Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bangor named in list of top 100 places to live | Bangor Daily News

Bangor named in list of top 100 places to live - Bangor Daily News

Forest carbon offsets poised for growth worldwide | Climate | GreenBiz.com

Forest Carbon Offsets Poised for Growth Worldwide Climate GreenBiz.com

Benedictine nuns, Mormons build to a higher (green) standard | GreenerBuildings

A monastery in Madison, Wis., that earned LEED-Platinum certification and a solar-powered Mormon meetinghouse in Utah are the latest examples of houses of worship that adhere to principles of sustainable design.
With green elements that include a geothermal heating and cooling system using 39 closed‐loop wells, each 300 feet deep, the Holy Wisdom Monastery of the Benedictine Women of Madison recently received a platinum green building rating. The designation is the highest of four certification levels available under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design standards.

This week in Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints showed off its new meetinghouse in Farmington, one of five being constructed according to green building prototypes under a LEED program that supports expedited certification of projects built according to pre-approved designs. The other meetinghouses are in Eagle Mountain, Utah, Apache Junction, Arizona, and Logandale and Pahrump, Nevada. The Apache Junction and Logandale sites also will be solar powered.

The projects by the Benedictines and Mormons are the most recent in growing efforts to green houses of worship in the U.S. and abroad.

Click on the link for the rest of this story on GreenerBiz.com.

EPA report tracks 24 climate change Indicators | SustainableBusiness.com News

Heat waves, storms, sea levels, glaciers, and wildlife migrations are just a few of the environmental indicators that show measurable signs of climate change, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report.
“Climate Change Indicators in the United States,” looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation’s citizens.
Click on the link for the rest of this press release by SustainableBusiness.com.

Cape WInd receives federal approval for first offshore wind farm | SustainableBusiness.com News

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Wednesday approved the Cape Wind offshore wind farm, completing the last regulatory step for the project which was first propsed for Nantucket Sound about eight years ago.
The project has been delayed throughout the permitting process by opposition from coastal residents who fear the wind turbines, which will be erected five miles from shore, will devalue coastal properties and affect tourism.
Salzar said the developer of the $1 billion wind farm must agree to additional measures to minimize the potential adverse impacts of construction and operation of the facility.

“After careful consideration of all the concerns expressed during the lengthy review and consultation process and thorough analyses of the many factors involved, I find that the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said in an announcement at the State House in Boston. “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”

The Cape Wind project is expected to be the first wind farm on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, generating enough power to meet 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island combined.

Click on the link to read the rest of the SustainableBusiness.com press release.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 110

Some days even a Red Eye – coffee with two espresso shots – isn’t enough.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 109

The words “free coffee” are almost as good as the words “free golf.” Not as good, but pretty good.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 108

First-timers to the coffeehouse will wander around for a while looking for an electrical outlet to plug in the power cord to their computers to use the WiFi. Some of them will even trip over the extension cord while doing it.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

An 'empowering' partnership: Farm in Maine gives those who are homeless a chance to work with and care for its horses | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

An 'empowering' partnership The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

Bill paves way for reuse of Navy base in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Bill paves way for reuse of Navy base The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Peace prevails on both sides at Portland gun rally | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Peace prevails on both sides at gun rally The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Friday, April 23, 2010

Neighbors unite to purchase home park in Veazie | Bangor Daily News

Neighbors unite to purchase home park in Veazie - Bangor Daily News

‘Remember the Maine!’

Or so went the cry after an explosion destroyed the USS Maine battleship in February 1898 as it moored in Havana Harbor.

The explosion killed two officers and 250 men outright, with eight others dying from injuries. It also led to suspicions, which led to the Spanish-American War and the “Remember the Maine” battlecry.

Today’s DownEast.com trivia question asked:

How many navy ships have been named USS Maine?

Answer

Four U.S. Navy Ships have been named in honor of the Pine Tree State.
Here are links to more information on the four ships:

The Maine

USS Maine (BB-10)

USS Maine (BB-69)

SSBN 741 Maine

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 107

How much do you have to love smoking to dig around in the ashtrays of the coffeehouse patio for cigarette butts? Revolting …

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Earth Day: Mainers get good grades but ... | Lewiston Sun Journal

AUGUSTA — We asked experts to helps us compare how Maine was doing environmentally compared to the nation.
Not surprisingly, Maine is doing better in air quality, water quality and the amount we recycle.
It started 40 years ago when Maine U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie sponsored what became the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. (More bragging rights, Muskie was a native of Rumford.) Because of those laws and all the work that followed, “Maine has air and waters statewide that are much cleaner than they were, and much cleaner than other states east of the Mississippi River,” said David Littell, Department of Environmental Protection commissioner.

Maine has many of the most intact ecosystems among eastern states, such as strong cold-water fisheries, which have 75 percent of the eastern habitat in Maine, Littell said. “We need to continue to protect high-quality air, water, and habitats, while permitting development in lower quality areas.”

The next environmental battle, he said, is climate change.
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story and guide by Bonnie Washuk in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

[Thinking too much about the magnitude of the environment and what we’ve done to this planet can be extremely daunting.

“What can I do? What can one person do?” can be rattling around nearly everyone’s head.

The thing, it isn’t about what one person can do or what one group of people can do. It is about we all can do. What can we do? We start small and build on small victories until we make a dent. And then we push forward some more.

Along with the story are three lists from the story of what we all can do to help in the long run. Try one or two from each list. Then another and another. – KM]

5 things to do to improve air quality:

1. Conserve electricity, buy efficient appliances and products such as compact fluorescents or even better, LEDs.

2. Drive a vehicle that gets good gas mileage; keep it tuned.

3. Make sure your home is insulated.

4. Use an EPA certified wood or pellet stove.

5. Drive less, carpool if you can, and support public policy and legislation that moves us toward clean and healthy energy and transportation.

Source: Department of Environmental Protection, American Lung Association of Maine

5 things to improve recycling rates:

1. Find out what your local recycling program accepts for materials, adjust your home’s system to match.

2. Build a backyard compost pile, keeps organics out of the trash. It will reduce odor, and you get a soil-enriching product at no cost.

