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Housing listed among top four health priorities for Maine • Maine Morning Star

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Housing listed among top four health priorities for Maine • Maine Morning Star


Housing is considered a top priority for improving the health of Mainers over the next couple years. 

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention released its updated draft Statewide Health Improvement Plan late last month to guide state and local agencies to enhance the health of Mainers. The plan outlines four priority areas including mental health, substance use, access to care and “healthy and stable housing.”

Maine has an affordable housing crisis, which was made clear in a study released last October that said the state needs 84,000 new housing units in the next decade to meet demand. The Legislature tried to make a dent in the problem during the last session by funding the development of new units, approving a rent relief pilot program and infusing cash into low-barrier shelters. 

Likewise, the draft Statewide Health Improvement Plan wants to increase the supply of affordable housing in the state and decrease the number of people experiencing homelessness. Nearly 2,700 people are unhoused in Maine, according to the state’s most recent count

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People who are unhoused face increased risk for disease and other health conditions such as mental illness, substance use disorder and diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

People experiencing homelessness “also face higher barriers to accessing healthcare and treatment,” said Brittney La Shier, director of the Recuperative Care Program with Portland-based Preble Street.

“The pandemic really illuminated the important role that shelter and housing play in Maine’s public health infrastructure and keeping everyone in our community safe and healthy,” La Shier said. “More access to housing opportunities paired with health care services — including medical respite, substance use treatment, or mental health care — will help people experiencing homelessness find stability and an extended life, as well as a happier and healthier quality of life.”

The draft plan also specifies that it wants the state to have “housing that equitably meets the diverse needs of all.” For example, the plan suggests improving the safety and ADA accessibility of existing housing units in the state. 

The draft plan is open for public feedback until 5 p.m. Friday, so it is subject to change depending on the input received. The Maine CDC told Maine Morning Star a final version of the plan is expected in September.  

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Robbins Lumber among Maine companies beginning climate project

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Robbins Lumber among Maine companies beginning climate project


SEARSMONT, Maine (WABI) – The New England Forest Foundation is building a stronger community. They recently gifted six companies across the state grants with the goal of more climate-friendly forestry work. Maine’s Robbins Lumber Company was one of the businesses granted this money.

”We’re just trying to accomplish good forestry, that’s all we’re doing,” said Robbins Lumber forester Ethan Jacobs

The United States Department of Agriculture is partnering with the New England Forest Foundation to start a Climate-Smart Commodities Partnership Project. The $30 million project gives an opportunity for companies like Robbins Lumber not only to increase carbon in the forests in their area but across the state.

“It benefits the landowners, it benefits the general public, because all of these thinnings are going to be using, to make electricity,” answered Jim Robbins. Robbins now works as a consultant for the company but was an owner for many years before retiring.

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Dense forests, despite having a lot of trees, supplies wood that isn’t necessarily useful. By thinning large sections of woods, this creates bigger and stronger trees resulting in more climate-friendly use out of the forests.

The climate isn’t the only thing benefiting from this project.

“Plus, it provides a lot of jobs. In rural Maine, where we need jobs, the forest industry is one of the biggest employers for the people in the state of Maine. So it really helps the rural areas,” added Robbins.

For Robbins Lumber, the hearing of the news was a mix of reactions. The money leads to more work asked of the company that deals with contractors that have to perform the labor.

“It was some mixed feelings,” said Jacobs. “At first, it’s exciting and then the other half of it is, ‘well, how are we going to pull it off?’ The biggest issue, in my opinion, is actually getting the contractor actually interested in being able to do this work.”

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Despite new building technologies, Robbins Lumber claims that wood is just as important as it has ever been.

“Wood is the best product you can build anything with. We’re encouraging people to build more stuff out of wood and replacing concrete and steel which produces a tremendous amount of carbon because they have to use so much fuel to produce it. Wood uses hardly any energy at all to produce, so it helps the climate by getting the trees to grow fast, storing carbon, and providing wood for the mills so people can do more building with wood,” concluded Robbins.

At this point, the program is just entering phase one in an effort to learn more about the effectiveness of the project itself.

To learn more information about the program and the efforts of the New England Forestry Foundation, click here.

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Eminem breaks Taylor Swift’s 12-week run atop the album chart

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Eminem breaks Taylor Swift’s 12-week run atop the album chart


This week there’s a major shakeup on the Billboard 200, which ranks the week’s top albums: Not only has Taylor Swift’s 12-week reign at the top of the chart come to end, but a whopping four new records make their debut in the Top 10. The Hot 100 songs chart offers a bit more stability, though Shaboozey does return to the top spot, displacing Kendrick Lamar.

TOP SONGS

Last week, Kendrick Lamar’s Drake diss track “Not Like Us” returned to No. 1 after a long time away: The song entered the chart at the top spot more than two months ago, only to settle in for a long run lower down within the Top 10. It’s recent boost was thanks in part to the release of an official video (and also the ongoing fact that lots of people dislike Drake).

