Local News

State Officials Examine Trees for Signs of Worrisome Pest

Updated 5 years ago

If you live on Bangor’s West Side, you may have noticed folks wandering the streets Thursday, studying the trees.They were looking for a species of beetle that experts say could seriously impact the Maine economy if it arrives here.Amy Erickson has the story.Believe it or not, this little pest can cause some very big problems.The Asian Longhorned Beetle has devastated communities across the country…the closest is Worcester, Massachusetts.Folks from the Maine Department of Agriculture are doing their best to keep the pest out of the Pine Tree State.”We want to try and find it quicker than they did in MA, so that we could control it easier.””If it did become established, we could lose a lot of our hardwood species.”Entomologist Karen Coluzzi led a team of folks who spent Thursday scouring Bangor’s West Side.They examined trees for signs of the beetle, like dime-sized holes in the tree’s bark.Bangor’s City Forester, Brian Dugas, also took part in the survey. He wants to be proactive, since chances are, the pest will eventually make its way to Maine.”This is an extremely serious pest. They say it’s going to be worse than the dutch elm disease and some of the other insects that have come into the country.””We have approximately 8,000 trees in the city that are susceptible to this pest…so there would be some major changes in how the city streets look if this pest is able to do what it’s done to the city of Worcester.”And it’s not just trees at stake.Maine’s economy could also suffer.”If it gets into the maple sugar producers around here, it could be devastating for those people.””The tourism industry could be impacted because a lot of the fall tourists come to look at the beautiful colors hardwoods give out in the fall.”Dugas says the best way to keep that from happening is to be on the lookout for the pests…now…”It probably is inevitable that it is going to make it up this way at some point. So we want to be proactive.”They surveyed 1000 trees. There were no definitive signs of the beetles. A few trees are labeled suspicious and will continue to be monitored.

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State Shutdown Planned for Friday

Updated 5 years ago

Just a reminder…many state government offices will be closed Friday, September 4th.It’s part of a cost-saving measure.Governor John Baldacci is asking residents to plan ahead for any services they may need from state agencies during the shutdown days.His best advice is that folks check with a specific state agency before seeking services there on Friday.The day is the third of ten closure days between July first and June 30-th.And as a side note, the state’s parks and historic sites *will* remain open…they will not be affected by the shutdown.Maine Forest service rangers will also remain on duty to provide law enforcement and forest protection in the woods.

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Second Arrest Made in Murder

Updated 5 years ago

A second arrest has been made in connection with the August eighth murder of Holly Boutilier of Old Town.Bangor Police arrested 27-year-old Justin Ptaszynski, described as a Bangor transient.Ptaszynski is charged with murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution.Thirty-four-year-old Colin Koehler of Bangor had previously been charged with murder in the case.He was indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury in August.According to court records, surveillance video from Hollywood Slots shows two men leaving the crime scene.In an interview with Bangor Police, Ptaszynski said he was the second subject in the surveillance video.Police says he told them he had no prior knowledge that koehler planned to kill Boutilier.A court affidavit states Ptaszynski says the three of them had gone on a walk along the Penobscot River when Koehler pulled out a sword.The police affidavit says Boutilier died from multiple stab wounds to her abdomen and a laceration to her neck.Ptaszynski is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday afternoon.

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Cookin’ With Cathy: Rice Pudding

Updated 5 years ago

Rice Pudding (Rizogalo) Recipe SummaryRecipe courtesy Cathy Speronis Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Yield: 4 lbs. 6 oz.6 cups milk1 cup water1 1/2 cups raw rice1/2 tsp. salt3 eggs1 1/2 cups sugar2 tsp. vanillaWhipped CreamCinnamon (optional)Combine milk and water in large saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat, do not boil. Add rice. Bring to a boil. Add salt and lower heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until rice is tender 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. When rice is cooked remove from heat. Slowly add about a cup of heated milk/rice mixture to eggs stirring constantly. Add heated egg mixture back to pan gradually, stirring and mixing well. Place pan back over low heat and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat. Pour rice pudding into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with whipped cream and cinnamon.

