Investigators say they’ll never know what started a fire that leveled a mobile home in Abbot. Crews from Guilford, Monson, Dover-Foxcroft and Sangerville responded to the fire yesterday on Forest Brook Drive, just off Route 15.Guilford firefighter Mike Nichols says by the time they arrived, the center of the home was up in the flames and the roof had already caved in. The owners were not home at the time, but Nichols says two pets died in the fire.An investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office says there was too much damage to determine the cause of the fire.
High school students on Mount Desert Island are spending some of their class time helping those in need in their community.MDI High School offers a “habitat for Humanity” class.About 25 students are enrolled.They’re doing the framing for a Habitat house being built for a needy family in Ellsworth.Students and teachers are building the external and internal walls for the home.They also raised the money to buy the materials.Teacher Wilt Jones says the students are making a difference in their community, and taking away a great lesson.< "i think they really get a sense of community, of helping out, giving back and helping those in need when, and so when they get done, maybe they'll continue some type of involvement in the future in some way, whether it be habitat or other endeavors.">The interior and exterior walls should be ready to go within the next week.They’ll be brought in to the house site on a flatbed, where volunteers will do the construction.
Town officials in Bar Harbor are considering removing some street lights to try and save money.Back in January, town manager Dana Reed suggested cutting ten percent of the town’s streetlights, to save about eight thousand dollars a year.Since then, the Police Department has identified 149 streetlights they consider non-essential, including some on Cottage Street, Main Street and Route 3.That adds up to about 35 percent of the town’s streetlights.If removed, that would save the town more than 25-thousand dollars a year.The streetlights are rented from Bangor Hydro at a cost of 179-dollars per light each year.Town councilors will discuss the proposal at a meeting Tuesday night.Reed says if the measure moves forward, he’ll recommend that a public hearing be held.
This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer…and of course, the tourist season.Merchants in Bar Harbor are gearing up for what they hope will be a successful season…despite the rough economy.Amy Erickson has more.< "It's going to be a great summer. A great summer."Kip Stone owns "cool as a Moose" in downtown Bar Harbor...He says despite the doom and gloom over the national economy, things are looking good for the tourist season.It's even starting a little early, from the looks of license plates around town."i saw people today from georgia, florida, and it's not even 11 am, so they're here, they're coming, it's happening!"bite 15:58:55 "i think it's good. The whole town is up and going and the restaurants are full...people coming in and out and it's only wednesday...so we're just ramping up."At Ben & Bill's, the lobster ice cream is ready to go, and employees are prepping for big crowds on what's traditionally the kickoff of the season."we're feeling good. It's definitely picked up this past week or so."Employee Crystal Bridges says she's a bit worried that the economy could keep some folks from vacationing...but is hoping that if that's the case...they'll make up for it with all the Mainers doing "staycations" this year."we do get a lot of locals, too, so i'm thinking it might not affect us that much. But you never know...hopefully not!""this is my 22nd year in bar harbor and I think it's going to be one of the best years ever."Scott Lingley supplies food for many of the local eateries...he's not worried about the economy.He says if merchants could stay afloat last summer, with 4-dollar-a gallon gas prices, this year should be no problem."everyone's very optimistic and we don't have real things to stand in the way. People want to take their vacations and they're going to come to bar harbor.""we're off to a great start, one of the best starts ever, no matter what you year economically, people are going to come on vacation."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bar Harbor.>
“Due to health issues, I have to. Actually I have to get out of the cold climate.”The Sebec Lake Weather Station means so much to Bill and his wife Mary Jane that they don’t want to see the data stop flowing just because they’re moving away. So they put their house up for sale and when a buyer came through they showed some interest in all the weather instruments around the yard. Bill explained what he does and jokingly asked them to take over the station as part of the sales contract and they agreed. Meet Reuben Bailey. “If I weren’t taking this over, they would have to shut this station down and start another… find someone else to do it and completely commission a whole new station.”Bill has already introduced Reuben to the folks at the National Weather Service office in Caribou. Now Bill will train Reuben on what observations need to be taken to continue the legacy of the Sebec Lake Weather Station.”The maximum and minimum temperatures for the period, for the day… and sky cover… and any precipitation that falls be it rain or snow or whatever and the time of those occurences.”Reuben has had an interest in the weather since he was a kid, growing up on the family farm in Vermont. After moving to Maine, Reuben worked a few winters plowing roads for the Maine Department of Transportation.”So I took an interest in watching the radar and going… okay… how hard is the system going to hit… doing a little stuff on my own.”And now with the future of the Sebec Lake Weather Station in good hands, Bill and his wife can focus on their move to Virginia and who knows… maybe taking weather observations at his new home. “I’ve already talked to the NWS office just outside where we’re going in a place called Wakefield. It’s a new facility much like Caribou is. And they want me to stop in when I get down there so I’m looking forward to it.”
