These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

A fifth Maine Maritime Academy alumnus was a member of the crew of a cargo ship that stalled and sank in the winds of Hurricane Joaquin, according to the school. Academy President William Brennan said Thursday that Mitchell Kuflik, class of 2011, was a member of the El Faro crew. Other academy graduates who were about the El Faro include Mike Davidson, class of 1988; Danielle Randolph, class of 2005; Mike Holland, class of 2012; and Dylan Meklin, class of 2015. The El Faro lost power and went down in 15,000 feet of water east of the Bahamas last Thursday while attempting to outrun Hurricane Joaquin on its regular route from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard and ship owner Tote Maritime have said. (AP)

The Governor's Energy Office says the average statewide cash price for heating oil rose 2 cents over the last two weeks to $2.01 per gallon. Trends are similar in kerosene and propane. Kerosene rose 2 cents to $2.58 per gallon and propane rose a penny to $2.15 per gallon. The federal Energy Information Administration projects lower costs for home heating even if the cold months are colder than average. Inventories are high for heating oil, propane and natural gas, and prices for all three are the lowest in years. The highest price for heating oil in Maine was $2.46 per gallon in eastern Maine. The lowest price was $1.70 per gallon in western and southwestern Maine. (AP)

Maine Family Planning plans to appeal a decision by DHHS that it improperly billed the state's Medicaid system for services totaling more than $180,000. According to WGME Maine Family Planning says they billed this way because the department told them to. Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars be used to fund abortions. In 1997, the provider met with a department representative to determine what other services could be reimbursed through MaineCare. They say followed the rules all along and at some point the rules changed and no one told them. According to a DHHS argument, in 2004 the department added specific language to its rule, saying services related to non-covered services, like abortions, are not reimbursable through MaineCare. The provider filed the appeal paperwork last week in Maine Superior Court, but it will be at least several months before the case is heard. (WGME)

One of Maine's most controversial new laws will take effect next week. Starting October 15, legal gun owners won't need a permit to carry a concealed handgun. The law will end the mandatory permit system that legislators say has been in effect for more than 90 years. According to a law summary prepared by the Maine State Police for the Legislature, the current prohibitions on where firearms can be carried will remain. People without a permit who are carrying concealed handguns, and are stopped by a police officer, have a duty to notify the officer immediately that they are carrying. The permit system will remain in place, for those Mainers who want to be able to carry their guns in other permit states that have reciprocity with Maine. The regulations for those permits will be unchanged from what they are now. (WCSH)

Augusta City Council is trying to decide what to do with guns seized by local police. APD says the department has about 100 guns that people turned in or they seized from criminal activity. With recent mass shootings across the country, Augusta police believe deciding whether the guns should be destroyed or sold to a licensed gun dealer should be left up to the council. City Council asked the department to report back in two weeks. If the guns are sold, counselors say they’re considering donating the money to a worthy cause. (WABI)

Police are investigating an unexplained death in Augusta. According to WABI, a 43-year-old man’s body was found Thursday morning at an apartment on Mount Vernon Ave. His name is not being released. The state medical examiner is scheduled to perform an autopsy to determine how the man died and whether a crime took place. (WABI/

Police and fire crews responded to a report of a bomb threat Thursday afternoon at the Katz Library at the University of Maine at Augusta, but they found nothing.  According to the KJ, police and bomb-sniffing dogs, spent several hours searching the building but discovered no explosives. The threat came in the form of a note left in a bathroom. The building was evacuated and all classes and events in the building, which includes the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, were canceled for the remainder of the day. The rest of UMA remained open as usual. (

The Humane Society Waterville Area has seen that many of the dogs and cats living in low-income households in Waterville haven’t been spayed or neutered. Some may have never even been to a veterinarian. But according to the KJ, they would like to see that change.  Their new People-Animals-Together, will provide free spay/neuter clinics, flea and tick prevention, vaccines, basic preventative health care and resources to help keep pets healthy in the future. The project is being funded by a grant from PetSmart Charities. The new program is tightly focused on poor neighborhoods running in a north-south strip on the city’s east side.  (

The U.S. Navy soon will set out to find the U.S. cargo ship that sunk east of the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin. The National Transportation Safety Board says the Navy will use sonar and other means to find the 790-foot El Faro on the sea floor. The ship sank in about 15,000 feet of water Oct. 1 with 33 people aboard. (AP)

The South Carolina National Guard says residents should remain vigilant, especially in low-lying areas where more flooding could be a problem. Guardsmen used military trucks Thursday to pick up people in Georgetown County whose homes had been cut off by flooded roads. On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will travel to South Carolina to get a first-hand look at the destruction. (AP)

Australia's immigration minister says the country is in talks to send refugees who try to reach its shores illegally to the Philippines. Australia already has a multi-million dollar deal to resettle refugees from an Australia-run detention camp on the Pacific nation of Nauru (NAH'-roo) to Cambodia. But so far, only four refugees have taken up the offer of cash, free health insurance and accommodation to move. (AP)

President Barack Obama plans to meet privately Friday with the families of the victims of last week's mass shooting at an Oregon community college. The town has been in mourning since the deaths of eight students and a teacher who were gunned down before the gunman killed himself. But at least one parent of a shooting survivor says his family will not meet with the president, who is calling for new gun restrictions. And gun-rights supporters plan to protest during Obama's visit to Roseburg. (AP)