Maine troops overseas will soon be getting a little taste of home, thanks to some local Girl Scouts. “Troops from Maine put their lives on the line, every day, so that I can live mine.”This cookie season has been a little different for 5 Girl Scout troops from Waldo County.As they went door to do to sell cookies, they came up with a special idea. “I actually had a gentleman say that he wasn’t interested in ordering any cookies for himself, but if we knew of anyone that was sending cookies to troops, that he would be more than happy to partake in that.”So the Girl Scouts teamed up with folks from the Belfast National Guard Armory, to collect money, to buy cookies, to send to Maine troops overseas. “It blossomed in a short hurry and the support from the community was just overwhelming.” “We raised over 15 Hundred dollars, and that’s 537 boxes of cookies that are going to go overseas.” “We will cover the postage to get them to soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, anywhere else troops may be deployed.”The first batch will go out to the 286th out of Bangor.Staff Sergeants Paul Lawrence and David Trojecki say this is one of the most positive missions they’ve ever been a part of. “This is one of the better ones to be able to give these folks a little taste of home.” “That would certainly make my day…The Girl Scouts of America sending a little bit of America to us.”And the Girl Scouts are excited to know they’re making a difference in the lives of some Maine troops. “It’ll make them feel like we actually care that they’re doing it…not that we just take it for granted.” “We’re thanking the troops and thanking them for serving our country and keeping us safe.” “We’re gonna make them feel like home.”The cookies will be collected and sorted this Saturday morning at the Belfast National Guard Armory.They will be sent out to troops on Monday.
The Katahdin Paper Mill in East Millinocket will shut down for close to a month, leaving more than 300 people out of work.Officials from Brookfield Asset Management, which manages the mill, say the shutdown is a result of a slowdown in orders.The mill is scheduled to close from April 9th to May 4th.The only workers who will be staying on during that time are maintenance staff. They’ll be doing routine repairs on equipment.Mill officials say it isn’t uncommon to have a shutdown in April, since it’s usually the slowest time of the year for paper orders.In February of this year, about 140 workers were temporarily laid off from the East Millinocket mill for about a month.That shutdown was also a result of an order shortage.
Two more arrests have been made by Waterville Police in an ongoing arson and burglary case.20-year-old Joseph Church of Fairfield was taken into custody on Wednesday.Police say an investigation has revealed that a group of at least nine individuals both adults and juveniles broke into the old Waterville Boys and Girls Club and set off what commonly referred to as molotov cocktails. Seven of the nine have since been arrested.A video made by two of the males involved was found during the investigation.19-year-old Nicholas Laws of Winslow and 19-year-old Jesse Ferran of Waterville were arrested Tuesday.Three juvenile males and one 17-year old female have also been arrested.All have been charged with arson and burglary.
A reward is being offered for information on an arson fire that did serious damage to a business in Friendship last fall.Friendship Trap has been in business for 32 years.The company manufactures wire lobster and shrimp traps.On October 30th, someone set fire to several rolls of lobster mesh wire.They also broke into a diesel fuel shed, broke a lock on a tank and released hundreds of gallons of oil onto the ground.It caused 60-thousand dollars in damages.The Fire Marshal later ruled that the fire was intentionally set, but no arrests have been made.Now, company CEO Mike Wadsworth is offering a $5,000.00 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.Anyone with information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 626-3870.
A group of protesters rallied outside a Bangor Rite-Aid store Thursday, to condemn what they say is the company’s abuse of worker rights.Members of “Food and Medicine,” based in Brewer, waved signs outside the Rite Aid at the corner of Union and Fourteenth Streets.They say the Rite Aid corporation has threatened and fired employees who wanted to unionize.Almost a year ago, Rite Aid employees voted to join a union, but according to Food and Medicine, the company has delayed reaching a contract with workers.The protesters held signs asking Mainers to urge Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act.The law would protect the rights of workers on the job, including their right to have a union. “Membership in labor unions vastly increases your wages, your chance of having health insurance other benefits on the job, as well as having a voice on the job, having some kind of economic democracy where you work.”Similar protests were held on Thursday at Rite Aid stores around the country.
