Things You Need to Know: ME Takes Steps to be ‘Real ID’ Compliant + US Attacks Syria
Here are the things you need to know today......
The Auburn Police have posted that the body of Tom Johnston was found. They say it appears to have been a suicide. He was a WCSH weatherman.
The Maine Senate has approved pulling back on Maine's resistance to the Real ID laws. Centralmaine.com reports the bills will move to the house for a vote. Opponents of Real ID say it is an unfunded mandate and violates the privacy of Mainers. But without the changes Mainers can't use their Maine license to some federal building and next year they could not be used as ID to get on a plane.
A Unity woman, Melissa J. Bagley, is charged for leaving 5 kids in a running vehicle for over an hour while she had her hair done in Waterville. Centralmaine.com reports two of the kids were hers, she was babysitting the others.
The River Flow Advisory committee has said there might be some minor flooding around the state in the next week or two because of the melting and wet weather. According to centralmaine.com they do not expect any major floods at this time.
Part of the old Stevens Commons complex in Hallowell may be redeveloped into affordable senior housing. Centralmaine.com reports Community Housing of Maine had done similar project around Maine.
From the Associated Press:
Syria decried a U.S. missile attack early Friday morning on a government-controlled air base where U.S. officials say the Syrian military launched a deadly chemical attack earlier this week, calling it an "aggression" that lead to "losses." Rebels welcomed the U.S. attack. About 60 U.S. Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways, where aircraft often take off to bomb targets in northern and central Syria. Rebels welcomed the U.S. attack.
Federal immigration officers have detained an asylum seeker when he appeared in court to answer a drunken driving charge. Immigration advocates in other states have criticized the federal tactic of targeting immigrants at courthouses. The Portland Press Herald reports (http://bit.ly/2oeI5cR) that immigration attorneys and state officials say the episode on Thursday was the first such detention in Maine.
Maine's economy is back to where it was before the recession when it comes to jobs, a feat some economists thought might be impossible because of its shrinking and aging workforce. The state's economy is close to the pre-recession peak of 620,800 jobs after 25,000 jobs were shed during the recession. But the state's chief economist says some areas are still struggling while others are booming.
Sen. Susan Collins says the end of the filibuster over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was part of a "profoundly sad day" for the Senate. The Maine Republican says the core principle of a filibuster about a judicial nomination is that it should only be used under "extraordinary circumstances."
Fire officials in Maine say two men have been charged with arson in connection with a fire that destroyed a storage building. Several smaller buildings also were vandalized Wednesday at Hill View Mini Barns in Etna. Authorities on Thursday arrested 23-year-old David Underhill, of Etna, and 18-year-old Mark Littlefield, of Corinna. Underhill is a former employee at the business. They're being held at the county jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. It wasn't immediately known if they have lawyers.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has "failed" in its responsibility to deliver on a 2013 commitment to secure Syria's chemical weapons. Tillerson briefed reporters shortly after the U.S. launched cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a gruesome chemical weapons attack. The secretary says Russia has either been complicit or "simply incompetent" in failing to deliver on its end of the agreement.
Turkey has welcomed the U.S. missile strike on Syria, saying it was an "important and meaningful" development but called for a continued tough stance against President Bashar Assad that would render him "no longer able to harm his people." Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in a live television interview Friday: "it is imperative that the Assad regime is fully punished by the international community."
Survivors of the chemical attack in northern Syria recount scenes of horror as they struggle to cope with the tragedy. More than 80 people were killed in Tuesday's attack on the opposition-held town, which has been widely blamed on Syrian government forces. Residents and doctors say many of those who fled have yet to return, fearful of lingering fumes or another attack. The dead are buried in trenches.