Things You Need to Know: Trump Tweets East Coast “Could Use a Little Bit of That Good Old Global Warming
Here are the things you need to know today......
A fire that damaged a mobile home in Plymouth this week was likely caused by a space heater. Centralmaine.com says officials say the heater shorted out or overheated and caused the fire.
From the Associated Press:
President Donald Trump says the East Coast "could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming" with bitterly cold temperatures expected to freeze large swaths of the country this holiday weekend. In a tweet, the president doesn't make a distinction between the weather and the climate. Weather refers to the atmospheric conditions during a shorter period, while climate is a longer view of weather patterns.
Maine's wild blueberry industry wants to boost demand — and school programs are becoming a bright spot. The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine said federal statistics indicate sales through the Blueberry School Foodservice Program grew 57 percent this year. Maine wild blueberries are now being served up in schools in at least 36 states. Blueberry commission Executive Director Nancy McBrady said the industry is "energized" by school sales, which grew from nearly 1.1 million pounds in 2016 to nearly 2.8 million pounds in 2017. The industry has been struggling in recent years because of low prices caused by an overabundance of berries. This season, the harvest dropped below 100 million pounds for the first time in four years because of dry conditions and because some farmers scaled back their efforts.
Maine's Republican governor is chiding lawmakers for not following through on promises to attract young people to the state by addressing student debt. A 2016 Maine law created a program to offer zero-interest loans to selected science, technology, engineering and math students. Gov. Paul LePage said he worked with then-Democratic Sen. Justin Alfond on an unsuccessful bill calling for a $10 million bond to provide funding. Republican Assistant Senate Leader Amy Volk's bill to allow voters to OK such a bond is set for a Jan. 11 hearing. The state is facing a growing need for skilled workers due its aging population and low unemployment. The governor also noted Maine's recent college graduates face among the nation's highest average student debt, and a particularly high delinquency rate in the Northeast.
Police say the state medical examiner's office is trying to determine the cause of death after finding a body believed to be that of a missing woman from Baldwin. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department says a woman's body was found Wednesday near the home of Lawrene Alexander, who was last heard from Dec. 20. Officials made the announcement on Thursday but are providing few details. Officials say Alexander had a mental health diagnosis and had disappeared before, but had always checked in with relatives. Her body was found in woods near her home.
State police have charged five people with attempted murder after a shooting in Calais, Maine. Police Chief David Randall says a man reported that two people shot at him Wednesday night near the Calais Motor Inn. The man wasn't hurt.
Portland's Mercy Hospital says it's moving ahead with a delayed effort to relocate to a new facility on Fore River Parkway. Mercy President Charlie Therrien tells the Portland Press Herald that the hospital has submitted a letter of intent to state regulators to obtain a Certificate of Need, which would be necessary for the project to proceed.
Officials say New York City's deadliest residential fire in decades spread through every floor of a Bronx apartment building within a matter of minutes, killing 12 people and sending other residents scrambling down fire escapes to safety. The blaze broke out Thursday night on the first floor of a five-story building. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the dead include a child around a year old, while four more people are fighting for their lives.
Police are promising a bigger security detail than ever before at the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. New York Police Department officials say that while there are no specific or credible threats against the city, they're taking no chances. Spectators must arrive through one of a dozen access points, where they will go through metal detectors or be wanded. "Vapor wake" dogs, which can detect explosives, will be stationed at all of the access points.
The Trump administration's travel ban on refugees from 11 mostly Muslim countries is under court review again. The Justice Department has asked for a change in an order that partially lifted the ban. It imposed an injunction that blocks restrictions on the process of reuniting families. The order limited that part of the injunction to refugees who have bona fide relationships in the U.S. The government opposes the inclusion of refugees who have formal agreements with resettlement agencies.