The economic slump is taking a huge toll on a lot of businesses, but there’s a new business in Bucksport that might have perfect timing.Susan Farley explains.”You always need appliances. You’ve got to have them.”Ralph McAvoy and his family started their appliance business in their garage in Searsport. It became so popular they recently opened RKT Enterprises in Bucksport.”It started out as a scrap business. We thought we were buying scrap stuff but it ended up being better than scrap and it was too bad to throw it away.”The Main Street business specializes in appliances that are new, some are slightly damaged.”Some you can’t tell the scratch or the dent is on the back or on the bottom.”Everything comes from a big store that no longer wants it.”If the box is damaged too much they’ll discard it because they don’t want to even open it to see if, how bad it’s broken or if it’s really broken.””It isn’t like it’s old or used or anything. Some of it’s discontinued. They upgrade the product and they just get rid of what’s left on the floor at the end of the year.””We get lots of display models. When they are on the floor they get a scratch or something. They just don’t sell them.”It isn’t all appliances. You can find everything from generators and ladders to gas grills and water heaters.”When the snow finally disappears we have lawn mowers and all the lawn care stuff too.”Ralph says the tough economy is making their shop very attractive to lots of buyers.”It still looks new and the prices on it are cheap. They usually sell it for a third of what it costs. A lot of people buy it so they can save money.”The price isn’t the only way to save money. They’ll even take away the old appliance without charging a disposal fee.”With the economy the way it is it’s definitely a good thing.”RKT Enterprises is located on Main Street in the same building as the Bucksport House of Pizza.
It’s now official: there is no longer a Father Curran Bridge in Augusta.On Thursday, Governor Baldacci signed into law a bill to rename the bridge.It was originally named for a roman catholic priest. But after Father Curran died, he was accused of sexual abuse. A person who says he was one of Curran’s victims thanked the state Thursday for the name change. “It’s very important.” Said Bob Dupuis. “I think it sends a clear message that we’re very serious in preventing things like this and what happened to me from ever happening again.” “It shows, I think, that we stand behind and honor the victims that have come forward, stepped forward to let us know and we won’t stand for that in our community.” Said lawmaker Patsy Crockett, a supporter of the bill to change the name.The new name is the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western.Calumet means “peace pipe.”
Maine fiscal officials say rising unemployment is cutting into state revenue. Governor John Baldacci’s budget chief, Ryan Low, told lawmakers on Thursday that general fund revenue in February was under budget by more than $20,000,000, or by 15.2%. That put the general fund below budget by $16,100,000 – about 1% – for the first eight months of the fiscal year.A major drag has been sales and use tax receipts which are down by more than $5,000,000 for February.Year-to-date sales tax revenue is under budget by $26,000,000, or 4.3%.Maine’s unemployment rate in January was 7.8% – up from 4.8% a year earlier.
Moose and motorists can be a deadly combination.While 2008 saw no fatal moose accidents in the state, there are still hundreds of crashes every year. And springtime can be a dangerous time.”As the snow goes away,” says Maine Game Warden Alan Gillis, “they’re hanging around the roadside and they get in the salt in the road that the DOT has put down during the winter.”He says we’re getting near the peak time of year for car-moose collisions. “They’re just such a dark animal. It makes it difficult at night.”Many accidents happen just before dark, or in the early morning. So, he says, use your high beams whenever you can, and keep scanning the sides of the road for emerging moose.”If you do see one or you have one cross the road in front of you,” he says, “be aware there might be another one right behind it.”Slowing down a bit also doesn’t hurt.”If there’s going to be a collision – it just can’t be avoided – brake hard before you strike the animal. And at the last second, you’d want to let off on the brake,” he says.Doing that will raise up the front of your vehicle, and can help keep the moose’s heavy body from coming through your windshield. He says, if you can, duck down.Gillis says the danger is so great you need to stay on the alert, no matter where you live in Maine.”It’s not all uncommon to have a moose right in Bangor around the Interstate every spring,” he says. “We’ll get calls on that every year, so it’s certainly possibly to have an encounter around here.”Also keep in mind – moose are so tall, your headlights might only shine on their legs, making them harder to see. And, their eyes don’t shine like deer at night, so you can’t spot them that way.
