The Maine Attorney General’s Office is investigating possible wrongdoing by an investment fund.In fact, the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund is the target of investigations in several parts of the country.That fund was part of 529 College Savings plans in five states, including Maine, and suffered losses much greater than anyone would have expected.”If I could just help in a little way, instead of getting them silly little trinket gifts, I’d rather put money towards their future.”In 2007 Kelly Cotiaux started 529 College Savings Accounts through Next Gen for her niece and nephew.Through the plan you get to choose among a list of funds to invest in. One of Kelly’s choices, the Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund. It was expected to be a conservative fund, with less risk.”I just had this pit in my stomach”But then a few months ago, Kelly discovered through on-line blogs that fund was being investigated for possible wrongdoing.”The returns were so far off the benchmark that we thought maybe something else was happening here that shouldn’t have been happening.”Elizabeth Bordowitz is the acting CEO for the Finance Authority of Maine. They oversee the Next Gen accounts. She says the unusual losses for the fund were discovered during a quarterly meeting last November. After an independent investment advisor looked into it, the Attorney General’s office was asked to investigate. “And it was really that concern that perhaps it was leveraged in a way that was inappropriate or perhaps illegal.”Meaning the fund might have had more debt than they told investors.That may have lead the fund to lose 38 percent of its value in 2008, and 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Much worse than a conservative investment would be expected to.Bordowitz points out that only 4 percent of Next Gen’s assets were in Oppenheimer Funds, far less than in some other states.Still she understands how the loss, and the appearance of possible wrong-doing can make things even scarier for those investing with Next Gen.”I think people are appropriately wary of the markets right now and they need to consider their personal investment risk tolerance.””but what’s my option to stop?”Kelly says she won’t stop putting money into the accounts but she will pay more attention to the money. For now she hopes that those who do invest the money for the college savings accounts for kids across the country, take this as a warning.”Don’t rip off the kids, I mean really. I know it’s just money to these people but this is a future.”Oppenheimer has changed their investment team for the Core Bond Fund.Still FAME has decided not to offer any Oppenheimer Funds for new investors to Next Gen. If you were already with Oppenheimer, you can continue to contribute to that fund.Meanwhile the Attorney General’s Office is not commenting on their investigation.
The bad economy has lead to thousands of job layoffs across the state.Kriste’ Bouvier of Ellsworth was among that group.She was laid off from her job at the University of Maine at Machias in April of 2008, and after months of trying to find a new one, she knew she had to think outside the box.This is Kriste’ Bouvier’s new position, behind a microphone in her living room broadcasting to the world on-line.She hosts the Designer Health Net talk show. It’s something completely different than what she was doing before.”I tell people all the time if you’ve ever seen the show Miss Congeniality, where she goes from being the cop to trying to be Miss USA that’s me, like the host in training.”But it fits right into her interests. She’s been trained and worked in the health and fitness field for years.The idea for the show came up months after she lost her job as the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at the University of Maine at Machias.She just couldn’t find full time work.”After not being able to find work I was suited for, I started to think outside the box and actually had some help from my life partner, Jeff who is also a musician. We put our heads together and decided it would be really nice if we came up with some type of a talk show that would reach people in more of a light that pursued hope and inspiration”Kriste’ launched the on-line talk show show in January and has taped more than a dozen others since then.She covers topics ranging from reflexology to weight loss, and has had inspiring guests who have survived cancer, and another who is an ironman champion.”So we want to reach everybody whether they’re athletic or they just need some inspiration or they’ve lost hope.”Kriste’ says she has listeners from as far away as Australia and she has a goal of taking her show to radio.Although she misses her co-workers in Machias, she feels confident this new job is exactly what she should be doing.”I’m gonna take this and run with it and I may never make a lot of money off it and maybe it will go to radio, maybe it won’t but either way, I’m gonna keep doing this because our fans want us to.”To listen to Kriste’s show, log onto her website. It’s designerhealthnet.com.They post a new show each Sunday night around 8:00. You can also find lots of other health related information there.
