Federal Panel Rejects Pfizer Booster for Most Americans
(Undated) A federal advisory panel today overwhelmingly rejected a plan to offer Pfizer booster shots to most Americans 16 and older six months after their second dose. The vote was 16 to 2, but a second vote endorsed the boosters for those aged 65 or older or who are at high risk. The panel expressed frustration that Pfizer had provided little data on the safety of the boosters.
Maine’s COVID Numbers Low, but Rapid Surge Continues
(Augusta) While Maine’s COVID-19 case numbers are still lower than in much of the nation, the Bangor Daily News this morning reports the state’s COVID-19 surge is the fastest in the United States in the past two weeks. Cases here continue to rise amid national decline, with 658 cases reported on Thursday. The seven day average of new infections numbers 456 – more than double what it was in late August. Other New England states such as Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, that have had generally lower case rates and higher vaccination rates, are seeing cases rise as well.
Public Sector Employers Must Require Vaccines or Negative Tests
(Augusta) The U.S. Department of Labor has informed Maine DOL its forthcoming COVID-19 vaccination requirement will apply to public sector employers in Maine, including state, county, and local governments and public school systems. Last week, President Biden announced he has directed OSHA to develop a rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or require them to produce a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis.
Maine DOC Responds to Incidents at Long Creek
(Augusta) The Maine Department of Corrections today (Friday) announced actions it will take following incidents at Long Creek Youth Development Center involving altercations between residents and staff after residents threw furniture into windows, broke furniture to use as weapons, flooded the residence hall, and assaulted other residents and staff. The incidents took place on August 2nd and 9th and September 11th and 13th. While an investigation into the incidents continues, the DOC will undertake a comprehensive review of practices and policies, modify housing units, add more behavioral health clinicians and implement retraining of staff, among other actions. The altercations and subsequent actions caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to the facility.
Teen Charged in Windham Fire
(Windham) Police have charged a Windham teen in connection with a fire at the Dunkin Donuts on Roosevelt Trail on July 28th. Public Safety Spokesperson Shannon Moss tells Star 97.7, the Windham Fire Department was called to the restaurant and found a smoldering fire inside the walk-in freezer at the rear of the business. An investigator determined the fire was intentionally set and caused about $25,000 in damage. The 17 year old was established as the arsonist, was charged Thursday, and is on conditional release.
MDOL Matches Employers with the Underemployed
(Augusta) There’s no doubt it’s an incredibly tight labor market, with employers in almost every sector desperate for new hires. Darcy Brockman with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services tells Star 97.7, the Maine Department of Labor has a pool of people who are more than willing to help fill those positions. (((Labor 1 “…crazy labor market that we’re seeing right now.” :28))). Brockman says in 2020, DVR served over 9,000 individuals through job placement and training, continuing education, and on-site job support.
(Augusta) September is Workforce Development Month, and it comes at a time when the country is facing a challenging labor market. Darcy Brockman with the Maine DOL’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation tells Star 97.7 she works with counselors throughout the state to help employers fill those hard to fill positions. (((Labor 2 “…that I can access of skilled workers.” :16))) If you’re an employer or a Mainer with a disability who’s finding it difficult to navigate today’s labor market, contact Darcy at maine dot gov slash rehab.
(Augusta) Help Wanted – you see the signs everywhere. The Maine Department of Labor has a pool of workers WANTING to HELP. Darcy Brockman with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation tells Star 97.7 how they match employers with historically underemployed Mainers to ease the labor challenges faced by many Maine businesses. (((Labor 3 “…and what the employer is looking for.” :25))) Voc Rehab services are available at no cost to individuals who come to them for their services. You can reach Darcy at 1-885-ALL HIRE.
(Augusta) If you’re having trouble finding people to fill jobs at your business, you could be putting up barriers you’re not even aware of. Maine Department of Labor’s Darcy Brockman works with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and she says her department is there to help. (((Labor 4 “…and learn about the facility and work.” :33))) Darcy said her clients have a real desire to work, and she encourages employers to work with the DVR to provide a job tour or job shadow. The DVR works with adults as well as high school youth. You can contact Darcy at 1-885-ALL HIRE.
