Maine panel to discuss Medicaid consultant, rides
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers are discussing a decision by Republican Gov. Paul LePage administration's to hire an outside consultant to review Maine's Medicaid program.
The Health and Human Services committee will consider the nearly $1 million contract for the Alexander Group among other issues involving the state's health department Tuesday.
Gary Alexander's group was hired to address the financial issues in Maine's Medicaid program and study whether the state has the capacity to expand Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. Democrats say Alexander's contentious welfare-cutting policies in other states have hurt low-income people.
The committee will also discuss a program that provides rides to Medicaid patients to appointments that has been troubled since switching to a new system in August and a psychiatric hospital that recently lost $20 million in funding.
LePage: Maine manufacturer to expand, create jobs
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage says a manufacturing company in the state is planning to expand its operations.
The Republican governor said that the Ntension Corporation of Hermon, a wholesale tension-fabric structures manufacturer, will expand this spring into a new 40,000 square-foot facility.
He says that growth will allow the company to create 21 new jobs over the next two years.
The new facility is expected to be completed in May. The company hopes to have between 80 and 90 workers by 2017.
LePage says his administration has been working closely with Ntension to help the company get the economic incentives that are allowing them to grow their company in Maine.
Arrest made in shooting of Gardiner woman
GARDINER, Maine (AP) - A Wiscasset man has been charged in connection with the weekend shooting of his girlfriend in a Gardiner home.
Police say 38-year-old Sean Kingston turned himself in Monday and was charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Gardiner Chief James Toman says the investigation into the shooting is ongoing and more charges are possible.
Police responded to the home Saturday night where they found the 34-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to the torso. She was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Her name was not made public.
Toman says Kingston witnessed the shooting and left the scene once the officers arrived.
Kingston remains in jail. It's unclear if he has a lawyer.
Lebanon man dies a week after being struck by car
LEBANON, Maine (AP) - Authorities say a man struck by a car while walking along the side of a road in Lebanon last week has died.
Jason Cole, Lebanon's assistant rescue chief, identified the victim as 34-year-old Ryan Kelley, of Lebanon.
Kelley died Monday at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Cole tells the Portland Press Herald that Kelley was "well known and liked in the community," and had requested that his organs be donated.
Police say Kelley was wearing dark clothing as he walked on the side of Milton Mills Road just before 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. At least two other vehicles swerved to avoid him before he was struck. The driver stayed at the scene and called 911.
EMPTY CAR LOT
Report: Yarmouth park-and-ride lot virtually empty
YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) - A new 300-spot park-and-ride lot along Interstate 295 in Yarmouth is getting just a handful of cars per day, prompting some people to call it a waste of taxpayer money and an environmental mistake.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the lot that opened three weeks ago had an average of six cars per weekday morning last week.
The largest of the state's 52 park-and-ride lots cost $1 million. Environmentalists are angry that three acres of woodland were cleared for it.
But state transportation officials are preaching patience. They say the lot will start to fill as more people learn about it and their commuting habits change.
Meanwhile, there appears to be one group happy with the near-empty lot. The Yarmouth High School roller-skiing team uses it for practice.
Aluminum bleachers stolen from Buckfield schools
BUCKFIELD, Maine (AP) - Police think the aluminum bleachers missing from the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School athletic complex were stolen to be sold as scrap.
Jonathan Chalmers, assistant director of buildings and grounds at the school, says a maintenance employee discovered the theft during a check on the fields Friday afternoon.
He tells the Sun Journal that two or three 16-foot benches and the seats and foot rests from a three-level set of bleachers were taken. The aluminum slats were detached from the bleachers' galvanized steel frame.
The complex, which has baseball and soccer fields, is several hundred yards behind the school in a wooded area and cannot be seen from the road running by the school.
Sheriff's Deputy Nathan Bowie says investigators are pursuing several leads.
BIG TIP TRIP
Maine waitress gets $500 tip from Kentucky man
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Kentucky man leaving giant tips at restaurants around the nation in the name of his late brother has struck in Maine.
Seth Collins, of Lexington, Ky., on Monday handed a $500 tip to waitress Emily Young at the end of her shift at the Flatbread Company in Portland.
