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  • Rockland Receives $830,000 Federal Grant to Repair and Update Its Fish Pier

    Rockland Harbor, photo by Ramona du Houx

    The City of Rockland would receive an $830,000 federal grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), enough funding to move forward with plans to repair and update its aging Fish Pier.

    “The Rockland Fish Pier is a critical piece of working waterfront infrastructure that’s in great need of repair and updating. I’m grateful that Rockland will receive this federal grant so it can move forward with this long-awaited project,”Congresswoman Chellie Pingree . “The EDA is an important source of investment for Maine, which is why I have been proud to work with Appropriations colleagues from both sides of the aisle to protect its funding from being eliminated as the Trump Administration has proposed the last two years. The jobs this project preserves and creates shows why it’s so important to keep defending it and other programs.”  

    EDA estimates that the project will allow the retention and creation of 86 jobs.

    The $830,000 EDA grant is matched by a $350,000 federal grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission as well as funding from the Maine Department of Transportation and City of Rockland.

    Project Summary Provided by the EDA: 
    This EDA investment supports the construction of components, repairs and upgrades to the City of Rockland's commercial fish pier, to ensure that it remains available as a key resource to the Mid-Coast fishing and lobstering community.  The project includes repairing and resurfacing the pier, replacing fendering piles and camels, stabilizing the storage area, upgrading the electrical system and adjacent dredging to an approximate depth of eight feet at all tides.  The investment will support retention and creation of jobs in the region.

  • John Willey brings a boatyard to life in a memoir unique to Maine’s boat building history - booksignings

     

    John Willey brings a craftsman’s day to life in A Winter’s Apprentice as he shares insights into a Maine boatyard, where he worked and kept a journal from 1978 to ’79 in his book, A Winter’s Apprentice. John's perspectives are unique coming from being a scholar and private investigator. He knew he was working among a group of outstanding craftsmen and involved in a dying art that he has now preserved in his writings.

    “Before it ever leaves its building shed, a yacht will take its makers on unimagined journeys. This one only begins in East Boothbay, Maine,” said Willey.

    As the historian John Gardner confirms, until relatively recently boatbuilding was not recorded—the life of the yard crew even less so. Here is a rare and vibrant narrative from a winter apprentice.

    “It’s great, it really is great. I can see it, and see it all—smell it, taste it, and feel it. The shop and crew and Paul came through life size. I was there with you, every blessed, excruciating, wonderful minute…“Last night after supper, I sat down with it and didn’t get up until I had finished, about 2 a.m,” endorses John Gardner on the book’s back, historian, designer and builder of wooden boats, author of books including Building Classic Small Craft.

    John Willey enthusiastically recommends others to become apprentices of the trade.

    “The practice has worked well for more centuries than we can count. In every one of the great scholarly traditions, including but not limited to law and medicine and teaching, the best of us get that way by first attaching ourselves to the principles of what we want to know, and to the men and women who use and exemplify those principles to grow beyond them.”

    He has a special affinity to crafting wood. As a teen growing up at Good Will-Hinckley in central Maine, he made his first boat with a friend, in his free time when he wasn’t avidly reading. Working in a boat yard seemed to be a natural course to take.

    “As soon as I began work at Paul's yard I was dazzled, smitten, and wanted to preserve what I learned as completely as I could. After about four or five weeks it dawned on me I had something close to chapters for a book, along with detailed letters I’d written to my dad,” said John.

    Willey sought advise from professionals before completing his book.

    “John Gardner answered my first letter to him, and was so enthusiastic and reassuring I thought I actually had a book under way. He was always there, encouraging, and I knew he knew what he was talking about, even when I did not.” 

    Willey’s stories and sage insights will resonate with any reader who has had to leave one career and transition into another.

    Sherman’s Bookstores of Maine will host booksignings with John Willey the following dates:

    1. Sat. Aug. 11th –1:00: Sherman's of Boothbay Harbor, 5 Commercial St., Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
    1. Sat. Aug. 18th – 1:00: Sherman's of Portland, 49 Exchange St., Portland, ME 04101
    1. Sat. Aug. 25th –1:00: Sherman's of Damariscotta, 158 Main St., Damariscotta, ME 04543
    1. Tues. Sept. 10th – 1:00: Sherman's of Bar Harbor, 56 Main St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    More about the author:

    John had been an independent private investigator in San Francisco when he was told by his doctor to find less hectic work in a more peaceful setting if he wanted to live longer. So, at midlife, he and his wife returned to Maine.

