Archive for December, 2017

Augusta area’s biggest stories of 2017

December 31st, 2017

AUGUSTA — Marijuana, marches and motorcycle deaths were among the biggest stories in 2017 for the Augusta region.

Here’s a look back at some of the important moments that made headlines this past year, signaling even more developments to come as these stories play out in 2018.

A woman walks near down utility lines on Summer Street in Hallowell on Oct. 30 as a storm with gale-force wind passed through Maine knocking out power across the state.

People hold up signs at the start of the Women's March on Maine on Jan. 21 at the Maine State House in Augusta.

Ralph St. Pierre, Augusta's finance director and assistant city manager, picks up bed bugs that were reportedly spilled by a disgruntled man at Augusta City Hall.


photo-store

Marching on Augusta

In January, thousands of people converged on Augusta to take part in the Women’s March on Maine. The event was designed to give people who could not travel to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington an opportunity to protest. While their concerns varied, many said their worry stemmed from the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

It was the first in a series of rallies across the political spectrum organized in Augusta in the months that followed, including rallies in support of Trump, condemning political violence, supporting the Affordable Care Act, and opposing hate following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a rally backed by white supremacists.

Article source: http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/12/31/augusta-areas-biggest-stories-of-2017/

Week in review: No white Christmas jewelry refunds; retail pot deal may be near

December 31st, 2017

HEALTH CARE

Mercy seeks state’s approval for expansion on Fore River

Portland’s Mercy Hospital is moving forward with plans to build and relocate to a new facility on Fore River Parkway despite suffering financial losses in recent years. Mercy President Charlie Therrien said Wednesday that the hospital submitted a letter of intent last week to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to obtain a Certificate of Need for its Fore River hospital project. The current plan calls for a 108,000-square-foot facility in addition to the existing 150,000 square feet of hospital space, not including medical offices, built on the Fore River site in 2008. Following two consecutive years of eight-figure losses, Therrien said Mercy has rebounded by focusing on efficiency and quality of patient care. The hospital reduced its net operating loss for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, to $3.9 million from a loss of $17.4 million the previous year. Therrien said construction on the Fore River hospital, which has an estimated cost of $75 million, would not begin until Mercy experiences at least one full year of solvency following its recent losses. Read the story.

Maine Med expansion could lead to spring road closures

Maine Medical Center is proposing to close about a block of Congress Street for eight weeks next spring as contractors work on adding three floors to the visitor parking garage. The plan is part of Maine Med’s gargantuan $512 million expansion, which is expected to take about five years to

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/12/31/week-in-review-dec-24-30-no-white-christmas-jewelry-refunds-retail-pot-deal-may-be-near/

Merger, Gallant among area’s top 10 stories of 2017

December 31st, 2017

Try describing 2017 in a concise way. We dare you.

In Maine, as in the rest of the country, it was a year that started with a loud and often ugly political debate that never seemed to end. There were scandals of all kinds and tragedies almost too immense to bear.

Locally, the idea to combine Lewiston and Auburn into one city spurred vigorous debate that occasionally mutated into something darker than typical political discourse. News of a missing TV weatherman transformed into a suicide and allegations of rape that floored the community. A deeply respected county sheriff went down in the flames of scandal after lewd photographs were given to a television news station.

The Sun Journal published a story about one woman’s brutal ride in a prisoner transport van that would outrage many and change the way authorities in Maine move their inmates. The scourge of heroin and prescription drugs continued unabated while pot began moving into the mainstream — in a confusing fit of stops and starts.

Will the slopes of Saddleback ever be dotted with happy skiers again? Is there anyone left who ISN’T running for Maine governor? Will Lewiston’s mayoral run-off system continue to produce drawn-out — but close and entertaining — races?

In July, the Costello family announced that after four generations of ownership, it was selling the Sun Journal and 16 other publications to the owner of MaineToday Media, parent company of the Portland Press Herald. Around the same time, a popular marathon runner got into

Article source: http://www.sunjournal.com/merger-gallant-among-areas-top-10-stories-of-2017/

Maine’s Regulated Marijuana Market Could Still Be Saved – Forbes

December 30th, 2017

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is not a fan of marijuana legalization. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” said state Governor Paul LePage in a warning to voters against approving a marijuana legalization measure. “We do not need to legalize another drug that could lead to more deaths.”

