There could be fewer state lawmakers in Maine in the future and voters would get the final say.A bill to reduce the number of Representatives to the Maine House from 151 to 131 was approved in the House Wednesday.It faces further House and Senate votes.If it passes it would be a Constitutional Amendment, which would require a state-wide vote in the fall.If voters passed it, the change would take hold in 2013.
A local jeweler is reaching out to local Moms with children deployed overseas.He’s treating them to a little bit of luxury this Mother’s Day weekend.Amy Erickson has the story.”Well, they’re doing a heck of a job for us, so whatever I can give back to them. I really appreciate what they do.”Sonny LeClair has been thinking of ways he can honor the men and women serving the country overseas.As the owner of Quality Jewelers in Bangor, he has several employees with relatives in the military.So he’s decided to run a special Mother’s Day promotion for those females with loved ones serving overseas.”We’re going to give away a free strand of cultured pearls to anyone that has a family member deployed, whether it be a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt…anything at all.”You don’t have to buy a thing to get a necklace.LeClair says the giveaway is just his way of saying thank you to the servicemen and women making sacrifices.”The necklace is an 18″ strand of pearls…they are cultured pearls, natural…and they’re very nice.”They’re valued at $200 apiece…and LeClair has 100 to give away.”We’re gonna do it friday and saturday this week. We open at 9 both days, we lose at 5 on friday, 4 on saturday, and while supplies last, we’re going to give away the strands.”And it’s not just about honoring the mothers and grandmothers…LeClair hopes the women will bring in a reminder of their loved ones…so others can see the men and women putting their lives on the line on a daily basis.”We’d like to have them bring in a picture that we can post on the wall, just to show people.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.
On Wednesday Governor Baldacci signed the bill that would legalize gay marriages in the state of Maine. Voters could still overturn the law in a referendum.Wednesday morning, the Maine State Senate voted 21-13 in favor of legalizing same sex marriages. Late afternoon Wednesday New Hampshire lawmakers passed a bill to allow gay marriage. There are four states that currently allow same-sex marriages. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa have been ordered by the courts to do so, and Connecticut has enacted a law codifying a court ruling. Vermont passed a gay marriage law in April over the governor’s objection.To watch WABI TV5’s special series on the Gay Marriage Debate click on the stories here.
The prospect of a one cent tax on water brought a crowd to the state house on Tuesday.The bill would impose a penny per gallon tax on water pumped from springs and other sources here in Maine.Out of state water bottlers wouldn’t have to pay it.Nearly one hundred opponents of the bill showed up in Augusta to let their feelings be known. Most of them work for the Poland Spring water company.They say the new law would discourage Poland Spring from growing its business in Maine.It’s estimated the penny tax would cost Poland Spring seven-million dollars each year.
A Newburgh man has been charged in connection with the death of 17-year-old Nathan Clark, the Hampden teen who went missing in March and who’s body was later found in a gravel pit in Winterport.Hampden police say 44-year-old Michael Fortunato provided kids under the age of 18 with a place to consume alcohol, and provided them with marijuana and prescription drugs.After a month long investigation, authorities say there’s evidence that Clark was one of the teens Fortunato associated with.Fortunato has been charged with two counts of aggravated furnishing of a scheduled drug. Both of which are class C crimes or felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.Hampden police say the charges against Fortunato are not in relation to the cause of Clark’s death.They are still looking into the case, and say more charges related to alcohol could follow.The State Medical Examiner has not yet released an official cause of death in Nathan Clark’s case. Fortunato is scheduled to appear in Bangor Superior Court in June.
