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Central Maine News: LePage Wants Abled-Bodied Food Stamp Recipients to Work or Volunteer

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

Gov. Paul LePage wants to require food stamp recipients to work while receiving benefits. The governor’s administration said that Maine will no longer pursue a waiver from the federal government that allows recipients in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to receive ongoing benefits without having a job. Recipients between ages 18 and 49 would have to work at least 20 hours a week, volunteer or participate in a work-training program. People living with dependents and those who are pregnant or are disabled would be exempt. DHHS says that about 12,000 people would be impacted by the requirement. (AP)

A train and a logging truck have collided in Livermore Falls, injuring the truck driver and spilling logs over a busy road. It happened on Route 17 when the logging truck was hit by a Pan Am Railways train. The truck driver is being treated at the hospital. And according to WMTW, last night in North Berwick there was a fatality involving the Amtrak Downeaster and a pedestrian. (AP/WMTW)

Portland is considering a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, two dollars more than the current statewide minimum. An increase would make Portland the first Maine city with a minimum wage higher than required by the state or federal government. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Under the current proposal, the rate would go up in subsequent years and may be tied to the cost of living.(AP)

A lightning strike caused a fire at an apartment building yesterday in Farmington. According to WGME, no one was inside the home at the time, but witnesses who heard the lightning strike described it as deafening. Firefighters stopped the fire before it spread to other units in the building. The Red Cross is helping the families affected by the fire.  (WGME)

The Maine Troop Greeters met their 7,196th military flight at Bangor International Airport just before noon yesterday. And according to the Bangor Daily News earlier in the day they had accepted a $15,000 check from Bangor Savings Bank help preserve their work over the last 11 years. Over the years many have left behind or sent mementos as a way to say thanks. Each and every piece is a little bit of history and a museum is planned in the terminal hallway connecting to the international gate at BIA, known as “Greeters Hall,” to permanently display them. (Bangor Daily News)

The United Nations says improvements in life spans, education and incomes are slowing because of natural disasters, misguided government policies and worsening inequality in a world. In its annual report on human development, the U.N. says with nearly a third of humanity poor or vulnerable to poverty, governments need to put a higher priority on creating jobs and providing basic social services. The report points out that the 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people. (AP)

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