With the governor’s anti-cannabis rhetoric, it was no surprise when he vetoed a bill to regulate marijuana sales. It looked like the state might miss its deadline to set up a regulated market by February 1.

But now, state lawmakers are expressing hope that they could still pass a marijuana bill with LePage’s blessing. The legislative committee in charge of setting up a regulatory framework has set up a public hearing on a new bill for January 5 and is seeking a meeting with the governor in hopes of reaching a compromise.

“I’m feeling positive that if we can resolve a few of these issues, I think there is a pathway to passing a bill,” committee member Rep. Patrick Corey told the Portland Press Herald.

In his veto letter, LePage expressed displeasure with the different regulatory structures between the proposed recreational market and the state’s existing medical marijuana market. He also questioned whether cannabis tax revenues would pay for the regulatory costs. These concerns could be addressed as lawmakers work on the new bill.

But mostly, LePage’s grievance with the regulation bill

Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/monazhang/2017/12/30/maines-regulated-marijuana-market-could-still-be-saved/

Maine’s Regulated Marijuana Market Could Still Be Saved

December 30th, 2017

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is not a fan of marijuana legalization. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” said state Governor Paul LePage in a warning to voters against approving a marijuana legalization measure. “We do not need to legalize another drug that could lead to more deaths.”

With the governor’s anti-cannabis rhetoric, it was no surprise when he vetoed a bill to regulate marijuana sales. It looked like the state might miss its deadline to set up a regulated market by February 1.

But now, state lawmakers are expressing hope that they could still pass a marijuana bill with LePage’s blessing. The legislative committee in charge of setting up a regulatory framework has set up a public hearing on a new bill for January 5 and is seeking a meeting with the governor in hopes of reaching a compromise.

“I’m feeling positive that if we can resolve a few of these issues, I think there is a pathway to passing a bill,” committee member Rep. Patrick Corey told the Portland Press Herald.

In his veto letter, LePage expressed displeasure with the different regulatory structures between the proposed recreational market and the state’s existing medical marijuana market. He also questioned whether cannabis tax revenues would pay for the regulatory costs. These concerns could be addressed as lawmakers work on the new bill.

But mostly, LePage’s grievance with the regulation bill

Article source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/monazhang/2017/12/30/maines-regulated-marijuana-market-could-still-be-saved/

Merger, Gallant among area’s top 10 stories of 2017 – Lewiston Sun …

December 30th, 2017

Try describing 2017 in a concise way. We dare you.

In Maine, as in the rest of the country, it was a year that started with a loud and often ugly political debate that never seemed to end. There were scandals of all kinds and tragedies almost too immense to bear.

Locally, the idea to combine Lewiston and Auburn into one city spurred vigorous debate that occasionally mutated into something darker than typical political discourse. News of a missing TV weatherman transformed into a suicide and allegations of rape that floored the community. A deeply respected county sheriff went down in the flames of scandal after lewd photographs were given to a television news station.

The Sun Journal published a story about one woman’s brutal ride in a prisoner transport van that would outrage many and change the way authorities in Maine move their inmates. The scourge of heroin and prescription drugs continued unabated while pot began moving into the mainstream — in a confusing fit of stops and starts.

Will the slopes of Saddleback ever be dotted with happy skiers again? Is there anyone left who ISN’T running for Maine governor? Will Lewiston’s mayoral run-off system continue to produce drawn-out — but close and entertaining — races?

In July, the Costello family announced that after four generations of ownership, it was selling the Sun Journal and 16 other publications to the owner of MaineToday Media, parent company of the Portland Press Herald. Around the same time, a popular marathon runner got into

Article source: http://www.sunjournal.com/merger-gallant-among-areas-top-10-stories-of-2017/

Search continues for second man wanted in Millinocket homicide …

December 30th, 2017
contributed | contributed | BDN

Authorities continued to search Friday for the second of two men wanted in connection with a Millinocket homicide last week.

