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.
Folks can tap their feet to the beat of blues music Friday night while helping beat cancer.The seventh annual Blues for the Cure will be held at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.The music gets underway at 7:30.You can get tickets in advance at Mark’s Music in Brewer or at the door.It’s 12-dollars to get in.Event Coordinator Susan Patten says there will be five local bands playing.All money raised goes to Susan G. Komen for the cure.”The national organization has actually copyrighted our trademark of Blues for the Cure because it’s the first of its kind as far as Komen is concerned from a national standpoint. So we hope Maine can once again provide this model for other affiliates who might want to try a Blue’s Concert.”Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from Blues for the Cure will remain in Maine.
A roofing company out of Benton just keeps giving.Top Notch Roofing re-shingled the Church of Nazarene in Pittsfield back in September.The company donated all the time.Pastor Pete Griffin was determined to raise money to give back to Top Notch for their services.Donations came in, a thousand dollars was raised.But Top Notch Roofing wouldn’t take the cash and instead donated it to some food cupboards and a family of seven in Canaan who recently lost their home to fire.
According to Gov. John Baldacchi, 300 jobs are being created from three affordable-housing developments in Maine.During a housing conference in Maine, Baldacci says that 175 jobs have already been created from developments in Houlton and Augusta. Another 120 people will be employed from a new senior housing development in Bangor. The Maine Affordable Housing Conference at the Augusta CivicCenter highlighted innovations to address housing issues during therecession. Maine housing programs have been fueled in part bynational stimulus funding.
As the United Nations comes closer to their conference on climate change, an expert in this field plans to be speaking about this subject.Director of the Institute of Ecologyand Environmental Studies in Nigeria, Dr. Ayobami Salami will speak at an invitaiton-only luncheon. The information he will pass along will be based on the nation’s view of global warming and its possible solutions. Dr. Ayobami will also be speaking in December, during the U.N.’s conference in Denmark.
After trying to cross the border into Canada, U.S. officials sent five men back after leaving their vehicle on the New Brunswick side and tried to enter Maine on foot.Due to these events, the border was closed for nine hours Sunday night and Monday while Canadian officials called in the bomb squad from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. No bomb inside the vehicle was found. Ted Woo, Customs and Border Protection Spokesman says that privacy law prevented him from releasing the details and identities of the five men.According to the Bangor Daily News, no files will be charged against the men.
Plum Organics is recalling some of its apple and carrot portable pouch baby food because of concerns over possible botulism contamination. The product was sold individually throughout the country at Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us stores.The California-based company says the product did not meet the FDA guidelines for proper acidity level, leaving it vulnerable to botulism contamination. The recalled product is sold in 4.22-ounce pouches, with a best by date of May 21, 2010, and UPC 890180001221.Botulism is a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition.No illnesses have been reported in connection with the baby food, and the company says no other Plum Organics products are affected.
Question 1 on the November ballot has created a lot of debate in our state. It reads 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?”WABI TV5 will hold a live forum on the issue, Wednesday night, from 8-9pm. Each side will be represented. It’s your chance to call in and get answers to your questions before we head to the polls on November 3rd.Again, the forum is Wednesday night from 8-9pm on TV5.
Two major accidents will tie up emergency workers on Wednesday. The accidents are being staged as part of a training exercise.The first one will take place at the Fairfield Industrial Park. The second one at the Augusta airport.Howard Mette, who is coordinating the event, doesn’t want to give out specifics but does say traffic in those areas will be impacted in the morning and afternoon.The goal is to test communication and response efforts in Somerset and Kennebec Counties. “To make sure the emergency operations for both counties is activated.” Mette stated Monday. “We want to test triage of the victims at the sites and test how they get transported to the hospital and how the hospital either de-contaminates and or triages then treats those victims.”A couple dozen volunteers will be playing the parts of victims.
People living on or around Lakeview Avenue in Lucerne will lose their power for a while Tuesday afternoon.Bangor Hydro will be making repairs and upgrades.The power will be turned off between 12:30 and 2:30 on Tuesday.Lakeview Avenue and roads running off of it will be without service during that time.