3. Use smaller trash cans; they fill up faster and make you think twice before tossing something.

4. Make recycling more convenient in your home; keep the recycling bin near the trash can.

5. Think about the waste generated as you buy something. Make a pledge to recycle more and throw away less, and keep that pledge

—From George MacDonald, Maine State Planning Office

5 things to improve water quality

1. Prevent erosion. Soil erosion is the single greatest threat to water quality. Seed and mulch bare ground.

2. Use trees and shrubs to filter runoff. Every time it rains, pollutants are washed from driveways, roofs, yards, parking lots and roads into ditches. From there the runoff goes to streams, rivers, lakes or groundwater. A ribbon of bushes, trees and ground cover (buffers) can act as a sponge and filter out contaminants.

3. Use less fertilizer and pesticides. Fertilizing your lawn and garden can result in phosphorus and nitrogen that can run off and get into streams, lakes and the ocean. If you leave the grass clippings, you don’t need to fertilize; grass clippings are free fertilizer. Pesticides, which are toxic, can create health problems for people and animals. Compared to 15 years ago, three times as much yard care pesticides are brought into Maine. Pesticides can wash off into into water bodies. If you have pests, spot treat. Learn to like dandelions.

4. Maintain septic systems. About 50 percent of Mainers use septic systems. Inadequate septic systems account for 5 to 10 percent of all phosphorus that reaches lakes. Toxins, nitrates, nutrients, bacteria and viruses from inadequate septic systems can seep into wells. That pollution also flows into streams, harms lakes, and on the coast, causes clam flats and beaches to be closed.

5. If you have a septic system, don't use septic additives, don't pour grease or food down your sink, pump your system every two to three years. If your septic system was installed before 1974, consider replacing it.

Source: Department of Environmental Protection

Mainers celebrate Earth Day | Bangor Daily News

Mainers celebrate Earth Day - Bangor Daily News

What's happened to Earth Day? | GreenBiz.com

What's Happened to Earth Day? Business GreenBiz.com

Coffeehouse observation No. 106

A young, bright, stylish couple is on the coffeehouse patio. She is online and glancing at a fashion magazine. He lighted a cigar and is puffing away while also glancing at what I think may be another fashion magazine. To his credit, he is reading a story about Mr. Potatohead. … OK, so it may not be a fashion magazine.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Earth Day Fail: Pitches that miss the mark | Business | GreenBiz.com

Earth Day Fail: Pitches that Miss the Mark Business GreenBiz.com

Business view of Earth Day | Business | GreenBiz.com

The Business View of Earth Day Business GreenBiz.com

Business and the evolution of Earth Day | Business | GreenBiz.com

Business and the Evolution of Earth Day Business GreenBiz.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 105

A day just is not a day without coffee in your day. See, “day” used three times in a sentence of 12 words is a clear indicator that I should have had coffee … on this day.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Fort Kent starts new phase of flood planning | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fort Kent starts new phase of flood planning The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland pro-gun rally gets response from foes | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland pro-gun rally gets response from foes The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland pro-gun rally gets response from foes | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland pro-gun rally gets response from foes The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Merrill Lynch settlement nets Maine $400K | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Merrill Lynch settlement nets Maine $400K The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine gets $30M for energy upgrades | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine gets $30M for energy upgrades The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

For French group, it's no ordeal to be stranded in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

For French group, it's no ordeal to be stranded in Maine The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 104

Rain is coming down very, very hard! I’m happy for my medium Red Eye (coffee with two espresso shots). It’s helping me stay afloat, as it were. … Oh, wait! The clouds just broke up just a little bit and I can see blue sky!!

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 103

The Exotic Java barista wore a tiara because it was her birthday today. We all should have a reason to wear a tiara. … Um, I mean that figuratively, of course. I’m not sure I could pull of the tiara look, not with my beard.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

University of Maine troop protection system patented | Bangor Daily News

UM troop protection system patented - Bangor Daily News

Maine author to sign new book | Bangor Daily News

Maine author to sign new book - Bangor Daily News

Coffee giant Starbucks tackles green goals except one: Recycling | GreenBiz.com

SEATTLE, WA — From buying green power to reducing the amount of water it uses, Starbucks is on track to meet the majority of its long-term environmental goals, the coffee giant said Monday.
Starbucks made gains in green building, water and energy use, ethical sourcing and helping farmers reduce deforestation, the company said in its 2009 Global Responsibility Report. It lagged, however, in one high-profile area: recycling.
The company rated its progress on three recycling goals as “Needs improvement.” The goals involve developing a comprehensive recyclable cup by 2012, implementing front-of-store recycling in company-owned stores, and serving a quarter of beverage made in-store in reusable vessels, both by 2015.
“One of the significant challenges we're facing is a wide variance in municipal recycling capabilities,” Starbucks said in the report. “This inconsistency makes it difficult for a company like ours, with more than 16,000 retail locations around the globe, to efficiently and effectively implement a recycling strategy.”
Click on the link for the rest of the story on GreenBiz.com.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dream Boat: Will USS Kennedy become tourist attraction on Portland waterfront? | Portland Magazine

Dream Boat: Will USS Kennedy become tourist attraction on Portland waterfront? | Portland Magazine
 

New website Dowser.org promotes journalism as a positive force | Idealist.org

New Site Dowser.org Promotes Journalism as a Positive Force

Posted using ShareThis

Coffeehouse observation No. 102

A guy sitting outside in the coffeehouse patio area is wearing black pants and black shoes and one white sock on his right foot. No sock on the other foot. It’s a fashion statement, I’m sure. I'm not entirely sure what kind of fashion statement, but a fashion statement nonetheless.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Maine craft beer headed for White House | Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Maine craft beer headed for White House | Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 101

A Chihuahua in a tutu is still just a tiny little dog. There’s one on the sidewalk just outside the coffeehouse. People who dress up their dogs in human costumes should be provided mental health services. It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong to dress up your dog or cat.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 100

If you’re gonna drink coffee while using the coffeehouse WiFi, there is a great chance you’re gonna also come across some coffee-related stuff online. I came across a blog for Jumpy Monkey Coffee Roasting Company in Sioux City, Iowa. I loved the name right away, but then I read the “About Us” and thought I would pass along that and links to Jumpy Monkey’s website and blog. Here’s the Jumpy Monkey About Us and the links are below.
This is where the real story of the Jumpy Monkey Coffee Roasting Company becomes not only interesting but truly exciting. In June of 2003, Jumpy Monkey was acquired by Opportunities Unlimited in Sioux City, Iowa. Opportunities Unlimited (“OU”) is a rehabilitation facility that provides services to individuals that have sustained a traumatic brain injury, taking them back into the main-stream of life.

