2011-12-21 / Maine


Job training program graduates first class

LEWISTON (AP) — Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass will present certificates to the first class of graduates from a new work force training program this week.

The Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership program is funded by the state Department of Labor and Unity Foundation. The graduation ceremony will be held on Thursday in Lewiston.

The nine graduates are previously unemployed workers, including three veterans. They’ll receive job offers from WahlcoMetroflex, an engineering and manufacturing firm in Lewiston.

MaineCare cut foes send postcards

AUGUSTA (AP) — The legislative committee tasked with evaluating proposed budget cuts that could kick 65,000 people off MaineCare is scheduled to meet next on Jan. 3 — the day before the House and Senate return for their 2012 session.

Gov. Paul LePage says he needs to scale back Maine’s Medicaid program in order to balance the state budget and make the program sustainable. The Appropriations Committee, which is reviewing those cuts, held three days of public hearings on the cuts last week and met again on Tuesday to talk about welfare fraud.

In the meantime, people affected by the possible cuts have sent 1,700 postcards to Appropriations Committee members to show their opposition.

Business owner sentenced for fraud

AUGUSTA ( AP) — The owner of a Maine heating oil business is being sentenced to five months in jail for tax fraud.

Attorney General William Schneider says 49- year- old Andrew Murphy Sr. of Bangor was sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of 14 counts of state tax fraud, including theft of withholding tax, intentional tax evasion, failure to pay over withholding tax and making false statements in tax returns. He must also pay $65,713 in restitution.

Murphy operates a fuel oil and trucking delivery business. He pleaded guilty in August following an investigation covering 2005 through 2010.

Maine unemployment rate dips to 7 percent

AUGUSTA ( AP) — The Maine Labor Department says the state’s unemployment rate was 7 percent, a drop from October’s revised figure.

Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass said Tuesday that November’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate was 0.3 percent lower than the 7.3 percent rate in October. It was also 0.5 percent lower than the state’s 7.5 percent rate a year ago.

He said the estimates continue to be volatile from month to month, subject to significant revisions.

Home heating oil prices drop in Maine

AUGUSTA ( AP) — The average price for home heating oil has dropped again for the second week in a row.

The Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security said Tuesday that the statewide average price fell by 4 cents a gallon to $3.59.

Last week the average price dropped by a penny to $3.63 per gallon.

Paper official departs after making remarks

EAST MILLINOCKET (AP) — A Great Northern Paper Co. executive who said Roxanne Quimby’s national park proposal didn’t pose a threat to his industry has left the company.

Company officials said Tuesday that Great Northern President Peter Hanson is no longer with the company. A statement gave no indication why he left.

Hanson’s departure came a week after he told 75 Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce members that a national park and his industry could coexist. The Bangor Daily News first reported Hanson’s remarks; the company clarified two days later that it opposes a national park.

More gift cards and donations stolen

BIDDEFORD (AP) — Police are investigating the thefts of gift cards and other donations from several Catholic churches in the Biddeford area.

Gift cards collected for the poor and elderly were taken late last week from St. Philip Church in Lyman.

Earlier in the week, a similar theft took place at Most Holy Trinity Church.

The Saco and Biddeford police departments, along with the York County sheriff ’s department, are investigating. Both churches belong to the same parish.

Three seriously hurt in Osborn crash

OSBORN (AP) — Police say three occupants of a car that slid off Route 9 in Osborn and rolled over multiple times before striking a tree have been hospitalized.

State police say there were several crashes in the region caused by snow and sleet squalls on Monday.

The Osborn crash appears to have been caused by black ice.

Driver Shannon Wilcox of Columbia as well as passengers David Wilcox of Columbia and Winthrop Harrington of East Machias suffered what appeared to be serious injuries involving extensive bleeding and broken bones.

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