New England Snapshot

New England Snapshot
2:25 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Maine Sponsors NASCAR Race Car To Promote Tourism, Business Climate

Gov. Paul LePage poses for the cameras with Miss Maine, left, Miss Teen Maine, and NASCAR driver Austin Theriault, in front of Theriault's car.
Credit Patty Wright, MPBN

It's being billed as the first-ever public-private sponsorship of a race car. Today Gov. Paul LePage announced that the state of Maine will use Fort Kent NASCAR driver Austin Theriault's car as a billboard for the slogan, "Maine is open for business." The sponsorship cost the state $50,000. Some are celebrating the move, while others question whether it will drive business to the state.

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New England Snapshot
2:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Bucking Trend Of Industry Decline, American Woolen Company Relaunches In Connecticut

The main offices of the American Woolen Company in Stafford Springs.
Credit J Holt for WNPR

The slow death of the textile industry in the U.S. was underscored last December by the closure of the last operating mill in Connecticut, the historic Warren Mills in Stafford Springs. That same mill is celebrating its re-opening under new owners. 

How does the American Woolen Company expect to buck the trend?

In early 2013, investment banker Jacob Harrison Long bought the American Woolen Company. Once one of the nation’s most recognized textile companies, when Long arrived, it was little more than a trademark.

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Education
3:23 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Portland Public Schools Planning Online Program

The exterior of Portland High School in December 2012.
Tom Porter MPBN

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 5:34 pm

The Portland Public School Department plans to launch an online program this year. The district is trying to get a slice of the virtual school pie as it faces competition for students — and funding. But some educators remain skeptical of yet another online option. Portland officials say it's an important — and innovative — option for students.

The first day of school is a busy one for Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. He rides his bike to district schools to personally welcome students back.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Vermont's Top Utility Wants To Transform The Electric Grid

David Crane, President and CEO of NRG, speaks at a press conference in Essex on Sept. 2 announcing NRG's partnership with Green Mountain Power.
Credit Angela Evancie for VPR

The Beacon 10 Stirling – black, with a glowing blue light, and about the size of a large chest freezer – emits a constant low hum. And this one, in the basement of the Essex Resort & Spa, converts natural gas into electricity, enough electricity to power an average-sized home.

It’s just one of the technological innovations on offer at NRG Energy, a national company that is about to use Vermont as a testing ground for its products and services.

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New England Snapshot
3:17 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Maine Scientists Launch Long-Term Study of Marine Life in Casco Bay

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 10:21 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn-vmO63PhQ&feature=youtu.be

Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland are trying to better understand how the ecosystem of Casco Bay is changing. This summer, they launched a comprehensive survey of marine life in the bay that will unfold over the next 10 years. MPBN's Jennifer Rooks caught up with some of the researchers.

 

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New England Snapshot
3:11 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Massachusetts Mall Offers 'Sensory-Friendly' Shopping Hours For Kids With Autism

Hope Tremblay (left) and Sarah Hunter at the Holyoke Mall's Sensory-Friendly Shopping Night
Credit Karen Brown for NEPR

One in 68 children are thought to have autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The disorder varies widely in severity, but one common trait is the tendency to get over-stimulated by noise, lights, and other trappings of modern life. A recent effort tried to bring down the sensory stimulation — just in time for back-to-school shopping.

The Holyoke Mall is one of the most obvious places to do back-to-school shopping, but one of the last places you’d take a child who has problems with sensory overload. That describes both of Mary Ellen Demaris’s sons.

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New England News
10:32 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Feds Warn Brattleboro Retreat Over Safety Issues

Brattleboro Retreat is in jeopardy of losing federal funding if it does not fix problems identified in an inspection this summer.
Toby Talbot AP File Photo

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 2:00 pm

For the second time in three years, the Brattleboro Retreat faces a potential loss in federal funding because of a failed inspection. Despite the warnings, the state’s commissioner of mental health says he’s still confident that the retreat can provide quality care.

