From budget cuts to education, Governor LePage hit on a number of hot topics in his first State of the State address, including a 221 million dollar shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services.”As a state, we must move closer to the national welfare average.
Last summer Belfast received $400,000 in federal clean-up funds.The money is from the EPA and it’s to help clean up polluted areas to get them ready for development.Belfast’s economic development director says the money will be used to conduct environmental assessments.The assessments are voluntary and are at no expense to property owners.Anyone interested in learning more is invited to attend an information session Thursday night from 6pm to 7:30pm at Belfast City Hall.
Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith has resigned his membership with the Maine Sheriff’s Association.Last week, Sheriff Smith called for Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross to resign from the position of President of the Maine Sheriff’s Association.
This year’s Penobscot Relay For Life is still about 4 months away, but community members are already starting to fundraise.At Tuesday’s kick-off rally, team leaders launched their fundraising efforts for the year.Last year, Relay For Life of Penobscot raised a little more than $197,000 dollars for local cancer patient and research programs.This year, they’ve set the bar even higher and hope to raise $214,000 dollars.This year’s Relay For Life of Penobscot will be May 18th and 19th at the University of Maine track.For more information on how to get a team started, you can log onto www.relayforlife.org/penobscotme
The UMaine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor is offering free admission all year long through a partnership with Machias Savings Bank.The museum is located on Harlow Street.It has a collection of more than seven thousand works of art.At any given time, there are four different exhibits are on display.The museum also offers educational programs for folks of all ages to learn more about the arts.”Cultural enrichment of the community, a place to go to see the wonderful works of the permanent collections from artists anywhere from Picasso to John Marin and Winslow Homer is just a wonderful gift to the community,” says Curator George Kinghorn.To learn more about the museum and how you can become a member, visit www.umma.umaine.edu.
The future of SAU 31 is not something a generation of former students is willing to put to chance.”We voted yes,” said longtime Howland residents, Brenda and Orman Jackson.When they heard the district was facing a major budget shortfall, they didn’t hesitate to help with the proposed solution.”We just want to make sure the school stays open.”They voted in favor of a $1.1 million loan the district is seeking.”I believe it’s the only way to go,” said the Jacksons.
The Maine Labor Department says the state’s December unemployment rate was 7 percent, unchanged from the November 2011 figure.Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass said Tuesday the preliminary 7 percent figure for December is also lower than the 7.5 percent rate a year earlier.The number of unemployed totaled 48,700, down 3,800 from a year ago.Maine’s unemployment rate for December is lower than the national rate of 8.5 percent, down from 8.7 percent in November and 9.4 percent one year ago.The Labor Department says the state figures continue to be volatile from month to month and are subject to significant revisions.
Lawmakers in Augusta are considering a request to name two bridges in Harmony after a family who was gunned down in Dexter last year.It’s been seven months since Steven Lake shot and killed his estranged wife Amy, and their two children, Coty, and Monica before turning the gun on himself.The incident has shined a light on the issue of domestic violence in Maine.
A state panel has cleared the Christian Civic League of Maine and the Christian Education League of claims that they illegally fired a former administrative staffer and tried to intimidate him for filing a complaint.Michael Hein had worked for the Christian Civic League of Maine since June 2006 and was fired August 2010.Hein told the Maine Human Rights Commission that he was retaliated against him as a “whistleblower” for telling the Department of Labor that the group had an illegal working relationship with a staff writer.The league said Hein was fired because of deep philosophical differences between him and the new leadership of the league and his unwillingness to change.Hein reportedly said on Monday he knew he had a difficult task.
A new report says there’s been a big increase in the number of Mainers who pedal to work, and that upsurge in bicycle commuting far exceeds the national figure.The report released Monday by the Alliance for Biking and Walking says the number of Mainers who commute to work by bicycle increased by 120 percent between 1990 and 2009.
The longtime rector of a historic Episcopal church in Gardiner has been suspended by the Diocese of Maine for two years following an investigation that found he engaged in sexual misconduct consisting of “inappropriate language and interpersonal boundary violations.”The Rev.
Two University of Maine football players have been suspended from the team indefinitely because of their alleged involvement in a pellet gun shooting on campus last week.Freshman defensive backs Aamad Bush and Malik Walker, both 18, were charged with assault and criminal threatening.Campus police say Bush and Walker fired shots from BB guns at two occupants of a dorm room.Neither victim required medical treatment.The Bangor Daily News reports that athletic director Steve Abbott said Walker and Bush will be prohibited from practicing with the team during winter workouts and spring practices.