Friday, March 1, 2013

State News Update

Important Changes to the Unemployment Claims Telephone Filing System

The Maine Department of Labor has upgraded the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that allows you to file a claim by phone when you call the Unemployment Claims Center.

The upgrade has added different prompts and changed the order and content of weekly claim questions. Please listen carefully to each selection before entering a reply on your telephone keypad.

The new IVR system includes several features to improve the accuracy of benefit claims, provide information to claimants, and ultimately reduce wait times for people calling the Unemployment Claims Center. Users will also be able to update their address by phone when they use the automated system to file their weekly benefit claim. Additional feature upgrades to the IVR system are planned for the future.

IF&W’s New Outdoor Partners Program

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) recognizes the importance of our state’s many landowners who allow public access on their land for recreational use.  As a way to preserve and enhance relations with these landowners, IFW has created the Outdoor Partners Program.

“The recreational use of private property is extremely important for our outdoor enthusiasts and respecting landowners is essential to that use,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler E. Woodcock.

The Outdoors Partners Program is an updated version of the Department’s Supersport program, which started in 1996 and had at least 1,000 designations every year.

People who join the program agree to abide by a code of ethics that includes respecting the law, public land, landowners, other outdoor users, fish, wildlife and the environment. Those who join this program also agree to assist a landowner in the upcoming year.

Joining the Outdoor Partners Program is simple and can be done when you purchase any license or through the Department’s online store at for just $15.

In return, Outdoor Partners receive valuable benefits, including periodic electronic newsletters with timely information from Maine’s biologists, wardens, guides, snowmobilers, landowners and others, free passes to the Maine Wildlife Park, Swan Island and the North Maine Woods and discounts to a variety of places such as Kittery Trading Post, L.L. Bean, DeLorme, Cabela’s and more.

Governor Orders Flags to be Lowered in Memory of General Schwarzkopf 

Governor Paul R. LePage ordered that the United States flag and the State of Maine flag be flown at half-staff on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at all installations and activities of Maine Army National Guard in memory of retired General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

Schwarzkopf, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran who rose quickly through the Army's ranks during the 1970s and '80s, drew up the initial plans for the successful U.S.-led ejection of Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait. Schwarzkopf, who quickly became the nation’s most acclaimed military hero of the era, died December 27, 2012, at 78.

The flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, which is the day of interment.

“Our nation lost a great leader with the passing of General Schwarzkopf,” said Governor LePage. “Our thoughts are with his family as we honor his memory and the positive impact he had on many of Maine’s soldiers.”

Legislative Schedule

The Legislature has released its schedule of session dates through the first few weeks of April.  To see when the Legislature will be meeting, please visit  To view a live video feed of the House of Representatives, please access

To download copies of committee schedules, including dates for public hearings and work sessions, please visit  The public is welcomed to attend all public hearings to offer testimony or just to observe.

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