Eleven days after his internet service went out, a business owner in Camden says he can’t believe the problem still hasn’t been fixed.He says it’s hurting his business.”It’s almost impossible to operate right now,” says Raymond Brunyanszki, owner of the Camden Harbour Inn. They use online services to book all their reservations and run credit cards. Except for the past 11 days.”In this day and age, the internet is a vital component to our operation, and we are losing money because of Fairpoint,” he says.The Inn lost service after some server upgrades. But Brunyanszki says after daily calls to Fairpoint, they still don’t know why they’re not back online.He says restaurant reservations are down twenty percent, and taking down everything by hand and using the phone to run credit cards is tying up business.”Well, we’re back to the seventies, we have slips and this thing — I don’t even know what you call it anymore.”He says on the old slips, people are forgetting to tip their servers. And hotel guests aren’t pleased there’s no Wi-Fi.”At some point, I just got, you know, it almost became like a joke to me, that every time when I called them we got the same response. Sometimes they they couldn’t find the account they had opened for us.”A representative for Fairpoint tells TV-5 they’re working on issues like large call center volumes.”That’s likely the problem that we’ve had with the situation in Camden,” says company spokesman Jeff Nevins. “We have detailed plans for pretty much every area where we’re not operating as business as usual.”He says problems cropped up after their recent company switchover, but that they should be back to normal by the end of June.”We did decide to change providers now,” says Brunyanszki, “because it’s been enough.”
Advertising students at the University of Maine got to advertise what they’ve been working on all semester.And it’s a project that will benefit some local businesses.Meghan Hayward reports.Real life practice and experience is what students in the University of Maine’s advertising campaign class have been getting.”So it’s basically a service learning course which means they not only need to learn from the textbook but also use their knowledge in giving back to local clients and solve real-world problems for them.”UMaine seniors spent the spring semester creating marketing campaigns for the Maine Discovery Museum, the Grasshopper Shop and Henry’s Bridal Boutique and Formal Wear.Jeniffer Chiarell, Marketing Director at the Maine Discovery Museum, says working with the students was fun and educational for her.”I’ve really benefited from what they’ve had to say and they had some really good ideas. I love some of the spots and creativity they used.”Chiarell says she wasn’t too surprised at how well everything turned out because of all the work the students put into it.”We kept in conversations throughout the semester and they asked me a lot of questions and that really indicated to me that they were putting a lot of work into the project.”Senior Sonja Fickett worked on the Maine Discovery Museum campaign and says she benefited from the hands-on experience.As the semester comes to an end, Fickett says it is hard to believe it’s done.”Well it’s a bittersweet feeling just because it feels really good to have this accomplishment because we haven’t had the chance to work in this type of environment before. It’s really good in that way but it’s also sad that it’s coming to an end.”But an experience that Fickett and other advertising students will take with them as they graduate and head into the real-world.
This Mother’s Day is going to be extra special for a 4th Grader from Newport Elementary School.She had planned to give her mom a candle, instead she’ll be giving her a gold and tourmaline necklace that she designed herself. That’s because Hannah Bickford won a design contest sponsored by a local jewelry store.”I didn’t think that I was gonna win because, oh my word, there’s a lot of kids in the contest.”More than 400 kids in fact entered the jewelry design contest sponsored by Yankee Goldsmiths in Newport.It’s the 5th year they’ve sponsored the contest, asking students from five area schools to design a piece of jewelry for their mothers. The winning design would be created into a real piece of jewelry for their mom.”I just thought it would be really appropriate and special to be on Mother’s Day.”There were a lot of ideas, that included everything from hearts, to unicorns, to dogs to flowers.Hannah’s idea: “All I did was a watermelon. I didn’t think that was gonna win, a watermelon.”But Rusty Bickford, jeweler at Yankee Goldsmiths thought it was great. It took him more than 10 hours to craft the gold and watermelon tourmaline design. He estimates it would retail for more than $500.”You could just see the finished product right away and it was a style that we liked.”Hannah thinks her mom will like it too, because her mom loves summer, and loves to eat watermelon.So Hannah’s pretty good at the design part, but not so great at keeping secrets.”I came home and screamed kind of and I wasn’t supposed to tell my mom but I did because I was getting put to the questions.”There’s no question that Hannah is happy she won this contest so that she can give her mom such a special gift this mother’s day, because she says she has one special mom.”She’s just the best mom in the world, you couldn’t get a better one than her. She just is. I don’t know how to explain it, she’s just one in a million, she’s the best.”Hannah will get to pick up the necklace on Saturday along with her mom. Twenty kids who received honorable mentions will get a sterling silver charm for their moms.
