As the investigation continues into the deaths of Michael and Valerie Miller, a cousin of one of the victims is speaking out about the horrible crime.Rebecca Bickford of Corinth says she was stunned by the news that her cousin Valerie and her husband, Mike, were killed. She says she’s also afraid to talk much about how they died, for fear of her family’s safety. Bickford says she, and other family members have their suspicions about who may have been involved the killings, but she won’t speak publicly about those suspicions until police make an arrest.Bickford says she’ll remember the Millers as very kind and giving people who would do anything to help their friends and family. “They were just really great,” says Bickford, “Val and I would talk for hours when I would go over there and she was wonderful and Mike was a very hard worker. He worked for 29 years at Walpool and he did what he had to to bring his family out of this economy.”Bickford says she recognizes the woman in the sketch released by police but can’t remember the woman’s name. Authorities believe the woman in the sketch was seen at the Miller home the morning their bodies were found.State police are interviewing family, friends and neighbors of the Millers as they investigate the case, but Bickford says they haven’t talked with her yet.
A tattoo shop in Augusta has teamed up with the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition to offer half-price tattoos. But it’s not just for any ink – it has to be pink – and in the shape of a ribbon. The pink ribbon tattoos are designed to raise money for breast cancer support and awareness.Photojournalist David Dane has the story.————Among those getting tattoos Wednesday were the adult children of Mary Rapose, a 60-year-old Owls head who is undergoing breast cancer treatment.One of her sons, 41-year-old John Conway of Windsor, got the pink ribbon on his leg to show support for his mother. Rapose’s other son also got a tattoo Wednesday, and her daughter plans to get one this week.The shop is offering tattoos of the pink ribbons – the universal breast cancer symbol – for $35, less than half the normal price of a tattoo.
A local fire chief is being recognized for supporting those who serve our country. Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette was given the Patriotic Employer Award today. It was created by the organization, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.The award publically recognizes people and businesses who help their employees enlisted in the military. Sargeant James Worchester – a member of the Augusta Fire Department – nominated Chief Audette for the award. He’s set to leave on his second deployment to Afghanistan this month. Audette says, “”I was very surprised and honored. I was not expecting it. I certainly appreciate the recognition and being the boss of the 50 firefighters that work for us and members like Jim Worchester is very easy for me.”Major General Bill Libby – the head of the Maine National Guard – helped present the award to Audette. Members of the Augusta City Council, the mayor and the city manager were also on hand for ceremony.
Bangor’s city manager, Ed Barrett, has a new job.Wednesday, he accepted the role of city administrator in Lewiston. The city council there voted him in unanimously Tuesday night.He starts his new position January 11th.”I’ll do my best to bring people together working for the common good, be receptive to new ideas and opportunities wherever they come from, and to be honest and forthright in what I recommend…although I recognize that those recommendations might not always be accepted,” Barrett said during a press conference in Lewiston Wednesday morning.Recently, city councilors in Bangor voted to end Barrett’s 22-year tenure by April.”When there’s a jewel out there you don’t pass it up. Lewiston, as I understand it, has some serious problems with their financial situation and they understood Ed Barrett is one of the best,” says Bangor councilor Hal Wheeler.”We were fortunate to have Ed Barrett with us as long as he was, but quite honestly, as I said, I think this change will be good for him,” says Bangor councilor David Nealley.The change comes sooner than some expected, and an immediate replacement hasn’t been named. Bangor councilors plan to hire an executive search firm by the end of January.”Initially, I think our assistant city manager will help fill the void,” Nealley says, of Bob Farrar. “We have a wealth of institutional knowledge with our department heads. We have very capable people at city hall, so Bangor is in pretty good shape moving forward.”Some councilors say Bangor is in a different place than when Barrett was hired, and has different needs. But many wish him well.”I want to congratulate the Lewiston council for making a very wise decision. They’ve got a first-class administrator,” Wheeler says. “But I know Ed’s heart will always be in Bangor.”The council’s finance committee is expected to talk about the plan to hire a search firm at their next meeting, Monday night.Meanwhile, some residents are still gathering signatures on a petition, to recall the five councilors who would not vote to reinstate Barrett to his role as city manager of Bangor.
Maine energy officials said that home heating oil has droped to $2.55 per gallon, a one penny reduction over last weeks numbers.According to the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security, inventories remain high and oil markets remain relatively stable. Additionally, priced of crude oil has leveled off between $75 and $80 per barrel. The energy office survey shows heating oil prices ranged from a high of $2.85 per gallon in northern Maine to a low of $2.25 per gallon in southwestern Maine.
