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  • Maine Recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day

     A tradition Wabanaki birch bark canoe on display at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Photo by Ramona du Houx

    Augusta, MAINE 

    Governor Janet Mills signed LD 179, An Act to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, into law on April 26, 2019. Alabama,  Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin – in addition to more than 130 cities and towns – have also adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Native American Day.

    Celebrations took place throughout Maine, and the nation.  From the first sun in Maine to CA.

    “Maine is home to people from many lands, like those with Italian, French and other ancestries, whose contributions we recognize and cherish. Today, our state takes another step forward in building a brighter, more inclusive future by honoring Maine’s tribal communities. On Maine’s first indigenous Peoples’ Day, let us pay tribute to those who were the first stewards of this land we call Maine, celebrate their many contributions to our great state and recommit ourselves to fostering a relationship anchored in mutual trust and respect,” said Governor Mills.

    Penobscot Native Tim Shay's sulpture on display at Colby College. Photo by Ramona du Houx

    Traditional carving of Maine Indians on display at the Colby College exhibition. Photo by Ramona du Houx

  • Pumpkin Palooza carving and display at the Camden Public Library

    Share your creative carving genius and bring your pumpkin to the Camden Public Library on Friday, October 25 between noon and 6:00 pm.

    Bring a carved pumpkin, or carve on-site in the Amphitheatre between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

    All ages and carving talents welcome and encouraged to participate! You can enter your carved pumpkin into the contest to win prizes in one of the age categories: Family, Teen, and Adult! 

    The pumpkin lighting will happen at 7:00 pm in the Amphitheatre, and the library is hoping for a record number of pumpkins to be illuminated.

    Pumpkins should be taken home afterward. Thanks to the West Bay Satellite Rotary Club for sponsoring this event. Call Miss Amy with any questions at 236-3440.

  • Maine's anti-hunger groups applaud waiver to return SNAP benefits to those in need

    By Ramona du Houx

    October 4, 2019

    Anti-hunger advocates, including Maine Equal Justice, Preble Street, the Maine Center for Economic Policy, and Food AND Medicine, cheered a move by the Mills administration to bring millions in additional federal food assistance funds to Maine Friday. Maine has received a waiver for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that will help thousands of low-income people put food on the table.

    The “geographic waiver” will allow Maine to take advantage of a federal option to provide food assistance to households in high-unemployment areas whose benefits would otherwise be limited to three months in a 36-month period unless they meet certain requirements for an exemption.  The Dept. of Health and Human Services posted a list of more than 200 towns that fall under the new waiver online.

    “Geographic waivers were a key tool Maine used to reduce food insecurity for nearly 20 years until the previous administration rejected the option in 2015,” said Kathy Kilrain del Rio, a policy analyst with Maine Equal Justice. “At that time nearly 10,000 people lost their food assistance, with thousands more losing help since then. A year later, two-thirds of those Mainers losing food assistance remained unemployed, undermining claims that these policies would get people to work.”

    Today 36 states, including all the New England states apart from Maine, have adopted this option to tackle hunger in regions where people face the greatest barriers to work.

    “Bringing these federal food dollars back will provide targeted resources for Maine, especially our rural areas, to fight our hunger crisis,” said James Myall, Policy Analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “Maine has high rates of food insecurity, with 568,000 households experiencing food insecurity, and 5.9 percent of Maine households experiencing very low food security—these are Mainers struggling with chronic hunger.”

    “The areas eligible for a waiver to the three-month time limit are largely in rural parts of the state where jobs are most scarce and the economy could most benefit from the stimulus effect of SNAP benefits,” said Josh Kauppila of Food AND Medicine. 

    More than 1,500 Maine retailers statewide participate in the program, and SNAP injects more than $215 million dollars into Maine’s economy annually. Every five dollars in SNAP spending generates around $9 in economic activity, according to the USDA.

    Mark Swann, Executive Director of Preble Street concluded, “The waiver will help Mainers who are searching for stable jobs put food on their tables during a difficult time in their lives.  We’re encouraged that the Mills administration is taking advantage of this common-sense option to address our high hunger rates in Maine.” 

