Maine Stimulus Push

Updated 5 years ago

Maine’s senate president is pushing for $60,000,000 to create jobs, weatherize homes, and build affordable housing.Senator Elizabeth Mitchell has taken a lead role in promoting green housing.On Tuesday, she released results of an economic impact study by the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.It found that over the next two years Senator Mitchell’s plan would create nearly $600,000,000 in construction related activity and create or maintain nearly 6000 jobs.The public hearing on the bill will be held Wednesday before the joint select committee on Maine’s energy future.

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A Touch-up for Tall Paul

Updated 5 years ago

The Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street has long been the most photographed site in Bangor. This year, a group of volunteers approached the city to make sure he stays camera ready.Every now and then the statue gets some fresh paint – but the Paul Bunyan Restoration Group says they want to give him the attention he deserves.”He’s not fancy – some people say he’s not even art,” says Bangor Mayor Gerry Palmer.But this symbol of the city of Bangor sure has many admirers.”We’re just getting together and doing this because we love Paul Bunyan,” says Jeanne Savoy.She came before a city committee Tuesday, asking if volunteers could give Mr. Bunyan a bit of a facelift for the statue’s 50th birthday this year.”Three or four artists from this area will volunteer to paint him, also, hopefully, someone will step up and volunteer the paint,” she says.They also want to fix his sometimes leaky boots, patch up the fiberglass on his legs, and have an engineer check inside to see that he’s still structurally sound. “One of the great things about Paul is he’s got a great smile on his face,” Palmer says.The missing hook to Paul’s peavey tool will also be put back in place.The last time the statue had a touch-up was about 10-years ago – also by volunteers.”We had a good, successful effort the last time this was done by this approach, and I think by the nature of the group and the attitude of the group I anticipate a successful effort this time,” says Tracy Willette, director of Parks and Recreation.The committee recommended the city give volunteers the go-ahead, and allow them to accept donations.Savoy says they hope to start when the snow is gone.”So my grandchildren can look at him and smile every time they see him and say Paul Bunyan – you know, the city of Bangor. That’s where he lives,” Savoy says.”I hope, going forward, we would give a little more respect to that big guy down on Main Street,” Palmer says, “because he deserves it.”The volunteers are from all around the area, not just Bangor, and they encourage everyone who loves Paul Bunyan to get involved. If you’d like to volunteer or donate supplies, you can reach Jeanne Savoy through Da Vinci Signs, at 848-2234.

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Ethanol Free Fuel

Updated 5 years ago

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Lisa Marrache has submitted a bill requiring oil companies to make ethanol-free fuel an option at the pump in Maine.Ethanol has been an additive in gasoline sold in Maine since late last year, and there have been some complaints, mostly from boat owners and others with older engines.Marrache says she’d like to work with oil dealers and importers to come up with a solution that doesn’t require legislative action. She says her bill would require dealers to sell high-test gasoline that’s free of ethanol, giving buyers an ethanol-free option.

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Robbinston Fire

Updated 5 years ago

An overheated wood stove is believed to have been the cause of a house fire in Robbinston on Monday that forced a woman, her grandson and two dogs to drop from a second-story window to escape the flames.Fire Chief Robert Merrill said Norma Galligan and her 12-year-old grandson were upstairs in the home on Rt. 1 when they realized that the building was heating up and filling with smoke.Galligan, whose husband was at work, had to break an upstairs window to get the family to safety.A passer-by reported the fire, but the chief said the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.It appears that an overheated wood stove was the cause of the fire.

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Hard Work, Finding Work Part I