At the University of Maine’s cooperative extention offices in Skowhegan, sweetness is on many minds. The annual Maple Grading School, sponsored by the International Maple Syrup Institute, based in Ontario, will be taking place on Thursday and Friday.This school provides instruction on syrup quality assurance and grading for producers, inspectors, and buyers. Participants are coming from all over New Jersey and New England. Now in it’s sixth year, the school rotates to different sites each year. This is the first time the school is being held in the state of Maine.Vermont is the leading syrup-producing state by far. Maine and New York were the number 2 and number 3 states this year.
A Connecticut man pled guilty Tuesday to three bank robberies, including one in Bangor.Authorities say 31-year-old Lawrence Sullivan used threatening notes to rob the TD Bank on Union Street in Bangor last April and two banks in Connecticut before that.He got away with more than a thousand dollars in the Bangor robbery. Sullivan was arrested a few days later in Connecticut.He agreed to have the Maine charge transferred to Connecticut.Sullivan will be sentenced in February and faces up to 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for each count.
President Obama will address the nation tonight on his plan for Afghanistan.There are three deployments already set for Maine troops. The first of which will be leaving at the end of the week.The 172nd will leave for Illinois on Saturday, to begin their deployment to Afghanistan.Although President Obama is expected to announce an increase in troop deployment during his speech, Major General John Libby with the Maine National Guard says it will not impact the Maine based troops already scheduled to deploy.Libby is interested to hear about the President’s vision for the military’s future in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I want to hear the president use the word victory tonight. I want to hear him define that, so we know what the end state looks like in Afghanistan. And I want him to talk about an exit strategy based on his definition of victory.” says Libby.Captain Paul Bosse with the 172nd has his own view of victory overseas.”Ultimately it’s their country. Ultimately they are going to determine their own fate, and we’re there to help, and I think that’s a message that’s being talked about even at a national level, but I think one of my messages all along has been that because I really believe that’s they key for us, ultimately winning in Afghanistan.” says Bosse. Captain Bosse says the troops in the 172nd will be interacting with the Afghan people, in many cases doing good and helping them. He says they are excited about the duties they will be performing overseas.The two other deployments for Maine based troops are set for March.
December first is World AIDS day.Many local organizations were doing their part to get information out.Meghan Hayward reports.” We want to let people know that it has not gone away. It is still affecting people and for some reason people think it has disappeared and it hasn’t.”Organizations all across the state were getting that message out as part of World AIDS Day.HIV community leaders were at the state house stressing the severity of the epidemic.” So we’re here to say that we must continue to move forward with prevention and care and to make sure everybody has the ability to live a healthy and happy life regardless of their HIV status.”According to the Maine CDC, more than 1,300 people are living with HIV infection in Maine. The most prevalent cases are between the ages of 40 and 49.” We know that HIV prevention is our best way to move forward with this. We have affective models of preventing the spread of HIV. And every case of HIV we prevent from not happening not only saves lives by saves the state millions of dollars.”The Eastern Maine AIDS Network and the University of Maine Peer Education Program were also bringing awareness to the Orono campus.Sean Weber of the network says they had a huge turn-out at their table.” The number of people that has stopped by has been pretty good. We started with 450 bags of condoms and we’re down to 50 or 60 of them.”Webber says a message that really hits home is one he was sporting on his shirt.” This is actually a number and it actually hits home with people. They actually see something and are like wow, every ten minutes someone is affected.”
Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court sat in the new Penobscot Judicial Center for the first time on Tuesday.They heard oral arguments in favor of and opposed to Husson University’s plan to offer a law degree. The school is applying to the court to let their graduates sit for the Maine bar exam.One issue — while the school says they will comply with the academic standards set forth by the American Bar Association, they don’t plan to offer tenure to their professors. But that’s something the ABA requires.”So we’re asking the court to essentially adopt our program as the template or the blueprint, as complying with the ABA standard,” says Peter Murray, Husson University law professor. “And then, to let us have the opportunity to start the program, subject to the court’s ability to come in two years later to see how we’re doing.””We’re just very hopeful that a decision will come down favorably and as soon as possible,” says William Beardsley, Husson University president. “But that’s the court’s decision.” Husson plans to start its first law class in September, pending approval from the court. Supporters told the court Tuesday the school would help meet the need for lawyers in northern and central Maine, by offering students educational options they can’t get elsewhere in the region.