  • Birding Adventures in Mexico with Doug Hitchcox at the Camden Public Library

    Naturalist Doug Hitchcox will talk about his March 2019 birding adventure to Oaxaca, Mexico on Thursday, October 17, at 7:00 pm as part of a fall series of presentations by Mid-Coast Audubon at the Camden Public Library.

    Maine Audubon made a trip to south-western Mexico in search of rare endemic species in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Based in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, known for great birds, authentic food, and amazing human history, the group explored many habitats in the area, including the deserts near Teotitlán and the pine forests of La Cumbre at altitudes of up to almost 10,000 feet.

     The presentation will include a description of the city of Oaxaca and the surrounding area, home of the ancient pre-Columbian Zapotec culture. The group had a chance to explore the imposing ruins of Monte Albán and Mitla, learning about early indigenous people and their impressive engineering and architectural skills. They also had ample opportunity to watch local artisans weaving traditional tapestries and sample the world-famous cuisine. Where else can one watch Blue-throated Mountain-gem while enjoying a lunch of Aztec stew? For more information, visit librarycamden.org.

  • 24 Attorneys General Oppose Purdue Pharma's Multi-Million Dollar Bonuses for Company Executives

    10/03/2019 

    A coalition of 24 Attorneys General formally opposed Purdue Pharma's $38 million dollar bonuses for company executives. The Attorneys General filed a joinder to the United States Trustee's objection to Purdue's authorization request for their multi-million dollar incentive, bonus, and severance plans. Purdue made this request just two weeks after declaring bankruptcy in the face of multi-billion dollar liabilities for their role in engineering the opioid epidemic.


    "These bonuses are yet another example of how Purdue's executives, including the Sackler family, continue to seek to profit the opioid crisis," said Attorney General Aaron M. Frey. "We strongly object to these bonuses and will continue our efforts in Maines courts to hold them accountable for their actions."

    In June, the Maine Office of the Attorney General filed suit in Kennebec County Superior Court against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma, Inc. and members of the Sackler family, who own and control Purdue, alleging that they committed unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act. The complaint describes Purdues successful efforts to deceptively market opioid drugs in Maine from 2007 through 2017, as Maines opioid crisis reached epidemic levels.

    As the complaint alleges, the Sackler defendants increased the companies' sales force nationally and in Maine which enabled them to increase their visits to Maine health care providers. As a consequence of the increased sales visits, sales of Purdues opioids rose in Maine and in 2012 Maine health care prescribers wrote prescriptions for long- acting/extended-release opioid pain relievers - the type Purdue sells - at the highest rate in the nation: 21.8 prescriptions for every 100 Mainers.

    The Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin joined the opposition filed by the US Trustee.
  • ig Fall Book Sale Under the Tents at the Camden Public Library

    Bibliophiles rejoice! The Big Fall Book Sale Under the Tents is back on the front lawn of the Camden Public Library. Thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs divided into over 25 categories will be on sale beginning Thursday, October 3, and running through Sunday, October 6, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day except Sunday, when the sale will close at 4pm.

     The Big Book Sales are held twice a year, run entirely by devoted volunteers, and are one of the most important and successful fundraisers for the Camden Public Library. Shoppers will find amazingly affordable prices on books of every imaginable subject matter — including bestsellers, classics, local interest, history, children’s books, cookbooks, rare finds, and so much more. Clear some space on your bookshelves at home, and come discover some new favorite books at this sale! For more information, visit librarycamden.org.

  • Fall Harbor Arts and Books Fair in Camden, Maine

     

    The trees aren’t the only place you’ll find gorgeous color this season! The Fall Harbor Arts & Books Fair is back with booths displaying over 50 juried artists and craftspeople during the first weekend of October. Vendors will fill Atlantic Avenue, Harbor Park, and the Amphitheatre with items for every taste and pocketbook.

    Shoppers and browsers will see paintings, photography, greeting cards, jewelry, leatherwork, sculptures, baskets, scrimshaw, and more from some of Maine’s most exciting and talented artisans. Whether you are doing early holiday shopping, searching for home décor, or just want to treat yourself to a cozy new scarf, this fair is a perennial favorite with a reputation for quality.   

