Paper mill workers and environmentalists joined together today in Bangor to support legislation they say will add thousands of jobs to the state. Members of the United Steelworkers of Maine, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups called on Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to back a clean energy and climate change bill. The legislation is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil, by retooling manufacturing plants to produce green energy.It also includes money to re-train laid off employees. Union workers say that could offer hope for many paper mills, such as the NewPage mill in Rumford, which has lost about 6-hundred jobs in the last few years. Worker Ron Hemingway says, “We have a biomass boiler at our facility and it is very clean and it puts out a lot of energy. It helps to keep us competitive. If we could get a clean energy bill, it would help my mill even more to be able to put more of my people back to work.”The Senate is expected to begin debating the clean energy legislation this month.
Dysart’s Restaurant in Hermon hopes customers this month will eat – to beat cancer. Throughout october, the owners are donating fivepercent of their proceeds to help fight cancerThis year the money will go to help fund the new cancer treatment facility in Brewer. Cancer has touched the lives of many of the folks working at Dysarts according to owner Mary Dysart-Hartt. “It was a group effort because the family of employees here we’re always coming up with new ideas for different ways to be able to do donations for Cancer Care,” she says, “we are doing fund raising through the year and so we came up with this as a really big fundraiser to be able to go to this very important new facility.”This is the second year in a row Dysart’s has run this promotion. They’re hoping to beat last years total when they raised $10,000 for cancer treatment.
The first doses of vaccine against the H1N1 flu are starting to arrive in Maine.Roger Audette, Augusta Fire Chief, says that some of the city’s emergenct medical service employees were vaccinated against the swine flu Monday. Overall, fifty employees will be vaccinatedDr. Dora Anne Mills of the Maine Center for Disease Control andPrevention says that vaccine doses set aside for health care providers are for those who have frequent, direct contact with patients.So far, Maine has received about 35,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine, short of the 700,000 doses officials estimate will be needed.A majority of the vaccines will be for children, who are the most vulnerable to swine flu.
With some hotly debated questions on the ballot, city hall is buzzing with requests for absentee ballots this election season. Bangor City Clerk Patty Dubois says the referendum questions are a big reason for the jump. “For an off year election, it’s been particularly busy and I think people are particularly interested in Question 1 and also the Tabor and excise tax questions have generated a lot of interest, so we’re busier than you would anticipate for an off year election.”Absentee ballots are available 45 days before election day by contacting the City Clerks office by phone or mail, you can also request a ballot online at the city’s website. “You can ask for an absentee ballot right up until election day,” says Dubois, “the key is they have to be returned to our office no later than 8:00 p.m on election night.”Bangor residents can also vote early at the Bangor Civic Center, October 26th-November 2nd. The polls are open from 8:00-6:00 Monday thru Friday and 8:00 to Noon on Saturdays. “What early voting is this year,” says Dubois, “in particular we’re participating in pilot program with the Secretary of State’s office to do early voting where voters feed their ballots directly into the voting machine just like on election day rather than just seal them in an envelope which is held until it’s processed on election day so that kind of a new process and what that does for the voter is it gives them a sense of security that there ballot is actually cast.”This year will also help to determine the future of early voting statewide. “Voters that participate in the early voting will be asked to participate in a survey which will be submitted to the legislature so that they can make a determination on whether or not to send to the voters a constitutional amendment that will allow early voting at all elections,” says Dubois.
The Maine Attorney General’s office and a legal assistance group are at odds over details on a new law that that allows landlords to cut a deal on heating costs in exchange for lower rent.From Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Matt Dyer, says that the law will allow negotiations for temperatures between 68 and 62 degrees Farenheit for tenants. This clarifies ambiguity over minumum temperature requirements. But an opinion offered last year by Attorney General Steven Rowesays there is no legal minimum temperature. Spokeswoman KateSimmons says the new law doesn’t change that.Additionlly, this agreement is not allowed in rentals for occupants younger then 5 years old or older than 65 years of age.
Over the coming decade, Maine will be facing a large funding shortfall within transportation needs.TRIP, a Washington based noprofit group released a report in South Portland called, “Falling Behind: The Condition and Funding of Maine’s Roads, Highways & Bridges.”According to the report, the Maine Department of Transportation estimates $6.5 billion will be needed between 2009 and 2018 for the state’stransportation needs. But according to the report, only $3.2billion will be available under current funding.On November 3rd, Mainers will be voting whether to approve a $71 million transportation bond to pay for improvements on airports, bridges, highways and public transit, ferry, and port facilities.
Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for the people who stole five cars overnight from Farmington and Temple, then lead police on two high speed chases. Deputies say they were trying to pull over the driver of one of those stolen cars early this morning on Route 43 near the Farmington-Temple town line.The driver crashed, jumped out of the car and into another stolen vehicle, driven by a second suspect. Authorities continued to follow the pair on Route 43 until they crashed the second car into a Wilton police cruiser.The two then ran off into the woods. All five cars have been recovered. Deputies say the cars also had keys in them before they were stolen, so they’re reminding drivers to take keys out of their vehicles. If you have information that could help authorities in this case, call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department at 778-9891.
