WERU News Report 7/15/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by Matt Murphy and Jim Campbell
Production assistance from WERU intern Cody Garland

“Bucksport: How It Was and How It Is” – a story telling event sponsored by the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and WERU at the Alamo Theatre on July 8th. The event was part of “Wednesday on Main” which aims to “bring fun, energy and joy to Main St. In Bucksport Wednesdays from 5pm till 7pm thru the summer.”

More information is available at :

Bangor Area Commons 6/4/15

Producer/Editor/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by: John Greenman

In 2012, Maine’s attorney general informed the Penobscot Nation that the state had decided that the Penobscot reservation didn’t actually include any of the water surrounding their islands—that they had no rights to their namesake river—contrary to historic agreements. The tribe responded with a lawsuit asserting their rights, now known as “Penobscot Nation vs Mills”. Since that time, several towns have signed on as intervenors, essentially taking the side of the state against the Penobscot Nation. Orono was among them until town residents learned about what was happening and pressured the town to withdraw. Now the Penobscot Nation is hoping that more towns will do the same if they know more about what is happening and what the stakes are.
On April 30th, Maria Girouard of the Penobscot Nation — a frequent guest on WERU’s “Wabanaki Windows”—was a guest speaker at the Bucksport Town Council meeting. Bucksport is one of the towns along the river that have signed on as intervenors, but it became clear at the meeting that the council was very open to learning more. John Greenman attended and recorded the meeting, and we bring you there today. One more note before we get started, about a name you’ll hear mentioned a few times. Matt Manahan is an attorney for Pierce Atwood, the law firm representing the interveners. He’s also the author of an August 2012 article in the Bangor Daily News in which he said the Penobscot Nation had “endless Federal resources” and warned readers of dire consequences should they win their lawsuit, including: “What does it mean for you if the Penobscots prevail? They will regulate your hunting, trapping and fishing on the river. They will regulate municipal and other discharges into the river and some of its branches and tributaries, even though such discharges are already carefully controlled by the state and federal governments. If you live in a town that borders the river and thought your town ran to the middle of the river in accordance with Maine law — surprise! If you paddle, fish or otherwise use the Penobscot River in any way, you will now confront a new regulator telling you what you can or can’t do and how much it will cost you to do it. And, unlike state regulators, the Penobscots won’t even be obligated to listen to your concerns about the impact of their regulations; you will have no control or influence over those regulations. The Penobscots have even announced they intend to close the river to trapping and require a permit to access the river for any reason, making it their exclusive domain.” Manahan’s article concluded “There’s no question the history of the treatment of Indians in this country includes tragic episodes of overwhelming resources used to renege on commitments previously made. It’s ironic the same scenario is happening again, with roles reversed.” (http://bangordailynews.com/2014/08/06/opinion/contributors/role-reversal-how-the-penobscot-nation-is-suing-maine-and-has-the-upper-hand/)
As you’ll hear, Maria Giroaurd and others strongly disagree with his portrayal

WERU News Report 1/14/15

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

Interactive news report covering issues with a local connection and taking calls. Today: Laurie Sproul, Fern Stearns, Glen Koehler and John Newlin of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby talk about that group’s carbon “fee and dividend” proposal, which is geared toward bipartisan appeal.

-Town officials in Bucksport Saturday held the first of what will be a series of forums for public input on the future direction of the town. There are still many uncertainties with the sale of the mill being challenged in federal court this week on anti-trust grounds. The tone was very positive and optimistic. It wasn’t set up well for recording the event – John Greenman and I both gave it a shot – but here’s a brief clip:
-Members of 350.org, the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups braved single digit temperatures yesterday in Bangor, joining others across the country in a day of rallies in opposition to Keystone XL. We talked to Karen Marysdaughter at the rally:
-The Alliance for Common Good rallied at the Statehouse last week, in what has become an annual event kicking off the legislative session. The Rally of Unity drew people working on a variety of interconnected issues. Meredith DeFrancesco is planning to have full coverage on “RadioActive” tomorrow at 4:30, but here’s a clip, recorded by Eric Tuttle:
-A special vote will be held in Orland next Tuesday on a proposed 6 month moratorium on wind power developments.
-Updates on the current power outages in the Blue Hill area

WERU News Report 12/17/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

It’s Wednesday, so we’ve just got a few short news clips and we’re opening the phone lines for your calls for most of the half hour. We’re working on a theme of local solidarity today. How do we keep power, control and resources in LOCAL hands? How do we get it back when it’s been lost?

