Local News

Man Jailed After Turnpike Standoff

Updated 6 years ago

A man from Rhode Island is in jail after a standoff with Police that shut down the Maine Turnpike.It happened Saturday night.State Police say 44-year-old Michael Ostrowski was speeding and led police on a chase from New Gloucester to just south of the Falmouth exit, where his pickup truck ran over spike mats.Police say Ostrowski then refused to leave the truck and repeatedly threatened to shoot himself or anyone who came near it.The standoff lasted close to three hours.Police closed the turnpike from New Gloucester to Portland during that time…traffic was backed up for miles.Ostrowski finally surrendered around 11:30 p.m.According to police, the weapons Ostrowski allegedly claimed to have turnedout to be a BB gun and a cigarette lighter that looked like apistol.Ostrowski is being held at the Cumberland County Jail.

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EMCC Graduation

Updated 6 years ago

Eastern Maine Community College sent close to 400 new graduates off into the world Saturday.The College held its commencement at the Bangor Civic Center today.As part of a recent tradition, the featured speakers were all students, including EMCC’s Student of the Year, Michael Handzel, Junior of Orland.378 students received degrees.EMCC President Joyce Hedlund says that with the state of the economy, some students are choosing to continue their educations rather than going out to look for work right away…but there are plenty of graduates heading right into the work force as well.< "they are prepared and a lot of them do have jobs at this time."i'm just thankful for EMCC being a part of this region and today is just proof of the value of this college to the region.">As part of an ongoing food drive to help Mainers currently out of work, the class of 2009 asked folks attending the ceremony to bring along some nonperishable foods.EMCC has set a goal of collecting ten thousand pounds of non-perishable foods or household items to donate to the Good Shepherd Food Cupboard.The Maine Community College system will then find donations to match EMCC’s ten thousand pounds.

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Laid-off Textile Workers to Get Federal Help

Updated 6 years ago

Help is on the way for workers laid off at True Textiles in Guilford and Newport.Maine is getting more than 460-thousand dollars to help about a hundred workers affected by the layoffs.The money is part of the national stimulus program. It will pay for training and services to help workers get new jobs.The aid is in addition to other federal money for people who lose jobs because of foreign competition.

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Wind Sparks Wildfires

Updated 6 years ago

Maine Forest Rangers have been working round the clock to put out wildfires caused by the windstorm that blew through Maine 48 hours ago.Forest Service officals say Thursday’s high winds sparked about 45 wildfires in central and northern Maine alone.Most of those fires were caused by powerlines that were knocked down in the wind.Many were small fires, but one in Indian Purchase Township, west of Millinocket, burned nearly an acre…and an outbuilding, too.

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Volunteers Build House for Boy Battling Leukemia

Updated 6 years ago

A group of volunteers are making incredible progress building a house for a family battling a very serious disease.Members of a group called “A Wish Granted” spent the day framing up the home on Broadway in Glenburn Saturday.The group was formed last year when volunteers banded together to build a house for Sonya Barclay of Old Town, who was dying for cancer. She was able to see her dream home before she died.Now, the group is helping a 14-year-old boy with leukemia.Dimitrje Howe-Poteet has been in and out of the hospital for a year and just had a bone marrow transplant, so his immune system is weak.Because of that, the family is unable to live in their mobile home, which contains mold and mildew.So volunteers are building the family a small cabin where Dimitrje can recuperate comfortably.His mom says she’s overwhelmed by the generosity of the volunteers who are working so hard to help her family.<34:03 “that they took the time out of their busy days…is such a blessing…all the supplies…we couldn’t have done it without them.”>While construction was underway, the family held a fundraiser, with horseback riding, face painting, a yard sale and lots of goodies.All the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and the EMMC Oncology Department.Work crews expect to have the home finished within ten to fourteen days…but they still need help.They’re looking for sheetrock, appliances, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and lots of other supplies.If you’d like to help, you can call 356-9770.Or, to make a donation, send checks to Birmingham’s Family Market, 10 Gilman Falls Road in Old Town, 04468.Checks should be made out to “A Wish Granted.”