Successful rehab rates throughout the ten year history of OU, have risen to points as high as fifty percent. OU is an organization that truly lives its mission statement of “Maximizing Personal Potential Through Dignified and Purposeful Living.” One of the many key factors in the rehabilitation process is our vocational services where clients are able to again become a part of the work force and earn a paycheck.

Jumpy Monkey coffee roasting has become one of the key contracts serviced through the OU vocational area. In summation, with your purchase of Jumpy Monkey products, not only are you receiving a high quality, high value product, but you are also assisting in the employment of people with disabilities. Come pay us a visit, we would love to show you what we have to offer.
Jumpy Monkey website: http://www.jumpymonkey.com/index.php

Jumpy Monkey blog: http://jumpymonkeycoffeeroastingcompany.wordpress.com/

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Oh, boy, I think we’ve really screwed up things

I just finished reading Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us” and even if a fraction of a fraction of what he writes is a fraction correct, then we have really screwed up things on this earthly orb.

The book – you can read a bit about it on a website for the book at http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html – came out a couple of years ago and speculates on what would happen if man – and woman, of course – failed to exist any longer. What would happen to the cities – homes, businesses, subways, channels, etc. – we have built if we were no longer here to maintain them or to build more of them or properly dispose of them, as if we do that now.

What would happen to the species we have endangered. What would return. What would not.

What would happen to trees, forests, streams, rivers, river deltas, the ocean if we were no longer here to cut them, redirect them, dam them, pollute them.

What would happen if we – you, me and the billions upon billions of other people on Earth suddenly were no longer here.

It is stunning – and I don’t mean in a good way – what we have done to this planet. Simply stunning.

Frankly, I don’t know if Weisman’s science adds up. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a researcher. Heck, the other day I used the word “sciencey” on one of my other blogs. I don’t get science and science doesn’t get me.

But Weisman presents a startling picture of where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what would happen if we were no longer here.

I want this to be a better place and I am personally doing what little I can to do more by recycling bottles, cans, newspaper, cardboard. I purchased a set of no-rip nylon bags to use grocery shopping. I limit the trips in my car – an ultra-low emissions car, I might add.

But it is not nearly enough, not by a very, very long shot.

We very probably – not possibly, but probably – screwed things up so very badly that most things will not come back to even nearly where they were before.

In the book’s prelude, Weisman writes:

“Our world, some respected voices warn, could one day degenerate into something resembling a vacant lot, where crows and rats scuttle among weeds, preying on each other. If it comes to that, at what point would things have gone so far that, for all our vaunted superior intelligence, we’re not among the hardy survivors?

“The truth is, we don’t know. Any conjecture gets muddled by our obstinate reluctance to accept that they worst might actually occur. We may be undermined by our survival instincts, honed over eons to help us deny, defy, or ignore catastrophic portents lest they paralyze us with fright.”
That is not cause to lie down, curl into the fetal position and die. Quite the opposite. I think it is a hopeful piece that urges each of us have to try just a little to make a big impact, if not immediately, then in the future.

This is from the book’s jacket or the website. I cannot recall at the moment:

In “The World Without Us,” Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.

In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; what of our everyday stuff may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.

“The World Without Us” reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world’s cities crumble, asphalt jungles give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically-treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama, and paleontologists – who describe a pre-human world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths – Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.

From places already devoid of humans (a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl), Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that doesn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly-readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.
And here is what critics say about the book:

“I plucked this book from the stack of Advanced Readers Copies that flood the store, read the first page, and then read the book straight through exclaiming to anyone who would tolerate me – listen to this, and this, and this!!!!! This book is a thought experiment (what would the world be like if humans disappeared today, raptured up perhaps). A very simple premise that leads this marvelously straightforward, thoughtful, thorough author into parts of the world I hadn't known existed. As well, he deals with exactly what would go first and last in your house. How long it would take for Manhattan to collapse. On and on. It makes for obsessive reading. This is perhaps my favorite book this year. At once the most harrowing and, oddly, comforting book on the environment that I’ve read in many years.” — Louise Erdrich, author of “Love Medicine” and of National Book Award finalist “The Birchbark House”

[No] “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story … is more audacious or interesting than Alan Weisman’s ‘The World Without Us.’” — Boston Globe

“I don't think I’ve read a better non-fiction book this year.” — Lev Grossman, TIME Book Critic

“This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!” — Bill McKibben, author of “The End of Nature” and “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future”

“The imaginative power of ‘The World Without Us’ is compulsive and nearly hypnotic – make sure you have time to be kidnapped into Alan Weisman’s alternative world before you sit down with the book, because you won’t soon return. This is a text that has a chance to change people, and so make a real difference for the planet.” — Charles Wohlforth, author of L.A. Times Book Prize-winning The Whale and the Supercomputer

“A refreshing, and oddly hopeful, look at the fate of the environment.” — BusinessWeek

“Alan Weisman offers us a sketch of where we stand as a species that is both illuminating and terrifying. His tone is conversational and his affection for both Earth and humanity transparent.” — Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

“Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure. His thought experiment is so intellectually fascinating, so oddly playful, that it escapes categorizing and clich├ęs. It sucks us in with a vision of what is, what has been and what is yet to come. The book is addictive … by appealing not just to our fear and guilt but to our love for our planetary home, ‘The World Without Us’ makes saving the world as intimate an act as helping a child. It’s a trumpet call that sounds from the other end of the universe and from inside us all.” — Salon

“Extraordinarily farsighted. A beautiful and passionate jeremiad against deforestation, climate change, and pollution.” — Boston Globe

