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Children's Book Award Winners Announced at Maine Reading Conference

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:40:13 EDT

Augusta - Over 400 librarians and educators from public and school libraries from around Maine converged on Augusta today for the 28th Annual Reading Round Up conference promoting reading and literature for children and young adults. One of the highlights of the event was an award ceremony honoring books, authors and illustrators representing excellence in the field of children's and young adult literature.

##2017 Lupine Award Four titles received recognition through the 2017 Lupine Award honoring living authors or illustrators who are residents of Maine or who have created a work prominently featuring Maine. The award was first given in 1989 and is sponsored by the Youth Services Section of the Maine Library Association.

Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet and Wrecked by Maria Padian received awards in the Lupine Award juvenile and young adult category. Awards in the picture book category went to Freedom Over Me, by author and illustrator Ashley Bryan and Hotel Bruce by author and illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.

##2017 Katahdin Award Maine author Melissa Sweet received the 2017 Katahdin Award from the Maine Library Association. Established in 1999, the award recognizes lifetime achievement and an outstanding body of work of children's literature in Maine.

##2017 Chickadee Award The 2017 Chickadee Award went to Land Shark by author Beth Ferry and illustrator Ben Mantle. The award is given to by the Maine Children's Choice Picture Book Project to honor works created in the picture book category for children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

##2017 Maine Student Book Award Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson received the 2017 Maine Student Book Award. The award recognizes works selected by students in grades 4-8 and is sponsored by the Maine Library Association, Maine Association of School Libraries, and Maine Reading Association. About Reading Round Up

The Reading Round Up conference is an annual event offering learning opportunities for children's and school librarians. The conference is sponsored by the Maine State Library and organized by a statewide committee of librarians dedicated to promoting literacy and love of reading in children and young adults. More information can be found online at: http://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/services/rru .



Governor LePage Commends MDOL Commissioner Jeanne Paquette for Her Service

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:22:35 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 28, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that Jeanne Paquette, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor, will be leaving the administration to take a position with the University of Southern Maine.

"We are proud of the work Commissioner Paquette has done at MDOL to improve services for Maine workers and the businesses that employ them," said Governor LePage. "Under her strong leadership, MDOL has become more efficient and more responsive to the needs of both our employees and our employers. The Department has stepped up its efforts to provide assistance and retraining when jobs are lost and to help Mainers prepare for and find good jobs. During her time at MDOL, Maine has seen the lowest unemployment rate since 1976 and the highest number of private-sector jobs ever created in our state. We are truly sorry to see Jeanne go, but we wish her all the best in this exciting next chapter of her life."

Commissioner Paquette served as Deputy Commissioner for MDOL from July 2011 to September 2012. Coming to the LePage Administration with more than 20 years of experience as a business owner and human resources specialist, she fostered a comprehensive understanding of how the Department of Labor interacts with employers and employees. Her background in human resources was focused on finding good jobs for good people and led her to found several industry-related publications and websites, including the Employment Times, HR Times and MyJobWave.com.

Prior to founding her media businesses in 1999, which later merged with Sun Media Group, Paquette held the position of vice president, human resources at Androscoggin Bank based in Lewiston. She previously served as the director of human resources at Creative Work Systems, a non-profit serving people with disabilities.

She has also served as a past member of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Maine Jobs Council and several non-profit boards.




Lewiston CareerCenter Hosting Job Fair on May 1

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:41:12 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2017 Contact: Leon Ouiment, 207-373-4016 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor, 207-621-5009

LEWISTON-More than 20 employers will be recruiting at the Lewiston CareerCenter from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, May 1, at 5 Mollison Way in Lewiston. All are seeking qualified employees to fill current positions. Job seekers are encouraged to dress appropriately, bring a current resume and be prepared to interview.

"Professional career consultants and business services representatives help connect job seekers and employers throughout Maine CareerCenters," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "They offer many job search services and training programs to help Maine citizens gain skills our employers need in this improved economic climate. I encourage those looking for a job and those looking for workers to connect with their closest CareerCenter."

