Earlier in 2012, Portland lost its container cargo shipping service, striking a blow to both the waterfront economy and the environment (see "Shipping News," by Deirdre Fulton, May 11). However, at a news conference held just days after the announcement that service would cease between Boston, Portland, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, marine and government officials expressed hope for its rebirth. US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, flanked by US Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, and John Henshaw of the Maine Port Authority, was particularly enthusiastic about a new, more efficient cargo-ship design that she said could make short-sea shipping more economical. In 2013, thanks to a $150,000 federal grant, the Maine Port Authority will begin designing such a ship (a "tug-barge" that combines features of both vessels and could be built in Maine). "This is a design concept that we think can bring container service to many more ports along the US coasts and using this federal funding in concert with a private sector partner brings us a lot closer to turning the concept into a reality," Henshaw said. Next up for the waterfront (we hope) — help for struggling fishermen?

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SAVORY — AND HEALTHY — SCHOOL LUNCHES

In Maine, as in most of America, obesity is a problem — an expensive, ever-growing (pun not intended) problem. A 2012 report issued by the New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projected that if things continue along their current path, more than 55 percent of adults in Maine will be obese by 2030. However, the report also noted that the state could save more than $2.8 million in health-care costs if we reduce our average body mass index by just 5 percent in the same timeframe. Recognizing that today's children are tomorrow's adults, schools across Maine have begun to focus more on what they serve in their cafeterias — where we once had gluey mashed potatoes and chicken fingers, we now have garden-fresh salads and baked fish sticks (see "Trimming Maine's Waistlines Starts With Kids," by Deirdre Fulton, October 7, 2011). To that end, the Portland Public Schools will receive a whopping $100,000 toward further school-lunch improvements in 2013. The grant, issued by the US Department of Agriculture, is geared specifically toward improving the "farm-to-school" program, with money for staff training, school gardens, and agriculture clubs.

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ASHINING SEQUEL

Whatever happened to Danny Torrance? What happens to the little boys and girls terrorized in the horror books and films of years past? We'll find out in 2013, with the release of Stephen King's Dr. Sleep (Scribner, currently scheduled for September 24) — his long-anticipated sequel to The Shining, originally published in 1977. From King's website: "Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant 'shining' power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying." This paranormal tale is "an epic war between good and evil," we're told. King devotees will also be thrilled to learn that the master of suspense has not one, but two books coming out this year. Joyland, described as a "whodunit" and "a carny novel," will be released by the pulp-crime publisher Hard Case Crime in June.

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