first Nouveau Cirque play. photo by Ramona du Houx

Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo was Maine’s first Nouveau Cirque play. photo by Ramona du Houx

Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo was a theater in the round production with aerial dance and multimedia messaging— using iPads. No matter where you looked something was happening from the ceiling to the floor and in the balconies above the stage. This nouveau cirque production incorporated aerial silks, dance, original music, seamless choreography, theatre, clowning, visual art, and media design all into a high impactful story of forty-two minutes.

For Maine, Harrison Bergeron Escapes from the Zoo was the first true nouveau cirque play.

Adapted by the cast from Kurt Vonnegut’s eight-page story, Harrison Bergeron is a social satire, set in the future where citizens have been rendered equal by having their talents handicapped. The thought provoking show, put on by Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance, Kathyrn Syssoyeva, and her class at Bowdoin College, enticed and delighted as the audience witnessed the resilience of the human spirit and an iron fist that controls— by restricting creativity.

Harrison Bergeron, the play, photos by Ramona du Houx

Harrison Bergeron, the play, photos by Ramona du Houx


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Mike Michaud tours Togas, VA Hospital to help veterans needs progress

April 11th, 2014 · Filed under: Health Care, Issue 40, News from Washington

Congressman Mike Michaud on a tour of Togus, VA hospital. courtesy photo

Congressman Mike Michaud on a tour of Togus, VA hospital. courtesy photo

Congressman Mike Michaud met with veterans today at Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta. Rep. Michaud was joined by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the House. Michaud serves as the Ranking Member on Veterans’ Affairs.

While visiting Togus, Michaud and Miller had breakfast with veterans, received a tour of the administrative and medical facilities, and got an overview of Togus’ operations. Michaud and Miller also participated in a roundtable discussion with veterans to hear about the challenges they face, and got their insight on how Congress can help.

“I had the opportunity to talk with a number of veterans at Togus VA Medical Center this morning about their personal experiences,” said Michaud. “It was a first-hand reminder of the obligation we have to ensure our veterans are receiving the highest-quality care possible. They have sacrificed so much for our nation, and we owe them the best in return. I’d like to thank Rep. Miller for joining me on today’s visit – our Committee shares the common goal of working in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our veterans are treated with the dignity and respect they so deserve.”

It’s not the first visit to Togas the Congressman has made. A few years back Congressman Michaud invited the Sec. of Veteran’s Affairs, Ed Shinseki to the facility twice. And while the Sec. was here Michaud got changes made that will help Veterans. In one endeavor Michaud was able to get land allocated to Togas put aside to build homeless “Cabins in the Woods.” Read more here.

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Maine artist, Ramona du Houx, exhibits at the New York City ArtExpo 2014 and Portland’s Constellation Gallery, simultaneously

April 3rd, 2014 · Filed under: Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Creative Economy

Discovery by Ramona du Houx

Discovery by Ramona du Houx

Maine artist, Ramona du Houx, is in a current group exhibition at the New York City ArtExpo 2014 from April 4th to the 6th and at Portland, Maine’s Constellation Gallery.

“Being a part of the ArtExpo While exhibiting in Portland is a great opportunity,” said du Houx.

The New York City ArtExpo 2014 offers artists chances to exhibit with galleries that represent them worldwide.

Du houx is currently represented by the art’s district Storks Gallery of Tokyo, which exhibited her work in a solo show in February of 2012, and will have another solo show of Ramona’s work in September of 2014.

“Ramona’s work is unique and captures emotion that stirs the soul. It’s timeless,” said Takafumi Suzuki, Storks Gallery Owner. “It’s a privilege to represent her.”

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Green crab invasion of Maine’s coast made real by O’Chang vedio

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Environment, Science

A Maine College of Art student, Hanji O’Chang of O’Chang Comics, animated a video that is raising awareness about the devastating impact of green crabs on the soft-shell clam industry. O’Chang worked with University of Maine at Machias professor Brian Beal, scientist Darcie Couture of Resource Access International LLC, the Maine Clammers Association and others to learn about the army of green crabs that are devastating soft-shell clams up and down the Maine coast.

“Attack of the Green Crabs,” is a 4½-minute news type video narrated by Adam O’Chang and posted on YouTube

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Endangered Piping Plovers return to Southern Maine

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Environment, Science

Piping Plover's in Maine. Photo: Amanda Reed

Piping Plover’s in Maine. Photo: Amanda Reed

Maine Audubon reported today that several Piping Plover nesting pairs have returned to southern Maine beaches. All beach goers and beachfront landowners along the coast should be aware of nesting plovers, from Ogunquit Beach up the coast to Reid State Park in Georgetown. As of April 1, no dogs are allowed on Ogunquit Beach and in state parks, including Crescent, Ferry and Scarborough Beaches in Scarborough, Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg and Reid State Park in Georgetown. Dog ordinances vary by town on local town beaches. Please check with your local town office.

Piping Plovers are listed as an endangered species in Maine and are threatened under federal law. The Piping Plover Recovery Project, a collaboration between Maine Audubon, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and local municipalities, works to educate the public about plover nesting areas to ensure their protection and increase their population.

