Local News

Wyman’s Blueberry Fields Buzzing

Updated 5 years ago

The country’s largest wild blueberry grower had a good winter. Wyman’s of Maine says layers of snow kept their bushes well insulated.Now they’re hoping for a good harvest, and for that, they need to see lots of bees this month.”I did the math. It’s roughly 450 million bees we’re importing to work our fields,” says Nat Lindquist, vice president of operations for Jasper Wyman & Son.Without bees to pollinate their eight thousand growing acres, Wyman’s wouldn’t have blueberries. And since there aren’t enough native bees to cover their fields, they bring them in on trucks from other states.”They transport them here with a net to keep the bees in,” Lindquist says. “And they’ll water the trucks and the hives down as they transport them to keep the bees in.”Bee yards are set up throughout their fields for the ten thousand hives.”As the blossom develops and opens up, the bees have a sense of what to do and where to go, and they do a great job as long as mother nature gives us the good weather,” he says.Colony collapse disorder, which threatens bee populations, is still a big worry. “It hasn’t gone away. Nobody has truly defined what the real cause of it is. They’re still working on finding the cause.”It will take the imported bees three to four weeks to finish the job and get the plants ready for a good harvest.”We look very good right now. It’s very early to make any predictions and we won’t do any crop estimates until we’re fully pollinated,” Lindquist says.They’re hoping for good temperatures, some nice rain, and the same thing as everyone who makes a business off the land.”I’m just hoping,” he says, “there are no disastrous things that happen.”

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Johnny’s Selected Seeds Selects the Maine Farmland Trust

Updated 5 years ago

The employees of Johnny’s Selected Seeds presented a $40,000 donation to Maine Farmland Trust. Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide organization that works to keep working farms working.  Since its founding in 1999, the Trust has worked with over 100 farmers and helped preserve over 13,500 acres of Maine farmland. The Trust also runs Maine FarmLink, a program that helps aspiring farmers buy or lease land from retiring farmers.  In the past five years, FarmLink has make 42 connections—that’s another 42 farms that will likely continue for another generation.  The employees of Johnny’s Seeds have chosen Maine Farmland Trust as their principal charity for this year, in recognition of the great work the Trust is doing.   

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Blood Donors Needed

Updated 5 years ago

Memorial Day represents the unofficial start of summer, and for the American Red Cross it also brings a drop in blood donations. More people take vacations during the summer, and forget to give blood. That means the blood supply can get dangerously low.The folks at the Red Cross say they hope everyone will step forward, but they especially need donors with type O-negative blood.Trudy Darling, Account Executive for the Red Cross says it’s considered the universal blood type. “Type O negative we use for trauma victims, for newborn babies for premature babies because they’re being tested. Obviously their blood hasn’t been typed yet, so we have to use type O negative. Plus, type O neg can only receive type O neg. So if you are type O neg, please consider coming into the American Red Cross Donor Center and give your gift of life as soon as possible.”If you’d like to give blood, call 1-800-Give Life to schedule an appointment.The Bangor Donor Center at 900-B Hammond street is open Tuesday through Thursday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and every 1st and 3rd Saturday.

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Gay Marriage Ballot Question Drafted

Updated 5 years ago

Maine election officials have drafted the question that will appear on the state referendum ballot if opponents of the recently enacted same-sex marriage collect enough signatures. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Tuesday the question that will appear on petitions is as follows:”Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” Dunlap said the petitioners have until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to collect 55,087 signatures. His office then has 30 days to certify the signatures and determine whether to hold up the law until a statewide vote.

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Maine Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Bangor

Updated 5 years ago

It was a case of “He said she said.”That’s how the attorney for John Auclair desribed the sexual assault case that put him behind bars.She argued to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Bangor today that the lower courts made a mistake by not allowing the jury to hear certain statements.John Auclair of Bangor was convicted last fall of sexually assaulting a woman. Now his attorney is appealing that conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.”Exactly what he said and exactly what she said is of criminal importance.” Mandi Odier-Fink argues that the jury didn’t hear all the evidence it should have, specifically from Auclair’s girlfriend who died before the trial.She made statements to a private investigator about the victim, who happened to be her best friend. The justices questioned how much of what was said was relevant and admissable?”What would be an example does it impeach her credibility or does it go to the motive? Just give me an example of what inference they could draw that would be appropriate on the case. I think it would go to motive.”The defense argues that the victim made up the story about being raped.Then the prosecution presented the state’s argument.”It involved taking hair samples and pulling them.”Susan Pope read testimony from the trial describing the invasive examination undergone by the victim at the hospital after the assault.She argued that even if the witness in question would be alive, none of the statements made would have been admissable in the trial.Auclair is expected to spend four years behind bars.The justices heard three other cases in Bangor today. Their decisions are expected to take several weeks.

