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Mask Mandate Maine

Governor Janet Mills on November 5, 2020 issued an executive order requiring Mainers to wear face coverings in public no matter their distance from others. That order comes amid a week of coronavirus cases increasing and transmission surging to levels not seen even in the earliest weeks of the pandemic. It’s the latest move from the Mills administration to tamp down on rising case levels. Last week Gov. Mills pushed back the reopening of bars and tasting rooms. Under a previous executive order issued in July, Mills required Mainers to wear face coverings in public spaces only when physical distance is not easily maintained. This new order also requires business owners to prominently post signs about the face covering requirement, […]

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With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Maine – Mills Administration announces new measures to prevent infections

With ovid-19 cases on the rise in Maine – Mills Administration announces new measures to prevent infections Extends Keep Maine Healthy Program; Resets Indoor Gathering Limits; Postpones Reopening of Bars; Amends Travel Protocols November 1, 2020  As the COVID-19 virus explodes across the country, Maine this week recorded a significant increase in cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates. Friday saw 103 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day increase in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic. Saturday saw 98 new cases, and one more person lost their life to the virus. Maine’s 7-day positivity rate, while still significantly lower than other states, doubled over the last two weeks to 0.92 percent. “If we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil […]

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Heathcare in Maine affordable for all

10/27/2020 AUGUSTA – Most Maine people shopping through the Health Insurance Marketplace can pay less than $75 per month for health coverage in 2021, according to new federal data released ahead of the start of open enrollment on Sunday, November 1. Sixty percent of Maine HealthCare.gov customers qualify for a plan costing under $75 a month, while 40 percent can pay under $10 a month. The average individual market health insurance premium in Maine will be 13 percent lower next year. Maine is one of four states where average premiums are dropping more than 10 percent from 2020 to 2021 – the third year in a row of premium declines in Maine. Open enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Sunday, November 1 and ends on Tuesday, December 15. Eligible Maine people […]

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Students choose Biden for president in 2020 Mock Election

10/22/2020  AUGUSTA – Students from 92 Maine schools chose Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the U.S. presidential race, in Student Mock Election results tallied Wednesday in Augusta. The voting has been underway at Maine schools since mid-October, for the offices of U.S. President, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate. Chellie Pingree (D-North Haven) won the student vote for the District 1 U.S. Representative to Congress seat and Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) won for the District 2 U.S. Representative to Congress seat. Students chose Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) in the U.S. Senate race. Full results are posted online at http://www.maine.gov/mockelection/. Statewide results will be provided to the national mock election program for inclusion in national results. “The mock election is a great opportunity for students to learn about […]

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Maine DHHS Launches StrengthenME Initiative to Help Maine People Cope With Stress of the Pandemic

10/22/2020  AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced today the launch of StrengthenME, an initiative to help Maine people cope with the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing free tools, support, and community connections that promote wellness, resilience, and recovery. StrengthenME is funded by nearly $5 million through a joint grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Maine DHHS announced in June that the Department would use $1 million from the first round of this funding to develop the initiative. DHHS was awarded $3.7 million in the second round of funding to extend this project over a longer term, recognizing that public health emergencies have both immediate and […]

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Maine home sales jump 22.79 percent in year

VALUES INCREASE BY 19.56 PERCENT IN SEPTEMBER AUGUSTA (Oct. 22, 2020)— With historically-low interest rates, and more buyers than sellers, sales of single-family existing homes increased 22.78 percent comparing September 2020 to September 2019. According to statistics released by Maine Listings, the median sales price (MSP) for homes sold in September 2020 rose 19.56 percent to $273,500, compared to September 2019. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. “September’s impressive sales volume capped a solid third-quarter recovery for Maine residential real estate,” says Tom Cole, 2020 President of the Maine Association of REALTORS® and Managing Broker of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group in Brunswick. “January through September 2020 sales are 2.6 percent ahead of the […]

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Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Announces 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards

10/22/2020  By Ramona du Houx The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) has announced the recipients of this year’s Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) awards. Spanning a host of products, from strawberries to mixed vegetables, SCBG grants totaling $534,303.00 are being awarded to: Blue Barn LLC, Daybreak Growers Alliance, the Maine Maple Producers Association, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Alliance, and multiple projects with the University of Maine system (in the School of Biology and Ecology, the School of Food and Agriculture, and the Maine Food and Agriculture Center). DACFs Division of Quality Assurance and Regulation will also apply $12,000 of SCBG funding to a pilot project supporting farmers seeking certification in Good Agricultural Practices. Find more […]

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Maine’s summer food programs serve over 1.4 million meals to meet pandemic need

By Ramona du Houx Full Plates Full Potential disclosed that 1,421,533 summer meals were served to Maine kids – which is over a 200 percent increase compared to last summer. These staggering results are in part due to the USDA leniences granted to the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to address feeding children safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. The program traditionally provides access to free meals to any child 18 years old and younger in certain eligible high-need areas and require that children consume their meals on site. This summer, the USDA waived these requirements, among others, which allowed summer meal sites to deliver meals, offer multiple or bulk meals at once, and expanded the reach of the program into […]

