News

Gay Marriage Bill Moves Forward

Updated 5 years ago

A same-sex marriage bill is going to the Maine Senate and House with a strong committee endorsement. Eleven of the 14 Judiciary Committee members voted Tuesday to pass the bill, while two voted against it and one proposed sending it to voters in a November referendum. Gov. John Baldacci remains undecided. Supporters said the bill corrects an inequality that’s long existed in Maine law, while one of the opponents pointed to overwhelming constituent opposition to the bill. Republican Sen. David Hastings of Fryeburg said he prefers sending a straightforward question to voters. The committee session was interrupted by an outburst by a protester, who shouted that the bill is morally wrong. She was escorted by police from the State House.

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Funeral for Veteran Who Died Eleven Years Ago

Updated 5 years ago

Joseph Poirier was a veteran of the United States Navy. He worked as a custodian for years at Bangor High School.Poirier passed away in 1998, and his cremated remains were left unclaimed at Brookings and Smith Funeral Home in Bangor, until Tuesday.”Joe Poirier has been at our facility since 1998, and it’s an honor to place him to rest in a dignified fashion.” Funeral Director at Brookings Smith, Jim Fernald says the events leading up to this day started about six months ago, when he was contacted about the Missing in America Project.Sally Belanger, Executive Director of the Maine Funeral Director’s Association says she heard about how successful it had been in Connecticut. “I brought it back to the Maine Funeral Director’s Association, it didn’t take any convincing for them to understand it was the right thing to do.” Said Belanger.The mission of the project, is to find the unclaimed remains of veterans at funeral homes across the country, then give them a proper burial. That’s what happened for Joseph Poirier on Tuesday. His cremated remains were taken to the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta. A chapel service was held, and dozens of people showed up, to see him laid to rest. “Our mission at Wreaths Across America is to remember honor and teach, our motto is we shall never forget, so we figure it was appropriate that we come today.” says Wayne Merritt of Columbia Falls.Sister Elizabeth Kilbride wanted to pay her respects too, she worked with Poirier when he was a custodian at Bangor High School. “He was always optimistic, very happy, very pleasant person, the kind of person who makes your day.”Although it might be a bit late, this day was finally all about Joseph Poirier. A chance to thank him him for the service he gave to our country in the U.S. Navy. It’s been said that Poirier had no family, that’s why his remains went unclaimed for so long. Larry Dearborn of the Patriot Guard says that’s not true. On this day, his brothers and sisters in arms showed up to pay their final respects. “I think it’s damn important. We never forget a veteran or we wouldn’t have the freedome we have now, you or I. I thank the veterans everyday.”The Missing in America Project discovered the remains of two other veterans in Maine that were not claimed but then family members stepped forward in those cases.

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Murphy Penalized

Updated 5 years ago

GARDINER, Maine (AP) – State regulators have revoked an Ellsworth loan broker’s license for five years for mishandling clients’ money and failing to demonstrate financial responsibility. Officials said Tuesday that Eric Murphy Jr., who operated under the name Murphy Home Loans, was also assessed Penalties and costs of $21,500 under terms of an administrative order. William Lund, superintendent of the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, said Murphy was both a loan broker and an investment facilitator and shuffled funds from one investment project to another, making payments to earlier investors using funds from subsequent investors. Murphy has 30 days to appeal the administrative order.

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Arson Fire in East Millinocket

Updated 5 years ago

An arson fire gutted a home on Beech Street in East Millinocket today.Crews got the call around four this morning. We’re told they arrived on scene within five minutes, but the fire was well under way.The front porch had already burned off. Sergeant Joel Davis with the Fire Marshal’s Office says that’s likely where the fire was started.He says the house was unoccupied.The blaze grew so large at one point that crews were worried about it spreading to nearby homes — some of which wound up damaged from the heat.About a dozen of the town’s firefighters helped put it out.The Fire Marshal’s Office is still looking into who set that fire.

