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It wasn’t like 1998, but it was a storm to remember.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

It’s been more than a week since the ice storm hit, and power and tree crews have been working non-stop to repair and restore power to hundreds of thousands of Mainers. Among areas hardest hit was Hancock County, where officials expect to have power back on New Year’s Day.

I want to thank Emera Maine (formerly Bangor Hydroelectric), Central Maine Power and Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative for their hard work and dedication in restoring power. Our Maine line and tree crews, as well as crews from at least 6 states and 2 Canadian provinces, left their families at home at Christmas time to work long hours in the cold to support Maine people. That is a gift we are all grateful for.

Also, volunteers, State agency representatives and county and local officials who have been working throughout the storm response have done tremendous work. We don’t get through these emergencies without hundreds of volunteers.

We’re thankful for Maine’s Red Cross volunteers, volunteer firefighters, community response teams and community members who are stepping up. And our state agencies, including the Maine Emergency Management Agency, have done whatever was needed to make sure communities were supported.

As ice storm recovery efforts continue, The Maine Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the United Way of Kennebec Valley, will distribute funds collected to the various nonprofit agencies who are involved in the relief effort. All donations to the Relief Fund are tax-deductible.

I encourage you to consider donating to the Relief Fund.

Cash donations are best in any disaster, because they allow relief agencies to purchase the supplies they need, when they need them. They also purchase supplies as near as possible to the disaster area, which supports the local economy.

You can donate online at www.volunteermaine.org/disaster and follow the link to Maine Disaster Relief Fund.

Mainers are used to weathering storms. And while this one was not as destructive as the ice storm of ’98, it was a storm that left its mark in 2013.

As we head into the New Year, I wish you and yours the very best. Happy New Year!

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