“An exacting account of the processes by which things fall apart. The scope is breathtaking ... the clarity and lyricism of the writing itself left me with repeated gasps of recognition about the human condition. I believe it will be a classic.” — Dennis Covington, author of National Book Award finalist “Salvation on Sand Mountain”

“… [I]n his provocative new book, ‘The World Without Us,’ Alan Weisman adds a dash of fiction to his science to address a despairing problem: the planet’s health.” — U.S. News & World Report

“Grandly entertaining.” — TIME

“Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation.” — Newsweek

“One of the most ambitious ‘thought experiments’ ever.” — The Cincinnati Enquirer

“The book boasts an amazingly imaginative conceit that manages to tap into underlying fears and subtly inspire us to consider our interaction with the planet.” — The Washington Post

“As fascinating as it is surprising.” — BusinessWeek

“Fascinating, mordant, deeply intelligent, and beautifully written, ‘The World Without Us’ depicts the spectacle of humanity’s impact on the planet Earth in tragically poignant terms that go far beyond the dry dictates of science. This is a very important book for a species playing games with its own destiny.” — James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

“An astonishing mass of reportage that envisions a world suddenly bereft of humans.” — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Acquire some mussels: Founders of a pioneering rope-grown mussel operation off Clapboard Island are ready to sell | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Acquire some mussels The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maine's governor asked, they answered | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Governor asked, they answered The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine governor says deal close for sardine plant | Bangor Daily News

Governor says deal close for sardine plant - Bangor Daily News

Farmington board hears complaints about topless march | Lewiston Sun Journal

Farmington board hears complaints about topless march | Lewiston Sun Journal

News leaders and the future | Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)

News Leaders and the Future Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Outdoor recreation, sports and adventure | VisitMaine.com

[Below is a link to the Maine Tourism Department's website on fishing -- fishing with family, fishing holidays/vacations, fishing species, fishing guides. It appears to be a great place to start planning for fresh and saltwater fishing in Maine. -- KM]

Outdoor Recreation, Sports & Adventure

Sage Solutions: Greening the next generation | MaineBusiness.com

MaineBusiness.com Sage Solutions: Greening the Next Generation

Last U.S. sardine cans being packed in Maine

Last U.S. sardine cans being packed in Maine

Maine governor's fundraiser for homeless tonight | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci's fundraiser for homeless tonight The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine community colleges freeze tuition again | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Community colleges freeze tuition again The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci creates northern Maine rail panel | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci creates northern Maine rail panel The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Monday, April 12, 2010

Linking offshore wind farms would provide consistent East Coast power | SustainableBusiness.com

Linking offshore wind farms would provide consistent East Coast power | SustainableBusiness.com

Caribou Coffee commits to 100% Rainforest Alliance certification | SustainableBusiness.com

Caribou Coffee commits to 100% Rainforest Alliance certification | SustainableBusiness.com

The Economics of Wind II: Subsidies – the why and how much | Lewiston Sun Journal

[Here is the top of the second part in a two-part series by the Lewiston Sun Journal on wind energy. I’m disappointed in the series. The writing was not as clear and meaningful as it should have been for an issue of such importance and the editing seemed nonexistent. But I promised to post the link to the second of the two parts, so here it is. – KM]
Big wind developers receive substantial federal funds and whether they ought to or not is a major bone of contention as more wind farms pop up in Maine.

The arguments from both sides of the issue go something like:

Pro: Lots of other energy sources (coal, oil, nuclear) are subsidized, too.

Con: Wind, given the size, gets more than its fair share.

Pro: Subsidies are important to jump-start the industry.

Con: If it can’t stand on its own, tough. It shouldn’t stand at all.

And maybe trumping those arguments: Maine has said, in law, it wants more wind power — and, nationally, subsidy is simply part of how wind power gets paid for.

First Wind, for example, received $40.4 million last fall for putting up 38 wind turbines in eastern Maine, an upfront cash payment of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) stepped up through the stimulus funds.

“It’s a pretty established set of criteria you have to meet and if you happen to meet it you’ll receive this grant; if you don’t, you won’t,” said spokesman John Lamontagne in Boston.

In 2007, at the request of a Tennessee senator, the U.S. Energy Information Administration looked at federal energy subsidies by industry and found, in sheer dollars, refined coal got the most money and support at $2.1 billion, three times that of wind. Unrefined coal and nuclear both got more than wind as well. But compare all three by their ratio of subsidies-to-output and wind jumps to the top as most expensive.
Click on the link to the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Here’s a link to the first of the two parts if you missed it yesterday.

New website commemorates Maine’s role in Civil War | Maine Public Broadcasting Network

New website commemorates Maine’s role in Civil War

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strunk’s style pal was best known resident of Hancock County town

I found today’s DownEast.com triva question interesting on several levels. William Strunk and E.B. White’s “The Elements of Style” is an essential part of any writer’s toolbox. I have worn out more than a copy or two in my 23 years as a journalist.

And to learn that one of the authors lived – and now is buried – in a coastal Maine community is yet another indication of Maine’s impact on the world of American literature.

What Brooklin author is known for his tale about a spider who had a way with words?

Answer:

E.B. “Andy” White, author of “Charlotte's Web.” He also wrote “The Trumpet of the Swan,” and “Stuart Little” and co-authored “The Elements of Style” with William Strunk.

Brooklin, by the way, is on a point west of Mount Desert Island and once was part of Sedgwick.

Canoe season in Maine on hold despite nice weather | Lewiston Sun Journal

FRYEBURG – Maine Registered Guide Fred Westerberg is in no hurry to get his canoes and kayaks on the river.

It may be costing him money in the pocket, but he's been around the Saco River long enough to know you don't rush Mother Nature.

“This is an outdoor business. You rely on the weather. It's the chance you take. You don't cry about it,” Westerberg said as he and his wife Prudy and their daughter Beth began cleaning up their Saco River Canoe & Kayak store on Main Street during a sunny, 80-plus degree day.

