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Central Maine News: LePage Administration Moving Ahead with New Food Stamp + Welfare Rules

Scott Olson, Getty Images

These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

Gov. LePage’s administration plans to move forward next month with new rules requiring food stamp users to have a job and some welfare recipients to be drug tested to continue receiving benefits. LePage, whose efforts to overhaul the state’s welfare programs are playing a central role in his re-election campaign, says the state must prioritize resources for the neediest while encouraging recipients to become self-sufficient. But advocates say the changes will hurt struggling Mainers and Democrats question whether the push to implement the policies before the November election is politically motivated.The changes come after LePage announced that the state would cut funding for a municipal welfare program to cities and towns that give benefits to immigrants who can’t prove they’re living in Maine legally. (AP)
Gas prices have fallen slightly in Maine in the last week. The average price of a gallon of gas in Maine on Monday was $3.44 a gallon, down 5.1 cents from one month ago, according to gasbuddy.com. The price is 10 cents higher than the price of a gallon of gas nationally, which increased 1.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34. The national price stands 8.6 cents lower from a year a, 15.3 cents a gallon lower in Maine than last year. (AP)

An Oklahoma prosecutor says he expects to file first-degree murder charges on today against a man police say beheaded a worker after being fired. The attack, at a food processing plant also left a second worker wounded. Police say a company official shot and wounded Alton Nolen. His mother and sister released a Facebook video saying they are shocked and saddened. (AP)

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have set a Wednesday deadline for a response from the government to meet their demands for reforms. They spent another night blocking streets in an unprecedented show of civil disobedience. The protesters say they want a genuine democracy and for Hong Kong’s leader to step down. Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive says China’s communist leaders will not back down from an August decision to restrict voting reforms for the first direct elections to pick his successor in 2017. (AP)

Gov. LePage is urging hunters to donate to Hunters for the Hungry Program. Through the program, hunters can donate bear, deer and moose meat to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and homes where people have medical needs. The program also accepts road kill donations as long as the meat isn’t damaged. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the group that’s receiving the food will pay to process the meat. Officials said that hunters have provided thousands of meals to families across Maine since the program started in 1996. (AP)

Three men impersonating law enforcement officers, two dressed in black SWAT team gear and one wearing a sheriff’s office uniform and gun, robbed a Winterport homeowner of medical marijuana last week. According to the Bangor Daily News no shot were fire and no one was hurt. Officials say the gear the men used are easy to get online.  Anyone with information is asked to call the state police. (Bangor Daily News)

An Augusta woman whose body was found along the Kennebec River in Pittston over the weekend died of accidental drowning, according to police. 45-year-old Vicky Trask died of accidental drowning. According to the KJ, Investigators continue to look into the circumstances of Trask’s death, but there is nothing that has raised their suspicion at this time. Investigators are still trying to determine how Trask ended up in the river. (centralmaine.com)

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