Andrea Kilbirde (left) and Kelsey McDonald, of the Micmac tribe of Prince Edward Island, wait for their turn to dance during the opening ceremonies of the seventh annual North Country Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow, in this 2007 file photo.

Why forcing a student newspaper to use a racial slur is wrong on so many levels

on May 12, 2014, at 11:23 a.m.
Non-Native American schools across the nation have long debated whether to keep using American Indian mascots, images and athletic team names. In Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the issue has taken a rather autocratic turn that should serve as a nudge to schools everywhere to abandon racist depictions of Indian nations people. The …
Students board a bus on the first day of school in Bates County, Missouri, on August 14, 2013. Miami R-1 Elementary School has started a four-day school week adding about half an hour to the other days and is embracing technology such as iPads in the classroom.

LePage’s school grades should spark discussion of more than the grades themselves

on May 11, 2014, at 11:08 a.m.
A year ago, the release of report cards that boiled Maine schools’ performance and progress down to a single letter grade rightly sparked complaints about a grading system that was a better indicator of socioeconomic status than of school success. This week, the Maine Department of Education will release the …
Sue Sapiel, customer service representative at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Independence, prints out a new EBT card that includes a photo.

Past proof of wasteful spending on EBT card photos doesn’t deter LePage

on May 09, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services left a number of questions unanswered when it launched a pilot project in the Bangor region to place recipient photos on electronic benefit transfer cards. Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew moved ahead with the pilot despite a warning from the …
Penobscot County Corrections officer Sgt. Chris Wilson stands near the door of a empty cell at the Penobscot County Jail on Thursday, July 2, 2013.

When the time doesn’t fit the crime

on May 08, 2014, at 11:22 a.m.
There is a man sitting in a prison in Florida, serving a life sentence without parole, with a first-degree murder conviction on his rap sheet. But Ryan Holle never physically harmed anyone, and he wasn’t present at the scene of the killing. He was asleep at the time of the …
A toxicology lab that screens urine samples for drug use.

Maine GOP can’t claim welfare drug test law as an achievement

on May 07, 2014, at 11:31 a.m.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage isn’t the only governor who is busy pursuing welfare “reform” policies that are ineffective in achieving their purported aims and are more effective in stigmatizing public assistance programs and the people they’re intended to help. Last week, Georgia’s Republican governor, Nathan Deal, signed a provision into …
A Portland High School student is pulled from a simulated drunken driving car wreck during a 2012 exercise.

If you’ve had the sex talk, you can have this one, too

on May 06, 2014, at 12:49 p.m.
Many parents do take the proactive step to talk with their children about alcohol use. Even if young teens aren’t drinking, they could be experiencing pressure to drink, and it’s good to listen to them and talk about the dangers in a straightforward way. But as a parent — especially …
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud speaks at a Yarmouth news conference.

Michaud, Cutler must show they are more than a LePage alternative

on May 05, 2014, at 3:47 p.m.
In six months, Maine voters will cast their votes on whether Gov. Paul LePage deserves a second term. But the choice doesn’t end there for voters who have decided that the first-term Republican governor needs to be replaced. In the coming months, Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and independent Eliot …
This is a sample photo EBT card.

No one looks at ID in the self-checkout lane: LePage’s EBT fraud-fighting measure is ineffective at fighting fraud

on May 03, 2014, at 6:17 a.m.
Recipients of public assistance in the Bangor region are starting to have their photos taken and printed on newly formulated electronic benefit transfer cards as part of a pilot project. If Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has its way, photo IDs on EBT cards will soon be required of most Maine …
Gov. Paul LePage offers opening remarks at the Maine Tourism Conference at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Wednesday, March 19.

LePage’s 182 vetoes are bad for business

on May 02, 2014, at 8:28 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage’s desire to improve Maine’s business climate is well noted. He sold voters on a business-friendly platform and his credentials as former general manager of Marden’s; launched “red tape” workshops for businesses to identify ideas for regulatory changes; designated “account executives” to reach out to businesses; and has …
Gov. Paul LePage arrives at the 2014 Maine Republican Convention at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Friday.

LePage wants low-income women to have more unintended pregnancies and abortions?

on April 30, 2014, at 4:42 p.m.
We’re not sure what Gov. Paul LePage has against babies, women or taxpayers, but those are the people devastated most by his veto of a bill that would have provided the state’s poorest with health care coverage for birth control and other family planning services. There was no excuse for …
Here comes the sum: Will a jobs bond give businesses what they need to grow?

