Local News

Cause of Brooksville Fire

Updated 5 years ago

The Fire Marshal’s office is blaming a house fire in brooksville last night on a bag of staining rags. they say the folks who live in the house on the Bagaduce Road had been staining all day.And a bag of rags they had placed under the porch spontaneous combust and caught on fire.Crews from seven area departments responded to the call about 7:30 last night.We’re told they were able to save a good portion of the house.

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Wet Weather Dampens American Folk Festival Attendance

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

As expected, Tropical Depression Danny put a damper on attendance over the weekend at the American Folk Festival in Bangor Organizers tell us they had 116-thousand visits during the three-day event. That’s less than last year’s 160-thousand visits.Saturday’s heavy rain was the worst weather the festival has experienced during its eight years on the Bangor Waterfront. Donations were still strong, despite the wash out. Organizers say the bucket brigade took in over $100,000.They’re hopeful that will be enough to keep the event free next year.

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$40 Million to Wind Project in Washington County

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

More than $40 million is on the way to a wind project in Washington County.Evergreen Wind Power is receiving $40,441,471 in stimulus money from the federal government. The money will help add 17 turbines to a wind farm on Stetson Mountain near Danforth. 38 turbines already generate power at that facility, which started commercial operations the first of the year.Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe say the grant is an investment in clean energy in Maine.

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COA Building Damaged During Hurricane Bill

Updated 5 years ago

Damage from Hurricane Bill is still being felt on the coast of Maine. A remote research facility on Mount Desert Rock was badly damaged during the storm. The Edward Blair Marine Research Center was pounded by Bill’s storm surges. The boathouse was completely destroyed. The ground floor of the outbuilding containing workshop and classroom space was also destroyed.While storm shutters on the keeper’s house were breached and there is evidence of of a six-foot-high tideline in the kitchen, the the damage to the main house does not appear structural. Before the storm’s arrival scientists and students had been evacuated.

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BIA Looks To Attract More Airlines

Updated 5 years ago

At the Bangor International Airport they’re trying to recruit new airlines to fly in and out of Bangor. That’s proving to be difficult according to Rebecca Hupp the Director at BIA. Tuesday she was one of the speakers at a media briefing that focused on national trends in the aviation industry, and how those trends directly impact the Bangor region. Hupp described the role of BIA as a business. “The biggest complaint I always hear is the price,” Hupp says, “the analogy I always try to use is we’re like the mall, we provide the infrastructure, we’re the landlord. The airlines are our tenants, the car rentals are our tenants, we don’t tell them what to charge or what to offer just like the mall doesn’t tell Macy’s what to offer.”Micheal Boyd, President of Boyd Consulting was also on hand to help explain why recruiting new airlines is not as easy as it may seem. “You know it’s not a case of going to the airline store,” Boyd says, “people say the airport should just go get some more air service, oh good I’ll go to Walmart and we’ll order some, it doesn’t work that way.” Boyd says Bangor’s population and the tough economy are factors not in BIA’s favor. “The real issue is you don’t have a lot of airlines out there that want to expand, they are contracting and the economics have changed drastically, so you’re holding your own, your air traffic is growing, but when you have people who say ‘let’s get some more air service out of here’ go talk to the airlines because it has nothing to do with this airport they’re doing everything they can to make it happen.” The fact is Bangor is bucking the national trend when it comes to air traffic. “Year to date when you look around this region there’s only 2 airports, 2 big airports, that have passengers up, one is Bangor the other is Portland,” says Boyd. Bangor’s air traffic is up 10.5%, compared with the national average which shows traffic down 9.4%. BIA does have a few things that make it attractive to potential airlines. It features one of the largest, and best maintained, runways on the east coast. The runway is nearly 2 miles long and its performance in bad weather is also a plus. A number of flights are diverted there during the winter months. “The reasons airlines come here for transit is we have excellent reliability in terms of weather,” says Hupp, “we hear about weather in New York and Boston, and yet Bangor is still open.”BIA is funded entirely through airport revenue, using no tax dollars at all. The revenue streams the airport counts on come from parking, concessions, and most importantly ground service. The ground service BIA provides has been instrumental in luring airlines such as Allegiant Airlines. Ground service is usually performed by the airlines themselves and at the airlines expense. Things such as ticket sale, baggage handling, de-icing, and refueling. Even providing ground service is not enough of an incentive to lure airlines like Southwest. Boyd says there simply isn’t enough traffic at BIA. “They need 400,000 people to make it work,” says Boyd, “400,000 people, in other words they would have to take every passenger out of here and double it just for themselves to make it work out here.” Boyd says the smallest plane in Southwest’s fleet seats 130 passengers. The folks here realize that bringing in more airlines brings in more people. BIA is hoping to be the gateway to to all the sites within driving distance of Bangor and that’s the key to stimulating the economy. “The more people you can get in here to visit Bar Harbor, the more people you who want to go up to Katahdin, that’s what this is all about. They’re the ones who spend money and have economic impact.”

