The nation’s largest animal protection organization is praising Maine for having one of the year’s top state legislative achievements in animal protection.The Humane Society of the U.S. said Maine was one of 12 states it was recognizing for animal protection efforts on the legislative front in 2009.The group cited Maine’s new law that prohibits breeding pigs from being confined in gestation crates and calves from being confined in veal crates.The group says the crates are inhumane and immobilize animals for nearly their entire lives.The Humane Society says 121 new animal protection laws were passed in 2009, breaking the previous record of 93 in 2008.
Some kittens were saved from a frozen end. Two good samaritans in Augusta found a box in a snow bank on the side of the road in Gardiner with four young kittens in it, frozen to each other and barely alive. They brought the kittens to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society, where they received immediate medical treatment.The Bangor Humane Society says that during difficult financial time’s families and individuals are making the decision to surrender or abandon their pets. And with chill factors below zero, it’s good to keep in mind that pets need protection from the cold. “Be smart.If you’re cold and not feeling good outside, your pet is probably not going to be feeling good either and when it gets real, real cold it’s time for us all to come inside and sit around the fire and warm up.”Prolonged exposure can cause problems like hypothermia for cats and dogs…
While the temperatures are cold, that doesn’t always mean ice. The Maine Warden Service is urging folks not to venture out onto any ice that may be covering waterways.They say lakes and ponds may appear frozen in parts but safe ice conditions cannot be assumed even with the recent below zero temperatures.Any snow covering thin layers of ice acts as an insulation and slows the freezing process.They want people to remember to always check the thickness of the ice.And use common sense when around waterways that are covered with ice.
A state legislator wants to make Maine the first state to require cell phones to carry warnings that they can cause brain cancer.Democratic representative Andrea Boland of Sanford says there are numerous and very substantial studies that point to the risk.But there’s little consensus among scientists of the hazards of cell phone use.Cell phones carry warnings in some countries already, though no U.S. states require them.The Federal Communication Commission contends all cell phones sold in the U.S. are safe to use.But some scientists suggest erring on the side of caution.
Senator Olympia Snowe released a statement Sunday on the status of the health reform legislation currently before the United States Senate. She said: “Having been fully immersed in this issue for this entire year and as the only Republican to vote for health reform in the Finance Committee, I deeply regret that I cannot support the pending Senate legislation as it currently stands, given my continued concerns with the measure and an artificial and arbitrary deadline of completing the bill before Christmas that is short changing the process on this monumental and trans-generational effort.” But that didn’t stop people from trying to get the senator to change her mind. People were lined up outside of Senator Snowe’s offices in Presque Isle, Bangor, and Portland to encourage the senator to vote for the bill.”So we’re here today to encourage our senators to vote yes for healthcare to vote yes to helping mainers and to vote yes to small businesses in maine face an 18% surcharge just because they’re a small business,” Said the state director for Maine Change Phill Bailey at Sunday’s rally.Senator Collins also weighed in saying it is unfair that Republicans were allowed to offer only seven amendments to a bill that affects every single citizen and one-sixth of our nation’s economy.Senator Collins said: “Our nation’s health care system requires substantial reform. The status quo of soaring health care costs, families struggling, millions uninsured, and health care provider shortages is unacceptable. That is why I am so disappointed that the partisan legislation before the Senate falls far short of what should be the goals of reform. This bill will actually increase health care costs, impose billions in new taxes, fees, and penalties, and hurt our seniors, health care providers, and small businesses. I simply cannot support such a bill.” A vote to end the debate portion of the healthcare overhaul was passed by a 60 to 40 margin in the senate Sunday night. Further votes on the bill itself will be taken this week.
A Cutler man’s body has been recovered. The man’s boat sank in Cobscook Bay back in October, and was recovered by a fishing boat Friday afternoon.The crew of the fishing vessel “Trident” located Norman Johnson’s body while they were fishing.The 57-year-old from Cutler was one of three men fishing on the vessel when it sank.Also aboard were, 41-year-old Daryl Cline and 29-year-old Jospeh Jones.Cline’s body was recovered in October.Jones’ is still missing.The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the sinking.
The folks at Manna are still hard at work trying to help some less fortunate families get a little something under their trees this Christmas.They’re holding their annual Adopt a Family promotion at the Bangor Mall.People interested can simply pick up an envelope at their display and buy the items on the list and bring them back to the Manna table where the items are delivered to the family in need.Organizers say nearly 350 families signed up this year, and there are still around 100 that have not been adopted.You can also volunteer to help them wrap presents or help serve Christmas dinner at the Bangor Parks and Rec Center on Christmas day. “Just come on down, come into Manna and we’ll send you where you need to go, or go to Parks and Rec and they’ll put you right to work,” Mark Rae from Manna Ministries.Manna is located at 629 Main Street in Bangor. They’ll also be at the Bangor Mall until Tuesday.
