Yesterday for 9/28/17
10 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
BANGOR — A federal judge told attorneys for the state Friday that Maine appears to be violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing trapping that could harm Canada lynx.
U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock did not make a ruling on whether the state can be held liable whenever one of the federally protected wildcats is caught inadvertently in traps set for other animals. Hearings will resume Tuesday as the court works to resolve the case before the trapping season opens in mid-October.
But the judge made clear that he believes the state has an uphill battle in the lawsuit filed by the Animal Protection Institute. If successful, the suit could dramatically affect — or even bring to a halt — trapping throughout much of central and northern Maine.
“I don’t think anyone here is accusing anybody of deliberately trapping lynx, but if trappers are going out … and they accidentally or inadvertently take lynx, then that is a violation of the Endangered Species Act,” Woodcock told the two teams of attorneys at the beginning of Friday’s hearing.
“I sympathize very much with the state of Maine on this but that is a personal sympathy, not a judicial one,” Woodcock added.
API, which is based in California but has members in Maine, alleges that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is not doing enough to protect lynx, bald eagles and gray wolves from harm caused by state-regulated trapping.
The organization’s lawsuit against DIF&W Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin, filed last fall, seeks a court order to end any trapping that could inadvertently capture, injure or kill the three species.
Bald eagles have since been removed from the federal list of threatened species and there are no documented populations of wild gray wolves living in Maine. So Friday’s hearing focused exclusively on lynx.
Thirty-four lynx have been caught by trappers in Maine since 1999, including 25 since 2004, according to figures supplied to the court by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Two of the 34 animals died as a result.
Officials say Maine’s dense forests are home to an estimated 200 to 500 lynx, although many hunters and trappers say that figure is much too low. Larger than the more common bobcat, lynx have big, fur-covered feet that allow them to pursue their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare, in deep snow.
DIF&W officials currently are seeking a federal permit that would protect the state legally for any “incidental take” of lynx by trappers.
But during Friday’s hearing, Woodcock pointed out that the permit — if one is issued at all — will not be complete by the time trapping season begins on Oct. 14. And under his reading of past case law, the state of Maine can be held liable for any lynx trapped during the upcoming season, Woodcock said.
“It is the law,” he said. “I don’t think there is any question about it, and I am obligated to follow the law.”
But attorneys for the state and several sportsmen’s organizations disagreed with Woodcock’s black-and-white interpretation of past case law.
Chris Taub, an assistant attorney general, and private attorney James Lister sought to place the liability burden on the individual trapper, not the state. The two men said that, just like Maine residents who hold a state-issued driver’s license, trappers are responsible for their own behavior.
While Woodcock appeared unmoved by that argument, he did spend considerable time questioning the two attorneys and a representative for API about the legal significance of steps that DIF&W recommends trappers take to avoid capturing lynx.
Taub and Lister, who was representing such groups as the Maine Trappers Association, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, argued that trappers easily could avoid capturing lynx by following the state’s recommendations. An attorney for API disagreed.
Taub also pointed out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never indicated that inadvertent trapping of lynx is a problem, nor has the agency ever penalized a trapper that accidentally caught a lynx.
“Certainly trapping is a take … but we feel there is very little evidence that the population is being harmed,” Taub said.
The two sides are expected to present evidence to Woodcock during hearings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
UNITY — Unity College has taken its first step toward a master plan aimed at redesigning areas of its campus to make the college more in tune with the environment and the community.
Faculty, staff, students and representatives of Portland-based PDT Architects gathered at the Unity Center for the Performing Arts recently to brainstorm and discuss the challenge of configuring the campus for the future. PDT specializes in sustainable designs for education, health care, corporate offices and municipal facilities.
“It’s a way for us to think about the future of the campus,” college president Michael Thomashow said during a break from the session. “We want to make future decisions on what is important to us as well as the community. How to create a truly ecological campus.”
Since assuming the mantle of president last year, Thomashow has moved to integrate the college with the community and bring more focus on its position as one of the premier environmental colleges in the country.
The 40-year-old college is situated on 225 acres of rolling farmland and forest and has 550 full-time students. Baccalaureate programs include natural resource management, wilderness-based outdoor recreation, aquaculture, environmental education and park management.
During the planning session, participants discussed changing the configuration of the loop road through the campus to emphasize pedestrian and bicycle travel; relocating residences; using low-impact, native building materials on construction projects; reducing the school’s carbon footprint; developing local sustainable food production; and planting decorative gardens and landscaping.
The discussions also centered on using alternative sources of energy and locating future buildings in areas where they can take advantage of solar energy.
Thomashow said all of the ideas will be collected and handed over to the school’s architects for use as reference points while they are designing the master plan layout. He said some of the recommendations could be adopted immediately, while others would be considered long-term projects.
