Governor John Baldacci has ordered a partial payment of $45 million to Maine hospitals on a years-old debt totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for services rendered under the Medicaid program.The order enables the state to use $45 million in federal stimulus money to leverage additional federal money that will provide hospitals with a payment totaling $163 million.Baldacci has proposed an additional state payment of $57 million that, combined with federal matching money, will provide hospitals with nearly $211 million.
Maine potato farmers say their partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has saved them millions of dollars over the last several years.Potato farming is one of the top agricultural commodities in Maine, bringing in more than half a billion dollars to the state.And growers, like Steven Crane of the Crane Brothers farm in Exeter, say the key to growing a healthier, more substantial crop is knowing how to manage the fields.Thanks to technology, and help from Cooperative Extension’s Potato Integrated Pest Management Program, farmers like crane have a better idea of when to treat their crops.By collecting information through weather stations like this one, and sharing that information with local farmers.”We used to heat by calendar, not by science. Now we’re using science to help us determine when to apply the products at the correct times.”Crane says his farm has been working with the cooperative extension for more than twenty years.He says farmers who haven’t taken advantage of the resource, are missing out.Crane’s farm produces 13-hundred acres of potatoes, supplying them to Frito Lay.
It’s priced at a million dollars, and will alter the face of downtown and the flow of traffic in Bangor.But for one local merchant being displaced by this new construction project, the change will be bitter sweet.Cori Skall has the story.”If you’re coming in Main Street toward town, there’s a very sharp right hand turn, and then a quick left hand turn on to Railroad and then Summer St.””What the project would do is to take that same traffic, and reroute it up to Cedar St. It’s a much more gentle and easy transition to get over on to Summer St.”City engineer, Jim Ring, says this plan to re-work the Summer Street, Cedar Street area, has been in the works for several years, since around the time of the first Folk Festival.”We have, you know, a lot more interest in Railroad St. and the waterfront area…this will separate traffic from pedestrian movement and anything down there.”The construction, run by the Maine DOT, will also create an additional lane coming in to town.The million dollar project will likely begin right after this year’s Folk Festival.”It’s gonna be sad to see it go down, but we’ll survive.”Teresa Wong owns Smith’s Ceramics on Main Street.She says her family and business have been there since the 1950′s.The new plans call for the demolition of their building, which means they will have to relocate.But Wong says the Maine DOT has been more than helpful with that effort.”The state, you know, helps out with the relocation. We’d need new checks, and business cards, etc. They’d help out with that and advertising.”The Wongs say they hope to find a space downtown to live and run their business.Ring says the project could be completed by the end of November.”This clearly has some real advantages, both for the traffic movement, but also for the type of use and activity on the waterfront area. I think it’s a good positive step.”Cori Skall, WABI TV 5 News.
Former Bangor mayor Richard Green was in court again today. Green was arrested for OUI on two separate occasions last week. He’s also charged with violating the conditions of his bail twice. Today in court, bail was set once again for Green. He posted the $500 cash and was released.
The man accused of stabbing a woman at a Bangor coffee shop Monday morning is now facing charges of attempted murder.32-year-old Jason Dean was in court today in Bangor. He’s also charged with aggravated assault.Officials say he went into Java Joe’s, walked up to a woman, and cut her neck with a knife.Dean then left the coffee shop. Bangor Police caught up with him on Franklin Street.The owner of Java Joe’s tells TV-5 it was his niece that was stabbed. He says she is seven months pregnant.She was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. We’re told she is fine.Bail was set for Dean at 50-thousand dollars cash…He is being held at Penobscot County Jail.He’s scheduled to appear in court again on May 1-st.
