Lincoln Council deadlocked over the First Wind TIF on Monday night.The councilors voted 3-3.First Wind has plans to build 40 wind turbines in the area.The TIF that was proposed would have been a 60 – 40 split in favor of First Wind.Stephen Clay, Town Council Chairman, says he’s not sure why the council deadlocked, but he says people in Lincoln seem to be in favor of the plan.Clay says it would be good for economic development in the area. “It generates revenue for the town. If we do TIF it we’re able to do some projects that if we normally did them we’d have to tax the tax payer to do them. This way the tax rate doesn’t go sky high doing these project.”Clay says some of the projects include general repairs to the town that would take place over 20 years.The Council is having another meeting later in the month to negotiate a different TIF.
It’s a tough loss for the folks in the Blue Hill area.Officials at Blue hill Memorial Hospital say financial problems are forcing them to close the obstetrics department.Last month, the board of trustees voted to close the department as part of an economic turnaround plan unless 600-thousand dollars could be raised to keep it open.Supporters raised a large amount of money, but they fell short of the goal.Interim CEO, Doctor Erik Steele says “it’s especially difficult to announce this closure given the tremendous efforts to save the program”.The unit is scheduled to close at the end of May.
Quick work by firefighters kept an a fire at a business in Orono from spreading to neighboring businesses.Around 9 Friday morning someone from the Curtis Law Firm on Main Street called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke coming from the basement of the building, where three apartments are located.Everyone managed to get out safely. By the time fire crews arrived, they could see heavy smoke pouring from the basement. Orono fire called in help from Veazie, Old Town and Bangor. They also shut down Main Street while they battled the flames.Lt. Hardison says the law office has some minor smoke damage, but two of the basement apartments have heavy smoke and fire damage. There was no fire damage to client files.The fire was out within about an hour.
A 25-year-old man was arrested after leading state police on a 27-mile chase that reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. Paul Coyne was arrested following the chase Thursday night from Sidney to Waterville and back to Augusta. Coyne, formerly of Hallowell, faces nearly a dozen charges and was in Kennebec County jail in Augusta. Among the charges against Coyne are reckless conduct with a motor vehicle, criminal speed and operating after suspension. The 1999 Pontiac Grand Am Coyne drove was reported stolen from Madison. The car was clocked on Interstate 95 in Sidney at 102 mph. The chase ended when Augusta police used spike mats to pop a tire.
A hair salon in Newport will be cutting hair for a cause on Monday. The stylists at the Hair Shack on the Moosehead Trail are sponsoring a Cut-A-Thon.That means all the money they get from hair cuts from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Monday will be given directly to Spruce Run, the local domestic violence shelter.They’ll also be selling pins and if you don’t want a hair cut, but you’d like to help, they’ll also be accepting donations.”It’s a big issue in this area. We lost somebody that we knew because of domestic violence, and I really feel strong for it and that’s why we’re doing it.”, says Ame Richards, owner of the Hair Shack.For more information on the Cut-A-Thon or to make an appointment, give the hair shack a call at 368-5501.
For the past five years, students at Brewer Middle School have hosted college kids from Japan.Tuesday 14 students from the other side of the globe were in the halls with the kids from Brewer.Going to classes with them and experiencing a day in the life of an American student like 7th grader Nicole Vieira.”It’s something different to do than to watch other people do it and it’s a good opportunity to talk to them.””I thought it would be really cool to have a Japanese Shadow follow me around for the day because they sound really interesting from what they said and they are, they’re actually really fun and they’re interesting to talk to.” said 7th grader Megan Pike.The Japanese students are in college and are just learning the English Language. The Brewer students are in middle school and speak no Japanese, but they were in class together all day.The students that were supposed to be at home, were the most nervous like Nicole.”Well I knew that they had to study a lot of English and I wanted them to like me and not be confused when I talk to them so I’m kinda like nervous in a way to meet them.”At Hirosaki University, the students are studying a variety of courses. One wants to be an English teacher, so she felt this program would give her a chance to practice what she has learned.”In Japan I have no chance to speak English, so I have to come and I have to experience in America so I decided this program.” said 21 year old Haruna Hanamaka.For the last few years, Brewer has been requested by the faculty at Hirosaki University. It teaches them a lot about what a day is like for a typical American student. The Brewer students also learn something new according to their math teacher Cathy Atwood.”I want the Brewer kids to realize that people from other cultures and other countries are people. Some of the students you talked to said they could never do this but seeing students who are doing this can give them the idea that may be they could do it, it’s not such an impossible task.”
