Category Archives: Consumer warnings

Occupy Maine gets support from unions as demonstration nears one-week mark | Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — Members of a group angry about corporate influence on government has found support from southern Maine labor unions as they close in on a week of camping out in downtown Portland.

The Occupy Maine settlement, a local offshoot of a nationwide network of demonstrations that began in mid-September with Occupy Wall Street, reaches its seventh day Friday, and members say their group is still growing. This weekend, Occupy Maine will celebrate what it’s calling Free Speech Weekend with music, yoga and art making.

Members of the Occupy movement have been calling themselves “the 99 percent,” referring to all those who are not among the 1 percent of the American population who control nearly half of wealth in the country. That 1 percent, occupiers argue, have an unfair amount of influence on federal governance.

“We’re getting bigger and bigger,” said Demi Colby, 23, of Gardiner, who took part in Occupy Wall Street and returned to her home state to help launch Occupy Maine on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Click to read the rest of Seth Koenig’s story in the Bangor Daily News.

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Will write for food! … Or walk your dog!

Hey there! Hey there! I’m still trying to line up a freelance gig or two for the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are in need or know someone in need of a writer-editor-blogger-dog walker-house-sitter-dishwasher. Cheers!

Critics accuse LePage of exempting himself from pension sacrifice | Lewiston Sun Journal via Bangor Daily News

Critics accuse LePage of exempting himself from pension sacrifice | Lewiston Sun Journal via Bangor Daily News

Things might be looking up!

I received two emails overnight from women – one from Sudan and one from Russia – offering me long-term relationships (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) in exchange for travel accommodations. I just have to transfer the appropriate amount from my account. And an email from an overseas bank asking me for sensitive personal information in exchange for $580 million!! I’m rich and a ladies’ man! … Actually, I think I’ll file all three under “scams to avoid.”

Disaster declared for Maine red tide outbreak | Bangor Daily News

Disaster declared for Maine red tide outbreak | Bangor Daily News.

Mainers earn the least in the Northeast | Bangor Daily News

Mainers earn the least in the Northeast | Bangor Daily News.

Maine doctors advise against seeking repeal | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine doctors advise against seeking repeal | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

L.L. Bean makes Consumer Reports’ naughty, nice list | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

L.L. Bean makes Consumer Reports’ naughty, nice list | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coffeehouse observation No. 229 – Hope carried on the wobbly legs of toddlers

 Hope is at the very core of what we are as humans, but it can be such a fleeting thing.

One moment a person feels hopeful that strong feelings will blossom into true love. The next moment that all comes crashing down. One moment a person feels hopeful that hard work will be recognized by supervisors. The next moment a co-worker claims the work as his own. One moment a person sees hope in the eyes of another. The next moment that hope is taken away.

It is not always easy to hold onto hope when things are not going as they should. Like so many Americans, I’ve been out of work for much longer than I ever expected I would be. It has been more than 20 months since I was laid off after 22 years in the newspaper business. It has been a demoralizing struggle to find work and so far it has been an unsuccessful search.

I have spent much of the time since being laid off in public libraries, bookstores and coffeehouses drinking coffee or green tea and scouring the Internet for employment opportunities. (OK, let’s face it – I’ve spent most of that time in coffeehouses.) I’ve sent out hundreds of resume packages and filled out countless applications.

And still no luck.

But I have never really lost hope – not even now – that I will find work again. Part of that comes from my belief that if I work as hard at finding a job as I did working at my previous jobs, then I very likely will find something even better than I had before. Persistence and patience – two traits of which I have abundance – will help me ride this stretch of misfortune and help me find work.

Another thing that has helped me cling to hope for myself is the expression of hope others have displayed.

I’m not talking something spectacular. I’m just talking about life, simple, everyday life.

As I sat in those public libraries, bookstores and (mostly) coffeehouses, something struck me – people were living their lives. Auto industry collapse, banking greed and collapse, housing market collapse, joblessness, two protracted wars, threat of terrorism – all of it be damned. People were living their lives despite these problems.

The most striking aspect was that young people – men and women couples, same-sex couples, single adults – seemed to be going ahead with having families. They were having babies. What greater sign that the future will be better is there than to go ahead with plans to have children, children who will live in that future?

No matter how terrible my job search was going on any given day, my mood always improved when I spotted a pregnant woman walked into the coffeehouse, either alone or with her partner. The fact that there were people still on Earth willing to chance it – were hopeful enough to have children – made me more hopeful, made me more willing to carry on with my own life.

Now, of course, part of that message of hope comes of the wobbly legs of toddlers who were born since my job search started. It is difficult to completely lose grip of hope when a young child looks up and beams a smile for no reason whatsoever and then waddle off for some other toddler adventure.

I do not know how long I will be able to hold out hope. The time is nearing when I will be without unemployment insurance. Without that very threadbare safety net, I do not know what happen.

But I know that hope – and persistence and patience – will be part of what gets me my next job. I get that from the message of hope in young parents and on the wobbly legs of toddlers.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations at http://coffeehouseobserver.wordpress.com/.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 219

I’m in the coffeehouse trying to put the finishing touches on a cover letter, but I’m hearing voices. … Well, actually, it’s the voice of the guy sitting behind me having an argument with himself … and losing. … Aw, Stockton, your list of characters would fill a phonebook.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Firewood exchange on Maine Turnpike this weekend | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Firewood exchange on turnpike this weekend | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.

Mainers to see insurance rate hike as Anthem granted increase | Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Superintendent of Insurance Mila Kofman this week ruled on a proposed increase in monthly health insurance premiums by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maine, granting the Indiana-based company an average 14 percent increase for its nongroup individual policies. That’s lower than the 23 percent increase Anthem had requested for the period of July 1, 2010, to June 31, 2011.

An Anthem spokesman said Friday that the company, which could appeal the decision in court, is still reviewing the superintendent’s findings.

The smaller increase will do little to relieve Mainers struggling to afford nongroup coverage. Under the 14 percent increase approved this week, for example, a single, 35-year-old adult with no children and a $2,250 annual deductible could pay as much as $509 a month for basic health care coverage. A married couple with two children could pay almost $1,300 a month for the same coverage plan.

The new rates will take effect Oct. 1 and be modified to reflect Anthem’s originally requested start date of July 1. About 11,000 Mainers will be affected by the rate increase.

Click for the rest of this story by Meg Haskell in the Bangor Daily News.

Coffeehouse observation No. 175

Spotted my new very favorite service – coffee delivery van. They deliver coffee to offices and other gatherings. I don’t think you can go wrong with a service like that.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 170

People are escaping the triple-digit heat of the San Joaquin Valley by coming into empresso for a cold drink. I’ve been here all day doing the very same thing.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Snowe: Jobless aid not Senate break | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Snowe: Jobless aid not Senate break | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Unemployed Left Waiting | Bangor Daily News

Unemployed Left Waiting – Bangor Daily News.

Central Maine Power customers to pay more | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Central Maine Power customers to pay more | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine officials warn of court worker scam | Bangor Daily News

Officials warn of court worker scam – Bangor Daily News.

Tuition going up at Maine universities | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Tuition going up at Maine universities | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine says beware of health insurance scam | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

State says beware of health insurance scam | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Consumers with questions or concerns about their insurance can contact the bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division by calling 1-800-300-5000, e-mailing insurance.pfr@maine.gov, or visiting the bureau’s website at www.maine.gov/insurance.