Local News

Heating Oil Prices up

Updated 5 years ago

The price of heating oil in Maine has gone up for a second consecutive week. According to the Office of Energy Independence and Security, the statewide average for heating oil was $2.32 a gallon on Monday. That’s 4 pennies higher than last week. The price also rose 4 cents the week before. As always, there’s a wide variety of prices across the state, with the lowest price of $1.95 found in southwestern Maine and the highest price of $2.70 found in eastern Maine. The average price of kerosene also rose 4 cents to $2.75. The federally funded low-income heating assistance program known as LIHEAP is currently taking applications through community action programs across the state. For appointments and income eligibility information, individuals and families should contact their local program. The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program (KVCAP) serves people in Kennebec, Somerset, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties. KVCAP’s telephone number is 1-800-542-8227. You can also find them on the web at KVCAP.org

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Cancer Care Of Maine Gets Set For Big Move

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

At the Cancer Care Center of Maine the staff has seen an increase in just about everything over the years including the number of patients and physicians.The one thing that hasn’t grown is the size of their facility. “It’s been a shuffling of staff, a shuffling of offices,” says Ambie Hayes-Crosby, a C0linical Research Nurse Manager, “all the while trying to maintain a spacious area for the patients which is why we’re really in a pinch now and that is we’ve got this great cancer center coming.” They serve about 250 patients daily at the facility, now located at Eastern Maine Medical Center, but the center is only equipped to handle half that many. Besides having one of the oldest populations in the nation, Maine also has the highest cancer rate of any state. There are other key factors that have contributed to the rise in patients at the center. “We have new new treatments that are are buying more and longer lives for patients,” says Hayes-Crosby, “so therefore we have patients living longer, we’re in the disease of cancer which has become more chronic than it has become acute.”More patients means a bigger workload for staff. “We’ve extended our hours, depending on day-to-day, it depends on what time we get out, we can be here until 7:30 treating patients just to fit everybody in,” says Carol Guptill. She’s a radiation and oncology manager with 41 years of experience.The extra time and effort the staff puts in does not go unnoticed by the patients, like Paula Harmon who commutes from Hancock County to recieve her treatment. “Wonderful, wonderful care, people always concerned,” says Harmon, “you know, they’re always asking you how are you doing, how are you today, can I help you, and any issues, do you have any pain.” Harmon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, and again in 2006, and has come to the center for all of her treatments. She hopes she doesn’t see much of the new facility in Brewer but she does think the extra space will be crucial for the care and treatment of other cancer patients. “One of the nice things is when people come and they have to be treated for many different illnesses, they’re like a group, a community group that gets to talk and I think that space will be a big difference to do that type of support system and talk to each other.” While the new facility will have a plethora of new and improved amenities, there is one thing the old center here provides that they will carry over to their new place: Hope.”Again the whole hope that people are surviving, and surviving, and surviving,” says Harmon, “unfortunately this has a terrible name called cancer but we all have to deal with things in our life, we have to move on and deal and let’s go on, it’s a great life!”The new facility is scheduled to start seeing patients on December 14th if all goes according to plan. For more information on the new facility in Brewer, you can see the website at www.championthecure.org.

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Cause Determined in Corinth Fire

Updated 5 years ago

Overheating equipment is to blame for a fire that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in Corinth. A cooling stacker inside the building overheated and ignited the blaze.The call came in to the Corinth wood pellets plant around 7:00 Monday night. Officials say fire alarms alerted them to the fire. Crews from 8 towns helped battled the fire.When fire fighters entered the smoke filled building, they found a cooling tower filled with flames.They were able to put the fire out quickly and crews were officially cleared from the scene just before 11:00 Monday night.One of the machines at the plant was destroyed. The fire was contained to the manufacturing plant, officials say no damage was done to the rest of the building.

