Local News

Wind Project on Vinalhaven Receives Federal Support

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

The federal government is handing out nearly $10 million to help a wind project on Vinalhaven get off the ground.The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Fox Islands Wind $9,500,000 grant to build three turbines on the island.The $14 million project will produce nearly all of the power folks need on Vinalhaven and nearby North Haven. It’s expected to be finished in the fall and company leaders say it will be the largest coastal wind-power facility on the East Coast. Diversified Communications, the company that owns WABI, has invested almost 5$5 million in the project.

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Skowhegan State Fair in Full Swing

Updated 5 years ago

The summer season in Maine is all about going to the fair. Right now the Skowhegan State Fair is in full swing. Our own Adrienne Bennett and her photographer, David were given a challenge Wednesday…one they weren’t about to turn down.

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Albion drug bust

Updated 5 years ago

An Albion man was arrested earlier this week after police say they found almost seven thousand dollars worth of heroin in his residence. Officials searched 46 year old richard rytky’s home sunday. Authorities say they found nine grams of raw heroin which is equivalent to about 270 doses of the drug.They also reportedly found used hypodermic needles… 15 thousand dollars in cash, marijuana, digital scales and drug packing materials. Rytky has several prior convictions including possession of scheduled drugs, assaults, and criminal threatening.

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Detroit house fire -update

Updated 5 years ago

Firefighters believe an electrical problem is to blame for yesterday’s house fire in Detriot. The call to the Troy road came in just after noon. When crews arrived, heavy smoke was coming from the back of the home. Because of the hot temperatures, they had to work quickly to get the fire under control. Fire officials say they were able to knock the blaze down in about 10 minutes. Detroit fire Chief Don Chute says wednesday’s heat made fighting this fire difficult.

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Police Continue to Investigate Lincoln Death

Updated 5 years ago

Police are investigating the death of a man in Lincoln, after an officer discovered a body in a parking lot downtown early Thursday morning.Lincoln Police Chief Bill Flagg says an officer came across a man on the ground near an out-of state tractor trailer in the parking lot on Main Street around 3 Thursday morning.The man has been identified as 55-year-old Brian Isdell from Tennessee. State police say his truck was found running, with the lights on. They say he came to Lincoln to make a delivery.Isdell was taken by ambulance to Penobscot Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”We have been gathering a lot of information that is currently being reviewed by a number of Maine State Police detectives. We’ll have a lot more on this later on but we are currently in the investigative stage,” Flagg says.The area was closed for several hours Thursday morning as Lincoln and state police investigators collected evidence.State police say they are not classifying the death as suspicious, or not, pending further investigation.An autopsy will be completed Friday.

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Friends Fight for Swimming Area Deemed Unsafe

Updated 5 years ago

A peaceful swim in their favorite swimming hole was interrupted for a group of friends in Dexter Tuesday. Now, because of a question about safety and liability, they might never be going back.”It’s quiet, it’s peaceful. It’s clean. You can see the bottom. You can go out thirty feet and still see the bottom.” Erin O’Brien and her friends say they’ll do whatever it takes to keep swimming at their favorite spot on Lake Wassookeag.”I’ve been swimming here for more than 20 years,” says Lance Marchant. “Nobody bugs you here. Until yesterday.”Tuesday, police asked their group to leave, saying broken glass in the area makes it unsafe to swim there.”Told us we needed to vacate the premises, that this was a ‘No Swimming’ zone. Well, there’s no signs posted,” O’Brien says.Police Chief James Emerson says they’ve always asked anyone who’s swimming here to leave. And, the DOT is putting up new signs soon.”They are making signs now to put up – no swimming, danger, broken glass – just to protect people. And protect the state and the town from any liability that could occur,” Emerson says.These friends say through the years they’ve been cleaning up the glass on their own.”They say it’s because of the glass, but no one else is picking it up. We’re here doing it for free and we enjoy it. We like to swim here and we want to keep it nice,” Marchant says.”We’re not causing trouble, we’re not hurting anybody,” O’Brien says.There is a public beach nearby, but they say that’s not an option. “It’s mucky, you can’t see in the water, kids pee in the water. I’m all set with that,” Marchant says.The town is taking ownership of the area in the coming weeks. O’Brien says they’ll keep pressing the issue.”They’re entitled to do what they want. If they want to go to the town, I can’t see it going very far. They don’t want swimming there and they will not want swimming there in the future,” Emerson says.”We’ve worked too hard for this for too many years, to have it taken away from us,” O’Brien says.

