Tag Archives: Portland Press Herald

Closer look at a nurse, Ebola and the contagion of fear

The Portland Press Herald over the past couple of days have put together several stories and op-ed pieces to look closer at a Maine nurse, Kaci Hickox, and the frenzy of fear surrounding the chances Ebola could spread in Maine. Hickox is from the city where I was born, Fort Kent, and I still have family in the area. My mother travels there every couple of weeks to visit with them. Of course, I’m concerned for health of all of them. But neither Ebola nor Hickox are the greatest threats to my family. Here are links to several of the pieces by the Press Herald:

Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox speaks out | Portland Press Herald

Close-knit Fort Kent finds itself split by a frenzy from away | Portland Press Herald

Bill Nemitz: Suit up, Maine, in case governor’s ignorance of contagion is contagious | Portland Press Herald

Bill Maher, Angus King discuss Hickox, Ebola on HBO show | Portland Press Herald

Our View: Maine’s Ebola reaction based on fear, not science | Portland Press Herald


Cruise ships ordering up Maine lobsters by the thousands | Portland Press Herald

Cruise ships are continuing to stoke their passengers’ appetites for Maine lobster.

Celebrity Cruises ordered 1,600 lobsters for delivery Friday to its 2,000-passenger boat, the Celebrity Summit. When the ship returns to Portland later this month, it plans to buy another 1,600 lobsters. That’s on top of the 640 lobsters the company bought last month, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Two years ago, Pingree wrote to the chief executives of several major cruise ship companies urging them to buy local lobsters while in port. At the time, there was a glut of lobster, depressing prices for the entire industry.

Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines responded by buying Maine lobsters. Others have as well.

Erik Elvejord, a spokesman from Seattle-based Holland America Line, which brings approximately 35,000 passengers to Bar Harbor and Portland each year, said they continue to make an effort to buy local lobster during stops in Maine.

“It was a positive thing for both sides of the equation,” Elvejord said. “There’s no question that people enjoy eating their lobster, and it’s great to get great local fish, and certainly help out the local lobstermen.”

Read more of this story by Jennifer Van Allen in the Portland Press Herald.

Journalists cite ‘cocoon’ reporting at Bates College | Lewiston Sun Journal

Journalists cite ‘cocoon’ reporting at Bates College | Lewiston Sun Journal


Some clarity around new Maine political poll | DownEast.com

[I haven’t had a time to read or analyze this poll, so I won’t comment about the candidates and issues, but I thought I’d offer it up for those of you in Maine who might be voting in the coming election. The link below is to Mike Tipping’s blog on DownEast.com and there is a copy of the poll results attached to the blog entry. I recommend reading Tipping’s comments – and reservations – on the poll before diving into the poll itself. – KM]

Some clarity around new Maine political poll | DownEast.com


Three Maine newspapers restore online comments | Bangor Daily News

[This is what MaineToday Media probably should have done from the beginning rather than eliminate the comments all together. Close monitoring is essential. I was part of the online team that monitored comments on recordnet.com, and some online users simply are looking for a way to be anonymous bullies. That should never be allowed. One more thing, this flip-flop move by MaineToday Media simply makes them look as if they lack the abilty to make carefully consider decisions. That is never good for a business, especially for a newspaper. — KM]

Three Maine newspapers restore online comments | Bangor Daily News.

Portland Press Herald Drops Reader Comments in Response to ‘Vicious Postings’ | Poynter Online

Portland Press Herald Drops Reader Comments in Response to ‘Vicious Postings’ | Poynter Online

Phish to perform in Augusta in October | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Phish to perform in Augusta in October | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Our View: California shows how pot dispensaries can work | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Our View: California shows how pot dispensaries can work | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Remembering just how very important fishing is to me and ME: Part 1

News stories and blogs on Maine’s major media websites not long ago reminded me just how every important fish and fishing are to me and Maine.

I’m not talking about commercial fishing. Commercial fishing in Maine is huge. In Maine, fishing is a way of life and enormous to the economy of the entire state. Fish is king in Maine.

What I’m talking about instead is the kind of fishing I learned as a kid – sports fishing and fishing for sustenance on inland waterways. The fishing I learned was a rite of passage and an outdoors activity to feed the body and soul.

And the mosquitoes and black flies, but that’s a different blog entry.

Stories on the websites of the Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald and Down East magazine were big in reminding me about the importance of fishing to socialization, culture, and heritage in Maine.

