Archives for Misc (News/Public Affairs)

2022 Common Ground Fair Keynote Speaker (Sunday 9/26/22): Muhidin Libah

Producer: Pepin Mittelhauser

Muhidin Libah
Executive Director of Somali Bantu Community Association

“Liberation Farms: Food Justice in Action”

Muhidin Libah is the executive director of Somali Bantu Community and has been working for Somali Bantu communities since graduating from high school in 2002. Libah graduated from the University of Southern Maine in the spring of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in natural applied science with a biology concentration and a minor in holistic health. Before he came to the United States in 2005, he taught elementary school for four years, teaching English, math, science and agriculture to grades three, five, six, seven and eight. Since he came to the United States he has been working with nonprofit organizations in his own community.

Somali Bantu Community Association of Lewiston, Maine, is the third nongovernmental organization that he has co-founded, and Libah has consulted with seven other nonprofit organizations across New England and New York. His focus has always been food production, security and sustainability, and he wrote his thesis on that topic. Currently, he is the executive director of the organization, overseeing 11 programs in the community including the farming program, Liberation Farms, which has seen incredible success in the last two years.

The mission of Liberation Farms, the Community Farming Program, is to provide new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves, their families and their communities.

In his keynote, he will speak to Liberation Farms as food justice in action. The farm is a demonstration of the success that is possible when marginalized communities have the opportunity to organize and lead themselves. It provides new American families struggling with food insecurity with the tools and resources to grow healthy, culturally appropriate foods for themselves and their community. This investment in growing nourishes body and soul as farmers ground into familiar traditions and meaningfully utilize their agricultural roots as they build new homes here in Maine.

2022 Common Ground Fair Keynote Speaker (Saturday 9/25/22): Frances Moore Lappé

Producer: Pepin Mittelhauser

Frances Moore Lappé
Author, Activist and Co-Founder of Small Planet Institute and Food First

“Connecting our Food Choices to Humanity’s Biggest Challenges”

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or coauthor of 20 books, many focusing on themes of “living democracy” — suggesting a government accountable to citizens and a way of living aligned with the deep human need for connection, meaning and power.

Her first book, “Diet for a Small Planet” published in 1971, has now sold three million copies. Lappé’s latest work is the 50th anniversary edition of “Diet for a Small Planet,” released in 2021. In this book Lappé integrates her life’s work of connecting food to freedom, including timely material from her 2017 book co-authored with Adam Eichen, “Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want.” Lappé is co-founder of Oakland-based Food First and the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter, Anna Lappé. The recipient of 20 honorary degrees, she has been a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California, Berkeley, and in 1987 received the Right Livelihood Award, often called the “Alternative Nobel.”

She says, “In my keynote address to the Common Ground Country Fair I will talk about how the food choices we make each day connect us to humanity’s biggest challenges, from needless hunger to diet-related disease to the climate crisis and the undermining of democracy. Making these connections, we can fight despair and discover our power. I’ll share my journey of discovery — from my first ‘ah-ha’ that scarcity is not the cause of hunger to stories of self-empowered communities that have overcome hunger as they align with the Earth via regenerative practices. I will bring these lessons home, exploring solutions via what I call ‘living democracy.’”

2022 Common Ground Fair Keynote Speaker (Friday 9/24/22): Maulian Dana

Producer: Pepin Mittelhauser

Maulian Dana
Tribal Ambassador for the Penobscot Nation

“Tribal Sovereignty in Wabanaki Homeland: History, Policy, Connectedness, and the Next Generations”

Maulian Dana serves as the first appointed Tribal Ambassador for the Penobscot Nation. She represents the tribe in local, state and federal government as an advocate and diplomat. Her background is in political science, activism, Penobscot culture, teaching and policy. She serves as the president of the board of directors for the Wabanaki Alliance, the co-chair of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations, and is a member of the Maine Climate Council where she also co-chairs a subcommittee on equity. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maine and she received an honorary law doctorate from Colby College. She is the proud mother of three daughters Carmella, age 15, Layla, age 13, and Iris who was born this year on May 31. Addressing and bringing action to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirits and relatives is also one of her passions. Her policy achievements include helping to pass laws in Maine that eliminated racist Indian mascots, changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and extended Violence Against Women Act federal provisions to tribes in Maine.