    John has been a farmhand, janitor, jackhammer operator, U.S. Marine, choir member (bass), sailor, private investigator, electrician, boat builder, cabinetmaker, mason, and long served on the board of his beloved Good Will-Hinckley. In the summertime, he paddles an eighteen-foot sea kayak he built and launched in 1997.

    Published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the non-profit Solon Center for Research and Publishing – head office: PO Box 311, Solon, ME  04979. In town location: 20 Main Street, Rockland, ME  04841.

    Available online including Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, and at local bookstores by request, or directly from the publisher.

    $14.95

    ISBN 978-1-882190-45-4882190812

  • John Willey brings a boatyard to life in a memoir unique to Maine’s boat building history - booksignings

     

    John Willey brings a craftsman’s day to life in A Winter’s Apprentice as he shares insights into a Maine boatyard, where he worked and kept a journal from 1978 to ’79 in his book, A Winter’s Apprentice. John's perspectives are unique coming from being a scholar and private investigator. He knew he was working among a group of outstanding craftsmen and involved in a dying art that he has now preserved in his writings.

    “Before it ever leaves its building shed, a yacht will take its makers on unimagined journeys. This one only begins in East Boothbay, Maine,” said Willey.

    As the historian John Gardner confirms, until relatively recently boatbuilding was not recorded—the life of the yard crew even less so. Here is a rare and vibrant narrative from a winter apprentice.

    “It’s great, it really is great. I can see it, and see it all—smell it, taste it, and feel it. The shop and crew and Paul came through life size. I was there with you, every blessed, excruciating, wonderful minute…“Last night after supper, I sat down with it and didn’t get up until I had finished, about 2 a.m,” endorses John Gardner on the book’s back, historian, designer and builder of wooden boats, author of books including Building Classic Small Craft.

    John Willey enthusiastically recommends others to become apprentices of the trade.

    “The practice has worked well for more centuries than we can count. In every one of the great scholarly traditions, including but not limited to law and medicine and teaching, the best of us get that way by first attaching ourselves to the principles of what we want to know, and to the men and women who use and exemplify those principles to grow beyond them.”

    He has a special affinity to crafting wood. As a teen growing up at Good Will-Hinckley in central Maine, he made his first boat with a friend, in his free time when he wasn’t avidly reading. Working in a boat yard seemed to be a natural course to take.

    “As soon as I began work at Paul's yard I was dazzled, smitten, and wanted to preserve what I learned as completely as I could. After about four or five weeks it dawned on me I had something close to chapters for a book, along with detailed letters I’d written to my dad,” said John.

    Willey sought advise from professionals before completing his book.

    “John Gardner answered my first letter to him, and was so enthusiastic and reassuring I thought I actually had a book under way. He was always there, encouraging, and I knew he knew what he was talking about, even when I did not.” 

    Willey’s stories and sage insights will resonate with any reader who has had to leave one career and transition into another.

    Sherman’s Bookstores of Maine will host booksignings with John Willey the following dates:

    1. Sat. Aug. 11th –1:00: Sherman's of Boothbay Harbor, 5 Commercial St., Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
    1. Sat. Aug. 18th – 1:00: Sherman's of Portland, 49 Exchange St., Portland, ME 04101
    1. Sat. Aug. 25th –1:00: Sherman's of Damariscotta, 158 Main St., Damariscotta, ME 04543
    1. Tues. Sept. 10th – 1:00: Sherman's of Bar Harbor, 56 Main St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609

    More about the author:

    John had been an independent private investigator in San Francisco when he was told by his doctor to find less hectic work in a more peaceful setting if he wanted to live longer. So, at midlife, he and his wife returned to Maine.

    John has been a farmhand, janitor, jackhammer operator, U.S. Marine, choir member (bass), sailor, private investigator, electrician, boat builder, cabinetmaker, mason, and long served on the board of his beloved Good Will-Hinckley. In the summertime, he paddles an eighteen-foot sea kayak he built and launched in 1997.

    Published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the non-profit Solon Center for Research and Publishing – head office: PO Box 311, Solon, ME  04979. In town location: 20 Main Street, Rockland, ME  04841.

    Available online including Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, and at local bookstores by request, or directly from the publisher.