The daffodils might not be blooming in your yard yet but they’ll be popping up at businesses around the state this week.The flowers for the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days fundraiser have arrived in the area.Boxes were being unloaded from a tractor trailer at the Brewer AuditoriumInside each one, you’ll find a little bit of sushine, and a whole lot of hope.”How many flowers have you sold, so far this year? A lot, I couldn’t begin to tell you”, responds Mike Hart, Community Executive for Development with the American Cancer Society.More than 10,000 daffodils have already been sold to folks in the area. It’s part of a big fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In fact, $200,000 have been raised so far this year throughout the state.”The money we raise goes to programs, research, education, all the patient services we provide in the area.”The flowers will now be wrapped in bunches, then on Thursday, they’ll be delivered to the folks who’ve ordered them.A beautiful way to brighten your day, knowing you’re helping in the fight against cancer.”it’s a good cause, great flower, spring’s around the corner, everybody is waiting for it. Kind of a good day today, getting the word out.”If you didn’t pre-buy the daffodils you can still pick some up.They’ll be available for sale at Paradis Shop N Save in Brewer on Wednesday. On Thursday, they’ll be sold at Bookstack, Curves and True Value in Bucksport and Seabreeze on Verona Island.A bunch of flowers will cost you $10.
A Bangor man charged with setting a fire in Brewer in September of 2007 was found not guilty today in Penobscot County Superior Court.The defense called a witness that said 26 year-old Brian Pelletier was on the phone with him at the time, and therefore could not have set the fire.They also presented an alternative suspect, who took the stand today. However, he testified he was not involved and presented an alibi.The jury deliberated for about an hour before returning the not guilty verdict.Mike Roberts, Deputy District Attorney says,”You can never tell what part of the evidence the jury is looking at most strongly. I felt good about the way our case came in. The Fire Marshal’s office did a really good job investigating this.”Roberts says it appears the alternative suspect theory was enough to create reasonable doubt.
A patch of ice played a role in a car crash that sent three people to the hospital in Bangor last night. The accident happened just before 9pm on route 2 near the Hermon town line. Police say 40-year-old Richard Spreng of Hermon hit a patch of ice and lost control. His vehicle drifted into the opposite lane and crashed head on with a car driven by 30-year-old Brock Robinson of Bangor. Edward Rowe(60) of Bangor was in Robinson’s car. All three men were rescued from the wreckage and taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with injuries.
A Sunday night fire in Glenburn was an accident.So says the state fire marshal’s office.State Fire Investigator Tim York says combustibles placed too close to a heater is what caused a workshop fire on the Hudson road. The shop was destroyed, but firefighters were able to keep the fire away from the home, located just 20 feet away.
The beginning of one of the most beautiful times of the year in Maine is just a few weeks away, which means wedding season isn’t far behind. Every year, thousands of couples choose to tie the knot in Maine – whether they live here or not.And figuring out your wedding budget can be stressful. Especially since the knot.com says the average wedding costs about 28-thousand dollars. But there’s no need to worry.Chelsey Anderson spoke with a bride-to-be and a wedding planner that assured her it doesn’t matter whether you’re dreaming of having a Cinderella wedding or an intimate wedding on the coast you can follow a budget.”You don’t have to spend a phenomenal amount of money to make a beautiful wedding.”Coleen Perkins from Coleen’s Fairytale Weddings says you can pull together a very nice wedding with under 35-hundred dollars, while still choosing a major emphasis on your dress, or your photographer.”You can just have simple decorations, simple table coverings, centerpieces, candles… There’s a lot of ambience with just candles.”Fouth of July Bride-to-be Kacie Hutchinson and her family have run into some difficulties following their vague budget. “We just kind of set an arbitrary budget because we really didn’t know how expensive a wedding is. And there were a couple things that were high on the priority list that were a little more than we had planned for, so the budget expanded just a little bit.”Coleen reminds brides-to-be, like Kacie, that when you are working with vendors they are usually willing to work with your budget, because they love what they do.”Don’t be afraid to ask them for a discount. A lot of them will say where you are doing X amount of dollars with me then I’ll give you a 10 to 20% discount off the top.”Kacie and her mom, Karen, found that even the time of a wedding can make a difference on vendor pricing. “We were actually afraid, being on a holiday, that it might be a little more expensive. But where it is in the morning vendors were willing to work with us.” “Like the DJ was willing to make a deal because it was a morning wedding and he could still do an evening event.Kacie said that for her wedding prioritizing is the key.”Decide what you want to spend the most money on and then work your budget around that.”The Mother-of-the-Bride says Kacie’s always been good about looking for a deal. “One of her first words was sale. So since a little child she knew that we only bought things on sale.” And it holds true today….”It’s about shopping deals, shopping sales.The after Christmas, after Valentine’s Day sales are very helpful. Local stores or chain stores will have 50% off coupons. Mom and I will go in and will each have the 50% off coupon and will each buy on item for 50% off!”And Coleen reminds us, that you don’t have to go into debt or have your parents take out a second mortgage for a beautiful wedding. Stick to the budget, do things yourself if you can and then… “All they’ve got to do is sit and worry about being a beautiful bride.”In part two we’ll walk down the aisle of a do-it-yourself wedding. How to do your own flowers, favors, and some alternatives to catering in order to create your dream wedding without going into debt.
