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  • Attorney General Mills joins multistate court brief opposing roll back of contraception coverage mandate

    Attorney General Janet Mills (photo left) joined a coalition of attorneys general in an amicus brief opposing the Trump Administration's roll back of the ACA contraception requirement.

    The amicus brief, filed with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, supports the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's lawsuit to stop the federal government from enforcing a new rule that would authorize virtually any employer with an objection to contraception to prevent employees and employees' dependents from having health insurance coverage for contraceptive services. 

    "This Trump administration's proposal is an attack on the health of women throughout our country," said Attorney General Mills. "It is an attack on the right to privacy to allow employers to interfere in the most personal decisions of their employees' lives." Since the ACA was enacted in 2010, most employers who provide health insurance coverage to their employees have been required to include coverage for contraception, at no cost to the employee. As a result of the ACA, more than 55 million women in the United States, including 253,000 women in Maine, have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives.

    For millions of women the ACA contraception coverage rule has reduced healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions and allowed them to make their own decisions about whether to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman's out-of-pocket healthcare costs. 

    In the brief, the attorneys general argue that the new rule is unconstitutional because it allows the federal government to endorse certain religious or moral beliefs over a woman's right to make choices about her own health care.

    The attorneys general also argue that the proposed rule denies equal protection under the law by denying critical benefits to women, while leaving coverage for men unchanged. Additionally, they argue that the Trump administration is taking away the right to contraceptive coverage - a right that millions of women rely on - in violation of the ACA itself, and without an opportunity for public comment and without following legal procedures.

  • Let's do tax reform right!

    By: U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME)

    (Photo: Sen. King on the right visits Penobscot elder Charles Norman Shay on Indian Island. He honoared Shay with a proclamation thanking him for his service in WWII aa a medic on the beaches of Normandy during D-day)

    Major tax reform is one of the most important tasks of this or any Congress. What we do in the next several months will affect every American, every business and our entire economy for decades to come. Unfortunately, those in charge of the current process seem hell bent to pass something, anything, that can be called tax reform before an arbitrary Christmas deadline, with no real input from Democrats (or Independents), outside experts, states and communities affected, or ordinary citizens.

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a substantial number of Democrats who are prepared to engage in good-faith negotiations involving hearings, expert input, and compromise, to include cutting corporate rates and doing something about off-shore profits to stimulate economic growth. We believe that we can get to 70 votes, and probably more, for a more targeted (and less costly) alternative. The trick is to slow down, open up the process, and make sure we look before we take a thirty-year leap.

    One of our greatest concerns about the current Senate and House bills is the long-term implication of the huge cut in revenues that both of these bills entail — which will only hasten the inevitable day of reckoning on the ballooning deficit and debt. Further, because we’re borrowing to fill the hole created by this lost revenue, these aren’t really tax cuts at all but are simply shifts of costs we’re unwilling to pay to our kids.

    And all this deficit spending is being done in relatively good times, using up whatever cushion we might need for future economic downturns. Any rational business would be paying down debt now, not adding to it.

    There are lots of important ideas out there that have not gotten a hearing in the current closed process, ideas that could really make a difference in economic growth without ballooning the debt or favoring one class of taxpayers over another. For example, our Republican Senate colleague, Ron Johnson, has pointed out that the engine of economic growth is the 80+ percent of American businesses that organize in ways (Subchapter S, limited liability companies and partnerships) where business income is simply passed through and taxed as ordinary income of their owners.

    The current Senate Republican tax plan, by lowering corporate rates for the 20 percent of businesses that organize as Subchapter C corporations, does less for the small businesses that truly drive the economy. So Johnson proposes a simple solution. Instead of disadvantaging small businesses, treat all businesses the same by attributing the income of Subchapter C corporations to their owners and tax that income at personal rates. The details matter in getting this right, but the Johnson concept is worth a serious look.

    Why do tax reform wrong? What’s the rush? All indications are that both the House and Senate bills would disproportionately benefit the largest companies and richest individuals while offering little to small businesses and punishing millions of middle class families. The proposals explode the deficits by at least $1.5 trillion — and the Senate bill would even dramatically increase the ranks of those without health insurance. This is why a strong consensus of economists has emerged that this particular tax plan will do little to promote a stronger American economy.