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Teens in Orono Get a Hands-On Lesson in Physics

Updated 5 years ago

Some teens in Orono got a science lesson Today, but it wasn’t your average class.And, as Meghan Hayward found out, they enjoyed the chance to do a little experimenting, even in the middle of Summer. It was a hands on experience in physics.It’s called Physics on the Road.”It’s a reasonable kind of way to increase Physics awareness. And that’s a lot of it. A lot of people are afraid of Physics because they think it’s all math and I can’t do it. When really it’s all around us it’s everything we do.”David Sturm does the demonstrations and says it’s all about getting teens involved.Which is why he asks for several audience volunteers.”And really it’s experimentation that’s what science is. It’s an experimental process. So the more hands-on we can do the better.”These teens came here from Camp Susan Curtis.Marisa Bosse would like to see more science classes take this approach.”I would get a lot more. I love science but if I had a science class like this every day I would probably get a lot more out of it.”What was her favorite part?”Definitely the static ball it made my hair go up and shocked all three of us that was pretty cool.”Catie Tringali says when she heard what the demonstration was about she wasn’t excited but after sitting through it she has a different outlook.”It surprised me a lot that I had fun because I’m one of those people that isn’t always willing to go to science class.”Tringali thinks she would learn a lot if more of her science classes were structured like this.”If we had it like this at my school I would be acing all my tests.”Something that makes sturm happy to hear.”Because we’ve planted something a seed in their head that they can do this. It’s hands-on and approachable.”

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Eastern Area Agency on Aging is Cutting Back on Assisted Living Services

Updated 5 years ago

Eastern Area Agency on Aging is cutting back on assisted living services.They tell us lack of state funding is one of the big reasons why.It will affect about 90 people living at three facilities in Bangor, Millinocket and Camden.More than fifty people who work at those places will lose their jobs.The Agency’s Executive Director Noelle Merrill says they’re upset with the decision but don’t see a way around it.” We gave it our best shot. We have worked with the state through many transitions and we just reached the point where we can’t afford to provide this service any longer and I’m so sorry.”Merrill says they have offered to work with the Department of Health and Human Services staff to help transition affected residents to new providers.

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Hancock County SPCA Close To Reaching Their Goal

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

The SPCA has been hard at work raising money, as part of their Capital Campaign, for the past 3 years. The money is going to build a much needed new facility to house their animals.They have raised approximately $1.8 million and they’re hopeful they can raise another $200,000 and break ground on the new building as soon as possible. The current facility is far too small to accommodate their ever-growing needs. The new building will allow them to house three times as many dogs and four times the number of cats. Douglas Radziewicz is the Executive Director of the Hancock County SPCA and says the time is now for this new facility. “If we had more people looking at the role of the SPCA and realize that there is an urgent need,” says Radziewicz, “then we’ll get this building built and we’ll be doing exactly what we feel we should be doing.” Anyone interested in donating to the new Hancock County SPCA can see their website. www.spcahancockcounty.org, or call 207-667-8088. Naming rights are available.They currently have an abundance of cats that need good homes there as well. The cost of adopting a cat is around $90. That cost includes the cat has the following: 1. Spayed or neutered2. Had their first round of vaccinations3. Has been treated for fleas 4. Been tested for feline AIDS and feline leukemia5. The cat has been wormedThey’re located at 141 Bar Harbor Road in Trenton.

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Ellsworth Hospital Needs Help To Find Missing Cat

