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Maine EMS celebrates the 50th National EMS Week

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Maine EMS celebrates the 50th National EMS Week


AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – May 19-25, 2024, marks the 50th anniversary of National EMS Week. This year’s theme is “Honoring Our Past, Forging Our Future.”

Friends of Maine for EMS, EMS professionals, and state lawmakers gathered in Augusta Thursday at the Maine EMS Memorial and Education site for a tribute to those in emergency medical services.

Every aspect of the EMS system was represented.

“It certainly does remind us of the need to acknowledge the foundational work of those who came before us while also striving to build and lead the EMS system we envision for our future,” Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross told those in attendance.

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Over the past decades, Maine has experienced the loss of EMS providers in the line of duty.

Eight EMS community members were honored Thursday.

Maine EMS has come a long way in 50 years, but Friends of EMS for Maine, which was founded in 2019, says more work needs to be done to support those who care for us.

“We are in trouble as a system. There is no question about it,” said Kevin McGinnis, President of Friends of EMS for Maine.

In addition, lawmakers spoke about this essential service we often take for granted.

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“The time and commitment that you put in for the training and the time away from your families, it doesn’t go unnoticed,” said Senate President Troy Jackson.

In 2022, the state legislature established the Blue Ribbon Commission to help learn more about the challenges EMS professionals face and how to address those.

In February 2024, the commission issued its final report with recommendations to provide more funding for EMS, increase MaineCare reimbursement rates for ambulance services, among others.

Members say progress has been made, but not enough.

“This session ended with some work of the Blue Ribbon Commission being lost. We will not stand for that,” said Rep. Suzanne Salisbury, D-Westbrook, a member of the EMS Blue Ribbon Commission. “We will come back in the next session and bring that work back. The time for action is now. We will not slow down. Lives depend on it.”

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“Everyone in our towns must know the essentialness of your service and that it costs,” said Sen. Chip Curry, D-Waldo, co-chair of the EMS Blue Ribbon Commission.

“We made long overdue investments in this system, and I know it is just a start but with these great people we’re going to continue to send a strong signal of what is to come and what’s needed,” Jackson added.



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Maine

Maine State Chamber of Commerce hosts climate resiliency webinar partnering with Science is US

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Maine State Chamber of Commerce hosts climate resiliency webinar partnering with Science is US


Expect partly cloudy skies with highs reaching the upper 80s to mid 90s. The coolest temperature will be across far northern Maine and along the coast with the hottest being right along I95. Dewpoints will remain in the upper 60s and low to mid 70s, making it feel much hotter. Our heat index values will top out in the upper 90s to around 100. A cold front will churn up some showers and storms, some of which, may be strong to severe. Main hazards with these storms will be, heavy rain, strong winds and hail. Storms will gradually fizzle out after sunset, but some stray showers will be possible overnight.



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Thousands without power as thunder, hail slam central Maine

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Thousands without power as thunder, hail slam central Maine


Crews clean up trees that were knocked down across U.S. Route 201 in Solon during a strong thunderstorm Thursday afternoon. Traffic was stopped in both directions, according to reports. Photo submitted by Cecilia Landry

AUGUSTA — Power outages were being reported throughout central Maine Thursday afternoon as heavy thunderstorms, high winds and spurts of hail sweep through the area.

Crews clean up trees that were knocked down across U.S. Route 201 in Solon during a strong thunderstorm Thursday afternoon. Traffic was stopped in both directions, according to reports. Photo submitted by Cecilia Landry

Just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northern Kennebec and southern Somerset counties as a large storm brought wind gusts up to 60 mph and penny-size hail to parts of central Maine, according to NWS meteorologist Michael Clair.

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“Storms are kind of around Skowhegan now, but they’re blossoming all over. There’s more forming near Waterville right now,” he said. “The next few hours it looks like more of the same. Storms forming and moving their way to the coast.”

Clair said the storm had already caused sporadic power outages throughout southern and central Maine. As of 4:15 p.m., over 9,500 Central Maine Power Co. customers were without electricity statewide, 3,700 of which were in Somerset County.

Around 3:30 p.m., storm gusts knocked down several trees and power lines in Solon, knocking out power to at least 625 residents. Traffic was backed up on U.S. Route 201 in both directions north of the Fall Brook bridge after multiple large trees fell across the highway, according to reports.

“We’ve been getting reports of damaging wind bringing down trees and powerlines,” Clair said. “This cold front coming down from the south is breaking the heat and with it, it’s kicking off these heavier thunderstorms.”

NWS radar showed heavy bands of precipitation moving east through Cumberland, Somerset and Penobscot counties just after 4:15 p.m. Clair said storms would likely persist through the evening, only starting to dissipate after 9 p.m.

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Authorities are urging caution and awareness as the storm rolls through. The NWS’ severe thunderstorm declaration instructs residents to take shelter on the lowest floor of a building, which Clair seconded.

“We advise that people go inside when you hear a storm coming. Stay away from the windows and just take shelter, essentially,” Clair said.

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Mr. Maine Baseball and Miss Maine Baseball Awards Handed Out

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Mr. Maine Baseball and Miss Maine Baseball Awards Handed Out


The Mr. Maine Baseball and Miss Maine Baseball Awards were handed out on Wednesday!

Congratulations to Sacopee Valley’s Caleb Vacchiano who won the Mr. Maine Baseball Award!

Congratulations to Brooke Gerry of Windham who won the Miss Maine Baseball Award!

Miss Maine Softball Finalists

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  • Sadie Armstrong – Portland
  • Saige Evans – Old Town
  • Brooke Gerry – Windham
  • Mia Koots – Nokomis
  • McKayla Kortes -York
  • Lily Noyes – Skowhegan
  • Emma Potter – Penobscot Valley
  • Lily Rawnsley – NYA
  • Zoe Soule – Hall-Dale
  • Taylor Takatsu – Gardiner

Mr. Maine Baseball Finalist

  • Marky Axelsen – Greely
  • Noah Carpenter – Leavitt
  • Trent Drouin – Oak Hill
  • Jackson Lizzotte – Old Town
  • Collin Peckham – Hampden Academy
  • Brennan Rumphy – Falmouth
  • Caleb Vacchiano – Sacopee Valley





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