Central Maine News: Nov 5, 2015
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
Supporters of a proposal to raise Maine's minimum wage have more than enough signatures to put the issue on the statewide ballot. The campaign announced it collected more than 30,000 signatures on Election Day, bringing its total to more than 90,000 signatures. That's well over the minimum of 61,123 needed to qualify, all but guaranteeing placement on the 2016 ballot. This proposal is for the statewide ballot would raise Maine's minimum wage to $9 in 2017, then by $1 a year until it reaches $12 by 2020. After that. it'd increase at the rate as the cost of living. The campaign manager for Mainers for Fair Wages says working people "deserve better than poverty pay for full time work." (AP)
Gov. Paul LePage is praising the work of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency after agents made 20 heroin-related arrests in the past 10 days. LePage says their work is critical to curbing the drug "pandemic" in the state. The Maine Medical Examiner's Office reported nine fatal, suspected heroin overdoses in the same time period. LePage says the drug enforcement agents need more resources and help and said he's prepared to use executive authority to seek assistance from the National Guard if lawmakers don't provide additional resources. (AP)
Gifford's Famous Ice Cream is embarking on the biggest expansion in the company's history. The company plans to spend $1.6 million to double the ice cream production capacity of the Skowhegan factory.All of Gifford's ice cream is made using antique 1940s freezers in a factory in Skowhegan. The privately owned company is now being operated by fifth-generation Gifford family members. (AP)
4 people are dead after a shooting in Oakland Wednesday night. One man shot three others and then himself. The victims are an adult male and two adult women. A 4-year-old girl was also in the home at the time and is okay, according to State Police. But investigators say her parents were two of the victims. At this point, the shooter’s motive is unknown, according to investigators. (WABI/centralmaine.com)
Police say they have arrested the man suspected of robbing a Camden National Bank branch Saturday in the Goggin’s IGA supermarket in Randolph. Michael Giacomuzzi, 32, of Pittston, was arrested early Wednesday in Pittston. After police released the photos, tips from the public lead police to the suspects arrest. He made off with $5,900, and none of the money has been recovered. (centralmaine.com)
Waterville city councilors took a first vote last night to approve an ordinance that would require owners of vacant buildings to register them with the city and provide the city with a way to reach a contact person for the buildings. According to the KJ, councilors are required to take two votes to approve an ordinance but could only take one vote Wednesday. It can be difficult to get in contact with the owner of a vacant building when problems arise and this new ordinance would require owners of vacant buildings to pay a registration fee to the city and provide the name and contact data of a person responsible for the building. (centralmaine.com)
A Maine lawmaker says he's going to try to do something about so-called video trackers at polling places. Matthew Dunlap, the current secretary of state, said no laws were violated when a group videotaped voters who signed a gun control petition that was being circulated on Election Day. But Sen. Bill Diamond said something has to be done because the videotaping of voters signing petitions could have a "chilling effect" on the democratic process. He said he's going to craft legislation to address the issue. But it'd have to pass muster with the Legislative Council to be considered by lawmakers in January. (AP)
U.S. and British officials believe the Russian jetliner that crashed in the Egyptian desert could have been brought down by a bomb. A U.S. official briefed on the case says intercepted communications have led officials to believe that the Islamic State group's Sinai affiliate planted an explosive device on the plane. But there's been no formal judgment rendered by the CIA or other intelligence agencies(AP).
The commander of the Russian Air Force says Russia has sent anti-aircraft missiles to Syria to safeguard its jets involved in airstrikes against militants. Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev tells a Russian newspaper (Komsomolskaya Pravda) that Russia's fighter jets could be attacked or high-jacked while on their missions. Russia has been carrying out airstrikes on Islamic State fighters in Syria since the end of September. (AP)
China and Vietnam are trying to mend ties that have been strained over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Chinese President Xi Jinping) is in Vietnam today, planning to discuss with the country's leader territory issues as well as strengthening of relations. Bilateral relations plunged to their lowest point in years following China's parking of a giant oil rig near the Paracel Islands in an area Vietnam claims is within its exclusive economic zone. (AP)
A gunman in a rooftop apartment in San Diego interrupted air traffic from a nearby airport for several hours yesterday. Police say the gunman surrendered after a more than five-hour standoff. Police say the gunman's bullets narrowly missed an officer but no one was hurt. Police say 33-year-old Titus Colbert faces charges of attempted murder of several police officers. (AP)
An organization that helps the families of officers killed in the line of duty says for the first time it's asking for the return of a donation. The 100 Club of Chicago gave $15,000 to the widow of Illinois police officer Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. Gliniewicz was found dead September 1 near his police car after he had radioed that he was chasing three suspects. Investigators said yesterday that Gliniewicz shot himself to death after embezzling money from a police youth group. (AP)