A man with ties to Mexico, Maine, is wanted for passing tens of thousands of dollars in bogus checks.Police say 28-year-old Branden Belanger has been cashing counterfeit checks in several communities including Farmington, Rumford, Madison, and even as far away as Gorham, New Hampshire.There are warrants out for his arrest.Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact their local police department.Farmington Police are actively on the case.To call them dial 778-6311.
A woman in Biddeford was shot to death by a police officer while holding what turned out to be a BB gun. Biddeford’s police chief says the woman was shot three times on a Main Street sidewalk last night after refusing several orders to drop the gun. He says one of the officers fired when the woman approached him in a threatening manner. It started with a 911 call by a woman threatening to kill herself. The chief says the whole incident was caught on a camera mounted inside a police cruiser. The attorney general’s office is investigating.
Police are investigating the death of a University of Vermont Student from Skowhegan.21 year old William Gates was found dead Monday morning by his roommates in a home in Burlington. Detective Michael Warren says there is no sign that the death is suspicious or a suicide. An autopsy has been scheduled. Blood and toxicology test results are expected to be available in four to six weeks.
It’s rough riding out there on many of Maine’s roadways.It is peak pothole season, and there’s a certain stretch of route 2 in lincoln that’s in particularly poor shape.”It’s our main artery in our town. It’s heavily trafficked. The truck traffic is huge, here in Lincoln. And when you drive over the road, you are always thinking ‘why haven’t they fixed this road?’”Folks travelling along West Broadway in Lincoln have had a bit of a bumpy ride, as of late.”From the railroad tracks South to the intersection at McDonalds.” “It’s become very treacherous and dangerous for the vehicles because people that are driving South are pulling over in to the other lane to try to avoid damage to the car.”Lincoln town manager, Lisa Goodwin, says folks have been complaining to her about that road for years. “First of all, the road is in Lincoln, so they think it’s our road but it’s actually the state’s responsibility. And they come to us and want us to fix the road and pay for the repairs to their vehicles.””That section of roadway should be rebuilt. State has done some patch work up there, but evidently, it’s not holding. There needs to be some more catch basins installed and more crown to the road.”Public works director, David Lloyd, says the problem stems from poor drainage in the area.Maine Department of Transportaion spokesperson, Mark Lattie says that Lincoln is a candidate for funding, in the D.O.T.’s 2-year plan, but that nothing is definite. He says If the plan is approved, the earliest the repairs would be started would be this fall.While the work will admittedly take several months to complete, officials say, if approved the wait will be well worth it.”Lincoln is a service center. We have people coming from all over. And it just paints a really bad picture when people come in to town, and they have to ride over these rough roads. Why do they want to come back?”
There are between 30 and 40-thousand Mainers collecting unemployment benefits right now. Economists estimate that the number could get worse before there are any signs of a turnaround in sight. To support those economists, President Obama has incorportated extended unemployment benefits into the Recovery Act – up to an additional 20 weeks on top of the already 59 week benefit. In part II of our series on, “Hard Work, Finding Work” Adrienne Bennett sat down with four individuals who are trying to get by in an economy that has put them out of work. WABI TV5 NEWS Script:NATIONALLY MORE THAN 6-HUNDRED-FIFTY-THOUSAND AMERICANS JOINED THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINES IN FEBRUARY…SINCE THE RECESSION BEGAN IN DECEMBER 2007, MORE THAN 4-MILLION JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST…MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ROSE TO NEARLY EIGHT PERCENT IN JANUARY, WHICH IS SLIGHTLY LOWER THAN THE NATIONAL NUMBER…TONIGHT WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES, “HARD WORK, FINDING WORK” CENTRAL MAINE BUREAU CHIEF ADRIENNE BENNETT HAS BEEN ON THE STORY…SHE JOINS US FROM OUR WATERVILLE NEWSROOM WITH THE FACES OF THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO FIND WORK…ADRIENNE?THERE ISN’T JUST ONE FACE THAT DESCRIBES THE UNEMPLOYED.THEY ARE JUST OUT OF COLLEGE, READY FOR RETIREMENT AND IN BETWEEN.ONE THING THEY ALL AGREE ON — IT’S HARD WORK FINDING WORK TODAY…”I didn’t see it coming.” “I was laid off .” “I have been looking since the first of December.” “Got laid off right before Christmas.” THESE MAINERS ALL HAVE A STORY TO TELL ABOUT THEIR STRUGGLE TO FIND WORK…JESSICA ALAIMO IS 25 YEARS OLD WITH A JOURNALISM DEGREE. FRESH FROM COLLEGE, SHE WORKED IN PRINT FOR A YEAR, THEN WAS HIRED TO RUN A POLITICAL NEWS WEBSITE.”Prior to getting laid off, it was just another news story. (splice at :36) to me it’s scary now.” LIVING OFF SAVINGS AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ISN’T THE SECURE INCOME SHE EXPECTED AS AN