Mainers To Participate in National Diabetes Clinical Study

As was reported by the Portland Press Herald in an article on March 31st, Maine is one of 20 sites that has been chosen to participate in a nationwide medical study that will examine the relationship between Vitamin D and diabetes. The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, is a large-scale $40 million endeavor that will work to determine whether Vitamin D can prevent Type 2 diabetes.

The Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough is currently seeking 600 to 700 who are possibly at risk for becoming diabetic to agree to take part in the study. Participants will be asked to tae either a Vitamin D pill or a placebo pill, and in addition may be asked to have their blood drawn. The clinical trial at the Scarborough research center will be among the largest to ever be held in Maine, with Maine Medical Center being given a $1.6 million budget to conduct the process and analyze the findings.

The study will take over a year to complete with participants being followed-up with screenings every six months to see if they went from being at risk of diabetes to having the disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Mainers with diabetes has doubled since the mid-1990's, and furthermore, Type 2 diabetes is the more common form found among our state's residents.

Per the Portland Press article, within the ongoing research and studies on diabetes, the working medical theory is that Vitamin D helps the body produce insulin. Diabetics have a difficult time producing insulin thus eventually requiring those with the disease to use insulin shots.

While the study will be focused primarily on those who are already at risk for diabetes, medical professionals believe that the findings could also be helpful in determining if Vitamin D can help slow the progression of the disease. In addition, doctors want to be clear that even if the study is effective and the results are conclusive, Vitamin D should not be used as an alternative for diet, exercise and leading a healthy life style as means to prevent diabetes. 

The national research, called the "D2d" human clinical trial, will be led by Tufts Medial Center in Boston and will include thousands of participants from several states.

Those interested in learning more about participation in the study can call (207) 661-7624. The research institute is currently accepting applications from people who might be at risk for Type 2 diabetes. For more information please visit: www.d2dstudy.org 

General Motors Preparing to Recall 1.6 Million Cars

General Motors is preparing to recall 1.6 million of its cars due to problems with the ignition switch. In certain vehicles, this switch can turn off suddenly, which in turn disables the air bags and engines in the cars.

Customers affected by the recall will receive notices from General Motors beginning the week of March 10th. These customers will be invited to schedule an appointment with their local car dealer in order to have a replacement ignition switch installed. According to General Motors, the replacement parts have not yet been manufactured, therefore, it is not yet clear when customers will be able to schedule the needed repairs.

The vehicles covered under the recall include: Chevrolet Cobalt (years 2005 - 2007); Pontiac G5 compact (year 2007) ; Saturn Ion (years 2003- 2007); Chevrolet HHR (years 2006-2007); Saturn Sky (year 2007) , and Pontiac solstice (years 2006 and 2007.)

For further information about this recall, please go to www.nhtsa.gov.

Joe Bornstein and Portland Celebrate ART WALK

Today is March 7th, in other words - the first Friday of a new month. Portlanders know what that means... it's time for another First Friday Art Walk!

Portland's Art Walk, which started 12 years ago, is a monthly celebration of our city's vast creativity. On the first Friday of a new month, downtown galleries and businesses host a big artistic, cultural open house party. Over 3,000 people flock to the downtown area each month to enjoy live performances, support local street artists, visit galleries and museums and take in Portland's eclectic restaurants while strolling along Congress Street. 

Art Walk is sponsored by Creative Portland, "a nonprofit organization that leverages, grows and sustains Portland's creative industries, enterprises and workforce." 

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is proud to honor Art Walk and Creative Portland with the following message on the Time & Temperature Building - 'ART WALK.' For an interactive GIF of the sign, please visit: www.timeandtempblog.joebornstein.com 

Cheers to our city's many talented artists and to our communities who come out each and every month to love, appreciate and celebrate their work. 

Walk on, Portland!  

Maine Affordable Care Act

Mainers are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in numbers that exceed the enrollment target established by the federal government.

The vast majority of Mainers who have signed up for insurance under the Act will qualify for federal assistance in paying for their health insurance premiums.  Eligibility for federal help with payment of premiums is based on income.

To date, more than twenty thousand Mainers have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

More information about the Affordable Care Act is available at  www.healthcare.gov

Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care (www.mainecahc.org) is a valuable resource for Mainers seeking information about health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.

2014 STRIVE Rocks Dance Marathon Supported by Joe Bornstein

Mainers, should you find yourself on Congress Street today, be sure to glance up at the Time and Temperature Building and see the new message on Portland's only skyscraper!

The illuminated sign will display the words 'STRV ROCKS' until March 3rd in honor of the wonderful organization, STRIVE and their upcoming 2014 STRIVE Rocks Dance Marathon.

According to their official website, the program, which is part of PSL Services, "is designed to address the many issues faced by young adults (ages 11-24) with disabilities." 

The 10th Annual overnight dance marathon, which will be held at The Maine Mall, begins on Saturday, March 1st at 9pm and ends on Sunday, March 2nd at 9am.  

