NEWS OF: 1/3/2006

The “H” in HMO Stands for Homeless

Rep. Tom Allen announced a DHS grant of $568,000 to the City of Portland’s Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program for FY2006. The program provides on-site primary health care, dental services, and mental health and substance abuse services to Portland’s homeless population. Now if only the rest of us can qualify… See Tom Allen

NEWS OF: 12/27/2005

Social Programs Cut by a Billion

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid

Social program cuts to the tune of $1 billion were attached to that multi-gazillion dollar spending increase for military stuff last week.

Lawmakers also passed a second spending bill that cuts another 1 percent from the same programs slashed in step one.

Cuts include:
$350 million reduction in child and family services programs, including Head Start (25,000 fewer Head Start slots for low-income children)

Reduction in spending for Medicaid, Medicare and other major health and welfare programs.

See NPR

NEWS OF: 12/22/2005

Democratic Victories as Congress Adjourns

Congress adjourned in a haze of Democratic victories with the U.S. Senate giving final passage to a five-week extension of the USA Patriot Act and final passage of a $453.3 billion defense-spending bill - minus the Republican measure to open up the Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling. Democrats also forced the House to put off a vote on the $40 billion spending-cut package until next year. See Reuters.com

Defense Appropriations Stalemate

Senators Snowe and Collins joined a 56-44 majority to cast votes to allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to pass Defense Appropriations, but 60 votes were needed to overcome the Democratic filibuster against the provision to allow Arctic drilling, so the bill’s fate remains unresolved. See Maine Today

In an interesting side note on global warming - winters in the Arctic are already growing shorter. A state of Alaska rule says that the heavy exploration equipment used in oil drilling can be used on fragile tundra only when the ground is frozen to 12 inches deep and covered by at least 6 inches of snow. Otherwise, the equipment will do too much damage to the environment. Because of global warming, the number of days the tundra is frozen sufficiently for exploration has dwindled from over 200 in the 70s to just 103 last year.

Our government’s Energy Department is providing a $270,000 grant to help determine whether there are ways the equipment can be used even when the tundra is not protected by snow. In other words, our government is spending your tax dollars looking for ways to get around the existing laws that protect what’s left of the Arctic environment once we vote to hand it over like the village virgin to the drunken frat house of the Republican party…

HUD Awards $9 Million for Maine Homeless

Governor Baldacci announced $9 million dollars in HUD assistance to homeless Mainers. More than $5.2 million through the Maine State Housing Authority, over $2.5 million to the Portland Continuum of Care, and over $1 million to the Bangor/Penobscot County Continuum of Care. See Gov.

NEWS OF: 10/21/2005

Keep Maine Warm Charitable Fuel Fund

Heating oil today is almost twice as expensive as it was two years ago. The federal government, however, continues to “flat fund” the fuel assistance program despite pleas from the governors of 27 states for more emergency LIHEAP funds. Those pleas were once again turned down the other day. End result? The governor is trying to raise money by initiating a charitable fund. See Gov. Baldacci

NEWS OF: 10/18/2005

Maine’s Disaster Planning: Two Dixie Cups and a Broken String

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid, FEMA

Maine State Police Chief Col. Poulin is describing the state’s 30-year-old radio communications system as a “highway with potholes and crumbling bridges” with major failures that’s falling apart. He was referring to the communications network upon which we all rely in the event of disaster, panic, global chaos, etc. The long answer is $50 million bucks and several years. The short answer is federal cutbacks. See the KJ

NEWS OF: 7/4/2005

No Hubbard Squash Left Behind

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid

For five years Maine’s seniors could receive a $100 allotment to be used at farm stands to buy local produce thanks to Maine’s Farm Share program. But new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have cut that amount in half - for starters. Maine’s program described by federal officials as creative, innovative and successful will be put through the federal machine until it has become stagnant, bumbling and filled with red tape. See BDN

NEWS OF: 6/17/2005

Don’t be so shellfish

Hey, Rosemarie, where’d we put those Federal Disaster Relief requests? What’s that old rhyme about “Red Tide at Night?” See: Governor Baldacci

NEWS OF: 4/25/2005

Springtime Federal Disaster Relief

Is there a season in Maine that doesn’t come with at least one request for disaster relief? I mean, it’s Maine, not Hell, right? Or is that whole “Vacationland” thing like the “Greenland - Iceland” thing? Either way, the Governor is filing for federal disaster aid for 13 Maine counties flooded this spring. Bottom line? $6.7 million for Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo, Washington and York Counties. See the Governor’s website.

NEWS OF: 3/30/2005

Gorham Bypass Surgery

Rep. Tom Allen announced at a Gorham press conference this morning that the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEA-LU), passed by the House of Representatives on March 10th, includes $11.22 million for construction of the long-discussed and much needed Gorham Bypass. See Tom Allen

NEWS OF: 3/20/2005

Warehouse Gets a Cool 4.2 Million

U.S. Senators Snowe and Collins announced a $4,200,000 Rural Development loan has been awarded to the Galt Block Warehouse Co., Inc of Bangor by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Rural Development funds will be used to restructure debt associated with real estate and commercial freezer space, make building improvements to accommodate prospective tenants, and pay related professional and loan fees. The company owns and operates a total of 376,500 square feet of secure, temperature controlled warehouse space. (more)

NEWS OF: 3/2/2005

USDA Rural Development Funds for ME

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid

Maine will receive $4,578,550 in Rural Development funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

$520,800 guaranteed loan to Cumberland County for a year-round facility to provide therapeutic Horseback riding programs for individuals with disabilities.

$2,250,000 guaranteed loan to Hancock County to assist in acquiring a 100 year old Inn located in Bar Harbor’s historic district.

$640,000 direct loan to Sagadahoc County used to install a new water storage tank in Bowdoinham.

$13,750 to Washington County to purchase a computer shelving display, equipment, tables and chairs for the Pembroke Library.

$21,000 to Washington County to purchase an ambulance for the Denny’s River Volunteer Fire Department.

$391,000 approved loan and $280,000 grant to Lincoln County to construct a pump station and water intake structure near Knickerbocker Lake in Boothbay.

$21,000 grant to Piscataquis County to purchase a new delivery truck for the food cupboard, a goods for the needy organization.

The Oilman Always Rings Twice

VIEW ALL: Federal Aid

Maine will receive $1,314,104 to help low-income families in Maine pay their heating bills during this extremely harsh winter season from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. See: WMTW News

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