Tony Locklear, 43, formerly of East Millinocket, remained at large for a second day since the arrest of Christopher Murray, 38, on Wednesday in Maxton, North Carolina, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Locklear and Murray are wanted on murder charges in Maine in connection with the shooting of Wayne Lapierre, a well-known Millinocket businessman, who died on Dec. 22 at a Bangor hospital.

Lapierre’s wife, 33-year-old Diem Lapierre, was also injured in the attack at their Millinocket home on Dec. 19, police have said.

State police have declined to provide details of the shooting or what motivated it.

Lapierre grew medical marijuana at several sites and owned property and a construction company in Millinocket.

Locklear was a truck driver for Emery Lee Sons, a local construction company, and was last employed there in 2014, according to an employee.

A check of the Maine Criminal History Record at maine.gov indicated no criminal convictions for either suspect. A similar North Carolina database also showed no convictions in that state.

Portland police arrested Locklear on Feb. 27, Portland police Lt. Robert Martin said Friday. Officers Ian Geib and Jonathan Lackee said they found cocaine base and

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2017/12/29/news/penobscot/search-continues-for-second-man-wanted-in-millinocket-homicide/

Search continues for second man wanted in Millinocket homicide

December 29th, 2017
contributed | contributed | BDN

Authorities continued to search Friday for the second of two men wanted in connection with a Millinocket homicide last week.

Tony Locklear, 43, formerly of East Millinocket, remained at large for a second day since the arrest of Christopher Murray, 38, on Wednesday in Maxton, North Carolina, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Locklear and Murray are wanted on murder charges in Maine in connection with the shooting of Wayne Lapierre, a well-known Millinocket businessman, who died on Dec. 22 at a Bangor hospital.

Lapierre’s wife, 33-year-old Diem Lapierre, was also injured in the attack at their Millinocket home on Dec. 19, police have said.

State police have declined to provide details of the shooting or what motivated it.

Lapierre grew medical marijuana at several sites and owned property and a construction company in Millinocket.

Locklear was a truck driver for Emery Lee Sons, a local construction company, and was last employed there in 2014, according to an employee.

A check of the Maine Criminal History Record at maine.gov indicated no criminal convictions for either suspect. A similar North Carolina database also showed no convictions in that state.

Portland police arrested Locklear on Feb. 27, Portland police Lt. Robert Martin said Friday. Officers Ian Geib and Jonathan Lackee said they found cocaine base and

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2017/12/29/news/penobscot/search-continues-for-second-man-wanted-in-millinocket-homicide/

Caribou area Business Year in Review 2017

December 29th, 2017

The following is a recap of some of the top business stories in and around Caribou from 2017.
» Read more: Caribou area Business Year in Review 2017

Article source: https://thecounty.me/2017/12/28/news/business-news/caribou-area-business-year-in-review-2017/

Maine lawmakers optimistic that disagreements on marijuana bill …

December 29th, 2017

AUGUSTA — Key lawmakers will meet with Gov. Paul LePage on Friday to try to reach agreement on how to change an adult-use marijuana bill so it would gain his support.

Members of a special committee that drafted the bill after state voters approved legalization in 2016 said they were optimistic that they could reach a compromise on issues that led LePage to veto the measure in November.

Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, House chair of the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee, said,

“I’m feeling positive that if we can resolve a few of these issues, I think there is a pathway to passing a bill,” said Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham. Corey, a committee member who opposed the original measure. The new legalization bill will be debated when the legislative session begins next week, and a public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

The bill would set up a regulatory framework for the sale, production and taxation of marijuana for adult recreational use. Corey said Republicans largely opposed having a portion of marijuana sales tax revenue earmarked for cities and towns that host retail marijuana stores. Many Republicans see that as a form of local-option sales tax that might encourage some towns to recruit marijuana sellers, or lead to “marijuana deserts” in some areas, where legal marijuana would not be available and black markets would flourish, he said.

Corey said there are also concerns that the proposed 10 percent sales tax and 10 percent excise tax on retail sales would not generate

Article source: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/12/28/maine-lawmakers-to-meet-with-gov-lepage-to-try-to-iron-out-differences-on-pot-bill/