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American Idol Tickets Up for Auction

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Fans of American Idol have a chance to be front and center at the next season finale of the show.Idol Judge Kara DioGuardi – who owns a home in Prospect Harbor – is donating two tickets and two backstage passes to be auctioned off tonight.The money raised will support the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium in Winter Harbor. Six sculptures from around the world are working on massive granite sculptures to be placed in six Downeast communities. Bids for the Idol tickets will be accepted at a silent auction and community pot luck that beings tonight at 5:30 at Hammond Hall in Winter Harbor.

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Fire Rips Through Brooksville Home

Updated 5 years ago

A fire in the coastal town of Brooksville had several area departments busy Monday night.The call came in a little after 7:30 Monday night.A residence on the Bagaduce Road was fully engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived.Seven departments responded to the scene, and were able to save what’s being termed as a “good portion” of the house.The Bagaduce Road was closed for a time because of the fire.No injuries were reported in relation to the fire. The Fire Marshal’s office will be on scene Tuesday morning to determine a cause.

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Accident In Brooks Sends Four to the Hospital

Updated 5 years ago

An accident Sunday night in Brooks sent four people to the hospital.Police say a van driven by Andrea Clifford of Brooks was hit at the intersection of Bog Road and Route 139 by a pick-up driven by John Pelletier of Unity.A 9-year-old girl in Clifford’s van was ejected. She ended up pinned under the van. Rescuers managed to lift the vehicle off the girl.She was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center. There has been no word yet on her condition.Another passenger in the van, a 13-year-old girl, was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. The driver, Andrea Clifford and two other children were not injured.The driver of the truck, John Pelletier and one of his passengers were also taken to the hospital.Police say another passenger in the pick-up fled from the scene.The accident remains under investigation.

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Wilkins Sentenced

Updated 5 years ago

A former member of the Republican Party has been sent to jail.64-year-old Connie Wilkins will spend the next 6-months at the Kennebec County Jail for embezzling $48,000.Wilkins took the money from the Republican Party when she was in charge of finances for the party.In addition to the jail time, she’ll have to pay back the money. “Even though she confessed and showed remorse she can’t undo the damage that she caused, and so it was very important for Justice Nivison of the court to send a message that if you steal these sums of money you’re going to go to jail for a significant amount of time,” Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle told TV5 Monday.Wilkins will also be on probation for three years.

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Schools Eye Flu Vaccinations

Updated 5 years ago

Several Maine schools are poised to begin flu vaccinations as soon as doses arrive, as early as this week.A Maine Education Department spokesperson says two schools in Aroostook County were planning to inoculate students on Tuesday, but more than 200,000 doses of flu vaccine purchased with federal stimulus money have not yet arrived. He says schools will begin their vaccination clinics in earnest over the next two to three weeks.The flu shots are separate from H1N1 swine flu vaccinations, which will arrive in Maine later in the season.Those shots will be given in two separate doses in October and November. All are available free of charge to students, but they won’t be forced to get them.

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FairPoint Denies Wrongdoing

Updated 5 years ago

FairPoint Communications is denying allegations it faked its readiness to take over the major phone networks serving Maine as well as Vermont and New Hampshire.Officials in the three states are investigating an anonymous email.It claims investigators were duped by a specially created computer program to make them think FairPoint was ready.The author of the email says he was present when the alleged incident occurred, during meetings in Atlanta.FairPoint denied the allegation in a filing Monday with the Vermont public service board.

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Back Tax Easement

Updated 5 years ago

Maine residents who owe back taxes to the state are getting a break, starting Tuesday.From September 1st through November, 90% of the penalties owed will be waived, while all of the tax and interest owed would need to be paid within the 90-day window.The state conceived the program as part of the budget to collect some of the more than $250,000,000 in overdue taxes, penalties, and interest owed the state by more than 70,000 taxpayers.The program is projected to bring in $9,000,000 to help balance the $5,800,000,000, two-year state budget.Democratic state senator Joe Perry of Bangor says a similar program in 2003 brought in $37,000,000.