If it were a month or two later, he would be fielding calls from hundreds of people wanting to rent one of his canoes and kayaks that go out as many as 160 times during a summer weekend. But Westerberg, an Auburn native who opened up the canoe business in 1972 with his wife, is satisfied to wait it out.

Click on the link to the rest of today’s story by Leslie H. Dixon in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

The Economics of Wind: What's behind the interest, and what's it mean for jobs

[I’m a wind-power proponent in that I strongly believe we need to greatly reduce our foreign oil addiction. And we need to find a much more environmentally friendly energy source. Below is the top section of the first part of a two-part series by the Lewiston Sun Journal on wind energy. I intend to link the second part tomorrow, whether either part supports my beliefs or not. It is an important issue and an important time for energy in Maine. So, it is important to have as much information as possible, even if you or I do not want to know that information. – KM]
Sun Journal Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series. The second part will run on Monday, April 12.

As Maine inches toward its goal of more wind power development, the financial justifications for and against are almost as hard to grasp as the wind itself.

Environmental activist Jonathan Carter, for example, wrote in a recent newspaper opinion piece that up to 60 percent of the cost of wind power projects is covered by federal subsidies. That figure's important, with wind power opponents saying wind shouldn't rely on high government subsidies and proponents saying it deserves the same treatment as other energy suppliers.

When asked, Carter pointed to National Wind Watch as the source of his information.

National Wind Watch pointed to a semi-retired former coal official in Virginia.

When the Sun Journal contacted that man, he pointed to a Los Angeles lawyer who works with wind farm developers ... and his math, it turns out, isn’t so clear-cut.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Three companies selling false insurance in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Three companies selling false insurance in Maine Bangor Daily News

Maine 'topless' organizer reflects on fallout | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

'Topless' organizer reflects on fallout The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

An industry at sea: New rules taking effect May 1 cast doubt on an already unpredictable line of work | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

An industry at sea The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Catch-sharing rules set up complicated system | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Yawkey Foundations give millions to those who need it most

The Yawkey Foundations made nearly $29 million in grants last year. Below is just a bit from the intro to the organizations’ 2009 grant report, a link to the website and a link to the report.
The Yawkey Foundations trace their origins back over seven decades to the philanthropic commitments of Tom and Jean Yawkey. With great concern for the forgotten and underserved, the Yawkeys took careful steps to ensure that their legacy would live on through the work of the Yawkey Foundations. The Yawkeys were perhaps best known for their longtime ownership of the Boston Red Sox. More quietly, but with just as much passion and commitment, Tom and Jean Yawkey were also engaged in an unwavering dedication to those most in need.

With his last will and testament, Tom Yawkey established the Yawkey Foundation in 1976. Jean Yawkey established the second Foundation in 1982. With thoughtful planning, the Yawkeys ensured that their legacy and commitment to those in need would live on after their lifetimes. The Foundations’ Trustees look forward to continuing the Yawkeys’ efforts to have a positive impact on the lives of children, families and the underserved.

For more information about Tom and Jean Yawkey and The Yawkey Foundations, please visit the Foundations website at http://www.yawkeyfoundation.org/.

Click on this link to read or download the entire report.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Maine's Jackson Lab plans Florida branch | Bangor Daily News

Jackson Lab plans Florida branch - Bangor Daily News

Jackson Lab mice aboard space shuttle for immunology research | Bangor Daily News

Jackson Lab mice aboard space shuttle for immunology research - Bangor Daily News

Daisy Scouts offer troops cookies at Maine's BIA | Bangor Daily News

Daisy Scouts offer troops cookies at BIA - Bangor Daily News

Veteran Affairs secretary visiting Maine vows changes coming | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Veteran Affairs secretary vows changes coming The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine making a map of broadband access | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine making a map of broadband access The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 99

OK, this really isn’t one of my coffeehouse observation, but his came to me via a former co-worker and Facebook connection who happened to be in the same coffeehouse that I frequent. The guy he is commenting on is a bit, um, unusual. He frequently talks to himself, paces quite a bit – as the observation notes – and he does create some rather detailed pieces with ink on the reverse side of paper grocery bags. Trust me, we are not making fun of his challenges; however, one day I did witness him have an argument with himself … and lose.

“The schizo guy at this cafe is going to make it impossible for me to work here. He’s walking back and forth in front of me and by me, slowly and pointedly, waiting for me to look so he can shove another of his insane scrolls at me. …

“The scrolls are pseudo-magic spells or ancient writing, just gibberish with the occasional bit of legible profanity or some D&D word, like DARKAXE, then every once in awhile, a racial slur. All written on the inside of a paper grocery bag, cut and reassembled to resemble parchment.”

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gene Roberts: Newsrooms must tell their own cutback stories for democracy's sake | Poynter Online

Gene Roberts: Newsrooms Must Tell Their Own Cutback Stories for Democracy's Sake

Union: Job cuts in Maine on table | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Union: Job cuts on table The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Unearthing Fort Williams' past in Cape Elizabeth | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Unearthing Fort Williams' past The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

'Colbert' nails fermented lemonade in Maine | Bangor Daily News

'Colbert' nails fermented lemonade - Bangor Daily News

Partners may save rail line in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Partners may save rail line - Bangor Daily News

Closure looms for Maine cannery amid hope for a new owner | Bangor Daily News

Closure looms for cannery amid hope for a new owner - Bangor Daily News

Trying to revive the Franco identity in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Trying to revive the Franco identity in Maine - Bangor Daily News

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wind market report: Offshore wind farms to outpace land-based development | SustainableBusiness.com News

During the next five years, the production of offshore wind farms will far outpace the production of land-based wind turbines, according to a new market report.

Guiding the accelerated interest in offshore wind initiatives are government cash and tax incentives that promote renewable energy development, particularly in Europe and the United States, according to research firm SBI Energy.

In addition, the ongoing improvement in the quality of offshore wind products that can withstand stronger gusts, reduce maintenance cycles, and reduce the shipping expenses of turbines to offshore job sites are also vital to the market’s future. Meanwhile, offshore wind manufacturers will fuel growth by finding ways to reduce costs associated with offshore projects, which will subsequently attract greater investment from governments and private energy companies.