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Seniors at Local Center Make May Baskets

Updated 5 years ago

Have you ever made a May basket and left it on someone’s doorstep?Members of the Hammond Street Senior Center have been putting their artistic skills to work and have done just that.< "In days past on May First, it could be a Unisex a male or female and young to old and you would go knock on a neighbors door or ring a bell and leave a basket, and when someone comes to the door, you wait long enough for them to see who it is and they're supposed to chase you and give you a kiss."An old tradition that Kathy Bernier says is tailor made for the past generation, but one she hopes to bring forward to the next...It made for a great activity for seniors to get involved with."It was something they were use to doing so it was fun for them and also the making of the fudge, they also know how to do that, it's kind of a lost art."The center has spent the last four weeks creating the May baskets. More than one-hundred and fifty were made.They went on display Tuesday and are available for the public to purchase. Even the pattern of the basket goes back in time."I found this pattern on the internet out of a 1947 magazine. So this is an original 1947 May Basket design."Member Mary Huskins grew up learning how to make may baskets and says she hadn't seen one in awhile. But that doesn't mean she's forgotten the tradition."We always put candy in them and we would run to our neighbor's place where there was a good looking man and hang it on the door and hope they would come out and chase us."Even though Huskins is enjoying all the baskets, she's still partial to a particular one."Well because it just brings back memories, they were so pretty to me."If you are interested in picking up a basket you can stop by the Hammond Street Senior Center during their regular business hours...from 8:30 a-m to 4:30 p-m.

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Fire on Bog Road in Hermon Wakes Residents

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

A fire early this morning awoke residents on the Bog Road in Hermon.They heard the explosion of a propane tank in the attached garage, and called the fire department a little before five o’clock this morning.Hermon crews arrived on the scene quickly, and with mutual aid from other departments had the flames under control in about an hours time.Both residents made it out of the house safely, and because of the quick response, the house should be spared according to Hermon Fire Chief Larry Willis.”We knocked it down with the first truck and we got a couple tankers here and vented the roof between the garage and the house, cut a good trench in there so a good stop all the way around so the house is pretty well usable.”The Fire Marshal’s Office said this afternoon the fire was accidental, and started after an electrical malfunction in an attached barn.

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Early Morning Fire in Hermon

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

Residents on the Bog road in Hermon awoke early Tuesday morning to explosions and a fire.They heard the explosion of a propane tank in the attached garage, and called the fire department a little before five o’clock Tuesday morning.Hermon crews arrived on the scene quickly, and with mutual aid from other departments had the flames under control in about an hour’s time.Both residents made it out of the house safely, and because of the quick response, the house should be spared.The cause of the fire is unknown at this point but Chief Willis said that he will do some preliminary investigation and then call in the fire marshal’s office.

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Orland Motorcycle Accident

Updated 5 years ago

A man from Bucksport is still in the hospital recovering from a motorcycle crash friday.Police say 37-year-old Norman Rockwell was trying to pass a vehicle on the Castine Road in Orland when he lost control on a corner.Rockwell’s motorcycle struck the front fender of a Jeep driven by a woman from Orland.Rockwell was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

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Solon Fire Intentionally Set

Updated 5 years ago

A fire at the former Solon Manufacturing Plant over the weekend was most likely intentionally set.That’s according to Ken Grimes from the state Fire Marshal’s Office.He says now they’re looking into who is responsible. They are not releasing how the fire was started.The plant has been vacant since 2003. Sunday’s fire was the seventh there in two years. Investigators say a few of those fires were accidental while some were intentional.About 40 firefighters responded from Solon, Bingham, Anson, Madison and East Madison. No one was injured.

