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  • Vote - your vote matters by Jared Golden

    Op-ed by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, the Assistant House Majority Leader. He is serving his second term in the Legislature and is running for Congress.

    On November sixth, Mainers will have a chance to shape their futures when we all go to the polls and vote.

    Voting is one of the most important actions we can take as Mainers and as Americans.

    It is the quintessential expression of our freedom – and one that many people have dedicated their lives to protecting. I’m not just talking about my fellow veterans; I’m talking about all the first responders, teachers, advocates, civil servants and organizers who together ensure that all of us – not just a privileged few – can choose the leaders and the policies we think are best.

    When we all vote, the results of our collective action can change the direction our own lives take, as well as the lives of our neighbors, our friends and our family. 

    This has never been truer than it is right now.

    You will see a lot of names on your ballot, but the issues behind those names tell us just how high the stakes are.

    Access to affordable health care and prescription medicines is on the ballot.

    A fair tax code that puts you first – and not the wealthiest people, the most powerful corporations and the most connected Wall Street moguls – is on the ballot.

    Medicare and Social Security are on the ballot.

    Property tax relief for seniors and others on fixed incomes is on the ballot.

    Our rural hospitals and nursing homes are on the ballot.

    How we fight the opioid crisis is on the ballot.

    Our kids’ schools are on the ballot.

    Our roads and bridges are on the ballot.

    A living wage for all working people is on the ballot.

    The right to organize for fair pay and good benefits is on the ballot.

    Taking on climate change and supporting renewable energy are on the ballot.

    It’s all there, and we get to decide what kind of state and what kind of country we are going to be.

    Now - there will always be people who will try to convince you that your vote doesn’t count or doesn’t matter.

    Don’t believe them for a second. Every vote counts, and every vote adds up. When you choose to be a voter, you are joining with your entire community to build the world you want to see.

    Just days from now, we have a chance to say unequivocally that we are a people who stand shoulder to shoulder and stick up for each other when times get tough.

     I’ll be voting on November sixth, and I hope you will too.

  • $50,000 to combat child hunger donated to Full Plates - Full Potential

    On October 24, 2018, Hannaford Supermarkets announced their contribution of $50,000 to Full Plates Full Potential to support their work to combat child hunger. 

    “When children have the nutritious food they need, they learn more effectively and can meet their full potential,” said Maile Buker, vice president of Marketing for Hannaford Supermarkets.  “Hannaford is committed to partnering with schools and community organizations to make sure our children can access healthy food. By supporting Full Plates Full Potential in this work, we are investing in our community.”

    Full Plates Full Potential is Maine’s only statewide non-profit working to end childhood hunger. The work is accomplished, in schools and nonprofits, by fully utilizing the reimbursable USDA child nutrition programs; breakfast, lunch, afterschool and summer meals. Additionally, Full Plates works with a statewide network to ensure best practices are being implemented and awards grants directly to schools and nonprofits.

    “Hannaford Supermarkets has been an incredible partner in our work to end child hunger in Maine,” said Former State Senator Justin Alfond, co-founder of FPFP. “We are thrilled with Hannaford’s ongoing support. We’re going to be able to feed a lot more children.”

    The $50,000 will support Full Plates Full Potential grant work, directly investing in critical infrastructure upgrades that enable schools to use best practices and feed more students. In 2018, Full Plates Full Potential invested in more than 30 schools and nonprofits, helping students access thousands of additional meals.

    Today’s donation is part of the Hannaford Chef’s Table program. The Chef's Table is a partnership between Hannaford and four local chefs who maintain the same passion for building community and helping home cooks make fresh, affordable meals. The program features affordable recipes using quality and fresh ingredients created by the participating chefs in local Hannaford stores. Hannaford has played a critical role supporting child nutrition programs across Maine, New England and upstate New York.