EDUCATED YOUNG WOMAN.”When I left college, I sent out over 50 resumes and got 3 job offers. I’ve sent out over 80 and haven’t even gotten an interview.” FORECASTERS FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR BUSINESS ECONOMICS EXPECT THE JOB MARKET TO SHRINK AND THE NATIONS JOBLESS RATE TO PEAK AT NINE PERCENT THIS YEAR.LOUISE EARLE HAS SEEN THE ECONOMY’S UPS AND DOWNS.”I am 62.” FOR ELEVEN YEARS, EARLE MADE A LIVING AS A FAMILY ADVOCATE IN EDUCATION. LET GO IN MAY OF LAST YEAR, SHE WENT SIX MONTHS WITHOUT A STEADY CHECK.”I didn’t really know where to start to look for a job.” SO SHE TOOK A JOB IN RETAIL.”It was just the hours were incredibly different from what I had been doing in the past.”LIKE MANY OLDER ADULTS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, EARLE HAD TO DIP INTO HER 401K AND SAVINGS TO MAKE ENDS MEET.”I certainly felt as if my life was hitting a downward spiral being an older worker.” SHE LEFT RETAIL AND NOW HELPS SENIORS FIND EMPLOYMENT. WHILE IT’S REWARDING, EARLE ADMITS…”I’m still looking, yes.”SO IS COURTNEY DUNCAN, A 27 YEAR OLD MOTHER WHO WAS SHOCKED TO FIND OUT SHE HAD BEEN LET GO AFTER FIVE YEARS AT A RESIDENTIAL GROUP HOME.”I was like ok, where’s my money for the mortgage going to come from?”NOT KNOWING WHERE TO TURN, SHE CAME TO THE AUGUSTA CAREER CENTER FOR HELP”It’s really nice to know that there are other people as frustrated as you are and there are people that have been out of work as long as you have.” IT’S BEEN OVER THREE MONTHS. DUNCAN HAS HAD THREE INTERVIEWS.”You’re competing against more people.” 2.04.09 “It’s almost a full-time job to find a full-time job.”CAREER CENTERS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE SEEN AN INFLUX OF JOB SEEKERS DURING THE PAST THREE MONTHS.”I came here just about everyday.” AFTER THREE YEARS AS A STATE WORKER, BUDGET CUTS PUT 24 YEAR OLD ALISON MAYHEUX OUT OF WORK.BECAUSE OF THE HELP SHE GOT FROM RESOURCES AT THE CENTER, SHE LANDED A JOB AFTER TWELVE WEEKS OF LOOKING.”A lot of emailing out my resume, phone calls, emailing, searching.” FOR THOSE WHO ARE STILL SEARCHING…”There are people in the same boat as you, you’ll get through it.”IF YOU’RE UNABLE TO GET TO A CAREER CENTER, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MAINE CAREER CENTER DOT COM – YOU’LL FIND AN ONLINE JOB BANK…LABOR COMMISSIONER LAURA FORTMAN TELLS ME SOME OF THE JOBS BEING CREATED FROM THE NATIONAL RECOVERY ACT HAVE BEEN POSTED…BETWEEN 13 AND 15-THOUSAND JOBS WILL EITHER BE CREATED OR MAINTAINED BECAUSE OF FEDERAL DOLLARS…SO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THOSE POSITIONS, WHICH WILL BE IN THE CONSTRUCTION, HEALTHCARE AND OTHER FIELDS.CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MAINE CAREER CENTER JOB BANK
A piece of Knox’s history is well on its way to being restored to its original glory.Back in December, inmates at the Maine State Prison’s Industries Program began working on the town’s antique, horse-drawn hearse.Today, folks from the historical society paid a visit to the prison in Warren to check on the progress so far.Amy Erickson was there.The last time the folks from the Knox Historical Society saw the town’s antique hearse…it looked like this…Fast forward just three short months…here’s what it looks like now.”It was amazing! The transformation! It’s beautiful. I just love it.”The progress is thanks to the hard work of the inmates in the Maine State Prison’s Industries program.Since the prison built the original hearse in the late 1800s, the folks who run the industries program thought it was fitting that they restore it for the town.”They’re doing a wonderful job. from what I’ve seen so far. I’m really impressed.””It’s quite a challenge. We’re having a good time doing it. We love doing it.”Ron Harnish has put many hours into the project…it hasn’t been easy.”There’s a massive amount of hand sanding. We’ve probably got 60 hours on one side just hand sanding.””We still have a lot of sanding to do. Once we get that done, we’ll send it to the upholstery shop and have the inside all upholstered. Then we’ll bring it back and paint it.”Robert Welch wasn’t prepared to see such a drastic change in such a short amount of time.”It’s hard to believe some of these inmates have got the skills to do something like this. They’ve really got something behind them. I love it.””Remarkable. Remarkable. It’s hard to believe what a piece of history this is.”The town of Knox bought the horse-drawn hearse for three hundred dollars back in 1889.Present-day historical society members are hoping to be able to unveil the restored piece at the Brooks 4th of July parade this summer.”It’s awesome. I’m just really happy that we decided to do this.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Warren.>
Police are investigating an armed robbery in Augusta Wednesday morning.It happened at the Maine Education Credit Union on South Chestnut Street around 9 a.m.Witnesses say the suspect was wearing a mask, had a silver gun, and handed a shopping bag to a clerk. He then made off with an undisclosed amount of money.Police are describing the suspect as 5’8” and 180 to 200lbs. Witnesses say the robber left with a Hannaford shopping bag full of cash. There have been six similar robberies in central maine in the past four months, none have been solved.
