A gas station in Pittsfield is now known as one of the cleanest and friendliest in the country.The Dysarts Travel Stop on Somerset Avenue was evaluated by some secret shoppers sent by Citgo. They evaluated things like service, and cleanliness. Dysarts was one of 2,000 stations across the country to get a perfect store. All of them were placed into a lottery, and the Pittsfield store was selected to win the grand prize, a Cadillac Escalade.Instead of keeping the vehicle for himself, store owner Tim Dysart decided to split the prize.”We ended up, we sold it and split the proceeds with the crew at the location.” said Tim Dysart.Co-manager, Stephanie Valente added, “It was more than what they even needed to do. They didn’t even need to do that, it was great that they did it.””Especially at a time like this, we all were so thrilled to get the money, it was not even expected.”, said co-manager Gail Ross.Citgo evaluates their 9,000 stations across the country each year.Now that they have this new honor, the Dysarts store is getting a new look. They’re in the middle of renovations.
Forest products are a vital part of Maine’s ecomony, traditions and character.There’s been a lot done to ensure the viability of Maine’s forests, while at the same time making sure they’re protected.That’s why a group of maine lawmakers, representatives from the pulp and paper industry, and land conservationists, gathered at a conference on *forest legacy* in Orono today.Govenor Baldacci says forest products and forest based recreation contribute more than 11-billion dollars to Maine’s economy, while employing mor than 30-thousand people.Department of Conservation commissioner Patrick McGowan says there’s been a lot of progress in protecting Maine’s woods, since the Maine Woods Legacy program was established.”The forest legacy program, as I mentioned….we receive more money than any other state, and we want to thank you for that….45 million dollars for 650-thousand acres since the program began, in 1994, with Senator Lahey and former Senator Mitchell as sponsors.”>McGowan says while there’s been a lot of progress, there’s still a long way to go.He says there are still several conservation projects in the works for this year.He credits the success thus far, to the cooperation of both government and private organizations.
Close to two-hundred displaced workers from the Red Shield plant in old town will soon be back to work.Some are already on the job.As Cori Skall explains, the folks involved hope that a new name, new financial backing, and new technology will bring new opportunities to people throughout the area.”Well, I’ve lived in Old Town my whole life,.a lot of families depend on it, the city depends on it, its just a wonderful opportunity.”For many in the Old Town area, the years have been tough, since the closure of the Red Shield paper plant last year.”These people have been on a roller coaster not only financially but emotionally…its been so difficult during these past two years, for all of them.”But there’s a new sense of optimism , as news of the plant’s reopening was made public at a conference on forest legacy this week.”We’ll be starting up a plant, next week, that’s probably uniquely configured to use Maine derived technology….in a facility that’s dependant on Maine woods, and dependent on highly skilled people from Maine to make a product that’s never been made any place else in the world.”Red Shield President, Dick Arnold, says the plant will incorporating cutting-edge technology, developed by the University of Maine, to venture in to the bio-fuel arena.And along with this new technology, a new name.Mill owner, Lynn Tilton, says the plant will be renamed, old town fuel and fiber, a nod to the town’s history with the plant.90 workers have already returned to the plant.And management says they hope to have 170 employees, within a few weeks.Cashman, who’s already returned to work, says she’s excited for the future.”I think we have a good future with the bio fuels, I think the mill’s here to stay, this time.”
A new safe haven is opening in Dexter. Penquis held the ribbon cutting today for their Journey House. The goal of the home is to provide a safe environment for unwed mothers between the ages of 16 and 21, who either already have children or are pregnant.”It’s really important that these girls that are in crisis or in transition like this to have a safe home and for them to also have a good support system.” Says a house mother.The Journey House in Dexter will provide temporary housing and a nurturing environment for young, unwed mothers. Four girls at a time will be able to live at the house and learn life skills in a family focused atmosphere.”The mealtime specifically is something we make a big priority. We’re really gonna all try to eat together as much as we can and get that good family feeling and that sharing and that openness going.”There will be a house mother there to guide the girls, and a major goal is to help them become self sufficient through education.”Their life has been interrupted but they very much want to get on track and be able to complete their education and provide for their family.”One reason Penquis chose Dexter as a location is the school system, but the main reason was the perfect house they were able to purchase – it’s the right size and meets all of the childcare requirements.”The size of your windows, the way your stairs rise and the distance between them… That you have the ability to put in a sprinkler system, those are just mandatory and this house worked.”They’re still moving in and setting up. But they say the home should be ready for the first girl in about three weeks.The organiziation is still looking for donations to furnish the house. You can contact Penquis at 973-3500.