Participating employers include:

- Adecco - Arcadia New England - Assistance Plus - Bill Dodge Auto Group - Black Bear Support Services - Complete Labor and Staffing - Core-Mark New England - CoWorx Staffing - Hartt Transportation - HW Staffing Solutions - Irving Forest Products - John F. Murphy Homes - Lynch Logistics - People Ready - Pillars Community Outreach - Poland Spring Bottling - Prudential - R.I.S.E., Inc. - Robert Half Finance - Sequel Care of Maine - Spectrum - Spurwink Services - St. Mary's Health System - U.S. Border Patrol - Wal-Mart

CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O'Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are free of charge.

Call 624-5120 (TTY users call Maine Relay 711). More information is available on the CareerCenter website, http://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

-end-



May Programs for Job Seekers at the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:40:27 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2017 Contact: Leon Ouimet Southern Midcoast CareerCenter, 207-373-4000 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Maine Department of Labor, 207-621-5009BRUNSWICK - The Southern Midcoast CareerCenter, part of the Maine Department of Labor, and in conjunction with its partners, offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills, and employers to find qualified workers. "Professional career consultants and business services representatives help connect job seekers and employers throughout Maine CareerCenters," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "They offer many job search services and training programs to help Maine citizens gain skills our employers need in this improved economic climate. I encourage those looking for a job and those looking for workers to connect with their closest CareerCenter."Each of the 12 statewide centers provides public-access computer workstations equipped with Microsoft Office, resume writing and cover letter software. In addition we provide internet access and O'Net software for individual skills assessment. Employers can list their open positions on Maine JobLink and take advantage of our online matching system, which identifies and refers job candidates. All CareerCenter services are provided free of charge to employers and job seeking customers. The Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick continues its series of workshops and programs for job seekers and those considering training to upgrade their skills and increase their employability. The following workshops and programs are free to the public and will be held at the CareerCenter in Brunswick unless otherwise noted. All events require pre-registration in person or by phone.For more information on any of the CareerCenters programs, visit http://www.mainecareercenter.gov or call 207-373-4000.**Career Directions / Putting the Pieces Together-Wednesday. May 3, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.**Explores your career interests, aptitudes, values, personality, motivation and how each transfers to today's job market. **Planning Your Job Search-Wednesday, May 10, 9 a.m.to Noon**Designed to help you jump start your work search with the latest tips and tools you'll need to know to conduct a successful job search in today's labor market. **Resume and Cover Letter Writing Workshop-Wednesday, May 17, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.**Covers the basics of how to evaluate or create an effective resume and cover letter. **Effective Job Interviewing Workshop-Wednesday, May 24, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.**Dedicated to exploring proper interviewing techniques and tips. **Computer Boot Camp-All sessions are by appointment only.**Basic instruction on how to use a computer for work search purposes. (Intended for novice computer users only).The Southern Midcoast CareerCenter also features several sessions led by these partner organizations:**Small Business Start Up Workshop-Thursday, May 18, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.**Interested in self-employment? So what does it really take to plan, start and run a successful small business where you can realize the challenges and satisfaction of working for yourself? Join us for a 2 hour afternoon session, where Maine Small Business Development Center Certified Master Business Counselor, Brad Swanson will walk you through the keys to successful business startup and management, focusing on the business plan: What is it? Why do you need one? How will it help? **Essentials of College Planning Workshop-Tuesday, May 2 and 16**Christy Le from the Maine Educational Opportunity Center (MEOC) offers a free workshop for adults 19 and older covering College Awareness and Planning along with the Federal Financial Aide process. She will assist participants in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For times and to register for the next available session or for more information, call 1-800-281-3703 or visit MEOC's website, meoc.maine.edu .**Workforce Solutions** administers federally funded employment an[...]



