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Central Maine News: Leaf Peeping Very Profitable for New England this Autumn

Scott Olson, Getty Images

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

The three men running for Maine governor are getting ready to join for their final two debates this week. Republican Gov. Paul LePage, Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at the University of Maine’s Hannaford Hall for a debate that will air live on WGME-TV in Portland. Tomorrow, the three candidates will join each for the last time before the Nov. 4 election during a debate that will air live on WMTW-TV in Portland and WABI-TV in Bangor. The candidates in the tight race have already squared off in three debates, which have focused on issues like the economy, health care and energy. (AP)

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to campaign with Democratic nominee for governor U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in Scarborough on Friday. Michaud says if Maine residents want change in Augusta they have to make it happen. He says that’s why he’s “so humbled and excited” to have Clinton visiting to rally voters and join him in energizing supporters to help ensure a great turnout on Election Day. Clinton will headline an event for Michaud at Scarborough High School. Michaud says President Barack Obama will join him on the campaign trail on Oct. 30. (AP)

It has been a profitable autumn this year for New England. Officials say leaf-peeping tourists will spend upward of $3 billion this fall to catch a glimpse of what’s has been an exceptionally brilliant autumn display. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts have seen an increase in leaf peeper spending. (AP)

Peek fall colors have arrived in southern Maine. The latest fall foliage report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says that peak foliage conditions were expected this weekend on the southern coast from Kittery to Camden as well as the intermediate coastline. Foliage throughout western and northern Maine has already reached its peak. (AP)

Experts say a welcome combination of low prices and expected warmer weather are producing a more favorable outlook for the federal heating assistance program than has been seen in years. Heading into winter, Congress has already made its appropriation for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and officials in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine know what they are going to be receiving. Federal LIHEAP funds for Maine about $37.8 million. (AP)

The flu has officially arrived in Maine. According to the Sun Journal the season’s first case was confirmed in an adult over age 60 from Lincoln County. The person required no hospitalization, hadn’t traveled recently and is recovering at home. Health officials urge everyone over 6 months old to get vaccinated against the illness, including those who were vaccinated last season. To further reduce your chances of catching and spreading the illness this season, wash your hands regularly, cover your coughs and stay home if you’re sick. Maine’s 2013-2014 flu season started late and was proved relatively mild, while the illness spread quickly during the 2012-13 season, with 168 outbreaks statewide and the death of a child in central Maine from the illness. (Sun Journal)

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