Mainers had their first sweet taste of spring Sunday.”Maine Maple Sunday” is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday in March.Syrup producers around the state open up their operations to the public, so folks can see what goes into making pure syrup.At Nutkin Knoll Farm in Newburgh, owners Len and Nancy Price had packed crowds all day.They offered tours of the sugarbush, syrup making demonstrations in the sugar shack, and free samples of their syrup, served over vanilla ice cream.< "many people come and say they had no idea how much work, time and money is put into making pure maple syrup. They really appreciate having the chance to be able to see that and for the time we put in to show them that.">This is the fifteenth year the Price family has opened up their farm to the public for Maine Maple Sunday.Len Price says he’s hoping this season will yield more syrup…since production across the state was down the past two years.
Police say a husband and wife from Lincoln passed thousands of dollars worth of bad checks all over Penobscot County over the past few weeks.27-year-old Samuel Thompson and his wife, 29-year-old Jennifer Thompson, are charged with Class C forgery and negotiating worthless instruments.According to police, the two wrote the checks to businesses in seven different towns from Lincoln to Bangor.A movie store on Main Street in Lincoln received several bad checks from the Thompsons, according to the store manager.Alan Dill of Movie America says the couple wrote five hundred forty four dollars worth of checks to the store since the beginning of the month.Dill says every one of the checks bounced.< "I WAS BORN IN THIS TOWN AND I'M PROUD OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE PEOPLE IN IT. AND WE DIDN'T NEED THESE PREDATORS OUT OF THE STREET GOING BUSINESS TO BUSINESS DOING THIS. WE WERE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET THEM OFF THE STREET. I'M GLAD TO SEE SOMETHING'S FINALLY BEING DONE ON THIS WHOLE THING.">Police searched the home and say they recovered several of the items that had been purchased with the bad checks.Some of those items have been returned to the stores.Officers want to hear from other business owners who may have taken checks from the couple recently.Anyone with information is asked to contact Lincoln Police.
A woman from Searsport was taken to the hospital Sunday after crashing her car into a store in Bangor.It happened just after noon.According to police, the woman was driving through the parking lot of the Parkade Shopping Center on Stillwater Ave. when she had some sort of medical issue.Her car went over a curb, hit a parked car and a tree and crashed into the building where the Dress Barn is located.She was taken to the hospital for her undisclosed medical issue, but we’re told she was not injured in the crash.Maintenance crews say it’ll take about $10,000 to repair the damage to the store.No one else was injured.
High season for motorcycle riders is nearly here. Again this year, lawmakers in the state are considering mandatory helmet laws for riders.They’ll be looking at two bills: a universal helmet law, and a law that would affect just riders under 18 – which has received strong support.”Oh my god, there’s nothing like it, you’re just free,” says Sheryl Rackliff, of Rockland, of riding the open road.But, whether motorcycle riders should be free to not wear a helmet is up for debate again in Augusta. “I think we have to look realistically and honestly at the medical impact and the financial impact that lack of helmets have in the state of Maine,” says Representative Emily Cain (D-Orono).She’s sponsoring a bill that would require helmets for riders under 18. Laws now target only those under 15 and those who’ve had their licenses less than a year. Her bill is strongly supported by the Transportation Committee.”I’m hoping they can see my bill as a middle ground,” she says. “As a place to start to increase motorcycle helmet wearing.”Another, less popular, bill would make helmets mandatory for all riders.John Hanson, past director of a Harley owners group, says that decision should be left to the operator, “before forcing them to wear a helmet that might restrict their vision, which might limit their hearing.””I mean, we’re old enough to make our own decisions,” Rackliff says.Groups representing riders say instead of regulating helmets, laws should focus on preventing accidents.”They’re taking up a bill, for example,” Hanson says, “that would require signage to alert motorcyclists that rumble strips are in the center lanes of some highways in the state of Maine. And we think that’s the proper course to follow.”The bills should come before lawmakers in the next couple of weeks.”My father was in a motorcycle accident when he was in his twenties, where he was thrown from his bike. He always said that he was only able to survive…because he wore a helmet,” Rep. Cain says.”I’m very appreciative of the fact that in our country,” Hanson says, “I have the right to choose and make that decision.”