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Citizen Scientists Needed to Help Endangered Species in Maine

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine, Environment, Science

Maine Audubon seeks volunteers to survey roads in southern Maine for signs of endangered species road crossings. Information collected by volunteers about where, when and how many animals cross our roads is the critical first step in identifying ways to reduce wildlife road mortality. Unless changes are made, Maine Audubon biologists report that Blanding’s turtles and spotted turtles are likely to become extinct in Maine due to road mortality.

Maine Audubon’s Endangered Species Road Watch program began in 2012; forty volunteers surveyed 22 routes throughout southern Maine. The organization’s goal is to have at least two volunteers per route this coming season. “We know there are areas in southern Maine where endangered species are severely impacted because of roads,” said Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon staff naturalist. “That’s the goal of this program – to identify those areas and figure out what can be done to improve the conditions for Maine wildlife and Maine drivers. We can’t do it without our team of trained citizen scientists.”

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Discover the Mount Desert Island Geology Puzzle

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine, Science

Join geologists, Duane and Ruth Braun, for a talk about the geological makeup of Mount Desert Island on Tuesday evening, May 6, 5:30pm at Southwest Harbor Public Library.

Have you ever wondered about the geologic origin of Mount Desert Island? How it was put together? What effect the glaciers had on the current landscape? The Brauns will take us on a geologic history tour. Their talk will begin around a billion years ago when MDI was attached to the super continent, Gondwana. It eventually split from Gondwana and attached itself to North America. MDI itself experienced three major geologic events, which resulted in the formation of ten different rock units that now make up MDI. The oldest of these formations is the beautiful Ellsworth schist.

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Music on the Mall, summer program in Brunswick, Maine

April 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

Every Wednesday evening at the Mall in Downtown Brunswick free musical shows will perform. Grab a blanket, bring your family and friends, order a picnic dinner or dine at a local Brunswick restaurant, then relax and enjoy great music.

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Sierra Peaks Corporation gets Pine Tree Zone tax benefits and sets up in Camden, Maine

April 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy

Sierra Peaks Corporation, a New Mexico-based company that develops and manufactures superior acoustic miniature microphones and other communications related devices, is planning to invest more than $3,000,000 in two facilities in Camden. The investment is expected to lead to the creation of more than two dozen manufacturing jobs with the potential for more jobs down the road.

Sierra Peaks will benefit from the Pine Tree Zone tax incentive package set up under the Baldacci administration to promote job creation and even the playing field with other states by making Maine more competitive.

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Will LePage continue to hold Maine back by vetoing innovation bonds and healthcare?

April 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Budgets, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Editorials, Issue 40

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Other New England states have recovered almost all the job losses due to the Great Recession. Maine stands alone as the only east coast state that has built back less than half the jobs caused by the economic crash. Not the kind of reputation Maine needs, and most of blame falls at the feet of Governor Paul LePage with his dangerous policies and way of governance.

He hurts the state’s reputation by putting down the people of Maine and discourages businesses owners who may be looking to Maine to locate in. He has publicly badmouthed the President, Maine lawmakers, women, students and children. A governor should be promoting the great qualities the people Maine have— their tireless work ethic, hospitality, ability to be easily trained and their community mindfulness. Not to mention the amazing natural attributes the state has from mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and a 2,000-mile long coast.

Last year the Legislature approved bonds for infrastructure improvements and the people of Maine voted for them. This year LePage used these bonds as a bargaining tool (again) by refusing to release them until he got what he demanded. Meanwhile thousands of construction workers were delayed from working. They had to wait until LePage was done using them as pawns.

This session a $50 million bond proposal passed the Legislature, of that $40 million are for an innovation/small business bond proposal was approved by the Legislature.

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Governor LePage’s vulgar language has no place in Maine politics

April 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Capitol news

This expose reminds people in Maine what is behind LePage’s behavior, which discredits most everyone in the state and only benefits cooperate interests. Let’s not forget.

There were a number of bills about transparency that the legislature approved this spring, however they have been vetoed by LePage. Some may be brought back to the legislature for a another vote to try and override the vetos.

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Maine DHHS transparency bill fighting fraud vetoed by LePage

April 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Capitol news, Health Care, Issue 40

Maine State Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx

The Legislature sent Governor LePage a bill that would require Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services(DHSS) to be more transparent and accountable to Maine citizens but vetoed it.

“I sponsored this bill, L.D. 1829, because the fight against fraud and abuse in our public programs needs to be one of the highest priorities. Part of the problem is that we aren’t working from a common set of facts that let us know what the DHHS is doing well and where it needs to improve,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, who serves on the Health and Human Services Committee. He is also a health care executive whose background is in the management of state Medicaid agencies.

The measure would have required the DHHS to give an annual accounting of all its efforts to fight fraud, waste and abuse in MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash assistance) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp assistance): what’s working and what isn’t, what the DHHS is doing to fight crime and what it is doing on the front end to prevent fraud.

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