    The Camden Public Library hosts the Harbor Arts & Books Fair, and concurrently holds a giant used book sale outside under the tents. 

    The event is free and family-friendly, making it a perfect day trip during the most beautiful time of the year! Coastal panoramic views from nearby Mount Battie are not to be missed — and area inns, restaurants, stores, and schooners all welcome our Harbor Arts guests. The fair will be open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, October 5, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, October 6.

    Harbor Arts & Books is hosted and produced to benefit the Camden Public Library. Generous support for the fair is provided by lead sponsor The Reny Charitable Foundation with support from TREEKEEPERS LLC-Johnson’s Aboriculture. For more information, visit librarycamden.org.

  • Schooner Bowdoin in Rockland, ME sept 28-29

    The Sail, Power and Steam Museum of Rockland will host a visit by the schooner Bowdoin, the official vessel of the State of Maine and the flagship of the Maine Maritime Academy. Visitors will be able to take dockside tours of the recently renovated 98-year-old schooner the weekend of September 28 to 29.

    The weekend will include a dockside tour of the schooner on September 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockland public landing. The Sail, Power and Steam Museum, 75 Mechanic Street, will host a reception and panel discussion on Saturday, September 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the significance, past and future of the Bowdoin. The panel will include Captain Jim Sharp, the founder and director of the museum; Genevieve LeMoine, curator at the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College; and Captain Will McLean, Maine Maritime Academy’s current captain of the schooner.

    The Bowdoin has figured prominently in the sailing history of Captain Sharp. His and Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan’s friendship began in the late 1960s, when Sharp rescued the Bowdoin from a decade of neglect and towed it to Camden for restoration. When the schooner was sail-worthy, in 1971, Sharp sailed it past MacMillan’s Cape Cod home so he could once again see the vessel that had carried researchers to the Arctic on multiple trips from 1921 to 1953. Historic artifacts donated by MacMillan to Sharp are a highlight of the collections at the museum.

    Recent renovations have prepared the historic vessel for new Arctic expeditions to be conducted by the Maine Maritime Academy.

    For more inormation, contact the Sail, Power and Steam Museum at 701-7627 or sailpowersteammuseum@gmail.com.

  • National Clean Energy Week in Maine and 22 states September 23-27

    Governor Mills Declares National Clean Energy Week in Maine

    Governor Janet Mills has declared September 23rd through September 27th, 2019 as National Clean Energy Week to encourage individuals, local governments, corporations, and other organizations in Maine to champion renewable energy solutions that create clean energy jobs and mitigate climate change.

    “Climate change threatens everything that is fundamental to us as a people and as a state,” said Governor Mills. “Tackling our overreliance on fossil fuels, reducing our carbon emissions, and transitioning our households, businesses and government agencies to renewable energy will create clean energy jobs, strengthen our economy, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. I encourage all Maine people to join with me in observing National Clean Energy Week and recommitting ourselves to a cleaner, greener future.”

    Maine is one of 23 states to formally recognize National Clean Energy Week 2019.

    Governor Mills’ proclamation follows the announcement that she will be the first sitting governor of Maine to deliver remarks before the United Nations (UN) about Maine’s effort to fight climate change during the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.

    Governor Mills has made tackling climate change and ushering in renewable energy a key priority of her Administration. She has signed legislation to increase Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 80 percent by 2030 and set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050; set a goal of installing 100,000 new heat pumpsby 2025 and expanded availability of electric vehicles; and established mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 and created the bipartisan Maine Climate Council to provide recommendations to meet these targets.

    The full text of Governor Mills’ proclamation is below.


