Chemical could be banned from baby, water bottles

The state may ban some uses of a controversial plastic additive as its first “priority chemical” under a new law.

The Department of Environmental Protection is recommending that bisphenol-A (BPA) be banned from use in reusable food and beverage containers such as baby bottles and water bottles sold in the state.

It also wants to designate BPA as the state’s first priority chemical, which would require all manufacturers to notify the state if BPA is in their products and if it may come into contact with children.

Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection, which oversees the new rules, voted Thursday to hold a public hearing on the proposal on Aug 19. Written comments will be accepted through Aug. 30.

Bisphenol-A is used to make polycarbonate plastic and is used in the epoxy resins that line food cans, including many infant formula cans, according to the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine.

BPA exposure has been linked to health problems such as breast and prostate cancer, reproductive damage, diabetes and obesity, according to the group.

Seven high school graduates receive diplomas from state

The Maine Department of Education awarded high school diplomas to seven students Thursday during a ceremony at the Blaine House.

It was the largest group of students to receive diplomas through the state since the Legislature passed a law establishing the special process in 2007, said David Connerty-Marin, the department’s spokesman.

The state may issue diplomas to students whose education was disrupted by hospitalization, homelessness or other issues.

The students must demonstrate that they met the educational standards outlined in Maine Learning Results but were unable to meet specific graduation requirements of their school districts.

Six of the students who received diplomas are: Nicole Adams of Monmouth, Mikayla Damon of Portland, Alexander King of Freedom, Jesse Knox of Windsor, Ryan Tolman of Ellsworth and Benjamin Felker.


Four businesses win technology funding

The Maine Technology Institute has given nearly $1.1 million to four businesses to stimulate research and development in technology that leads to commercialization.

Claim Vantage Inc., CLYNK and CashStar Inc., all of Portland, and the University of Maine, working with Maine-based Green Comfort Safe and Zeomatrix, were the winners. The money was awarded Monday with the stipulation of matching donations.

UMaine will use the funding to test a cellulose insulation product. Claim Vantage will move four lines of its business to a Software as a Service model.

CLYNK will complete the design and construction of a new bottle and can redemption service to expand into 17 new Hannaford locations in Maine.

CashStar will develop and distribute a mobile application for its interactive gift card and incentive business.

Awards of as much as $500,000 are distributed three times per year. The deadline for awards in November is July 9.

The Maine Technology Institute is a publicly financed, private nonprofit organization in Gardiner.


Bowdoin team to compete for RoboCupSoccer title

A team of students from Bowdoin College will compete in the RoboCupSoccer World Championships in Singapore starting Saturday.

The Northern Bites are seeded second among 24 teams in this year’s competition for the robotics soccer world championship in the Standard Platform League.

The Northern Bites are one of four teams invited to participate in a special demonstration before Singapore’s minister of education.

The team took second place at the 2010 RoboCupSoccer U.S. Open for the Standard Platform League, held in April at the Watson Ice Arena at Bowdoin.

The world championships begin Monday. Four robots per team will compete on 4.4-meter-by-6.8 meter fields.

The robots operate with no external control by humans or computers, and execute programs written entirely by Bowdoin students.

The championships will conclude with an awards ceremony and banquet on June 24, followed by a symposium June 25 on advances in robotics research that have been produced by competitors’ work. Learn more at


Lobster stealer to remain in jail longer for violations

A fisherman who was sent to jail for six months for stealing lobsters is going to jail for an additional two months.

A federal judge ordered Shaun Lemoine, 30, of Swan’s Island to serve the extra time for violating the conditions of his release on an earlier federal case.

In February, Lemoine told a state judge that he stole more than $2,000 worth of lobsters in 2008 because he was having financial problems.

The Bangor Daily News said Lemoine has an extensive criminal history, much of it in the island community where he grew up.

He has been charged with stealing a wood stove from a neighbor and a television antenna from another, and vandalizing property owned by other island residents.


Potato board chief objects to nutrition exclusion

The head of the Maine Potato Board is decrying what he sees as a slight against his product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program doesn’t include white potatoes among healthy foods made available to participants because officials feel people already eat enough potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are in the program.

Potato Board executive director Don Flannery said potatoes are a valid part of a healthy diet.

Flannery told the Bangor Daily News that people often think of items such as french fries and potato chips when they think of potatoes, instead of focusing on the potato itself.

A medium-size baked potato has just 110 calories and more vitamin C than one medium tomato.