Governor John Baldacci met with President Obama while attending the President’s health care town hall in New Hampshire Tuesday, and offered his support for national health care reform.The Governor greeted the President at Portsmouth High School, and had a brief conversation with him.Governor Baldacci says workable solutions at the national level are needed more than ever to address out-of-control costs of health care.Baldacci’s first action when taking office in 2003 was to take steps to pass Dirigo Health, whose goal is to provide access to affordable health insurance.
More federal support has been announced for lobstermen as they transition to federally mandated sinking rope.Last spring new guidelines banned the use of traditional floating rope used by lobstermen to reduce the risk of entanglement to whales.The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation says federal funds will help the more than 500 lobstermen still on the waiting list exchange their old rope for the new, more-expensive sink rope.The foundation says the support of Senators Snowe and Collins means they’ll be able to continue their groundline exchange program and research throughout the next year.$1,700,000 was allotted to the Department of Marine Resources for research and rope exchange.
It has taken five years, but now the nation’s largest statewide electronic health exchange system is up and running in Maine.Healthinfonet recently rolled out to fifteen hospitals with more than 2,000 medical providers.The goal is to reduce medical errors and make better, more informed, treatment decisions that will save lives and money. “Gives us consent to put your name into Healthinfonet.”As the Maine network, dubbed Healthinfonet, expands services across the state, an estimated 50-million per year in healthcare costs is expected to be saved as doctors order fewer unnecessary and duplicative tests, procedures, and prescriptionsThose using the system say it should save time too. “If they’re not at a hospital affiliated with this one, we have to do it manually, make a phone call, send for records, photocopying or faxing and we may not get the info on time.”Doctor Mike Palumbo offers this scenario: “Someone could come in on an ambulance that collapsed on the street and was unable to give me their information and we could get their name from their i.d. And I could get on the system and obtain their medical info in the absence of them being able to give me their history and yes, I may be able to make a decision that could save their life.”In an effort to protect privacy, only certain data will be part of Healthinfonet, including prescriptions, lab results, x-rays, and medical problems.Substance abuse, mental health, and HIV test results are not put into the system. “Healthinfonet has gone through rigorous security setups to make sure this information is going to be safe and confidential.”To join, patients do nothing, but if you don’t wish to have your medical information shared, you can opt out. “You have the right as a Maine citizen to say no, I don’t want to take part in this.”While Healthinfonet is a nonprofit, it will cost nearly $6,000,000 each year to operate.Despite a budget shortfall, the state has included nearly $2,000,000 in the upcoming 2010-2011 budget, matching federal funds are expected to keep the program afloat as well.For more information on healthinfonet log onto www.hinfonet.org
Maine has recorded it’s first H1N1 Influenza related death.The Maine Center for Disease Control in the Department of Health and Human Services reported on Tuesday that a York County man in his 50’s died from underlying conditions that were complicated by the H1N1 flu.According to Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the CDC, the man died last week and had been hospitalized for nearly three weeks before his death.His name and the date of his death are not being released to protect the privacy of the family.Since first being recognized in April H1N1 has spread to 168 countries and has resulted in more than 6,000 hospitalizations and 436 deaths in the United States alone.
According to an eyewitness on the scene in downtown Bangor, there was a standoff resulting in police taking a man into custody. The identity of the individual is not yet known, but he has been linked to the death of Holly Boutilier who was found murdered over the weekend.Middle St. and Columbia St. in downtown Bangor were closed during the standoff.WABI will bring you more details of this developing story as they become available.
A man from Houlton critically injured when he crashed his small plane in Hodgdon Saturday is getting better. 49-year-old Wesley Tidd is now in fair condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Troopers say about 7:30 Saturday night, his single seat plane made an emergency landing in a hay field off Route 1. The plane flipped over once it hit the ground.Police say Tidd had taken off from the Houlton Airport and experienced engine trouble.Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the crash.
Robert Hunnewell’s wife knew he had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. What she didn’t know was how many medals he had earned while doing so. “She started going through some of his stuff,” says Michelle Michaud, an assistant to Senator Susan Collins, “and found his discharge papers that had listed some medals he had earned during World War II and she had never seen them, didn’t know they existed.”Mrs. Hunnewell’s family contacted Senator Collin’s office to find out about the medals. Senator Collins, the daughter of a World War II veteran, took an interest in the Hunnewell’s plight. After looking into the matter, Senator Collins discovered he had earned more medals than originally thought.The Senator contacted the Department of the Navy and tuesday, more than 60 years later, Hunnewell was honored for his service to his country, which delighted Captain Will Fitzgerald, a fellow Navy man. “Certainly the Maine delegation has always been supportive of the military,” says Captain Fitzgerald, “and the fact that they were able to intervene and get replacement medals and have us come and present them today, I think says a lot about just the whole Maine climate and the value they put on veterans of all wars.” Hunnewell’s daughter, Essie Mae, looked on as her father received some long overdue recognition. “They should be recognized before they reach their elder years,” says Mae, “so I would urge our country to seek out those veterans and honor them now before it’s too late.”Among the guests in attendance were several current members of the military, just there to say thank you. “It’s important to honor our veterans,” says Captain Fitzgerald, “especially the world war II veterans because they truly are our greatest generation and what they did and the sacrifices they made allow me to do what I do today and I really appreciate that.”
