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Latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

Latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 3:23 AM EDT
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MAINE:

ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-MAINE

Opponents concede in Maine GOP primary for House race

The opponents of a former Maine state representative have conceded to him in a Republican primary for a competitive U.S. House seat. Former state Rep. Dale Crafts, who served eight years in the Maine Legislature, cast himself as a new ally for President Donald Trump in Washington. Crafts ran for the nomination Tuesday against former television reporter Adrienne Bennett and former state Sen. Eric Brakey. Crafts would run against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, who was elected in 2018. Crafts fell short of 50% of the vote, and state officials were determining if a ranked runoff round was necessary. Brakey conceded late Tuesday night and Bennett followed on Wednesday morning.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MAINE

Maine AG joins push for for childcare stimulus money

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s attorney general has joined a group including more than 20 of his counterparts to call for the federal government to provide financial help for childcare providers in the next round of stimulus money. Attorney General Aaron Frey said Tuesday that he and other attorneys general believe the nation’s childcare system needs help for families to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. They sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. Senate that said the next stimulus bill must address childcare. Frey says the pandemic has closed or reduced service at childcare centers around the country, leaving the centers without revenue to pay for payrolls, rent, insurance and other costs.

MORE TRAINS-DOWNEASTER

Downeaster to run more trains from Maine to Boston soon

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — The Amtrak train that provides service from Maine to Boston will soon add more round trips as part of its service restoration. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority said Tuesday the Downeaster would begin operating four round-trip trains between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston every day starting July 20. The move is part of the service’s restoration in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted train travel in New England and around the country. Amtrak says trains will be sanitized and disinfected every day with enhanced cleaning between trips.

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-SENATE-MAINE

Democrat Gideon wins primary, will face GOP Sen Collins

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon has beaten two Democrats for the right to challenge U.S. Sen. Susan Collins this fall. Gideon, who’s raised $23 million in her Senate bid, turned back challenges by activist Betsy Sweet and attorney Bre Kidman on Tuesday. Collins, a centrist Republican seeking a fifth term, is a top Democratic target and viewed as vulnerable in a state where a tradition of political independence is clashing with rising polarization and partisanship. Gideon will further boost her fundraising haul with the victory. A $3.7 million crowdsourced fund for Collins’ challenger was established during the Senate fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.

TEEN SURFER RESCUE

Kennebunk beach swimmers saved by surfer and a boogie board

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — A 14-year-old surfer saved a woman from drowning at Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk by pulling her onto his surfboard. Lucas Drinkwater told WGME-TV that the drama unfolded last weekend when he and another person heard screams, and rescued a mother and daughter in the water. He helped one of the women while someone on a boogie board helped the other. Kennebunk Fire Rescue Division Chief John Brady said that the two women got in trouble at the beach despite being experienced and familiar with it. He blamed storms offshore for creating rough conditions.

WILD WEATHER-MAINE

Powerful thunderstorms dump hail on Maine's York County

SANFORD, Maine (AP) — Powerful thunderstorms have pummeled parts of southern Maine, knocking down trees and leaving some people without electricity. The storm also brought copious amounts of hail Tuesday afternoon. The hail was so thick that at least one community brought out a snow plow to clear roads. Two to four inches of of hail fell during the storm in Sanford, which brought out a plow. The number of homes and businesses in the dark numbered about 132 by Tuesday evening.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

ASSAULT-ARREST

Woman accused of stabbing man numerous times in back, legs

KEENE, N.H. (AP) — Police in New Hampshire have accused a woman of stabbing a man numerous times in the back and legs. Police responded Tuesday night to a home in Keene and found 28-year-old Eric Eaton with numerous stab wounds. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. His condition wasn’t immediately known. Police arrested 29-year-old Caryzma Volante, and charged her with first-degree assault. She's accused of using a knife to stab Eaton. She was held without bail and taken to the Cheshire County House of Corrections for a hearing scheduled Wednesday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately known if she had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW HAMPSHIRE

Governor: New Hampshire won't require schools to reopen

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire will not require any schools to reopen this fall, but is offering guidance on how districts can do so safely. Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday outlined recommendations for screening, social distancing, hygiene and other safety measures aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus. While President Donald Trump is demanding that schools resume in-person instruction, New Hampshire is leaving it to each school district to decide whether to fully return to the classroom, continue with remote instruction or combine those two options. Schools that do reopen must provide accommodations for students and educators who are not able to return due to underlying health concerns.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW HAMPSHIRE

Police commission feels crunch, may ask for extension

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A commission examining police accountability in New Hampshire is feeling the time crunch to get its recommendations to the governor. The Commission on Law Enforcement, Accountability, Community and Transparency formed by Gov. Chris Sununu in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis began meeting last month. It was given 45 days to submit its recommendations to Sununu, but members on Tuesday discussed that they have a lot more work to do in that time frame. The commission is considering asking Sununu for more time to prepare its report. In the meantime, members approved encouraging written testimony and putting time limits on speakers and commissioners’ questioning.