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Paving Contractor Pleads Not Guilty to Possible Scam in Lincoln

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A man from Massachusetts accused of pulling off a paving scam in Lincoln is pleading not guilty in the case. 24-year-old William Stanley entered the plea today in writing through his lawyer.In June, Stanley allegedly offered to cut a deal on paving projects for at least four people in Lincoln, but police say the work ended being overpriced and shoddy. Stanley’s charged with three misdemeanor violations of a state law aimed to keep consumers safe.Police in Millinocket are investigating similar complaints against Stanley and are considering filing charges, too.

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Historic Orono Building Demolished

Updated 5 years ago

A landmark building in Orono was demolished Tuesday.Most recently the structure had housed apartments. But after fire gutted the inside in June, folks knew it would never be the same.”It’s quite a bit of history there,” says resident Frank Morrison.The Katahdin building has stood in Orono since the late 1800’s, but was so devastated after the fire that it had to be demolished as a matter of safety.”We’ve had the structural engineers tell us there’s just no way, the damage was just too massive to save any part of it. So we know it has to come down,” says Jennifer Dudley. She and her husband have owned the apartment building since 2001. They watched with mixed feelings Tuesday.”There’s a lot of sadness, because we were always really proud to own the building,” she says.For the many folks that gathered, this building has always been a landmark.”It’s just been around forever,” says Marlene Doucette, president of the historical society. “On Mill Street, there was a brick factory and the first bricks they made were put into the building.”Frank Morrison was born and raised on Mill Street. “It’s just hard to believe,” Morrison said, as he watched a wall come down. “They used to have a restaurant downstairs. Out in the front downstairs there used to be a shoe repair, Ben’s shoe repair,” he says.Through the years the structure grew and changed, housing various groups.”A men’s club called the Katahdin, which is where it got its name,” Dudley says. “It had the town’s first public library, it had a bank. Some of the bank vaults actually were still inside, some of the tenants got a kick out of that.”The crowd was silent as structure’s front brick wall came down. The owners say they don’t yet know what they’ll do with the property. “I hope they rebuild an apartment complex. They need it,” Morrison says.No matter what becomes of this space, an effort is being made to preserve some of its history.”We’ve been promised a few bricks and some of the granite,” says Doucette.Dudley says all of the building’s tenants have found new housing, at least temporarily. Everyone made it out safely during the fire, which was ruled an accident.The site should be cleared by Wednesday evening.

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Corinth Pellet Fire

Updated 5 years ago

A fire in a Corinth manufacturing plant caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage Monday.The call came in around seven Monday night.Officials say fire alarms at Corinth Wood Pellets alerted them to the blaze.Crews from eight different towns helped fight the fire.When fire fighters entered the smoke filled building, they found a cooling tower filled with flames.They were able to extinguish the fire quickly, and crews were officially cleared from the scene just before 11 Monday night.However, we’re told some fire fighters were still there Tuesday morning. “Basically very typical of fires that we have at this facility,” Said Corinth Fire chief Scott Bragdon. “It was a stubborn, smokey fire, and had to be dug out. Matter of fact, crews will be here most of the night doing that, wetting down hot spots.”One of the machines at the plant was destroyed.The fire was contained to the manufacturing plant. Officials say no damage was done to the rest of the building.

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Rumford Renters Shot in the Head

Updated 5 years ago

Police are looking for a man seen running from the area where two men were shot and killed Monday evening in Rumford. Police say the man had long black hair and may have been wearing gloves.Authorities were called to Pine Street around 10 p.m.There, they found two roommates shot to death in their home.According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, 22-year-old Victor Sheldon and 48-year-old Roger Day were both shot in the head.State Police say they’ve questioned several people about the shootings, but no arrests have been made.