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Almanac Predicts Cold

Updated 5 years ago

The 2010 edition of the Farmer’s Almanac goes on sale Tuesday, and Mainers may not like what its predicting for this winter.Numbing cold from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.Managing editor Sandi Duncan says it’s going to be an “ice cold sandwich,” with milder weather on the coasts.The Almanac issues forecasts based sunspots, planetary positions, and the effects of the moon.On the other hand, the National Weather Service is calling for a warmer-than-normal winter because of an el Nino weather system that has developed in the Pacific Ocean.

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Orono PD Goes Green

Updated 5 years ago

The Orono Police Department is saving some green, by going green.The town has recently added a hybrid to its fleet of cars.The vehicle is a 2010 Ford Fusion.The police department says the cost ended up being about the same as purchasing another Crown Victoria, when you factor in all the bells and whistles that come along with the regular cop cars.This hybrid is being used in the detective division, as well as for alcohol detail and other special patrols. So it only needed to be equipped with low profile lights and a radio. “The chief has been thinking for a few years that we needed to get something a little more fuel efficient,” Said Orono Police Captain Josh Ewing. “There’s no need for our detective to be driving one of the regular Crown Vics for the type of work he does. So, we went looking this year, and we located this car down in Augusta.”Captain Ewing says the hybrid actually tracks miles per gallon.Currently its averaging about 38 miles to the gallon.Compare that to 11 or 12 per gallon for the Crown Victorias, and the police department is already seeing a significant savings at the gas pump. The Orono Police Department is one of only a few law enforcement agencies in Maine using “green machines.” The Indian Island police department recently switched its entire fleet of patrol cars to hybrids too. And the University of Maine at Orono has six hybrid vehicles that they use for patrols as well as motor pools and parking enforcement.

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One Dead, Others Sick After Hepatitis “A” Outbreak

Updated 5 years ago

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says one person has died and at least five others have been sickened by an outbreak of hepatitis A on Swan’s Island. Dr. Dora Mills says Tuesday that all six victims stayed in the same island home, though not necessarily at the same time. She identified the victims as being from the Midwest and Middle Atlantic states. Mills says the source of hepatitis A is unclear. She says the home had a problem with its septic system and nearby clam flats were shut down as a precaution. Mills says one of the keys to preventing it is good hygiene. Hepatitis A is spread through unsanitary conditions, through saliva or fecal contamination. (AP)

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A Pink Path to the Cure

Updated 5 years ago

Golfers in Lincoln will be swinging clubs for a cure this September. The folks at Jato Highlands say it’s all thanks to a fluke in course design.”This all sprang from just looking at the course.” Says April Burnell, Event Ambassador. “It wasn’t thought out, it wasn’t schemed, it’s just something we drew out and got done and looked at it and said hey, it looks like a breast cancer ribbon.” adds Eric Bubay, General Manager of Jato Highlands.”With the contributions from Sherwin Williams and the town of Lincoln and just a ton of volunteers we’ve actually painted the path pink.” says Burnell.The cart path is 200 feet long and Rally for the Cure says it’s the only one of it’s kind.”One of the things you can see right beside our ribbon is our sand trap, and it’s shaped just like a heart. A ribbon and a heart side by side, what more could you want?” adds Heidi Stevens, Event Co- Ambassador.The pink path led to an idea — a golf tournament to raise awareness and benefit breast cancer research.”This one’s a little more special obviously. It’s getting the local people more involved where a lot of them can look at breast cancer and actually think of somebody, a family member that it may help.” says Dubay.Burnell adds, “I lost my own mother to breast cancer. Everyone who does something is gonna make a difference.” Burnell says folks at Jato Highlands hope the tournament grows.”We’re hoping to do well this year and do even better next year and the year after and the year after that. Every year we do raise money is one more life we can save.”The tournament will be held September 12. For more information you can visit their website, www.pinkpathtothecure.com.