“Our analysts project that total offshore installed capacity will grow at an astounding 92% compound annual growth rate during the next five years to reach more than 79,700 megawatts,” says Shelley Carr, publisher for SBI Energy.


Click on the link for the rest of this press release found on SustainableBusiness.com.

Habitat for Humanity builds three homes in Westbrook | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Habitat for Humanity builds three homes in Westbrook The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Bowdoin graduate gets 8 years' hard labor in North Korea | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Bowdoin graduate gets 8 years' hard labor in North Korea The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Live updates: Last Day at the State House | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Live updates: Last Day at the State House The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

More state parks open early in Maine | Bangor Daily News

More state parks open early in Maine - Bangor Daily News

Topless coffee shop owner had run-in with arson suspect | Bangor Daily News

Topless shop owner had run-in with arson suspect - Bangor Daily News

Ribbon-cutting launches MaineStetson II wind project | Bangor Daily News

Ribbon-cutting launches Stetson II wind project - Bangor Daily News

Presque Isle to weigh pot dispensary moratorium | Bangor Daily News

PI to weigh pot dispensary moratorium - Bangor Daily News

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Before Sam played it again, there was Rudy

Casablanca is a wonderful, classic movie. I love it. One of the best parts, of course, is when Rick prods Sam into playing a song that meant something to Rick’s past, “As Times Goes By.”

When, according to DownEast.com’s trivia question today, a Mainer recorded it 15 years before Casablanca. Here’s the question and answer.

What crooner popularized the song “As Times Goes By”?

Answer:
Westbrook native Rudy Vallee (1901-1986) recorded “As Time Goes By” fifteen years before it was featured in the film Casablanca. Vallee sang in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, using a megaphone and the backup of a big band.

U.S. tourists staying away from Canada | Bangor Daily News

US tourists staying away from Canada - Bangor Daily News

I have a dream ... to be a U.S. citizen | Lewiston Sun Journal

I have a dream City Sun Journal

Maine House sets up medical pot dispensaries | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine House sets up medical pot dispensaries The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

IDEXX says it plans Westbrook expansion, adding jobs | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

IDEXX says it plans Westbrook expansion, adding jobs The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

UPDATE: Suspect sought in topless coffee shop arson in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

UPDATE: Suspect sought in topless coffee shop arson The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Warrant issued in topless coffee shop fire | Bangor Daily News

Coffeehouse observation No. 98

There are times at the coffeehouse all I hear is blah, blah, blah …!
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Keith’s ride, Part 7: V-6 under the hood and ready to ride

[This is the sixth of eight or so blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

The Suzuki Sidekick was so underpowered that I called it my golf cart. All it needed was a rack on the back for golf bags and a plastic plate on the steering wheel to hold a score card!

Sure, it was a fairly dependable vehicle, but it was small, the doors sounded hollow when closed, and passengers did not sit high enough when going down the road. And I always had an uncomfortable feeling passing or meeting larger vehicles on the road and occasionally the Sidekick was moved by the gust of wind caused by the passing larger vehicle.

Anyway, I wanted something more. And bigger.

My friend Rick knew this, but he had known me long enough to know of my procrastinating nature – there are times when I put off making a decision to the point that a decision is made for me. Options are limited or eliminated with the passage of time. And I know this. It is not a great characteristic to have, but it is one of mine and I own it.

One weekend day, Rick called me from a local sports bar where his daughter worked and where we occasionally frequented after work. He called me on the ruse of buying me a beer and lunch.

After a couple of burgers and beers, he said something like: “Come on, let’s go get you a new car.”

There was another tent sale going on, this time in the parking lot of the sports bar.

But newspaper jobs, especially those at smaller newspapers, are notorious for paying poorly. The newspaper in Vacaville was no different, so I had little in the way of saved cash that I could use for a down payment and I knew there was not much value in the Sidekick to be used as a trade-in.

But Rick convinced me that we should at least take a look. We wandered around the parking lot for a bit and I kept coming back to a golden 2000 Isuzu Rodeo – the same vehicle as a Honda Passport, but with the Isuzu nameplates instead of Honda emblems. (Isuzu and Honda had made the vehicles in a joint venture, much as were the Suzuki Sidekick and Geo/Chevrolet Tracker.)

A salesman came around and told us that the Rodeo had been used as a commuter vehicle and had quite a few miles, but was in pretty good shape. It was a V-6, such a step up from the Suzuki that I was lured in. But in a pleasant way.

The Rodeo had a V-6, power windows, a nice stereo, AC, power ports in the dash and rear cargo area, and plenty of other features that I never had before in a vehicle.

But paying for it weighed heavily on my mind as we continued to wander around the lot.

Rick and the salesman were able to convince me to have my credit rating checked to see if I qualified for any breaks for financing the vehicle.

I suppose working in a low-paying profession has a way of forcing a person to be frugal and I had worked hard to pay credit card bills on time, even if I could not make much of a dent in the total balance.

Apparently, that diligence had nudged my credit rating up over the years.

“Dude! Do you know what your credit rating is?!” Rick asked me, as the figures started coming in from the major ranking agencies. I didn’t so he told me.

“Is that good?” I replied.

The sales manager and Rick both looked up smiling. Apparently, it was really, really good.

“Man, oh, yeah! It’s good!” Rick said with a bit of excitement.

So, I worked out a payment plan, traded in the Sidekick, and drove away in the Rodeo.

Going from a “golf cart” to a V-6 – the first V-6 I had owned since the Caprice Classic – was an enlightening and enjoyable experience. I no longer had to worry so much about merging into traffic or making it up hills. Driving in the Sierra was a pleasure!

I don’t recall having buyer’s remorse when I bought the Rodeo. If I did, it must have been short-lived and I enjoyed driving around for years in the Rodeo, especially with Hawaiian-print seat covers, as I had in the Suzuki. Driving with Hawaiian-print seat covers is always, always better than driving without them. (If you have to ask “why?” then you simply would not get it.)

Besides being much more comfortable and powerful and enjoyable to drive, the Rodeo also gave me quite a bit more safety. It was larger and heavier, of course, and there were more airbags and other safety gear. A gust of wind from a passing vehicle no longer moved the vehicle.

