Entries Filed in 'Creative Economy'

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 · 1 Comment · 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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Bill would have provided rebates for heat pumps and solar panels in Maine killed by Republicans

April 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Creative Economy, Energy Issues

ReVision installation on EcoVillage’s showcase GO Logic passive solar home. photo by Ramona du houx

ReVision installation on EcoVillage’s showcase GO Logic passive solar home. photo by Ramona du houx


In a 22-13 vote, the Senate Republicans sustained Governor LePage’s veto of a bill that would have provided rebates for solar panels and heat pumps for low-income Mainers. Overriding a veto requires two-thirds, or 24 Senate votes.The Senate originally supported the measure in a vote of 22-12. Republican Senator Ron Collins initially supported the bill then flipped his vote and supported Governor LePage’s veto.

“Despite Maine’s abundant solar resource, we are the only state in New England with zero policy support for solar energy. Gov. LePage’s veto of the solar rebate bill, and the Senate’s failure to override the veto, demonstrate that our state leadership thinks fossil fuels are the way to go. This is reckless in a state that already has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in New England, while the state’s biggest industry, tourism, is predicated on a pristine natural environment,” said Phil Coupe of Revision Energy.

The measure would have reestablished the solar rebate program under Efficiency Maine and helped Mainers install more than 1,250 new solar panels and heat pumps at Maine homes and businesses.

“This bill would have created jobs in an emerging industry and helped low-income Mainers heat their homes,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “Why would you oppose jobs for Maine, or assistance for the elderly and low-income Mainers struggling to pay their oil bills? It’s disappointing Governor LePage’s veto spree has once again hurt our economy and hurt some of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

Maine spends $5 billion per year importing fossil fuels and is the most petroleum-dependent state for home heating, with more than 70% of households using it as their primary heating source.

According to a 2010 report, rooftop solar panels alone could provide 24% of Maine’s electricity.

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President Obama announced that the federal government will award over $500 million in job training and apprenticeship grants

April 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Creative Economy, News from Washington

 

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., April 16, 2014. Students Zach Kuzma and Stephanie Womack demonstrate equipment that teaches students how to manipulate gears, pulleys, sprockets, etc. to adjust the speed and/or torque of a motor or system. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden would lead a reform of America’s job training programs, making sure that these programs ”train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.”

Yesterday, the President and Vice President visited the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania to announce progress on that reform.

“CCAC is an outstanding model of the kind of job-driven training we’re trying to encourage all across the country,” said President Obama. “You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives — and we want to spread the word.”

The President first announced a nearly $500 million competition in which the federal government will award grants to community colleges and employers partnering together to develop job-driven training programs.

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

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Energy Issues, Maine's green energy potential

The Senate unanimously gave final approval to a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson to study the potential benefits of biomass for renewable energy.The measure directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to complete a comprehensive study on the potential benefits and barriers to making thermal energies eligible for the State of Maine’s renewable energy portfolio standard. This standard is a regulation that requires at least 30% of energy production in Maine to come from renewable energy sources.

“With more and more Mainers struggling to heat their homes, we need to explore alternative sources for energy,” said Senator Jackson of Allagash. “Biomass is one option for renewable energy, and this study will help us determine the role it could play in Maine’s energy future.”

As part of the study, the PUC will review the legislative actions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maryland to add thermal energies to their portfolios. The PUC will report their findings to the Legislature in 2015. The measure, LD 1468 “Resolve, Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Study the Potential Benefits and Barriers Involved in Making Renewable Thermal Technologies Eligible for Qualification in Maine’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard”, will be sent to Governor LePage for his signature.

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Pre-kindergarten bill to expand early childhood education makes it through Maine House

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Creative Economy, Education

LD 1530, An Act To Establish a Process for the Implementation of Universal Voluntary Prekindergarten Education, was enacted unanimously “under the hammer” in the Maine House of Representatives’ Tuesday. Last week, it won initial approval with a veto-proof vote of 102-45.

“Smart investment in the earliest years of childhood is one of the best things we can do for young Mainers to boost their chances of success,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry, a bill co-sponsor who was an award-winning public school teacher. “Educators and leaders in business and law enforcement recognize these efforts as important to children and the state as a whole.”

The measure makes casino revenues available as start-up funding to school districts that choose to offer voluntary pre-K programs. The bill also establishes a stakeholder group to develop quality standards, best practices and common assessments.

There are 172 school districts in Maine with elementary schools, but only 60 percent of them offer some kind of pre-K. Under the measure, the implementation of pre-K programs would be voluntary for school districts and participation would be voluntary for families.

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

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Creative Economy, Science

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently evaluated the Bigelow Analytical Services (BAS) facility and found it in compliance with National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) standards, making BAS the first in the nation to offer a new protocol to test for paralytic shellfish toxins in bivalve shellfish.

“This advance puts Maine at the cutting edge of assessing shellfish safety,” added Bigelow Laboratory’s Executive Director, Graham Shimmield.

The new method replaces the mouse bioassay testing method used for the past 40 years, with an instrumental analysis that measures toxicity levels more precisely and efficiently.

“This is a huge step forward in improving the way shellfish are tested for toxins,” said Carlton Rauschenberg, Bigelow Analytical Services Supervisor. “Paralytic shellfish toxin can be deadly. The quality and sensitivity of data produced by this method far exceeds what the national shellfish program has been able to achieve with the mouse bioassay.”

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Congresswoman Pingree’s Ted Talk on why food policy is worth fighting for

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy, News from Washington

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The Congress Square, Portland, Maine design team to hold next public meeting

April 3rd, 2014 · 1 Comment · Community Maine, Creative Economy

The design team for the Congress Square Redesign will hold a working meeting for the members of the Congress Square Redesign Study Group and the public to review the findings of their initial assessment and discuss design directions going forward. The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 22 from 6:30pm-8:30pm in the Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The design team of Klopfer Martin Design Group (KMDG), a landscape architecture firm in Boston, was selected in December, 2013 as the top choice for the project. The project team includes members from KMDG and Utile, Inc. for urban design, and Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates for civil and traffic engineering. Especially impressive was the team’s experience with and understanding of integrating art into public spaces as well as including the community in the design process. The design team will work with many different groups in designing the square including the community, the Congress Square Redesign Study Group, the Portland Public Art Committee, traffic engineers for the State and High study, and neighboring businesses and institutions. The project will also undergo review through the Historic Preservation Board and the Planning Board.

In August and September of 2013, the Planning Division, working with members from the Congress Square Redesign Study Group and Friends of Congress Square Park, held a Visioning Process to capture insights and input about the future vision of this important intersection. The results from that process along with the vision statement, and additional resources about Congress Square can be found at www.portlandmaine.gov/planning/congresssquare.

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