Maine Monitor

Magic in a small city: Eastport

Magic in a small city: Eastport

Eastport, established as a town in 1798 and incorporated as a city in 1893, is one of Maine’s more fascinating locales.

In this episode of Chasing Maine, Roger McCord travels back to Eastport to present a cross-section of Eastport by interviewing three very different people in the community.

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Washington County libraries are preparing for the future

Washington County libraries are preparing for the future

When Sharon Kiley Mack walked into a library for the first time as a little girl, she wept at the sight of so many books.More than six decades later, Mack again found herself weeping at her local library in Machias. But this time it was because she couldn’t enter.

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Maine’s firefighters rarely fight fires. Instead they’re answering medical calls.

Maine’s firefighters rarely fight fires. Instead they’re answering medical calls.

In 2022, just 4.5 percent of calls that came into Maine fire departments were for fires. Seventy percent were for medical assistance.

For years, fire departments around the state have struggled to hire enough staff and volunteers to handle an increasing number of calls.

But in many places, those calls are no longer to fight fires — instead, departments are spending most of their time responding to medical emergencies.

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‘I got stuck with 30 to 40 hogs’: Meat producers frustrated by slaughterhouse backlogs

‘I got stuck with 30 to 40 hogs’: Meat producers frustrated by slaughterhouse backlogs

John Carter’s family has been farming in Bethel since 1791. His business, Middle Intervale Farm, brings roughly 200 head of livestock to market every year, and sells beef, lamb, eggs and produce throughout the state.

During the pandemic, as large processing plants closed, demand for the farm’s beef went up — but the availability of spots at the local slaughterhouse went down. 

“I definitely got cut back,” Carter said, meaning he had to keep animals, and pay to feed them, for a longer period. “I got stuck with thirty to forty hogs. That sucked.”

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Trash talk: towns’ garbage in Maine landfills is up nearly 50 percent

Trash talk: towns’ garbage in Maine landfills is up nearly 50 percent

Five years ago, the Bar Harbor town council voted 5-1 to stop recycling glass and asked residents to throw it in the trash instead. The reason? The constant crashing of glass into the bins was too noisy for neighbors of the transfer station, according to the Mount Desert Islander.

Councilors figured the glass would eventually be sorted out and recycled anyway at the new facility in Hampden, which was slated to open later that year.

But that never happened. The Hampden facility remains closed, and Bar Harbor’s glass — one of the world’s most readily recyclable materials — is being buried in the landfill at Juniper Ridge, 66 miles north.

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Maine’s first giant battery project set for construction in Gorham

Maine’s first giant battery project set for construction in Gorham

Construction is set to begin this spring in Gorham on one of New England’s largest battery storage projects, a preview of similar ventures that are seen as a missing link for optimizing the region’s growing fleet of solar and wind power plants.

Big batteries are considered essential to realizing Maine’s climate goals. That’s because the transition from fossil fuels to renewable power leans heavily on solar and wind — notably from proposed floating offshore wind farms — to help energize an electrified economy. 

The problem is, solar and wind are intermittent sources of power. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, other sources are needed to make up shortfalls, and balance supply and demand.

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Escaped emus captivate Washington County

Escaped emus captivate Washington County

For the past month, a number of emus have been running wild across Washington County. The sightings of the birds, normally native to Australia, have prompted a range of responses from local people, and while some of the birds have reportedly met untimely fates, some have been recovered safely.

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DEP proposes “risk-based” approach to metal mining

DEP proposes “risk-based” approach to metal mining

Maine has a number of deposits of crystals that could be similar to the ones in Newry, as well as rare earth elements and the country’s largest reserves of manganese.

A legislative committee tasked with evaluating a slate of mining-related bills made no recommendation on which one(s) to advance after a work session on Thursday, with members insisting they needed more time to weigh the proposals.

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