Next week, the human rights commission is preparing to clarify the rights of transgender students in public schools. Commission counsel, John Gause says it will help students and administrators answer questions that have come up in recent years regarding sexual orientation in schools. The proposed guidelines are an interpretation of the law. They are not rules or regulations which are mandated according to Guase. Gause says the guidance will clarify that schools cannot allow harrassment based on sexual orientation and that schools must allow students access to programs consistent to their gender identity.Human Rights Commission Meeting 1:30pm Senator Inn, Augusta Proposed Guidance, Sexual Orientation in Educational Institutions (Discussion of the proposed guidance will be in a work session. Discussion will be limited to Commissioners and staff at this time. The public is welcome to attend.)
The legendary Coffee Pot sandwiches will not soon be forgotten by all who enjoyed them.Now, there is another way folks can remember the Bangor sandwich shop.Francis “Skip” Rist, owner of the recently closed Coffee Pot, has donated the neon sign from the front of the store to the Bangor Museum and History Center.The sign was purchased in 1940 from Mulvany Bros. In Bangor. At the time, the sign cost the Rist family 70 dollars.The Coffee Pot was a favorite spot for folks in the Bangor area for about 80 years. It closed its doors on December 31, 2009.
Earlier today, WABI TV5 was forced to reduce the power of our broadcast signal due to excessive ice build up on our transmission antenna in Dixmont. Â Â Icing can lead to extensive damage to the transmitter under full power, so the power reduction was necessary to assure continued operation.Â We have been able to restore full power, though further icing may force us to lower the power again. Technicians continue to monitor the situation.
Replacing the Bangor Aditorium for the least amount of money. That’s the task before bangor city leaders.They’ll review plans tonight at a city council workshop set to start at 6 p.m.The current recommendations are to replace the auditorium first then consider what to do with the civic center side of the building. The hope is to start construction by the middle of next year on a $50 million project. There will be no formal vote taken on the plan tonight, but plenty of discussion.
The filmmakers behind the award winning documentary, “The Way We Get By”, which features Bangor troop greeters, would like your help getting it out to more people.They’re trying to make a 2-disc collector’s edition DVD of the film, which would include never-before-seen special features.But it’s not cheap to do that.You can help by going to their “kick-starter project” website and pledging money.That address is http://kck.st/dlOzkj
The University of Maine at Orono is going smoke free.It begins on a voluntary basis next year. Tobacco will be banned from campus by 2012.School officials say over the next 10 months they’ll be engaged in an information campaign to help students and employees kick their tobacco habits.
It will be lights, camera and action for some middle schoolers in Belfast this weekend.Meghan Hayward caught up with the students during one of their dress rehearsals.Students at the Troy Howard Middle school in Belfast are preparing for their live performances of the play “Girl Power.”” Teenagers dealing with peer pressure and teen romance. The love triangle, except that here instead of two girls fighting over a boy with words, they shoot laser beams out of their hands.”Two teachers co-wrote the play. “I really wanted to interest the kids so I figured they’re really into Harry Potter, Spiderman and Twilight, those types of things with supernatural elements. So kids with super powers seemed like a great way to keep them interested.”they had such a big turn-out at auditions, they had to cast the show twice.But co-writer Jason Bannister says it’s not just about the kids performing. “It’s more than just being on stage. I get a lot of kids involved backstage, learning how to stage manage and run a box office.””Well I am not a good actor but I like working with other people and I like seeing what’s going on.”For those who have an acting part, they say it’s pretty cool to have super powers.”It’s really fun because you get to watch how things move around.”Autumn Stupca has one of the lead roles. She plays the new girl and says she was able to bring real-life experiences to the part.”Because my parents move around a lot so I know what it’s like to be the new girl and see how the schools work differently.”There is no doubt, all the students, no matter what role they have, are enjoying the play.”I love it. I think it’s been one of the best plays I’ve ever seen. It’s cool that one of the teachers you know made it.”The play will be performed at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast this Friday and Saturday at 7 pm and also at 1 pm on saturday.There are also performances at the same days and times the following weekend.
