Central Maine News: January 8, 2016
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(CNN/KJ) Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday used racially-charged language to accuse people from outside his state of fueling a substance abuse epidemic. According to CNN, when asked about the state's drug issues, LePage referenced new legislation aimed at traffickers. He said “These aren't the people who take drugs.” “These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These type of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we've go to deal with down the road." The governor’s communications director defended LePage’s remarks, saying the governor wasn’t speaking about race, but about the emotional toll that drugs have on children.
(AP) -- Health agencies are reporting fewer influenza cases in Maine, but experts warn that the flu season is far from over. Dr. Caroline Teschke, public health program manager at the India Street health clinic said that the season is going well but they aren't letting their guard down yet. She says she's concerned that people aren't taking the flu seriously this year. The number of shots administered at city clinics is 20 percent behind last year's total for this time of year. Only 37 people in the state have tested positive for influenza through Jan. 2. But the state is known to have outbreaks through April. Signs of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
(AP) -- A Maine man has pleaded not guilty to beating his 91-year-old father repeatedly with a baseball bat at their home in Brunswick. Christopher Porter appeared in court Thursday to answer charges of attempted murder and elevated aggravated assault. The defense attorney Rob Ruffner said he may ask for a psychological evaluation later. He also reserved the right to argue bail. Porter has been held on $100,000 cash bail since his arrest in October. Assistant District Attorney Katherine Tierney said the father survived the attack and has since been released from the hospital.
(WGME) -- Time Warner Cable warned customers that their personal information, including account passwords, may have been compromised. According to WGME, if you have Time Warner and have a Roadrunner email address, you should change your email account password right away. Time Warner says emails and passwords were likely stolen through malware downloaded during phishing attacks or through data breaches of other companies with Time Warner customer information. Time Warner says there's no indication its own systems were breached. Security experts say the concern is hackers can use your password to access your email and gain access to more sensitive information, like financial or tax information.
(WABI) -- Both the Criminal Justice and Health and Human Services Committees are both supporting a $4.8 million bill that would help combat Maine’s drug epidemic. It’s been under the microscope this past week – and now the committees will make recommendations to the Appropriations Committee. It include funding for treatment and recovery facilities – as well as adding 10 new DEA agents to the law enforcement mix in Maine. Lawmakers aren’t the only ones working on the drug crisis. Agencies in Kennebec and Somerset counties met Thursday to plan targeting enforcement action centered around violent crimes – many that typically involve drugs. And there is a community meeting with officials on the opiate issue Monday evening at Cony High School.
(AP) — Chinese stocks have been volatile Friday, and other Asian markets are rebounding after a plunge in Chinese prices rattled global markets. The Shanghai Composite Index is up 2.4 percent after swinging between gains and losses. Trading in Chinese stocks was suspended Thursday after a key index plunged 7 percent. On Thursday, the Dow sank 2.3 percent, the S&P 500 lost 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 3 percent.
(AP) — Two people authorities say have ties to the Islamic State group have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in California and Texas. One is a Syrian refugee charged with lying to federal investigators about his travels to the civil war in that country. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says, "This is precisely why I called for a halt to refugees entering the U.S. from countries substantially controlled by terrorists."