June 22, 2018  
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News Items
Maine farm under fire after nesting fields for declining bird species gets mowed over
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

This time of year, two familiar sounds seem to signal the arrival of summer. One is the thrum of a tractor’s engine as farmers mow their sweet-smelling hayfields. The other is the bubbling, lyrical song of the bobolink, a small grassland bird with a shrinking population that is known for its cheerful plumage and captivating voice. But put them too close together, and the bobolink and the tractor sound more like disaster. Just ask scores of ardent bird lovers who have registered their dismay that a farmer last weekend mowed large open fields at the Hart Farm in Holden, a historical dairy farm that was purchased last year by the Holden Land Trust.
Electricity sellers allegedly posed as CMP auditors to sign up customers
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Residents in Bath, Norway, Paris and Fryeburg opened their doors in recent months to the same scene: a man claiming to be an “auditor” for Central Maine Power Co. He said he was there to make sure customers were not overpaying for electricity, at a time when hundreds were shocked by high wintertime bills from the utility. But CMP doesn’t send auditors door to door. The “auditors” were actually salesmen for Electricity Maine, an electricity seller that historically has led customers to shell out hundreds of dollars more a year for electricity than they would have under the standard rate for power.
Arrest of Saddleback’s prospective buyer spurs nonprofit to try again to put the ski area back in business
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

A group that once had been in negotiations to purchase Saddleback plans to approach the ski area’s owners about reviving those talks following the news Thursday that an Australian businessman who had entered an agreement to buy the resort was arrested and charged with fraud. “We see a path forward that can work and we are prepared to lead,” said Crystal Canney, executive director of the Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a nonprofit composed of area business owners and skiers.
Land Use Planning Commission’s proposed new ‘adjacency’ rule has few backers. Will it matter?
 - Friday, June 22, 2018 

One by one, interested parties walked to to the microphone Wednesday afternoon, introduced themselves to the members of the Land Use Planning Commission, and told those commissioners why scrapping their one-mile “adjacency” principle was the wrong thing to do. Then, the 40th witness stepped forward to testify, and the previous consensus didn’t really seem to matter any more. Patrick Strauch, the executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council, said his group supported some sort of change. Here’s hoping the LUPC heard one thing loud and clear, even if it ends up revamping its development framework. There’s no hurry. Slow down. And eventually, get it right.
Editorial: State planners should tread lightly on rural rule changes
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

The proposal from the Land Use Planning Commission, the planning and zoning authority of the unorganized territories, would do away with the “one-mile rule,” a longstanding policy that limits new housing subdivisions and commercial development to within 1 road mile of existing similar development. Under the new rules, development would be allowed within 10 miles of the border of more than 40 designated retail hubs – communities that provide public services. About 100 people showed up this week to the first and only public hearing scheduled on the matter. Every speaker was against the proposal. The commission should think twice before making such broad changes.
Federal trial challenging South Portland’s ‘Clear Skies’ ordinance concludes
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

A federal trial challenging South Portland’s ban on crude oil exports wrapped up Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland. The company – a Canadian-owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Shell and Suncor Energy – is challenging the city’s “Clear Skies” ordinance, which effectively blocked Portland Pipe Line from reversing the flow of a 236-mile underground pipeline that has carried foreign crude from harbor terminals in South Portland to refineries in Montreal since World War II. Reversing the flow would allow the company to bring Canadian tar sands crude oil to the South Portland waterfront to be shipped to global markets.
Report: Former Acadia park director accepted illegal Caribbean vacation
Associated Press - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

A former Acadia National Park superintendent accepted an illegal gift of a Caribbean family vacation months before his retirement in 2015, according to a report released Thursday by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of the Interior. A lawyer for Sheridan Steele contends there was nothing illegal about the retirement gift announced at a dinner attended by dozens of members of the local community on Mount Desert Island. “We don’t deny the facts, but we deny the conclusion. It wasn’t an illegal gift,” said Steele’s attorney, Jay McCloskey. He called the probe “a total waste of investigative resources.”
Maine Legislature's Special Session Enters Third Day
Maine Public - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