The current economy has many people feeling shaky about their finances. Could a lack of early education be at the root of many people’s money troubles?Money is a taboo topic in many households. But some experts say open and honest discussions with kids early on could help to create a more financially savvy generation. “When I was growing up nobody really taught me about finance. It wasn’t something that was discussed at home and I really had to find my own way and learn things sometimes the hard way.” Says D’arcy Main-Boyington, a financially savvy mother.Main-Boyington started teaching her son Jed about finances at a young age. She wants him to be comfortable with concepts like credit, savings and long term planning. “Let’s say you do it and it’s gonna be really good for the afternoon. It might not be for the rest of the year.” Jed explains. The current economy has left many people in a financial mess and like Main-Boyington, some parents are trying to teach their hard learned lessons to the next generation. Marion Syverson, President of Norumbega Financial, believes teaching kids about money in a fun way is key to helping them understand. “You can have games where you’re doing it with fun, you can make kids shop with you, it depends on the age of the kid” explains Syverson. Tools like educational comic books can make learning easier and relating it to things kids like can make it more fun.Syverson says, “I mean I like pretty stuff, so if there’s a way I can get more pretty stuff because I’m learning about money that’s fun for me.” Syverson says an allowance can be a good way for parents to ease their kids into the world of saving and spending. “Allow them to make small errors while you’re right there. Ok, so they blow the whole allowance. What happens now? They’re not making a car payment, they get arrested? Nothing bad happens. Now is a really good time to make mistakes with money, because you’re right there.” Says Syverson. Catherine Haskell works with Junior Achievement, a nation-wide program that goes into K-through-12 classrooms and teaches kids about the economy and their community. “It’s all hands on activities. We break it down into simple digestible lessons for them.”The lesson are age appropriate. They start by teaching the younger kids about saving money. Haskell says, “Then in the high school, we talk much more about micro, macro, and international economics.” The goal is to teach them how to plan for their financial future. Haskell taught her own daughter to be fiscally responsible by putting her in charge! “She had to pay the bills and she had to decide how we spent our extra money.” Haskell explains.Syverson agrees real world lessons may be the best way for kids to learn. She thinks parents should take the taboo out of talking about money. “Perhaps then they won’t argue with us as much. I mean I have friends who have actually let their kids go shopping with them and said this is all the money we have for school clothes this year, use it the best way you think.” Experts say learning these lessons early will help kids plan for their future. The Federal Reserve has fun and educational resources linked on their website.For more information on Junior Achievment you can visit their website.
Wednesday is Franco-American Day in Maine.A daylong celebration will take place in Augusta to recognize Maine’s French heritage.Events include performances, featuring French music, a Franco-American menu in the Cross cafeteria, the presentation of colors by the Franco-American veterans, and appearances by dignitaries from France, Canada and the Province of Quebec.Also Wednesday: six people will be inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame.
Maine fishermen are taking advantage of an offer of financial help before new regulations take hold regarding the type of rope that they use.On April 5th a change in regulations will require fishermen to change to sinking rope. It’s a move intended to protect endangered whales.Fishermen say sinking rope is much more expensive and will cost some of them up to $14,000 to replace it.The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation is holding rope exchanges this week to help offset the expense.Lobstermen can turn in their rope and get $1.40 per pound toward the purchase of sinking rope.More than 900,000 pounds of rope have been turned in since the exchanges began.Rope exchanges will be held in Rockland this Thursday and Friday.
