Central Maine News: Dec 23, 2015
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) — Northern New England is looking at some record-breaking warmth this week. National Weather Service forecasters say the warmest day is going to be Christmas Eve, with forecast highs of 61 degrees in Portland, Maine, 62 degrees in Concord, New Hampshire, and 63 degrees in Burlington, Vermont. The current record for that date is 53 in Portland, 57 in Concord and 51 in Burlington. Forecasters say all three cities also are on tap to break records for warmth for the entire month. Burlington is running 7 degrees above the current record and Portland and Concord are running a degree or so ahead of their records.
(AP) — Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney say there's no basis for a criminal investigation into actions by the governor that caused a charter school operator to withdraw a job offer to a political foe. The request for an investigation was made by three lawmakers who've called for impeachment proceedings against Gov. Paul LePage over the episode. House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat, has accused the Republican governor of blackmail for intervening to get him fired from Good Will-Hickley. In their letter, Maloney and Mills said "there's not a basis at this time" to open a criminal investigation.
(AP) — Maine law enforcement officials say they have arrested 15 people for conspiring to traffic in heroin following indictments by a grand jury in Oxford County. Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney says the arrests are part of an investigation that is likely the largest drug investigation in Oxford County history. Police say most of the people charged were arrested on Tuesday by officers in the county and elsewhere. Authorities say the two-year Maine Drug Enforcement Agency investigation uncovered that the 15 people charged were responsible for importing and distributing 17.8 pounds of heroin throughout Oxford County. That amount of heroin has a street value of $3.2 million. The 15 people charged are from Massachusetts, Maine and Tennessee. They face a host of conspiracy and trafficking charges.
(AP) — The Maine Association of Realtors says home sales jumped more than 22 percent in November compared to a year ago. The association also says sales prices are continuing to creep upward. The medium sales price for the state rose 4.35 percent, to $180,000, compared to November 2014. The uptick in sales and price comes as the National Association of Realtors reports a 4.6 percent dip in single-family existing home sales around the country. The national median sales price increased 6.6 percent to $221,600 in November. Sales in the northeastern states were up 1.5 percent from November 2014 while the median sales price rose 3.2 percent to $254,800.
(AP) -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he will fight a proposal from legislators that would require agency commissioners and other officials to appear in person before committees . Lawmakers are discussing whether to allow the bill mandating in-person testimony into the January session. After a perceived lack of respect shown toward cabinet members and department heads, LePage limited the number of appearances made by staffers before legislative committees. The governor instead had officials submit responses to questioning in writing. Sen. Roger Katz, an Augusta Republican, says write-in answers simply don't work. House Republican Leader Ken Fredette, of Newport, is concerned that the bill has constitutional issues -- mainly that it could be interpreted as the legislative branch infringing on the executive branch.
(WGME) -- A dog and its owner are recovering after going through the ice in Norridgewock on Monday. Firefighters say around noon a dog went out onto a bog and fell through the ice, about 400 feet from shore. They say the owner tried to go after the dog, but fell through the thin ice as well. She was able to get out, but firefighters responded to help save the dog. Using a special sled, crews were able to get to the dog within minutes. They say, apart from being very cold and wet, both the dog and owner are okay. This is good reminder that any ice out there is very, very thin.
(AP) — More than 60 hours after a massive landslide in southern China, a man has been pulled from the rubble alive. An emergency official says the migrant worker was rescued around dawn Wednesday. State broadcaster CCTV is reporting the man is undergoing surgery for a broken hand and on his foot. More than 70 people are still missing after a mountain of construction waste material and mud collapsed and flowed into an industrial park in Shenzhen on Sunday.
(AP) — The woman accused of plowing into a crowd of pedestrians on the Las Vegas Strip is expected to make her first appearance before a judge Wednesday. Lakeisha Holloway is charged with murder, child abuse and hit-and-run after police say she intended to drive into pedestrians Sunday, killing one person and injuring dozens of others. Holloway's young daughter was in the car at the time of the crash.
(BDN/KJ) -- A man has been charged in connection with kicking a puppy on the Kennebec River rail trail last month. According to the Bangor Daily News, Michael Hein, 45, of Augusta was running along the rail trail and apparently kicked a puppy that a woman had been walking. Hein was charged with animal cruelty. According to the woman’s complaint, Hein approached her and the dog and after a brief exchange of words, Hein passed by and kicked the dog. The dog suffered minor injuries. Hein’s attorney said Monday night that Hein denies kicking the dog.