Veto of subsidy study upheld by Maine House
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine House has upheld Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill calling for a study of rental subsidies for people with intellectual disabilities.
Representatives sustained the veto Wednesday as a motion to override fell short of the two-thirds vote needed.
The bill addressed the state's responsibility to provide room and board for Mainers with intellectual disabilities. Supporters say the state contribution has been shrinking while costs for providers are rising.
In his veto message, the governor said the cost to pay for the study to be done was not addressed in the bill. He also said it was premature to conduct the study.
Portland mayor meets with immigrant businessmen
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Portland's mayor is meeting with immigrant business owners to discuss the role that immigrants play in the city's economy.
Michael Brennan and Portland's economic development director are visiting businesses on Thursday, two days after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved a far-reaching bill to remake the nation's immigration system.
The Maine People's Alliance says Brennan's tour will begin with a ride in a taxi owned by a Burundi man to a grocery store/export business owned by men from Sudan and Nigeria. The tour ends at a restaurant owned by brothers from Iraq.
Brennan will listen to the business owners and others give their thoughts on immigration reform and other issues.
Maine education commissioner visits Belfast school
BELFAST, Maine (AP) - Maine's education commissioner is visiting Belfast as part of his ongoing tour to observe innovative school programs across the state.
Stephen Bowen is visiting Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Thursday, where he will sit in on social studies, science and performing arts classes before participating in small-group conversations with teachers and eighth-graders.
A film crew is accompanying the commissioner for two videos that are being produced showcasing student-centered, proficiency-based approaches in Maine schools.
The Belfast visit is part of Bowen's Promising Practices tour. He visited Biddeford Middle School earlier this week.
MAINE STATE PRISON-WARDEN
New warden hired at Maine State Prison
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine's largest prison has a new warden.
Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte announced Wednesday that Rodney Bouffard has been promoted to warden at the Maine State Prison after serving as acting warden for several months. He replaces Patricia Barnhart, who was fired in January after a little more than three years on the job.
Bouffard has served in many high-level positions in state government and in the Department of Corrections, most recently as superintendent of the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.
The Maine State Prison is located in Warren and has a capacity of about 900 inmates.
Maine home sales jump 14% in April
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Maine Association of Realtors says sales of existing single-family homes in Maine jumped 14% in April compared to a year earlier, and the median sales price increased 4%.
The association says real estate agents last month sold 939 homes at a median price of about $175,000. That's up from 824 home sales at a median price of $168,000 in April 2012.
Association President Bart Stevens says Maine's real estate market continues to improve, and that he's seeing more people buying cottages, camps and other recreational properties.
For the three-month period from February through April, Cumberland County had the highest median home sales price, at about $229,000. Washington County had the lowest, at $60,000.
Signs to alert Maine motorists to turtle crossings
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Signs are being put up to ask motorists in southern York County to be aware of rare turtles crossing area roads.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy are marking the turtle crossing areas in Wells, South Berwick and York with hopes of reducing highway deaths of 2 of the state's rarest species, Blanding's and spotted turtles.
Motorists encountering the roadside turtle signs should reduce their speed and be on the lookout for jaywalking turtles. Drivers who see a turtle crossing the road and want to help are asked to safely pull over to the side of the road and, only if it is safe to do so, move the turtle to the side of the road in the direction it was headed.
NH House rejects legalizing casino
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The House has turned aside lobbying by the governor and arguments that New Hampshire should compete with Massachusetts for gambling revenue and killed a bill that legalized a casino.
The House voted 199-164 Wednesday to kill a Senate bill allowing 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games at one facility despite heavy lobbying for its passage by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Supporters argued New Hampshire needed money for higher education, highway improvements and other state programs.
New Hampshire has no personal income or general sales tax and many felt gambling was the best remaining way to raise money without a tax.
Opponents argued a casino wasn't worth increases in addicted gamblers and tarnished image of a state that caters to families and tourists.
NH Senate considering legalizing medical marijuana
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The Senate is voting whether New Hampshire should join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing seriously ill people to use marijuana to treat their conditions.
The Senate votes Thursday on a House bill that would legalize marijuana use and possession by patients with conditions such as Crohn's disease and cancer. A Senate committee is recommending making changes to the House version that include eliminating the option for patients to grow the drug at home as well as obtain it at a dispensary.
The Senate proposal also removes PTSD from the list of approved conditions and decreasing the number of dispensaries sanctioned from five to four.
NH woman convicted of child porn to be sentenced
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman convicted earlier this year of sexually exploiting her teenage daughter to produce child pornography faces up to 100 years in prison at her sentencing in federal court.
The woman - a 43-year-old Manchester lawyer - was convicted in January of transporting her daughter across state lines to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation to produce child pornography.
Sentencing briefs filed by both her lawyer and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas are sealed.
The Associated Press doesn't typically identify victims of sexual assault and is not naming the mother to avoid identifying her daughter.
A jury convicted the woman after a 2-day trial that featured a series of sexually explicit videos she made of her 14-year-old daughter.
Suspect in NH assault case turns self in
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - A 911 call about an alleged domestic assault at a home in Portsmouth, N.H., that turned into a manhunt involving SWAT teams and a city motel has ended with the suspect turning himself in to police.