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Passers-by Help Save Items from Burning Home

Updated 5 years ago

No one was home and no one was hurt when fire tore through a home in Madison Sunday.The flames were reported by some folks passing by – who also stayed to help.”When we got here, there were flames coming out of the back corner and a there was a lot of fire. Heavy fire,” says Madison Fire Chief Roger Lightbody. Jay Webb lost nearly everything after flames ripped through his house. His father Alvyn lives nearby. “I smelled smoke and heard a lot of traffic, so I hopped on my 4-wheeler to see what was going on,” says Alvyn Webb. “Flames were licking the backside of the garage. And I figured, that’s Jay’s livelihood. If he lost his garage, he’d lose everything,” he says.Webb makes his living as a mechanic and keeps the tools of his trade in his garage. But, thanks to the help of friends and total strangers, those items stayed out of harm’s way.”A lot of them I didn’t know. There were neighbors that kicked right in. Billy up the road, he came down, he was pointing, here get this, get that, running and getting stuff out,” Alvyn says.”There were a lot of people here that were lugging stuff out of the garage. There were some people driving by on motorcycles that stopped before I got here,” Lightbody says.Lightbody says the work of six fire departments helped keep the flames from reaching the garage. More than a dozen other people also pitched in.”If that were my house and total strangers were helping haul stuff out, yeah, that’s a very good feeling,” Lightbody says.Jay Webb is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Bosnia. He’s lived here for more than 10 years. “All that stuff is just material things. It can be bought again. Nobody was hurt,” Alvyn says. That’s including Webb’s children, who live here part of the time. A neighbor took his horse from out back and his cat has returned home. The state Fire Marshal’s office says the fire started in a back bedroom. They say the fire was accidental and “cannot rule out electrical malfunction.”Until he can rebuild, Webb says he’s looking to stay in a camper borrowed from a friend. “Get a camper to stay right here on this place,” Alvyn says. “Because it’s his home.”

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Kenerson Bison Farm

Updated 5 years ago

Seven years ago Don and Kay Kenerson moved to Maine. After purchasing 116 acres of land they needed something to put on it. The couple tried raising llamas and cattle, but today, it’s bison. Twenty of massive creatures roam on the farm in Solon. Bison, also commonly referred to as the American buffalo is the largest land mammal in North America. Currently there are about a dozen bison farms in Maine. Don and Kay Kenerson don’t raise the animals as pets, instead they are sold for their meat. If you’re interested in trying out the meat you can find the Kenerson’s at the Skowhegan and Waterville farmers markets or at their farm at 1266 South Solon Road in Solon. In the late 1800’s, less than 1,000 bison were left and those were saved by the combined efforts of William Hornaday (Director of the Bronx Zoo) and a small group of ranchers. In 1905, the American Bison Society was created to save the bison and protect rangeland for the animals. Today, those efforts are carried on by the National Bison Association and the Canadian Bison Association. The bison herds of today number in excess of 350,000 and are growing.The Kenerson Farm 1266 South Solon Road Solon, ME643-2008 kenerson1@gmail.com

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A 26 Year Old Murder Case Is Finally Put To Rest.

Updated 5 years ago

A 26 year old murder case has finally been put to rest.A former South Portland man convicted in the case was sentenced to life in prison.In June, 52-year old Thomas Mitchell was found guilty of killing Judith Flagg back in 1983 at her Fayette home.Flagg was killed in front of her one year old son who was found at her side.It was a cold case for a number of years, until modern DNA technology was used.DNA evidence obtained from Flagg’s fingernail clippings linked Mitchell to the scene.Family members spoke out in court today describing the horror and fear they’ve lived with since the murder.They asked for justice to be served, and were relieved by today’s decision.”A little bit of relief peace of mind possibly I guess would be the best way to describe it I mean he’s going to be behind bars, no one’s going to worry for women’s sake anymore.” says Ted Flagg, Judith Flagg’s widower.Mitchell was already serving time for kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder, when he was indicted for this crime in 2006.Mitchell did not address the courtroom today. He denies any involvement with the case.The defense says they plan to appeal the murder conviction.