Updated 5 years ago

Maine’s unemployment rate rose to nearly 8-percent in January – a sharp increase meaning more and more Mainers are losing their jobs. Adrienne Bennett begins a series of reports called, “Hard Work, Finding Work” as she speaks with the people of Maine who are unemployed, but first she sat down with the State Labor Commissioner to see just how deep this economic slump is and what needs to be done to get out of it.WABI TV5 NEWS Script:A YEAR-AND-A-HALF AGO MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS AROUND 4-AND-A-HALF PERCENT.BY JANUARY OF THIS YEAR IT WAS EIGHT PERCENT.TONIGHT WE BEGIN A SERIES OF REPORTS CALLED “HARD WORK, FINDING WORK” TODAY, ADRIENNE BENNETT SPOKE WITH MAINE’S TOP LABOR OFFICIAL, COMMISSIONER LAURA FORTMAN….ADRIENNE JOINS US NOW FROM OUR CENTRAL MAINE BUREAU WITH THE DETAILS OF WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY ABOUT MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT SITUATION…I ASKED THE COMMISSIONER JUST HOW BAD THINGS MIGHT GET, AND WHAT’S BEING DONE TO DEAL WITH IT TO TURN THINGS AROUND…”There are estimates that we could get to 10%” AN ESTIMATE OF A 10-PERCENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WOULD MEAN MORE THAN 60-THOUSAND MAINERS WITHOUT A JOB…”We have between 30-40 thousand people actually collecting an unemployment check at any moment right now.”IN HER SIX YEARS AS LABOR COMMISSIONER, LAURA FORTMAN HAS NEVER SEEN UNEMPLOYMENT LINES SO LONG, BUT FORTMAN IS OPTIMISTIC THAT FEDERAL MONEY FROM THE RECOVERY ACT COULD GIVE MAINE A BOOST…”The job numbers are a little loose it’s a combination of creation and retention there are estimates of 13 to 15 jobs.”CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WILL LIKELY BENEFIT MOST…WITH SOME MONEY SET ASIDE TO OFFER FREE TRAINING COURSES…”One of the ways we’re trying to be really helpful through the career centers system is by offering osha 10 training and for people who aren’t familiar with that it’s a basic safety and health course that’s pretty much a ticket when you’re looking for construction jobs.” IN MAINE, MORE MEN HAVE BEEN LAID OFF DURING THIS RECESSION…FORTMAN SAYS PARTLY DUE TO THE OCCUPATIONS BEING HIT “Primarily in manufacturing and construction.”WHILE THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY HASN’T SEEN A DECLINE, PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS PUT MONEY TOWARD CREATING NEW JOBS IN THAT FIELD…FORTMAN SAYS THE LONG TERM GOAL IS TO LOWER HEALTHCARE COSTS…”Traditionally when we look at healthcare we look at the nursing or radiology technicians what we also need to look at are the IT related fields. The recovery act has resources for updating medical records, data entry opportunities.”FOR THOSE WHO ARE OUT OF WORK WONDERING HOW THEY’RE GOING PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, COBRA IS ONE OPTION – STIMULUS PACKAGE FUNDS MAY BE ABLE TO PICK UP PART OF THE TAB…”which will provide a tax credit for 65% of the premium as well as trade impacted workers as of May will have an 80% credit toward insurance.”UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS HAVE ALSO BEEN EXTENDED – UP TO 59 WEEKS…ON AVERAGE A JOB SEEKER SPENDS 17 WEEKS BEFORE WORK IS FOUND…MANY OF THOSE LOOKING SPEND THEIR TIME AT CAREER CENTERS LIKE THIS ONE IN AUGUSTADIRECTOR JOHN CHRISTIE SAYS AS THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE KEEPS CLIMBING HIS JOB BECOMES MORE CHALLENGING…”Those of us involved in the world of what used to be called workforce development trying to get people trained and get people jobs now we’re spending our time in survival mode just trying to help them get from day to day.”COMING UP TOMORROW NIGHT WE’LL MEET 4 PEOPLE WHO ARE USING THE CAREER CENTER TO FIND WORK. WE’LL HEAR MORE ABOUT THEIR STORIES AND SEE IF THEY’VE HAD ANY LUCK.

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National Starch Closing Plant

Updated 5 years ago

The largest employer in Island Falls is shutting down. The National Starch and Chemical Company was created by potato farmers in the 1950′s. The company announced on Tuesday that it is closing the Island Falls plant and will concentrate production at larger facilities that can be run more economically. Thirty Eight people will lose their jobs. The company says they will be eligible for severance.

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Syrious Syrup, Part One

Updated 5 years ago

For the second year in a row, we have tapped sugar maples in our neighborhood to make into maple syrup. Just like last year I had a little help from my daughters Aislin and Emma. Here is part one of Syrious Syrup, collecting the sap.

