The Nature of Phenology 10/19/19: Apples

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Despite their reputation for being a staple of the New England diet and landscape, apple trees are actually native to what is now Kazakhstan at about the same latitude as Bangor, Maine. Apples reveal a crisp slice of human history as rich as the flavor of apple pie.

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at

Nature’s Remedies 10/19/19: Fasting

Producer/Host: Tim Hagney

Democracy Forum 10/18/19: Hate and Fear in Politics: How fear and Anger Endanger Democracy

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

Program Topic: Hate and Fear in Politics: How fear and anger endanger democracy

Key Discussion Points:

We talk about hate and fear in politics and whether they undermine democracy:
How panic and fear make space for abandoning the rule of law and the regular order;
How when we demonize the opposition, it makes room for extraordinary measures to stop them.

Joanne Freeman, Professor of history and American studies at Yale University
Steve Wessler, Maine human rights educator, trainer, and advocate specializing in conflict resolution

To learn more about this topic:
Trump and the Politics of Fear,” Molly Ball in The Atlantic, September, 2016.
America Descends into the Politics of Rage,” Joanne Freeman in The Atlantic, October, 2018.
The Upside of Anger,” Isaac Chotiner interviews Martha C. Nussbaum for Slate, August, 2018

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

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine:

WERU Special 10/17/19: “Universal Health Care: is it possible in Maine?”

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by: Matt Murphy

A conversation about our health care system with Dr. Phil Caper of Maine AllCare advocating for universal health care, and Matt Gagnon of The Maine Heritage Policy Center promoting free market alternatives. The discussion, taped Monday, October 14 in a small gathering above Old Professor’s Bookshop in Belfast, provides background for listeners who might have a heightened interest based on the upcoming 2020 political season.

Moderator for the talk, Jim Campbell (host of “Notes from the Electronic Cottage” on WERU-FM), began by asking the speakers to define what they meant by universal health care. While both agreed in theory to the idea of covering as many people as possible, Mr. Gagnon believed calling it a human right oversimplified the question. “Health care is a fixed resource. Every question of care comes down to: how can you serve the most people?”

Dr. Caper countered with his belief that every single person should be covered, that the US is the only wealthy country in the world without universal health care. “Other countries spend half of what we do on health care, and even with all that we spend, our life expectancy keeps dropping. Are they smarter? What are the barriers to reform?” he asked, citing money in politics as a major problem.

The two speakers saw different scenarios of what would result from the State of Maine adopting universal health care, with Mr. Gagnon fearing that people would leave the state in droves because of higher taxes. He cited Vermont as a state that worked hard to create a system for universal health care, characterizing their downfall due to businesses threatening to move away because of higher government costs, necessitating higher taxes.

Dr. Caper said Maine would attract new people by making health care premiums and co-pays disappear. Detaching employment from health care would encourage young entrepreneurs, freeing up economic growth as people become free to leave unsatisfying jobs. “We don’t need better insurance,” he said. “We need something better than insurance. Making money should not be the primary goal to health care.”

Both speakers agreed that the current system is a nightmare and that something needs to be done to clear away the inefficiencies, with Mr. Gagnon certain that nothing would happen in the short run and Dr. Caper arguing for phasing in a plan over a predetermined period of time.

For more information on Maine AllCare, contact Abbie Ryder, To reach The Maine Heritage Policy Center, contact Nick Murray,

NOTE: The presentation lasted more than an hour. The unedited, full version is also available below. At about 4 minutes into the recording there is a brief gap due to a technical issue.

The Sketchbook 10/17/19: Real Estate

Producer/Host: Jim Bahoosh

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 10/17/19: Compress Graphics Revisit

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Going back to the basics is never a bad idea so in this edition, let’s revisit how graphics compression works in the digital world.

All About Aging 10/16/19: Older Adults Dating & UMaine Center on Aging

Producer/Host: Peg Cruikshank
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Deb Burwell, Facilitator, talks about an upcoming event called “Singles Mingle” for people ages 55+, which will take place at Nautilus Restaurant in Belfast on Sunday, October 27th, 2-5pm. Pre-registration is required by 10/22:

Dr. Len Kaye, Director of the University of Maine Center on Aging talks about their programs and new grants.