By rough estimates, I started fishing 40 years ago. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to wet a line in recent years, it remains central to the person I was, the person I am, and, I suspect, the person I will become.

No, this is not a story to match “A River Runs Through It,” the novel and subsequent movie that told of lives and deaths and the lessons learned by fishing a river.

Frighteningly, invasive species are crowding native species from Maine’s streams, ponds, and lakes.

The story of inland fishing is a bit murky. There is some hope and more than a bit of concern.

A Portland Press Herald story told of an effort to restore an ancient fish, the Arctic char, in Big Reed Pond. It is “ancient” because biologists believe the fish has been here since the last ice age. That’s not just your my-bones-hurt-and-feel-ancient sort of ancient. That is seriously ancient.

The problem for the orange-colored char started when a well-meaning sports fisherman introduced rainbow smelt in the water as way to provide more food for the char. But that backfired when the smelt ate small char and the char’s food.

But a state wildlife biologists, a private fishery, local lodge owners, and grants from Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund are slowly making the future brighter for the Arctic char.

George Smith’s DownEast.com blog some time ago focused on fishing. One titled “The battle between natives and those ‘from away’” especially caught my attention, of course, for its use of “from away.” After all, this blog is titled “Letters From Away.”

But I became far more interested in what he had to write about native fish and those that have been illegally or inadvertently introduced into Maine waters than I was with his use of the Mainer phrase for anything not of or from Maine.

Wildlife officials from Maine to California and many other areas in between are facing similar problems – non-native fish and other aquatic life being introduced into waterways and those species forcing out native fish and other aquatic life. Some are introduced by accident when carried on a boat or other gear that was not properly washed down or intentionally introduced by so-called sportsmen believing it would be good to have, say, bass or walleye in a trout habitat. I even found a story about a koi being pulled from a Maine pond. Koi?!

Either way, native species should be given a chance to survive and thrive in their natural habitat.

Here’s something from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website on invasive species:

Invasive species are organisms that are introduced into a non-native ecosystem and which cause, or are likely to cause, harm to the economy, environment or human health. It is important to note that when we talk about a species being invasive, we are talking about environmental boundaries, not political ones. In addition to the many invasive species from outside the U.S., there are many species from within the U.S. that are invasive in other parts of the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the only agency of the U.S. Government whose primary responsibility is the conservation of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants. Because of our responsibilities, the Service is very concerned about the impacts that invasive species are having across the Nation. Invasive plants and animals have many impacts on fish and wildlife resources. Invasive species degrade, change or displace native habitats and compete with our native wildlife and are thus harmful to our fish, wildlife and plant resources.

The website also provides FAQs, resources, laws, and other information.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also has quite a bit of information. Follow this link and click on “Illegal Fish Stocking” for specific information. There is also information about invasive aquatic plants.

Here are links to some of those stories and blog entries.

The battle between natives and those ‘from away’ | DownEast.com

Sound science produces good Maine fisheries | DownEast.com

Restoration raises hope for future of native fish | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Salmon return in record numbers: Experts ‘cautiously optimistic’ about high figures | Bangor Daily News

Invasive species threatening Maine waters: DIF&W says illegally introduced fish could disrupt ecosystems, local fisheries | Bangor Daily News

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North Berwick concert to benefit Haitian orphans, amputees


Below is the text from a press release I received via e-mail from Susan Ropars of the Higher Ground Singers. It is pretty much the same information I passed along yesterday from the Portland Press Herald, but it doesn’t hurt to pass it along again.

Benefit Concert for Haiti: Higher Ground Singers, directed by Michelle Lessard, is excited to be hosting “Spirit and Song United for Haiti” at 1PM on Sunday, March 7th at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine.

Featuring a wide variety of Seacoast Area musicians and talents, this event is sure to appeal to all ages. Helen Ksypka, aka Extreme Helen, will emcee the benefit, which includes such local legends as Sharon Jones, Barbara London, Salt River, Rock My Soul, The Digbees, Lesley Smith & Sammie Snail, and Women Singing Out! Other performers include Barb Whitney, Michael Tero, The Dover First Parish Praise Team and Sweet Willie D & The North Shore Gospel Ambassadors.

