Maine Citizens React to Tax Hike
So Congrees has avoided the fiscal cliff, for now.It means most Mainers won’t pay more in federal income taxes this year, but most of us will pay much, much more in social security taxes.Thousands of mainers are ringing in the new year, knowing they will now be paying out a little more.A rise in payroll taxes means the government will now collect close to $100 more from the average Maine family’s monthly paycheck.That’s more than a thousand dollars a year.”I think it is the uncertainty that goes through your mind, as you have three young kids 10, 9 and 6 and looking to spend on hockey, and skiing, we were just talking about that,” said Rene Smyth, a mother from Portland.
Olympia Snowe Says Good-Bye to US Senate
Olympia Snowe said good-bye to the US Senate on Thursday.”I feel blessed that I was able, through all of my time, to accomplish what I did, because it’s just infinitely harder now.”Sitting in her partially-packed-up Washington office, Olympia Snowe reflects on her decades of public service, eight terms in the House and three in the Senate, but she always returns to the issue that prompted her to call it quits last year: partisan gridlock.”We should individually and collectively be embarrassed by what’s occuring here.”Snowe has grown frustrated with the way she says the president and congressional leaders box out rank-and-file lawmakers like herself, rendering them practically useless.She says the political heavyweights are more interested in taking jabs at each other through press releases and floor speeches than they are in coming together and doing even the most basic legislative work.”My concern is it’s going to create generation upon generation of lawmakers who think this is the only way in which you conduct yourself, but there is another way and there are some of us who still remember it.”Snowe says compromise helped her achieve what she lists as her greatest accomplishments: creating a low-income fuel assistance program, fighting for the men and women who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Bath Iron Works, and helping to bring technology into Maine classrooms.Her biggest disappointment?Not being able to enact a balanced budget amendment.”We would not be in the position we are in today as a nation if we were forced to have a balanced budget.”Maine’s outgoing Senior Senator blames Congress for a lot of the nation’s problems.”I mean, there’s no reason we should be in the economic doldrums we’re experiencing today, but we have wasted precious time over the last few years by engaging in this political combativeness for the purpose of gaining political leverage in the next election.”The next election is not an issue for Olympia Snowe.She’ll be working to fix washington as a private citizen.”I don’t want to be part of the problem.
Angus King Sworn in as Senator
Angus King is now US Senator Angus King.He succeeds Olympia Snowe, who retired after three terms in the Senate.Vice President Joe Biden gave the oath to newly elected senators this afternoon, first as a group, then individually.King was escorted to the Senate floor by Maine’s now Senior Senator Susan Collins.Collins then joined King for a reception to greet supporters from Maine.King, who served two terms as Maine governor, was elected to the Senate in November.
Maine’s Energy Director Retires
Maine’s Energy Director, Kenneth Fletcher, is retiring.Patrick Woodcock of Hampden will take over that post Monday.Woodcock advised Senator Olympia Snowe on energy and environmental issues for eight years.The 67-year-old Fletcher has advised Governor LePage for two years on energy issues.
Two Face Federal Court After Narwhal Tusk Smuggling Ring
Authorities say they’ve broken up a smuggling ring in which narwhal tusks were brought to Maine from arctic Canada then sold in the US.Andrew Sarauskus of New Jersey and Jay Conrad of Tennessee will be in federal court in Bangor next week to face smuggling and money laundering charges.Court documents say the two men were among other Americans who had the tusks shipped to them by two Canadians who smuggled the whale tusks into Maine, hidden in a trailer with a secret compartment.Narwhals have long spiral ivory tusks and are known as the unicorns of the sea.It’s illegal to import their tusks into the US.
Maine Prosecutor Facing Federal Charges
A former Maine prosecutor awaiting sentencing for child porn faces a new federal charge.The US Attorney’s Office has charged James Cameron with criminal contempt.Prosecutors say he cut off his monitoring device on November 15th and fled to New Mexico.He was captured there on December 2nd.Cameron is due in federal court next week.
Mainers Find Ways to Stay Warm as the Temperature Drops
Waking up to negative temperatures may not be the perfect start to your morning, but over the past few days, cold temperatures have been a wake up call for people across the state.Justin Platt is used seeing the thermometer drop below zero by now.
Community Rallying Around 10-Year-Old Girl Stricken With Cancer
Friends and family of a 10-year-old girl who was diagnosed with cancer are raising money for her treatment.Mikayla Violette, 10, was diagnosed with bone cancer last month.A bake sale fundraiser was held at the Good Will Hinckley school Thursday to help her out.All the baked goods were donated by family, friends, and students at the school.
Notorious Waterville Bar Ordered To Install Security Cameras
A Waterville bar with a reputation for fights and other illegal activities had its license renewed by city officals, on one condition.Waterville City Manager Mike Roy said the city council told the owner of the Bob In he must install exterior security cameras.