Police continue to investigate the death of a young woman along the Penobscot River in Bangor. The body of 19-year-old Holly Boutilier of Old Town was found Sunday in a shed along the railroad tracks near the I-395 bridge, after police received a tip that afternoon.After an autopsy Monday, her death was ruled a homicide, but police aren’t releasing the details of what happened while they continue to investigate. Boutilier was last seen walking downtown Saturday afternoon in a pink bikini top and grey sweatpants.Police ask that anyone who might have seen her in the 24-hours before her death to contact them on a special tip line. That number is 947-7384, extension 95811.
A Prentiss man found guilty of murdering his best friend while under the influence of cocaine was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison.In May, Joseph Dumas was convicted of shooting Mario “Sonny” Litterio in the back of the head back in November of 2007.During the trial, the defense argued Dumas was in a cocaine-induced psychosis at the time and therefore committed the lesser crime of manslaughter.The jury found him guilty of murder.Dumas’ attorney Richard Hartley says he believes the 30-year sentence was fair.”Mr. Dumas had led a life that was not a violent life. He hadn’t engaged in behavior like this before. And this was really an aberration in what was a productive life for the last 20 years while he’s been in the Prentiss area.”Hartley says Dumas’ step-daughter was in court Tuesday for the sentencing, and his co-counsel read a letter from his daughter.The state had asked for a 40-year sentence, while the defense asked for 25.
When a cat is not spayed or neutered, it can quickly multiply.In fact a female cat, her mate and their offspring can produce more than 11-thousand cats in just five years.The folks on Islesboro know this is true. They’ve had a problem with wild cats for years. But some folks in town are doing something about it.Before Sharon Pelletier left on maternity leave she spoke to the folks at Island Feral Cat Association.”It’s estimated that there are more feral cats on the island than there are deer.”Feral cats are just like domestic cats, except they were born in the wild and haven’t had human contact.There are lots of them on Islesboro, it’s tough to say how many or why they’re here. Some believe they are the products of household pets, that wandered off from their owners who are summer time residents of the island.”So the cat would come in and when they step on this trundle to get food (trap closing)”Lisa Satchfield and many others on the island have had a soft spot for cats, and decided to try to cut down on the population by trapping them on their own, having them spayed or neutered, then releasing them back into the wild.Over ten years, they estimate trapping 75 cats, but then 2 years ago Janice Bethune wanted to do more.”My husband made the off hand comment since you like to volunteer so much, I’m surprised you’re not doing something with cats.”So she did, she founded the Island Feral Cat Association, and recruited lots of folks in the community. They organize their efforts to trapSpay, neuter and vaccinate all the cats. Some can actually be socialized and adopted.”He’s a success story that feral cats can definitely be adopted and be wonderful house pets”Janice has an island feral cat in her home..and Joan Lillie has four.”They’re all very friendly tame and wonderful.”But many feral cats can’t be socialized, so they’re released back into the wild.”It breaks my heart, they’re beautiful animals and the ones that you can socialize, the kittens you catch theyr’e just, they want to be loved. They want a place to be taken in and when you can’t do that for them it’s just heart breaking.”But the organization also makes sure that even the wild ones have a warm place to sleep, food and water.In just two years, they’ve managed to capture close to 2-hundred cats.And the organization also has another mission”It’s not just rescuing it’s also the education because it’s really inhumane for people to just dump cats which is where a lot of them came from”The Island Feral Cat Association wants to get the word out about the importance of spaying and neuturing your animals, and they’ve gotten young people involved in the group too.”Once I had to go check on a trap for them.””We help socialize the cats and the kittens.”This way the next generation will be able to carry on the mission of caring for these cats, in a humane way.The group gets some funding from grants but they rely heavily on donations, and so far they’ve been able to create a heated kennel, develop a cat food pantry, and pay the vet bills.It looks like this community has a real fondness for the their feral felines.”I’m just really proud of the people who’ve been association with this organization. I think they’ve gone the extra mile to try to correct a situation that a lot of people would choose to ignore.”
