Local News

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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Free Shuttle Service at UMaine

Joy Hollowell

Updated 5 years ago

It was the first day of school for students at many colleges and universities around the state, including the University of Maine in Orono.This year, there’s another option to the age-old aggravation of parking on campus.Joy Hollowell tells us about the “Black Bear Orono Express.”==============It looks like your typical bat bus, until you take a peak around back. This is the new Black Bear Orono Express and anyone can ride it, for free.”The shuttle will work Monday through Friday from 7 in the morning until 10…in the evening. And then on Saturday, it will be from noon time until 10 in the evening,” says Joe McNeil, Superintendent for Bat Community Connector.The first day of classes was also the first day for the new shuttle service. The bus makes half hour loops from campus to Pat’s Pizza on mill street, stopping at designated spots along the way. Students can save on gas money, but more importantly eliminate the stress of having to find a parking spot at school.”We drove around for a half hour the first day, looking for a parking space,” says Daniel Wendell, a freshman.”Well, it totally sucks, especially in the winter when there’s no place to park. You have to get here a good half hour before any of your classes,” says Sarah Hinman, a senior at UMaine.The idea of a free bus service has been shuttled around for years. Uncle Sam and the state helped seal the deal.”The total cost of operation is about $144,000 a year. The University of Maine and the town of Orono are splitting the deficit. The federal government gave us $90,000 over three years and the state of Maine Department of Transportation provided the two vehicles,” says McNeil.The bus is handicapped accessible, and even has a bike rack.Senior Jesse Meserhati rode the shuttle for the first time Monday morning.”I’m so very glad that there’s a shuttle so now I don’t have to drive everyday. I don’t like have to look for a spot. So, it’s really a good service and I’m really happy to have it,” he said.Joy Hollowell, WABI TV 5 News, Orono.===========The shuttle is not just for students.Folks travelling to and from sporting events and other activities on campus will also be able to take advantage of the free service.

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Another Maine Horse Dies of Triple-E

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

Health officials say a third horse in Maine has died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or Triple-E. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the horse was in the Penobscot County town of Stetson.Two other horses in Waldo County were euthanized after getting the virus earlier this month.None of the horses were vaccinated for the disease. Triple-e is transmitted through infected mosquitoes, which pick it up by feeding on infected birds….. State Health Director Dr. Dora Mills says there are no reports in Maine of people getting the infection, but she urges people and horse owners to take precautions against infected mosquitoes.

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Third time in Five Days a Working Smoke Detector Saves Lives

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

It was a middle of the night wakeup call that no one wants to hear, but it likely saved lives overnight Monday in Lincoln.The smoke alarm went off at the home of Sam Clay.He was sleeping when the detector went off and was able to escape the Mallet Road residence unharmed and call for help.Crews from Lincoln with mutual aid from Howland and Lee arrived at around one thirty and had the flames knocked down in about fifteen minutes time.But because of the time and the location of the fire if it wasn’t for the alarm going off this could have been a much different result.” Sam was awakened by the sound of the smoke detectors,” said Hervey Clay the Assistant Fire Chief in Lincoln. ” He immediately got up and noticed the fire inside the wall in Jonathan’s room and quickly got Jonathan out he and Jonathan left the trailer through the back door because the living room was also on fire and I can not stress the importance enough of having fire detectors in your house.”” I think I would have been able to get out in time but I’m not sure if I could have saved my son without it,” said the home owner Sam Clay.The home was extensively damaged.Clay did have insurance on the home, and they do have a place to stay, but they do expect to be in contact with the Red Cross.No word yet on a cause, the fire will be investigated by the state Fire Marshal’s office.

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School in Session for Maine Colleges and Universities

Updated 5 years ago

School is back in session at colleges and universities across the state.Classes begin today at the University of Maine campus in Orono.About 12,000 students are enrolled for the fall semester.The class of 2013 is down in student numbers from years past.School president Robert Kennedy says poor economic conditions have affected first year enrollment, but overall enrollment is up one percent, partly due to an improved retention rate.Husson University in Bangor is boasting a recording breaking enrollment this year, both in undergraduate and graduate classes.School officials credit the new healthcare programs, including the new pharmacy school.Husson University has already had to lease more than two dozen off-campus apartments as university residences, since the dorms are filled to capacity.