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Maine’s Underground Railroad, Part Two

Joy Hollowell

Updated 5 years ago

For three and a half decades, the Underground Railroad ran through 14 northern states, including Maine.Slaves often travelled by night, guided by word of mouth as to which homes were safe to stay in.When Greg and Connie Henderson purchased their 1817 home, they figured there was a lot of history in the walls.Turns out, that’s exactly where they discovered pieces of the past that the Hendersons believe, link their home to the underground railroad.Tonight, Joy Hollowell concludes her special report on Maine’s role in the freedom trail.++++++++++++++”When we walked in here, we felt the love and the warmth that had penetrated the whole structure of the home,” says Greg Henderson.Shortly after moving in, Connie and Greg Henderson learned that their Dixmont home was once a stop for stage coaches.”The upstairs had an open area, you could see tracks where the bed rolls had been laid out,” says Greg Henderson.Several years ago, Greg decided to re-plane those worn floors and replace some loose ones directly over their chimney.”I didn’t really think much of it, I just thought maybe they needed to be able to check the chimney out,” says Greg Henderson.But when Greg started cleaning the area, he found a whole lot more than cobwebs. Tucked between the walls were two shoes.”these were well worn shoes, they travelled,” says Connie Henderson.There was also a clay pipe.”there’s still tobacco inside,” says Connie Henderson.Nearby, a fiddle bow, frame to a slate board and a children’s geography book with a copyright of 1847.”old maps, really old maps.”There was also an old straw hat. A hole was poked on each side of it, and a long horse strap had been threaded through. Inside, were corn cobs and ham bones.”i’m clueing in that something there was something that has really going on here. Then, as we talked, we figured it out,” says Greg Henderson.The Hendersons now believe their home was part of Maine’s Underground Railroad.”There was a large enough area for people to be in, and hid,” says Greg Henderson.The straw hat was most likely filled with food, then lowered into the hidden room.”It really gets your mind thinking about what went on back then,” says Greg Henderson.There’s also a sort of trap door inside the kitchen cupboard. At first, Connie thought it was used to check on the chimney. “Until I realized that if I stood behind the door, and people were sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of the kitchen, they would not have been able to see what I was doing behind that door,” says Connie Henderson.Connie surmised the owners would secretly pass food through that small door.The Hendersons say its an honor to live in this house, knowing the courage and strength it took, to carry out the mission of the underground railroad.”When you take in complete strangers that are on the run, for their life, for their freedom, and you have to be really understanding and loving to do that. And that’s what this house represents,” says Greg Henderson.===========While researching the history on their home, Connie Henderson learned why she felt so close to it.Turns out that at one time, relatives of Connie’s great, great grandmother, lived in the home.

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Maine’s Underground Railroad, Part One

Joy Hollowell

Updated 5 years ago

Maine was the last stop before freedom, for many passengers travelling along the underground railroad.It’s believed there are about 75 “stops” in our state.Researching Maine’s role in the underground railroad is difficult, because not a lot of it is written down.And that includes the former Holyoke house in Brewer, now home to the Chamberlain Freedom Park.But local historians say enough oral history has been gathered, to prove this site played a pivotal role in the flight to freedom.Joy Hollowell begins a special report on Maine’s role in the freedom trail.+++++++++++++++++”This is our impression of what occurred here in Brewer, Maine concerning the freeing of the slaves. And the part that we’re quite proud of is that it was pivotal.”Dick Campbell was a key developer of the Chamberlain Freedom Park. He says the statue is strategically placed.”This was the location of what was reported to be the underground tunnel, and it was located in the summer kitchen basement,” according to Campbell.The home belonged to the Holyoke family. “they were early abolishionists. May or may not have been connected to Hannibal Hamlin, the first abolishionist under President Lincoln,” says Campbell.According to Campbell, the Holyokes owned a shipping pier under what is now the Penobscot bridge. “They were transported by water, by the river, through the horizontal and then the vertical piece of the shaft that we’re standing on right now. We found pegs in the construction of the shaft. And then, they were storied during the day, out of sight, in the eaves of this old real brick house, and then transported at night, again through the shaft and to the riverbank,” says Campbell.Campbell says he’s well aware of local folklore claiming the tunnel wasn’t part of the underground railroad, but instead used to transport whiskey during prohibition.”Well, I don’t think so. I think the Holyokes were very caring people and the societal connections from mid-Atlantic states to Brewer, no it is real,” says Campbell.Campbell also points to what is believed to be a slave shirt. It was found in the attic of the Holyoke house, after it was torn down. The shirt is now on display at the Brewer Historical Society.”We believe this is the high water mark of the slaves flee to freedom because the next step was Canada,” says Campbell.=================The state legislature has dedicated the Chamberlain Freedom Park in Brewer as an official site of the Underground Railroad in Maine.