Washington County will soon have a new regional emergency shelter.Calais officials and the Washington County Community College have formed a partnership to provide another one.They are using a $47,000 grant from homeland security to buy a generator for Saint Croix Hall. Then, it can be a designated Red Cross shelter.The Saint Croix Hall student center already has kitchen and shower facilities. “Part of the shelter is going to be accessible to pets because there’s a need to bring pets when you go to a shelter.” Said W.C.C.C. President William Cassidy. “We are merely enhancing what’s available to better protect and better serve our communities.”Officials plan to have everything ready for emergencies by the end of May.
Down East Community Hospital in Machias has been found in non-compliance with rules connected to Medicare and Medicaid.A spokeswoman for Down East says the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services notified the hospital of the problem on Tuesday.The hospital’s internal quality and compliance teams are carefully reviewing the report and say they will fully cooperate with federal and state health officials.
Maine’s senate president is pushing for $60,000,000 to create jobs, weatherize homes, and build affordable housing.Senator Elizabeth Mitchell has taken a lead role in promoting green housing.On Tuesday, she released results of an economic impact study by the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.It found that over the next two years Senator Mitchell’s plan would create nearly $600,000,000 in construction related activity and create or maintain nearly 6000 jobs.The public hearing on the bill will be held Wednesday before the joint select committee on Maine’s energy future.
The Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street has long been the most photographed site in Bangor. This year, a group of volunteers approached the city to make sure he stays camera ready.Every now and then the statue gets some fresh paint – but the Paul Bunyan Restoration Group says they want to give him the attention he deserves.”He’s not fancy – some people say he’s not even art,” says Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer.But this symbol of the city of Bangor sure has many admirers.”We’re just getting together and doing this because we love Paul Bunyan,” says Jeanne Savoy.She came before a city committee Tuesday, asking if volunteers could give Mr. Bunyan a bit of a facelift for the statue’s 50th birthday this year.”Three or four artists from this area will volunteer to paint him, also, hopefully, someone will step up and volunteer the paint,” she says.They also want to fix his sometimes leaky boots, patch up the fiberglass on his legs, and have an engineer check inside to see that he’s still structurally sound. “One of the great things about Paul is he’s got a great smile on his face,” Palmer says.The missing hook to Paul’s peavey tool will also be put back in place.The last time the statue had a touch-up was about 10-years ago – also by volunteers.”We had a good, successful effort the last time this was done by this approach, and I think by the nature of the group and the attitude of the group I anticipate a successful effort this time,” says Tracy Willette, director of Parks and Recreation.The committee recommended the city give volunteers the go-ahead, and allow them to accept donations.Savoy says they hope to start when the snow is gone.”So my grandchildren can look at him and smile every time they see him and say Paul Bunyan – you know, the city of Bangor. That’s where he lives,” Savoy says.”I hope, going forward, we would give a little more respect to that big guy down on Main Street,” Palmer says, “because he deserves it.”The volunteers are from all around the area, not just Bangor, and they encourage everyone who loves Paul Bunyan to get involved. If you’d like to volunteer or donate supplies, you can reach Jeanne Savoy through Da Vinci Signs, at 848-2234.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Lisa Marrache has submitted a bill requiring oil companies to make ethanol-free fuel an option at the pump in Maine.Ethanol has been an additive in gasoline sold in Maine since late last year, and there have been some complaints, mostly from boat owners and others with older engines.Marrache says she’d like to work with oil dealers and importers to come up with a solution that doesn’t require legislative action. She says her bill would require dealers to sell high-test gasoline that’s free of ethanol, giving buyers an ethanol-free option.
An overheated wood stove is believed to have been the cause of a house fire in Robbinston on Monday that forced a woman, her grandson and two dogs to drop from a second-story window to escape the flames.Fire Chief Robert Merrill said Norma Galligan and her 12-year-old grandson were upstairs in the home on Rt. 1 when they realized that the building was heating up and filling with smoke.Galligan, whose husband was at work, had to break an upstairs window to get the family to safety.A passer-by reported the fire, but the chief said the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.It appears that an overheated wood stove was the cause of the fire.
