Yesterday for 6/22/17
10 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Maine’s two U.S. senators played key roles in shaping an energy bill passed late Thursday night that would mandate more fuel-efficient cars and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into research on climate change and alternative energy.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans, joined 63 of their colleagues in voting for an energy bill aimed largely at increasing efficiency, reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and developing new energy sources.
Snowe was active in negotiating a compromise that would substantially improve vehicle fuel economy while avoiding a threatened filibuster from lawmakers, primarily within her own party, opposed to the new standards.
It’s an issue that Snowe has been working on for the last six years with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. The two senators have been pushing to increase fuel economy standards by 10 mpg over 10 years, which was incorporated into the final Senate bill.
The bill would require manufacturers to achieve an average fuel efficiency of 35 mpg across their fleet by 2020. For the first time, trucks and SUVs would be in the same category as passenger cars, which Snowe also supported.
Snowe called the energy legislation a “landmark” measure that, if enacted by the House, would force domestic auto manufacturers to follow the example of Japanese manufacturers while moving the U.S. toward greater energy independence. She credited the bill’s passage to a combination of factors, including growing public outcry over the price of gasoline and the Democrats’ takeover of Congress.
“I think there was a realization that emerged that it simply doesn’t make sense in the 21st century that we couldn’t compel the domestic manufacturers to become more fuel-efficient … when the foreign manufacturers are outpacing us,” Snowe said.
Collins, meanwhile, authored two items in the energy bill that could benefit climate and alternative energy research programs at the University of Maine.
The bill authorizes $10 million per year for six years for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s research programs on what is known as “abrupt climate change.” This area of science studies the history of sudden but dramatic climate shifts — sometimes happening in a decade — and the potential for global warming triggering such abrupt changes.
The second item authorizes $275 million over five years to research programs on developing low-carbon sources of energy, such as fuels made from crops or wood.
“I continue to be extremely proud of the world-renowned research conducted at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute as well as research that is helping to develop alternative sources of energy, such as woody biomass,” Collins said in a statement.
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, New Brunswick — The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday night to provide federal health benefits to U.S. employees at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Friday that the bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives and, if approved, to the president’s desk.
“This bipartisan bill would solve a serious health insurance problem for Maine residents who work at Roosevelt Campobello International Park,” Collins said in a prepared statement. “Currently, U.S. citizens who work at this international park are ineligible for Federal Employee Health Benefits Program coverage. Consequently, they have been forced to pay for their own coverage under a small-group insurance plan negotiated by the Park Commission.”
Fifteen employees at the park are eligible for the federal health insurance package, but Skip Cole, general manager of the park, said Friday that only about 10 would take advantage of it. The rest of the employees are covered by their spouses’ health plans.
Bear Creek Investments, a company created by Quoddy Bay LNG developer Donald Smith, has announced the development and released architectural designs of the Wabanaki Trails and Interpretive Center, which it plans to build on U.S. Route 1 in Robbinston just south of Mill Cove.
The development, not connected with Quoddy Bay LNG’s proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Perry, is in its early stages. The first phase will include a 6,000-square-foot interpretive center, walking trails and access to the beach, according to a news release issued this week. Beach access at low tide would allow access to Pulpit Rock, a culturally significant landmark to native tribes in the area. Bear Creek hopes to begin construction on the development in 2008.
“The trails are designed to encourage a better understanding of the Native American tribes indigenous to the Maine coast and southwestern New Brunswick, and will serve as a resource for Native Americans and their neighbors,” Sandi Yarmal, the project’s coordinator and a Passamaquoddy Tribe member, said in the statement. “This project will provide the Wabanaki people access to an important site in our history and provide the region with a great resource to learn about our culture.”
Indoor exhibits will include native artwork, including murals depicting the history of natural landmarks and origins of their names. Exhibits will teach the connection between the Wabanaki and their natural surroundings. Outside, winding trails will be lined with indigenous plants, herbs, flowers and additional open-air exhibits
Future plans also include construction of an event center, which would be available to the public for cultural, educational, social and business gatherings.
BREWER — Cianbro Corp.’s ambitious plan to bring several hundred highly paid workers back to the former Eastern Fine Paper site in Brewer has the potential to become one of the region’s most significant economic development endeavors in years.
But first the company will have to complete one of the largest industrial cleanup projects ever attempted in Maine — and in record time, at that.
For more than a century, factories churned out paper products at what now is known as the former Eastern Fine Paper Co. facility. But those industrial operations left a toxic legacy in the soil of the 41-acre site on the banks of the Penobscot River in South Brewer.
“We’ve found a variety of contaminants there,” said Jean Firth with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. “Over the long history of the site, they have used many different chemicals.”
Ash laden with mercury and other heavy metals is buried on parts of the property. Other areas are contaminated with petroleum that apparently leaked over the years from aboveground tanks and pipes. Other environmental concerns include PCBs, a once common industrial pollutant now banned in the U.S., as well as asbestos and lead.