The Rodeo was my ride when I left The Reporter in Vacaville and started working for The Record in Stockton. I was the opinion page editor at The Reporter when I was hired at The Record to be one of three assistant city editors.

I did not move to Stockton right away; I commuted from Vacaville. I drove on state Highways 113 and 12, both roads notorious for the traffic wrecks – many of them fatal – and a short distance on Interstate 5. Initially, I worked a night shift at The Record, supervising reporters, monitoring the police scanner, dispatching reporters and photographers, and making sure stories were read and flowed to paginators – the people who design and put together the electronic versions of newspaper pages. It was a stressful job when things went hectically and boring otherwise.

Many times I left The Record, lighted a cigar, and drove up I-5 to the Lodi cutoff onto westbound Highway 12, turning off east of Fairfield and Suisun City to northbound Highway 113. The drive home at times was more stressful than the job. Driving on Highways 113 and 12 meant narrow lanes, undulating pavement, semi-blind curves, impatient motorists, and the occasional loose cattle.

After about six months or so, Rick and his wife, Michele, and another former Reporter coworker, James, helped me load a moving van and Rick and I headed eastward with the bulk of my belongings to the apartment I had rented in Stockton.

Stockton has a reputation for being a rough and tumble city. And rightfully so. It is on an inland port, the gateway of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and at the heart of the California Central Valley’s agricultural industry. Stockton is the county seat of San Joaquin County; county seats tend to draw a wide spectrum of people, some for the economic and political opportunities and others for county and state social services.

But I had not enjoyed commuting an hour each way from and to Vacaville. In late 2006, I found an apartment in central Stockton near the University of the Pacific. The apartment had an underground garage in which to park my ride, which made things more comfortable for me on several levels – I no longer needed to commute, which was putting wear and tear on me and the Rodeo, and I could park in a protected garage.

For the next couple of years working for The Record, I generally drove a couple of miles from the underground garage at my apartment to a fenced and patrolled parking lot across the street from The Record. It was a much better situation than commuting from Vacaville.

Along the way, the newspaper industry began to spiral out of control. In an effort to cut costs, there was a newsroom reorganization in which I was essentially demoted. (My feeling about this is not new or unknown; at the time, I told the managing editor that there was no other way to look at what was being done to me except that it was a demotion. He did not offer arguments to the contrary.)

Instead of working nights or days, which I also had done, I was working a modified shift in which I started at 6 a.m. updating the newspaper website content from overnight news, posted business, traffic and weather, went out on spot news, and help out inputting other information for the print and web versions of the newspaper. I also monitored comments left on stories posted on the website.

Driving to work one morning in 2008, I was stopped at a light at an intersection a half block from the parking lot I used when working at The Record. A Chevrolet Tahoe coming in the opposite direction did not stop at the red light, was T-boned by a vehicle that had the right-of-way, and the Tahoe was spun into my Rodeo.

I remember stiffening and yelling “No, no, no!” as the Tahoe spun around and into my vehicle.

The impact was not severe enough to cause me injury – other than a stiff back – or even to cause the airbags to deploy, but it was enough to destroy my front tire, front bumper, the radiator, and more. It was totaled.

The Tahoe’s driver, who was accompanied by a teen boy and teen girl who I presumed were his children, tried to say that the other vehicle had blown the red light, probably because the other vehicle was a beat up pickup with two passengers who appeared as they had lived a rough life. But I told him no, no, no, that he had blown the red light. He didn’t argue too hard and his insurance eventually more than paid off my Rodeo.

With a little help from a former Reporter coworker, I was able to get a lease on a 2008 Honda CRV, the first ever brand new vehicle I have ever owner/leased.



Rides of My Life … so far







Part 7: Isuzu Rodeo

Green economy’s next secret weapon: Baby Boomers | GreenBiz.com

Green Economy’s Next Secret Weapon: Baby Boomers Business GreenBiz.com

Coffeehouse observation No. 97

The coffeehouse can be fairly crowded … even on a rainy Easter Sunday.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Small-scale windmills generate mixed reviews in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Small-scale windmills generate mixed reviews - Bangor Daily News

Red Sox Notebook: Opener streaks come to an end | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Red Sox Notebook: Opener streaks come to an end The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

On Baseball: A fitting start to a long grind | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

On Baseball: A fitting start to a long grind The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Opening delight for Red Sox Nation | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Opening delight The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Hooligans steal Portland man's pizza and shoes | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Hooligans steal Portland man's pizza and shoes The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

[As a long-time newspaper man, I can tell you that you don't often see "hooligans" in a headline. -- KM]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Scarborough man killed in moose-car collision on I-295 - Bangor Daily News

Scarborough man killed in moose-car collision on I-295 - Bangor Daily News

Excess wind power finds home on Maine islands | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Excess wind power finds home on Maine islands The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Lyme disease could soar in Maine this year | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Lyme disease could soar this year The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine in-laws see ex-Angel in a new light | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine in-laws see ex-Angel in a new light The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Red Sox Preview: Teetering on greatness | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Red Sox Preview: Teetering on greatness The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ceremony to honor completion of Stetson wind power project | Bangor Daily News

Ceremony to honor completion of Stetson wind power project - Bangor Daily News

Coast Guard: Water dangerously cold in Maine, N.H. | Bangor Daily News

Coast Guard: Water dangerously cold - Bangor Daily News

From the story:

Mariners should prepare every trip on the water by doing the following:

• File a float plan with a friend or relative, telling them where you’re going and when you plan to return.

• Check the weather forecast.

• Ensure there is a working radio on board.

• Ensure your flares aren’t expired.

• Ensure everyone on board is wearing a properly fitted Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

• Ensure the boat plug is in place before launching.

For more Coast Guard information, go to www.piersystem.com/go/doc/778/458671.

