June 14, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

 OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Council will be sworn in Monday as first planned

The inauguration of the six residents who were elected Tuesday to replace six Old Orchard Beach town councilors will be held Monday, as originally scheduled.

The new councilors will be sworn in at Town Hall immediately after the final meeting of the current seven-member council, which must meet to certify the results of the election that removed six members from office. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Bob Quinn is the only councilor to survive the recall vote, which followed months of political turmoil prompted by the town manager's ouster in March.

On Thursday, the inauguration was postponed one week because of a possible recount of recall election results. However, some residents complained that the delay was not necessary and would leave the new councilors with just one week to review and pass a town budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Councilor Michael Coleman, who was recalled by a margin of 11 votes, is expected to formally request a recount before the deadline at 6 p.m. Tuesday. If the recount changes the results of the election after Monday's inauguration, Coleman will be returned to his council seat in a separate inauguration, according Assistant Town Manager V. Louise Reid.

LEWISTON

Mainer awarded $200,000 for doctor's misdiagnosis

A Maine man who was told he had only months to live because of an aggressive Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is still alive more than four years later. And a jury has awarded him $200,000 for the doctor's misdiagnosis.

It turns out Wendell Strout suffers from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a more treatable form of cancer.

He sued Central Maine Medical Center for damages, citing "tremendous emotional distress" as well as lost income and loss of enjoyment. The Sun Journal said a jury awarded him $200,000 on Thursday.

The lawsuit accused a former CMMC doctor of advising his patient that he "faced certain death" before procuring pathology results.

Strout eventually got the good news that his affliction wasn't as dire as initially believed.

 

Analysis: LePage inflated number of complaints

A newspaper analysis indicates Gov. Paul LePage overreached in April when he said he'd received "hundreds and hundreds" of complaints about Maine's unemployment claims process.

LePage said during a visit to an Auburn elementary school that the appeals process was "one-sided" and favored former workers.

But the Sun Journal said Friday that only 30 of the nearly 400 complaints stacked on LePage's desk since he took office in January 2011 came from business owners who took issue with the administrative appeals hearing process.

And the newspaper said the governor's office received twice as many phone calls, emails and letters from unhappy former workers than they did employers' complaints.

LePage launched a blue-ribbon commission to review Maine's unemployment compensation system. A federal investigation is also under way.

AUGUSTA

Governor signs bill to pay state's debt to hospitals

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill that will pay off the state's debt to Maine hospitals, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, for Medicaid services.

LePage has signed a bill to pay off Maine's share of a debt to hospitals for providing Medicaid services.

The Democratic-led Legislature unanimously approved the bill late Thursday night.

The hospitals will receive $490 million in state and federal money. The state's share of $183.5 million will be covered using bonds, paid off with anticipated revenues from a restructured, 10-year liquor contract. The state's contribution will trigger a federal match to complete the payment.

The bill has been one of LePage's top priorities since taking office in 2011. He vetoed a previous measure because it included a proposal to expand Medicaid coverage.

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