Monday, July 24, 2006

Greens to Challenge Dem Big Guns
Portland’s Green Independent Party nominated two candidates at a party caucus held at Portland’s City Hall on July 24th, to compete in two of the highest-profile legislative races to be contested in the city this fall.

Kelsey Perchinski will run for the State Senate seat representing District 8, which covers most of the city. The seat is currently held by Portland West’s Executive Director Ethan Strimling. Republican David Babin is also a candidate in the race. Perchinski, a native of New Hampshire, is the program manager at WMPG. She is married and is the mother of a four-year-old girl. She was also Babin’s campaign manager when he ran against Strimling two years ago.

At the same caucus, Matt Reading, a native of Auburn and currently a resident of Portland, was nominated to run in the race to represent the Parkside/Bayside neighborhood, District 119, in the State Legislature. That seat is currently held by Representative Herb Adams, who is also being challenged by a Republican. Reading previously ran for office in Auburn.
Republican Will Run on the Hill
On July 22nd, Republican Jeff Ferland of Vesper Street on Munjoy Hill announced his candidacy for the Maine House of Representatives for District 120, which encompasses Munjoy Hill and parts of downtown Portland.

Ferland was raised in Lewiston, and lived in Texas and Massachusetts as a result of his family’s military experience. He has returned to Maine on his own and is working toward his Bachelor’s of Information Technology degree at USM. He also works as an IT Consultant/Auditor at a local accounting firm. He previously worked at an internationally active technology company in Eastern Massachusetts.

Ferland said he would focus his campaign on lower taxes, cutting wasteful spending, and waste and inefficiency in government. He joins Democrat Ann Rand and Green Independent Ben Meiklejohn in the race.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

LaMarche Calls for Medical Schools in Maine

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Pat LaMarche on July 6th called for Maine to manufacture doctors, dentists and pharmacists, as the cornerstone of better healthcare and economic recovery. LaMarche said that it is her goal that students entering their freshman year in college this September will have the option of attending an allopathic medical school, or a dental school, or a pharmacy school in Maine when they graduate.

Calling upon the recommendations as put forth by the 1995 Maine Healthcare Reform Commission, LaMarche cited the need for Maine to steward the education of its own healthcare providers.

“This isn’t a new idea; it’s just a good idea.” said LaMarche. “If we want our kids to stay in Maine, if we want them to have high-paying jobs, if we want healthcare extended into our most rural areas, and if we want businesses to locate outside the few business centers we have in Maine, then we need the educational opportunities and the healthcare accessibility that these schools provide.”

Maine once had an MD-granting medical school, at Bowdoin College However, like so many medical schools at the turn of the twentieth century, they did not keep up with the rapidly- changing and advancing science available, and became obsolete, according to the LaMarche campaign.

LaMarche emphasized the positive financial impact that educating medical professionals will have upon the state.

Maine has an osteopathic medical school in Biddeford, but lacks doctoral programs in medicine, dentistry and pharmacology. LaMarche said she fully supports the University of New England’s push for a pharmacy school to further advance the careers of Maine students. She said she will push for similar educational opportunities for students in the Bangor area.

Public Easement and Houlton Street
Local residents seek to enter the 21st Century
By Robert Solotaire

Residents of a little, out-of-the-way private road in the West End are raising questions about the care and maintenance of their street. These road questions have little to do with the crossing needs of pedestrian chickens, except, perhaps for those who have come home to roost and are stirring up a chronic Houlton Street concern over what’s going to happen to the street.

It’s all come to a head with gas leaks - not from the chickens (there aren’t any chickens on Houlton Street) - but from the road. Yes, the road has a gas problem, and Northern Utilities has received complaints for some five years. Dropping a Beano tablet didn’t solve the problem, so for the past weeks Houlton Street and Adams Court - its offshoot -have undergone gas line replacement. Now, the road is about to undergo major restoration surgery. As one of the property owners along Houlton/Adams put it, “Being in an historic district is all very charming, but must our road look like something out of the 17th century?”

Which gets to the big issue, discussed on July 10th at the Reiche School, by the Houlton Seven (as the neighbors refer to themselves), along with West End Councilor Karen Geraghty, Portland Public Works Director Mike Bobinsky, and Donna Katsiakis. Assembled property owners asked when is a street in the middle of the city not a street? And what is a street?

A Department of Public Works document describes three categories of roadway:
1) Town Way - roads we all take for granted as we drive, bike or walk or jog along them. The city takes care of them.