Young tells the Portland Press Herald she had had a miserable day for tips and at first thought Collins wanted to complain. When he showed her the handful of $20 bills, she says she felt lucky, maybe a little in shock.
She plans to share the tip with co-workers, pay bills and buy a round of beer for her friends.
Collins is handing out the tips in honor of his brother, Aaron, who died in July 2012 at age 30.
Kuster calls for heating funds to be restored
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - Congresswoman Annie Kuster says across-the-board budget cuts are slashing funds for heating assistance, and that is hurting New Hampshire families.
Funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program has declined in New Hampshire every year since 2008. This year, the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration has cut more than $1.6 million in funding from the program.
Kuster visited Southern New Hampshire Services in Nashua on Monday. She called on Congress to pass a responsible budget that restores vital funding for heating assistance.
Kuster says the cuts eliminate heating assistance for more than 1,200 low-income New Hampshire households.
17-year-old dies in Everett Turnpike accident
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire State Police say a 17-year-old driver has died after losing control of his pickup truck while trying to get onto the Everett Turnpike.
Police said they found Cameron Ricard of Hollis dead in the pickup at about 10:30 p.m. Monday.
A preliminary investigation determined the vehicle had been traveling northbound on the Exit 1A off-ramp when Ricard lost control and the vehicle spun. The vehicle struck the right side guardrail and vaulted it. The truck rolled over at least once, onto the Exit 1 on ramp and came to rest upright, facing the wrong way on the ramp.
Police said alcohol does not appear to be a factor.
1 dead, brother, woman injured in Salisbury crash
(Information in the following story is from: The Daily News of Newburyport (Mass.), http://www.newburyportnews.com )
SALISBURY, Mass. (AP) - Salisbury police say one person is dead and his brother is clinging to life after a car crash over the weekend.
Police on Monday say the victim of the crash 12:30 a.m. Sunday was 28-year-old Leland Cole of Lynn. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
His half brother, 18-year-old Nicholas Niland and Derry, N.H., was listed in critical condition in a Boston hospital.
Another occupant of the car, 25-year-old Tiffany Poulin, of Salisbury, was also flown to a Boston hospital. Her condition was not known.
Police tells The Daily News of Newburyport the driver apparently lost control on Route 1 north and struck a tree. The preliminary investigation indicates that the driver was not impaired, but speed appears to be a factor.
ATM CARD THEFT
Police: Woman's new ATM card taken, used in NH
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Police in Concord, N.H., are looking for a man they believe stole a woman's ATM card and used it to withdraw over $300 from her bank account.
Police said the woman said she had lost her original ATM card and immediately reported it lost to the bank. She was in the process of moving and the bank mailed a new card to her former address in Concord.
It's believed someone may have intercepted her mail at the address, which had the new ATM card and the PIN number sent in a separate envelope.
The unauthorized withdrawal took place in August at the Sovereign Bank ATM on West Street.
Police have recovered video surveillance from the bank and are asking the public to assist in identifying the man recorded.
NH Fish and Game seeks support for tern study
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire's Fish and Game Department is working to study the tern population on the Isles of Shoals.
The Isles are home to the largest colony of breeding terns in the Gulf of Maine. The birds, including the threatened common tern and the state and federally endangered roseate terns plus Arctic terns, all migrate south each spring to next and raise their young.
The department's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is raising money to develop new research to learn about the terns' foraging practices and how they affect the ability to raise young birds.
The program is seeking public support through tax-deductible contributions to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Dr., Concord.
Job fairs going on in NH
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A couple of job fairs are going on in New Hampshire.
There's an Express Employment recruiting event scheduled in the New Hampshire Employment Security office in Manchester from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Positions being offered range from electro-mechanical technicians and assemblers to silkscreeners and sheet metal workers.
Tuesday is the second day of a three-day job fair for Bass Pro Shops at Manchester Community College. The fair is 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cashiers, customer service, and various sales associate positions are available.
Charges dropped in fatal, driver found incompetent
BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a felony charge against an 86-year-old woman who was driving in an accident that killed a pedestrian, saying she was found incompetent to stand trial.