Do you have a favorite Mother Goose nursery rhyme? Today several children got to dance and sing along to theirs.Meghan Hayward has the story.Can you say saxophone? Saxophone.Children at the Bangor Library on Tuesday became familiar with the sounds of saxophones and other jazz instruments.”Terry Lidral is here as part of jazz month, April is jazz month. She’s going to sing Mother Goose with a jazz tone.”Lidral put the words of nursery rhymes to music and gave children a chance to sing along to some of their favorite rhymes.”When you start listening at a young age it’s a part of nurturing that love for music for the children. Introducing them to the instrument, to the different rhythms, different kinds of music.”Emma Patterson participated in the event and says her favorite part was the Three Little Pigs song because it was challenging.”It was kind of getting faster and faster, so it was harder to keep up with? Yes.”Emma’s father Dave Patterson brought her to the library and says it’s important she has the opportunity to hear jazz and other forms of music.”I think jazz is a really great music form and it’s good to expose kids early to that.”The children got to hear a variety of nursery rhymes from the Itsy Bitsy Spider.”Went up the water spout.”To other classics like Little Boy Blue.”Little Boy Blue come blow your horn.”Lidral says there’s something special about performing for children.”They are not inhibited and you can get them to move, you can get them to express and you can get them to do the jazz rhythms. They will sing along, they will participate.”
There was a bank robbery at t-d bank north on union street in bangor monday afternoon. Police say the robber made off with an undisclosed amount of money. Around 1-30 in the afternoon, police say a young man entered the bank. He approached a teller and passed a note requesting money. Police say he never showed a weapon, but he did say he had one. After he was given the money he ran out of the bank and got into a vehicle that was parked next door in the McDonald’s parking lot.
Heading into this week there have been about 75 wildfires in maine, with nearly half of them in the Greater Bangor area.Now they are entering the busy season so the Maine Forest Service has designated this Wildfire Awareness Week.”Typically this is the week that we have the most wildfires in Maine.” Said Fire Prevention Specialist Kent Nelson. “A lot of people think that it would be August or September but Spring Fire Season is a very difficult time and we ask them to use a lot of caution if they are burning.”As people clean up the winter debris and dry grass from the yard sometimes those fires get out of hand, and when they do everything is just right to make the situation worse, according to Nelson.”We also have the weather conditions that allow the fire to spread, we have low relative humidity, warm temps and as we get into the afternoon the winds pick up and those three conditions are the recipe for fire.”The last significant rain fall in the area was on April 7th, nearly two weeks ago, and that has already raised the fire danger to Moderate.”This dry period it’s been about 8 or 10 days since we had significant rain and we’re starting to see that the woods are starting to dry out which is the conditions that we usually have towards August or September.”And while the rain that is in the forecast is welcome for fire prevention, it doesn’t mean the danger has gone away says Nelson.”Rain is certainly going to help but if we only get an inch or so it will dry out again so just be in touch with us and we’ll post the class day on our website so it’s very easy to check on or check with your local fire official.”To get a daily update on the fire conditions in your area log on to www.maineburnpermit.com and click on the Forest Fire Danger Report on the left hand side of your screen.
The March of Dimes wants to invite you to go for a walk. The March for Babies is scheduled for Sunday, May 3rd in Brewer, and they hope a lot of folks sign up so they can reach their goal of raising $75,000.The money will be used to help prevent premature birth which can cause a lot of problems for infants. The rate of babies being born too soon has gone up 29% since 1985. Gene Staffiere, Northern Maine Division Director says the March of Dimes would like to stop that trend, but they need your help. “In Maine, 1500 babies are born premature each year. Also in the state of Maine, there’s an average of two babies that die each week before reaching their 1st birthday, and most of those babies pass away due to premature birth.”March for BabiesSunday, May 3Brewer Auditorium9:00 AM Registration10:00 AM Walk989-3376www.marchofdimes.com/maine/maine.asp
Maine State Police say an attacker killed one woman and critically injured another as they were pulling up to a home in the town of Waldoboro. Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland says detectives believe they’ve identified everyone who was involved, but there have been no arrests. McCausland says the body of 27-year-old Rachel Grindal was found dead from stab wounds in her minivan, and 32-year-old Tracy Neild was found bleeding on the ground. A third woman ran to a neighbor’s home after the attack outside Neild’s home at about 10 p.m. Sunday. McCausland says Neild is in critical condition at a Lewiston hospital. He says the minivan with Grindal’s body inside has been taken to the state police crime lab.
