A man from Fairfield is under arrest for two armed robberies in the greater Bangor area.Police from Old Town, Brewer and Bangor teamed up to arrest 21-year-old Alex Gerald in connection with robberies in Old Town Tuesday night and Brewer Wednesday night.Police say Gerald walked into Sun Tan City on Stillwater Avenue with a gun, after taking a tour of the business earlier in the evening.Then last night, Gerald walked into the Wilson Street Dunkin Donuts with a gun.Police say both guns have been recovered and were air soft guns that Gerald had spray painted black.Police believe Gerald was trying to get money to support a drug habit. He got away with less than a thousand dollars from both robberies.Lieutenant Chris Martin of the Brewer Police Department say the quick arrest was made with help from surveillance video from Downeast Toyota.”I have to stress that if it wasn’t for the assistance of DownEast Toyota and helping us identify a car and what to look for and the use and access of their technology we might still be looking for that today.”Sun Tan City opened for business Wednesday and the Dunkin Donuts re-opened at 5 Thursday morning.Gerald is behind bars at the Penobscot County Jail and scheduled to appear in court Friday. He’s charged with two counts of robbery and could face up to 5 to 10 years on each count in prison if convicted.Police say he also has similar charges in Kennebec County and with the Fairfield Police Department.
A biomass heating equipment company based in Sumner, Maine has pledged to help towns and schools save money and go green. Skanden Energy, Inc. is helping municipalities and schools convert to wood thermal energy. The company is currently working with local contractors to install state-of-the-art wood pellet boilers at Strong and Kingfield Elementary Schools under a $1.08 million USDA grant, and is offering to help others convert to green energy. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, $11.4 million has been awarded to the Maine Department of Conservation (DOC) to provide grants through its Wood-to-Energy Initiative. These grants, aimed at rural schools and public entities converting to wood heating, can be used to fund the purchase and installation of Skanden equipment. In addition to selling the most advanced biomass heating technology available, Skanden helps rural schools and public entities in other ways. First, Skanden helps them through the grant application process. Then, they guide them through installation, training local contractors and helping them develop expertise in the industry. This maximizes the economic and environmental benefit to the local community. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help Maine communities transform the inefficiencies and hazardous risks of oil heating systems into sustainable, environmentally-friendly biomass heating systems,” said Laura Colban, founder and president of Skanden Energy. “The people of Maine have a great appreciation for the benefits of biomass heating, and we look forward to bringing new job opportunities to the state to support that.” Skanden Energy is in the process of hiring sales engineers and signing up local heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors as distributors. Skanden Energy will provide training for qualified HVAC contractors. “We understand the desire to hire local contractors, who are familiar with their buildings and their needs,” said Colban. “We provide a local supervisor who will work with the contractors to ensure the best quality installation, and maximize the benefits to the local economy.” The company has already been working with MSAD 58 to install two wood biomass systems at Strong and Kingfield Elementary Schools. More than a dozen local contractors, including piping, roofers, engineers, electricians, and other specialists have worked on the two projects so far and more will be engaged soon. “Skanden Energy has demonstrated remarkable commitment to these projects and has far exceeded my expectations,” said MSAD 58 superintendent Quenten Clark. “Not only did they secure the grant funding for these installations, but they also increased the amount of the grant substantially. Their expertise and unique skill set enabled us to significantly improve upon many aspects of the installation. They are a reliable team and an excellent company to work with.” Skanden Energy points to environmental and economic advantages when heating with wood rather than fossil fuels as one reason for the substantial growth in wood-to-energy projects. When wood is burned in a Skanden system, at 2000 degrees, with automated cleaning of boiler tubes and ash removal, emissions are negligible and efficiency is more than 90 percent. Because it is all automated, maintenance is similar to that of an oil burner. For more information about the company, job opportunities, training, distributorships and more, please visit: www.skanden.com or call 207.512.5699.
Wednesday’s warm weather didn’t keep folks in Bangor from thinking about winter.Hundreds of people turned out at the Spectacular Event Center for Bangor Hydro’s Maine Winter Expo.It gives folks information on topics like home weatherization, budgeting for winter fuel and energy audits.Bangor Hydro officials say many Mainers are interested in learning more about alternative energy and making their homes more efficient.Matthew Damon from Penobscot Home Performance was one of the vendors taking part Wednesday.He says it’s important for homeowners to know that they can make big changes by doing small things. “It’s great to come out and talk to people so they can get an idea of the different options out there as far as energy efficiency,” Said Damon on Wednesday. “You can start with just changing your lightbulbs! Change from CFC lightbulbs…get an energy efficient fridge…you put cash out there but in the long run, it’s gonna save you energy.”Some lucky folks even walked away with free prizes on Wednesday, including free energy audits, gift certificates, and storm survival kits.
