May 25, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

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Officials at Lewiston-based Central Maine Healthcare said Thursday that the partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital will provide “fast, seamless care.”

The hospitals’ doctors are talking more, sharing more information and meeting face to face. For patients, the goal is smoother care if they go to Boston for treatments such as bone-marrow transplants that are not offered in Maine.

The Sun Journal reports the relationship includes Central Maine Medical Center, Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital and Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick.


Town’s finances acclaimed by Standard & Poor’s

Kennebunk has received the highest possible rating from Standard & Poor’s, town officials said Friday.

The AAA rating reflects an unbiased assessment of the credit worthiness of debt obligation in the public financial market. Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said Kennebunk is the only town in Maine and one of 213 municipalities in the country to receive that rating.

“We have a great management and financial team, which is an incredible asset for the community,” Tibbetts said. “The big win from this AAA rating allows the town to borrow money at a lower interest rate, which in turns saves taxpayers’ money on much needed capital improvements.”


Community colleges raise tuition slightly for fall

Tuition will increase slightly this fall at the state’s seven community colleges, officials announced Friday. The increase of $2 per credit hour will result in an additional $60 for a full-time in-state student, with tuition rising from $2,580 to $2,640 per year.

“Our challenge is to continue to maintain a high-quality education that is affordable for Maine people. It is an increasingly difficult balancing act, and we regret even this modest increase,” said Kris Doody, chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Maine Community College System. She noted that enrollment at the schools has increased 25 percent in the past five years, while the state appropriation has increased 2.4 percent.

More than 18,500 students are enrolled in the community colleges.

Earlier this year, a report by the New England Board of Higher Education that calculated tuition and fees found that Maine’s community colleges had the lowest average rates among two-year schools in the region, coming in at $3,287 this year.

In-state rates at Maine’s two-year schools have risen 7 percent in the last five years, compared with a  29 percent increase at the state’s four-year universities, according to the report.

Legislation seeks to protect jobs of American loggers

A bill that would protect some American loggers’ jobs from being taken by workers employed by foreign companies has cleared a hurdle in the Maine Senate.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson’s bill won preliminary approval Thursday. It would bar the state from contracting for timber harvesting on land under its management if the contractor employs foreign workers.

Jackson, a logger and Democrat from Allagash, says his bill promotes the hiring of U.S. loggers who have been underemployed as a result of contractors hiring Canadians instead.

Jackson’s bill faces additional House and the Senate votes.

Bill would further restrict sex offenders’ residency

A bill to protect children in certain parks and fields from sex offenders has won final legislative approval and was sent to Gov. Paul LePage for his signature.

The proposal, which was approved Thursday by the Senate, would allow a municipality to prohibit a sex offender from living within 750 feet of state-owned property that’s leased to a nonprofit for use as a park, athletic field or recreational facility that’s open to the public.

The original bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Matthew Pouliot of Augusta, applied the restriction to privately owned property used for youth recreation.

LePage signs bill for uniform grading of syrup

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