Flags flown at half-staff for Peace Officers Memorial Day

Maine and U.S. flags were flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Sunday in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, which will be observed through May 21.

President Obama had encouraged Americans to display the U.S. flag at half-staff from their homes and businesses.

The holiday was created by a federal proclamation in 1962.

Lawsuit over mural removal to go into at least mid-June

Litigation over Gov. Paul LePage’s order to remove a mural depicting a labor theme from state offices will continue to at least mid-June.

A lawsuit filed April 1 seeks to compel LePage to return the mural to the Maine Department of Labor. In April, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock denied a request for an order to have the governor immediately return the mural.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say they held a conference May 3 with Woodcock and state attorneys to determine the next steps in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs agreed to provide a proposed stipulation of undisputed facts by May 24, and responses will be filed after that.

The state will file a motion for summary judgment seeking to dismiss the case by June 17.

Panel backs license plates for state’s Gold Star families

A Maine legislative committee has unanimously endorsed a bill to authorize Gold Star Family license plates in Maine.

The Transportation Committee’s action Thursday sets the bill up for likely legislative approval.

Secretary of State Charles Summers Jr. praised the committee’s action. He says the plate will be a solemn, dignified tribute to those who have given their life in service to their country.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Bradley Moulton of York.

Gold Star Family registration plates are expected to be made available by the end of the summer to families who qualify.

More jobs needed to keep graduates here, LePage says

With thousands of students graduating this month from Maine’s colleges and universities, Gov. Paul LePage says the state must create more jobs so more of those graduates stick around after receiving their degrees.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, the governor said young men and women who go to college in Maine won’t be able to stay if they can’t find jobs.

He said job creation is a top priority, and that he’s working to make the state more attractive for businesses that will create the jobs that will allow young people to call Maine home.

He also said Maine needs a better-trained work force to meet the needs of businesses. Just 39 percent of Maine adults now hold degrees beyond high school, the governor said. 

Maine Democrats take aim at governor’s budget plan

The top Democrat on the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations Committee says Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed two-year budget largely fails to deliver on his promises.

In the Democrats’ weekly radio address Saturday, Sen. Dawn Hill of York says LePage has promised to save money and create jobs, make government more accountable and protect Maine’s neediest residents.

But she said that LePage’s proposed $6.1 billion budget accomplishes few of those things.

Hill said the budget abandons Maine’s neediest — the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, working poor and veterans.

She said the governor’s budget comes with severe cuts to services while giving tax breaks to out-of-state businesses and the wealthy.


Franco-Americaine festival gets City Council’s backing

The Biddeford City Council has given the 29th La Kermesse Franco-Americaine Festival a go-ahead for this June.

The Journal Tribune of Biddeford reported that the council gave its approval, based on several conditions, to hold the event at Mechanics Park from June 24 to 26.

Approval came despite some unresolved issues with the city of Biddeford. For the past two years, the event has been plagued with problems, including bad weather, low attendance, lack of funds to pay off vendors and legal issues.