Police were looking for 42-year-old Edward Critten. They said he was wanted on two counts of simple assault and a charge alleging criminal mischief. He was convicted of assault in November and served some jail time.
Critten turned himself in on Wednesday afternoon.
Police first responded to the home at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday. By 4 p.m., SWAT teams were sent to a Motel 6, where police believed one or more suspects were hiding.
OPEN ROAD TOLLING
NH open road tolling underway in Hooksett
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has cut the ribbon to signal the start of open road tolling at the Hooksett toll plaza in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The four lanes of open road tolling - two northbound and two southbound on Interstate 93 - officially opened at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The $23 million project converted six conventional toll lanes to the four open road lanes, where drivers with E-ZPasses can breeze through without stopping.
The high-speed lanes are separated from the conventional lanes by concrete barriers.
Transportation officials say 25 million vehicles pass through the Hooksett tolls a year and up to 80,000 vehicles pass through during the summer months.
The New Hampshire Turnpike along Interstate 95 has open-road tolling at its tolls in Hampton.
INTERSTATE CONSTRUCTION WORK
Bridge, deck work planned for I-293 in Manchester
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Transportation Department is going to close the on & off ramps of Exit 4 on Interstate 293 in Manchester for bridge and deck work.
The work is scheduled for Thursday night.
Lane closures will be in place within the Exit 4 interchange area. Southbound and northbound lane closures will go into effect starting at 7 p.m. The ramps will be closed at 10 p.m.
All lane and ramp closures will be removed by 5 a.m. Friday.
State Police and message boards will be used to alert motorists and guide them through the work zone.
Bill would ban lead jigs blamed for killing loons
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire's House wants to get rid of lead fishing tackle blamed for killing loons.
The House voted 225-142 Wednesday to prohibit the use of lead-weighted hooks known as jigs that weigh 1 ounce or less. The current law prohibits lead jigs that are 1 inch long or less.
The House amended the Senate bill to make it effective as of June 1, 2016, giving anglers and retailers time an additional year to find substitute tackle.
Supporters argued the bill will protect loons and allows plenty of time for anglers and dealers to switch to non-lead tackle.
Opponents said they weren't convinced the measure would reduce loon deaths, which they said vary annually.
Report: Vt. trooper's use of deadly force justified
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - An investigation has concluded that a Vermont state trooper was justified in the use of deadly force when he shot a man in a Danville school bus last year.
William Mahoney of St. Johnsbury was shot by the trooper on Sept. 18 after he allegedly stole a vehicle and then hid in the bus and broadcast threats on a school radio.
Mahoney was shot by Sgt. Brian May after what police said were threatening moves toward May - he appeared to be drawing a weapon from a holster, despite repeated commands to stop.
State Attorney General William Sorrell and Caledonia County State's Attorney Lisa Warren released a report Wednesday concluding May was legally justified in firing his gun at Mahoney.
Mahoney is facing prosecution by the Caledonia County attorney's office.
Police from Vt. and Quebec working together
JAY, Vt. (AP) - Police from Vermont and Quebec are getting to know each other so they'll be ready in case there's a major crime, terrorist attack or natural disaster along the U.S.-Canadian border.
Several dozen specialized troopers from the Vermont State Police and the Surete du Quebec are taking part in a 2-day exercise at the Jay Peak resort to work on cross-border law enforcement.
The event that will end Thursday is the third workshop designed to develop relationships and a better understanding between law enforcement officers on both sides of the border.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn says crime, disasters and terrorism know no borders.
Surete du Quebec cross border coordinator Lt. Daniel Campagna says they have found partners and friends with their Vermont counterparts.
Vt gov signs novel law against false patent claims
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed into law a novel measure aimed at protecting companies from so-called patent trolling - the practice of making deceptive claims of patent infringement in the hopes of collecting licensing or settlement money.
The new law, believed to be the first in the nation, allows courts to consider if a claim is deceptive, specifies factors that can be considered as evidence, and provides for damages or relief to Vermont companies wrongly pressured into paying licensing fees or a settlement.
Jeffrey Lewis of the American Intellectual Property Law Association said the group knows of no other law like it. Law professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University said that while the law is novel, it's not clear states have the authority to regulate patent activity.
Magic Hat sues brewer over logo
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Magic Hat Brewing is suing a Kentucky brewery over its corporate logo, which it says is a trademark infringement.
West Sixth Brewing's logo has a numeral 6 and a star-like symbol. Magic Hat says it's too much like its No. 9 beer label, which has a 9 and a star-like symbol.
Ben Self, co-founder of West Sixth Brewing, says he will stop the brewery's online logo petition calling for a stop to "corporate bullying" if Magic Hat drops its lawsuit.
The Burlington Free Press reports that Magic Hat wants West Sixth's to stop using the logo and is seeking "all profits realized by West Sixth as a result of its use of the 6 Marks."
ELECTRIC VEHICLE MAINTENANCE
VTC offers free class on hybrid, electric car work
RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Technical College is holding a free workshop on how to maintain hybrid and electric drive vehicles.
The workshop will be held Thursday and Friday at the school's Randolph campus.
The Valley News reports that class is open to auto technicians, service personnel and others involved in maintaining such vehicles.
The class is offered through the schools office of continuing education and workforce development as part of the Vermont Tech Green Trainings program. It's funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.
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