A group of Hampden Academy graduates are working to lend a helping hand in the african country of Liberia, but they need some help of their own in getting there. “From what I was told, the white man represents so many things to them, and they’re striving for those things, right now, but it’s so hard to get their feet off the ground, when they don’t have anything really to work with.”Two years ago, Hampden Academy graduate Harvey Shue took a trip to Liberia. Seeing the conditions the people there were living in, Shue was inspired to help. So he put together a documentary, and founded the group, Friends of Liberia.”The goal and mission is to go and help Weajue, Liberia, right now, and try and develop it in to a more prosperous country.””I’ve always dreamed of Africa. It’s always been in the back of my mind that I would go there, and live there and work there…So I am going.””Over there, the problems are really, really simple. They’re things like clean drinking water, and food, and education. They’re problems that can be solved relatively easily.”Fellow Hampden graduates, and group members, Shaylah Goss and Andrew Deighan, along with Sean Higgins, plan to go to the Liberian village of Weajue this summer, to help with those problems.”My specific program is the school development. And the first thing I am going to do when I go over there is get the teachers training.”The organizations motto: Working to Calalyze Progress. They plan to spend three months in Liberia but need to raise 39-thousand dollars before they go. they have, at this point, almost 4 thousand. But say they have many fundraisers planned, and hope to get some aid from the government.”With our education, we can make a big difference with just a very small amount of help.”The Friends of Liberia will be holding a number of fundraisers in the coming weeks, including a murder mystery dinner and silent auction at Pairings in Winterport, at the Winterport Winery.It will take place this Saturday, March 21st at 6pm. Tickets are 20 dollars per person, and 35 per couple.The money will go to help with the trip, and for supplies they need to help the village. For more about the organization, log on to friendsofliberia.org.
Patients recovering from heart surgery at Eastern Maine Medical Center can rest a little easier these days, thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers.They’re making pillows to help those patients feel more comfortable during their recovery.Amy Erickson has more.
Six years ago, the war in Iraq began.Peace activists in Bangor gathered Thursday to mark the anniversary and reflect on what’s happened over the past six years.Members of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine held a press conference at their headquarters to reflect on the work they’ve done to call for an end to the war…They say they’re still committed to helping bring the troops home, and to bringing peace to Iraq.< "had people been listened to 6 years ago, we wouldn't have lost the lives we have, we wouldn't have spent billions of dollars. So it's important for people to realize that they can make a difference by speaking out.">The folks at the Peace and Justice Center will hold a “teach in” this Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bangor…The event, called “new Organizing strategies for the Obama era,” will be held from one to five and is free and open to the public.
A fire at a vacant home in Etna was deliberately set, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.Investigator Tim York says the home on the corner of Latkins and Stage Roads, is owned by Wesley Leighton of Holden. This fire happened on March 8th.York says the arson investigation is still underway.This past Monday, another one of Leighton’s properties, a garage on Route 2, burned down.The cause of that fire will remain undetermined due to the amount of damage.
Local mortgage brokers and realtors say their phones are ringing off the hook these days.Low interest rates combined with a new tax incentive have lots of Mainers thinking of buying or refinancing homes.Amy Erickson has the story.
Fire fighters were called to a house fire in Warren Wednesday night.The call came in just before 7pm to Rocky Hill Road, which is just off Route 90.We’re told crews from Warren as well as Union and Waldoboro spent about four and a half hours at the scene.There were no injuries reported.No word yet on damages or a cause.
GE Security in Pittsfield is cutting its workforce, likely by more than one-third.About 430 people work at the plant.Just before the end of the first shift Wednesday, company officials called workers together to tell them the news: due to a drop in sales, they have to cut jobs.They asked first for a voluntary reduction, offering severance packages with benefits.Company spokesperson Michelle May tells TV-5 the number of jobs that will be cut depends on how many people take the voluntary package.But, she says it’s likely more than 100 people will permanently lose their jobs.Some workers at the plant were already on month-long furloughs.Workers at the meeting Wednesday say both salaried and hourly workers will be affected.They preferred not to appear on camera in the hopes they won’t be laid off.May says they won’t know until the end of the week exactly how many positions will be cut – leaving folks in Pittsfield with questions.”Say you’ve been at the same job for 21 years. How do you pick up and go from that?” asks Charlotte Astbury, of Pittsfield. “There’s not too many big businesses left in this town. Where will they go? That’s the question.”GE spokesperson May says the layoffs come after the company tried every other cost-saving measure.
