Portland Ovations and the Oak Street Studios have teamed up at the Portland Public Library on Saturday on March 29th from 11:00am to noon, for a family friendly, bookmaking workshop.
Using picture books for inspiration, such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, participants will be invited to create a character that travels through an adventure book of their own making. This workshop is free and open to families young and old. Children 10 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
As a part of an on-going collaboration between Portland Ovations, Portland Public Library and Oak Street Studios, the workshop is in conjunction with Portland Ovations Family Series performance at Merrill Auditorium on April 5th of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt directed by Sally Cookson. It will be filled with catchy songs, interactive scenes and plenty of hands-on adventure- plus a few special surprises.
Read more ›
The Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday rejected inadequate proposed mining rules that would put Maine’s environment and taxpayers at risk.The committee voted 7-5 to reject the proposal. Thousands of citizens along with environmental groups protested and testified against the new rules that were backed by Irving Oil interests.
“Maine people are rightly worried that the proposed rules will not prevent water pollution or protect taxpayers from cleanup costs,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe. “Thankfully, the majority of the committee acted to protect Maine’s water and environment and listened to the concerns of Maine citizens rather than siding with mining advocates.”
The Department of Environmental Protection drafted deficient rules last year, and they were further weakened by the Board of Environmental Protection, which gave its OK to them in January. The rules require the approval of the Legislature.
Read more ›
Tags: Corporate interests in Maine
The Affordable Care Act federal funds are expected to generate $1 million per day in economic activity and 4,000 jobs at a time when Maine ranks 50th in the nation for private sector job growth. For the first three years under the Affordable Care Act the state would not pay a penny for the program. After that the state would only have to pay 10 percent or less. All the state has to do is tell Washington, D.C. we want to participate in the ACA. But Governor Paul LePage vetoed any chance last year of that happening. Now the Democrats have put it back on the table and Republicans have put forward their own proposal. Both measures would have to have a two-thirds vote to override a LePage veto. Lawmakers are hoping to merge the two proposals.
Opponents of the bipartisan effort to provide health care to 70,000 Mainers are proposing a false “alternative,” which would leave 36,000 Mainers without care. Some are even encouraging Mainers to falsify their income in order to qualify for the health subsidies on the federal exchange. Federal law makes clear that individuals earning income under 100 percent of the federal poverty level are not eligible for financial assistance to purchase private insurance on the health exchange.
In a column printed in the Morning Sentinel, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Michael Thibodeau suggests those earning under 100 percent of the federal poverty level should knowingly overestimate their income in order to qualify.
“Maine should not turn its back on tens of thousands of our most vulnerable citizens, including veterans, low wage workers and those recovering from serious illness. We certainly shouldn’t be suggesting they falsify their income levels to qualify for subsidies on the insurance exchange,” said Speaker Mark Eves. “Lawmakers should seize the opportunity to come together around a good-faith compromise to ensure Maine families can have access to a family doctor.”
Read more ›
Tags: Government transparency·Maine's quality of life
Labor leaders gathered in Augusta on Thursday March 6th to affirm their solidarity with Senator Troy Jackson in his bid for the 2nd Congressional District. Various labor leaders spoke on behalf of Troy, noting that he has consistently stood up for middle class working families throughout his career.
“Troy has always fought for working families. He understands how important it is making sure budgets aren’t cut on the backs of those that can afford it the least,” said Diane Winton from IBEW local 2327.
Jackson stood with lumber workers when their jobs were at risk because of some Canadian logging practices. He was a major player in helping Governor John Baldacci and the Congressional Delegation work out an understanding with these companies, five years ago. His connection with protecting working logging families goes back even further.
Joe Piccone of Teamsters local 340 explained, “Troy Jackson got his start in politics in 1998 during the border shut down to protest unfair wage disparities between American and Canadian loggers. I know that Troy will never vote for trade deals in Washington that but the American worker second to that of Corporate interests.”
Read more ›
Tags: Elections·Troy Jackson·Unions in Maine
A proposed law to address how changing ocean chemistry can damage Maine’s coast, shellfish industry and jobs won unanimous support from the Marine Resources Committee on Monday. Bill L.D. 1602, sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, would establish a commission to look at the effects of ocean acidification and its potential effects on commercial shellfish harvested along the Maine coast.
“Maine’s history and way of life are tied to our coast,” said Devin, a marine biologist. “If the health of our ocean waters is at risk, so are thousands of jobs, the seafood and tourist industries and the seafood we eat.”
