News

  • 03 Jun 2013 4:44 PM | Deleted user
    Governor and Students Celebrate Clean Water Week

    AUGUSTA – To kick off Maine Clean Water Week, Governor Paul R. LePage, students, and members of the Maine Wastewater Control Association announced this year’s winners of the Maine Clean Water poster contest.

    In recognition of Maine Clean Water Week, June 4-8, 2012, the Maine Wastewater Control Association sponsored the poster competition for students in Grade 3-8. The theme of the competition is “What Clean Water Means To Me.”

    This year’s winners are Sofie Irons, Nick Rocray and Faith Ledger. All three students are 6th graders attending Massabesic Middle School in Waterboro.

    The Maine Wastewater Control Association is a nonprofit organization whose goals include promoting education and communication within the wastewater treatment industry and to the general public; supporting a balanced view of environmental policies; and enhancing the image of wastewater personnel.

    Cash prizes are awarded to the top three entries chosen from all posters submitted. In addition, the winning student’s school will receive a television / DVD combination and educational tapes. The top winner will be honored at the Maine Wastewater Control Association’s 2012 Fall Convention or at a school assembly.

    This year’s winners are:

    1st place - Sofie Irons

    2nd place - Nick Rocray

    3rd place - Faith Ledger

  • 03 Jun 2013 4:37 PM | Deleted user

    Governor: No Discussion of Welfare Expansion Until 3,100 Needy Mainers are Covered

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement today about the Democrats’ efforts to expand welfare before they take care of the 3,100 disabled and elderly Mainers who are still on a waiting list for services in their homes and communities.

    “I will not entertain any discussions about welfare expansion until these 3,100 disabled and elderly Mainers are taken care of,” the Governor said. “The Legislature has ignored the needs of these citizens for years, but now the Democrats want to expand welfare to able-bodied adults with no children. Not only is that bad public policy, it’s a disgrace.”

    The Governor said his administration is still in negotiations with the federal government to get waivers that would allow the state to fix fraud and abuse within Maine’s welfare system. Welfare expansion would cost Maine millions of dollars annually if fraud and abuse in the existing system is not addressed.

    “Until we crack down on the fraud and abuse that robs hard-working Mainers of their tax dollars, I will not discuss any efforts to expand welfare,” the Governor said. “We do not need to burden hard-working taxpayers with additional costs for those who are not disabled. The Democrats have to stop discriminating against the disabled and elderly and treat them fairly.”

  • 03 Jun 2013 4:28 PM | Deleted user
    First Lady Ann LePage and Barbara Bush Unveil Maine’s New “Love.Read.Learn!™ ” Baby Journal

    Project Benefits Families of Newborns & Young Children

    On Wednesday, June 5, First Lady Ann M. LePage, former First Lady Barbara Bush, and Doro Bush Koch will unveil the Love.Read.Learn Baby Journal for parents of newborns in Maine. The event will be held at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

    First Lady LePage’s colorful Baby Journal was created in partnership with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Using illustrations created by Maine students, it’s an engaging and educational scrapbook-style journal filled with reading and learning tips, plus child wellness information. With the support of sponsors including Maine Families and Harold Alfond College Challenge, the journal will be distributed as a gift to new parents at hospitals statewide.

    WHO: First Lady Ann LePage

    Former First Lady Barbara Bush

    Doro Bush Koch, Co-Chair, Barbara Bush Foundation

    Liza McFadden, President, Barbara Bush Foundation

    Rich Petersen, Maine Medical CEO

    Moms and babies

    WHAT: Unveiling of Maine’s new Love.Read.Learn! Baby Journal

    *Photo Opportunity: First Ladies will visit with moms of newborns to hand-deliver baby journals and children’s books following remarks.

    WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    10:30 a.m.

    WHERE: Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center

    LL Bean Wing - 6th Floor Atrium

    22 Bramhall St., Portland

    For more information please contact:

    MEDIA RSVP June 3rd

    John Lamb at the Maine Medical Center, 207-662-4405

    Elizabeth Hirst, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, 850.509.3834

    Lynn Harvey, Assistant to Maine’s First Lady, 207.624.7500

  • 03 Jun 2013 4:27 PM | Deleted user
     

    Governor LePage and First Lady ask Legislature to reverse rejection by Education Committee of military service exploration for Maine students

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage and First Lady Ann LePage is calling on the Maine Legislature to vote on two bills that will ensure students have opportunity to explore military service.

    “Military service is our nation’s highest calling, and nothing should stand in the way of Maine’s students who wish to pursue that brave and patriotic path,” said the Governor and First Lady, who have made advocacy for Maine’s military members and their families a hallmark of their tenure in the Blaine House.