Dana’s home, the Penobscot Nation, is one of five tribes that make up the Wabanaki Confederacy. The others are the Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, Mikmaq and Maliseet. There are five tribal communities in the land now called Maine and their ancestors have been stewards of this homeland for over 10,000 years. Their creation stories and cultural knowledge tell us that this land has sustained us since time immemorial. With this rich and deep relationship the Wabanaki have here with these lands there also is an undercurrent of injustice and trauma from the colonization era to the present day.

Dana will address some of the reasons tribal sovereignty in Maine has such a complicated history and future. She will discuss the recent legislative session that found tribal issues making progress in some areas and facing barriers in others. This topic also brings to light how self-determination for the tribes is connected to every facet of life for Wabanaki governance, health, stewardship of Mother Earth, traditional wellbeing and spiritual resilience. She looks forward to exchanging in dialogue and is honored to join the Common Ground Country Fair speakers.

WERU Special 3/5/21 “COVID-19: The Vaccine Chapter”

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Jackson Laboratory and Ellsworth Public Library collaborated to present this program, entitled, “COVID-19: The Vaccine Chapter” on February 17th, 2021

JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D., and Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative Medical Director Jens Rueter, M.D., were the speakers. They discussed their views on the safety of the vaccines, the impact of vaccines on the course of the pandemic, and their predictions for 2021.

Representative Nicole Grohoski moderated the discussion.

WERU-FM thanks the sponsors for making this recording available for WERU listeners.

WERU Special 12/26/19- Oral Histories of Deer Isle-Stonington: The Best Thing I Ever Did

Producer/Host: Tressa Versteeg

Deer Isle, Stonington and Eagle Island in the 1930s and 40s.
A changing lobster industry
Great sea tales

Andrew Gove – Stonington resident
Rose Gove – Stonington resident

Music Credits:
“Fisherman’s Song” on Eclipse of the Moon by Tursi (Sandy Richter)
“Eclipse of the Moon” on Eclipse of the Moon by Tursi (Sandy Richter)
“Where Love Lies” on Eclipse of the Moon by Tursi (Sandy Richter)

WERU Special: Giving Tuesday 12/03/19

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Giving Tuesday is an international day focused on charitable giving during the holiday season. This was WERU’s 3rd year celebrating Giving Tuesday with a call in show dedicated to area nonprofits. Representatives from area nonprofits called in to talk about the work they are doing in the community, and how the community can help them continue.

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, [email protected]. To reach The Maine Heritage Policy Center, contact Nick Murray, [email protected].

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.

WERU Special 9/23/19- The Village Canoe: Merging Art and Environment

Producer/Host: Tressa Versteeg

Explaining The Village Canoe
Stories from the inaugural expedition
Behind the scenes interview with creator

Chris Battalgia — The Village Canoe Creator
Nancy Zane — Maine Guide of North Star Adventures
Sam Costello — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Chloe Dubois — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Alex Hacket — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Amanda Kidd-Schall — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Matea Mills-Andruk — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Paige Speight — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Brian Wasster — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Ally Reed — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Gabby Schulz — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident
Willow Wildheart — The Village Canoe 2019 Art Resident

Music Credits:
• Podington Bear – Platformer – licensed under Attribution-Noncomercial Creative Commons License
• Lee Rosevere – We’ll Figure It Out Together – licensed under Attribution license
• Kai Engel – Headway – licensed under Attribution license.
• aAirial – Quatrain – licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License
• Lobo Loco – Psychedelic Blues 2 – licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0