The Fairfield man charged with two armed robberies in the greater Bangor area on back-to-back days made his first court appearance Friday.Police say 21-year-old Alex Gerald robbed Sun Tan City in Old Town on Tuesday night after taking a tour of the business earlier in the evening.Then, Wednesday night, Gerald allegedly robbed the Wilson Street Dunkin Donuts in Brewer.After arresting Gerald, police recovered the weapons used in both robberies, which turned out to be plastic guns that had been spray painted black.Between the two robbers, Gerald made off with less than a thousand dollars.Police say he was looking for money to support his drug habit.He appeared before a judge in Bangor District Court today but did not enter a plea.Bail was set at ten thousand dollars cash,partly because Gerald has a criminal record that includes a failure to appear charge.Gerald is being held at the Penobscot County Jail.He’s expected back in court October 30th.Each robbery charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.
(AP) A 31-year-old New Portland man pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge he murdered his neighbor and former employer outside her business in 2007. Jeffrey LaGasse entered the plea Friday in Somerset County Superior Court in Showhegan. He was indicted by a grand jury last week. The victim, 50-year-old Louise Brochu, was found dead outside her flooring business in June 2007. LaGasse had been questioned previously about Brochu’s death. LaGasse has been in custody for almost two years on an unrelated charge. He was brought to court from the Maine State Prison in Warren and returned there after his court appearance.
The Common Ground Country Fair in Unity got off to a big start Friday. Sustainable living has been the fair’s focus for more than 30 years – and it gets all ages involved.Organizers say about 15 thousand people showed up here Friday morning. Some have been coming every year for decades, like Sara Christy, who’s a part of the Wednesday Spinners.”It’s changed over the years, but I think it’s unique, I think Maine can be very proud because it represents a lot of essential Maine values. Sustainability and independence, and making do with whatever you can get your hands on,” Christy says.Some folks are newer to the scene, like Kacie Loparto. “She Sells Seaweeds,” that she’s learning to harvest sustainably.”The person that I apprenticed with offered me the opportunity to sell some of the seaweed and learn about starting a small business and educating people. So that’s what I like best about it, is educating people about the seaweeds.”Organizers with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association say as always, a highlight of the fair is connecting with folks from all around the state, from all generations.”The thing that is exciting to me, is seeing how the next generation of farmers and young people are getting involved in different ways. Whether it’s new farmers, apprentices, our journey persons or our Young Entrepreneurs Zone,” says Russell Libby, MOFGA executive director.Milo Stanley was in the Zone Friday – at 14, he already has several businesses. “It’s relaxing and productive, you can make all sorts of cool things,” Stanley says.”These young people are creating products and learning to run a business, which is exciting,” Libby says.Good food, live shows, lively discussion – folks at the fair have a lot of excitement to choose from.”The kids are always a lot of fun, because we have to hook new people into the group,” Christy says.The Common Ground Fair in Unity is open from 9 to 6 Saturday and 9 to 5 on Sunday. It costs ten dollars for adults and is rain or shine.You can find more fair information online at MOFGA.
The Shaw House in Bangor is getting some upgrades, thanks to a new project.The United Way of Eastern Maine kicked off their first day of caring project with the Shaw House and Oxford Networks.The purpose of the project is to get area businesses to volunteer with social service agencies in need of a little extra help.Employees of Oxford Networks gathered at the Shaw House to put new paint on the walls.The Shaw House is the only emergency homeless shelter in Bangor for runaway and street children.Executive Director Carol Whitney says they’re grateful for the help.”It feels wonderful and they’re just amazing. They’re going to finish this in a couple of hours. This is the central room for the children where they mix and enjoy.””It’s so important when business and local agencies can come together to improve our community and offer services that are important. It really makes living here a better opportunity.”For more information about the Days of Caring Project or the United Way of Eastern Maine you can call 941-2800.
