Maine Currents 4/5/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Segment 1: Belfast Salmon Aquaculture Proposal Raises Concerns
Segment 2: Removing Guns From Mainers Deemed to be a Risk — Mainers Weigh in on “Red Flag” Bill

Segment 1: As listeners may be aware, plans are underway for Nordic Aquafarms to build a large land-based aquaculture facility in Belfast. The proposed site is partly owned by the local water district and would need to be rezoned. The benefits of such a project would be a probable decrease in taxes and more jobs in the area, but some local residents also have concerns and believe the approval process is moving too quickly, with a vote on zoning possibly taking place this month. Belfast residents Joanne Moesswilde and Ellie Daniels are with me in the studio this morning to share some of their concerns. (NOTE: We plan to follow up with a full show dedicated to land-based salmon aquaculture in the near future. If you are involved in the issue and would like to possibly be part of that show, please contact Amy Browne at

These are the links Ellie Daniels mentioned on the show, along with her descriptions of each: “This is a comprehensive report from the International Salmon Farmers Association.” “This is on the ME DEP site, and summarizes the issues associated with excess phosphorous or nitrogen in discharge water.” “This is a trade site that follows the industry.”

Segment 2: A crowd with strong opinions on both sides of the issue testified at a public hearing on LD 1884 “An Act To Create a Community Protection Order To Allow Courts To Prevent High-risk Individuals from Possessing Firearms” in Augusta Tuesday. If passed, this “Red Flag” bill would allow guns to be temporarily taken away from people who are deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others. Today on Maine Currents we listen in as LD 1884 is introduced by Senator Mark Dion, and then we hear some of the public testimony from both sides:

To follow the progress of the bill:
For info on how to contact your legislators:

Listen to the award-winning Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture with host Amy Browne- on the first Thursday of each month, 10-11a.m. on WERU-FM or via our live stream at

Maine Currents 3/27/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Our thanks for contributing audio for today’s program goes out to: Sonja Katharine Birthisel, Tracey Hair, Jeanne Curran, John Greenman

Segment 1: “March for Our Lives” audio collage
Segment 2: Salmon Aquaculture Proposed at Abandoned Mill Site in Bucksport

1: A collage of audio clips from local “March for Our Lives” events on 3/24/18. First we hear Stillwater Youth chanting, recorded by Sonja Katharine Birthisel, followed by a few clips of the speakers at the Bangor rally, recorded by Tracey Hair, and then some person in the street interviews in Bangor, recorded by Jeanne Curran.

2: Large salmon aquaculture companies are planning to build facilities in Belfast and Bangor, raising hopes and concerns in both communities. Whole Oceans, the company planning to locate at the abandoned Bucksport mill site held a public meeting recently. John Greenman recorded the event, and today we have some clips from the company’s presentation, followed by some of the question and answer session.

NOTE: Maine Currents is moving to the 1st Thursday of each month, 10-11 a.m. Be sure to tune in then for independent local news, views and culture on WERU-FM!

Maine Currents 3/20/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Opposition to Maine Taxpayers Funding “Corporate Welfare” for Military Contractor General Dynamics

In February we reported on a proposal to give a $60 million tax break to Bath Iron Works at the expense of Maine taxpayers. Those who support the measure say it protects jobs, but those who oppose it see it as corporate welfare for defense contractor General Dynamics, the company that owns BIW. Today we follow up with some of the activists involved in the issue, including Bruce Gagnon who was with us last month, as well as Bob Klotz and Lisa Savage. We’re also joined by Alex Nunes, an investigative reporter at He has exposed details about what is going on behind the scenes of this deal. Columnist Lawrence Reichard, joins us in the studio. He’s covered the issue in his weekly column “Bricks and Mortars” which runs in the Waldo County based Republican Journal and the Coastal Journal in Bath.

Later in the program we check in with Jessica Stewart, one of 3 women who were arrested at Senator Collin’s office last December where they were protesting her support of the tax bill. They are heading to federal court tomorrow.