It looks like Mainers will have a number of initiatives to consider the next time they head to the polls.The Secretary of State’s office says it has validated the signatures needed to bring those issues to the ballot box.The proposals include a new version of the taxpayers bill of rights which seeks to require voter approval of all new tax increases.Also approved are proposals to reduce the automobile excise tax, and another that would revamp Maine’s medical Marijuana law.There’s also measures that would restrict the growth of municipal spending and repeal the school consolidation law.
The investigation continues into a double stabbing in Deer Isle over the weekend.Authorities were called to an apartment house around 2 o’clock Sunday morning.They say they found 21-year-old Carlos Garcia of Stonington and 42-year-old Jeffrey Jones of Florida both suffering from stab wounds.Witnesses told police the two men stabbed each other after getting into an altercation outside the apartment building.Jones was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center, where he remained as of Tuesday morning.Garcia was treated at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital and released.No charges have yet been filed.
Monday’s snowstorm has left thousands of Mainers without power.Most of those outages are in Central Maine Power territory.At last report they were still trying to restore power to about 79,000 customers.Bangor Hydro’s peak outage was about 17,000, but as of 7 o’clock Tuesday morning, that number was down to 5731.Governor Baldacci declared a state of emergency that will allow the power crews to extend their hours to get everyone back online.Additional line crews will also be on the job Tuesday, including some that will travel from throughout New England to repair the lines.
There were smiles tonight at the Church of Universal Fellowship, where Old Town and Orono High School students and chaperones returned home after a week helping rebuild homes in New Orleans. The youth group – called YAWP, for Young Adults With Pizzazz – brought back with them lessons learned.”It’s no longer something you see on the news,” says YAWP leader Sam Kunz. “When you walk by, a lot of the homes are still in the same shape as when Katrina struck.””Four years later nothing had been done there,” says group member Emily Bottie, of some of the hardest-hit areas they visited. “That was very hard to see.”The students were full of stories about the people they met who had lost their homes.”They had the mentality, ‘Well, we still have our family, but we lost a lot, but we can still get back on our feet if we just work hard for it,’ and so many people had that mentality, it was just amazing to see,” says group member Alyssa Bates.The group raised more than eight thousand dollars to travel to St. Bernard Parish and help rebuilding efforts, after an idea proposed by one of their youth group leaders.”They did it. The kids did it and that just blew my mind,” says YAWP leader Cami Carter.Matt Gilman’s son Chris went on the trip. “There’s a ton of energy and enthusiasm and drive within that group, so I’m not surprised it took place that way,” he says.The students say they want to take what they’re learned, and next, help people in their own community.”The days were really long. We got up really early and we stayed up really late,” says Chris Gilman. “But it was well worth it.”
Winter weather and slick roads often lead to accidents. When utility poles are hit and power lines are down, sparks can fly. Bangor Hydro says there are about 80 accidents a year involving cars and poles, and drivers could put themselves in more danger if they’re not sure what to do.”Due to road conditions, single vehicle came around the corner, apparently lost control, hitting a telephone pole.” Says Larry Lilley of the Hudson Fire Dept. “I clipped the pole off and I noticed snow dust everywhere and that pole came across the hood and I just braced up for it, I mean what can you do. I didn’t dare to get out. I saw sparks and stuff.” Says Sean Sabine, The driver in this accident in Hudson.He knew enough to stay put – and stay out of danger. Bangor Hydro safety officer John Greaves says there are a few precautions drivers should take if they see sparks fly after an accident. “If the wires are down they should always stay in the car. They should not leave unless the situation forces them to leave. Safest place would be the car because the shuttle of the car kind of protects you while you’re in it.”If you do leave the vehicle, Greaves says you run the risk of electrocution.”Electricity is always looking for the quickest path to ground, so if you step out of your car there’s a really good chance you could complete that path.”He says to be on the safe side, drivers should avoid touching the interior of the car as much as possible. He has some advice for onlookers as well.”Keep your distance. Minimum of 30 feet for distribution wire, like you see around town, that gives you a safe zone. The problem is if you approach the problem, you can actually get voltage between the feet that’s in the ground.”He says the safest thing for everyone to do, is to sit tight and wait for crews to clear the scene.”I’m alright and I’m thankful I’m alright, and that’s all that really matters.”
