Central Maine News: Oct 12, 2015
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
The Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets will receive more than $348,000 in federal funds for its work around the state. The money is coming in the form of two grants. One is from the United States Department of Agriculture and will provide $249,600 to increase access at farmers market for people who use food stamps. The other grant is also from the USDA and includes money for a two-year marketing campaign. The money is from four grant programs and will support local and regional food systems such as farmers markets. (AP)
Maine's universities and community colleges all have plans to deal with "active shooter" scenarios. The state's community college system says it shares those plans with students through training drills. University of Maine System students are encouraged to watch an online active shooter training video, but there's no requirement that they do so. The executive director of Safety, Health Services, Transportation and Security for the University of Maine System says crisis management plans are designed to address all sorts of emergencies, not just shootings.But there's no requirement for specific active-shooter drills. (AP)
A law that prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in the same public places where smoking is banned is set to take effect on the 15. The new law bans electronic cigarettes in places such as restaurants, playgrounds and beaches where traditional cigarettes are prohibited. The law goes into effect on Thursday. Maine House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, a Skowhegan Democrat, says the law is "a matter of public health." He says the law will prevent children, seniors and others who are sensitive to smoke and vapor from exposure to them. Maine restaurants went smoke-free in 2004 and other areas followed five years later. Electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine and use a battery-powered vaporizer to turn liquid containing nicotine into vapor.(AP)
Proponents of a national park proposal in northern Maine say they see growing support, and they're aiming for an aggressive timetable for making it a reality. Burt's Bees founder and conservationist Roxanne Quimby's original 2011 proposal called for donating the land next year on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Her son, Lucas St. Clair, who recently returned from meetings with the congressional delegation, said he's optimistic that the timetable can be met. But many locals are opposed to the plan, saying they distrust the government regulation that would come with making the land into a park. Votes this summer in two communities opposed the plan. Supporters say the plan would bring hundreds of jobs to a region that's struggled with high unemployment. (AP)
For just the third time in 40 years, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits next year, unwelcome news for more than one-fifth of the nation's population. They can blame low gas prices. By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment is based on a government measure of inflation, which is being dragged down by lower prices at the pump. Prices actually have dropped from a year ago, according to the inflation measure used for the adjustment. Only twice before, in 2010 and 2011, have there been no increases. This affects payments to more than 70 million Americans. (AP)
A kitchen at Hart-to-Hart farm is being built in honor of Cassidy Charette, 17, of Oakland. The Messalonskee High School junior was killed in a hayride crash on Oct. 11, 2014.According to WMTW, to mark the one year anniversary, friends, family and volunteers came together to put the kitchen together at the Hart-to-Hart Farm in Albion. The kitchen will serve future children who come to the farm’s day camp. Family and friends said the outpouring of love and support hasn't stopped this past year. Volunteers hope to have Cassidy’s Kitchen complete by the end of October. A dedication ceremony will be planned. (WMTW)
Dozens of people are taking to Facebook to express their condolences for the family of a Memphis police officer who was shot to death while off-duty on Sunday. Police say 31-year-old Terence Olridge was shot multiple times at a home in the suburb of Cordova. He died at a hospital. A man is in custody in connection with the shooting, but he has not been charged. Police say "details are sketchy." (AP)
California officials are considering allowing inmates with violent backgrounds to work outside prison walls fighting wildfires. The state has about 3,800 inmate firefighters with no history of violent crimes. But that's down from about 4,400 in previous years, so prison officials are looking for ways to add inmates. Officials tell The Associated Press they also are considering allowing inmates who have up to seven years left on their sentences instead of the current five, work outside the prison. (AP)
Nigeria's Islamic extremists are blamed for using teens and women to carry out suicide bombings in neighboring Chad and Cameroon this weekend, killing more than 45 people. Cameroon's Minister of Communications says two girls between the ages of 13 and 17 carried out suicide bombings in two northern Cameroon villages Sunday, killing at least 9 and wounding 29 others. The government official says it's an effort to spread terror as a multinational force prepares to deploy against Boko Haram (AP).
Hundreds of people attended a rally Sunday to call on Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag. About 400 people took part in the change-the-flag rally outside the Mississippi Capital, including civil-rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams and Mississippi-born rapper David Banner, who say the flag is racially divisive. (AP)
Authorities in Maryland say a British hiker has died after falling about 35 feet along the Appalachian Trail. Maryland Natural Resources Police say the 44-year-old man was taking photographs, jumping from rock to rock Sunday morning, when he lost his balance and fell. Officials say other hikers began administering first aid, but that the man was pronounced dead about an hour later. (AP)