25 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
The new president of the Bangor Rotary Club — a chapter of an international organization that until a few years ago did not admit women to its ranks — is a wife, mother of four, educator and businesswoman. Sheila Pechinski was invited to join the Bangor chapter in 1987 when National Rotary first decided to include women. When she did join about a year later, it was shortly before they elected new directors. Almost immediately she became a director, and in six months she was elected to the board.
Board members may qualify to be president after they work as coordinator in four service areas, and once Pechinski accomplished this, she became president-elect in July 1991. One year later, she became president — a little more than four years after joining the chapter.
“I was honored to be asked to be president, particularly so since I am a woman and they haven’t had a woman president,” she said. “It was an opportunity for me to demonstrate that a woman could be the leader of leaders — which is what Rotary is.”
But Pechinski speaks more as a Rotarian than as a woman Rotarian.
“I enjoy the organization tremendously,” she explained. “I admire what they stand for and I am very proud to be a member.”
The Rotary Club appealed to her for several reasons.
“I have always been committed to serving the community, and I’ve been on several boards of nonprofit agencies for many years. Many Rotarians were also on these boards, and they would tell me about the various kinds of projects that Rotary would undertake. In addition, Rotary is an opportunity to serve not only your local community, but it is an international organization. They do absolutely marvelous things. For example, they raised millions of dollars to wipe out polio; it was an international effort.”
As president, she is expected to set goals for the club for the year that fit the guidelines of Rotary. Examples of the group’s philanthropy are its support of the Shaw House, a Bangor shelter for teenagers; contributions to the YMCA, YWCA and other social groups; and sponsorship of various scholarships. Rotary also has programs for young people, and Pechinski is interested in establishing a chapter of “Rotoract,” a miniversion of a Rotary club specifically for college-age people who have not yet established themselves as leaders in business or the professions.
Her talents as a leader are rooted in her childhood. Both her parents encouraged her to be whatever she wanted to be. She also enjoyed the advantages of an all-girl high school, which “certainly allowed me to develop the self-confidence I believe that I have — because I was never discouraged.”
She attended a small coed college where she was one of a tiny minority of women majoring in math and physics. After graduation, she worked for two years as a research mathematician in an engineering company in Boston, the only woman in her department.
When the family moved to Orono where her husband is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Maine, she finished her master’s degree in business administration and has taught in the College of Business at the University of Maine for 14 years.
But that is not what qualified her to be a Rotarian. She has her own consulting firm, “Marketedge Inc.,” which she organized in partnership with another woman five years ago. So, it was as a management consultant that she became a member.
She does not try to explain her meteoric rise in the Bangor organization except to say that chapters were being encouraged by National Rotary to include women, and she knew and worked with almost all of the Bangor members before she joined.
“Perhaps they felt comfortable with me,” she said.
MACHIAS — The new president of the University of Maine at Machias has a vision for the campus, one that he shared recently with faculty, students and staff during the traditional opening convocation.
Dr. Paul E. Nordstrom, formerly of Gunnison, Colorado, offered his view of what the campus must do as a university, and what all faculty, staff, and students must do to bring the institution to its rightful place in higher education.
Nordstrom said that if UMM is to be exemplary and set a positive example for other universities its students must become the top priority. The university must offer an excellent education for them, both in and out of the classroom, he said.
“We must be determined, willing to take risks, and not settle for mediocrity,” he said. “We must act as a team.”
Nordstrom said UMM needs to convey a sense of pride in the university through its appearance.
The new president challenged the entire campus to take an active role in the institution’s future. He asked each person in attendance to be an active and positive participant.
Nordstrom reminded the audience that UMM’s mission stresses its location and region, its uniqueness in human and natural resources, its public service role, its quality academic programs, and its partnership in the University of Maine System.
Nordstrom focused on three areas: planning, programming, and partnerships.
In planning, the campus will be preparing for a 1994 accreditation visit by the New England Association of Schools and College and acting upon Project 2002, which identifies goals established by the board of trustees in addressing the future of the University of Maine System.
In programming, Nordstrom wants the campus to assess the outcomes and achievements of its students; review, evaluate, and structure academic programs and core education requirements; ensure that UMM students have a total undergraduate program, including extracurricular quality to complement the classroom experience; refine recruitment and focus on retention of students; and broaden and strengthen scholarship programs, faculty and staff development and classroom technology.
In the partnership area, Nordstrom plans to expand development and fundraising efforts, commit to a sense of community with diversity, establish international linkages, and continue to communicate with regional organizations and agencies and provide service to those groups.
“I truly believe that to be at the University of Maine at Machias at this time in its history is to have an educational opportunity of a lifetime,” said Nordstrom.
Stephen Bost, one of the 50 state coordinators for potential independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, thinks the Texas billionaire will throw his hat into the ring on Thursday.
Bost, a 35-year-old Democratic state senator from Orono, said he reached that conclusion after watching Perot’s appearance on the Larry King Show.