    Surely we can do better. And we should do better. In 1986, Congress laid the groundwork for bipartisan reform with 36 hearings over ten months. The current Senate Bill was handed to Finance Committee members less than one week before the Committee was forced to debate and vote on its provisions. No hearings with experts, no opportunity for the public to weigh in, no real opportunity for Democratic members to persuade the Republican majority to improve the bill. And, we are currently scheduled to debate the bill on the Senate floor this week under a constrained procedure where a Senator offering an amendment is given one minute — one minute! — to debate the amendment before voting. A city council wouldn’t amend the leash law with a process like this.

    We are former Governors — one Democrat and one Independent — who have worked on tax reform issues with legislators of both parties. We have recently been part of crafting bipartisan Senate legislation to stabilize the health insurance markets and also to better calibrate the regulation of community banks and credit unions. We know there is a path to bipartisan tax reform to spur economic growth and help hardworking individuals and small businesses succeed. If we miss the opportunity to do this right, we (and the entire country) are likely to regret it for years to come.

  • Fundraiser for Portland Photographer Stretch Tuemmier, Friday December 1st

     By Ramona du Houx

    Gallery Venn + Maker is hosting a fundraiser for Portland photographer Stretch Tuemmier, during this First Friday’s Art Walk, December 1st.

    Venn + Maker is located at 65 Washington Avenue, Portland, ME 04101. During the night there will be a silent auction of donated art works. Free wine, beer, and refreshments will be served.

    Stretch has been a prominent figure in Portland since the 80's and resides in Yarmouth with his lovely wife, Jenny, children and three beautiful dogs. No matter where Stretch goes he’s always involved in his community. But cancer can hit anyone at anytime. Unfortunately his has spread through his lymph system and the medical expenses have skyrocketed.

    “We are raising money to help Stretch out with his medical bills. It’s the time of year for giving, and what better way to give but to a dear colleague and friend who has touched so many of us through his work and presence,” said Shannon Thibodeau of Venn + Maker. 

    Most Portlanders would recognize his distinctive photographic style if they were shown some of his images. He’s one of a handful of very successful photographers in the city.

    “He’s one of the most caring, loving and devoted people that I know. He was the first photographer when I moved to Portland to "throw me a bone" and really help me get my career going,” said Thibodeau. “Through his help I was able to connect with some of the most prominent people in the industry here.”

    His passions are many, first and foremost is his love of food photography. He also enjoys sailing on his beautifully kept wooden boat.

    More about Gallery Venn + Maker:

    The name incorporates decision-making and hand made skills: Venn is for the creator of the Venn diagram, John Venn (Englishman, Yorkshireman, 1834 – 1923); Maker is a tribute to our skilled artisans, friends and colleagues.

    “We design, test and use all of our products and continuously seek the best. Our goal is to stock the useful, the long-lived, the well made, the beautiful; whether an axe or a shawl or a mug or a table.”

  • Maine School of Masonry Exceeds Goal of Capital Fundraiser

      

    Students of the Maine School of Masonry Historic Restoration and Preservation program work on site at the Kennebec Arsenal restoring the historic buildings.

    By Ramona du Houx

    On November 13, 2017 the Maine School of Masonry (M.S.M.) received a $5,000 grant from The Sugarloaf Charitable Trust for their capital campaign to help expand the Historic Restoration and Preservation facilities at the school.

    “We’d like to thank the Sugarloaf Charitable Trust for their generous grant. Our work converting part of the school to accommodate our restoration courses can now be completed,” said Stephen Mitchell, M.S.M. President. “We live in such a blessed community. I’d like to thank everyone who stepped up to the plate and donated. It’s humbling. We’re looking forward to teaching more students in the art of historic restoration and preservation.”

    The new mixing laboratory that was installed with donated funds for the Restoration and Preservation courses at Maine School of Masonry.

    With the expansion M.S.M. will now be able to enroll more students into the Historic Restoration and Preservation courses in the coming years. Anyone interested should contact the school now at 639-2392 or visit their website at masonryschool.org as interest in these classes is high.

    With individuals, non-profits and business giving generously M.S.M raised $9,100 and with the value of the materials donated surpassed their goal of $8,000.

