Federal, state and local tax dollars are being used to buy products made in sweatshops, according to a new report released today by SweatFree Communities. But, the report says, more local and state governments are adopting policies that would require government contractors to meet a set of ethical standards, and advocates are calling on elected officials to join the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium to end tax dollar support for sweatshops.Â Maine officials and advocates are part of the Consortium steering committee.Report findings include child labor, obligatory pregnancy tests, firing and blacklisting of workers who support a union, poverty wages, and forced and unpaid overtime. Subsidizing Sweatshops II: How our tax dollars can foster worker rights and economic recovery rather than fuel the race to the bottom follows the groundbreaking 2008 first report.Â It is based on in-depth interviews with over 100 workers in 8 factories spanning five countries who produce uniforms for public employees such as police officers and fire fighters for nine major uniform brands. Four of the case studies are newly-researched factories, while four look at what improvements have been made in factories researched for the 2008 report.Workers at Propperâ€™s Suprema Manufacturing factory in the Dominican Republic make pants for the Maine State Police.Â The workers report serious concerns about low wages, excessive production quotas, and an unhealthy working environment.Â One worker was fired just days after she was interviewed for this report.Â According to investigators, Sonia Altagracia Shals was fired for associating with members of the legally registered union at the company.Â Sonia is a single mother with four children, who had worked 7 years at the Suprema factory.â€œMaineâ€™s Code of Conduct for apparel suppliers does not allow freedom of association violations where workers have that right and we take very seriously credible reports about labor violations in supplier factories,â€ Maine Purchasing Director Betty Lamoreau said.Â â€œWe have asked our vendor to request that the company investigate the firing of Sonia Altagracia Schals and to reinstate her with full back pay if there is evidence the company fired her in retaliation for supporting the union or for participating in the research project.â€Â Lamoreau added, â€œWe seek to work with vendors to rectify labor violations and ensure working conditions improve rather than terminating contracts.â€Elected officials, fair trade advocates, clergy, and labor leaders gathered today at the State House in Augusta and at U.S. Post Offices in at least 17 U.S. cities to release Subsidizing Sweatshops II and call for end to taxpayer support for sweatshops.â€œWe have a choice: we can use our tax dollars to elevate conditions for working people, or our tax dollars can fuel the race to the bottom that has cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers their jobs and led to inhumane sweatshop conditions around the world,â€ said Bjorn Claeson, Executive Director of SweatFree Communities and author of the report. â€œBy joining the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, our cities and states can make a real difference in the lives of working people while helping to create a more sustainable economy.â€Maine is one of the leaders of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium.Â â€œI am pleased that Maine has joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, and proud of Maineâ€™s continuing leadership in sweatshop-free purchasing,â€ said Lamoreau.Â Other states and cities that have committed to join the Consortium include the State of Pennsylvania: the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: the City of Portland, Oregon: and the City of Olympia, Washington.Download the report at www.sweatfree.org/subsidizingSweatFree Communities coordinates a national network of grassroots campaigns that promote humane working conditions in apparel and other labor-intensive global industries by working with both public and religious institutions to adopt sweatshop-free purchasing policies. Using institutional purchasing as a lever for worker justice, the sweatfree movement empowers ordinary people to create a just global economy through local action. Learn more at [ http://www.sweatfree.org/ ]www.sweatfree.org.The Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, comprised of states, cities, counties, local government agencies, and school districts, as well as human rights advocates and labor rights experts, will pool resources of public entities to investigate working conditions in factories that make uniforms and other products for public employees. Cities and states will hold vendors to ethical standards, and create a market large enough to persuade companies to deal responsibly and ethically with their suppliers and workers. Learn more at www.buysweatfree.org
It’s a sure sign of spring.Acadia National Park’s Loop Road and Visitors Center opened for the season today.Amy Erickson takes us there.