Two local snowmobile clubs are getting money from the federal government to help buy new trailgroomers. The Department of Agriculture is handing out more than 75-thousand dollars to Devil Sledders in Milo and Otisfield Trailblazers. Congressman Mike Michaud, who announced the funding, says the money will help increase tourism and economic activity in those communities.
Jackson Laboratory and The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory are getting nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in federal stimulus money to advance their genetic research. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe made the announcement today. The money comes from the National Institutes of Health. Of the 732-thousand dollars, Jackson Lab will receive 316-thousand of it. The rest will go to the MDI Bio Lab to enhance a database that looks at the effects of environmental chemicals on human genes.
Seven businesses in Maine will split 840-thousand dollars from the state to help boost their businesses and grow the economy. Officials with the Department of Economic and Community Development say the block grants are also expected to create at least 47 new jobs in the state. Among the businesses to receive the money – Old Town Canoe, which is getting the biggest piece of the pie.$200,000 will be used to consolidate manufacturing operations and buy a more efficient molding oven.Rockland Marine will get $180,000 to build a better railway to make room for larger vessels. And Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha is receiving $60,000 for upgrades to the building.
Maine’s state veterinarian is urging horse owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated against eastern equine encephalitis. Dr. Don Hoenig issued the advisory Tuesday. Hoenig said a horse in Troy that tested positive for the disease was not vaccinated against it. The 4-year-old quarter horse gelding was euthanized last week. State health director Dora Anne Mills says a horse with eastern equine encephalitis does not pose a health threat to humans. But a horse with the disease indicates that local mosquitoes are infected, contracting it from birds. Mills says EEE is transmitted to humans and horses from mosquito bites, so it’s important for people and horse owners take precautions. EEE was first detected in Maine in 2005. (AP)
This summer’s wet weather is promoting the growth of fungi on maple trees across Maine. In some cases, leaves on maple trees have begun to curl up, turn brown and fall off the trees. But foresters say the good news is the infection won’t cause any long-term damage to the trees. Bill Ostrofsky of the Maine Forest Service says there are two leaf diseases prevalent in the state right now. He says tar leaf spot and anthracnose infections become worse in wet years. (AP)
The Augusta Civic Center won’t be getting a new name, at least for now. City officials say that after a yearlong effort to sell the naming rights to the center, no companies made the city an offer. Civic Center Director Dana Colwill says a few companies expressed interest in putting their name on the building, but none came through with an offer. Colwill says that last fall there was a lot of interest, but that was before the economy went bad.
The Cancer Care Center of Maine is preparing for a big move.They will move to a larger building which could not come at a better time. The current center sees over 250 patients a day and is only designed to see about half of that. In addition to more space, the new center will offer tons of new amenities.The new radiation center will offer private changing rooms and each radiation machine will have it’s own waiting area. They have also designed the area to have what is called the spine of light which will allow tons of natural light to come in. Executive director of the center Allen L’italien says the new center will offer the most advanced cancer treatment anywhere in maine and is designed foremost with the patients in mind.For more information on the new cancer center and what sorts of treatment will be available you can go to their website e-m-h.org.
Fire investigators have labled a fire that damaged a home in Warren Monday evening as suspicious.Firefighters were called to a residence on Eastern Road around five o’clock for a fire on the outside of a log cabin home.Crews got the fire knocked down quickly, but not before it caused some damage to the home.No one was hurt in the blaze.Officials from the state fire marshal’s office continue to investigate a cause.
A Maine State Police affidavit says a double murder in Rumford may have been retribution over an assault on one of the defendants’ girlfriends.20-year-old Richard Moulton and 19-year-old Eric Hamel, both from Mexico, Maine, made their first court appearances on Monday.Moulton and Hamel are charged with the killings of 48-year-old Roger Day Jr. and 22-year-old Victor Sheldon in Rumford last week.According to the affidavit Hamel and Moulton were seeking revenge because Sheldon allegedly assaulted his estranged girlfriend, who had started dating Moulton.Police say Moulton admitted to assisting in the planning and carrying out the shooting.Police say Moulton was in the house with the two victims when Hamel arrived. Then Moulton stayed and called police after the two men were shot.Hamel and Moulton are being held without bail.
The governors from New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Maine are seeking $30,000,000 from the federal government for the Northern Border Regional Commission.The governors requested the investment to support sustainable forestry, economic development, and land conservation in the northern forest region of their states.The governors wrote the region’s U.S. senators and agency officials that the northern forest area has been hard hit by the recession. They also asked for money for other programs that support the region’s economy.