A Maine college that focuses on the environment says it’s still not too late to buy a whale of a present in time for Christmas.The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor says its Adopt-a-Whale program supports its Allied Whale marine mammal research laboratory.For a $40 donation, people get a photograph of a humpback or fin whale, a certificate of adoption, and a brief history of the whale and its sightings. They also receive a book about whales in the North Atlantic, a field guide, and Allied Whale’s annual newsletter.Allied Whale maintains tens of thousands of images of whales that allow researchers to learn about their life histories and migrations patterns.
Fire fighters were called to a home in Greenbush Sunday night.Crews were called out to East Ridge Road for a structure fire at about 5 pm.When Greenbush Fire arrived on the scene, there were flames showing from the exterior right side.Fire Chief Donald Burr says the three residents got out and went to a neighbor’s house to call emergency officials. He says the cause of the blaze was clear. “There will be no investigation there’s a clear crack in the wall at exactly where the fire got into the wall, it is what it is.”When the fire made its way though the crack in the chimney it cause damage to the walls and smoke damage. It didn’t take long before the blaze was under control.
You may have seen the many Hands of Hope trees displayed in area stores and businesses.Well on Saturday, all the gift requests on those trees were given out.Meghan Hayward has the story.In a year where many people have had to be careful with their money.Non-profit organization “Hands of Hope” has seen folks go above and beyond.” We are busting at the seams with over 70,000 dollars worth of gifts to give out to over 1,200 children in over 29 towns in Penobscot County.”There have been Hands of Hope tress standing in the entrances of Walmarts, restaurants, schools and other stores. On the trees are tags with gift requests by children from poverty-level families.Director of Hands of Hope, Kathy Harvey says she’s seen more practical requests this holiday season.” This year they are asking for a lot more needs than wants. But ofcourse we try to take care of a little want for a child. So if they need bedding we also try to get them that doll so they have something to open Christmas morning that’s fun.”Harvey says they couldn’t do it without the support of the community.” The reward is great but Hands of Hope is a bridge. We give to the needy because they public and community gives to us. So we’re just a bridge it’s the people out there that has just opened their hearts and just giving and giving to these children.”Something Harvey is really excited about this year.The number of bikes they have to give to children.” I think one of the things that has impressed me is the bikes that have come in this year. We have a lot of children that don’t have a bike and we’re trying to get them off their computer and out into the world on bikes. And I have over 100 bikes to give to people for Christmas.”Harvey says all the hard work builds up to the day they can finally distribute the gifts.And as the minutes ticked by, Harvey and her crew scrambled to get everything organized before folks could come and pick up their gifts.
(AP) – Citing economic hardships amid “unprecedented times,” Gov. John Baldacci has outlined his plan to close a $438 million state budget gap that includes the heaviest hits on education and human services programs, but no new taxes or fees. The governor’s plan, forced mostly by smaller-than-expected revenues amid the recession, goes to the Legislature when it reconvenes in January. In his presentation Friday, Baldacci said his proposed revisions call for elimination of 44 state jobs, reduced funding for public schools and higher education, reduced rates paid for many Medicaid service providers, municipal revenue sharing and reimbursement rates under MaineCare for hospital treatments. Baldacci said that in the past year, anticipated state revenues have been reduced by $1.1 billion.
The high-speed ferry service from Maine to Nova Scotia is coming to a halt. The President of Bay Ferries Limited says The Cat, which runs out of Bar Harbor and Portland, will not re-open this summer. On Tuesday the Nova Scotia Government announced they would no longer financially support the Cat ferry during its 2010 operating season. The government had been providing the ferry millions of dollars to continue service.Dana Reed, Town Manager for Bar Harbor says, “It’s really too early to say what kind of an impact it will have, but it will have an effect on some of the hotels in the town as well as those who have lost their jobs.”Bay Ferries Limited sited the decline in service, with fewer Americans visiting Canada, in addition to the pull out of governmental support as its reasons for closure. About 120 ferry related jobs will be lost.
The Bangor Public Library will be closed for a week, starting this Sunday.Forty-two employees are taking four unpaid furlough days.Library Director Barbara McDade says rather than lay people off, they decided to take furlough days to cut costs.The library will open back up on Monday, December 28th.McDade says some regulars at the library are disappointed.”They are a little upset but they understand. They understand money is tight everywhere, money is tight in the city. But they would like to have it over.”McDade is asking folks to try and either return their books before Sunday, or after they open back up.They would prefer books are not left in the drop-off slot for such an extended time.
