The Thomas Hill Standpipe is over 100 years old and has become a landmark in Bangor.Earlier this evening folks got a chance to climb to the top of the tower and see a spectacular view of the area.The standpipe is only open to the public four days out of the year – one for each season. It opened at three this afternoon and closed at six.Hundreds of people poured in, and they all raved about the beautiful day and the picturesque view.There were bus loads of school kids there – and they seemed to enjoy the entire experience.”It’s really fun because you get to like walk around like a million, million, million times and when you go back down the stairs, it’s kind of fun when you count them.” says one young visitor.There are 100 steps to the top of the tower, and once you reach the observation deck, they say you can see for miles on a clear day. Almost 800 people visited the standpipe today. If you missed it, it will be open again on July 22. For more information you can visit the Bangor Water Disrict’s website at www.bangorwater.org.
For a Searsport woman, teaching her home-schooled kids about history meant more than just reading to them from a book.This week, her backyard becomes a battleground, and the soldiers can’t wait for their lessons.”Union, forward. March!””Basically,” says one young participant, “it’s just doing the Civil War all over again.”The Battle of Bull Run is just one lesson in a week-long program. Kathy Strickland came up with the idea 15 years ago.”I started home schooling my kids and I wanted my kids to be able to experience something more hands-on,” Strickland says.Now, dozens of home-schooled kids in Waldo County take part. They cook, make crafts, write letters and learn lots about different time periods.”We’re learning how to make tents and stuff like that,” says participant Emily Edgerly.”What kind of tools and guns and cannons they used,” says another participant.”One of the fun parts,” says helper Lillian Nowell, “was we did was spy codes, and they learned how to do spy codes and spelling it out and journaling.”They say it helps children better relate to history and appreciate what they have today.”They’ve seen what our forefathers have gone through and what they’ve fought for, for the country we live in and the freedoms to do what we do,” says leader Michelle Small.”We’re going to do the Battle of Bull Run again,” announces Steven Kostusyk, “also known in the South as the Battle of Manassas.”Kostusyk, whose mother is one of the leaders, helps lead battles when he’s home from college. “We have Civil War books, and I review the battles and pick key points and sum the battle up into one small segment we can do,” he says.The program is about 60 dollars, to cover costs for the week. Leaders say the kids have so much fun, they hope to offer more sessions during school vacations, so kids who aren’t home schooled can take part.”It helps them get a better understanding of our nation’s history.”The programs are offered a couple of times a year and cover different periods in history. For more information, you can contact Michelle Small at 338-6334.
Detective Jason Andrews of Lincolnville has been named Trooper of the Year. Andrews joined the State Police in 2001 and patrolled in Waldo and Knox counties as a member of Troop D, until he was promoted to detective late last year and transferred to the central criminal division. Prior to joining the State Police, Andrews was an elementary school age teacher in Massachusetts. He is a native of Bristol, Rhode Island. Colonel Patrick Fleming said, â€œDetective Andrews is a quiet, hard working, dedicated member of the State Police and I am proud to name him the 44th recipient of this honor.â€ Andrewsâ€™s award was one of the highlights of Wednesday’s annual State Police awards ceremony. Andrews and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of a six year old son and a four year old daughter. In addition to Trooper of the Year, Andrews will also receive a State Police Meritorious Service Award for his role in responding last October to a gunman inside the Stockton Springs Elementary School. Several others will also be honored next week for their role in that incident. Trooper of the Year was established by State Police in 1964 to honor Trooper Charles Black, who was shot to death that year during a bank robbery in South Berwick.
Construction on a Franklin family’s Habitat for Humanity house has been put on hold after copper pipes were stolen from the construction site.The family and neighbors in Hancock County are doing all they can to find the culprit and get the house finished.”They’ve had very undesirable housing and you know, that’s Habitat’s mission to eliminate poverty housing in Hancock County and they were just the ideal family.”When the Rumill family discovered on Mother’s Day that someone had stolen copper pipes from their unfinished home, they were devastated.”So it was very frustrating, sad and sickening all in one. So it wasn’t a very nice Mother’s Day that way.”The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department says this is an unusual case.”It’s not the traditional copper theft that we’ve experienced in the past where people have gone into an existing structure and have cut the pipes from a boiler that was already installed. These were pipes that were still in the boxes waiting for installation.”Thornton estimates the stolen copper is worth about 200 dollars.”But it’s not the amount that’s of significance. It’s the fact that A, they burglarized the place and B, they stole copper from a needy family.”With the help of Broughman Builders in ellsworth, they’re offering a 500 dollar reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.”It just seemed like, this organization is struggling to do stuff to help other people, that all of a sudden you have people taking from an organization that needs to have people giving.”April and her family are trying to stay positive, but she says she wishes the culprit only knew who they stole from.”You stole from three children, how do you feel about that? How can you sleep at night knowing that it wasn’t just for two adults that it was for 3 children who need this home just as much as we do.”Anyone with information should contact the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at 667-7575.We also learned late today that Paul Hanna Plumbing of Belgrade Lakes has offered to donate the copper pipes to finish the home.
