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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    2nd segment audio recorded by John Greenman

    Minimum Wage Increase: Did Mainers Know What They Were Doing?

    Last November Mainers voted to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage from the (then) current rate of $7.50 an hour up to $12 an hour by 2020. After 2020 increases would be tied to inflation. Despite the fact that the measure drew strong support, several bills have been introduced in the state legislature that roll back the increases in various ways. In some cases the rate of increase is reduced. Other measures would tweak the formula for tipped staff or for younger workers or those in training.
    9 such bills were presented in the legislature back in April, and yesterday the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee held a public hearing on yet another, LD1609 (“An Act To Support Maine’s Employers and Encourage Employers To Hire Young Workers”) and arguments on each side were reiterated.

    Some of those who advocate overturning the will of the voters have said Mainers didn’t understand the consequences of their vote. They argue that small businesses will be forced to lay off workers or limit hiring and will pass along costs to consumers.

    Supporters of the minimum wage increase say that even the slight increase makes a difference for low wage workers who are often forced into making tough choices with their limited pay. Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO told the committee that the $30 extra per week in one 70-year-old woman’s pocket had allowed her to purchase windshield wiper blades. She had lost her home and was forced to return to work when her husband became disabled, and before the first incremental increase in the minimum wage went into effect in January her budget was so tight that needing new wiper blades would have been a crisis.

    On this week’s Maine Currents we listen in as the debate continues

    Area Resident Weighs in on Bar Harbor Cruise Ship Pier Proposal
    An event in Bucksport last week brought together several environmental groups for a discussion of local issues. “The Future of Our Forests, Rivers, Lakes, Fields and Ocean” was hosted by Maine Common Good Coalition Renata Moise expressed concerns about a new cruise ship pier being proposed in Bar Harbor:


    Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture, every Wednesday at 4pm on WERU-FM and weru.org

    NOTE: Maine Currents will be moving to Tuesdays (4-5pm) starting in June 2017

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  • Producer/Host: Sue Mackey Andrews
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Homelessness in Hancock County

    Program Topic: Families First Community Center (FFCC)

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Young families, especially young women ages 18-23, and young children constitute the greatest increase in homelessness nationally and here in Maine
    b) FFCC is working to break th ecucle of homelessness by equipping young families with minor children with the skills they need to gain self-sufficiency
    c) They are working to open a transitional home that will house up to six families for between 12-18 months, supporting them to learn essential like skills (cooking, money management, child development, etc.), prepare for life through employment training, etc. with mentors to support them in overcoming barriers and learning new skills.

    Guests
    Dawn Carter Coffin, President of FFCC Board of Directors
    Jamie Willis Hunt, FFCC Board member and lead for their fund development efforts

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  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Participatory Democracy

    Program Topic: Free Trade: Winners and Losers in Maine

    Key Discussion Points:

    We’ll talk about international trade policy
    How does it work?
    Who sets the rules?
    What does it mean for Maine?

    Guest: Kate DeLutio, economist, applied researcher, and trade expert. www.45northresearch.com/about/

    To learn more about this topic:
    a) Did China Eat America’s Jobs, Freakonomics, January 25, 2017 freakonomics.com/podcast/china-eat-americas-jobs/
    b) Maine History Online: Trade and Transport, from the Maine Historical Society. www.mainememory.net/sitebuilder/site/885/page/1296/display
    c) Maine Trade Assessment Report 2016, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, prepared for the Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission. www.maine.gov/legis/opla/CTPC2016TradeAssessmentFinal.pdf
      

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    Starr Gilmartin
    Maggie Harling
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Maryann Ogonowski
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

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  • Producer/Host: John Greenman
    Studio Engineer: Joel Matt & Matt Murphy

    Update on Maine’s Cuban Connections

    Program Topics: Embargo/Blockade and Guantanamo

    Key Discussion Points:
    Update on the effects of the decades-old embargo
    The latest on the US presence in Guantanamo Bay