It’s a move that had been planned for years. Penobscot County District and Superior Courts have relocated across town into a new, 36-million dollar building.While the new courthouse in Bangor looks different than its predecessors, folks there say it’s better equipped for what people need today.This building will handle everything from family matters to serious criminal cases. They’ve combined two courts, three buildings, and all the personnel that comes with them.”You’re always going to have a kink or two, but on the whole, things have gone pretty smoothly,” says Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Warren Silver.He says a key feature at the new spot– security. The Penobscot Judicial Center has three separate sets of hallways to keep distinct groups apart.”One for the public that comes in through entry screening, one for the staff at the back of the house, and a third for prisoners,” Silver says.”And the safety of the public is paramount for the court system right now,” says Chief Justice, Leigh Saufley. “We’re actually seeing a lot more tension and a lot more physical altercations in courthouses.””No more meeting prisoners in hallways and having them sit on benches in public areas. That way, victims are protected,” Silver says.There are also more conference rooms for more privacy. In family courtrooms, there’s more seating, to allow for situations involving many people.Also central to the new building is technology.”We have a major televideo capability here,” Silver says. “We’re about to start arraignments over televideo, so prisoners don’t need to be transported from the county jail over here.”Saufley says Silver and his team identified these needs for the building through years of research.”This courthouse represents the best of all the designs they saw,” she says. “And at the same time, incorporates the energy efficiency and safety and technology that the public is going to need over the next 200 years.”
The medical examiner’s office has identified the three people killed after their pick-up collided with a pulp truck last month in Fort Fairfield. 35-year-old James Alley, Junior was driving the truck. 39-year-old Ronald McEachern and 36-year-old Heidi Boilier were his passengers.All of them were from Fort Fairfield.Police say Alley’s truck crossed the center line on the North Caribou Road, crashed head-on with the larger truck and caught fire. The victims were burned beyond recognition and had to be identified through DNA samples. The driver of the pulp truck was treated for minor injuries. Police are still trying to determine why Alley’s truck lost control.
The Shaw House in Bangor is generally considered to be a shelter for homeless teens. Now they’re giving teens more than just a place to live, they’re giving them a chance at an education. When you first walk in it looks like a traditional classroom. “The kids simply never miss a class,” says Shaw House Executive Director Carol Whitney.It’s called the Carleton Project, a non-profit corporation that offers kids who have had trouble adapting to traditonal high schools a second chance at a high school diploma. “They teach in concepts,” says Whitney, “some of them are leadership, community service, and interpersonal relations and it’s a little different than you would find at a regular high school.”Chris Betts is in charge of teaching the class and his approach is to keep his mind wide open. “I will use any technique for teaching that I can possibly think of,” Betts says, “there are traditional days where we do some work on the classroom board and then are some other days where I say you give me some ideas, what are we going to learn today?”All of the work the students do earns them credits towards their diplomas. “It takes a lot of self motivation and energy on the youths behalf,” says Betts, “they’re in charge of of all their credits, keeping track of what they need to graduate.”Erica Clark is 19-years-old and a student at the Carleton Project. “This really seems to be working out for me you know, in 30 days I’ve earned 2 1/2 credits. I’ve never done that good in school,” she says. Lew Eaton has attended numerous high schools and he says the Carleton Project is the right fit for him. “I’ve never been good at traditional school,” says Eaton, “I was like a normal teenager, skipping a lot, not really focusing on school and this helps me focus on school. This helps me more because I focus on me and what I want to get done.”The hope here is that the project will help get these kids where they want to go. “I want my kids to take away things they will find useful when they go to college and when they’re on the jobsite,” says Betts.”My plan is to to college in New York to become a cook,” says Eaton. Erica Clark has equally high aspirations and she hopes the Carleton Project is a stepping stone. “My future plan is to become an R.N.” says Clark, “my future, future goal is is to work in a laboratory for cancer research.”