2) Private Roads - for the use of property owners, who can restrict use by others.

3) Public Easements - allow “unobstructed access” by whatever means. The municipality can maintain them, or choose not to, at the discretion of the town council.

As of now, Houlton/Adams is private. The July 10th meeting concluded with the agreement that the affected property owners would look into turning the access to their properties into a public easement. Steps to be taken include a survey and an application to the City Council. Once accepted, owners along the easement can apply to the Council for improvements and maintenance. And leave the 17th century in the history books.

Senator Calls for Study of Habitual Drug Offender Registry

Senator Bill Diamond, D-Cumberland County, has submitted legislation to call for the study of a habitual drug offender registry, similar to Maine’s current sex offender registry. An Act to Study a Maine Habitual Drug Offender Registry asks the Legislature to direct the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to examine the creation of a registry aimed at helping families protect their children from repeat drug dealers. The registry would primarily consist of repeat offenders; drug dealers who after serving time for their first offense, continue to deal drugs. A special emphasis would be placed on drug dealers who dealt to minors.

According to information recently released from the Maine Department of Public Safety, crime has increased in Maine. Much of this increase can be attributed to drug abuse. According to Public Safety Commissioner Cantara, “2005 was the deadliest year in Maine for drug overdoses and a rash of bank, pharmacy and convenience store robberies were fueled by the demand for money to feed growing drug habits.”

More people died from drug overdoses than car crashes in Maine last year; 190 overdoses compared to 169 motor vehicle deaths. Notable increases were also found in the number of cocaine and methamphetamine arrests; 266 in 2005 compared to 237 in 2004 for cocaine and 31 arrests for methamphetamine versus 16 arrests in 2004.

The data was released only days after 6.5 pounds of cocaine were seized from a car in Portland. After a six month investigation conducted by the Portland Office of the Maine Drug Enforcement Administration, three arrests were made outside the Concord Trailways Bus terminal. The organized group had been transporting kilogram quantities of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, where it was cooked into crack cocaine and sold on the street. This group had been using women to transport the drug via commercial bus lines.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Portland Citizen Police Academy Graduates 4th Class
The Portland Police Department’s fourth Citizen Police Academy graduated its newest class at the end of June. Although the citizen academy is available for any interested citizen, this particular academy was open to the refugee population of Portland.

Eleven Sudanese and Somalian adult students attended the academy each week for ten weeks to learn the workings of the police department. Classes were held on traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, internal affairs and the police complaint process, evidence collection, hiring and recruitment, and other areas of interest to citizens. Demonstrations with police canine teams, discussions with victim advocates and class with the District Attorney’s office on domestic violence assisted the class members in gaining a more in-depth understanding of the police department’s role in the community.

Monday, July 17, 2006

New PAC Formed to Promote Taxpayer Bill of Rights

A new political action committee, Mainers for Tax Relief, has been formed to work on the passage of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and other tax issues. The plan of the group is to provide direct financial support to supporter-funded candidates, and independent funding to government-funded candidates. The PAC will also reach out to the media via press release and advertisements placed in a variety of media, to correct what it says are inaccurate statements that the opposition makes about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. The committee will establish an advisory board to assist with policy and message development.

Mainers for Tax Relief is headed by Portland tax activist Steven Scharf, who has been active in Maine politics since moving back to the state five years ago, working on issues from affordable housing to city budgeting. Scharf is the President of the Portland Taxpayers Association and active in municipal, county and state Republican politics. He has been active in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative since its inception in Maine. He was a candidate for the state legislature in 2004, running on a platform that mirrored the Taxpayer Bill of Rights’ limited spending proposals. Scharf is the president of SCS Media Services, a resource development company that specializes in FileMaker Pro database development and mailing list marketing and management.

According to Scharf, passage of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will not solve all of Maine’s problems, and there is much more that needs to be done to encourage economic development and create livable incomes for Maine’s families. Scharf said that Mainers for Tax Relief will be formulating a plan to bring the cost of government within the means of Maine residents. Some possible proposals include:

• Eliminating income taxes for incomes below a set amount ($28,000 is a figure that has been suggested.)
• Creating a fair school funding formula to funds schools based on enrollment.
• Increasing the eligibility requirements for Medicare.
• Reducing the number of school districts in the state.
• Creating competition for health insurance, which will lower the cost of insurance.
• Legalizing association health plans and allowing people to buy insurance across state borders.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

New Group to Address Crime in Maine
Portland gubernatorial candidate Shawn Loura has announced the formation of an organization to actively resolve the crime problem in Maine. The name of the organization is Constitutional Law Enforcement Advocacy Network (CLEAN).

