Archives for Maine Currents

Maine Currents 4/5/17

Segment 1: Proposed Commission on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Populations in Maine
Segment 2: Communities Coming Together for Civil Political Discourse

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

State Representative Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland is sponsoring LD1008, legislation that would create a “Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Populations” in the state. We take you to the public hearing. And in the 2nd half of the show we open the phone lines as we talk with organizers of 2 of the many “civil discussion” type events popping up in the area.
Stacy Leafsong from Mainers for Accountable Leadership & Standing for the Common Good is organizing a Community Listening Session in Orland this Saturday, and Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions will fill us in on the “Make Shift Coffee Houses” he facilitates. The next one is coming up Friday night at Husson University.


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

Maine Currents 3/29/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: John Greenman

A multi-partisan panel discussion of how personal experiences influence political beliefs, and how to communicate with people with different beliefs. Listeners call in and share their views as well.

Guests: Renee Trust, Tim Wilson, Thomas White, Ken Gleason

Note from Jennifer, one of the callers on today’s show, re “Bridging the Gap” group in Belfast: “I called in about a group that formed in Belfast this January, with Elliot Benjamin…as the originator. The initial concept was to bring “Trump and non-Trump” supporters together around a common belief of being opposed to hate crimes and hate discrimination. The mission is evolving as is the name. The next meeting is on Sunday April 2 at 6:30 in Belfast at 93 Main Street above Alexia’s Pizza. Anyone who is interested can call me at 469-2045.”

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

Maine Currents 3/22/17

What’s Been Happening in Augusta While Attention Has Been on DC?

We listen in on some of the public hearings held by the state legislature this week.

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: Monday the Committee on Taxation considered several bills that would overturn the results of Question 2 on Maine’s ballot last November, which was approved by voters. By passing Question 2, voters approved a 3 percent surcharge on household income over $200,000 a year, with the revenue earmarked to fund public education.

Segment 2: LD 882, “An Act Prohibiting Public Entities from Contracting with, and Investing in, Companies That Boycott the State of Israel”. The bill targets the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement that successfully applied financial pressure to help end apartheid in South Africa –and has in recent years been focused on the government of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. FMI:

Segment 3: LD 914, “An Act To Establish Indigenous People’s Day”- a bill that would replace Columbus Day with an Indigenous People’s holiday statewide

For information about the legislature, including contact info:

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

Maine Currents 3/15/17

“Democracy Lives in Truth” Rally & Welcoming City Resolutions in Maine

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer: Joel Mann

Segment 1: Speakers at Saturday’s “Democracy Lives in Truth” rally in Bangor: Sean Faircloth, Kimberly Hammill, Stacy Leafsong and James Varner The rally and march that preceded it were hosted by Mainers for Accountable Leadership and cosponsored by Indivisible: Bangor, Standing For The Common Good, Bangor Racial and Economic Justice Coalition, Food AND Medicine Peace and the Justice Center of Eastern Maine.
Mainers for Accountable Leadership
Indivisible: Bangor
Standing for the Common Good
Bangor Racial & Economic Justice Coalition
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
Food AND Medicine:

Segment 2: Several towns in Maine have joined others across the country in adopting what are known as “Welcoming City” resolutions. Today we’re going to talk with some of the organizers: Nicolle Littrell of Belfast, Becca Shaw Glaser of Rockland, Elisabeth Goodridge of Appleton and Betsy Sweet of Hallowell.
Details on Belfast’s petition for a resolution:
BelFem (group organizing Belfast’s efforts to pass a resolution):
Village Soup article about Rockland’s resolution passing:
Appleton’s Resolution reads:
“Appleton is a home to people from all walks of life, whose heritage and origins are diverse, and is a community whose well-being depends on the security, serenity, and mutual respect of all its citizens.
Therefore, Appleton is resolved to respect the dignity of all people, promote civil discourse, and honor diversity in all forms. We as a town and individuals will work to make our community a place where all people feel safe in their homes, on the streets, in our schools, and within the community at large.
Appleton is resolved to be a community where all people are welcome.”

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

Maine Currents 3/8/17

“Our Rights At Risk- Why the Courts Matter”, a discussion held in Bangor last week, featuring panelists Andrea Irwin, Executive Director of the Mabel Wadsworth Center (, Eliza Townsend, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby (, and Nicole Golden-Bouchard, Attorney, Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance (

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by Abbie Strout and edited by Amy Browne

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

Maine Currents 3/1/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

When Maine’s Congressman Bruce Poliquin failed to respond to their request for a Town Hall meeting, Bangor’s Indivisible group decided to go ahead and hold one without him. Listen today and hear what he missed


Maine Currents 2/22/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributor: John Greenman

Segment 1: Public hearings are being held this week on Governor LePage’s proposed 2018-2019 state budget, which would make dramatic cuts to several programs and services that serve some of Maine’s most vulnerable populations. Hospitals, municipalities, social services programs and clergy say they are already stretched beyond their capacities to serve Mainers who fall through the holes that already exist in Maine’s safety nets, and do not have the resources to deal with the consequences of the major cuts being proposed.
The public hearings are drawing overflow crowds to the statehouse. We take you there.

Segment 2: John Greenman reports back from 2 protests in Bangor today, held in conjunction with protests in Lewiston and Portland, calling on Sen. Susan Collins to hold a town hall meeting with her constituents.

Segment 3: A brief update on the developing story at Standing Rock in North Dakota. Standing Rock water defenders were given a deadline of 2pm Mountain time today to leave one of their encampments but some have vowed to stay and continue to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Maine Currents 2/8/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Segment 1: Maine’s highest court asked to weigh in on constitutionality of ranked choice voting. After several years of having a Governor that was elected with less than 50% of the vote, Mainers approved Ranked Choice Voting in November, but some legislators and the Maine Attorney General have called into question it’s constitutionality– primarily because the state constitution specifically mentions “plurality” as opposed to “majority”. Last week the state senate voted 24 to 10 in favor of asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to weigh in, in a process known as a “solemn occasion”. The move was proposed by Senate President Mike Thibodeau. In the first half of Maine Currents today, we listen in on the debate that ensued.

Segment 2: On Monday the legislature’s Environmental and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on LD103, “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers”. The containers the bill seeks to ban are polystyrene, commonly referred to by the brand name “Styrofoam”. This type of packaging has been banned in some municipalities across the state, including Freeport and more recently Portland and South Portland. Supporters of the ban cite environmental and health concerns and they say there are Maine-based paper companies that make an alternative product for hot foods and beverages. Lobbyists for the restaurant and grocery store industries downplay environmental impacts, question the health impacts, and say (in the words of Greg Dugle of the Maine Restaurant Association) that “simply put, [polystyrene] keeps hot food hot and cold food cold” better than any other product.
LD103 was presented by Stanley Zeigler who represents several towns in Waldo County. Representative Zeigler said he was presenting it as a jobs bill, citing industries in Maine that could make the replacement packaging, and also the negative impact of polystyrene pollution on the environment, fisheries and tourism. Representative Deane Rykerson of Kittery spoke in support. Mark Bergeron of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, however, spoke in opposition. He said Maine DEP found some of the terminology in the bill regarding recycling and composting to be problematic. He also said that the department has concerns that they lack the resources to enforce the ban if it becomes law. Today we bring you some of the testimony in favor of, and in opposition to LD103. (A work session on the bill is scheduled for 2/13/17)