Local News

FairPoint Unveils Stabilization Plan

Updated 5 years ago

FairPoint Communications Inc. says it’s focusing on its call centers, billing process and the way it handles orders as it attempts to straighten out problems that have plagued the company over the past two months.FairPoint on Wednesday made public its nine-page “stabilization plan” created at the request of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.FairPoint says it has resolved its billing problems, for the most part, and is putting most of its focus on properly fulfilling orders from customers wanting to get connected or disconnected or have a change in service.Thousands of customers have experienced e-mail, billing and customer service problems since FairPoint took total control of Verizon’s wired telephone and Internet operations in northern New England on January 31st.

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Search Still on for Missing Fisherman

Updated 5 years ago

The icy water off Eastport was the location of a tragedy at sea Wednesday.Authorities have recovered the body of a fisherman whose boat sunk in Cobscook bay Wednesday afternoon.A little after 5 p.m. the Maine Marine Patrol found the body of 54-year-old Loren W. Lank of Lubec floating in the water.The search continues for his crewmate, 19-year-old Logan Preston of Machiasport.The Coast Guard received a report from another fishing vessel a little after 4 o’clock that a debris field had been found in Johnson Harbor off Eastport.The debris contained a survival suit and what appeared to be a submerged boat.The coast guard launched response boats and aircraft to search the area.The submerged boat is the All American, a 34-foot scallop dragger out of Lubec that was last seen around 3 o’clock dragging for urchins near Red Island.The search for Preston was still ongoing as of 4 o’clock Thursday morning.

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Police Chiefs Making Schools Safer

Updated 5 years ago

“Initially, there were some kids who thought this might be a Halloween prank.”On October 31st last year, an armed gunman made his way into the Stockton Springs Elementary School and held 11 children inside a classroom. no one was injured, but it’s a day students, teachers and parents will never forget.”I don’t think anyone prepares you to be prepared for something as extreme as what we experienced.”The school had a plan in place, but officials say they learned it could be better. They’re sharing their story with law enforcement, schools and other agencies in Washington county to show the importance of planning and working together.”There is no substitute for someone being aware, being willing, having the courage to do what they need to do in that moment.””Law enforcement also learned that day. There are things we have taken away from that and trying to improve on.”Police chiefs across Washington County have come up with a list of simple things to make schools more secure. they include making visitors sign in and developing a relationship with law enforcement.”We are trained for it. We know what to do to prevent loss of life. They were in a position that day to take that step if they had to. Fortunately it didn’t come to that.”Police say the size of washington county could make response time even longer.”We don’t want to scare anybody, but this type of thing can happen anywhere. It can happen at any time and you probably won’t get much warning. If you haven’t planned for it and you’re not ready for it, the results could be disastrous.”

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Local Woman Plans to Provide Eye Care in Ghana

Updated 5 years ago

A local woman is planning to travel to the African country of Ghana this summer, to help the folks there see the world more clearly.Cheryl Turner is a Certified Optometrist Assistant in Bangor, and will be part of a mission to provide eye care for the folks there.”I love what I do and I’ve always wanted to do something like this, and I went to a conference last year and found out about the opportunity.”So Cheryl went to Ghana last year, helping to perform eye exams and surgeries.She admits it was a culture shock, but it ended up being such a rewarding experience she’s going back.This time, Cheryl is linking up with an organization called Unite for Sight. She’ll work in small villages and a refugee camp in Ghana where eye care is desperately needed.”A lot of times, people over there are blind and have never even been to an eye doctor, and when they’re blind, one of their children basically has to take care of them, and then they can’t go to school”Cheryl says the lack of education keeps a lot of these families in a cycle of poverty. By treating their eye diseases, Cheryl and her team hope to break that cycle, but she needs a little help to get there. She has to raise 4500 dollars before she leaves in July. That will pay for travel expenses, and cataract surgeries that many people in Ghana simply can’t afford.She’ll spend two weeks in the African country, doing a lot of good, and getting something in return.”This time when I go, I kind of feel like I’ll be going home because the people there, they’re just so nice and they’re warm and they’re very welcoming and they appreciate everything you do.”Cheryl is holding a Spaghetti Dinner this Saturday, to help raise money for her trip.It will be held at the Hampden V.F.W. Hall from 4:30 to 6:30.Tickets are $5.Cheryl also has set up a website to explain more about her trip and fundraising. http://ghana2008.shutterfly.com

