U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are asking the head of AT&T to consider the impact of AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA on the nearly 800 T-Mobile employees in Maine.In a letter to AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, Snowe and Collins say the T-Mobile facility in Oakland has been rated as one of the company’s most successful and highest-performing call centers. They also asked that AT&T keep the employees updated regarding developments that may affect them and their families.AT&T announced this week that it is buying T-Mobile for $39 billion. The deal is expected to take more than a year to close, after scrutiny by regulators.(Associated Press)
The 17 females in the U.S. Senate, led by Olympia Snowe of Maine, are calling on leaders in North Africa and the Middle East to include women when it comes to making decisions that affect their lives.Snowe is the sponsor of a resolution to be introduced next week that reaffirms the senators’ commitment to representative and responsive democratic governments that respect women’s rights. They say there are signs in North Africa and the Middle East that women are increasingly being sidelined from the formation of new governments. For example, they say not a single woman has been appointed to a council in Egypt in charge of revamping theconstitution.Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte also support the resolution.(Associated Press)
Fire crews from several towns responded to a house fire on Works Road in Jackson Monday night.Fire officials say a teen boy was inside the home when the fire broke out, but got out safely and called 911.Crews battled the fire for several hours, but were unable to save the house. A cat escaped unharmed, but we’re told a small dog was lost in the fire.
A man from northern Maine is facing charges he was drunk when he was involved in an ATV crash that killed a friend. Aroostook County prosecutors say 26-year-old Timmy Soucy of St. Agatha was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury on manslaughter and other charges. Police said Soucy was on an ATV that was towing another ATV driven by 24-year-old Robert Tardif of Frenchville on October 31st last year when both machines rolled over in the roadway. Neither man was wearing a helmet. Tardif later died in a hospital. Soucy was indicted on charges of manslaughter, aggravated operating after revocation, aggravated operating under the influence and reckless conduct. (AP)
Taxpayers have a few extra days this year to get their taxes filed.Both Maine and the federal government have extended deadlines.You have until Monday, April 18th to file your federal forms and Tuesday, April 19th to file your state return because Monday is Patriots Day here in Maine.Last year’s average federal refund was $3,000.
(AP) – Former Gov. John Baldacci has taken a job at the Pentagon, where he’ll work on ways to improve military health care.Baldacci, 56, will report to Clifford Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.As governor, Baldacci worked to increase access to health care and to lower health care costs.Rep. Chellie Pingree described the new post as perfect for Baldacci because it brings together his passion for health care and his respect for veterans.David Farmer, Baldacci’s former spokesman, says Baldacci told him that questions had to be referred to Pentagon public affairs. Baldacci, a Democrat, served four terms in the U.S. House before returning to Maine to serve two terms as governor.
The state fire marshal’s office says a working smoke detector likely would have saved the lives of two young sisters who died when their house caught fire in Lisbon Falls. Authorities say the fire that killed 11-year-old Natalie Hogan and 6-year-old Kelsey Hogan on Friday started accidentally underneath a second floor bathtub. Investigators are looking at two possible scenarios – a torch that had been used the night before to unplug the bathtub drain, and a light fixture on the first floor under the tub. The fire marshal’s office says the home had one smoke detector, but the battery had been removed. The girls’ mother was living in the farmhouse with her six children. Four other children escaped unhurt. The mother was being treated for burns and smoke inhalation. (AP)
A new gadget could help some maple syrup producers extend their season.The device is called a Check Valve Adaptor. It was developed by maple researchers at the University of Vermont. The adaptor limits the amount of naturally-occurring bacteria that gets back into the tree, causing the tap hole to close.It was tested by some syrup makers in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire last year with some success.That’s with a year in which production was down because of warm weather and a short sap run.
Four Maine hospitals have been selected to participate in a nationwide program.The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program increases Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to the hospitals.Those four picked are Franklin Memorial in Farmington, Inland Hospital in Waterville, Maine Coast Memorial in Ellsworth, and Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta.Maine was not eligible for the program in its initial run five years ago, but U.S. Senators Snowe and Collins lobbied for the inclusion of these four.
The second-largest utility in Massachusetts has agreed to buy electricity from three wind power companies.Those business include Blue Sky East in Maine.Not included, Massachusetts-based Cape Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind farm.The utility agreed in 2010 to a 15-year deal to sell half of its power going to the National Grid.The business is now looking for a buyer for the second half.Time is ticking, since Cape Wind has plans to build a large wind farm in Nantucket sound.
Senator Susan Collins says it’s time to elevate the level of political discourse in America.In a speech in Portland Wednesday, the Republican says last month’s deadly shooting in Tucson, Arizona, spurred a discussion of the need for a more civil tone in public debate. It’s a discussion the Senator says is long overdue.Collins says that for too many in politics today, the goal of achieving solutions has been replaced by drawing sharp distinctions and scoring political points.
