Entries Filed in 'Community Maine'

Citizen Scientists Needed to Help Endangered Species in Maine

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · 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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Solar Energy bill becomes law without Gov. LePage’s signature

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · 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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Discover the Mount Desert Island Geology Puzzle

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · 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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Sierra Peaks Corporation gets Pine Tree Zone tax benefits and sets up in Camden, Maine

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · 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 · No Comments · 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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Maine Bank foundation donates $100,000 to nonprofits

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine

The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will donate $100,000 to nonprofits across Maine as part of their annual Community Matters More program. During the month of February 2014, more than 86,000 Mainers voted for organizations they care about, and 68 Maine nonprofits will be receiving grants in May.

“Obviously, Maine people understand the vital role that these organizations play in their communities, and they want to do what they can to help. And when you look down the list of the grant winners, it is clear that nonprofits of all sectors are integral to Maine’s community spirit. Not only is Bangor Savings Bank committed to providing financial support, we are very grateful to all those who participated,” said iJim Conlon, Bangor Savings Bank’s president and CEO.

Eight nonprofits that received the most community votes will each receive a $5,000 grant. They are:

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Portland, Maine makes Baxter Boulevard a car-free oasis on Sundays from May 4 – November 9

April 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Public Safety

Maine's Portland City Hall during the holidays,  photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s Portland City Hall during the holidays, photo by Ramona du Houx

The City of Portland and its partners today announced that it is launching Sundays on the Boulevard starting May 4, 2014. Baxter Boulevard, with one of the best views in Portland, will be transformed into an urban oasis for bike riding, running, walking, skateboarding and other recreational activities. The road will be closed to cars on Sundays from May 4 through November 9, 9:00 AM – 4:00PM, from Vannah Ave to Payson Park.

“We hope to capitalize on the momentum that was created when the Boulevard was closed last year to cars during our public works project,” said Michael Bobinsky, Portland’s Director of Public Services. “People really took advantage of the roadway during this time and enjoyed it as a recreational space. This is just a formal extension of that.”

The impetus for Sundays on the Boulevard follows the City’s public works project last year that kept the Boulevard closed to cars for eight months. The program is part of a growing number of open street projects, in which streets are closed temporarily to auto traffic so that people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. There are more than 100 documented initiatives across North America, according to the Open Streets Project.

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Maine’s local food hub bill vetoed in Gov. LePage’s veto spree

April 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Issue 40

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

As part of his nine-bill veto spree today, Governor LePage killed another bill that received strong bipartisan support from the Legislature. The measure, LD 1431, encouraged the use of Maine-produced food in Maine schools.

“It is unfortunate that the governor does not value this bill for what it is – a collaboration between his own administration’s departments of Agriculture and Education to help grow institutional markets for Maine farmers and fishermen,” said Senator Chris Johnson, who is the sponsor of the measure. “And it helps the food service in more Maine schools succeed in providing healthier food for our children just as innovative school systems in Maine are already doing.

The bill supports the creation of “food hubs” where locally produced food can be aggregated, minimally processed (such as washing and chopping), stored, and distributed. It also creates a competitive, grant-funded school food service training program, and seeks federal grants to operate the program.

The bill received strong bipartisan approval from the Legislature with a vote of 33-0 in the Senate and 120-19 in the House.

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

April 19th, 2014 · 2 Comments · 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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Rep. Fowle’s Maine veterans court bill heads to governor’s desk

April 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Issue 40, Public Safety

The Maine Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a bill to support and expand Kennebec County’s successful Veterans Treatment Court program. With unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate, the measure now goes to Gov. Paul LePage for his signature.

The Veterans Treatment Court currently operates in Kennebec County and is open to any newly returned veteran in the state but may be difficult to access for veterans living farther away. Rep. Lori Fowle, the bill’s primary sponsor, said her measure would provide a stable source of funding that would allow veterans courts to slowly expand to other parts of Maine.

“I want to thank lawmakers for these strong, bipartisan votes recognizing that we have to do more to help these veterans rebuild their lives,” said Fowle. “The Veteran’s Treatment Court is already achieving success, and this bill will ensure that success continues.”

The two-part bill would fund a part-time prosecutor to ensure that Kennebec County’s veterans court can continue on stable financial footing.

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