A large crowd gathered in Pittsfield today.It was a celebration for a Maine company that’s been around for 60 years.Meghan Hayward has the story.”Things went on from there as far as the company. Just grew, grew and grew. But not without some ups and downs. More than once we were hanging by a shoe string.”But Cianbro was able to hold on and is now celebrating its sixtieth anniversary.Vice president Kenneth Cianchette has been there from the beginning.”Well, it’s been a great place to see the company grow from basically nothing to where it is today.”One of the things he’s most proud about.”The company is entirely employee owned. So 100 percent of any profit the company makes goes into a retirement plan for the employees.”Cianbro President Andi Vigue says they’re happy to have made it this far.”I think it’s very significant. Sixty years in business is no small milestone. We were very happy at 50 years and now we’re at 60 and we’re looking to go to 100.”Four-hundred employees were at the celebration.Vigue says much of the company’s success is because of them.”It shows we have the ability to adapt over those sixty years. The economy has gone up and down. We’ve had many challenges and we’ve always overcame them. It’s because of our people and what they do everyday and their willingness to adapt.”And Vigue says that means there are more great times ahead for Cianbro.”The future is bright.”
For men and women in the military, the responsibility of serving our country can be stressful. That’s why a business in Brewer is thanking them, in a very relaxing way.Mary McGary is trained in the art of pampering people. Now she and her husband Tom – who own Balance Hair and Body in Brewer – want to share those skills with some folks who deserve it. “Tom and I came up with this idea to say thank you to military, for all that you do.””We call it a gift of balance and what we’re trying to do is give back to a segment of the community that I think really deserve it. It’s the least that we can do for people that protect us.”The McGary’s are offering members of the military $50 off any full-priced service at the salon – from haircuts to facials to massages. The offer also applies to spouses, like Jodi Veneziano, the wife of a Major in the Army National Guard. “This actually allows you to take time for you – which is the last thing you think about because if you’re a military spouse, you’re thinking about the kids, you’re thinking about the house, you’re thinking about the bills, you’re thinking about the pets. You’re doing two people’s jobs.” The folks at the salon say they hope that military men and women see that self-care, isn’t selfish. And it can actually help couples, like one who came in recently, survive the rigors of service.Jessica Mingo-Dickel says, “They left holding hands and that’s nice, that’s really nice. For a small period of time, that he’s home, it’s nice. It gives them something to talk about – a new experience.”Tom McGary adds, “I’m not a military family, but I know people that are. It’s a very stressful situation, even for me looking from the outside to see these people and these families and maybe we can help them with some of that.”For more information on the “Gift of Balance”, military members can check in with their Family Assistance Center SpecialistYou can also call 989-1998 or go on-line to www.balancehb.com.
Eastern Maine Medical Center will host flu shot clinics for adults.The vaccine clinic will be held at the hospital on State Street.The cost for the shot is $25.Cash, check and credit cards will be accepted.Folks are asked to make payment at the time of their appointment.EMMC is also able to bill insurance.Anyone interested in making an appointment can call 973-9846.Leave a message and someone will return your call to schedule an appointment.Scheduled Times:Saturday, September 26, 8 to 12Saturday October 10 8 to 12Thursday October 29, 3 to 7Monday November 2, 3 to 7Saturday November 21, 8 to 12Friday December 11, 12 to 4
Folks on Cranberry Island and Islesford will have an interruption in their electric service tomorrow.The power outage will take place from 9 am to 3:30 pm so Bangor Hydro crews can make some repairs on equipment.Bangor Hydro says the outage is necessary to ensure safety and continued service to the islands.Anyone with questions can call 947-2414.
A fallen tree in Washington County has caused power outages in Dennysville, Edmunds, Pembroke and Perry.Bangor Hydro crews are on the scene right now.Customers are urged to stay clear of downed power lines and trees in contact with power lines. Customers may report outages by calling 1-800-440-1111. Crews expect to have the damage repaired within the hour.
Former Governor Angus King was at the University of Maine Thursday.He’s helping to launch a new initiative designed to strengthen Maine’s economy.The sustainable solutions initiative was established in July thanks to a $20,000,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.It focuses on enhancing education statewide to help Maine compete with the ever changing economic environment.Former Governor King spoke about the role the UMaine system will play in Maine’s economic future. “Well I think it starts with education, the economy now is very different then it was 30 years ago, where more education, more facility with technology is going to be important in whatever the jobs are,” Said King on Thursday.King says the university system has never been more important as jobs of the future will be driven by technology.He also urged colleges and universities to do more to keep graduating students here in Maine.
