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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

    Today we talk with Bangladeshi labor activist Kalpona Akter, who along with two of her colleagues were arrested last summer following their involvement in a movement to raise the minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh. The garment factory managers who have leveled charges against the three activists are major suppliers to Walmart.
    Kalpona Akter, Babul Akter and Aminul Islam, all from the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, could face long prison terms, or even the death penalty, for some of the charges. A major international campaign has targeted Walmart to take responsibility for the labor conditions in the factories they outsource to, and to pressure the factory owners to drop charges against the activists advocating for better working conditions in these factories.
    We also speak with Bjorn Skorpen Claeson, director of Sweatfree Communities, a campaign on the International Labor Rights Forum. www.sweatfree.org. www.change.org
    Walmart declined an interview.

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    This week, the heads of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, MicMac, Maliseet and Maine state governments signed a Declaration of Intent to Create a Maine/Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Process. This process will create a commission to address the damaging history and repercussions of federal and state child welfare practices on the Wabanki tribes. This process is the first of its kind in the U.S.
    An excerpt of the declaration reads:
    “Beginning in the late 1800’s, the United States government established boarding schools intended to solve the “Indian problem” through assimilation. Henry Richard Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, described his effort as an attempt to “kill the Indian and save the man”. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Child Welfare League of America created the Indian Adoption Project which removed hundreds of native children from their families and tribes to be adopted by non-native families. In 1978, the US Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which codified higher standards of protection for the rights of native children, their families and their tribal communities. Within the ICWA, Congress stated that, “No resource is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children” and that “Child welfare agencies had failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the culture and social standard prevailing in Indian communities and families.”
    Important progress has been made with the passage of ICWA. There has been positive collaboration between the state of Maine and Wabanaki tribes to bring lasting positive change. Since 1999, this effort has resulted in ICWA trainings for state workers, an Indian Child Welfare policy and a better working relationship.
    In spite of this progress, Maine child welfare history continues to impact Wabanaki children and families today. We have come to realize that we must unearth the story of the Wabanaki people’s experiences in order to fully uphold the spirit, letter and intent of the ICWA in a way that is consistent and sustainable.”
    We speak with Esther Attean, Passamaquoddy tribal member. She is with the Muskie School of Public Policy and part of the convening group for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    We also talk with Denise Yarmal Altivator, Passamaquoddy tribal member. She is a commissioner with the Maine Indian Trial State Commission and a member of the convening group.
    For more information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

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  • Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco and Amy Browne

    Today we look at changing and extreme weather, the relationship to climate change, and the increased need for local governments and community responses.
    Yesterday, the Union for Concerned Scientists held a telephone press conference to address the gathering increase in extreme weather, in the context of global climate change. The UCS press conference participants spoke to the work that’s beginning to be done in local communities and cities to integrate climate adaptation into their planning, and the work being done to shift costs from the public sector to the insurance markets.

    1)Katharine Hayhoe, Climate scientist and associate professor at Texas Tech University. www.climatechoices.org
    2) Missy Stults, Climate Director, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability www.iclei.org/
    www. chicagoclimateaction.org

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  • Producers/Hosts: Amy Browne & Meredith DeFrancesco

    Segment 1: Supporters of Maine-certified medical marijuana user Jeffrey Barnard plan to gather at the Federal Courthouse in Bangor Tuesday morning to ask Judge Woodcock to release Barnard, and to let him resume using marijuana. They say he has been a victim of a conflict between Maine’s medical marijuana law, and federal probation policies prohibiting use. We spoke with his wife, Vicki Barnard, and a family friend, Jeff Black, earlier today:

    Segment 2: Last week on RadioActive we brought you part 1 of a talk about nuclear weapons that was held at Unity College last month. Today we bring you another of the speakers at that event. This is Colonel Richard Klass (USAF, retired) of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation speaking at Unity College on April 19th, as part of the College’s Lapping Lecture Series Our thanks to Roger Fenn of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Maine Chapter, and to Unity College for making this talk available to WERU

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  • Producers/Hosts: Amy Browne and Meredith DeFrancesco
    Audio provided by Unity College and Roger Fenn

    Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, with a look at the medical perspectives on the use of nuclear weapons. He spoke at Unity college on April 19th, as part of the College’s Lapping Lecture Series. He is Introduced by Roger Fenn of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Maine Chapter.

    (NOTE: Colonel Richard Klass (USAF, ret) of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also spoke on this topic at Unity College that evening. We didn’t have time to bring you his comments today, but we’ll air that on “RadioActive” next week at this time.

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  • Producers/Hosts: Amy Browne, Meredith DeFrancesco, John Greenman

    Professor Doug Allen, University of Maine, speaking on MLK, Ghandi, and hope in times of fear.

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  • Producers/Hosts: Amy Browne, Meredith DeFrancesco, John Greenman

    How do we maintain “Hope in Times of Fear”? Local peace and justice activists spoke about that issue earlier this month at the University of Maine. Ilze Petersons, the director of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, and Libby Norton, Laura Nobel, Josephine Bright and Evan Livonius are members of a group that has been reading and discussing a collection of essays called “The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear” edited by Paul Rogat Loeb. Here is what they had to say, starting with Ilze Petersons:

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