    The event was held at Westbrook Middle School, a Full Plate Full Potential grantee. Westbrook has fully embraced making food access a priority for their students. “Last year, 57 percent of our students qualified for free and reduced lunch,” said Mary Emerson, Westbrook’s Nutritional Food Director. “Food security is a definite issue for families in our community.”

    About Full Plates Full Potential

    Started in 2015, Full Plates Full Potential is Maine’s only statewide child hunger organization. Full Plates Full Potential does its work by partnering with other hunger relief organizations, granting funds and providing technical support to schools and nonprofits and working with chefs, businesses and others to end child hunger. Learn more at www.fullplates.org.

     

  • Maine Craft Apprentice Program: 2019 Application Deadline, Info Session & Artist Talk

    CAP Artist Talks and Information Session October 23, 3pm, Free
     
  • Moody Fires Single Mother in 2005 Now He's Running for Governor of Maine

    From the New York Times:

    Mr. Moody has made his reputation and character a part of the campaign because of how much he leans on his biography in his race against Janet Mills, the Democratic state attorney general. Opinion polls show a tight contest to succeed the pugnacious term-limited governor, Paul R. LePage, whose lieutenants are guiding Mr. Moody’s campaign.

    And to be competitive, Mr. Moody is drawing on his fortune earned from his repair stores in cities like Biddeford and Scarborough.

    It was in those two Portland-area Moody’s shops where Ms. Hayward worked a few years after graduating from college. By her late 20s she was an expediter, spending more than two years coordinating with vendors and processing orders. Ms. Hayward said she received no written complaints from her superiors and earned a raise during her time there. (Mr. Moody would not address Ms. Hayward’s work history.)

    It was a collegial environment and she gave as good as she got from “my boys,” as she called her co-workers. They ribbed her about the oil spill pads laying around the shop, joking that she could use those in case her water broke when she was pregnant. But Ms. Hayward said her colleagues were also tender: Two of them helped build her crib, and they chipped in to get her a gift card from Wal-Mart as a baby shower gift.

    But shortly after she gave birth to her son, she said, Mr. Moody sent her life into a tailspin from which she only emerged after more than a decade. As Ms. Hayward sees it, he fired her because he did not think she could do the job as a single mother.

    Sharing her story with a reporter for the first time, Ms. Hayward, 44, said that in November 2005 Mr. Moody visited her apartment while she was on maternity leave after having an emergency C-section. As she sat feeding a bottle to her weeks-old son, her boss explained to her that she could no longer work for him because of her duties as a mother, she said.

    “My heart was in my throat or at my feet, and I’m looking at him like, ‘You’re kidding,’” said Ms. Hayward, who remembered “bawling” as it became clear there was nothing she could say to keep her job.

    In the 2006 complaint filed to the human rights commission, and obtained by The New York Times, Ms. Hayward made the same claims she leveled in the interview and said she was replaced by a man. She accused Mr. Moody of sexual discrimination in violation of state and federal law and listed a series of comments he made upon firing her.

    “You are no longer going to be able to do the job in Biddeford now that you have” your son, Mr. Moody told her, according to the complaint.

    According to publicly available documents on file with the human rights commission, which enforces Maine’s anti-discrimination laws, Ms. Hayward and Mr. Moody eventually agreed to a settlement. For the full article go HERE.

  • Statement of Maine State Rep. Seth Berry regarding CMP’s tax windfall

    AUGUSTA – In response to Central Maine Power’s application to federal regulators to use the windfall it received from the 2017 federal tax cuts to stabilize electricity prices, Rep. Seth Berry, House chair of the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, issued the following statement:

    “The money CMP received from the federal tax cuts for the rich and powerful is not savings,” said Berry, D-Bowdoinham (photo at right). “That money is unpaid bills passed on by the federal government to the next generation of Americans. Those tax dollars already belonged to the working people of Maine. And besides, Maine regulators are already required by law to pass these utility windfalls on to consumers.”

    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.

  • Maine should do more to stand up for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence

     

    Editorial by Representative Lois Reckitt of South Portland.

