Local News

Budget Cuts Could Close UMaine Preschool

Updated 6 years ago

A preschool at the University of Maine that’s been around for seventy years may soon be closing its doors.Budget cuts could mean the end of the Child Study Center.But parents aren’t letting it close without a fight.Amy Erickson has the story.< "This school has dramatically changed Matthew's life."Denise Needham says the change in her four-year-old son Matthew since he started attending the Child Study Center is nothing short of remarkable. "He started this school last year and was nonverbal the whole year. He couldn't talk and had fine motor issues.""My son has gone from nonverbal to talking, coloring, he speaks in full sentences now. It's a beautiful story."Needham has the option of sending Matthew elsewhere, on the state's dime, but keeps him here because he's thrived in the program.It's a lab school for the University of Maine's School of Psychology.Some of the kids have parents who are UMaine students or staff. Others are from the community at large."We educate the children, 2.5 to 5.5 years old, we educate the psychology students...and we're a resource for the families here."Kevin Duplissie is the Center's director and the head teacher.He found out recently the program, which has been around for seven decades, could soon be over. "Because of budget cuts and funding, there's a potential we may not be here in our present capacity in the fall."While Duplissie understands the budget crunch, he says what the Center provides to the University and the community is hugely important. "When you also combine the education the students receive, this meets the needs of so many different capacities on campus and the community and after 70 years, we'd like to keep it going."The 35 families who rely on the Center for their children's learning and development say they're willing to do what it takes to save the school. "We are ready to fund raise...whatever we can do to help keep it open."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Orono.>A 70th anniversary party for the Child Study Center will be held Tuesday at the Collins Center for the Arts on campus.Staffers are hoping alumni, families and friends of the Center will turn out to support the school and to help brainstorm ways to keep it open.If you’d like to attend, you can call the Center at 581-3272.

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Maine Maritime Academy Cuts Positions

Updated 6 years ago

Maine Maritime Academy has cut 13 administrative support positions because of reductions in state aid to Castine school.MMA President Leonard Tyler says the cuts are necessary because the state cut aid to the school by about $476,000 dollars this year.Of the 13 positions that were cut, four were vacant. No faculty positions were eliminated.Tyler say the college also expects to increase tuition rates by 5 percent next year.

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Free Tele-checks for Seniors

Joy Hollowell

Updated 6 years ago

For many seniors in Maine, being able to live on their own is important.But with that independence comes concern- what if something goes wrong?That’s where Telecare comes in.Joy Hollowell tells us about this free service that gives seniors and their family members some peace of mind.++++++++++++”Good morning Telecare, this is Carol.””Good morning Carol.”82-year old Bill Carlin starts just about every day off like this.”Hi Bill, how are you?””I’m fine thanks.”These phone calls are courtesy of Telecare. The free service, through Ross Care of Bangor, provides daily tele-well checks for seniors living on their own. Some clients choose just to call in on an answering machine. 0thers, enjoy the conversation.”well, hey with the sun out, who could be better.””yeah, it looks like a beauty.”Telecare has been around for three decades and its open to any senior that wants to sign up.”it’s a big thing for folks to want to be independent and live in their homes and doing the thing that they love to do. And that’s our whole mission,” says Cynthia Smith, Communication and Lifeline Program Manager for Rosscare.”I think its crucial. Because if there were not some way of checking on me daily. I think there would be pressure for me to go into some assisted living facility, but this really eliminates that need,” says Bill Carlin.”some of these older people, that’s the only phone call they get.”Bill says Telecare is also reassuring for family members far away.”my three children live in New York City. And they are aware of the existence of Telecare and it gives them a feeling of reassurance that every day, someone is checking in on dear old dad,” says Bill Carlin.”well, listen, you have a good day.””right, ciao”================Telecare is a free service for any senior living in the area.For more information, including if you’d like to volunteer manning the phones, you can call Ross Care at 973-7094.They also have a website, www.rosscare.org

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Bryson Plea

Updated 6 years ago

An East Machias man is expected to plead guilty on Friday to manslaughter charges in connection to the death of his two-year-old stepson.22-year-old William Bryson is scheduled to appear in Washington County Superior Court on Friday.Bryson is accused of acting negligently in the death of Damon Nason.The boy died last March at a Bangor hospital.Authorities said he had bruises on his upper and lower body.Bryson told police that Damon fell in the bathtub while taking a bath.Deputy Attorney General Bill Stokes says Bryson’s change in plea is part of an agreement that includes a cap on his prison sentence.

