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Democrats: Republican Leader's Proposed 'Fix' for Energy Bill Typo an Attempted Power Grab

AUGUSTA, Maine - You might have heard about a clerical error in a huge omnibus energy bill two years ago that has led to a nearly $40 million cut in funding to the Efficiency Maine Trust, an agency that oversees programs to help Mainers cut energy costs. The effort to correct that error has turned partisan.
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Jennifer Mitchell / MPBN

Maine's 4-H Clubs Evolve to Prepare Kids for World's Changing Technology

HAMPDEN, Maine - Think 4-H and you probably picture boys and girls raising lambs or grooming prize bulls for the county fair. While traditional farming activities are still a major focus, 4-H is expanding to prepare kids for a changing world - most notably in science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM.
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What is funny?

Maine Calling tries to make you laugh this April Fool's Day. Tune in to hear some comedians try and make you laugh.

PORTLAND, Maine - Former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler starts a new job today.
For the next 18 months he will serve as CEO of the University of Maine System's Professional and Graduate Center Initiative.

Cutler says the new center, which is still a concept in development, will be the first of its kind in the nation, promoting collaboration between business and law programs across the system, as well as the outside business community.

Tom Porter / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King today announced his intention to introduce legislation that will provide Maine with a pathway to reduce the number of federally-mandated standardized tests students must take to be in compliance with No Child Left Behind - formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

PORTLAND, Maine - Two Maine breweries have made the Brewers' Association's list of the top 50 craft breweries, based on the volume of beer sold. Bart Watson is the chief economist with the association.

"The top 50 list represents the leading craft brewing companies in the United States, small and independent brewers," Watson says. "There were two from Maine this year, Shipyard Brewing Company, based in Portland, and Allagash Brewing Company, also based in Portland. Having two on the list is very impressive, given Maine's low population."

Maine Natural Gas is seeking a rate increase as part of a proposed three-year plan that could drive customers' bills up by nearly $50 per month by 2018.

The company says it needs more than $10 million in additional revenue over the next three years to improve the safety and reliability of its distribution system, expand customer services and bring earnings in line with industry standards.

The group that hopes to create a national park and recreation area in Maine's North Woods is holding a telephone town hall meeting tonight. Callers will be able to dial in and ask questions about all aspects of the proposals.

On the line answering them will be Lucas St. Clair, who has been managing the campaign to develop a national park and recreation area on land owned by his mother, Roxanne Quimby.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House is supporting a bill that would prevent Gov. Paul LePage's administration from introducing keno without legislative approval.

The Democratic-led House gave the bill initial approval Wednesday with a 141-8 vote. It heads to the Senate.

It was introduced in response to the administration's plan to begin offering keno at retailers like bars and restaurants this spring. Lawmakers called it a significant gambling expansion that should require legislative approval.

"It's my brother's car." That's what Leona Chin told four instructors about her high-powered sports car. She then stalled the stick-shift car in first gear and randomly turned the wipers on — before unleashing the skills she has honed as a professional driver. Havoc, and some panic, ensued.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill backed by the top Republican in the House and Gov. Paul LePage would create a Maine energy commissioner and give the governor the power to nominate the head of an independent agency that helps residents lower their energy bills.

Rep. Ken Fredette's proposal unveiled Wednesday would make the director of the Governor's Energy Office a cabinet-level position and create the Maine Energy Office. The executive director of Efficiency Maine Trust would also be nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a handful of bills that deal with taxes in Maine.

One bill the governor vetoed Tuesday would reduce the length of time in which someone can appeal a municipality's decision to take property because of unpaid taxes. LePage said that time period was recently reduced and enough time hasn't passed to prove that another reduction is necessary.

Another bill would reduce the excise tax and motor vehicle registration fee of certain vehicles that have been adapted to serve people with disabilities.

By David N. Goodman, The Associated Press
DETROIT - The federal government is declaring one of North America's most widely distributed bats a threatened species because of the spread of a deadly fungal disease.

White-nose syndrome first was first discovered among bats in a cave near Albany, New York, in 2006 and has since killed millions of the flying mammals in the eastern U.S. and Canada.

It spreads while they congregate in caves or abandoned mines, interrupting their hibernation and causing them to starve or dehydrate.