Proponents of wind power say the economic benefits are vast and inarguable. Paul Williamson is the Director of the Maine Wind Industry Intitative a group that’s spearheading the wind movement here in Maine. “It’s a path that sets the U.S. on towards energy independence, which relates directly to security which also relates directly to how our country finances and deals with budgetary issues all the way down to household issues.”Williamson believes with onshore and offshore wind, Maine can become a global leader in wind energy and create thousands of new jobs. “It’s a supply and demand issue,” says Williamson, “so we need to look at Maine and we need to look at the greater northeastern region and realize that there’s a market to capture here in manufacturing and that’s a key component to building maine’s economy.”He says it could even help cut household costs. “Wind energy in Maine is stronger in the winter time. So we can align that wind energy with heating costs and turn that energy into heating homes and remove Maine from being the largest user of heating oil in the country.”But some people living near existing wind farms say the cost is too high in addition to noise complaints, some think wind farms have an irreversible visual impact. Marilyn Roper and her husband Harry own a camp in Danforth. “It had a beautiful pristine scenery and two lakes,” says Roper. The Ropers are avid star gazers and they say the Stetson 1 and 2 projects have ruined their view. “They’re going to be white elephants with blinking red lights for many, many years in one of the premier dark sky areas that still remain in the United States.”The wind power task force has set some lofty power production goals they would like to reach by 2015 but some folks, like sound engineer Robert Rand, say it’s more important to get it right. “There’s a great deal to this that really needs to slow down a bit and get a little more planning going on.” “One of the things we really need to realize with wind power development, as with any industrial development in Maine, is it’s not a panacea and it’s not a perfect fit everywhere,” adds Williamson, “and there are a number of different factors that come with wind development and we need to work with our local communities to understand what those factors are.”On vinalhaven, the folks at Fox Island Wind are working with people affected by noise from the turbines to solve the problem. Art Lindgren and Ethan Hall say they have little confidence that a compromise can be reached. “Maybe there’s a way to make this work,” says Hall, “from what I’ve learned, it’s going to be really difficult and it’s highly likely that it won’t.”While some are concerned about the noise, the majority of Vinalhaven residents seem to be happy with the project. If you ask folks on both sides of this debate, they both offer the same advice: come and see for yourself.”Number one, do your homework,” says Vinalhaven resident Art Lindgren, “number two, look at the towns that have been dealing with this. Look at Vinalhaven, look at other places, look at Mars Hill where these things were put in and people didn’t do their homework.””I would tell anybody come out and listen for yourself,” says Vinalhaven resident Alan Barker, “you know you can read a lot in the paper, you can listen to what I’m saying. Come see for yourself or go near one that’s up and running and just listen for yourself.”
Some big changes are in store for the Bangor YMCAThe first phase of an expansion project is set to get underway this Summer.Meghan Hayward has the story.”The Bangor Y has secured the properties surrounding the Second Street facility that allows for us to consolidate our organization under one roof, with an expanded parking lot and also a plan for phase two expansion to bring all of our core programming and services into one location.”The 2.2 million dollar phase one project, which is the expanded parking lot, is set to begin this Summer.Four of the nine buildings they have acquired will be torn down to make room for more than 100 new parking spots at the facility.”The timeline for phase two will be determined by the efficiencies we’re able to gain by being under one location as well as understanding the economy and the appropriate time to go out for a capital campaign.”Initially, the consolidation will result in a reduction of employees.But Chief Executive Officer Mike Seile hopes when they eventually expand the facility and programming, they’ll be able to add more jobs.Seile says members won’t see a change in their fees.”We’ve kept our memberships affordable for the Bangor community and in this transition part of the reason for the change is to keep it at that affordable rate. So our rates will remain unchanged for this year.”Seile says members can expect great things from this.”Additional convenience. Today we have memberships split between the aquatics located at the Second Street facility and land fitness located at Hammond Street. And what this does is put it all under one for convenience for our members.”Seile says the Hammond Street facility will be winterized and preserved, probably some time before the end of this Summer, then put on the market for sale.They plan to use the proceeds from the sale of that facility to help fund the renovation and expansion projects at Second Street.Membership meetings are planned for March 4th and 5th for anyone with any questions about the project.The meetings on the fourth will be at the Hammond Street facility at 6 am and 7 pm.And the meetings on the fifth will be at the same times but at the Second Street location.