A two-day auction of high-end firearms and memorabilia in Fairfield reportedly generated sales totaling nearly $11.4 million.About 100 bidders and spectators showed up for the final day of the sale at the James D. Julia Inc. auction house.A highlight was the sale of 40 lots from the Colt firearms collection of Pennsylvania businessman Joseph A. Murphy.Murphy’s collection has been described as the finest, gun for gun, ever tocome to auction. Two other auctions that will include rare piecesfrom Murphy’s collection are scheduled for October and next March.
With new tax tables on the books the federal government could be giving you a little extra cash to spend. Available for tax years 2009 and 2010 the “Making Work Pay” tax credit will give back 6.2% of a taxpayer’s earned income with a maximum credit of $800 for married couples and $400 for others. However, everyone isn’t eligible to receive the money as it is phased out for higher income taxpayers. Many higher income taxpayers will see little to no change to their take-home pay because the credit is aimed at Americans who are married and filing jointly who make less than 150-thousand in earned income each year. Individuals whose modified adjusted gross income of more than 75-thousand will see less as well. The tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is not to be confused with last year’s one time economic stimulus payment. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says since employers and payroll companies will handle this chance, people typically won’t need to tak any additional action. However, the IRS does suggest people who have multiple jobs to revise their W-4 Form to make sure enough federal money is being withheld. If you are eligible and haven’t seen a change in your paycheck it may be because your employer hasn’t switched tax tables yet. Employers have until April 1 to make the change.
An Ellsworth businessman is being accused of leaving customers, builders, and investors high and dry to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.The Attorney Generals office and the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection began investigating Erick Murphy and his company, Murphy Home Loans, last fall after getting complaints from several people.Cyndee Carroll was his partner in the Breezy Maples farm in Ellsworth. Carroll says she is losing everything she owns because Murphy failed to meet financial obligations:”When we started he told me that I would own the farmhouse next door. The business would pay the mortgage, that I would have all my lesson money but I would get a salary for running the stable, that I would never have to work off this farm again. The business would carry so I would be debt free. I’m not debt free. I don’t have a mortgage because the woman is going to foreclose.”Fourteen people and businesses are named in the notice of hearing filed by the attorney generals office. The accusations against murphy include denying clients access to records, transferring business funds to his own personal accounts and failing to repay investors.A hearing to consider sanctions will be held on March 30th. Murphy says there have never been any complaints against him until now. He says he plans to surrender his registration as a loan officer. Officials say it’s possible there are more people with similar complaints.They can contact the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at 1-800-332-8529.
G.E. Security in Pittsfield is cutting its workforce.About 430 people work at the G.E. plant.Spokesperson Michelle May tells TV 5 News it’s likely more than a hundred people will be let go.She says the layoffs come after a drop in sales and after they tried other cost-saving measures.Company officials met with employees today to ask for a voluntary eduction offering severance packages with benefits.May says they should know by the end of the week exactly how many jobs will be cut.
Husson University is moving forward with plans for a new law school. Students, faculty, and alumni gathered at Husson today to hear the exciting news. The University announced the first three faculty members for the law school they plan to open in Fall of 2010, including Michael Mullane as the founding dean.Husson’s program hasn’t received accreditation from the American Bar Association, but Mullane says they are seeking the state court’s approval. “What we’re asking the supreme judicial court to do is allow our students to sit for their bar, even though we are not an ABA accredited school.” The program is targeting those who want to practice law in Maine. Those involved hope it will help to fill a void the state is experiencing.”There’s a dearth of lawyers in Northern Maine, and something like only 20 percent of the lawyers practicing here are under 50. So our goal as far as this law school is concerned is that we’ve got legal services available for people, Bangor and north.” says Judy Potter, who will be a part time faculty member of the law school. When the program first begins they plan to cater to the working crowd. They’ll have classes at night and use existing facilities to house them.”We have a case study classroom in Kominsky Auditorium, we have several high tech classrooms where we can have interactive teaching if we want to bring in law professors online.” Says Bill Beardsley, President of Husson University.Even though the program is still about a year and a half from starting, they say there’s already been about 130 inquiries. Their first class will have about 40 students.Mullane says they will present their plans and curriculum to the court this summer and apply for program approval.After that he says they’ll shift full swing into promoting the new law school.
