Wardens say a man has died in a snowmobile crash, along with a fire chief who was on his way to rescue him.The Maine Warden Service says 37-year-old Jason Dodge crashed into a tree Friday night on a groomed trail in The Forks. While on the way to the scene, The Forks Fire Chief Brian Rowe suffered what authorities called a “critical medical episode” and died despite the efforts of emergency crews who had been at the snowmobile crash.The warden service is reminding snowmobilers to be careful. Though up to 26 inches of snow remains in the northern woods, the trails are showing signs of spring. Obstacles such as roots, rocks and open water crossings abound, and many trails are covered in ice.
Sugarloaf Mountain drew a large crowd Saturday.And while some were there to hit the slopes. Most were there to welcome two-time olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott home.Meghan Hayward reports. ” Well I was about halfway through the course, there’s kind of this mental space that I’ve only gotten into a couple of times and it just kind of clicked in again.”Two-time olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott is describing the moments leading up to his gold medal finish in the snowboardcross event at this year’s Olympics in Vancouver.Wescott says he did not realize how close of a win it was until he watched it on TV later that night.” It’s almost like you’re outside your body and you’re kind of witnessing yourself doing this but it’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve witnessed in my life.And on Saturday several of his fans and supporters turned out to his homecoming at Sugarloaf Mountain.A place he says will always be in his heart.” I just keep going back to the sense of home. Nowhere else have I ever been in the world where I felt so grounded.”That sense of feeling grounded shows through his kindness to his fans.Wescott says they mean everything to him, and being a role model is a job he is happy to have.” That to me is a humbling experience. You’re realizing that through the actions of what you’ve done in your life you’re inspiring the youth of our state to dream big dreams.Sierra Baker is one of those fans, she was at Sugarloaf to welcome Wescott home.” It’s really nice to have someone that cares for you because sometimes you have people that just walk by.”Wescott’s mother Margaret Gould Wescott was also at the homecoming.She says she is extremely proud of her son and was happy when he won the gold medal.” I said my son just won a gold medal. I’m going to give him a hug. And I was crying and yelling.”Saturday’s event was also the kick-off of his 2010 “Visa Ride With Me SBX Tour,” where he will be traveling across the country to promote the sport of snowboardcross.Wescott says he has no plans to stop anytime soon, and you will be seeing him in Russia for the 2014 Olympics. ” For me I’ve never gotten to the point where you’ve accomplished a goal and not immediately set another.”
More than a hundred kids are gathering in Augusta this week-end to take over state government.They’re actually taking part in the Y.M.C.A. Youth in Government Program.It’s a chance for them to play the roles of state lawmakers so they can see how the system works. That includes introducing bills. The delegation from Ashland Community High School is proposing giving Maine an official state dessert.”It’s a proposal to make the whoopie pie the Maine State Dessert.”High School sophomore Dylan Cyr-Cormier is the co-sponsor of this mock legislation.Classmate Christina McDonald is the official sponsor.”I want people to understand that the whoopie pie was originated in Maine and that Pennsylvania thinks it was theirs but it’s not.”They’re taking part in the state Youth in Government Program happening in Augusta this week-end. Here, high school students run the show. Even though the results aren’t real, the whoopie pie proposal is getting some real world support from the President of the Maine Whoopie Pie Association.Amos Orcutt would like to see the real state legislature take up the issue soon, and if this week-end’s events are any indication, supporters might be in for a fight.”It already has created a little buzz and there’s already a move afoot to talk about possibly making the blueberry pie the official dessert of the state of Maine.””I’m not a fan of blueberry pie”The Ashland delegation is ready to debate their position on the whoopie pie.”I heard that one about the blueberry pie but maybe that should be the Maine State Pie, not the Maine State Dessert.””It’s not a luxurious appearing dessert, it’s kind of rural and laid back and it’s good.”