Empty buildings are a sign of the times.A lot of local places where businesses used to be are vacant now.But the outlook may not be as bleak as you think, even with the economy the way it is.”The businesses that are here we want to take good care of them when they have some sort of an issue.” says D’arcy Main-Boyington, Brewers Director of Economic Development “We want to make sure that we’re one of the first phone calls they make, that they call us and say what can you do to help and we want to be at the table helping to resolve those issues so that they will stay and be strong and healthy in the future and grow here.”The city of Brewer did get involved with the negotiations to bring Beef O’Bradys to Wilson Street. It’s a chain of family oriented sports restaurants based primarily in Florida.There were some issues with the lending company that Brewer city officials helped new owner David Kennedy iron out.”Once that was finalized then it was the lease that was finalized it was fairly easy to negotiate cause with the economy they wanted to get somebody in here and it worked out well for both parties.”Kennedy recently moved back to Maine after living in Florida. He plans to be in this for the long haul.”A win for me would be to get this running real well and be financially stable so we can open up another way.”Kennedy continued “I’m hoping that this Beef’s is going to be the seed for the Northeast. It’s a great product, it’s a great concept and I think it’s going to go over well.”Beef O’Brady’s will fill the spot in Brewer vacated by Applebees. That’s not the only opening coming soon.In Bangor, things are already set for some new businesses to move in according to Rodney McKay, Bangor’s Director of Community and Economic Development.”In the old WalMart building, Lowe’s has a permit to demolish that building and start construction as soon as that relocation has taken place. Tractor Supply has permits to build on outer Broadway, Walgreen’s has a permit to build on Oak Street in the downtown area.” McKay added “There has been an awful lot of activity recently and I don’t know if we’re going to keep up that same level, you know 200 million dollars of new development a year in the future, the last two years have been really outstanding and we’d like to keep that up but it would be highly unusual if we did.”According to Main-Boyington Brewer still wants to focus on building industrial employers that will provide long term jobs, so those workers will be able to visit the soon to be opened restaurants and retail shops.”We’re in the process of trying to build a new business park that would accommodate those businesses so that’s certainly down the road we don’t expect that will be done next year, we’d like it to be done in the next two to three years.”David Kennedy expects to open Beef O’Brady’s on March 24th. It’s the first restaurant of it’s kind north of Virginia.
Signs of the recession are all around us from people losing their homes and jobs to big losses in the stock market.One blatant sign that’s of concern to local officials is the number of vacant businesses.Those empty buildings, with no business being created, no employees earning a paycheck, are a concern for economic planners in Maine, but it’s not the only thing that keeps them up at night.”Empty buildings are always a source of concern.” Says D’arcy Main-Boyington Brewer’s Director of Economic Development. “I think that with the retail and big box type stores the biggest concern is the perception because to go by and it’s very visible. Those are on well travelled roads and so those buildings are very visibly empty where as a building in an industrial park where there are manufacturers may not be as visible to the public but they cause me more stress I guess because it’s more damaging to the local economy.”One of the problems when it comes to businesses closing in Maine is that it’s not something that can be fixed locally. It’s happening everywhere.The goal is to fill those empty spaces quickly.” We get concerned when it happens” says Rod McKay Bangor’s Director of Community and Economic Development. “And we don’t like to see it happen but generally we don’t have to be concerned for very long before the building’s reoccupied.”McKay continued “The closures you’ve seen have been industry. Circuit City has closed all their stores so it’s not just what’s going on in Bangor, it’s what’s going on in the industry.”In Brewer, their approach is that if they take care of jobs in industry, the retail jobs will follow.”Actually what we do is spend our efforts and our finances to try to attract manufacturing and the value added businesses, not the retail and restaurant type businesses.” Says Main-Boyington “Our theory here is that if the economy is doing well, if we are putting money in people’s pockets through the value added type jobs, then people will have the money to spend on retail and restaurants.”The city of Bangor wants those empty buildings to be filled because that takes the tax burden off residents according to McKay.” Like any other organization our expenses are increasing and they way we can meet these increased expenses without raising the tax rate is by bringing in new development, so that new development the value of that is increasing the amount of tax money we have coming in and allowing us to keep our tax rate stable, so as not to put additional taxes onto property owners.”While neither city actively joins in the recruitment process of new businesses – they leave that up to the leasing companies – both city planners are willing to help, not only during start up of a new business, but says Main-Boyington throughout its lifespan.” We want to help them not only with the start up which is obviously a difficult time for a business but all the way through so we try to make sure that we maintain the relationships with our businesses and that we work on retention all the time and not just new start ups or expansions.”
