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Maine joins coalition urging childcare funding in next federal stimulus

07/14/2020   Maine Attorney General Aaron M. Frey joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general urging the United States Senate to provide robust financial support for childcare providers in the next federal stimulus bill amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter sent to Senate leadership today, the coalition of attorneys general called on Congress to provide robust funding to address the immediate needs of childcare systems around the country. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some childcare providers are operating at reduced capacity or have closed, leaving them with little to no revenue to cover payroll, rent, insurance, and other fixed costs. This additional financial support would help childcare providers fulfill these financial obligations so that they may remain open and […]

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United States District Judge rules in favor of Maine privacy law

07/07/2020 By Ramona du Houx United States District Judge Lance Walker ruled on July 7, 2020 in favor of a landmark privacy law passed by the Maine Legislature and signed by Governor Janet Mills in 2019. The law, LD 946, “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information,” was sponsored by State Senator Shenna Bellows of Manchester and prevents broadband internet service providers operating in Maine from selling or sharing a customer’s personal data without the customers permission. The groundbreaking law was challenged in federal court on preemption and First Amendment grounds by large telecom industry organizations. The Office of the Maine Attorney General defended the Act. “I enthusiastically supported Senator Bellows bill when it was introduced because […]

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Transportation bond – long overdue for Maine

Op-ed by Bruce Van Note, Maine’s transportation commissioner There has never been a more important transportation bond vote in Maine than the one to be decided on July 14. Question 2 asks voters if they support a $105 million state investment in Maine’s transportation infrastructure. This bond will be used to match an estimated $275 million in federal and other funds. Like past years, the vast majority of these funds will be used for highway and bridge projects statewide as planned by the Maine Department of Transportation. Unlike past years, approval of this bond is needed to support projects ready to go to construction this year. If this bond does not pass, the Department of Transportation will have no choice […]

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Report on status of women in Maine released

07/09/2020 Article and photo taken in Portland, Maine by Ramona du Houx Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women  released its 2020 report to Governor Janet Mills and the Maine Legislature on July 9, 2020. The Commission researches and prepares a biennial report https://www.maine.gov/sos/womens-comm/index.html for the legislature that reflects the current status of women and girls in Maine and recommends policy options that will improve their lives. “We are proud of the progress women have made in our states first 200 years of statehood, but as this report shows, Maine women still disproportionately struggle for economic security, experience domestic and sexual violence, and lack access to health care,” said Commissioners Rebecca Austin and Kate Elmes, in a joint statement. The institutional […]

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Maine’s lakes could experience increased algae blooms in summer of 2020

Photo and article by Ramona du Houx July 7, 2020 With record heat and drought-like conditions, Maine’s lakes are more likely to experience algal blooms according to Linda Bacon, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lead lakes biologist. Algae are a natural part of healthy freshwater ecosystems, but algae, like land plants love warmth and sun. With abundant sunshine, warm weather and plenty phosphorus from the spring’s runoff Maine lakes have perfect conditions for an algal bloom. When a lake is blooming people often describe the lake water as green. Maine DEP describes an algal bloom as a nuisance bloom when the clarity of the water is 2 meters (6.6 feet) or less. If the water clarity is less than […]

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Maine Legislature to return to work – committees first

AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon announced that legislative committees will resume their work on carry-over measures, including holding public hearings and work sessions, in July to prepare for when the Legislature reconvenes for a special session. No final dates for that session have been secured, however Legislative staff have been undertaking the logistical preparations necessary for a return. “In the wake of COVID-19, the Maine Legislature was forced to rapidly switch gears to keep Maine people safe and healthy. Since March, we’ve been working daily to resolve unemployment claims, advocate for our small businesses and connect people with food pantries, health insurance and rental relief,” said President Jackson. “Now, we’re asking lawmakers to tie up […]

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UMaine’s Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory has been recognized as an official TEAMER facility

 Dr. Habib Dagher, Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine talks with Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx about the floating offshore wind technologies developed at UMaine and tested in the Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The laboratory received initial funding from the American Reinvestment Recovery Act in 2009. Since its completion they’ve tested prototypes from around the world. Photo by Ramona du Houx By Ramona du Houx July 3, 2020 Last June, the Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) program officially recognized the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory as one of their official facilities. TEAMER aims to accelerate promising marine energy technologies by providing access to select U.S. testing facilities within its network. […]

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The UMaine Composites Center awarded $3.2 million for troop protection buildings