An Augusta man is facing more jail time after police arrested him Wednesday.49-year old Kevin Collins was taken into custody after a homeowner in Clinton says he interrupted a burglary in his home.Somerset County District Attorney Evert Fowle says that Collins has an extensive history of burglarizing homes. Collins has spent more than 10-years in jail for burglary. The homeowner says Collins fled out a back door and that’s when police were called. Police say some jewelry was taken.Fairfield, Waterville, Clinton and State Police had a hand in finding the suspect in nearby woods.Collins is expected to make an appearance in Somerset County Superior Court Thursday Afternoon.
The continuing slump in the paper market is being blamed for another shutdown at the Newpage Corp. mill in Rumford.Officials said on Wednesday that the mill will close from May 10th to May 18th to reduce production by 150,000 tons in order to balance output with demand.The Sun Journal of Lewiston said the closure affects about 400 hourly workers.A similar 150,000 ton decrease earlier this year led to the permanent layoff of 130 hourly and salaried mill employees.Mill spokesman Tony Lyons said about 20 of the hourly workers are being recalled to work on a pulp dryer that’s being put back in operation.
State officials are investigating allegations of animal cruelty at Maine’s largest egg farm, Quality Egg in Turner.Assistant D.A. Andrew Robinson confirmed that a search warrant was executed by officials of the state’s animal cruelty program and state police.Norma Worley of the state Animal Welfare Program, three state animal agents and two state troopers were at the former DeCoster Egg Farm site Wednesday afternoon.The Department of Agriculture was alerted to potential problems by Mercy for Animals, an animal welfare organization based in Ohio. The organization said it obtained video and photos from a farm worker in Turner that documented inhumane conditions for egg-laying hens.
For the second year in a row, Blue Hill eighth-grader Imogen Page will be representing Maine at the national spelling bee.She won the state bee by spelling “gristle,” “prodigal,” “necessary,” and “virtuoso”, among other words.The 14-year-old says she’ll resume spelling practice after a little break.Last year, Page won the state title and made it through two rounds of the National Spelling Bee.This year’s national bee will be held from May 24th through May 30th in Washington D.C.
The thick sheets of ice that covered ponds and rivers in winter is slowly disappearing, making way for the sportsmen of spring to launch their boats and cast their lines.Wednesday marks the first day of Open Water Fishing Season.After a long, cold winter, fishermen finally got the chance to dust off their rods. And as you can see, the shores were packed with people eager to dive into Open Water Fishing Season…OR NOT. “Typically on opening day in Southern Penobscot County, as you can see behind us, the streams are pretty high from the recent rain and snow melt, the opportunity just really isn’t there… Lakes and ponds still iced in. Just yesterday they were ice fishing, so it’ll be a transition here for a few weeks.” Says Jim Fahey, District Game Warden.But, for those diehard fishermen who ARE out on these partially iced in waters, Fahey says, you must fish from shore for safety reasons.Fahey also tells us that last year’s rules still apply. “For those of you going through your tackle box, this is what last year’s book was like and this is what we want you to use this year.” And as always, everyone over 16 needs a fishing license.Game Wardens say this time of year they actually expect to see more boaters hitting the waters. “What I’ll see more of in the next few weeks is, rather than fishing activity here, will be people getting ready fro the canoe race.” says Fahey.We even found one kayaker braving the Kenduskeag. “[Tuesday] there was quite a bit of ice but today it’s not that bad.” says Dustin Cyr, a brave and experienced kayaker.Fahey reminds boaters to take the proper safety precautions. He says they should review both their supplies and their operation checklists. And of course… “The helmet’s a good idea always.” Cyr adds.Fahey says anyone with questions about rules or conditions should call a Game Warden before heading out, it’s better to be safe than sorry.For more on rules, regulations, and conditions, you can visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.Boating Supplies Checklist – Use the following boating supplies checklist as a guide for the materials you should have with you on a boating trip. Add to this list as required. The items you may actually need will vary depending upon the type of boat and water, as well as the boating activity you plan to enjoy.Proper Coast Guard approved PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) for each person on board. The PFDs must be properly sized and in good condition. For boats 16 feet and over, you must have an additional throwable device. Approved, fully charged fire extinguishers for motorboats. Bell or whistle, as required. Visual distress signaling devices. Paddles or oars. Anchor and Anchor line. Tool kit, spare parts, bail bucket and flashlight. Any needed charts, tide table, current table, and navigation equipment. For longer outings or outings to a remote location, other items such as food, water and survival equipment could be added to your checklist.Safe operation of a boat depends greatly on proper maintenance and preparation. The actions of the operator and passengers are also important in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. The checklist below includes items that can ensure the safe outcome of your trip. Some of these items will be the same, no matter what kind of boating you do. However, to make sure that all points are covered, create your own checklist and add to it as experience indicates.Full fuel tank. Lights and horn working. Boat checked for leaks, bailed out, boat plug in. Fuel lines and tanks checked for leaks. Weather and water conditions are suitable. All gear and supplies properly stowed and secure. Propeller in good condition, lower unit free of debris. Passengers seated and briefed on emergency procedures. Their PFDs should be checked for proper fit.