The federal warning comes after a suicide attempt at the Brattleboro Retreat in June which, after retreat staff notified the state, prompted a site visit of the facility.

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New England Snapshot
4:27 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

In Maine, Opposing Sides Gear Up For Battle Over Bear Hunting Referendum

Credit Michael Webber via Flickr CC

Supporters of a referendum to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in Maine's annual bear hunt began canvassing neighborhoods in Portland over the weekend. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say they don't oppose hunting in general, just the use of what they consider cruel and inhumane practices. They plan to contact tens of thousands of voters across the state over the next few weeks to make their case. Opponents are also gearing up.  And both sides are feeling confident as the election draws closer.

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Environment
3:58 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Innovative Solar Farm To Be Built On Rutland Landfill

Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell stands with Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and others to announce the groundbreaking of a new $10 million solar farm being constructed on a Rutland landfill.
Nina Keck

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:58 pm

Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed.

Solar arrays are sprouting up all over Rutland County and some of the larger ones have generated a fair amount of controversy and criticism.

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New England News
3:49 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Pentagon Considers Maine Site For Missile Facility

Credit Via US Department of Defense

Pentagon officials are coming to western Maine this week to gather public input regarding a possible missile defense site in Redington Township.

The Franklin County site - which already operates as a survival training facility for the Navy - is one of four locations being considered in the eastern half of the United States. The others are Camp Ravenna in Ohio, Fort Custer in Michigan and Fort Drum in New York state.

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New England Snapshot
4:48 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Maine Public Safety Launches Distracted Driving Enforcement Effort

Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a press conference on distracted driving Tuesday.
Mal Leary MPBN

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:43 pm

The Department of Public Safety has launched a multipronged effort to beef up enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws and increase public awareness about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel. In Maine, over the last three years, 41 highway deaths have been attributed to distracted driving. And state troopers are seeing widespread violations of distracted driving laws.

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New England Snapshot
4:45 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Historic Heroes On Display At The Justin Morrill Homestead

Ethan Allen, as cardboard cut-out, greets visitors to the Statues of Liberty exhibit at the Justin Morrill Homestead in Strafford.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:22 am

Visitors to the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead in Strafford are getting a rare chance to see American icons normally found only in the National Capitol. Morrill was the U.S. Senator famous for the legislation launching land grant colleges. He’s less well-known for another accomplishment: creating Statuary Hall, where each state is represented by two statues.

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New England Snapshot
3:54 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Battle Over South Portland Tar Sands Ordinance Not Over Yet

An oil tanker makes its way into the harbor in South Portland.

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:38 pm

When South Portland Mayor Jerry Jalbert announced the 6-1 vote to approve a measure that will block the loading of raw crude, including Canadian tar sands oil, onto tanker ships in the southern Maine city, residents and supporters, who had filled the community center, rose to their feet and gave the City Council a standing ovation.

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Market Basket
3:37 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

With No Corporate Page, Market Basket Inspires Shopper To Build His Own Website

Web developer Michael Devaney took it upon himself to create MyDemoulas.net
Credit Courtesy Michael Devaney via WBUR

When the Market Basket situation blew up this weekend, so did Michael Devaney’s inbox.

“I knew something was up when I had 37,000 e-mails,” he said.

Many messages are short and angry, demanding the return of ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Others are as long as book chapters. But 29-year-old Devaney said he hardly has time to read more than a handful.

Because he does not work for Market Basket.

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New England Snapshot
6:53 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Program Helps Lawyers Set Up Shop In Underserved Areas

Erica Lewis is just a month into her new Randolph law practice.
VPR/Steve Zind

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:46 pm

Imagine you’re fresh out of law school. Instead of going to work in a place where there are people to learn from and turn to for support, you’re a one-person firm on your own. 

A new program is helping young lawyers establish solo practices in hopes of helping both law school graduates and those who need legal services.

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