The purposes of the organization are listed as follows:
-To help law enforcement patrol the streets, after proper training, which will be provided by the group.
-To help to restore and preserve our constitutional liberty.
-To advocate for the needs of the community as a whole - with non-governmental means or funds.

Loura said that the group is not a vigilante group, nor does it seek to override or disrespect any law enforcement agencies. He said that the group wants cooperation with local, state, and national government to provide a safe environment. Cooperation and communication is essential to their efforts, according to Loura.

CLEAN embraces the ideology of the Guardian Angels, The John Birch Society, and others.
The group is made up of volunteers and will seek a 501(c)3 status as a non-profit organization. They hope to help clean up the streets and graffiti, and welcome all who feel comfortable with them. They are currently seeking volunteers, lawyers, government officials, concerned citizens, constitutionalists, people trained in martial arts and first aid, former military, and law enforcement officers.

.For more information contact: Shawn Loura at or
Peace Activists Read Names of War Dead
Maine peace activists gathered in Tommy’s Park in the Old Port on July 7th to read the names and ages of US military personnel and Iraqi soldiers and civilians who have been killed in the war in Iraq. To date, 2,537 US military personnel have been killed in the war.

Peace Action Maine called on Maine’s Congressional delegations to stop funding for the war and to begin troop withdrawal immediately, to be completed by the end of the year. The group also urged participants in the event to visit the local offices of Maine’s Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and Congressman Tom Allen, with personal appeals to end the war.
The group has held a number of ‘Reading of the Names’ throughout the state over the last several months.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Adams Gets Top Environmental Honors
League of Conservation Voters applauds Portland legislator

For the fourth year in a row, State Rep. Herb Adams, D-Portland (Bayside and Parkside), has scored a perfect 100% environmental voting record from the League of Conservation voters.

Adams was one of only a handful of state legislators to earn a perfect score for his voting record this year, supporting initiatives to reduce lead and mercury exposure in the environment, expand conservation efforts through Land for Maine’s Future, and protect endangered wildlife habitats.

Citywide, Reps. John Brautigam and Charlie Harlow also earned perfect 100-percent scores on issues tracked by the state-wide league in both 2005 and 2006.

The Maine League of Conservation Voters has tracked and reported legislators’ voting records on key environmental issues since 1986. To view the entire scorecard, with bill summaries and a full list of honor roll and dishonor roll members for 2006, visit

Sunday, July 09, 2006

“You Could Get Raped and Murdered”
I was walking up Mellen Street on Sunday morning, July 9th, at about 11:30, when I heard a man coming down the street screaming at the top of his voice, as if he was in a rage. Several children were on the front steps of the Sacred Heart Church and quickly scurried inside, probably out of fear. The man seemed to get some pleasure from this and was laughing maniacally.
I went to the pay phone in front of the Mellen Street Market and called 911. I told the dispatcher that the man was screaming at people and terrorizing them. I gave a description and walked to the corner to await the arrival of the police. I could not see the man from the market, but I could still hear his voice. When I got to the corner of Mellen and Grant, the man, who appeared to be about forty years old, was engaged in a conversation with a woman who had just left the church and was about to get in her car. The woman looked like she was in her seventies. She was wearing a summer dress and a straw hat. She had apparently been able to calm the man down to some degree. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but he seemed to be mocking her religious beliefs. She remained calm and continued to engage him in conversation. Then he started yelling again.
“You could get raped and murdered!” he yelled at her fiercely as he put his face just inches from hers. At that point, I walked across the street and walked up to the woman as if I knew her and said “Hi! How are you? How was church today?” I was now standing between the two of them. I’m not sure if she answered me, but the man, who I could now tell was drunk, said “Oh, he’s another one of those holy rollers!” and he started walking away, continuing his tirade. I stayed with the woman for a few minutes and chatted with her. She said she was going to drive directly to her nephew’s house and stay there for the day. She still seemed calm, but she was probably very upset and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had burst into tears after the ordeal that she had been through.
The police arrived shortly, and other people who had been witnessing these events directed the police to the man, who had gone to the side lot next to the church. The police talked to the man for a few minutes and then frisked him. Two men pulled up in a pickup truck while the police were frisking the man, and one of them went into the lot, apparently to see who it was.
“It’s not Larry. It’s Pete,” he said to the other man, as he came out of the lot. “Pete is crazy when he’s drunk!” The two men, who were clean-cut looking and neatly dressed, looked like they might have been drug and alcohol counselors from a local social services agency. They drove off in their truck.
I continued my walk up the hill as the two officers continued to process ‘Pete’. Before I got to Congress Street, I heard a man’s voice screaming in rage. I turned around to see ‘Pete’ walking up the hill. I couldn’t hear what he was screaming.
In regard to the incident described above, Portland Chief of Police Tim Burton identified the man as someone who is well-known to the police as a drinker with mental health issues. Burton said that the police have had numerous contacts with the man – almost all for drinking or trespass.
The man is refused admittance to all the treatment facilities, according to Burton, because of his behavior. The responding officers, Lachanceand Rooney, arrived within a couple of minutes, but missed the female victim and lacked the requisite elements for either a disorderly or threatening arrest. Having no place to take the man, they released him.
“He does bother people, but he is not assaultive, said Burton.