     “Maine students deserve the best, and having a classroom that meets their needs for the restoration and preservation programs is vital to the mission of the Maine School of Masonry, and our community. After 12 years we've expanded in a direction that is unique—preserving our National Heritage, while giving students opportunities for high paying life-long professions.”

    The classes take the students on site to practice what they have learned in the newly expanded facilities in Avon. The buildings that the students work on are listed as National Historic Landmarks and the school has special permission to renovate these historic treasures.

    M.S.M is the only school to offer courses of this kind in America. 

    “Seeing students on site at the Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta, and Fort Knox near Prospect makes me so proud knowing they’re keeping our heritage alive,” said Mitchell. “It’s a dream come true for me.”

    Daniel Wuorio at work re-pointing in the Historic Restoration and Preservation course at the Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta. Photo by Ramona du Houx

  • Maine Secretary of State Dunlap seeks preliminary injunction in lawsuit against election commission

     

    On November 16, 2017 Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap asked a federal court for an injunction to force the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI) – on which Dunlap serves as a member – to stop withholding key information.

    “I had hoped filing the complaint would convey to the commission that I’m serious about fully participating in the work awaiting us,” said Sec. Dunlap. “Unfortunately, that intention has not been met, and instead I see media reports filled with attacks and recriminations directed at me for asking for our working papers and work schedule. I’m left with the regrettable choice to push the matter further in the courts.” 

    Having repeatedly been denied access to commission documents and information, Secretary Dunlap filed a lawsuit on November 9, 2017 to force the commission to share records to which he is entitled, such as meeting materials, correspondence between commissioners and communications with witnesses. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires that all commissioners have access to the same level of information used by the commission, but Sec. Dunlap’s repeated requests for this information have been rebuffed. 

    In response to the lawsuit, rather than pledging to work in good faith to facilitate Sec. Dunlap’s participation, the commission’s Vice Chairman Kris Kobach called the lawsuit “baseless and paranoid,” and commissioner Hans von Spakovsky said Sec. Dunlap “should be sanctioned for filing a frivolous lawsuit and should resign from the commission.”

    The motion filed today asks the U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to order the PACEI to immediately provide the requested documents, enable Sec. Dunlap to participate in PACEI business.

    By filing for a preliminary injunction, Sec. Dunlap foreshortens the time frame for the government to respond to the complaint from two months to one week. This will ensure Sec. Dunlap is properly informed about upcoming commission activities. A mailer from the Minnesota Voters Alliance indicated, for example, that a commission hearing was planned for December, but Sec. Dunlap has received no notice of any such meeting.

     

    Sec. Dunlap’s suit is based on the 1999 D.C. Circuit Court decision Cummock v. Gore, in which the court held that commissioners may not be denied access to information. Sec. Dunlap is represented by nonpartisan ethics watchdog American Oversight and the law firm of Patterson Belknap, based in New York City. 

  • Sec. Dunlap files lawsuit seeking access to Elections Commission correspondence, information

    By Ramona du Houx

    Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a member of the federal Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, filed a lawsuit on November 9, 2017  in an effort to obtain information about the commission’s work.

    Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit alleges that the commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, has violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by excluding Dunlap and others from much of the commission’s work. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) is also a named defendant, as the office is staffing the commission and maintaining its records.

    “Since the Sept. 12 meeting, I have received no correspondence from the commission other than to acknowledge receipt of my information request,” said Sec. Dunlap. “Clearly, there is information about this commission being created and discussed, but I have no access to that information and it has not been provided upon request.

    “My goal in filing this lawsuit is to bring the commission into full compliance with FACA, which would allow me and all of my fellow commissioners to fulfill our roles as full, participating members and provide a meaningful report to the President upon concluding our work.”

    Prior to filing the lawsuit, Sec. Dunlap submitted an information request to the commission on Oct. 17 citing concerns about “a vacuum of information from the leadership or staff.” The FACA requires that all commissioners receive equal information about the commission’s work, but he has not been privy to any discussions related to meeting materials, witness invitations, goals, or outreach. His repeated requests for this information have been rebuffed.