LePage rejection of small-business capital bond doesn’t match pro-business rhetoric

on April 30, 2014, at 10:09 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage says “small businesses are the backbone of our economy.” He’s right. He’s running for re-election on the premise that “actions speak louder than words.” Right again. Based on the rhetoric, you’d expect LePage to take whatever action he can to help the state’s small businesses. That expectation, …
A woman holds a sign at a rally and lobby day organized by the Maine Peoples Alliance at the State House in Augusta on Jan. 8 around the issue of Medicaid expansion.

There’s a last chance for 70,000 to gain health coverage, and reasons against it don’t stand up

on April 30, 2014, at 8:23 a.m.
Republicans in the Maine Legislature have one last chance this year to deliver on health coverage for the state’s poorest residents. On Thursday, when the House and Senate reconvene to take up a slew of vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage, lawmakers will have two veto letters before them nixing separate …
Engineer Rick Cameron passes telephone poles massed near the airport in Presque Isle as they make a delivery to the Maine Potato Growers depot Thursday, March 18, 2010.

Uphold LePage veto of bill that singles out one company — FairPoint

on April 29, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
If you have bad memories of telecommunications utility FairPoint, it may be for good reason. When the company purchased Verizon’s landline and Internet operations in northern New England in 2008, the results were abysmal. Thousands of customers lost services when data failed to transfer correctly between the companies; many people …
Governor Paul LePage at the 2014 Maine Republican Convention at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Friday.

LePage is right that ‘actions speak louder than words,’ but it’s also the problem

on April 28, 2014, at 12:40 p.m.
Political party conventions are big on boosting energy and piling on the rhetoric. This weekend’s GOP convention, held in Bangor, appeared to serve its purpose well, stoking enthusiasm among the party faithful and projecting a message of unity, in contrast with the party’s 2012 gathering. Gov. Paul LePage remained true …
Five-year-old Aidyn Ouellette walks through a group of law enforcement officials Dec. 12, 2013, who were at his house delivering Christmas presents for him, his little sister, and their five cousins who they now reside with.  Aidyn and his sister Chelsea now live with their aunt, Tracey Haskell, who took guardianship of them, and her longtime boyfriend, Jim Pearsall. Their parents, Old Town residents April Haskell and Chris Ouellette, both passed away in a domestic violence tragedy in October 2013.

How Maine’s courts can help domestic violence victims achieve justice: First, know thyself

on April 27, 2014, at 8:51 a.m.
Decisions rendered by the courts can contribute to saving people’s lives or hastening their death. But judges’ orders are only as good as the information provided to them about a case and the training they’ve received. They can’t know what they don’t know. In the same vein, court administrators, prosecutors, …

Ending Maine’s waitlists for disabled residents with more funding is a small part of the solution

on April 25, 2014, at 1:59 p.m.
During this winter’s protracted battle over expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 70,000 low-income Maine adults, the expansion’s opponents unnecessarily dragged a population of Maine residents with developmental disabilities into the debate. An expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to low-income parents and adults without children — with …
Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, talks in November 2013 about how the latest report in the "Making Maine Work" series will help lure 65,000 more workers into Maine jobs by 2020.

Let’s ensure Mainers don’t become an endangered species

on April 24, 2014, at 2:06 p.m.
All signs in Maine point to an urgent need to draw more people here, from beyond state borders. Maine has a negative rate of natural population growth, meaning that over time more people are dying, and fewer are being born. At this pace, Mainers are an endangered species — especially …
Republicans in the Maine Legislature rally outside the State House on April 4 for a series of bills proposed by Gov. Paul LePage aimed at changing the state’s welfare system.

LePage’s fine-avoiding ‘reforms’ have little to do with getting more on welfare to work

on April 23, 2014, at 12:21 p.m.
Convenient timing last week allowed Gov. Paul LePage to continue his disingenuous “welfare reform” campaign and bash his Democratic opponents for a lenient state welfare system. It’s the latest stage in a campaign that has misrepresented reality and emphasized a path to welfare “reform” that has more to do with …

Corporations are not people, money is not speech, and the Constitution should say so

By Steve Burke on April 22, 2014, at 12:01 p.m.
There have been 19 Supreme Court decisions, beginning in 1886, that have increasingly granted more rights to corporations and wealthy individuals. The two most recent decisions have put this gradual transformation on steroids. In 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission held that restrictions on independent political expenditures by corporations, …

Legislature’s bonds package to spur job growth shows political favoritism, prescriptiveness

on April 22, 2014, at 9:32 a.m.
Maine voters might have six more decisions to make when they visit the polls in November. As the Maine Legislature closed out its lawmaking session Thursday night, legislators gave their support to six borrowing initiatives totaling $50 million. Now, the bonds must gain the support of Gov. Paul LePage or …
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