A month-long walk across the state collected more than $30,000 dollars to end hunger in Maine.The 8th annual Ending Hungor Tour, put together by Maine Credit Unions, wrapped in Bangor today.Brenda Davis, with Crossroads Ministries and Food Pantry in Old Town, did a lot of the leg work. She logged more than 650-miles, stopping off in 62 communities from Madawaska to Kittery. During the tour, she visited local credit unions and collected donations for area food pantries.Davis says that money will make a huge difference for folks who live in rural parts of the state and struggle to get the grocery store.”our roads aren’t the best. They’re the best we have but they’re not the best. People that have limited resources – they’re cars aren’t always in the best repair. They live miles and miles from a supermarket.”The Ending Hunger Tour took Davis to all of the counties in the state. In its eight years, the walk has raised more than $170,000 dollars.
How, when and where will medical marijuana be distributed in Maine? Those were some of the questions tackled by a newly appointed taskforce Tuesday.Governor Baldacci assigned the committee to advise him on how to implement the law with safeguards to protect public health and safety.Adrienne Bennett reports. The state is now in charge of licensing nonprofit groups to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients. So a 14 member task force has been formed to set the rules.Rules that are suppose to be in effect within 120 days.Janet Mills: “this time period is unrealistic.” Task force member and Attorney General, Janet Mills says her biggest concern is to avoid letting the law become a breeding ground for litigation.Janet Mills: “I sure wouldn’t want my dentist working on my teeth or my electrician working on my house while under the influence of marijuana, whether it was for a medical purpose or not so these are important policy concerns.”While 13 states permit medical use of marijuana, only Rhode Island and New Mexico laws are comparable to Maine’s, putting the state in control of distribution centers.One of Tuesday’s discussions revolved around whether Maine should start out small.Brenda Harvey: “mexico in particular started with one dispensary and just recently the secretary approved 4 additional ones.” Maine is the state to have passed the measure by voters…and some of them lined the walls of the statehouse to listen in…Jonathon Leavitt heads up the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative. Jonathan Leavitt: “based on the response we’ve gotten over the past couple weeks there are a lot of people in the state that plan on utilizing this medicine and using it effectively to deal with the conditions they are living with.”Brenda Harvey: “what we need to figure out is to what degree we will need resources and then look at the fees that will support this because one of the things that’s in the law is that this will be supported by fees.”Adrienne Bennett: The task force is expected to make its recommendations by the end of this month.
FairPoint Communications customers are getting some money back from the company – by order of the state. The Maine Public Utilities Commission told the company it owes customers rebates because of its poor service.The commission says FairPoint didn’t meet specific performance standards in 2008 and 2009.For the next year, customers will get back 1-dollar-72-cents for each line they have – that’s a little over 20-dollars. FairPoint’s operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont havebeen beseiged with problems since the company bought the service from Verizonalmost two years ago.
A man from Palmyra died this morning when his minivan crashed on Route 2 in Pittsfield.Pittsfield Police Chief Steven Emery says just before 8 this morning, 56-yeard old Jeffrey Guilford’s vehicle apparently struck a tree and flipped over into a field.LifeFlight was sent to the scene, but Emery says Guilford died before the helicopter arrived.Pittsfield Police and Fire, along with State Police, are reconstructing the accident.
Monica Estes of Northeast Harbor died from an accidental drowning according to the state medical examiners office. The body of the 56-year-old Estes, was discovered by a passerby along the shore off of Seawall Road last Wednesday, November 25.It is believed that Estes had taken a kayak out sometime between last Sunday, November 22, and the day she was found. On Monday, November 23, a fisherman found a red Old Town Otter kayak at King’s Point shore.
Six homes in Winslow could be gone in the next month or so.The now vacant houses are on Dellaire Street.Over the past couple years, they’ve been a point of controversy. Questions about safety have been raised considering the homes are sitting on a former landfill.With the help from a FEMA grant, the town purchased the homes from the owners, some of whom were not happy with the deal.Over the next few weeks, local fire department crews will conduct training exercises at the homes.Waterville and Winslow Fire Chief David LaFountain says the training is something hundreds of firefighters will benefit from. “We can fill them up with smoke. Practice doing searches in smoke, working with thermal imaging cameras, throwing ladders. There are a lot of non-destructive things that right now that’s the phase we’re in.”The homes will eventually be demolished by firefighters.The town plans to turn the space into a grassy area by next fall.
A Newport man accused of killing his father was indicted on Monday by the Penobscot County grand jury.Prosecutors say 47-year-old Perley Goodrich junior shot Perley Goodrich senior at the home they shared.Police also say the younger Goodrich severely beat his mother.He went missing for four days, then was arrested at a coffee shop just five miles from his home.Goodrich stands charged with murder.