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DTV Clinic This Week in Bangor

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

The switch to digital television is less than a month away and the Federal Communications Commission is trying to help out viewers who still have questions about the transition. The FCC is hosting a number of DTV clinics in the next three-and-a-half weeks, including one in Bangor later this week.The clinics are designed to show folks how to hook up converter boxes, if they’re not receiving their signal through cable or satellite services. The clinic in Bangor is set for this Thursday at K-mart on Hogan Road. It will run from 4 in the afternoon to 8 o’clock that night. Anyone with questions about converter boxes or how to apply for government coupons for the boxes is welcome.

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Child Porn Suspect Appears in Court

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A man from Sangerville accused of possessing child pornography made his first court appearance yesterday in Dover-Foxcroft.Larry Daggett was arrested last month after an investigation by the State Police Computer Crimes Unit.Police say he was accessing images on the internet using a peer-to-peer network called Gnuetella.Daggett’s wife operated a child care facility in the Sangerville area. Officials say there’s no evidence any of the children at the daycare were victimized.Daggett did not enter a plea yesterday and his case was continued until June.He’s being held at the Piscataquis County Jail with bail set at 25-thousand dollars.

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Train Cars Carrying Sulfuric Acid Derail in Hermon

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Railroad officials say four cars carrying sulfuric acid and ethanol that are derailed in Hermon don’t pose a danger to the public because none of the liquid has leaked.The cars from Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway derailed about 8 o’clock yesterday morning behind LMS Transportation. That’s in an industrial park off Cold Brook Road in Hermon. John Schultz, the vice president of transportation with the railroad company, says crews continue to make repairs to get the cars back on track. Three of them contain sulfuric acid, one has ethanol. A hazardous materials team is on site, too, while workers off-load acid from two of the cars to make the job easier. The Hermon fire department is also on the scene as a precaution. Schultz says the train was on its way to customers in Searsport when the cars left the track. He says the cause is under investigation and the re-railing work should be done by tomorrow night.

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Contract Expires for Electrical Workers

Updated 5 years ago

Central Maine Power Company’s largest union is now working without a contract.The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents more than half of CMP’s 1,200 employees.A contract between the two expired at midnight Saturday.The union says negotiations continued until early Friday night and that no further bargaining sessions have been scheduled.Union members are being advised to continue reporting to work.

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Anthem Rate Hikes Denied

Updated 5 years ago

Maine’s superintendent of insurance has said no to higher prices being proposed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.Superintendent Mila Kofman announced the decision Monday night.The health insurance company wanted to raise its rates by an average of 18.5%.Kofman called that “excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”She’s suggesting a raise of nearly 11% instead.Anthem has about 12,000 policy holders in Maine.

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State Budget Passes Committee

Updated 5 years ago

Early Tuesday morning, state budget negotiators reached a compromise that passed unanimously, and is now on it’s way to the Senate.State workers have been spared from a pay cut.Budget negotiators decided to scrap a plan to impose a one-time 5% decrease in their salary.Instead, the appropriations committee has moved back to a plan that would rely on government shutdown days: 10 in each of the coming two years.It’s expected to save close to 14-million dollars.The revised package would also freeze merit and longevity pay, for additional savings of close to $12 million more.And, it would introduce employee contributions for health insurance.

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Walking Sticks

Updated 5 years ago

This Memorial Day, our country’s newest veterans will be among those honored by the Cole Land Transportation Museum in Bangor.In years past, the museum has given walking sticks to more than 3,800 veterans from WWII, the Korean war and the Vietnam war.This year, they’ll be handing out specially-designed walking sticks to Maine veterans who’ve served in the war on terrorism.Organizers say it’s nice to see veterans get the recognition they deserve.New Maine veterans who’ve served since 1990 are invited to pick up the walking sticks next Monday near TD Banknorth on Exchange St. before the start of the Memorial day parade.More than 500 are ready to go.

