Gifford’s ice cream has won a coveted national award and soon will be featured on a national television show for the Food Network.Gifford’s was contacted by the makers of “Un-Wrapped” after winning the title “the world’s best chocolate ice cream” at the world dairy expo. in Wisconsin in October. The factory will be featured in an episode called “21st century chocolate.” Family members say it’s mixing old-fashioned components with modern technology that makes their ice cream fit into this category.
Producing maple syrup might be a sweet business, but if you’re really going to make it, you have to be into the science of it.That’s what people were learning in Skowhegan today, at the International Maple Grading School.It’s an intense two days of school, complete with quizzes.”They come in thinking it’s this serious thing, and it is, but we have a lot of fun too,” says Kathy Hopkins, with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.Everyone here is learning how to accurately grade maple syrup.”There are four standards that have to be met. Color, clarity, density and flavor,” Hopkins says.Students range from those with small, hobby operations to commercial processors from states throughout New England.”Having people not just lecture at you, but let you try it and practice it, makes all the difference in what you go home with at the end of the day,” says Debra Hartford, a sugar maker from West Enfield.Now in it’s sixth year, the school is popular, with a four-year waiting list to get in. They keep it small, around 20 students, for hands-on learning.”Even the slightest amount of off-flavoring can get quite concentrated during the cooking process. It can really stand out in the delicate flavor of maple,” says Lyle Merrifield, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association. That’s why they were learning about the small variations from tree to table, which have big influences on their product.”So that the consumer gets a product that they enjoy very much,” Hartford says.”A lot of people enjoy a light amber, some people love medium, it seems to gaining momentum that people like dark and extra dark,” Merrifield says. The school is being hosted in Maine for the first time, by the UMaine Cooperative Extension. Producers say now’s a good time for syrup in our state.”Especially now in the past 10 years, it’s really growing and thriving,” says Merrifield. “So, it’s good to be a part of it right now.”
Donnie Smith says he filed the paperwork on Monday making it official, he will run for a second term as Washington County Sheriff. So far no other candidates are running for the seat. Smith says, if re-elected, he’s looking forward to a continuing attack on the drug problem in washington county. Smith also says he’s proud of his department’s work to keep the sex offender registry current. He plans to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s office to make sure sex offenders in Washington County kept track of.
A three car accident in Palmyra sent two men to the hospital earlier today. According to state police 66-year-old Gary Bartlett was trying to make a left turn off of Route 11 in Palmyra when he was rear ended by 51-year-old Michael Archambault of Troy.That collision caused Bartlett’s red Ford pick-up truck to side-swipe a station wagon driven by 63-year-old Thomas Roberts of Pittsfield. None of the men were seriously injured. Bartlett and Archambault were transported to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield. Police on the scene say alcohol may have been a factor. “That’s still under investigation now,” says Maine State Trooper Scott Dalton, “alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. There is alcohol on scene but we don’t know as of yet as to who was driving and drinking or what have you but there is another trooper at the hospital now doing that part of the investigation.”
The Ronald Mcdonald Charities of Maine is teaming up with Acadia Hospital in Bangor to start a new form of treatment. It’s designed to make patients take a more active role in recovery. Ronald Mcdonald House Charities has been providing grant money to help Maine kids since 1989. Gary Eckmann is the President of the Ronald Mcdonald House Charities and says he took an immediate interest. “Well, what caused me to get interested in Acadia,” explains Eckmann, “I knew they were developing and expanding their pediatric program here, so I made contact and wanted to see what they were doing and if there was some way we could help.”The end result of that meeting is a grant of nearly $35,000 to help fund Acadia’s new Adventure Program, geared toward helping not only kids, but people of all ages says Acadia President & CEO David Proffitt. “We have this climbing wall, we have a high and low ropes course,” he says, “these are just modalities that can become a magnetic pull for children and adolescents and adults to get engaged in something that gives us an opportunity to explore human dynamics.”The adventure based treatment will teach patients coping skills and many other life lessons. “Trust mutual dependence, how we work together,” says Proffitt, “and how we think about working with others or opening our hearts and minds to allow others to help us.” For the people at Mcdonalds, they say the timing was perfect to offer a helping hand. “It’s good timing that it’s the holiday season and to celebrate giving back to the community and helping kids.”The staff at Acadia hope this is just the begining. “We see ourselves doing a lot of outpatient groups,” says Proffitt, “we’re currently working on trying to develop some daycare programs for next summer so children at risk that could benefit from these services and be stronger members if their school and and their families and their communities, so we see it as a great opportunity with unlimited growth potential to impact lives.”