Maine’s unemployment rate rose to nearly 8-percent in January – a sharp increase meaning more and more Mainers are losing their jobs. Adrienne Bennett begins a series of reports called, “Hard Work, Finding Work” as she speaks with the people of Maine who are unemployed, but first she sat down with the State Labor Commissioner to see just how deep this economic slump is and what needs to be done to get out of it.WABI TV5 NEWS Script:A YEAR-AND-A-HALF AGO MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS AROUND 4-AND-A-HALF PERCENT.BY JANUARY OF THIS YEAR IT WAS EIGHT PERCENT.TONIGHT WE BEGIN A SERIES OF REPORTS CALLED “HARD WORK, FINDING WORK” TODAY, ADRIENNE BENNETT SPOKE WITH MAINE’S TOP LABOR OFFICIAL, COMMISSIONER LAURA FORTMAN….ADRIENNE JOINS US NOW FROM OUR CENTRAL MAINE BUREAU WITH THE DETAILS OF WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY ABOUT MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT SITUATION…I ASKED THE COMMISSIONER JUST HOW BAD THINGS MIGHT GET, AND WHAT’S BEING DONE TO DEAL WITH IT TO TURN THINGS AROUND…”There are estimates that we could get to 10%” AN ESTIMATE OF A 10-PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WOULD MEAN MORE THAN 60-THOUSAND MAINERS WITHOUT A JOB…”We have between 30-40 thousand people actually collecting an unemployment check at any moment right now.”IN HER SIX YEARS AS LABOR COMMISSIONER, LAURA FORTMAN HAS NEVER SEEN UNEMPLOYMENT LINES SO LONG, BUT FORTMAN IS OPTIMISTIC THAT FEDERAL MONEY FROM THE RECOVERY ACT COULD GIVE MAINE A BOOST…”The job numbers are a little loose it’s a combination of creation and retention there are estimates of 13 to 15 jobs.”CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WILL LIKELY BENEFIT MOST…WITH SOME MONEY SET ASIDE TO OFFER FREE TRAINING COURSES…”One of the ways we’re trying to be really helpful through the career centers system is by offering osha 10 training and for people who aren’t familiar with that it’s a basic safety and health course that’s pretty much a ticket when you’re looking for construction jobs.” IN MAINE, MORE MEN HAVE BEEN LAID OFF DURING THIS RECESSION…FORTMAN SAYS PARTLY DUE TO THE OCCUPATIONS BEING HIT “Primarily in manufacturing and construction.”WHILE THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY HASN’T SEEN A DECLINE, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS PUT MONEY TOWARD CREATING NEW JOBS IN THAT FIELD…FORTMAN SAYS THE LONG TERM GOAL IS TO LOWER HEALTHCARE COSTS…”Traditionally when we look at healthcare we look at the nursing or radiology technicians what we also need to look at are the IT related fields. The recovery act has resources for updating medical records, data entry opportunities.”FOR THOSE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK WONDERING HOW THEY’RE GOING PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, COBRA IS ONE OPTION – STIMULUS PACKAGE FUNDS MAY BE ABLE TO PICK UP PART OF THE TAB…”which will provide a tax credit for 65% of the premium as well as trade impacted workers as of May will have an 80% credit toward insurance.”UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS HAVE ALSO BEEN EXTENDED – UP TO 59 WEEKS…ON AVERAGE A JOB SEEKER SPENDS 17 WEEKS BEFORE WORK IS FOUND…MANY OF THOSE LOOKING SPEND THEIR TIME AT CAREER CENTERS LIKE THIS ONE IN AUGUSTADIRECTOR JOHN CHRISTIE SAYS AS THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE KEEPS CLIMBING HIS JOB BECOMES MORE CHALLENGING…”Those of us involved in the world of what used to be called workforce development trying to get people trained and get people jobs now we’re spending our time in survival mode just trying to help them get from day to day.”COMING UP TOMORROW NIGHT WE’LL MEET 4 PEOPLE WHO ARE USING THE CAREER CENTER TO FIND WORK. WE’LL HEAR MORE ABOUT THEIR STORIES AND SEE IF THEY’VE HAD ANY LUCK.
The largest employer in Island Falls is shutting down. The National Starch and Chemical Company was created by potato farmers in the 1950′s. The company announced on Tuesday that it is closing the Island Falls plant and will concentrate production at larger facilities that can be run more economically. Thirty Eight people will lose their jobs. The company says they will be eligible for severance.
For the second year in a row, we have tapped sugar maples in our neighborhood to make into maple syrup. Just like last year I had a little help from my daughters Aislin and Emma. Here is part one of Syrious Syrup, collecting the sap.
An Oakland man, charged with killing a person during a drunk driving episode last October, will spend almost ten years behind bars.41-year-old Roger Linton the third was charged with vehicular manslaughter, aggravated operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.Authorities say Linton drove his truck while drunk and crossed the center line on route 17 in Chelsea, struck and killed 27-year-old James Carey, then drove away.Police were able to catch up with Linton after his truck broke down, two miles up the road.