State lawmakers will be holding public hearings all month to get input on the governor’s budget plan…On Monday, that process got underway with a hearing in Augusta.There are a lot of parts when it comes to the $6,100,000,000 budget lawmakers are tackling.One of those parts is the stimulus package from Washington D.C.Members of the appropriations committee expect the feds to kick in close to a billion dollars.Meanwhile, those who are working on the 2-year state budget have to cut $200,000,000 on top of another $840,000,000.This is the first time since 1974 that lawmakers have had a smaller budget going forward.Committee chair Senator Bill Diamond says while the stimulus package from Washington is a plus, there are some challenges that come with it. “The biggest problem for us will be how do we structure that one time money. We’ve never had to do that before and it’s going to be a huge responsibility.”As it stands right now Maine could receive more than $400,000,000 to help the Medicaid program, $260,000,000 to help state and local government. $200,000,000 is slated for roads and bridges, and $100,000,000 will go to special education.Committee chair Emily Cain says an account for additional money has been established. She says that money would likely go to health care, including money the state owes hospitals.Economists are predicting the stimulus package could save 15,000 jobs here in Maine.
Lawmakers studying the idea of a four-day school week haven’t finished their homework yet…Members of the education and cultural affairs committee held a session on Monday to hear from the public.The plan would count the school year by hours, not days.Supporters say it’s not designed to enforce a four-day school week. Instead, it gives each district more options to save money because of budget cuts or high energy costs.Those against the idea are concerned about such things as more child care costs for parents, school days that are too long, and shortchanging special needs students. “One size does not fit all, with consolidation, that was our problem. We tried to fit everybody into the same round hole and this allows them some flexibility.” Said Senator Nancy Sullivan. “These kids have to have a consistent schedule and expectations need to be consistent.” Heidi Bowden is just one of the parents concerned about the plan since her daughter is autistic and relies on a set routine. “And the four days on, 3 days off or if there’s a snow day, they’ll actually have 3 days on and 4 days off, I just can’t imagine that for her.”After hearing comments on Monday committee members decided to table the proposal for now.When they address it again, they could make changes to the plan or send a recommendation to the legislature on whether or not it should be approved.
Attorneys for James Tobin have asked a federal judge in Maine to drop the remaining charges against him…The former Republican strategist was convicted for his roll in a 2002 election day phone jamming scheme, but that conviction was later overturned.He now wants a judge to drop charges that he lied to investigators about his roll in the plan.His lawyer says persuing the charges would amount to vindictive prosecution since the original case was overturned.
Two people are dead after a head-on collision in the Western Maine town of Peru…It happened around 7:30 Monday morning.Police say 48-year-old Carl Grant and 31-year-old Christine Sterry, both from Peru, were traveling toward each other on Route 108 when Sterry’s minivan suddenly crossed the center line.She collided head-on with Grant’s Jeep on a straight stretch of road, killing both of them instantly.Investigators are now trying to determine what caused Sterry to cross the center line.
It happened around 7:30 Monday morning.
Police say 48-year-old Carl Grant and 31-year-old Christine Sterry, both from Peru, were traveling toward each other on Route 108 when Sterry’s minivan suddenly crossed the center line.
22-year-old Matthew Cushing previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and one count of arson.
He’s accused of stabbing his mother and stepfather, Carol and Christopher Bolduc, and his 15-year-old half brother, and then setting fire to the their Old Orchard Beach home on February 20 of last year.
The former Republican strategist was convicted for his roll in a 2002 election day phone jamming scheme, but that conviction was later overturned.
He now wants a judge to drop charges that he lied to investigators about his roll in the plan.
Benjamin Perry, 31, of Chelsea is charged with burglary, aggravated criminal mischief and theft by unauthorized taking.
Augusta police say he stole an ATM from the Food Trend Convenience store on Eastern Ave. last Monday.
The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says a California man shipped more than 40 packages of Oxycontin, valued at $140,000, to Maine over a six-month period.
Drug agents say they have arrested five Mainers, two from Madawaska, two from Van Buren and one from Waterboro, on drug trafficking charges.
Kennedy and Kirk Schulz, a vice president at Mississippi State University, were finalists for president at Kansas State University after the chancellor at East Carolina University withdrew.
Kennedy has been president at the University of Maine System’s flagship campus since 2005, and he said Tuesday he’s happy to continue to serve in that capacity. He says he believes that more than ever, ":UMaine is the state’s best hope for the future of this great state.":
Carmen Robillard, 37, entered no plea to criminal charges of forgery and theft.
Robillard provided bookkeeping services for Augur &: Associates. Authorities say she wrote 23 unauthorized checks to herself between July of 2007 and October of 2008.
On Monday, that process got underway with a hearing in Augusta.
There are a lot of parts when it comes to the $6,100,000,000 budget lawmakers are tackling.
One of those parts is the stimulus package from Washington D.C.
They’re among only three senators to break ranks with their party and support the bill.
The measure was approved in the senate by a vote of 61-to-37.
When speaking to TV5, Senator Collins said she wants to see the final package come in at less than 800-billion dollars, but she agrees with the president that it’s time to move ahead with the plan.
Members of the education and cultural affairs committee held a session on Monday to hear from the public.
The plan would count the school year by hours, not days.
Supporters say it’s not designed to enforce a four-day school week. Instead, it gives each district more options to save money because of budget cuts or high energy costs.
Monday night, Bangor city council voted in favor of consolidating all voting to the Bangor Civic Center.
In 2006, the city decided to consolidate the number of polling places from eight down to four. Now, the process will be streamlined even more.
AP- Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty says two men – one with a baseball bat, the other with a metal pipe – entered Bob’s County Store in Benton at about 10:10 last night and ordered the clerks to hand over the money from two cash registers.
That’s according to the head of the Maine chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America.
John O’Dea says Maine stands to get at least $317,000,000 in new construction investments under the plan.
(AP) – 27-year-old Richard Widdecombe Jr. of Machias last year confessed to shooting and killing Katie Cabana, 29, and Aaron Settipani, 41, at Cabana’s home in Marshfield on January 23, 2008. In April, he entered a plea of not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of mental defect.
It’s in regard to FairPoint’s takeover of Verizon email accounts in Maine and elsewhere in New England.
The emailer represents himself as a FairPort employee and asks for the consumer’s email password.
Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies were called to 44 Shore Road around eight Sunday morning, after the homeowner endured six terrifying hours.
Police say 46-year-old Ephriam Bennett allegedly broke in and attacked 55 -year-old Richard Carlson while he slept in his bed knocking out several teeth.