Brewer’s Fire Chief is retiring.Rick Bronson has been with the department for 35 years, the past 11 as Chief.March fifth will be his last day.Bronson says he has a few other things he’d like pursue in his life.Bronson oversees 13 full-time and 22 part-time firefighters and seven officers.He says retirement will take some getting used to.”So I suppose it will be a little bit of a disruption to my life pattern by no longer responding. I’m very accustomed to getting up in the middle of the night and responding and I won’t be doing that any more. It will be nice in a way but in another way it will be a little odd.”Bronson says there will be things he’ll miss but he welcomes the opportunity to move on to other things.
The theme of the 59th Maine Transportation Conference is â€œInnovation & Partnerships.â€ Nearly 500 transportation professionals attended the conference, including transportation planners, design consultants, policy makers, public works directors, contractors, engineering students, and other transportation representatives. The conference is co-sponsored by MaineDOT, the Maine Better Transportation Association and the Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. For more information, visit mbtaonline.org.
The Husson University community has rallied together after graffiti invaded campus.As Meghan Hayward explains, students are trying to make something good out of something ugly.”Well a couple days ago, we noticed there had been some spray painting done on a building and after that, we realized it was more extensive than that.”Green spray paint was discovered at Husson University on two brass eagles that were donated by alumni.They also found green paint on the Bell Tower, Peabody Hall, O’Donnell Commons and a walkway.News of the graffiti damage traveled fast and upset many students.”The students are outraged to the point where I feel really good about it. They are coming to us saying, what is this all about? How could something like this happen here? It’s not what we do. They are angry and outraged. It’s kind of brought them together in a way to try and see if we can come up with a solution for it.””I was upset. I truly believe whoever did this does not care about this school and what the eagles represent to us. And the fact that they were a present to the students. And this is what we are about, school spirit.”Husson University officials do not know who’s responsible for the vandalism.”We are doing everything we can to find out. This is not a prank. This is vandalism at it’s worst.”As soon as the vandalism was discovered, the Husson community rallied together to remove the graffiti.”I think that we’re a small school and are very connected. The students I have talked to are very upset at the fact that a small group or one person can do that and distraught the whole community.””We think it’s important to put our community back together, get our home back together like anyone would after an act of senseless violence.”Anyone with any information about the vandalism is asked to call the Campus Safety and Security Office at 941-7911.
A 25-year-old woman from Sorrento charged in connection with a fire that destroyed her mother’s home says she’s not guilty.Federal officials seized that home because it was part of a large-scale marijuana growing operation.Cecilia Sanborn is charge with damaging federal property. She pleaded not guilty in U-S District Court in Bangor Wednesday and is tentatively set to go on trial in February.Three years ago, Sanborn’s mother, Roxana Sanborn, forfeited the home after she pleaded guilty to federal marijuana charges. In 2004 drug agents seized hundreds of pot plants from the home.Two days after the forfeiture, the home was destroyed by a suspicious fire.
Parents who want to check off that Christmas list – without the kids around – can soon get a helping hand from the Bangor Parks and Rec department. The Parks and Rec is hosting another Parents Night Out.It’s next Friday night from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., for kids 5 to 12 years old. Kids can enjoy games, crafts and food.The cost is $5 for Bangor residents, $8 for non-residents. Space is limited. To sign up go to www.bangorparksandrec.com or call 992-4490.