From boat building to bread making Down East | Bangor Daily News

From boat building to bread making - Bangor Daily News

University of Maine at Presque Isle student teachers to work at Thai school | Bangor Daily News

University of Maine at Presque Isle student teachers to work at Thai school - Bangor Daily News

Maine governor expected to sign bill regulating guns in parks | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Governor expected to sign bill regulating guns in parks The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Women march topless in Portland without incident | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Women march topless in Portland without incident The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Friday, April 2, 2010

Keith’s rides, Part 6: Riding a golf cart and being splattered by pig doo

[This is the sixth of eight or so blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]
Working at smaller newspapers usually means – besides not making a lot of money – that you mingle with people in other departments and you develop relationships throughout the newspaper building. Reporters and editors become friends – and more – with photographers, advertising representatives, graphic artists, circulation workers, and the press crew.

That was the case when I worked at The Reporter in Vacaville. Some of my best friends were from outside the newsroom, especially the ad department.

And knowing that my Nissan was on its last legs, several advertising representatives were on the lookout on my behalf for a vehicle. One day I received a call and on the other end of the line was an ad rep telling me that I should get down to a nearby auto tent sale, which I did. That is where I picked up my Suzuki Sidekick.

A Sidekick was a poor-guy’s option for a sport utility vehicle. It was red, small, boxy, somewhat under-built, and very underpowered – I seem to recall that the horsepower was at sub-100, which is not very much. It was fine on the flatlands, but was no fun to drive into the Sierra Nevada. I joked that it was so small and underpowered that it was much like driving a golf cart, which my friends readily – too readily in some cases – accepted as the true name of my ride.

The Suzuki built the Sidekick as part of a joint venture with Geo – remember Geo? – and later Chevrolet. The Sidekick was the same as the Geo Tracker – later, Chevrolet Tracker – except for different emblems used by the carmakers.

I don’t hear about carmakers working jointly with competitors like that anymore, but it is a bit ironic that my next vehicle, a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo, was a joint-venture vehicle. The Rodeo is the same as the Honda Passport. More on that later.

As I think back on the Sidekick, I don’t recall very many stunning moments with the vehicle. It was an OK vehicle and I suffered a bit of buyers’ remorse, but it eventually passed.

I was having dinner at friends Rick and Michele’s home in Vacaville about two weeks after purchasing the Sidekick. Our friend and co-worker Cliff was there, too. Cliff’s vehicle – I think he was in the red Dodge pickup by then – was parked near mine. A lovely evening was marred by the fact someone had keyed both our vehicles, which we discovered later. I hate that! Why does anyone have to do something like that? (It’s a rhetorical question. I don’t really expect an answer.)

The Sidekick was convenient for when I house- and dog-sat for Rick and Michele and Cliff. The backseats folded down and Lucy, a German shorthaired hound, and Lexe, a Springer spaniel, fit nicely in the back. The dogs – collectively known as Da Girls, Goombahs, and other assorted names – did not seem to mind the low horsepower of the Sidekick. All they wanted to do was be along for a ride and to plaster the inside of my car windows with dog slobber.

The other animal-related thing I recall about the Sidekick is that I was driving back to the office one day after lunch and I was following too closely a cattle trailer carrying pigs. Um, yeah, it was a mistake and required plenty of quarters at the local self-serve car wash.

And I changed out a starter motor on the Sidekick, just as I had a couple of times in the Nissan pickup. But in the Sidekick, the engine compartment was so much smaller and the starter motor jammed in so very tight that it took me several hours and several scuffed knuckles to complete the task. It was a miserable experience and it may have contributed to me developing the urge for a new ride, which turned out to be the Rodeo.


Rides of My Life … so far






Part 6: Suzuki Sidekick


East Millinocket man piloted Obama to Portland | Bangor Daily News

East Millinocket man piloted Obama to Portland - Bangor Daily News

Baldacci among governors who received ominous letter | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci among governors who received ominous letter The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Acadia firearms bill goes to Maine governor | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Acadia firearms bill goes to Baldacci The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland city manager releases $196M budget proposal | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

City manager releases $196M budget proposal The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Obama in Maine: 'Promise' fulfilled | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Obama: 'Promise' fulfilled The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Text of President Obama's speech at Portland Expo

Coffeehouse observation No. 96

A woman, who I suspect has an attention deficit problem, plopped her laptop and a briefcase onto a table for two and then began working on stuff at another table across the room. She’s taking up space at two different tables in a crowded coffeehouse. Does she not see the inherent rudeness in that?

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

No need to be peeved over the peavey! It’s from Maine!

I knew the answer to today’s DownEast.com trivia question because we had one or two of these tools around the garage while I was growing up. Um, of course, our peaveys were normal-sized, not giant-sized.
What is that strange-looking implement held by Bangor’s Paul Bunyan statue?

Answer:

It’s a peavey, a logging tool invented by Joseph Peavey of Stillwater in the 1850s.
Here’s a bit more about the peavey tool. This is from Wikipedia, so I won’t vouch for the accuracy, but it does seem correct.

A peavey or peavey hook is a logging tool consisting of a handle, generally from 30 to 50 inches long (0.75 to 1.25 m), with a metal spike protruding from the end. The spike is rammed into a log, then a hook (at the end of an arm attached to a pivot a short distance up the handle) grabs the log at a second location. Once engaged, the handle gives the operator leverage to roll or slide or float the log to a new position.

The peavey was named for blacksmith Joseph Peavey of Stillwater, Maine, who invented the tool as a refinement to the Cant Hook (also known as a cant dog) in the 1850s. Many lumberjacks use the terms interchangeably, though a peavey will have a spike in the end of the handle, and a cant dog will have a blunt end or possibly small teeth for friction.[1]

The Peavey Manufacturing Co. is still located in Maine and manufactures several variations.

The entry has a line drawing of a logger using the peavey so here’s a link to the entry.

Off drugs, and off the criminal path | Bangor Daily News

Off drugs, and off the criminal path - Bangor Daily News

Baldacci signs budget to close $310M gap | Bangor Daily News

Baldacci signs budget to close $310M gap | Bangor Daily News

Earthquakes happen often in Maine and likely will rattle state again | Bangor Daily News

Earthquakes happen often in Maine and likely will rattle state again - Bangor Daily News

Airport honors Maine Troop Greeters’ service | Bangor Daily News

Airport honors Maine Troop Greeters’ service - Bangor Daily News