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Corinna Home Burns

Updated 6 years ago

A log home in Corinna caught fire Thursday night.The family who owns the house on Hilltop Road wasn’t there when the fire broke out, but arrived to find smoke and flames crawling up the outside of their house.Three departments were called in to help.Firefighters say the home was fully engulfed in flames by the time they arrived on the scene. “The whole front side: both sides, and was clearing up into the roof was on fire.” Said Corinna Fire Chief Leslie Bolstridge. Fortunately, his team “Was able to knock it down pretty quick.”Crews cleared the scene about 1 o’clock Friday morning.The house is being called a total loss. No injuries were reported.The family told TV 5 they’ve been living between this and another home.The fire marshal’s office has been called in to investigate a cause.

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Electric and Gas Utilities Could Become Disconnected

Updated 6 years ago

As of next Wednesday, Maine’s electric and gas utilities will no longer be subject to winter rules that bar them from disconnecting customers without express permission from state officials. The Public Utilities Commission announced Thursday that utilities can go ahead with disconnections, but must still follow rules regarding issuance of notices and other procedures. PUC Chairwoman Sharon Reishus advised consumers that there are rules in place throughout the year to help those who make good-faith efforts to pay their bills avoid being disconnected. The winter rules go back into effect November 15th.

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Some Care for Caregivers

Updated 6 years ago

Debbie Rossignol’s mother, Barbara, was diagnosed with alzheimers six years ago. A year later, her mom moved in, and she’s been caring for her ever since. The Adult Day Program at Westgate Manor in Bangor gives people like Rossignol a place to turn for help and relief.She starts her day by dropping her mother off at the program on her way to work.”This is where she can get a lot of interaction with other people of her age and other people that have the dementia.””It’s really designed to help caregivers know that their loved one has a safe place to go to be during the week if they have to work.”The program runs Monday through Friday and is for people suffering from memory problems. Organizers run activities that are mentally stimulating.”We very often go into a current events segment where the activity coordinator will read some highlights for the paper and have a discussion. We do a fair amount of trivia.””They do bingo, my Mom loves bingo.”In addition to providing a safe and fun environment for the clients, the service gives caregivers time to take a break, recharge, or even just run some errands. “Care giving is a full time job. It’s 24 hours, 7 days a week. It’s a lot of work. It’s emotionally draining as well as physically draining.””You do need your time just to yourself and not worry that she’s being taken care of.”Rossignol says the day program is helpful now, but eventually she’ll count on Westgate to provide long term help. “Right now it’s working out but we always have to look ahead.”

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Arts alive and well at Bucksport High School