An inmate who escaped from a minimum-security prison in Warren nearly two weeks ago is back behind bars. Police arrested 26-year-old Clifford Perkins of Old Orchard Beach in the woods in Scarborough today. He was last seen at the Bolduc Correctional Facility on November 21st. Perkins was serving time for burglary and was due to be released in 2011.He’s now in the Maine State Prison in Warren, facing at least an additional charge of escape.Perkins’ escape came two weeks after two other inmates took off from the facility, last month. They were free for about a week before being captured in Rhode Island.
Folks in the town of Hope will soon be celebrating a new fire station.The $600,000 station opened earlier this fall. The new facility includes three truck bays and a training room. This Saturday, volunteers will show the station off to the community. An open house starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m.The Hope fire department is staffed by volunteers and provides mutual aid for Appleton, Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, and Union.
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Environmental officials in Maine and a dozen other states say federal laws to protect the public from toxic chemicals are too weak.A joint statement from the states asks for changes in national environmental laws to protect vulnerable populations by identifying and regulating the most troubling chemicals in consumer items and elsewhere.The states say they’re the leading innovators in regulating toxic chemicals.Maine and Washington state have policies to promote safer chemicals in children’s products and prioritize hazardous chemicals.
A log truck driver from Island Falls involved in a deadly crash is going to jail for three months.58-year-old Kenneth Slauenwhite was sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter.Prosecutors say he was speeding and driving an overweight truck back in September of 2007, when it crossed the center line and hit a state dump truck.The crash happened on Route 6 in Kossuth township.35-year-old Jarrod Damon of Grand Lake Stream was driving the state truck: he was killed in the collision.A second state worker was injured.Slauenwhite is expected to begin serving his sentence next month.
The Maine Center for Disease Control says two more Mainers have died from complications from the H1N1 flu virus, bringing the total to 11 since August.Dr. Dora Mills says the two people, ages 50 to 65, lived in Penobscot County, and had underlying health conditions.Mills says H1N1 continues to be widespread in Maine, but more vaccine is arriving in the state.
A man from Wilton is accused of sexually assaulting a minor.28-year-old Justin Rowe turned himself in after Wilton Police were made aware of the crime through a school social worker.Rowe is being held on a $50,000 cash bond.We’ll have more information on this case as it becomes available.
At just six months old little Abby Grace LaForest of Orrington has already proven she’s a survivor.Abby has down syndrome and was born with a severe heart defect.In September, she underwent surgery but developed complications.In October, she endured another operation.Her mom says Abby is getting stronger each day. Caring for Abby requires frequent hospital visits to Portland.To help the family out, relatives and friends are hosting a spaghetti supper and silent auction Saturday.It takes place at the Ralph Pollard masonic hall on the River Road in Orrington this Saturday from five to eight.It’s six dollars for a plate, whole families eat for just fifteen dollars.For more information call Sarah Wardwell at the Union Street Citgo, 947-1677.
It’s a tradition many folks look forward to, the annual lighting of the Tree of Remembrance at St. Joseph Hospital.The event marks the holiday season, and helps to honor the memory of those who cannot be with us during this time of year.Many folks gathered for this year’s lighting and the festivities that go along with it. “It’s an annual affair that really warms the heart. Santa Clause is here to see the children. He’ll also see the patients. They’ll also give a concert after they do the outside caroling. They’ll go up to the chapel and give a closed circuit concert for the patients. Says Sister Mary Norberta, President and CEO of St. Joseph Hospital.Sister Norberta says the lights can be seen all the way from the highway.
Peace groups across the country coordinated protests today, in response to President Obama’s decision to escalate the war effort.There were protests held in several towns and cities in Maine, including Bangor, Farmington, Augusta, Rockland, and Portland.The Bangor gathering included folks from at least 12 different peace groups.Lisa Savage, a protester with Code Pink Maine, says she’s concerned with the number of troops overseas and the amount being spent on the war.”We need to come home, take care of infrastructure here. Spend money on taking care of the vets coming home with PTSD. Everyone is paying a terrible price for this war.”Savage says there will be more local protests like this one in the future. She adds that on December 12th there will be a protest in Washington D.C.