    WHEREAS, Maine is committed to a clean energy future and enjoys abundant forms of renewable energy that power homes and businesses across the State; and

    WHEREAS, the generation of power from renewable sources, including forms such as hydro, wood, wind, and solar, plays an important role in meeting the needs of our homes and businesses; and

    WHEREAS, Maine has increased its Renewable Portfolio Standard to 80 percent by 2030 and has a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050; and

    WHEREAS, Maine leads New England in wind-powered generation; and

    WHEREAS, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Maine 14th in its 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard; and

    WHEREAS, Maine supports the strategic electrification of heating and transportation, establishing the goal of installing 100,000 new heat pumps by 2025 as well as announcing initiatives to expand availability of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure; and

    WHEREAS, Maine has established mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 and created the Maine Climate Council to provide recommendations to meet these targets; and

    WHEREAS, Maine’s clean energy jobs grow local economies and boost economic development; and

    WHEREAS, National Clean Energy Week provides an opportunity for individuals, local governments, corporations, and other organizations in Maine to champion common sense solutions that address the United States’ evolving economic and energy needs;

    NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim September 23rd through September 27th, 2019 as

    NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY WEEK

    throughout the State of Maine, and I urge all citizens to recognize this observance.

  • Steven Cochran of Bangor, Maine wins first in National physique bodybuilding competition

    Steven Cochran Jr. posing after winning first in the NPC national physique bodybuilding competition

    By Ramona du Houx

    Steven Cochran Jr. is a modest, amiable unassuming young man, a devoted Christian, and a dedicated worker at Darlings. Steven also has hidden life outside of work—one that Maine should be proud of. During his free time Steven is often found at the gym perfecting his physique with bodybuilding. It’s not just a hobby, it’s his lifestyle and he’s serious about competing in his chosen art. So serious that on August 3rd he won a National Physique Committee (NPC) competition in Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Steven says physique bodybuilding is a way of life.

    “It keeps the body healthy,” said Cochran. He has a routine choreographed to music of his choice where he presents his various poses required by the competitions. “I like to flow with the music, as if I’m the river moving around rocks.”

    Cochran came to bodybuilding via wrestling and the hand to hand combat training he received in the army. After six years of service, some of which was spent deployed to northern Afghanistan, he completed getting a degree in New York and came home to Bangor, Maine.

    NPC is the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States and is recognized by the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB), the bodybuilding's international organization.

    Athletes have to win in the overall NPC category to compete in the NPC North American National event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That means coming in first in your assigned class and then competing against all the others who also came in first in their classes. That’s exactly what Cochran did. Up against competitors throughout North America was challenging, especially when Steven’s category had the most contestants enrolled. Still, he managed to come in eighth out of 44 on August 30th.

    Cochran’s not slowing down and says he will continue to make Maine proud.

     

     

  • Mills first ME governor to address United Nations on Maine Combating Climate Change

    Mills on Monday just before her speach. Photo: courtesy ME state.

    On Monday, September 23rd, Governor Janet Mills will deliver remarks before the United Nations (UN) about Maine’s effort to fight climate change. Under Governor Mills’ leadership, the state has made significant progress in the effort to mitigate climate change, most notably signing into law the nation’s most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard and standing up the Maine Climate Council that is charged with developing Maine’s Climate Action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and at least 80 percent by 2050.

    Governor Mills was invited to speak by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. She will join many heads of state and international leaders before the General Assembly to deliver her remarks, which are expected to last two minutes. Governor Mills’ appearance will be the first time a sitting Governor of Maine has spoken before the UN, the world’s foremost international peacekeeping and dispute resolution body.

    Governor Mills’ remarks before the UN come as part of her participation in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019. According to the UN, the Summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy. 

    On Tuesday, September 24th, Governor Mills will also participate in a bilateral meeting with officials from the European Union to discuss how the United States and European nations can work together to combat climate change. 

    Later that day, she will also participate in a panel discussion convened by the U.S. Climate Alliance called, “America’s Governors: Delivering Our Commitment to Paris”. As part of the panel, Governor Mills will join other governors to discuss how states are taking action to deliver on America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Earlier this year, Governor Mills announced that Maine has joined the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 25 states committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

    Finally, the Governor will join The Nature Conservancy to deliver opening remarks for the premier of the short documentary film “Shellfish Growers Changing the Game on Climate”. The film, focused on the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition, currently comprised of more than 120 companies, is produced by The Nature Conservancy and features Bill Mook, owner of Mook Sea Farm in Walpole.