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Forest Avenue In Orono To Close To Replace Culverts

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

The Maine DOT will be closing parts of Forest Avenue in Orono on tuesday in order to repair several failing culverts. At least 6 culverts underneath the street need to be replaced.The road will be closed from the Caribou Bog area, to an area west of Taylor Road. The plan is to remove the culverts on tuesday and install the new ones on wednesday.If all goes according to plan the entire project should be completed and the road reopened by wednesday night. All residents will have access to their homes from either Stillwater Avenue or Essex street.

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New Ellsworth Emergency Center Construction Right On Schedule

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

Construction is underway at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital on a new and much improved emergency operation. The new Emergency room will come fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology that will allow the staff to treat patients with greater quickness and efficiency. “To give you an example,” says Karen Stanley, Chairman of the Board at the hospital, “this emergency center we have now is really built to accomodate about 12,000 visits per year, and historically we’ve been running about 18,000 per year.”Stanley says many factors have led to the rise in emergency room visits making this new facility a necessity. “Well I think there are a number of things at play here, one we have under-insured or people that are not insured at all, so too often the emergency department becomes their first contact with the medical profession, plus we have an aging population in Hancock county so there is a lot of usage going through our emergency department.” The construction began in the fall and the project comes with a hefty price tag. The hospital has secured $5 million dollars from a state bond and is in the process of raising the rest.”This is a $10 million dollar project,” says Jack Mccormack, Interim CEO, “the goal is to raise $5 million of that and the fundraising is ongoing, it’s been very successful so far, we have a long way to go but people have been very generous.”The new facility will have dozens of new features including a helipad. The folks here say that’s a welcome sight. “We provide a high level of care but we don’t provide the tertiary services,” says Mccormack, “when we determine they are needed, we need to get patients transferred as quickly as possible.”The project is set to be completed in January. Stanley says the people who work here are already excited. “This hospital has some of the greatest employees, I would put them up against any in the state or in the nation so it’s something they really deserve.”

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Economy Not Affecting Bangor State Fair

Rob Poindexter

Updated 5 years ago

It’s opening weekend at the 160th Bangor State Fair, and according to organizers,it’s so far so good.”Yesterday was a banner day,” says Mike Dyer, Director of the fair, “we were really pleased, we had 15,000 people on the fairgrounds.”To try and combat the strugling economy, fair officials have introduced the $10 wristband, which gets you admission to the fair as well as unlimited access to all the rides.The promotion has many fairgoers wanting to make a return trip to bass park.”Everybody seems to love it,” says Dyer, “even the people who are soaking wet waiting to get on rides and stuff were going to go home and take a day off and come back on tuesday or saturday, i think it’s the right thing to do for the times.”The economy isn’t the only concern. The folks who run the fair know that an event like this is at the mercy of mother nature. “The weather has been good, you do 10 days outdoors you understand your gonna get a little bit of bad weather, you’re gonna catch a few bad breaks.”While business seems to be booming inside these gates, what effect does the fair have on other local businesses?”We definitely get pretty busy,” says Lindsey Mckay, a server and bartender at Paddy Murphys in Bnagor. “Everybody is kind of in town, we get slammed all at the same time, everybody decides decides they want to go have lunch and dinner at the same time.”Up to this point all signs are pointing to a wildly successful year, both here on the fairgrounds and for buisnesses in the area.”We’re way ahead of last year,” says Dyer, “we had some real tough breaks with weather and lost what would have been some really big days, right now we’re 1/3 of the way to last years total after two days.””It’s awesome,” adds Mckay, “it brings in a great crowd, everyone is excited, it’s an awesome atmosphere, yeah we’re definitely pretty busy.”

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BelTek Festival Wraps Up in Belmont

Updated 5 years ago

Thousands of music, dance and art lovers spent the weekend in Belmont.The seventh annual BelTek festival started Friday evening and continued through Sunday.The event showcases talent from all over the world…from fire breathers to painters, dancers and sculptors.The festival was founded in 2002 by local radio programmer Rick Kidson…he wanted to bring the experience of live electronic music to folks in the midcoast region.Kidson is donating part of the proceeds from the event to the Good Shepherd Food Bank and local radio station WERU FM.

