The Brewer Housing Authority has gotten a grant for nearly $50,000 that aims to make their residents more self sufficient.The money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will support the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.It helps residents in Brewer’s Public Housing set goals for education, jobs and home ownership. Then gives them the resources to help them achieve them.Brewer Housing Authority Executive Director Gordon Stitham says the program is important. “You’re taking someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to either go on to school or to better themselves as far as education, better themselves as far as getting some assistance for childcare, so they can go on to work.”Stitham says they’ve been offering this program for the past several years and its been a success.In the past year, six tenants have moved out of public housing and into their own homes.
It sure doesn’t feel like it now, but before you know it, August will be here, as will the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.Organizers say the look of the event will remain the same but there will be some schedule changes and a new twist to raise money for the event.”The 2009 American Folk Festival is going to continue the tradition of providing a world class cultural and musical experience for the people of this region.”Organizers of the American Folk Festival have been busy making plans for this year’s event.”People can anticipate the majority of the festival to be just like last year…with a whole new lineup of performers.”Eight of the planned 22 acts were announced this week.”Blue grass is one of the major traditions that is very important to our audience…so this year we’re bringing Danny Paisley and Southern Grass up from the Virginia area our stage.””From Quebec city, a quintet of singers who go by the name of *Les Charbonniers de L’enfer.””We have a 300 year old dance tradition that’s Indian.””This will be the first year that we’ve been able to present Brazilian music.”Along with new acts like Cherish The Ladies, from Ireland, and Lil Ed and Blues Imperials, Reggae from Clinton Fearon and traditional Cajun music from The Lost Bayou Ramblers, organizers have added a fundraiser to the mix.The “festival countdown concert”, will be held May 16th at the Collins Center for the Arts, in Orono.Organizers say it costs over a million dollars to put on the folk festival.They are hoping the event, featuring the Acadien ensemble Vishten, and blues group Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy, will raise almost 40 thousand dollars for the cause, and help keep admission to the event free.”One of the primary goals of our festival is to make sure that we can do this as a celebration of culture, music, and community, without having to do something that we feel would change the nature of this festival…so it’s very important to us that we maintain the festival as an event that does not require an admission fee.”The American Folk Festival is scheduled to take place August 28th, 29th and 30th.
Kids at elementary schools all over Maine are getting excited about reading this week.It’s all part of a national promotion called “Read Across America.”Amy Erickson has more.bite 3: “a lot of people think kindergarten is too early but that’s actually where the window of opportunity is. Kids are sponges at this age and can just take right off.”These kindergarteners at the Garland Elementary School love reading…and it shows…bite 11: ‘here comes the yellow power ranger.”Not only are they reading on their own…they’re even writing stories!Their teacher, Kelly Gay, knows how crucial it is to instill a love of reading early on…bite 1: “especially in kindergarten is when it’s very important to get kids to not only want to be read to but to be excited about learning to read and this is just one way to get them excited.”bite 4: “i read at home and in school.”On Thursday, as part of “read Across America” week, Gay invited guest readers into the classroom…including yours truly…bite 10: “let’s get a pet, said jack one day. I promise i’ll look after it.”bite 2: “they have to listen to me read 4-5 times a day so to have someone else come in…i’ve had community members, my parents…they’re glued to it when someone else is reading.”Sheriff’s Deputy Sean McCue also took a turn in the reading chair…(nats of McCue reading)bite 8: “it’s good for us to come here because reading is part of learning and it gets the kids to meet us in their environment so they’re more comfortable with us.”bite 9: “it’s always fun and the questions very rarely have to do with the book, but that’s ok, too.”Riley Thompson told us why she loves books.bite 5: “sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they make you learn stuff.”Her classmate, Blake Thompson, has a different reason.bite 7: “um…the pictures.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Garland.
A caretaker on Mount Desert Island got a big surprise on Tuesday.Police say the caretaker went to check on a summer residence in the Pretty Marsh section of Mount Desert after getting a report about an alarm going off.They say that when he arrived a man was still inside the home.43-year-old James Grindel is being charged with burglary.Authorities say Grindel confronted the caretaker and rammed the caretaker’s car several times with his own vehicle while he was leaving.Grindel was eventually arrested in Tremont.Police say more charges are possible.