A new program to help folks who have lost their jobs is starting up Thursday in Bangor.The Maine Department of Labor and the Maine Educational Opportunity Center are teaming up to offer it.It’s a free workshop designed to help folks start on the path to further education.It starts Thursday and runs through December.Folks who tap into it can still collect unemployment benefits as long as they’re in approved training programs.The worshop will offer help applying for college help with all the paperwork and applying for financial aid.For more information or to register call 1 (800) 281-3703.
Folks in Dover are rallying around a family who lost everything in a house fire last week.John and Briana Dyer’s home on the Dexter Road caught fire on Friday.There is no word yet on what caused it, but the home has a lot of damage.Family and friends are now collecting donations to help the family get by.Checks may be sent to:the John & Briana Dyer Fund in care of the Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union.PO box 507, West Main Street, Dover-Foxcroft, ME, 04426.The fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s office.
Fire destroyed a home in St. George on Wednesday.Crews from St. George as well as South Thomaston were called to Atlantic Quarry Road around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon.Authorities say a next door neighbor called in the fire.The family was not home at the time.No one was injured in the fire.No word yet on a cause.
State investigators are looking into an explosion at the four seasons campground in naples Wednesday night.The fire reportedly leveled a camper.Naples Fire Chief Chris Pond said the apparent owner of the trailer left in a car, which he crashed a short distance from the campground. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of second-degree burns to his arms.At the campground, 29-year-old Jessica Jackson of Casco was arrested, accused of assaulting an investigator from the State Fire marshal’s Office.
The theatre at Camp Tracy in Oakland is getting an upgrade.Recently, construction began to create more bench seats, new lighting, and a new sound system.All the work is costing a lot of money though.Now, thanks to Lester and Barbara Jolovitz of Waterville, funding isn’t an issue.The couple donated $25,000 to make the renovations happen. “We see these youngsters outdoors for fresh air and they are doing things that will shape their character for the future and open up a whole new area of experiences it’s a great feeling,” Said Lester Jolovitz on WednesdayAs a founder of Camp Tracy in the 1960’s, Lester Jolovitz helped clear the land near Mcgrath Pond in Oakland where the camp is today.Each summer the camp serves more than one-thousand campers.
Police in Brewer have arrested a suspect in connection with an armed robbery.The Dunkin’ Donuts on Wilson Street was robbed last night around 6 p.m.Brewer Police are releasing details on the arrest this afternoon. We will update that information as it becomes available.
Last year, more than 7000 people found shelter at the 42 homeless shelters in Maine, but none of those folks stayed in Somerset County… because there was no shelter there.Then the Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Skowhegan opened its doors to the homeless. Nearly 20 people are housed there now, but the church has become more than just a roof over their heads, it’s become a second chance.”I used to be a drug dealer.” “I had a really bad drinking problem.” “I came here from the Kennebec County Jail.” They each have a different story with one similarity, they’re trying to turn their lives around.”I’ve been sober now since May 16th.” When Bret got out of jail, he had no place to go. So he came to the Trinity Evangelical Free Church.”We didn’t set out to start a homeless shelter.”Social workers donate their time offering counseling and career services.Things that helped Mike change his ways.”It felt good to have someone who cared.”Mike is studying to become a pastor and Brett is enrolled at UMA with a goal to become a substance abuse counselor.Jack Weeks, the former drug dealer is back on track too. After being homeless, today he owns his own home and is the church’s shelter director.”You’ve got guys that had their house burn down, divorces, getting out of jail. We’ll take guys under house arrest. We are very careful that though no one with sexual offenses because we do have children here on the weekends.”It all started last year when pastor Richard Berry took in one man. Word spread, and now the church houses 17 men.”Everybody now sees them as a burden if they’re homeless, but there’s no real burden if nobody’s helping them.”But with room running out, and the town code enforcement officer taking notice, both men are praying for a new building.”We need materials to build with and we’re trying to do everything without money.” Donations have helped get the foundation in, but the goal is to have a 24 bed house up by winter.Because Berry says it’s men like this who can be helped if given a second chance.