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Linton Sentenced

Updated 5 years ago

An Oakland man, charged with killing a person during a drunk driving episode last October, will spend almost ten years behind bars.41-year-old Roger Linton the third was charged with vehicular manslaughter, aggravated operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.Authorities say Linton drove his truck while drunk and crossed the center line on route 17 in Chelsea, struck and killed 27-year-old James Carey, then drove away.Police were able to catch up with Linton after his truck broke down, two miles up the road.

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Hermon dairy barn on the way back up.

Updated 5 years ago

Mother Nature tore it down, but a community has come together to build it back up again.The roof of a cattle barn collapsed, earlier this month, at the Hewes way farm in Hermon.Local dairy farmer, Dana Hewes, had built the barn by hand, and it was not insured.The damage to replace the barn was estimated at close to 20-thousand dollars.But now, thanks to the help of family, friends and even strangers, the barn is on it’s way back up again.Hewes says his sisters raised nearly 7-thousand dollars by hosting a spaghetti supper.And organizations like the Ana Temple Shriners, and the Elks Lodge even pitched in.”Oh, it’s unbelievable! I mean, like I said, I never would have realized that that many people would have come together. So someday, hopefully, I can repay everybody that helped me.”Hewes says Northwood Equipment even donated a machine to help put the trusses up.No word yet on when the rebuild will be complete.

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Company Tries To Ease Tax Stress

Updated 5 years ago

Tax filing deadline is a little more than three weeks away. For hundreds of accountants across the state it can feel like a zoo this time of year. That’s certainly the case at PFBF in Oakland where they’ve taken that to another level. To try and lighten up on the stress and have a little fun, theme days are planned throughout the year. This week it was safari day. Accountants turned to tour guides and decorated for the occasion. PFBF has been in business for 25 years. The theme day was started years ago and now they’re a monthly occurrence.

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Holden Town Hall moves.

Updated 5 years ago

It’s spent the last hundred and thirty-seven years sitting on the side of route 1-A..But because of a new business moving in to town, the old Holden Town Hall is doing some moving of its own.Cori Skall explains.”The building is very solid. Minor sill damage, rot to it. But the building is basically very, very solid.”Robert Harvey is a member of the Holden town council, and the president of the Holden Historical Society…”It’s been exciting! I’ve been here nearly every day that they’ve been working on it, taking photos and just seeing the whole operation and it’s very exciting to see it.”He says the town has spent many years trying to figure out what to do with the old town hall….”Originally built as a meeting hall in 1872, and dedicated in January of 1873….””We’ve worked for many years to try to provide solutions and uses…and the town council, we believe, now has done that. We’re moving the building, we’re going to place it on a foundation, and we’re going to develop ideas and develop issues for the building.”The move was inspired when Leadbetter’s proposed building a new store where the old Mobil station was on route 1-A.The Leadbetters wanted to tear the old building down, and build a new one, but they needed a spot for a new septic system.So they sat down with the town council, and came up with a plan.”They donated some land, we gave them an easement to some of our present property. We will move the building back. They’ll have an easement for a new septic system on this site, and provide visibility for their new facility.”The building isn’t going far.”We’ve been moving it back on to some property that we acquired through an agreement with Leadbetter’s, and we hope to provide a new home for this old historic building.”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 News, Holden.

