The H1N1 virus is continuing to spread through Maine schools. The Lincoln school system is reporting five confirmed cases.School health officials report one confirmed case at Lincoln Elementary, and four cases at the junior high school.The schools are sending permission slips home, asking parents for permission to vaccinate their children.Parents are encouraged to return the paperwork as soon as possible.
The second flu clinic for school-aged children in the greater Bangor area is scheduled for Wednesday.The clinic will run from 9:30am until 2pm at the Bangor Civic Center.The hours are shorter this time around because there’s less vaccine to go around.Students in grades K through 12 in the greater Bangor area will be able to receive both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine at no cost.Students attending without a parent or guardian need a signed permission form.Again, the clinic runs Wednesday from 9:30am to 2pm at the Bangor Civic Center.
Owners of the Muddy Rudder restaurant in Brewer are doing their part to honor our men and women and uniform.This Veterans Day they’ll be giving away one free entrÃ©e to any U.S. servicemen from any of the five branches of service.Military members can choose from anything on the menu, including lobster and steak.Management and staff say it’s important for all of us to remember those who serve this Veterans Day. “Well I think it’s an important message that the men and women in uniform are extremely important in our everyday lives and we should be thankful for what they do for us,” Said the Muddy Rudder’s general manager, Tom Workman.In addition to their location in Brewer, owners of the Muddy Rudder are also offering the free entrÃ©e at their other location in Yarmouth, as well as at the Freeport cafe.
Question 7 is a close race.The question asks Maine voters, “Do you favor amending the constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?”With 528 of 608 precincts reporting in, the vote stands at 48% in favor, and 52% voting against.
Maine voters have approved a $71.25 million bond issue to pay for transportation improvements across the state.The money will pay for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, and public transit, ferry and port facilities.Officials say the bond makes the state eligible for more than $148 million in federal and other matching funds.Unofficial results have Question 6 leading 65% to 35% with 87% of precincts reporting.
Medical marijuana users in Maine will be able to buy their pot at licensed dispensaries after voters approved a bill that expands the state’s existing medical marijuana law.The new law allows patients to buy marijuana at nonprofit dispensaries. It also expands the medical conditions under which people can be prescribed the drug.In unofficial returns, Question 5 was leading 59% to 41% with 87% of precincts reporting.Supporters say the law will give people with chronic illnesses a legal and convenient way to obtain marijuana. Critics say the law has a lack of controls and will increase the availability of the drug to people not authorized to have it.Mainers approved a referendum in 1999 allowing the medical useof marijuana.
Maine voters have rejected a referendum that would have placed limits on increases in state and municipal government spending and taxes.David Crocker, chairman of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights campaign, conceded the race at 10:30 p.m.The measure would have held government spending increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth, with voter approval required to exceed those limits.Supporters said government spending needs to be reined in to attract jobs and give people more money in their pockets. Critics said the measure took away local control and would cut funds for schools, roads and police and fire departments.In unofficial results, the referendum was failing 60% to40% with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
Mainers have voted against scuttling the state’s school district consolidation law.Critics of the law said consolidation should not be mandatory because it doesn’t make sense for many small school districts. They also say the law hasn’t delivered on promised savings.But consolidation supporters said repealing the law would cost Maine $37 million a year.Since the law was adopted two years ago, 98 school districts have been consolidated into 26 districts. But 126 rural schools districts haven’t complied with the law and now face potential state funding reductions.With 87% of precincts reporting, Mainers were rejecting a referendum proposal to repeal the consolidation law by a margin of 59% to 41% in unofficial returns.
Maine voters have rejected a proposal to scale back the state’s motor vehicle excise tax.Question 2 would have cut the rate of the municipal excise tax on newer vehicles while exempting hybrid and other highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise taxes.Supporters said the referendum would save Maine taxpayers $80 million a year while promoting cleaner air and greater fuel efficiency. Critics said if the proposal would have resulted in a tax shift that would be made up by higher property taxes.Campaign spokesman Chris Cinquemani (CHINK’-eh-mah-nee) conceded the race shortly after 10 p.m. Unofficial results show the proposal failing 74 percent to 26 percent, with 28 percent of precincts reporting.
