Leading Democratic lawmakers expect the governor’s supplemental budget plan to be voted on in the House and Senate this week.It’s to patch a $35 million revenue hole.It also seeks to make up for nearly $90 million in cost overruns in Maine’s Medicaid program, or Mainecare. The supplemental budget would help the state pay its bills through June.The govenor has also pitched a $6.3 billion budget for the next two years.
Karen Mills of Maine is leaving her post as head of the Small Business Administration.She’s from Brunswick and has served as SBA Chief since 2009.The SBA arranges loans and other assistance to small businesses. Mills is the latest executive branch official to leave the White House as the president settles into his second term.President Obama credited mills on Monday with helping businesses recover from the recession.
Human remains have been found off Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport. The police chief says they were found around 5:00 Sunday afternoon on Vaughn Island. He says he doesn’t know if they belong to either of two shipbuilding students who disappeared in the area in December.Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright were students at the Landing School of Boating in Arundel.They were last seen leaving a party.Their clothing was found on a local island a few days later.The remains have been taken to the medical examiner. It may be several days until they are identified.
A Portland woman has been airlifted to a Boston hospital after suffering severe burns in a fire at her home. Firefighters responded to the home on Burnside Avenue at about noon on Sunday and found the woman already outside. She was the only one at home. She was taken to a city hospital before being flown to Boston. Her name was not immediately made public. Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria says firefighters were hampered because the nearest hydrant was covered by snow. He says the department had additional staff on because of the weekend storm, which helped. The home suffered extensive damage. The cause remains under investigation.
Western Maine’s Oxford Casino is looking for people interested in becoming blackjack dealers and running roulette, craps and other casino table games. The casino is holding a recruitment event at Lewiston’s Career Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday in hopes of getting a large number of applicants interested in becoming card dealers and table game operators. Casino officials say they’re hoping to attract 75 people to attend the casino’s six-week training classes in anticipation of a busy summer season. The casino says it’ll consider people interested in working either full- or part-time.
A northern Maine hospital has a new biomass boiler that will offset the need for 100,000 gallons of heating oil per year. An open house to show off the new boiler at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent is scheduled for Monday. The new boiler utilizing local trees and other dead vegetation will help the hospital to lower heating bills, improve energy efficiency, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. It replaces three outdated boilers and is expected to save the hospital $200,000 annually in operating costs. The biomass boiler was funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture guaranteed loan of $6.7 million in partnership with Katahdin Trust.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one community in Vermont and two in Maine will receive technical assistance to pursue sustainable growth that encourages local economic development while safeguarding people’s health and the environment. Brattleboro, along with Brunswick and Portland in Maine, are among 43 communities in 27 states across the country chosen to receive the assistance through the EPA’s Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. EPA staff and national experts will conduct one- or two-day workshops focusing on the specific sustainability goal each community chose in their initial application to EPA. Some of the tools offered this year included projects called a Green Building Toolkit, Land Use Strategies to Protect Water Quality, and Using Smart Growth to Produce Economic and Fiscal Health.
Despite the snow, more than a hundred people turned out for an outdoor gun rights rally at the State House Friday.Governor LePage told the crowd their rights to have guns won’t be infringed while he’s governor.He mingled with the crowd after his brief remarks and shook hands with many of those attending.The rally came two days after a coalition formed in the wake of December’s Connecticut school shootings called for further gun control.
Patricia Barnhart lost her job as Maine State Prison Warden but is getting a new job with the state corrections department.Starting next month, she’ll be policy development coordinator for the department at a salary of just under $69,000.Her warden salary was nearly $103,000. An associate corrections commissioner says a change in direction at the prison was needed because of growing overtime, incident rates and staff turnover.There will be a national search for a new warden.
Former Maine Governor John Baldacci might make another run for that office.He says he’ll decide around April.He says he’s considering it out of concern about Paul LePage’s leadership.Baldacci says what he characterizes as Governor LePage’s negative outburts are a distraction from the issues facing our state.
Due to this weekend’s potential snow storm, funeral services have been rescheduled for Major Gregg Sanborn of the Maine Warden Service.He lost a year-long battle with cancer this week. Visiting hours have been moved to Sunday. The funeral will take place Monday at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.He was with the Warden Service for twenty-three years.Gregg Sanborn was 47.
