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Bucksport Chamber honors local leaders, businesses and heroes

BUCKSPORT — Local businesses can’t survive without support from local shoppers.

That was one of the main themes at the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards event, held last Thursday night at the Alamo Theatre.

“The retailers can’t be here if you’re not buying stuff,” said keynote speaker Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine.

Smith described shopping locally as “the most basic economic development plan for a downtown.” Read more…

How will Maine build a workforce for a prosperous economic future?

Bangor Daily News Editorial
Posted Jan. 04, 2013, at 3:41 p.m.

Maine suffers from a “skills gap” that stymies economic growth because employers struggle to find trained in-state candidates to fill job vacancies. The most recent Measures of Growth in Focus report, issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council and Maine Development Foundation in March 2012, indicates that the state has made scant progress in areas tied directly to improving the skills of its workforce. Among the areas for concern are per capita income, an aging workforce, low college graduation rates, inconsistent investment in research and development, gender-income disparity and overall wellness…The committee also must push policymakers to explore how, with limited government resources, Maine can compete in a global market that, as Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution told a GrowSmart Maine conference in October, has replaced the consumption-based economy of the late 20th century with a new model “fueled by innovation, powered by low carbon, driven by exports and rich with opportunity.” Read more…

Portland area now accounts for most of state’s economy. What happens to the rest of Maine?

Posted Nov. 23, 2012, at 12:54 p.m.

The economic shift to Maine’s south has become so pronounced during the last decade that Greater Portland now generates more than half the state’s economic output and one-third of its jobs, as the economies of other Maine cities have been relatively flat and rural regions decline.

While conceding Portland’s geographic advantage, economists say Maine’s largest city offers lessons for other parts of the state.  Read more…

Maine Voices: GrowSmart summit will be mindful of state’s ‘quality of place’

Daniel Hildreth, Portland Press Herald, Oct 19, 2012

On Tuesday, GrowSmart Maine will convene a statewide summit at the Augusta Civic Center. GrowSmart’s past summits have been attended by hundreds of engaged citizens from a broad spectrum of government entities, businesses, and nonprofits from around the state.

This year, the summit follows GrowSmart’s recent release of Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway. It’s a progress report on recommendations from the original Charting Maine’s Future, commissioned by GrowSmart and conducted by the Brookings Institution (the “Brookings report”). Research for the Brookings report was overseen by Bruce Katz, vice president and director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. Bruce has written a foreword to the update and will be giving the morning keynote address at the summit.  read more…

GEORGE SMITH: Some success, many shortfalls since 2006 Brookings Report

George Smith – Kennebec Journal.  10.17.12

If Maine wants to grow — smartly or any other way — then a new look back at the 2006 Brookings Report, “Charting Maine’s Future,” is essential.  That report, prepared for Grow Smart Maine, outlined a strategy that generated excitement all over Maine and gained widespread support from Kittery to Fort Kent.

Ah, but was the plan implemented? Good question!  Read more…

EDITORIAL – Only slight movement since influential report

Tri-Town Weekly, Sept 26, 2012

Following its release in 2006, and for a few years after, no publication was cited as often as the Brookings report.

Entitled “Charting Maine’s Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places,” it was a collaboration of the Brookings Institution, a national think tank, and GrowSmart Maine. The report acted as a blueprint for public policy on the local and statewide level.  Read more…

Maine students join ‘Walk to School’ program

Tom Bell, Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND – When Sandra Gorsuch-Plummer arrived at Lyseth Elementary School five years ago after working in the Scarborough school system, she was surprised to see so many children walking and riding their bicycles to school.

“It was almost like taking a step back in time,” said Gorsuch-Plummer, the school’s assistant principal. “It was really amazing to see little kindergartners being picked up by their older brothers and sisters and being walked home from school.”

Childhood obesity is one of the costs of sprawl, said Nancy Smith of GrowSmart Maine, an advocacy group that seeks to overturn state and local policies that promote sprawling development.

“Having a walk-to-school day is a way to remind people that this used to be normal, and we would be healthier if we did more of it,” she said.  Read more…

Charting a better future

Sen. Chris Johnson Wiscasset Newspaper -Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 – 9:00am In 2003 Maine was growing, but much of the growth was sprawling, as communities lost focus on their downtowns and historical and cultural centers. Believing strongly that Maine is a special place and that we could do better, GrowSmart Maine was founded that…

Charting Maine’s Future Report spotlights four historic Rockland inn’s tourism success

Thursday, September 27, 2012  
Posted by: Ingrid Thorson

Rockland, ME (9-26-12): In 2006, GrowSmart Maine brought the Brookings Institution, a nationally recognized, nonpartisan think tank, to Maine and called together people from across the state then asked “What do you love about this place?” Subsequent conversations gathered the information needed to define how Maine could grow its economy without losing those valued natural resources. Charting Maine’s Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places resulted from these conversations including a research and action plan and a set of directives. Fast forward to 2012 and a follow up report checking in on progress was completed and announced today. Charting Maine’s Future – Making Headway, aptly summarizes the progress made over the past six years on many of Charting Maine’s Future’s goals and recommendations. Read more…

Group Takes Stock of Maine Economy Six Years After Brookings Report

09/26/2012   Reported By: Tom Porter

Six years ago, The Brookings Institution, a major Washington D.C.-based think tank, released a report detailing the steps it said Maine needed to take to grow its economy without damaging the state’s character, or sense of place. The report was called “Charting Maine’s Future,” and it made number of a recommendations. This week, the group that commissioned the study released a follow-up report, subtited “Making Headway” to check on the progress. Read more…