May Programs for Job Seekers at the Rockland CareerCenter

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:40:04 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2017Contact: David Grima, Rockland CareerCenter, 207-596-2600Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Maine Department of Labor, 207-621-5009ROCKLAND-The Rockland CareerCenter, part of the Maine Department of Labor, and in conjunction with its partners offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills and employers to find qualified workers."Professional career consultants and business services representatives help connect job seekers and employers throughout Maine CareerCenters," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "They offer many job search services and training programs to help Maine citizens gain skills our employers need in this improved economic climate. I encourage those looking for a job and those looking for workers to connect with their closest CareerCenter."Each of the 12 statewide CareerCenters provides public-access computer workstations equipped with Microsoft Office, resume writing and cover letter software. In addition we provide Internet access and O-Net software for individual skills assessment. Employers can list their open positions on the Maine JobLink and take advantage of our online matching system which identifies and refers job candidates. All CareerCenter services are provided free of charge to employers and job-seeking customers.The following workshops and programs are free to the public and will be held at the CareerCenter. All events require pre-registration in person or by phone, unless stated otherwise.**Vocational Rehabilitation Orientation-Wednesday, May 3, 1 to 3 p.m.**Introduction to services for jobseekers with a disability that makes it difficult to obtain or keep a job.**Career Directions / Putting the Pieces Together-Thursday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.**Explores your career interests, aptitudes, values, personality, motivations, and shows how each transfers to today's job market.**Training Orientation-Wednesday, May 10 and 24, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.**For people over the age of 24 who live in Knox or Lincoln County and want to explore occupational training programs. People under the age of 25 can call 596-2600 for arrangements. All ages in Waldo County call 930-7047.**Credit Repair-Tuesday, May 16, 10:30 a.m. to Noon**Understanding the role of personal financial credit as it affects employment and other aspects of life. **Business Start-Up-Tuesday, May 16, 1 to 3 p.m.**Introduction to creating a business plan, with business counselor David Hill of Coastal Enterprises. **Resume & Cover Letter Writing-Thursday, May 18, 9 a.m. to Noon**Shows the basics of how to evaluate or create an effective resume and cover letter.**Effective Interviewing Skills-Thursday, May 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.****Computer Boot Camp-Tuesday mornings. Call to Schedule.**To introduce the computer to people who have never used one before**Planning Your Job Search-Each Wednesday, 9 a.m. to noon. **The latest tips and ideas a successful job search in today's labor market.Rockland CareerCenter also features sessions led by our partner organizations.**Workforce Solutions** administers federally funded employment and training programs through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Certain eligibility requirements apply. If you are at least 25 years of age and think you might benefit from training that could be classroom based or on the job, contact the Rockland CareerCenter at 207-596-2600 to speak with a Workforce Solutions representative. Interested applicants between 16 and 24 years of age should contact the Workforce Solutions office at 930-7047.**New Ventures Maine** offers no cost classes in Assertive Communication, Creating Your Future, Creating the Rest of Your Life, Credit Yourself, Entrepreneurial Training, Financing Your Future, Professional Development and Mature Worker Activities. For more information, call their Brunswick Administrative office at 207-386-1664 or go to www.newventuresmaine.org . Greater Rockland office located at University C[...]



Maine Broadband Coalition joined by legislators in support of internet connectivity bills

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:48:30 EDT

Email: **AUGUSTA**- Today the Maine Broadband Coalition highlighted a number of legislative initiatives to increase Maine's connectivity to the world.Access to reliable, high-speed Internet is crucial to full participation in 21st century economy, just as access to roads, telephone and electricity were in the 20th century. But more than eight out of every 10 Mainers live in an area where even the minimum broadband standard (upload/download speeds of at least 10 Mbps) is unavailable. That minimum standard is rapidly falling behind the standards in much of the country and the world.The Coalition held a news conference Wednesday to bring attention to 11 bills before the Legislature this session that would expand broadband access in Maine.One of those bills, sponsored by Sen. Shenna Bellows, would expand funding for broadband expansion and Maine and would establish the Maine Broadband Initiative - a new public-private entity with the authority to undertake planning and investment for broadband expansion.The MBI would be empowered to create statewide broadband benchmarks and strategies for meeting them, and would plan, construct, acquire or improve broadband infrastructure in Maine. It would support local and regional broadband expansion, collect and maintain information to establish benchmarks and serve as the fiscal agent for public investment in broadband."The level of access to high-speed, reliable Internet service in our state will help determine the future of our economy, our healthcare and even the demographics of our rural communities," said Sen. Bellows. "Where people are able to live and work in 21st-century America depends upon their access to 21st-century utility broadband access."Sen. Bellows' bill, as well as the 10 other broadband bills this session, share broad bipartisan support, proving that policymakers from all over the state understand the potential that expanded broadband could have for families, businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs in their districts."I've signed on as a co-sponsor to just about every broadband bill this session because I understand that access to high-speed internet is critical to our survival in Washington County," said Sen. Joyce Maker, R-Calais. "Our county is about as rural and poor as you get in Maine. Whether it's small businesses like Tide Mill Farms in Edmunds or large, global companies like the pulp and paper mill in Woodland, businesses across my county need access to the internet to succeed."Peggy Schaffer, the Small Business Advocate in the Secretary of State's office and co-chair of the Maine Broadband Coalition, said "Maine has an opportunity this session to build on the good work of past legislatures to really make an impact in how we make sure Maine people and businesses can be competitive and connected for this and the next generation. We are excited to be able to work with legislators, communities and broadband providers across Maine to make this happen."Other bills to expand broadband and telemedicine in Maine include:LD 140 An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Entrepreneurial Activity, Attract Business and Enhance Demographic In-migration by Investing in High-speed Broadband Infrastructure and To Amend the Law Governing the Municipal Gigabit Broadband Network Access Fund - Representative Higgins LD 256 An Act To Ensure Continued Availability of High-speed Broadband Internet at Maine's Schools and Libraries - Representative Grohman LD 421 An Act To Promote Economic Development and Critical Communications for Rural Family Farms, Businesses and Residences by Strategic Public Investment in High-speed Internet - Representative McCrea LD 423 An Act To Extend Internet Availability in Rural Maine - Representative Alley LD 406 - An Act To Amend the Law Regarding Joint Use of Certain Utility and Telecommunications Infrastructure - Submitted by the Public Utilities Commission, Senator Woodsome [...]