Biddeford Man Shot Landlord Multiple Times
(Biddeford) Court records show the Biddeford man accused of killing his landlord on Tuesday shot him several times in the chest. Authorities say 31 yo Douglas Michaud was in the process of evicting 30 yo Randal Hennessey when the shooting occurred. Michaud’s girlfriend witnessed the killing and was trying to aid Michaud when Hennessey fired a final gunshot at close range, killing him. Hennessey was arrested later in New Hampshire and remains in custody.
Share Your Work at Woodlawn
(Ellsworth) Readers and writers of all ages and genres are invited to bring a lawn chair, snacks, their work or the work of a favorite writer to share at Woodlawn during the Ellsworth Chamber’s Autumn Gold! Ellsworth Children’s Librarian Miss Kelli will read the newest Story Trail, you’ll hear from the Black family archives and the wonderful book by Jane Goodrich, The House at Lobster Cove. Share YOUR poems, scripts and stories, September 25th from 4 to 6 on the grounds of Woodlawn.
MDOL Survey Shows Barriers to Claimants’ Return to Work
(Augusta) The Maine Department of Labor on Friday released the findings of a July 2021 survey of unemployment insurance claimants and active jobseekers about barriers preventing them from returning to work. More than 2600 individuals responded to the survey, citing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, a lack of access to childcare and transportation, and a mismatch between their own skills and available jobs, among other issues. MDOL says the survey will help the Department’s approach to getting Maine people back to work.
Nature Conservancy Acquires More Land in Hancock County
(Hancock County) The Nature Conservancy has acquired 13,500 acres of forested land in Hancock County. The land consists of forested grounds which sit north of Tunk Mountain and Route 182, lie mostly in Township 16, and are adjacent to the northwest corner of Donnell Pond Public Land. The organization said Thursday the goal of the acquisition is to preserve the land for wildlife habitat.
SPCA “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet” Week
(Trenton) Tomorrow is the last day of “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet” Week at the SPCA of Hancock County in Trenton. But any day is a great day to change a pet’s life – especially those of senior cats like Lily and Rocky, or Josiah who is diabetic, or Jemma who needs to be in a home without kids or other animals. In addition, black cats and bully breeds often face unfounded discrimination. Like humans, the neediest ones are VERY often the most grateful and loving. Contact the SPCA of Hancock County to find your fur-ever friend.
Parties Release Plans for Redistricting
(Augusta) Republicans and Democrats released their congressional and Maine Senate redistricting proposals on Thursday, with the Bangor Daily News reporting the big fight over moving 23,000 people into the swing 2nd Congressional District to focus on Democrats’ plan to move Waterville in. A wrinkle in the Republican plan would shift Oakland from the 2nd District to the solidly liberal 1st District. Oakland is at least home-base to former U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin, who plans a 2022 rematch with Democratic Representative Jared Golden. Members of Congress do not have to live in their districts; only the state they’re running to represent. But Poliquin faced controversy over his residency in a previous run.
National Public Lands Day – New Trail
(Augusta) September 25th is National Public Lands Day, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry will celebrate with the grand opening of a new 30-mile hiking loop known as the Great Circle Trail. The loop runs through the heart of the Katahdin region and connects the Appalachian Trail with two other loops. The trail can be hiked in bite-sized sections or a multi-day adventure, utilizing eight remote campsites. The public is invited to participate in a short guided hike beginning at 10 a.m. on the 25th. RSVP by calling the Bureau of Public Lands Bangor Office at 941-4412.
Frey Files Civil Rights Complaint in Bangor Vandalism Case
(Augusta) Attorney General Aaron Frey has filed a complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act in the case against two 15 yo girls who spray painted racial epithets and threats on the personal vehicle of a Bangor man. The AG’s office reports on the night of August 20th, Amira Ventucci and Kendra Henderson, both teens from Bangor, vandalized Tahmoor Khan’s vehicle, based on their bias against his race or color. Frey said such incidents victimize not only the property owner, but all people of color in the Bangor community and across the state.
Breaking News 4:32 P.M.
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have rejected Pfizer’s application to add a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine to the two-dose regimen, based on a clinical trial. The FDA met today to discuss whether data on the vaccine supports a booster dose to people 16 and older about six months after their second dose. Committee members could vote to approve a booster dose for people 60 to 65 or older or people at high risk. Ultimately, the CDC will decide whether or not boosters should be used.
The Washington Football Team squeaked past the NY Giants 30 to 29 in last night’s game. The Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles tonight at Fenway. And the University of Maine football team plays visiting Merrimack College in Orono tomorrow.