    $14.95

    ISBN 978-1-882190-45-4882190812

  • Former DOC Commissioner Patrick McGowan's modern day Robin Hood page-turner, One Good Thing — booksigning schedule

     

    Patrick McGowan weaves the spirit of adventure and social justice into his first novel in a twenty-first century Robin Hood story—with a twist. Our avengers take to the skies over the wilds of northern Maine and remote Canada risking everything in a mad-caped scheme to kidnap a couple of crooked, greedy billionaires.

    McGowan was on Bill Green's Maine, TV show, June 23rd. Green traveled to Rangeley, Maine to interview the author. Patrick entertained Maine audiences with unique stories about Maine and personalities he has known.

    Sherman’s Bookstores of Maine will host booksignings with Patrick McGowan the following dates:

     Sat. Aug. 11th –1:00: 158 Main St., Damariscotta, ME 04543

     Sat. Aug. 25th –1:00: Sherman's of Boothbay Harbor, Commercial St., Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

     Sat. Sept 15th – 1:00: Sherman's of Portland, 49 Exchange St., Portland, ME 04101

     Sun Sept. 16th: Sherman's of Bar Harbor, 56 Main St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609

     Sat. Sept. 22nd – 1:00: Sherman's of Camden, 14 Main St., Camden, ME 04843

    Patrick McGowan’s descriptions of flying over the northern woods and fishing are awe-inspiring. His gripping novel is hard to put down. A great summer read. 

    One Good Thing brings Patrick McGowan’s public service, floatplane adventures, and love of storytelling to the public. McGowan campaigned for single-payer health coverage in a congressional race in 1990 and has never given up on this bold idea for America.

    “During the winter of 2014-15 we lost power over the entire Christmas holiday. Luckily I had this story in my head for a book. I started writing," said McGowan. “It’s an adventure story with purpose.”

    More about the book:

    Mac McCabe, the owner of Allagash Air, flies wealthy customers into the wilderness to unforgettable and often life-changing experiences, camping, fishing, and hunting. When the man behind the deal to close the local paper mill forces Mac’s airplane into a deadly spin with his jet, Mac dreams up a plan to get even. He recruits the military discipline of his brother-in-law, the skills of a journalist and a beautiful computer expert to form his band of thieves.

    The personal motives of Mac McCabe’s merry band often put them at odds, raising the tension level with nail biting situations. But McCabe never wavers from his goal to do one good thing—correct an injustice to a Maine community and create a universal health care system for America.

    More about the author:

    Patrick K. McGowan was born in Bangor, Maine, and raised in Somerset County. He learned to fly at the age of sixteen and began a lifetime of adventure and backcountry bush flying. Inspired by his home state, a place of magnificent beauty, he began a public service career, which included being a legislator, presidential appointee, and member of a governor’s cabinet as the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation. 

    He has owned and operated many small businesses over four decades.

    His drive for continued adventure included ten years as a skydiver, forty years as a floatplane and backcountry airplane pilot and multiple Maine canoe trips. McGowan is an accomplished conservationist.

    Published by Polar Bear & Company, of Maine, an imprint of the non-profit Solon Center for Research and Publishing – head office: PO Box 311, Solon, ME  04979. In town location: 20 Main Street, Rockland, ME  04841.

    Available online including Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, and at local bookstores by request, or directly from the publisher.

     $17.95/Pages: 260 .  ISBN-13: 978-1882190812

  • Maine's Oxford Water District to receive a USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan

    By Ramona du Houx

    Maine's Oxford Water District will receive a Water and Waste Disposal Loan in the amount of $500,000, adding a 15-horsepower well pump and an aeration system. The District also will modify the well pump and interior/exterior piping, make electrical upgrades, and add integration controls to reduce acidity levels. These upgrades will help reduce corrosiveness, decrease lead and copper levels, and provide for redundancy in the event of extended power outages. This funding will help the District to provide safe clean drinking water to its 398 users.

    USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “USDA Rural Development is a major partner in ensuring that Maine’s rural communities have access to clean drinking water and properly working wastewater infrastructure. I am pleased that we could assist Oxford Water District with key upgrades to its infrastructure, helping it to continue to provide reliable quality drinking water for the community.”

    Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

    USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

    Meanwhile cities like Flint, MI are still suffering from lead posioning that could have been avoided. But Flint doesn't have funds for loans.

  • Maine's Merrymeeting Bay Rare Mud Plant Walk

    Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Saturday afternoon August 18th from 1:30-3:30 pm for walk amongst the rare mud plants of Merrymeeting Bay at Choice View Farm in Dresden.