-Ed King
Portland Greens Plan to Storm City Hall

July 10th Kickoff at Portland City Hall – All Seven Open Municipal Seats to Have Green Candidates

Seven Green Party candidates are planning to be at City Hall on Opening Day, July 10th to get on the ballot for seven open seats up for grabs this year at the local level in Portland.

“This move signals not only the strength of the Green Party in Portland, but is a declaration that ‘politics as usual’ is coming to an end in Portland local politics,” said Green Party School Committee member Stephen Spring.

Green Party City Council candidates include Kevin Donoghue (District 1, Munjoy Hill, Bayside, Downtown), Dave Marshall (District 2,West End, Parkside), and Christina Feller (At Large).

School Committee candidates seeking to get on the ballot include Rebecca Minnick (District 1), Stephen Spring (Incumbent-District 2), and Kevin Gardella – At Large. The City Council and School Committee are both officially non-partisan, but the School Committee members often vote along party lines.

For Water Trustee, Green David Margolis-Pineo will also be at City Hall taking out nomination papers on Monday, the 10th. There are currently five Green local officeholders in Portland and one State Representative, John Eder, who represents the West End in Augusta.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Greater Portland Landmarks’ Walking Tour Season Begins
Greater Portland Landmarks’ popular walking tour season began on July 1. Three tours that will be offered regularly until September 30th are the Old Port Walking Tour, Portland’s Golden Age (1800-1860) Tour, and the Eastern Cemetery Tour. A special tour, titled Homes of Portland’s Premier Architects, will be offered on two Saturdays: August 19 and October 7.

The Old Port Walking Tour, offered Monday through Saturday, leaves at 10:30 a.m. from the Greater Portland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 245 Commercial Street. This tour provides a look at the events and people who shaped Portland and left their imprint on its streetscapes and architecture. The history of the Old Port is traced from its earliest days as a bustling seaport to its revival as a vibrant retail and commercial center.

The Homes of Portland’s Golden Age (1800-1860) will leave each Friday at 10:30 a.m. from the Portland Museum of Art at 7 Congress Square. Elegant Federal mansions, Greek Revival residences and Italianate homes found in the Spring Street Historic District are featured on this tour. The tour offers a more personal side of Portland’s history and focuses on the architectural development in this historic area that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Eastern Cemetery tour will explore the oldest burial ground on the Portland peninsula. Leaving each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. from the Portland Observatory on 138 Congress Street, this tour focuses on the Eastern Cemetery that was established in 1668 and is the resting place of early settlers and other famous Portlanders. Among those buried there are Commodore Edward Preble, Lemuel Moody and the two young captains of the Boxer and the Enterprise who died during the War of 1812. Interesting and beautiful headstone art that reflects changing attitudes toward death over the years will also be discussed.

Regularly scheduled walking tours are lead by volunteer docents trained by Greater Portland Landmarks. Tickets are available for purchase at the location where each tour begins, or at the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 245 Commercial Street, or at the Portland Downtown District kiosk in Tommy’s Park. Tickets are $7 for adults and children under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult. Reservations are not needed. Special group tours can be arranged in advance by contacting Bjorn Swenson at Greater Portland Landmarks 774-5561, ext. 104.