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Machias Students set to Take on the World

Wayne Harvey

Updated 5 years ago

Tuesday morning three students from Machias Memorial High School will be heading to Los Angeles to take on the world.The students are State Champions after winning their events in march in a marketing and management competition.So now it’s off to an international contest.And according to their instructor in Entrepreneurship, Brian Leavitt it’s getting them ready for life after high school. “This is what it’s all about, having real life experiences in High School and we’re trying to get these kids ready for the world of work and an event like this does that.”Fifteen students from Machias Memorial High School went to the competition that was held in Portland in early March.Three of them came back as the best in the state of Maine.Juniors Megan Scoville and Jordan Ranke created in the Fashion Merchandise Promotion Plan, and they developed everything about a store from the budget to the clothes.Ranke said “They really liked what we had to show them, they said that we fed off each other very well when we presented and they told us that we said like to much but it was good feedback for when we go to Nationals.”Senior Shawn Kelley couldn’t really prepare ahead of time, he was given a scenario and then ten minutes to formulate a marketing plan and present it to the judges. His expectations were pretty low.”I thought you know I was going to get in there and be almost laughed off the stage but I thought I did really well for being a first timer.”From the words on their classroom wall, to a presentation, it turned into a 25 hundred dollar scholarship, and now a trip to Los Angeles to match wits with the top students in the US and beyond.”12 to 15 thousand people there so it’s going to be this huge number of people in all of our events” said Kelley. “And it’s going to be you know kind of the best of the best going against each other.”Scoville added ” I think just getting to California is accomplishing a lot and being able to compete against all these people around the world, I mean we actually placed I will be like wow!”They will fly from Bangor Tuesday morning, the competition is slated for Friday in Los Angeles. While they are in California the students will get to do some sightseeing as well, they are planning on taking in a Dodgers game, going to Disneyland and visiting Laguna Beach.

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Swine Flu Update

Updated 5 years ago

Maine officials, like their counterparts elsewhere, are monitoring swine flu developments. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dora Anne Mills said Monday that several Mainers have been tested for swine flu as it spreads throughout the world, but the tests all came back negative. But Mills says the state is preparing for swine flu’s expected arrival in Maine as people who have been traveling during spring break return and develop symptoms. Mills says the state’s been preparing for a pandemic for years and she’s in daily contact with her federal health counterparts. She expects 30,000 to 40,000 doses of anti-viral medicine to arrive in Maine from the federal government. Mills says the goal now is to minimize the flu’s impact.For more information visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu.

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Parisi Verdict Handed Down

Updated 5 years ago

BANGOR, Maine (AP) – A former finance director of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in the misuse of tribal and federal funds. James Parisi Jr. of Portland was convicted in November of 11 of 21 counts of conspiracy and misuse of funds. He was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The 45-year-old Parisi’s co-defendant, former tribal Gov. Robert Newell, was handed a five-year sentence Friday. The Bangor Daily News said Judge George Singal also sentenced Parisi to three years of probation following his prison term and ordered him to pay $1.6 million in restitution. Parisi and Newell have been ordered to begin their sentences on May 27.

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Weekend Motorcycle Accident

Updated 5 years ago

A New Sweden man died Sunday as a result of a motorcycle crash in Littleton. State police say Justin Tardie(21) was riding on Route 1 Saturday. He ran into the back of a car that was about to make a left-hand turn onto Hill Siding road. Tardie sustained serious injuries, and was taken by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center where he died sunday afternoon.

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Former Chief of Police Enters Plea

Updated 5 years ago

The former police chief of Milo has pleaded not guilty of domestic assault. The district attorney’s office says Michael Poulin mailed in his plea through his attorney. He has requested a jury trial. Poulin is accused of attacking his wife. He resigned as Milo’s police chief earlier this month.

