Entries Filed in 'Community Maine'
he City of Belfast has learned that it has been awarded a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant. These funds will be used to provide grants and/or loans to for-profit businesses and can be used for working capital, interior improvements, and/or exterior improvements (including signage, painting, siding, awnings, lighting, and display windows).
“Micro-businesses are numerous in Belfast, contributing a great deal to our area economy. The City is thrilled to be able to provide financial resources that will assist them in their growth and development, hopefully leading to future job growth and better sustainability,” said Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge, “We would like to thank the many Belfast micro-businesses that shared their potential projects and their financial needs with us; this allowed us to document significant need for this type of funding, and it played a massive role in having our application ultimately approved. Our goal now is to deploy these funds effectively and efficiently.”
Read more ›
Tags: economic development
The TV ad Gov. LePage put up outside his office in the Maine Capitol. LePage is moving out of the Capitol because of this false ad.
After an early morning meeting with Legislative leadership, Governor Paul LePage announced he would be moving his office space out of the State House by July 1, 2013.
“Storming out when you don’t get what you want is not leadership. He (LePage) continues to be an unwilling partner at every turn and that is unfortunate for the people of Maine.”
The meeting was prompted by LePage to discuss with Legislative Leaders his unauthorized use of public common space in the Hall of Flags. Per state statute, public space in the State House is under the jurisdiction of the Executive Director and Legislative Council. In a conversation on May 9th, David Boulter, the Executive Director, notified LePage that he was not allowed to place a TV beyond the wing of his office without permission of Legislative Council. Boulter suggested LePage take his request to Legislative Council for a vote by the bipartisan panel. Three days ago, despite Boulter’s notification, the Governor placed a TV, which displayed a misleading ad against the Democrats and their healthcare plans outside his office without authorization.
“In government and in life, there are rules that need to be followed. It is disappointing and frustrating that the Governor thinks he’s exempt,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “The Governor’s ongoing pattern of behavior is embarrassing and not helpful to getting things done for the people of Maine.”
Read more ›
Tags: Government transparency
The US Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx
“Taste of Maine,” sponsored by the Maine State of Commerce, was hosted by Senators Susan Collins and Angus King for their colleagues on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., last month.
The event brought together more than twenty Maine vendors with over sixty-five Maine-made products. Maine’s famous lobster, artisanal cheeses, wild blueberries, craft beers and wines were among the featured Maine culinary products sampled in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building.
“We are delighted that the Maine State Chamber of Commerce has organized some of Maine’s finest culinary treasures,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint press release. “We hope everyone came away thinking that Maine truly is the way life should be!”
Read more ›
Tags: Maine's quality of life
Joined by veteran groups on Capitol Hill, House lawmakers unveiled a legislative package of ten bills designed to help the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) accomplish its goal to eliminate the backlog by 2015.
“I applaud the VA’s ambitious goal, but the time for relying on them to get the job done alone is over,” said Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine-01), the Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, who spearheaded the introduction of the legislative package. “Congress needs to act in order to get veterans the benefits they’ve earned faster. This legislation represents a pragmatic and commonsense approach that members of Congress of all political stripes should support.”
Read more ›
The Maine Legislature today gave unanimous final passage to Rep. Lori Fowle’s measure to provide transportation to disabled veterans who are unable to visit their doctors on their own.
“A big part of helping veterans get access to health care is making sure they are able to travel to doctor’s appointments when they need to,” said Fowle, D-Vassalboro. “When money is tight, or when friends and family aren’t around to provide a ride, there needs to be a stopgap so nobody slips through the cracks. It’s really the least we can do.”
Fowle’s measure was rolled into a larger measure aiding Maine’s veterans. Fowle worked hard to make sure the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, on which she serves, included this critical service for Maine’s disabled veterans in the new bill sponsored by Sen. John Patrick.
Read more ›
As Congress gets set to take up a controversial bill that would allow the backers of the Keystone XL pipeline project to bypass numerous environmental and regulatory requirements, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree isbacking legislation which would make sure those same shortcuts would not apply to the Portland-Montreal pipeline. The operators of the pipeline have talked about reversing the flow so tar sands oil from Canada could be pumped to Portland Harbor.