The Homes of Portland’s Premier Architects tour explores Portland’s expansion in the 19th and early 20th century in which architects became master artists in their own right. This special tour features the historic West End and residences that George Burnham, Frederick Tompson, Charles Alexander, Francis Fassett and John Calvin Stevens designed for their families. Advance registration is required for this tour – call 774-5561 ext 105 for reservations. The price is $15 – a discount is available for Greater Portland Landmarks members. For more information about any of the events, contact Greater Portland Landmarks at 774-5561 or visit
West End Neighborhood Association Plans Summer
The West End Neighborhood Association has released a list of activities and events scheduled this summer. The next regular meeting of the group is Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 p.m. at the Reiche Community Center on Brackett Street.
WENA welcomes anyone with a vested interest in the West End. For more information, please visit the Association's website at .

Among the events planned are:
Planning for Community Design Workshop - August 10, 5 p.m. at Reiche
West End Beautification Day - August 12, 9 a.m. - noon, meet at Reiche
WENA picnic - August 12, noon - 3 p.m., at Harbor View Memorial Park
Community Design Workshop - September 30 at Reiche (time TBA)

Community Design Workshop is now set for Saturday, September 30...Start and end times not yet definite but tentatively 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The purpose of the workshop is the development of a master plan for Reiche Community Center based upon the needs and priorities of neighborhood residents and other stakeholders. Planners are working hard to design registration and other advance materials; to find sponsors, both corporate and private; and to solicit in-kind donations for items such as food, supplies and printing. If you can help in any way--by joining the CDW planners, by becoming a sponsor or by making a donation--please attend either or both of the meetings noted above. Let's work together to ensure a positive future for our own Reiche Community Center!

West End Beautification Day will provide a second opportunity for the neighborhood clean-up activities that were largely rained out on Healthy Community Day (June 3)...but many thanks to those who turned out to help despite the rain! Volunteers will gather Saturday, August 12, 9 a.m., for coffee and danish, courtesy of Starbucks, then work in teams to clean West End parks and other areas. Fun, food and prizes! Clean-up will be followed by WENA's second annual picnic at Harbor View Memorial Park, noon - 3 p.m. Please bring a side dish to go with the hot dogs, hamburgers and cold beverages that will be available. Rain date is the following Saturday, August 19, but we're expecting a beautiful day and a great turnout, just like last year, so mark your calendars!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Local Poet Buys Yes Books

Portland poet Russ Sargent has purchased Yes Books, the landmark bookstore in Congress Square.
Sargent, who has been a poet in the city for fifteen years, was a member of the Maine poetry slam team that advanced to the final round in the National Poetry Slam competition in 1995 that was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He lives on Munjoy Hill and is also known for his book ‘yard sales’ which he has held for years around the city.

Yes Books, which currently stocks over 60,000 books, was founded in the 1980’s by Patrick Murphy, from whom Sargent bought the business. It was originally located on High Street, where the June Fitzpatrick Gallery is currently located. It has been located across the street from the Portland Museum of Art for the last four years and specializes scholarly, out-of-print, rare and used books. Yes Books will be open seven days a week.

According to Sargent, Yes Books got its name because it was located next to the No Café. (Sargent says that the No Café was originally going to be called the ‘Waiting for Godot Café’, after the award-winning play. However, the author’s agents said ‘No’ to the idea, producing the café’s name.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Eder Receives AFL-CIO Endorsement
Maine AFL-CIO Endorses Nation’s Highest Elected Green Party official.

In a historic move, the Maine AFL-CIO has endorsed Green Independent State Representative John Eder in his re-election bid for the District 118 State House seat representing the West End and Oakdale neighborhoods.

Eder has a 100% voting record on labor issues tracked by Maine’s unions, but this is the first time the labor union has endorsed his bid for the legislature, and it marks the first time that the union has endorsed a Green Party legislative candidate.
“We endorse legislators who have a record of supporting our goals and the needs of working people, and Representative Eder has shown a strong commitment to our issues,” said Ed Gorham, President of the Maine AFL-CIO.

Eder said it was “one of the high points of my legislative career to be endorsed by the nation’s most well-known union.”

In his two terms in the legislature Eder has made “livable wages” a focus, and has sponsored several pieces of legislation to increase the wages of Maine workers to a “livable wage.” He says that the legislature must set the tone by requiring “living wages” to be paid in state contracts and in wages paid through reimbursements from the state. Eder pledged to continue to speak out on behalf of those struggling on low wages.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Youth Soccer Team Forming in the West End
In keeping with the spirit of the 2006 World Cup Soccer tournaments, a coalition of West End neighborhood groups is working to form a West End youth soccer team. The Neighborhood Action Coalition and The Shoestring Theater are working with the Reiche School multilingual classes and the Bandir Summer Camp (a summer camp for immigrant children held at the Reiche School) to form the team.

