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MILBRIDGE, Maine — A kayaker found by the U.S. Coast Guard not long after a search was suspended said a wave had knocked him out of his kayak and that he eventually was able to swim with the vessel and paddle to land after issuing a "mayday" call on his radio.

The Coast Guard said Thursday Adrian Cerezo was wearing a winter wetsuit and a life jacket, which helped him survive in the 49-degree water off the coast of Maine. He wasn't hurt.

Jennifer Capriola / East Shore Photography

It was less expensive to live in Maine, on average, than in the U.S. as a whole, in 2015.

In the Portland-South Portland area — one of Maine's three metropolitan areas — the cost of goods and services was just above the national average, however. Rent in this area was also almost 10 percent above the national average.

Comparatively, rents in Lewiston-Auburn were only about 80 percent of the national average and about 90 percent in Bangor.

Health care advocates in Maine say the Senate bill released Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would be disastrous for the state. Steve Butterfield of Consumers for Affordable Health Care says one problem is that it restricts Medicaid funding to a per person basis.

Mark Lennihan / AP

The state Senate has supported legislation on a 31-4 vote, phasing in an increase in the legal age to buy and use tobacco to 21.

Sen. Paul Davis, a Republican from Sangerville, sponsored the bill.

“It's peer pressure that controls people smoking. I believe that, especially when they are young. When they are in high school they want to be like the other boys, the other girls. They pick it up. It’s peer pressure," said Davis.

Matthieu Alexandre / AP

PARIS — A French prosecutor says a man who was killed when he drove a car packed with arms and explosives into a police convoy had pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said Thursday the attacker had a huge cache of weapons both at home and in the vehicle used in Monday's rampage.

Molins said evidence from the investigation shows the suspect wanted to join IS forces in Syria and Iraq.

Province of British Columbia / Flickr

The LePage administration is relaxing certain requirements for child care providers who look after children in their own homes, while unilaterally increasing the amount of money they receive for enrolling low-income children with state-funded subsidies.

The administration says it’s overhauling the way the state treats this particular type of child care setting because it wants to reverse a long-term decline in the number of in-home child care providers and make affordable child care more widely available in rural areas.

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

ROME, Maine — A U.S. Army staff sergeant who lost four limbs in a blast in Afghanistan is opening a summer retreat to help those who suffered severe war injuries.

Travis Mills credits his family as much as the medical team for helping him to recover. He's paying it forward by bringing the wounded and their families to Maine to continue their recovery.

His lakeside retreat will be dedicated this weekend after a top-to-bottom overhaul that included accessibility improvements.

This summer, the retreat will serve 56 families free of charge.

The State Senate tied 17-17 on a proposal to send a constitutional amendment to the voters to allow ranked-choice voting for all elections in Maine, and then sent the bill to the House for its consideration.

Sen. Garrett Mason, a Republican from Lisbon Falls, urged the Senate to reject the measure.

“I believe the ought not to pass report is the only way to go. I believe if we did it any other way it would result in confusion at the ballot box. I also believe in the process,” he said.

He said only the Legislature can initiate a constitutional change.

Lawmakers have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of legislation expanding the fees used to support the state school and library fund which helps to pay for access to broadband. Biddeford Democrat Marty Grohman sponsored the bill and said taxing landlines to support the fund is unfair.

“Every time a landline drops, the fee on the remaining ones go up. We know who has landlines. Seniors on fixed incomes," he said.

LePage vetoed the bill to extend the fee to cellphones saying it’s a hidden tax but lawmakers disagreed. The House voted 113-12 to override, the Senate 33-1.

AUGUSTA, Maine— A bill to halt new Maine solar regulations so far lacks the support needed to survive the Gov. Paul LePage's veto.

The Maine House voted 90-54 Wednesday on Republican Sen. Thomas Saviello's bill.

State utility regulators released solar billing rules this year that drew criticism from solar proponents and skeptics such as LePage.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said it would maintain current rules for existing solar customers for 15 years while reducing certain bill credits over time.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

The Maine Senate passed a conspicuous and curiously timed resolution honoring Gov. Paul LePage's former finance director, Richard Rosen, Wednesday. Rosen abruptly resigned last week with no explanation and at the height of negotiations over the state's next two-year budget. Rosen's sudden departure is considered throughout the State House as more forced than voluntary.

Last week, Rosen ran into a reporter when he returned to the Cross Building to complete his termination paperwork. He was not prepared to talk about why he stepped down.

Maine arts and cultural organizations and their audiences spent more than $150 million in the 2015 fiscal year — and supported the equivalent of almost 4,200 jobs, according to a new study from the national group Americans for the Arts.

In Waterville, one of five Maine communities highlighted in the report, total spending by the nonprofit arts and culture industry was almost $6.3 million.

Business and education leaders in Maine are teaming up in an effort to boost the number of high school students who enroll in technical training programs over the next three years.

There's a shortage of young workers in Maine who have the skills that businesses say they need. The educators and employers now joining forces say vocational and technical training can bridge that gap. They say it's an underutilized option in Maine and are focused on ending an outdated view that Career Technical Training, or CTE, is for students who couldn't make it in college.

$50M Bond Referendum For Research Projects Approved By Maine Voters

23 hours ago
Troy R. Bennett / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has certified that nearly 61 percent of voters in last week’s statewide bond referendum approved the borrowing plan.

It has been apparent since last week that the few voters who went to the polls endorsed the bond question, but the results weren’t official until Dunlap’s announcement and Gov. Paul LePage’s signing of the vote proclamation Wednesday morning.

BANGOR, Maine — A group of disabled constituents represented by a Maine congressman say his Bangor office is inaccessible to them and others.

WABI-TV reports that a group of disabled people gathered at Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s office Tuesday to demonstrate the difficulty they have accessing his office. The group says the building’s broken doorbell and three steps leading to the office space present problems for them.

Marianna Fricke, a constituent who uses a wheelchair, says she feels left out and powerless.

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