Maine hospital to boost parent services for at-risk mothers 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine hospital says it will provide parenting coaching services to mothers with the help of a new grant. 

MaineGeneral Medical Center says its Edmund N. Ervin Pediatric Center has been awarded a $130,000 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation to provide the service to at-risk mothers. The hospital says the program will provide support to mothers who face risk factors such as substance use disorder and mental health diagnoses. 

The hospital says its pediatric center will start working with up to 40 women and their children in Kennebec and Somerset counties starting July 1. It says the grant money will pay for facets of the program such as training for a pair of part-time health educators. 

Educators will meet with the mothers in their homes starting during pregnancy. 

Maine lawmakers say whale protection must protect lobstering 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The four members of Maine’s Congressional delegation are urging the federal government to make sure its effort to save a rare whale doesn’t jeopardize the health of the state’s lobster industry. 

A team organized by the federal government recommended in April that the number of vertical trap lines in the water be reduced by about half to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Maine’s two senators and representatives sent a letter to Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Neil Jacobs on Tuesday calling on the feds to protect the whales “without unfairly or disproportionately burdening the Maine lobster industry.” 

The lawmakers say one of the potential problems with the government’s approach is that it assumes the whales face the same risk in American and Canadian waters. 

Bill for terminally ill to get life-ending meds in Senate 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine, the state with the oldest residents, is weighing a bill to allow adults with a terminal disease to ask for a fatal dose of prescription drugs. 

The Senate tabled the bill Wednesday. The House supported the bill in an initial 72-68 vote Tuesday. 

Lawmakers could take up the bill again before adjournment in mid-June. 

Opponents argue lawmakers should instead promote hospice care including mental health treatment. Supporters say people with a terminal illness and a sound mind should choose to end life on their terms. 

The bill’s process includes two waiting periods, a second opinion and written and oral requests. 

Supporters warn the matter could go to the ballot. Similar legislation failed in 2017. 

The bill criminalizes coercing a person into requesting medication, and allows health providers to opt-out. 

Man enters plea after being indicted in girlfriend’s death 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Portland man charged with killing his girlfriend has pleaded not guilty. 

Sixty-one-year-old Gregory Vance entered the plea during a brief hearing on Wednesday. The Portland Press Herald reports that he was indicted earlier this month. 

He’s been held without bail since his arrest on March 17, the day Patricia Grassi’s body was found. An autopsy shows the 59-year-old woman was strangled. 

Court documents indicate Vance told police Grassi was “tormenting” and “slapping” him, and that he confessed in phone calls to his daughter and ex-wife. 

Tina Heather Nadeau, one of his attorneys, told the newspaper that the defense continues to conduct its own investigation and research into what happened. 

Family of roofer who fell files $2.5M wrongful-death suit 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The family of a Maine roofer who died in a fall has filed a $2.5 million wrongful-death suit against his employer. 

The Portland Press Herald reports that Alan Loignon’s family says Saco-based contractor, 44-year-old Shawn D. Purvis, discouraged the use of safety equipment so his crews could finish jobs faster. 

Loignon fell off a roof in Portland in December. The 30-year-old was not wearing a safety harness. 

Purvis has pleaded not guilty to two manslaughter charges in Loignon’s death. The two men were half-brothers. 

Purvis has said he cannot force his roofers to use safety gear he provides because they’re self-employed subcontractors. 

The state’s labor department and a roofing industry group say general contractors are responsible for worksite safety. 

Purvis’ attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

Dispute over drug database records in appeals court 

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A dispute over whether New Hampshire should produce records related to its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to the Drug Enforcement Agency without a warrant has reached an appeals court. 

Last year, the DEA subpoenaed information from Michelle Ricco Jonas, who oversees New Hampshire’s database allowing health care workers to search a patient’s prescription patterns. It sought an individual’s records. The state refused, saying the DEA needed a warrant. 

The U.S. Justice Department sued the state and a judge in November ordered the state to produce the documents. The state appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. 

On Wednesday,  the national ACLU and chapters in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of the state’s challenge. 

Similar cases are pending in other states. 

Body of missing fishermen found in rural Maine 

SHIRLEY, Maine (AP) — Authorities in Maine say they’ve found the body of a man who went missing after going fishing in a rural part of the state. 

The Maine Warden Service says the body of 66-year-old Clayton Burton of Blanchard was found at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. The service says Burton had left to go fishing on May 23 along the East Branch of the Piscataquis River. His wife notified the warden service when he did not return. 

The service says Burton’s all-terrain vehicle was located near a bog close to a railroad bed that runs from Blanchard to Shirley. Wardens returned to the bog area, found Burton’s kayak and fishing gear, and eventually, his body. 

The service says Burton’s body was taken to a funeral home. 

Victim ID’d in head-on collision in Skowhegan, Maine 

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — Police have identified the victim in a head-on collision between a tractor-trailer and a car in Skowhegan, Maine. 

Police say 39-year-old Jeremy Garland, of Skowhegan, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Route 2. The 21-year-old truck driver was treated and released from a local hospital. 

Police say it appears that the car drifted across the center line and into the path of the tractor-trailer.  

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