A local tax service wants to thank those who serve the community.Liberty Tax Offices are holding Appreciation Days.A new group of public servants is offered free tax help and preparation over the next five weeks.Liberty Tax Service Owner, Robin Case says, “These are certainly a number of people that in my personal opinion often times are underpaid. They do outstanding jobs and rarely do they get thanks, and we really want to thank them. I don’t want people to think this is a gimmick that “Oh, it’s free you get what you paid for.” That’s not what this is about. We truly want to thank these people.”It’s being offered at all Liberty Tax Offices in the area.March 1 – March 7: Teachers and School EmployeesMarch 8 – March 14: Police, Firefighters, EMT’sMarch 15 – March 21: Nurses and Hospital WorkersMarch 22 – March 28: Military and VeteransMarch 29 – April 4: Volunteers and Non-Profits
More than 100 volunteers are receiving downhill and cross country skiing and snowshoeing training to be certified Special Olympics Maine coaches. This is the first time Hermon Mountain has hosted the training. Owner Bill Whitcomb says he’s happy to get involved. He says, “I have a sister involved and it was the opportunity for us to do it, that’s all. So it wasn’t a decision to get involved, it was given the opportunity to have the privilege to get involved.” Ian Frank, a Special Olympics Director, says these training sessions have gone on close to 30 years. He says,”About eight to ten weeks prior to a games, specifically the winter games, training starts in December weather that’s on dry land or out on the snow depending on whether or not we have snow and the big event is at the end of January.” For more information on the Special Olympics Maine visit: http://specialolympicsmaine.org/about/index.asp
The teachers at Old Town Elementary School took part in McTeacher’s night last weekend at McDonald’s. For two hours they took orders, helped in the kitchen, and even worked the grill. It was all in an effort to raise money for the school.Today they were rewarded for all their hard work. McDonald’s presented Old Town Elementary with a check for a portion of that night’s proceeds. The students also helped out by handing out coupons to get folks to go to McDonald’s that night.Awards were given to teachers and students for their participation in the program.Company officials say this is a great way to support the community.”I think in today’s economic climate, I think we’re all really needing to help each other in any way that we can, and this is a great way that McDonald’s can give back to the communities that we live in and help out the local schools.” says Linda Quagliaroli, a local owner and operater of McDonald’s.$800 was raised at McTeacher’s night. A portion of that was matched by Bangor Savings Bank. In total about $1,200 was donated to the school.We’re told that money will be given to the school’s Learning Center to buy books.
Thousands of Mainers at risk of losing their financial life lines will now be able to hold on to their unemployment benefits. Last-minute action by U.S. lawmakers and the President is extending those benefits – but only for a bit longer.”We must get our debt problems under control and there’s no better time than now.”While one U.S. Senator from Kentucky held up a plan to extend unemployment benefits across the country, thousands of Mainers moved closer to an uncertain financial future. Adam Fisher, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Labor, says “We thought approximately 500 workers were going to be impacted by that delay immediately. These are workers that lost their jobs in late 2009 and would not be able to file for one of the extensions as a result of the program running out.”This week lawmakers finally gathered the support needed to keep the benefits alive.Fisher says it was just in time. “Had they not taken action quicker, approximately 7,000 people would have run out of benefits by the end of the month and then 28,000 by the end of July.”Fisher says unemployed workers were paid as soon as possible, in part because of fast action from the Labor Department, too. “We ramped up quickly so once that legislation did eventually get the President’s signature we were able to respond quickly. Anybody who had payments that were held up as a result, they’re getting paid this week.”But Fisher says the concern for unemployed Mainers isn’t quite over. Benefits are now set to expire April 5th, with hopes Congress will come up with a more permanent fix before then. Catherine Pegram, WABI TV5 News, Augusta.
A man from Union is waiting to be sentenced after admitting he molested his two daughters. 34 year-old Richard Leppanen pleaded guilty last week to two counts of gross sexual assault, along with a dozen other sex charges. Prosecutors say he abused his daughters over a period of two years, starting in 2006. The girls were 5 and 10 years old at the time.Leppanen will be sentenced after an evaluation to determine his risk for committing sex crimes in the future. No date has been set.Leppanen remains in the Knox County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.