    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Acknowledging this time is important, but the fact that we even have to have a month reserved for this topic shows us how critical it is to respect and protect women’s equal rights every day in Maine and the nation.

    And, given recent events, it’s clear we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding how domestic violence and sexual assault affect the lives of so many women.

    I have over four decades of experience working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. As the former executive director of Family Crisis Services in Portland, I have witnessed more times than I care to remember the trauma and the lifelong damage that survivors experience.

    We need to ensure we adopt the kind of best practices that will help Maine better protect survivors and prevent further violence. 

    First, we should always start by believing people who say they’ve been or are being assaulted. It is extremely rare for victims to make false accusations. That makes perfect sense when you consider the kind of risks victims take by breaking their silence. And it explains why so many wait so long before coming forward.

    Second, the most dangerous time for those experiencing domestic violence is when they decide to leave. Abusers see this moment as a threat to their control and as potential trouble with the law, and they often react with rage and violence. Creating partnerships with law enforcement like I did with the Portland Police Department when I was at FCS can help prevent violence from escalating. 

    Third, the vast majority of domestic violence victims are also victims of sexual assault in those relationships. This fact underscores the trauma survivors have experienced, and it also tells us why it’s important to talk about domestic and sexual violence together – both come from one person violently imposing their will on someone else.

    Another lesson to consider is that domestic violence in the home may produce lifelong trauma for the children. It is a testimony to the strength of many survivors that so many are able to nonetheless raise resilient children. Adequate training and programs that serve the entire family should help break a cycle that all too often is repeated.

    Finally, the criminal justice system can’t solve domestic and sexual violence on its own. Communities and employers also have a role to play and need to be observant and engaged in new ways.

    Remember, it takes courage and strength for survivors to come forward. We owe it to each other to be strong allies. If you or someone you know has experienced domestic or sexual violence, call Maine’s Statewide Domestic Abuse Helpline at 1-866-834-HELP or the Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-800-871-7741.

  • Documentary on Forced Removal of Maine Native Children from Families

    Member of Penobscot Nation to introduce film & lead Q&A —

    “Dawnland,” a full-length documentary that follows the nation’s first government-sanctioned investigation into the removal of Native children from their families and culture, will be shown at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta on Wednesday, October 10, at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. As recently as the 1970s one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or industrial boarding schools.
    The screenings will occur all accross the state this week. Preview HERE> 

    Penobscot Nation member Dawn Neptune Adams, one of those children, shares some of her personal story in the documentary, and she will be in attendance to introduce the film and facilitate audience questions and comments at the film’s conclusion. Joining Adams for the two shows will be Tom Reynolds and Erika Bjorum, representatives of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, the organization that established and supported the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. 

    Tickets for the program are $8 or adults, $6 for age 18 and under. The first 30 high school students who present a student ID at either performance will be admitted free.
  • State and Federal agencies provide guidance regarding Marine Mammals in Maine

    AUGUSTA, September 26, 2018 — This year, Maine has seen an unusual number of live and deceased seals wash up on Maine shores. Handling and disposing of these animals is challenging. To address these issues, a multi-agency work group developed guidance for coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public in dealing with stranded seals.

    First, and most importantly, report any live or dead stranded seals to the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551 as soon as possible. Reports are necessary for scientists to document and take samples when possible. Reports will also help researchers determine when the unusual mortality event is over.

    The work group created two documents to assist coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public:

    • Marine Mammal Fact Sheet – A quick reference guide with information on what to do and who to call if you encounter a live or deceased marine mammal on Maine shores.
    • Marine Animal Disposal Guidance – A guidance document for municipalities dealing with mortalities, including information on reporting and disposal. .

    To report a stranded marine animal call the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551. Please remember that marine mammals are protected under federal law, and it is illegal to approach, touch, or move marine mammals without authorization.

