Small businesses impacted by last summer’s massive fire in Northeast Harbor are now eligible for special federal loans.Economic injury disaster loans are given out through the small business administration to help business owners repair damages or stay open after a disaster.The fire in July of last year wiped out several businesses, including a restaurant and an art gallery.Senator Olympia Snowe just announced that business owners can apply for the loans through September first.The maximum loan amount is two million dollars.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be at the University of Maine Monday to check out a new process that could cut the time and money it takes to build bridges. Researchers with the University’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center have designed the so-called “bridge in a backpack”.It features a carbon fiber fabric that’s unfolded, inflated, and coated with a resin at the job site, then filled with concrete.Habib Dagher, with the center, says the bridges are faster and cheaper to build, and last longer than conventional bridges.
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean spent Sunday in Maine.He was in the pine tree state to talk about health care reform and promote his new book.Dean attended the Androscoggin County democrats annual volunteer barbeque Sunday at Range Pond State Park.Dean is a physician and former governor of Vermont.He’s written a book called “Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.” Dean is a huge supporter of health care reform including a “public option” for people who want insurance provided by the government.
Governor John Baldacci says Maine’s county jail expenses aren’t growing as much as they have in the past.Baldacci says the expenses are now growing at less than one percent, compared with nine percent in years past.Those numbers follow the creation of a state Board of Corrections.Board members are charged with overseeing spending at Maine’s jails and developing ways to save money.On Friday, the governor held a ceremonial bill signing for a law that further streamlines programs and services offered by thecounty jails and the Department of Corrections. It expands victim notification requirements, modernizes the county jails’ home release program and clarifies the board’s budget review process.The bill takes effect September 12th.
Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell spent Sunday at the University of Maine, meeting the newest Mitchell Scholars and their families.Each year, one graduating senior from every Maine public high school receives a Mitchell Scholarship for approximately five thousand dollars.The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic potential, community service, and financial need. Recipients must be residents of Maine who will be entering their first year of a two or four-year accredited college or university.Since 1995, the Mitchell Institute has awarded more than 7 million dollars in scholarships to more than 16 hundred Maine high school graduates.
Crews spent Sunday cleaning up the damage from yesterday’s freight trail derailment on the Maine/New Hampshire border.It happened in Gilead Saturday afternoon.20 cars were sent off the tracks.No one was injured, but some nearby residences were evacuated, and Route two was closed for several hours.Officials say 11 of the cars normally contained ethanol but were empty at the time of the incident. The other nine were carrying paper.The train was traveling from Auburn to Quebec on the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad line.Cranes arrived this afternoon to move the cars. It’ll be at least two days before the line is reopened.
Three people are hospitalized after a crash involving a car and a motorcycle.It happened just after noon Sunday on Route 7 in Corinna.Sheriff’s Deputies say a group of motorcyclists were travelling together when one of the bikes was hit by a car that crossed the center line.61-year-old Billy Pelletier and 58-year-old Mary Pelletier, both of Sydney, were riding on the motorcycle at the time of the crash…both were injured and taken by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.Deputies say Billy Pelletier has several broken bones, and Mary Pelletier required surgery.No word yet on her condition.Both were wearing helmets.Police have not released the identity of the driver of the car…but a passenger in that vehicle, 28-year-old Becky Mitchell of Corinna, was also injured and taken to the hospital.No word on the extent of her injuries.The crash is under investigation…so far, no charges have been filed.
Country music star Buddy Jewell headlined a day of music in Trenton today. The Gateway Music Festival set up shop at the Hancock Memorial Post 207 on the Bar Harbor Road today.The performers represented a variety of musical genres including country and bluegrass. All the proceeds will help fund the programs provided by the Hancock Post, such as assistance for burn victims and cancer victims as well as providing veterans with transportation to doctor’s appointments.”When people need help they somehow come through for them and it’s because of everybody who comes to these events,” says Lisa Higgins, one of the organizers of the event.
It’s not suprising to see Acadia National Park packed with siteseers on a beautiful sunday in August. “There are so many vistas in this park you just wouldn’t expect to see unless you actually get into it,” says Jim Lafontaine of Wells.This weekend vistors to the park got in free. This is the third free weekend of the summer here at Acadia and at every national park in the country, although that was news to some of the folks here today according to Kathy Grant, the supervisor at the Visitor’s Center in the park. “You would be surprised how many people really aren’t aware that it’s a free weekend,” says Grant, “they’re kind of shocked, they go to pull out their wallet to pay and we tell them it’s free and they get so excited.”One of the excited park visitors is Bill Curtis from Chicopee, Massachusetts. “We’re on vacation for two weeks,” says Curtis, “we spent a week in Wells, Maine and then we left saturday and decided to drive north and we ended up in Bar Harbor, we thought it would be cooler up here but it’s not, but we found out it was a free weekend for the park so we lucked out and we’re enjoying the weather and it’s great.” Sharon Moore of Crossville, Tennessee was also pleasantly surprised. “We found that out when we got into town yesterday adn we’ve taken advantage of it,” says Moore, “and it’s a beautiful, pretty free day.”The nice weather recently has helped the park rebound from a rainy start to the summer. “It has really picked up now in August with the warm weather,” says Grant, “I think that things, even with the rain, they did start picking up, I’m not sure if our visitation is down this year, I think people are strarting to get the attitude that this is the summer, it’s all we’re going to get, so enjoy it, rain or shine.”Letting people enjoy the wonders of Acadia without reaching for their wallet seems to have helped these folks get back into the groove of summer. “Just get people interested in national parks, because they are here for all of us to enjoy so we give them a free weekend,” says Grant, “people hear about it, and they enjoy a national park and they’ll continue to go to other national parks.””It’s beautiful, really pretty, lots of diverse areas,” adds Moore, “the sea, the lakes, the mountains, you can’t beat the combination, it’s gorgeous.”