<"it's gorgeous. We were just watching bald eagles out here today."Park Ranger Betty Lyle says Mother Nature couldn't have provided a better day for the start of the season at Acadia National Park. "it's a beautiful day here. We've had a lot of hiking requests, a lot of people want to get down along the ocean...it's just a great day to be anywhere in the park."Visitors were everywhere...from Sand Beach...to Thunder Hole...They came from all over the country to get a glimpse of Acadia's beauty.Nancy and Ed Faust journeyed from Cornwall, New York. "it's the most beautiful park we've ever seen. We love to walk and hike and it's nice to be in the mountains and see the ocean at the same time."The couple's last trip here was more than 30 years ago, so they planned on retracing their steps. "we're just going to do the loop. We want to try to get to schoodic, because that's left an impression with me all this time."They shouldn't have any problems getting around, since much of the Park is now open."most of the hiking trails are open, though we want people to use a lot of caution because there's still snow and ice out there. The trails that are still closed are the precipice because the peregrines back and they're nesting there."The Valley Cove trail is closed for the same reason.The carriage roads are also closed, since they're still too soft for traffic.But that isn't stopping the War family of New Jersey from doing what they've set out to do in the park." "we're on a mission to see a moose!" "what do you want to see today? A moose. Do you see a lot of moose in New Jersey? No."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Acadia National Park.>The Hull’s Cove Visitors Center is now open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.For more information, log on to www.nps.gov/acad
Medicare officials spent the day at Downeast Community Hospital in Machias.April 15-th was the deadline set for the hospital to comply with federal requirements or risk losing Medicare reimbursement.A recent federal survey found the 25 bed hospital out of compliance.According to the Bangor Daily News, a Medicare investigation found failures in the hospital’s emergency room procedures.Hospital spokesperson Robin Popp was hopeful the inspectors would finish their survey by the end of the day.No word yet on their findings.In February, state officials downgraded the status of the hospital’s license to conditional.
The leader of Maine’s community colleges says starting this fall the statewide system will cover tuition costs for up to two years for full-time dependent students whose parents lost their job.Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, president John Fitzsimmons of the Maine community college system, as well as University of Maine system chancellor Richard Pattenaude, pledged to maintain and enhance effectiveness and efficiency during a period of economic turmoil.Tuition runs about $2,500 a year, according to Fitzsimmons.He says that Maine’s community college system may be one of the state’s most important tools for economic recovery.
A local firefighter and his family are homeless, after flames ripped through his residence in Pittston Tuesday. Another firefighter was injured fighting the blaze. The two and a half story home at North Beech Hill Road is still standing, but it has significant damage, according to Pittston fire chief Jason Farris.Nick Edgar is an Augusta Firefighter.Edgar was working in his garage when he first noticed the flames.Edgar was able to get the family’s pets out safely. No one else was inside at the time.Seven surrounding communities were called in to help battle the fire.One firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion. Chief Farris says the fire started in a corner bedroom.He’s calling it accidental, but adds the cause will likely remain a mystery because of the heavy damage.The Augusta fire department is accepting donations for the family. Items may be dropped off at the central station at the top of Water Street.
The Coast Guard is assisting a commercial fishing boat from Maine that was disabled after a collision with another vessel about 50 miles Southeast of Cape May.A Coast Guard spokesman says no one among the eight-member crew of the 71-foot fishing boat Dictator, homeported in Southwest Harbor, was injured when the boat collided with the 965-foot merchant vessel Florida.The Dictator’s rudder was damaged in the collision shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, leaving it unable to proceed under its own power.The Coast Guard says a cutter, dispatched from Cape May, was planning to tow the Dictator and its crew to the nearest port.The Florida was proceeding to Savannah, GA.The accident is under investigation.
The owner of the Grand View, a topless coffee shop in Vassalboro, is setting his sights on opening a strip club.Donald Crabtree now plans to seek an entertainment license for a strip club that would be open from 6 am to 1 am and have a seating capacity of 300.The Vassalboro town manager has drafted a proposed adult entertainment ordinance that would ban nudity at local businesses. That came in response to complaints about the coffee shop.A town meeting has been called for Wednesday night to discuss the ordinance.The public is encouraged to attend and voice their opinions.The meeting is scheduled to take place at 6:30 at the town office on Main Street.
Colby College President William D. Adams will hold a public forum Wednesday, April 15, at 8 p.m., regarding the events of Sunday, April 12, that resulted in the arrests of two students. The forum will take place at the Alfond Rink in Colby’s Alfond Athletic Center.President Adams and his senior administrative colleagues will answer questions and speak to the concerns that have been expressed.A Web site providing updates from the College is available at www.colby.edu/april12incident.Colby College students demonstrated in protest Tuesday against the arrests of two students at the campus in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday. Organizers of Tuesday’s lunch-hour rally say police and college security used excessive force and that the treatment received by one of those arrested may have been racially motivated. Police from Waterville and three neighboring communities, plus sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, responded to a call for additional police support. Authorities say two drunken students were arrested after they interfered with efforts to help a student who was ill. Protesters have released a video clip of the arrests that they say backs up their case that excessive force was used.