Maine lawmakers are looking at a bill that would limit the use of solitary confinement in prisons.Today medical experts spoke out in support of the bill.The Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians opposes the use of segregation, saying the practice has the potential to create and worsen severe mental illness.Dr. Janice Petzel, a Psychiatrist, says there are no benefits to solitary confinement. She adds more can be achieved through programs and activities that will teach prisoners social skills.”These allow even troublesome prisoners more not less control of their lives and avoid the humiliation and degradation which only breed anger, despair and the likelihood of further violence.” says Petzel.Statistics show that, as of February first, 48% of prisoners in solitary confinement were on some form of psychotropic medication.The bill does not eliminate solitary confinement as a safety option, Petzel says it simply limits the use of the practice.
Students from Washington County Community College braved the icy waters at Pleasant Point Pier for the 10th annual Polar Bear Dip.The students do this every year to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.Many local businesses and organizations support the effort.WCCC’s Polar Bear Dip has raised $140,000 over the past 10 years for the charity.The event even had a theme this year, it was “Happy Birthday WCCC”, in honor of the college’s 40th birthday.
A fuel company in Union is paying the price after failing to answer a lawsuit filed by the state two years ago, that according to the Attorney General’s Office.A judge ordered Butler, Maxcy and Heath Incorporated to pay over 450-thousand dollars in penalties for failing to file required environmental paperwork for several years.Kate Simmons, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office tells TV-5 they have submitted a letter to the court saying they are willing to be flexible on the amount of the fine as long as the company is in compliance.Simmons says the fuel company is up to date on its paperwork this year.
The construction of the new SAD 46 school is almost complete.The SAD 46 superintendent’s office tells TV-5 that it’s expected to be done by the end of April.The pre-k through eighth grade school, has been named Ridge View Community, and will serve the towns of Ripley, Dexter, Garland and Exeter.They say the word “Ridge” which represents the first letters of each of the four communities, will be highlighted on a sign, as will the first letters in the names of the communities.Just this week, the maintenance department was authorized to relocate the Superintendent’s office to the new school on Fern Road in Dexter.A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for August seventh.
A food cupboard in Dover-Foxcroft just received a much needed delivery.It came from several hundred miles away.Meghan Hayward explains.”For me, it’s exciting just to touch people’s lives. I was on the receiving end of this for many years and so now it’s nice to be on the side of giving.”Reverend Tom Bruce is the director of the Living Word Food Cupboard in Dover-Foxcroft.Their pantry, which serves between 300 and 500 families in Piscataquis County, just received a big gift.Thirty-seven thousand pounds of food.”This food is coming from Lakeland, Florida. Cahill Food Bank Ministries which is a major food bank in Central Florida.”Bruce knows the Cahills personally and when they found out the Dover-Foxcroft food cupboard needed help, they came to the rescue.But this isn’t the first time.”They helped us start our food cupboard by sending us two tractor trailer loads of food 14 years ago.”The cupboard now has so much food, they didn’t have enough room at their current location.So the town is letting them use the former Moosehead Factory as a storage place for the next couple of weeks.”It’s been a remarkable journey from a little shelf unit to now a whole building.”Bruce says the Florida food bank was able to do this because they had received an influx of food and sending it to maine seemed like a great way to serve more people…”There’s canned goods, box goods. We have some cosmetics like tooth paste, mouth wash. I was told it could be a number of things, cereal and soup.”Bruce says it’s nice to know that central Florida is helping central Maine.”If it was on the other end, I would hope we could do the same thing for them.”The food cupboard is located on East Main Street at the Old Central Hall.It serves folks the first and third Thursdays of each month from noon to 4 pm.The cupboard also helps other food pantries in Milo, Brownville and Brownville Junction.
