Analysis: Collins is most likely to work across aisle 

By The Associated Press undefined 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats say Republican Sen. Susan Collins toes the party line too often. But a Georgetown University think tank says she’s the most likely to work across party lines. 

The Lugar Center says this is the third straight Congress in which Collins was the most bipartisan senator based on its ranking system. Maria Cancian, dean of Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, said Congress seems more polarized than ever before, but the analysis “points to more cooperation.” 

The index measures how often a lawmaker introduces bills that attract co-sponsors from across the aisle, and how often a lawmaker signs onto bills from the other party. 

Collins has long talked about the need for Republican and Democratic lawmakers to cooperate. She was named honorary chairwoman of the bipartisan group “No Labels” in 2017. 

New sludge rules in Maine amid farm contamination concern 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine officials say they’ll start using new controls of the use of sludge amid concerns from a dairy farm in the state about chemical contamination. 

State records say sludge spread at Stoneridge Farm in Arundel was a source of perfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says it’s going to require testing of all sludge material licensed for land application for per- and polyfluoroalkyl. 

The department says it has set an “aggressive schedule for testing which must be concluded before any sludge material can be land applied.” 

Sludge is spread on farms to serve as fertilizer and improve soil quality in Maine and around the country. The Maine DEP says it has been used since “long before” knowledge it might contain PFAS, a persistent pollutant. 

Brrreaking in Maine: Gov OKs emergency ice fishing bill 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Janet Mills has signed emergency legislation designed to extend the state’s ice fishing season. 

Mills, a Democrat, signed the extension on Monday. The governor’s office says the move allowed Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso the authority to extend the fishing season beyond March 31, when it normally closes. 

Camuso says the season will be extended to April 21 in northern Maine. 

Maine ice fishing season typically closes March 31 and is followed by open water season on April 1. But the governor’s office says fluctuating temperatures have resulted in colder northern waters this year. 

The office says extending the ice fishing season beyond the typical closing date will allow for more ice fishing opportunities in northern Maine. 

Anonymous customers leave $2,000 tip to surprise of waiters 

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — Anonymous customers at a Maine restaurant seemingly approved of the eatery’s service, leaving a $2,000 tip on a $48 bill. 

Silver Street Tavern waitress Samantha Clark says the couple, who asked to remain anonymous, was friendly and easy to wait on, although the man said someone took his wine glass by mistake at one point. 

The Waterville Morning-Sentinel reports the man later asked to speak with a manager, and Clark says she feared he would complain. 

Clark says she later learned the customers had left the large tip and instructed the manager to split it among the staff. Clark says the man is not a regular at the establishment and can’t think why he left such a generous tip. 

Silver Street Tavern owner Charlie Giguere called it “a feel-good story.” 

Legislature to hold hearing on flavored tobacco ban bill 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine legislators will hold a public hearing on a bill that would ban all flavored tobacco products statewide. 

The bill is being considered by the Health and Human Services Committee, and is sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Rebecca Millet of Cumberland. WGME-TV reports the Monday hearing would consider the impact of a bill restricting the sale and distribution of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored cigars. 

The proposal comes as the Federal Drug Administration is cracking down on e-cigarette manufacturers, announcing earlier this month that it would soon restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to minors. 

Information from: WGME-TV, Gasoline prices still climbing in northern New England 

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gasoline prices are still on the rise in northern New England. 

In Vermont, prices rose 5.2 cents per gallon, averaging $2.56 last week. In New Hampshire, prices have gone up 4.4 cents, to $2.47 per gallon. In Maine, prices rose 3.7 cents per gallon, to $2.54. 

The national average is up 22.2 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 2.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. 

Maine passes tax refund for commercial maple syrup, honey 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine lawmakers are making sure that a sales tax refund and exemption includes the commercial production of maple syrup and honey. 

Republican Rep. MaryAnne Kinney’s emergency bill now awaits a decision from Gov. Janet Mills, a fellow Democrat. 

Kinney says a representative of a Maine maple producer told her last fall that a commercial agricultural tax exemption card renewal was denied. Kinney says the bill clarifies that Maine’s maple syrup and honey producers can continue to receive agricultural exemptions as they have done previously. 

An online summary of the bill says Maine urgently needs to expand sales tax exemptions and refunds for producers of maple syrup to reduce the cost of production. 

The House and Senate enacted the legislation Tuesday. 




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