    Dunlap’s suit is based on the 1999 DC Circuit Court decision in Cummock v. Gore, in which the court held that commissioners may not be denied access to information. Dunlap is represented by nonpartisan ethics watchdog American Oversight and the law firm of Patterson Belknap, based in New York City. 

  • Maine Votes ‘YES’ to Expand Medicaid, Provide Health Coverage to More than 70,000 People

    By Ramona du Houx

     On November 7, 2017 the people of Maine voted to expand access to Medicaid to more than 70,000 Mainers, including working moms, small business owners, people with disabilities, veterans and older Mainers, by supporting Question 2 on the statewide ballot.

     “Maine voters have made it clear: They want more people to have access to health care,” said Robyn Merrill, co-chair of Mainers for Health Care!, the coalition that ran the Yes on 2 campaign. “Medicaid expansion will provide health care coverage to more than 70,000 Mainers and bring more than $500 million a year in new funding into the state, helping our hospitals and creating an estimated 6,000 jobs. Tonight is a great night for the people of Maine and our economy.”  

    Maine is the first state in the nation to expand the ACA with a people's referendum.

    Maine's Speaker of the House Sara Gideon said, “One of the most critical pieces of this expansion is the increased access to treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction. For too long, we’ve left federal dollars on the table and Maine families have paid the price. It is now the responsibility and the duty of the governor and the legislature to fully and faithfully implement this law.”

    Maine is one of 19 states whose Republican governors or legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Other holdouts like Utah and Idaho are closely watching the initiative, as newly formed committees in both those states are working to get a Medicaid expansion question on next year’s ballot. The outcome may offer clues about the salience of the issue in next year’s midterm congressional elections.

    More than 66,000 Mainers signed petitions to place Question 2 on the ballot and more than 200 businesses and organizations endorsed the campaign, including the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Hospital Association, Maine Small Business Coalition, doctors, nurses and members of law enforcement.

    “We are so thankful for the level of support this issues has received,” said Jennie Pirkl, the campaign manager for Yes on 2. “There are too many people and organizations who were critical to this win to list one at a time, but we particularly want to thank all the people who shared their stories about what Medicaid expansion will mean to them. Their stories and their willingness to share them have helped thousands of Mainers and have inspired us all.” 

    Now, attention immediately turns to implementation of Medicaid expansion.

    “Starting tomorrow, we will turn our focus to the quick implementation of Medicaid expansion. There can be no more delays. More than 70,000 Mainers have waited too long for health care coverage,” said Merrill.

    The Maine State Legislature has tried to pass this Afordable Care Act Medicaid expansion 6 times. But each time that it passed Gov. Paul LePage vetoed it. Now the people have spoken. 

    “Maine has shown the way for the rest of the country,” said Pirkl. “Voters have sent a clear message to Augusta, Washington and the rest of the country that they want more health care, not less. That they want more people to have health coverage, not fewer. Maine has shown if politicians won’t lead on health care, that voters will.”

  • Maine House Republicans Block Marijuana Legislation by Backing Gov. LePage

    The Maine House of Representatives failed to override Governor LePage’s veto of landmark cannabis legislation that would have safely and responsibly implemented the state’s newly passed recreational marijuana referendum during a special legislative session Monday. While the bill originally passed by strong margins, it failed to reach the two-thirds support needed to survive a Governor LePage’s veto (74-62) due to the majority of House Republicans opposing the measure.

    “This was our chance to do our job, to protect the people of Maine and create this new industry. I’m deeply disappointed that this legislation, which was written after six months of work by Democratic, Republican and Independent lawmakers, was successfully derailed by a small group of people,” said Representative Teresa Pierce (D-Falmouth), House chair of the Legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee.

    “It didn’t matter how thoughtful this legislation was, certain individuals were set on a predetermined outcome of slowing down this process because they didn’t like the outcome of the referendum. While we received strong bipartisan support, those who voted against this bill voted to ignore public safety concerns, abandon law enforcement officers who asked for more guidance, and ease the path to underage marijuana access in Maine. I sincerely hope the people of Maine voice their opinion on today’s vote to their representatives before we return to the Legislature in January.”