True Textiles has been hit with more layoffs in recent days.Employment at the three plants in Guilford and Newport has reportedly dropped over the past several months from about 650 to between 450 and 500.90 workers were laid off in January, and operating hours were subsequently reduced from three shifts to two to help put production in balance with sales.True Textile, whose three plants were formerly known as Interfacefabric inc. and Guilford of Maine respectively, says it has no plans to close the Maine operations.
The fate of the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital’s obstetrics unit is still up in the air.The hospital was headed for bankruptcy when they started tightening belts back in December.To start the hospital cut 30 positions, then the board of trustees voted in February to cut the OB department unless supporters could raise $600,000 by March 10th.Efforts fell short of that goal, but they did raise a significant amount of money. Now supporters are waiting to see what happens. “I think there’s a lot of people within the Hancock County area that use Blue Hill, and I think they’re probably a lot of anxiety knowing they would have to travel the extra distance to Bangor.” A former patient of Blue Hill Memorial told TV5 on Wednesday.Hospital officials say the state owes Blue Hill Memorial $3,000,000 in payments.Dr. Erik Steele did meet with the obstetrics staff on Tuesday and thanked them for their hard work and congratulated them on raising the money for the program.Dr. Steele then began planning for the next fiscal year in budget meetings.They say the economic stimulus monies that are part of the Mainecare settlement will be included in discussions, but they need to analyze all the information before finalizing the budget.The administration of the hospital will be looking at whether the stimulus money and the funds raised by the staff will be enough to preserve the OB department for another year.
Maine is expanding its program to put a computer on the lap of students to include all 7th through 12th graders.The education department announced on Wednesday that the state is negotiating a four-year lease with Apple inc. for 100,000 laptops.That’s enough for all students and staff.The price tag would reportedly be about $25,000,000 per year.Maine kicked off its first-in-the-nation program by distributing more than 30,000 computers to each 7th and 8th grader in public schools in 2002 and 2003. About 30 high schools also have laptops: now the remaining 100 or so public high schools would get them.
Two school departments voted on Wednesday night to each close a school.School officials in Augusta unanimously voted to close Hodgkins Middle School, and the Brunswick School Board voted unanimously to close Hawthorne Elementary School.The Augusta School Board cited budget constraints for the closure of Hodgkins, or the district could have ended up laying off some teachers.
Hundreds of high school students put pencil to paper today – it’s math meet time.In our part of the state, 31 teams from 18 high schools gathered at Bangor High School for the Eastern Maine Regional Math Contest.It’s the last meet of the year, and we hear the questions are tough.Joshua Scripture has been the captain of the Bangor Red Team – one of the top teams in the state.As a senior, this is his last math meet ever. He says that means it’s a bittersweet competition.”I look back at all the great memories I have,” Scripture says. “These math meets may seem kind of weird for some people – that math meets would be fun – but it’s a blast for a lot of people.”He says along with hanging out with his friends, he likes the chance to tackle truly challenging problems you just don’t see in class.
There are more than twelve hundred people living in Maine with HIV. Even rural areas aren’t immune. Organizers of a panel discussion at Colby College Wednesday hope that by talking about it, they can help prevent more cases.”It’s fallen out of the headlines,” says Sean Douglas, with HealthReach Harm Reduction. “We don’t see red ribbons at the Oscars anymore.”But HIV isn’t going away, and there are people living with the disease all over the state.”Traditionally, I think people will think of HIV as something gay men get or injection drug users get. But women are the one of the fastest-growing groups that are contracting HIV in the U.S.,” says Eliza Quill, with HealthReach Harm Reduction. That’s why she says the focus of Wednesday’s panel discussion was women, living with HIV in Maine.”I thought my life was over,” says one panelist.”People just don’t realize it. Especially in Maine…we have 1243 people living with HIV in Maine – but that’s only the people who have tested positive in Maine,” Quill says.She estimates there are an additional three to four hundred people in Maine with HIV who don’t know they have it – and that’s cause for concern.”Because it tends to be the folks who don’t know what their HIV status is who will end us spreading it unknowingly,” Douglas says.Quill says there are more than 56,000 new infections in the U.S. every year. “A third of those are women, and half are under the age of 25,” she says.Organizers hope to de-stigmatize HIV, and promote safety first. They say a quick, 20-minute test can tell you your status.”It’s just an oral swab, we don’t do blood tests anymore,” Douglas says.They’re hoping that, by talking about it, they can get past what people use to think about HIV.”This notion that, it’s not in my family, it’s not in my neighborhood, it’s not in my community,” Douglas says, “when in all actuality it’s touching all aspects of Maine.”For more information and local resources, you can go to: www.HIVtest.org
It’s wasn’t a beautiful spring day, but that didn’t stop Gov. John Baldacci from participating in an annual event that serves as a harbinger of spring. Baldacci was joined on a rainy Wednesday by Lyle Merrifield, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association, as he tapped a maple tree on the lawn of the Blaine House.Maine Maple Sunday is fast approaching. The event, scheduledeach year for the fourth Sunday of March, will be held on March 22. Baldacci noted that maple syrup is a multi-million dollar industry with licensed producers creating 215,000 gallons of syrup last year.
