• More stars join Michelle Obama in When We All Vote to get out vote for 2020

    By Ramona du Houx

    Michelle Obama is a co-chair of the national organization When We All Vote, along with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Faith Hill, Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson, and basketball star Chris Paul.still trying to get out the vote.

    Hanks said “registering new voters is an act of hope and taking part in the American idea.” He added that voting guarantees the blessings of “liberty for the grandkids.”

    The former first lady Michelle Obama announced on November 7, 2019 that Selena Gomez, Liza Koshy, Shonda Rhimes, Megan Rapinoe, Tracee Ellis Ross and Kerry Washington just  signed on as co-chairs as well.

    When We Vote, a nonprofit, is a nonpartisan group dedicated to increasing voter participation. The announcement marks a year until the 2020 elections, which includes the presidential race.

    The organization was founded in 2018.

  • Pathways to Recovery: Resources for Maine’s Veterans and Families at Portland City Hall

    Join the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maine and our partners for a Veterans Day community conversation hosted by Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck.

     Pathways for veterans and their families will be open for a productive conversation.

    The discussion will be November 12, 2019 from 5pm to 6:30pm at Portland City Hall in the State of Maine Room. That’s 289 Congress Street.

    Everyone is welcome, every concern will be addressed.

  • Maine Artist’s Reception for Obrianna Cornelius at the Camden Public Library

    Fine artist and illustrator Obrianna Cornelius will hold her artist’s reception for her new exhibit at the Camden Public Library on Saturday, November 9, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Cornelius, the library’s Artist of the Month, is known for her highly detailed paintings filled with natural color and scenic lighting effects.  A collection of her watercolor landscapes will be on display in the Picker Room Gallery during the month of November. 

    “The beautiful landscape and unique culture inspire and motivate me in my artwork,” says Cornelius. “From the glory of a sunset over the ocean, to the historic architecture, to the details of an ice-covered berry or a brilliantly colored fall leaf, Maine never stops amazing me. I look forward to every day spent painting Maine.”

    Obrianna Cornelius studied art at Pensacola Christian College and cites the master watercolorists who came before her “such as Homer, Wyeth, and Turner” as her teachers. Her painting style is defined by vibrant colors and bold, confident strokes. ”Rather than muddying my colors by going back and fussing with details,” says Cornelius, “I try to get things right on the first stroke, producing rich colors and dramatic imagery.”

  • Maine Consumer Alert: Utility Disconnection Scam

    October 30, 2019  The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) wants to alert consumers regarding scams involving their utility service.

    Scammers appear to be using the Commission’s Consumer Assistance and Safety Division (CASD) consumer assistance hotline number (800-452-4699) to disguise the actual phone number that they are calling from.  This practice is known as telephone number “spoofing,” a situation when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to a person’s caller ID display to disguise the caller’s true identity.  Consumers have reported that they received a call apparently from the CASD telling them that they are behind on their utility bill and directing them to send payment immediately to avoid disconnection.  The CASD would not do this.  The CASD always issues a formal decision letter resolving customer complaints that is sent either by email or U.S. mail.

    In this instance, scammers typically contact consumers by phone and demand immediate payment, often telling consumers to make a payment using a prepaid debit/credit card and directing them to call a specific number with the card information to avoid an immediate disconnection of their utility service.  Consumers should know that neither the CASD, nor a legitimate business, will ask you to use a prepaid debit/credit card to make a payment.  If you receive a call like this, the best thing to do is just hang up.  If you are still concerned about your utility account, contact your utility at the number provided on your utility bill or call the CASD.

    The Commission offers the following advice to consumers to avoid being defrauded of their money:

    1.  Utilities will not call consumers in good standing claiming they have debt that must be paid immediately.
    2.  If a person contacts you claiming to represent a utility or the Commission, stating that you must pay a certain sum of money immediately to avoid disconnection, you can verify your account’s standing by contacting your utility at the number provided on your utility bill (not by the person contacting you). When you reach the utility, you can verify what is truly happening with your account.
    3.  Commission rules require utilities to provide consumers with proper notices regarding disconnection. Consumers should not provide information or money to a person over the phone without first contacting their utility. Consumers should contact the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Hotline (1-800-452-4699) if, after speaking with their utility, they cannot resolve a billing problem.

  • Gift Worthy Book Sale at the Camden Public Library

    For those who want to get their holiday shopping done early, or add to their own collection, the Camden Public Library will be holding the “Gift Worthy” Book Sale until the 30th of November. There will be an impressive selection of quality used books in great condition for sale on tables in the Rotunda. The book sale runs during regular library operating hours, and the tables will be regularly restocked with books for all ages and tastes.

