Things You Need to Know: Ice Cutters + Flooding Fears Continue for Kennebec River
Here are the things you need to know today......
The old district court building near Memorial Circle in Augusta is coming down, according to centralmaine.com the owner, Kennebec Savings Bank, does not have plans for site at the moment.
Ice cutters continue to work on the Kennebec River, making up to Richmond this weekend to help the water flow and reduce possible flooding upriver. In Gardiner, the Fire Chief told Newscenter he has concerns about the jam in Farmingdale that already causing the issues. If it lets go water levels will rise quickly.
From the Associated Press:
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Association of Realtors says home sales in the state increased very slightly last year. The association says sales increased by a little less than one percent. The median sales price for homes sold last year was $200,000, which was a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year. Association president Kim Gleason says 2017 was "a year of ups and downs" in the housing market. There wasn't much inventory for sale in this first six months of the year, but sales picked up in the final two quarters. Sales for the month of December were up a little more than 2 percent, which was twice the national average. Home sales increased by the highest percentage in Franklin County and decreased the most in Lincoln County.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Public works officials in Maine say potholes are a continuing problem and changing temperatures are only going to make them worse. WGME-TV reports there have been 84 reported pothole complaints in Portland, nine of which are still an issue as of January 19. Portland Public Works Director Chris Branch says his crews are doing their best to keep up, but there are a lot of potholes out on the roads.
BELFAST, Maine (AP) — Communities around Maine are getting more than $1 million in distance learning grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand opportunities for learning in rural areas. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the grants will help rural parts of Maine access new technology.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Supporters of ranked-choice voting are making their final push to collect signatures to thwart a legislative delay and put the system into place for the June primaries. This is the final weekend for the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting to collect signatures before the Feb. 2 deadline for delivering them to state election officials. At least 61,123 signatures of registered voters are needed for a "people's veto" referendum to allow the new system to go into effect in June.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge says Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration must disburse $3 million to a regional workforce training board even as the governor appeals the ruling. The Portland Press Herald reports U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock in a Wednesday order calls the appeal's chance of success "modest." LePage's spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz declined comment on pending litigation.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine legislative panel wants to delay medical marijuana rules cracking down on caregivers. The Portland Press Herald reports the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee unanimously voted Thursday to support a bill to delay regulations that caregivers say could harm Maine's medical marijuana industry. The bill to delay the rules would need speedy approval from both houses and Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The governor has said Maine's medical marijuana program needs reform.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address will be the biggest test yet of his ability to not just deliver a stately speech but also to then stay on track as the White House rolls out policies building on it. The State of the Union is a big set piece for any president, a chance to showcase the accomplishments of the past year while setting the tone for the next. For Trump, dogged by low poll numbers and the persistent Russia probe, the speech Tuesday carries particular importance.
NEW YORK (AP) — Bruno Mars has won the album of the year Grammy Award for "24K Magic," capping an epic night for the pop star. The award is Mars' sixth win of the day, including for record of the year.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — IKEA says Ingvar Kamprad, the IKEA founder who turned a small-scale mail order business into a global furniture empire, has died at 91. IKEA Sverige, the chain's Swedish unit, said on Twitter that Kamprad died Saturday at his home in Smaland, southern Sweden. IKEA says "he will be much missed and warmly remembered by his family and IKEA staff all around the world."
UNDATED (AP) — President Donald Trump's new proposal to protect the young immigrants referred to as Dreamers would also make sharp changes in legal immigration. And the plan's potential impact on the legal immigration has sparked fierce Democratic opposition and appeared to sink chances for a bipartisan deal in Congress. Experts say the proposal could cut legal immigration into the U.S. nearly in half.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Elderly survivors are gathering at the former Auschwitz death camp and political leaders warned that the Nazi genocide must continue to serve as a warning as the world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Warsaw, Poland, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paid his respects in a solemn ceremony at a memorial to the Jews who died revolting against German forces in the doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Militants have attacked an Afghan army unit guarding a military academy in the capital of Kabul, killing at least five soldiers and wounding 10. Hours later, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assault. Afghan officials say a suicide bomber first attacked troops responsible for providing security for the academy, followed by a gunbattle with the soldiers. A defense ministry spokesman says the fighting lasted several hours before the soldiers repelled the attackers.
UNDATED (AP) — Family members of the victims of a shooting at a Pennsylvania car wash say the man suspected of gunning down four people was driven by jealousy. State police say 28-year-old Timothy Smith opened fire early Sunday morning at Ed's Car Wash in Saltlick Township, about 55 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Authorities would not reveal how Smith knew the victims, but family members say he was obsessed with one of them. Smith is on life support at a hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Republican senators want President Donald Trump to keep a public silence on an independent investigation into his 2016 campaign's contacts with Russia, This comes in the wake of news reports that he sought to fire the special counsel. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine on Sunday also urged special counsel Robert Mueller to review whether Trump tried to fire him last June. The president has labeled those reports as "fake news."