This week, Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” further makes its case for “song of the summer” status by returning to No. 1 after that week away — a brief pause in the chart dominance of a track that’s resided in the Top 5 for months. Post Malone’s “I Had Some Help,” which enjoys an assist from last year’s song-of-the-summer champ Morgan Wallen, came in at No. 2, followed by “Not Like Us,” Tommy Richman’s “Million Dollar Baby” and Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso.”

The bottom half of the Top 10 feels awfully familiar — Carpenter’s other summer smash (“Please Please Please”), plus sturdy staples by Hozier, Teddy Swims and Benson Boone — but there is one new/old entry. Eminem’s “Houdini,” not to be confused with Dua Lipa’s “Houdini,” made a chart climb from No. 18 to No. 10 as the rapper’s new album, The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grace), entered the world.

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TOP ALBUMS

Say, remember the previous sentence — the one that mentions the release of Eminem’s new album? Turns out that’s relevant to this week’s Billboard 200. The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grace) has done what many recent albums couldn’t: It unseated Taylor Swift’s seemingly untouchable The Tortured Poets Department from the top of the chart after a record-setting 12-week run at No. 1. (As my colleague Anastasia Tsioulcas noted in this column last week, Poets now holds the record for longest run at the top by a Swift album, as well as the longest run at the top by a female artist who’s made her debut at No. 1 and stayed there.)

As a concept album in which Eminem does lyrical battle with his long-running id/alter-ego Slim Shady, The Death of Slim Shady was perhaps destined to dislodge Swift’s three-month-old opus — especially given that it’s his 11th consecutive album to top the chart. But there are three other new entries on the Top 10 by artists who aren’t quite so venerated. With Romance: Untold bowing at No. 2, the South Korean boy band Enhypen instantly scored its highest-ever Billboard 200 position — 2021’s Dimension: Dilemma peaked at No. 11 and its EPs have charted as high as No. 4 — while two enormously promising (and very different) singer-songwriters also made their first-ever visit to the Top 10.

Like Enhypen, Clairo hit the Top 20 with her previous album — 2021’s Sling hit No. 17 — only to see its follow-up exceed that performance in week 1. Charm entered this week’s chart at No. 8. And country singer Megan Moroney has enjoyed an even more precipitous rise: Her 2023 debut, Lucky, peaked at No. 38 last year. Am I Okay? just bowed at No. 9.

As for the remainder of the Top 10, everyone’s slipping to make room for the new faces: Zach Bryan’s The Great American Bar Scene (from No. 2 to No. 3), The Tortured Poets Department (from No. 1 to No. 4), Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time (from No. 3 to No. 5), Billie Eilish’s Hit Me Hard and Soft (from No. 4 to No. 6), Chappell Roan’s The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess (from No. 5 to No. 7) and Noah Kahan’s Stick Season (from No. 7 to No. 10).

WORTH NOTING

It’s fun to pull apart the various metrics that go into gauging the popularity of a given artist, album or song: radio airplay, sales, streaming audio, streaming video, TikTok and so on. But other factors can be crucial to a kind of sustainable success that doesn’t dent the highest reaches of the charts, including live performances and depth of fan engagement. If you were to scan the Billboard 200, you might notice relatively modest chart debuts for Cigarettes After Sex’s new album X’s (No. 32) and Phish’s Evolve (No. 69). But when those bands head out on tour, they’ll perform in arenas, first-week streaming and airplay numbers be damned.

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Still, some disappointing numbers are impossible to place in a positive light: Just three weeks into its existence, Camila Cabello’s new album (C,XOXO) plunged from its debut at No. 13 to No. 82, and now all the way down to No. 191. It’s tempting to suggest that the letters X, C and X are cursed, but Charli XCX’s Brat is still holding strong at No. 13.

Copyright 2024 NPR





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Maine Football Picked to Finish 13th in CAA

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Maine Football Picked to Finish 13th in CAA


Maine Football Coach Jordan Stevens has a little bulletin board material to inspire his team as they begin official practices on Wednesday, July 31st as the Coastal Athletic Association released their preseason coach’s poll.

CAA Coaches Preseason Poll via Maine Athletics Website

CAA Coaches Preseason Poll via Maine Athletics Website

Maine was predicted to finish 13th.

You can head up to Alfond Stadium and watch the Black Bears practice as they get ready to open the season on August 30th.

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Here’s the preseason practice schedule

Maine Athletics

Maine Athletics

You can catch all the University of Maine Football games on 92.9 The Ticket with Rich Kimball and Bob Lucy on the call. The 2 will begin their 28th season broadcasting UMaine Football.

Here’s the full 2024 schedule.

  • Saturday, August 31 – vs, Colgate University 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 7 – at Montana State University 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 14 – vs. Monmouth University 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 21 – at Merrimack College 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 28 – at University at Albany 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 12 – at University of Delaware 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 19 – vs. Villanova University 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 26 – at University of Rhode Island 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 2 – at University of Oklahoma 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 9 – vs. Bryant University 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 16 – at Elon University 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 23 – vs. University of New Hampshire 1 p.m.

 





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