New job training program open for participants

Maine officials are looking for people interested in participating in a new job training program.

The new program is focused on people who have been out of work for six months or longer and are looking for jobs in the health care sector. Officials say the program’s first phase will begin in the Lewiston-Auburn area next month.

Participants will take a “Ready2Work” course where they’ll learn things like basic computer skills, CPR, workplace safety and customer service. They’ll later be able to choose a specific occupational path and receive services including on-the-job training.

The first course begins on Jan. 5.

Maine Medical Center plans new waiting room

Maine Medical Center announced plans to use a $200,000 gift from KeyBank to build a new waiting room in the neurosurgery suite at the hospital’s Bramhall Campus in Portland.

Construction of the KeyBank of Maine Family Waiting Room, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015, is part of a $40 million expansion of MMC’s surgical unit. The new waiting area is expected to help alleviate a high demand for operating space in the medical center’s Neuroscience Institute, according to a press release from the hospital.

Stock markets flat as energy stocks face declines

The stock market ended the day pretty much where it started, leaving indexes near record highs.

Energy stocks fell 1.6 percent after the price of oil resumed its slide ahead an OPEC meeting on Thursday. Many expect the group won’t be able to agree on production cuts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell two points to 2,067.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell three points to 17,814. The Nasdaq composite rose three points, less than 0.1 percent, to 4,758.

‘Frozen’ ousts Barbie as No. 1 holiday toy for girls

Disney’s “Frozen” toppled Barbie as the No. 1 toy parents plan to buy for their little girls this holiday season, the first time in 11 years that Barbie has not held the top spot, according to the National Retail Federation’s top toys survey.

One in 5 parents plan to buy “Frozen” merchandise for girls, while Barbie is on the shopping list of 16.8 percent of parents, according to the trade group, which has been conducting the survey for 11 years.

Rounding out the top five toys for girls are dolls generally, Monster High Dolls and American Girl dolls, according to the National Retail Federation.

Lego toys are No. 1 for boys, same as last year, followed by cars and trucks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, video games and Hot Wheels.

– From staff and news reports