A number of high-profile bills remain unresolved as the Maine Legislature is approaching the end of its three day special session. Lawmakers sent several proposals to Gov. Paul LePage, but they face a likely veto. Still awaiting final approval is a $200 million slate of bond proposals.
Opinion: Maine needs a governor who will prioritize clean energy
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

As voters assess their options for state leadership, two intertwined issues need to rise to prominence: Maine’s economy and environment. To advance both, Maine’s next governor must prioritize a clean energy future. The good news is that this future is close at hand. With smart energy policy reform based on proven results in other states, Maine can lower energy costs; save residents and businesses money on their utility bills; boost its own economy; grow its workforce with good-paying efficiency, HVAC and solar jobs; and dramatically reduce air pollution. ~ Kathleen Meil and Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center
Baxter State Park Announces New Director
Associated Press - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

The Baxter State Park Authority announced on Thursday that Eben Sypitkowski has been named the new head of Baxter State Park, the home to the state's highest peak. Sypitkowski is currently the park's resource manager. The state says Sypitkowski will direct about 60 year-round and seasonal employees who maintain the park, which is a major tourist attraction in northern Maine. The Baxter State Park Authority is made up of Director of the Bureau of Forestry Doug Denico, Commissioner of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Chandler Woodcock and Attorney General Janet Mills.
Column: Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument drawing plenty of birders
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Altogether, I noted 43 species and 126 individual birds as we looped the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last Saturday. Admittedly, I had an advantage over the other nine participants during the field trip, sponsored by the Penobscot Valley Chapter of Maine Audubon. I was riding shotgun in the 15-passenger van, with my head out the window, listening intently. As destinations go, KWW is an exceptionally birdy place. ~ Bob Duchesne
Bangor native named new head of Baxter State Park
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

The Baxter State Park Authority on Thursday announced that it has appointed Eben Sypitkowski as the new director of Baxter State Park. Sypitkowski succeeds Jensen Bissell, who has been director since 2005 when Irvin “Buzz” Caverly retired after a 46-year career at the park where he held various positions, including director. Sypitkowski, a graduate of Bangor High School and Bates College in Lewiston, also earned a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Maine in Orono. He is currently serving as Baxter State Park’s resource manager and is managing its Scientific Management Area.
The McDonald’s Lobster Roll Experience
Yankee Magazine - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Armed with more than 100 authentic New England lobster roll experiences, I entered the glass-and-tile McDonald’s in my New England town and queued up at the counter. Upon opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of chunks of claw meat on top of some shredded lobster meat and a rather massive bed of similarly shredded iceberg lettuce. But by the time I finished, the McRoll simply ran out of steam and made me yearn for the real deal from a true New England seafood shack.
Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Cause a Bust.
New York Times - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million. Now, scientists and some fishermen are worried that the waters might eventually warm too much for the lobsters, and are asking how much longer the boom can last.
CEO of Company Buying Saddleback Resort Accused of Fraud
Associated Press - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Sebastian Monsour was charged Thursday with investment fraud after a search warrant was executed. Monsour is CEO of the Majella Group, which is in the process of buying Maine's Saddleback Mountain ski resort. The Rangeley ski resort has been closed for several seasons. Owners Bill and Irene Berry announced a year ago that they were selling to Majella Group. Monsour, who was held without bail, promised to make the mountain the "premier ski resort'' in North America and to restore the 300 seasonal jobs.
Maine town declares itself food sovereign, then outlaws urban farming
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Lloyd Cowan is not sure what he’s going to do with his small flock of chickens, two ducks and three goats. He lives in the small town of Madison where urban farming was permitted until the town abruptly passed an ordinance banning it at the June 11 annual town meeting. The new law didn’t grandfather residents like Cowan, who’ve raised animals in their backyard for decades. Cowan said he finds the move by the town in direct conflict with its vote earlier this year to declare itself food sovereign.
In the Bay of Fundy
Other - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

Bowdoin College magazine - On a remote island with no permanent residents, Patty Jones directs something remarkable: collaboration.
Editorial: Don’t waste state’s time with secret wind panel
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

