Colorful Foliage Season Predicted
Maine is in for a “spectacular” foliage season, according to officials from Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. They say abundant rainfall and relatively cooler temperatures during the spring and summer months have combined to create optimal conditions for colorful leaves. The Maine Office of Tourism is now providing updates on gradual change in leaf color from north to south, culminating in peak conditions in late October. Maine’s official fall foliage website: mainefoliage.com has a new look, with additional links to scenic byways and to the Maine Office of Tourism. For more information, please click here. http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal+News&id=627193&v=Article-2014
Enhanced Online Absentee Ballot Request Service Launched
Absentee Ballot Request Service enhanced to respond to State of Emergency
AUGUSTA - Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has announced the Online Absentee Ballot Request Service for the November 4th General and Referendum Election is now available.
The service has been enhanced to facilitate requests from emergency aid workers and displaced voters, should a State of Emergency occur that requires aid workers or voters to relocate. This option will be available only during a State of Emergency and offers functionality similar to requests from Maine residents who are stationed in the military or residing in another country.
The Online Absentee Ballot Request Service is available at: www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl
All Maine municipalities are required to accept electronic requests for absentee ballots. Municipal clerks will process the requests and mail out absentee ballots when they become available.
Unemployment Rate at 5.5% for July
Share of Mainers working still above national average
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released a statement today about the 5.5% unemployment rate for July, which is down from 6.7% in July 2013 and is the lowest since August 2008.
Maine’s unemployment rate is far below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.2 percent. The employment-to-population ratio—the share of Maine’s population that is employed and a better indicator of economic recovery—is 61.4%. July was the 82nd consecutive month Maine’s employment-to-population ratio was above the national average.
"Since we took office, almost 22,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Maine," said Governor LePage. "There are still plenty of jobs available, including almost 7,400 posted on the Maine Job Bank. Combined with our efforts to move individuals from welfare to work, there are more opportunities than ever for Mainers to get good-paying jobs that will improve the quality of life for them and their families." The number of private-sector jobs is up 8,400 from a year ago in July 2013. The number of government jobs is down 1,300.
State to Start Drug Testing on Convicted Felons
Governor Paul R. LePage announced Wednesday the State of Maine is moving forward with its plan to conduct drug tests of convicted drug felons who are applying for or receiving welfare benefits.
Over the last several months, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has focused on designing its drug-testing measures to ensure privacy and fairness, while reinforcing accountability and integrity in the program. The tests will be required of drug felons who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
“Maine people expect their tax dollars to be spent supporting our most vulnerable citizens – children, the elderly and the disabled,” said Governor Paul LePage. “We must ensure that our tax dollars do not enable the continuation of a drug addiction. “TANF is a short-term benefit that assists families and children with the basic necessities. If someone tests positive for drugs, they are clearly putting their addiction ahead of their family’s needs. Being drug-free is a critical aspect of moving away from poverty and toward self-sufficiency. We must do all that we can to make ensure children’s needs are being met and that the TANF recipient has the best possible chance at economic independence.”