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Wind Blade Challenge

Updated 6 years ago

Wind energy is a growing industry in Maine. Those involved with the technology are trying to get the younger generation interested. Students across the state were challenged to design and create their own wind energy system.The Composite Wind Blade Challenge was held today at U-Maine.”Renewable and alternative energy is like a huge deal in Maine politics and national politics. It’s becoming increasingly important with the economy, so it was great to be able to have that sort of real experiment to do.” says Erin St. Peter, a participant.High school students were challenged to design a wind blade and a turbine. They were provided with materials to make it and given certain criteria.”One of the things we want to do is we want to highlight the need for science and math learning so that kids are really thinking about that as they look at their future career possibilities.” says Paul Williamson, an organizer.James Wiesner, a participant adds, “There’s a boundless amount of energy out there in the winds and to capture all that energy and convert it into electricity would benefit everyone.”Governor Baldacci says, “We have an opportunity as you heard with wind energy windmills, production and manufacturing of those blades to really put people to work in our state it’s a huge opportunity.”This was the first competition of it’s kind in the U-S. The response surprised organizers.”It’s wonderful to see such an overwhelming response from high schools around the state of Maine.” They had around 30 teams. About 150 students competed.The designs were judged on how many watts were produced. If the winners are accepted at U-Maine, they’ll be rewarded with a research assistantship at the school.

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Local Group Builds Another Home for Needy Family

Updated 6 years ago

Last year the community came together for an Old Town woman who was dying of cancer.Sonya Barclay was able to see her wish come true before she passed. A group of people built a home for her husband and children.Now that group is coming together once again to build a home for another family facing a tremendous battle.”We work with a group that we like to call wish granted.”Because that was what happened for Sonya Barclay and her family in Old Town last year, thanks to hundreds of volunteers including these three guys, John Birmingham, Stan Peterson, and John Gaudet.They’re at it again. This time they’re helping a 14 year old boy who has been battling a rare form of Leukemia for over a year.”We can’t live in our mobile home anymore because there’s trace mold and fungus probably in the entire state of Maine, anyplace you would live.”For Dimitrje Howe-Poteet that mold, fungus and bacteria can be deadly. He underwent a bone marrow transplant a few months ago, and his mother says his immune system is weak.So the folks from Wish Granted have stepped forward to build a small cabin for Dimitrje, his mom and her partner on their property off Broadway in Glenburn.”The cabin has been thoughtfully designed, it’s small but it will be easy to clean.”Our goal is to get him a home to get him through this convalescent period. Over the next 2 years and that time we’ll readdress their residential requirements and hopefully this building will be turned into something we can utilize for non-profit purpose.”The ultimate goal, to help a family like this every year.The framing will go up Saturday then it should just take a few weeks to get the cabin completed.As Dimitrje and his family watch the whole process evolve, they are grateful and promise to pay it forward.”It’s amazing to see community come together.””I’ll be able to live in this new place because I can’t even be anywhere near our old house because of the mold”The wish granted group knows there’s no place like home, and so when they see a family like Dimitrje’s who’s been in a battle for his life, they’re glad to help ease burden.”We want to create a place they can focus on recuperating, recovering and enjoying quality of life that might not ordinarily have otherwise.”The family is already fulfilling their promise of paying it forward.They are holding a fundraiser Saturday, May 16 at the building site at 3202 Broadway in Glenburn. They say they owe a lot to the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor. That’s been their home away from home. The money raised will go to that charity.They’ll be holding a flea market, as well as offering lots of other fun activities including horseback riding.The Wish Granted group also needs some help to get the home completed. They need donations of building materials. You can also make a cash donation to the project at the Merrill Merchants Bank in Orono. Just let them know it’s for the Dimitre Howe-Poteet Fund. You can also make donations to “A Wish Granted”. Send checks to Birmingham’s Family Market, 10 Gilman Falls, Old Town, Maine 04468.

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Significant Budget Cuts Within the University of Maine Community

Updated 6 years ago

Tonight we know a lot more about the impact of budget cuts at the University of Maine.At least 140 jobs will be impacted. It includes thirty-two layoffs.Thirty-one positions will have reduced hours and seventy-seven jobs that are vacant right now, will not be filled.UMaine President Robert Kennedy says when they saw the economic collapse begin last fall, that’s when school officials started to get ready for cutting back.But he is optimistic about what the future holds for UMaine.”So the University of Maine is very viable and I think its at least as valuable or more valuable in the future in going forward in our service to the state.”Kennedy says they’ve worked hard to make sure there’s minimal impact to students.Cutting staff will save the school 3-million dollars. We’re told another six million will be saved cutting operating expenses and through efficiencies.