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Smoke Detector Saves Lives Again

Updated 5 years ago

For the third time in just five days, smoke alarms have saved the lives of Mainers whose homes caught fire.A father and his four year old son escaped their burning home in Lincoln early this morning.Authorities say the owner of the Millett-Mallett Road residence was sleeping when the smoke detector went off.Fire fighters from Lincoln as well as Howland and Lee arrived around 1:30 AM.They had the flames knocked down in about 15 minutes.We’re told the mobile home was extensively damaged.No word yet on a cause.The Fire Marshal’s Office will be on scene today, investigating a cause.On Sunday morning, smoke alarms woke up a homeowner in Carmel.That house was only slightly damaged from flames.And last Thursday morning, a Hermon mother and her toddler escaped their burning home, again thanks to working smoking detectors.

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Nice Weather Returns For Final Day Of Folk Festival

Updated 5 years ago

Thousands of music lovers packed the Bangor waterfront Sunday for the third and final day of the 2009 American Folk Festival. “Well midday Sunday we’re certainly looking forward to a great day today,” says heather Mccarthy Director of the Folk Festival, “the sun has come out, the crowds have come out, the performers are all here and the schedule is running you know we’re off to an amazing festival day.”While Saturday’s heavy rain did keep some people away, the folks who did show up managed to have a good time. “We had a lot of people here regardless,” says Mccarthy, “our tented venues were very full, our food vendors and craft vendors were happy with the business considering that it was rainy.” The folks in attendance had a good time despite the rain. “The rain didn’t manage to hold us back yesterday,” says Diane Jackman of Old Toen, Florida, “we had just as much fun so if next year it’s raining everybody should come down for it.” The rain on saturday did affect donations. “Our bucket brigade revenue was way reduced,” says Mccarthy, “we’re hoping we’re going to be able to make that up today because we really do need those funds to help the folk festival continue to be free of charge.”For Folk Festival die-hards, the weather didn’t seem to make a bit of difference. “I just think it’s the most amazing thing that this city could put on,” says Donald Skolfield from DeLeon Springs, Florida, “to bring in such diverse entertainment it’s absolutely amazing, it’s wonderful and to be free!!” “Music just has such a great energy,” Diane Jackman says, “and everyone is here to have a good time sharing great experiences and the artists obviously love to be here as well they put on some pretty phenomenal shows.” Mccarthy says this year has been a success. “It’s been an amazing year for the Folk Festival we had a lot of challenges this year including the weather, we really appreciate everyone who has come out to join us and especially those who were able to volunteer and support us and we hope to be able to do it again next year.”

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Windsor Fair Underway

Updated 5 years ago

One of Maine’s most popular fairs kicked off this weekend.The Windsor Fair has been a family favorite since 1888…it’s known for its agricultural focus.Fair organizers say they were thrilled that yesterday’s heavy rains were over and done with by the time the fair grounds opened Sunday morning.Some of the highlights of this week will include harness racing, the Maine Apple Queen Pageant and the annual Giant Pumpkin Contest.Fair President Tom Foster says he thinks folks come back year after year because it’s affordable family fun…and organizers have kept the focus on the agricultural events.The Windsor fair boasts the second largest attendance of any fair in Maine, second only to Fryeburg.For more information on the Windsor Fair, or to see a schedule of events, log on to www.windsorfair.com

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New Mount View School Complex Unveiled

Updated 5 years ago

After years of hard planning, the new Mount View School Complex in Thorndike is now officially open.The 40-million-dollar building was unveiled to the public Sunday at a dedication ceremony.The school will house grades K through 12.Classes start Tuesday.The planning for the building started more than ten years ago.S-A-D 3 Superintendent Joseph Mattos says the building is incredibly efficient, with radiant flooring and a wood chip furnace.All the classrooms are also equipped with “smart boards” instead of blackboards or white boards.”Smart boards” hook up to a computer and have touch screens, so they’re interactive.Mattos says it’ll take a while before students and teachers are comfortable using all the new technology, but feels confident that they’ll love it.

