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Bill Allowing Controversial Lyme Disease Treatment Endorsed in Maine House

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe the long-term use of antibiotics to treat Lyme disease without fear of disciplinary action by the medical licensing board.
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Mal Leary / MPBN

LePage Slams Democrats, Pledges to Take Income Tax Question to the People

AUGUSTA, Maine - In an often fiery news conference at the Blaine House, Gov. Paul LePage blasted Democratic leaders in the Legislature for opposing his proposed constitutional amendment to end the personal income tax. The governor says he'll veto any Democratic-sponsored bill until Mainers have a say in getting rid of it.
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Maine Calling Book Club - Atul Gawande's 'Being Mortal'

The Maine Calling Book Club re-convenes to discuss Atul Gawande's best-seller 'Being Mortal.'

WASHINGTON - Maine has the nation's highest rate of an asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma, according to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group Action Fund. Senior Analyst Sonya Lunder says 12,000 to 15,000 people across the U.S. die from asbestos-related diseases every year.

LUBEC, Maine - Six towns in Maine are receiving federal funding to help redevelop contaminated sites.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $2.3 million to various municipalities and agencies with the aim of cleaning so-called "brownfield" sites which contain hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants, often the result of industrial activity.

The town of Lubec is receiving $400,000 to clean up the Columbian Factory site. Town Administrator John Sutherland says the plan is to remove the toxic remains of the old fish processing facility.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine ranks 14th in the nation for its obesity rate, according to a new Gallup poll. The state held the same ranking in 2013.

While the obesity rate appears to be holding steady, Debra Wigand, the director of the Division of Population Health at the Maine Center for Disease Control, says Maine's overall obesity rate is still troubling.

"Well, in looking at data, in about 2000, it was 20 percent for adults; and at this point, it's about 28 percent," Wigand says. "So you can see there has been a slight increase."

By Alanna Durkin, The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage says he will veto every bill sponsored by a Democrat until the Legislature agrees to let Maine residents have a say on whether they want to get rid of the income tax.

The governor's remark came Friday during a wide-ranging news conference in which he blasted Democrats for delaying their vote on his nomination for the Public Utilities Commission, among other things.

Tony R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

By Stephen Betts, Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — Former longtime charity president Russell “Rusty” Brace pleaded guilty Friday morning in federal court to three felony counts related to the embezzlement of $4.6 million.

No sentencing date has been set, but the Rockport resident faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of double the amount he stole.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A legislative committee has voted to reject a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine, but supporters say the real fight will be on the House floor.

Democratic Rep. Diane Russell's bill was rejected Thursday by the criminal justice committee and would have allowed people 21 and older to have as much as one ounce of pot. It would also set a 10 percent tax rate on marijuana sales, the Portland Press Herald reports.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives is putting off a vote on an American Indian tribal group's call for shared management of commercial fish species.

The Legislature chose to put off its vote on Friday. The bill is likely to fail when it comes back for a vote. The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources voted 9-2 against passage of the bill earlier this month.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Democratic-controlled House has given initial approval to a bill to ban powdered alcohol.

The House voted 138-1 in support of Democratic Rep. Mick Devin's bill Friday. It faces further votes in both chambers.

Powdered alcohol, or Palcohol, is expected to hit stores this summer. But lawmakers across the country have moved to ban the substance, which they say will make it easier for minors to abuse alcohol.

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - A White House pledge to veto proposed changes to federal fishing laws is dividing fishermen over whether the rule changes should be saved or scrapped.

Representative Don Young, an Alaska Republican, wants to change the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide fishery managers with more flexibility in rebuilding fish stocks.

There's a dare that floats out on hot days by the pool: Who can hold their breath the longest? In shallow water, the challenge sounds fun or at least harmless. Competitive swimmers and divers crouch under the surface all the time to build endurance. But the practice can cause swimmers to faint and drown without warning and before anyone notices.