    “Maine students should have the same opportunity to talk to recruiters from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard as they do those from Colby, Bates and Bowdoin,” the LePages said. “We may have our political differences here in Augusta, but for the good of Maine’s young adultsundefinedand our nationundefinedlet’s put them aside and join together to support these bills.”

    LD 1502, “An Act To Expand Student Access to Certain Career Information and Opportunities,” would require school boards to allow the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test known as ASVAB, to those students who are interested in taking it. The test helps students understand their strengths and which jobs may be best for them, but some public high schools in Maine prohibit its administration on school grounds.

    LD 1503, “An Act To Ensure Student Access to Postsecondary Military Options,” would require school districts to adopt policies allowing uniformed military recruiters the same access and opportunity to meet with students enjoyed by other postsecondary and career recruiters.

    The LePages are asking Mainers to call their legislators and encourage them to support the two Governor’s bills. The bills come to the full Legislature with divided reports after being rejected last month on mostly party-line votes in the Democrat-controlled Education Committee.

    A vote in the Maine House has not yet been scheduled, but could happen as early as today.

    The Education Committee rejected LD 1502, the ASVAB bill, 7-6 after little discussion. Hiram Rep. Helen Rankin was the lone Democrat to join the committee’s minority Republicans in supporting the Governor’s bill.

    The No Child Left Behind Act already requires schools receiving federal funds to allow access to military recruiters. But the act does not specify if they can wear military uniforms, an exclusion some Maine schools have established on their own without explanation. LD 1503 would allow military recruiters to wear uniforms in schools.

    That bill was defeated 7-6 by the committee’s Democrats, although Rep. Matthea Daughtry of Brunswick did join her Republican colleagues to support the equal access measure.

    “The ASVAB test has great value beyond helping students consider their future potential in life,” Governor LePage said. “It provides students and advisors a critical aptitude testing tool that helps students better understand themselves, regardless of the professions they choose. Maine schools should be encouraging our nation’s uniformed heroes coming into schools, not discriminating against them. Banning uniformed recruiters and blocking students from taking the ASVAB is shameful behavior.”

    The two bills were prompted by the concerns military representatives brought to Governor LePage and the Department of Education. Because military representatives often abstain from testifying before legislative committees, Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen spoke on their behalf, expressing support from the Department and the LePage Administration.

    “It is our position that students should have every opportunity to explore a career in the armed forces,” Commissioner Bowen said. “By prohibiting uniformed recruiters or the ASVAB test, we are sending students a message that military service is something to which they should not aspire. These bills do not require students to enlist. They simply allow students to explore all of their post-secondary options, whether that be college, career or service to their community and country.”


  • 03 Jun 2013 9:31 AM | Deleted user

    Governor announces SBA will provide low-interest loans for those affected by fires in Lewiston

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved his request for emergency low-interest loans, following the recent apartment house fires in the City of Lewiston. Low-interest disaster loans will be made available to property owners, residents and other local businesses affected by the fires.

    “We are pleased that the SBA can offer support to those whose lives were disrupted by these fires,” Governor LePage said. “The people and businesses of Maine have given generously to assist those left homeless by the fires. Now these low-interest loans from the SBA are also available to help them get back on their feet.”

    The Governor added that SBA assistance is available not just to those with property damage, but possibly for businesses that have lost revenue as a result of the fires.

    The SBA can provide loans of up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. In addition, businesses suffering damage could receive loans to help repair or replace damaged property and for loss of business.

    The following application information has been provided by the SBA:

    A Disaster Loan Outreach Center will open at Lewiston City Hall next week. SBA customer service representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help with loan applications.

    Disaster Loan Outreach Center

    Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine Street in Lewiston

    Opening: Tuesday, June 4 at 8 a.m.

    Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, June 4–6

    Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

  • 03 Jun 2013 9:30 AM | Deleted user

    139

    days since Governor LePage first submitted a bill to pay the hospitals

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that his plan to pay Maine’s hospitals and create a new contract for the state’s liquor business has come out of the revisor’s office and has been sent to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.

    The bill, “An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Hospitals and to Provide for a New Spirits Contract,” is essentially the same as the Governor’s proposal that was submitted 139 days ago. The new bill was submitted last week as emergency legislation, which means that once it is passed it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it.

    “The hospitalsundefinedand the Maine peopleundefinedhave waited long enough,” the Governor said. “It’s time to pay the hospitals. No excuses, no stalling, no last-minute political stunts: let’s get it done.”

    To track the progress of the Governor’s bill, click here.

  • 31 May 2013 1:58 PM | Deleted user

    Folks, it’s deja vu all over again. Nearly five months after I submitted a plan to pay Maine’s hospitals, they still haven’t been paid. We’re back to square one.