The body of one of the missing urchin fishermen from eastern Maine has been recovered- their boat’s believed to be sunk in Cobscook Bay. The body was recovered during a search Wednesday, but officials aren’t saying whose body it was. The Coast Guard says a helicopter and three boats were searching for Joseph Jones, the skipper, and crew members Darrell Cline and Norman Johnson.They were on board the 32-foot urchin dragger Bottom Basher Tuesday, but didn’t return home. The Coast Guard says a lot of debris from the boat has been found. A search was launched after the fiance of one of the men called to report the boat overdue Tuesday night.
Maine’s congressional delegation is asking that a fisheries disaster be declared for the state’s shellfish industry to help with losses from this summer’s clam flat closures due to red tide.A declaration would free up disaster assistance funds for the shellfish industry.Much of the Maine coast was shut down to shellfish harvesting during the summer because of outbreaks of toxic algae blooms, putting hundreds of clam diggers out of work.
In less than two weeks, voters in Brewer will select two city council members, two school board members and a district trustee.Tuesday night residents directed questions at the candidates for those offices.It was “meet the candidates” night at Brewer High School.There are four people running for the two council positions.The other candidates are unopposed.Several topics were touched upon including collaboration with other cities and towns, and the budget.The event was hosted by the Brewer Education Association.
Fire crews in Brewer had their hands full containing a home fire Tuesday night.The fire broke out on Gibbons Court, which is behind the old police station off of South Main Street.Several calls came in from neighbors and the Brewer Fire Department arrived there around 10:30 Tuesday evening.Brewer was on the scene and they did have one truck on hand from Bangor.It seemed to those on hand that the fire was going before those initial calls came in, and, because of the location, fighting the blaze was difficult. “It had a good head start on us,” Said Lt. Dennis Kinkham of the BFD. “We were operating from behind the eight ball right off the bat. We’ve got exposures: houses on both sides, that have some minor damage, but these people will be able to stay in their houses tonight. The only people displaced are the people that lived here.”Crews were there for about four hours until they cleared the scene at about 2:30 Wednesday morning.There has been no word yet on if the state fire marshal’s office will be called in to investigate.
While Maine citizens are not required to receive any vaccinations, military personnel are.The Department of Defense has ordered 3.6 million doses while the army has ordered another one-million.Colonel John McKenney with the Maine National Guard says the first to receive the vaccine will be those deploying.McKenney expects 45% of the Maine Guard to ship out by March. Meaning about 900 soldiers will be mandated to take the vaccine.Officials from the Maine Army National Guard say the first shipment of H1N1 vaccine is expected to arrive in mid November.According to the DOD website, certain exemptions will be made for those with health problems that an immunization may complicate.
Maine’s senate president is introducing a bill in response to the swine flu.Senator Libby Mitchell says the purpose is to prevent the spread of H1N1. Her bill would give employees paid sick leave to get better, or take care of family members who are sick.Workers at businesses with at least twenty-five workers would get six paid days, those at smaller businesses three days.The bill also calls for paid leave for time needed to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.The bill is called “an act to aid the prevention of the spread of H1N1″, which is causing concern among some business-people who question what domestic violence has to do with the flu.The health and human services committee will take a look at the bill during next session, which gets underway in January.
There are people all across the state of Maine who buy and sell different kinds of foods. The companies are large and small, and cater to different crowds. Tuesday, they all got together in Bangor, to talk, learn from each other and make new connections.”This is a great meeting today to bring producers from all venues, all walks of life, from Fort Kent to Kittery, together with the different grocers associations, different stores and wholesalers. To be able to use Maine products in our Maine stores,” says Jay McCrum, of Penobscot McCrum.The summit, called Maine Food Means Business, has been in the works for awhile. It brings together the Maine Grocers Association with the new Maine Food Producers Alliance.”Any time we can collaborate together, we can obviously be more successful. So I’m excited to have this and to have it with the grocers makes a lot of sense. Why not work together?” says Aaron Anker, of GrandyOats Granola.Many companies are growing and looking for new distributors, in the state and across the country. Matt Bolinder started his coffee business, Matt’s Wood Roasted Organic Coffee, two years ago.”For me, it’s a way to gather information about how food is distributed through the state. And speak with other small-scale and large-scale food producers to hear what’s worked well for them,” Bolinder says.Cynthia Fisher with Bar Harbor Foods says Maine companies working together helps them all get to the next level.”There are so many wonderful food products in Maine. And they’re made by small, niche companies that have outstanding products with organic, all natural ingredients. And it’s difficult for small companies to break into that next step of distribution into retailers where consumers can get their hands on their products,” Fisher says.