Updated 6 years ago

While many school art programs across the nation are being cut, there’s one program, in Bucksport, that’s alive and well.For the 15th year, art students at Bucksport High School, are gearing up for their annual art show.Cori Skall brings us a sneak peak.”It’s a really fun class! Mrs. Bertrand is an awesome teacher. and we’ve learned a lot about the artists.””I find it really relaxing and enjoyable and it makes my day a lot faster, and it just a nice way to calm down and be yourself.””I find that kids really, they want to do the hands on. and if i start to talk, they say ‘when can we work?’ so, i think there’s a big need for the actual creative part.”Holly Bertrand has been teaching art in Bucksport for 30 years.”Printing, painting, drawing, two dimensional design, sculpture and then i have a class of seniors which are my honors art class.”In a time where it seems art classes are falling by the wayside, Bertrand says the Bucksport school system is continuing to generously fund the art department.It appears to be paying off.”This is a Native American we did in coffee. and so we mixed coffee in water to get the sepia tones.”This week, her students are celebrating their artistic accomplishments by displaying their art throughout the school.”I actually had no clue that they had that much skill. Everyone’s got a lot of talent.””Are you surprised when you look around and see the different things that your class mates. it’s surprising! there’s a lot of people that i didn’t realize, have a talent with art.”The students say they’re glad to have art as an option in school.”You learn who you are as a person, and what your interests are.””It’s a way to express ourselves and to connect with our community and to connect with other people and to make people think about what’s going on right now!”They’re excited to show their creations to the public.”It’s a celebration of their talent. Some people have had art before and some people have never had art, so it’s really their night to show off what they have accomplished.”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 News.>the school is holding an special reception tonight, from 6 to 8, to show off the art…it’s free and open to the public.there will be free refreshments and entertainment provided by the bucksport high school jazz band and chorus…if you miss tonight’s festivites, the art will remain up in the school for the next few weeks.

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Policy Center Calls for Reduction in Excise Tax

Updated 6 years ago

Maine’s auto excise tax was the topic of the day at the Maine Heritage Policy Center’s monthly luncheon at the Sea Dog in Bangor.The group’s communications director, Martin Sheehan, gave a presentation about a bill now in the legislature that would reduce the state’s excise tax.Sheehan says it’s the seventh highest excise tax in the nation…and 22 U-S states have gotten rid of the excise tax altogether.He says reducing the tax would likely help stimulate the local economy.Folks from the Maine Heritage Policy Center are hosting events all over the state this month, to promote their ideas for reducing Maine’s spending and tax burden.For more information, log on to www.mainepolicy.org

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Maine’s Make-a-Wish Foundation Appeals for Help

Updated 6 years ago

Since it was started in 1992, the Maine chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation has granted wishes to more than 800 children with life-threatening medical conditions.That’s more than a wish a week.Tough economic times are making it harder for the Foundation to find the money to grant those wishes these days…But there’s a way you can help.Amy Erickson has more.< "they never turn anyone down. And the average wish costs 6 thousand dollars."Pediatrician Colette Sabbagh is a board member for the Make-a-Wish Foundation's Maine chapter.She's hoping more folks will get on board and take part in the Foundation's "walk for wishes" this year, because funding is tighter than ever. "economic times are hard, charities are suffering and these wishes still need to happen. These kids with medical conditions have no idea about the economy and it's not their fault. They really still need to be granted these wishes."The Guernsey family can't say enough about what Make-a-Wish did for them.6-year-old Abby has Rett syndrome...her wish was granted last summer. "she doesn't walk or talk and she goes to bed really early so the traditional wish, like going to Disney World or meeting a character wasn't really a good fit for Abby." "we thought a pool would be a great choice for a wish because Abby loves the water, when she has seizures, we put her in the tub and it's very soothing to her."Within months, the family had a brand-new above ground pool...complete with special stairs and a lift...all thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.Mom Katie says it's changed Abby's life. "to just see the joy in her eyes when she gets in the pool and the happiness..."The Guernseys are encouraging others to give whatever they can to help kids like Abby have their wishes granted. "before, we'd get stuff in the mail, saying donate to make a wish, and honestly, i'd toss it. But now I tell people don't ever throw it away. Even if you can only give 5 dollars! Look at what it's done for my daughter!"Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.>The Bangor “Walk for Wishes” takes placy May 28th at 6pm in Paul Bunyan Park.You can form a team or walk on your own.For more information or to donate, log on to www.mainewish.org

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Maine basketball players on CBS Early Show