Folks got together at Trenton Elementary School this evening for the unveiling of a new sign.The sign was a gift from last year’s 8th grade class.A student speaker said the class wanted to give the school something that was unique.The design showcases the school’s mascot, the Timberwolves.The Students did fundraisers last year to pay for the gift. Barbara Buza, a local artist, designed the sign. Buza says, “I volunteered to paint some wolves for the kids and I really wanted it to be a nice sign to represent the Timberwolves and so we worked on it over the summer and I think everyone’s pleased with it.”The artist says she is going make prints of the painting and give one to the school. She also says they’re thinking of making the sign a little larger over the winter.
More than $4 million in federal money will help two airports in Maine expand.Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe made the announcement Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding $2.4 million to the airport in Bangor. The money will be used to continue work on a cargo parking project.The Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head will also receive $1.7 million. That will help pay for the construction of a new terminal building.
After several years of meetings, the Land Use Regulation Commission Wednesday granted a request by developer Plum Creek to rezone tens of thousands of acres in the Moosehead Lake region.LURC’s vote was unanimous. The reaction to the news at the meeting in Bangor today was mixed, and the opposition– at times, heated.LURC members say after many revisions by Plum Creek, they’re proud of the concept plan for the Moosehead region.”This plan requires conservation easements the likes of which this commission and the state of Maine have never seen. We now have completely re-written it to guarantee permanent, public access for recreation. And it enhances resource protection for more than 400-thousand acres of land,” says LURC Chairman Bart Harvey.They say the plan guides growth in the region to the appropriate areas. Plum Creek’s plans include building nearly one thousand private housing lots and a resort at Lily Bay.Project Manager Luke Muzzy says they have no immediate plans to start building.”Any specific development still has to go through a review process in the future. So there’s still a lot of work to do in the next thirty years. We always said this was going to be a long-term plan, and it will be,” Muzzy says.He says they’ll also deal with any opposition as it arises. Members of the the groups The Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The North Woods say they plan to appeal LURC’s decision.”LURC has failed in its mission. We feel very strongly that the courts will hear that argument. We can point out specific missteps and breaches of regulatory procedure,” says Jonathan Carter, director of the Forest Ecology Network.An act of civil disobedience briefly disrupted the proceedings. Protesters say the development threatens the environment in the region. Six people were arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.”Different people have different visions for that area,” Muzzy says. “We have compromised a great deal but I guess some folks just want to see their vision happen.”
A lot of high school students aren’t sure what they want to do with the rest of their lives.Some students in Old Town might have a better idea because of something that happened at their school today.Meghan Hayward takes us to their job fair.”If you invite colleges to come in here. You get students at least a snapshot of possibly a connection with a variety of colleges, military and employers.”Junior Dacie Manion took advantage of the fair.”But now I’m getting closer to the time when I want to be applying for colleges. I did a lot of research this summer and thought this would be a great opportunity to talk to some of the programs I’m interested in.”Manion says she is interested in math and science.And was impressed by something she encountered at the job fair.”How willing the representatives from the organizations are to give you a lot of their time. I was worried that with their being so many students walking by they wouldn’t have time to do individual questions, but they’re very helpful.”First-year Destani Cotton was on the look-out for performing arts schools.But one booth, Women Unlimited, took her by surprise.”It did actually catch my interest when I found out what it was.”Executive Director of Women Unlimited Lib Jamison says that is the kind of thing she likes to hear.”A lot of these girls are not really thinking about road and bridge construction. But what we are doing is planting a seed for the young women and men because as they come by here they might think yeah that’s nice. But in five years when they have a child or have to earn a livable wage they might remember us.”Jamison says more schools need to hold career fairs.”These folks need to know what options are available to them because even though they may not want to use them now they will probably want to use them later.”Old Town High School Principal Scott Gordon says it’s certainly worthwhile.”If they can today get some sort of connection. Be it a business card, phone number or face-to-face connection that can help them later on that’s what this is really about.”
A Bangor man will spend six years in prison for a crime spree last March that included two robberies.29-year-old Travis Gustin was sentenced Wednesday on more than a dozen charges.He pleaded guilty to holding up two convenience stores on back-to-back days in March. One store was in Kenduskeag, the other in Bangor.Along with those robberies, Gustin also pleaded guilty to eight burglaries, seven thefts and aggravated forgery.Prosecutors say Gustin stole items from Aaron’s Rental in Bangor, Marden’s in Brewer and a construction site in Bangor.Several of the robbery victims were in the courtroom Wednesday and told the judge how the crimes have scarred them for life.Gustin’s family members also spoke, and asked the judge for leniency.In the end, Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Gustin to ten years in prison, with all but six years suspended.He’ll also spend three years on probation and will have to pay restitution.Gustin himself also addressed the court today.He apologized to all his victims and said he knows he deserves prison time but hopes to use that time to kick his drug habit.
