Local News

Early Start to St. Patrick’s Day

Wayne Harvey

Updated 6 years ago

The day when everyone is a little bit Irish was celebrated in Bangor, and patrons of Paddy Murphy’s, an Irish Pub on Main Street, got started before the sun came up.But the surprise of people coming through the doors at that hour was not a suprise to server Andy Day, ” Everybody’s marveling at people being here more than anything so but they’re all here too so. hahaha.”The doors to Paddy Murphy’s in downtown Bangor opened at 6am on this Saint Patrick’s Day, the same way it did two years ago when the Irish Pub opened in Pickering Square.”I picked six am because I thought it would work well” said the owner of the Pub, John Dobbs. “you know it’s a nice thing to do for people who really want to enjoy St. Patty’s day right from the get go. Nobody else does it and I’m looking to start a nice tradition.”Some sat at the bar, others filled booths. Some stopped in for a drink and something to eat before work. Others stopped in on their way to classes at UMaine, like Michael Perry.”I got class at nine thirty, gotta go to class and then we’ll see where the day goes from there.”This is the third St. Patrick’s Day the pub has welcomed folks in at this early hour. It’s just the start of 20 hours of celebration. And with five bands performing Irish and Celtic folk music through the day, those who have been through this before know what lies ahead.”This is about what I expected.” said Day. “You got the troopers in here at six in the morning and everybody wants to get a table early. I’m kind of astonished that we have one open now so we’ll see how long that lasts and yeah it’s a good crowd..”A good crowd and a good time, but there’s always next year to be ready for and that will soon be Dobbs’ focus.”You can always do better, you can always be faster, more efficient, you can always give more to people who frequent your establishment. So what can we do better for next year? We’ll start talking about that tomorrow.”

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FairPoint Rebate

Updated 6 years ago

About 20,000 FairPoint Communications customers in Maine who lost e-mail service during the conversion from Verizon are eligible for credit rebates.Representative Herb Adams from Portland says he proposed the rebates as a goodwill gesture to the affected customers.The company agreed to the payments last week at a meeting of the legislature’s utilities and energy committee.Customers who lost service for a week or more will get one month’s credit on their next billing.Those who were out for a shorter period will get a $10 credit.The service disruptions occurred during several weeks of the e-mail cutover in January and February.

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Old Town Fire

Updated 6 years ago

A woman in Old Town managed to escape unharmed from her burning apartment house late Tuesday night.Fire fighters were called to 4 Spring Street just after midnight Wednesday morning. Officials tell DT5 that there was just the one renter inside the building at the time.Crews from Old Town as well as Orono spent about a half hour knocking down the flames. there has been no word yet on a cause or damages to the building.

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Bangor Officials OK Building Projects

Updated 6 years ago

A pair of new buildings got the go-ahead from the Bangor Planning Board Tuesday night.First, board members heard about a new project for the Rock Church, a non-denominational Christian church on Ohio Street.”We have actually ten and a half acres of land,” says Pastor Kirk Winters.He says they want turn their current church into a space for youth activities – and behind it, build a new, nearly 10-thousand square foot house of worship for their hundreds of followers.Winters says they’ve come a long way since the church began in 2005.”Since then we’ve gone from one, to two, to three, to four weekend services,” Winters says. “We currently have about 500 people in a building that’s built for 100 people. So we’ve just outgrown our space.”He says they’re working now on raising funds, and hope to break ground in 2010.Meanwhile, as soon at the frost leaves the ground, Manna Ministries Director Bill Rae says they’ll break ground on their new family shelter. The six-unit building behind Manna’s current spot on Main Street would take in moms with their kids when they have nowhere else to go. It would be the only shelter of its kind in Bangor.He says they hope to open before the weather turns cold once again.”Mom comes in she has no place to stay, she can stay there for the night – two nights – five nights,” Rae says. “Whatever she needs to do to get herself back into her own apartment or back into her own stable environment.”Bill Rae says Manna is a quarter of the way to its one million dollar fundraising goal.