It seems we’re always trying to find ways to do things faster, but is it always better?One man in Holden thinks building a home using old-fashioned techniques is just the right fit for him.”This is just a style of log home that I noticed near Moosehead Lake and really liked it.”When Robie Robichaud decided to move back to Maine, he picked out a piece of land in Holden. His first thought was to build a home underground, but then he looked up.”It’s on a slope, it’s aimed right and all that. I found out there was a view above the trees and I had to get up there to get it.”He wanted his home to fit right into nature, so he decided it should be a log home. A kit would be easy, but he didn’t think it could provide the raw beauty of building it the old fashioned way.So he hired a crew from Greenville that hand hewns and hand scribes each log, so they fit perfectly into one another.”I thought how did these guys do this”It’s pretty amazing considering many of these logs harvested from Deer Island on Moosehead Lake are 45 feet long. Ground was broken last September, and Robie’s new home should be finished by this summer, but he can already see, the results are beautiful.”Each log is different than the other one below it, and there are a lot of little nooks and crannies and giant walnuts on these logs, that I probably am going to rub it down and put linseed oil on it and just bring it out. To me it’s about the beauty. This is about as natural as natural can be.”
Red Shield in Old Town is announcing the startup of its pulping operations. Dan Bird, spokesman for the company, says some employees were called back to work last week in anticipation of the startup next week.Bird says most of the employees laid off last summer will be put back to work. The mill has started taking orders for pulpwood and should be fully operational by next week.Bird says the startup is the result of their unique pulpwood product. He also says company officials have been working on cost-saving measures and the marketing of their high-quality pulp product.
For some in Maine, summertime can’t come fast enough.Lounging by the pool sounds pretty darn nice right now. As Joy Hollowell shows us, some kids in Bangor figured out a way to go swimming in the snow.SNOW SHOVELING AND SPLISH SPLASHING SEEM LIKE POLAR OPPOSITES…BUT AT THE BANGOR Y-M-C-A, THE TWO GO HAND IN HAND.”it’s a snow day. Yes, and so all the kids come in in the morning, and we dig out our cars and get here before them.”FOR A DECADE NOW, THE Y HAS OFFERED ITS SNOW DAY PROGRAM TO FAMILIES IN THE AREA. THE WHOLE IDEA IS TO GIVE KIDS SOMETHING TO DO DURING A DAY OFF FROM SCHOOL, WITHOUT PARENTS HAVING TO *WORRY* ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE DOING.”we provide all kinds of activities fro them to do, they can participate in our gym program, our swim program, we have arts and crafts as well as science projects.”AND, IT PROBABLY COMES AS NO SURPRISE THAT THE KIDS FAVORITE ACTIVITY IS “”swimming.””because its too cold outside””warm inside”ANYONE CAN SIGN UP FOR THE SNOW DAY PROGRAM AT THE Y. JUST COME INSIDE THE SECOND STREET LOCATION AND FILL OUT AN INFORMATION PACKET…AND WHO KNOWS, FOR ONE BRIEF MOMENT, YOU MIGHT JUST FORGET WHAT’S GOING ON OUTSIDE.JOY HOLLOWELL, WABI TV 5 NEWS, BANGOR.
Governor Baldacci has declared a State of Emergency due to the heavy snow and the high number of power outages.
The Darling Road in Hudson has been reopened, after a motor vehicle accident involving downed power lines around 10 Monday morning. Power has also been restored to the Hudson Hill area. Power was out for about 5 hours. As of 5 p.m., both lanes are moving on Interstate 95 after an accident in Waterville. The northbound lane at mile marker 125 on I-95 had been closed since 10 a.m.
