Entries Filed in 'Community Maine'

Report shows Maine leading the way in farming revival

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Farming, Issue 41, Issues

Organic Farm, photo by Ramona du Houx

Organic Farm, photo by Ramona du Houx

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that farming in Maine is on the increase, with Maine leading New England in the number of farms in operation.

“The farm economy in Maine is alive and well and growing,” said.Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “It’s grown by almost 25 percent over five years and Maine farmers are younger and more likely to be women than in the country overall. And CSAs are more popular in Maine than in nearly any other state in the country.”

According to Gary Keough, a statistician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agriculture sales increased by 24 percent from 2007 to 2012. The average age for Maine farmers is 1.3 years younger than the national average, and 29 percent of Maine farmers are women, compared to just 17 percent nationally. And Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangements, where consumers pay a fixed price for a share of a farm’s output, are more popular in Maine than almost anywhere else in the country, with Maine ranking third in the number of farms participating in CSAs.

“You can see Maine people take high quality local food and farming seriously,” said Pingree. “Just look at the growth of organic farming, which increased by over 50 percent in five years.”

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Michaud and Pingree help restore funding for tidal power in Federal Spending Bill

July 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Energy Issues

Congressman Michael Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree helped restore $9 million in funding for a program that has already invested over $18 million in Maine tidal projects since 2008. Michaud, who had previously led a House effort to support funding for the program, joined Pingree, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, to successfully push for an amendment to the bill that sets spending levels for the Department of Energy. Their amendment, which was also sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, passed the House today by a wide margin, including the support of dozens of Republicans.

“The Water Power Program supports critical private-sector research, development, deployment and commercialization for marine hydrokinetic energy technology developed here in Maine,” said Michaud. “Other countries have already shown interest, presenting great opportunities for exporting American technology. Now is not the time for a drastic cut to this important program. I look forward to working with the Senate to increase funding even more.

The amendment restores $9 million in cuts to the portion of the Department of Energy budget that funds the Marine and Hyrdokinetic Energy Program. That program promotes research and development of emerging technology that generates clean energy from the nation’s oceans and rivers. Michaud and Pingree’s amendment pays for the restored funding by cutting the budget for the Department of Energy’s administrative expenses.

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Maine panel tasked to create a plan to improve access to food for hungry children meets

July 8th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Public Safety

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

The Task Force to End Student Hunger convened yesterday in Augusta for its first of five meetings focused on developing a multi-year plan to improve access to food for students and end child hunger in Maine.

During today’s meeting, the panel focused on gaining an understanding of the scope of hunger among school-aged children in Maine and the numerous programs and agencies involved in providing meals to Maine’s students.

“The reality is that student hunger connects every part of our state. It is a Maine problem,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland, who serves as the co-chair of the task force. “If we want our students to be successful then we must improve the reality that almost one in four school-aged children in Maine is hungry.”

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Federal lawsuit alleges more than 250 violations during Maine’s 2008 Blueberry Harvest

July 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Civil Rights, Community Maine

Late last week, Pine Tree Legal Assistance filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court on behalf of 18 farmworkers claiming multiple egregious violations of federal law by a farm labor recruiter, two Maine employers, and several housing providers, during the 2008 blueberry harvest.

The lawsuit alleges that more than 250 violations of the federal Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) during the 2008 blueberry harvest. Maine is the leading producer of wild blueberries, harvesting 91.1 million pounds of wild blueberries in 2012, according to the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistic Service.

“The defendants’ blatant disregard of the legal protections for migrant farmworkers who harvest Maine’s blueberry crop established a pattern of unscrupulous practices that is deplorable, illegal, and should not be tolerated in our state,” said Nan Heald, executive director of Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

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America is a forever-changing nation always on the move, The new Maine Artists Collective exhibit reflects this independent spirit

July 4th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine

The Constellation Gallery, home of the Maine Artists Collective, is pleased to announce their Movement exhibit for July. America is a forever-changing nation– always on the move, this exhibit reflects our independent spirit. The exhibit will have works from 11 different artists on display, with their creations to marvel at, to contemplate, and to sense the world of movement in.

The Constellation Gallery has brought together unique visions of movement, which represents the diversity of the artists and their various mediums.

Kate, Sanders-Fleming’s piece, Back At Home, a 3 x 4 foot oil painting, was chosen for as the Best of Show. There are many interpretations for this powerful work, which Kate embraces. For some, Back At Home depicts an apparently conflicted man in bed in different stages of action. It captures the turmoil of a waking dreaming state of mind in flux by showing us his different body movements. The warm earthy tones give the viewer the sense he’s protected.

“I need to make work about the people and the environment around me. We’re always in motion, always changing, always dealing with each other throughout the day— that excites me,” said Sanders-Fleming. “I’m directly trying to work from life. It’s difficult to trace the passage of time on a two dimensional space.”

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Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine

Happy 4th of July!  photo by Ramona du Houx

Happy 4th of July! photo by Ramona du Houx

In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Independence Day by noticing the contributions and sacrifices from individuals throughout the history of this country – from our Founding Fathers, to the men and women in our military serving at home and abroad.

Remarks of President Barack Obama:

Hi, everybody. I hope you’re all having a great Fourth of July weekend.

I want to begin today by saying a special word to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who represented America so well the past few weeks. We are so proud of you. You’ve got a lot of new believers. And I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.

It was 238 years ago that our founders came together in Philadelphia to launch our American experiment. There were farmers and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, ministers and a kite-flying scientist.