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Maine veterans protest Susan Collins during third Senate Debate

By Ramona du Houx October 15, 2020 Maine Veterans and members of Common Defense gathered outside the Augusta Civic Center for the October 15th U.S. Senate debate to protest Susan Collins.  “In the past I voted for Senator Collins because I thought she would show integrity and hold the line against big interests,” said Carroll Payne, a retired US Marine Corps First Sergeant from Plymouth, Maine. “That didn’t turn out to be the case.”    Veterans are highlighting their disappointment in Collins for supporting the agenda of Donald Trump, and becoming complicit in “pay-to-play” politics. In February, the pro-Collins 1820 PAC received a $150,000 donation from a shell company connected to Martin Kao, a defense CEO who was recently arrested for defrauding […]

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Corazón latino launches Soy Latino, Sí Voto voter engagement campaign

The Soy Latino, Sí Voto Peer-to-Peer Civic Engagement Campaign, focused on Arizona, Florida and Puerto Rico, hits on issues that affect Latino communities in the United States, including climate justice and environmental protection Tucson, Arizona – Today, Corazón Latino announced the launch of Soy Latino, Sí Voto, an innovative online voter engagement effort to reach tens of thousands of Latino voters in Arizona and Florida, two key battleground states in the November elections. Corazón Latino is based in Washington, DC, with active programming and offices in Arizona, California and Puerto Rico. The Soy Latino, Sí Voto campaign’s goal is to connect with 50,000 voters over the next three weeks, leading up to Election Day, while helping communities to overcome in-person voting challenges brought about […]

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Maine Indigenous Peoples’ Day

 “As we celebrate our 200th year as a state, it is important to recognize that our collective history goes much further back long before statehood. Maine’s culture today is in large part the direct result of those who first hunted, farmed, fished and occupied much of the land that we call our home. Today we honor the contributions and resilience of the Indigenous peoples of Maine and examine our shared history with open eyes, open minds and open hearts, pausing in gratitude for the long-standing presence of the Wabanaki tribes in the State of Maine, and recommitting ourselves to our shared future as a place and as a people.” – Governor Janet Mills 

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During record drought, 135 Maine farmers sign climate letter delivered to the House Select Committee

By Ramona du Houx October 7, 2020 Following two months of severe drought, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) deemed Aroostook County a drought disaster area in September. The designation means farmers in Aroostook and neighboring Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties became eligible to apply for emergency farm loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency over the next eight months. Declining surface water […]

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Maine budget cuts cannot fuel economic growth

A large body of scholarship shows tax, spending cuts pump the brakes on state economies Tax cuts and reduced spending fail to spur economic growth, refuting a central argument by proponents of austerity, according to a comprehensive analysis of available scholarship published on August 18, 2020 by the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “Decades of research show that budget cuts […]

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Wastewater planning grants to the Maine town of Brooks and Eagle Lake water and sewer district

August 25, 2020 USDA Rural Development announced two Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) Grants totaling $52,600. The investments will assist the Town of Brooks and Eagle Lake Water and Sewer District to improve and develop wastewater utilities. In Maine, USDA Rural Development is investing a total of $52,600 million to assist two communities: ·The Town of Brooks has been selected to receive a grant in the amount of $22,600. Town of Brooks does not have a public wastewater collection and treatment system. Individual residences and businesses provide for their own wastewater treatment and disposal through subsurface systems and suspected overboard discharges to the stream. This Rural Development investment will be used for a water and wastewater […]

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Maine drought task force: Conditions worsen with little relief in sight

08/20/2020 Maine’s Drought Task Force convened on August 18, 2020 by virtual meeting, to discuss the worsening drought conditions across the state. Since the Task Force met two weeks ago, the area considered to be in severe drought has grown to 42 percent of the state and now includes portions of Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington Counties in addition to Aroostook County, which has been in severe drought for more than 7 weeks. “We will continue to monitor conditions and convene in two weeks, or sooner, if need be,” said MEMA Director Peter Rogers. Meanwhile, we encourage anyone with a dry well to report it via our Dry Well Survey. MEMA launched the Dry”>https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/49fef6c94fd34a6a9804175ae4a3ad93?portalUrl=https://maine.maps.arcgis.com”>Dry Well Survey two weeks ago and has received some […]

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More testing for COVID-19 available in Maine

August 15, 2020 Maine’s cumulative coronavirus cases rose to 4,144, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, 127 people have died with COVID-19 in Maine. As a result of a state effort to provide medical providers with more resources to keep track of the virus, more people who want to know if they have coronavirus even if they don’t have symptoms will be able to get tested at 10 sites across Maine run by Northern Light Health, the state’s second-largest hospital system. That means broader categories of asymptomatic people — including those who have come from states with a greater prevalence of the virus — may now be able to get a test at one […]