January 21, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

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Shrimp fishing provides a small but important winter fishery. Maine fishermen catch about 90 percent of the harvest, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts fishermen accounting for the rest.


Mercy housing program to serve more mothers

A Mercy Hospital housing program for mothers who need substance-abuse treatment and their children is expanding and moving to a new location in the city.

McAuley Residence, now seven apartments on State Street, is moving to the former home of the Children's Hospital of Portland on High Street, where there will be 15 apartments, from studios to two-bedrooms.

The building at 68 High St. is owned by Community Housing of Maine and was renovated recently, according to a press release from Mercy.

Women who are admitted to the program, after a screening, struggle with addiction and other problems, including homelessness and domestic violence, Mercy said.

They have access to the Mercy Recovery Center, Mercy Primary Care Centers and Mercy partners for parenting and financial counseling.

The program, begun 25 years ago, has helped more than 200 women restart their lives, according to the release.


Committee hearings set for supplemental budget

Several days of hearings on Gov. Paul LePage's budget to address shortfalls in this year's budget are scheduled this week.

The Appropriations Committee will take up the supplemental budget on Wednesday. The budget seeks to make up for nearly $90 million in cost overruns in the state's Medicaid program, MaineCare. Those costs are due mostly to increased utilization of the program by people already enrolled.

In addition, the budget addresses a $35.5 million revenue shortfall.

The Appropriations Committee hearings are scheduled to end Jan. 28.

The panel will then take up the governor's $6.3 billion budget for the two years that start July 1.


Northern New England sharing snowmobile trails

Snowmobilers from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont who are looking for some fresh scenery have a big opportunity coming up.

Reciprocal Snowmobile Weekend this coming Friday to Sunday allows all legally registered Maine snowmobiles to be operated in New Hampshire and Vermont without being registered in those states.

At the same time, snowmobiles legally registered in New Hampshire and Vermont can be operated in Maine without a current Maine registration. In Maine alone, snowmobilers can explore more than 13,000 miles of interconnected, groomed and marked trails.

Maine Warden Col. Joel Wilkinson advised riders to pay close attention to ice conditions on all waterways, especially at night.


Fire damages mobile home, displacing family of three

A family of three is homeless after a fire destroyed part of their mobile home Monday morning.

Jon Roby said he was out buying bait to go ice-fishing when a neighbor called him to say his home at 534 Hallowell Road was on fire.

Roby's wife, Mireya, was at work at Lakeside Orchard; and his 14-year-old daughter was at a friend's home.

"I had just installed a new smoke detector two or three weeks ago," said Roby, who had lived there for about 16 years.

Roby said he already had received some offers of help from friends and family.

Chelsea Assistant Fire Chief Jim Gagnon said the fire was reported about 9 a.m. and was under control in about a half-hour.

The blaze also destroyed a porch, but a nearby garage and what appeared to be a deck surrounding a pool were spared.

Gagnon said the origin of the fire had yet to be determined.


Flames fanned by wind destroy home, vehicle

Firefighters say investigators are searching for the cause of a wind-driven fire that destroyed a home and vehicle Sunday.

The fire on Maple Street was reported late Sunday afternoon. There were no injuries.

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