One in eight Mainers lived in poverty in 2007. That’s according to a study done by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine and the Maine Community action association. The 12.2% figure is about one percentage point lower than the national average. Washington county had the highest poverty rate at just over 20%. York county had the lowest at around 8%. The poverty line in the report is defined as $20,650 for a family of four.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – After a three-hour debate, the Maine House approved a same-sex marriage bill. The bill faces one more vote each in the House and Senate. Representatives voted 89-58 Tuesday afternoon in favor of the bill after rejecting an amendment that called for a November referendum. The bill was sent back to the Senate after the House vote. The proposal would make Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage. But it’s unclear whether Gov. John Baldacci would sign the bill. Baldacci remains undecided. Four states now allow same-sex marriages: Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa by court orders and Vermont through legislation. New Hampshire’s Legislature is actively considering a gay marriage bill.To watch WABI TV5’s special series on the Gay Marriage Debate click on the stories here.
Monday was the first chance the public had to comment on the governor’s plan to close a $570,000,000 shortfall in the state budget.Members of the appropriations committee heard strong objections to governor Baldacci’s proposed budget.The governor’s plan is designed to reduce the general fund spending by $300,000,000.New initiatives would include $70,000,000 less in local school aid, $60,000,000 less in potential tax breaks, and two dozen government shutdown days.Baldacci would use $75,500,000 from the state rainy day fund and nearly $41,000,000 in other reserves to offset shortfalls through June 2011.
A fox has tested positive for rabies in Aroostook County.The animal bit a dog on Friday in Masardis.Authorities say the dog was up to date on it’s rabies shots, and there was no human exposure.Rabies has not been detected that far north until now.There have been twenty cases of the disease reported in Maine this year: mostly in the central and southern part of the state.
The co-owner of a home child care business in Glenburn will spend four months behind bars for molesting a girl he once cared for, as well as a teenage relative.Ronald Tewhey was once a town selectmen.A local newspaper says the 49-year-old was sentenced last Friday to five years in jail, with all but four months suspended.Tewhey pled guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of unlawful sexual touching.
A Waterville man has been charged after a seven-hour standoff with police over the weekend.It began around 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning and ended around 9:00 a.m., when 21-year-old Todd McLaughlin surrendered.Waterville police say they got a call from McLaughlin’s brother, who said McLaughlin was drunk, had put on a bulletproof vest and had threatened to go out in a blaze of glory.The state police tactical team, along with Winslow, Fairfield and Oakland Police helped Waterville surround the man’s apartment building.Waterville chief Joseph Massey says several firearms, including a high-powered rifle were recovered from the home.
A 46-year-old man from LaGrange was killed in an ATV accident Sunday night in Medford.Authorities say Daniel Turner was riding with a group on ATV’s down the Paddy Hill Rd. just before 10:00 p.m.His three-wheeler hit a bump, causing him to loose control.The machine rolled over several times, and Turner was thrown off.He was pronounced dead at the scene.Deputies with the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.
State Police say a 17 year old Limestone boy has been arrested andcharged with manslaughter in connection with the death of his three monthold daughter.Nicklas Jones made his first court appearance Monday afternoon, after being taken into custody Friday night in Caribou.Jones is charged in the death of Joselyn Jones, who died last Monday at a Bangor hospital from injuries she received on April 23. State Police say the infant died from blunt force trauma to the head. Police believe her teenage father threw the baby into her crib to stop the infant from crying.The baby was first taken to Cary Medical Center on April 23 and then transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor , where she died four days later.An autopsy by the State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the casewas a homicide.Jones was arrested Friday night at the Caribou Police Department and spend the weekend at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston.The death is the state’s seventh homicide of the year, and the fourth involving domestic violence.