Folks in Mattawamkeag voted Tuesday night to shut down their elementary school.To keep the Doctor Carl Troutt Elementary School open it would cost an extra $367,000 each year.Residents say they’re sad to see the school close, but keeping it open would have raised taxes too much.Those students will now attend school in Lincoln.
A group of teens may be in trouble with the law after a senior prank was pulled. Police and school officials are investigating vandalism at Skowhegan area high school Monday night. Officials suspect a few teens are to blame for a golf cart that was taken for a joyride. Principal Rick Wilson says minor damage was found on the cart. Possibly the most disruptive part of the prank was that the vandals smeared manure over the front doors into the school building.
Area high school students got together today to talk about financial fitness.Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor held their fifth annual Financial Fitness Money Management Experience.Over two-hundred students were expected to attend.Local credit unions gave presentations.The event was put on to help make teens more aware of their finances.Organizers say financial education is important to start at a young age.”I think this is a wonderful way of maybe getting them exposed to things like budgeting and savings and trying to be creative monetarily and these are so many of the things they are going to have to do in real life. If they can do them now without having the consequences of making the wrong choice, when they get to make the choice for real they’ll maybe make the choice that is more fiscally responsible.”During the day students were asked to participate in an interactive “game of life”.They were given a scenario packet – with an occupation, income, and credit history, then they planned out their financial future.
Do you believe in ghosts? How about ghost towns?We tagged along with some ghost hunters today who are trying to prove there was a ghost town somewhere in the woods near Greenbush….Meghan Hayward shows us what they found.”It’s new adventure everyday.”An adventure that Harold Murray and his ghost investigating team were about to take us on.We started the first trek to what is being called Riceville case file number two. “The story we’re trying to tell people is from what was reported to us from some of the elders that knew the area and told us the plague was going through here like dysentery, there were a few others.Murray and his team first learned about this ghost town in 2000 and took it on the next year.For the past eight years, they haven’t been able to prove or disprove the town existed, but now say they’re sure it was real. “But with the new information we have now, we know the entire story.”Along the way, they’ve come across quite a bit. “Well we came across, we were told this was a mass cemetery. It took us a few years to find there’s only two to three bodies in here.Ghost investigator Kelly Moore says there wasn’t one person who discovered all of this. “This was a team effort. Everyone found everything. We involved one person that found it, pulled somebody else to help it be removed.”Parts of a leather shoe, a saw, china plates and part of a wagon are just a few of the items this team has uncovered.They’re satisfied with their findings. ” Pretty confident, we were extremely excited that we found these objects and things we had to bring back through our adventure.”An adventure where they say they’ve seen a man plowing and heard a woman screaming.But also one that Murray says is a closed case and ready for the next generation to explore for themselves.
The country’s largest wild blueberry grower had a good winter. Wyman’s of Maine says layers of snow kept their bushes well insulated.Now they’re hoping for a good harvest, and for that, they need to see lots of bees this month.”I did the math. It’s roughly 450 million bees we’re importing to work our fields,” says Nat Lindquist, vice president of operations for Jasper Wyman & Son.Without bees to pollinate their eight thousand growing acres, Wyman’s wouldn’t have blueberries. And since there aren’t enough native bees to cover their fields, they bring them in on trucks from other states.”They transport them here with a net to keep the bees in,” Lindquist says. “And they’ll water the trucks and the hives down as they transport them to keep the bees in.”Bee yards are set up throughout their fields for the ten thousand hives.”As the blossom develops and opens up, the bees have a sense of what to do and where to go, and they do a great job as long as mother nature gives us the good weather,” he says.Colony collapse disorder, which threatens bee populations, is still a big worry. “It hasn’t gone away. Nobody has truly defined what the real cause of it is. They’re still working on finding the cause.”It will take the imported bees three to four weeks to finish the job and get the plants ready for a good harvest.”We look very good right now. It’s very early to make any predictions and we won’t do any crop estimates until we’re fully pollinated,” Lindquist says.They’re hoping for good temperatures, some nice rain, and the same thing as everyone who makes a business off the land.”I’m just hoping,” he says, “there are no disastrous things that happen.”