Donations from the heart will graciously be accepted at the door, and 100% of the proceeds will be given to the following organizations:

Hands and Feet Project: a nonprofit organization which is a children’s orphanage/village in Jacmel, Haiti. They are currently rebuilding the homes that were destroyed in the orphanage and providing medical care to the injured children. (www.handsandfeetproject.org)

 NEBCO Foundation – Haiti Amputee Rehab Team (HART): a New Hampshire-based team of doctors, working with the New England Brace Co. to provide prosthetics to children who lost limbs as a result of the earthquake. This team of doctors will be making their first trip to Haiti in early March. (www.nebcofoundation.org)

As always, do your homework before giving to any organization. The Better Business Bureau is always a great place to start to check out a charity.


Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve

Below is the top of a story by Portland Press Herald staff writer Matt Wickenheiser and a link to the rest of the story.

Along with the story on the Portland Press Herald Web site is a letter to readers from Scott Wasser, vice president and executive editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday Media. Apparently, a couple of readers emailed complaints to the newspaper claiming it would have been better for the publication to donate the money to a charity rather than spend money to send reporters to Haiti.

The response has a tone of indignation to it, but Mr. Wasser makes very important points: covering Mainers doing good – no matter where – should be done by a Maine newspaper. Period.

And, more importantly, the coverage is sure to garner not just short-term replenishment of funds for charitable organizations, but long-term positive results for those groups that do good in Maine and beyond in places such as Haiti.

Newspapers and other news agencies must GO to where stories are happening. A major part of what journalists do is observe. And you cannot observe the devastation caused by an earthquake or the good that a Portland, Maine-based group, Konbit Sante,  is doing unless you send intrepid journalists and photographers. – KM

CAP HAITIEN, HAITI — Earthquake victims from the south came in buses, piled into pickups and jammed into cars, driving almost 90 miles to find any care they could – even at Haiti’s poorest hospital.

Justinian Hospital doctors, nurses and residents worked through the first weekend treating 130 patients from Port-au-Prince, the capital city destroyed by the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people.

With sparse resources, they helped men, women and children who had broken bones, amputated limbs and crushing emotional and psychological truama.

And members of the Portland-based Konbit Sante worked alongside them. Haitian nurses and doctors from the nonprofit were there, even a Portland volunteer who teaches English as a second language.

But as important as the all-hands effort was, it may not have been possible without the work done by Konbit Sante over the past decade.

Justinian doctors and nurses were able to work in operating rooms without fear of a blackout, thanks to electrical upgrades made by Maine electricians; children were treated in a pediatrics unit supported by two Konbit Sante-funded attending physicians; and the opening of a Konbit Sante supply depot gave the hospital access to vital materials donated to the organization.

Even so, scraping together enough to respond to the disaster has been difficult.

Click the link to read the rest of “Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve” by the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Wickenheiser.

Reporter’s Notebook | Portland Press Herald

Here’s another “reporter’s notebook” from the MaineToday Media covering the earthquake in Haiti.

 Reporter’s Notebook | Portland Press Herald.

MaineToday Media’s landing page has much on Haiti

I was so busy the past couple of days passing along links from the home pages of Maine newspapers that I failed to take a look at the landing page set up on the Web site of MaineToday Media’s Portland Press Herald.

Here’s a link to the landing page or you can move from the Portland Press Herald’s home page by clicking on the icon showing a crying Haitian child and the text: “Haiti Quake: Mainers respond to catastrophe.”

That will bring you to a landing page with a multimedia presentation. There are local stories and commentary, wire stories, tweets, slideshows, and information on how to donate to the Haiti relief effort. It’s not a bad collection of what’s been written by MaineToday Media so far on the earthquake in Haiti.

The one thing it lacks – at least from a cursory standpoint – is video. But that is highly understandable under the circumstances; newspapers are not set up to broadcast video via satellite and getting a memory card to the mainland to be edited and sent to the MaineToday Media websites wouldn’t make sense. My hope is that the reporters and photographers – perhaps a videographer – are taking video so that can be added to the landing page later.

I’ll post other landing pages if I spot one by a non-MaineToday Media paper.

Portland Press-Herald ‘Reporter’s notebook’ from, about Haiti

Here’s a link to a series of “reporter notebook” items by Portland Press-Herald reporters and photographers covering the earthquake in Haiti. These are the sorts of things that reporters find interesting and jot them down in their notebooks, but often they do not make it into the bigger, overall story.

Here’s a link to the rest of the reporter notebook.

