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  • Published
    January 3, 2012

    Dexter tragedy brings bipartisan focus to domestic violence bail decisions

    Sometimes it takes a death. Sometimes it takes four deaths: a mother, her two children and the man who killed them and then killed himself. The deaths of Amy, Monica and Coty Lake at the hands of their husband and father, Steven Lake, may be the tragedy that brings major reform to how the criminal justice system handles dangerous domestic violence cases. The June 13 triple murder-suicide is becoming a rallying …

  • Published
    December 19, 2011

    ‘Broken’ bail system freed man who went on to murder family

    “These four people died needlessly …” — From a psychological autopsy of the triple murder and suicide in Dexter, June 13, 2011. The study rests on a shelf deep in the documents room at the state library. It has been sitting there since September 2006, most of its recommendations going the way of the hundreds of government blue ribbon studies that fill the other shelves – waiting for action. Among the report’s …

  • Published
    July 25, 2011

    Candidate LePage said he’d deal with pension debt — and he did, at the expense of teachers, state employees

    When he was running for governor, Paul LePage recognized the crisis that could be caused by the $4.3 billion the state owed for the pensions for teachers and state employees. But he didn’t say precisely what he would do about it. He did say what he would not do — cut state government “in half” to find the money. Candidate LePage publicly addressed the pension debt directly, once in a newspaper interview …

  • Published
    July 25, 2011

    Pension changes demand a third less of state budget for next 17 years; bonds could be cheaper

    Editor’s note: This is part 6 of an occasional series on the effects of the state’s pension costs. The series began last July. The year is 2020, just nine years from now, and the state is facing one of its worst budget crisis in years. A new governor and Legislature are grappling with the inescapable fact that before they can spend a penny on schools, roads or welfare, they have to pay a $760 million bill — …

  • Published
    February 17, 2011

    Legislature may use subpoena powers to get Turnpike spending records

    The Senate chairman of the Legislature’s oversight committee may take the unheard of step of using the committee’s subpoena powers to get to the bottom of spending at the Maine Turnpike Authority. Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, said the Government Oversight Committee is “unsatisfied” with some of the MTA’s answers to questions raised by the recent 88-page report by the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation & …

  • Published
    December 22, 2010

    Tales of $1.1 million state energy program

    Solar panels were installed behind trees, covered with snow, shaded by a barn or not tilted toward the sun.Wind turbines were blocked by trees or shut down for safety reasons and then not turned back on when the wind was strong.Heat pumps were turned off by homeowners because they were too noisy.These are some of the findings in a study of a $1.1 million federal Department of Health and Human Services grant to …

  • Published
    November 26, 2010

    Documents show Nutting inflated Medicaid charges more than $1 million

    In 2001, True’s Pharmacy in Oakland, owned by incoming Speaker of the House Robert Nutting, bought medical gloves for $4.39 per package. By the time True’s sold them to a Medicaid provider, the price had gone up to $11.11. That markup — 153 percent — was much more than was allowed by Maine’s Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, which requires only a 40 percent mark up. Nutting contended in state hearings that …

  • Published
    November 26, 2010

    Nutting recently disciplined by state board

    Just a month before Republicans unofficially elected pharmacist and state Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, to be the next Speaker of the House, a state agency disciplined him for giving a customer the wrong medication. On Oct. 1, the state Department of Professional and Financial Regulation sent Nutting a letter detailing the consent agreement he signed with the department and the Attorney General’s Office. The …

  • Published
    November 4, 2010

    AG takes former state employee to court over unpaid travel debt

    The state is tired of waiting for a former state official to pay the $4,314 he has owed for more than two years for bills he ran up on a state credit card.The state Attorney General’s office is going to take Jimmy Cook, who got his state job with the help of Gov. John Baldacci, to small claims court.William Laubenstein, chief of the AG’s government division, said, “Obviously, we’d like to recover the outstanding …

  • Published
    September 10, 2010

    PUC apologizes for $36,000 bill for access to public documents

    The state Public Utilities Commission has apologized for asking a journalism organization for $36,000 to see e-mails of the commission’s former chairman.Jack Cashman, current chairman of the commission, sent a letter to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting Sept. 9 that explained that a subsequent review of the state’s computer system showed the cost of retrieving the e-mails was $160 — 16 hours work at …

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