Senator Susan Collins is on a congressional trip to the Middle East.Senator John McCain is among the others in the delegation.There’s no word on exactly which country they visited Saturday, but officials say they spent Friday in Iraq, meeting with the Iraqi President and Prime Minister.They also met with the U.S. Ambassador and a General.The stop in Iraq followed a visit to Libya, where the Senators met with Col. Muammar al-Gadaffi before traveling to Kuwait.
The 2010 race for governor in Maine is starting to heat up.Republican hopeful Peter Mills has launched a Web site, www.MillsforMaine.comIt includes a news blog, a blueprint for state government, biographical details and a video greeting. The site was built by volunteers.Democrat Rosa Scarcelli kicked off her campaign this weekend with scheduled stops in Bangor, Millinocket, Calais, Machias, Ellsworth and Unity to meet business owners, residents, party activists andrepresentatives of the Passamaquoddy Tribe.So far, more than a half dozen candidates have announced their intention to run.Several others say they’re still considering throwing their hats into the ring.
Folks working on the Taxpayer Bill of Rights…or “TABOR” campaign are accusing a member of Governor Baldacci’s administration of overstepping her bounds.Public Safety Commissioner Anne Jordan sent an email to the governor’s staff about the impact of the proposed spending curb law.In the email, Jordan says the proposal would eliminate a 50-thousand dollar payment to families of law enforcement officers, firefighters andEMTs who die in the line of duty.Baldacci aide David Farmer says it’s “perfectly appropriate” for commissioners to inform members of the governor’s staff of potential public policyimplications of the citizen initiative.Farmer says the critics are trying to — quote — take advantage of a slow news cycle in August.
Car enthusiasts had plenty to look at today in Brewer.Today was the second annual Maine Oxy Classic Car Show.There were close to 100 vintage autos dating back to the 1930s.And all the proceeds from today’s show will be given to Camp Capella, which gives adults and children with disabilities the chance to experience a traditional summer camp.Dana Mosher is the executive director for Camp Capella.He says fundraisers like these are what help make Camp Capella so successful.” Well Camp Capella is basically alive and well today because of the community. The community brought it back to life and this is what it’s all about. Community businesses like Moxy and other businesses and community people pitching in and sending kids to camp.”>Trophies were even given away in a variety of categories.
The Bangor waterfront was the place to be for music lovers today.The first annual KahBang Music and Art Festival kicked off at 11 am.The festival was based on the Folk Festival but featured more rock and roll rather than folk music.Six national and one international band was on hand to perform.With two of those bands being local ones.Chris Michaud is the Public Relations Director for the festival.He says they wanted to bring something to Bangor that folks had never seen.” We’re really trying to make a cultural economic driver for the Bangor area and Maine as a whole. We have the Folk Festival and a lot of other things like that but for national, large-scale events and festivals we don’t have that much. So what we’re trying to do is create something like that, a destination. Make Bangor the place to be in the summer in Maine.”>Michaud says they had already sold around 800 tickets before the festival.
Business is booming at Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway this Summer.They are seeing record numbers and expect it to continue to grow.Meghan Hayward has the story.In a Summer where so many businesses have seen a downfall in revenue. Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway in Bangor has seen an increase.” July was a good month. It was our best month other than our grand opening month at this new facility last year in July.”The state’s only gaming facility had a gross revenue of 70.5 million dollars for July 2009.An amount that Director of Marketing Jason Birney says was possible because of their promotions.” Excellent promotions. We gave away a truck. The people really seem to be reacting to that well.”Birney says they are going to keep trying to do promotions that their customers want to come back for.He says their collaboration with Quirk Auto is one of the promotions that seem to be a hit.” That was so great in May that we brought it back in July for the public. And now coming up at the end of August we’ll be giving away a Camaro with Quirk Auto as well.”Birney says about 100,000 people came through the doors in July.So how are they bringing in such large numbers of people?” We try to offer something for everybody. Not only do we have slot machines, we have the sound stage lounge where we offer weekly entertainment.”Birney says Bangor is benefiting greatly from Hollywood Slots because a large amount of the revenue is going back into the city.” I know that there is over 6-million dollars saved toward the new Civic Center already. There’s over 4 million dollars that has gone toward scholarships. I really believe Hollywood Slots is good for the city of Bangor and the state of Maine.”