FLOOD WARNINGS

Forecasters: Flash flooding in North Country, Vermont

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A hospital in northern New Hampshire has reported flooding in and around the building, as the National Weather Service issued warnings of flash flooding in much of New Hampshire's North Country and areas of northeastern Vermont. WMUR-TV reports the state Emergency Operations Center reported flash flooding in the town of Woodsville early Tuesday and in and around Cottage Hospital. Some surgeries were canceled. The waters have since receded; it wasn’t immediately known if there was any damage to the building. In Vermont, the forecasters said up to 3 inches of rain had already fallen in some areas of Essex and Caledonia counties, and flooding was underway. Heavy thunderstorms are also forecast for western Maine, which also expected hail.

NEW HAMPSHIRE- POLLUTION AGREEMENT

Manchester reaches deal with feds to improve river quality

Two federal agencies have reached a deal with New Hampshire's largest city to enact measures that will help reduce river pollution. The deal announced Monday between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and Manchester calls for implementing a 20-year plan to control and significantly reduce overflows of its sewer system, which will improve the water quality of the Merrimack River. Officials say the $231 million effort should cut down on the amount of sewage from the city’s wastewater treatment systems that reaches the river. The Merrimack River is the main source of drinking water for more than 500,000 people.

VERMONT:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VERMONT

Vermont extending state of emergency to deal with COVID

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is extending the state of emergency needed to maintain special rules to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Phil Scott made the announcement Tuesday during his regular virus briefing. Scott first declared the state of emergency in March and he has extended it every month since. He says the state of emergency is the vehicle needed to keep certain protections in place and control outbreaks so the state's economy can continue to reopen.  Meanwhile, state officials are continuing to monitor a possible outbreak in Manchester and Londonderry. Pop-up testing sites are planned for Wednesday in both communities.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE AGREEMENT

Vermont joins states, DC, to push electric vehicles

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is joining 15 states and the District of Columbia in a push to electrify buses and trucks.  The agreement calls for all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales to be zero emission by 2050. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the agreement is an important step forward to increase the number of electric vehicles on the state’s roads and helping the state meet its long-term emissions goals. Transportation accounts for 44% of Vermont’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles include large pickup trucks and vans, delivery trucks, box trucks, long-haul delivery trucks and school and transit buses.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VERMONT

Vermont reports 30 possible virus cases in Manchester

The Vermont Health Department is reporting 30 possible cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Manchester. Health Department spokesman Ben Truman says that as of 3 p.m. Monday there were 30 positive antigen results from testing done at the Manchester Medical Center. He says antigen tests are faster, but not as accurate as the diagnostic tests relied on by the Health Department and so are not included in the department's case counts. Health department officials are working to confirm the results. They are also working with people who tested positive as if they were confirmed cases and they are trying to learn if there are any common sources of the suspected infections.

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT

U of Vermont trustees vote to divest from fossil fuels

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The University of Vermont is divesting from fossil fuels. The university's board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to divest. The university says it will immediately end new direct investment in fossil fuels and will fully divest from public investments in fossil fuels by July 2023. It will allow pre-existing multi-year private investments, which it stopped acquiring in 2017, to lapse. UVM will continue investing in opportunities that focus on sustainability, climate change and mitigation. President Suresh Garimella says divesting from fossil fuels is the right thing to do given the school's history and longstanding commitment to sustainability.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-VERMONT

Vermont governor signs law on police accountability

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's Republican Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law a bill designed to increase accountability of the state's law enforcement officers. In a Monday letter to lawmakers that accompanied a notice that he had signed the bill into law, Scott made several suggestions about how he felt the law could be improved. As signed, the bill bans police in Vermont from using chokeholds, orders state troopers to wear body cameras and requires law enforcement agencies to comply with racial data reporting requirements in order to qualify for state grant funding. Both the House and Senate passed the proposal unanimously last month in the closing hours of the first portion of the Legislature's 2020 session.

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