    The walk will be led by Justin Schlawin, ecologist with the Maine Natural Areas Program. Merrymeeting Bay is home to a dozen rare mud plants, some like Eaton’s bur-marigold (Bidens eatonii) and Parker’s pipewort (Eriocaulon parkeri) considered globally rare.

    This spectacular site, near the mouth of the Eastern River was protected by FOMB in 2001 from development of a five-home subdivision. It was purchased with funds from Land for Maine’s Future, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the North American Waterfowl Conservation Act, The Nature Conservancy and a variety of other grantors along with individual donations.

    Choice View Farm offers one of two excellent Bay views from a numbered state road (the other from Rte. 24 in Bowdoinham) and ownership was transferred from FOMB to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Shortnose sturgeon, an endangered species have been known to winter in the lower Eastern River just off the Farm and when doing a phase 1 archaeology survey (a condition of LMF grants) of the property, an important prehistoric camping site was found. This triggered a substantial archaeological dig, in a joint venture between Maine Historic Preservation Commission and FOMB. Choice View turned out to be quite a hot spot for rare mud plants.

    Along with the globally rare species cited above, the following rare plants have also been found in the 9 acres of wetland below Choice View’s 16 acres of upland: mudwort (Limosella autralis), pygmyweed (Crassula aquatic), estuary bur-marigold (Bidens hyperborean), horned pondweed (Zanichellia palustris]) spongy arrowhead (Sagittaria calycina), and stiff arrowhead (Sagittaria rigida).

    Event:             Merrymeeting Bay Rare Mud Plant Walk
    When:             Saturday August 18th, 1:30-3:30 pm
    Where:           Choice View Farm, Dresden
    Registration:  Ed Friedman, 666-3372

    Leading this walk is Justin Schlawin, ecologist with the Maine Natural Areas Program, now part of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. FOMB’s Summer Outside! Series is the warm weather counterpart to their popular Winter Speaker Series.

    This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration with Ed Friedman at 666-3372 is required. The next FOMB Outside 2018! event will be the ever-popular Swan Island outing, September 7th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with Friends of Swan Island president, Jay Robbins. Pre-register with Jay at 737-2239. This outing requires an $8 Island fee.

  • Owner of an established bookstore in Waterville asks Sen. Snow if she will vote for Kavanaugh and she respond

    Owner of an established book store in Waterville asks Sen. Snow if she will vote for Kavanaugh and she responds.
    The letter written by Robert Sezak:

    I cannot in good conscience support, let alone consider, Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.  Kavanaugh has espoused a severely misguided belief that the president is essentially above the law.
    In his article in the 2009 Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh expresses the belief that a president should be immune from “civil suits, criminal investigations, or criminal prosecutions” during their time in office. And in 1998, Kavanaugh wrote, “Congress should give back to the President the full power to act when he believes that a particular independent counsel is ‘out to get him:
    The result the Supreme Court reached in Clinton v. Jones27 — that presidents are not constitutionally entitled to deferral of civil suits — may well have been entirely correct; that is beyond the scope of this inquiry. But the Court in Jones stated that Congress is free to provide a temporary deferral of civil suits while the President is in office.28 Congress may be wise to do so, just as it has done for certain members of the military.29 Deferral would allow the President to focus on the vital duties he was elected to perform.
    Congress should consider doing the same, moreover, with respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President.30 In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel. Criminal investigations targeted at or revolving around a President are inevitably politicized by both their supporters and critics. As I have written before, “no Attorney General or special counsel will have the necessary credibility to avoid the inevitable charges that he is politically motivated — whether in favor of the President or against him, depending on the individual leading the investigation and its results.”31  The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.
    Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation— including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators— are time-consuming and distracting. Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the President’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President.
    This appeal may sound good and be well intentioned but is in fact more of an emotional appeal than one founded in law.   "A President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President” states Kavanaugh. Yet to delay justice will surely increase any persons concern and cause one to do a worse job as the inevitable is put off and put off.  The legal maxim "Justice delayed is justice denied” means that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all.  If there is to be a plaintiff and a defendant and the President is to be the defendant, does not denial of the right of trail to the plaintiff  harm the plaintiff as much if not more than the defendant?  Should the President bring suit upon another party than may that party have the right to postpone legal actions until such time as the President is out of office?   This is not jurisprudence.
    That Kavanaugh has  encouraged such an dire and hazardous opinion and such an alarming notion that the president is essentially above the law leads me to the conclusion that Kavanaugh has no place on the United States Supreme Court.  
    To place any person above the law, for any reason, strikes at all laws to be null and void.
    Sincerely,
    Robert Sezak
    18 Bunker Ave
    Fairfield, ME 04937
    Sen. Collin's letter to Sezak:

    Dear Mr. Sezak,

              Thank you for contacting me regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the United States Supreme Court. I appreciate your taking the time to do so.

