Things You Need to Know: A Re-Design for Overflow Tank at Augusta’s Eastside Landing
Here are the things you need to know today......
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is taking legal action against Boothbay. Centralmaine.com says they are alleging the town’s Board of Appeals violated the nonprofit's constitutional right to due process when voting to overturn the Planning Board’s approval of a $30 million expansion.
Greater Augusta Utility District’s proposed redesign of the new sewer overflow storage will be mostly underground. Centralmaine.com reports Augusta officials were concerned about how it would look and its impact at the East Side Boat Landing.
From the Associated Press:
Economic forecasters say there are early signs that rates of growth in Maine's economy this year have proved somewhat lower than in 2016. The revenue forecasting committee said despite this, gasoline and heating oil prices remain low, personal income continues to rise and mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures continue to decline. Maine expects to see $3.4 billion in general fund revenue in the 2017 fiscal year and 0.3 percent growth in the 2018 fiscal year. Forecasters say they remain concerned about the aging state's demographic situation and impacts on workforce availability. The committee says the roll-out of ballot measures and the federal tax reform has created uncertainty. Forecasters say the impact of this year's enactment and repeal of the voter-approved three percent surtax on top earners is still unclear.
A white Christmas for much of the Northeast and Midwest has given way to bitter cold until the New Year. Chicago-area National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Seeley says to expect colder-than-normal temperatures the rest of the week. Temperatures hovered around zero degrees in Chicago on Tuesday. The city of Erie, Pennsylvania, issued a snow emergency after forecasters say a Christmas storm dumped a record 34 inches of snow on the area. Another 19 inches fell before dawn Tuesday, bringing the total to 53 inches. Meteorologists warn of sub-zero frigid arctic air and dangerously cold wind chills. Wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for parts of several states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and Maine. Meteorologists say frostbite is possible with as little as 30 minutes of exposure.
The Governor's Energy Office is asking Maine residents for input in developing a roadmap for energy planning in the state. The Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine to hold forums Dec. 29 and Jan. 10 in Presque Isle. Republican Gov. Paul LePage says Maine must reduce its energy prices to become more competitive with states in different regions. The plan will address the state's energy, economic development and environmental goals. The starting point is a 2015 state energy plan. It had broad objectives such as achieving energy and cost savings in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors. The plan also aimed to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and support the growth of a strong state and regional energy market and workforce
The Maine House is making room for a growing number of lawmakers who have defected from the state's two major parties. The House has the most independent and third-party members in the last two decades. Several such lawmakers say they hope to maintain their individual independence while gaining a stronger voice in political debates. The defections mean Democrats have lost their outright majority in the House for the first time in more than a decade.
Officials in a Maine city are asking the federal government to solve the National Park System's $11.33 billion maintenance backlog. The Bangor Daily News reports the Ellsworth City Council approved issuing a resolve to Congress this week asking for an income and payment plan. A conservation at the nearby Acadia National Park says maintenance funding "just hasn't kept up with need."
The ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia may return if Portland finds $2 million to upgrade its ferry terminal. Service from the Ocean Gateway terminal looked like it was ending last month after U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it needed about $7 million in upgrades to meet federal standards. The Bangor Daily News reports Customs and Border Protection now say agents can start doing customs screenings next spring if less costly changes are made.
Three U.S. cities have filed suit against the Department of Defense, saying it failed to properly use the national background check system for guns. New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia argue that the Defense Department failed to report "significant numbers" of disqualifying records to the FBI's national background check system for gun licensing and sales. That failure allowed a disgraced former Air Force member to buy a rifle and shoot 26 people to death Nov. 5 in a Texas church.
The U.S. Treasury Department has issued sanctions against two officials it describes as "key leaders of North Korea's unlawful weapons programs." The sanctions against Kim Jong Sik and Ri Pyong Chol block them from any property or interests in property within U.S. jurisdiction, and prohibit them from transactions with American citizens.
For many Rohingya living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, all that remains of their old lives in Myanmar are memories captured in photos and videos on their cellphones. Since August, more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh to escape attacks by Myanmar security forces. Few refugees had the chance to grab many belongings when they fled, but most took their cellphones. While so much of what they had is now gone, the phones give them a link to what they lost.
Some of those who've been caught up in the wave of sexual misconduct allegations are concerned that people accused of different types of behavior are going to be lumped together in the mind of the public because of how the issue is being covered. Tavis Smiley, fired from his talk show by PBS, says, "The media is painting with too broad a brush" in covering allegations ranging from drunken advances to rape. He says that's why he needed to talk publicly about his relationships with subordinates.