2011-12-08 / Maine

BRIEFS

Survey: Mainers want Postal Service saved

PORTLAND (AP) — A new survey shows most Mainers want the U.S. Postal Service saved and are willing to go along with cost-cutting measures in order to keep it going.

Market Decisions of Portland surveyed 400 Mainers 18 or older between Oct. 5 and 25. The poll was done amid news of the decline in Postal Service revenues and discussions of the institution’s future.

The survey, which has a 5 percentage point margin of error, showed 84 percent strongly opposed to eliminating the Postal Service entirely, and another 9 percent somewhat opposed. Only 5 percent indicated they would support the elimination of the USPS.

Sixty-three percent of those polled said they strongly support or somewhat support renting or leasing post office buildings and increasing the types of services offered.

DEP chief announces reorganization plan

SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) — Maine’s top environmental official says she’s in the process of reorganizing the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP Commissioner Pattie Aho said Wednesday that the three bureaus of Air Quality, Land and Water Quality, and Remediation and Waste Management will be reorganized under the functions of resource protection, environmental assessment and resource administration.

Aho says there are also other changes aimed at improving service and operational efficiency.

She says the goal is to create “one unified Maine DEP.” For example, there will be one team to handle functions like permitting, inspections, monitoring or billing instead of separate teams under three bureaus. She says the unified structure will bring predictability for those who fall under DEP’s purview.

Mainer gets 7 years in hit-and-run death

BANGOR (AP) — A 23-yearold man has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in the hit-andrun death of a University of Maine student nearly a year ago.

Garrett Cheney of South Berwick was found guilty of hitting Jordyn Bakley with his truck on an Orono street and leaving the scene as well as driving drunk and causing another crash on Interstate 95 on Jan. 30, 2010.

WZON reports that at Wednesday’s sentencing, J. Blakely, the victim’s father, held up a bag of his daughter’s cremated remains. He said he holds it in his pocket and it’s all he has to hug.

Cheney did not address the court at his sentencing.

Lawsuits filed in Maine double fatality

BANGOR (AP) — A Canadian man is facing two wrongful death lawsuits in Maine stemming from a car accident that killed two women in September.

Brenda Sampson of Bangor filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking unspecified damages against 44- year- old Hugh Fraser of Halifax, Nova Scotia. A separate lawsuit was filed last month by Melinda Salisbury of Otis.

Sampson’s sister and Salisbury’s mother were killed Sept. 1 when the minivan in which they were passengers crashed head-on into Fraser’s car on Route 9 in Eddington.

The suits allege that Fraser fell asleep at the wheel.

The Bangor Daily News reports that Fraser was press secretary to former Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm from November 2004 to March 2006 and now runs his own communications firm. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

35 schools recognized for healthy setting

PORTLAND (AP) — Nearly three dozen schools in Maine are being recognized for excellence for providing healthy environments for their students.

Thirty-five Maine schools were being recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during an awards ceremony today at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

The honored schools are located in the Falmouth, Boothbay, Freeport, Lakes Region, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Yarmouth, North Yarmouth and Scarborough school districts.

Those schools earned Bronze awards in the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge, a program that encourages schools to create healthy environments by promoting healthy foods, nutrition education and physical activity.

The program last year recognized only four Maine schools.

Utilities compete over best-tasting water

FREEPORT (AP) — Bragging rights and a trip to the national water tasting championships are at stake as water utilities square off at Maine’s 25th annual drinking water taste test competition.

Dozens of water districts from around Maine are competing in the Maine Rural Water Association’s 31st annual drinking water taste test. Today’s competition is being held on the second day of the association’s annual three- day conference and trade show in Freeport.

For the testing, water districts compete in chlorinated and non- chlorinated categories. The winners in each category then compete in a “taste-off ” to determine the winner, which will represent the state in the National Rural Water Association’s Great American Water Taste Test in Washington, D.C., in February.

Baileyville man guilty of bankruptcy fraud

BAILEYVILLE ( AP) — A jury has convicted a 69-yearold eastern Maine man of bankruptcy fraud for failing to disclose financial assets when he filed for bankruptcy five years ago.

George Rayner, of Baileyville, was found guilty Wednesday in federal court in Bangor.

Court documents show that Rayner concealed from the Office of the U.S. Trustee and his creditors a saving bank account, a deferred compensation retirement account worth about $150,000, and his entitlement to pay for unused sick leave and vacation time benefits from his employment as a police officer in Baileyville.

He also failed to report a $97,000 lump sum distribution from his retirement account and a $12,000 payment from the town for unused benefits.

Rayner faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has not been scheduled.

Maine in top 8 for Peace Corps workers

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are among the top eight states in the country in the amount of Peace Corps volunteers they have per capita.

Vermont is the top-ranked state, although the District of Columbia ranks higher.

New Hampshire ranks fifth and Maine is eighth.

Currently, there are 47 volunteers from Vermont serving in the Peace Corps.

In addition, the Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire ranks eighth nationally among U.S. metropolitan areas that produce the highest numbers of Peace Corp volunteers per capita.

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