Maine Currents 10/14/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

Today we’re doing a sort of “where are they now” show with some of the 13 Mainers –from all across the state and different walks of life– who volunteered back in 2006 to have themselves tested for the presence of 71 chemicals in their bodies. As we reported in 2007 when the results were published in the “Body of Evidence” report, toxic industrial chemicals were found in every person tested.
The group behind the project was the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, which included the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine, the Maine Labor Group on Health, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the Maine People’s Resource Center, the Maine Public Health Association, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Physicians for Social Responsibility/Maine Chapter. All project protocols were approved by the University of Southern Maine Office of Research Compliance and Institutional Review Board. Doctors Vincent Markowski and Richard Donahue, the project’s Principal Investigators, provided oversight of the study methodology, data collection, laboratory testing, and data analyses.
46 different toxic chemicals were found in the bodies of the 13 Mainers. The average body burden was 36 toxic chemicals detected in the blood, urine and hair of each participant.

Emma Halas-O’Connor, Environmental Health Campaign Manager, Environmental Health Strategy Center/ Prevent Harm
Hannah Pingree, former State Representative and study participant. After learning that PBDE flame retardants were being found in breast milk, she sponsored a bill that successfully phased out two of them back in 2004. In 2008 she was a sponsor of Maine’s “Kid-Safe Products Act”. In 2012 she testified at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, advocating for updating and strengthening the federal 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. In 2013 she was featured in the HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat”.
Steve Taylor, Project Manager for the Body of Evidence Report
Regina Creeley, study participant


Maine Currents 10/7/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Those of you who enjoy the witty commentary of Jim Hightower several times a week here on WERU are in for a treat– today we’re bringing you a full hour! The radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of several books, including his most recent: “Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow” gave 2 talks at the University of Maine last week. Thursday afternoon he participated in the weekly lecture series sponsored by the Marxist & Socialist Studies interdisciplinary minor and that evening he delivered the annual Howard B. Schonberger Peace and Social Justice Memorial Lecture. The first talk, which we’re bringing you today on Maine Currents was called “Corporate Elites and Their Small-minded Political Servants Are Creating the Increasingly Shrinking America”.


Maine Currents 9/30/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

This week we have our monthly installment from the local storytelling scene, as we return to “Queen City Cellar Tellers” in Bangor. On the 3rd Friday evening of each month “Juice Cellar” owner Chris Roberts and his partner Renee Johnson invite the public to tell stories with a pre-selected theme associated with an area non-profit they are highlighting. This month the non-profit was Maine Farmland Trust and the theme was preservation.

Maine Currents 9/23/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributor: John Greenman

On today’s show we bring you to the “End Violence Together” rally held in Bangor Saturday, we talk with one of the people planning to walk across the state in an upcoming peace walk, and we listen in as community members pay tribute to local long time peace activists Ilze Petersons and Doug Allen as they embark on their next adventure.

FMI: , ,

Maine Currents 9/16/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

According to a recent study* the decrease in carbon footprint from reduced reproduction is “huge” compared to lifestyle changes and conservation efforts. Yet people who choose not to have children are almost universally considered to be selfish or social outcasts. Despite this, the “childfree by choice” movement seems to be growing.

Dr. Amy Blackstone, University of Maine Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department. Professor Blackstone studies childlessness and the childfree choice, childfree families, workplace harassment, and civic engagement. Her work has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including American Sociological Review, Law & Society Review, Sociology Compass, and Gender & Society. Professor Blackstone’s research has been featured by various media outlets including the Katie show, MPBN Radio, NBC, Fox,, MSNBC, Marie Claire, Dame, Huffington Post, and other local and national venues, including WERU’s “Reproductive Left” with Abbie Strout (Listen to an archive of that program here: ) Dr. Blackstone is also a founding Advisory Board member of Feminist Reflections, a blog hosted by The Society Pages. She has served as a Consulting Editor for Contexts and is author the textbook Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. She and her husband Lance, who is also with us today, blog about the childfree choice at
Lance Blackstone’s day job is managing software development. He enjoys all things tropical – in particular, snorkeling and scuba diving on tropical islands and, when not on a tropical island, propagating coral in his home reef aquariums.
Karen Marysdaughter is a war tax refuser, climate activist, and the Office Manager at the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine. Larry Dansinger, in addition to being the host of the WERU short feature “Outside the Box”, has been an organizer for many years on justice, peace, and environmental issues and formerly paid staff for Resources for Organizing and Social Change. He and Karen Marysdaughter have lived together as a couple since 1982.

Maine Currents 9/9/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Eastern Maine Labor Council and Food AND Medicine hosted their annual Labor Day Celebration at the Solidarity Center in Brewer Monday. This year’s theme was “When We Unite, We Win!”. In keeping with that theme, representatives from area unions talked about the successes they say have been brought about in recent months when workers acted in solidarity. Former Maine Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson was the emcee:

(NOTE: This is a special 30 minute edition of Maine Currents which was aired only via our internet stream while our transmitter was off-air for tower repairs. We’ll return to our regular hour-long format next week)

Maine Currents 9/2/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by Abbie Strout

On today’s show we take you to a “Women’s Equality Day” rally in Bangor, where speakers celebrated progress and looked to the work ahead, and then later, in the community event spotlight this week we talk with Astrig Tanguay about the upcoming annual Fiber College in Searsport (FMI: and website: , (207) 548-6059/)

Maine Currents 8/26/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

If you’re looking for the WERU News Report, you’re in the right place – we’re just changing the name to better reflect the ever-changing mix of independent news, views and culture that we feature every week. Some weeks we report on issues that are in the news and have guests in the studio that can answer questions from callers, and other times – like today- we’re going to be taking things in a different direction.

Today we take you to “Queen City Cellar Tellers”, a monthly storytelling event in Bangor, where we hear stories told by Ilze Petersons, Einstein Hickman and Carol Rosinski on this month’s theme of “peace”, and then keeping with that theme, we talk with Dan Avener, one of the organizers of this weekend’s 2nd annual Belfast Peace Festival.

FMI re the Queen City Cellar Tellers: [email protected] ,
FMI re the Belfast Peace Festival: ,