Lawmakers from the Northeast are crying foul over President Barack Obama’s proposal to cut nearly in half a $5.1 billion home heating aid program for the poor. Obama said Tuesday the cuts are painful but necessary to help reduce the budget deficit. Some of Obama’s key democratic allies from the region say the cuts could imperil more than 3 million families during one of theharshest winters in years. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry complained in a letter to Obama that his proposed cuts to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program could be devastating to the poor and elderly Democratic Mass. Rep. Edward Markey says the budget should not be balanced on the backs of the poor families. The National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association says the number of households needing help paying energy bills is expected to hit a record high this year for the third straight year. (AP)
A Department of Homeland Security helicopter pilot has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to investigators over his role in the 2005 drowning of a would-be illegal immigrant. Forty-one-year-old James Peters was charged in the incident on the Texas-Mexico border. Peters is stationed in Maine, but his attorney appeared on his behalf in federal court in Houston on Tuesday. The attorney said Peters entered the pleas via court filing last week. Prosecutors say Peters lied about a December 14, 2005, incident near a border bridge in which Peters flew his helicopter low in an attempt to force back two people trying to cross the river on an inner tube. They say one of the two lost his hold on the inner tube and drowned. (AP)
You have two chances this week to voice your opinions on how Maine’s business climate can be improved.on Monday at the Sanford town hall, the meeting with the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform.And Wednesday they will be at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.These public meetings are being held as part of a series of 7 meetings to give Mainers a chance to share their views with legislators and let them know your feelings about state regulations.
The U.S. Navy has given the green light to plans for the redevelopment of the Brunswick Naval Air Station property after it closes later this year.The announcement was the final step in the process of evaluating the environmental effects of the plan, which calls for the redevelopment of the airfield, 43 buildings, and 3,200 acres of land.Of that, 1,570 acres would be reserved for recreation, open space and natural areas.The base will close for good may 31st.
A Maine kindergarten teacher facing child pornography charges has quit his job. The school board for Jackman’s Forest Hills Consolidated School accepted the resignation of 41-year-old Rob Mocarsky at a special meeting on Tuesday. The resignation was worked out by Mocarsky’s lawyer and the school district. It is effective February 19th. Mocarsky is facing felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of sexually explicit materials, both involving children younger than 12. Police say Mocarsky had hundreds of pornographic photos of children on his home computer. The investigation began after a mother told school officials he had made a student dress in a French maid’s costume and photographed her. Mocarsky’s attorney tells the Morning Sentinel the resignation was a “mutually satisfactory agreement.” (AP)
Northern Maine Community College says a $1.2 million gift it’s received from a California woman is the largest donation so far to an Aroostook County higher education institution. California resident and Presque Isle native Mary Smith made the donation in memory of her late husband, Rodney Smith, who was a pioneer in the semiconductor industry. Despite an impoverished youth in England, Rodney Smith was very successful in the United States as a businessman. The money will allow for the expansion of the college’s wind power technology program. The college will be able to double its enrollment of first-year students in the program from 18 to 36. Rodney Smith was the first chief executive officer of Altera Corp., which invented the world’s first reprogrammable logic device in 1984. (AP)
Maine prosecutors say a 37-year-old hypnotist used his craft to keep a 14-year-old girl quiet about a sexual relationship they were having. But the attorney for Aaron Patton of Jay told a jury Monday that the girl was 16 when the two had a consensual sexual relationship. In Maine the age of consent for sexual activity is 16. Patton began treating the girl, now 17, with hypnotism when she was 8 years old to break her of a nail-biting habit. The girl testified Monday that when she was 14 they began having sex and afterward Patton would hypnotize her to keep quiet about their encounters. ThE girl testified she was in love with Patton and kept it secret for two years. (AP)
A University of Maine researcher might have found remains from the oldest-known domesticated dog in the Americas.Graduate Student Samuel Belknap III found the piece of bone while analyzing a dried out sample of human waste unearthed during a scientific dig in Texas in the 1970s. He says it appears the dog was eaten by humans.Tests indicate the dog lived 9,400 years ago.
A man and a woman in Casco were injured, after the snowmobile they were riding crashed on a lake. Game Wardens say the pair was riding a snowmobile on Thomas Pond near the man’s home Sunday.They hit the shoreline and the snowmobile tipped.The 47-year-old man hit his head on an aluminum boat lift. He suffered a broken neck, broken collarbone and head lacerations.He’s now hospitalized in critical condition.A 41-year-old woman from Naples was bruised in the crash. According to two ice fishermen, the man was sitting behind the woman on the snowmobile but was driving. Authorities say the man was summonsed for operating under the influence and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test.