The first official day of spring is just around the corner, but with snow still covering the ground, Mainers have to go indoors to start their spring planting.”It’s really to extend our season, we don’t have enough days to grow many plants effectively.” Says Gleason Gray, a professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extention.To give your vegetables a good head start, you should let them germinate inside before transplanting them to your garden. But growing plants indoors takes more than just a green thumb.”The major factors are temperature, light, water, and the growing medium that you use to plant the seeds in.” Says Gray.He says a heating mat should be used to warm the soil to 70 degrees, growing lights should be put above the plants, and the best soil is a well-drained greenhouse mix. Once you have the right conditions, Gray says it’s just a matter of timing.”One of the earliest vegetable seedlings would be pepper plants which is 8 weeks before you plant it out, tomato plants are 6 weeks before you plant them out and then when you get to the vine crops it’s only 2 to 3 weeks.”He says the best time to plant vegetables outside is the end of May, so the earliest you should start planting inside is the beginning of April. He says it’s easy to see when a well-grown seedling is ready for transplant.”When it’s ready for transplant it will not be tall and streched, that means it’s had a enough light, it means it’s been grown at the right temperature, and it will have a good root system.”He says reading the back of the seed packages will help novice gardeners know how early to plant and what care is needed.For more information on growing seedlings indoors try these helpful links.â€¢University of Maine Cooperative Extension – free online newsletter for home gardeners. â€¢Marjorie Peronto, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has published a guide on starting seeds at home. â€¢University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers an extensive array of gardening information You can also call your local Extension office. In Penobscot County,the number is 800-287-1485 (in Maine) or 942-7396.
Many local businesses are struggling to survive in this tough economy.But some forward-thinking entrepreneurs have figured out how to use the web to drum up some serious business…for free!Amy Erickson has the story.”Everyone else was doing it and I had to keep up, essentially.”When Brett Slater first logged on to the social networks Facebook and Twitter, he had no idea how they could help his business. “I can live and maintain a lifestyle in Bangor Maine and I can still compete nationally, regionally and globally with a lot of guys who do what I do.”Slater’s company creates content for TV, radio and the web.Like others, he’s realized social networking is a great way to advertise your business for free.”If you’ve got a special at your store, you can tell people in the local community and who are following you about the specials at your store.”Kelly Cotiaux is a partner with Sephone Internet Solutions.She encourages all her clients to put their businesses on sites like Facebook and Twitter.She says it’s the easiest way to get your message out to huge numbers of people…and it doesn’t cost a penny.”Right now with the economy, this is a good time…if you somebody isn’t walking through your store, think of these ways to market yourself.””Facebook is exploding.” “The biggest growth is between 35 and 60 right now.””And that’s your customer! That’s the people that are out buying your products, learning about you and it’s a great way to do it, without feeling like someone’s in their face giving them a sales pitch.”Social networking has helped Paul Hilchey-Chandler bring in sales to Central Maine Wireless in Bangor.This past weekend, he let folks know about a special promotion.”I was posting that on my facebook status updates and putting out tweets on twitter.””Come in now, because it’s going to save you $30. And did it work? It worked!”Slater encourages other entrepreneurs to jump aboard the social networking train.”Without social networks, I’m limited to as far as I can drive in a day. But now, I have a home office, home studio, and I have a window to, essentially, the entire world, to do my business.”You can follow WABI TV5 on Twitter by clicking here.Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.