The average price of home heating oil in Maine has risen ten cents a gallon in the past week.The state office of Energy Independence and Security said Monday that the price in its weekly survey is $2.48 a gallon. Kerosene prices were up 9 cents, to $2.86 per gallon.EIS Director John Kerry says there are a number of factors for the increase, including rising crude oil prices, growth in the stock market, and growing tension in Nigeria, a big oil-producing country.The lowest actual heating oil price of $2.27 per gallon was in southwestern Maine: the highest price was $2.70 per gallon in eastern Maine.
Question 4, a.k.a. TABOR II continues to be a topic of debate around the state with election day just over two weeks away.On Monday the group supporting the measure hosted three press conferences throughout Maine, including one in Bangor.The keynote speaker was Jonathan Williams, author of the book Rich States Poor States. He spoke out Monday in favor of TABOR II.Williams says Mainers should vote for TABOR this time around since their complaints about government spending have fallen on deaf ears in Augusta.On the other side, folks opposing TABOR say just the opposite has happened. With the governor cutting a half-billion dollars out of the budget already, and proposing more cuts.. “The Tabor that was rejected the last time after that loss at the polls there was a lot of promises from the legislature that we’re gonna get spending under control and we’re gonna reduce taxes and those promises have gone largely unfulfilled.” Williams noted on Monday. “This Tabor question 4 takes a lot of options off the table for any type of reform in the future it locks the budget into a very rigid formula that will lead to a consistent degradation of the quality of services that people are about like education, healthcare, and transportation.”Voters will ultimately decide the outcome of TABOR in November.
Folks statewide stepped outside Monday to play a part in the Maine Cancer Foundation’s Pink Tulip Project planting day.The Pink Tulip Project is a fundraiser for breast cancer, it was started in 2006 by a breast cancer survivor. There are now more than 70 pale pink tulip gardens statewide.Various organizations throughout Maine support the fund-raising effort. This year, Oxford Networks is sponsoring tulip gardens at all three of it’s locations.Over the years, the project has raised more than $120,000 dollars. The money goes to the women’s cancer fund at the Maine Cancer Foundation, but this is about more than just raising funds. It’s also about raising hope.For more information on the Pink Tulip Project, and to find out how to start your own tulip garden, visit pinktulipproject.org.
A Maine boatyard is expecting to hire up to 100 people back in the coming months after a period of layoffs last year.The Hinckley Company watched their business peak in 2003 but like many others, the struggling economy eventually caught up with them. Phil Bennett is the Vice President of Sales at the Hinckley Company and he’s been there through the rough times. “We saw the tough economic times coming about a year and a half ago and just like when you’re in a boat, you shorten the sail when you see a squall coming,” he days, “so we had to make some difficult decisions and believe me they were very painful for all of us.”Now Hinckley appears to be on their way back. “I wouldn’t say the flood gates have opened,” says Bennett, “but we’ve seen people in the last 3 or 4 months realize, my goodness they’ve missed the summer and if they’re waiting for world peace you know they thought that would be another 2000 years if they waited for the world to be perfect, they were gonna be waiting for a long time.”Hinckley has sold three boats in the past four weeks and nine boats overall in recent months. The folks here were able to call a good portion of those laid off workers back in. “It’s pretty thrilling,” says bennett, “it’s one of those times where it’s awful hard to make the other calls but when you get a chance to make the other calls and say, gee we’d like you to come back, it’s a nice warm feeling.”Leading the way for Hinckley is a picnic boat called the Mark 3, which comes fully equipped with a flat screen television and surround sound system. “Last year about this time, we introduced the picnic boat Mark 3, which is a twin engine boat a foot longer and a foot wider and that boat has really become our most popular,” Bennett says, “we’ve sold 28 of those boats since the boat was introduced. that’s made it the most successful product launch the company has had in 80 years.”Now they’re just hoping sales will continue to launch so they can produce even more jobs.