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Man Wanted in Farmington Area

Updated 5 years ago

A man with ties to Mexico, Maine, is wanted for passing tens of thousands of dollars in bogus checks.Police say 28-year-old Branden Belanger has been cashing counterfeit checks in several communities including Farmington, Rumford, Madison, and even as far away as Gorham, New Hampshire.There are warrants out for his arrest.Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact their local police department.Farmington Police are actively on the case.To call them dial 778-6311.

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Police Shoot Woman In Biddeford

Updated 5 years ago

A woman in Biddeford was shot to death by a police officer while holding what turned out to be a BB gun. Biddeford’s police chief says the woman was shot three times on a Main Street sidewalk last night after refusing several orders to drop the gun. He says one of the officers fired when the woman approached him in a threatening manner. It started with a 911 call by a woman threatening to kill herself. The chief says the whole incident was caught on a camera mounted inside a police cruiser. The attorney general’s office is investigating.

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UVM Student With Maine Ties Found Dead

Updated 5 years ago

Police are investigating the death of a University of Vermont Student from Skowhegan.21 year old William Gates was found dead Monday morning by his roommates in a home in Burlington. Detective Michael Warren says there is no sign that the death is suspicious or a suicide. An autopsy has been scheduled. Blood and toxicology test results are expected to be available in four to six weeks.

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Lincoln Potholes

Updated 5 years ago

It’s rough riding out there on many of Maine’s roadways.It is peak pothole season, and there’s a certain stretch of route 2 in lincoln that’s in particularly poor shape.”It’s our main artery in our town. It’s heavily trafficked. The truck traffic is huge, here in Lincoln. And when you drive over the road, you are always thinking ‘why haven’t they fixed this road?’”Folks travelling along West Broadway in Lincoln have had a bit of a bumpy ride, as of late.”From the railroad tracks South to the intersection at McDonalds.” “It’s become very treacherous and dangerous for the vehicles because people that are driving South are pulling over in to the other lane to try to avoid damage to the car.”Lincoln town manager, Lisa Goodwin, says folks have been complaining to her about that road for years. “First of all, the road is in Lincoln, so they think it’s our road but it’s actually the state’s responsibility. And they come to us and want us to fix the road and pay for the repairs to their vehicles.””That section of roadway should be rebuilt. State has done some patch work up there, but evidently, it’s not holding. There needs to be some more catch basins installed and more crown to the road.”Public works director, David Lloyd, says the problem stems from poor drainage in the area.Maine Department of Transportaion spokesperson, Mark Lattie says that Lincoln is a candidate for funding, in the D.O.T.’s 2-year plan, but that nothing is definite. He says If the plan is approved, the earliest the repairs would be started would be this fall.While the work will admittedly take several months to complete, officials say, if approved the wait will be well worth it.”Lincoln is a service center. We have people coming from all over. And it just paints a really bad picture when people come in to town, and they have to ride over these rough roads. Why do they want to come back?”

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Inmates Restore Antique Hearse for Town of Knox