More news from Maine newspapers on Mainers helping Haiti

Here are links to Portland Press Herald stories about Mainers helping Haiti. Please let me know about any failed links and I’ll attempt to fix them as soon as possible.

In Haiti, Portlander lends a hand during chaotic weekend


At a glance: Mainers helping in Haiti


Haiti toll estimated at 200,000


Maine couple desperate to get daughter home


Reporter’s Notebook – Haiti: Open troughs, tower climbs and a baby is born


MaineGeneral doctors to return to Haiti


DeLorme creates dataset for relief efforts in Haiti


Salvation Army effort seeking donations


Tips for deciding where to donate


North Yarmouth raises $1,600 for Haiti


Donations to Konbit Sante effort top $20K


Mainers worried about safety of children they aim to adopt


Maine at Work: Skirting the boards might be easiest part | Portland Press Herald

Ray Routhier does everybody’s job. Really. He’s a Portland Press Herald staff writer who does unusal jobs found in Maine and then writes about them. Here’s the link to the story he wrote about learning to be an “ice technician.” He got to drive a Zamboni. Sweet!

 Maine at Work: Skirting the boards might be easiest part | Portland Press Herald.

Changing the way Mainers get their news – maybe

A main function of a free press is to make sure that agencies taking public money do what they should be doing with that money and that the people working for those agencies are not pocketing any of it for personal gain.

Part of that “watchdog function” involves usually costly, usually time-consuming investigative reporting to ferret out corruption, incompetence and whatever other problems there might be with the way an agency’s employees are dealing with the public’s money, property or facilities.

Because of the way things have gone for news gathering agencies, especially newspapers, newsrooms have been gutted and meaningful investigative reporting has greatly suffered for years.

But nonprofit organizations or organizations funded by foundations and donations are sprouting up in an effort to fill that gap. In Maine, one such agency is the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting founded by – and so far funded by – longtime journalist John Christie. The Center claims affiliation with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University.

The bio on Center’s website indicates that Christie “is a media executive whose 40-year career includes work in four states as a writer, editor, general manager and publisher for newspapers owned by Tribune Co., Dow Jones and Co. and the Seattle Times Co. In June, he retired after nine years as the president and publisher of Central Maine Newspapers, which publishes two daily papers, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.”

Christie’s venture seems to be still getting off the ground, but it did produce a lengthy piece on recent tax reform in Maine. The story strongly suggested that Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s decision to not include a tax on the sale of luxury homes and a sales tax on ski lift tickets was influenced by lobbyists with whom he had close, long-term political relationships.

[Frankly, the story would have benefited from some “eye candy” – photos to illustrate the story and mugshots of the people quoted in the story (as the Bangor Daily News did in its version of the story), sidebar or two broken out from the main, very lengthy story, basic graphics to tell the money part of the story visually, and a few other minor changes that would have made the story appear on his website a bit more pleasing and more professional. Perhaps that sort of thing will be hammered out once he is not the sole employee of the Center. Oh, and there should be a date on the posting. How else would a reader know how fresh the information is?]

The Center’s media partners include the Bangor Daily News, Lewiston Sun Journal, Mount Desert Islander, and The Ellsworth American. Apparently, his departure from the Central Maine Newspapers – Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and the Waterville Morning Sentinel, among others – didn’t go so well since the Center’s story was not slated to appear in those publications.

As an out-of-work editor-columnist-blogger, I hope Christie’s effort and those of other nonprofit public service news organizations prosper and grow, and that their leaderships figure out what news executives should have figured out decades ago – sustainability.

Frankly, I don’t know if nonprofit is the way to go.

Below are links to just a few of the nonprofit public service news websites. More and more nonprofits are cropping up and using something such as “nonprofit journalism” should provide a lengthy list.

ProPublica produces national investigative reporting distributed at no cost to media outlets

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

California already has a handful. The Sacramento-based California Watch is a project of the nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting.

Here’s a link to a blog about California Watch prior to its launch.

There is also the SF Public Press, which is sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation, Independent Arts & Media, and at least 200 individual donors.

VoiceofSanDiego.org is another nonprofit, public service journalism project.

Also, here are links to two DownEast.com blog items on the launching of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, one by Al Diamon and another by Mike Tipping. Both are regular bloggers for DownEast.com.


Offshore wind power sites to be named tomorrow

Maine already has land-based windmill projects and tomorrow a panel will name locations to be tested for offshore wind fields. Here’s the Associated Press story printed in some Maine newspapers.