21-year-old woman held without bail in child death 

BUCKSPORT, Maine (AP) — A judge has ordered a 21-year-old Maine woman held without bail in the 2017 death of a 2-year-old girl. 

Savannah Smith, of Bucksport, made a brief court appearance on Monday before being returned to the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth. 

She was arrested Friday after being indicted on a murder charge in the death of Kloe Hawksley. 

Police say Smith was dating Kloe’s father, Tyler Hawksley, at the time of Kloe’s death. The youngster was found dead inside a Bucksport home in October 2017 following a 911 call. 

Smith is due back in court later this month. Her attorney didn’t immediately return a message left at his office on Tuesday.  

Maine could end non-medical opt-outs for vaccinations 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine could end non-medical exemptions for routine childhood vaccines required by schools and certain health care facilities. 

The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee is set to hold a work session on the bill Wednesday. 

Multiple studies have debunked claims that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk for autism. Maine has one of the nation’s highest rates of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. 

But opponents say argued Maine parents should remain able to opt-out on religious or philosophical grounds. 

Meanwhile, a Republican’s bill would leave medical exemptions at the “sole discretion” of anyone authorized to administer vaccines. 

Federal data shows Maine had among the highest rates of non-medical vaccine exemptions in 2017-2018. 

Oregon and Washington are also considering bills to end non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines.  

Maine records 1st pediatric death in 3 years 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the state has recorded its first pediatric death caused by influenza in three years. 

The Maine CDC said it was notified Monday of the death in Washington County. The victim had not been vaccinated. 

That brings the total number of influenza deaths to at least three dozen in Maine. Officials say influenza activity remains “widespread” in the state. 

Officials say people should take steps to protect themselves by getting vaccines, washing hands and staying home with when. The last influenza-associated pediatric death before the death occurred in March 2016 in Maine. 

Maine could allow ranked voting in governor general election 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine could expand its system that allows voters to rank their candidates from first to last on the ballot. 

The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs committee has set public hearings Wednesday on two proposed constitutional amendments. 

Republicans have proposed bills to repeal the voter-approved system, which Mainers endorsed in 2016 and 2018 state-wide votes. 

It works like this: Voters rank candidates on the ballot, and a candidate garnering a majority of first-place votes is the winner. 

If there’s no majority winner, then the last-place candidate is eliminated and votes are reallocated. The process is repeated until there’s a majority winner. 

Maine used the ranked-choice voting system for the first time in U.S. House and Senate races in November. But Maine’s constitution prevents it from being used in governor general elections. 

Maine ready for round 2 of winter weather 

By The Associated Press undefined 

Another round of wintry weather could bring another half-foot of snow to parts of Maine. 

William Watson from the National Weather Service said the heaviest precipitation will fall from Tuesday afternoon through the evening, wrapping up by the Wednesday commute. 

He said parts of interior Maine could get 4 to 6 inches of snow before it ends. That’s on top of another snowstorm that coated the state with a blanket of white on Monday. Some snow also was expected in northern New Hampshire. 

April snow isn’t unusual in New England, but most folks are ready for warmer weather. 

A horse, a highway, a whisperer … and a happy ending 

CORNISH, Maine (AP) — A deputy-turned-horse-whisperer is getting credit for saving a wandering horse in Maine. 

The York County Sheriff’s Department received a report early Tuesday of a horse wandering in the middle of Route 25 in Cornish. 

Sgt. Steve Thistlewood calmed the skittish horse, fashioned a halter and used some almonds to lure the horse close enough to catch. 

A rancher agreed to keep the horse temporarily. The rancher said the 32-year-old horse was later returned to its owner. 

Hospital to use Maine company for emergency services 

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) — A struggling Vermont hospital plans to start contracting with a Maine-based company to staff in its emergency department as part of a money-saving effort. 

The Valley News reports that Springfield Hospital announced Monday that it would use BlueWater Emergency Partners, based in Brunswick, Maine, to start providing a board-certified physician, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to work alongside existing nurses. 

BlueWater replaces a Vermont-based company that had provided emergency services at the hospital for 40 years. 

Springfield Hospital had faced financial struggles for months before it announced job and pay cuts in early February. Officials say the hospital also received $800,000 from the state to be paid back next year. The hospital recently announced it was closing its birthing center. 

Friendly’s restaurants close 23 more shops 

WILBRAHAM, Mass. (AP) — The Friendly’s ice cream and restaurant chain has closed 23 more restaurants around the Northeast. 

The Wilbraham, Massachusetts-based company cited dramatic changes in the areas where some restaurants are located for the closures of the corporate-owned shops. 

The chain is closing 14 restaurants in upstate New York, three in Massachusetts, three in Connecticut, two in New Hampshire, and one in Maine. 

CEO George Michel says employees at the restaurants being closed will be offered jobs at other Friendly’s locations or offered severance. 

Michel says the closures “will best position the brand for a bright future.” 

Friendly’s now has 174 restaurants — 77 corporate-owned and 97 franchisee-owned — down from 254 when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2012. 

The chain started with a single store in Springfield in 1935.

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