Driver charged in crash that left baby seriously injured

WATERBORO, Maine (AP) — Police have charged a box truck driver for his role in a crash in Maine that left a 10-month old seriously injured.

The crash happened Thursday morning on Route 202 in Waterboro when an SUV was hit from behind by the box truck while attempting to make a left turn.

Witnesses told police the truck driver did not make an effort to slow down before the crash.

An infant who was in the SUV has been hospitalized in critical condition.

Police say the baby’s mother, 37-year-old Ellen Kennedy, suffered minor injuries.

The 53-year-old box truck driver, of Lynn, Massachusetts, has been charged with aggravated driving to endanger.

His arraignment is scheduled for Friday.

Maine gets $1M for early education, pre-schools

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s U.S. senators say the state is receiving more than $1 million from the federal government to boost preschools and early education programs in the state.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say the money is coming to the Maine Department of Education from the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Preschool Development Grant program.

The senators say the grant money will help build early learning systems in the state. The grant program is competitive and managed by the federal government. It’s designed to help states improve access to early childhood education for low- and moderate-income children who are age five or younger.

Maine seeks ideas how to spend Farm Bill conservation money

UNION, Maine (AP) — Agriculture officials in Maine are looking for farmers, foresters and others to come forward with ideas about how to spend conservation funds from the federal Farm Bill in the state.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says local working groups for Knox and Waldo counties and Kennebec and Lincoln counties are tasked with making recommendations to the Natural Resources Conservation Service about how to use the money. The Knox/Waldo group is holding a meeting on Jan. 29 in Union and the Kennebec/Lincoln group is holding one on Feb. 5 in Augusta.

The Maine agriculture department says it’s looking for people such as agriculture producers, loggers, woodland owners and environmental organizations to attend the meetings. The Farm Bill money is slated to be used for conservation on private lands.

Report finds lack of mental health services for children

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The administration of Maine’s new Democratic governor has released a report finding the state is struggling to help children with unmet needs for mental health services.

The Department of Health and Human Services released the report Wednesday. Massachusetts-based firm Public Consulting Group conducted the report under former Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.

The report said a lack of access to outpatient, home- and community-based, and residential services leads to children winding up in the emergency room and psychiatric hospital. The report found an increase in the number of children waiting months for certain services.

The report’s recommendations include addressing shortages in the health care workforce and reforming the process of assigning providers for children waiting for services.

Gov. Janet Mills’ administration plans to review the report.

Mills defends public safety chief pick as some raise concern

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is defending her pick for public safety commissioner as a former Republican lawmaker and sportsman’s group raise concerns over his gun control views.

Mills said Thursday former Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck is “highly qualified” to serve as public safety commissioner. Sauschuck faces a hearing and a Senate vote.

Former state senator and U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey calls Sauschuck an “anti-gun” activist. Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine head David Trahan says Sauschuck’s nomination comes amid “a wave” of gun control legislation.

Sauschuck supported a 2016 referendum for universal background checks for gun sales and transfers. He served on a gun safety coalition board and voiced concern over Maine’s open-carry law and a concealed-carry law championed by Brakey.

A Portland city spokeswoman declined comment on Sauschuck’s behalf.

Charges against Maine hotel booker after guests’ complaints

RUMFORD, Maine (AP) — Police have charged a man with deceptive business practices in the wake of complaints from guests about rooms he rented in a historic hotel in Maine.

The Sun Journal reports 29-year-old James Adinolfi, of Connecticut, was charged Monday with misdemeanor counts that could lead to jail time. Adinolfi says he’s the “victim of a political war.”

Adinolfi was the subject of a Sun Journal investigative story that detailed complaints from guests who felt Adinolfi’s operations in Rumford’s Hotel Harris were a scam. Some reported finding dirty rooms that were short of what they’d been led to expect.

Adinolfi has said he believes he’s being harassed by local police. He has said he leases rooms from the hotel owner and rents them in turn. He’s due in court next month.

Maine CDC confirms 3 deaths from flu in state this season

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports three people have died from the flu this season.

CDC officials say there were 510 confirmed influenza cases through Jan. 5 — down from 768 during the same time period in 2017-2018. Flu season runs from October through May.

Health officials also say 53 people have been hospitalized as a result of the flu this season.

The predominant strain this year is influenza A H1N1, which officials say tends to have less severe symptoms than the predominant strain that circulated last season.

Public health experts say flu vaccines are the best way to prevent the flu.

Pedestrian hit and killed while walking on road

HANCOCK, Maine (AP) — Maine State Police say a man walking on a road in Hancock was struck and killed.

Authorities say the man was wearing dark clothing and was struck by a truck late Wednesday afternoon. Officials say he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities are not identifying the victim until his family is notified, but say the man was in his late 60s.

Gas leak at mill sends 4 to hospital, no injuries reported

JAY, Maine (AP) — Officials at a Maine mill say a gas leak forced an evacuation of the building and sent four contractors to the hospital.

Verso Androscoggin Mill spokeswoman says Kathi Rowzie says a valve was left open at the Jay-area mill, releasing chlorine dioxide gas. The Sun Journal reports no one was injured and the contractors were hospitalized as a precaution after the gas was detected by sensors.

Rowzie says employees evacuated the mill Wednesday morning. Employees later returned to work that day after the valve was closed and the air tested clear.

Officials say an incident report, which is standard protocol at the mill, will be submitted by Friday.

Mankilled by falling tree he cut down

WASHINGTON, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine say a man cutting down a tree was killed when the tree fell on top of him.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says 47-year-old Shannon Condon, of Washington, Maine, died at the scene. Officials say the death was reported by a passer-by who spotted Condon by a tree just after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials say Condon was cutting down a tree on his property when the tree fell on him.

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