Police arrested a man from the guildford area today for child pornography.Larry Daggett has been charged with possession of porn involving children under 12.The State police computer crimes unit conducted the investigation..They say he was accessing images on the internet using a peer to peer network called gnuetella.No word on what tipped police off.Daggett is connected to a child care facility in the Sangerville area. His wife reportedly runs it.Officials don’t want parents of children who go to the daycare to panic. District Attorney, Chris Almy says, “There’s no indication at this point that any of the people at the child care center, the child care facility, were victims in any way. If there is some concern among parents they should have the police talk to their children.”Daggett is being held at the Piscataquis County Jail.Bail was set at $25,000, and officials do expect him to post that.He’s scheduled to appear in court again on May 18th.
Former Bangor Mayor, Richard Greene, was back in court today and he received some jail time.Greene faced several charges, Including two counts of operating under the influence.Greene was also in court for writing bad checks.He was sentenced to 12 days in jail and 14-hundred dollars in fines. He will also lose his license for a significant period of time.Greene is reportedly in the process of entering a program for second time offenders. That’s expected to begin in June. Until then he must follow strict bail conditions.
When David MaClaughlin, Executive director of Audio at NESCOM, told his students they’d be taking part in Shure Microphone’s national competition, they were more than excited.”We were all like OK! Ya know, let see what we can do. The next like four and a half months were pretty intense.” says Cameron Smith, a student.It was NESCOM’s first time in the competition. They had to record music using a box full of mics Shure gave them. All the recording had to be live.”For example, usually when you’re recording a bass guitar you just play it right into the board, but with this we actually had to play the bass guitar into an amplifier and then mic the amplifier.” Says Jacob Lansky as student. The competition was judged by industry leaders.MaClaughlin says, “There wasn’t a single person on the judging who hasn’t won at least four grammies.”They say this gave them insight into what the real world of recording is like. “It was definitely an eye opener to how long sessions can go. A lot of the time we were betting on 12 hour plus sessions.” Says Joshua Strange a student. The music was done by a local duo, Sam and Yuri – along with a string quartet and a flute. Using NESCOM’s equipment, these talented students mixed the track.”I know we all worked really hard on this recording and we definitely put our heart and soul in everything.” Strange says.Smith goes on to say, “We’re putting our names and our seal of approval on this so we want it to be the best it can get.””After we did this recording it was good enough, whether we won first or got dead last.” Strange adds.But when the guys heard the news, they were pretty psyched about their first place finish. They say it was a total team effort.”I think we worked great as a team. This was an incredible team.”
The calls from the latest phone scam to hit the area appear to be dying down, but not before a few people fell victim.Officials at Bangor Savings Bank say they first heard about the calls on Easter Sunday.They were automated calls telling folks that their credit or debit card had been compromised, prompting them to enter their account information.Senior Vice President at Bangor Savings Bank, Yellow Light Breen says a few of their customers did so, and at least one person had money taken from their account.But Breen says they are working with all these people to make sure that they don’t lose any money, and he says this should serve as an important reminder to everyone. “Your bank will never ever call you or e-mail you, especially with an automated message ever trying to get you to give up confidential information. We simply won’t, period, end of story.”If you do ever have questions about your account, you should always contact your bank, at a phone number or e-mail address that you are familiar with.Several other banks in the area are also warning their customers about this scam.If you did get one of the calls, and gave them your account information, you should contact your bank immediately.
Bangor police are now confirming that a man who died at Weber Mortgage on Broadway yesterday, committed suicide.There are reports that the bad economy was a motivating factor for the man.In fact, the recession might be a reason for an increase in calls to suicide hotlines across the country.Traffic came to a halt on a section of Broadway in Bangor Monday afternoon as a robot and a tactical team made their way into the Weber Mortgage building. A man had called a friend threatening to take his own life. It ended when authorities discovered the man’s body. He died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.”Really at that moment they can’t come up with anything but that option.” Dr. David Prescott of Acadia Hospital says the victim in this case had several of the top risk factors for people who complete suicide.He was a man, caucasian, over the age of 55 who suffered a huge loss. Reports out, suggest the man was upset over the bad economy.”One of the big worries we’ve had in the mental health profession is there’s some pretty clear evidence as far back as the great depression in the 30’s that when an economic downturn happens that obviously people’s stress levels go up and one of the things you start to see is a climb in the suicide rate”During this current recession, suicide hotlines are seeing an increase in the number of people seeking help. In some cases, they’re up as much as 30 percent.Most of the people who do contemplate taking their own life, have a history of mental health problems, money worries can make matters worse.Dr. Prescott says that high stress can diminish a person’s ability to solve problems, so they need to reach out.”Talking about it is often the first step to solving the problem and even though to you at the moment, there’s gonna seem like there’s no good options, they really are out there.”If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call one of these hotlines for help.Adult Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112Teen Crisis Line: 1-800-499-9130..Acadia Hospital: 1-800-640-1211… There are trained professionals available 24 hours a day who can help you.