May is older americans month, and in honor of that, the Eastern Area Agency on Aging will be holding the fourth annual George Hale Silver Frame Awards.They’re now looking for nominees in several categories.There are two age groups for the awards: 60 to 75, and 76 and older.You can find more information and the nomination form on the Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s website, www.eaaa.org The deadline for nominating someone is March 31st
A 24-year-old man from Bangor is facing charges after police say a loaded gun he was carrying went off on a city bus Wednesday afternoon.Police say Jason Robinson was showing the gun to someone else when it accidentally fired, there were about 20 people on the bus, but no one was hurt.Police say Robinson got off that bus and got on another one, which was stopped by police in Orono.Robinson was arrested without incident. The bus with the bullet hole is undergoing repairs.B.A.T. Superintendent Joe McNeil says there could be several hundred dollars damage because a panel of the bus needs to be replaced. “I think it’s a very very isolated incident most people are good and generous and this obviously happened and happened in our presence, but I’ve been here a number of years and we’ve never had anything to this type of incident,” Said McNeil. “He was stuffing it in his jacket with his finger on the trigger and the gun just went off.,” Said Christopher Stone, who was on the bus. “It scared us all at the moment I thought he fired at me because of the way he was looking at me and then after the hairline of a second I realized he had shot out the side of the bus.”Robinson is charged with reckless conduct with a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon, he remains at the Penobscot County Jail.
Close to two hundred Maine soldiers will begin their deployment to Afghanistan later this month.The 1136th transportation company, part of Maine’s Army National Guard, will deploy in support of operation enduring freedom.A send-off ceremony will be held March 13th at the University of Maine.The unit is stationed in Bangor, Calais, and Sanford.It will conduct force operations, providing security for bases.In 2003 the unit deployed to Kuwait.
A bill in front of the Maine legislature would limit solitary confinement to an inmate in this state to 45 days, unless it’s determined that the prisoner has committed or attempted to commit violence.But members of the criminal justice committee are divided.On Thursday six members voted to kill the bill.Some of the members want to review special management policies, and others want to bar the seriously mentally ill form the special management unit.Some members said no evidence was given that prisoners are mistreated.
Dr. Bhatta takes us through the new guidlines for early-detactioon prostate screenings.The American Cancer Society released on Thursday new guidlines for doctors.
t’s Maine Restaurant Week, and some local restaurants are celebrating.They’re offering three course meals, for a great deal.”To celebrate the beginning of spring, to be able to give people a reason to go out to eat.”That’s why Mary Dysart-Hartt says her restaurant, Dysarts in Hermon, is taking part in restaurant week. Kenneth Hall, General Manager of Anglers in Hampden, Searsport and Newport says it’s a good time to get people to try new things.”It brings people out to restaurants that they might not normally take the trip, to experience it.”Here’s how it works, customers get to choose among different options for a three course meal.At dysarts, that might include baked stuffed scallops, or corned beef and cabbage.”We wanted to be able to show off some of our best meals.”At anglers, they’ve got all kinds of appetizers, main courses and desserts.”There’s food for people who don’t like seafood, and there’s food for people who love seafood.”The price tag is $20.10. Some of the other 100 restaurants participating are offering meals for a little more at $30.10 or $40.10.The hope is that it will help shine the spotlight on some of our locally owned, and operated eateries, and allow people to enjoy some great food.”People have been very excited. It’s fun to have a three course meal.”Restaurant week goes until March 10th.Anglers is using this week to launch a fundraiser for the Hampden Academy Music Association. A dollar from every three course meal that they sell will go to the group.Thistles and Seadog Restaurants, both in Bangor, are also taking part.For a complete list, or more information, log onto www.mainerestaurantweek.comFOR A COMPLETE LIST OF RESTAURANTS… LOG ONTO MAINE RESTAURANT WEEK-DOT-COM…..
A jury in Franklin County has found a woman from New Sharon guilty of animal cruelty and assaulting an officer with a stun gun. Sixty-five-year-old Carol Murphy was being investigated on a complaint that she was hoarding animals at her home.A year later she was found guilty of animal cruelty.After that, Murphy was under a court order barring her from keeping animals.In October 2009, a state trooper showed up at Murphy’s home to see if she was sticking to the rules.Court documents say she used a stun gun on him.Murphy represented herself in court, berating the judge and calling the proceeding a “kangaroo court.”