Democratic legislative leaders in Maine are pushing a plan to lower the state income tax rate from 8.5% to 6.5%, while broadening the sales tax and raising some other taxes.Backers say it would shift more of the tax burden to out-of-state visitors, thus lightening the load on maine residents. Increases are proposed in the meals and lodging tax and the real estate transfer tax.Meanwhile, the author of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine says more than 60 legislators from both parties have signed on as co-sponsors.Democratic Senator Dennis Damon of Trenton said many legislators sought to have their names associated with the bill, prompting leadership to open it up to unlimited sponsorship. Normally, no more than 10 lawmakers can be listed as co-sponsors of a bill.The bill would make Maine the third state, after Massachusetts and Connecticut, to allow gay marriage. Maine law currently defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
FairPoint Communications wants to delay a scheduled $11,250,000 debt payment that’s due at the end of March.The company is asking Maine’s Public Utilities Commission to approve the payment hold off until June. It’s pledging to resume regular quarterly payments after that.FairPoint made similar requests to regulators in New Hampshire and Vermont.FairPoint chairman Gene Johnson told a local newspaper that the debt waiver is a one-time request and that operations will stabilize by summer.Johnson adds that a planned expansion of high-speed internet service is ahead of schedule.
A company in Auburn that manufactures automobile trunk liners is laying off 152 employees, or half its work force.Formed Fiber Technologies says the decision was prompted by the sharp drop in car sales.C.E.O. Mark Bennett said Thursday that workers who remain on the job also face sacrifices. He said there will be no raises, 401k matches will be dropped, and everyone will have to take a week off without pay each quarter.Bennett said Formed Fiber Technologies is taking steps to ensure its survival so that laid-off workers can be called back when the economy picks up.
The folks at Kiss 94.5 got talking about the Children’s Miracle Network on Thursday – it’s their annual Radiothon, live from the Bangor Mall.One hundred percent of the money they raise in this three-day event goes toward medical equipment and therapy for local children.And the need is great. Nearly 150-thousand children received services last year. All the money stays here in eastern Maine, helping the EMHS network of hospitals provide kids with the life-saving care they need.”Without that network,” says Healthcare Charities President Michael Crowley, “young families would have to go to Boston, or well outside their hometown network, in order to receive certain treatments and certain care.””It’s really simple,” says Mandy Exly of Kiss 94.5. “Thirty cents a day and you can help save the life of kids right here in Maine.”The Radiothon runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Bangor Mall’s center court.If you’d like to donate, you can call 1-888-499-5437.
In tough times, the entire family can feel the effects of a job loss or a financial struggle, but for those touched by domestic abuse, the pains of a bad economy can run much deeper.”I think our economy has made people who are already perpetrators do this more and worse and it has made a few people who might not otherwise have been as violent, be more violent.” Says, Francine Stark, Training Coordinator at Spruce Run.She adds, an abuser’s way of thinking stems from the need for control.”Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior, of coercive behavior, that may or may not include physical violence. But it’s the perpetrator using this to have control over their partner, over their children, and their family.”She says some may use tough financial times as an excuse to lash out.”People that have a pattern of being abusive, in these times, it’s another excuse for them to use all the kinds of tactics they’ve been using before or get even worse.”Stark says the struggling economy and bad job market is also making it more difficult for those in an abusive situation to get out.”Many of the victims of abuse are losing their jobs and losing their hopes for plans they have to try to get away to make things better.”Stark explains, one good thing is that, despite the bad economy, there are still places victims can go to get help.”We still have a legal system in place that serves to assist people in extending their safety. Law enforcement is going to be just as responsive to people who are abusive in these times as before these times.”Spruce Run is still able to operate on a 24 hour basis and help people find the resources they need.For more information on domestic abuse or to get help, you can contact Spruce Run by calling their 24 hour hotline at 1-800-863-9909 or visit their website at www.sprucerun.net.
Are you tired about the high cost of energy?Worried about chemicals and other things found in your food?You’re certainly not alone…In fact, there’s a growing number of people who are taking things into the own hands and living more like our ancestors did…. Tonight we’ll meet a couple from Hancock who are among those that are getting back to the basics..and watch out for the stampede. Okay we’re going to get your supper. Gonna get your supper…Welcome to the three pines bed and breakfast in Hancock… Not a typical b and b….ed and Karen Curtis are retired engineers who worked in the aerospace industry…back in the early 1990′s the couple decided they had enough of working in an office and decided to move to maine. I wanted to stay home…. I like the outside part of it. Working outside after sitting at a desk for so long under flourecent lights”…What they’ve done is create a place that others dream about… They grow their own vegetables which the eat all year long… They make maple syrup, honey, raise chickens for eggs and sheep for their fleece”.. once a year we have the sheep shorn. And Karen washes it and I cant it and then spin it. She also has taken it down to fiber festivals and sold some fleece”..And when they learned how much it was cost to run electricity to their home the Curtis’ decided to invest in solar power—something ed has always been interested in.. Now, they’re completely off the grid… They generate enough power to run their home and b and b… They even have a solar panel that runs the water pump and lights in the barn… so we try to be as self sufficient as possible”..”was that a goal of yours”?”i think so. It kinda came together that way”… I haven’t bought a vegetable in quite a few years”….”that’s gotta feel good”…”you know exactly what you’re getting. We grow organicly although we’re not certified. We know exactly what’s going into the soil so we know what we’re getting out. I save as much seed as I can from the vegetables so I know where that’s coming from”…You might think that it would take a lot of hard work to live the way they do, and you’d be right…but the Curtis’ wouldn’t have it any other way… They know where their next meal is coming from, they live environmentally friendly and they do it in one of the most beautiful spots around… Not surprising why so many people want to get back to the basics… I just like getting out and doing the physical part of it. I feel better. Feel more healthy”You can visit our website to see this story again and to find links to websites that can help you get back to the basics…You’ll find information that will help you grow a better garden along with information on a rebate program for those who buy solar power equipment here:University of Maine Cooperative ExtensionGarden InformationSolar PowerThe pines bed and breakfast
The Brewer Housing Authority has gotten a grant for nearly $50,000 that aims to make their residents more self sufficient.The money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will support the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.It helps residents in Brewer’s Public Housing set goals for education, jobs and home ownership. Then gives them the resources to help them achieve them.Brewer Housing Authority Executive Director Gordon Stitham says the program is important. “You’re taking someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to either go on to school or to better themselves as far as education, better themselves as far as getting some assistance for childcare, so they can go on to work.”Stitham says they’ve been offering this program for the past several years and its been a success.In the past year, six tenants have moved out of public housing and into their own homes.