Two inmates and an inmate’s mother are accused of trying to smuggle drugs into the Maine State Prison.Corrections officials say Karen Lane of Orono is charged with trafficking drugs.Police say she’s been providing the narcotic suboxone to friends of inmates since December.Authorities say she sent two packages containing the drug to the prison.She was arrested last week.Her son, inmate Christopher Hyson and another inmate, Adam Shawley are both charged with conspiracy to deal drugs.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has reissued a construction permit to the Oxford Casino, six months after a Kennebec County Superior Court found that the state had violated its own permitting rules in granting a permit in 2011. The Androscoggin River Alliance and several abutters argued that the state was required to consider all three phases of the proposed casino project when issuing the permit, but only considered Phase I – the 65,000-square-foot casino and parking lot. The court agreed. The Sun Journal reports that the newly reviewed land use and construction permit was signed by DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho on Tuesday. Casino developers want to expand the gambling facility, and add parking, restaurants, a spa, a pool, a conference center, an RV Park and a skating rink.
The Portland Police Department is warning the public about a bicycle-riding purse snatcher. Police say at least five times in the past month a bicyclist who appears to be out of control comes into contact with the victim, grabs her purse, and then pedals away. The two latest thefts occurred Monday night. Several attempts were unsuccessful with the rider yelling “sorry” in what investigators think is an attempt to make the contact appear accidental. In every incident, the suspect was described as a white man, with an average build and shoulder length brown hair, wearing dark clothing, and riding a dark-colored bicycle. All the thefts have occurred in the same general area and all between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Federal prosecutors say a Bath man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. Authorities say 61-year-old Joseph Finocchiaro pleaded guilty Wednesday. Prosecutors say in October investigators executed a search warrant at Finocchiaro’s home and seized several collages made from printed photographs of child pornography. Finocchiaro printed the images from an internet photo-sharing website and assembled them into the collages. Finocchiaro faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing was not immediately scheduled.
A school in Portland, Maine, has formed a relationship with a school in China. Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, Maine’s third public charter school, has established ties and will begin a long-term cooperative learning agreement with Lanxi No.1 High School in the Province of Zhejiang, China. The relationship aims to promote program development focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, while enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two institutions. Baxter Academy Executive Director John Jaques says the relationship will allow the academy to diversify its science-technology focused curriculum while strengthening intercultural exchange between students, school communities and teachers. Classes at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science are scheduled to begin Sept. 3.
Central Maine Power Company began work this week on a new electric transmission line between Portland and Westbrook. The $3 million project will replace an existing 3 Â½-mile line between substations near Morrill’s Corner in Portland and near Prides Corner in Westbrook. The work is part of CMP’s plan to spend nearly $400 million in 2013 to expand and modernize its system. CMP’s John Carroll says some of the equipment being replaced dates back to the 1920s. He says the new line will ensure continued reliability. The new line will be put up in the existing corridor, using slightly taller wood poles and higher capacity conductors. The line will continue to operate at 34,500 volts, but it’s designed to operate at higher voltage if more capacity is needed later.
A rare 148-year-old baseball card discovered at a rural Maine yard sale has been auctioned for $92,000. The card depicting the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club drew plenty of interest Wednesday night, starting with an opening bid of $10,000 and quickly rising to $92,000, which included an 18-percent premium. The name of the buyer was not released by Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford. The card isn’t the same as a modern-day baseball card, which became common in the 1880s. Rather, it’s an original photograph from 1865 mounted on a card, showing nine players and a manager. The Library of Congress said last month it was aware of only two copies of the photo. The other is in the institution’s collection.
Investigators are looking to interview a man they say may have information that could help determine the cause of an apartment fire in Augusta last week.Sgt. Ken Grimes with the Fire Marshal’s office says a man left the building on Penobscot Street and got into a green Subaru five to ten minutes before the fire was reported.Anyone with information is asked to call the state Fire Marshal’s office at 626-3870.
Home heating oil went up a couple cents a gallon this past week.The governor’s energy office says the average price in Maine is now $3.76 a gallon.Kerosene jumped a dime a gallon to $4.24. Propane prices fell a penny from last week to $2.71.