News

LEWISTON, Maine - Poland Spring is proposing to expand its water withdrawal operations to Rumford.  The company pitched its plan to the Rumford Water District at a meeting Wednesday night. 

The plan calls for a long-term contract to withdraw up to 150 million gallons from two well sites in the Ellis River watershed.  Mark Dubois is the natural resource manager for the company. "We believe we can sustainably withdraw spring water up there while the district maintains its commitment to serve ratepayers."

BANGOR, Maine - An expansive plan meant to serve as a way forward for managing the Northeast's ocean resources has been finalized. 

The National Ocean Council finalized the Northeast Ocean Plan, which has been under development for several years, with input from various stakeholders.

"We're still still trying to figure out what the long term ramifications of this plan will be to the fishing community," says Ben Martens, of the Maine Coast Fisherman's Alliance.

SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Navy's most technologically advanced destroyer has arrived at its homeport of San Diego after a nearly four-month transit that included some glitches along the way.

The USS Zumwalt departed Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works in September before being commissioned into service in Baltimore in October. It lost propulsion in the Panama Canal in November, necessitating a tow and repairs.

Capt. James Kirk says the crew of 147 officers and sailors had looked forward to arriving in San Diego "for a long time.''

LEWISTON, Maine - At a press conference in Portland today, consumers expressed alarm about losing health coverage if President-Elect Donald Trump follows through on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Katie McDonald is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine who currently has a marketplace plan.  As she prepares to graduate in three semesters, she says she faces many uncertainties.

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette told reporters he will push for approval of a new 21-bed psychiatric facility next door to the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

The matter is not on today's Legislative Council meeting agenda, but Fredette says he will bring up a motion for the council to approve its construction.

LEWISTON, Maine - Most of Maine's students are performing at grade level in science, but far fewer are proficient in Math and English, according to new statewide assessment data.

Newly released numbers from the Maine Department of Education show that last year, only about 38 percent of students rated as proficient in math on Maine's statewide assessment test. Fifty-one percent were at or above grade level in English and 61 percent met the state benchmark in science.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Water District plans to discuss a bid to ban graffiti on a so-called graffiti wall at the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The Portland Press Herald reports the district’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to discuss the issue at a workshop on Monday night.

Bayside resident Jay York had asked the board at its Nov. 28 meeting to consider banning graffiti painting on the wall and converting it to a mural.

Newly elected House Speaker Sara Gideon says replacing lost manufacturing jobs and reversing child poverty are her priorities for the new legislative session. Both issues follow an election in which Democrats again lost ground in rural areas of the state.

“We can’t let even one of those kids fall through the cracks. So we’re going to be absolutely on the attack about really making sure that we’re raising kids, and their families, out of poverty,” she says.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau says a citizen initiative that raised the minimum wage will need to be amended to reinstate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers.

Thibodeau's statement puts him in early alignment with Gov. Paul LePage, but at odds with newly-elected Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon.

"Before we left this building last spring there was no question: I talked to Republicans and Democrats alike. All of them said that the tip credit needed to be fixed," Thibodeau says.

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal figures indicate that Maine's economy grew just over half a percent between April and June of this year.

That's less than New England as a whole, and the U.S. as a whole, both of which grew between 1 and 2 percent.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Ceremonies were held around the state today to mark the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Among those gathered at Fort Allen Park in Portland was Marine veteran John McLeod, who was 18 years old and serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Bar Harbor at the time of the attack in 1941.

He says he tries to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day every year.

"I doubt if I'll be around next year — I'm 93 right now. I've been trying to come here every year if I could, and of course every year it gets colder," he jokes.

PORTLAND, Maine - The U.S. International Trade Commission announced yesterday it will extend import duties on coated paper from China and Indonesia.  

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King welcomed the news. "Maine's paper-makers can compete with anyone on a level playing field," the two say, in a joint statement.

The senators wrote that the import tariff will support companies - such as Verso Paper - that employ hundreds of Mainers.  Verso was one of the companies that petitioned the trade commission to extend the import tariff.

AUGUSTA, Maine - As he did in a letter to lawmakers after their election, Gov. Paul LePage has again called for a delay in implementation of ballot questions 2 and 4, approved last month by voters. 

LePage made the remarks at ceremonies in Augusta to swear in the new Legislature. “I think it’s important, on these two issues, these two bills, that we work together to find a mechanism that meets the will of the people but does not hurt our economy.”

LEWISTON, Maine - The Maine Justice Foundation is launching a new LGBT Justice Fund. 

Executive Director Diana Scully says six founders have already stepped forward to contribute to the fund, which will provide support for vulnerable LGBT people who need civil legal aid. 

"Or, in some instances, there may be groups who would like to do some systemic work to tackle issues that face LGBT people," Scully says.

A launch event is planned for Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Portland.  Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank will deliver the keynote speech.

MACHIAS, Maine - Robert Coles was 17 years old when the Japanese bombs and torpedoes rained down on Navy ships on a peaceful Sunday morning at Pearl Harbor.

Coles, now 92, was among the youngest of the survivors of the attack. The radioman was the first to reach his destroyer's 50-caliber machine guns. He broke open a box of ammunition and began firing at the Japanese aircraft bombing and strafing the military installation.

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