• When government subsidizes business with your money

    Ask Maine wild blueberry farmers about this year’s crop and their forlorn response tells the story of an industry under heavy stress. Field prices have been abysmal over the past two years, only 27 cents a pound last year, causing many small blueberry farmers to stop harvesting and let their fields go fallow. What else

  • Education du jour

    Compulsory education became the law of the land in 1918 — just 100-years ago. Elementary education and “common schools” existed before that time, but the number of children receiving formal education was modest. Today in Maine, 620 public schools and 117 private institutions assure that every child has access to a fair and “free” (taxpayer-funded)

  • When is a parking lot a civics lesson?

    At first glance, it looked like the ultimate expression of small-town culture. City officials, residents and businesspeople stopped what they were doing last Thursday afternoon to take part in the solemn occasion of a parking lot ribbon-cutting. But, on reflection, it was no small matter. Not if you live, work or pay taxes in Ellsworth.

  • MaineCare expansion is still unresolved

    The expansion of MaineCare remains unresolved, unyielding and unfunded. Widening the opening to admit another 70,000 to 80,000 recipients of Maine’s version of Medicaid is one of the most contentious battles in Augusta. Proponents of expanding eligibility and inviting more applicants to our MaineCare program are butting heads with Governor LePage, who insists that any

  • Envy thy neighbor

    From Kittery Point to Rhubarb Pond on the Canadian border, Maine and New Hampshire share a 157-mile border. It’s Maine’s sole physical connection to the rest of New England. Yet, it’s as if an invisible fence emerging from the Piscataqua River north to the Androscoggin separates these two mostly rural states. Our governing processes, our

  • Business handouts: the gift that keeps on giving

    The 128th Legislature is still convened in Augusta, more than two months after its scheduled adjournment. Too much regular session work was deferred, left incomplete or otherwise delayed by politics, brinksmanship and poor planning. Significant budgeting matters, as well as urgent legislation and issues with voter-enacted referendums, have been mired in contention between the Governor’s

  • Social insecurity

    On Aug. 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed The Social Security Act. This was legislation designed to provide unemployment insurance during the Great Depression, old age insurance for American citizens and immediate, means-tested welfare assistance for desperate families. By January 1937, taxes were being collected and the first lump sum payments went to qualified

  • Leafy invaders are a real threat

    Much of Maine’s summer economy is based on the respite and enjoyment offered by the lakes, ponds and streams away from our rocky coastline. These water bodies face a mounting threat. Milfoil, submerged aquatic plants found in freshwater bodies, is natural to much of Maine. Yet two invasive subspecies — variable leaf and Eurasian watermilfoil

  • Taste of Ellsworth was a banquet

    Congratulations and awe to The Heart of Ellsworth for bringing off Saturday’s second annual Taste of Ellsworth festival. A total home run. The confluence of sunny weather, painstaking organization, team spirit and enduring good vibes from last year’s inaugural event served up a feast of food, high spirits and good company from mid-afternoon until dark.

  • “Our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred honor”

    “ … The Representatives of the united states of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to