Maine boat company to add new facility, 8 jobs

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine Gov. Paul LePage's administration says a boat company based in Hancock County is expanding and adding a new facility.

The Department of Economic and Community Development says Ellis Boat Company in Southwest Harbor will have a new crane and more manufacturing space in the expansion. The company expects to add eight new jobs.

The family-operated boat company was founded in 1945 and is known for its traditional-style Downeast yachts, lobster boats and luxury cruisers.

The department says it worked closely with the company in discussing tax incentives programs to encourage its expansion.


Maine urging groups to sign up for Big E fair

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Gov. Paul LePage's administration is encouraging Maine businesses and organizations to be a part of the 2014 Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts, which bills itself as the largest fair in the Northeast.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says groups have until Feb. 21 to apply for exhibition space for the Big E fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The fair will take place from Sept. 12 to 28.

The State of Maine building at the fair shows off everything from Maine foods, products, fisheries, recreation and tourism. Each of the six New England states have an exhibition hall dedicated to featuring their local products.

The department says they'll notify groups chosen to participate in the event by March 7.



Northern New England tackles growing drug problem

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - In the rural towns and cities of northern New England, a rising drug-abuse problem is overwhelming law enforcement, impacting hundreds of infants each year and sparking calls to action by state leaders who say enough is enough.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage used his State of the State address to highlight the "the troubling epidemic" of drug use.

Vermont Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin dedicated nearly his entire speech to the rising abuse of heroin and painkillers. New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan also raised the specter of a growing drug problem.

Shumlin and Hassan urged lawmakers to focus on improving treatment and halting addiction before it begins. LePage offered a vastly different strategy focused primarily on bolstering drug enforcement to "hunt down dealers and get them off the streets."


Record-breaking, tie-breaking competitions for state cheerleaders

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The results are in for Saturday's State Cheerleading Competitions.

Central Aroostook High School broke a class record with their 8th Class D state championship, a record which until Saturday, they shared with Monmouth Academy.

Saturdays win also extends another state record as Central Aroostook has now won their 11th overall state championship thus surpassing to a record which they have owned since 2011. 

They are the only team in Maine cheering history to have double-digit state championships.

Central Aroostook High School has also become the only team in Maine history to win six championships in seven years.

Maine AG sues used car dealer

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- The Maine Attorney General's office has sued the owner of several used car dealerships, accusing him of unfair and deceptive trade practices.

The complaint filed Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court alleges that Glenn Geiser Jr. and his dealerships target consumers with poor credit, pressure them to buy cars that are not road worthy, then not respond to customer complaints. The lawsuit says some consumers have been unable to get their cars and others discover their cars break down or develop serious mechanical issues soon after purchase.

The state is seeking civil penalties and permanent injunction to bar Geiser from promoting, selling and financing used cars.

The Associated Press left phone and email messages seeking comment Friday at Geiser's My Maine Ride business in Bangor.

Investigation into DHHS document shredding expands

AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- The probe into whether managers at Maine's Center for Disease Control ordered staff to shred documents is expanding.

A lawyer for whistleblower Sharon Leahy-Lind says the F-B-I is now involved and has interviewed Lind. Also within the last week, the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has asked four managers involved in the process - including C-D-C Director Shiela Pinette - to testify about what they knew, when they knew it, and whether they broke the law.

At issue is how and why millions of dollars were dispersed under the Healthy Maine Partnership program. Explanations don't exist in part because one spreadsheet in particular that existed the day before the funding allocations were announced has since disappeared.

Insurance rates sky rocketing despite efforts to improve fire protection

BERWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Residents in many communities across the state have experienced sticker shock when they open their home owners insurance policy renewals to find their rates have more than doubled.

There are a variety of reasons that insurance rates have skyrocketed over the past year, said Brad Scott, president of Spencer & Mathews Insurance Company.  The main reason, he said, has been the significant payouts insurers have had to make due to many large-scale natural disasters in recent years.

"The number of these events that have happened in the past decade, and the ferocity of them, has been unprecedented," he stated.  "The insurers have paid considerably more out than they have collected in premiums."