Matthew Stone

Matthew Stone

Opinion Page Editor

 

Hiking the gas tax doesn’t need to hurt low-income drivers

By Matthew Stone on Aug. 08, 2014, at 10:42 a.m.
Is the federal gas tax due for a hike? Wouldn’t it hit poor Americans the hardest? The account that pays for the federal government’s share of improvements to the nation’s highway system is refilled until next May, and Maine and other states can continue highway improvements with peace of mind …
Gov. Paul LePage discusses his welfare reform proposals on Monday, March 24.

From welfare queens to welfare expansion: LePage and welfare’s rhetorical power

By Matthew Stone on July 03, 2014, at 10:51 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage stepped into political hot water last week after his office released a statement that characterized Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors as “welfare.” LePage’s office was trying to put a positive spin on newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that showed Maine’s …
This University of Southern Maine aerial photograph depicts the school's Gorham campus. USM also has campuses in Portland and Lewiston.

Why USM’s budget crunch is more complicated than you might think

By Matthew Stone on June 20, 2014, at 1:07 p.m.
The University of Southern Maine sent layoff notices to 12 members of its faculty earlier this year as part of the 9,000-student university’s plan to trim $14 million from its budget for the 2014-15 academic year. But President Theodora Kalikow later reversed course after an outcry from students and professors. …

Similar party tensions, challenges at play in Maine’s GOP, Democratic primaries

By Matthew Stone on June 06, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
Whether the Republican Party’s tea party wing can manage electoral success against party incumbents has dominated the narrative surrounding primary races across the country this spring. On Tuesday, when Maine voters select primary candidates who will appear up and down the November ballot, they won’t be weighing in on a …

Finally, cash for Maine nursing homes. But is it enough?

By Matthew Stone on May 15, 2014, at 12:58 p.m.
Maine’s 107 nursing homes came out of the 2014 legislative session either on shaky financial footing with funding needs neglected or in improved financial shape compared with where the nursing homes stood at the start of the year. But that depends on whom you ask. Gov. Paul LePage is blaming …
Elsa Theobald and Sidney Young, students at the Miles Lane School, took a Smarter Balanced field test on Monday, April 28. They are among 25,000 students in Maine to take these exams this spring, which will help the testing company refine the questions for when the tests count next year.

Will Maine schools teach deeper learning with Common Core? Will a new exam test it?

By Matthew Stone on May 02, 2014, at 11:18 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage ignited a firestorm of controversy last year when his administration unveiled a report card system for the state’s public schools that boiled each school’s performance down to a letter grade. The Maine Department of Education is preparing to release the second generation of those school report cards …

Biding time: Can Maine shorten its waitlists for disabled residents seeking support services?

By Matthew Stone on April 18, 2014, at 12:22 p.m.
While acrimonious debate about Medicaid expansion, tax policy and labor laws marked the winter’s legislative session, lawmakers this week united around a $30 million bill to bring the state budget into balance. Legislators celebrated one provision specifically that promises $5 million to serve hundreds of adults with intellectual disabilities and …
A trash truck driver prepares to dump his load of municipal solid waste at Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington in 2009.

From dumps to wattage: Maine’s changing waste landscape

By Matthew Stone on April 04, 2014, at 9:08 a.m.
A confluence of forces having to do with contracts, electricity prices and landfill space — all coming to a head in 2018 — are at play in the effort by a group representing 187 Maine towns and cities to devise an entirely new scheme for disposing municipal solid waste. This …
MAINE REVIEW
In Portland on Monday, a crowd protests proposed deep cuts at the University of Southern Maine. The cuts would eliminate four full programs and between 20-30 faculty positions.

From strategic plan to strategic plan: Why does the University of Maine System keep fighting the same battles?

By Matthew Stone on March 28, 2014, at 9 a.m.
As the University of Maine System’s seven campuses attempt to shore up a $36 million structural budget gap with, most notably, program and position cuts, the 46-year-old university system is covering familiar ground. The university system has been in perpetual shrinking mode for much of the last decade. Between 2003 …
People protesting a new right-to-work law gather outside of Michigan's state capitol in Lansing on Dec. 11, 2012. Michigan became the 24th state with a right-to-work law.

Can LePage’s ‘right-to-work’ plan grow Maine’s economy?

By Matthew Stone on March 14, 2014, at 8:48 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage launched the latest salvo this week in an age-old debate over what impact, if any, right-to-work laws play in growing state economies and driving employee wages up or down. On Monday, the Republican governor outlined his plan for Open for Business zones, which he says will make …
Heather Fairfield, a research assistant at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine uses a pipette to work with embryonic stem cell DNA extracted from mouse embryonic stem cells at the facility's genetic resource lab February 2, 2010.

Will a jobs bond give Maine businesses what they need to grow?