The Penquis agency in Bangor wants to make sure everyone that needs help with heating assistance, gets a chance to apply for it.The deadline to submit an application form LIHEAP assistance is April 30th.The folks at Penquis are encouraging people who have not applied, because they think they are not eligible, or they were previously denied, to apply again.They say the income guidelines for aid have been increased this year.People who were denied can re-apply if their financial situation has changed.To apply, just call your local community action program, or the Penquis fuel assistance line at 973-3630.You’ll need to set an appointment, and bring proof of household income, and the social security numbers and dates of birth for everyone in the home.
Folks from Blueberry Broadcasting and the Childrens Miracle network are gearing up for their yearly CMN radiothon.The three day event will kick off Thursday morning at 6-am.They’ll be set up at the Bangor Mall, center court in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods.Each year, the radiothon has helped raise money for CMN..The money collected will stay local, and go to buy medical equipment and therapy for more that 125-thousand kids who will need services this year.The event will run from 6am to 6pm Thursday and Friday…and from 10 to 4 on Saturday.
A group of maine farmers and religious leaders met in brewer today to show their support for the Employee Free Choice Act.Organizers say the act, which was introduced in the US House and Senate Tuesday, would put some key decisions in to the hands of employees…including the right to form, join and assist labor unions.Organic farmer Thomas Young of Bangor, says he’s joining with 24 area farms to endorse the act, saying it’s a good first step in securing rights for farmers.Reverend David Grainger from the Orono Methodist Church, says the act helps protect three key issues referenced in the Bible: preserving the dignity of the worker, the sanctity of the work place, and ensuring justice in the work place.”How can we guarantee the safety and quality and dignity of our own food, if the people who grow and produce it, are not provided safe and respectful and secure work environment? The employee free choice act will help us to achieve this goal.””Here, in 2009, we have a piece of legislation that actually specifically addresses many of these particular complaints, so this is why our church, and many in the Christian and interfaith communities support the employee free choice act.”>Senators Snowe and Collins have issued statements saying while they support workers rights to organize and bargain collectively, they opposed the act.Both believe the employee free choice act would jeopardize worker’s rights to remain protected when making crucial decisions affecting their jobs.
Seventeen year old Tim Kretschimer walked into his junior high school this morning and opened fire, killing 17 people. Among the dead are three teachers and 11 students. At least 6 others are injured. The shooting occurred in the down of Winnenden, just outside of Stuttgart. Police say that Kretschimer walked into a school classroom dressed in military gear and shot wildly for 2 minutes before running off. Police placed the town on lock down while they searched for the boy. Officials originally believed that they had shot and killed Kretschimer in a standoff, but it now looks like he took his own life.
State Police say Route 2 in Gilead, near the New Hampshire border, has been shut down because of a jack-knifed tractor trailer blocking the road Wednesday. The crash took place about 11:30 a.m. and troopers expect the shutdown will last until mid afternoon Wednesday. No one was injured and there was little damage to the big rig. The crash took place near the Bog Brook training area along the busy east-west highway and a number other tractor trailers are now stopped on the road because of the shutdown.
Cianbro in Brewer has been making huge pieces of equipment for an oil refinery in Texas for the past year.The barge that will take the first of those modules down the coast docked in Brewer Tuesday.Four of the modules will be loaded onto the barge in the next few weeks.The order calls for a total of 53 modules, totaling up to 9000 tons of steel, and 200,000 feet of pipe. “The workers can step back and look at the fruits of their labor and see it coming to life.” Cianbro’s General Manager Joe Cote told TV5 on Tuesday. “It’s pretty exciting for them and I couldn’t be any happier quite frankly.”The trip to Texas on the barge takes between two and three weeks.Besides the Brewer plant there are three other sites making parts for the oil refinery.
The Eastern Area Agency on Aging is holding a raffle from now until May offering a week of free meals from seven area restaurants.Raffle tickets are available at: Dino’s Pizza, 393 N. Main, BrewerPizza Oven, 33 Lincoln St., BangorEAAA offices, 450 Essex St., Bangoror call Ken Banks at 941-2871The Raffle drawing will be held on May 2nd, and the winner will be notified by phone that same day.