The status of Maine’s housing market is one of the topics to be covered at a state housing conference, which is expected to draw 400 people to the Augusta Civic Center. Gov. John Baldacci is also among the speakers to address the conference on affordable housing, scheduled for Monday. Three experts on the current state of Maine’s housing market are to address panels. Weatherization and energy conservation will also be big topics at the conference. Kate Braestrup, an author and one of the first chaplains ever appointed to the Maine Warden Service, will address the conference.
The already crowded field in the race for the Blaine House officially added another name today.During the past four months Les Otten has been holding an exploratory campaign.Otten threw his hat in the ring formally today with announcements in Scarborough, Presque Isle and at Dysarts in Hermon.Otten previously was the owner of Sunday River Ski Resort and was Vice Chairman of the Boston Red Sox.He also was the Chair to the Governor’s Wood to Energy Task Force.For the past 37 years he has been in Business and is bringing that experience to the campaign.Otten knows that Maine is starting in a big financial hole.” In order to plug that gap we’ve got a choice, which is either grow the state, grow revenues and cut spending or increase taxes and we can’t increase taxes the burden is already too high so that we have to increase revenues and we have to cut costs and that’s what this administration will be about. “Otten is running as a Republican and Jobs for Maine is his Campaign Platform.For more information on the newest candidate for Governor you can log on to www.lesotten.com
A Medway man is behind bars once again after Waldo County officials rescinded his bail.Officers arrested James Lee and took him to Penobscot county jail Monday after Waldo county issued a warrant for his arrest.Lee had already spent the weekend in Penobscot county jail after being arrested Friday for violating his bail conditions when he was reportedly seen driving a grader in Medway.Lee is facing a manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal accident in September of last year in Monroe.He initially agreed to a plea deal that would have put him behind bars for four years for his role in that accident, but the judge in the case said the prison term would have to be six years.Lee then changed his plea, and the case was set for trial.Lee entered no plea in court Monday.Lee can’t drive a motor vehicle, and is to have no contact with the witnesses in the case.He is also under a seven pm to seven am curfew.He is expected to appear in Waldo County Superior Court Tuesday, and has an arraignment scheduled for November 4th at 8:30 in the morning.
The State of Maine is leading the way on clean chemicals and a safe environment for kids.That is why a group showed up at the office of Senator Olympia Snowe in Bangor this morning.They wanted to make sure that Maine was the guideline used for the nation.More than fifteen hundred signed postcards were delivered to Senator Snowe’s office from the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine.Mainers from Presque Isle to Kennebunk had signed the postcards.They were urging for action at the National Level to fix the chemical safety system in this country.And to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act.” There are a lot of safer alternatives to use especially in cleaning products and household products that we use every day and that will reduce disabilities in our children, reduce heartaches for a lot of families, and reduce the amount of money that we are all paying to support these children with disabilities,” said Cindy Seekins of Frankfort.Of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in this country the EPA has ordered tests on only 200 for health and safety threats according to the numbers from the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. And of those only 5 chemicals have been restricted or banned.Postcards were also delivered to Senator Snowe and Senator Collins’ offices in Portland.
The Bangor Police Department received three phone calls this weekend from residents who had scammers call their home numbers.The caller said they were from the IRS and the call was to inform them about a pending refund.Further along in the conversations the scammers would ask for personal information from a checking account, or social security numbers.None of the people who contacted Bangor PD gave any of that information out.If you did get a call like this and gave out any sensitive information Bangor PD says you should contact your bank or credit card company.Bangor Police Sergeant Paul Edwards said that it is very difficult to track down the scammers.” Generally when we get these calls we just can’t do much. I’m thinking maybe I’m going to work a few avenues and see if maybe we can come up with some contacts maybe the phone company and see if we can do more about reporting the number at least getting it to stop because just now we did this, that number should be disconnected. There has to be a way, a mechanism for me as law enforcement to call someone the phone company or the feds to say can we block that number from doing any more damage to other people.” All three of the people who received the call had 947 prefix numbers and their numbers are close together.Sergeant Edwards believes a computer generated the calls since they were so close.The numbers on the caller ID were from out of state and one listed a name as Gaylord A-P-A.So if you had a call like that or a message on your answering machine the Bangor Police Department would like to know. You can contact them at 947-7384