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WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill, Maine Local News and Public Affairs Archives

Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Environmental Priorities Coalition on Past Legislative Session

    Key Discussion Points:
    1) The Environmental Priorities Coalition, representing 31 Maine environmental and public health organizations, is commending last session’s legislature for conservation and energy efficiency efforts, despite Governor LePage’s anti-environmental stance.

    2) Action included rejecting a bill that would have opened the state to metallic mining (LD 750), a bill re-instituting funding for home energy efficiency subsidies (LD 1215), bills increasing lake protection (LD 568 and LD 713), support for additions to endangered and threatened species listings (LD 807), a bill blocking the governor’s attempt to decrease the number of forest rangers and the merger of the Bureau of parks and Lands with the Maine Forest Service (LD 1019) and a bill to create a process for the Maine Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders to engage in discussions and propose policy on solar power (LD 1263).

    3) Maine is the only state in New England without a solar policy or subsidies for solar.

    Guest:
    Beth Ahern, Maine Conservation Alliance; Environmental Priorities Coalition protectmaine.org/maine-epc

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Minimum Wage Ordinance Considered by Bangor City Council

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Last night members of the Bangor City Council heard public testimony on an ordinance that would Bangor’s local minimum wage incrementally 75 cents a year for the next three years, and then attach it to the rate of inflation, as delineated by the Consumer Price Index. This would move the current $7.50 an hour state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour in 2016, $9 in 2017 and $9.75 in 2018. Exempt from the proposed ordinance, as currently written, are businesses with three or less employees, tipped employees (specifically restaurant wait staff) and employees under the age of 18. U Maine economics professor Todd Gabe says, this would affect 7% of Bangor’s workforce.

    b) Last week, Portland’s City council voted in favor of raising the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on January 1st, 2016, to $10.68 on January 1st, 2017, and then index it to inflation in subsequent years.

    c) Opponents to the wage increase included the Maine Restaurant Association and others who argued that those at minimum wage were being adequately compensated for their work and skill level and that local government should not be involved in setting labor law. Proponents of the ordinance say that those earning the minimum wage cannot keep up with the cost of living and that there is no action being taken at the state and federal level. The Maine Peoples Alliance and others are working on to put a referendum on the 2016 ballot that would raise the state minimum wage.

    Guests:
    Joe Baldacci, Bangor City Council, sponsor of minimum wage ordinance
    Dick Grotton, Maine Restaurant Association
    Scott Linsky, Bangor resident
    Rob Cross, owner of Dairy Queen on Broadway St, Bangor
    Randy Wadleigh, Governor’s Restaurants
    Jim Marcotte, Bangor resident
    Mary Tedesco Schneck, Bangor resident, pediatric nurse practioner
    Katherine Kates, Bangor resident
    Michael Havlin, Hampden resident, lead researcher for Portland Mayor’s Minimum Wage Advisory Committee,
    bangordailynews.com/2015/07/06/opinion/contributors/fear-has-no-place-in-bangors-minimum-wage-debate/
    Dennis Chinoy, Bangor resident
    Mike Tipping, Maine Peoples Alliance, Bangor resident
    bangordailynews.com/2015/07/06/opinion/contributors/fear-has-no-place-in-bangors-minimum-wage-debate/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Rally for Tribal Sovereignty and Unity; Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Tribes Withdraw Reps. from State Legislature

    a) Today we hear from Wabanaki Tribal members at the Rally for Tribal Sovereignty and Unity in Augusta last week, May 26th. On that day, the Penobscot and Passamquoddy Tribes withdrew their representatives from the Maine legislature in the wake of numerous recent state actions to block or diminish tribal efforts to exercise sovereignty.
    b) These issues include fishing rights, the right of Maine tribes to gain the protections under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) afforded all other tribes in the country, and the state’s attempt to re-define Penobscot Nation territory to exclude the Penobscot River. In April, Governor LePage issued an executive order to rescind cooperation with the Tribes and, at the end of May, announced he would veto a number of bills tribal representatives sponsored this session.
    c) Repeatedly, Maine State government has used the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act as a reason to exempt Wabanaki Tribes from federal protections and to assert power over the Tribes. The Wabanaki Tribes have repeatedly asserted a different interpretation of the Settlement Act, and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, set up by the Act to advise, recommend and seek amendment to a law negotiators agreed needed more clarity, has been ignored repeatedly by the state. The Wabankai Tribes are now calling on Congress to review the Settlement Act and the Maine’s interpretation and implementation of it.

    Guests:
    Matt Dana, former Passamquoddy representative to Maine legislature
    Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation
    Chief Billy Nicolas, Passamquoddy, Indian Township
    Vice- Chief Vera Francis, Passamquoddy, Sipayik/Pleasant Point
    Chief Fred Moore, Passamquoddy,Sipayik/Pleasant Point
    Tribal members: Serge, Passamquoddy/Indian Township; Tara, Micmac; Tim Shay, Penobscot; Charlene, Micmac; Adrian, Micmac, Glen, Micmac.
    Newell Lewey, Passamquoddy tribal council member, Sipayik/Pleasant Point
    Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot Nation, indigenous rights attorney
    John Banks, Penobscot Nation; Maine Indian Tribal State Commission

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Maine Blocks Coverage of Tribes Under Violence Against Women Act (VOWA)

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) When Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VOWA) in 2013, tribes across country were granted the ability to prosecute non-tribal members who have perpetrated domestic or dating violence against tribal members. Though this is a federal law, Maine has yet again used the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to refuse to recognize the participation of the Wabanaki tribes within the state.

    b) Today, Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Court argues the tribes meet all legal requirements to prosecute under VOWA. He also speaks on the process and goals in the Penobscot Nation’s Tribal Court.

    c) On Tuesday, May 12th, at 1pm in Room 436, the legislature’s judiciary committee will hold a public hearing on LD 268, a bill that would recognize the Penobscot and Passamquoddy Tribes ability to prosecute under the Violence Against Women Act.

    legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0186&item=1&snum=127

    (An Act regarding the Penobscot Nation’s and Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Authority to Exercise Jurisdiction under the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – Sponsored by Wayne Mitchell/Penobscot representative).