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Obstetrics Unit at MDI Hospital Shows Off What They Have to Offer

Updated 6 years ago

There will be an open house tonight at Mount Desert Island Hospital.It’s so folks can check out the obstetrics unit, which has undergone changes in recent years. All to make expectant moms feel more at home.Meghan Hayward has the story.A nice robe is one of the comforts you’ll find in the obstetrics unit at Mount Desert Island Hospital.”It’s excellent care provided with a personal touch and an emphasis on family care.”From the moment you step inside their rooms, they guarantee personal attention.”Each woman gets that individual care and because we as providers perhaps don’t have quite as many deliveries, we can be present in each and every one and really not just be there for the delivery but be in and out through the course of the labor as well.”Water birth is another option the hospital offers to those interested.Some rooms are even equipped with a hot tub that patients can use while staying in the OB unit.Family practice doctor Mary Dudzik says they want patients to not even realize they’re in a hospital.”All the rooms are designed really to be as homey as possible.”A couple of years ago, more space was added to the OB unit. Dudzik says it’s been a significant addition to the hospital.”I think the OB department here is one of the signature departments of this hospital.”Dudzik says they know women have several options as to where they want to deliver and this open house is a way for people to see what their OB unit offers.The open house is from six-thirty to 8 pm tonight.

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New Restaurant Set to Open in Hampden

Updated 6 years ago

A new eatery is set to open in Hampden next week.Anglers is a seafood restaurant with locations in Newport and Searsport.Owner Bud Hall is now expanding into Hampden.He’s just about completed renovations on a building on the Coldbrook Road.The restaurant will seat about ninety people, and will offer the same menu items as the other locations.It opens for lunch next Wednesday.For more information or to check out the menu, log on to Anglers seafood restaurant dot com.

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Community Ambulance to Close

Updated 6 years ago

Folks in Dixmont and surrounding towns are used to having a quick response if they ever need an ambulance.For 18 years, Ginny and Butch Cole have operated Community Ambulance out of their home on the Kennebec Road.But the Coles say it’s time to close their doors because bureaucracy has made it too tough to run their business.Amy Erickson has more.< "It's been my life for 18 years."Virginia Cole says the decision to close Community Ambulance on June 30-th is bittersweet.She has a passion for saving lives, but says the government's making it too tough to run her small business."The government's not paying its bills and from what I hear from the congress and senate, the medical fields are going to be hit...hit hard.""It costs us $8-$10 to put oxygen on a patient. Mainecare, or Mainecaid, now pays $6. So every time I put oxygen on a patient, I lose money.""Our income keeps declining and our expenses keep inclining. And we just can't keep taking the cost of it. My husband and I have mortgaged our home several times to keep this ambulance up."Cole and her husband Butch are the primary responders for Dixmont and surrounding towns, though they receive no funding from those municipalities.Once they go out of business, folks may have to wait for an ambulance from as far away as Bangor.The Coles worry about what that means for the sick and the elderly, but say they just can't keep pouring their personal savings into the operation."I'm sorry about the communities, but maybe they should have supported us a little better.""We've spoiled the towns by being able to respond. We're about the fastest ambulance in the whole area. At no cost."The last straw came in April, when the state notified the Coles they'd have to make the switch to computerized reporting.They said no way."To hire somebody to sit down at a computer and do this? I don't have the money to do that."Butch Cole says the community likely won't realize the importance of Community Ambulance until it's gone."I think they're going to have a rude awakening. Because some of the new requirements they have with the state...on structure fires, we always used to go and stand by. Now it's mandatory. That was at our expense. It just got to the point that all these little small expenses we're not able to afford any longer."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Dixmont.>

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Budget Cuts Force Layoffs at the University of Maine

Updated 6 years ago

The University of Maine says it will cut spending during the coming academic year by $8.8 million, a move that will result in 32 layoffs. In its announcement Friday, the university said 31 other employees will see a reduction in their work hours. In addition, 77 positions are being held vacant for elimination.The university said reductions in personnel costs account for all but $3 million of the cuts. The balance will come through reduced operating expenses and administrative efficiencies. Most of the layoffs are at the Cutler Health Center, whose operations were transferred to a private provider. Four of the five faculty being laid off are coaches in sports that were discontinued. The university’s budget for the year beginning July 1st totals $248 million. (AP)

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Academic Tracking Approved

Updated 6 years ago

A legislative committee has unanimously endorsed a proposal to allow Maine to track student progress by a social security number.Thursday’s vote came after lawmakers sought assurances that student data would be secure and that parents could withhold their child’s social security number from the data collection.Maine would reportedly join 14 other states that collect social security numbers to track students’ achievement.

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University of Maine to Raise Tuition

Updated 6 years ago

Tuition rates could be on the rise by more than five percent for undergraduate students in the University of Maine system.On Monday the trustees will review a proposal to raise the rates for the coming academic year.This year tuition went up by 10.8%, and the university pledged to keep increases to an average of six percent.In light of the bad economy the campuses are making cuts in their budgets to hold down tuition, but university system spokesman John Diamond told the Kennebec Journal Thursday that “tuition increases are the revenue sources of last resort.”At UMaine, students’ rates would increase by 5.9% raising overall tuition to $7,591.At USM, the percentage is six percent, but the dollar figure is lower going up to a total of $6,930.