School board members in SAD 37 have voted not to close any more schools in the district, at least not now. Last year the board decided to shut two schools in Cherryfield and Columbia Falls. But a few months later, folks in Cherryfield voted to keep their school open. Since then, long-range planning committee recommending another school be closed to help the district save money. Superintendent David Beal says the board of directors rejected that idea last night. Beal says he’s not sure that’s the final word, though, and the issue of a closing a school could come up again in the next few months.
Scientists are saying that Maine could see another widespread out break of red tide this spring and summer.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Wednesday that indications are that it could be a significant bloom of the toxic algae that causes red tide.The toxins don’t affect the shellfish, but it makes them off limits to harvesting and can make people sick.If the outbreak does happen, it could close hundreds of miles of clam flats and therefore lead to clam shortages.
President Obama will hold a meeting Thursday with congressional leaders on health care reform.The Maine Association of Health Underwriters met in Bangor Wednesday to get their position on the issue across to Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.The group represents health insurance brokers and consultants who work with thousands of companies in Maine.They’re pitching a plan based on what they’ve heard from their members. It focuses on access, cost, and quality.Features include preserving health saving accounts, and letting out of state insurers sell premiums in Maine. “We’ve made a number of trips down to Washington over the course of the past year, talking about specific proposals within the House and Senate bill,” Joel Allumbaugh, the President of MAHU. “Our access has been fantastic they’ve been very receptive, a lot of phone calls back from Senate offices when they come across technical language and they want a sense of how it will impact Maine companies and Maine employees.”They’re hoping that at Thursday’s meeting, the president encourages open discussion, starting with a clean slate on health care reform.Senator Olympia Snowe was asked by the white house to attend the meeting, but has declined, saying that she wasn’t chosen under the rules, so her attendance would be inappropriate.
The new credit card regulations went into effect on Monday, Feb. 22nd. Russ spoke with us Thursday morning about what that means for you.If you have questions regarding the new regulations, contact the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions at 1-800-965-5235, or on their website: www.maine.gov/pfr
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield wants to raise rates again. This time they are asking for a 23% hike on two of its health insurance plans.Mega Life and Health also wants a rate increase. They want a 21% increase for small group policies and over 12% for individual plans.On Monday, about 100 people turned out in Portland to testify against the rate hikes.On Wednesday, folks gathered at Husson University for a similar hearing. That meeting was a forum for folks to voice their concerns and tell their stories. Another hearing will be held on April 15th to decide whether or not Anthem will be granted the 23% increase they have requested.
High school students in Ellsworth spent part of their day learning about the dangers of abusing over the counter medications.According to Ellsworth police, the issue came to the forefront after three Ellsworth high school students overdosed on over the counter medicine and were hospitalized.One of the speakers said that the difficulty in battling this problem is the easy accessibility of the medications.Pediatrician Dr. Sheena Whittaker also spoke to the students. She says many kids are turning to these over the counter medications to ease the pain of depression and other emotional problems.
Cianbro’s module project for a refinery in Texas is coming to an end.And if the facility does not get more contracts, over 1-hundred employees could be without work.The project will come to an end this June.President Andi Vigue says starting now they will begin reducing people at the Brewer site, but the end of April is when they will see the largest amount.There are currently about 5-hundred employees in Brewer and Vigue says that could go down to just 25 if they can not find work.Vigue says they are trying to transfer many of the employees into the company’s construction jobs.” It is headed toward a low point and we’re optimistic we have 4 or 5 projects right now that if successful they would come to this facility and continue to be constructed here. We have no plans to close the facility or sell or abandon the facility. We’re just going to reduce the amount of craft work for us on site until we have more construction work.”Vigue says it’s important to remember that this is just the end of another project which is a common occurrence in the construction industry.