STRIVE's goal is to have 1,000 people participate in the dance marathon. 

For more information on this wonderful organization, the important work that they do in our communities, and their upcoming exciting event, please visit: http://www.pslstrive.org/striverocks

 

Maine Attorney General Sues Bangor Used Car Dealerships

Janet Mills, of the Maine Attorney General's office, has brought a lawsuit against several Bangor car dealerships, including: My Maine Ride, Bangor Car Care, Inc. and Bumper2Bumper, Inc. 

In her complaint, Mills accuses the dealership of targeting vulnerable consumers with low credit ratings and selling them unsafe cars that fail to pass state inspection. 

In addition, Mills says that her office has received hundreds of complaints against My Maine Ride due to their failure to respond to customer service issues. 

Under Maine Law, used car dealers are required to post a notice on unsafe cars that do not meet the state's inspection standards. The dealer must also disclose information about a used car's history, obtain a written acknowledgement from a prospective buyer, and also arrange for any unsafe motor vehicles to be towed from the dealership lot. 

With this lawsuit, Mills hopes to shut down the aforementioned Bangor dealerships. The owner's License to Operate is scheduled for a hearing before the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 

Portland Panhandling Ordinance Held to Violate First Amendment

Last week a federal judge in Maine declared Portland's Panhandling ordinance to be a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Judge George Singal found that the ordinance violated the First Amendment's right to free speech.

The ordinance, passed several months ago, prohibited people from standing or sitting in street medians, whether or not they were asking for money.  The city argued that the ordinance was a public safety measure, designed to protect both the public as well as the people who stand on the medians.  The ordinance was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed that the city could find ways to address public safety issues without imposing such a broad restriction on free speech.

U.S. District Court Judge George Singal declared the ordinance to be unconstitutional, in part because the ban did not apply to all forms of speech- for example, it did not prohibit people from planting campaign signs on medians.

It has not been determined yet whether the city will appeal the judge's ruling.

Phone Scam Affecting Mainers

Attention Mainers - if you have recently been receiving phone calls from an unknown number from Antigua or other Caribbean countries, you are not alone. 

The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about a one-ring phone scam that is circulating around the country, and specifically right now, is targeting people in Maine.

In this particular scam, the caller is most often calling and then immediately hanging up in hopes that people will redial. Those who do call back will get charged for making an international call, and will see the fees reflected on their cell phone bills. 

The state Attorney General's office advises those who have been scammed to screen and ignore the unknown number, and do not call it back. In addition, those who have been scammed should ask their mobile phone company to reverse the charges. 

Graco Recalls 3.8 Million Child Car Seats

According to an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Infant products manufacturer, Graco, has voluntarily recalled 3.7 million child car seats due to issues with a faulty buckle. 

With the company recalling 11 of 18 models of car seats investigated by the NHTSA, this makes it the largest recall in the past five years.

Upon receiving complaints from parents about having difficulty unlatching Graco car seats and getting their children out of the device, the NHTSA began and investigation and found that the red release button in the center of the harness often becomes stuck. The organization determined that this faulty component would make it difficult or nearly impossible to remove a child from the car seat in the case of an emergency. 

There have been no injuries reported on the car seats, which sold for between $99 and $400. 

In addition, Greco has stressed that this buckle issue does not, in any way, affect the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle restraining a child. The company is offering new and improved harness buckles to impacted consumers at no cost. People can obtain one by calling 800-345-4109 or by emailing consumerservices@gracobaby.com

For a complete list of the car seats and booster seats that have been recalled during the investigation, please visit http://www.pages02.net/newellrubbermaid/harness-buckles, Graco's official website that contains an official recall announcement. 

Maine Police Urge Drivers to Move Over, Please

Maine State Police have a request for motorists - move over, please. 

Law enforcement officials are renewing efforts to get drivers to slow down and give parked emergency vehicles plenty of space after two trooper cruisers were destroyed in crashes last month. In addition, inclement winter weather conditions greatly increase the risk of parked emergency vehicles being struck by other motorists. 

According to State Police Lt. Aaron Hayden, although drivers are mindful about obeying the law that requires them to pull over to the right when in front of an emergency vehicle with sirens and flashing lights, many motorists often fail to move over and slow down when approaching a parked emergency vehicle. Lt. Hayden says that failure to obey this law has lead to many accidents. 

In the last five years, 75 State police cruisers have been struck from behind - 24 of those incidents occurring while the vehicle was stopped with flashing lights on, and 12 of those incidents have resulted in injured troopers. 

In 2007, a Maine state law called the Move Over law was passed. This law requires drivers passing a parked emergency vehicle to safely move over to a non-adjacent lane. If it is impossible for a driver to move over into another lane, the law mandates that they slow down to a speed of approximately 45 MPH. 

For more information on Maine's Move Over law, please go here: http://www.kjonline.com/news/Maine_State_Police_call_on_drivers_to_give_them_space_.html?pagenum=full

The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you and yours a happy and safe new year - both on the roads and off! 

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