Mainers can expect to get their first glimpse at what the LePage administration spent $925,000 on with a partisan research firm. They should not be expecting much.

For a few weeks now, Gov. LePage has been sitting on the first installment of a report he commissioned on Maine’s social service system from the right-wing Alexander Group, which begins with an analysis of whether Maine should expand its Medicaid program.

That led Democrats to demmand that he immediately release the partial document which cost taxpayers $108,000 in state and federal money. Attorney General Janet Mills said the governor had no right to conceal a document from the public that paid for it. When told about her comment, the always diplomatic governor said, “Tell her to sue me.”

It hardly seems worth a lawsuit. The study’s author, Gary Alexander, cut 87,000 children off Medicaid when he was in charge of Pennsylvania’s welfare agency, so it would be a huge surprise if he favored expanding it here.

We expect Gov. LePage will like the report and use it for his re-election campaign, while the rest of the state will be looking for a way to get its money back.

THERE IS NOT MUCH to be happy about when the temperature drops below zero, but it’s not all bad news either.


The hard freeze that makes car engines hard to start and walkways slippery underfoot also kills the larvae of ticks and other vermin that have been expanding their ranges northward during a string of warmer and shorter winters.

For instance, the emerald ash borer, an insect native to Asia, arrived in the United States around 2002 and has destroyed about 50 million trees in the upper Midwest.

This year’s harsh cold could slow down the infestation.

Extreme cold will also rein in the expansion of nuisance plants like kudzu, and snow melt will maintain water levels in lakes and ponds.

While it’s hard to appreciate it now, this cold winter will make life better when spring finally rolls around.

NEIGHBORS ON PORTLAND’S West End won in court this week, but they may someday regret it. Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler knocked down the City Council’s decision to rezone the vacant Williston-West Church. It is owned by Australian Frank Monsour, who wants to preserve the sanctuary and turn the parish house into an office for his technology company.


Wheeler ruled that city zoning laws required new uses to serve the neighborhood, and she said an office would not meet that criteria.

It’s hard to see how letting the vacant building deteriorate instead will serve the community. Monsour’s plan would have made much-needed renovations. Leaving it exposed to the wind and weather while the legal battle goes on is nothing to cheer about.

THE U.S. SENATE took a key procedural vote this week, giving hope to long-term unemployed workers, including 3,300 Mainers who saw their benefits expire last month.

A bill that would extend benefits cleared a 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, with support from Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King. A showdown vote on passage should be coming to the floor next week, and we hope Maine’s senators will continue support it even though there has been some partisan disagreements between Democratic and Republican leadership Thursday. Collins and King should stay on board and not turn their backs on these people.

The recession has never ended for too many Americans. Congress should pass this extension and keep working on bipartisan measures that will put people back to work.

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