    The Marine Mammal Fact Sheet and Marine Animal Disposal Guidance document are available on Maine DEP’s website athttps://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/residuals/index.html.

    The following agencies involved in the development of this guidance are: Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Marine Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Marine Mammals of Maine (non-profit organization federally authorized to carry out rescue and data collection efforts in southern to mid-coast Maine).

  • Maine State Archives to host speakers, focus on industries during American Archives Month

    The Maine State Archives will celebrate American Archives Month this October with a focus on Maine industries, featuring presentations from Cathy Billings and Rachel Desgrosseilliers, as well as two public tours.

    The archivists will host tours at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10 and Tuesday, Oct. 23, which will include access to areas that are not normally open to the public. To reserve your spot on the tour, please contact Communications Director Kristen Muszynski with your full name and phone number. The tour will be capped at 20 participants. (No large groups, please.) The Maine State Archives is located in the Cultural Building, 230 State St., across from the statehouse in Augusta.

    Following the public tours, the Maine State Archives, Maine State Library, and Maine State Museum will be co-hosting two Collaborative Encounters presentations at the Archives:

    • Cathy Billings, associate director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, will speak about the lobster industry on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m., followed by a book signing with her book The Maine Lobster Industry: A History of Culture, Conservation & Commerce.
    • Rachel Desgrosseilliers, executive director of Museum L-A, will speak about the textile and shoe industries of Lewiston-Auburn on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.

    In addition to taking in the tours and speakers, visitors to the Archives can view the current exhibit on Maine’s role in World War I and are encouraged to return in December for the unveiling of the new exhibit featuring items from the collection that relate to Maine’s industries, from fishing to textiles. The Maine Industries poster will be available for download and printing at www.maine.gov/sos/arc along with past Archives Month posters.

    On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Maine State Archives will also be participating in the #AskAnArchivist event on Twitter, in which people from around the world can submit questions for archivists to answer.  To take part in this outreach event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, simply include #AskAnArchivist in your tweet and participating archivists will respond.

    Visit our website www.maine.gov/sos/arc, our Facebook page, Maine State Archives, or our Twitter account @MEArchives, for information and updates about our plans for celebrating Maine’s state archives this fall.

  • EOPA Veterans, who are elected officials, tell Congress make funding for Land Water Conservation permanent

    Vedio courtesy Elected Officials to Protect America's Lands

    Article and still photos by Ramona du Houx

    Veterans who are also lawmakers traveled to D.C. to urge Interior Sec. Zinke to help reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which brings millions to each state every year for the upkeep of our parks and other public lands.

    "We are committed to preserving and protecting America’s public lands — by doing so we are continuing our mission to preserve and protect our nation," said Former Maine State Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, who served in the Marines in Iraq and is now a Lieutenant in the Navy Reserves.

    Before their visit to Capitol Hill, the Elected Officials to Protect America's Lands  had 80 veterans who are elected officials sign on to a letter they sent to Sec. Zinke insisting that he reauthorize the LWCF in full.

    A week after their D.C. visit - where they called on 7 U.S. Senators to educate them about the effort - the bill supporting the LWCF made it out of committee, where it had been stalled for a year.

    "The apparent Permanente resolution of the LWCF budget is a critical step in fostering both better stewardship of our natural spaces and an important symbol: Veterans can play a helpful role in facilitating good policy,” said State Representative Paul Evans (OR). “It’s our job to stand up, as veterans, and make sure government works for everyone. I went to D.C. because we have to make sure sustainability and stewardship are national priorities. Our natural spaces are at least as important, in terms of national security, as our oil.”

    Now the bill needs to be brought to the floor of Congress for a vote.