Children who witness domestic abuse or its aftermath are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Others can suffer from behavioral problems, as well as increased drug and alcohol abuse. Those numbers are disheartening, but thankfully, they don’t represent all kids who’ve lived through a domestic violent situation. Organizations like Spruce Run out of Bangor are doing their best to make sure children aren’t just surviving their ordeal, they’re overcoming it. Joy Hollowell concludes her special report on children of domestic violence.************ “When anyone hears about domestic abuse, they think about the children first. And how is this impacting the children,” says Francine Stark. Francine Stark is the training coordinator for Spruce Run in Bangor. The organization helps people, including kids who are affected by domestic violence. “Our focus on kids from the very first minute we meet them is to try to help them feel as safe as possible,” says Stark. Stark says even if an abuser leaves their children alone, they still suffer effects of domestic violence. “Kids are afraid, what’s going to happen? They’ve heard their other parent sometimes threaten to kill them, or I’m going to take the kids and you’ll never see them again. Unfortunately, abusers use children as pawns, they don’t allow children to have that kind of predictability, stability sense of safety and choice that they deserve,” says Stark. Spruce Run works to give that back. “When we have groups going on for the parents, we have a group for the kids. The focus of the group with the parents is how am I going get through the day. The focus of the group with kids is, what can we do for fun,” says Stark. The whole idea, says Stark, is to give them a new focus, one that isn’t full of crisis. More importantly, it gives these kids a choice. “It’s important for us to know that our life experiences are our history, not our destiny.” This group is known as Stand Up Kids. They have all experienced some sort of domestic abuse in their young lives, which is why we’re not showing their faces. “Most of them had come through our shelter and they’ve written sort of like a welcome to the shelter book for other kids to take about what it’s like to be here, how things were for them,” says Stark. The kids have also baked cookies for fire fighters, and visited seniors in nursing homes. “It’s a great way to sort of pay forward the good things that they’d had happen to them in their life and try to reach out to help others,” says Stark. Stark says she’s amazed at how many success stories comes out of Spruce Run. “Children love their parents, even if they’ve done something bad. But they want the bad behavior to go away. So they’re hopeful, but it’s a complicated ride. The important thing is that kids quickly come around when they’re in a circumstance where in fact they’re safe, safe people are available to them and they get the kind of support that they deserve,” says Stark.************************* If you are in an abusive situation, there is a statewide hotline number that you can call 24 hours a day. It’s 866-84 4help. Spruce Run also has a hotline. That number is 1-800-863-9909. On March 28th, Spruce Run is holding its annual silent auction and dessert party. It takes place at the Buchanan Alumni house at the University of Maine in Orono. Tickets are 15-dollars each. For more information, call 945-5102.
Police continue to investigate what appears to be a random stabbing at a coffee shop in downtown Bangor.Officers were called to Java Joe’s on Central Street just after 11 Monday morning.They say that 32-year-old Jason Dean went into the coffee shop, walked up to a female, and cut her neck with a knife.Dean then left the coffee shop. Police caught up with him on Franklin Street.He’s been charged with aggravated assault. More charges may be added later on.The victim did go to the hospital, but we’re told her injuries are not life threatening.Officials say that the victim did not know her attacker.