              Over the past thirty years, the handling of Supreme Court vacancies has become increasingly contentious, and this time is no exception. It is the constitutional duty of senators to give our advice and either give or withhold our consent for judicial nominations. As with all judicial nominees, but especially for a Supreme Court Justice, I will consider carefully Judge Kavanaugh’s intellect, integrity, qualifications, experience, temperament, and respect for precedent, the rule of law, and the Constitution. This is the approach I have taken with every judicial nominee who has come before me, including Supreme Court Justices nominated by Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump.  

              I do not, however, disqualify or approve judges because of their personal beliefs. As a result, the nominees I have voted to confirm span the ideological spectrum. For example, I supported the nominations of both Justice Sotomayor, the Court’s most liberal member, and Justice Alito, who is among the Court’s most conservative justices.  

              I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to questioning him in a meeting in my office.

              Again, thank you for contacting me.

    Sincerely,

    Susan M. Collins
    United States Senator

    P.S.  If you would like to receive weekly updates about my work on behalf of Maine in the United States Senate, you can subscribe to my e-newsletter by clicking here.

  • Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Tuesday, August 7, 2018

     

    Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Tuesday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  On Monday afternoon ozone levels began building in the New York City/Long Island Sound area.  Winds are expected to bring these high levels of ozone to Maine and travel down the coast on Tuesday.  A front bringing clouds & showers will be building in from the northwest but is not expected to reach the coast until the evening hours.  Prior to that sunshine along the transport route will further contribute to ozone build up.  In addition, particle pollution levels are expected to be moderate statewide.  Furthermore, heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service.  This combination of heat, humidity and poor air quality will exacerbate the effects of each.

    At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation.  When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

    Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

    • Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon.
    • Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/).
    • The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site:http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm
    • For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web sitewww.epa.gov/asthma  to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management. In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the listed tools to follow the Air Quality Forecast:

    For more information call DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196 or visitDEP’s air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/.

  • Maine Secretary of State Dunlap announces order of bond questions on November ballot

    By Ramona du Houx

    Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap drew the order of the bond questions for this November’s ballot on Aug 2, 2018.

    The November 6, 2018 referendum ballot will include one citizen’s initiative question and four bond questions. Ballot questions are listed by category, with the placement within each category determined by luck of the draw. Citizens’ initiatives are listed before bond issues.

    • Question 1: “Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?”
    • Question 2: “Do you favor a $30,000,000 bond issue to improve water quality, support the planning and construction of wastewater treatment facilities and assist homeowners whose homes are served by substandard or malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems?”
    • Question 3: “Do you favor a $106,000,000 bond issue, including $101,000,000 for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, piers, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and $5,000,000 for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?”
    • Question 4: “Do you favor a $49,000,000 bond issue to be matched by at least $49,000,000 in private and public funds to modernize and improve the facilities and infrastructure of Maine's public universities in order to expand workforce development capacity and to attract and retain students to strengthen Maine's economy and future workforce?”
    • Question 5: “Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue to improve educational programs by upgrading facilities at all 7 of Maine's community colleges in order to provide Maine people with access to high-skill, low-cost technical and career education?”

    A non-partisan citizens’ guide to the election will be posted on the  Upcoming Elections page in the fall. The State of Maine’s General and Referendum Election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

  • Maine Olympians Seth Wescott and Julia Clukey support WinterKids serving snow cones to Fun Run race participants