The Associated Press has called Question 1…and it looks like the YES vote has it.With 528 of 608 precincts reporting, 53% (266,324 votes) were opposed to same-sex marriage and 47% (238,595 votes) were in favor.The law allowing homosexuals to wed was passed by the Maine Legislature in May but never took effect because of a petition drive by conservatives.Gay marriage has never won at the ballot box in any state. A victory for the gay-rights side could energize activists nationwide and blunt conservative claims that same-sex marriage is being foisted on states by judges or lawmakers over the will of the public.
In Bangor, election officials say they were expecting a larger than usual turnout for an off-year election– but the number of people who showed up throughout the day exceeded even what they predicted.Folks started lining up outside the Civic Center before seven o’clock this morning to cast their votes.It was fairly steady without much of a wait for most of the day. But during peak evening hours, the building was packed, with a line out the door.”I was pretty stunned to see this kind of crowd. Of course, remember, polling places have consolidated here in Bangor and in other places, but even spread out over four or five polling places this is pretty good. This is a pretty amazing turnout,” says Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. He stopped in Bangor while visiting polls around the state. Some voters were upset to find the wait. Bangor officials say they are learning and working to make things run more smoothly for the next election.Dunlap says today’s turnout could reflect record numbers for an off-year election in Maine, a testament to how strongly voters feel about the issues packing the ballot this year.
Maine’s top election official says voter turnout is going to be higher than he originally projected because of “intense interest” in referendums including gay marriage. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap originally projected that 35 percent of voting age residents would turn out at polling places on Tuesday. Dunlap now says it appears that the turnout is outpacing those projections. Another sign is absentee ballots. More than 100,000 people had voted by absentee ballots or early voting before Election Day. While gay marriage is Tuesday’s top item, residents also are voting on tax-related referendums and proposals calling for the repeal of the state’s school district consolidation law and an expansion of the medical marijuana law.
Two mills in maine are getting a lot of federal money.The nearly 9-and-a-half million dollars will help develop waste energy recovery technologies in three mills owned by Verso, including mills in Bucksport and Jay.It’s federal stimulus money.Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins were among a group of senators that crafted the legislation behind the money.
A Belmont woman accused in a hit and run accident last month has been arrested again for crashing her car.Police say 35-year-old Tiffeny Green was driving along Route 52 when her vehicle veered off the road. Police say she spun out of control across the road and slammed into a boulder.She’s accused of drunk driving, violating conditions of release and failure to prove she’s insured.In early October Green was arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash in Lincolnville.Police say she struck a 17-year-old pedestrian then took off.She was charged with several crimes for that.On this most recent incident Green posted bail at the Waldo County Jail but she remains behind bars in Wiscasset on un-related charges.
They are too young to vote on today’s referendum questions, so students at a school in Winterport held their own election.As Meghan Hayward tells us, their choices may have been different, but the voting process was identical.”If there is anyone that has not participated in our voting process in the cafeteria, will you please go to the cafeteria at this time to vote.”Students and teachers at the Leroy Smith School in Winterport got to take part in their own election. The choice on the ballot, cinnamon roll or cookie?”We thought this would be a great idea for the kids to see what the election is all about. I’m sure their parents are talking about elections and this way they get to have their own election.”The school made the voting process as similar to the real deal as they could.”They had a ballot and we checked off their names before they came through the door and they put it in an election box and they had the booths.”For students who weren’t in school, they offered an absentee ballot.”Any kid that was not able to participate today, we left the teacher with a ballot and pencil, and when they get into school, hopefully tomorrow, they’ll be able to cast their vote. So no one missed out.”Fourth-grader Micah Hawes was happy she got to vote.”Because I’ve went with my mom into it and it was really exciting.”Which one does Micah think will come out on top?”I don’t really know which one is going to win because I like them both and it was a pretty close tie.”She’ll have to wait a few days to find out if the cinnamon roll or the cookie wins.”It’s going to be a secret until Friday. And then we’re going to serve it Friday and that’s when they’ll find out who won.”
