Central Maine News: Dec 14, 2015
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) — The largest union at Maine's Bath Iron works has approved a four-year contract that contains provisions aimed at making the shipyard more efficient. The Navy shipbuilder said its future competitiveness was at stake when Machinists Union Local S6 voted Sunday in Augusta. The company wanted concessions it says are necessary to be competitive on a bid for up to 25 Coast Guard cutters early in the new year. Without them, the company had warned of job cuts.Some of the provisions go into effect immediately while others will be phased in.
(AP) — The U.S. Navy's new stealth destroyer assisted in the rescue of a fisherman suffering chest pains early Saturday off the coast of Maine. Coast Guard officials say they received a distress call at about 3 a.m., saying the captain of a fishing boat was suffering chest pains about 40 miles southeast of Portland. Officials say a crew and small boat from the future USS Zumwalt transferred the man to the destroyer's deck. The helicopter crew then hoisted the patient and transported him to shore, where he was taken to a hospital.
(AP) — The Shaw's supermarket chain is reinstituting its Fresh Rescue food donation program, but only at one of its Maine stores. They are restoring the program in the Brunswick store because that location's partner was not notified of a recent change in policy. The partner organization is Mid Coast Hunger Prevention. Shaw's donated perishable food to local hunger organizations for many years but stopped doing so. A spokeswoman for Shaw's says the chain will continue to support food banks and pantries in New England in other ways, including food drives and charitable initiatives. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has asked the company to explain the corporate policy behind the halt in donations.
(AP) -- Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, took part in the annual Wreaths Across America remembrance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The wreaths are being laid on the graves of soldiers who sacrificed their lives defending their country. The event began quietly in Maine more than two decades ago, when Worcester Wreath Company founders Morrill and Karen Worcester decided to bring surplus wreaths to the Virginia cemetery. The event was a quiet, unheralded affair until Internet stories in 2006 highlighted the project and stoked national interest. A convoy of 12 trucks carrying nearly 250,000 wreaths left Maine Dec. 6 enroute to Arlington, where they were joined by hundreds of thousands of wreaths transported from throughout the United States. Wreaths are also being laid at veterans' cemeteries across the country.
(AP) -- The agency that's redeveloping the former Brunswick Naval Air Station says more than 800 jobs have been created. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority says the figure is nearly double the number of jobs forecast by 2015 in the base reuse plan. 80 entities are doing business at the Brunswick site and Topsham Annex. The base closed in 2011. The industrial redevelopment is now called Brunswick Landing, and the airport is called the Brunswick Executive Airport. Levesque says the airport is on pace to surpass last year's record of more than 15,000 air operations.
(BDN) -- Although drug addiction and related crimes are a growing problem across Maine, the state and its metropolitan areas still maintain some of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation. According to the Bangor Daily News, the numbers for Maine are very low considering that only seven of the nearly 400 metropolitan areas listed by the FBI had violent crime rates below 100 per 100,000 people. Philadelphia had the highest violent crime rate of 861.4 for every 100,000 residents. Maine, with a combined violent and property crime rate of 127.8 per 100,000 people . The national average is 375.5 crimes per 100,000 residents. Things may change next time because of this year’s drug and connect activity.
(AP) — Top New York officials say the federal government's keeping of terror watch-list information from state officials is creating a dangerous "terror gap." Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are demanding that watch-list information be shared so that the state can block such people from buying guns legally. Cuomo says, "This loophole does nothing more than help radical people kill innocent Americans, and it must be closed."
(AP) — President Barack Obama plans Monday to visit the Pentagon and the National Counterterrorism Center to further explain his strategy to fight the Islamic State group and its supporters in the United States. Fears of terrorism are hanging over America's holiday season, and President Obama is planning a series of events this week to try to allay those concerns.
(AP) — U.S., Australian and Japanese air force planes are dropping food and toys on remote atolls in the Pacific. It's part of the U.S. military's longest-running humanitarian relief mission. The packages will support 20,000 people across 56 islands in Micronesia, the Mariana Islands and Palau. The boxes include books, canned food and items like fishing nets that will help islanders maintain their largely subsistence lifestyle. This year, each package will also include a soccer ball.