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Living with Cancer Pt. 2

Updated 5 years ago

Cancer survival rates have gone up. There’s a growing population of people living with forms of the disease that used to be far more often fatal. 20 years ago survivor rates were lower and cancer was something most people didn’t talk about openly. Today’s cancer survivors say attitudes are changing.”I went in for a surgery that was supposed to be unrelated.””They found ovarian cancer.”Pam MacKiernan clearly remembers her reaction.”I wasn’t expecting ovarian. My mother had colon cancer. I’ve always been careful about colonoscopy.” “I remember telling a co-worker this ovarian is a death sentence.”That was 6 years ago.”With ovarian 80 percent will reoccur and only 60 to 70 percent will make 5 years.”Margery Wesley understands what it’s like.”I was going to have my knee repaired and it was time to have my mammogram. I decided well I have time to do that so I did. Instead of having my knee repaired I started going through the breast cancer thing.”Both women have been through a lot since their initial diagnosis.”I’ve had 5 recurrences. I’ve had a stem cell transplant.””One of the problems I have had is I developed lymphodema which is a very common thing to have after you have surgery. It was unexpected because my nodes were not involved. I did not have chemo.””It’s not that you thrive but you learn to cope. Some days you cope really well and some days if you can get out of bed and sit at the table that’s coping really well so it varies and sometimes it’s unpredictable.”Pam and Margery say having cancer is different for each person. They both still try to be as active as they can.”Now the chemotherapies are better. I’m on chemo now and I just cross country skied 3 hours yesterday. The week after chemo I don’t feel so great but the next 3 weeks I feel good.””I’m in an exercise program here which I couldn’t even lift my arm 3 years ago.”An assessment done by the Maine Cancer Consortium 5 years ago found many challenges for people living with cancer. Support for the survivors and their families was one of them.”My husband has been 6 years with this with know…he… Even though I’m not that sick it’s still like he drives me to chemo. It’s tough on them too.””Unfortunately some caregivers, some partners aren’t able to face what it takes. I think both Pam and I are so lucky because we have husbands that can help us through everything. We have friends that can help us through everything. Not everybody has that. Some people don’t want to hear about it. They don’t want to see you. They don’t want to talk about it.”Pam and Margery say the support from others going through the same thing is very important to them.”It’s very supportive to just be around people who understand. Pam and I share a language now so she can say did you take this? Did it feel like this and I know exactly what she means.””We just think medications and treatments solve everything. They don’t.You have a disease. You live with it. You wake up and you say okay today this is the normal. Sometimes you think back to the normal 5 years ago and you can’t do that. It’s not helpful.”Both women believe it’s important for them to be proactive about their cancer and to get as much information as they can. Pam and Margery say they focus on what’s ahead instead of looking back.”Things change every day so we’re really lucky to be living now because every month something new is being discovered and every month that’s going to help one of us.”A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying but the survivors and doctors TV5 talked with say getting beyond the initial shock is crucial.They say their message is one of hope for what the future can hold.

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FairPoint Goes Before Regulators

Updated 5 years ago

FairPoint Communications is expected to tell state regulators by the end of the day Tuesday how it will take care of recent customer service and billing problems.The order was made by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, and was prompted by consumer complaints.They want details on improving call-center performance, correcting billing errors, and handling new orders.Earlier this year, service was disrupted to thousands of customers in Maine, when FairPoint switched them over from Verizon.FairPoint Communications has asked the P.U.C. to delay a scheduled $11,250,000 debt payment that’s due at the end of March 2009.

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Vinalhaven Fire

Updated 5 years ago

A stubborn fire destroyed a fisherman’s workshop in Vinalhaven Monday evening.Crews were called to Hamilton Drive at about 6:30 p.m. Officials said they had trouble fighting the fire because getting water to the scene was difficult due to the rural location.By the time firefighters got the flames out, the two-story building was destroyed.No one was hurt and the cause was still under investigation late Monday.

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Teenage Drinking on the Decline

Updated 5 years ago

A recent survey shows a decline in alcohol use among Maine teenagers iscontinuing.The state Department of Health and Human Services based its results on data from nearly 75,000 students in 340 schools. Officials said 25% of those surveyed last year said they consumed alcohol in the past month, compared to 38% in a 1995 survey and 29% in 2006.In addition, binge drinking fell from 20% in 1995 to 13% last year.The department’s Office of Substance Abuse credits the drop to astatewide prevention plan that’s changing expectations about youthdrinking and sending the message that such behavior is not okay.