Here’s a really easy way to help others out. You don’t have to go any further than your mailbox.Folks gathered at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter Monday to bring attention to the National “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive.Letter carriers across Maine will be picking up bags of food along their delivery routes this Saturday.All you have to do is leave a sturdy bag containing non-perishable foods next to your mailbox.Your carrier will pick it up and make sure it’s delivered to local pantries, shelters and soup kitchens.Folks who run pantries tell us canned meat, fruits and veggies, peanut butter, cereal and Bisquick are always needed.”The reality remains that 35 million Americans and 64 thousand Mainers live at risk of hunger today,” says Renee Overlock, local branch president, National Association of Letter Carriers.”So just take a moment and put a couple items of food out with your mail. And together that will make a difference, in a way that no government or big agency can,” says Dennis Marble, director, Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.The food drive is put on by the United Way and the National Association of Letter Carriers. It’s the largest single-day food drive in the nation.
Many gathered Monday at the Hammond Street Senior Center to celebrate the life of Bernard “Doc” Mann, who is turning 100 next month.”A hundred years is a pretty big milestone, but especially because Doc is such a wonderful human being. There’s just nobody else like him, you know, he’s just so sharp and so fun and loving and caring. I know don’t what it is.” Says Kathy Bernier, Executive Director of the Senior Center.Doc spends a lot of time at the Senior Center dazzling crowds with his musical talents.”Doc had to play his own Happy Birthday song, which is a little unusual, but because he had actually played the piano for us for the last ten years on a daily basis, it seemed appropriate.” adds Bernier. “He played us his little melodies and we all got a chance to revive some of the memories over the years we’ve had with him.”Doc has many happy memories growing up in Bangor.”Doc lived in Bangor where horse drown carriages travelled the streets and trolly cars connected the city’s neighborhoods.””The Celtics came to Bangor one time and I timed that game with their approval” Doc remembers. The Senior Center dedicated their piano to Doc for his birthday and the city gave him a special honor.Gerry Palmer, Mayor of Bangor, presented the gift. “I have a proclamation Doc, from the city. Recognizing Bernard “Doc” Mann on the occasion of his soon to be 100th birthday… That’s the key to the city.””That’s beautiful. It’s my city too.” says Doc.”Yes, it is” adds Palmer.And Doc has a little advice about the ‘key’ to living a long life.”Keep breathing, it happens if you keep on breathing.”
Habitat for Humanity broke ground on a new house in Ellsworth Monday.A busload of freshmen from Mount Desert Island High School made the job a little easier. “It’s a sweaty job,” says student Dylan Stillman, “but it’s not that hard.”They got to work clearing brush and hauling logs.”It’s not all that bad to get out and do something, move around, just do something good for your town,” says student Lucas Murphy.Their goal — get the land ready for a new house to be built here, for a local family who needs it.”Over here is the 14th house that will be built in Hancock County by Habitat,” says Jimmy Goodson, Hancock County Habitat Executive Director, pointing out the spot.The students had the morning off from school as part of a program to encourage community service.”We were excited when we were sitting on the bus outside the school, just ready to go and get something done,” says student Adam Perruzzi.”These guys, more than any generation I’ve seen come up, including my own, are very, very community-minded,” says their group leader, MDI High School teacher Christiane Cullens.”They look at it as a personal responsibility, something they should do because they can,” she says.Cory Plaisted will one day live in the home that’s built here. He’ll work alongside other community volunteers over the next year.”I feel like I’m on could nine, to see this community pull together for us,” says Plaisted. “We’ve been waiting for a house for a good four to five years and now that Habitat has picked us as a family, it feels great.”
A quiet camp on a lake is the perfect retreat. For kids who’ve been through rough times, it can be a whole lot more.KidsPeace helps children who have been abused, neglected or suffered through other traumas.Today, the organization accepted a donation of land on Graham Lake in Ellsworth, from family and friends of the late Barbara Workman of Farmington.Barbara’s camp will be used as a retreat center for KidsPeace, a place for children to enjoy the quiet and peace of the outdoors.Her family says that’s just what she would have wanted.”Barbara was a very talented outdoor lady, horses, rock climbing, tree climbing, swimming, she could do it all,” says her life partner Richard Fecteau. “And this is the kind of outdoor experience they give these kids.””The family is very generous, and we are very appreciative,” says KidsPeace Graham Lake Executive Director Jean Dickson.Folks at KidsPeace say the Barbara Joy Workman Retreat Center will help give a new start to kids, who’ve never had a real childhood.