People Upset With Decision To Eliminate Amicus 

The Amicus bus service provides transportation to about 200 people with special needs in our area but it’s about to be parked for good because of state budget cuts. As you would expect, the decision to stop the bus is not sitting well with those who use it.The folks at Penquis are trying to absorb the impact being felt by the special needs children and adults as well as their caretakers. Galen Lavertue is teh operations manager for Penquis. “The cuts from Mainecare were deep all across the state and again that’s how we’ve come to this point,” he says.Penquis will try to provide transportation to all of the nearly 200 adults and children with special needs who use the amicus bus service daily. Penquis held a meeting Thursday to try and explain the changes to those affected by the decision. Folks like Jim LaBreque, who’s son Lauriano, rides the bus every day, are upset. Not with Penquis but with the state for cutting the program. “This is not where the waste is. DHS has hundreds of millions of dollars in waste and it isn’t this bus program,” he says. Ruby Story waits for the bus to drop her daughter off every day. She’s concerned that the 150 volunteer drivers at penquis won’t have the training of the amicus drivers who are trained in CPR, defensive driving and a host of other skills. “I’m gonna have to accept it but I’m not happy and I don’t think it should be because I think the state can do better for those 107 that are transported already with a system that’s in place,” she says. Penquis says if they don’t have drivers available they will provide taxi service. Parents like LeBreque feel the decision to cut Amicus entirely was made behind closed doors with no representation for those affected. “There’s no way for us to bring the interest of these consumers, these disabled people, forward if they only tell us about the meetings after the fact and that’s what we’re concerned about more than anything else.”Both LaBreque and Story plan to contact their state senators and they continue to hold out hope that something can be done to save the Amicus bus service. For now Penquis is scheduled to take over early next month.