    The book sales, which are held throughout the year, generate significant income for the Camden Public Library; during the most recent fiscal year they contributed more than $30,000 to the Library’s operating budget, and this year they are on track to do the same again. This success can only be achieved with support from the community through donations of books to the library as well as through purchases. To learn more, visit

  • Maine calls on USDA to finalize hemp guidance to support farmers

    Oct, 23, 2019

    The Mills Administration today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize guidance, required under the 2019 Farm Bill, to help states like Maine implement regulations relating to the production of commercial hemp. Governor Janet Mills and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal noted in their letter to the department that until such guidelines are in place, states like Maine are unable to move forward with their own guidance for growers and are restricted by the outdated rules governed by the 2014 Farm Bill. They also raised concerns that the regulatory uncertainly has resulted in hemp farmers not receiving the necessary supports from financial and insurance institutions, thereby stifling “the growth and aspirations of hardworking farm businesses.” 

    “Given the growth and rate at which hemp production has accelerated in Maine and across the country, and the continued confusion around federal laws, we urge you to work swiftly with the Office of Management and Budget to finalize USDA’s guidance for state implementation plans,” wrote Governor Mills and Commissioner Beal.  “We believe this Federal guidance will not only help provide long-needed clarification to the states but will be valuable to the broader lending and insurance industries.”


  • Office of the State Treasurer will send $100 relief payments to all who qualified in 2019 for Homestead Exemption

    Oct, 22, 2019

    State Treasurer Henry E.M. Beck, Esq. today announced that he has officially notified Municipal Tax Assessors of a new law affecting Maine municipalities. "An Act to Return Funds to Maine Property Taxpayers" requires the Maine Office of the State Treasurer (OST) to provide tax relief payments of no less than $100 to qualifying homesteads, when the Property Tax Relief Fund reaches a threshold of funding to support the payments. In 2019, this threshold will be met based on available funds divided by the number of homesteads net of expenses to administer the program.

    The Treasurer has directed all of Maine's Municipal Tax Assessors and the State Tax Assessor to provide the names and addresses of all property tax payers who qualified for the homestead exemption as of April 1, 2019. OST expects that approximately 305,000 property tax payers will receive a payment.

    The State Treasurer is anticipating a payment of approximately $102 to be mailed to qualified Mainers in the months of January and February. Beck noted that "Maine people made clear they want property tax relief. Speaker Gideon's bipartisan legislation will provide over $30 million in direct relief to Maine homeowners. Combined with Governor Mills' budget to dramatically increase revenue sharing and also raise the homestead exemption, this meaningful program delivers on real property tax relief for Maine people."

    For more information on the program and how the payments will be sent, please visit

    About OST: The Office of the State Treasurer provides state agencies with efficient banking and financial services, which include revenue collection, payment issuance, reconciliation, and trust management. The Office also manages state investments and debt payments and issuance, ensuring that bonds authorized by voters are efficiently sold in the marketplace to provide funding for capital projects statewide. Over $200 million in unclaimed funds for Maine residents are managed by the Office of the Treasurer. FMI,

    About the Homestead exemption program: This program provides a measure of property tax relief for certain individuals that have owned homestead property in Maine for at least 12 months and make the property they occupy on April 1 their permanent residence. Property owners would receive an exemption of $20,000. FMI,

  • Golden stands up demanding transparency and a public hearing on the Army Corps’ of Engineers review of CMP Transmission Corridor

    by Ramona du Houx

    October 16, 2019 (Augusta, ME)

    As Central Maine Power’s (CMP) controversial transmission corridor proposal continues to face delays and growing public opposition, Congressman Jared Golden issued a strong letter of concern this morning to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The letter highlights the Army Corps’ lack of transparency in its permitting process for the CMP corridor and its failure to respond to numerous requests by Maine residents for a public hearing.

    To address the Army Corps’ failure to respond to the public concerns, Congressman Golden asked Colonel William Conde, in the Corps’ New England District office, to: 1) provide all communications with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the project, which the Army Corps has refused to release to the public without a formal Freedom of Information Act request; and 2) hold at least one public hearing on this project in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

    “I am concerned that your agency has denied repeated requests from my constituents for a public hearing. It is critical that Mainers are able to provide input and voice their opinions about the permitting of a project that will have significant environmental and economic consequences for their communities,” stated Congressman Golden.

    "While the other CA-to-MA lines have had hearings, CMP’s has not. It is disturbing that presidential and Army Corps permits are even being considered under such circumstances," said Maine State Rep. Seth Berry, who serves as House chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy.