There will be disciplinary action taken against Milo’s Police Chief, but it’s not clear yet what that action will be.Selectmen met Monday night and voted in favor of allowing Town Manager, Jeff Geahagan, to discipline the town’s Police Chief, Michael Poulin.Geahagan says he’s not at liberty to disclose what that action will be.Poulin was arrested last month on a domestic assault charge involving his wife.He was suspended with pay, pending a decision by the selectmen on what to do next.
If you’ve checked the want ads lately, you’ve probably come across their listings.The Employment 1 agency has a database of hundreds of available jobs…to get these jobs, you’ll have to pay a price, and be willing to work. “Day to day, jobs change, so make sure you use the resources supplied to you, that we provide you, by coming in the office, using the phone hotline and the internet access, okay?” “You’re not just handed a job and told to go work. It’s similar to finding a job on your own, but with a lot of support behind you, and help doing it.”With the unemployment rate on the rise, and many Mainers looking for new jobs, some are turning to agencies like Employment 1 for help. “Every position we post in the newspaper is a verified job order, before it reaches the newspaper. We verify all jobs weekly.”Manager Tami Watson says there is a fee of 185 dollars a year for access to the job list. “The fee is a one time membership fee and it gives all members access to all postings that we develop on a daily basis.” Watson says Employment 1 is not a placement agency, it’s more of a job bank.They give you the list, but it’s up to you to go out and get the job. “I was much more comfortable paying a one time fee up front, never having to pay anything else, and getting as much support as I need and having 12 months of their service.”Stacy Meister has worked at Safelite Auto Glass for almost two years.He used Employment 1 to get the job. “It had been years since I had updated a resume and I didn’t realize they helped out with that, which was very helpful. I was able to do different drafts, improvements before coming up with a final copy.”Sales assistant Kyrie Vallancourt says Employment 1 helped her get her job at The Furniture Gallery in Bangor. “They asked me what kind of job I was looking for, what kind of experience I had, and where I wanted to bem and how much money I was looking to make.” “They basically gave me the confidence I needed to walk in and ask for the job.”
Still no arrests in connection with two armed robberies last weekend.Both happened at convenience stores on Route 15, one in Bangor, the other in Kenduskeag.Bangor Police say it’s a good time to educate folks about what to do if you’re behind the counter, or in the store, when a robbery happens.Sergeant Paul Edwards says while armed robberies aren’t commonplace in Bangor, they do occurs.And it’s important for clerks, and customers, to know what to do if the worst happens.According to Edwards, the best thing anyone can do is stay calm. “Unless your life is absolutely in danger at that very moment, you need to do what you’re told to do. Remain calm, make no sudden movements. Just watch and get the best information you can and do what your supposed to do in the event of that robbery.”Thanks to a State Police surveillance tape, we can hear what actually happened during Sunday evening’s robbery at Sam’s Qwik Stop in Kenduskeag.Edwards says even when the situation gets heated, stay calm and take mental notes about the suspect. “If there’s different speech or language…or a limp…a mustache or a goatee. Any distinguishing characteristic about a person’s face that would stick out.” “If you can get a height or weight, that’s great. If you see a gun, we don’t expect people to get make and model, but if you can get some idea of what that looked like.”Once it’s over, lock yourself in the store and call 911.While you wait for police, it’s a good idea to write down as many details about the suspect as you can, so they’re fresh in your mind.Edwards’ best advice? Don’t try to be a hero. “Don’t confront, don’t anger or aggravate the person, because they’re desperate. If they’re desperate enough to come in with a gun or a knife, they’re desperate enough to hurt you, too, so do what you’re told.”