Note: Activist Mark Roman was scheduled to be with us but was unable to join us due to technical difficulties. He sent the following comment:
“In the taxation committee testimony, BIW VP, John Fitzgerald was asked by a committee member if he would open BIW books to the committee to help determine the need for the tax break. Mr Fitzgerald said quite loudly and quite clearly NO! we will not do that. It seems that the state is not to question the subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, the fifth largest weapons maker on the planet. The $45 million being requested would just cover the annual compensation of the top four officers of General Dynamics. I believe that the people of Maine need that money for education, infrastructure repairs and health care for our citizens. I would ask listeners to call their representatives and tell them to vote no on LD- 1781. I want to thank WERU for being the voice of the people”

Follow the proposed legislation at:
Contact info for your legislators is available at:

To receive Lawrence Reichard’s “Bricks and Mortars” column via email, contact him at

From Alex Nunes of
Here are a few links that may be of interest to your audience.
This is the original General Dynamics stock buyback story for The Providence Journal:
This is an op-ed I wrote for The Day newspaper in New London, Conn., about General Dynamics seeking state subsidies in New England. I talk about Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine:
These are two stories from a multi-part series about economic development in Rhode Island and Connecticut centered around building the Navy’s next generation of nuclear-armed submarines. The first story addresses the corporate welfare/economic development aspects of it. The second looks at the reaction from the peace community:

Investigative reporting from The Bollard was also mentioned on the show and can be found here:

Bruce Gagnon blogs at
Lisa Savage blogs at

Maine Currents 3/6/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Non-binary Gender Identities & the work of the Health Equity Alliance

Nik Sparlin, graduate of the New England School of Communications at Husson University, currently working on a second degree at the University of Maine; Ambureen Rana, Health Equity Center Coordinator at the Health Equity Alliance, and the Vice President of MaineTransNet; Maddy Magnuson, LGBTQ+ Community Organizer at the Health Equity Alliance; Hannah Ruhlin LGBTQ+ Community Organizer with Health Equity Alliance.

Daily Beast article mentioned on show: How the Non-Binary Revolution Hit the West Coast

Maine Currents 2/20/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Maine legislature considers restrictions on the discredited practice of “conversion therapy”

On February 14th, the state legislature’s Labor, Commerce Research and Economic Development committee held a public hearing on LD 912, a bill that would prohibit licensed professionals from practicing “conversion therapy” on children. The practice– which claims to change sexual orientation– is widely considered to be unethical among mental health professionals but some defend it as being within their “biblical world view”. Today on Maine Currents we listen to the bill’s presentation to the committee, and some of the testimony on both sides.

Maine Currents 2/13/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributor/Engineer: John Greenman

Does General Dynamics Need $60 Million From the Pockets of Maine Taxpayers?

The Maine legislature is considering a proposal to give a huge tax break to a military contractor. At the request of BIW, Representative Jennifer DeChant, a Democrat from Bath is sponsoring LD1781, “An Act To Encourage New Major Investments in Shipbuilding Facilities and the Preservation of Jobs”. In introducing the bill she testified that it would provide tax incentives to keep BIW competitive in its marketplace and retain a large number of quality jobs in the state. The bill has several cosponsors from both parties, but it also has drawn harsh criticism from those who see it as corporate welfare that BIW’s parent company, General Dynamics, certainly doesn’t need from the pockets of Mainers. A public hearing for the bill was held before the legislature’s Committee on Taxation a few weeks ago. We’re going to start today listening to clips from that public hearing, recorded by documentary filmmaker Regis Tremblay, and then he and activist Bruce Gagnon will be joining us for an update on where things stand now.


Maine Currents 2/6/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributor/Engineer: John Greenman

Segment 1: Immigrant’s Rights Rally at Bangor Bus Station
Segment 2: CMP Draws Complaints Over Billing Increases & Storm Response

Several Mainers braved the bitter cold on Saturday to attend a rally in Bangor calling attention to recent reports of Border agents asking bus passengers in Bangor where they were born, the possible upcoming deportation of a Waterville resident, and DACA recipients in Maine. (Recorded by John Greenman)

A large number of customers are taking to social media to complain that their Central Maine Power (CMP) bills doubled or tripled in January. Jennifer Gamage of Dixmont joins us to tell her story, and we hear the response from CMP and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In addition, representatives from several rural towns complained today to the state legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology committee about CMP’s response following the October wind storm.

Maine Currents 1/30/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Forum: Congressional District 2 Democrats, Part 2 of 2

Candidates vying to be the Democratic challenger running against Bruce Poliquin in Congressional District 2 later this year drew a standing room only crowd at a forum in Belfast on Sunday, January 21st. The event was sponsored by the Belfast , MidCoast and Head of the Tide Indivisible groups and the Waldo County Chapter of Maine AllCare. The 5 candidates answered questions on topics ranging from indigenous rights to campaign financing to universal healthcare. Today we take you there. (Part 2 of 2)