Town leaders in Milo are considering a plan to turn over the community’s police presence to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department. Right now the police department is without a chief or a sergeant.Town Manager Jeff Gahagan says it’s a good time to talk about rebuilding the department or contracting with the sheriff’s department for police coverage. County commissioners reviewed a proposal yesterday put together by Sheriff John Goggin.Under the draft, the sheriff’s department would provide three full-time deputies who’d live in the Milo area. Police cruisers and other equipment would also be turned over to the county. Milo selectmen are expected to review the idea at their next meeting in June.
The Calais Fire Department is honoring the life of a fellow fighter with commemorative decals.Money raised from the sale of the decals will benefit the family of Billy Townsend. Townsend died earlier this month after a two-year battle with leukemia, leaving behind a wife and two children. Lieutenant Glenn Connolly says the decals represent Townsend’s love of hunting and fishing, along with his service to the Calais and Lincoln Fire Departments.The top of the decal reads “We will never forget”.Two-inch versions of the decal are for sale for $5. 6-inch versions go for $20.If you’re interested in buying one, you can mail a request to Lt. Glenn Connolly P.O. Box 131 Calais, ME 04619. Or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investigators say they’ll never know what started a fire that leveled a mobile home in Abbot. Crews from Guilford, Monson, Dover-Foxcroft and Sangerville responded to the fire yesterday on Forest Brook Drive, just off Route 15.Guilford firefighter Mike Nichols says by the time they arrived, the center of the home was up in the flames and the roof had already caved in. The owners were not home at the time, but Nichols says two pets died in the fire.An investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office says there was too much damage to determine the cause of the fire.
High school students on Mount Desert Island are spending some of their class time helping those in need in their community.MDI High School offers a “habitat for Humanity” class.About 25 students are enrolled.They’re doing the framing for a Habitat house being built for a needy family in Ellsworth.Students and teachers are building the external and internal walls for the home.They also raised the money to buy the materials.Teacher Wilt Jones says the students are making a difference in their community, and taking away a great lesson.< "i think they really get a sense of community, of helping out, giving back and helping those in need when, and so when they get done, maybe they'll continue some type of involvement in the future in some way, whether it be habitat or other endeavors.">The interior and exterior walls should be ready to go within the next week.They’ll be brought in to the house site on a flatbed, where volunteers will do the construction.
Town officials in Bar Harbor are considering removing some street lights to try and save money.Back in January, town manager Dana Reed suggested cutting ten percent of the town’s streetlights, to save about eight thousand dollars a year.Since then, the Police Department has identified 149 streetlights they consider non-essential, including some on Cottage Street, Main Street and Route 3.That adds up to about 35 percent of the town’s streetlights.If removed, that would save the town more than 25-thousand dollars a year.The streetlights are rented from Bangor Hydro at a cost of 179-dollars per light each year.Town councilors will discuss the proposal at a meeting Tuesday night.Reed says if the measure moves forward, he’ll recommend that a public hearing be held.