A family from Topsham spent 8 hours waiting at the Bangor International Airport, but they were happy to do it.Jennifer Brown and her family drove up from southern maine to welcome their cousin, Jared Justice.Justice has been serving with the First Maintenance Battalion MP Company in Iraq for the past 8 months.Justice’s plane was supposed to come in around four AM.But the flight was delayed, so the family had to wait until 1:15 this afternoon.”no matter what, we were gonna be here. even if it was to see him for five minutes. we just want to give him a hug, and tell him how proud we are, and just to see all the guys that he went there with.”The long wait was well worth it, when the family spotted a familiar face in the crowd of uniforms.Justice wasn’t the only man with maine ties on the flight…Nida and William Lowery from Orono were on hand to welcome their grandson Ian back to the states.Bothers Parker and Daniel Michaels of Corinth thought their Uncle Keith Nash, might be on the flight.And even though he didn’t make it home on this particular flight, the boys stayed to greet and thank the troops.
Quick work by crews kept fire from destroying a house in Bangor today…The 911 call came in around 4 p-m that there was a fire in the bedroom of a home on outer Essex Street…By the time crews arrived, heavy fire was showing from two windows…Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack, and although the flames damaged the second floor and the attack, they stopped it there…Assistant Bangor Fire Chief Darrell Cyr says the fire presented some challenges, but crews did an excellent job…< "it's outside the hydrant district, but this was an all hands, so we had tankers coming in, which worked very well."bite 1: "the amount of fire we had when we showed up, they did a really good job of fighting the fire and knocking it down.">Tankers were called in from Glenburn and the Air National Guard Base…Cyr says the family won’t be able to stay in the home for a while because of the damage to the second story, but they *do* have a place to stay.No word yet on what caused the fire.
More than 500 talented high school students were in Bangor today, showing off their stuff…The Maine Drama Festival State Finals for Class A were held at Bangor High School…Casts from nine different schools put on short plays for a panel of judges…They were then critiqued on their performance…There’s more to the festival than competition, though…< "it's more of a festival. A festival is something where you celebrate the arts. People from other schools get to see other plays, meet other people. It's a celebration of a very important component of maine education.">The winners from today’s competition will go on to represent Maine at the New England Drama Festival in Connecticut next month.
IRS Staffers helped folks around the state file their taxes today.Three IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers opened their doors to provide free tax preparation, answer questions and arrange payment schedules.Folks who met the income guidelines were eligigble for the free preparation…IRS officials say the poor economy has more folks out of work and in need of free tax help…so they’re seeing more people than usual…They say they’re also seeing more folks needing to make payment plans for money they owe the IRS…Experts are trying to get the word out that because of lost jobs or reduced income, many people may be eligible for certain tax credits for the first time. They say that’s one more reason to get professional help when preparing your return this year.
A man from Portland has pleaded guilty to bringing illegal aliens from Massachusetts to Maine to help them get driver’s licenses.64-year-old Carlos Da Silva is a native of Brazil who now lives in Portland….he’s been a US citizen for more than 30 years.According to prosecutors, Da Silva was paid to help more than two dozen illegal aliens get licenses.Prosecutors said Da Silva’s involvement included helping aliens get a mailbox to use as a Maine residence on their license applications and for correspondence with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Court documents are providing details into the death of a 29-year-old Belfast man whose wife is charged with his murder.An affidavit just released says Amber Cummings shot James Cummings while he was sleeping in his bed on December 9th…According to the document, Cummings admitted to State Police that she shot her husband twice in the head while he slept….The documents also indicate that James Cummings was a collector of child pornography.A search warrant affidavit says a computer removed from the home contained digital movie clips and images depicting childpornography.Until recently, those court documents were impounded.
For the second time in three years, cheerleaders from Hermon High School are making the trip to New Englands along with four other Eastern Maine schools.The girls will be competing at the University of New Hampshire against other top teams for a coveted spot at the National Cheerleading Competition.Excitement was in the air as the Hermon High cheerleaders boarded the bus for New Englands.”It’s basically where the top three teams from Maine at least go down and compete against the other New England Teams. It’s a huge accomplishment because not many teams get to do it.” Says Rachel Taggart, a senior and one of the team captains.”We get to go down and represent Maine in the competition and that’s a big deal.” Cortney Hawes, a junior explains.The Hermon girls had a season sweep this year – winning all their competitions. Head coach, Lisa Pratt says, “It was amazing because the girls, each week, we saw them achieve more and more and more for them to be able to win all four was really great.”They say a lot of hard work has gone into being number one in the state.”We had to do two, three hour practices everyday. We had to win or be in the top three for states.” says Taggart.But for these girls, it’s not all about jumps, stunts, and dancing. Beside a trophy, they’re looking forward to bringing home some great memories.Kayla Pelletier, a senior and captains says, “We’re going shopping today, so that’s gonna be pretty fun, but getting to spend more time with the girls because this is my last year and just being able to have this one last experience with them is gonna be awesome.”Their hard work got them into the competition, but they say they owe a lot to those who supported them along the way. “Thank you to our school, our principal, for letting us go down here, the school board, the community, for helping us get to where we are, and especially our coaches” says Pelletier.Joining the girls from Hermon at New Englands will be teams from John Bapst, Waterville, Bangor, and Jonesport Beals.
