May 23, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

(Continued from page 1)

"Suicide affects communities and can happen to anyone," he said. "This is going to save lives and I am thrilled to see this become law."

Grace Eaton of Livermore Falls and Nancy Thompson of Cape Elizabeth, who lost children to suicide, attended the signing.

"I believe education is the key to suicide awareness and prevention," Eaton said in a press release. "Since the death of my son Glen, it has been my goal and dream to have all school personnel receive suicide awareness and prevention training."

Said Thompson, "The more people who are educated about the warning signs of suicide, the more people will be saved."

The law requires Maine school staff to get suicide education and awareness training. Training will be done every five years.


House sustains veto of bill for rental subsidies study

The House upheld Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill calling for a study of rental subsidies for people with intellectual disabilities.

Representatives sustained the veto Wednesday as a motion to override fell short of the two-thirds vote needed.

The bill addressed the state's responsibility to provide room and board for Mainers with intellectual disabilities. Supporters say the state contribution has been shrinking while costs for providers are rising.

In his veto message, the governor said the cost to pay for the study to be done was not addressed in the bill. He also said it was premature to conduct the study.


No new license required if Oxford Casino is sold

Maine's Gambling Control Board has ruled that the Oxford Casino won't be asked to apply for a new operator's license if a sale to the company that owns the home of the Kentucky Derby is approved.

Oxford Casino owners announced the $160 million sale in March to Churchill Downs Incorporated Properties, the parent company of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Oxford Casino Vice President and General Manager Jack Sours told the Sun Journal after Tuesday's board meeting that the sale process is still under way.

Director Patrick Fleming says the board is running a background investigation on Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs is expected to present its plans to the board in July.

The western Maine casino has 814 slot machines and 22 table games and employs 420 people.


Voters OK school budget for Lake Region district

The Lake Region School District's $27.9 million budget was approved Tuesday by voters in Bridgton, Casco, Naples and Sebago.

The total vote was 424-282, with all of the towns voting in favor of the 2013-2014 budget.

The district's spending plan is up almost 7 percent over the current budget, because of a proposed $357,000 shift in retirement costs from the state to the school district and $500,000 budgeted for bond interest payments that the federal government will reimburse, said Business Manager Sherrie Small.

Small did not know Tuesday how the budget would affect the tax rates of the four towns in the district.

All four towns also voted Tuesday, 454-246, to continue holding referendums on the school budget, a question asked of voters every three years.


Somerset County sues over $280,000 jail payment

Somerset County has sued the state prisons board in an attempt to get payment of more than $280,000 the county says it is owed for operations at the county jail.

The petition for review filed Tuesday seeks to reverse a unanimous vote by the Board of Corrections in April to withhold the county's third-quarter payment as part of the state's consolidated jail system.

County lawyer Lee Bragg said the result of the withheld payment is that county taxpayers paid the jail's bills. Board of Corrections members said the payment was withheld because Somerset County kept revenue from boarding federal detainees. The board contends that the money instead should have been sent to it to help defray the costs of the statewide jail system.


Pease wins bid to receive new air refueling tankers

New Hampshire's Pease Air National Guard base has won its bid to be first in the nation to receive a new generation of air refueling tankers.

Pease bested a field of 88 competitors and four other finalists to secure the new KC-46A tanker, pending an environmental study, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte announced Wednesday. Pease is home to the 157th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard.

"The selection of Pease as the first Air National Guard location in the country to host the KC-46A is a testament to the outstanding support in the defense of our nation by the men and women of the 157th Air Refueling Wing," said the wing's commander, Col. Paul Hutchinson.

Final decision on the awarding of the 12 new refueling aircraft is expected next spring and will bring about 100 new jobs to the base.

Hutchinson said those new jobs represent an infusion of $7 million in payroll to the Seacoast area. In addition, he said, construction to accommodate the new line of tankers would require about $45 million in contracts over the next several years.


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