Rockland is in the spotlight.Governor John Baldacci officially proclaimed April 1st as “Make Rockland the Coolest Small Town in America Day.”Baldacci is urging Mainers to cast their votes before Friday in Budget Travel Magazine’s online poll to determine its coolest small town of the year.The magazine got more than 150 nominations and narrowed them down to a top 22, including Rockland.According to the magainze, the coolest small town is a community with less than 10,000 people that’s beginning to draw attention…and new residents…because of the quality of life, arts and restaurant scene, or proximity to nature.To cast your vote, click, or log on to www.budgettravel.com/bt-srv/coolestsmalltowns/
There was a deadly crash in Fairfield Wednesday when a car collided with a truck. It happened just before noon at the intersection of 201 and 23: also called the Ohio Hill Road. That section of road was shut down for a couple hours as Fairfield and state police investigated. Police say it appears that the driver of the car, 24-year-old Tara Hart did not stop at the stop sign and that the driver of the truck was unable to avoid her. Hart died at the scene. The truck driver was not injured. Tara Hart was the mother of one-month-old Micah Hart of Oakland who was recently taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The boy’s father, Zachery Hart, is accused of dropping the infant on the floor. He was arrested, and was released on bail.
178 passengers are safe after an international flight made an emergency landing in Bangor Wednesday morning. Bangor International Airport officials tell us the United Flight, a Boeing 767 flying from London to Washington D.C., made the stop just before 10 a.m. after a report of smoke in the cockpit. The Airport Fire Department responded to the scene, along with the Bangor Fire Department. There was no active fire. No word yet on what caused the smoke. Airport mechanics are working on the plane.United Airlines is getting another plane in Wednesday afternoon to get those passengers back on their way to Washington, D.C.
Little is left of a pellet mill in the Northern Maine town of Ashland after a late night fire broke out and quickly engulfed the entire structure.The first call came in at about 12:15am Tuesday from the workers on the late shift, the second from the power plant next door. Explosions sounded and flames lit up the sky as firefighters rushed to respond. “By the time they got to the firehouse the whole sky was lit up, they had seen from their houses and when they were coming in, which was within the first three to four minutes.” Said Ned LaBelle, Ashland’s Fire Chief. “There were a couple of explosions. There were a lot of acetylene torches, oxygen tanks, propane tanks..those had gone off and of course the transformers, their MC room, with all the electricity…that went off.”Mutual aid responded from Masardis, Portage, and Mapleton and once here on the scene the fire departments battled the blaze for almost ten hours. But the mill is a total loss, leaving another twelve people unemployed and even further compounding Ashland’s economic struggle. “Having another part of that, if you will, in being Fraser down too, it’s a crunch to us.” Said Ashland Town Manager Jim Gardner. “One good thing we did here back when Fraser first started talking was we built a transition team and that transition team has been very successful.”Northeast Pellets, started up by Matthew Bell in 2006, was just reaching it’s peak as production was up ten times what it was three years ago. But Gardner says these charred remains aren’t the end of the story. “This is where we get involved as a town. Right now we look at USDA money, we look at CDBG money, we look at different monies that can be infused from the state and the feds to help him rebuild.” “We’re all hoping that Matt’s going to rebuild and he’s hoping to too.”The exact cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but the mill was insured.
Almost 100 people will lose their jobs when Wausau paper permanently closes its mill in Jay.The company says it’s also suspending its dividend to conserve cash and reduce debt.The mill in Jay is expected to shut down by the end of May.The CEO of the company says it was a difficult decision, but necessary in these tough economic times.Wausau shut down a paper machine in jay last year, eliminating about 150 jobs.
Maine is slated to receive nearly $100,000,000 in economic stimulus funding for construction and renovation of federal facilities.More than half of that, $52,800,000, is earmarked for the Margaret Chase Smith U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Bangor.The rest of the money will be spent on the border stations at Van Buren, Calais, and Madawaska, as well as a courthouse in Portland.
Three people were taken to the hospital after a crash on the interstate Tuesday evening involving four vehicles.It happened near the Hammond St. exit.Police say traffic was being slowed down by construction, but one driver didn’t stop in time and hit another vehicle, causing a chain reaction crash that involved two other cars.44-year-old Kathy Boutin of Brewer was taken to the hospital along with her passenger, 18-year-old Stephanie Boutin.So was 19-year-old Brandon Nute of Carmel. Police say their injuries are all minor.All vehicles in the crash are totaled.