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Bodies Found in Moosehead Lake

Updated 5 years ago

It’s a tragic ending to the search for a Pennsylvania couple who disappeared while snowmobiling.Game wardens found their bodies in Moosehead lake on Monday.41-year-old Clifford Achenbach and his 42-year-old wife Denise had been staying at an inn in Moosehead Junction township.Game officials say they went snowmobiling on Thursday morning, but they didn’t return.A missing persons report was finally filed when they failed to return to work on Monday. Fifteen game wardens, two warden service aircraft and a forest service helicopter took part in the search.The crew in the helicopter found the bodies Monday afternoon, frozen in the ice near the lakes east outlet dam.Airboats were used to recover the bodies.Officials suspect the couple hit open water after dark Thursday night and couldn’t get out.Eight people have now been killed in snowmobile accidents this season.

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A Bill for Maine’s Downtowns

Updated 5 years ago

It’s being pitched as an economic stimulus plan for Maine’s downtowns.Lawmakers and local developers are getting behind a 27-million dollar investment proposal – with an eye toward Main Streets across the state.The plan builds “on the bricks and mortar of our old mill buildings, our downtowns, our riverfronts and storefronts, the traditional community corridors that have served as the cultural, social and economic lifeblood of the state of Maine,” says Maggie Drummond with GrowSmart Maine.Community developers and lawmakers say aging downtowns across the state are a wasted natural resource, which could be providing jobs and other opportunities.”This stimulus for Main Street is so extraordinarily important,” says Senate President Libby Mitchell. “As you look around the country, those communities that invested in their downtowns and their Main Streets have seen economic vibrancy. Maine is no different.”Supporters say the 25-million dollar bond would help municipalities – in partnership with private developers – fix buildings, sidewalks and public spaces.”Because once the downtowns deteriorate, people go to the shopping centers,” says Chris Glass, with Maine Preservation. “And we’ve seen places, like Rockland, where once it reverses, with people starting to invest in downtown, the business returns.”The bill also wants to help historic buildings in town – which might have turned into eyesores over time – through what they’re calling a revolving fund of two million dollars.”We would be able to provide money to buy distressed buildings and renovate them. Then, resell them so the money would go back to the bond and the building would go back toward the community,” says Glass.Supporters hope this bill for Maine’s downtowns doesn’t get lost in the bond package shuffle this session.”This is a great chance for the state to be able to put a little bit of money in and leverage a lot of private sector activity,” says John O’Dea, with Associated General Contractors of Maine. “This will have the effect of putting construction workers to work, companies to work, and rebuilding our downtowns.”

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Brothers Jailed On Drug Charges

Updated 5 years ago

Two brothers from Hampden spent the weekend in jail following a coke bust in Bangor. Police say they were arrested late Friday night after buying cocaine in Portland. Authorities say they got a tip that 25 year old Christopher Fillian and 24 year old Michael Fillian had gone to buy the drug. Their car was stopped by drug agents. Police say they found 6 Ounces of cocaine in the car. Both brothers are accused of drug dealing. Their bail was set at $250 cash. Police say the brothers live together in Hampden and planned to sell the drug in the Bangor area.

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Child Killed In Parking Lot

Updated 5 years ago

A 20 month old boy was run over and killed in a church parking lot in Skowhegan Saturday.Police chief Michael Emmons says Kai Hansenstab of Madison was standing with his 5-year-old sibling outside his mother’s car as she was parking it in the parking lot of the Skowhegan Federated Church, when Kai was struck.Chief Emmons says it was a horrible accident and there will be no charges filed against the boy’s mother.

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Penobscot County Grand Jury Indictments

Updated 5 years ago

More than 40 people have been indicted by the Penobscot County Grand Jury, including 32 year old Jason Dean.He’s charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.Police say he walked into Java Joes in downtown Bangor earlier this month, and cut a woman’s throat with a knife.The owner of the coffee shop tells us it was a pregnant relative of his who was attacked, and she did not know Dean.She was treated at the hospital and released the same day.A man who helped run a daycare in Glenburn, has also been indicted by the Grand Jury.49 year old Ronald Tewhey is charged with three counts of unlawful sexual contact and unlawful sexual touching.Police say the 10 year old female victim was in Tewhey’s care at the time of the crime.Tewhey is a former selectman for Glenburn.Also indicted, 19 year old Kyle Cunningham. He’s charged with arson.Police say he started a fire in a rooming house on Webster Avenue in Bangor last November. Other people were asleep in the home at the time.

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