Tag Archives: Economy

Navigating the poverty line: Pressure on Portland’s social safety net grows as dramatically does ranks of unemployed | Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND – It was about 6 a.m., dark and cold, when Brian Gailliot got on the welfare line Friday.

Portland’s General Assistance office wouldn’t open until 8, but the line was already 30 deep when he arrived. A man and woman at the front had been sitting there in folding chairs since 10 p.m. Thursday.

“There’s just not enough work,” said Gailliot, who currently works part time for a temp agency, eats at the local soup kitchen and sleeps in a friend’s apartment. “I haven’t had my own place for a year and a half.”

One in eight Mainers lived below the poverty line in 2010, according to recently released U.S. census data. Maine’s poverty rate hit 12.5 percent in 2010, up from 11.4 percent the year before.

On the streets, the prolonged economic slump is translating into dramatic increases in the number of unemployed people who have exhausted savings and unemployment benefits and are seeking help for the first time at Portland’s food pantries, soup kitchens and welfare offices.

Click to read more of the story by John Richardson in the Portland Press Herald.

Advertisements

The Baldacci Legacy: Economy tempered ambitions | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

The Baldacci Legacy: Economy tempered ambitions | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Santa, all I want for Christmas is a bit of economic bliss: P.S. And don’t even think about re-gifting 2010 or 2009

Dear Santa:

How are ya, ya ol’ stout coot? I truly hope things are wonderful up at the North Pole and that you’ve been catching a bit of rest before your Christmas Eve jaunt. I know there’s lots of work involved – or so your flack factory spins us to believe – and the schedule must be pretty hectic.

I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote. After all, I haven’t worn footy-pajamas in years. Really. Please don’t take the lapse in correspondence as an indication of some Santa slight. I’ve been busy. Sort of, anyway.

But what you really want to know – and I know you’ll be checking twice – is whether I’ve been naughty or nice. Nice. Very, very nice. I put the “nice” in, well, “nice.’ I’m the nicest guy I know. Really I am. Come to think of it, I put the “nice” in “nicest,” too.

So, let’s get underway on this year’s Christmas list.

First, peace on Earth. Let’s start with peace in the Middle East and Afghanistan and a bit more peace still in Iraq. And good will toward men – servicemen, to be specific, and servicewomen. It still isn’t “Mission Accomplished,” but American servicemen and women have given their all – sadly for some, their very all – and it is time to get them back home. They deserve it. Their families deserve it. This nation deserves it. Sure, it may take a bit longer still, but surely there is something you can do to hurry things along, Saint Nick. Give it the ol’ college try, won’t you.

My family and friends each should have something nice this year. Everyone I know and love deserves good health, much happiness, and abundant prosperity. Everyone I know and love deserves these things because health, happiness and prosperity have been lacking a bit this past year. I hope you can amp up things a bit in the coming year.

Speaking of that, Jolly One, do you take returns? Because someone really botched 2010. Well, and 2009. Come to think of it, Kriss Kringle, someone royally screwed up quite a few years lately when it comes to the economy. Oh, sure, there were massive gifts to the auto industry and to Wall Street bankers and someone seems to have gifted the federal government with a passel of people who can’t seem to keep track of millions and millions of federal money, but what about we common folk? Sure, the federal tax break extension also includes an extension of unemployment insurance. But can’t we see a little more holiday spirit when it comes to the economy? And don’t be re-gifting the past year, either. That just wouldn’t be acceptable.

OK, I’m being a little selfish here. After all, I was laid off in March 2009 and am still looking for a job. But it is time that we get the 15 million or so unemployed Americans in this country back to work. That would be a lovely Christmas present. I could really use a job, Santa. Really.

And one more thing – and this is sort of a request for a long-term gift. The environment has taken some major, major hits since we humans started standing upright. From the North Pole you probably have the best view of the devastation we humans have wrought. So, please bring us cleaner air and water, fewer chemicals in the things we eat, drink, wear and otherwise use every day, and true sustainability in everyday life. Essentially, Santa, I’m looking for you to give us a better future on this marble we call Earth.

Well, Santa, the list is pretty short, but it covers the big stuff – better economy, no re-gifting of 2010, 2009, etc., health, happiness and prosperity for family and friends, a job, and a greener, sustainable future. I suppose if you must whittle down the list, why don’t you keep everything else and give us peace and tickets home for the servicemen and women who have given so much of themselves for the past decade or so.

