Monthly Archives: January 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 31

Someone must have been a little distracted earlier. The put the coffee beans in the maker – without grinding them. Oops! The coffee came out and little, um, thin.

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Lewiston pastors tour Haiti

They drove the streets of Port-au-Prince, past rows of collapsed buildings and rescue teams. On one pancaked structure that used to be four or five stories high, a man stood alone on the tall pile of rubble with a hack saw, cutting away at rebar.

Maybe someone was still inside. Maybe everything he owned was in there.

“It was a bit surreal,” said Phil Strout, a pastor at Pathway Vineyard Church in Lewiston. “You see the pain, and then you see the human spirit and willingness to help.”

Strout and fellow pastor Allen Austin traveled to the Dominican Republic on Jan. 17 to offer support to Vineyard churches and toured neighboring Haiti seven days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the capital of Port-au-Prince. Austin got home last weekend; Strout returned Wednesday night, after a stop in Miami. One takeaway that they’ve reported back to national church leadership: The devastation is 10 times worse than it looks on TV.

Click this link to read the rest of this story by Kathryn Skelton of the Lewiston Sun Journal.

UMPI students go to the dogs for fun, team building – Bangor Daily News

UMPI students go to the dogs for fun, team building – Bangor Daily News.

Information on the UMPI OAPI events is available at http://www.umpi.edu/gentile-hall/oapi

Surprise! Maine can be fun even when it’s cold | Portland Press Herald

 Surprise! Maine can be fun even when it’s cold | Portland Press Herald.

Wind backers decry conflict-of-interest claims

Gov. Baldacci and an ex-PUC chief,

now a wind developer, are among

those who let industry sway policy, critics say

 As Maine rushes to embrace wind power, unnamed critics posting on Internet sites and reader comment pages contend that money and political connections – reaching all the way to the governor’s office – are greasing the skids.

A repeated theme, for instance, focuses on Gov. John Baldacci and Kurt Adams, former chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Adams served as Baldacci’s chief counsel. The governor appointed him chairman of the PUC in 2005. Adams left in 2008 to be a top executive at First Wind, the state’s most active wind-power developer. Posters allege that Adams has since benefited from his connections with Baldacci to gain permits and generous taxpayer subsidies for big wind projects.

The charge has become more persistent over the past year, as the pace of energy development has picked up in Maine, fueled by federal stimulus money, efforts to cut reliance on oil and strong support for renewable energy by both Baldacci and President Obama.

But in interviews with the Maine Sunday Telegram, Adams and a spokesman for Baldacci say their conduct has been legal and appropriate, and that organized opponents of wind development are using innuendo to influence public opinion.

The connections aren’t secret, they say, and the charges lack specific – or accurate – accounts of any wrongdoing.

Click this link for the rest of today’s story by Tux Turkel of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. (Note: there seems to be a problem with the website’s pages for this story. You may have to click to the second page of the story for the beginning. — KM)

After quake, Winthrop family grows quickly

An expedited adoption process

adds to the brood at

Richard and Carlyn Lenfestey’s home

WINTHROP — Reginald knelt on one of the three light-colored toddler beds lined up near the foot of his parents’ bed.

This one is Richard’s. This one is Sasia’s. This one is Reggie’s.

Though he just turned 3 in December, Reginald clearly relishes his new role of big brother.

On Friday, Richard, 2, and Sasia, 20 months, clung to mom Carlyn Lenfestey, who sat on her bed.

“It’s kind of like the romper room,” she said.

Dad, Matt Lenfestey, surveyed the room and his newly enlarged family, occasionally addressing the children in their native Creole language.

Up until Tuesday, Richard and Sasia lived in a creche, a home for orphans in Lagosette, on Haiti’s north coast.

The Lenfesteys adopted Reginald from the same creche and brought him home to Winthrop last June. Soon thereafter, they started the process of adopting Sasia and Richard.

Click on the link for the rest of the story by Betty Addams in today’s Kennebec Journal.

They sure grow tall in the Great North Woods of Maine

Maine is one of the supposed birthplaces of Paul Bunyan. And to mark that wonderful piece of Maine history, there is a statue of the woodsman in Bangor. Here’s today’s DownEast.com trivia question.

 How tall is the Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor?

Answer:

The legendary (and mythical) woodsman’s statue in Bass Park stands thirty-one feet high.

Snowmobile enthusiasts fuel $350 million economic boom statewide – Bangor Daily News

(Snowmobiling was a big part of my life as a youngster. At least, in the winter. I doesn’t surprise me that an outdoor activity such as snowmobiling is helping the economy. — KM)

Snowmobile enthusiasts fuel $350 million economic boom statewide – Bangor Daily News.

Haitian children adjusting to a whole new life in Maine

Pittsfield couple says becoming

adopted parents is not too different

from births of their biological children

PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Logiodice household, with its five children, is about what you’d expect.

The four oldest — Donovan, 8, Braeden, 5, Christella, 5, and Bella, 4 — jump around and screech as they collaborate to keep half-deflated balloons off the floor. They knock a picture off the wall and Mom steps in.

“All right, guys, calm down,” says Amanda Logiodice patiently, shooing the balloons into a bedroom. A few minutes later Donovan and Braeden are at it again. “If you don’t stop I’m going to take this balloon outside and let it go,” says Mom, more firmly this time.

“Noooo!” cries Bella.

The girls are dressed in princess costumes; the boys pile a few dozen stuffed animals on the living room floor. One-year-old Jediah Junior toddles around in a constant quest to be held. Once held, even by a stranger, his kisses are free and plentiful.