*Judy Robbins from “Let Cuba Live” with a reaction to today’s news about normalizing relations with that country *Audio from a rally that just ended, outside the mill in Bucksport this afternoon as the last shift of workers leaving the mill were met by supporters
*A report on a donation to the solidarity fund for Fairpoint workers made earlier in the week
*News about a fracking ban in New York that was announced today
*Listener calls

RadioActive 11/20/14

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Solidarity Harvest and comments on Faripoint Strike and Bucksport Mill Closure

Key Discussion Points:
a) This Thanksgiving marks the 12th annual Solidarity Harvest, a food distribution effort organized Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council, in concert with union members, local farmers, laid off workers, the underemployed and other area organizations.
b) Solidarity Harvest distributes food for Thanksgiving time for laid off workers and others struggling in Maine, but it is also specifically designed to be a model of solidarity, rather then charity, an example of an organized community response to an often unjust economic system.
c) Jack Mckay also comments on the issues surrounding the Fairpoint workers strike and the closure of the Bucksport paper mill.

Guest: Jack McKay, director of Food AND Medicine and president of Eastern Maine Labor Council. www.foodandmedicine.org

Common Health 10/15/14

Host: Jim Fisher
Engineer: Joel Mann

Program Topic: Responding to Bucksport Verso Mill Closing

Key Discussion Points:
A) What is happening with the Verso Mill in Bucksport?
B) What are some of the immediate impacts of the announced closing?
C) What programs are being implemented to assist employees, families and the wider community?
D) What can communities do to avoid major impacts like this?


A) David Milan, Economic Development Director
Town of Bucksport
P.O. Box X
Bucksport, ME 04416 
B) Judy Pelletier Rapid Response Program Manager
Maine Department of Labor
54 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
Phone: (207) 623-7993
Fax: (207) 287-5933
Facebook: Maine Department of Labor and SafetyWorks! 
C) Lynn Cheney, Health Care Navigator
Washington Hancock Community Agency
248 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, ME 04605
Phone: (207) 664-2424
Fax: (207) 664-2430
Machias: (207) 259-5015

RadioActive 10/9/14

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Reactions to Bucksport Paper Mill Closure Announcement

Key Discussion Points:
a) Last week, Verso announced it will close it’s paper mill in Bucksport in December, laying off 570 workers.
b) Today we get the perspective of two longtime workers and union members at the mill.
c) They reflect on the reasons, the potential impacts on the community, and on the lack of financial or community accountability by large corporations, such as Verso.


A) Emery Deabay : has worked at the Bucksport Mill for over 30 years, is president of the United Steelworkers of Maine, union local 1188, and is running for state legislature in as a Democrat District 40 (Bucksport and Orrington) http://bangordailynews.com/2014/10/15/opinion/contributors/taxpayers-have-subsidized-companies-success-wheres-the-return/
B) Linda Murch has worked at the Bucksport Mill for over 15 years. She is currently on leave, working at the Alliance for American Manufacturing http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/entry/a-paper-mills-closing-hits-home-for-this-aam-staffer

WERU News Report 3/18/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Maine Department of Marine Resources held a public hearing in Bucksport last night, as part of their process of the closure of the lobster and crab fisheries near the mouth of the Penobscot River due to elevated mercury levels. The department became aware of the elevated levels after they were given results from independent testing done in association with the Maine People’s Alliance’s decade long legal battle over the clean up of the former Holtrachem site in Orrington. The Department of Marine Fisheries decided to close this specific area rather than issuing an advisory on all Maine lobster.
Last night’s public hearing was facilitated by Kevin Rousseau & Meredith Mendelson of the Dept of Marine Resources, and Dr Andrew Smith, the State Toxicologist with Maine Center for Disease Control. It was required as part of the process of making February’s emergency closure a regular rule, before the emergency rule expires in May. DMR Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson provided some back ground. An informal question and answer session was held, followed by a formal public comment period.

The deadline for comments to the Department of Marine Fisheries regarding the closure of the lobster and crab fisheries near the mouth of the Penobscot River, is Friday, March 28th