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Cookin’ With Cathy; Saving with Speronis: Easy Bacon

Updated 5 years ago

When comparing prices at the market check the unit price located on the shelf. It will have a per pound or per quantity price on the tag.Easy Store & Cook Bacon Recipe SummaryRecipe courtesy Cathy Speronis Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings1 lb. uncooked BaconPlastic WrapAluminum FoilAddress labelCookie sheetCooling RackTo store bacon:Lay plastic wrap on counter. Pull out uncooked bacon one piece at a time. Place onto plastic wrap and roll covering piece of bacon. Place another piece of bacon on top of covered piece. Continue rolling and covering pieces of bacon layering as you go along. When all of the bacon has been wrapped cut the plastic wrap. Tear off a piece of foil, enough to cover the plastic rolled bacon and cover the roll completely. Label and place in freezer. Bacon can be stored this way up to 3 months.To cook the bacon:Preheat oven to 375*. Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Place a cooling rack in center of sheet.Remove bacon from foil and unroll as many pieces as you need. Place the frozen bacon pieces on the cooling rack. Cook in center of oven for 15 – 20 minutes to desired doneness.

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Sebelius in Maine to Talk Healthcare

Updated 5 years ago

The secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be in Orono Thursday afternoon for a talk that will focus on health care.Kathleen Sebelius is meeting with members of local groups for a roundtable discussion.Healthcare providers, consumers, and folks from organizations like the Maine Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, and other invited guests are expected to be there.The event is not open to the public. It’s being put on by the Service Employees International Union and will take place at the University of Maine.

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Lewiston Standoff Ends

Updated 5 years ago

A police standoff in Lewiston ended early Thursday morning, more than 13 hours after a man barricaded himself inside an apartment.Authorities say the man, identified only as “Dan” was found dead inside the apartment around 1 am. He appeared to have shot himself.Police surrounded the building early Wednesday morning, after a man refused to come out.Shortly before 7 Wednesday night, police fired 20 rounds of tear gas inside the building.Meanwhile, negotiators continued to talk to the barricaded man inside, trying to persuade him to come out.The Red Cross has offered assistance to the building’s other resident.

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Trailer Lost in Newport Fire

Updated 5 years ago

A fire on the New Road in Newport destroyed a trailer Wednesday afternoon.Crews from three towns responded to the fire.Newport Fire Chief Jeff Chretien says they were a bit short handed, but still able to knock down the fire in shortly after they arrived.There was one person home when the fire started. “He said it looked like the bed caught on fire,” Chief Chretien told TV5. “He wasn’t completely sure. It did happen in the bedroom. He said he shook the bed a couple times, went into the bathroom, came out and the bedroom was fully involved. He said it wasn’t cigarettes, it smells like wiring, we’re not really sure.”Officials aren’t sure how many people live in the trailer.No one was hurt.The cause of the fire is now under investigation.

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Gardiner Mill Fire Ruled Arson

Updated 5 years ago

Investigators say a fire that swept through an abandoned paper mill in the central Maine town of Gardiner was intentionally set. Sgt. Ken Grimes who is with the State Fire Marshal’s office says they do not have any firm suspects, but adds they are following leads. He says it appears the fire was set in two separate parts of the building.Officials say about half of the old Gardiner Paperboard Mill on Water Street was razed by the fire, which was reported at around 3 a.m. Wednesday. Police found a man Wednesday hiding in the woods near the mill. They took him into custody. He has since been released.

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More Cuts to Education?

Updated 5 years ago

More cuts may be in store for education this school year.Education Commissioner Susan Gendron has warned superintendents they could be looking at a cuts in state funding as bad or even worse than the $27,000,000 in cuts ordered by Governor Baldacci last year.And unlike last year, there won’t be federal stimulus money to bail out the state and local schools.

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Two More Cases of Equine Encephalitis

Updated 5 years ago

Two more horses, one in Unity the other in Gorham, have died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, bringing the tally to five.There are another two suspected cases.No humans have been infected with the potentially fatal brain infection, but health officials are warning residents to be vigilant when it comes to mosquito.Just a reminder, there is also going to be a public meeting in Thorndike Thursday night at Mount View High School.Center for Disease Control (CDC) and agricultural officials will answer questions regarding Triple E. The meeting will begin at 6 pm.

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Blue Hill Fair Opens Thursday

Updated 5 years ago

A fair that usually signals the end of summer gets underway tomorrow. Gates open at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon for the Blue Hill Fair. The price of admission tomorrow is just $5.00 for adults, children under 12 get in free.Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the adult admission price goes up to $8.00 but children under 12 still get in free. Rides cost .75 cents per ticket, or 20 tickets for $13. Labor Day will be wristband day. Wristbands cost $20 and gets you unlimited access to all the rides.

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Blue Hill Mother Heading To Space Camp

Updated 5 years ago

A Blue Hill mother is about to fulfill her lifelong dream of finding out what it takes to be an astronaut.27-year-old Cassy Osgood is heading to the Adult Space Academy in Huntsville Alabama. She says she’s always wanted to be an astronaut ever since she was a child, now that dream is about to become reality.Osgood leaves for space camp in about 2 weeks. She says she’s been waiting for this moment her whole life “In our busy lives we have challenges everyday,” she says, “things that are thrown at us a lot of times we get so wrapped up in our life that we don’t make time to do the things we’ve always wanted to do and I’ve never lost sight of that.” Osgood works in human resources at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. Her husband Justin and 6-year-old daughter Kylie are behind her all the way.

