AUGUSTA — The state recorded a nearly $50 million surplus as of June 30, buoyed by unexpected revenues.

Although $33.8 million of the $49.2 million surplus is already allocated, primarily to replenish depleted reserves, state officials are optimistic.

“It seems the revenue forecasting committee was a little conservative,” Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett told Capitol News Service. “To me, it is a very good turnaround in the last three months.”

The surplus was attributed to individual income taxes ending the budget year $22.6 million over estimates and corporate income tax coming in $15.8 million above estimates for the year. The final tally could increase by another $5 million once unspent appropriations are counted.

Loon plates get into state parks, sites free

AUGUSTA — If there’s a Maine loon license plate on your vehicle, you get free admission this weekend to all Maine state parks and historic sites.

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the Maine Department of Conservation, will open up the state’s 48 state parks and historic sites this weekend to free day use for all vehicles bearing the distinctive plates.

“The call of the loon — and consequently, the Maine loon license plate — captures so much of what nature means to Maine people, from the coast to our most remote ponds,” Conservation Commissioner Bill Beardsley said. “It reminds us of the precious and fragile quality of place we love. We are grateful to all Maine residents who purchase loon plates and support Maine conservation efforts.”

Since the program’s inception by the Maine Legislature in 1993, more than $17 million in loon plate proceeds has gone to the Maine Department of Conservation and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

New loon plates cost $20; renewal is $15. Of that fee, $8.40 goes to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, $5.60 goes to MDIF&W and $6 goes to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

For more about Maine Loon License Plates, go to:

Black cats hope luck changes in July

AUGUSTA — This month, black cats and kittens, which are adopted less often than felines of other colors, will be adopted out at discounted rates at Kennebec Valley Humane Society. Hillary Roberts, executive director of the shelter, said black cats are the least adopted cats at the shelter.

“We struggle to understand this statistic,” Roberts said in a news release. “We have a shelter full of sweet, curious black cats and kittens in need of loving homes. I hope that through waiving part of the fee, community members will take a second look at our black cats and see what we see — beautiful animals with a lot of personality and love to give.”

The discounted adoption fee for adult black cats is $25 and for kittens $50. Normally, fees are $75 for adult cats and $100 for kittens. The shelter is open for adoption Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is available by calling the shelter at 626-3491, or online at

Manchester board mulls shoreland plans

MANCHESTER — The Planning Board meets Tuesday to consider proposals for two structure expansions within the shoreland zone.

Deborah Marston has submitted a request to expand a structure in the shoreland zone at 53 Pine Cove Road; and Warren Wilson submitted a similar request for his property at 43 Hawkes Farm Lane, according to Paul Mitnik, code enforcement officer.

Planners are also scheduled to consider a request to modify a special exception permit for Jason Black, authorizing the sale of motor vehicles at his business at 55 Summerhaven Road.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Office.

Domestic violence charge dismissed

AUGUSTA — A charge of domestic violence against Ashley I. O’Brien, 19, of Augusta, was dismissed Tuesday by the district attorney’s office.

A document filed in Augusta District Court said the dismissal was because of witness unavailability.

O’Brien was arrested and charged May 14 in Augusta.

Sheepscot Lake groupt o meet July 27

PALERMO — The inaugural meeting of the Sheepscot Lake Association will take place at 6:30 p.m. July 27 at the American Legion hall on Turner Ridge Road.

The association was formed in 2010 to preserve, enhance and protect the beauty of Sheepscot Lake and its adjacent areas.

The group will present bylaws, sign up new members and vote to approve directors. Annual dues have been set at $20.

School health center gets grant money

READFIELD — The Maranacook school-based health center will receive $34,563 to expand, improve equipment and provide more health care services at schools, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, said in a news release.

The projects funded in Maine are part of a national announcement that includes 278 school-based health center programs across the country under the Affordable Care Act.

The Maranacook center — the longest-operating one in the state, according to Michaud — will use the money to modernize and update medical equipment and electronic health records equipment.

Much of the equipment used at the Maranacook SBHC goes back to the original opening 18 years ago. This outdated computer equipment directly affects the waiting time for students out of class for appointments and reduces the number of students served during clinical hours.

Compiled from wire reports

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