The hungry have a new place to turn for help in Bangor.A group of area churches have come together to start a new Sunday soup kitchen.It’s being held at the Columbia Street Baptist Church downtown, but each Sunday, members of a different church will provide and serve the meal.Parishioners wanted to do something to help the needy in the community, since on weekends, there aren’t many free meals out there. “For noon meal, there really wasn’t very much happening, so the area churches got together and said that’d be a really good thing to start. So columbia street started doing this in january, and then the other churches signed on and it’ll be on a rotating basis.”Next Sunday’s meal will be provided by the folks at Bangor Baptist Church.Again, the soup kitchen is open every Sunday from noon to one at the Columbia Street Baptist Church in downtown Bangor.
Folks driving along Main Street in Downtown Bangor Sunday may have been alarmed to see a house on fire, but it was actually set by fire crews.The Bangor Fire Department held a training exercise at a vacant apartment building along the waterfront.They set fires throughout the house, then crews had the chance to watch it progress, and practice their attacks.They also simulated searches inside different parts of the home, and practiced doing ventilation.Firefighters say real-life training like this is invaluable. ” ‘Cause you don’t know what’s been built, how the walls are…once the fire gets in the walls, where it’s gonna go. False walls and things like that. this is about the best we can get. As close to real as it gets.”About 60 people turned out to watch the training burn.The apartment building and the building next to it will eventually be razed to make way for a new Tim Horton’s restaurant.
26 employees at Hinckley Yachts are expected to be laid off within the week, and company officials say if the economy doesn’t improve, they may have to shut down their Trenton plant altogether.The luxury yacht builder’s President and C.E.O., James McManus, says the company has enough orders for the power yachts it makes in Trenton to keep it going through next February. But if orders don’t pick up, the company could shutter the plant and move its power boat manufacturing operations to another location.This is the third round of layoffs at Hinckley since October.In total, a hundred people have lost their jobs.
A sad end to the search for an elderly man with dementia who’d been missing since Monday.Game Wardens say the body of 77-year-old William Young was discovered Sunday morning in the woods near Kokadjo.Wardens and search dogs had been looking for Young in the area since spotting his truck from the air Saturday near Spencer Bay.He’d last been seen driving by a school in his hometown of Auburn last Monday.Young’s body was discovered about nine road miles from where his vehicle was found.There’s no word yet on when he may have died.An autopsy will be performed on Tuesday.Young’s wife told investigators her husband may have gone to Kokadjo to help search for a 75-year-old woman from South Portland who went missing two weeks ago.She was found alive on April 10th, but Young’s wife said the her husband had talked at length about being compelled to go to the Kokadjo area to find the woman.Young’s body was discovered under a tree, about ten yards off the road.Close to three dozen Game Wardens helped in the search for Young.There were also 60 search and rescue volunteers, 9 K9s, and a crew from the Maine Forest Service.
Police are looking for an arsonist in Gardiner who targeted the United Methodist Church.The building on Highland Avenue sustained damage to its siding before the fire burned itself out.It was discovered Sunday morning by a custodian who was cleaning up before Sunday services.Those services went on as scheduled, despite the damage.Investigators say there were actually two fires set intentionally outside the church: one in the front, the other in the back.Fire marshal’s investigators say the fires were clearly meant to spread to the church.
More than 20 game wardens spent the day searching the woods near Kokadjo for an elderly man who’s been missing since Monday.77-year-old William Young was last seen driving by the Walton School in Auburn at 9 a.m. on Monday.Saturday morning, a Warden Service pilot spotted Young’s truck from the air near Spencer Bay, west of Kokadjo.Wardens are on foot and in the air searching for any sign of Young, who is in the late stages of dementia.He’s described as 5’9 with grey hair and hazel eyes.He was wearing dark grey pants, a light green shirt and jacket, black sneakers and a tan baseball cap.Anyone with information on Young’s whereabouts is asked to call the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-437-7372.