Maine Broadband Coalition to urge support of internet connectivity bills

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:48:04 EDT

**AUGUSTA** - The Maine Broadband Coalition will hold a press conference on Wednesday, April 26, to address the need for action this legislative session to improve Maine's internet connectivity. The press conference will take place at 9 a.m. in Augusta, at the Maine Statehouse Welcome Center.

The Maine Broadband Coalition at https://mainebroadbandcoalition.org/ is an informal federation of public policy professionals, educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals with an interest in Maine's economic future. The coalition gathers information for legislators to demonstrate how investing in world-class telecommunications infrastructure will draw people and investments to Maine.

Featured speakers will include Speaker of the House Sarah Gideon, Sen. Shenna Bellows and several coalition members: Stephanie MacLagan of the Island Institute, Chris Winstead of the Piscataquis Economic Development Corporation, John Hafford of Design Lab in Millinocket, and Danny Sullivan of Woodland Mill in Woodland.

Members of the Maine Broadband Coalition and legislators will be available to answer questions about the impact of broadband expansion in Maine communities.

Following the press conference, three bipartisan bills related to broadband will have public hearings in the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee:



These three bills, along with an additional eight related bills before the legislature this session, represent a comprehensive legislative agenda, from lowering the cost of broadband installations to expanding access and use of telemedicine.

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DHHS Will Submit a Formal Request to the Trump Administration for MaineCare Reforms

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:48:37 EDT

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will formally submit a Medicaid waiver request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would allow the state greater flexibility in managing the MaineCare program. Under the waiver, called an "1115" or "demonstration project" waiver, the Department proposes a series of innovative reforms intended to prioritize limited resources for the neediest populations and promote individual responsibility for health and health care costs.



"With our Medicaid program finally on stable financial ground and a new administration in Washington, we have an opportunity to reshape our program and tailor it to best serve the needs of our state," said DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew. "We must reestablish Medicaid's core mission of supporting the elderly, disabled, and children. This is what is best for the people of Maine and the future of our state."



The waiver request proposes a number of reforms, including to:

  • Require able-bodied adults to comply with reasonable community engagement and work requirements;
  • Count personal assets when determining MaineCare eligibility;
  • Collect monthly premiums for adults who have the ability to earn income as a contribution toward their health care costs;
  • Give providers the option to charge fees for missed appointments;
  • Eliminate retroactive coverage for persons applying for MaineCare;
  • Apply a transfer penalty to the purchase of Medicaid-compliant annuities; and
  • Eliminate hospital presumptive eligibility determinations.


"These are commonsense guidelines that ensure able-bodied adults are utilizing the program appropriately. Under Governor LePage, we have successfully reined in spending within the MaineCare program that once failed to prioritize our neediest citizens and placed an undue burden on Maine tax-payers, and we look forward to continuing those efforts with the opportunity extended to us by the federal government through this waiver," said Commissioner Mayhew.



