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Central Maine News: Judge Rules DIF&W Can Use Resources to Campaign against Question One

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

The judge ruled the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife can use its resources to campaign against a statewide referendum to ban certain bear-hunting tactics. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting failed to demonstrate the department’s opposition to ban caused “irreparable injury.” The group was looking for an emergency injunction to halt the department from campaigning. The judge felt restricting the agency’s speech would be “contrary to the public interest.” The referendum asks residents if they want to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps in hunting black bears. The wildlife department says the methods are necessary to control the state’s bear population of about 30,000. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting argued that the department’s campaign was illegal. (AP)

Records show a decade of vehicle inspections resulted in 178 citations at a company within the same corporate structure as a farm where a girl died in a hayride accident. The Sun Journal reports inspections of Re-Harvest vehicles turned up citations including failure to correct defects, improperly securing loads, and defective brakes. The recycling company is within the same structure as Harvest Hill Farms in Mechanic Falls. Seventeen-year-old Cassidy Charette of Oakland died in a hayride crash at the farm on Oct. 11. The case remains under investigation. Re-Harvest and Harvest Hills have also received four federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration citations for violations, resulting in fines of $5,628. (AP)

The debates in the tight race for Maine governor aren’t over yet. Not technically, at least. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network is set to air a statewide debate on tonight at 8 p.m., but independent Eliot Cutler is the only candidate who has agreed to participate. The network says Republican Gov. Paul LePage has declined and Democrat Mike Michaud told the station he doesn’t want to debate without LePage. The three have taken part in five other debates. They will ask Cutler questions for a half hour if his opponents don’t show up. But it’s still encouraging LePage and Michaud to attend. (AP)

Former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush are endorsing Maine Gov. Paul LePage in his re-election bid. In a statement Wednesday, the Bushes called LePage a “get-it-done-leader” who’s committed to solving Maine’s problems. LePage is running against Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler. Cutler, who’s trailing in the polls, picked up the endorsement of the Portsmouth Herald and the Bangor Daily News this week. The BDN said Cutler would bring “needed dignity and a reasonable, business-like approach to the governor’s office.” Michaud is also getting some big-name support. President Barack Obama is scheduled to campaign for the Democrat next Thursday. (AP)

Three cases of whooping cough have been confirmed at an Anson elementary school and district officials had a public meeting to discuss prevention and response measures. The Maine Center for Disease Control met with concerned parents about whooping cough prevention. Whooping cough a respiratory infection characterized by uncontrollable coughing that make a “whooping” sound and can induce vomiting or cause difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and fever. The state CDC says there have been 339 cases of whooping cough confirmed in Maine this year. (AP)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling Wednesday’s deadly shooting in Ottawa the second terrorist attack in three days. A masked gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa’s war memorial, and then stormed Parliament. He was stopped cold when he was shot dead by a ceremonial sergeant-at-arms. In an attack on Monday, one soldier was killed and another was injured when a man described as an Islamic State-inspired terrorist ran them over in a parking lot in Quebec. (AP)

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