LePage to Connecticut for Northeast governors’ energy talks

Good morning from all of Maine, where state government is closed in observance of Patriot’s Day.

If you’re not from around here, the holiday on the third Monday in April may be new to you. Patriot’s Day marks the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, where the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired, beginning the American Revolutionary War.

I also like to think of it as the one day out of the year when we Mainers admit and celebrate our pre-1820 history as an exclave of Massachusetts. We and the Bay State are the only members of the union to celebrate Patriot’s Day as a legal holiday.

Well … sort of.

Massachusetts actually celebrates Patriots’ Day. See how the apostrophe is strategically placed to commemorate the contribution of the many patriots who fought at Lexington and Concord, and all those who came after them in defense of this American experiment?

Maine’s official state holiday is, well, less inclusive. Here, Patriot’s Day celebrates the brave contributions of a single patriot, though it’s unclear which one.

Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, wanted to fix Maine’s apostrophe error in the last Legislature, but a bill to move the apostrophe went nowhere, and here we are.

So, however you choose to celebrate, we hope that you make it through the day with as few typos and grammatical slips as possible.

Happy Patriot’s Day. — Mario Moretto

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LePage heads south for governors’ conference on energy costs

Gov. Paul LePage will join governors from across the Northeast in Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday for closed-door talks aimed at developing a strategy for reducing energy costs in the region.

According to a release from LePage’s administration, the conference, organized by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors, will focus on “common solutions to energy challenges facing the region in an effort to combat the high cost of electricity in New England, the lack of infrastructure to bring natural gas to power plants, growing concerns about reliability, and the transmission challenges of integrating power from renewable energy sources into the grid.”

In 2013, LePage and the other New England governors signed on to a cooperative effort to boost regional energy infrastructure and lower cost. For LePage, the biggest goal is expanding pipeline capacity to bring more natural gas into the state.

The governor has stated repeatedly that energy cost reduction is his second highest priority as Maine’s chief executive, with tax reform the only initiative more important to him.

“It is imperative Maine lowers its energy costs in order to be competitive,” LePage said in written statement. “As other New England governors begin to address our energy crisis, we must all work together now to bring stability and competitiveness by adding pipeline capacity and stable clean energy to New England’s energy market.

While the New England governors have signed on together on paper, the relationships have not always been easy. LePage and former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts were no great allies. LePage regularly blasted Patrick for backing out of regional natural gas talks in 2014, and Patrick came to Maine to stump against LePage during last year’s gubernatorial campaign.

LePage will likely look forward to working with Patrick’s successor, Republican Charlie Baker.

Energy officials from each state will also meet in Hartford to discuss more specific state initiatives toward infrastructure improvement, cost reduction and efforts to limit carbon pollution.  — Mario Moretto.

Reading list

Welcome Homestead

NewFarm041815 6.jpgToday, the BDN launched its new section, Homestead. In the words of senior features editor Sarah Walker Caron: “Homestead is about people leading more meaningful lives by being connected to nature and to the land, living more independently and deliberately.”

Please start with this awesome story by BDN visual journalist Gabor Degre, about how a young couple in Portland decided to leave their urban lives to start their own farm in Monroe. Gabor will occasionally check in with the duo, Noami Brautigam (pictured above) and James Gagne, as their experiment at Dickey Hill Farm continues, and we can’t wait to see how it goes. — Mario Moretto.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.