Local News

Gay Marriage Public Hearing Location Changed

Updated 6 years ago

Because so many people are expected to turn out, Maine’s Legislature has moved a public hearing on a gay marriage proposal to the Augusta Civic Center.The Judiciary Committee also has changed the date of its daylongpublic hearing from April 24 to April 22. Doors will open at 8 a.m.The proposal is co-sponsored by more than 60 lawmakers. It wouldrepeal a state law that limits marriage to a man and a woman andreplace it with authorization of marriage between any two people.It also would recognize same-sex marriage in other states where itis legal.

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Fire Scorches 1.5 Acres in Palmyra

Updated 6 years ago

Firefighters from several towns were called in to help battle a grass fire in Palmyra. It happened at about 2 p.m. Saturday on the Lang Hill Road.Crews were called to the backyard of a home after flames were seen spreading through the grass.Firefighters got the flames under control, but not before they damaged about an acre and a half of land.Maine Forest Rangers were called in to investigate.Ranger Aaron Bailey says the fire was human-caused, but wouldn’t release details.He did say it’s a good remider to folks to be extra careful when doing any outside burning these days.< "this time of year, it only takes the grass about a day to dry out. It can be completely wet underneath and the top layer can still burn easily.">Palmyra firefighters called in help from nearby Pittsfield, Corinna and St. Albans.Bailey says he doesn’t expect charges will be filed in connection with the fire.

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Ricky Gibson Dies

Updated 6 years ago

A Maine teen who spearheaded a program tobring lights and bleachers to his high school through theMake-A-Wish Foundation has died. Sixteen-year-old Ricky Gibson of Wayne died Friday of aninoperable brain tumor. Governor John Baldacci said it was difficult not to be inspiredby the Maranacook High School sophomore’s drive, determination andlove for life. Gibson was diagnosed in September of 2008. After beingapproached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine, his wish was togive back to his community through lights and bleachers for hishigh school football field. The Make-A-Wish Foundation provided theinitial donation, attracting additional donations from communitymembers and other schools. Gibson lit the lights during a special celebration lastDecember.

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Ellsworth Water Main Break Update – Boil Order Lifted

Updated 6 years ago

The boil order water in Ellsworth is no longer in effect.It was a result of a water main break Thursday morning near City Hall.Several streets had to be closed and schools were dismissed early. By 7:00 Thursday night, everything was cleaned up.City Manager Michelle Beal says it took a lot of teamwork. “The water department did a great job in isolating the area and being able to fix it and the highway department did a great job getting the equipment in here and digging and being exactly where we needed. The fire department helped with the emergency situation.” She also says the Police department did a great job with traffic control.Residents in several parts of the city still had to boil their water until Friday evening. Then city official got lab results showing the water is safe, so the boil order is no longer in effect.

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Parkside kids hopped to help folks with MD

Updated 6 years ago

Kids from the Parkside Children’s Learning Center in Bangor “hopped to help” this morning.They’ve been collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.And as Cori Skall explains, they got a special visit from the Easter Bunny to celebrate their success.”I’m hopping like a bunny! Me too! I’m a bunny! What are you? A bunny!””The Hop-a-thon is great fun for the kids. We love to get outside and get some exercise as well as help out a local charity.”For the second year in a row, kids from the Parkside Children’s Learning center are hopping to help kids with Muscular Dystrophy.”Keep hoppin’!””They’ve been learning this week about helping friends with disabilities.””We’re hopping and finding Easter Eggs! What are you hopping for? Do you know? Money! Money for what? For Children who are in the hospital.””Last year, we had a really successful year. We raised over two-thousand dollars. We were the third highest money raiser in the state. We were happy to do it again.”Three-year-old Meaghan raised over three hundred dollars.”Did you raise some money? A lot! A lot? And I brang a carrot!”The kids got a special treat to help them celebrate their accomplishment.”Who came to visit you? Easter bunny! And what’s the Easter Bunny doing here? Hopping!””We wanted to bring in the Easter theme a little bit, and have some fun with it, since we’d be hopping. And we have the Easter Bunny here, and we have an egg hunt as well.””I found three Easter Eggs back!””Where did you find that carrot? Eat it! Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!””At this age, it’s great to incorporate the fun and the relation to the holiday behind it, on top of supporting a group of needy children and I think it’s great how they incorporated it all together!””Does is make you feel good to help babies? Yup! Why? Because, because feeling better makes me feel happy!”Happy Easter!”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 News, Bangor.

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High School Students Study Climate Change at UMaine

Updated 6 years ago

More than a hundred high school students spent the day at the University of Maine, learning about climate change science.The event was sponsored by UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Earth Sciences.It was designed to give students a better idea of what’s happening around the world as far as climate change is concerned.They took part in hands-on activities, from examining fossils to checking out sections of ice collected from Antarctica.< "what we're trying to do, or what they're trying to do here is to raise the kids' awareness about climate change and how quickly it's happening. We don't realize how fast it's happening!">The lessons were brought a little closer to home when scientists showed the students the record of rising sea level and environmental change in cores from Penobscot Bay.

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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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