A couple from Virginia walked away from a bad accident on Route nine Thursday.The pair were traveling home from vacation when the man driving fell asleep at the wheel.The car rammed into a guardrail, hitting ten posts before it came to a stop.Though the car’s airbag didn’t deploy, both made it out okay. The woman had minor injuries to her back.
Crews responded to a single car accident in Glenburn Thursday evening.The accident happened about 9 o’clock on the Pushaw Road.There aren’t many details surrounding the cause of accident at this time.Reports say one person was trapped in the car. “We had one female transported from the scene, some injuries,” Said Deputy Sheriff John Knappe. “We actually tracked down the male driver. At this point we are continuing the investigation.”Officials say speed and alcohol may have been factors.A section of Pushaw road was closed for a time Thursday night because of the accident.
The folks at Morgan Hill officially opened the facility for business on Thursday.They were joined by the town of Hermon and the Bangor region chamber of commerce for a ribbon cutting.New owners purchased the event center about a year ago, since then they have worked to improve the landscape as well as the inside of the building.The facility has three rooms, and can seat up to 400 people.Hymie Gulak, one of the owners, says community support has been very important to the business.Even though the business just officially opened Gulak says they have hosted events there.There is also a dance studio and photographer on the premises.
A new state program is helping Maine fishermen save money and become more energy efficient at the same time.Amy Erickson has the story.This brand new engine will soon be inside Jason Witham’s lobster boat, the Siren.”It’s more efficient. I’m going to use less fuel. Probably it’s going to save me 20 gallons of fuel a day.”But Witham says even better than that is the that he got it for half price, thanks to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s new Clean Marine Engine Program.It helps fishermen repower their boats with new engines which are about 70 percent cleaner.”They’ll take your old engine and replace it with a new one. And the program will cover 50 percent of the engine cost and 50% of the labor.””It’s about $43,000 for the engine and the install. So you’re looking at $20,000 of savings.””We are repowering over 40 vessels, including 30 lobster boats, 4 fishing vessels, 3 ferries and a schooner out of Eastport.”Lynne Cayting is with the Maine D-E-P.She says the new engines will reduce harmful diesel exhaust emissions.And the cost savings will be felt by folks all over the state…not just those who make their living on the water.”Using over 1.2 million dollars in stimulus funds to repower commercial vessels with a brand new EPA tier 2 engine. So we’re taking old, nonregulated engines and replacing them with compliant EPA engines.””It helps the local community, the boatyards, mechanics…it even helps the banks. It helps the sternmen…so many people in a meaningful way using stimulus dollars and it helps the environment.””It’s saving me a lot of money with the price of lobsters being down and the fuel and everything. It’s a way for me to be able to get a new engine that will last me a lot longer and be able to get my bottom line up.”
An Addision man was killed today after the tractor he was driving rolled over on top of him.21-year-old Jonathan Brock was working for Cherryfield Foods in a remote area of Washington County near Holmes Falls.Officials say he was driving the tractor down a dirt road when he lost control. The tractor went off a bridge into the Machias River, pinning Brock underneath it.A co-worker saw it happen and called for help, but when officials arrived a short time later, Brock had died.
This weekend, during Old Town’s Riverfest, motorcyclists from all over are going on an approximate 100 mile motorcycle ride to honor their friend Brenda Sibley, who lost her battle with cancer nearly four years ago. The ride is put on by Brenda’s family. The ride is their way of keeping her memory and giving nature alive. Among her interest Brenda loved a good motorcycle – especially this time of year – so this weekend’s ride is a fitting way to remember her while helping other cancer patients. “Brenda’s caring nature extended to those who were less fortunate as she organized a fundraising campaign every Christmas to provide food and gifts to local families,” shares a family member.Celebrate a hero in your life by joining other motorcyclists on Saturday September 26, 2009 at the Old Town McDonalds. A ten dollar per ride pledge will be accepted during the registration from 8 – 9 am. The ride leaves at 9 am.Every dollar raised will stay here in your community helping your friends and neighbors. All donations from the motorcycle ride will directly benefit Champion the Cure, the campaign for EMMC’s new cancer center in Brewer. Be a champion. Champion the Cure.