“The bill we are taking up this week is irresponsible and risky and sets a dangerous precedent by letting the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline skip important environmental regulations,” said Pingree. “I’m adamantly opposed to the bill but if Republicans succeed in getting it through the House it should at least include language that makes it clear that it doesn’t apply to the Portland Pipeline.”
Read more ›
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that a maritime shipping company has been selected to design a new vessel that would provide cargo service between Portland and New York, with a possible stop at another port in Southern New England. The design contract, for an articulated tug-barge, was funded by a $150,000 federal grant that Pingree had pushed for.The agreement between the Maine Port Authority and McAllister Towing and Transportation, calls for the initial design work to be completed by fall.
“The design of this vessel is the key to bringing increased domestic cargo service to Maine,” said Pingree. “This type of vessel will suit the needs of shippers in Maine and New York. It could cost between 1/3 and 1/2 what a more traditional container ship would cost and use fewer crew, thus reducing capital and operational costs that could then be passed on to shippers.”
Last year Pingree hosted a tour of the International Marine Terminal in Portland for U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. She told Matsuda that a new tug-barge design was the best option for starting a service that would movecargo between the Port of New York/New Jersey and Portland and urged him toapprove federal funding for the design. It’s important to spend time on the front end to design a vessel that fits the needs of shippers.
“We always work with our shippers first,” said John Henshaw, Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority. “With port infrastructure design, equipment investment, terminal layout – and in this case vessel design – we always begin with the customer.”
Read more ›
The Maine House passed a measure to expand Medicaid coverage with the ACA
The Maine House on Tuesday, by a vote of 87-57, passed a comprehensive measure to make the final payment on the state’s hospital debt, keep hospital costs under control and extend coverage to tens of thousands of Mainers by accepting federal health care dollars.
“We pay back our hospitals and ensure that thousands of Mainers can see a doctor when they are sick,” said Maine House Speaker Mark Eves. “By ensuring that thousands of Mainers can see a doctor when they are sick, we will reduce the charity care costs and bad debt that drive up costs for our hospitals. To do one without the other, would leave the job half done.”
Nearly 70,000 Maine people would gain health care coverage if Maine accepts the federal government’s offer. The federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the costs of covering all newly eligible people for the first three years and then gradually lower the payment to no less than 90 percent of the cost by 2020.
Read more ›
The Portland City Council late tonight passed by a vote of 7-2 a resolution expressing concern with oil industry’s potential use of the aging Portland-Montreal pipeline to carry tar sands through the Sebago Lake watershed and to Portland Harbor, where it would be loaded onto tankers.
At the meeting, Environment Maine announced that 3,065 Portlanders have signed petitions, sent letters, or written emails asking the City Council to protect the city from the tar sands pipeline project.
“We applaud the Portland City Council for passing this resolution to protect our drinking water, the beauty of Sebago Lake, and Casco Bay,” said Environment Maine Director Emily Figdor. “Recent tar sands spills in Arkansas and Michigan provide a first-hand glimpse of what we could see here if we don’t stop this reckless project. Portland has everything to lose and nothing to gain from the project.”
Read more ›
Tags: Climate change
The head of York Hospital joined local lawmakers and business owners Friday to call on the Legislature and Gov. Paul LePage to accept federal dollars so nearly 70,000 more Mainers can have access to health care.
Jud Knox, CEO and president of York Hospital, said accepting federal health care dollars is consistent with the hospital’s long-held mission of providing health care to everyone who comes through its doors.“To me, it’s the principle of access. I’m a provider of medical care. I believe people should get it,” said Knox.
Jim Stott, co-owner of York-based Stonewall Kitchen, said his business is able to provide health care insurance to its 500 businesses but other businesses are unable to do so. “Luckily we’re able to provide health insurance for our employees,” he said. “But a lot of other Mainers who work hard aren’t able to afford it. I want those Maine workers to have the same security of health care coverage. When you’re living hand-to-mouth, health care can go to the bottom of the list.”
Read more ›
Tags: Government transparency·Health and Human Services