    Hello, this is Governor LePage.

    Back in January, I submitted my plan to pay off the half-a-billion-dollar debt to Maine’s 39 hospitals. After 139 days, lots of delays and some last-minute political maneuvering, the hospitals are still not paid.

    Democrats and Republicans agree my plan to use revenue from a new liquor contract to pay off the hospital debt is the best deal for Maine. With all of the public support for paying our bills, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves know they can’t leave the State House without paying the hospitals. So what’s the hold up?

    Democratic leadership pulled every trick in the book to avoid passing my plan. First, they held off hearing the bill for as long as they could. Then they claimed it was unconstitutional. Then they came up with a new deal for the liquor contract, which was pretty much the same as the old bad deal.

    Then they replaced my bill with a committee bill that had all the elements of my plan, just to save face. Their final strategy was to tie the hospital payment to a huge expansion of welfare. They knew welfare expansion wouldn’t pass on its own merits, so they used Washington-style politics to force it through without bipartisan support.

    Public support for my plan has been strong since day one. The Maine people want to pay the hospitals. In fact, they demand it.

    This campaign by Democratic leadership to avoid paying the hospitals has serious consequences. Their political shenanigans have caused layoffs and prevented shovel-ready construction projects from getting started. Their refusal to pay the hospital debt is causing Maine’s credit rating to suffer.

    Folks, I was not subtle. I said many times I would veto the bill if it was tied to expansion. And that’s exactly what I did. Seventy percent of Mainers believe the hospital bill should not be tied to welfare expansion.

    Democratic leadership ignored the will of the Maine people, and they wasted valuable time on a bill they knew would get vetoed. They did this to appease their masters in Washington, D.C. and to please their special-interest groups at home. Democrats showed they care more about the Maine Peoples Alliance than the Maine people.

    My plan will put many of those Mainers to work right away. It would pay 484-million-dollars to 39 hospitals, which provide some of the state’s best-paying jobs to Mainers. It would release about $100 million in voter-approved bonds and instantly create jobs in the construction industry. It would authorize a $100 million bond for transportation projects to fix our roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

    My plan for a new liquor contract would return millions of dollars a year to Maine, rather than sending all that money to an out-of-state company. The new contract would benefit consumers, agency stores and the workers they employee. My plan was a good deal for Mainers five months ago, and it is a good deal today. Once again, I ask: What’s the hold up?

    It’s time for Democrats to stop their deceitful gamesmanship. It’s time to pay the hospitals.

  • 31 May 2013 10:06 AM | Deleted user
    Hospital Auxiliary Community Tea Reminder

    All welcome for an afternoon of friendship and refreshments

    Farmington ¾

    The Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) Auxiliary is hosting acommunity tea on Wednesday, June 12, from 3–4:30 p.m. in the Bass Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital . The tea, which is free and open to the public, will include information sharing, refreshments, and live entertainment.

    The tea will begin withrefreshments of sandwiches, fresh strawberries, and three kinds of loose leaf tea: Marco Polo, Earl Gray, and Darjeeling , while background piano music is performed by Dr. David Dixon. At 3:15 p.m. Rebecca Ryder, FMH president, will welcome the attendees; followed by Les Gatchell, outgoing Auxiliary president, who will discuss the mission of the Auxiliary; and then Jennifer McCormick, Healthy Community Coalition director, whowill discuss the organization’s current health education and outreach initiatives.

    The tea will conclude with entertainment bythe Cavaliere Family Violinists.

    “This is an afternoon of friendship, information, refreshments, and entertainment,” said Jill Gray,Auxiliary staff liaison. “Anyone with an interest is welcome to attend and group and individual table reservations are available.”

    An RSVP and table reservations are requested by June 5 by calling Betty Mitchell at 897-2212. Those attending should look for directional signs for parking on the day of the event.

  • 31 May 2013 10:04 AM | Deleted user

    Feds Confirm They Won’t Fully Cover Maine’s Welfare Expansion

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage responded today to a letter from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stating that Maine will not get increased federal funding if the state chooses to expand its Medicaid program to thousands of non-disabled parents.

    CMS also rejected a request the Governor made to provide Maine with additional long-term support to ensure the Medicaid program is sustainable for years to come.

    “I’m disappointed that the federal government will penalize Maine for our previous generosity,” Governor LePage said. “Maine will not get full funding for able-bodied parents, while other states receive 100 percent. It’s also disappointing that the feds won’t work with us to provide the additional years of funding I requested. Once again, the federal government has failed to come through for Maine. Despite our generosity in expanding welfare over the last decade, we are being offered less than what other states are getting.”