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Palmyra Man Pleads Guilty to 1995 Crime

Updated 5 years ago

A Palmyra man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a crime that happened 14 years ago .Steven Cutting entered the plea Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court.Prosecutors say back in April of 1995, Cutting met 36 year old William Greenwood in Portland. They say Cutting was giving Greenwood a ride home to Westbrook when they started to argue. After Cutting dropped him off in Portland, he shot Greenwood with a rifle.Prosecutors admit the crime never would have been solved, if Cutting had not confessed last year.He was originally charged with murder.The defense attorney says Cutting agreed to plead guilty manslaughter to give Greenwood’s family “closure”.Cutting will be sentenced in August. Prosecutors say they’ll ask for a 25 year prison term.

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Tuition Hike is Passed for UMaine System

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

Tuition will be going up again next year for full-time students in the UMaine system.Chancellor Richard Pattenaude told the Board of Trustees at their meeting in Bangor Monday that the system is cutting costs, but it isn’t enough.The Board then approved an almost six percent tuition hike, the smallest increase in seven years.”That was the first time that the University has engaged in looking beyond one year at a time and it certainly probably more evident now how critical that is that we do that,” said the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration Rebecca M. Wyke.After attempting to plan the financial future of the University of Maine System, the board’s belief is that considering the current fiscal standing of the state, the seven schools will likely have to succeed with what they have now, said Wyke.”We will do well to hang on to what we have for base appropriation or to have very little of it chipped away. They are not in a position to be offering us more. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask for more and it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight for more, but they are in a very difficult position to give us more.”The committee wants to keep tuition increases at six percent or less each year, knowing the financial situation of families in this state that send students to the schools.Is the UMaine System getting close to the breaking point for families to send their kids to college?”Yes,” said Wyke. “and I think we’re dangerously close to it and that’s also part of the work that we need to do through the task force The New Challenges and New Direction, is to understand where that breaking point is and to make sure that we don’t go over it because the degree that we go over it we are not meeting our mission and if our primary mission is to educate Maine people then we need to have a focus on what they can afford and how we can make it more affordable.”

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Frosty Gardens

Joy Hollowell

Updated 5 years ago

Gardeners are grumbling.Mother nature is throwing us a curve ball, with freezing temperatures expected in many areas of Maine Monday night.It could do a number on those hanging plants and annuals you just put in the ground.Joy Hollowell talks with a gardening guru to find out how to keep flowers frost-free.+++++++++++++++”The only thing that gardeners have the last of and we should practice the most, and that’s patience. We’re all antsy to plant for spring.”Bob Bangs of Windswept Gardens in Bangor says instead, gardeners need to follow the moon.”the farmers have always gone by that, you don’t plant until the full moon, and it’s always been Memorial Day weekend,” says Bob Bangs.That’s because Mother Nature usually has one more cold spell up her sleeve. And this season, it’s coming in the form of a frost advisory.”certain annuals will handle light frost better than others. The real susceptible ones are impatients, in your garden it’s tomato plants, peppers, and plants like that,” says Bob Bangs.Perrenials could also perish, especially those that were just planted.”if perrenials came from a heated green house and they haven’t had a chance to acclimate outdoors, they’re going to be more susceptible to a frost or freeze. Some of those would be hostas or astilbes, day lilies,” says Bangs.For those who did rush the season, Bob says there are some things you can do to protect your plants. Anything that’s portable should spend the night indoors.”things that are planted in the ground are a little bit more problematic. If you have old sheets or blankets, you can gently drape them over the top of the plant,” says Bangs.Bob advises folks to avoid plastic.”plastic, while it affords a certain degree of protection, if the plant foilage touches it, where it touches, there’s a good chance there’s going to be tissue damage,” says Bangs.And, believe it or not, Bob says watering your plants at peak frost time could actually protect them. He recommends hooking up a timer to your hose.”living in Maine, we love spring. And we always try to push the season. But mother nature always checks us in with reality,” says Bangs.==============Bob says most greenhouses in Maine and north of here start turning down the heat, to acclimate plants to the outdoor temperatures.But plants grown in states south of here have not yet had time to adjust, so they’ll be more susceptible to frost damage.

