November 10, 2011 / 1:21 AM / 6 years ago

Stephen King boosting winter heating aid in Maine

Author Stephen King speaks at a news conference to introduce the new Amazon Kindle 2 electronic reader in New York, February 9, 2009. The Kindle 2, the latest incarnation of the digital book reader is a slimmer version with more storage and a feature that reads text aloud to users.Mike Segar

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - Suspense author Stephen King is scaring up money to help low-income residents in his home state of Maine after federal funding cuts for heating programs serving residents who are poor, disabled or elderly.

The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation is working with the three Bangor, Maine, radio stations the writer also owns to try to raise at least $140,000 in coming weeks.

King, a part-time resident of the region, hopes that citizens will put up half of the amount, while the other half will be a matched donation coming from the foundation, he told a local newspaper on Tuesday.

"This economy is terrible and Tabitha and I both worry so much about Bangor because it truly is a working-class town," King told the Bangor Daily News. "We are always looking for ways to help, and right now this is a great need."

His effort comes after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would provide Maine with $23 million in heating program funds this winter, less than half last year's aid of $55.6 million.

Poor, disabled or elderly people are those most affected by cuts to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

"Stephen and Tabitha are very dedicated to this," Anne Gabbianelli, news director at Bangor's WZON "The Pulse" Radio, said on Wednesday. "Our job now is to raise $70,000 so that they can match it."

WZON morning DJ Pat LaMarche said that, starting November 21, she will spend about a week living in a wooden shed outside the station to call attention to its "Help keep ME warm this winter" campaign.

She said the station in the last 24 hours had received many calls from people wanting to donate.

Reporting by Zach Howard. Editing by Peter Bohan

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