Updated 5 years ago

A piece of Knox’s history is well on its way to being restored to its original glory.Back in December, inmates at the Maine State Prison’s Industries Program began working on the town’s antique, horse-drawn hearse.Today, folks from the historical society paid a visit to the prison in Warren to check on the progress so far.Amy Erickson was there.The last time the folks from the Knox Historical Society saw the town’s antique hearse…it looked like this…Fast forward just three short months…here’s what it looks like now.”It was amazing! The transformation! It’s beautiful. I just love it.”The progress is thanks to the hard work of the inmates in the Maine State Prison’s Industries program.Since the prison built the original hearse in the late 1800s, the folks who run the industries program thought it was fitting that they restore it for the town.”They’re doing a wonderful job. from what I’ve seen so far. I’m really impressed.””It’s quite a challenge. We’re having a good time doing it. We love doing it.”Ron Harnish has put many hours into the project…it hasn’t been easy.”There’s a massive amount of hand sanding. We’ve probably got 60 hours on one side just hand sanding.””We still have a lot of sanding to do. Once we get that done, we’ll send it to the upholstery shop and have the inside all upholstered. Then we’ll bring it back and paint it.”Robert Welch wasn’t prepared to see such a drastic change in such a short amount of time.”It’s hard to believe some of these inmates have got the skills to do something like this. They’ve really got something behind them. I love it.””Remarkable. Remarkable. It’s hard to believe what a piece of history this is.”The town of Knox bought the horse-drawn hearse for three hundred dollars back in 1889.Present-day historical society members are hoping to be able to unveil the restored piece at the Brooks 4th of July parade this summer.”It’s awesome. I’m just really happy that we decided to do this.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Warren.>

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Armed Robbery

Updated 5 years ago

Police are investigating an armed robbery in Augusta Wednesday morning.It happened at the Maine Education Credit Union on South Chestnut Street around 9 a.m.Witnesses say the suspect was wearing a mask, had a silver gun, and handed a shopping bag to a clerk. He then made off with an undisclosed amount of money.Police are describing the suspect as 5’8” and 180 to 200lbs. Witnesses say the robber left with a Hannaford shopping bag full of cash. There have been six similar robberies in central maine in the past four months, none have been solved.

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Franco American Day

Updated 5 years ago

Wednesday is Franco-American Day in Maine.A daylong celebration will take place in Augusta to recognize Maine’s French heritage.Events include performances, featuring French music, a Franco-American menu in the Cross cafeteria, the presentation of colors by the Franco-American veterans, and appearances by dignitaries from France, Canada and the Province of Quebec.Also Wednesday: six people will be inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame.

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Rope Exchange

Updated 5 years ago

Maine fishermen are taking advantage of an offer of financial help before new regulations take hold regarding the type of rope that they use.On April 5th a change in regulations will require fishermen to change to sinking rope. It’s a move intended to protect endangered whales.Fishermen say sinking rope is much more expensive and will cost some of them up to $14,000 to replace it.The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation is holding rope exchanges this week to help offset the expense.Lobstermen can turn in their rope and get $1.40 per pound toward the purchase of sinking rope.More than 900,000 pounds of rope have been turned in since the exchanges began.Rope exchanges will be held in Rockland this Thursday and Friday.

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Washington County Emergency Shelter

Updated 5 years ago

Washington County will soon have a new regional emergency shelter.Calais officials and the Washington County Community College have formed a partnership to provide another one.They are using a $47,000 grant from homeland security to buy a generator for Saint Croix Hall. Then, it can be a designated Red Cross shelter.The Saint Croix Hall student center already has kitchen and shower facilities. “Part of the shelter is going to be accessible to pets because there’s a need to bring pets when you go to a shelter.” Said W.C.C.C. President William Cassidy. “We are merely enhancing what’s available to better protect and better serve our communities.”Officials plan to have everything ready for emergencies by the end of May.

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Down East Hospital Troubles

Updated 5 years ago

Down East Community Hospital in Machias has been found in non-compliance with rules connected to Medicare and Medicaid.A spokeswoman for Down East says the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services notified the hospital of the problem on Tuesday.The hospital’s internal quality and compliance teams are carefully reviewing the report and say they will fully cooperate with federal and state health officials.

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Maine Stimulus Push

Updated 5 years ago

Maine’s senate president is pushing for $60,000,000 to create jobs, weatherize homes, and build affordable housing.Senator Elizabeth Mitchell has taken a lead role in promoting green housing.On Tuesday, she released results of an economic impact study by the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.It found that over the next two years Senator Mitchell’s plan would create nearly $600,000,000 in construction related activity and create or maintain nearly 6000 jobs.The public hearing on the bill will be held Wednesday before the joint select committee on Maine’s energy future.