This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer…and of course, the tourist season.Merchants in Bar Harbor are gearing up for what they hope will be a successful season…despite the rough economy.Amy Erickson has more.< "It's going to be a great summer. A great summer."Kip Stone owns "cool as a Moose" in downtown Bar Harbor...He says despite the doom and gloom over the national economy, things are looking good for the tourist season.It's even starting a little early, from the looks of license plates around town."i saw people today from georgia, florida, and it's not even 11 am, so they're here, they're coming, it's happening!"bite 15:58:55 "i think it's good. The whole town is up and going and the restaurants are full...people coming in and out and it's only wednesday...so we're just ramping up."At Ben & Bill's, the lobster ice cream is ready to go, and employees are prepping for big crowds on what's traditionally the kickoff of the season."we're feeling good. It's definitely picked up this past week or so."Employee Crystal Bridges says she's a bit worried that the economy could keep some folks from vacationing...but is hoping that if that's the case...they'll make up for it with all the Mainers doing "staycations" this year."we do get a lot of locals, too, so i'm thinking it might not affect us that much. But you never know...hopefully not!""this is my 22nd year in bar harbor and I think it's going to be one of the best years ever."Scott Lingley supplies food for many of the local eateries...he's not worried about the economy.He says if merchants could stay afloat last summer, with 4-dollar-a gallon gas prices, this year should be no problem."everyone's very optimistic and we don't have real things to stand in the way. People want to take their vacations and they're going to come to bar harbor.""we're off to a great start, one of the best starts ever, no matter what you year economically, people are going to come on vacation."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bar Harbor.>
“Due to health issues, I have to. Actually I have to get out of the cold climate.”The Sebec Lake Weather Station means so much to Bill and his wife Mary Jane that they don’t want to see the data stop flowing just because they’re moving away. So they put their house up for sale and when a buyer came through they showed some interest in all the weather instruments around the yard. Bill explained what he does and jokingly asked them to take over the station as part of the sales contract and they agreed. Meet Reuben Bailey. “If I weren’t taking this over, they would have to shut this station down and start another… find someone else to do it and completely commission a whole new station.”Bill has already introduced Reuben to the folks at the National Weather Service office in Caribou. Now Bill will train Reuben on what observations need to be taken to continue the legacy of the Sebec Lake Weather Station.”The maximum and minimum temperatures for the period, for the day… and sky cover… and any precipitation that falls be it rain or snow or whatever and the time of those occurences.”Reuben has had an interest in the weather since he was a kid, growing up on the family farm in Vermont. After moving to Maine, Reuben worked a few winters plowing roads for the Maine Department of Transportation.”So I took an interest in watching the radar and going… okay… how hard is the system going to hit… doing a little stuff on my own.”And now with the future of the Sebec Lake Weather Station in good hands, Bill and his wife can focus on their move to Virginia and who knows… maybe taking weather observations at his new home. “I’ve already talked to the NWS office just outside where we’re going in a place called Wakefield. It’s a new facility much like Caribou is. And they want me to stop in when I get down there so I’m looking forward to it.”
Folks in Mattawamkeag voted Tuesday night to shut down their elementary school.To keep the Doctor Carl Troutt Elementary School open it would cost an extra $367,000 each year.Residents say they’re sad to see the school close, but keeping it open would have raised taxes too much.Those students will now attend school in Lincoln.
A group of teens may be in trouble with the law after a senior prank was pulled. Police and school officials are investigating vandalism at Skowhegan area high school Monday night. Officials suspect a few teens are to blame for a golf cart that was taken for a joyride. Principal Rick Wilson says minor damage was found on the cart. Possibly the most disruptive part of the prank was that the vandals smeared manure over the front doors into the school building.
Area high school students got together today to talk about financial fitness.Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor held their fifth annual Financial Fitness Money Management Experience.Over two-hundred students were expected to attend.Local credit unions gave presentations.The event was put on to help make teens more aware of their finances.Organizers say financial education is important to start at a young age.”I think this is a wonderful way of maybe getting them exposed to things like budgeting and savings and trying to be creative monetarily and these are so many of the things they are going to have to do in real life. If they can do them now without having the consequences of making the wrong choice, when they get to make the choice for real they’ll maybe make the choice that is more fiscally responsible.”During the day students were asked to participate in an interactive “game of life”.They were given a scenario packet – with an occupation, income, and credit history, then they planned out their financial future.
Do you believe in ghosts? How about ghost towns?We tagged along with some ghost hunters today who are trying to prove there was a ghost town somewhere in the woods near Greenbush….Meghan Hayward shows us what they found.”It’s new adventure everyday.”An adventure that Harold Murray and his ghost investigating team were about to take us on.We started the first trek to what is being called Riceville case file number two. “The story we’re trying to tell people is from what was reported to us from some of the elders that knew the area and told us the plague was going through here like dysentery, there were a few others.Murray and his team first learned about this ghost town in 2000 and took it on the next year.For the past eight years, they haven’t been able to prove or disprove the town existed, but now say they’re sure it was real. “But with the new information we have now, we know the entire story.”Along the way, they’ve come across quite a bit. “Well we came across, we were told this was a mass cemetery. It took us a few years to find there’s only two to three bodies in here.Ghost investigator Kelly Moore says there wasn’t one person who discovered all of this. “This was a team effort. Everyone found everything. We involved one person that found it, pulled somebody else to help it be removed.”Parts of a leather shoe, a saw, china plates and part of a wagon are just a few of the items this team has uncovered.They’re satisfied with their findings. ” Pretty confident, we were extremely excited that we found these objects and things we had to bring back through our adventure.”An adventure where they say they’ve seen a man plowing and heard a woman screaming.But also one that Murray says is a closed case and ready for the next generation to explore for themselves.