Bangor Hydro has been given the green light on a project to build a transmission line across Eastern Maine. The Maine Public Utilities Commission gave its unanimous approval Thursday. It will stretch 42 miles from Ellsworth to Harrington, and cost 68 million dollars. Lisa Martin, Manager of Transmission Development at Bangor Hydro says it’s a necessary investment to improve the power grid in Downeast Maine. “It’s first and foremost a reliability project. It creates a redundant feed to that region. It’s currently fed by a single line, so this will create a loop system which is much better for reliability.”Construction is expected to begin in early 2011 and will take about 18 months to complete.The cost will be shared among rate payers in New England, so Martin says Bangor Hydro customers can expect just a small increase in their bills.
A Searsport man charged in connection with a shooting that involved a state trooper remains behind bars on a quarter-million dollars bail. Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Sylvester is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.He made his first court appearance Friday. Sylvester is accused of shooting 41-year-old Richard Brown of Frankfort Thursday morning.Police say the men were passengers in a car when they began to fight and got out of the car, which is when the shooting took place. Sylvester was later shot in the arm by a state trooper.Today in court, the state recommended a high bail because of prior records.The defense argued Sylvester acted in self defense and bail needed to be set lower.”It’s a very high bail. I quite frankly don’t think he’s going to be able to post that bail. That was really my intent quite frankly asking for a bail that high.””My client responded reasonably to force. Mr. Brown is a violent man. My client was scared of him and he responded appropriately. I think over time the evidence will reveal that. We have a strong defense here.”Bail was set at 250,000 dollars cash.Sylvester was treated for his gunshot wound and is behind bars at the Waldo County Jail.Police say Brown suffered multiple gunshot wounds, but is expected to survive.
The Bangor Fire Department is trying to fill up a boot to give a boost to ailing children.A group of firefighters will be on the corner of Hogan Road and the Bangor Mall Boulevard, from nine to noon, Saturday.It’s their annual “Fill the Boot Campaign.”The money that goes into that boot winds up going to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
If there were any kids in the area not in the Christmas spirit – and that’s a big “if” – they are now. Dozens of students from Greater Bangor visited Penobscot Theatre Friday to catch a holiday classic – A Christmas Carol. “Merry Christmas!!! Bah, humbug!!!”Ebenezer Scrooge’s initial holiday mood didn’t stop students from enjoying Penobscot Theatre’s matinee performance of A Christmas Carol.Many of them, like 7th grader Anna Ellis, have been reading the classic tale in class. “It’s a little more interesting than the book. Personally, I like to see all of the people acting it out, all of the people talking, it really gives you a lot of holiday spirit.”For some, the story of three Christmas spirits was a first-time theatre experience. Something producing artistic director, Scott R.C. Levy, likes to see. “Theatre is one of those art forms that demands participation and if you’re not exposed to theater as a child, chances are you’re not going to utilize theater as an adult. It’s one of the great assets of the community and I’m thrilled that teachers see the educational value and bring their kids out.”Levy says this performance is a fast-moving adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday tradition – just the right speed for an audience like this, so says 5th grader Sean Walsh.”In the original, the vocabulary is like, it’s really big – there’s a bunch of long words. In this one, it’s kind of the same words, but not a much.” Which made it a real crowd pleaser among the kids – even inspiring a little promotional spirit among them. “I would tell people to come and see this play because if you want to get some holiday spirit and if you want to have some fun, this is the place to go.”
The canadian company that operates the high-speed ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia is discontinuing that service and blaming the economy. Bay Ferries Limited announced Friday it’s ending the seasonal service from Bar Harbor and Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.About 120 people will lose their jobs, too.Nova Scotia officials told the company this week that government support would not be available for the 2010 season.Company leaders say Bay Ferries has been hurting from the weak economy, a strong canadian dollar and new U.S. passport rules. Passenger counts this year were down 10 percent from 2008.The ferry operated from late May to October, coinciding with Maine’s busy tourist season.Bay Ferries has served Bar Harbor since 1998 and Portland since 2006.Chris Fogg, the head of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, tells TV5 he thinks business owners in area will be saddened by the news. Fogg says Bay Ferries has been big part of the community and losing the CAT will have a big impact on tourism.
A faulty furnace is believed to be the cause of a fire in Plymouth Friday morning.The call came in around 7 a.m. from the Lower Detroit Road.The house was already up in flames when fire crews arrived.Assistant Fire Chief Arrin Farrar says they do not believe anyone was home at the time of the fire.Farrar says one firefighter was sent to the hospital, but he is unsure of the reason.He says the frigid temperatures always pose a challenge.” Extremely cold conditions radios die. Hoses freeze up, water freezes. So we get many problems. The pumpers have froze up. They had to leave the scene and go back to the station.”The Fire Marshal’s Office is on scene investigating.