Folks travelling between Searsport and Houlton Tuesday morning may experience some delays.Two tractor trailers will be carrying wind turbines up to Canada.They will be escorted by state police.The caravan starts at 8 o’clock Tuesday morning on Route 1 in Searsport. They’ll be in Bangor mid-morning, then head North along I-95 to Houlton.
Opening a methadone clinic in a neighborhood can cause controversy. That’s why some Brewer city leaders want to head off the issue entirely.A team of city leaders recommended to the planning board Monday that Brewer modify its zoning, to regulate where narcotic treatment facilities could open – and where they’d be prohibited.”We ran into a situation several years back with adult entertainment, and we didn’t have an ordinance in place, and it caused the city quite a bit of heartbreak and headaches,” says Code Enforcement Officer David Russell.He says Brewer wants to stay ahead of what could be another controversial issue.Even though no methadone clinics have approached the city, he says they should have a zoning ordinance in place now.”Without an ordinance they can basically go anywhere they want to. We’re trying to keep this within the business district in the Wilson Street and Dirigo Drive corridor.”The ordinance includes a 250-foot restricted zone around schools in the area. One neighbor shared a concern Monday. “I’m just a property or two away. That’s the distance.”The city’s team researched case law and clinics in other towns before recommending the zoning change.”These treatment programs are for people who have the addiction they just can’t battle by themselves,” says Brewer Police Chief Perry Antone, “so, there is a place for them in our society.”Methadone clinics are federally protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”The clinics that have more of a holistic treatment approach, that have psychotherapy, and work with the clientele to rebuild life skills – in combination with the methadone therapy are typically more successful clinics,” says Brewer Police Lt. Christopher Martin.”Law enforcement,” says Antone, “holds people accountable who abuse these sort of programs.” All but one member of the planning board OK’ed the zoning change. The ordinance will go before the Brewer City Council at their meeting next month.
Legislative budget writers settled down to business after the ranking Republicans on the Appropriations Committee backed off previous GOP criticism of how details of a new $65 million Medicaid shortfall were released by officials of Democratic Gov. John Baldacci’s administration. Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, and Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, on Monday absolved Baldacci budget chief Ryan Low of withholding information and noted that any delay in making the shortfall disclosure to lawmakers was at least partially due to legislative scheduling. Not all Republicans, however, seemed satisfied. Majority Democrats on the committee, as well as Low and Human Services Commissioner Brenda Harvey, let the comments by Millett and Rosen go by with little reaction.
Maine’s seed companies say business is booming because of the tough economy and the growing interest in locally grown food. Joann Matuzas at Johnny’s Selected Seeds store in Winslow says home garden sales are up 50 percent. Winslow Agway True Value Owner, Brent Burger is seeing similar sales which are up 38 percent compared to last year. Seed shoppers tell TV5 News that it’s about savings, quality, and the satisfaction of growing their own food. Although Spring may be right around the corner Matuza and Burger agree to not get to ahead of yourself when it comes to planting early. They recommend sticking to the cold crops which include, lettuce, onion, eggplant, and peppers until Old Man Winter leaves Maine for good.
Police didn’t have to look far to find a woman accused of robbing a business in Biddeford Monday. She was found across the street ordering pizza.It was just after noon Monday when police say 48-year old Mary Gorsuch walked into Paul’s Variety Store. She threatened to “blow the clerks head off” if she didn’t hand over money. After getting what she wanted, the clerk says she watched as Gorsuch walked across the street to a pizza parlor. Se was arrested at that same pizza shop a short time later. Gorsuch was on federal probation for a previous robbery when she was arrested Monday. She once lived in Brewer, and was convicted of robbing the Fleet bank in downtown Bangor in 2002.