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Rain Draws Festival Crowds Inside

Updated 5 years ago

The rain sent folks scattering from the American Folk Festival Saturday, and apparently steered them to some area businesses in record numbers.Nearly 10 thousand people headed to Hollywood Slots, and a record amount of money went into their machines.”The total coin-in, or the amount wagered, was about 6.1 million. Now, you realize, we don’t keep all that, we actually pay out about 92 percent of that amount back to our players,” says Jon Johnson, general manager, Hollywood Slots.He says Saturday’s numbers beat their opening day record, thanks in part to festival crowds put off by rain. A Camaro giveaway helped, too.”It was nuts. Around the car drawing time we had around 31-hundred people on the gaming floor. It was a riot. It was a lot of fun. Everyone was well-behaved and they had a terrific time,” Johnson says.Crowds also made their way to other attractions in town, like the Maine Discovery Museum and the Bangor Mall.”It looked like Christmas,” says James Gerety, general manager, Bangor Mall. “Cars were parked out to the Ring Road. All the lots were full, the shopping center was absolutely jumping. So for us, it was fantastic.””We had over 400 that came through the door and it was pretty much a steady stream of people,” says Laurie Claverie, at the Maine Discovery Museum. “The rain had everything to do with it, I think, and the amount of people in town for the Folk Festival.”The rain has already provided a bit of a boost to these businesses this summer, but in a down economy they say the weekend numbers were welcomed.”Some of our merchants have posted significant increases. Although we don’t have the hard numbers yet, certainly they are commenting they had the best Saturday they’ve had in a long time,” Gerety says.”When it rains, it really draws people in here,” Johnson says, “and we kind of like the rain.”

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Local Aviation Company Sold To Company from Wisconsin

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

In 1982, Telford Allen Junior founded a company that specialized in corporate air charters, passenger and cargo flights.In recent years, the Telford Group Incorporated has turned their focus to turbo prop and small jet overhaul along with parts support.Now, 27 years later, the company has been sold.It was announced Monday that Aircargo Carriers, based in Milwaukee, has acquired the company.In a news release, they say both companies have shown strong results in the last three years and expect to continue to perform well.

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Brewer Federal Credit Union Supplies Kids Going Back To School

Updated 5 years ago

Kids heading back to school in Brewer got a helping hand from a local credit union. Members and staff at the Brewer Federal Credit Union have been busy collecting school supplies, and today all the donated supplies were delivered to the State Street Elementary School.The folks at the credit union say the tough economy was the main reason for the project. According to the National Retail Federation’s latest surveys, families of students in grades K-12 will spend $548.72 on school merchandise. That’s a drop off of nearly 8%. Layaway sales at discount stores like K-Mart are back because financially strained shoppers are feeling the credit crunch.David Stanhope is the branch manager with the Brewer Federal Credit Union says the members and staff there are usually anxious to help out. “They’re fantastic,” syas Stanhope, “every event we do, be it our yard sale in the spring, food drives, angel trees at Christmas time, our members are amazing, they do nothing but support at every single one of our events.”

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Folk Festival Organizers Unsure If Event Will Remain Free

Updated 5 years ago

Let the tear down begin on the waterfront as the curtain has been drawn on the 2009 American Folk Festival. Festival Director Heather Mccarthy says this year’s event was a mixed bag. “It was highs and lows,” says Mccarthy, “had a couple of highs on Friday, and Sunday, but Saturday with the weather and the audience, boy Saturday was kind of a low as far as the weather goes.”Even with the soggy weather Saturday, organizers say donations were still strong. “Bucket brigade was incredibly generous,” says Mccarthy, “and we made over $100,000 this year in the bucket brigade despite the fact that Saturday was such a wash out. it’s really amazing.” Considering the weather Saturday, they did raise quite a bit, but is that enough to keep the event free next year? “We’re going to have to count the numbers and see what it looks like for next year,” Mccarthy says, “it’s going to be a discussion with our board of directors and some of our stake holders to see what happens next.”The one thing that makes this event run so smoothly every year is the tireless work of the volunteers, but what keeps them coming back? “Well it’s the fact that it’s free and open to the public,” says Linda Silvia, who came all the way from Owls Head, “and the community and cultural parts of it are really great.”Jack Kearse is the volunteer leader and he’s been here every year. “It’s just great people,” he says, “it’s a lot of fun and we enjoy the work.”A big part of Kearse’s team of volunteers is a group of inmates from the Charleston Correctional Facility. Anthony Murphy is one of the inmates. He has one year left on his sentence and he relishes the chance to give back. “If it’s anyway to give back to the community then I’m there for them,” Murphy says. Leo Gerry is the Correctional Officer assigned to this detail. He says he has never had a problem with any of the inmates and tells me this is a prized detail for them. “They work as a team away from the facility,” Gerry says, “for a short period of time they can get rid of the games and politics of being incarcerated.”Now that this year’s festival is in the books most of the volunteers here say the same thing: see you next year.

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