Elroy Morgan has spent the past 8 years trying to grow the biggest pumpkin in Maine state history: this year he may have just done it. “I started indoors right around the 25th of April,” he says, “it went out the first week in May in the greenhouse.”What was a promising start quickly took a turn for the worse when the rains came. “It didn’t look good for me when this pumpkin was still under 200 pounds by August 1st,” says Morgan, “I said to myself this isn’t good, but boy was I wrong, when August came around that’s when the big time growth came it was growing an estimated 33 pounds a day” Today the pumpkin has an estimated weight of 1075 pounds but it’s still growing. “The Maine record is 1130 pounds this particular seed is known to go heavy on scales,” he says, “it will grow probably a little more I’m hoping to squeeze out another 25 pounds or so before I cut it from the vine and when I put it on the scale I’m hoping it will go heavier than 1130 so this could be a new Maine record.”Morgan, who works as a custodian at the Cohen School in Bangor, says he has a few tricks up his sleeve, including using a lot of organic matter in the soil. “This year what I did differently is I used more composted cow manure which was 20 yards of composted manure in the fall that I spread.” Pumpkins aren’t the only record breaking squashes he’s growing here. “I got a possible world record long gourd,” Morgan says, “I had a peak growth of 7 inches a day, right now it’s 127 inches that world record stands at 127.5 inches, so I got a chance at beating that world record in a couple days.”He’ll find out if this pumpkin breaks the Maine record Sunday in Cumberland. “It would be great, 8 years of growing and my dream to beat the Maine record, it would be the best thing in my life.”
There was a head-to-head debate in Brewer today on Question Two on this year’s ballot.A pair of panelists on each side of the issue argued for and against the measure.If passed by voters it would reduce Maine’s vehicle excise tax on vehicles less than six years old.It would also eliminate sales tax on certain fuel-efficient models.Those against the measure say excise tax is a vital way to help pay for local roads.Those for the measure say the excise tax is a huge burden on many Maine families and needs to be lowered or wiped out.Geoff Herman with the Maine Municipalities Association says, “This doesn’t do anything for the low-income people of the state. Assuming they’re unable to buy new cars except make the roads worse and their property taxes higher. I’m not buying this correlation between low-income people and the benefits of this proposal.”Tarren Bragdon with the Maine Heritage Policy Center replies, “If you buy into this argument that it’s used to fund local roads, then the question is, there are a lot more people driving on local roads who aren’t Maine residents. Why don’t we look at some kind of funding that reflects the cost of local roads on everyone who’s driving on them.”If passed, the excise tax would be cut by an average of 55-percent on vehicles less than six years old.
BANGOR, Maine (AP) – A regulatory board has unanimously approveda development with two resorts and more than 2,000 housing units inMaine’s Moosehead Lake area. Critics say the decision threatens thecharacter of the North Woods made famous by Henry David Thoreau. The Land Use Regulation Commission on Wednesday approved PlumCreek Timber Co.’s proposal, nearly five years after theSeattle-based company announced plans for the largest residentialdevelopment ever in Maine. But the vote won’t put an end to the process. Plum Creek wouldface additional approvals before construction, and opponents saidthey intend to file a lawsuit to stop the development. Prior to the vote, police arrested several protesters whodisrupted the meeting, yelled at board members and accused them ofselling out.
The folks at Penquis want to help people make their homes more energy efficient.They’re getting some help with that, thanks to a grant from J.T.G., a non-profit organization.Penquis is offering a free workshop for qualified homeowners.It includes a free home energy audit and the fixing of air leaks in homes.A workshop will be held on Wednesday at the Ballard Hill Community Center in Lincoln.There’s another one coming up Thursday at Penquis on Harlow Street in Bangor.For more information call Penquis at 973-3596
Police are investigating an armed robbery in Old Town…..It happened at Sun Tan City on Stillwater Avenue around seven Tuesday night.The suspect first came into the business and asked for a tour and then left.He later came back and was armed.The suspect is described as a 5 foot 10 white male in his early twenties.Between 150 and 160 pounds, with light beard growth.He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a blue jeans and ballcap.He took off on foot.No one was injured.Police are currently following up on several leads.Sun Tan City District Manager Suzi Howard tells TV5 they’re cooperating with police and hope the suspect is caught and prosecuted.The store reopened for business Wednesday.Anyone with any information is asked to call the Old Town Police Department at 827-3984.