The country’s largest wild blueberry grower had a good winter. Wyman’s of Maine says layers of snow kept their bushes well insulated.Now they’re hoping for a good harvest, and for that, they need to see lots of bees this month.”I did the math. It’s roughly 450 million bees we’re importing to work our fields,” says Nat Lindquist, vice president of operations for Jasper Wyman & Son.Without bees to pollinate their eight thousand growing acres, Wyman’s wouldn’t have blueberries. And since there aren’t enough native bees to cover their fields, they bring them in on trucks from other states.”They transport them here with a net to keep the bees in,” Lindquist says. “And they’ll water the trucks and the hives down as they transport them to keep the bees in.”Bee yards are set up throughout their fields for the ten thousand hives.”As the blossom develops and opens up, the bees have a sense of what to do and where to go, and they do a great job as long as mother nature gives us the good weather,” he says.Colony collapse disorder, which threatens bee populations, is still a big worry. “It hasn’t gone away. Nobody has truly defined what the real cause of it is. They’re still working on finding the cause.”It will take the imported bees three to four weeks to finish the job and get the plants ready for a good harvest.”We look very good right now. It’s very early to make any predictions and we won’t do any crop estimates until we’re fully pollinated,” Lindquist says.They’re hoping for good temperatures, some nice rain, and the same thing as everyone who makes a business off the land.”I’m just hoping,” he says, “there are no disastrous things that happen.”
The employees of Johnnyâ€™s Selected Seeds presented a $40,000 donation to Maine Farmland Trust. Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide organization that works to keep working farms working. Â Since its founding in 1999, the Trust has worked with over 100 farmers and helped preserve over 13,500 acres of Maine farmland. The Trust also runs Maine FarmLink, a program that helps aspiring farmers buy or lease land from retiring farmers.Â In the past five years, FarmLink has make 42 connectionsâ€”thatâ€™s another 42 farms that will likely continue for another generation. Â The employees of Johnnyâ€™s Seeds have chosen Maine Farmland Trust as their principal charity for this year, in recognition of the great work the Trust is doing. Â Â
Memorial Day represents the unofficial start of summer, and for the American Red Cross it also brings a drop in blood donations. More people take vacations during the summer, and forget to give blood. That means the blood supply can get dangerously low.The folks at the Red Cross say they hope everyone will step forward, but they especially need donors with type O-negative blood.Trudy Darling, Account Executive for the Red Cross says it’s considered the universal blood type. “Type O negative we use for trauma victims, for newborn babies for premature babies because they’re being tested. Obviously their blood hasn’t been typed yet, so we have to use type O negative. Plus, type O neg can only receive type O neg. So if you are type O neg, please consider coming into the American Red Cross Donor Center and give your gift of life as soon as possible.”If you’d like to give blood, call 1-800-Give Life to schedule an appointment.The Bangor Donor Center at 900-B Hammond street is open Tuesday through Thursday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and every 1st and 3rd Saturday.
Maine election officials have drafted the question that will appear on the state referendum ballot if opponents of the recently enacted same-sex marriage collect enough signatures. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Tuesday the question that will appear on petitions is as follows:”Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” Dunlap said the petitioners have until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to collect 55,087 signatures. His office then has 30 days to certify the signatures and determine whether to hold up the law until a statewide vote.
It was a case of “He said she said.”That’s how the attorney for John Auclair desribed the sexual assault case that put him behind bars.She argued to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Bangor today that the lower courts made a mistake by not allowing the jury to hear certain statements.John Auclair of Bangor was convicted last fall of sexually assaulting a woman. Now his attorney is appealing that conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.”Exactly what he said and exactly what she said is of criminal importance.” Mandi Odier-Fink argues that the jury didn’t hear all the evidence it should have, specifically from Auclair’s girlfriend who died before the trial.She made statements to a private investigator about the victim, who happened to be her best friend. The justices questioned how much of what was said was relevant and admissable?”What would be an example does it impeach her credibility or does it go to the motive? Just give me an example of what inference they could draw that would be appropriate on the case. I think it would go to motive.”The defense argues that the victim made up the story about being raped.Then the prosecution presented the state’s argument.”It involved taking hair samples and pulling them.”Susan Pope read testimony from the trial describing the invasive examination undergone by the victim at the hospital after the assault.She argued that even if the witness in question would be alive, none of the statements made would have been admissable in the trial.Auclair is expected to spend four years behind bars.The justices heard three other cases in Bangor today. Their decisions are expected to take several weeks.