LePage speaks to Democrats through a video on YouTube
Gov. Paul LePage released a YouTube video Thursday in which he takes credit for tax cuts passed during the last legislative session and asks Democrats to support additional cuts this year.
In the five-minute video, the Republican governor is interviewed by his communications director, Adrienne Bennett, about tax cuts passed last session and says 70,000 Maine residents with the lowest incomes will not have to pay taxes in the new year.
“This represents the largest tax cut in Maine history,” LePage said. “For Democrats to call this a tax cut for the rich is simply not true.”
In the latest of several YouTube videos he has taped, LePage says giving targeted tax breaks to businesses can stimulate the economy by allowing them to invest that money on an expansion, new jobs or higher wages.
Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, issued a statement that said the video was distributed by the governor’s 2014 re-election committee and distorts Democratic lawmakers’ position on Maine tax policy.
Alfond said LePage refuses to meet with Democratic leaders.
“We hope in the days that follow that we can sit down with the governor and engage in a thoughtful conversation about how to move Maine forward,” Alfond said.
AG: State trooper justified in shooting gun at vehicle
Attorney General William Schneider says a state trooper was legally justified in using his handgun to try to disable a motorist’s car after a high-speed chase on the Maine Turnpike.
Investigators say Matthew Cole, 23, was driving an unregistered car with an expired inspection sticker when he fled from a trooper on Sept. 15 and crashed at Exit 42. Trooper Kyle Wells fired several shots after Cole, ignoring the trooper’s instructions, began backing up toward him.
Neither Cole nor Wells was injured.
Schneider concluded Thursday that it was reasonable for Wells to believe he was being threatened with deadly force in the form of the moving car, and that deadly force was necessary to protect himself and to stop the vehicle from getting back onto the highway.
Man is given 33-month term for threatening to kill Obama
A Maine man who threatened to kill President Obama was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in prison.
Leroy Eugene Dunn, 30, appeared in U.S. District Court before Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who also ordered three years of supervision after Dunn is released.
U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Dunn pleaded guilty to the charge of threatening April 25.
Dunn’s mother has said that her son, who is 7 feet 6 inches tall, is mentally disabled and suffers from Marfan syndrome, which can cause disproportionately long arms and legs. Philomena Gordon of Bingham said her son should be under supervised medical and psychiatric care.
According to court records, Dunn wrote a letter to Obama in April 2011 that said, “I hate you and will do anything I can to get rid of you … you will die at my hands … I will kill you Barack Obama.”
At the time, Dunn was in the Piscataquis County Jail on drug trafficking charges. He asked a corrections officer to mail the letter for him. The officer got Dunn’s permission to open the envelope, which contained a two-page letter outlining his threats.
Last year, Dunn was sentenced to 60 days in jail for threatening Gov. Paul LePage.
Teen denies manslaughter in death of 3-month-old son
A teenager charged in the death of his 3-month-old son has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
Dustin Brown, 18, of Bangor entered the plea Thursday. He remained jailed, with bail set at $100,000 in property or $50,000 cash.
Bangor police said they went to a home on Nov. 25 after getting a report of a baby who was not breathing. The infant, Xander Brown, was taken to the hospital, where he died. An autopsy determined the cause of death was inflicted injuries.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson declined to elaborate Thursday on the infant’s injuries. He told WZON-AM radio that Dustin Brown has no other children, and no criminal history. Brown’s attorney declined comment.
Police release name of man who was stabbed to death
Authorities have released the name of the man who was stabbed to death last weekend in Bangor.
Police say Jeffrey Leblanc, 34, was stabbed once in the abdomen at a home about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.
The stabbing remains under investigation and no arrests have been made, although police think Leblanc was stabbed by someone he knew. Police are appealing to the public for information.
Man robbed credit union without weapon, police say
Police were looking for a man who robbed a credit union Thursday.
Authorities said a man in his late 20s demanded cash from a teller at the York County Credit Union around 1:45 p.m. and fled with an unknown amount of money. No weapon was used, police said.
The robber is described as about 6 feet tall, with a heavy-set build and facial hair. He was wearing a brown sweatshirt, black hat and sunglasses.
Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to contact Sanford police.
Nobel Peace Prize winner to speak at women’s event
Leymah Gbowee, an activist and women’s rights advocate who won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end civil war in Liberia, will deliver the University of Maine School of Law’s second annual Justice for Women Lecture on March 20.
Gbowee led the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement. Their efforts helped end the Liberian civil war in 2003 and contributed to the election of the first female head of state in Africa, the law school said in a media release.
Gbowee was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Tawakel Karman of Yemen. Gbowee is founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, and co-founder and executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa.
The Justice for Women Lecture series brings speakers to Maine each year to discuss good work and strategies to benefit women and girls, in the developing world and in Maine. The inaugural lecture was delivered in March 2012 by Unity Dow, the first woman to serve as judge on Botswana’s High Court.
Gbowee’s lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 20, at the Abromson Community Education Center, 88 Bedford St. in Portland. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, call 780-4344 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lighting atop new bridge to cost more than expected
It will cost more than planned to illuminate a bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine.
The new Memorial Bridge is under construction and due to open this summer. Lighting estimates have increased from $80,000 to as much as $200,000.
Peter Somssich, who heads a committee on the lighting, told the Portsmouth Herald that the increase stems in part from the cost of bringing wiring and lighting to the top of the towers to allow downward illumination. The lighting also includes the center-span deck, which would only turn on when the bridge is raised and lowered.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says it is not paying for the lights. Residents say they can raise the money by the end of March.
– From staff and news services