News stories that affect Bangor, Maine residents right now

Stephen L Dalton

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The Blaine House, Maine's Governor Mansion Library of Congress - Highsm 46362

Why is it that the number of vaccinations is going up, but the number of new cases in Maine keeps going up too? Should we lower the eligibility age for Medicare? These and other questions are addressed for people in Bangor, ME.

Many similar stories are newspaper headlines across America. But what do they mean for Bangor, ME residents right now?

#1 — COVID-19 vaccines versus the number of new cases

Mainers are getting vaccinated. The number is higher in Maine than in most other states with a similar population. Although Maine weathered the pandemic storm better than most states, the number of new cases is rising.

The primary reason for that is that younger people were not previously getting vaccinated. They were the last on the priority list. Those in their 20s make up nearly 20 percent of the new cases.

The Maine CDC says the 16 to twenty-something age group makes up about 18 to 20 percent of new cases and that schools are the “predominant location” of recent outbreaks. Schools account for 70 percent of general episodes, though schools still fall well below the numbers in Maine’s general population. The Portland Press Herald recently reported COVID-19 cases in Maine schools rise to highest levels of the pandemic.

Plus, the state is seeing new outbreaks in nursing homes. The assumption is that unvaccinated staff are spreading the virus, though some already vaccinated are getting sick.

A former epidemiologist from the US CDC, Peter Millard, said, “Nothing is 100 percent effective, and if the staff are not vaccinated, they are going to bring it into the facility, and there will be future outbreaks.”

#2 — Jared Golden and other Democrats propose lowering the age for Medicare eligibility

Jared Golden, Maine’s Second District Congressional Representative, and 80 or so other Democrat signed a letter to POTUS Biden to lower the eligibility age for Medicare, including vision and dental care, and permit the government the ability to negotiate prescription drug prices, which was taken away by the same law that gave us Medicare Part D, instead the price is negotiated by insurance providers.

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Maine's coast By Carl Newton from Unsplash

#3 — Maine’s population grew by 34,000 since the last census

That population growth for Maine means we will keep two U.S. Congressional seats. That's right, Representative Golden and Pingree, your jobs as Maine’s 1st and 2nd District Representatives, are secure until your next election cycle in 2022.

However, state representatives and senators must look at how the census results will affect the state’s redistricting. The deadline is June.

Maine and the 2020 U.S. Census: We Count!

The Maine Secretary of State’s office uploaded this video to YouTube. Like, share, or subscribe if you found it useful.

#4 — Governor Mills proposes the use of some federal stimulus money for expanded broadband

The Governor proposes to spend nearly $130 million (most of which will come from federal stimulus money) to upgrade Maine’s internet broadband.

She intends to create a seven-member board, the Maine Connectivity Authority, with “broadband authority” to oversee how federal stimulus money will get spent to improve local broadband speed. ConnectMaine Authority would become a division of the new board. They might also have the authority to approve some loans to local communities to upgrade their bandwidth.

Maine’s Energy & Utilities committee started discussions on the issue on 27 April 2021.

Governor Janet Mills unveils legislation to accelerate Maine broadband

News Center Maine uploaded this video to YouTube on 27 April 2021.

#5 — Administrative leave for accused criminals mandate in trouble

Commentary — Police accountability is on nearly every headline across America. Bangor, Maine, is not different. There are criminal elements in every society, and the people should have oversight over those they elect to the sheriff’s office or any law enforcement position.

One of the top headlines in the Bangor Daily News is “Police oversight bill stalls as Maine sheriffs withdraw support.” How is it that elected officials charged with criminal wrongdoing and misuse of their position get a say in whether they are furloughed or not? Don’t they work for the people of Maine? Whether elected or appointed, a sheriff or LE is still hired by and responsible to the people.

If they are accused of misusing their position, they should not get to sit in that position and hamper investigations. That very thing happened not long ago when Sheriff Wayne Gallant, Oxford County, Maine, was left in office during an FBI investigation. He “allegedly” destroyed files that could have incriminated him.

Is that really how the people of Maine want to do business? Give your representatives your opinion before the matter comes to the full legislative floor for debate.

Takeaways

Although the coronavirus is still spreading, many new cases seem to be coming from schools and nursing homes. House Democrats wrote a letter to POTUS Biden to request lower age eligibility for Medicare. Maine will retain its two Congress seats after a slight increase in population.

Note: Any opinions expressed in this essay are not necessarily the opinion of News Break or the newspapers that carried the story. Check and compare.

References:

The Bangor Daily News article, Vaccinations are high, and so are new COVID cases. Here’s a look at what’s driving that dated 28 April 2021 by Caitlyn Andrews.

The Maine.gov Division of Disease Surveillance article, COVID-19: Maine Data.

The Portland Press Herald article, COVID-19 cases in Maine schools rise to highest levels of the pandemic dated 27 April 2021 by Rachel Ohm.

The Bangor Daily News article, Police oversight bill stalls as Maine sheriffs withdraw support dated 28 April 2021 by Erin Rhoda.

The Bangor Daily News article, Jared Golden leads House Democrats on proposed Medicare expansion dated 27 April 2021 by Caitlyn Andrews & Jessica Piper.

The Portland Press Herald article, Maine’s population grew 2.6% from last census, far below national rate of 7.4% dated 26 April 2021 by Eric Russell.

The Bangor Daily News article, Janet Mills unveils plan to use stimulus money to improve broadband dated 26 April 2021 by Caitlyn Andrews.

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Stephen Dalton is a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Top Writer in Virtual Reality, Sports, Short Story, Design, and Creativity. I especially like writing about design and home improvements.

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