Health officials with the University of Maine and the Maine CDC say there has been a confirmed case of tuberculosis on the Orono campus.Dean of Students, Robert Dana, issued an announcement on the University’s website this morning, outlining precautions for folks who might have been exposed to the infected person.According to the CDC, TB can spread through the air, when an infected person coughs.But it requires prolonged close contact.University officials believe the number of people exposed is very small.The school is working with health officials to contact those who might have been exposed, asking them to be tested within the next two days.Details are available on the web either through the University at WWW.UMAINE.EDU, or through the CDS’s sight, WWW.MAINEPUBLICHEALTH.GOV.
Spring has begun, and if you need a little more inspiration to dream of warmer weather, you might want head to the Bangor Auditorium this week-end.The 24th annual Bangor Boating and Marine Show opened Friday afternoon.It features all types of power and sail boats, deck systems, boating accessories, and more.You’ll find the latest boat models, and this year, you’ll also find deals on last year’s stock.”A boat show is always a good time to come out, especially on the first day of spring, and dream about ice out and warmer weather, and who knows, you talk to some of the dealers, you might find a way that you could actually get yourself into that new boat.” says Mike Dyer, Director of Bass Park.For the kids, they have Ed Morris’ Comedy Magic Show and Strolling Balloon Zoo.The show hours are: Friday, March 20 2:00 pm-8:00 pm, Saturday, March 21 10:00 am-8:00 pm, Sunday, March 22 11:00 am-4:00 pm.Admission is five dollars for adults, kids under twelve are free.
In Bangor it’s as sure a sign of spring as robins basking in the sun.Gifford’s ice cream is open for the season…and it’s celebrating by giving away ice cream.Cori Skall has the story.”Looks like we both survived the winter?””Oh, I come here quite often. Why? What brings you back to Gifford’s? Well, it’s good ice cream!”It’s a sure fire sign that spring is here.”I thought I’d get a cone, since this is the first day that Gifford’s is opening up.”Dozens of folks lined up just after noon, to get their first taste of the season.”Tastes like Spring.””They’ve gone exactly a whole winter without ice cream, so they’re ready! And it could be 17 degrees and they’re going to be out there waiting for ice cream!””I’m getting ice cream! What kind? Vanilla with sprinkles!””What do you get typically? Orange Pineapple. And who’s that for? That’s for the Mrs. What does she get? Almond Crunch!””I’m getting a purple kind.”This is Brittany Madden’s 8th season with Gifford’s.”Last summer, I was pregnant while I was working, so that was exciting! And it’s nice not to be working with my belly in the way now.”And this is Gifford’s newest addition!As they do on every opening day, Gifford’s will give out free cones.”It’s just something we do for our customers to welcome them back and it brings a lot of excitement.Manager Rhonda Charette said they gave out almost 6 hundred last year!”Plain cones right?” And in case you’ve forgotten over the long winter months, besides your appetite, there’s one thing you want to remember when coming to Gifford’s.”We don’t take debit or credit cards. We only take cash or check. But there is an ATM nearby, right? Yes, right next door and across the street.””You need a lot of napkins to eat Gifford’s, huh? Mmm-hmm.”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 news.
A man from Wilton has been indicted for manslaughter in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son.Police say 25-year-old David Cook was babysitting Matteo Hanson when the boy died on November 29th.According to police documents, the cause of death was multiple blunt-force trauma, consistent with severe punching or kicking.In an autopsy report, the medical examiner says he also found old injuries on the child, including rib and skull fractures.Police say Cook told them the boy’s 3-year-old sister pushed him down the stairs, causing his death.
Folks at the UPS store in Bangor are trying to help unemployed Mainers find work.Store staffers have joined a UPS promotion to allow anyone who’s unemployed to fax resumes anywhere in the United States…for free.Owner Richard Marston says a UPS store owner from Massachusetts came up with the idea as a way to help get folks back to work.So starting today, he’ll fax resumes anywhere in the country for free… for those looking for employment.< "It's important to help anyone that's having a hard time. These folks are what make us go...they're our customers and we just want to provide what we can. It's a small thing but a useful thing.">Marston’s UPS store is located on Broadway in Bangor.
