Headlines for 3/16/17

State OKs Lewiston School Proposal
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Lewiston's proposed new elementary school gets the go-ahead from state officials. The State Board of Education unanimously approved the design and funding Wednesday. Lewiston school superintendent Bill Webster tells the Sun Journal that the project will go out for bid on Monday with an estimated opening date in 2019. The new school will accommodate nearly 900 students in pre-kindergarten through grade six. The state is covering nearly $50 million of the cost.
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Class in Session Tomorrow for Auburn Students
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Auburn schools are holding class tomorrow. March 17 was designated as a teacher workday on the district calendar, but officials said Wednesday that scheduling constraints from winter weather cancelations forced the decision. If tomorrow had remained a teacher workday, then students would have remained in school until June 23 and staff until June 26. Wednesday marked the ninth snow day for Auburn this year. Officials are considering adding an hour to the school day each Wednesday for 10 weeks to make up two days.
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Down East Awards Offer Chance to Promote L-A Area
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Christopher Schario with The Public Theater recently joined Matty B on the Breakfast Club to talk about the show 'Wrong for Each Other', which opens tomorrow. He also talked about the DownEast Readers' Choice Awards. Listen. To hear more about The Public Theater, head over to mainesbigz.com.
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House Fire at Height of Blizzard Under Investigation
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Monmouth fire officials say no one was injured in a Tuesday night house fire on Route 135, but the home may be a total loss. Crews that could make it to the scene needed five hours to put out the flames at the height of that night's blizzard. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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York Co. Bears Brunt of Power Outages
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Thousands of people in central and southern Maine spent Wednesday without power following Tuesday's big storm. Power outages peaked at around 32,000 customers on Central Maine Power's grid. Company officials said yesterday that their goal was to restore power to at least 90 percent of affected customers by late last night. As of midnight, CMP was down to less than 5,000 reported outages, with over 80 percent of those still in York County, the hardest hit area for storm-related disruptions.
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Voters in 4 Towns Approve New High School
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A new high school is set to open in Topsham in 2020. The Press Herald reports that voters in Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin, and Bowdoinham approved the $60 million project in separate referendums last week. The state will cover over $53 million of that cost. The new school will be built on existing baseball and football fields near Mt. Ararat High School, which is being replaced by the new facility. Approved bond money will also pay for new athletics fields.
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Police Chief Released Days After Submitting Resignation
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Skowhegan's police chief resigned last week, saying he would stay on until April 9 to help with the transition. Town leaders decided to let him go immediately. Donald Bolduc turned in his letter this past Friday. Selectmen let him go Tuesday following a Monday meeting, during which they appointed Sgt. Joel Cummings as the interim chief. Bolduc has expressed his frustration at losing staff to other police departments that pay better. Labor negotiations between the town and the police union are ongoing.
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Supplemental Spending Package Takes Effect
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While state lawmakers continue hearings on Gov. Paul LePage's proposed $6.8 billion two-year budget proposal, another budget bill became law without his signature. A $29 million supplemental spending package for the fiscal year ending in June went into effect Wednesday. $4.8 million of that will help expand medication-assisted addiction treatment for low-income and uninsured residents. Another $7 million will go to the University of Maine system. The package also authorizes $35 million to be moved into the state's rainy day fund.
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