A man in his fifties died Sunday while on Sugarloaf Mountain. His name has not yet been released.A spokesperson for the ski resort says the victim was waiting for the ski lift when they believe he suffered a heart attack. Ski patrol responded immediately and performed CPR, then transported the man to the clinic.We’re told the man was a parapalegic and using adapted ski equipment at the time of the incident. We’re also told he was an avid skiier.
A Fairfield teenager is behind bars tonight after allegedly assaulting his parents.Police say 18-year-old Travis Ireland became aggressive with a knife at the family’s home on Old County Road. Officers say they had to to use a Taser to subdue him.Police tell TV5 Ireland’s mother and father were not injured. Travis Ireland currently is awaiting bail at the Somerset County Jail. He will be arraigned in mid-April.
With more snow on the way, some people are rejoicing. That includes lots of folks who’ve been out enjoying snowmobile trails all over the state this winter.We checked in with one club on Sunday, who says despite tough economic times – their membership is up.”We’re riding snowmobiles!”Beautiful weather brought lots of people out riding this weekend – taking advantage of prime conditions.”The trails have been the best they’ve been in a lot of years,” says Corinth Snowmobile Club President Duane Blanchard. “We’ve got a lot of snow, probably another 2 to 3 weeks of winter left and you can head from here anywhere you want to go.””We came from Kenduskeag, we went over to Hudson to the lake and we’re headed back now,” says James Millet. He stopped by the Corinth Snowmobile Club – also known as the Powerline Prowlers – with a group for a bite of home-cooked food.”We have hamburgers, hotdogs, onion rings, french fries, grilled cheese..and each weekend we do two specials and homemade sweets,” says the club’s “Gram,” Jean Clement.Blanchard says his club is growing, despite the bad economy, since people are sticking to trails closer to home.”With the local economy we’re trying to open it back up and let families and everyone start using it again.”Membership costs 22 dollars. “Ten dollars goes toward your local clubs and the rest goes to the state which eventually comes back to our trail grooming and pays for a lot of what you ride on.””They do a good job with the trails around here,” says Millett.And all that snow predicted for Sunday night…was no worry to folks around here.”I’m looking forward to the next snow storm!” says Clement.”I’m hoping we get a big another big one,” says Blanchard. “And hopefully another one after that.”
More than 50 fire fighters battled a fire in Charleston this morning. It happened around 10 a.m. on Route 11.Fire fighters say a man was working in his garage when a gas leak reached a space heater. The garage and everything inside – including vehicles and tools – were destroyed. The man, whose name has not yet been released, made it out of the garage in time and no one was injured.Fire crews were worried the nearby house would also catch fire, but they were able to put out the flames before any major damage was done to the home. The garage was a total loss.Charleston firefighter Rusty Weymouth says they’re not sure where the gas leak in the garage came from, “but gas got to the space heater and exploded and then we had a fully involved fire.”Crews from Charleston, Corinth and Bradford all responded to the scene.
Governor john baldacci is in our nation’s capitol this weekend, meeting with other state governors.The three-day conference is centered around our nation’s economic crisis, and how to get out of it. Baldacci cautions Mainers that even though our state will see hundreds of millions of dollars, that won’t erase Maine’s obligation to maintain fiscal discipline.In his weekly radio address Saturday, the governor said, “the money is helpful, but it’s temporary.”He emphasized the need for quick action on federally funded projects, so people can get back to work and start spending.Governor Baldacci will also meet with the Coalition of Northeastern Governors.Those meetings will consider various regional issues impacting economic recovery.
Wardens responded to two snowmobile accidents in two days.The latest happened Saturday afternoon in Levant.Wardens say 56 year old Lynden Adams was riding along a trail, when he tried turning left.But instead, Adam’s snowmobile hit a pine tree….He was taken to a Bangor hospital with an injury to his leg….Wardens also responded to a snowmobile collision just after 2 o’clock Friday, in the woods near the Kennebec Road in Hampden.Two riders were involved, one a minor, the other, an adult identified as David Moores…Wardens say the two machines were riding on a narrow trail.They met at a corner, and the skis on both snowmobiles hooked…The juvenile turned down medical attention, but Moores was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.Wardens say there was poor visibility at the time.