Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

Maine passes first-in-nation product stewardship bill | SustainableBusiness.com

Maine passes first-in-nation product stewardship bill | SustainableBusiness.com

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Readin’, writin’, and reality for an island teacher | DownEast.com

[I enjoy Ms. Murray’s wit – it’s a Maine wit. She does spend quite a bit of time of steering people away from island life, yet she’s been an island-dweller for more than 20 years. I think she’s just trying to keep a good – great – think to herself. – KM]

As a member of the Board of Directors of RSU #65, which means a school committee member on Matinicus Island for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, until Town Meeting does us part, and as a former island teacher myself, and a school bookkeeper, and the parent of two little island students in homemade sweaters, I feel like I know a thing or two about what an applicant for this job ought to think about.

The problem is we’re not supposed to talk about much of it.

When I made my way out here for my interview in May of 1987, the winds were fierce and the airplane flight was something like riding a buckboard over a dry-rutted ox track in the middle of the Oregon Trail. Teacher applicants, be advised: that ten-minute flight gets bumpy sometimes. If you’re afraid to fly or have a delicate stomach, you might think twice before you take this position. Oops, excuse me. I take that back. Only your professional qualifications warrant discussion.

My interview happened to fall on what I later found out was Subpoena Day, when most all the male residents of the island were wasting their time cooling their heels in Rockland, waiting to be called to testify in a case of some non-violent neglect of the rulebook. Many were not asked to speak, and came home generally aggrieved for the imposition. One of them was married to member of the school board.

Click on the link for the rest of this entry by Eva Murray in her “Sea Glass (and) Scrap Iron” on DownEast.com.

Is Maine Too Small To Fail? | DownEast.com

[There is a old Maine tourism slogan that goes something like: “The way life should be.” Mr. Grant mimicks that sentiment. — KM]

The collapse of mighty institutions all around us — big corporations, the State of California, and now perhaps the Grand Old Party — might be even more alarming were we not watching from the relative tranquility of a place where things are basically okay.

Now I don’t claim that Maine is perfect. It probably doesn’t qualify as the Last Good Place — though I must say it looked very much like that to me twenty-one years ago, which is why I’ve stayed. But it is a good place, a decent and civilized place, where the complex wheels of social interaction — neighborhoods, town committees, schools and churches, local papers, community suppers and concerts, PTA bake sales, worthy fundraisers, gatherings of like-minded friends — seem to be oiled and grinding away without undue friction.

We have our social ills. Many of our schools are under-funded, some severely so. There are drugs in the hallways. There are (I assume) meth labs in the woods, and caches of firearms, and angry people who think the Anti-Christ is sitting in the White House. Our police blotters are enlivened with crimes of amazing stupidity. Old people struggle to keep their homes warm in winter. Girls get pregnant in their mid-teens. Last week some boys dropped a block of ice off a highway overpass, almost killing an innocent driver.

Click on the link to the rest of today’s entry by Richard Grant in his “Coffee With That” blog on DownEast.com.

Maine program tries to halt foreclosure before it’s too late | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — Abiel and Bettyjo Martinez bought a home in Etna in 2005 with an adjustable rate mortgage, the only loan they were eligible for.

In two years, their interest rate ballooned to 12 percent and their monthly payment nearly doubled from $900 to $1,700.

They scraped by for a while until Abiel Martinez lost his job and watched several months pass before he could collect unemployment. Then his wife lost her job. So they went back to their lender to modify their loan.

“They told us we could modify, but we had to pay $3,800 to start that process,” he said. “How can we pay $3,800 if we can’t afford the mortgage?”

The mortgage company had no choice but to start foreclosure proceedings. The Martinezes and their three children were in danger of being forced from their home.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.

Information about the state’s foreclosure diversion program is available at http://www.courts.state.me.us/court_info/services/foreclosure/index.html.

Ice-out breaks statewide records | Bangor Daily News

Seasonal thaw comes

earlier than expected

 FORT KENT, Maine — Let Capistrano keep its swallows and Hinckley, Ohio, is welcome to its buzzards. Any Mainer knows the real harbinger of spring is ice-out.

Largely regarded as the time when a body of water may be navigated from one end to the other unimpeded by ice, the seasonal event has spawned countless contests, raffles, impromptu parties, webcams and even its own Facebook fans’ page for the lakes and rivers around the state.

This year, many of Maine’s lakes are already clear of ice days and even weeks ahead of schedule.

“This year is extremely unusual,” Tim Thurston, owner of Maine Lake Charts of Gardiner, said Thursday. “I would not be surprised if every lake in Maine has a record or near record for ice-out.”

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Julia Bayly in the Bangor Daily News.

Obama coming to Portland area April 1 | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Obama coming to Portland area April 1 | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine jobless rate rises slightly in February to 8.3% | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine jobless rate rises slightly in February to 8.3% | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coffeehouse observation No. 91

Pearl Jam on headphones is a great way to drown out a blowhard in the coffeehouse.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 90

Beautiful weather out and the coffeehouse is pretty full. Usually, good weather scatters to the wind even the most loyal patrons.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.