Cianbro officials have said they hope to have their new facility — a manufacturing center for prefabricated, self-standing building structures known as “modules” — up and running within 10 months. The company predicts the facility will employ about 500 people, twice as many as were employed by Eastern Fine when the mill closed in January 2004.
Firth, who coordinates the DEP’s industrial site cleanup and redevelopment program, known as brownfields, said petroleum is the largest single contaminant on the site. Overall, the Eastern Fine property would be one of the largest brownfields projects ever completed in the state. That would make it a significant accomplishment for both economic development and for Maine’s brownfields program, Firth said.
“This is going to take time given the sheer size of it, and some of it will be done as the development proceeds at the site,” Firth said.
The city of Brewer, working in conjunction with the DEP, recently completed a $350,000 assessment of the site funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program. D’arcy Main-Boyington, the city’s economic development director, said the city has submitted a remediation plan to the DEP for approval.
Total site cleanup costs are expected to be in the millions of dollars. South Brewer Redevelopment, a limited liability company created by the city to own and operate the mill site, will help funnel state and federal money to the cleanup project. Cianbro is expected eventually to take ownership of the property after those state and federal funds are expended.
25 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Motorists using municipal parking lots in Bangor will pay more to do so.
Parking permits will cost $3 more a month.
The City Council agreed to the increase Monday night as the result of a review of the city’s revenues during the budget discussions.
Increasing the cost of parking permits will raise $15,000 annually. A monthly permit for Pickering Square Parking Garage, Columbia Street Deck and Upper Abbott Square will cost $38, and $33 for other surface lots.
During budget deliberations, the city also considered raising by 5 cents the price of a standard fare on The Bus. The new ticket would have cost 65 cents and the increase would have raised an additional $8,000. The last time the city increased the price of a bus ticket was 1987 when the price went from 50 to 60 cents.
In a 5-3 vote, the council killed the proposal. Councilors John Bragg, Dennis Soucy and Richard Stone favored it. Councilors Gerard Baldacci, Patricia Blanchette, William Cohen, Marshall Frankel and Jane Saxl opposed it. Councilor W. Tom Sawyer was absent.
The increase would hurt “the ones who can least afford to pay and who will not come down here to fight,” Blanchette said.
The council also killed a proposal to study giving breaks on sewer bills to people who use water to fill swimming pools or water large gardens. Sewer bills are based on water consumption. Baldacci said that the theory behind his proposal was that water used in swimming pools or on gardens does not enter the sewer system.
The change could result in more equitable charges, he said.
The result would be “an administrative nightmare that’ll cost money,” Bragg said. “It will help pool owners and adversely affect other ratepayers.” He added that the cost of the program would be borne by all ratepayers, not just pool owners.
“I don’t want the city bogged down,” Baldacci replied. “I just want something that is equitable.”
But councilors agreed with City Manager Edward A. Barrett’s suggestion that the city should review its rate structure for sewer fees. For several years rates have increased 10 percent every six months to pay for the new secondary treatment plant.
“I think it’s probably time to take a look at (the rate structure) given the increasing rates,” he said.
ROCKPORT — Mel Gibson and company will spend the summer in Rockport filming “Man Without a Face,” officials of ICON Productions reported during a Monday night meeting with selectmen.
Production Manager Sharon Mann said the decision was virtually certain, barring last-minute complications.
Location Manager Andrew Arey told selectmen that the current plan was to start filming in Rockport Village on Aug. 3, for four to five days. Other locations will include the Camden Police Station and the Camden Public Library.
Lea Girardin, director of the Maine Film Office, said the production company inquired a month ago about the use of Maine scenes for the movie. The entire midcoast area was scouted, along with Toronto, for ideal scenes.
The production company promised to work closely with town officials to avoid unnecessary problems in an area already crowded with summer visitors.
Police Chief Forest Doucette asked for several days’ warning for traffic control. Board Chairman Robert Duke reminded the company that the town is extremely crowded during the first weekend in August, which coincides with the annual lobster festival in Rockland.
“Well, we lived through `Peyton Place,”‘ said Selectman Marge Jones. The 1950s classic was filmed in Camden and Rockport locations. Willard said if the town could stand years of the “wandering” Maine Photographic Workshop students, it could stand a few days of Hollywood production.
The filming could use as many as 600 extras.
Tom Hennessey writes in his Out and About column: When I broke camp here a couple of weeks ago, I set out to find a few fish tracks. Calling a spade a spade, that’s what I found the most of; and, as you well know, fish tracks are like deer tracks in that they provide poor table fare.
Aside from a few small salmon and a couple of short togue, my lake fishing produced nothing more than a sunburn. As expected, Atlantic salmon fishing on the Penobscot — or anywhere else for that matter — wasn’t up to snuff this spring. During the past few years, ocean catches of salmon have decreased. That, of course, doesn’t bode well for sport fishing in rivers. Currently, returns of salmon to rivers on either side of the Atlantic are low.
Also, because of insufficient rainfall, water has been held back at dams along the Penobscot. In accordance with that, much of the flow at the Veazie Dam now is spilling from the fishway, which, naturally, is attracting most of the salmon. As of Monday, the trap count of salmon taken at the fishway was 410.