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UMaine Layoffs on the Horizon

Updated 6 years ago

The president of the University of Maine says layoffs are inevitable in the coming fiscal year, as the University struggles under budget pressures.In an open letter to the University community, Robert Kennedy said the budget-cutting process will be painful as the school figures out ways to cut $8.6 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July.Kennedy said the University will address budget cuts at two forums in Orono on March 26 and March 30.

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Baldacci Pays Old Bill

Updated 6 years ago

Governor John Baldacci has ordered a partial payment of $45 million to Maine hospitals on a years-old debt totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for services rendered under the Medicaid program.The order enables the state to use $45 million in federal stimulus money to leverage additional federal money that will provide hospitals with a payment totaling $163 million.Baldacci has proposed an additional state payment of $57 million that, combined with federal matching money, will provide hospitals with nearly $211 million.

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Maine Potato Farmers praise Umaine Cooperative Extension Programs

Updated 6 years ago

Maine potato farmers say their partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has saved them millions of dollars over the last several years.Potato farming is one of the top agricultural commodities in Maine, bringing in more than half a billion dollars to the state.And growers, like Steven Crane of the Crane Brothers farm in Exeter, say the key to growing a healthier, more substantial crop is knowing how to manage the fields.Thanks to technology, and help from Cooperative Extension’s Potato Integrated Pest Management Program, farmers like crane have a better idea of when to treat their crops.By collecting information through weather stations like this one, and sharing that information with local farmers.”We used to heat by calendar, not by science. Now we’re using science to help us determine when to apply the products at the correct times.”Crane says his farm has been working with the cooperative extension for more than twenty years.He says farmers who haven’t taken advantage of the resource, are missing out.Crane’s farm produces 13-hundred acres of potatoes, supplying them to Frito Lay.

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Downtown Construction Project

Updated 6 years ago

It’s priced at a million dollars, and will alter the face of downtown and the flow of traffic in Bangor.But for one local merchant being displaced by this new construction project, the change will be bitter sweet.Cori Skall has the story.”If you’re coming in Main Street toward town, there’s a very sharp right hand turn, and then a quick left hand turn on to Railroad and then Summer St.””What the project would do is to take that same traffic, and reroute it up to Cedar St. It’s a much more gentle and easy transition to get over on to Summer St.”City engineer, Jim Ring, says this plan to re-work the Summer Street, Cedar Street area, has been in the works for several years, since around the time of the first Folk Festival.”We have, you know, a lot more interest in Railroad St. and the waterfront area…this will separate traffic from pedestrian movement and anything down there.”The construction, run by the Maine DOT, will also create an additional lane coming in to town.The million dollar project will likely begin right after this year’s Folk Festival.”It’s gonna be sad to see it go down, but we’ll survive.”Teresa Wong owns Smith’s Ceramics on Main Street.She says her family and business have been there since the 1950’s.The new plans call for the demolition of their building, which means they will have to relocate.But Wong says the Maine DOT has been more than helpful with that effort.”The state, you know, helps out with the relocation. We’d need new checks, and business cards, etc. They’d help out with that and advertising.”The Wongs say they hope to find a space downtown to live and run their business.Ring says the project could be completed by the end of November.”This clearly has some real advantages, both for the traffic movement, but also for the type of use and activity on the waterfront area. I think it’s a good positive step.”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 News.

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Former Mayor In Court Again

Updated 6 years ago

Former Bangor mayor Richard Green was in court again today. Green was arrested for OUI on two separate occasions last week. He’s also charged with violating the conditions of his bail twice. Today in court, bail was set once again for Green. He posted the $500 cash and was released.