Aweis Abdalla, the director of the Bandir Summer Camp, and a teacher at the Reiche School, has been working with a large group of talented players over the last three years who are ready to join one of the local youth soccer leagues.

According to the team organizers, there is little money or time for parental support because of the realities of their lives. They are hoping to raise $1000 to purchase good sneakers, team shirts, and league membership fees. The team is also looking for coaching assistance and transportation help.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the team should call Nance Parker at 774-1502 or Aweis Abdalla at 773-4609. Checks can be sent to Reiche School Soccer, 166 Brackett Street, Portland, ME 04102.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Maine Legislators Announce Formation of First-in-the-Country Coalition to End the War in Iraq

A Coalition of 25 Maine Legislators announced on June 27th the formation of a coalition to educate the public on the cost of the war in Iraq in regards to education funding, health care, and homeland security.

Legislators from both the House and Senate discussed their support for U.S. troops and the goals of the coalition, including the need to end the war as safely and efficiently as possible.

Senator Michael Brennan, D-Cumberland, opened the news conference by talking about the need for the coalition.

“The ongoing war in Iraq is affecting Maine’s ability to invest in the future. In order to support the war, nationally, billions of dollars are being diverted by the current administration from spending for education, health care, transportation and homeland security,” said Brennan.

He added, “Cuts in spending for Medicaid have been made and at the same time, other programs such as special education have been under- funded. We believe every effort should be made to support our troops in Iraq. However, it is also time to bring an end to this conflict.”

The purpose of the coalition of Legislators for Ending the War is to:
-Educate the public about how the cost of the war is affecting Maine’s ability to invest in the future, specifically in the areas of health care, veteran services, education, transportation and homeland security;
-Educate our congressional delegation on how the war is affecting Maine, and to urge them to end the war as quickly and safely as possible.
-Develop a network of legislators in Maine and in other states who support similar goals.

Brennan also shared his concern for US troops.
“We support our troops and believe Maine people need to know how spending on the war affects our ability to preserve veteran services, health care for the elderly and disabled, education, homeland security, and other programs important many of us. At the same time, job creation that could have been realized by improving Maine’s transportation infrastructure has been limited by federal cuts.”
Local Group Launches 'Buy Local' Campaign

A local group has launched "BUY LOCAL: KEEP PORTLAND INDEPENDENT" - a campaign to raise awareness of the economic benefits of buying locally.

For every $100 dollars spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into our community, according to the group. At a chain store, only $14 comes back, and studies have also found that local businesses contribute more than twice as much of their revenue to charitable causes as do corporate chains.

Locally owned businesses give cities and towns their unique character, infuse downtowns and neighborhoods with life and vitality, contribute a great deal to the health and well-being of communities, and are powerful economic engines for the state. Despite their importance, Maine's independent businesses have struggled as national chains have opened stores across the state and captured a growing share of the market.

"I'm participating in this effort with one of my direct competitors because we value the larger social and economic benefits our community enjoys by having a diverse array of strong, independent, locally owned businesses," said Allan Schmid, owner of Books, Etc., "This effort is important to our community and our way of life."

Joan Leitzer, a Portland resident and consumer, said she's been helping with the campaign "because I want to keep more of my dollars working in my community, and locally owned businesses are essential to maintaining the vitality of our downtowns and building strong communities."

This launch is the first phase of what will be an ongoing campaign to educate the public about the benefits of buying locally. Local independent Portland businesses are invited to join the effort. With a twenty dollar donation, businesses will receive a "BUY LOCAL" window decal, a window poster, customer thank-you cards, as well as educational material detailing the benefits of shopping at locally-owned, independent businesses.

For more information on the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses or to join this effort, visit or contact Stacy Mitchell, Portland Buy Local Committee/Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Office: (207)774-6792
Cell: (207) 232-3681
Nancy Lawrence, Portland Buy Local Committee/Portmanteau
Store: (207) 774-7276
Cell: (207) 332-6142
West End NEWS Relocates

The West End NEWS has completed its move from High Street to Brackett Street in the West End. Our phones and internet service have been re-installed and are up and running. Our apologies to anyone who has been trying unsuccessfully to contact us for the past week. Our contact numbers are all the same, and we will resume more regular posting on this weblog. Our next issue will be published this Wednesday, July 5. Thanks! Ed
The West End NEWS
PO Box 5234, Portland, ME 04101-0934
(207) 828-1403