The Department will use these reforms to promote the transition of individuals from MaineCare into the private insurance market through the introduction of common insurance elements such as copayments, premiums, and structured enrollment timeframes.



The 1115 waiver seeks to build off of the LePage Administration's success in stabilizing the MaineCare program, which, in prior administrations, had been perpetually overspent. Over the last six years, the LePage Administration has accomplished the following:

  • A reduction in MaineCare program enrollment by 24%.
  • Contained spending growth to an average rate of 2% compared to the national average of 6%.
  • Increased funding to nursing facilities by over 40%.
  • Increased rates to home care by 60%.
  • Invested $100 million to support the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Increased support for primary care and mental health services for those struggling with mental illness.


The Department will officially submit the waiver request following two public hearings. Additional information is available online: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/rules/demonstration-waivers.shtml.




Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day is Saturday, May 6!

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:57:18 EDT

*Annual event heralds the arrival of spring*

AUGUSTA - Greenhouses, nurseries and garden centers statewide will celebrate Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day on Saturday, May 6. Dozens of family-owned horticulture-related businesses will kick off the growing season with special events to highlight gardening in Maine.

Planned activities for the events include: demonstrations, workshops, personal tours, expert speakers, refreshments, giveaways, door prizes, raffles, container-planting demonstrations and plants and balloons for children. Participating greenhouses and nurseries also will preview spring introductions and share their expertise by offering gardening tips, information on plant varieties and ideas for window box and landscape design.

Governor Paul R. LePage remarked on the most recent horticulture numbers from USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). "Greenhouse and Nursery Day helps highlight the rapidly growing Maine horticulture industry," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "Maine horticulture sales have increased 43.6 %, double the national average increase since 2009 and the number of Maine horticultural operations have increased 28%. This is yet another positive sign that Maine agriculture continues to grow in size and importance to the Maine economy."

"Maine has taken steps to support the horticulture industry and provide it with the recognition and support its counterparts in the other 49 states have received,' said Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. "The tax changes proposed by the LePage Administration and supported by legislative majorities in 2011, provided a sales tax refund on purchases of ‘depreciable machinery or equipment used …in the commercial production of greenhouse and nursery products.' LePage Administration backed changes to the tax code support the hard work of horticultural professionals who have more than doubled the impressive growth rate of U.S. horticulture over a 5-year period."

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry licenses and provides technical assistance to more than 1,340 businesses selling plants in Maine. To support this growing industry, the Department certifies plant exports, regulates imported plants and assists growers with plant pest problems. Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day is supported by the Ornamental Horticulture Council and the Mid-Maine Greenhouse Growers Association.

Maine Horticulture Statistics reported by NASS in 2016:

"In 2014, the United States had 23,221 horticultural operations that produced and sold $13.8 billion in floriculture, nursery, and other horticultural specialty products. Maine had 320 horticultural operations that sold $70.5 million in horticultural products in 2014, compared to 250 horticultural operations that sold $49.1 million in horticultural products in 2009. Horticulture producers in Maine had $66.7 million in total production expenses in 2014. Hired labor expenses in Maine accounted for 32 percent of the total production expenses. Of the 1,828 hired workers in Maine, 1,082 worked less than 150 days compared to 746 who worked 150 days or more."

NASS provides accurate, timely, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. The Horticultural Specialties Highlights and all other NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov

For more information about Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day, go to: http://www.plants4maine.com/GreenhouseAndNurseryDay.shtml

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/



Nominations Sought for 2017 Silver Collar Awards

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:03:04 EDT

*The Silver Collar Employer Award honors employers whose policies and practices match the needs of mature employees, capturing their skills and experience, strong work ethic, flexibility and enthusiasm.*

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2017

Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009

AUGUSTA - Do you know of a senior-friendly business? Is your business a great place for seniors to work? The State Workforce Board's Older Worker Committee has opened nominations for 2017's best employers for workers over the age of 50 in Maine.

"Silver Collar employers understand the value older workers provide to business," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "Maine's older citizens play a vital role in our economy as both workers and consumers. Businesses that recognize this will benefit both themselves and our state."