The employees of Johnnyâ€™s Selected Seeds presented a $40,000 donation to Maine Farmland Trust. Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide organization that works to keep working farms working. Â Since its founding in 1999, the Trust has worked with over 100 farmers and helped preserve over 13,500 acres of Maine farmland. The Trust also runs Maine FarmLink, a program that helps aspiring farmers buy or lease land from retiring farmers.Â In the past five years, FarmLink has make 42 connectionsâ€”thatâ€™s another 42 farms that will likely continue for another generation. Â The employees of Johnnyâ€™s Seeds have chosen Maine Farmland Trust as their principal charity for this year, in recognition of the great work the Trust is doing. Â Â
Memorial Day represents the unofficial start of summer, and for the American Red Cross it also brings a drop in blood donations. More people take vacations during the summer, and forget to give blood. That means the blood supply can get dangerously low.The folks at the Red Cross say they hope everyone will step forward, but they especially need donors with type O-negative blood.Trudy Darling, Account Executive for the Red Cross says it’s considered the universal blood type. “Type O negative we use for trauma victims, for newborn babies for premature babies because they’re being tested. Obviously their blood hasn’t been typed yet, so we have to use type O negative. Plus, type O neg can only receive type O neg. So if you are type O neg, please consider coming into the American Red Cross Donor Center and give your gift of life as soon as possible.”If you’d like to give blood, call 1-800-Give Life to schedule an appointment.The Bangor Donor Center at 900-B Hammond street is open Tuesday through Thursday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and every 1st and 3rd Saturday.
Maine election officials have drafted the question that will appear on the state referendum ballot if opponents of the recently enacted same-sex marriage collect enough signatures. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Tuesday the question that will appear on petitions is 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?” Dunlap said the petitioners have until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to collect 55,087 signatures. His office then has 30 days to certify the signatures and determine whether to hold up the law until a statewide vote.
It was a case of “He said she said.”That’s how the attorney for John Auclair desribed the sexual assault case that put him behind bars.She argued to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in Bangor today that the lower courts made a mistake by not allowing the jury to hear certain statements.John Auclair of Bangor was convicted last fall of sexually assaulting a woman. Now his attorney is appealing that conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.”Exactly what he said and exactly what she said is of criminal importance.” Mandi Odier-Fink argues that the jury didn’t hear all the evidence it should have, specifically from Auclair’s girlfriend who died before the trial.She made statements to a private investigator about the victim, who happened to be her best friend. The justices questioned how much of what was said was relevant and admissable?”What would be an example does it impeach her credibility or does it go to the motive? Just give me an example of what inference they could draw that would be appropriate on the case. I think it would go to motive.”The defense argues that the victim made up the story about being raped.Then the prosecution presented the state’s argument.”It involved taking hair samples and pulling them.”Susan Pope read testimony from the trial describing the invasive examination undergone by the victim at the hospital after the assault.She argued that even if the witness in question would be alive, none of the statements made would have been admissable in the trial.Auclair is expected to spend four years behind bars.The justices heard three other cases in Bangor today. Their decisions are expected to take several weeks.
The switch to digital television is less than a month away and the Federal Communications Commission is trying to help out viewers who still have questions about the transition. The FCC is hosting a number of DTV clinics in the next three-and-a-half weeks, including one in Bangor later this week.The clinics are designed to show folks how to hook up converter boxes, if they’re not receiving their signal through cable or satellite services. The clinic in Bangor is set for this Thursday at K-mart on Hogan Road. It will run from 4 in the afternoon to 8 o’clock that night. Anyone with questions about converter boxes or how to apply for government coupons for the boxes is welcome.