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State Health Officials Plan to Vaccinate Kids Against Swine Flu

Updated 5 years ago

As school starts in Maine this week, officials are planning to vaccinate students against the swine flu and educate them about an expected spike in the pandemic H1N1 virus.Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says schools are a transmission hub in anycommunity. She says if kids are vaccinated first, the transmission rate will be cut dramatically.Mills says the Maine CDC used federal stimulus money to buy more than 200-thousand doses of vaccine…that’s enough to give freeshots to all of Maine’s school children early this fall.

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Flags at Half Staff For Late Sen. Kennedy

Updated 5 years ago

Flags flew at half staff across Maine Sunday, to honor the late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.Governor John Baldacci ordered that U-S and State of Maine flags be lowered to half-staff until sunset in Kennedy’s memory.The Senator died last week at age 77, 15 months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.Baldacci’s order followed a proclamation by President Obama ordering flags lowered to half-staff at all federal buildings for the same time period.

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Folks Still Turn-out for Folk Festival Despite Gloomy Weather

Updated 5 years ago

The remnants of Hurricane Danny weren’t enough to keep music lovers away from the Bangor waterfront.The crowds continue to pour in to this year’s American Folk Festival.And at least one vendor says the rain is actually helping his sales.Meghan Hayward has the story.Believe it or not, the rainy weather wasn’t getting folk fest staffers down.” Well we design the festival assuming it’s raining and kind of have a sun alternative.”But the weather did force them to make some changes.” So the main changes we made are the scheduling of the acts so that where we decided to condense the schedule and not have the stages where the audiences wouldn’t be undecover we just moved the acts around so that we can go today with the stages that are undercover and tomorrow go back to the regular schedule.”Technical Director Dwain Winters says while there were less people due to the rain. The turnout was still decent.”But if you go to the venues that are open there full so clearly we’ve got a good piece of the audience of Maine back at the festival today.”One of the popular spots.Orrs Island Chowder House.They’re happy with the business they have been getting.’ Well as you can see we’ve got a line. And this is absolutely chowder weather. So I am very happy. This beats 90 degree weather and humid as far as I’m concerned.”Mary Glickman of Orono was one of those customers who waited in line for chowder.” Definitely the longest line we were surprised, how long does it take to scoop soup. We waited, I’m waiting to have my first bite my husband is over their scarfing it down.”Glickman just moved from Pennsylvania so this was her first time at the festival.And like many others, she decided to forget about the rain.” I mean it’s pretty cold but everyone seems to be upbeat. We’re having a great time and eating a lot of food.”

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Town of Milo Helps a Veteran Firefighter

Updated 5 years ago

Folks in Milo are rallying together to help a veteran firefighter.Mark Demers just recently learned the cancer in his lung has spread to his brain and he only has a matter of months to live.Demers has been a firefighter for twenty-two years and only missed one state firefighting convention.His last wish is to attend this year’s convention next month in Kennebunk.Folks in Milo are hosting a benefit dance tonight.Hoping to raise enough money to send Demers and his wife to the event.Steve DeWitt, a former Milo firefighter and Chief of Emergency and Medical Services in Etna says Demers is a stand-up guy.” Mark has instilled the compassion he’s had into all three of his boys and made that a commitment. So all three of his boys at one time have served for Milo. Milo needs to step up now and support their firefighter.”>Tickets to the dance are ten dollars.If you can’t make it but would still like to help.You can send donations to6 Pleasant Street P.O. BOX 218, Milo Maine 04463And put attention Mark Demers.

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Move-In Day at Husson University

Updated 5 years ago

Saturday’s weather made move-in day a challenge at colleges across the state.Students at Husson University moved into their dorms this weekend.Classes start Monday morning.After the moving was completed and most of the parents cleared out, students attended a welcome reception with President Bill Beardsley…then took buses to the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.This year, move-in day was more crowded than usual…thanks to the growth the University is experiencing.Officials are reporting record-breaking enrollment.

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