“I’m trying to get the word out,” said Turgeon. “If you called me, please call again.”

Many of the 700 people who gathered at the mill for a two-day conference went on a walking tour of the complex and looked at finished and raw mill space. Several mentioned that they were interested in the space, and made follow-up phone calls to Turgeon’s answering machine.

Turgeon is hoping that’s not where the interest ends.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said when he realized what had happened. “I’m hoping people will call again.”

– Carol Coultas
Gas-ly taxes

Consumers already weary of soaring gasoline prices can plan on another uptick in pump fees July 1.

That’s the date set by legislative wisdom for the state gasoline tax to climb to $0.252 per gallon. At two bucks a gallon, that’s an eighth of the tab. The state gas tax effective since July 1, 2003, has been $0.246 per gallon.

During the previous legislative term, lawmakers decided to adjust the gas tax based on inflation. The indexed level started at 22 cents per gallon and ran through June 30, 2003. That means the Legislature will have added more than 3 cents to the gas tax in a year and a day.

No wonder inflation is rising.

Diesel-powered drivers won’t escape the state’s thirst for new tax revenue, either. The bite on diesel went from 23 cents on June 29, 2003, to $0.257 and come July 1, to $0.263 per gallon.

In both instances, Maine is taxing fuel at a higher rate than the federal government. The federal excise tax on gasoline is $0.184. On diesel, it’s $0.244.

– Doug Fletcher
Keeps on runnin’

Mike Brooks doesn’t know when to quit. Or at least, when to rest.

The Auburn man is in training to run the 2004 Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon in July – a breezy little 135-mile trip through Death Valley. On Tuesday, he will be walking the track at Edward Little High School from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise money for his charity, Camp Sunshine. Students who pay $5 that day can get out of study hall and join him on the track. Members of the public are invited to donate and walk, or just chat, as well.

Brooks, 58, has raised more than $5,000 so far for the camp.

Oh, and the reason he’s walking, not running, on Tuesday? He needs a little breather, he says. Brooks ran a marathon in South Dakota and a 50K in Iowa the weekend of May 15. And this coming weekend, he’s doing a double marathon through the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.

– Kathryn Skelton

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