Maine Monitor

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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A landscape dotted with pastures, grazing sheep … and self-storage facilities

A landscape dotted with pastures, grazing sheep … and self-storage facilities

“Used to be a time, you could stand in the pulpit talking about Jesus being a good shepherd and look out the window to see sheep grazing right there,” said Ernest James, a town selectman for 40 years – and from time to time the assessor, road commissioner and cemetery caretaker.

But changing lifestyles are driving the demand for self–storage facilities, with more than 50,000 scattered across the country, according to Forbes. At last count, and climbing, Maine had 211 facilities, reports SelfStorage.com, an online self-storage comparison and reservation site. Garages, attics and basements are overflowing, and the self-storage industry is reaping the benefits.

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Portland says “we’re pushed to the brink” by mounting homeless crisis

Portland says “we’re pushed to the brink” by mounting homeless crisis

On a recent afternoon in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood, the after-work crowd began to trickle into one of the area’s many craft breweries and locally owned restaurants. Teams arrived at Bayside Bowl, the upscale bowling alley with a popular rooftop bar, for the Wednesday night league. Shoppers packed the parking lots at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

But a few hundred feet away on Somerset Street, sandwiched between the two grocery stories, was evidence of the mounting homeless crisis in Portland and the surrounding region. As many as 84 tents lined the Bayside Trail, a city official said Tuesday, with more than 30 new ones in just a week.

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A Death of Choice

A Death of Choice

Karen Wentworth believed people should control their own deaths. Facing terminal cancer, she lived to define her own ending.

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