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A Touch-up for Tall Paul

Updated 5 years ago

The Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street has long been the most photographed site in Bangor. This year, a group of volunteers approached the city to make sure he stays camera ready.Every now and then the statue gets some fresh paint – but the Paul Bunyan Restoration Group says they want to give him the attention he deserves.”He’s not fancy – some people say he’s not even art,” says Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer.But this symbol of the city of Bangor sure has many admirers.”We’re just getting together and doing this because we love Paul Bunyan,” says Jeanne Savoy.She came before a city committee Tuesday, asking if volunteers could give Mr. Bunyan a bit of a facelift for the statue’s 50th birthday this year.”Three or four artists from this area will volunteer to paint him, also, hopefully, someone will step up and volunteer the paint,” she says.They also want to fix his sometimes leaky boots, patch up the fiberglass on his legs, and have an engineer check inside to see that he’s still structurally sound. “One of the great things about Paul is he’s got a great smile on his face,” Palmer says.The missing hook to Paul’s peavey tool will also be put back in place.The last time the statue had a touch-up was about 10-years ago – also by volunteers.”We had a good, successful effort the last time this was done by this approach, and I think by the nature of the group and the attitude of the group I anticipate a successful effort this time,” says Tracy Willette, director of Parks and Recreation.The committee recommended the city give volunteers the go-ahead, and allow them to accept donations.Savoy says they hope to start when the snow is gone.”So my grandchildren can look at him and smile every time they see him and say Paul Bunyan – you know, the city of Bangor. That’s where he lives,” Savoy says.”I hope, going forward, we would give a little more respect to that big guy down on Main Street,” Palmer says, “because he deserves it.”The volunteers are from all around the area, not just Bangor, and they encourage everyone who loves Paul Bunyan to get involved. If you’d like to volunteer or donate supplies, you can reach Jeanne Savoy through Da Vinci Signs, at 848-2234.

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Ethanol Free Fuel

Updated 5 years ago

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Lisa Marrache has submitted a bill requiring oil companies to make ethanol-free fuel an option at the pump in Maine.Ethanol has been an additive in gasoline sold in Maine since late last year, and there have been some complaints, mostly from boat owners and others with older engines.Marrache says she’d like to work with oil dealers and importers to come up with a solution that doesn’t require legislative action. She says her bill would require dealers to sell high-test gasoline that’s free of ethanol, giving buyers an ethanol-free option.

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Robbinston Fire

Updated 5 years ago

An overheated wood stove is believed to have been the cause of a house fire in Robbinston on Monday that forced a woman, her grandson and two dogs to drop from a second-story window to escape the flames.Fire Chief Robert Merrill said Norma Galligan and her 12-year-old grandson were upstairs in the home on Rt. 1 when they realized that the building was heating up and filling with smoke.Galligan, whose husband was at work, had to break an upstairs window to get the family to safety.A passer-by reported the fire, but the chief said the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.It appears that an overheated wood stove was the cause of the fire.

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National Starch Closing Plant

Updated 5 years ago

The largest employer in Island Falls is shutting down. The National Starch and Chemical Company was created by potato farmers in the 1950′s. The company announced on Tuesday that it is closing the Island Falls plant and will concentrate production at larger facilities that can be run more economically. Thirty Eight people will lose their jobs. The company says they will be eligible for severance.

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Linton Sentenced

Updated 5 years ago

An Oakland man, charged with killing a person during a drunk driving episode last October, will spend almost ten years behind bars.41-year-old Roger Linton the third was charged with vehicular manslaughter, aggravated operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.Authorities say Linton drove his truck while drunk and crossed the center line on route 17 in Chelsea, struck and killed 27-year-old James Carey, then drove away.Police were able to catch up with Linton after his truck broke down, two miles up the road.

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