    Wescott receives a document from Gov. Baldaaci making May 6, 2010 officially Seth Westcott Day as well as making him an ambassador of Maine photo by Ramona du Houx
    As this year’s official beneficiary of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race, WinterKids has the opportunity for its kids, families, and supporters to participate in all the activity leading up to race day.
    On the evening of Friday, August 3rd, WinterKids will be cheering on kids of all ages as they compete in the friendly Kids Fun Run beginning at 6:00 pm at Fort Williams.
    A few of Maine’s favorite winter Olympians, snowboarder Seth Wescott and luger Julia Clukey, will be teaming up with WinterKids to serve snow cones and hand out custom armbands and headbands to all Fun Run participants. Kids are welcome to take photos with Wescott and Clukey, who will also have autographed postcards available. 
    To sign up for the Fun Run in advance, visit the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race website. On race day, Saturday, August 4th, Wescott and Clukey will lead the parade of flags at the finish line alongside ten WinterKids who will each hold a flag from one of the countries represented at the race.
    For any WinterKids Passport alumni who will be running the race, there's an opportunity to receive a special gift from WinterKids during the packet pick-up at the Expo on Thursday, August 2nd and Friday, August 3rd, from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. WinterKids will also be supplying 50 volunteers to assist with the race and the events leading up to it. 
    “We are thrilled to be the beneficiary of this year’s race. To be given this platform to reach over 7,000 active, competitive outdoor enthusiasts is amazing. Many of the race sponsors are also WinterKids supporters, and we are certain there are many racers who are Passport alumni from as far back as 1997. So, it feels like one collective family working together toward a common goal of making Maine kids more active and ultimately, healthier,” says Julie Mulkern, WinterKids’ Executive Director.
    So far, WinterKids has raised $62,000 from the TD Charitable Foundation gift, and over 1,000 donors. All funds raised through this event will go towards keeping kids healthy and active and will support WinterKids new mobile app for families to get outside more often together in all corners of Maine in the winter. WinterKids is an organization based in Portland, Maine that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity.
    WinterKids has helped over 100,000 Maine children to be active outdoors in the winter through unique programs statewide in the last two decades. In addition to in school outreach, the WinterKids Passport, now in its 20th year, provides Maine families with affordable access to wintertime activities.
    WinterKids is the nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity. The organization delivers innovative outdoor programs for families, schools, and communities. WinterKids’ Major Community Sponsor is Hannaford. WinterKids’ Supporting Sponsors are WEX, L.L.Bean and Irving Oil. Learn more at WinterKids.org.
  • Democrats in Maine stood up for electricity customers-Rep Seth Berry

    Op-ed by Rep. Seth Berry, House chair of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. Rep. Berry represents House District 55: Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Swan Island and most of Richmond. He previously served from 2006-2014, the final two years as House majority leader.   

    When it comes to our electricity bills, Mainers deserve to be treated with fairness and honesty. It’s a matter of basic trust.  And when that trust was broken several months ago, the Legislature fought back on your behalf.

    I’m Representative Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, and I’m the co-chair of the Energy Committee, which oversees all the utilities in our state.

    Shortly after the big windstorm last October, Central Maine Power customers began to complain about unusually large bills. Many people’s bills doubled or tripled – even the bills of some people who were without power for over a week because of the storm.

    As my colleagues and I began to investigate, hold hearings and ask questions, it became clear that something had gone very wrong. State regulators backed up our conclusion when they opened a formal investigation, and now there is a class action lawsuit alleging that nearly 300,000 homes and businesses may have been overcharged.

    We also discovered something else strange and disturbing – the law on the books said that you, the electricity customer, had to pay for regulators to investigate the electric companies, even if that investigation found the company at fault.

    To understand how unfair that is, imagine someone robs your house, and then you get a bill in the mail from the police after they catch the suspect.   

    That’s why my committee got to work on changing the law. Democrats worked hard to convince our Republican colleagues that this was the right thing to do.

    And I’m proud to say that – after a long negotiation – we were successful. The new law – called “the Riley Amendment” after Representative Tina Riley of Jay – allows Maine’s Public Utilities Commission to start charging power company shareholders – and not customers – for investigations when the company is at fault.

    It also allows the PUC to establish independent audits, so that we can keep a close eye on the power companies’ meters and billing systems to make sure you’re not being overcharged. 

    When it comes to consumer protection, there’s still a long way to go. But I’m proud of the steps we took, and I’m looking forward to doing more. 

    Maine families and small businesses watch every penny, whether we’re trying to cool down our homes in the summer or keep the furnace going in the winter. Those efforts to save money should be respected – not wiped away by a computer glitch.

    As we look ahead to a new legislature and a new governor next year, we need to make sure our incoming leaders are people who will stand up for you when a large corporation treats you unfairly. Democrats will be there fighting to make sure all utilities put their customers first.