Georgianna Carter of North Bennington was arraigned in January on a charge of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle resulting in a fatality.
Police said she hit and killed 79-year-old Henry Chalifoux of North Bennington on Route 67A, outside of Chalifoux's home; he was getting his mail.
The Rutland Herald reports Judge Nancy Corsones said Carter would be subject to an order of non-hospitalization. Carter will be committed to the care of the Vermont Department of Mental Health.
Prosecutors can make requests for conditions that would be set for Carter, who has given up her license and car.
ST ALBANS ROBBERY
Police look for robber in St. Albans
ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) - Police in St. Albans, Vt., are looking for a man who robbed a convenience store.
Police say at about 9:45 p.m. Monday, the man entered the South Main Grocery and showed a weapon. He left the store with an undisclosed amount.
WCAX-TV reports police say the store has been hit many times before.
Police say the robber is heavyset, in his mid-to-late 20s, with brown or reddish-brown facial hair. He was wearing a dark heavy coat, face mask, and dark pants.
Jay Peak worker says accident was his fault
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A snowboard instructor says he was at fault in a skiing accident at the Jay Peak ski resort in which a 5-year-old girl was seriously injured.
But William Vincent of Montgomery tells a federal court that he was employed by the resort at the time.
The Burlington Free Press reports Vincent submitted a statement in the lawsuit filed by the family of Juliana Kane of West Newbury, Mass. They said she was taking a ski lesson in April when Vincent came down a hill at a high rate of speed and collided with her.
Resort president Bill Stenger had said Vincent had been fired a week earlier for an unrelated incident. Vincent said in his sworn statement Monday he was employed and was using a Jay Peak ski pass.
Liberal, conservative groups to debate education
LYNDONVILLE, Vt. (AP) - Two Vermont think tanks - one that generally leans right, the other left - are facing off for a series of debates this winter on education policy.
The Ethan Allen Institute and Public Assets Institute will be discussing school choice and other education issues.
About a third of Vermont towns - 93 - have de facto school choice because they have no school and allow students to pick what nearby school they'll attend.
The Ethan Allen Institute's two-member team is expected to push for expanding school choice, while the Public Assets Institute will defend traditional public schools.
The first debate is this Friday, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Burke Mountain Room on the fourth floor of the Samuel Read Hall Library at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville.
24 police dogs in Vt, NH, getting protective vests
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Twenty-four police dogs in Vermont and New Hampshire have received special vests to protect them from bullet and stab wounds.
The vets have been provided by a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group called Vested Interest in K9s Inc.
Each vest costs $950 and has a five-year warranty.
The nonprofit in East Taunton was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with the body armor for dogs. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest has provided over 435 law enforcement dogs with protective vests since their inception.
Over $400,000 in K9 vests have been donated in 35 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
NH, Vt. hospitals look to centralize lab services
LEBANON, N.H. (AP) - Several hospitals in New Hampshire and Vermont are exploring the idea of centralizing their lab services.
Mount Ascutney Hospital and Health Center of Windsor, Vt., New London Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont have agreed to participate in a pilot project with Dartmouth-Hitchcock's pathology department. Patients will continue to have blood drawn at their local hospital or doctor's office, with test specimens sent to Dartmouth-Hitchcock for processing.
The goal is to improve lab standardization and quality while reducing costs. The three hospitals are all part of the New England Alliance for Health, a group of health care facilities working to increase the quality, efficiency and availability of health care in New Hampshire, Vermont and western Massachusetts.
The lab project is expected to be established by next spring.
Vt. joins suit seeking fees in patent litigation
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The state of Vermont is joining 29 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a circuit court standard and help recover attorneys' fees in patent litigation.
Attorney General Bill Sorrell says the states filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the high court to relax the standard that lower courts use to award attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in some patent cases.
The brief, drafted by Vermont, explains the harm caused by so-called "patent trolls" and urges the Court to adopt a rule that would make it easier for businesses that successfully defend meritless claims of patent infringement to recover some of their litigation costs.
Patent trolls allegedly buy up patents from others and make money by asserting infringement and demanding licensing fees or settlements.
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