Some folks in Winslow are being warned about a possible safety issue.Earlier this evening town officials and residents got together to discuss the problem.Six homes on Dallaire Street that sit on a slope overlooking the Sebasticook River are in danger because of erosion.The problem began last summer when the halifax dam was breached.The heavy rains we received this summer have caused considerable movement in the soil, causing concern.The town has applied for a grant from FEMA to buy the properties in danger, and relocate the residents.In an effort to minimize the safety risk, the town hired engineers to monitor the problem.They also hope the data will help their effort to get the grant.”We’ve been getting continuous reports, monthly on the action on the bottom of the slope and the bottom of the slope is stable.” Says Frank Stankevitz, code enforcement officer for Winslow.”The town has been working diligently using this engineer information to try to put this grant together so we can purchase houses and remove the houses before they become a huge issue and be fair to the citizens so they can get the money that is due to them.” adds David Lafountain, Winslow Fire Chief. The town expects to hear from FEMA in September as to whether or not they will receive the grants. Town officials are optimistic.Meanwhile, residents on Dallaire Street are being asked to check their homes for cracks, or changes, and to notify officials if they see anything.
As the sun reappeared this week, so did lots of people who’ve been stuck inside because of the rain this summer. And people have a lot of catching up to do. Ben Nace biked 26 miles Friday morning. “We rode up to Old Town, all the way to Milford and back. It’s a gorgeous day,” Nace says.Some folks found a spot in the shade. It was a perfect day for a picnic with Grandma.”It feels great. It’s great to be outside. Nice to see some sun and no rain, finally,” says Ellen Preble, laughing.”Earlier this summer was awful. I hated it. But it’s starting to get a lot better. It’s nice, I like it,” says Chris Fogler.These guys couldn’t wait to get outside and play a little football. The only argument – who has the best moves.”It’s me, obviously.””It’s been raining so much this summer, you have to take advantage of it,” Nace says.There’s nothing but more sun and heat in the forecast for the next few days, so there’s plenty of time left to kick back a little, if you can.”It’s hot.”And if you’re headed outside, it won’t be too hard to find some company.”We like to find a park and go swing,” says Preble. “And go swimming!” says her grandaughter. “And go swimming.”If you’re lucky, you might even get a wave from the man of summer himself, the ice cream man.
You might have seen lots of brown leaves on the ground lately. No, it’s not fall yet. A fungus is infecting maple trees throughout the state, including some in Bangor.Leaves on maple trees around town have been turning brown with tar spots and falling to the ground.”It’s the Rhytisma fungus, Acerinum. It’s particularly fond of the Norway Maples,” says Brian Dugas, a Bangor City Forester. He says while the fungus doesn’t look good, it’s not really harmful to most trees.”It is considered a nuisance fungus. It’s nothing to get really concerned about unless you have a tree that’s under a severe strain and has been experiencing dieback for many years. And if it’s a weakened tree, it’s certainly going to weaken the tree some more,” Dugas says.He says all our wet weather means the infection is serious in the city this year, especially in sheltered areas, like along the Kenduskeag stream.”As the season progresses, these spots – they start as small, black spots, grow in a circular pattern and coalesce into a solid black tar spot. In August, if the infection is serious enough, it desiccates a lot of the foliage and that’s when you see the browning of the entire canopy of the tree,” he says.Dugas says the key to keep the fungus from spreading is simple sanitation. Rake up infected leaves and bury them in your garden, or burn them.”The problem we have in this area is the Norway Maple is an invasive species. It’s taken over much of the woods of the city, which makes it difficult to control.”
The lawyer for a man who says rangers threw him to the ground while trying to break up a party in Acadia National Park last year will sue the federal government. Jon Holder filed a damage claim with the government six months ago for his client, Tim Wild. Holder tells TV5 the government denied the claim and he’s going forward with a lawsuit. Wild and Catherine Junkert were among a group of people that hiked up Day Mountain last August. Park rangers say there was underage drinking and marijuana use going on. They tried to break up the party, arresting Wild and Junkert. Wild wound up with facial fractures and a concussion. One of the rangers reportedly says Wild was belligerent and was resisting. Wild says he was deliberately thrown to the ground.Wild’s lawyer says he has several grounds for a lawsuit, such as assault, negligence and malicious prosecution. He’s seeking monetary damages and plans to file the suit next week.Last week, the National Park Service said rangers Kevin Donnell and Jim Lyon were cleared of using excessive force and will not be disciplined. The U.S. Attorney also found no grounds to prosecute the rangers.
Some folks in Brewer were evacuated from their homes after a gas leak this afternoon.A private contractor was working along Gilmore street when he hit and severed an underground gas line.Close to 20 people in the neighborhood were evacuated and North Main Street was closed as a precaution.Captain of the Brewer Fire Department Gary Parent says they were lucky they were able to keep it contained.” With the large volume of that gas these apartment houses and houses so close together we could have had a real serious situation.”Clean-up and repairs have already started.And North Main street has been opened back up.But folks in the neighborhood will remain evacuated until the repairs are complete.