A secret group of experts selected by a recently resigned government official plans to meet at a undisclosed time and place to study something about tourism and wind power. Any report coming out of a process that hinky is destined for the trash can. But studying a problem and recommending a solution is not what the governor’s wind power commission is for. It’s really an opportunity for Gov. LePage to take a last swipe at renewable energy as his term in office draws to a close.
Letter: If Cape institutes fee at Fort Williams, nearby towns should charge fees too
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

I have read that the Cape Elizabeth Town Council is yet again considering charging fees for the use of Fort Williams, probably in the form of parking fees. This is a wonderful idea! Why don’t we start charging non-Portland residents a fee for entering Portland via the Casco Bay Bridge? After all, the use of streets and public services in Portland by people who don’t live here certainly results in some cost to those of us who do live here. Why shouldn’t we pass that cost on, similarly to the plan the Cape Elizabeth Town Council is proposing? ~ Mark Nakell, Portland
Letter: Mainers must demand lead-free water
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, June 21, 2018 

A new map released recently by Environment Maine shows that here in Maine 26 schools and daycares found unhealthy levels of lead in their drinking water. Unfortunately, Maine is not alone; lead contamination of school drinking water is a pervasive, nationwide public health concern. Schools can remove lead-bearing pipes, fixtures, and plumbing, and install certified filters on taps. We must demand that our school administrators, municipalities, and politicians implement these preventative measures. Our children’s health cannot wait. ~ Caroline Bonfield, Environment Maine, Portland
On a Canoe Trip Along the U.S.-Canada Border, Solitude and Shooting Stars
New York Times - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

Fog flowed from the mountains into Spednic Lake. The eastern sky was an arc of amber light. Wind roaring through the trees was thick with the dank scent of lake water turning over. Northern Maine gets cold in early October, and I had spent most of the night shivering beneath clear skies and a swirl of stars. The Milky Way ran exactly over the middle of the campsite, perpendicular to the stream. The last thing I saw before falling asleep was a shooting star splitting the sky in two. This was day three of a 4,000-mile journey along the United States-Canada boundary.
Oil pipeline and prospect of expansion hold back development, South Portland official testifies
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

Loading tankers with crude oil on South Portland’s eastern waterfront would flout the city’s comprehensive plan and further stunt economic development in a region that’s otherwise booming, the city’s planning director testified Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. Portland Pipe Line Corp. is challenging the city’s “Clear Skies” ordinance, which effectively blocked the company from reversing the flow of a 236-mile underground pipeline that has carried foreign crude from harbor terminals in South Portland to refineries in Montreal since World War II. The South Portland City Council banned bulk loading of crude oil on the city’s waterfront in 2014.
Golden confirmed as Democratic nominee in Maine’s 2nd District
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

Assistant Maine House Majority Leader Jared Golden will be Democrats’ nominee to run against U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the 2nd Congressional District in November after the Maine secretary of state released unofficial ranked-choice voting tallies on Wednesday. Golden, 36, of Lewiston dispatched conservationist Lucas St. Clair of Hampden after the first round of ranked-choice tallying, winning 54 percent of votes to St. Clair’s 46 percent.
Mills wins Maine Democratic gubernatorial nomination after ranked-choice count Secretary of State tabulation of ranked-choice voting
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

Attorney General Janet Mills won Maine’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination after unofficial ranked-choice counts from the state were released on Wednesday, defeating attorney Adam Cote and five others after last week’s elections. While Republicans picked businessman Shawn Moody for governor in a landslide on Election Day, Democrats had to wait for Mills of Farmington to be declared the winner.
Panel urged to reconsider proposed development rules for Maine woods
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, June 20, 2018 

Approximately 100 people attended a public hearing held in Brewer Wednesday by the Land Use Planning Commission to solicit comment on a proposal that would change the commission’s development restrictions in the state’s Unorganized Territory, which comprises of more than 10 million acres of land — mostly woods — that lie outside the boundaries of Maine’s cities and towns. Many who spoke said the proposal could rapidly increase the pace and scope of development in the UT at the expense of nearby towns, some of which have suffered economically with the decline of Maine’s paper mill industry. Development in rural Maine should be encouraged in existing towns and not in abutting unorganized townships, they said.
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