Folks in the Stonington area will be without power for a bit Thursday morning.From 8 to 11 Bangor Hydro crews will be doing some planned maintenance. They say the interruption in power is necessary to make some safety repairs to the electric system.The streets affected by the outage are:3-80 Main St. Pink Street as far as #9 and #9 Cottage St. West Main St. from 3-131 Greenhead Road from 1-95 All of the following roads: Fish Pier Rd. Dunlap Rd. Johnnie’s Lane Gray Lane Rhode Island Ave. Andy’s Rd. Arvard Rd. Allen St. Honkway Rd. Ocean St. Old Quarry Rd. Farrell St. Mel’s Way Thoroughfare Rd. Pettee Rd. Minister Field Rd. Greenhead Lane Duke Lane Robbin St. And all of Moose Island including Billings Diesel and Marine.
For the second year in a row the hammond Street Senior Center is holding their annual pottery sale and luncheon.It is a combination pottery exhibit and sale showing off items that are all made on the premises by students and instructors…..Last year they made soup bowls, this year it’s luncheon plates.With the purchase of a plate, the buyer gets a ticket to the spring harbinger garden tea… And there’s no shortage of options according to Kathy Bernier, the Executive Director of the Senior Center.”90 different offerings of plates, each one is an individual unique piece of pottery which is fully worth the twelve dollar price to start with and we’ll put a sold sign on the the bottom and when you come in on the 23rd, which is next Thursday, you get your plate and we’ll come around and serve you.”All of the proceeds from the sale will stay at the Senior Center…..The plates can be viewed and purchased Monday through Friday from 8-30 am until 4-30 pm at the Senior Center at 2 Hammond Street, Bangor.
Folks in Milo voted Monday night to accept money from two community development block grants.Town manager Jeff Gahagan tells TV5 that the city will be getting $64,000 to renovate the Milo historical society building on High Street.People also voted to accept a proposed grant of $150,000 that will go to improving the downtown area.
One person was rushed to the hospital after a car crash in Etna early Tuesday morning.Authorities say it happened in the area of Lakins Road at around 1:30a.m.The car rolled over, pinning the driver underneath it.Emergency crews were able to rescue the driver, who was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with serious injuries.There was no one else in the car.State police are now investigating.
Fire fighters spent more than five hours at the scene of a house fire in Vinalhaven early Tuesday morning.The call for help to the wright road came in just after midnight.Knox County dispatchers tell TV5 that the home is a summer residence, so no one was living there at the time.The structure was destroyed in the conflagration.The fire marshal’s office will be on the scene Tuesday morning, trying to determine a cause.We’re being told the blaze does not seem suspicious.
As of 7:30 Tuesday morning fire fighters were still on the scene of a house fire in Brooklin.The call for help reportedly came from the owner of the Folly Road home at around 6 o’clock Tuesday morning.He was not inside the house at the time.Crews from Sedgwick and Blue Hill are also helping out.No injuries have yet been reported. The fire marshal’s office has been called in to investigate.
For years, american legion post 207 has been helping folks in the mid-coast region through benefits and charity programs…Just last Christmas, they made sure more than 250 children got a holiday gift..Now a group of local musicians is hoping to give back to the legion.They’re organizing the *Gateway Music Festival* and asking folks in the area to help.The Gateway Music Festival is scheduled to take place Sunday August 16th at the American Legion post in Trenton…The headliner will be Buddy Jewell, 2003 Nashville Star winner.There will also be a number of local artists and bands on hand.They are looking for sponsors and vendors.If you’re interested, you can contact the American Legion at 667-9918…Or log on to WWW.THEGATEWAYMUSICFESTIVAL.COM.