    Also being heard by committee on May 12th: LD1094: An Act to Improve Tribal-State Relations (Rep. Matt Dana/Passamaquoddy)

    LD893: Resolution, proposing an amendment to article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations (Rep. Henry Bear/ Maliseet)

    LD267: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Rep. Wayne Mitchell/ Penobscot).

    Guest: Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge, Penobscot Nation Court

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic:Maine’s legislature works to relax mining standards

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we speak with two citizen activists on current legislative proceedings aimed at relaxing state environmental standards to allow metallic mining in Maine.
    b) This week the Maine legislature’s joint committee on Environment and Natural Resources has been in work sessions, reconfiguring a new bill based closely on rule changes proposed by JD Irving, the company seeking to mine Bald Mountain in Aroostook County. In this session, the ENR Committee has reviewed mining bills LD 146 and LD 750. The current bill retains the number LD 750, but no longer contains the stringent environmental and financial stipulations of it’s original sponsor, Rep. Ralph Chapman.
    c) A public hearing on the new LD 750 will be held on May 11th, 9:00 am at the Augusta State House Cross Building, Room 216.

    Guests:
    Lew Kingsbury, environmental activist
    Dennis Chinoy, activist, volunteer Power In Community Alliances (PICA)

    www.pica.ws
    www.maineminingwatch.org
    www.nrcm.org
    bangordailynews.com/2015/02/22/opinion/contributors/mining-is-on-augustas-agenda-public-hearing-reality-tv-or-charades/

    1 Comment
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Penobscot Chief Francis responds to Governor LePage’s Reversal of Order Promoting Cooperation with Tribes

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we speak again with Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis.This weekend, Governor Lepage’s office sent an email to Wabanaki Tribal leaders announcing a new executive order, signed April 16th, that rescinds the Governor’s 2011 order promoting cooperation and coordination between the Stat and the Wabanaki Tribes within Maine. (copy of executive order: www.pressherald.com/2015/04/21/lepage-rescinds-order-promoting-state-cooperation-with-indian-tribes/document/2/).
    b) Despite the original executive order, which included directing state agencies to reach out to the Tribes on issues effecting them, Chief Francis outlines numerous instances, during the LePage administration, in which they have not felt state cooperation. This includes elver fishing and tribal saltwater fisheries rights, protective water quality standards in sustenance fishing waters, fishing monitoring jurisdiction in sustenance fishing waters in the Penobscot River, and rights under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VOWA).
    c) We also speak with the Peace and justice Center of Eastern Maine about their 21st annual Hope Festival, taking place this Saturday in Orono.

    Guests:
    Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation, penobscotnation.org
    Amy Hughes, Peace and justice Center of Eastern Maine, peacectr.org/wp/hope_2015/schedule-of-events/

    www.pressherald.com/2015/04/21/lepage-rescinds-order-promoting-state-cooperation-with-indian-tribes/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Generation Climate Rising Rally in Augusta

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) This past Saturday, April 11th, Maine Students for Climate Justice held a rally and march in Augusta, calling it Generation Climate Rising. Students from colleges, universities and high schools from across state, and supporters, called on Governor LePage to put a freeze on all new fossil fuel infrastructure and to support measures to bring more solar and conservation to the state.
    b) Speakers and participants spoke on climate justice, the need for Maine’s government to take climate change seriously, the already changing environment and the need for immediate action.
    c) This year’s Maine Youth Activism Gathering will be held Saturday April 18th -Monday April 20th, three days of workshops and community building.
    maineyag.wordpress.com/
    www.facebook.com/pages/Maine-Youth-Activism-Gathering/199809673382110

    Guests:
    A) Organizers with Maine Students for Climate Justice : Meaghan LaSala (USM), Maddie Lamal-Brown (Bowdoin), Matthew Miles Goodrich (Bowdoin), Iris SanGiovanni (USM), Catherine Fletcher (UMO), Michelle Fournier (350 Maine)
    mainestudentjustice.wix.com/mainestudents#!about_us/c14e3
    www.facebook.com/MaineClimateJustice
    www.centralmaine.com/2015/04/09/generation-climate-rising-demonstration-in-augusta/
    B) student participants from universities, colleges and high schools across the state
    C) Christine, Pine Tree Youth Organizing, ptyo.org/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Generation Climate Rising, with Maine Students for Climate Justice

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Maine Students for Climate Justice is organizing the Generation Climate Justice rally on April 11th, at 11am at the State Capitol in Augusta.
    www.facebook.com/events/815393905193392/

    b) We talk with two students from Maine Students for Climate Justice about the divestment movement in Maine, climate justice, democratizing energy through community based initiatives and the need for action.

    c) We also talk about the upcoming April 6th rally for Unity, and the pre-rally in support of the Penobscot Nation is their legal battle for jurisdiction over sustenance fishing waters.

    Guests:
    A) Laura Berry, student at College of the Atlantic, Maine Students for Climate Justice
    B) Meaghan LaSala, graduate student at University of Southern Maine, Maine Students for Climate Justice
    www.facebook.com/events/815393905193392/

    No Comments