February 19, 2019
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Maine news you need to know for Monday

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Granite piers that used to hold up a railroad bridge in Winslow are seen from the Rotary Centennial Trail, Dec. 18, 2018.

Good morning. Temperatures will be in the high teens to low 20s, with sunny skies throughout the state.

Here’s what we’re talking about in Maine today.

Piscataquis County has teamed up with the state to sue the owner of a defunct Greenville ski area

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN
Steve Pratt, one of the founders of Friends of Squaw Mountain, stands at the top of the Big Squaw Mountain chairlift in this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo.

–Piscataquis County sees the revival of the Big Squaw Mountain ski area as a part of the Moosehead Lake region’s economic revitalization. So the county’s commissioners have joined the state in a lawsuit against the partially defunct ski area’s owner that seeks millions of dollars to restore the ski mountain.

Hospital visits for some eastern and central Maine residents could become more complicated, and costly

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital shown in November 2018.

–Starting in a few weeks, the emergency room doctors who work at four small Maine hospitals will no longer actually work for those hospitals. Their employer, instead, will be a company based 1,000 miles away in Tennessee. Hospitals across the country outsource their emergency room staffing to outside firms, but the practice potentially exposes patients to higher, surprise, out-of-network bills.

Should Mainers worry about the economy?

–Economists, bankers and other financial advisers suggest that the answer is “no.” Maine’s economy is the best it’s been since the great recession of 2008 as the Pine Tree State enters 2019 with a higher minimum wage, a budget surplus of more than $175 million and unemployment at 3.4 percent, below the national average. But residents are advised to be on the lookout for a “correction” within the next 12 to 18 months that could affect stock market assets and other investments.

Donors rushed in to help buy a property that will be used for a sober home for women in Camden

–In just one month, the Midcoast Recovery Coalition has raised the funds needed to purchase a residence in Camden, with the hope of turning the home into a place for women who are recovering from addiction. The sale is expected to close on Jan. 18 after expedited fundraising efforts when another potential buyer emerged. “It’s truly a miracle,” said Midcoast Recovery Coalition director Ira Mandel. “And really, what the miracle is is community support. This is 100 percent donations.”

The Trump administration’s laxer school lunch nutrition guidelines take effect next month

–New guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that take effect in February will ease up on some school nutrition guidelines first established during the Obama administration. But Bangor plans to stick to the more stringent nutrition rules, which emphasize whole grains, less sodium and fat-free milk. “We plan to continue exactly what we’ve been doing all along,” said Noelle Scott, food services director for the city’s schools. “So these changes won’t affect us.”

Do this: A new business in Hermon offers clients the chance to float their problems away

Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Gabe Kingsbury (left) and Roscoe Witham recently opened Float 207 in Hermon, a float spa offering sensory deprivation / float tank therapy. Float 207 is the first and only flotation therapy center in Greater Bangor and offers three float rooms and two infrared saunas.

–Float 207 offers float therapy — sensory deprivation tanks, essentially, filled with salty, ultra-buoyant water that is heated to skin temperature. You get in, you lie down, and you try to let reality melt away for 90 minutes.

“When you’re in the tank, everything else just disappears,” co-owner Gabe Kingsbury said. “You might go in thinking you’re going to think about something in particular, but then your mind just empties. It’s pretty awesome.”

In other news …

Maine

Maine man dies in 1st snowmobile fatality of 2019

Community holds vigil for slain South Paris couple

Ellsworth to stop accepting glass, boxboard, office paper for recycling

Bangor

Car crashes into the front of Cuban restaurant in Bangor

Bangor, Orono voters will choose their new state representative March 12

Bangor fighter set to battle for another mixed martial arts title belt

Business

Vermont pays people to move there. It looks like it’s working.

Maine’s wild blueberry industry had a bad year, but there’s reason for optimism

Maine public advocate urges continued examination of high CMP bills

Politics

Collins says Senate should consider bills to reopen government

Following LePage’s controversial pardon of former GOP lawmaker, Mills considers changing pardon laws

Mayhew leaves Trump administration after less than 3 months for Florida post

Opinion

Republicans face test of character with Mills’ nominations

Failure of ‘The Art of the Deal’: the Wall, Brexit

‘We are one Maine’

Sports

Bangor boys hockey team defeats Brewer in ‘Fill the Alfond’ game

UMBC comes back to beat UMaine men’s basketball team in America East opener

North Dakota State beats Eastern Washington for 7th FCS football title

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