But what seems like a common scene is not. Three of the siblings just met the other two on Wednesday. A week ago, Christella and Jediah Junior were in southern Haiti, where their orphanage crumbled around them in the terrible earthquake that struck on Jan. 12. They ate rationed meals of rice and water only twice a day. They lived among human corpses and all the other tragedy that is life today in southern Haiti.

Click on the link for the rest of the story by Christopher Cousins of the Bangor Daily News.

Maine’s Haiti relief effort | Portland Press Herald

 Local Haiti Relief Effort | Portland Press Herald.

Shock lingers as Haiti recovers

“TV doesn’t do justice to how

widespread the damage is,”

Maine’s Coast Guard commander says

Before he left for Haiti, Capt. James McPherson of Kittery was given a little toy shark by his 5-year-old son, Connor.

McPherson, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in Portland and South Portland, gave the shark to a 4-year-old boy near the American embassy in Port-au-Prince. The little boy, covered with dust from the ruined city, plays with the toy all day.

McPherson is amazed at how well the children of Port-au-Prince are rebounding from the earthquake that destroyed their city.

“They’re just completely resilient. But it makes you wonder – what’s his future, what’s going to happen from here?” said McPherson.

Click on this link for the rest of today’s story by Matt Wickenheiser of the Portland Press Herald.

Coffeehouse observation No. 30

Middle-aged guys at the coffeehouse shouldn’t dress like teenagers. Never ever.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 29

Hmm! The coffee is particularly good today. Just the right bight without being bitter. And the caffeine is kicking in nicely.

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Ungrateful, greedy banking industry can’t take this away – yet

I am very probably like many Americans just now. I am wondering how the U.S. banking industry can show such filthy ungratefulness and bottomless greed.

First, it contributed significantly to the housing crisis and the economic woes we as a nation have suffered the past few years.

Second, the government bailed out the industry.

Third, to end-game credit card and banking reforms, the banking industry drove up interest rates and added excessive, oppressive fees to banking and credit card services.

Fourth, excessive bonuses continued to go to the very people who helped create the problem in the first place.

Yes, the country likely would have been in a far worse situation if the government had not bailed out banking institutions, but the hedonistic greed and gluttony must stop or the banking industry is likely to see a fiscal revolution the likes of which it cannot imagine. I am already planning on moving my banking and credit card services to smaller, more personal community financial institutions. It will be a fraction of a drop in the bucket, but it is my own very tiny protest against the indifference, greed and ungratefulness.

And here is another very tiny protest – I am keeping good credit despite having been out of work for nearly a year! I just opened a quarterly credit report from one of my credit card companies. I continue to have a credit rating in the high 700s.

The dirty, ungrateful, greedy banking industry can’t take away that – yet

Frankly, I was amazed, even though I shouldn’t be. I have been pretty good about avoiding the use of credit cards since being laid off from a newspaper job in Stockton, Calif., so the balances on my several credit cards generally go up only due to interest – which is a killer – or because of new fees – which is cranking me up quite a bit.

And for the past couple of years I have been making larger payments to pay down the credit card balances built during a part of my career when I was not being adequately paid. I depended on the credit cards for necessities – food.

Looking at the credit rating, the big three – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – each had me in the high 700s for the first fiscal quarter. Each of them showed a 3-point reduction in the second quarter, which was the first full quarter that I was without a job. I used the credit card to purchase a laptop computer and other items needed for the job hunt, so there were charges placed on my various credit cards. And, unfortunately, I could only make minimum payments.

But as unemployment continued, I shied away from using credit cards at all, I do not have a mortgage payment and I am rather stoic in my spending, even before being laid off.

To my surprise, two of the credit agencies showed my score in the third fiscal quarter as constant to what it was the previous quarter and Equifax upped my score by 8 points!

I held my own in the fourth quarter, too. There was no change up or down in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter.

While I doubt I will be able to hold this credit rating steady if unemployment continues for very much longer, I find it terribly positive that I have been able to maintain excellent credit it a time of personal and national economic upheaval.

I, therefore, pat myself on the back. Someone has to.

40 employees laid off at Central Maine Power – Portland News Story – WMTW Portland

 40 Employees Laid Off At Central Maine Power – Portland News Story – WMTW Portland.

15 Maine schools join effort to raise funds for Haiti

By Roxanne Moore Saucier

Bangor Daily News, January 29, 2010

BANGOR, Maine — Fifteen schools around the state have signed up to partner with the Galen L. Cole Disaster Relief Program to raise funds to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The schools were among the 29 that last week were invited to join in the project because they have been most active in bringing students to Cole Land Transportation Museum to visit the museum and interview veterans through the Ambassadors of Patriotism program.

Galen Cole, founder of the museum and the Cole Family Foundation, said Thursday he was thrilled to have the schools agree to raise money for Haitian relief. The Cole Disaster Relief Program will match what each school raises, up to $2,500 per school.

Cole, who was wounded and saw five of his fellow servicemen killed while in the U.S. Army in Europe, expressed compassion for what the Haitians have suffered, especially the children.

“What those kids are going through down there,” he said Thursday, “is far more severe than what I went through in World War II. If I’d lost my entire family and been 6 years old — think of it.”

Click on this link for the rest of this story.

Coffeehouse observation No. 27

I just saw a guy in a burgundy Zoot suit outside the coffeehouse smoking loose tobacco from what appeared to be a straight marijuana pipe. Ah, Stockton, you never fail to disappoint in your vast collection of characters.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 26

Caffeinated angry people shouldn’t abuse their laptops and talk out loud in the coffeehouse.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 25

Another day, the same faces. We humans seem to be caffeine-fueled creatures of habit. I see many of the same people wonder in and out of the coffeehouse every day that I am here.

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Breakwater kids launch Haiti relief site

Breakwater kids launch Haiti relief site