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Maine Crime Rates

Updated 5 years ago

(AP) – Crime in Maine inched up slightly in 2008, with rural crime going up nearly 7 percent and crime in urban areas edging down. According to figures released Monday by the Maine Department of Public Safety, the number of reported crimes rose 0.6 percent for the year. That compares with a 3.4 percent decline in 2007. Assaults, aggravated assaults and larcenies went up, and the homicide count of 31 hit the highest level since 1989. Robbery, burglary, auto theft, rape, arson and domestic violence were all down for the year.Full Report from the Department of Public Safety:Crime in Maine increased just over a half of a percent during 2008, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. The 2008 increase in crime was +0.6%. Maine saw a decrease during 2007 of -3.4%, and increases totaling 5% for the two previous years.   Public Safety Commissioner Anne H. Jordan said the index crimes that saw increases in 2008 were homicides, assaults (both aggravated and simple assaults) and theft.  All other categories went down including robbery, burglary, rape and domestic violence.  Jordan said, “Despite a recent rash in armed robberies and a number of suspicious deaths this year, Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country.  With the exception of homicide and assaults, Maine saw decreases of most other crimes last year.” Jordan said there were 31 homicides during 2008, compared to 21 homicides in 2007.  The 2008 homicide number was the highest in Maine since 1989.      Both aggravated and simple assaults increased for the second year in a row. Aggravated assaults during 2008 increased by +2.5% (813 cases in 2008 vs. 793 cases in 2007) and simple assaults increased by +2.7% (11,570 cases in 2008 vs. 11,264 cases in 2007). Aggravated assault involves serious bodily injury or the use of a dangerous weapon while simple assault does not. Robberies decreased for the second year in a row. In 2008, robberies declined by -4.9% (332 cases in 2008 vs. 349 cases in 2007) and robberies also went down nearly 9% in 2007. However robberies in the preceding five years had increased a total of +30.1%.  Burglaries in 2008 decreased -2.4% (6,516 in 2008 vs. 6,677 in 2007) and also dropped the year before.  Thefts increased in 2008 by +2.2% (24,582 thefts in 2008 vs. 24,060 thefts in 2007).    The Commissioner said reported rape-sexual assaults decreased by -5.1% in 2008 (373 case reported in 2008 vs. 393 cases reported in 2007). Domestic violence assaults also decreased by -8.% in 2008 (5,311 reported in 2008 vs. 5,771 in 2007). Jordan said last year’s rape and domestic violence numbers reversed three consecutive years of increases.             Jordan said, “Maine continues to work to reduce this violence against women and victims are more willing to report the crimes.” Jordan encouraged victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to contact police, as well as support groups. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number is 866-834-HELP or [ http://www.mcedv.org/ ]www.mcedv.org and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s phone number is 800-871-7741 or www[ http://www.mecasa.org/ ].mecasa.org  Arson saw a decrease (-22.6%) during 2008 (188 cases in 2008 vs. 243 cases in 2007). The value of the property damaged by arson fires also decreased ($3,107,823 during 2008 vs. $3,825,380 during 2007).    Motor vehicle thefts decreased by -6.9%in 2008 (1,173 cases in 2008 vs. 1,260 cases in 2007).  Overall crime in rural areas, patrolled by State Police and sheriff’s departments, showed an increase of +6.6% in 2008. Rural crimes going up in 2008 were aggravated assault (+19.8%), burglary (+8.1), larceny theft (+5.6%) and motor vehicle theft (+10.4%). Crimes going down in the rural areas were robbery (-48.3%), rape (-15.2%), arson (-60.7%), and simple assault (-1%). Crime in urban areas decreased by -0.7% in 2008.  Urban areas are made of communities with full time police departments. Urban crimes showing increases were larceny / theft (+1.5%) and simple assault (+3.8%). Urban crime that decreased during 2008 were rape (-2.5%), robbery (-0.9%), aggravated assault (-2.1%), burglary (-7.8%), motor vehicle theft (-14.8%), and arson (-9.9%).  The Uniform Crime Reporting Division (UCR) at the Maine Department of Public Safety tabulates the crime numbers each year. The numbers are based on reported crimes from local, county and state law enforcement agencies. The UCR statistics show that 34,008 crime index offenses were reported to police during 2008 compared to 33,796 during 2007 for a total crime rate increase of +0.6%.  Offenses comprising the crime index include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The 34,008 crimes reported in 2008 represent a crime rate of 25.8 offenses per 1,000 people within Maine, which is also the same crime rate for Maine in 2007. That number compares to the national crime rate of 37.5 offenses per 1,000 population in 2007. The 2008 national crime rate is not yet available.                                                                                                                        The total number of adults and juveniles arrested, summoned or cited by police decreased in 2008. Adult arrests dropped -1.2% (49,935 in 2008 vs. 50,531 in 2007) and juvenile arrests decreased by -3.5% during 2008 (6,842 in 2008 vs. 7,092 in 2007) Juvenile arrests have dropped in Maine in four of the past five years for a total of -29.4% for that five year period. The value of property stolen during 2008 was $27,898,529 compared to $27,453,736 in 2007. Police recovered $6,931,815 of stolen property during 2008 for a recovery rate of 24.8%.  The crime rate for violent crime in Maine for 2008 was one offense per 1,000 population compared to the national average of 4.7 per 1,000 for 2007. “Crime in Maine” is the annual publication of reported crime statistics from UCR. Past “Crime in Maine” numbers will be posted on the Department of Public Safety’s web page later in the summer at [ http://www.maine.gov/dps ]www.Maine.gov/dps . Questions about local trends should be directed to police chiefs and sheriffs for detailed local crime statistics.  5-Year (2004 – 2008) Maine Crime Summaries  2008 2007 2006 2005 2004Overall Crime +0.6% -3.4% +4.6% +0.4% -1.2%Rural Crime +6.6% -5.2% +1.9% +4.4% +3.1%Urban Crime -0.7% -3.2% +1.3% -0.5% -2.3%Aggravated Assault +2.5% +1.7% -5.6% +12.1% -2.4%Assault +2.7% +3.3% -1.1% +6.8% -5.7%Robbery -4.9% -8.9% +18.6% +11.8% 0%Burglary -2.4% -1.5% +7.9% -1.1% -3.4%Auto Theft -6.9% -6.0% -0.3% +3.0% -10%Larceny-Theft +2.2% -4.4% +4.2% +0.2% +0.1%Arson -22.6% +25.9% +9% -6.8% -1.1%Rape -5.1% +15.6% +5.6% +2.5% -10.5%Domestic Violence -8% +3.9% +1.7% +5.2% -3.2Murder 31 21 23 19 19Adult arrests -1.2% +1.8% +7% -1.2% +1.2%Juv. arrests -3.5% -8.7% +0.6% -9.6% -8.2%  