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

At Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, there’s something missing. Something most of these folks consider priceless. Miss Pumpkin, the 13-year-old hospital cat has been missing for 3 weeks. Connie Lee Gordon has been the main caretaker for Miss Pumpkin and discovered she was missing. “A lot of employees have talked to neighbors in the area looking for her,” says Gordon, “a lot of employees have organized searches and still haven’t found her.”Miss Pumpkin has been part of the family here for the past 12 years. She has free reign of the office trailers behind the hospital and even has her own bed in each trailer. People in the area donate their cans and bottles to help cover vet bills and food. “Everyone knows who Miss Pumpkin is and everyone looks out for her,” says Gordon, “if she’s up in the smoking area, they bring her back down because there are too many cars up there. they open the door and tell me Miss Pumpkin was up by the cars and we didn’t want her to get hit.”In a high stress environment, Miss Pumpkin has helped to ease the tension. Carol Tiffen James, a medical trancriptionist says just having Miss Pumpkin around is relaxing. “We get paid by production as far as transcription goes,” James, “so it’s a very high stress, anxiety provoking job, and to have her come in and lie on your feet or on something, just to see her, it’s a good stress reliever.”Miss Pumpkin is a 7 pound orange cat and her collar should make her easy to spot.”She has a collar on, a red collar, with reflective footprints, and her name badge says miss pumpkin hospital cat,” says Gordon who says the folks around here just want her to come home. “We would love to have her back. if someone took her by mistake we totally understand. we would just love to have her back, and no questions asked if she just shows back up on hospital property, that would be wonderful. You would hear everyone scream and holler because we would be so excited to get her back.”

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Two Bodies Found in Burning Car

Updated 5 years ago

Two bodies found in a car that caught fire at a gravel pit in Gorham were burned beyond recognition.The bodies were found Wednesday morning. The burning car was spotted just after dawn on by a motorist. The burned-out car was taken to Augusta so the bodies can be removed under controlled circumstances. The State Medical Examiner’s office will work to identify the bodies. “We’ll work on the identification of the, identification of the car through the VIN number. Hopefully in a short order of time we’ll know who the car belongs to and then we’ll back track from there.”The gravel pit is owned by Shaw Brothers, an excavation company.Co-owner Danny Shaw said the car appeared to be a small Ford station wagon and was in the middle of a parking area a half-mile from the road.

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Detroit Fire

Updated 5 years ago

A house fire in Detroit on Troy Road called the attention of several fire departments this afternoon.The call came in just after noon today.When fire fighters arrived at the home of Ronald Paradis and Benoit Grenoah, heavy smoke was coming from the backside of the house.Fire fighters say because of the hot temperatures they had to work quickly to get the fire under control.Officials say crews were able to knock the blaze down in about 10 minutes.Don Chute, fire chief for Detroit, says today’s heat made fighting this fire particularly difficult.”You’re talking about right now 85 degree temperatures, high humidity, going into a room that’s 1500 plus degrees. Right now the room is still plus 200 degrees. So real tough for the fire fighters. We called in force around the community for man power, make sure we have the ability to replace people, 15 minutes of work today was enough.” Crews from Newport, Plymouth, and Pittsfield were called in for mutual aid.Chute estimates about 30 thousand dollars in damage was done to the home, and another 30 thousand in contents was lost.The home owners were insured.Chute says right now, it looks like the cause of the fire was electrical.

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State Interlibrary Loan Program Starts Up Again

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A stalled library book loan program is about to get moving again. The program normally circulates about 6,000 items every day among libraries in Maine. Until last month, when it was suddenly put on hold.Now workers at Records Management in Hampden are in the book business. The company was recently contracted to move requested materials among Maine’s 193 libraries.General Manager Michael Carroll says “It’s a great service is what we’re learning. And the service hasn’t been up and going since the middle of July when the current courier backed out of their service.”Carroll says his staff will now be responsible for criss-crossing the state for the interlibrary loan program. But it won’t be new territory.”Records Management has always covered the whole state because of our file deliveries and our and our shredding business so we’ve and our own courier service. So we’ve always had to cover the state of Maine. It’s just some places we get by weekly, but this has been a great relationship with the Maine State Libraries and us because now we’re touching just about every place, daily.”Librarians say that’s especially good news for people who’ve relied on the program – everyone from children to serious researchers. John Clayton has use the service for years. “You can have almost any library deliver something to your hometown library just like that. it’s been a real inconvenience I think that’s it’s been down lately.” Carroll says, “We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from the library – it’s like the nights in shining armor are coming in to help them out because the public has come to them. And from our understanding, the public really used this service quite a bit and it just stopped for them.”But with the help of a Hampdencompany, the swapping service will be back to normal next week – once again reconnecting patrons with their requests. Carroll says his staff has spent the last couple of weeks just trying to catch up with the back log of books and other materials waiting to go to various libraries. Once that’s done, daily loans will be back on track.