Updated 6 years ago

Two Maine high school students wound up on national television today.Patrick Thibodeau of Greely High School, and Josh Titus of Edward Little High School were managers of their schools’ basketball teams.They first made news after they were put into their team’s final games of the year.Thibodeau has Down Syndrome, and Titus is Autistic.Thibodeau hit two three-point shots, including one at the buzzer.Titus entered his game in the fourth quarter and hit four baskets, including a three pointer.They say they were inspired by the story of Jason Mcelwain, a young man from New York who is autistic.Mcelwain made the news in 2006 when he also played basketball in his team’s final game, only to go on a long-range scoring binge and finish with twenty points.Mcelwain, Thibodeau and Titus appeared on the CBS Early Show this morning.A representative from McDonald’s stopped by to give them a surprise.”I’m here to present you with the opportunity to attend a summer basketball camp with the Boston Celtics! It’s a very exciting opportunity for you! Patrick, Josh….What do you guys think? I’m, I think I’m excited for this because I’m a huge Celtics fan! Yeah, we heard that!”>And Maine McDonald’s owners chipped in to send the two kids from Maine and their folks to the Final Four..so they got to see North Carolina take the title Monday night.

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Boil Water Order in Ellsworth

Updated 6 years ago

There is a boil order in effect for sections of Ellsworth because of a water main break. The break is also responsible for closing several streets and the early dismissal of local schools. It happened just before 8 Thursday morning, near city hall. The streets that were closed Thursday included, State, Franklin, Main, Water, and Pine. Schools in Ellsworth were dismissed at 10 a.m.We’re told the cleanup will take most of the day.Areas Under Boil OrderBayviewBirch From Oak Street EastCarlisleCentralChurchDavisFairgroundFifthFletcherFoxJudeLincolnMacDonaldMaddocksMain from Beals EastMain from School to WaterMcKenzieNorthParcherPark from Oak Street EastPond from State to 5thSchoolShore State to Middle School EntranceSpencerState from Main to OakSterlingThirdUnionWoodThe Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross has some tips for people during the boil order.1.Water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil for at least three minutes prior to use in all food preparations, drinking, diluting juices or formulas and brushing teeth.2.Dispose of ice cubes and do not use automatic ice maker.  Remake ice with water that has been boiled.3.Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces with clean tap water mixed with one teaspoon of household bleach per gallon of water.

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Winslow Man Sentenced for Federal Gun Crimes

Updated 6 years ago

A man from Winslow will spend nearly 3 years in prison for federal gun crimes.26-year-old Dennis Whitman pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a stolen firearm and possesion of a stolen firearm after conviction for a domestic violence misdemeanor.In 2004, Whitman was convicted of assault against his then live-in girlfriend.From that point on, he was prohibited from possessing firearms.Later that year, he accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun that had been stolen from a home in Searsport.Court documents indicate that after the shooting, Whitman had a friend throw away the gun.Divers later recovered it in the river below the Waterville-Winslow bridge.Whitman was sentenced Wednesday in Bangor.After he spends 33 months in prison, Whitman will also have 3 years probation.

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Body of Missing Dexter Man Found

Joy Hollowell

Updated 6 years ago

A sad ending to the search for a Dexter man, missing since October.The body of Matthew Lee Ricker was found Tuesday night in some woods in town.Dexter’s police chief tells T-V 5 a relative made the discovery while walking along the road.He says a note was found near the body.Ricker was last seen in Dexter in October.His family posted Ricker’s photo on a number of missing person websites.An autopsy on Ricker’s body is being done in Augusta Thursday.

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Upbeat Message for Maine’s Paper Industry

Updated 6 years ago

Governor John Baldacci had an upbeat message for Maine’s paper industry at a two-day conference. Speaking on the opening day of Paper Days 2009 Wednesday in Orono, Baldacci said that while Maine’s paper industry is not immune from the global recession, he sees reason for hope for the industry in the state. Baldacci said Maine remains the second-largest paper producer in the nation, and the production level in Maine is higher than ever. The governor said value added products, produced in a sustainable way, are the future of the forest products industry in Maine. He said pulp and paper contribute nearly $1.5 billion to the gross state product and represent 20 percent of state exports.