About 60 officials continued working today to clear an area of Township 37 – in rural Washington County – of the thousands of marijuana plants found there earlier this week.Officials still aren’t sure how many thousands of plants there are, but they’re calling it the largest marijuana growing operation they’ve seen in state history.They spent yesterday collecting forensic evidence as to who’s responsible for the pot.MDEA Director Roy McKinney says because of the size and sophistication of what they’ve found, federal agents are also involved.”This is an operation where the individuals were on-scene, 24-7, cultivating these plants, and so they’re very high quality plants. Our ultimate goal is to identify who’s responsible for this cultivation, and bring a successful case to court.”No arrests have been made yet. McKinney says by tomorrow, they hope to finish collecting all the plants, some of which will be saved as evidence.
Home fires and burns claimed more than three thousand lives in the U.S. last year. Firefighters believe that education is the key to cutting down that number.Today, Winslow firefighters rolled out their new smoke house to raise awareness about fire dangers in the home. Fourth graders from Winslow elementary and Saint John’s school got to tour the trailer. They were asked to point out the hazards in the home that could cause a fire. But the best part for the kids was when the special effects kicked in. Theatrical smoke fills the trailer simulating what would happen in a house during a real fire. Winslow’s fire chief says the trailer is a not only a fun educational tool, it’s one that can help save lives too.
Today representatives of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) gathered on the steps of the state capitol in Augusta to unveil the 2009 Maine Piglet Book: The Book Augusta Doesn’t Want You to Read. Featured speakers included Maine Heritage Policy Center CEO Tarren Bragdon and CAGW Vice President for Policy David Williams. The report is the second Maine Piglet Book since 2007. The report attempts to expose $2 billion in wasteful spending. Those defending the state say that CAGW and MHPC are not telling the whole truth. The study cites as examples of waste a $45 thousand playground, Â a $40 million cultural building and $16 million in renovations at the(DHHS) Department of Health and Human Services Office.Â Crystal Canney, Communications Director for Citizens Unified for Maine’s Future, says, “What the Heritage Policy Center neglects to tell you is that those projects were requests that the state did not fund”Â
Fraternity and sorority members, along with other students, lined up to sign the hazing prevention statement Thursday at the University of Maine. According to UMaine Junior Brian Harris, a Sigma Phi Epsilon member, this is something they take seriously here. “All fraternities individually have their anti-hazing policies,” says Harris, “we’re here today as a Greek community to show our support, backing each other up as well as the administration that’s something we won’t stand for.” The administration here has remained vigilant over the years to keep hazing as a practice of the past says Dr. Robert Dana, the V.P. of Student Affairs. “The last hazing incident I can recall was 1992,” Dana says, “so we’ve been telling our students of course for many years and they’ve been fully engaged in this, they understand the idea of brother hood and sisterhood or team connections those are very important but the way you get to that is through kindness you don’t do it by some crazy old tradition.”Fraternities and sororities on campus, as well as the sports teams, have found more productive ways to bond with new members and teammates.”We just do fun activities with our new girls, nothing exciting or crazy,” says Phi Mu Sorority V.P. Caitlyn Rafferty.Brandi Rideout, Director of Student Athletes Services says the sports teams are following suit. “A lot of teams go white water rafting, the ROTC groups on campus do a great job of working with our teams, they do ropes courses, paintball, our hockey teams hiked Mt. Katahdin so we’re doing a lot of things like that.”Dr. Dana wants to keep the prevention of hazing on top of everyone’s priority list around here. “You always want to remind people we have 2000 new students every year and 2000 students leave, and hazing is a national problem so we want to keep this in the forefront of our discussion.”