Liberty Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bill Gillespie (left) and Brooks Volunteer Fire Department Jeff Archer are hoping to encourage more people to join their crews. A sharp decline in firefighters around the state has put a strain on Maine communities.

Maine volunteer firefighter shortage: Solutions likely go beyond incentives, pensions

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 13, 2015, at 10:59 a.m.
Maine’s volunteer fire departments increasingly are having a hard time finding enough people to fill their ranks, putting them in danger of being unable to respond quickly to calls. This is a problem for ambulance and emergency medical services as well. Lawmakers this year will consider pay increases, tax credits …

LePage tax cut plan, based on disproven thinking, comes at a staggering price

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 12, 2015, at 12:38 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage wants a Maine that’s more competitive. He wants to attract more corporate investment to spark job growth. He wants to entice more people to move to Maine, and he doesn’t want Maine’s wealthiest to have a reason to decamp and declare their residency elsewhere. He wants a …
Harvey Kesselman, who has been selected as the next president of the University of Southern Maine, speaks with reporters in Portland on Tuesday.

USM’s new president has keen sense of the daunting challenges that await him

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 11, 2015, at 12:42 p.m.
While the University of Southern Maine has endured multiple rounds of deep budget cuts over the past year, the 8,400-student university has concurrently been at work honing a new strategic focus: becoming Maine’s metropolitan university. And the metropolitan university push has met with understandable skepticism among faculty and students, and …
Michael Willette

False slurs against Muslims, Obama have no place in Maine politics

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 11, 2015, at 11:10 a.m.
When the president of the University of Oklahoma found out that fraternity members at his school chanted racist slurs, he ordered the fraternity closed the next day and immediately initiated an investigation of the incident. Two fraternity members were expelled from the university within days. That is how a decisive …
Ryan Bossie (right) hangs out with friends in this undated photo made available by his older brother, Andrew Bossie.

Talking about addiction: One family’s honesty highlights need for discussion

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 10, 2015, at 11:53 a.m.
The Bossie family suffered a devastating loss when 26-year-old Ryan, the youngest of three siblings, died last month. The family took the unusual step of including Ryan’s struggle with addiction in his obituary. ”Ryan Douglas Bossie died in Portland,” his obituary read, “after losing a hard-fought battle with addiction.” In …
While the Maine Department of Health and Human Services considers new approaches to treat addiction, such as primary care and Suboxone, many addicts may still benefit from the current methadone treatment they receive.

Methadone and primary care have a place in addiction treatment

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 09, 2015, at 11:38 a.m.
If we’ve learned anything from the state’s struggles to care for the mentally ill, it is that community-based services must be ready when a transition away from institutional care takes place. Decades ago, the state’s mental institutions were dramatically downsized with the promise that these institutions’ former residents would get …
A lobster buoy pokes through the ice on Portland Harbor on Feb. 17, 2015.

Maine has a dangerous lobster dependence, without a Plan B

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 08, 2015, at 9:51 a.m.
Maine fishermen marked a pair of pocket-lining milestones last year: The lobster fishery had its most valuable year yet, and so did Maine’s commercial fisheries in their entirety. Fishermen hauled in nearly $457 million worth of lobster, an all-time high. All together, Maine’s fisheries were worth $585.3 million last year, …
The top floor of Oxford Street Shelter awaits the night's occupants Friday, Feb. 27, in Portland.

We should be angry about homelessness, not who paid for shelter stays

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 06, 2015, at 10:38 a.m.
The sound bite was meant to shock and outrage: People with money are staying at a Portland shelter for years at a time, the Department of Health and Human Services said, pointing an angry finger at Portland officials. Gov. Paul LePage has long been at odds with Portland over payments …
People relax at Popham Beach in Phippsburg in this 2012 file photo. This section of the beach lies within Popham Beach State Park.

Don’t jeopardize Maine outdoor recreation with parks and lands reshuffle

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 05, 2015, at 12:14 p.m.
Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands is easy to take for granted. Most visitors to state parks don’t think about their management hierarchy, and few Mainers likely give much thought to timber harvesting on public lands. But the state’s parks and public lands play important economic roles in Maine and …
Words are painted on the cafeteria windows at Narraguagus High School in Harrington as part of an effort by English teacher Brittany Ray and National Honor Society members to encourage students to study for the upcoming SATs.

