Central Maine News: January 12, 2016
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(KJ) -- With the major Water Street Reconstruction project set for 2018, Hallowell residents and community leaders have been working on finding additional parking in the busy downtown district. According to the KJ the City Council met for the first time this year to discuss this and other issues at City Hall on Winthrop Street. The mayor appointed the Parking/Alternative Transportation Committee which will look at downtown Hallowell parking issues and seek ways to add more permanent parking.
(KJ) -- Mainers can still use their driver’s licenses as identification to board airplanes. According to the KJ, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, citing a recent statement by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary said driver’s licenses will be accepted for two more years. As of Jan. 22, 2018, a REAL ID-compliant form of identification will be required for any Maine resident to board a commercial domestic flight. Over the next two years, those states, like Maine, that are not REAL ID-compliant are strongly encouraged to meet the requirements of the law for the benefit of their residents. Only 23 states are now fully compliant.
(AP) — A Maine legislative committee is taking up a proposal to provide more flexibility in carbon monoxide detectors that have been made mandatory in more buildings. Current state law requires either carbon monoxide detectors to either use 10-year batteries or be connected to electrical service in childcare facilities, fraternity and sorority houses, inns, bed and breakfasts, rental units and newly purchased homes. The proposal would ease the requirement of a 10-year battery in certain cases, including if the detector uses wireless communication technology or multiple sensors.
(AP) — It's been another week of low gas prices across northern New England. Among the three states, the price-tracking website GasBuddy.com says gasoline prices are lowest in New Hampshire, where the average price fell 2 cents per gallon last week to $1.95. In Vermont, the average price stayed the same at $2.13 per gallon, and in Maine, it's $2.05, falling nearly 2 cents per gallon.The national average is $1.97. The national average has dropped 3.8 cents per gallon in the last month and is 15.6 cents per gallon lower than the price a year ago.
(WGME) -- Over a dozen people are not allowed in their Lewiston apartment building because of Sunday's rain. According to WGME the heavy rain caused the foundation to buckle at the Eastwood Village Apartments. The apartment’s owner says the pressure from the water pooling at its base shifted the foundation almost 20 inches. Crews quickly cut power to the building and then worked to keep it from shifting anymore. The owner hopes to have the building repaired and safe for them to go back into Monday.
(AP) -- A Wal-Mart location in Palmyra was evacuated after a malfunctioning valve set fire to a heater behind the store over the weekend. The blaze was reported around 4 p.m. Sunday by a passing motorist who noticed flames sprouting from the outdoor propane heater. The portable heater, which sits about 25 feet from the back of the store, heats propane from liquid to vapor that will be fed to other heaters on the building's roof. The outside heater will be replaced.
(WGME) -- A puppy, reportedly stolen from a pet store, was found safe in a home in Bowdoin. Oxford Police say after a number of tips they were able to track down the 8-week-old cocker spaniel/poodle mix. On Saturday afternoon, the owner of Mainely Puppies says a woman opened up a crate, picked up a puppy, put it in her jacket and then walked out of the store. At this point, no charges have been filed.
(WABI) -- Nearly 300 people packed into Cony High School in Augusta Monday night for a community forum on opiate abuse. Attendees heard from local law enforcement, community leaders, healthcare providers, prosecutors, and emergency responders. The evening’s keynote speaker, Skip Gates of Skowhegan, talked about losing his 21-year-old son to a heroin overdose. Augusta Police encourage residents to report illegal drug activity through their anonymous tip line by calling 620-8009.
(AP) — Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address. He won't directly appeal for Americans to keep the Democratic Party in the White House for a third straight term. And he won't endorse a specific candidate in the 2016 race. But White House officials say he will outline domestic and international priorities that build on steps he's taken during his two terms in office, a vision certain to be more in line with Hillary Clinton and other Democrats than the GOP presidential candidates.
(AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief says 4.5 million Syrians are living in besieged or hard-to-reach areas and desperately need humanitarian aid. Stephen O'Brien is calling for continued delivery of food, medicine, fuel and other supplies to towns cut off for months by the war. On Monday, supplies reached a village near Damascus and two Shiite villages in the northern part of the country.