The commission would be tasked with recommending policies and steps to respond to the adverse effects of ocean acidification on commercially important shellfish fisheries and Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry.
Shellfish hatcheries on the West Coast have failed in recent years due to 60 to 80 percent production losses caused by ocean chemistry changes. Major inshore shellfisheries in Maine that provide clams, oysters, lobsters, shrimp and sea urchins, could see major losses if ocean acidification is left unchecked.
Read more ›
Tags: Aquaculture in Maine·Climate change·Lobster fishing in Maine
In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree urged the government to block a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner. U.S. Rep.Pingree warned the proposed merger would lead to less competition and could result in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.
“In the end, a merger between Comcast and Time Warner will lead to higher rates, less competition and a loss of innovation and choice in programming. In short, it will be bad for the American consumer and this merger should not be allowed to go through,” Pingree wrote in her letter.
Together, the two companies would serve more than a third of the US cable market and half of all “bundled” customers, who get internet, TV and telephone service all from one cable company. Pingree raised concerns about prices, service and the effects on a free and open Internet.
“Access to broadband should not be jeopardized by further market concentration in an entity that not only has a last-mile monopoly in large swaths of the country, but also control over must-have broadcast content,” she wrote in the letter.
Read more ›
Tags: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine·Corporation mergers·Economy·TIme-Comcast merger
The Maine House Tuesday gave its final approval to a bill sponsored by Rep. Lori Fowle, that would ensure Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can take advantage of a small property tax exemption that their peers who served in earlier conflicts already receive.The vote was 144-0.
“I want to thank the House for voting to support veterans,” said Fowle, a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. “This bill will make it much easier for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to gain access to this modest but important benefit that they have earned through their service.”
Fowle’s bill would clarify that veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan are eligible to exempt $6,000 of property value from their property tax assessment.
Read more ›
In a party line vote, the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday advanced a measure to cancel the controversial $1 million contract with the Alexander Group following a public hearing on the proposal.
The Alexander Group’s no-bid contract to study Medicaid expansion contained serious flaws, including a $575 million math error and was delivered a month late. The group produced a similar report for Pennsylvania which proved to be riddled with false information. The Alexander Group is expected to produce additional reports but none have been released or made public despite continued payments to the firm.
“No expense approaching a million dollars can be allowed to continue under these glaring missteps. These are funds that are way too precious to be spent on an agency that fails to perform,” said Rep. Richard Farnsworth of Portland, the House Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “If the Governor is unwilling to cancel the contract, it is our responsibility to maintain the integrity and credibility of our financial management with citizens of the State of Maine as they are footing the bill for the cost of this initiative.”
Read more ›
Tags: Government transparency·Health and Human Services·Misappropriation of government funds
Today, Congressman Mike Michaud announced that he will help lead an effort to urge President Obama to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Michaud and several of his colleagues have begun circulating a letter for signature by members of Congress urging the President to issue an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“In the absence of Congressional action, the President should follow the example of strong anti-discrimination laws in Maine and other states to ensure that no one in the federal workplace is discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.” said Michaud. “Executive action by the President would be a significant first step, but the House still needs to act to ensure workplace protections are available to all Americans. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to push for a vote on the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
Maine already has strong protections for LGBT citizens. In 2005, Maine voters upheld a law passed by the legislature prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression with regard to employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.
Read more ›
Tags: Economy·Government transparency
Shenna Bellows, Maine’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, called on Republican Susan Collins and members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to release a 6,000-page torture report by the Senate Committee on Intelligence. The long-awaited report, which took nearly 4 years to complete, shines a light on the CIA’s controversial torture practices.
“Americans deserve to know the full extent of our country’s use of torture under the Bush administration,” said Bellows. “We need to properly address these mistakes of the past, so that history may never repeat itself. It’s time to end the secrecy and restore the rule of law.”
As the former Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, Bellows strongly advocated against the use of torture by both American intelligence agencies and the military. She has written many pieces on the subject of torture, and she led a successful campaign against solitary confinement, a form of torture, in Maine prisons. Bellows has also been a long-time advocate of the freedom of information, serving on Maine’s Freedom of Information Coalition and the Maine Right to Know Advisory Committee for several years.
Read more ›
Tags: Civil Rights·Elections·Government transparency·Shenna Bellows