Older workers play an important role in Maine's workforce. Between 2014 and 2024, the impact of minimal population growth and an aging population on Maine's labor force will be partially offset by an expected increase in participation across age groups, particularly among our oldest workers. Maine is the oldest state in the United States, with a median age of 44.5 years. The Silver Collar Employer Award honors employers whose policies and practices match the needs of mature employees, capturing their skills and experience, strong work ethic, flexibility and enthusiasm.

Deadline for entry is Friday, July 28, 2017. For more information and to download the application, visit http://www.maine.gov/swb/committees/older_workers/index.shtml . Questions can be directed to the State Workforce Board at swb.dol@maine.gov or 207-621-5091 / TTY Maine Relay 711.

The State Workforce Board (SWB) is responsible for assisting Governor LePage in improving the state's business climate by designing and implementing strategies that help Mainers enter the workforce as well as advance by increasing their skills. For more information about the SWB or workforce development, visit http//www.maine.gov/swb .

-end-



West Forks Plantation now offering Rapid Renewal Service

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:42:22 EDT

**AUGUSTA - Secretary of State** Matthew Dunlap has announced that West Forks Plantation has launched Rapid Renewal, the Department of the Secretary of State's online service for the renewal of motor vehicle registrations.

Rapid Renewal is an e-commerce service allowing citizens to conduct business with municipal government and state government in one seamless online transaction. Rapid Renewal has gained national acclaim and Mainers have enthusiastically embraced it. While municipal participation in Rapid Renewal is optional, the service has now grown to 226 municipalities and has seen more than 1,406,216 transactions processed to date. The plantation will accept payments via e-check and credit card. Residents can continue to visit the city office to pay in person, but will now also have the option of conducting these transactions online.

The Rapid Renewal service is currently offered by cities and towns from York County to Aroostook County, with populations ranging from Glenwood Plantation's three citizens to more than 64,000 in Portland. Through Rapid Renewal, citizens are able to quickly and easily renew their vehicle registrations and pay their municipal excise taxes online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rapid Renewal may be accessed through http://www.maine.gov/sos/online_services/index.html , the Secretary of State's site for online services.

Municipal officials who would like more information about participating in Rapid Renewal are encouraged to contact the Department of the Secretary of State at 626-8400 or by email at .



Governor LePage releases statement on Maine's lowest unemployment rate since 1976

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:40:32 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 21, 2017 Contact: Peter Steele, communications director, 207-287-5086

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage released a statement today on Maine's unemployment rate reaching the lowest it has ever been since the current statistical system was established in 1976. Maine's unemployment rate for March was only 3%, which is down from 8% when Governor LePage took office. The national average is 4.5%.

"Maine now has the lowest percentage of government employees in the workforce since 1976 and the highest number of jobs in the private sector ever," said Governor LePage. "This shows that our efforts to lower taxes, reform welfare and bring fiscal responsibility to government are working. Liberals are trying to reverse all the progress we have made by raising taxes and expanding welfare. We must work even harder now to continue our progress and stop the liberals from harming the economy with their tax-and-spend policies."

The unemployment rate has been below 4% in 14 of the last 17 months-only the third such period in the last 41 years, according to the Department of Labor. The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 623,000 for March was up 5,300 from one year ago, reaching a new all-time high.

The private-sector jobs estimate of 523,200 also was a new high. The percentage of government jobs is the lowest share on record.



Attorney General Janet T. Mills files Civil Rights Act complaint related to altercation near Casco Bay High School

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:00:37 EDT

AUGUSTA - Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that she has filed a complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act against Jaime Hoffman, age 20, of Portland. The complaint alleges that on or about January 27, 2017, Hoffman yelled racial epithets at a diverse group of students waiting for the Portland METRO bus on Allen Avenue near Casco Bay High School in Portland and then assaulted two students who confronted him about his racist language. The complaint requests the Court to order Hoffman to stay away from the students, stay off the campus shared by the Casco Bay High School and the Portland Arts and Technology High School and refrain from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Hoffman, accompanied by two companions, began yelling racial epithets at a group of four freshmen waiting for the bus near the Casco Bay High School. The group included students originally from Mexico, Sudan and the Republic of Congo. In addition to using racial epithets, Hoffman is alleged to have made comments that immigrants should go back to their own countries and they should die.

