• Are Pine Tree Development Zones unmonitored corporate welfare?

    In 2003, Governor John Baldacci worked with the Legislature to create Pine Tree Development Zones. The idea was to help rural pockets of Maine’s economically deprived counties attract new businesses and expand employment. A package of up to 10 incentives, grants, tax credits, sales tax exemptions, income tax reimbursements, corporate income tax credits, as well

  • Smoke signals

    Political observers are starting to identify how the nation’s two political parties have marginalized the majority of moderate voters, the voters who comprise the largest block of citizens in our country. Changing patterns — with extreme positions both left and right — leave a ripe middle ground that is being plied, in Maine, by outside

  • Heroes of the “Cold War”

    Two years of relatively mild winters coupled with above-average temperatures left many of us shocked by the sudden return of a face-freezing winter. With December degree days already 7 percent above normal, Santa brought two snowstorms and plummeting mercury for record intervals before and after New Year’s Day. An admirable number of households weathered the

  • Busing or walking to school?

    School Union 93 officials and Superintendent Mark Hurvitt have suggested the idea of exploring a countywide school transportation system in order to save costs. While only conceptual at the moment, Hurvitt and the other school committee members should be applauded for stepping back and taking a look at alternatives to what is fast becoming a

  • Local control — Can we share?

    Town meeting season is right around the corner. These annual expressions of community, and the exercise of local control, recently have shown that running small towns in a largely rural state is becoming very expensive. Many of Maine’s towns face a pattern of annual budget increases that far exceed the rate of inflation. Salary and

  • And we wonder why good people are reluctant to serve

    On Jan. 3, 1997, almost exactly 21 years ago, Susan Collins of Caribou became Maine’s junior U.S. senator alongside Olympia Snowe. Today, Sen. Collins has an admirable record of service, including a record voting streak. She is the only Republican senator from New England. Traditionally a measured legislator not bound to any particular ideology and

  • Make way for power lines

    After a beautiful September and October, Mother Nature snapped our heads around the day before Halloween with a wind and rain storm to remind us of how small we are in her universe. Pounding the state with gusts from the Southeast, the coastal communities up the Route 1 corridor and beyond saw record power outages

  • “With liberty and justice for all”

    You needn’t be a Mensa member to recognize that our society has a crime and incarceration problem. This newspaper’s Cops and Courts pages are filled each week with reports of lawbreaking and court adjudications. The impact on society is enormous: lost productivity of individuals incarcerated, destruction or theft of property, the costs of keeping millions

  • County budget increase reflects increasing needs

    The Hancock County Commission recently revealed that its proposed 2018 budget would require a tax assessment increase of 5.68 percent over this year to raise a total of $8,363,578 to operate the various county departments. Taxes raised on the county’s communities would total slightly over $5.8 million. While the gross number captures our attention, historical

  • In the name of justice

    Last week’s Page 1 report, “Maine judges go the distance lest jails become debtors’ prisons,” described the efforts of Maine district court judges to work with — rather than to incarcerate — individuals who have failed to pay court-imposed fines. The United States has 2.2 million people in jail, according to The Sentencing Project. Law