A man from Orono tried to escape the police by jumping from a second story window today…while in handcuffs…It happened at the Orchard Hills apartments…Police went to the man’s home to do a bail check…after searching the residence, they found he was in violation of his felony bail conditions…They arrested and handcuffed him…that’s when the trouble started.< "He happened to be seated near the living room area with another officer...on a stool. He managed to get up from the stool, run through the living room and dove out the second story window. We then pursued him through the parking lot where we caught up with him again.">Police did not release the man’s name.He was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with cuts on his hands.Police say he’ll also undergo a psychiatric evaluation.He’s charged with violation of bail conditions…but other charges could be added.
Expect to pay a little more for maple syrup this year.A couple of poor seasons as well as an increase in demand globally have driven up the price.As Cori Skall explains, a local maple producer says it has spurred a rise in the number of folks making their own syrup this year.”Retail prices keep rising, but also, the cost of production keeps rising, so we’re not getting rich, as it may seem.”Bob Moore owns Bob’s Sugarhouse in Dover-Foxcroft.He says a couple of bad seasons, coupled with the depletion of the canadian surplus, has forced the price of maple syrup to go up.”2-3 years of bad seasons, bad production, low production, and the increase in….international demand, that surplus has been wiped out.””With the exception of last year, Maine was the #2 producer in the United States…of course Canada is the world’s largest producer and Vermont being the number 1. But last year, the bad season we had, Maine dropped to #3. But there’s no problem…we will be back to #2, in a couple of months.”Moore says with a little help from mother nature, the prices could come down in a few years.”Several good seasons in a row, and get the surplus built back up, and probably the price would come down.””Ideal weather would be in the 20′s nights, and everything would freeze up. And then warm up in the days, low 40′s, without wind and lots of sun.”And Moore says one thing that’s come out of the higher prices of syrup, folks branching out to make their own.”The economy and the prices today, we have seen more back-yarders starting this year, to make their own.”But Moore says that the rise in price hasn’t stopped people from buying this year.”The demand is still there. There’s still people buying syrup and we’ve been able to see all we can produce, which is good.”He says he’s looking forward to this weekend’s Maine Maple Sunday, and he hopes this season will be better than last years.”Just hope completely in the power of the Weather Man…to get us some good weather and let it last for a month…and we’d be very happy.”Maine Maple Sunday is this Sunday, which means many sugar shacks will be open to the public, with all sorts of maple goodies to sample.Bob’s Sugarhouse will be taking part in the annual Maple breakfast at the Dover Foxcroft firehouse this sunday from 7 to 10.
The economic slump is taking a huge toll on a lot of businesses, but there’s a new business in Bucksport that might have perfect timing.Susan Farley explains.”You always need appliances. You’ve got to have them.”Ralph McAvoy and his family started their appliance business in their garage in Searsport. It became so popular they recently opened RKT Enterprises in Bucksport.”It started out as a scrap business. We thought we were buying scrap stuff but it ended up being better than scrap and it was too bad to throw it away.”The Main Street business specializes in appliances that are new, some are slightly damaged.”Some you can’t tell the scratch or the dent is on the back or on the bottom.”Everything comes from a big store that no longer wants it.”If the box is damaged too much they’ll discard it because they don’t want to even open it to see if, how bad it’s broken or if it’s really broken.””It isn’t like it’s old or used or anything. Some of it’s discontinued. They upgrade the product and they just get rid of what’s left on the floor at the end of the year.””We get lots of display models. When they are on the floor they get a scratch or something. They just don’t sell them.”It isn’t all appliances. You can find everything from generators and ladders to gas grills and water heaters.”When the snow finally disappears we have lawn mowers and all the lawn care stuff too.”Ralph says the tough economy is making their shop very attractive to lots of buyers.”It still looks new and the prices on it are cheap. They usually sell it for a third of what it costs. A lot of people buy it so they can save money.”The price isn’t the only way to save money. They’ll even take away the old appliance without charging a disposal fee.”With the economy the way it is it’s definitely a good thing.”RKT Enterprises is located on Main Street in the same building as the Bucksport House of Pizza.
It’s now official: there is no longer a Father Curran Bridge in Augusta.On Thursday, Governor Baldacci signed into law a bill to rename the bridge.It was originally named for a roman catholic priest. But after Father Curran died, he was accused of sexual abuse. A person who says he was one of Curran’s victims thanked the state Thursday for the name change. “It’s very important.” Said Bob Dupuis. “I think it sends a clear message that we’re very serious in preventing things like this and what happened to me from ever happening again.” “It shows, I think, that we stand behind and honor the victims that have come forward, stepped forward to let us know and we won’t stand for that in our community.” Said lawmaker Patsy Crockett, a supporter of the bill to change the name.The new name is the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western.Calumet means “peace pipe.”