The University of Maine system needs to trim about 43-million dollars in its budget for the next four years..Chancellor Richard Pattenaude recently put together a 12-member task force to work on that.That panel has been holding open forums on U-maine campuses to get suggestions on how to close the gap.An update on those meetings was presented to the Board of Trustees in Bangor Monday.The board is focusing on many cost-cutting options, including staffing and academic and structural changes.It’s also looking for ways to increase money coming into the U-maine system. “We’re struggling with trying to make reductions in the middle of a fiscal year in order to try and break even by the end of the fy ’09. And we’re not really sure that we’ve seen the end of the problem even in the current fiscal year,” says Rebecca Wyke, Vice Chancellor for the UMaine Finance and Administration office.The task force wraps up their open forums Tuesday, at the Lewiston -Auburn College and University of Southern Maine.Recommendations will be given to Chancellor Pattenaude in June.
Between Friends Art Center in Brewer is celebrating its second year in business this month.It opened soon after the owner’s husband, lost his job.Joy Hollowell tells us how the Marceron family turned bad luck into a business venture.”It’s amazing to me that we were able to take an empty building that hadn’t had anything done to it for so many years,” says Tracey Marceron.And turn it, into this. Between Friends Art Center is the vision of Tracey Marceron. She had wanted to start something like this for years. Then, Tracey’s husband, Dave was laid off from the Georgia Pacific mill in Old Town.”I just said, you know, I’ve got to take some kind of control here over what we’re going to be able to retire on. So we took our life savings and a lot of faith and hope that this would work out,” says Tracey Marceron.The Marcerons say it was the worst and best time to start a business. “When you hit rock bottom with your finances, you gotta start somewhere,” says Dave Marceron.Tracey enlisted the help of a business advisor in Bangor. The service was free and she learned a lot. “We started off with an original business plan and that grew and changed and we added a lot of things, we dropped some things from the original business plan. We just crossed each bridge as we came to it. We opened the gift shop first, and started getting a little income from that, we built the dance studio two months later, we built the theater a month and a half after that,” says Tracey Marceron.And Tracey is not done yet. Plans for a lunch cafe inside the Next Generation Theater are now in the works. “I think the key to surviving in a bad economy is have a lot of branches on one business. If I had just relied on the gift shop, I’d be in big trouble right now,” says Tracey Marceron.Tracey’s husband as well as her two daughters help run the place. The family is extremely fortunate their business is actually growing during this tough economy, but Tracey has also learned what kind of toll it takes personally. “In the last two years, I have probably only had 15 days off. I work about 90 hours a week and for the whole first year, I paid myself 50 cents an hour. So if you think that you’re going to get rich by starting your own business, you have to love what you’re going to try and you have to be willing to get 0 in return for at least a couple of years. I now make $1.50 an hour,” says Tracey Marceron.For more information on Between Friends Art Center, including what’s going on at the Next Generation Theatre this month, you can log onto www.betweenfriendsartcenter.com or call them at 989-7100.You can also catch Tracey Marceron every Monday morning on the TV 5 morning show. Her weekly arts and crafts segment air during our 6:30AM half hour.
A teacher from Hampden Academy is asking his students to travel back to Ancient Rome, and his lesson plan has won an award from Google.Google Earth developed 3-D software to allow folks to navigate the streets of Rome as they looked around 300 AD.Then they sponsored a contest, asking teachers to develop a curriculum around the program.Latin Teacher Ben Johnson submitted his idea and won. He’s asking his student to choose an ancient Roman, then find ten places in the city that can be used to explain themes about that person.Johnson says the lessons get more kids interested in the class. “Instead of just reading about the places in Rome, or reading about their historical character, they’re actually manipulating parts of the city. They’re finding information on their own, which is always good, then they’re taking it and putting into something that is different than just writing a paper.”Johnson won a new laptop, with a 3-D navigational Mouse, a projector, and a digital camera, all things that will help him in his classroom lessons.Plus, he got a Target gift card, that he says he’ll use for diapers. He and his wife are expecting a baby.