Things You Need to Know: New Augusta Food Bank Open
Here are the things you need to know today......
Senator Susan Collins says she will vote for the Republican tax bill. WABI reports with her support, it's expected the $1.5 trillion dollar package.
The new Augusta Food Bank is now open. WABI reports the new space on Mt. Vernon Ave will make it easier for clients and the volunteers.
Waterville Brewing Company will open this winter in the Hathaway Creative Center. Centralmaine.com reports it is the cities first microbrewery.
From the Associated Press:
Maine's first lady is serving as chairwoman of a campaign aimed at giving crime victims' rights under the state Constitution. Ann LePage, wife of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, said crime victims deserve "common-sense equal rights." The proposed constitutional amendment would need a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers before being sent to a statewide vote in November 2018. Supporters of the amendment, dubbed Marsy's Law, say crime victims have no protections under the Maine Constitution and that state laws are inadequate.
Federal officials are giving Maine residents affected by a massive power outage more time to enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act. The Bangor Daily News reports Independent Sen. Angus King shared a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Friday which says residents could qualify for an extension through a special enrollment period. A CMS representative declined to share how much longer enrollment will be extended or how residents would know they qualified. She says residents who couldn't enroll should call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. King requested an extended deadline after more than 400,000 residents lost power for a week following an October windstorm. He says residents were hampered by the fact that open enrollment lasted for a shorter period this year.
A Maine task force is studying ways to tackle the rising cost of special education. The task force is set to meet Tuesday in Augusta to work on its report. School enrollment is declining in nearly all of Maine's school districts, and many communities are contending with the cost of sending special education students out-of-district.
The Maine Natural Resource Conservation program is giving more than $1.4 million to fund nine projects designed to restore and protect wetlands and natural areas around the state. The projects include conservation of wetlands and forests along the Magalloway River in Oxford County. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection organized a review committee to evaluate preservation proposals.
Residents of Old Orchard Beach can voice their opinion on whether to prohibit retail marijuana establishments in the seaside town. The Journal Tribune reports the town council is holding a Tuesday public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit retail marijuana establishments in town. Maine voters legalized marijuana use in the November 2016 election. But the state still has not established regulations for its sale.
A Maine man will serve two years of probation and pay a $5,000 fine for the role he played in a baby eel trafficking scheme. The Bangor Daily News reports 49-year-old Scott Willey was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland after pleading guilty in June and selling them to a Maine dealer.
Authorities say 72 people were medically evaluated and taken to hospitals for treatment after a train derailed onto a highway about 50 miles south of Seattle. Washington State Patrol Trooper Jon Nelson says that 10 of those people were in serious condition. Three others died.
A neurosurgeon says it's a miracle that an infant who was on the Amtrak train that derailed Monday in Washington state appeared unharmed. Dr. Nathan Selden was one of many people in the area who rushed in to help when the train went off the tracks in the town of Dupont. Selden says he examined passengers who had sprains, open wounds and skull and pelvis fractures. Three people were killed.
President Donald Trump's administration is publicly blaming North Korea for a ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert says in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday night that North Korea was "directly responsible" for the WannaCry ransomware attack and that Pyongyang will be held accountable for it. Pyongyang has previously denied hacking allegations.
Syrian President Bashar Assad is seeking to reassert his authority in the northern province of Idlib, a quest that may be aided by deep fractures within the extremist group that dominates the region. A recent wave of arrests within al-Qaida, which is the single most powerful group in Idlib, has also raised fears of an all-out war and potential bloodbath between insurgents in the heavily populated province near Turkey at a time when Assad's forces are making a serious push toward the region.
More than a quarter-billion people have left their birth countries to live elsewhere since 2000. That's according to a U.N. report that finds there has been an increase of 49 percent since 2000. The report estimates there was a 3.4 percent increase this year. The percentage of refugees living in high-income countries rose from 9.6 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2017. The biennial report was released on Monday, International Migrants Day.