According to the complaint, a biracial student in the group said to Hoffman, "Why do you deserve to be here anymore than they do?" Hoffman responded by rushing at the student and punching him in the head. A white female student waiting across the street for another Metro bus ran over to check on the biracial student. She and other students followed Hoffman and his two companions as they walked along Allen Avenue in the direction of Washington Avenue. Hoffman continued to yell racial epithets.

The white female student yelled at Hoffman, "It's not just your country. It's everybody's country. It's not a white man's country." Hoffman tackled the white female student to the ground. Hoffman and his two companions fled when the sirens of the responding police cruisers could be heard.

"The Maine Civil Rights Act protects all people from the threat of violence or acts of violence based on bias against race, religion, color, ancestry and national origin," said Attorney General Mills. "People who stand up for the rights of immigrants and people of color should not be subject to threats or acts of violence motivated by the perpetrator's bias."

The Attorney General's Office would like to thank the Portland Police Department for their investigation of this case.

###



Maine Unemployment Rate 3.0 Percent in March

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:17:48 EDT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2017 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192Workforce conditions continued to improve in March. Preliminary estimates indicate there was a record number of nonfarm and private sector payroll jobs in Maine, which drove the unemployment rate to a new low.**Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data****Household Survey Estimates -** The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.0 percent for March was the lowest on record since the current estimation methodology was implemented in 1976. It was down from 3.2 percent in February and 3.7 percent one year ago. The number of unemployed was down 4,500 over the year to 21,000. The unemployment rate was below 4 percent in 14 of the last 17 months, only the third such period in the last 41 years.The U.S. preliminary unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was down from 4.7 percent in February and 5.0 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate averaged 3.8 percent in March.March unemployment rate estimates for other states in the region were 2.8 percent in New Hampshire, 3.0 percent in Vermont, 3.6 percent in Massachusetts, 4.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 4.8 percent in Connecticut.The employment to population ratio estimate of 61.9 percent remained above the U.S. average of 60.1 percent.**Payroll Survey Estimates -** The preliminary nonfarm payroll jobs estimate of 623,000 for March was up 5,300 from one year ago, reaching a new all-time high. The private sector jobs estimate of 523,200 also was a new high. The largest job gains were in the construction; trade, transportation, and utilities; and education and healthcare sectors.The 99,800 jobs in federal, state, and local governments was unchanged over the year. Government comprised 16.0 percent of nonfarm jobs, the lowest share on record.**Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data**The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 3.6 percent for March was down from 4.5 percent one year ago. Rates declined over the year in all counties. The lowest rate was 2.5 percent in Cumberland County and the highest was 6.9 percent in Washington County.Unemployment rates were lower than the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland (2.6 percent), Lewiston-Auburn (3.2 percent), and Bangor (3.4 percent).April estimates will be released on Friday, May 19 (Data Release Schedule: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).This release is available here: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .Labor force and unemployment data is available here: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .**NOTES**1. Preliminary labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns.2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates in 2017 is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate each month.3. To assess employment growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. More on the differences in accuracy of the two measures is at http://cwri.blogspot.com/2016/04/reports-that-maine-is-losing-jobs-are.html .4. Nonfarm payro[...]



Rapid Response Session Scheduled for Employees Affected by Layoff at NexxLinx in Orono

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:41:58 EDT

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2017

Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor, 621-5009

BANGOR-The Maine Department of Labor has scheduled a Rapid Response session for workers affected by the layoff at NexxLinx in Orono. Workers who have lost their job may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits and for other services.

"The department's Rapid Response program assists workers facing job loss due to downsizing or closures," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "The Rapid Response team is reaching out to help these workers."

The Rapid Response session will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at the Tri-County CareerCenter, 45 Oak Street, Suite 3 in Bangor. Affected workers may also contact the Tri-County CareerCenter at (207) 561-4050 or 1-888-828-0568. TTY users call Maine Relay 711.

The Rapid Response session will offer information about health insurance options and re-employment assistance, in addition to answering questions about unemployment benefits.

To find out more about the Rapid Response program, contact your local CareerCenter. The Bureau of Employment Services provides a variety of employment and training services for Maine workers, businesses and jobseekers through the Maine CareerCenter network, http://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

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