Headlines 3/15/17

Review Underway into Balloon Festival Finances
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An iconic annual event is getting some extra scrutiny. Lewiston city officials are reviewing the finances and overall management of the Great Falls Balloon Festival after questions were raised about the operation. The Sun Journal reports that vendors only recently got paid for work they did during last year's event after months of seeking payment. Three of the festival's five board members recently and abruptly quit. Questions also persist about the event's nonprofit and tax-exempt statuses.
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Auburn Man Sentenced for Possessing Cocaine
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An Auburn man is sentenced to more than five years in prison on drug possession charges. 33-year-old Derrick Favreau pleaded guilty this past July to possessing cocaine that was found in a hidden compartment during a 2014 traffic stop. Police also seized $29,000 during the investigation. On Monday, Favreau received a 63-month term plus three years' probation and a $5,000 fine.
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Info Session This Weekend for Adoption Hosting Group
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Casey Knight with the adoption hosting effort called Bringing Nastya Home braved the weather yesterday to visit the Breakfast Club. Knight talked about some of the early communication challenges facing visitors and hosts. Listen. To learn more about Bringing Nastya Home, including an information session this weekend, visit mainesbigz.com.
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Suspended Lewiston Dentist Could Resume Work Next Week
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The license suspension for Lewiston dentist Jan Kippax is set to expire Friday. Kippax faces numerous allegations of patient mistreatment. The Maine Board of Dental Practice is scheduled to hold a hearing April 14 on whether or not to permanently revoke Kippax's license. Pending an extension of the suspension, he could return to work Monday.
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Late-Winter Blizzard Snarls Traffic, Cuts Power
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Blizzard conditions made travel and business tough to negotiate across the region yesterday. Maine Dept. of Transportation officials said Tuesday afternoon that numerous drivers were stranded on I-295 in both directions between Topsham and Freeport. That included some DOT vehicles, which were back in operation after 7 p.m. Local and state governements closed offices around lunchtime. Central Maine Power reported over 31,000 customers without power at the height of an outage, the vast majority of those being in York County.
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Police Track Casco Man 8 Miles Before Arrest
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A Casco man is in the Cumberland County Jail after allegedly breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home and assaulting her, then daring a sheriff's deputy to shoot him as he brandished a knife. 38-year-old Ernesto Nieves fled from the deputy into a wooded area, forcing a K-9 unit to track him for over 8 miles before catching up to him at the Naples Golf Course. Police say Nieves was intoxicated and uncooperative before finally being arrested. He remains in custody without bail.
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Gov. LePage Town Hall Meeting Tonight
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Gov. Paul LePage is scheduled to host his next town hall meeting tonight in Gorham, weather permitting. In a Tuesday press release, LePage's office says his message will focus on his proposed budget, tax cuts, energy costs, and welfare before taking questions from the audience. The forum begins at 6 p.m. at Spire 29 on School St. The event will be rescheduled if weather prompts a cancellation.
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Dredging to Restore BIW Access on Kennebec River
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Emergency dredging operations will begin next month on the lower Kennebec River. A recent survey of the river bottom revealed some areas as shallow as 18 feet. The recommended depth is 27 feet to accommodate Navy ships moving to and from Bath Iron Works. The shallow water prevented sea trials for a destroyer in September. The river was last dredged in 2011. The latest effort is scheduled to start April 19 and take 3-5 weeks to complete.
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