    “I’ve been advocating for safe, responsible and legal recreational marijuana ever since for as long as I’ve been in public service — first as the sheriff of Cumberland County, then as a member of the House of Representatives and now as a state senator,” said Sen. Mark Dion (D-Portland), member of the MLI Committee. The governor’s veto is the latest in a long line of setbacks, but we remain closer than ever before to enacting reasonable drug policy reforms to end the system of black-market profits and needless incarceration. We will continue our work, knowing the people of Maine are on our side. It’s only a matter of time before the voters’ will is fulfilled. 

    LD 1650 An Act To Amend the Marijuana Legalization Act originally passed the House by a vote of 84-52.

    The failure to pass LD 1650 ensures the original referendum takes effect as written, preventing critical safety measures and blocking stronger local control for municipalities that were established by the new bill.

    LD 1650 was drafted by a 17-member bipartisan committee established by the legislature and received a 15-2 vote in committee. The group held hours of public hearings, utilized expert testimony and engaged stakeholders affected by the existing law.

    LD 1650 established a clear regulatory framework for adult-use recreational marijuana. Key provisions of the bill included protections against use by minors by banning marketing practices that targeted underage Mainers, provided funding for youth prevention and public safety campaigns, and established stronger guidance for members of law enforcement.

    LD 1650 established an opt-in for local municipalities to preserve community autonomy in entering the new industry. It also provided answers to questions left by the original referendum.

    The referendum includes less clarity and direction in relation to law enforcement and contains fewer safeguards around youth prevention. 

    The referendum also allows for the possibility of marijuana drive-up windows, internet sales and home deliveries, all of which were banned by LD 1650.   

    The Marijuana Legalization Implementation committee will continue to meet.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

     

  • Maine Attorney General Janet Mills warns public about new phone scam

     Attorney General Janet Mills is warning the public of a new phone scam in which the caller tells the recipient that they have received an award from Maine's Department of Health and Human Services. The call recipient is then asked to pay $200 for an access code to get the award. 

    AG Mills stated that one individual received a phone call claiming that the consumer had awarded a grant of money from the Department of Health and Human Services. The caller asked the individual to pay $200 for an access code to receive the grant. 

    "If you receive a similar call, don't be fooled," said Mills. ". The government will not call you to ask for your credit card information over the phone."

    Recently, many Mainers have encountered similar scams via Facebook messenger, where someone they "know" has heard of some grant and wants to share their good fortune with you. Often, the person you know is a spoofed profile of your friend, and it is a scam.

    Sometimes the scammer poses as a government official. The scammer may even have an account with a name and photo that matches that of a real office or public official. The scammer tells the potential victim that they have qualified for a free monetary grant from the government that does not have to be paid back. All the victim has to do is pay a small processing fee and the larger sum of money will be released. No matter how much money is sent to the scammers, no grants are ever released.

    "Scammers are always coming up with new ways to convince you to part with your hard-earned money," said Attorney General Mills. "If any one tells you that you can have something for nothing - they are lying to you. No governmental agency conducts business or financial transactions via Facebook or instant messenger and they will never demand that you wire money or make a payment by a prepaid money service or any card you can buy in a convenience store. If you receive one of these offers, ignore it, delete it or block the sender. If you send them any money, you will never see it again."

    If you receive a message like this, you should report it to the service provider (for instance if you are using Facebook, report it to Facebook), as they may be able to shut down the suspect account. 

    Consumers can contact the Maine Attorney General's Office with questions or concerns about these kinds of scams or other issues they have had with a business. They are encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

    Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division State House Station 6 Augusta, ME 04333-0006 Consumer.mediation@maine.gov Tel: 1-800-436-2131

    The Office of the Attorney General also offers tips on how to avoid scams athttp://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/scams.shtml. 
  • VA awards nearly $2.1M for Preble Street in Portland, Maine

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded nearly $2.1 million to Preble Street, a Portland organization that serves individuals, including veterans, who face homelessness, housing issues, hunger and poverty in the fall of 2017.

    Funding was awarded through the VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. According to the VA, nearly 300 organizations across the country received grants this year. Approximately 95,300 veterans and 31,950 children benefited from the program in 2016.

    The award was announced today by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and Angus King, I-Maine.