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Police Look for Howland Bank Robber

Updated 5 years ago

Police are looking for a man who robbed a bank Monday morning in Howland.They say a young man walked into the Bangor Savings Branch on Main Street just after it opened on Monday.He said he had a weapon and demanded money. After the teller gave it to him, he walked out.Police say the suspect is in his 20′s, about 5-foot-9 and between 150 and 200 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, camouflage jacket and goggle-type sunglasses.Police are reviewing surveillance video and hope to release a photo of the suspect soon. “The employees seem to be handling it pretty well,” says Lt. Wesley Hussey with the Maine State Police. “I mean, there were no weapons displayed, so that was probably a good thing for them. They seem to be doing pretty well with it.”Police say the suspect took off toward downtown, but that’s where tracking dogs lost his scent.A man matching the man’s description was seen sitting outside the bank waiting for it to open Monday morning. If you have any information about the robbery, you can contact State Police at 1-800-432-7381.

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Dumas Murder Trial Begins in Bangor

Updated 5 years ago

The murder trial got underway on Monday in the case of a Prentiss man charged with shooting his friend.The state’s attorney said bluntly — this is not a “whodunit” trial.Both sides in this case agree that by all accounts, 49-year-old Joseph Dumas did shoot his friend, 70-year-old Mario “Sonny” Litterio five times at a camp in Prentiss in November of 2007. Litterio was shot in the head and shoulders at close range, four times with a revolver and once with a rifle.The state hopes to prove Dumas did commit those acts “knowingly, or intentionally.”Defense attorney Richard Hartley, however, says Dumas was using an excessive amount of cocaine at the time of the shooting.He plans to introduce the jury to a state called “cocaine-induced psychosis,” which he says influenced Dumas’ actions that day.”Joe Dumas has absolutely no history of violent behavior and his reputation in the community will establish that,” says attorney Richard Hartley. “Secondly, the evidence will show unquestionably that Mr. Dumas and the victim in this case, Sonny Lotterio, were really best friends.”The jury began hearing from the state’s witnesses Monday morning.The trial is expected to last at least until Thursday.Dumas has been held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail since his arrest.

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Veteran to Get Proper Burial After 11 Years

Updated 5 years ago

A veteran from Bangor who died in 1998 is finally getting the burial he deserves, thanks to the “Missing in America” project.The organization coordinates burials for the unclaimed remains of veterans across the country.Veteran Joseph Poirier’s cremated remains have sat unclaimed at Brookings & Smith Funeral Home since his death in 1998.No one ever claimed the urn.On Tuesday, Funeral Director James Fernald will bring the urn to the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery in Augusta so Poirier can finally have a proper burial.The Honor Guard and Patriot Guard Riders will be in attendance for the ceremony. “Here at Brookings & Smith, we have over 50 urns of people that have never been picked up by their loved ones and this gives us an opportunity to place them in a cemetery with dignity, a gravemarker and what a veteran with honor should receive.”Poirier was also a custodian at Bangor High School for several years.His burial service will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta.The public is welcome to attend.

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Kenduskeag Grange Members Honored

Updated 5 years ago

Members of a local grange were honored on Sunday for their commitment to community service.Mystic Tie Grange Number 58 in Kenduskeag was presented with a special Spirit of America Foundation Award Sunday afternoon.They were chosen from more than 100 local granges across the state for their commitment to volunteerism and raising funds for community initiatives.Grange Master Cathie Spaulding says it’s a great honor to be recognized for all the hard work grange members do all year long. “We’ve supported our local school with school supplies, we do a food pantry once a week, we play bingo twice a week and all the funds are donated back to he community. We support local scholarship funds and we help the fire department raise money for equipment.”The Spirit of America Foundation was started in Augusta by Roger Pomerleau, to encourage others to volunteer.Everyone who receives a Spirit of America award this year will be honored at a special Spirit of America Day ceremony in 2010.

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