    CMS sent the letter to DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew on Friday, May 24, in response to a letter Governor LePage sent in February. Commissioner Mayhew traveled to Washington, D.C. earlier this month to follow up on the letter. The Governor asked if Maine would get 100 percent federal funding to pay for non-disabled parents who were given coverage during the state’s last expansion of welfare.

    “The regular matching rate will continue to apply to expenditures for parents who are already eligible for Medicaid,” wrote Cindy Mann, director of CMS. That means Maine will get only 62 percent federal funding for non-disabled parents. Most states are eligible to receive 100 percent federal funding for these parents.

    If Maine expands welfare again, the state would have to pay around $30 million annually to cover 41,000 parents who would be 100 percent federally funded in other states.

    The federal government also “tentatively concluded” that 10,000 childless adults already covered will receive full federal funding for the first three years of welfare expansion. Although CMS has said it “appears” this is true, they have asked DHHS to do an analysis to guarantee the additional funds. DHHS is working with CMS on the analysis.

    CMS expressed interest in working with Maine to improve its MaineCare program to help better serve needy individuals in the program. “Your interest in improving care and lowering costs through better integration of services and greater reliance on home- and community-based long-term care services and supports is very much aligned with CMS priorities,” Mann said in the letter. “Please be assured that we will do whatever we can to support you efforts in these areas.”

    Governor LePage asked for more flexibility to ensure that the Maine’s welfare program is meeting the needs of the disabled and elderly, particularly the 3,100 individuals who are on waiting lists waiting for critical services, including home- and community-based services. Governor LePage said these disabled and elderly individuals must be covered before he would consider expanding welfare to non-disabled childless adults.

    “We need to focus on fixing the problems we have today,” said the Governor. “Then we can have a discussion about how to responsibly extend coverage options to additional populations.”

  • 31 May 2013 10:03 AM | Deleted user

    Governor LePage & MITC to Lead Maine Companies to Mexico & Colombia for State of Maine Trade Mission

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced that he and the Maine International Trade Center will be leading a delegation of Maine businesses and schools to Mexico and Colombia this fall on for the annual State of Maine Trade Mission. This year’s mission, which will run from October 27-November 2, will again feature business matchmaking and other promotional events to help Maine companies enter and expand in these markets.

    The mission will be the second for Governor LePage and the fifteenth for a Maine governor. The last state trade mission to Mexico was in 2001; the visit to Colombia will be the first. “Latin America presents numerous opportunities for our Maine businesses,” commented Governor LePage. “Both countries are growing and value U.S. quality products.”

    Mexico’s GDP has recorded positive growth over the past several years, and the country ranks as the United States’ second-largest export market and third-largest trading partner. In addition, Mexico has been a growing source of foreign investment in the United States and most recently Maine, where Dalegip America Inc. recently announced a joint venture partnership with Searsport-based GAC Chemical. Major Mexican investments in the U.S. have been in the construction industry, industrial products, real estate and food processing sectors.

    “We have established some great working partnerships with our Mexico/Colombian counterparts at US Department of Commerce and other in-country cooperators,” says Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of MITC and State Director of International Trade. “Maine companies involved in precision machining and the supply chain for the automotive, oil and gas and mining industries will likely find both markets of interest, as well as medical products manufacturers. These markets are also excellent prospects for student attraction, both at the high school and higher ed levels.”

    Tim Hussey, CEO of North Berwick-based Hussey Seating Company, says Mexico “has proven to be a good market” for his company. “They have a desire for American-designed products, and we are finding we can be competitive in a number of niche markets. Their economy is growing, and we are seeing our business grow there,” Hussey explained.

    Political stability, a growing middle class, and improved security has created an economic boom in Colombia that, coupled with the conservative lending practices by Colombia’s financial institutions, lessened the impact of the global economic crisis, making it the third largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America.

    Terry Ingram, the owner of Allagash International in South Portland, has been doing business in Colombia for the past nine years. He says that companies not currently doing business in Colombia are “missing by far the fastest growing per capita country in the region. The culture is warm and Colombians are always excited to partner with US companies.”

    Mexico and Colombia rank among the top emerging markets for Maine exports, with Mexico positioned as one of the top 15 markets worldwide for the state and Colombia showing signs of solid growth following the advent of a new free trade agreement with the U.S. Maine exported $34.9 million in goods to Mexico and $8 million to Colombia in 2012. Top exports currently include paper, motor vehicle parts, vaccines, fruits and nuts, diagnostic materials, medical products and plastics.

    The mission is open to all Maine companies and organizations, with the deadline for registration on September 7, 2013. More information is available on MITC’s website at www.mitc.com, or by contacting Wade Merritt (merritt@mitc.com) or Lucy Sommo (sommo@mitc.com).

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