    "For more than four decades, Preble Street has provided and expanded crucial services for Maine's homeless and at-risk population," Collins and King said in a joint statement. "We commend the staff and volunteers at Preble Street for their hard work assisting individuals of all backgrounds, and we are pleased that this funding will help reduce homelessness among veterans in our state."

     

     

  • Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Situational Awareness Statement: Wind Storm 2017

    Belfast Harbor, Belfast Maine

    11/02/2017 05:35 PM EDT

    The Maine State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains fully activated today after a powerful wind and rainstorm caused nearly 500,000 power outages state-wide beginning Sunday, October 29. Utilities continue to bring in mutual aid from other states and Canada to speed the restoration effort and more than half of the customers affected by power outages now have power restored.

    MEMA representatives continue to work closely with partner agencies including the National Weather Service, Red Cross, DOT, CDC, Department of Public safety, utilities, and county emergency management agencies.

    MEMA appreciates patience and encourages safety as we progress through restoring power throughout Maine. More than 2,000 utility workers, first responders and emergency management personnel from Maine and neighboring states have been working long hours for many days to continue to restore power. Power outages continue to drop, with approximately 132,000 customers without power as of Thursday afternoon,November 2, 2017.

    The State of Maine is pursuing a Federal Disaster Declaration with local municipalities and county Emergency Management Agencies, however no Federal assistance is available at this time. Below is a list of steps and resources available at this time. 

    - Individuals should document damage from the October 29 storm through photos and receipts, and first work with their homeowner's insurance.
    - Documented losses should be reported to 2-1-1 Maine by calling 2-1-1. They will need the name, address and a summary of the losses related to this storm only.
    - Those who cannot afford to fix damage from the storm should contact their municipal General Assistance Officer for assistance that may be available.
    - Check with local food pantries if you have lost food.
    - Community Action Programs may be able to provide some assistance to those who meet certain income guidelines.
    - Current SNAP benefit recipients may be able to obtain a voucher to replace lost food. Contact the Office of Family Independence at 855-797-4357.
    - Farmers who experience losses and need assistance should contact USDA Farm Service Agency at 207-990-9140.
    - Small Business Administration offers low rate emergency disaster loan assistance for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters, at https://disasterloan.sba.gov. Individuals can also contact 2-1-1 Maine for referrals for assistance.

    ###Situation

    A powerful storm began impacting Maine Sunday, October 29, leaving more than half of Maine residents without electricity.
    -Temperatures are expected to reach the high 50's in southern Maine and will be in the low 50's in northern and interior Maine.
    - Rivers and streams continue to subside. Stream flows remain high statewide but have dropped significantly in the previous 24 hours.
    - Rainfall amounts Thursday through Friday are not expected to cause flooding.
    - A large amount of debris is reported in many areas affecting road access in some cases. Caution is urged when removing debris.
    - 43 State Roads remain closed.

    ###Storm Impacts

    - Many households and businesses remain without power, and shelter and warming center lists are updated regularly. Information is available at maine.gov/MEMA, MEMA's Facebook page and Twitter, and at 211Maine.org or by dialing 2-1-1. Individuals without access to internet or 2-1-1 should check with their town or local fire station for shelter information.
    - Many areas still report a large amount of debris.
    Caution is urged when removing debris and experts should be called for larger debris or if power lines are involved. MEMA will maintain situational awareness and information flow between County EOCs and the SEOC through situational reports for decision making purposes. MEMA will also work to fulfill resource requests from all 16 counties to support response and recovery activities during the sustained response and recovery operations using available resources from state agencies, private vendors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    **Citizens are reminded of the following:**

    - Do not touch downed power lines and objects that are touching them.
    - Power restoration is expected to take several days; check on your neighbors.
    - Ensure generators and alternate heat sources are in good working condition and properly installed and located in a well-ventilated area.
    - Use caution when operating chainsaws for debris removal and wear personal protective equipment and/or work with experienced tree-removal services.
    - Those who have been without power for several days should discard food that has not been stored at the proper temperature (refrigerator 40 degrees or below; freezer zero degrees or below).
    - Document all damage costs to property for insurance and other assistance purposes.

    For additional preparedness, shelter and safety information, please visit MainePrepares.com, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.