Why Maine should keep paying for students to take the SAT

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 04, 2015, at 1:43 p.m.
For nearly a decade, Maine’s high school juniors have had little choice in a testy matter: It has been a state requirement that they take the SAT, the exam colleges have used — and generally required — for decades in admissions decisions. This spring is the first in which Maine …
A police officer walks up the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington March 2, 2015. The Supreme Court will hear "King v. Burwell" on March 4, a challenge on whether residents in at least 34 U.S. states are eligible for federal tax subsidies to help them buy health coverage under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare in context for the Supreme Court: Affordable insurance for 75,000 Mainers

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 03, 2015, at 12:10 p.m.
The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday on the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act. However the nine justices rule on a challenge that hinges on four words in the expansive health care reform law, there will be clear and significant personal and policy consequences. Some 8.6 million people …
Paddlers get a glimpse of Mount Katahdin as they make their way south on the Penobscot River in this May 2014 file photo.

Boosting tourism in rural Maine will take more than a national park

By The BDN Editorial Board on March 02, 2015, at 12:46 p.m.
The town councils in Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway have spent a lot of time discussing the possibility of a nearby national park. This sometimes heated debate has taken valuable time and energy away from the larger issue of the region’s need to develop a more coherent recreational economy. Rural …
Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Leigh Saufley, at rostrum, delivers her 2015 State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Legislature on Feb. 24, 2015.

Want to cut jail spending? Stop putting so many low-risk people in jail

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 28, 2015, at 12:18 p.m.
Although Maine’s crime rate has dropped, the number of people held in county jails has doubled in the last two decades. Maine, like other states, is holding too many low-risk offenders in jail, stressing jail facilities and staff and raising jail costs. Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley …
Long-haul trucker Tracy Livingston drives her 72-foot-long Freightliner Cascadia weekly from Michigan to Tennessee, routinely working 14 hours a day Monday through Friday.

Maine has made itself a vehicle registration haven

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 27, 2015, at 10:39 a.m.
Police and municipal officials in Connecticut are miffed that residents who owe property taxes are registering their cars in Maine to escape their debts. In Delaware, state officials are frustrated because they can’t collect unpaid tolls traced to Maine-registered trailers. In a country where states do what it takes to …
Schenck High School senior Allen Jones of Medway completes a classroom exercise Monday, May 20, 2013.

Maine can prevent a bureaucratic nightmare for schools with a simple fix

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 26, 2015, at 12:27 p.m.
State policymakers face a school accountability dilemma this year. Do they prefer Maine have flexibility over how it spends federal school improvement funds and sets low-performing schools on the path to improvement? Or, do they prefer — at the expense of such flexibility — to keep student achievement on standardized …
A piece of microplastic undetectable to the human eye is next to a copepod, a tiny cousin of the Maine lobster.

Plastics and peril: The downside of microbeads

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 25, 2015, at 12:32 p.m.
It is one of the best-known, if brief, exchanges in movie history. In “The Graduate,” recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock wants nothing to do with his parents’ superficial world. At a party, he is briefly cornered by a friend of his parents, Mr. McGuire, who seeks to offer the young …

Keep baby in the crib: Co-sleeping increases infant death risk five-fold

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 24, 2015, at 12:42 p.m.
Caring for a newborn is exhausting work. The deep hours of the night can be the worst. Your baby cries and cries no matter what you do. All you want to do is sleep. And it’s so easy to curl up with your baby next to you in bed. Often, …
A woman smokes a cigarette in this illustration picture taken in Paris, Oct. 8, 2014.

LePage’s spotty anti-smoking record continues with his budget

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 23, 2015, at 12:31 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage’s administration says it is committed to investing in effective strategies to help more of the 20 percent of Maine residents who smoke to kick the habit. For administration officials, the main strategy is an investment in primary care providers who can motivate their patients to live healthier …
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.

LePage’s meddling in energy contracts fits dangerous pattern

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 20, 2015, at 4:49 p.m.
For the second time in two years, Gov. Paul LePage is interfering with energy contracts. This time, he has pushed the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reopen the bidding process for two long-term contracts the PUC already approved and is in the process of finalizing. LePage may have valid concerns …
Jeff Cropley, a student in the wind power technology program at Northern Maine Community College, spent the summer as an intern for  independent power producer TransCanada. He is pictured here at the Kibby  Mountain wind farm project in western Maine. Cropley inspected the turbines and issued mechanical completion certificates.

Energy subsidies aren’t just for renewables, fossil fuels get the lion’s share

By The BDN Editorial Board on Feb. 19, 2015, at 4:38 p.m.
Energy, especially proposals to lower costs, will again be a significant topic of debate in Augusta this year. Renewable energy should be central to that discussion. Unfortunately, lawmakers in recent years have backtracked on the state’s commitment to developing clean, local sources of energy. Again there will be attempts to …
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