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Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives to address annual senior volunteer celebration

June 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Health Care, Healthy Lifestyles

Rep. Mark  Eves answers questions from the press. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Rep. Mark Eves answers questions from the press. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Mark Eves of North Berwick will address The Opportunity Alliance’s annual recognition of Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions at a luncheon held in their honor at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 27, 2014.

Maine is the oldest state in the nation and the older population is growing rapidly. It’s projected that one in four Mainers will be over the age of 65 by 2030.

“The work of the Alliance provides an excellent model for how Maine can turn the challenges we face with our aging population into an opportunity,” said Eves, who has spearheaded a statewide initiative on aging. “The senior volunteers in these programs make a huge difference in our communities. They provide opportunity across generations and to their peers, while positively impacting so many lives.”

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LePage’s vetoes of life-saving health care costs Mainers

June 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Health Care, Healthy Lifestyles

Gov. Paul LePage’s ideological vetoes of life-saving health care for Maine citizens has further hamstrung Maine’s economy, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, Maine was 39th nationally and last among the six New England states in first-quarter personal income growth, in part because Governor LePage refused to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. By failing to expand health care, Maine has forgone more than $160 million in revenue since Jan. 1, 2014 and has lost out on 4,400 jobs.

LePage is the only Governor in the country to have vetoed five different measures to expand Medicaid, including a bipartisan proposal sponsored by Assistant Republican Minority Leader Roger Katz of Augusta.

“The Governor’s ideological vetoes of health care have hurt our people and our economy,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, who sponsored several measures to accept the federal funds to expand access to health care for Maine people. “Once again, we are seeing how governing by Tea Party ideology has hurt our state.”

Meanwhile, LePage wasted nearly $500,000 in taxpayer funds on the embattled and plagiarized Alexander Group contract meant to discredit efforts to expand Medicaid.

Last year, the Governor undercut a multi-million-dollar offshore wind deal with leading energy company Statoil. The project would have created a legacy industry and created hundreds of jobs by putting Maine on the cutting edge of renewable energy. He also held up investment bonds for three years–stalling shovel-ready projects and preventing the creation of hundreds of jobs across the state.

“Report after report shows us that the LePage economy is not working. Here we are again: Maine finds itself at the bottom of the pack, trailing behind most of the nation. This time, working Mainers’ personal incomes are ranked last in New England,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Mainers are frustrated with the slow recovery of jobs. We need a leader who is ready to prioritize every day Mainers and build off of our competitive advantages.”

Under Governor LePage, Maine’s job growth has remained at the back of the pack nationally. Among the 50 states, Maine ranks 46th in jobs recovered since the bottom of the recession.


Universal Bread, Waterville’s new bakery specializing in old world artisan bread

June 24th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Business & Innovation, Community Maine

Adrian Sulea creates authentic artisan breads in Waterville. photo by Ramona du Houx

Adrian Sulea creates authentic artisan breads in Waterville. photo by Ramona du Houx

Tucked away on 19 Temple Street is Universal Bread, a new bakery specializing in old world artisan bread.

In movies of Europe, when there is a street scene in the daytime the viewer can usually see a long baguette in shopping bags, on the backs of bicycles, or in the hands of city goes always wrapped in a white. Most people in towns across the continent still wake up and go to their local baker for the morning’s fresh bread. It’s a tradition Adrian Sulea of North Anson wants to establish in Waterville.

Sulea said he named his business Universal Bread because, “the only standard bread should be held against is its Universality. Bread baking is an art that endures history and transcends cultures. Bread has its personality equally touched both by the baker and those who daily appreciate its significance.”

Sulea’s bread is authentic down to the fluffy light center. He uses all natural ingredients with just yeast, water and wheat. A baguette is well worth $3.50. He also sells boules and batards, and whole wheat is available as well.

Bread is considered a staple in many cultures but represents so much more. It’s a comfort that brings people together. While processed and packaged breads laced with sugar and fats have become the norm in supermarkets, there are growing numbers of bakers that are meeting the demand for artisan-baked bread in Maine. Adrian is the first located in the center of the city.

Adrian has a degree from the University of Maine at Farmington in Business Economics. While attending school he couldn’t find any fresh baked artisan bread like he was accustomed to in Romania so he started to bake his own from a traditional family recipe. After living in Boston, he decided to return to Maine, open Universal Bread and follow his passion.

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Cain for Congress endorsed by Maine AFL-CIO

June 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine

Rep. Emily Cain.  photo by du Houx

State Senator Emily Cain, the Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, has been endorsed by the Maine AFL-CIO. The organization’s members voted unanimously to endorse Cain and announced the endorsement this morning.

“Emily Cain has a proven track record of bringing people together to improve Maine’s economy,” said Don Berry, an electrician and President of the Maine AFL-CIO in a statement earlier today. “Emily has the same priorities as the hard working people of the district – she will work to raise wages, create jobs and defend Social Security and Medicare. Emily Cain will stand up for working people and build a better Maine economy for everyone.”

Working people from diverse backgrounds are backing Cain.

“The differences in this race could not be clearer,” said Emery Deabay, a papermaker from Bucksport and co-chair of the Maine AFL-CIO Legislative Committee in a statement earlier today. “Emily Cain will bring people together to support working families, while Bruce Poliquin is a rigid tea party ideologue on the side of the wealthy and of tax breaks for millionaires. Emily understands what working people are facing, she has a proven track record supporting Maine’s hard working people, and she will be a strong voice for us in Washington.”

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