According to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, voterturnout is going to be higher than he originally projected becauseof “intense interest” in referendums, including gay marriage.Dunlap originally projected a 35% turnout, but he now says it appears that voters are outpacing those projections.Another sign is absentee ballots. More than 100,000 people had voted by absentee ballots or early voting before Election Day.While gay marriage is the major draw, residents also arevoting on tax-related referendums and proposals calling for therepeal of the state’s school district consolidation law and anexpansion of the medical marijuana law.
Executive Editor of the Bangor Daily News, A. Mark Woodward will be retiring by the end of 2009.Woodward made his decision months after discussions with his wife and personal reflections.A. Mark Woodward joined the Daily News as a city reporter in 1971. From there, he became editorial page editor in 1982 and left the Daily News for eight months in 1997 to become a communications director for Sen. Susan Collins in Washington DC. In the autumn of 1997 Woodward was named the paper’s executive editor.Woodward’s retirement will become effective on Jan. 1.
During the winter months, Maine’s utility companies have to follow special guidelines before shutting off anyone’s electric or gas service.The Maine Public Utilities Commission’s winter rules apply from November 15th to April 15th. It’s an effort to keep everyone safe during those dark, cold months. But there are some misconceptions.”People are under the impression that it’s illegal for us to disconnect a customer for non-payment during those months. It’s not illegal, but there’s a lot more to it. It’s a lot more complicated,” says Susan Faloon, with Bangor Hydro.Faloon says says customers should start making calls now if they think they might have trouble paying their bills this winter. Taking certain steps can keep the lights on.”We understand the economy is difficult right now, so really if our customers are showing that they are making an effort toward paying, we’re certainly going to work with that,” Faloon says. She says they can work out a payment plan, or direct customers to other agencies that can help.”If they’re not satisfied with that result, they should call the Consumer Assistance Division here at the commission, says Evelyn deFrees, with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. “No customer who takes appropriate action, in the form of these notifications, and coming up with some kind of reasonable payment, should lose gas or electric service during the winter months,” deFrees says.A variety of state plans can also provide financial assistance.”If you meet the guidelines for LIHEAP, then you would qualify for a reduced electric rate as well. So even if you don’t burn oil, we encourage our customers to contact the Penquis agencies and apply for LIHEAP,” Faloon says.They say the bottom line is, don’t just ignore the bills this winter. That will only lead to more problems.To contact the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division, call 1-800-452-4699.
Halloween may have just come and gone but city leaders in Bangor are already preparing for this year’s Festival of Lights parade. And they want you to get involved, too. The annual parade down Main Street features dozens of floats, bands and marching groups. It always wraps up with Santa lighting the Christmas tree in West Market Square.This year’s theme is Joys of the Season and is set for Saturday, December 5th.Any group or business can apply to join the parade. Applications are due November 10th. You can get one by calling Barbara McDade at 947-8336 at the Bangor Public Library.
A Maine anti-tax group has gone to court against the state, claiming election officials have failed to meet a deadline to rule on a referendum proposal.The group Still Fed Up With Taxes said on Monday it filed a petition in Kennebec County Superior Court seeking to force Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to complete certification of the people’s veto petitions. The deadline to complete the review was Oct. 13th.Still Fed Up With Taxes wants to repeal a major tax overhaul enacted by the legislature earlier this year.The group turned in petitions supporting a referendum to repeal the tax law in September, but state election officials failed to meet the legal deadline to decide whether there are enough signatures to trigger a June vote.