State News From The Associated Press 4-2-21

New unemployment claims tick up slightly in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — New unemployment claims rose slightly in Maine last week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to complicate the jobs picture in the state and around the country. The Maine Department of Labor reported 1,600 initial claims for state unemployment insurance for the week that ended March 27. That was an increase from 1,400 claims the previous week. The agency also reported 400 initial claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance during the same week. That number increased from 300 the previous week.


Mills seeks federal support, action on ‘forever chemicals’

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Janet Mills has asked the Maine congressional delegation to help secure federal funding to address contamination from what’s called “forever chemicals.” The Portland Press Herald reports that Mills wrote a letter to the state’s four members of Congress asking for federal funding and regulation to deal with the chemicals. Mills in the letter outlined some of the steps underway to detect and address contamination including testing water, milk and meat samples as well as treated sewage. Some of the chemicals have been linked to health problems, including cancer, kidney problems, reproductive dysfunction, immune suppression, high cholesterol and low birth weight.


Mainers 16 and up eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on April 7

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is opening up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to all state residents age 16 or older in a few days. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that eligibility will expand on April 7. The state had been planning to open eligibility to everyone 16 years of age or older on April 19. The state previously started offering the vaccine for everyone age 50 and older, as well as teachers and front-line health care workers. Maine has been the site of more than 50,000 positive cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.


Court rejects appeal from woman convicted in child death

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s highest court has rejected an appeal from a woman convicted of murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter. Sharon Kennedy and her former husband, Julio Carrillo, were both convicted of murder for beatings that led to the death of Marissa Kennedy. Sharon Kennedy’s attorney argued that jurors weren’t given the right guidance about how to treat testimony about domestic violence that Sharon Kennedy suffered from her husband. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Thursday that the court “acted well within its discretion in applying and weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors” in arriving at her 48-year maximum sentence.


New Maine-Canada bridge project to start construction soon

MADAWASKA, Maine (AP) — The state of Maine has awarded the construction contract for a new bridge that will connect the northern part of the state to the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The project will replace the century-old Edmundston–Madawaska Bridge. The Maine Department of Transportation said Thursday the current bridge is nearing the end of its useful life. The bridge has also been subject to a five-ton weight limit since 2017, and that has created a significant detour for drivers. Maine DOT said the total project is expected to cost $97.5 million. The state awarded the construction contract to Reed & Reed Inc. of Woolwich, Maine.