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Maine Lawmakers Override LePage's Veto of $6.7B State Budget

AUGUSTA, Maine - By wide margins, the Maine House and Senate have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the $6.7 billion two-year state budget brokered by leaders of the two parties in the Legislature. The Senate voted 25 to 10 without debate while the House voted 109 to 37.
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A.J. Higgins / MPBN

Amid Protesters' Calls, Oversight Panel Agrees to Consider LePage Investigation

AUGUSTA, Maine - The day started out pretty well for Gov. LePage. He greeted nearly 100 supporters at the State House during an impromptu rally praising his budget priorities and "get tough" approach with legislators.
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An Update from NASA

Learn about the latest NASA missions - including a soon-to-happen fly-by of Pluto

AUGUSTA, Maine - A nonprofit that operates Maine's first charter school will pay Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves $30,000 after terminating his employment contract.

Eves' lawyer, David Webbert, said Eves will get the equivalent of three-month's pay from Good Will-Hinckley. His payments were first reported Tuesday by WMTW-TV.

Eves was supposed to start his $120,000-a-year job as president of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences on Wednesday. But his contract was terminated last week after Gov. Paul LePage threatened to withhold money from the school unless they fire him.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Government Oversight Committee will soon decide whether the state will launch an investigation into Republican Gov. Paul LePage's interference in a school's personnel affairs.

The committee will meet Wednesday to discuss Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves' allegation that LePage pressured Good Will-Hinckley into removing him as president by threatening to withhold more than $500,000 a year in state funds.

UNITY, Maine - The president of Unity College has announced that he intends to retire from that position effective Dec. 31.

College spokesman Bob Mentzinger says Dr. Stephen Mulkey wants to concentrate on some of his research interests, including studies of ecosystems and climate change.

Mentzinger says the board, along with the other Unity stakeholders, will be conducting a search for a new president to carry on the school's trajectory.

Josh Royte / TNC

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Nature Conservancy in Maine has purchased more than 6,500 acres of diverse forest land, including old growth and sub-Alpine fir forest southwest of Jackman.

The purchase from the Plum Creek Timber Company will allow the Nature Conservancy to expand its existing Leuthold Forest Preserve to more than 16,000 acres.

The property includes remote ponds and nearly 15 miles of streams that provide habitat for Eastern brook trout as well as waterfowl and wading birds.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine - Residents in East Millinocket, Maine, are rejecting a controversial proposal to create a national park east of Baxter State Park.

Residents voted in a nonbinding referendum on the proposal on Monday night. Town officials say the majority of voters opposed the idea. Medway voters also voted "no'' in a similar vote last week.

The park would be made up of 75,000 acres owned by Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt's Bees. Another 75,000 acres would be a recreation area.

CENTER LOVELL, Maine — Maine State Police and the attorney general's office say an innkeeper has not violated state law in an essay contest in which her 210-year-old country inn was the prize.

The investigation focused on whether the "Win an Inn" contest violated a law governing games of chance. Sgt. Michael Johnston said Tuesday this was a game of skill, not one of chance. He says while Maine licenses games of chance, it has no laws overseeing essay contests.

The final of the Women's World Cup isn't until Sunday. But it might as well be tonight, as world No. 1 Germany takes on the second-ranked United States in the soccer semifinals. The U.S. and Germany have played four previous times in the World Cup, including a semifinal in 2003 (won by Germany).

WINDHAM, Maine — An investigation is under way after the death of an inmate at a state prison in Windham.

Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton said in a statement that 51-year-old Jeppie Phillips, of Lewiston, died at the Maine Correctional Center at about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

At the time of his death, Phillips had served approximately seven weeks of a nine-month and one-day sentence for operating after habitual offender revocation, with two prior convictions.

He was sentenced in Sagadahoc County Superior Court.

ALFRED, Maine — A Maine woman has pleaded guilty to stealing Christmas wreaths and arrangements from grave sites in a Saco cemetery to decorate her own properties during the holidays.

Saco police announced that 56-year-old Pamela Golarz, of Old Orchard Beach, was fined $950 after pleading guilty to theft in York County Superior Court.

A charge of falsifying physical evidence was dismissed, and if Golarz does not commit any crimes in the next year, the charge of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer will also be dismissed.

I'd been renting a Toyota Camry to give free rides around the city for my series Streets of Shanghai, about the lives of ordinary Chinese. But the monthly rental fees were killing me, so I figured I could save money by buying a used car.

I went to a reputable used car dealership. The first hint that this would be different than shopping in the U.S. came when I met my salesman, a fresh college grad.