    Guests:
    Judy Robbins, “Let Cuba Live”
    Dud Hendrick, Maine Veterans for Peace (just returned from Cuban conference on foreign military bases)


    Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture, every Wednesday at 4pm on WERU-FM and weru.org

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Anti-immigration bills introduced in Maine

    We take you to last week’s public hearing for LD 366 “An Act To Ensure Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government Entities”, LD 847 “An Act To Hold Refugee Resettlement Agencies Accountable to Maine People” and LD 1099, a resolve that would have “Required the State To Bring Suit against the Federal Government for Failure To Comply with the Federal Refugee Act of 1980”. All were introduced by Rep. Lawrence Lockman of Amherst.

    In breaking news just before we went to air, the Judiciary Committee voted “Ought Not to Pass” on LDs 1099 and 847, and tabled LD366.

    Update: We mentioned on the show that we had contacted Rep. Lockman to inquire about two issues that were raised during the hearing: His testimony that the City of Portland had redirected educational funding to refugee support, and the comments made by members of the public that he did not stay to hear their comments after introducing the legislation. We did hear back from him after the show. Here is his response: “I was there for most of the hearing, stepped out twice to do TV interviews, then had to attend my own committee.” And he provided this link to a 2015 article entitled “LePage to fight Portland over asylum seekers money”: www.centralmaine.com/2015/06/30/lepage-to-fight-portland-over-asylum-seekers-money/


    Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture, every Wednesday at 4pm on WERU-FM and weru.org

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  • Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    Program Topic: Two Maines: Can We Bridge the Divide?

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) We’ll talk about the cultural, demographic, and economic differences that define the two Maines and how those differences are sharpening political differences. b) Are there only two Maines?
    c) Can we bridge the divide?

    Guests:
    a) Alan Caron, is the owner of Caron Communications and the author of “Maine’s next Economy” and “Reinventing Maine’s Government”
    b) Erin Rhoda, Editor of Maine Focus for the Bangor Daiy News bangordailynews.com/staff/bdn-maine/content/erin-rhoda/
    c) Matt Stone, journalist and writer for the Bangor Daily News

    To learn more about this topic:
    What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class, Joan C. Williams in the Harvard Business Review, November 30, 2016 hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class%20
    6 takeaways from an examination of rural Maine’s future, Erin Rhoda, Bangor Daily News, January 29, 2017 bangordailynews.com/2017/01/29/mainefocus/6-takeaways-from-an-examination-of-rural-maines-future/
    This remote Maine region has a chance to grow, Matt Stone, Bangor Daily News, December 7, 2106 mainefocus.bangordailynews.com/2016/12/wilderness-and-a-way-forward/#.WLsNjfnyuUk
    Maine’s Next Economy: How the State’s Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Doers are Growing a New Prosperity, Alan Caron, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 16, 2015)

    The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
    Starr Gilmartin
    Maggie Harling
    Linda Hoskins
    Ann Luther
    Maryann Ogonowski
    Pam Person
    Leah Taylor
    Linda Washburn

    FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Special thanks to Bill Solomon

    This Solstice edition of Maine Currents features stories about holidays, families and winter in Maine. Rev. Dr. Anu Dudley (host of WERU’s “Earthwise” feature which airs Saturdays at 7:30) kicks things off with a look at the history of Solstice celebrations, then we hear from storytellers Marjorie Longwood of Surry, Edee Howland of Blue Hill, Cathy Mink of Waldo and Roger Sprague of Belfast. We close out the hour with some voices from the past- a 2006 holiday special recorded at WERU.

    Maine Currents- independent local news, views & culture on WERU-FM 89.9 Blue Hill, 99.9 Bangor, Maine and www.weru.org, Wednesdays 4-5pm Eastern

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Today we continue our on-going coverage of the re-write of Maine’s mining laws, as there is breaking news out of Augusta: the Board of Environmental Protection is revealing their recommendations and the news is worse that some environmentalists fear. Interview with Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM Environmental Risk Manager, Bowker Associates, Science and Research in the Public Interest

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