“Most, if not all the state coordinators want Perot to become actively involved. I count myself in that group,” said Bost, who viewed Perot’s interview with Larry King with other state campaign directors.
“We all watched the show literally wondering what he would say. We became convinced that he will run, I think, when he introduced his family to the American people. That was an indication to us that he was serious because, from what I know of him, he is an intensely private person,” said Bost in a telephone interview from Dallas.
Bost will return to Maine on Tuesday to survey other volunteers about a Perot candidacy. He will report back to Dallas before a Thursday noon deadline. Perot said his decision to run as an independent presidential candidate will be determined by the wishes of his volunteers. That decision will be announced sometime Thursday, Perot indicated.
Bost said that a Perot candidacy would be a full-fledged effort, not string of talk show appearances as some Washington political watchers have speculated.
During Monday’s meeting of Perot state coordinators in Dallas representatives of President George Bush and Gov. Bill Clinton’s campaign organizations each made presentations behind closed doors. The star of the Republican presentation, Bost said, was Housing Secretary Jack Kemp.
Sen. David Boren, D-Oklahoma, and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, made the strong pitches for the Democratic team.
“Both campaigns sent in their best and brightest. The presentations were very measured, well thought out and articulate,” Bost said.
Bost said the Democrats appeared to be “better organized … seemed to have more fire in the belly … and were far more interested in talking about specific deficit reduction numbers.”
“The Bush people, thanks in part to Jack Kemp, were very, very committed to the message of their candidate,” he added.
Before Perot announced in July that he would not be presidential candidate some polls showed him leading both Bush and Clinton in Maine by a comfortable margin. Perot’s volunteers amassed more than 26,000 signatures to put the Texas billionaire on the ballot, one of the first states to do so.
“The Perot organization changed course after he withdrew his name from consideration. We formed a group called United We Stand. Our focus has been to re-energize people behind the original Perot message and keep them involved in the political process,” Bost said.
One such activity will be a series of interviews with Maine congressional candidates.
Bost thinks that Perot’s chances are strong in Maine because “the state has tested an independent (former Gov. James B. Longley) who showed that an independent can win and survive.” Longley defeated George J. Mitchell and Maine Attorney General James Erwin in a three-way gubernatorial race in 1974.
50 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
THOMASTON — It was open house at the Maine State Prison Thursday night — but not for the inmates.
Guests of Warden Allan L. Robbins and his staff were some 170 Maine law enforcement officers and newsmen, who were given a tour of the prison and entertained at a meal and program.
Addressing the group in the absence of the warden, who is confined to the Maine Medical Center at Portland, was Deputy Warden Robert D. Kennedy, who read a paper prepared by Warden Robbins.
He took the occasion to drive home the need for a correctional diagnostic and treatment center, as well as a pre-release unit. “If we can secure the necessities here and can persuade the Legislature to establish the treatment center and pre-release unit,” said Kennedy, “we will be on the way to putting Maine in a position to release better men into society.”
If the state prison were to have the same average number of inmates to employees that other state correctional institutions have, it would require an additional 138 staff members. This would more than double the present staff of 100, he pointed out.
In addition to being what the warden termed “terribly understaffed” in the prison built to accommodate 500 inmates, the prison’s employees are paid from 36 to 50 percent less than Vermont prison employees.
Robbins praised Maine law enforcement men. He said he has “never seen a more honest and conscientious group than we have in the State of Maine, despite low wages, lack of equipment and few opportunities for training.
Some out-of-state departments have more of everything than we do in Maine, except for attitude and desire to do the job right.”
100 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Bangor friends were shocked Thursday morning to learn of the sudden death of Dr. Henry L. Griffin, longtime pastor of the Hammond Street Congregational Church and a leading citizen in all that concerned Bangor’s welfare.
Dr. Griffin had not been in robust health for a year past, but his condition was not such as to give his friends alarm. Only two weeks ago did his illness take a serious turn; the end came very unexpectedly Thursday morning at Southwest Harbor, where he had gone with Mrs. Griffin for the summer as in several years past.
Henry Lyman Griffin came of a family distinguished in letters. He was born at Williamstown, Massachusetts, Dec. 1, 1848, son of the Rev. Nathaniel Herrick and Hannah Bulkley Griffin. He graduated from Williams College in 1868 and from the Yale Divinity School in 1873. On Oct. 1, 1873, he was ordained to the Congregational ministry at New Britain, Connecticut, and was pastor of the South Church in that city until 1877. The years between 1878 and 1881 were spent in study abroad, mainly at the University of Berlin; he later studied at the universities of Leipzig and Marburg in Germany, and at Oxford, England.
Returning to this country, Mr. Griffin became in 1881 pastor of the Hammond Street Church in Bangor, continuing in that relation until 1904. From 1907 to 1916 he was pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Brewer, residing in Bangor; and from 1907 until his death, special lecturer at the Bangor Theological Seminary on Comparative Religion.