There is still time for young women to apply for the New Leadership Institute planned for this summer at the University of Maine.It’s being sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.The idea is to get college aged women interested in politics. Women who have already served in government will serve as the inspiration during the week-long institute in June.Students will be taught everything from networking to public speaking.It’s free to the 25 college students who will be accepted, but you need to apply by this Friday.Honorable Mary Cathcart, Co-Director of the Institute explains that undergraduate students are eligible to apply. “Either a college in Maine or a Maine student enrolled in a college out of state. We are not accepting grad students and we are not accepting high school graduates who have just graduated in June because we want them to have a year of college under their belt.To get an application or get more information go to their website: mcspolicycenter.umaine.edu/?q=NEWleadershipIf you can’t get the application in by Friday, you can give them a call at 581-1539, and let them know that you’re interested.
What do you get when you cross Maine’s most famous truck stop, with one of Maine’s most famous loggers? A pound of beef, or Dysart’s new “Bone Crusher” burger.”To me, it’s a great thing, you know not everybody has something named after them. Maybe a president or, you know, a famous star! I don’t feel like a famous star. I feel like the bone crusher.”Like it or not, the drivers from the Millinocket based Gerald Pelletier Logging, are becoming famous, thanks to the new discovery channel show, American Loggers. The latest perk to come out of their new found glory, is to be honored at the Mecca of maine truck stops, Dysart’s restaurant.”We decided that the big loads, the big amount of logging, and all the bigness of what this TV show is, needed a big burger to go with it.”Thus, the newest addition to the dysart’s menu was born say hello to the bone crusher.”The burger is one full pound of beef on a great big 7 or 8 inch roll, that’s totally loaded with everything.””I can’t even put it in to my mouth! Just looking at somebody eat that, I’m full just watching them eat it.”The bone crusher was inspired by one of the show’s newest stars, trucker Brian Nutting, aka, the real life bone crusher.”I can eat a lot…holy cow! that’s large!”Crusher, who got his name after hitting a moose with his rig on the Golden Road, says he’s still in awe of the show’s success, and he’s amused to share his name with a hamburger.”I just laughed, you know—it’s like, what’s next?”Dysart’s will also start carrying American Logger merchandise in the store next week.But this day was all about the burger.”It’s definitely gonna be 2 hands.”And as bone crusher sat down to try the “bone crusher”, someone had the audacity to ask him if he needed to cut it in half.”Do you want to cut it? Do I look like a little boy or an ice road trucker? argh!!!!!!”You can also find American Logger merchandise on the web at www.pelletierbrothersinc.com. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the American Loggers show yet, it airs Friday nights at ten o’clock.
A Waterville man accused of robbing a credit union in Madison last year has been indicted by a Somerset county grand jury. 21-year-old Michael Phillips allegedly walked into the Franklin-Somerset County Federal Credit Union last July with another male. Police say they were armed with a pellet gun. Phillips was tracked down in New York and brought back to Maine. He’s currently being held at the Somerset County Jail on $250,000 cash bail.
A movie about the work of troop greeters at Bangor International Airport has won an honorable mention in the documentary film category at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The 80-minute film, “The Way We Get By,” focuses on the lives of three of the troop greeters who have welcomed hundreds of thousands of troops as they passed through the airport on their way to and from overseas assignments. The film was directed by Old Town native Aron Gaudet. One of the greeters featured in the film is Gaudet’s mother. The festival’s awards ceremony was held Tuesday night.