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Convicted Murderers Argue for Appeals

Updated 6 years ago

Convicted murderer Richard Reynolds, formerly of waterville, is appealing his prison sentence to Maine’s highest court. 43-year old Richard Reynolds was sentenced last month to forty-five years for killing his estranged wife, Rhonda Wakefield-Reynolds, in Fairfield in 2007. The couple’s two young sons who were four and six at the time, were in the next room when Reynolds shot their mother. Reynolds’ appeal argues that he did not inflict pain and suffering on Wakefield-Reynolds and that in similar homicide cases defendants were treated with lighter sentences.Shannon Atwood has filed an appeal as well and wants his case reviewed by the Maine Supreme Court. The 38-year old Atwood is from canaan. He was sentenced to fifty five years for murdering his girlfriend, Cheryl Murdoch in the summer of 2006. Atwood’s trial lawyer, John Alsop will not be handling the appeal. An attorney from Portland will take over.

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Dechaine and Bailey Team Up for New Trial

Updated 6 years ago

(AP) – Famed defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey has agreed to serve as a consultant on Dennis Dechaine’s petition for a new trial. Bailey met Wednesday with Dechaine at the Maine State Prison, where he is serving a life sentence. Dechaine is convicted of kidnapping and killing 12-year old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin in 1988. Dechaine has maintained his innocence and last August he petitioned for a new trial based on DNA evidence not available at the time of his trial. Bailey, who’s 75, has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including the trials of Sam Sheppard, Patty Hearst and O.J. Simpson.

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Gas vs. Taxes What are You Paying For at the Pump?

Updated 6 years ago

(AP) – Motorists in Maine will pay higher fuel taxes under a highway budget that’s being reviewed in the Legislature. The Transportation Committee held a work session Tuesday on a $649 million budget for the two years that start July 1. The bulk of the money comes from fuel taxes, and those taxes are scheduled to rise in July. The current 28.4 cent-per-gallon gasoline tax would rise by 1.1 cent as of July 1, and the 29.6 cent-per-gallon diesel fuel tax is to also rise by 1.1 cent on the same day. Further fuel tax changes in July 2010, also based on the consumer price index, are pending. Most of the transportation budget goes to highways, bridges and other transportation facilities, and the rest goes to motor vehicle and public safety agencies.

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Peter Rabbit Comes to Glenburn

Updated 6 years ago

After weeks of practice and lots of preparations, Kindergarteners at Glenburn Elementary School are ready to put on their tails and take the stage for Peter Rabbit.The performance is tonight, but Kristen LaVerghetta got a preview at the kids’ dress rehearsal.It all started with story time.”Like a long time ago, Lucus had a book about Peter Rabbit and we read it and I think that’s why she picked us to be like all different kinds of characters for the Peter Rabbit play.””She just picked me first to be Mr. McGregor.””Mrs. Reese picked me to be Mrs. Rabbit.”It took a lot of practice.”I think we practiced for, ummmm six weeks!”And learning the lines was tough.”Some of them are pretty good that I know, but some of them are not pretty good.””My mom put them on little notes to I could flip the pages so I can know which ones I could do.”But they’re finally ready to put on their ears.”We got the costumes and she had to duck tape them to our heads.”Paint on some whiskers.”I think the costumes look like fantastic!!!” And take the stage.Peter, Mr. McGregor, and the whole gang hippidy hopped through their frist performance without a hitch.They can’t wait to preform for real in front of a packed house!”I’m really excited!”

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Sargent to Begin Manufacturing for Austrian Company

Updated 6 years ago

A local company has signed a contract to start manufacturing parts for a firm in Austria.The Sargent Corporation will make heavy equipment attachments for the Wimmer company.Company officials had been looking to start production in the U-S, and after meeting with Herb Sargent, decided to go with the Maine corporation.Sargent says his company has used Wimmer attachments for years on their excavators.They’re now building a seven thousand square foot addition to their welding facility in Stillwater to produce the Wimmer parts.Governor John Baldacci toured the plant Wednesday. Sargent officials expect that when the new facility is complete, they’ll add about 10-20 new workers to help produce the Wimmer parts.

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