Another factor to consider in regard to fishing success, or lack of it, is that the physical character of many of the pools along the Eddington and Veazie shores has changed. Spring freshets and ice have filled in many of the traditional lies, thereby rendering them unattractive to salmon. But in spite of the diminished run and unfavorable conditions, more than a few fishermen have had their feathered invitations accepted by salmon fresh up from the sea. The most recent rod catch figure is 153, 51 kept and registered, 102 released.
Teresa Boulier of Limestone is one Atlantic salmon angler who isn’t complaining, and for good reason. At the lower end of the Eddington Pool, the former Old Town resident’s rod abruptly bowed to a weighty command from the king of freshwater gamefish. “Scott, I’ve got one,” she yelled to her husband who was fishing a short distance below her.
Scott Boulier, immediately reeled in his line and went to his wife’s assistance. By then, however, the salmon had made a heartstopping run into the middle of the river. Teresa’s line was stretched as tight as a fiddle string, but there was no vibrant movement to her crescent-shaped rod. Obviously, the salmon had taken the line around a rock.
Luckily, Joe Meehan and Leo Goodine were fishing from a boat anchored nearby. Realizing the situation, the Eddington Salmon Club members came ashore and took Teresa aboard. While she reeled, Leo ran the boat slowly toward the rock around which the line was fouled and eventually succeeded in freeing it.
Cheers arose from the crowd gathered on the shore as the salmon made a cartwheeling leap that cast a sparkling veil of spray onto the river. When the salmon settled down, Teresa was ferried back to shore, where trembling like her rod tip, she worked the fish into the shallows. Shortly thereafter, Scott tailed his wife’s first Atlantic salmon, a 31-inch, 11-pound prize whose silvery image, in Teresa’s mind at least, will never become tarnished by time.
Making the event even more memorable is the fact that she caught the salmon on a fly created by her husband. Because he has caught more than 50 salmon on the glowing green pattern, Scott named the fly, appropriately enough, the “Salmon Slammin’ Special.” At the Eddington Salmon Club banquet, he gave me one tied on a No. 4 double hook. With the right amount of rain and a little luck, maybe it will make a memory for me. I haven’t raised a salmon this spring.
50 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Three New Brunswick women who came to Bangor to go shopping but neglected to pay for $138 in merchandise are being held in the Penobscot County Jail after they were unable to pay an additional $300 in fines when they were caught shoplifting.
The three women pleaded guilty to the charges before Judge Ian MacInnes in 3rd District Court at Bangor and each was fined $100.
The three women were caught in a Bangor Shopping Center store where they had sought to replenish a travel-weary wardrobe.
Upon payment of the fines or serving the equivalent in time, at $20 a day, they will be turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.
ORONO — Two bills were passed and signed into law by Dirigo Boys State Gov. Stephen A. Butler in mock legislative action at Orono on Friday morning.
Signed into law was LD 8, a measure providing for an “open shop” in Maine industry, and LD 27, a bill establishing a research and development center for existing Maine industry.
Also passed by the Senate were acts relating to air and water pollution, the abolishment of the Executive Council, establishment of a 5 percent sales tax, creation of a state income tax, establishment of a new minimum wage, open housing, lowering the voting age to 18 years, and the promotion of sex education in Maine elementary schools.
Passed to be engrossed in the House were measures dealing with the prohibition of billboard advertising on state highways, the establishment of a four-year term for the state House of Representatives, and a measure granting a pay increase to House members.
100 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
BANGOR — The Red Cross fund has reached the grand total of $64,191.75, this being the contribution of Penobscot County, or rather of Bangor, remaining cities and towns to report later, to the fund now being raised throughout the country.
The executive committee and team members met at dinner at the Colonial on Thursday evening and round after round of applause greeted the reports of the different towns. The campaign continues through Monday next and much hard work on the part of the solicitors remains to be done before the total of $100,000 is reached.
Reports from other sections were read and there was much enthusiasm as the men learned that some small town was coming to the front with a large amount thus early in the campaign.
The executive committee wishes it understood that not one cent of the money raised has been nor will be expended for expenses in this city. Every dollar, every cent, goes directly to the fund. This explanation is made in justice to the campaigners.
BANGOR — The first training of all men who are within the limits of military age, 18-45 years, was an event which drew a large crowd to Abbott Square on Thursday night. It is expected that the ranks of men who can secure a splendid start on a military career will be largely increased as the fact becomes more widely known that an excellent opportunity is given the eligible men to gain a working knowledge of the rudiments of military matters.
About 150 had previously enrolled for the training and a considerable portion of the number responded to roll call. Capt. Ballou of Co. A and Capt. Baker of Co. B had charge of the drilling.
After the recruits had drawn up in line, Mayor J. F. Woodman took a position on the bandstand and addressed the men briefly. He said in part: “Bangor has reason to feel proud of its achievements since war was declared, and Bangor will always do its part. Should you be obliged to leave us, remember that Bangor and every citizen are behind you.”