• How not to handle waste disposal

    Landfill, waste-to-energy, compost, recycle, reuse, reduce. Sounds like an Earth Day mantra. But, in fact, those terms represent the state of Maine’s hierarchy criteria for managing the hundreds of thousands of tons of trash that we all generate each year. For many citizens of a certain age, these criteria were bred into us by Depression-era

  • Business tax breaks: a slippery slope

    While Maine’s Legislature struggles to find sufficient funding for essential programs, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is working on a submissions list of “low-income communities” eligible for Opportunity Zone investments. In other words, tax breaks. Spokesman Doug Ray recently admitted that the criteria for evaluation to be added to Governor’s selection

  • Reining in out of control ballot initiatives

    The Legislature is approaching its mandated April deadline, with a flurry of bills submitted near the end of a session full of huge challenges. LD 31 might be one of the most important and essential bills submitted. LD 31 is an amendment to the Maine Constitution requiring that signatures on direct initiative of legislation come

  • Free lunch economics

    Almost 20 years ago, this newspaper felt it important to start keeping track of our rising federal debt; thus the debt box on the front page of each edition. In 1999, our national debt was $5.5 trillion or $20,600 for every citizen. Today our national debt clock ticks away adding millions each day. Our current

  • Ranked choice rankles on

    Not long after ranked choice voting, a people’s referendum, was approved by Maine voters in 2016, it was hauled into surgery by the Legislature. Lawmakers poked and probed and finally prescribed a constitutional amendment and, failing that, euthanasia. But supporters came back with a people’s veto effort that restored ranked choice voting. The Maine Attorney

  • Our electric grid needs more power

    On Sunday, the region’s independent system operator (ISO) forecast that the six-state electric grid would need 13,500 megawatts of power with 17,300 megawatts of energy available. The supply met the need, but that solvency is no sure thing going forward. Established in 1997 by the multiple energy deregulation acts from 1992 onward, the independent and

  • City Council steps up

    A variety of perspectives were articulated by the 200-plus residents who showed up for last Wednesday’s Ellsworth City Council workshop on the relicensing of the Graham Lake and Leonard Lake dams. Water level was the rallying point. Issues invoked included loss of property value, ecological damage, the dam owner’s profits, water quality and fish passage.

  • Schooling begins at home

    For decades, state and federal education officials and lawmakers have required accountability from our public schools. Assessment tools such as No Child Left Behind, Maine Learning Results, the New England Common Assessment Program and the Maine Educational Assessment tests are intended to quantify students’ grasp of their subjects and chart the progress of individual grade

  • Will taxpayers be held hostage to jail costs?

    As the county seat, Ellsworth has had a succession of jails over the years. The old county jail on State Street, now the home of Ellsworth Historical Society, was preceded by a jail in a house on Pleasant Street. The current county jail, attached to the back of the courthouse, has been remodeled at least

  • A principled principal

    Last week’s announcement that Ellsworth Middle School Principal Jim Newett will retire at the end of June brought many people up short. He’s been the middle school principal for so long — 29 years — it’s hard to remember a time when he wasn’t. The jarring thought that someone else will fill the role next