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Lubec Man Drowned Accidentally

Updated 5 years ago

Officials with the State Medical Examiner’s Office say a man from Lubec died accidentally by drowning.A friend reported Kristopher Fergerson missing on December 2nd. The friends were collecting periwinkles in the Lubec Channel when the drowning occurred.

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Arthritis Walk Held in Bangor

Updated 5 years ago

More than fifty walkers hit the streets of Bangor Sunday to raise awareness…and money…for arthritis.The annual arthritis walk kicked off at the Cohen School.Individuals and teams could choose to do a one or three mile walk.Walkers collected pledges, and all the proceeds will go the the arthritis foundation.Organizers say besides raising money, the walk is also a great way to let folks know just how prevalent arthritis is…in kids as well as adults.Walk Chairperson Robin Spencer Laurie also used the walk as a chance to ask folks to support a federal bill that would help those who suffer with arthrtis. “The bill, if it is passed, will help raise money for research and maybe get more arthritis programs out in the different states.” Said Laurie.The walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.27 million Americans are currently living with osteoarthritis. And 300,000 children have some form of juvenile arthritis.

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Patty’s Race Honors Memory, Raises Money

Updated 5 years ago

Family and friends of a young woman killed in a car crash in Lee gathered Sunday to honor her memory.Patty’s Race is an annual run/walk that kicks off at Lee Academy.Patty Corbin was a junior at the school when she died in 2002.Her family started the Race in her memory the following year.They donate the proceeds to a scholarship fund in Patty’s name…it’s presented each year to a graduating senior.Patty’s Dad, Mike Corbin, was impressed that even on a dreary day, close to 150 folks showed up to honor Patty and help raise money for the cause. “It brings together everybody who knew her…it’s primarily for her memory and secondarily to raise money for scholarship fundraising and we’ve had tremendous support in the past and this year as well.”Patty Corbin was an honor student at Lee Academy who was also on the cross country and ski teams.

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Tuition Hike Proposed at UMaine

Updated 5 years ago

Tuition could go up by as much as 6 percent at the University of Maine.University System will discuss the proposal Monday at a meeting.Spokesman John Diamond says tuition hikes are always a last resort…and that campuses are already making big budget cuts to try and avoid them.Umaine Orono is already planning to lay off 32 people.If the tuition increase is approved, UMaine students would pay about $7,600.

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