Police are looking for the man who robbed a woman at knifepoint in downtown Bangor Saturday evening.It happened just after 7 p.m. on Broad Street, near the Charles Inn.Officers say a black male approached a woman, threatened her with a knife and demanded all her money.The only description of the man is that he was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt.Police say the woman was not injured.< "she's fine...she's real shaken up. He did get her cash...and he fled on foot.">Patrol officers are scouring the streets for the suspect.They’re asking anyone who may have witnessed the crime to call the Bangor Police at 947-7384.
Record stores are disappearing by the day, it seems, with the increasing popularity of music downloads…But on Saturday, independent music retailers were celebrated at special events.”Record Store Day” was held at stores all over the country, including at Bull Moose Music stores across Maine.The concept was actually the brainchild of Bull Moose’s Chris Brown.More than a thousand independent record stores in the country and around the world took part.Some stores celebrated with in-store concerts and musician appearances.Clerks at Bull Moose in Bangor say they hope more folks visit their local record stores once in a while, since it’s a completely different experience than buying music online.< "the art of discovery! You're able to discover through music through personal connections rather than on the computer. I think it's cool to connect with people and discuss music...and people are able to find out a lot more about music that way than any other source.">There are only about 2-thousand independent record stores left in the U.S.Some artists, like Bruce Springsteen, helped support Record Store day by releasing special music on vinyl.
FairPoint Communications is trying to improve its customer service after being plagued with complaints.The company has set weekly targets for responding to customer issues.FairPoint bought Verizon Communications’ landline telephone andInternet business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont a year agoand switched to its own computer systems in January. Since then, they’ve been inundated with complaints from customers who can’t get phone service, have received confusing bills and have spent hourson hold.The company has set targets for the next 10 weeks coveringincomplete orders, late orders, billing errors and other issues.
An alcohol and drug counselor in the midcoast region and his wife have been sentenced to prison time for stealing from state Medicaid and unemployment programs.Maine’s Attorney General says David McFarland bilked the state by submitting false claims to MaineCare. His wife, Mary McFarland, illegally collected jobless benefits after shepurportedly resigned from her husband’s counseling agency butcontinued to work for the agency from the couple’s home.The couple pleaded guilty to the charges in Knox County Superior Court.David McFarland was sentenced to nine months in jail and 300 hours of community service. Mary McFarland received a suspended three-year sentence, three years of probation and 400 hours of community service.
An 18-year-old from Brownfield is facing a manslaughter charge in connection with a hit and run crash.The Oxford County grand jury also indicted Tiffany Hamlyn on charges of aggravated operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.The crash happened on March 26-th in Fryeburg.The victim, Tiffany Hamilton, was struck outside her house and died the next day.
The town of Newport now has its own Cultural Center.The community got its first look inside the place Saturday during the grand opening celebration.The Center was created by merging together the public library, historical society and museum.Residents can now take advantage of features like the genealogical research room, a children’s arts and crafts room and a community space for classes, meetings and workshops.< "we have a lot of elderly who are shut-ins and they can use this for a social outlet. There are also students who can take field trips here to learn local history...and homeschoolers can come and access the info we have here." >Scott says she’s proud of the grassroots effort by the community to build the center.It took eight years of fundraising and grant writing to make it a reality.
Folks in Brewer came together Saturday to do their part to help those without a place to sleep at night.Hundreds of walkers showed up for the Hike for the Homeless, which stepped off from the Cianchette Building.Hikers collected pledges…and all the money will support the homeless in greater Bangor…specifically at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.Staffers there provide shelter, hot meals and crisis intervention.State and federal funds only provide about a quarter of the Shelter’s annual budget of 500-thousand dollars.Donations are what keep it afloat.< "it's huge. It's extremely important to the shelter in terms of what they need for operation. Our goal this year was $50,000 so between the hike and the raffle, I think we might make it.">The Brewer walkers met up with walk teams from Bangor, Hampden and Veazie along the waterfront at the end of the hike.