    "While having the bill come out of committee is an important milestone, there is more work to be done. I'm glad our delegation had the opportunity to met with our US. Senators. With 80 veterans who are lawmakers signing the letter to Sec. Zinke insisting on reauthorization of LWCF I feel we've played our part. Veterans understand the importance of our natural places that give solace to millions. They are a part of our cultural heritage, without them we wouldn't be the nation we are,” said State Representative Debra Maria Sarinana (NM). “LWCF needs permanent reauthorization as well as full and dedicated funding. As the Committee moves to advance legislation allocating energy revenues for other purposes, it is vital that Congress continues to provide guaranteed funding to LWCF."

    Since 1964, LWCF has touched every state, conserving national parks and forests, land by rivers, lakes and oceans, working forests, farms and ranches, fish and wildlife refuges, trails, and more than 41,000 state and local parks in every corner of the United States. All this has been done at no cost to taxpayers as the program is entirely funded through royalties collected on offshore drilling.

    "Congress needs to be reminded that our natural resources cannot be neglected. I was pleased to join with my state legislative colleagues to make the case to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Washington," said Assistant Speaker of the House, Felix W. Ortiz (NY).

    The LWCF runs out of funding Sept. 30, 2018.

    Members of the Elected Officials to Protect America's Lands met with Sen. Rob Wyden, and other U.S. Senators, on Sept 6th on Capitol Hill to urge the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Sen Wyden, and all the Congressional members they met met with are supportive of the LWCF becoming fully funded. From left to right in the back: State Sen. Rick Kolowski (NE), Asm. Felix Ortiz (NY) US Senator Rob Wyden, State Rep. Paul Evans, Former State Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, (ME) Delegate Pat Young (MD). In the front: State Rep. Debbie Sarinana,(NM) and Rep. Michael Sheehy (OH).

    The elected officials met with the following Members of Congress:

    • Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
    • Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
    • Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM)
    • Sen. Tom Udall (NM)
    • Sen. Angus King (ME)
    • Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4)
    • Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY)
    • Sen. Rob Portman (OH)
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center Nurses Reach Landmark Tentative Contract Agreement

    Registered nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement with the hospital, featuring breakthrough staffing language, the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (MSNA/NNOC/NNU) announced on September 17, 2018.

    If approved, the deal, which covers 872 nurses at the hospital, would run through September, 2021.

    We are so proud that nurses stood together with the community, to achieve this major victory for our patients and our colleagues,” said Cokie Giles, RN, bargaining team member and President of MSNA/NNOC/NNU. “We did spend many days at the bargaining table, but the real work was done by nurses organizing in their departments and in our community: to raise awareness, to find consensus on our priorities and to press management to seriously address our issues in negotiations. We are confident the improvements in this new contract, once ratified by the nurses, will directly benefit our patients.”

    RNs say a recent candlelight vigil brought nurses and community members together, showing solidarity and setting the stage for winning the new tentative agreement, which features strong protections for patients and RNs, including language protecting the role of the “charge nurse.”

    “The charge nurse is responsible for coordinating the unit, so we are critical to patient safety,” said union bargaining team member and relief charge nurse Karen Greenlaw, RN.  “We must be available to lead our teams, mentor newer nurses and handle crises as they come up. Our new language ensures that we can protect our patients and be the vital resource that our teams need.”

    The tentative agreement also features economic gains to keep up with inflation, and protections for nurse benefits—all of which help strengthen the recruitment and retention of experienced nurses for the community. In addition, the tentative pact protects the “complement unit” system that EMMC nurses have fought for and won over several contract cycles.

    “The complement unit provision in our contract makes sure that our patients receive care from  nurses who are trained and experienced to meet their specialized needs,” said Dawn Caron, RN, bargaining team member and Chief Union Steward at EMMC. “This is one of the foundational principles of our union contract. We always have and always will fight to protect our patients by keeping this system in place.”

    The nurses, who have been in negotiations since May of this year, will vote on the agreement September 21.

    MSNA represents 2,000 nurses in the state of Maine. NNOC/NNU represents over 150,000 RNs nationwide, and is the largest and fastest growing union of RNs in the nation. NNU has won landmark health and safety protections for nurses and patients in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence protection.

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