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Java Joe’s Stabbing Update

Updated 6 years ago

The man accused of stabbing a woman at a Bangor coffee shop Monday morning is now facing charges of attempted murder.32-year-old Jason Dean was in court today in Bangor. He’s also charged with aggravated assault.Officials say he went into Java Joe’s, walked up to a woman, and cut her neck with a knife.Dean then left the coffee shop. Bangor Police caught up with him on Franklin Street.The owner of Java Joe’s tells TV-5 it was his niece that was stabbed. He says she is seven months pregnant.She was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. We’re told she is fine.Bail was set for Dean at 50-thousand dollars cash…He is being held at Penobscot County Jail.He’s scheduled to appear in court again on May 1-st.

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Daffodils Arrive

Updated 6 years ago

The daffodils might not be blooming in your yard yet but they’ll be popping up at businesses around the state this week.The flowers for the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days fundraiser have arrived in the area.Boxes were being unloaded from a tractor trailer at the Brewer AuditoriumInside each one, you’ll find a little bit of sushine, and a whole lot of hope.”How many flowers have you sold, so far this year? A lot, I couldn’t begin to tell you”, responds Mike Hart, Community Executive for Development with the American Cancer Society.More than 10,000 daffodils have already been sold to folks in the area. It’s part of a big fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In fact, $200,000 have been raised so far this year throughout the state.”The money we raise goes to programs, research, education, all the patient services we provide in the area.”The flowers will now be wrapped in bunches, then on Thursday, they’ll be delivered to the folks who’ve ordered them.A beautiful way to brighten your day, knowing you’re helping in the fight against cancer.”it’s a good cause, great flower, spring’s around the corner, everybody is waiting for it. Kind of a good day today, getting the word out.”If you didn’t pre-buy the daffodils you can still pick some up.They’ll be available for sale at Paradis Shop N Save in Brewer on Wednesday. On Thursday, they’ll be sold at Bookstack, Curves and True Value in Bucksport and Seabreeze on Verona Island.A bunch of flowers will cost you $10.

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Arson Trial

Updated 6 years ago

A Bangor man charged with setting a fire in Brewer in September of 2007 was found not guilty today in Penobscot County Superior Court.The defense called a witness that said 26 year-old Brian Pelletier was on the phone with him at the time, and therefore could not have set the fire.They also presented an alternative suspect, who took the stand today. However, he testified he was not involved and presented an alibi.The jury deliberated for about an hour before returning the not guilty verdict.Mike Roberts, Deputy District Attorney says,”You can never tell what part of the evidence the jury is looking at most strongly. I felt good about the way our case came in. The Fire Marshal’s office did a really good job investigating this.”Roberts says it appears the alternative suspect theory was enough to create reasonable doubt.

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Bad Crash In Bangor

Updated 6 years ago

A patch of ice played a role in a car crash that sent three people to the hospital in Bangor last night. The accident happened just before 9pm on route 2 near the Hermon town line. Police say 40-year-old Richard Spreng of Hermon hit a patch of ice and lost control. His vehicle drifted into the opposite lane and crashed head on with a car driven by 30-year-old Brock Robinson of Bangor. Edward Rowe(60) of Bangor was in Robinson’s car. All three men were rescued from the wreckage and taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with injuries.

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Glenburn Fire Update

Updated 6 years ago

A Sunday night fire in Glenburn was an accident.So says the state fire marshal’s office.State Fire Investigator Tim York says combustibles placed too close to a heater is what caused a workshop fire on the Hudson road. The shop was destroyed, but firefighters were able to keep the fire away from the home, located just 20 feet away.

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Stabbing in Bangor

Updated 6 years ago

Police continue to investigate what appears to be a random stabbing at a coffee shop in downtown Bangor.Officers were called to Java Joe’s on Central Street just after 11 Monday morning.They say that 32-year-old Jason Dean went into the coffee shop, walked up to a female, and cut her neck with a knife.Dean then left the coffee shop. Police caught up with him on Franklin Street.He’s been charged with aggravated assault. More charges may be added later on.The victim did go to the hospital, but we’re told her injuries are not life threatening.Officials say that the victim did not know her attacker.