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Cash for Clunkers Latest

Updated 5 years ago

Government officials plan on suspending the “cash for Clunkers” program unless the Senate approves another 2 billion dollars in funding.Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he expects the current billion one dollars in funding will be exhausted by the end of this weekend.The administration hopes the Senate will add 2 billion to the government rebate program that gives consumers cash incentives totrade-in old gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles.LaHood says the administration will continue the program until the Senate acts on the proposal. He said dealers will be reimbursed for deals in the pipeline and that the government will make a “good-faith effort” for transactions beginning Monday.

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Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel to Start Printing in South Portland

Updated 5 years ago

Starting next month, two central Maine newspapers will be printed in South Portland.The Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel will be printed in the same facility that prints the Portland Press Herald.All three papers are owned by Maine Today Media…which bought them from the Seattle Times Company in June.Publisher Richard Connor says having all the papers printed in the same facility will strengthen the company and make better use of one of the nation’s most modern printing facilities.He says jobs in the press, production and distribution departments in Augusta, where the Central Maine papers are currently printed, will be offered to those who wish to work in South Portland. And he said he has notified many employees in the entire company that they may be offered buyouts.

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New Commander for 101st Air Refueling Wing

Updated 5 years ago

The 101-st Air Refueling Wing out of Bangor has a new commander.During a change of command ceremony Sunday, Brigadier General Stephen Atkinson relinquished control of the unit to Colonel John D’Errico.General Atkinson has served with the Maine National Guard since 1977, and as commander of the 101st for more than four years.During that time, he was responsible for the full range of command, discipline, and training for the Wing. Major General Bill Libby says that was no small feat, considering the increase in activity following 9/11.< "since 9/11, this unit has had hundreds of men and women on active duty, providing the refueling support this nation needs to transport its troops, its equipment and its fighters overseas.">General Atkinson is now taking on a new role, as Chief of Staff at Maine National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Augusta. New commander Colonel John D’Errico has served with the Guard since 1978.Before serving as Vice Commander of the 101st Air Refueling Wing for over the past three years, Colonel D’Errico also filled the roles of Operations Officer and Commander with the 132nd Air Refueling Squadron and Commander of the 101st Operations Group.

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Life in Prison for Convicted Murderer

Updated 5 years ago

A former South Portland man convicted of murder was sentenced to life in prison in the death of a woman 26 years ago.In June, a jury found 52-year-old Thomas Mitchell Junior guilty of sexually assaulting and stabbing Judith Flagg at her Fayette home in January 1983.The crime went unsolved for decades until police used DNA and new technology to link Mitchell to the scene.At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was completing prison sentences for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder. His lawyer says Mitchell maintains his innocence and will appeal the murder conviction.

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Newport Crash Sends 2 to Hospital

Updated 5 years ago

Two people were taken to the hospital after a pickup truck collided with a rescue vehicle in Newport Saturday evening.It happened just before 6 p.m. on Elm Street, just past the Ridge Road intersection.A Newport Fire and Rescue crew was headed out on an emergency call…with lights and sirens on…when they were struck head-on by a pickup truck.State Police say it appears the driver of the pickup was trying to maneuver around a car that had stopped in the middle of the road…and in doing so, drove into the path of the rescue vehicle.The pickup driver suffered leg injuries and was taken to the hospital.His passenger was also transported, with minor injuries.The two firefighters in the rescue vehicle suffered bumps and bruises.So far no charges have been filed.The crash is under investigation.

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Helicopter Crashes Off Little Deer Isle

Updated 5 years ago

F-A-A officials are investigating a helicopter crash off Little Deer Isle.It happened just before 5 p-m on Saturday.The internationally registered helicopter made a controlled landing using floatation devices.None of the four people aboard were injured.A lobster boat towed the undamaged helicopter to shore.F-A-A officials don’t know where the helicopter was going or why it had to land in the water. An investigation is underway.

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