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More Disaster Relief

Updated 5 years ago

Piscataquis County has been added to a disaster declaration covering counties hurt by storms, floods, and landslides.The county wasn’t on the original list of eight Maine counties eligible for the federal assistance.It covers weather damage from mid-June through the first week of July.Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins say communities can apply for two types of federal help: one which helps them recover from what has happened: another which helps pay for steps taken to reduce long-term risk from natural disasters.

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Initiative Seeks Community Cooperation

Updated 5 years ago

A citizens’ initiative has been organized to try to get Bangor and Brewer to work together.Some folks in Brewer would like the two cities to collaborate in an effort to save both money.They already work together on several things, like joint purchasing.Arthur Verow, the mayor of Brewer, believes the twin cities could operate more efficiently by working together. “We’re seeing now budgets being tightened throughout the country, the state, state budget certainly. Each year gets a little bit tougher as far as making revenues match to expenditures,” Said Verow.A petition will be circulating until September 16th to gather at least 400 signatures in support of putting a question on the November ballot.That proposal would determine if an advisory committee should be created to make recommendations to the city councils of Bangor and Brewer on how they could work together.

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Blanchard Ruling

Updated 5 years ago

The Maine House Ethics Committee has partially cleared an Old Town lawmaker of any wrong doing.On Tuesday, the committee convened for five hours, hearing contradictory versions of the conduct of Representative Richard Blanchard.He was involved in a fourth of July fireworks incident at his lakeside camp in Enfield.At issue were his actions after two fire marshals and a game warden showed up after fireworks were set off. And whether he abused his position by attempting to influence or intimidate wardens. Authorities claimed Blanchard poked an officer in the chest.They also testified Blanchard was drunk.Blanchard denied the accusations.On Tuesday, the committee decided unanimously that it did not have substantial proof that Rep. Blanchard violated legislative ethics statues, but that he did violate the legislative code of ethics.The committee is made up of four Republicans and four Democrats.

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Hampden Asst. Fire Chief Retires

Updated 5 years ago

After 45 years of dedicated service Erwyn Brewer, Assistant Fire Chief in Hampden, is retiring.Folks got together Tuesday evening at the Hampden Public Safety building to celebrate.Brewer started volunteering for Hampden Fire back in 1964.He made many contributions to the department during his time there, including being a founding member of the ambulance service in Hampden. And being the first recipient of fire fighter of the year award.After his many years of service Brewer has this advice for aspiring fire fighters… “Well, only thing I can say is if you want to get into the fire service you better like it. And check it out before you do because it’s not all glory.”Folks at the Hampden Fire Department say Assistant Chief Brewer will be missed.As for Brewer’s retirement plans: he says he plans to do a lot of golfing.

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No Mechanical Problems in Helicopter Crash

Updated 5 years ago

Investigators say there were no mechanical problems reported before a helicopter, piloted by a Scottish billionaire, crashed off Little Deer Isle earlier this month.That’s according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.Irvine Laidlaw is a member of Britain’s house of lords. He was piloting the chopper at the time of the crashThe report says Laidlaw was carrying three passengers. They had either just taken off or were trying to land on Laidlaw’s private yacht, “The Lady Christine.”The helicopter was flying about 400 feet up when it began to lose altitude. Laidlaw deployed emergency flotation devices before hitting the water.No one was seriously hurt.The N.T.S.B. says it could take up to another year before the cause of the crash is released.

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Former Sheriff Arrested

Updated 5 years ago

A former Washington County Sheriff and retired State Trooper is in trouble with the law.52-year-old Joe Tibbetts of Columbia is charged with criminal threatening with a weapon.Authorities say Tibbetts stopped a family of four driving on the Barrens Road in Columbia and showed a gun.The family left the area and called 911.Tibbetts was arrested and taken to Washington County Jail, where he was later released on $5,000 bail.He’s due in court sometime in September.

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Washington Man Arrested for Second Time

Updated 5 years ago

A Washington man acquitted of beating a man into a coma two years ago, is behind bars.This time, he’s charged with severely beating a woman.Police say 28-year-old Brent Pitcher is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of criminal restraint.The victim, whom authorities are calling an acquaintance of Pitchers, suffered a head injury and three broken ribs.She was flown by medical helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston early Monday morning.Pitcher appeared in court Monday, where bail was set at $10,000 cash. In January of 2007, a jury found Pitcher not guilty of assaulting another man, that man has been in a vegetative state ever since the incident.

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