The Modular Ballistic Panel System (MBPS) was developed with the US Natick Army Soldier Center and provides soldiers with enhanced ballistic protection, is rapidly deployable, and lightweight. UMaine photo By Ramona du Houx July 2, 2020 Washington, D.C. – The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) has been awarded a total of $3,215,332 from the U.S. Army Natick Soldiers Systems Center (SSC). The funding will support UMaine ASCC’s continued research to better protect the men and women of our nation’s military, including the development of the Modular Ballistic Protection Systems (MBPS) to protect the lives of personnel in Army tents. UMaine will also work to develop inflatable arches that allow troops to quickly set up shelter. The […]

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Maine lawmakers come together to combat systemic racism

By Ramona du Houx On June 30,2020 Maine State Representatives Craig Hickman and Rachel Talbot Ross invited fellow legislators to join them and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations in an effort to identify existing bills before the 129th Legislature that would make an impact combating racial disparities. The group will make recommendations to the Legislature should it reconvene. The entire legislative body received a letter inviting them to participate in this process. Work will begin the week of July 6. “Racism is a public health emergency,” said Hickman, D-Winthrop. “People of all ages, races and backgrounds are demonstrating in the streets and parks and capitals across this nation and around the world […]

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Maine exempts Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey from quarantine and testing requirement

By Ramona du Houx July 1, 2020 Maine is exempting visitors from the States of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey from the 14-day quarantine requirement or negative COVID-19 testing alternative, effective this Friday, July 3, 2020. The decision comes after the Administration reviewed public health data in other states to determine the appropriateness of additional exemptions, like those previously extended to New Hampshire and Vermont. In evaluating these exemptions, the Administration takes into consideration several data measurements, which include but are not limited to, the prevalence of the virus and the positivity rates in other states. In reviewing these metrics, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, for example, demonstrate a lower positive rate than Maine’s. Additionally, the prevalence of […]

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COVID-19 prevention and protection grant awards to Maine municipalities

Grants support Maine towns as they undertake critical work to protect Maine people and visitors from COVID-19 By admin Augusta, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills announced on June 30 that her Administration has approved almost $9 million in grant awards to nearly 100 municipalities across the state under the Keep Maine Healthy Plan to support local COVID-19 public health, education, and prevention efforts. Following the announcement of the Keep Maine Healthy Plan earlier this month, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services approved COVID-19 Prevention and Protection Plans submitted by 96 municipalities. Today, the Department began notifying municipalities of their awards. The federal funding is expected to be distributed on a reimbursement basis as communities implement these programs. “Towns […]

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Summer meal programs for Maine children increase five-fold in ongoing response to COVID-19

Full Plates/Full Potential awarded $401,545 to support estimated 1.3 million meals By admin Portland, ME- The Maine-based nonprofit, Full Plates Full Potential today announced its Summer Meal Emergency Fund grant recipients issued to child nutrition programs across the state, most of which begin summer meal service today. The total amount awarded, $401,545 represents a marked increase compared to the organization’s 2019 summer grant cycle which totaled $77,540. “Since our inception in 2014, Full Plates has been steadily building its granting capacity for each of the various child nutrition programs we support, but COVID-19 has been a complete gamechanger,” according to Anna Korsen who serves as the organization’s director of advocacy & partnerships. “Even in a normal year,” Korsen continued, “summertime […]

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Maine Insights, since 2005 reports with in-depth coverage, announces a new website

By Ramona du Houx, President of Maine Insights Maine Insights is a non-profit 501(c)4, progressive, statewide newsmagazine. Now published quarterly online and with important updates as they occur. Since 2005 we’ve been reporting on many issues other news outlets overlook. Maine Insights connects our main streets with lawmakers in Augusta, highlighting state policies, technological innovations, agriculture, education, community growth and economics with factual analysis, individual profiles and exclusive in-depth coverage. We also report on areas where justice is not being served in the hope to be a contributing catalyst for change. On June 26, 2020 the platform, VIRB, where Maine Insights was hosted shut down. The company had been bought by GoDaddy. That corporation for years systematically eroded services to […]

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Obama’s statement on taking action for justice for the murder of African Americans

June, 2020 As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering. First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority […]

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Maine Insights

Maine Insights is a non-profit 501(c)4, progressive, statewide newsmagazine. Now published quarterly in print and with daily posts online. Since 2005 we’ve been reporting on many issues other news outlets overlook. Maine Insights connects our main streets with lawmakers in Augusta, highlighting state policies, technological innovations, agriculture, education, community growth and economics with factual analysis, individual profiles and exclusive in-depth coverage. We also report on areas where justice is not being served in the hope to be a contributing catalyst for change. Maine Insights serves over 73,000 readers throughout the state of Maine and beyond with our online presence. Maine Insights, 8, Brook Street, P.O.Box 311, Solon, ME 04979. Maine Insights is an associate member of the Maine Press Association.