A man from Sangerville accused of possessing child pornography made his first court appearance yesterday in Dover-Foxcroft.Larry Daggett was arrested last month after an investigation by the State Police Computer Crimes Unit.Police say he was accessing images on the internet using a peer-to-peer network called Gnuetella.Daggett’s wife operated a child care facility in the Sangerville area. Officials say there’s no evidence any of the children at the daycare were victimized.Daggett did not enter a plea yesterday and his case was continued until June.He’s being held at the Piscataquis County Jail with bail set at 25-thousand dollars.
Railroad officials say four cars carrying sulfuric acid and ethanol that are derailed in Hermon don’t pose a danger to the public because none of the liquid has leaked.The cars from Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway derailed about 8 o’clock yesterday morning behind LMS Transportation. That’s in an industrial park off Cold Brook Road in Hermon. John Schultz, the vice president of transportation with the railroad company, says crews continue to make repairs to get the cars back on track. Three of them contain sulfuric acid, one has ethanol. A hazardous materials team is on site, too, while workers off-load acid from two of the cars to make the job easier. The Hermon fire department is also on the scene as a precaution. Schultz says the train was on its way to customers in Searsport when the cars left the track. He says the cause is under investigation and the re-railing work should be done by tomorrow night.
The end of an era is coming to the Sebec Lake area.Bill Larrabee has been a dedicated weather observer dating back to the early 1960s.Bill has always been instrumental for T-V 5 and the National Weather Service.Unfortunately… due to health related issues… Bill and his wife Mary Jane are moving out of the Pine Tree State and headed south to Virginia to live near his daughter.Bill began his career in upstate New York near the shores of Lake Ontario, helping out the weather bureau in Albany before moving to Maine in 1989. Since then, he has played a big role in reporting daily weather conditions at Sebec Lake to the National Weather Service office in Caribou and to us here at TV 5… at one point taking on the nickname “Chilly Willy”.”Bill has been doing the co-op observer routine going on 33 years now… but since he’s been doing this, he’s just been one person that you can rely on 365 days a year.”One of approximately 8000 co-op weather observers across the United States. Bill doesn’t take this job very lightly. “We make history every day here. No 2 days are alike, like a snowflake. They’re different somehow, by 1 or 2 degrees they can be different and I’ve seen a couple of days that were that close within a degree or two but hardly ever have I seen them exactly the same, so we’re making history here.” “We have over 7000 daily observations and they’re uninterrupted at this time.”Bill has even joined forces with another observer across the lake in Barnard to ensure the data recordings continue if he’s heading out of town.”We vowed that we’d never take our vacations at the same time.”They’re called co-op weather observers because they cooperate with the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service sets them up with the necessary equipment and then once a day, maybe more depending on the weather, they report back to the NWS things like temperature, precipitation, snowfall and snow depth, whatever data is relevant that day. All of this work is done on a volunteer basis and is considered to be vital information to the National Weather Service.”Its vital to us because they fill in the gaps between automated stations especially for climatology purposes but they also fill in the gaps between automated stations so we can use their data for warning verification, things like that.”In 2006 the National Weather Service awarded Bill with the Thomas Jefferson Award, recognizing his accurate and consistent observations and for his years of cooperation with the NWS.”It meant a lot because I remember when I began, a lot of the old timers who had been in the business at that time… They were my mentors and I kind of looked up to them.”
Central Maine Power Company’s largest union is now working without a contract.The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents more than half of CMP’s 1,200 employees.A contract between the two expired at midnight Saturday.The union says negotiations continued until early Friday night and that no further bargaining sessions have been scheduled.Union members are being advised to continue reporting to work.
Maine’s superintendent of insurance has said no to higher prices being proposed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.Superintendent Mila Kofman announced the decision Monday night.The health insurance company wanted to raise its rates by an average of 18.5%.Kofman called that “excessive and unfairly discriminatory.”She’s suggesting a raise of nearly 11% instead.Anthem has about 12,000 policy holders in Maine.