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Employee Free Choice Act

Updated 5 years ago

Some local business owners came together today for a common cause.The business owners in the Bangor area, along with State Representative Andre Cushing, are urging congress to stop the Employee Free Choice Act.The legislation, which is pending, would make it easier for employees to form unions.Karl Ward is the President and CEO of Nickerson and O’Day out of Brewer.Ward says he is concerned with the idea of someone from away coming into his business and negotiating between management and employees.” When a unionization occurs it means everything is at arms length. My open door policy, anyone can come in and talk with me. That goes away.”Ward and the others say the act, also known as the card check plan, will only hurt small, Maine businesses.

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Folks in Maine Show their Support for Health Care Reform

Updated 5 years ago

”Healthcare Now” was the message some folks in Bangor delivered today.Dozens of mainers delivered 40,000 written notes to the members of Maine’s congressional delegation.Trying to urge them to support President Obama’s healthcare reform proposals.Karen Hover is a local doctor who handles several uninsured patients.She helped deliver the messages.” Well we have 47 million patients that are uninsured in the country and that’s way to many. People shouldn’t be falling through the cracks. What bothers me is that simples things don’t get treated. There are many diseases which are not that expensive to treat which are not getting taken care of because of the lack of insurance.”Similar events were also held in Lewiston and Caribou today.

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‘Mothball’ Smell Expected During Penobscot Cleanup

Updated 5 years ago

Prep work has started along the Bangor waterfront, for a project that’s been nearly a decade in the making.In the coming days, work will start in earnest to rid the water there of coal tar deposits, left over from the area’s industrial past.City engineer Jim Ring says the coal tar that’s in the river has been there a while.”It’s a product of 100 years or so of commercial activity, the gas plant, and some of the handling of the by-products that ended up in the river,” Ring says.Coal tar contaminants can be toxic during prolonged contact or if injested. “It’s enough of a risk that we feel and others feel it needs to be dealt with,” he says.For 11 years, the city has been working with a Wisconsin-based environmental consulting group to decide how to address it. In the coming days work starts on a two-phase project – first, dredging the river. “We’re going to be dredging up several thousand yards of materials to get it out of the river before we do the cap construction. That disturbance is going to release odors,” Ring says.”A smell that will be like asphalt and mothballs. It’ll be a heavy, oily smell,” says Eugene McLinn, a consultant for RMT, Inc.They say the 15 days of dredging could produce that smell. Potentially strong, it will be monitored to make sure it’s within safe levels.”And the tar we don’t remove here, stays within the cap,” Ring says.Then they plan to build a sloped roof of sorts underwater to cap off the contaminated area, with a vent to the side, out of the public way.”This is actually a cap that was developed for this project and we’ve applied for a patent for it,” McLinn says.They’ll be working on an area just more than an acre, which officials say has 98-percent of the contamination. It’s a 7-million dollar project, paid for mostly through settlement funds from companies a judge ruled was responsible. “I’m very glad we’re finally to this point,” Ring says.Construction should last around three months.The city is holding a public meeting Wednesday night to talk about the project and the odors expected during construction. The meeting starts at 6:30 at Bangor Waterfront Park, which is located at the corner of Front and Railroad streets.

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Donation Given to Popular Tourist Stop In Orrington

Updated 5 years ago

The budget of a popular tourist stop in Orrington is a bit bigger now, thanks to a donation from some summer visitors.As Meghan Hayward tells us, the guests were impressed with the history behind the Curran Homestead.” Well we’re excited about this. This is a small and struggling non-profit here in the region.”Irv Marsters treasurer of the Curran Homestead says the $2,000 being donated by the Maine Tourism Association will help the future of the homestead.He says the family farm is disappearing and with each lost farm, Maine loses another symbol of it’s unique culture.” It’s an opportunity to reconnect with generations and with school children that need to learn some of those characteristics.”The donation was made possible through a tour called “Barnstorming Maine,” which brings classic car enthusiasts from across the country to explore Maine.The event was started so the Maine Tourism Association could make a donation to a Maine cause.Chief Executive Officer of the association Vaughn Stinson says this year’s stop at the Curran Homestead made quite an impression on the classic car crews.” True to it’s nature as to what they would expect. They saw what a working farm and homestead would be like. The thing that impressed them the most was what we hear from all of our visitors. It really comes down to the people they meet when they’re in Maine visiting.”The folks at the Curran Homestead are a great example.” It’s exciting to be around them because there’s an energy level that spins off that it’s so easy to gravitate yourself toward them.”Right now the homestead has four major events a year and sees about 1,500 people come through.But Marsters envisions an even busier future.” We now have a director of education who has all kinds of new plans. And I think we’ll probably triple that next year in terms of school children.”