That’s it, Santa. Say hi to Mrs. Claus and all the elves and scratch the reindeer under their chins. And have a safe journey on Christmas Eve.

Sincerely,

Keith

Bookmark and Share

Maine jobless rate 7.3% for November | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine jobless rate 7.3% for November | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

25,000 Mainers may lose their jobless benefits | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

25,000 Mainers may lose their jobless benefits | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.

Economist: Maine growth slow, state budget stable | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Economist: Maine growth slow, state budget stable | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Political change has familiar feel, George Mitchell says | Maine Sunday Telegram

It was November 1988. Maine’s own George Mitchell had just been elected Democratic majority leader of the U.S. Senate. And high atop his to-do list was a sit-down with then-Republican minority leader Sen. Robert Dole.

“I said to him, ‘This job is hard enough under the best of circumstances. It’s impossible under bad circumstances,’ ” Mitchell recalled last week.

And so Mitchell and Dole agreed on a few ground rules:

Never surprise each other.

Never try to embarrass each other.

And finally, be as fair as possible to each other under whatever circumstances might arise.

“We kept our word for six years,” Mitchell said. “Bob Dole and I never had a harsh word pass between us – in public or in private.”

Ah, the good old days.

Click for the rest of the column by Bill Nemitz in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

 

Yacht maker offers to buy Eastport’s Boat School | Bangor Daily News

EASTPORT, Maine — One of the world’s premier yacht makers, who has previously focused his manufacturing efforts in Taiwan, China and Tampa Bay, Fla., has made an offer that could turn around the financially struggling city of Eastport. David Marlow of Marlow Yachts approached the City Council during a workshop this week and floated a proposal to buy The Boat School, which is owned by the city and leased to Husson University.

His plans include expanding The Boat School program from a two-year to a four-year marine trades program while keeping Husson University involved. He also plans to revamp the campus, expand the existing boatyard and build an on-site yacht manufacturing facility that could create 100 new jobs.

“This could be a godsend for Eastport,” City Manager Jon Southern said Thursday. “This business is compatible with every city goal for our working waterfront. It is ecologically friendly. It would create high-quality jobs. It protects The Boat School and retains the partnership we have with Husson.”

Click for the rest of the story by Sharon Kiley Mack in the Bangor Daily News.

 

State buys northern Maine rail line for $20.1 million | Bangor Daily News

State buys northern Maine rail line for $20.1 million | Bangor Daily News.

Future jobs will belong to the highly skilled | Bangor Daily News

Future jobs will belong to the highly skilled | Bangor Daily News.

Mall stores report a strong summer | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mall stores report a strong summer | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Jobless rate drops in 18 states, rises in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Jobless rate drops in 18 states, rises in Maine – Bangor Daily News.

top50employment may 2010

Long-term unemployment cripples the economy | National Voices – Modbee.com

[The piece I shared with you all earlier this week was picked up by the Modesto Bee after Reporter Opinion Page Editor Karen Nolan shared it with the National Conference of Editorial Writers. I hear a couple of other newspapers plan to use it. … This is the closest I have been or ever will be to being a syndicated columnist.  — KM]

Long-term unemployment cripples the economy – National Voices – Modbee.com.

A look at Maine’s Wind Power Act | Bangor Daily News

Here are links to a three-part series by the Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting published in the Bangor Daily News looking at wind energy in Maine and the laws surrounding it.

Part 1: How a task force put wind power on the fast track, and how some are now questioning the goals they themselves helped set.

Part 2: Examining the changes in rules recommended by the task force and the resulting law.

Part 3: Wind power law hasn’t prevented development conflicts

Cost rises to replace bridges between Maine and NH | Bangor Daily News

Cost rises to replace bridges between Maine and NH | Bangor Daily News

Aircraft manufacturer coming to Brunswick | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

 Aircraft manufacturer coming to Brunswick | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Making Maine Work| Bangor Daily News

Making Maine Work| Bangor Daily News

Unemployment takes a toll | The Reporter

[The newspaper where I worked for more than 13 years  and where I served as the opinion page editor for several years was gracious enough to publish a commentary I wrote in the paper’s Sunday Op-Ed section. There is a typo at the beginning of the second sentence of the online version of the piece, which I’m guessing happened when they converted it for the website. Please ignore the X. Thanks. — KM]

Unemployment takes a toll – The Reporter, July 11, 2010.

Bookmark and Share

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.