Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is turning over the work of cleaning laundry to an outside company and eliminating more than half of its laundry staff.Hospital officials are trying to find other jobs for the 16 workers who’ll be displaced. Eleven people will stay on in the department.Officials say the laundry system on site is old and needed to be replaced.But that would have cost $6 to $8 millon. So they chose to out source the process of washing the laundry, which is nearly 5 million pounds a year. Joel Farley, Facilities Administrator, says, “Not all of the laundry folks will lose their jobs. We still will have people that have to pick up the dirty laundry on the floors, take it down, put it on the trucks, take the clean laundry off the trucks and distribute it to the nursing floors.”Paul Bolin, Human Resources Director, says, “It’s always a difficult situation when this happens but we do the best we can to make sure that we meet the needs of the employees and the organization combined. historically we’ve had very good luck in finding suitable work for people who are displaced through operational changes.”The new laundry company, which hasn’t been chosen yet, is expected to take over the beginning of October. Right now EMMC does laundry for the Acadia Hospital and other smaller practices affiliated with Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. Officials say they plan to expand laundry service to include hospitals in Pittsfield and Waterville.
The Downeast Scenic Railroad has been rolling along for several years now.Keeping up with the train takes a team effort.It’s a team made up of 60 volunteers.They keep the vintage equipment, tracks, and rail system maintained.The train has run on the Calais Branch Line since 2010.It travels through the Card Brook wetland area, goes through the yard at Washington Junction, where they work on the train, and down through Ellsworth Falls.Having the chance to bring passengers on a trip like this is something they say people of all ages can enjoy.”The best are the little kids who walk up and can’t believe how big the locomotive is and the whole experience. For the younger kids, it’s an introduction to something that they have never seen, and for the older, it’s a nostalgic thing of remembering when this used to be the mode of transportation,” said Tom Testa, the president of the railroad.”I think historically, it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to step back in the past, a little bit, to ride these rails that haven’t been ridden by passengers since the 1950’s,” said the conductor, David Baldwin.They say they hope the train keeps chugging along for years to come.You can find more information on the downeast scenic railroad online at .
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A Monmouth man is headed to prison after he was caught with child pornography barely a week after he got off probation for having sexually explicit materials. The Kennebec Journal reports, that Raymond Carl LeClair Jr. was sentenced Thursday to serve a year in prison, with the remaining time in an eight-year term suspended. State Department of Corrections records indicate that LeClair’s was charged with possessing the 18 explicit movies in September 2011. At that time, LeClair had just gotten off probation following his 1998 conviction of three counts of visual sexual aggression against a child. The 47-year-old LeClair pleaded guilty to the most recent charge in April 2012 and was sentenced Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court.
As work enters the home stretch for the new bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine, one group is working on a nearby memorial focusing on veterans, including World War I sailors and soldiers who were honored during the dedication of the original bridge. The Portsmouth Herald reports, the all-volunteer group includes retired military members and several citizen members including Jim Teetzel, chief executive officer of Wilcox Industries in Newington. Teetzel has pledged $25,000 for a new memorial park near Memorial Bridge, which will connect Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine. The Portsmouth Freedom Park will honor veterans and those who have died in war and conflicts throughout the country’s history. The committee met for the first time this week.
The city of Biddeford is set to become the latest community in southern Maine to try to boost its recycling rates with a new trash disposal system. The system gives residents a large 65-gallon bin for recyclables and a smaller, 35-gallon bin for trash. If a resident generates more trash that can fit into the bin, he or she must buy city trash bags from local stores. The incentive to throw away less trash aims to get Biddeford’s 10 percent recycling rate closer to the state average of 40 percent. The public works director says the city will save about $55 per ton of trash it doesn’t have to pay to dispose, The new system starts Monday. The Portland Press Herald reports, that Biddeford joins about 100 communities statewide with similar programs.
A struggling Maine elementary school will receive extra funding from the state to help boost student performance. Maine’s Department of Education announced Thursday that Montello Elementary School in Lewiston will receive a $1.8 million grant through the federal School Improvement Grant program. The state says that Montello is one of the state’s lowest-achieving schools, with student proficiency below state and district averages in all subjects. It received an “F” on the state’s grading scale for schools. Among other things the funding will go toward curriculum reform and professional development. Republican Gov. Paul LePage says in a statement that the funding will ensure that the students have access to the quality education they deserve.
A new Maine law limits the use of lead fishing gear in an effort to protect the state’s loon population. The bill went into law without the governor’s signature on Thursday. Under the new law, stores will be banned from selling lead sinkers and lures beginning Sept. 1, 2016. People will not be able to use those items starting the next year. Lures with covered lead will still be allowed, but no lead will be allowed in sinkers. The state says lead poisoning from lures and sinkers is the leading cause of death for Maine’s adult loons. The bill is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland. She says the new law will help preserve loons for future generations.
Maine lawmakers finished their business for the 2013 session.The house and senate considered more than 1500 bills during the session450 bills becoming law so far.Governor LePage vetoed a record breaking 51 bills.Lawmakers sent the last of the papers to the Governor’s desk Thursday. He has 10 days to approve or veto those bills. Lawmakers will reconvene July 9th to deal with any new vetos.
The senate passed historic immigration legislation on Thursday. The bill offers the hope of American citizenship to millions, while promising a military-style surge to secure the border.The vote was 68-32, far more than the majority needed to send the measure to the house.The product of bipartisan efforts, the bill combines measures favored by the left and by the right.It provides a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and allocates billions of dollars to securing the US border with Mexico.The bill now goes to the republican-controlled house, where most conservatives oppose it.The bill, a priority for President Obama, would amount to the most sweeping changes in decades to the nation’s immigration laws.Senator Susan Collins released a statement after the vote, while she was disappointed that some amendments that she was in favor of did not make it into the final bill.She said quote, “On balance, the bill approved in the senate today will help strengthen the security of our borders and provide a fair way to deal with the millions of people here illegally, and it would ensure that people who followed the rules are not treated in the same way with respect to securing citizenship as those who did not follow the law.”
Six people were arrested Thursday by Somerset County Sheriff Dept. deputies for refusing to leave a scaffold erected across the railroad tracks near Route 201 and 139 in Fairfield. The protesters erected the scaffolding in an attempt to blockade a Pan AM train bringing crude oil from North Dakota through Maine to Irving refineries in New Brunswick. The protesters also staged a mock oil spill at the site. Dressed in hazmat suits, protesters placed orange traffic cones in the center of the busy intersection of Routes 201 and 139 and spread out a black cloth to represent an oil spill.Protesters of the group 350 Maine came from as far away as Portland to address climate change and participate in a nationally coordinated week of action. The Pan Am trains carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, where it is extracted by a controversial process called “fracking” used to release the oil from shale rock, that can cause pollution in the air and water of surrounding communities. Similar demonstrations are taking place across the nation this week as part of “Fearless Summer”, a grassroots movement of dozens of environmental groups, as a way to expose the dangers of extreme forms of energy extraction.
Nick Coit talks with Samuel Deeds, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant from Howland, and his mother, Lisa Haskell, about the news that NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 is being named in honor of Deeds.