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Road Delays as Turbines Move to Canada

Updated 6 years ago

Folks travelling between Searsport and Houlton Tuesday morning may experience some delays.Two tractor trailers will be carrying wind turbines up to Canada.They will be escorted by state police.The caravan starts at 8 o’clock Tuesday morning on Route 1 in Searsport. They’ll be in Bangor mid-morning, then head North along I-95 to Houlton.

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Brewer Weighs Methadone Clinic Ordinance

Updated 6 years ago

Opening a methadone clinic in a neighborhood can cause controversy. That’s why some Brewer city leaders want to head off the issue entirely.A team of city leaders recommended to the planning board Monday that Brewer modify its zoning, to regulate where narcotic treatment facilities could open – and where they’d be prohibited.”We ran into a situation several years back with adult entertainment, and we didn’t have an ordinance in place, and it caused the city quite a bit of heartbreak and headaches,” says Code Enforcement Officer David Russell.He says Brewer wants to stay ahead of what could be another controversial issue.Even though no methadone clinics have approached the city, he says they should have a zoning ordinance in place now.”Without an ordinance they can basically go anywhere they want to. We’re trying to keep this within the business district in the Wilson Street and Dirigo Drive corridor.”The ordinance includes a 250-foot restricted zone around schools in the area. One neighbor shared a concern Monday. “I’m just a property or two away. That’s the distance.”The city’s team researched case law and clinics in other towns before recommending the zoning change.”These treatment programs are for people who have the addiction they just can’t battle by themselves,” says Brewer Police Chief Perry Antone, “so, there is a place for them in our society.”Methadone clinics are federally protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”The clinics that have more of a holistic treatment approach, that have psychotherapy, and work with the clientele to rebuild life skills – in combination with the methadone therapy are typically more successful clinics,” says Brewer Police Lt. Christopher Martin.”Law enforcement,” says Antone, “holds people accountable who abuse these sort of programs.” All but one member of the planning board OK’ed the zoning change. The ordinance will go before the Brewer City Council at their meeting next month.

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Battling the State Budget

Updated 6 years ago

Legislative budget writers settled down to business after the ranking Republicans on the Appropriations Committee backed off previous GOP criticism of how details of a new $65 million Medicaid shortfall were released by officials of Democratic Gov. John Baldacci’s administration. Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, and Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, on Monday absolved Baldacci budget chief Ryan Low of withholding information and noted that any delay in making the shortfall disclosure to lawmakers was at least partially due to legislative scheduling. Not all Republicans, however, seemed satisfied. Majority Democrats on the committee, as well as Low and Human Services Commissioner Brenda Harvey, let the comments by Millett and Rosen go by with little reaction.

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Seed Sales Growth

Updated 6 years ago

Maine’s seed companies say business is booming because of the tough economy and the growing interest in locally grown food. Joann Matuzas at Johnny’s Selected Seeds store in Winslow says home garden sales are up 50 percent. Winslow Agway True Value Owner, Brent Burger is seeing similar sales which are up 38 percent compared to last year. Seed shoppers tell TV5 News that it’s about savings, quality, and the satisfaction of growing their own food. Although Spring may be right around the corner Matuza and Burger agree to not get to ahead of yourself when it comes to planting early. They recommend sticking to the cold crops which include, lettuce, onion, eggplant, and peppers until Old Man Winter leaves Maine for good.

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Woman Robs Store, Orders Pizza

Updated 6 years ago

Police didn’t have to look far to find a woman accused of robbing a business in Biddeford Monday. She was found across the street ordering pizza.It was just after noon Monday when police say 48-year old Mary Gorsuch walked into Paul’s Variety Store. She threatened to “blow the clerks head off” if she didn’t hand over money. After getting what she wanted, the clerk says she watched as Gorsuch walked across the street to a pizza parlor. Se was arrested at that same pizza shop a short time later. Gorsuch was on federal probation for a previous robbery when she was arrested Monday. She once lived in Brewer, and was convicted of robbing the Fleet bank in downtown Bangor in 2002.

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