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Public Hearings Announced For Wind Power Demo Sites

Updated 5 years ago

The Maine Department of Conservation and the State Planning Office has announced 7 areas they’re looking at as possible sites to test a new deepwater technology for harnessing wind power, including one near Ellsworth.Supporters of this techonology say it has the potential to bring thousands of new jobs to the state. Jake Ward is the Assistant Vice President of Research and Economic Development at the University of Maine and he’s one of the people trying to bring the new technology of deep water offshore wind power to Maine. “So the process now is looking at the places that have deep enough water, are within state waters, have high enough winds and aren’t obviously in a shipping channel,” says Ward, “areas we can now focus on and the public meetings are to see what the public thinks about that.” The public meetings will take place in Ellsworth, Wiscasset, Machias, Rockport and Wells and will help to determine what other activities would be disrupted by the wind project. The hope is to have the project paid for with federal money according to Ward. “We have just submitted a proposal to the Department of Energy to build three prototypes and put them in the water and monitor them over time and do all the evaluation…and so that project, as far as the proposal to the Department of Energy stands is about 12 million dollars.”The Obama Administration has set a national goal of 20% wind energy by 2030, and Governor Baldacci wants Maine to host 3000 megawatts of wind energy by 2020, with at least 300 megawatts offshore. While $12 million is a hefty pricetag, Ward says the rewards could be worth it. “Well the ultimate impact is if we can generate locally renewable sustainable electricity and displace foreign oil the long term economic impact is one stabilization of energy prices.”There are only around 10 states that have deep enough water and strong enough winds to support this project. What they’re trying to figure out is whether or not this will make smart business sense for Maine. “Is it economically feasible, that’s part of what we’ve got to figure out,” says Ward, “it becomes more economically feasible the higher the price of oil goes, so really the upside for Maine is really to take the initiative so this happens and our folks get the jobs, the downfall is if they do it in Deleware and we miss the opportunity.”The contruction of the turbines could also provide work for local businesses according to Ward. “The other economic impact is if we can actually establish commercial farms out there and we’re talking about billions of dollars to construct these farms, a lot of the pieces and parts can be made in Maine, so we’re working with companies like Cianbro and Bath Iron Works.”That means the potential for new jobs in Maine. “There would be needs for people who service them, to maintain them, once you put them out there they’re out there for 20 years or so, there’s an ongoing industry to support that and we think it could be 15-20,000 jobs easily for a utility scale commercial farm.”The Public Meetings Schedule:September 9 Ellsworth, Ellsworth Holiday Inn 6:30-9:30September 15 Wiscasset, Wiscasset Community Center 6:30-9:30September 16 Machias, UMaine Machias Performing Arts Center 6:30-9:30September 22 Wells, Wells High School Auditorium 6:30-9:30September 29 Rockport, Samoset Report 6:30-9:30

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Bucksport Driver Arrested After High Speed Chase

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A 66-year-old man from Bucksport is under arrest – accused of stealing a car and leading police on a high speed chase that spanned three communities. Kent Hanson is charged with theft, speeding and driving to endanger, among other counts.Bucksport police say about 9 o’clock this morning a woman working in town noticed someone getting into her car and driving north on Route 15, toward Orrington.Police tried to pull over the driver, who took off, speeding up to 90 miles per hour. Authorities placde spike mats near the Orrington and Brewer town line, which blew out Hanson’s tires. His car glanced a telephone poll before it stopped. Hanson was arrested on South Main Street in Brewer and taken to the Hancock County jail.

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Gay Marriage Law to Go to Voters in November

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine election officials say gay marriagefoes have reached the threshold of petitions necessary to put thestate law on the November ballot. The gay marriage law was supposed to go into effect this month,but it was put on hold as the secretary of state’s office verifiedthe number of petitions. With the signatures validated, Gov. JohnBaldacci on Wednesday signed a formal proclamation putting thematter to a statewide vote on Nov. 3. The announcement came as no surprise. Gay marriage opponents needed the signatures of at least 55,087registered voters for the so-called People’s Veto, and they turnedin nearly 100,000 signatures. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlapsays officials stopped counting once they found that more than60,000 of the submitted signatures were valid. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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