Across the country today, folks who are in favor of healthcare reform attended “Time to Deliver” events.They were put on by the Organization for America, or the O-F-A, In Maine the events were held Arundel, Rangeley, and Bangor.In Bangor a roundtable discussion was held with healthcare providers to discuss the need for reform. Doctor Richard Evans, President of the Medical Staff at Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, says the number of people covered by employer based insurance has dropped from about 70 percent to about 60 percent in recent years.Evans also says, a lack of preventative care, due to insufficient insurance coverage, is leading to more emergency room visits, which results in higher premiums for everyone.”The longer we delay providing insurance to those who are not insured, and mechanisms for those who are under-insured to get better, policy cost are going to continue to go up. So if healthcare reform isn’t passed by the end of the year, we’re just that much further behind the eight ball.” says Evans.Julian Federle, a member of the O-F-A, says the President would like to have healthcare reform passed by the end of the year.
Bottle bombs being set off in Waterville have some residents on edge. In the past week police have received reports of so call “acid bombs” also known as “bottle bombs” blowing up on front lawns. No one has been hurt, but there are concerns someone could be. Gene Abbott lives in Seton Village in Waterville. Last week one of three bombs went off in her neighborhood. Police recovered remnants of the plastic bottles used to make the bombs from yards on Mulberry, Rideout and Wilkes Streets, which aren’t far apart. Police suspect acid was used, but they don’t know what other chemicals were in the bottles. The remains of the containers have been turned over to the state fire marshal’s office for analysis.Police don’t know who’s responsible. Abbott tells us Seton Village management has invited residents to a meeting tomorrow night to talk about the bombs and safety. Police say the bombs are usually made out of one or two liter plastic bottles. If you suspect that one is on your property call 911.
Students at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor got to take a break from classes today and have a little fun.Meghan Hayward takes us to the festivities.”Every year, the school gives us the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff as well as community and this is just one of the days.”Students got to ditch classes and celebrate harvest days.They had plenty of activities to take part in.From carving pumpkins to participating in a bungee run.They even got to smash an old car.But it wasn’t all about the games.”We made a huge community service component this morning. We did a walk-a-thon sponsored by the Student Senate where they pledge 50 cents for every lap around our walking track.”Alexandria Olsson is Student Senate President.She says a day like this brings the campus together.”It seems like our college, we have the welding kids, automation kids and then the construction people and liberal studies. Everyone kind of does their own thing. So days like this is just great. Everyone can have a day off from classes and just relax.”A popular spot at Harvest Days, the dunk tank.”They’re getting a chance to dunk their resident assistants and their resident directors for charity.”A day of fun, that Olsson says took a lot to put together.But it was well worth it.
A Milo man allegedly led police on a chase through several towns Monday night.Twenty-three-year-old Sean McKinley was charged with OUI, operating after suspension and eluding a police officer.He was driving along Lakeview Road when police say he almost hit an officer head-on.The officer put his lights on and McKinley failed to pull over.McKinley led them through Medford and Howland, where spike mats were put down to stop him.He was taken to Piscataquis County Jail, and is out on bail.Milo Police tell TV5 this isn’t the first time McKinley has led them on a chase.
There was a very special birthday celebration today in Ellsworth. Bessie Chute turned 100-years-old. Vicki Billings-Rowell works for the Eastern Area Agency On Aging and knows Bessie well. “She is just a delight, she is just never quiet,” she says, “she loves to tell you about her life and it’s full, it is absolutely full of great new ideas. People think oh I never did this or I never did that, Bessie has probably done it and she can tell you how to do it, she’s just a doll.””I was born in Trenton right beside the big Baptist Church about 100 years ago,” says Chute with her signature chuckle. You would be hard pressed to find someone more beloved here then Bessie Chute. Tuesday, some of her closest friends were on hand to help her celebrate the occasion. “Bessie is as you can see very vibrant,” says Billings-Rowell, “she does her own cleaning, shovels her own steps and up until the last couple of years has had a garden.”So what does Bessie think about her birthday party? “Oh lovely dear, lovely, thank you.” Folks here look in on Bessie from time to time to make sure she’s doing ok. “She scared me one day cause she wouldn’t answer the phone when we were having a snowstorm and I said, ok if she doesn’t answer, I’m gonna call the police to go and do a health check on her and when i called back, she answered and said, oh dear I didn’t want you to slip on the steps so I was cleaning them.”Bessie says her active lifestyle has allowed her to live a long healthy life and she also credits her parents. “My father sang in the Baptist Church choir and that was my childhood, just growing up, I never got mixed in any mess,” she says, “I thought a lot of my father and mother, I never drank and I never smoked cigarettes.”
To repeal or not to repeal school consolodation.That discussion will take place Friday night at the Bangor Public Library.It will be held in the library’s lecture room and begins at 6:30.Written questions will be taken from the audience.Folks from both sides of the issue will be asked to support their positions.The school consolidation issue is question three on the ballot.