State House calendar is blank but don’t expect a quiet day in Augusta

Good morning from Augusta, where for once there’s nothing on the agenda. And I mean nothing. For the first time in months, and possibly this year, the Legislature’s online calendar is completely blank. 

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to talk about in politics. As you might have heard by now, Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick is back in the job market after Good Will-Hinckley rescinded its employment contract with him on Wednesday afternoon. That puts Eves in what must be a lonely subset of the population who have been fired before their first day — Eves was to start as Good Will-Hinckley’s president on July 1 — and for things he didn’t do. 

Eves was ousted because Gov. Paul LePage wanted him ousted and threatened to withhold more than $1 million in funding, which paired with at least $2.75 million in private grant funding, probably would have gone a long way toward shutting down the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences. That’s the charter school run by Good Will-Hinckley. 

Anyway, this is the issue likely to consume the day if you’re the kind of person tuned to the political scene. That is, of course, unless you can find any way possible to spend some time in the sunshine instead. — Christopher Cousins

Mmmm, primary sources

Kyle Snow, a social studies teacher at Blue Hill Consolidated School, has been chosen to attend the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute from July 6 to 10. Snow was chosen from a pool of more than 300 applicants.

“Primary sources” is a term that catches the ear of any kind of researcher, not the least of which, journalists. It means you’re not taking anyone’s word for it; you want to see the proof for yourself.

During the five-day program, participants at the institute will learn about the vast resources of the Library of Congress and then have access to those resources when they return to the classroom. It’s the largest library in the world with more than 160 million items and artifacts and some 838 miles of bookshelves. Sounds like heaven to me.

Exposing students to that kind of info-power will go a long way toward teaching them to look beyond Google.

The press release about this didn’t say much about Snow, but this April 2015 story by Anne Berleant of the Weekly Packet in Blue Hill did (I found it using Google). Four of Snow’s eighth-grade students won the National History Day in Maine competition on March 27 with this documentary they produced about Joan of Arc. That scored them a trip to nationals at the University of Maryland earlier this month.

According to the Blue Hill Consolidated School website (also found with Google), Snow was raised in Dexter and likes old monster movies.

“To take on extra history for fun isn’t something eighth graders are usually enthusiastic about,” Snow told The Weekly Packet. “But the idea of being an independent project and choosing their own topic … had them excited.”

Wait’ll they get a load of you next year, Mr. Snow. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

‘They-a she goes, folks. She’s down.’

I obviously haven’t been spending enough time on Google, or I would have discovered “Little Peter’s Words of Wisdom.” Luckily, the BDN’s Seth Koenig is there to provide another installment of what I refer to as Things You Need to Drop Everything For And Watch Right Now. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.