By Matthew Stone on March 07, 2014, at 11:20 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic lawmakers continued their salvo this week over the governor’s refusal to issue voter-approved bonds. Meanwhile, a legislative committee gave its approval to another borrowing proposal that could end up on the ballot later this year, this one aimed at small-business job creation. The $73 million …
University of Maine students attend the 2013 graduation ceremony at Alfond Arena in Orono in this May 2013 file photo.

Is Mike Michaud’s free sophomore year a good idea?

By Matthew Stone on Feb. 28, 2014, at 10:31 a.m.
About two-thirds of high school graduates nationwide have enrolled in college the fall after they complete high school. Of those students, about two-thirds will likely be back at the same college the following year. And the attrition continues as students’ college careers progress. Fewer than 40 percent of students who …

Maine is underpaying nursing homes $30 million. Will the Legislature bring them relief?

By Matthew Stone on Feb. 21, 2014, at 12:37 p.m.
The residents of Maine’s nursing homes have some of the most intensive health needs of any nursing home residents in the U.S. Maine’s nursing homes require some of the highest staff-to-resident ratios of any state, and are among the fullest anywhere in the U.S. And they haven’t effectively gotten a …
Mary Putansu (left) of Belfast, heads to work in August at Little River Apparel after getting a ride there by Waldo County Transportation driver Winnie Fowler.

Medicaid patients need rides to the doctor. How can Maine ensure they’re reliable?

By Matthew Stone on Feb. 07, 2014, at 11:27 a.m.
It’ll pay for a ride to a doctor’s appointment or physical therapy session but not a ride to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription — unless that pharmacy stop is in conjunction with a medical visit. It generally won’t cover rides to medical appointments from nursing homes. But when …
An inmate talks to another in the doorway of one of the numerous housing units at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham in September.

Bigger prison, same staff: The math behind LePage’s plan to double beds at Windham prison

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 31, 2014, at 11:32 a.m.
As lawmakers work to firm up a state budget that’s out of balance and debate an expansion of Medicaid, a proposal to nearly double the capacity of the Maine Correctional Center in Windham will resurface in coming weeks. Gov. Paul LePage included the expansion project and a $100 million bond …
A warning sign for a natural gas pipeline is seen at an oil pump site outside of Williston, N.D.

A lot of gas, but not here: How should New England deal with its natural gas appetite?

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 23, 2014, at 12:32 p.m.
The agreement among the six New England governors to invest as a region in new natural gas pipeline capacity and electric transmission is rooted in part in cold days like many that Maine and the rest of New England have experienced so far this winter. It’s also part of a …
Gary Alexander (from left) and Eric Randolph of Rhode Island-based Alexander Group and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew prepare Tuesday to answer questions from the Health and Human Services Committee in Augusta.

Experts: Alexander report on Medicaid expansion could use some expansion itself

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 17, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
As lawmakers have debated whether Maine should extend Medicaid to about 75,000 low-income adults, they’ve done it without the aid of a comprehensive, Maine-specific analysis of the expansion’s costs and benefits. That was supposed to change this week as Gary Alexander delivered his Medicaid expansion feasibility study to the Legislature. …
Jim Rier is acting commissioner of the Maine Department of Education.

LePage’s school grades, funding, charter schools: What’s ahead for Maine’s new education chief

By Erin Rhoda and Matthew Stone on Jan. 10, 2014, at 9:47 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage said Monday he’s chosen Jim Rier to serve as his commissioner of education. Rier, whose nomination is subject to confirmation by the state Legislature, is currently the Department of Education’s acting commissioner and has worked at the state agency for a decade, most of it overseeing Maine …
Kara Janes of Castine, then a graduate student at the University of Maine’s School of Social Work, sits in a wheelchair at the Lakewood Continuing Care Center in Waterville in July 2011. While healthy, Janes spent 10 days in the nursing facility to learn firsthand about long-term care. Today, Janes manages At Home Downeast, a program on the Blue Hill Peninsula that helps elderly residents remain in their homes.

What Maine can learn from a Blue Hill Peninsula program that helps elders stay at home

By Matthew Stone on Dec. 06, 2013, at 10:56 a.m.
Two years ago, Kara Janes was a resident of Lakewood Continuing Care Center, wheeling herself around the Waterville nursing home with a limp right side and oxygen tubes strung across her face. Janes was a healthy graduate student at the University of Maine’s School of Social Work. She was living …
An aerial photo, taken March 18, 2012 of First Wind's 60 megawatt, 200 wind turbine Rollins Wind project, 8 miles east of Lincoln, Maine.

Maine wind, Canadian hydro, natural gas: Are the stars aligning for a bright energy future in New England?

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 22, 2013, at 5:27 a.m.
It’s the latest way of thinking about New England’s energy future: Each state has something the others need. Maine has wind resources and the space for turbines. Southern New England has the demand for renewable energy. Maine now has a law that asks state officials to look into the best …
 
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