    Congressman Golden highlighted an April 25, 2019 letter from the EPA to the Army Corps. This letter raised numerous environmental problems with the project and concerns regarding the Corps’ failure to provide Mainers with a complete permit application from CMP to allow for informed public comment. Since that letter was submitted, CMP has changed its project yet again, and the Army Corps still won’t provide access to an updated and complete application. 

    “As Congressman Golden noted in his letter, similar projects in Vermont and New Hampshire provided significantly greater levels of public engagement and Mainers deserve the same level of respect and participation,” said Sue Ely, Clean Energy Attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). “The lack of transparency on the part of the Army Corps is both unacceptable and disrespectful of the strong concerns that Maine people have about this project. They are a public agency deliberating on a project that would harm Maine’s environment and economy for decades to come. The federal government should not be making decisions about the CMP corridor behind closed doors.” 

    More than 20 towns in Maine have voted to rescind support or oppose the CMP corridor, and residents have started a signature gathering process to place a citizen-initiated question about the CMP corridor on the ballot.

  • Powerful Nor'Easter Affects Maine

    Photo: the Inn on Pine Street in Portland
    10/17/2019 10:26 AM EDT
    Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) partially activated the State EOC at 4 a.m. this morning in response to the strong nor'easter currently affecting the state. The heavy rain combined with 60 mph wind gusts has knocked down trees and power lines and this has caused thousands of outages.

    As of Thursday morning, more than 179,000 CMP customers and 36,000 Emera customers are without power. A number of roads have been blocked by debris due to falling trees and branches. Peter Rogers, acting Director of MEMA urges those venturing out to be cautious. "Conditions continue to change, look for hazards and be careful as you head out." MEMA is monitoring the ongoing situation and coordinating with state partners and others in response to this storm.

    Rogers asked that everyone check on friends and neighbors when safe to do so and made the following safety recommendations:

    - Stay informed about weather conditions in your area - monitor National Weather Service forecasts and radio, along with broadcast weather reports

    - Drive slowly, use your headlights and allow extra space between vehicles

    - Yield to emergency vehicles and give them plenty of room to work

    - Use your generator safely, always use outside with exhaust pointed away from any windows and doors

    - Turn around, dont drown do not drive through flooded roadways

    - Check our website for information on being prepared at
  • A Woman's Extraordinary Gift to the Camden Public Library's Future

    “I have heard it said that if you wait long enough, people will surprise and impress you,” said Nikki Maounis, Executive Director of the Camden Public Library. That was certainly the case when the library received notice of the profoundly generous bequest of over $100,000 by Vera J. Hill. “Wow!” Maounis added, “I wish I had known her and could thank her in person.”  

    According to Maounis, “Bequests of this size are quite rare. It was very welcome and will make a notable impact.” In fact, in the eleven years that she has been the library’s director, Maounis can only remember one or two bequests that were even in the same ballpark.  

    The sweeping generosity of Vera Hill, who passed away at age 92, will resonate across the Midcoast as churches, libraries, schools, and even an animal shelter will benefit from her considerate gifts. Hill worked for National Sea Products in Rockland and was active in the Episcopal Church in Camden and Rockland. She is buried in Seaview Cemetery in Camden, and in her obituary, she is remembered for “her cleverness and quick wit, her natural ability to listen and engage others in conversation, and her great sense of humor.” Her legacy is truly an example of how one person’s thoughtful philanthropy can make a radical difference in a community.

    The public is often not aware of how nonprofits, such as the Camden Public Library, sustain their operations. It is a misconception that, because Camden’s library is a beautiful historic building on a hill, it is endowed with bountiful funding that will keep it afloat in perpetuity. The reality is that the library is only partly funded by the town. The library must independently raise 52 percent of its operating budget, a daunting $500,000 every single year in order to keep the doors open.  

    “In a town the size of Camden, a library is truly the center for public life,” said Maounis. “In our community, it’s the place you come to get something to read, meet a friend, learn about local history. It’s a hub and an anchor. So much happens here.” Vera Hill’s bequest came in the midst of the library’s Campaign for the Future — the library’s planful effort create a fund that will ensure that the lantern on the hill will remain lit, in lean times as well as in times of abundance. While Hill’s bequested gift of more than $100,000 made a big impact on the campaign, just over $600,000 is still left to be raised to meet the goal. 

    The library will be honoring Vera Hill with a dedication engraved on one of the stones in the pathway leading to the library’s entrance. The engraving will read: Vera Hill - Your Gift is Our Future.