A teenager accused of murder has been indicted by the Penobscot County Grand Jury.Prosecutors say 18 year old Zachary Carr shot a 19 year old man on Cumberland Street in Bangor last month. John Bobby Surles later died at the hospital.Friends of Carr said fights had been ongoing between their group and friends of the victim.Carr is charged with murder.Also indicted by the Grand Jury, 33 year old Jamal Gibbons of Brewer.Prosecutors say he stabbed a 20 year old man from Hermon several times at a Bangor apartment last September. The injuries to the victim were not life threatening.Gibbons is facing several charges including Elevated Aggravated Assault. In a separate incident, he’s also charged with a violation of condition of release.Prosecutors say while he was out on bail in December, he was found with a weapon.
Three Ellsworth High School students were hospitalized earlier this month when police say they overdosed on over-the-counter cough medicine. That led to a very timely lesson at their school today.The Ellsworth community has sounded the alarm on the abuse of over the counter cold medication. “After the 3 students that ended up in the ER is when it sort of came to the forefront that it’s probably something we should address,” says Sgt. Glenn Moshier.”Both locally and nationally, it’s increased over the past several years,” says Dr. Sheena Whittaker a Pediatrician, “especially since we’ve seen three cases in the past two weeks here in Ellsworth alone. We’re very worried about it.”The difficulty in battling this problem is these medications are so easy for kids to get their hands on. “We’re also talking about Dramamine and Benadryl or any of the over the counter medications that can easily be bought in a pharmacy or be found in the medicine cabinet at home,” Dr. Wittaker.Ellsworth Police were also on hand to try to spread the word. “So we felt it was important to get the accurate information out to the students and hopefully to the parents as well so that they could understand the dangers that can occur from the use and abuse of these types of over the counter medications,” says Sgt. Moshier.Students say the session shed some light on the problem of over the counter medications. “I had no idea,” says Senior Michael Butters, “it’s going to make me look at cough medicine and prescription drugs differently and really pay attention to the dosages.””But even more importantly if they have depression or pain or are not able to cope with everyday life they seek out help rather than turning to these other medications or over the counter sources,” says Dr. Whittaker.
Students at Waldo county technical center served up a Caribbean themed meal Wednesday night.All the proceeds will be sent to a technical center in Haiti that was destroyed by the earthquake.Culinary Instructor Mark Hannibal says it’s a chance to introduce students to different ethnic foods and help a good cause at the same time.”I think it’s great to have a connection. I mean if it’s just let’s raise money and send it to Haiti I don’t think there’s quite as much inspiration for the kids to help out as that there’s a tech center in Haiti that was destroyed and we can raise money to send down to that tech center.”
Some folks in Belfast aren’t happy with a plan to build a new Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management Agency in a vacant lot behind the former jail.The Waldo County Commissioners recently approved spending 1-million dollars from existing county accounts to replace the nearly 200-year-old building.Resident Thierry Bonneville, who owns land next to the site of the proposed building says he and other neighbors support a new facility, but do not want to see it go in a residential area that has a lot of history to it.Bonneville says they first learned of the proposed building only a few weeks ago when a neighbor saw surveyors at the site.The proposed building would be four times the size of any homes in the surrounding area.Another concern the residents have is with the noise the new building will bring to the neighborhood.” So as far as the direct impact on the neighborhood it’s not the residence that we’re building here, it’s a 24/7, 365 day operation. With a parking lot, with air conditioning going on and a generator and a lot of people coming back and forth at all hours of the night.”Bonneville and other concerned neighbors are meeting with the EMA center Thursday night at 5.Anyone interested in learning more, is invited to attend the meeting.