YARMOUTH

Town gets grant to upgrade wastewater treatment plant

The town has received a $55,344 grant to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant.

The grant was awarded by Efficiency Maine through federal energy funding. The money will be used to make the electric aerator motors at the plant more energy-efficient. The Yarmouth Energy Savers Committee and town officials applied for the grant in November.

The project will also receive $5,600 from the town and a $500 in-kind donation.

The plant accounts for 40 percent of municipal energy use in Yarmouth. In a news release, town engineer Dan Jellis said the project has the potential to reduce the motor’s energy use by 15 percent and save Yarmouth $8,284 a year.

PORTLAND

Driver receives treatment after device hits overpass

The driver of a truck that slammed into a Maine Turnpike overpass Thursday was treated and released from Maine Medical Center.

Thomas Moran was driving a Reynolds & Sons Disposal truck on Warren Avenue. The truck, designed to haul Dumpsters, was not carrying one at the time but the apparatus used to lift the Dumpsters was in the up position, police said. The lifting device hit the overpass, causing an estimated $300,000 in damage.

Warren Avenue was blocked briefly, and one lane of the turnpike was shut down for a short time.

AUGUSTA

Business leaders see fallout if county loses railroad line

Representatives of some of the largest employers in northern Maine are warning lawmakers of the consequences if Aroostook County loses its only railroad line.

The Bangor Daily News reported that within a week, the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railroad is expected to seek federal approval to abandon the tracks in the face of mounting debt. Freight service would be lost to about 20 companies, including some of the largest employers in the region.

The Legislature is considering a proposal to issue $20 million in bonds that would enable the state to buy about 240 miles of privately owned railroad lines between Millinocket and Madawaska.

Business leaders say the loss of the railroad would hurt the entire state’s economy.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Maine in line for $28 million under federal stimulus act

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Maine will get financial relief under the federal stimulus act to offset the cost of Medicare prescription drug coverage for residents who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

Sebelius estimated the relief in Maine will total nearly $28 million. The financial break is retroactive to October 2008 and extends for the rest of this year.

Sebelius said the funding will help Maine and other states continue to provide health services without breaking their budgets.

The federal stimulus law allows significant but temporary increases in the amount states receive to help pay for their Medicaid programs.

LEWISTON

Site selected for VA clinic serving veterans near home

A site has been selected for a new Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Lewiston.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced that the clinic in Lewiston will be on a road just off the city’s Maine Turnpike exit. Construction is expected to begin late this year, with the facility due to open in late 2011.

Michaud also said that he has asked the VA to open a temporary clinic in the Lewiston-Auburn area to serve veterans while the new clinic is being built. The clinic is designed to serve veterans closer to home.

 

Maine, N.H., Vt. given low scores for gun control laws

Gun control laws in northern New England are being given low marks in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s annual survey of state gun laws.

The survey gave Maine a score of 11 out of 100 for its laws, while New Hampshire was given a 9 and Vermont was given an 8.

The Brady Campaign says laws in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont allow the sale of guns without background checks, put children at risk and help feed the illegal gun market.

Utah was at the bottom of the survey with a score of zero, while California was given the highest score, a 79. The Brady Campaign is a Washington-based group that advocates for stronger gun control laws.