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Wicked Winds Knock out Power

Updated 6 years ago

Power crews are back at work on Friday, restoring electricity to about ten thousand homes and businesses that lost it in Thursday’s wind storn.As of 4:30 Friday morning, Bangor Hydro was reporting 478 power outages.The majority of them are in Piscataquis and Lincoln Counties.Residents in the Colonial Trailer Park on Ohio Street in Bangor got quite a scare.High winds knocked a tree down in the middle of a very crowded area.It just missed doing serious damage to homes and cars.All administrative phone lines in Penobscot County are down this morning, and have been since last night. Officials believe its weather-related.911 emergency lines are still working.Repairs are underway and full service is expected again by mid-day.

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Vassalboro Adult Businesses

Updated 6 years ago

Residents in Vassalboro will have the chance next month to weigh in on whether they want to restrict adult only businesses.On Thursday night, some in town met to discuss proposed changes to the ordinance.Including having the business only open from eight am until 10 or 11 pm, closed on Sundays, and restricting the sale of alcohol.It all comes in response to a topless coffee shop that opened in Vassalboro two months ago. “It’s a small town. I kind of like to think we didn’t have to have an ordinance.” Said Vassalboro resident Gordon Murray. “We’re a rural country town. I would just like to see that we didn’t have to but I guess we have to put something in place.”Residents of will vote on the adult only business ordinance on June 8th at a town meeting.

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Trenton Fire

Updated 6 years ago

Less than an hour after Ellsworth fire fighters were called to a fire in their town, they received another call to join other departments for a fire in Trenton.The fire had broken out at Nautilus Marine Fabrication off Route 3.The metal building was reportedly destroyed.Crews spent about seven and a half hours putting out the flames.There has been no word yet on what caused the fire.

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Prostitution Ring Fines

Updated 6 years ago

Three women accused of being part of a Craigslist prostitution ring were ordered to pay a $500 fine Thursday.19-year-old Aimee Bernard of Bangor pleaded guilty to promotion of prostitution. 25-year-old Jolena Glidden of Bangor and 28-year-old Kimberly Oakley of Brewer pleaded no contest to the same charge.A fourth woman, Alicia gray of Kenduskeag, entered a not guilty plea.according to authorities, Gray was convicted of prostitution last year.the prostitution sting resulted in charges against seven women, including 42-year-old Michelle Powers-Jenkins of Orland, owner and operator of an escort service called Cinnamon’s Sweets.All seven women were charged with promotion of prostitution, a class D misdemeanor.

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Ellsworth Fire

Updated 6 years ago

It took crews from three towns to fight a fire in Ellsworth on Thursday.At 6:15 p.m., the call came in that C & C Machine Shop on the Bucksport Rd. Was on fire.Crews from Ellsworth, Surry and Lamoine responded. It took firefighters two hours to extinguish the blaze.Fire officials say there was extensive damage to the building.There is no known cause. The fire marshal will investigate on Friday.

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Law Enforcement Officer Memorial

Updated 6 years ago

82 Maine law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty.Their names are forever-etched into a memorial located in our state’s capital.A tribute was held their today to remember them and their families.it was a march in memory of those who have given their lives in the line of duty.”Seldon L. Jones, Augusta Police Department”The Maine Warden Service has lost 14 members, the most of any agency. State police follow with 10 fallen officers.In all, 82 names have been placed on the law enforcement officers memorial in Augusta.State St. was blocked by police Thursday morning for the nearly 100 people paying their respects.”It’s important that the state recognize, remembers, and never forget.” Each name has family left behind, and a story of how their loved ones were taken.”He put up a roadblock with his sergeant and the car that came down across threw him on top of the vehicle. They were going 90 miles per hour.””halt!”The hour-long ceremony was somber yet celebrated.”O’er the land of the free.”The freedoms we share.”And the home of the brave”Because of the bravery of those who have died.”So we lean on the fallen cuz they stood for honor and truth.”Giving a reminder of the dangers involved with police work.”The hazards we face every day when we go out to work. Law enforcement’s goal is to get home at the end of the shift and this is a reminder that that may not happen to all of us.” “They may be gone but not forgotten.” “forever living in me and you.”To honor all law enforcement officers the governor has directed that the U.S. and State of Maine flags be flown at half-staff tomorrow.

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