April 25, 2013

Dispatches

Man indicted in Bangor stabbing death / New law aims to stem youth suicides / House OKs bill to restore Drugs for the Elderly funding ... and other news from around the state.

From staff and news service reports

AUGUSTA

New law requires training to prevent youth suicides

A bill aimed at preventing suicide by youths in Maine was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Paul LePage, hours after it won final Senate approval.

The law will require suicide-prevention awareness for all school personnel, and advanced training that includes prevention education for some school employees.

Rep. Paul Gilbert, who sponsored the bill, says awareness and training will save lives.

The Maine Suicide Prevention Program calls suicide the second-leading cause of death of Mainers 24 and younger.

LePage said the devastating effect that suicide has on Maine families and communities is real, and the issue must be addressed.

 

House gives initial OK to bill restoring cuts in senior funds

The Maine House has given initial approval to a bill to restore cuts to the Drugs for the Elderly program and the Medicare Savings Plan.

The bill passed Thursday in a largely party-line vote of 93-55 in the Democrat-majority House. It would restore over the next two years about $7 million in funding cuts made last year.

The Drugs for the Elderly program and the Medicare Savings Plan serve more than 35,000 seniors and people with disabilities by paying for medications and co-pays to doctors.

Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick said seniors and people with disabilities should not have to choose between paying for medicine and paying for food or gas. Republicans say Democrats voted to spend money Maine doesn't have.

 

Mainers have cut oil usage by 26 percent since 2007

A state Energy Office report says Maine residents have decreased their oil use by 26 percent since 2007.

The report, required by state law, also found that oil consumption is down in the commercial sector by 20 percent, and in the industrial sector by a significant 40 percent, since 2007. Those reductions, which result from current policies and market conditions, will enable the state to meet its 2030 goal of a 30 percent reduction without additional actions.

But meeting the long-term target of a 50 percent reduction by 2050 will prove much more challenging. Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock said that despite a significant decline in oil consumption, Mainers will still spend more on oil to heat their homes than any other state in the country.

SABATTUS

Police: Student caused scare by writing 'bomb' on mirror

A 14-year-old girl is facing charges in connection with a bomb threat earlier this week at a Sabattus middle school.

Police said the eighth-grader from Wales is a student at the Oak Hill Middle School and was charged Wednesday with filing a false public report or alarm.

The girl allegedly wrote the word "bomb" Monday afternoon on a mirror in a school bathroom, prompting an evacuation so that Maine State Police could search the school with an explosives-sniffing dog.

A similar threat was made Tuesday at Oak Hill High School, but police said the incidents do not appear related and the second threat remains under investigation.

Police did not disclose a possible motive.

BANGOR

New York man, 23, indicted in man's stabbing death

A grand jury has indicted a New York man on a murder charge in the April 9 stabbing death of 30-year-old Thomas Taylor, police said.

Akeem Harris, 23, of Amityville, N.Y., is not in custody, but Maine police have issued a warrant for his arrest. He is believed to be in New York.

Police said Harris, a former student at Eastern Maine Community College, stabbed Taylor in the chest outside a Bangor apartment complex during an argument. The two men knew each other.

BLADENSBURG, Md.

Body of missing man with family in Maine is found in Maryland

The body of a missing Maryland man, who family members thought could be headed for Maine, has been found in Bladensburg, Md., about 10 miles from where he wandered off earlier this month.

Timothy Fowler, 69, was found Sunday and the medical examiner ruled he died from natural causes, said Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Fowler, who grew up in Portland and has three adult children in Maine, walked away from an adult day-care center in Largo on April 8, police said.

His family suspected that he may have intended to return to Maine and may have found transportation, though he had no money, no driver's license and no vehicle. Fowler had Alzheimer's disease.

Fowler was born and raised in Portland, has children in Raymond and Harrison and at one time worked at the Brunswick Naval Air Station and at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

AUBURN

Ex-manager of group home for disabled jailed for theft

The former manager of an Auburn-based group home for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities has been sentenced to six months in jail for stealing from the nonprofit and at least one client.

Terri Arsenault of Mechanic Falls was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty last month to two felony theft charges.

Prosecutors say she used the John F. Murphy group home's credit card to buy gas, groceries and other household goods, and to take her daughters on an outing to Boston. She also paid her husband's construction company to do work that was never done.

The Sun Journal reported that a tearful Arsenault, 41, apologized in court and said she was "ashamed" of her actions.

She was sentenced to two years of probation and has paid $15,000 in restitution.

LEWISTON

Stonyfield Farm co-founder to speak at Bates graduation

Bates College says the co-founder and chairman of the Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt company will deliver the school's commencement address at next month's graduation ceremonies.

Gary Hirshberg also will receive an honorary degree at the event May 26. Hirshberg co-founded New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm in 1983, helping grow it from a seven-cow operation into a $400 million company.

Bates also is conferring honorary degrees on scholar William Cronon, former Bates College president Elaine Tuttle Hansen and prominent physician Dr. Vivian Pinn.

 

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