January 29, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)


MPBN wins approval to air legislative proceedings on TV

Legislative leaders have voted to allow the Maine Public Broadcasting Network to provide expanded State House coverage that could resemble the national C-SPAN.

The new venture was unanimously approved Tuesday by House and Senate leaders. The free over-the-air MPBN State House TV channel is devoted exclusively to coverage of the Legislature and government affairs. Airing could begin as early as Monday.

The plan is to transmit House and Senate proceedings and budget hearings live. Coverage of news conferences and other State House events is also planned.

Veteran State House reporter Mal Leary will oversee operations of MPBN's new State House channel. The programming comes at no public cost and will be carried by state cable services and over the air.


Bears to get fancy collars; researchers to get new data

Unity College is undertaking a study with the state game department of black bears in Maine.

The central Maine college says the multi-year study will involve both faculty and students and include the trapping, tracking, and in at least one case, attachment of a video camera to a Maine black bear.

Unity Associate Professor George Matula said state biologists have been studying Maine black bears since 1975. He said one purpose of the new study is to collect data in an area that is different than where the state is collecting.

Trapping of bears will begin in May around the Dixmont, Troy and Benton areas. GPS-satellite collars will be placed on up to five adult female bears with one of the collars equipped with a video camera.


Insurance bureau helped recover $3 million in 2012

Maine insurance regulators say they helped consumers in the state to recover more than $3 million owed to them during the past year.

Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says nearly $2.2 million was recovered by the Bureau's Consumer Health Care Division, and almost $950,000 was recovered by the Property and Casualty Division.

Cioppa said most insurers operating in Maine pay claims properly and quickly. But when individuals or business owners contact the state because of a dispute with an insurance company or agent, the state can often provide assistance.

Cioppa said the Insurance Bureau fielded almost 9,000 inquiries and more than 900 complaints in 2012.


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