Central Maine News: Nov 24, 2015
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) — The Maine Department of Health and Human Service is going after soda and junk food purchased with food stamps. Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced that the agency is seeking a federal waiver to prevent the purchase of unhealthy food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP for short. She acknowledged it's a longshot. Such a waiver has never granted such a waiver. The Maine Legislature has previously defeated proposals to seek a waiver after encountering significant resistance by advocates for the poor, soda manufacturers and the trade group representing grocers. DHHS said that Maine spent more than $115 million in medical claims related to obesity in its Medicaid program, and 88 percent of Medicaid recipients receive SNAP benefits.
(AP) — Three members of Maine's congressional delegation are telling President Barack Obama they have serious reservations about a proposal to have more than 100,000 acres of Maine's northern woods designated a national monument. In a letter to the president dated Friday, Sens. Susan Collins, Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin said no decision about the future of the land should be made without taking into account the opinions of Maine residents who live near the land in the Mount Katahdin region. The land is owned by a foundation created by the co-founder of Burt's Bees, which would like to create a national park, but that would require an act of Congress. The foundation has discussed having the land declared a national monument, which can be done by presidential decree.
(AP) — The University of Maine's new ocean engineering laboratory is going to bear the name of the late philanthropist Harold Alfond. The Harold Alfond Ocean Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratories was formally dedicated on Monday. Sen. Susan Collins said the support from the foundation created by the founder of Dexter Shoe has helped to create a center that'll "help secure Maine's place as a national leader in the ocean economy of the future."The $13.8 million center ocean simulator will be used to determine if offshore wind power components can withstand the sea's fury. Nearly $4 million came from Alfond's foundation. Joining Collins at the event was Sen. Angus King, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, University of Maine President Susan Hunter, and Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation.
(WGME/KJ) -- Police say they seized thousands of dollars’ worth of heroin and a whole lot of cash today in Augusta. Police say a detective, just promoted to look into drug activity, helped make the bust. Investigators say they seized 45 grams of heroin, worth about $7,000 from a home on Ridge Road. According to WGME they charged 48-year-old William Joseph Young and 22-year-old Katelynn Marie McLaughlin with aggravated drug trafficking.
(WMTW/KJ) —A pedestrian was killed Monday night after he was hit by a car in Pittston.The Kennebec County Sheriff's Office says the 83-year-old man was hit on Route 194 at around 5 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, a 61-year-old woman, was not injured. Officials do not believe she was impaired, but are looking into "other circumstances" as part of their investigation into the crash. The name of the victim is being withheld until family members are notified.
(AP) — A military court in Thailand has indicted two men accused of carrying out a deadly bombing at a central Bangkok shrine that left 20 people dead and more than 120 injured. The Aug. 17 blast at the popular Erawan Shrine was one of the most deadly acts of violence in Bangkok in decades. The two suspects (identified as Bilal Mohammad and Mieraili Yusufu) have been indicted on 10 counts, but none of them are terrorism charges. Authorities have declined to call it an act of terrorism out of apparent fear that it would hurt the country's huge tourism industry.
(AP) — Police in France say an explosive vest found by a street cleaner in a Paris suburb did not have a detonator, but it was found near the place where a terror suspect's mobile phone was found. Authorities say an attacker could have aborted his mission or fled in fear. Meanwhile, Belgium's prime minister says there's enough of a "serious and imminent" threat to keep the highest alert level operational for at least another week.
(AP) — U.S. and Chinese trade envoys are promising to work together to protect business secrets and Beijing appears to be giving ground in a dispute over proposed technology security rules for its banks. Cabinet-level trade, agriculture and other officials have been meeting in Beijing, and the two governments also agreed to work more closely on food security and combating illegal logging and wildlife trafficking. But there's no sign of progress on larger issues such as a proposed investment treaty.
(AP) — Five people have been shot near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer in Minneapolis. Police say none of the injuries is life-threatening. The Star Tribune reports the shootings happened near an alley about a block away from the 4th Precinct station, where protesters have been conducting a sit-in since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.
(AP) — The 14-year-old Muslim Texas boy arrested after taking a homemade clock to school now wants $15 million. A law firm representing Ahmed Mohamed sent letters Monday demanding $10 million from the city of Irving, $5 million from the Irving Independent School District and letters of apology. Ahmed took his clock to school in September, and an educator thought it could be a bomb. Ahmed was arrested but never charged. He was suspended from school.