It sure doesn’t feel like it now, but before you know it, August will be here, as will the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.Organizers say the look of the event will remain the same but there will be some schedule changes and a new twist to raise money for the event.”The 2009 American Folk Festival is going to continue the tradition of providing a world class cultural and musical experience for the people of this region.”Organizers of the American Folk Festival have been busy making plans for this year’s event.”People can anticipate the majority of the festival to be just like last year…with a whole new lineup of performers.”Eight of the planned 22 acts were announced this week.”Blue grass is one of the major traditions that is very important to our audience…so this year we’re bringing Danny Paisley and Southern Grass up from the Virginia area our stage.””From Quebec city, a quintet of singers who go by the name of *Les Charbonniers de L’enfer.””We have a 300 year old dance tradition that’s Indian.””This will be the first year that we’ve been able to present Brazilian music.”Along with new acts like Cherish The Ladies, from Ireland, and Lil Ed and Blues Imperials, Reggae from Clinton Fearon and traditional Cajun music from The Lost Bayou Ramblers, organizers have added a fundraiser to the mix.The “festival countdown concert”, will be held May 16th at the Collins Center for the Arts, in Orono.Organizers say it costs over a million dollars to put on the folk festival.They are hoping the event, featuring the Acadien ensemble Vishten, and blues group Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy, will raise almost 40 thousand dollars for the cause, and help keep admission to the event free.”One of the primary goals of our festival is to make sure that we can do this as a celebration of culture, music, and community, without having to do something that we feel would change the nature of this festival…so it’s very important to us that we maintain the festival as an event that does not require an admission fee.”The American Folk Festival is scheduled to take place August 28th, 29th and 30th.
Kids at elementary schools all over Maine are getting excited about reading this week.It’s all part of a national promotion called “Read Across America.”Amy Erickson has more.bite 3: “a lot of people think kindergarten is too early but that’s actually where the window of opportunity is. Kids are sponges at this age and can just take right off.”These kindergarteners at the Garland Elementary School love reading…and it shows…bite 11: ‘here comes the yellow power ranger.”Not only are they reading on their own…they’re even writing stories!Their teacher, Kelly Gay, knows how crucial it is to instill a love of reading early on…bite 1: “especially in kindergarten is when it’s very important to get kids to not only want to be read to but to be excited about learning to read and this is just one way to get them excited.”bite 4: “i read at home and in school.”On Thursday, as part of “read Across America” week, Gay invited guest readers into the classroom…including yours truly…bite 10: “let’s get a pet, said jack one day. I promise i’ll look after it.”bite 2: “they have to listen to me read 4-5 times a day so to have someone else come in…i’ve had community members, my parents…they’re glued to it when someone else is reading.”Sheriff’s Deputy Sean McCue also took a turn in the reading chair…(nats of McCue reading)bite 8: “it’s good for us to come here because reading is part of learning and it gets the kids to meet us in their environment so they’re more comfortable with us.”bite 9: “it’s always fun and the questions very rarely have to do with the book, but that’s ok, too.”Riley Thompson told us why she loves books.bite 5: “sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re fun, sometimes they make you learn stuff.”Her classmate, Blake Thompson, has a different reason.bite 7: “um…the pictures.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Garland.
A caretaker on Mount Desert Island got a big surprise on Tuesday.Police say the caretaker went to check on a summer residence in the Pretty Marsh section of Mount Desert after getting a report about an alarm going off.They say that when he arrived a man was still inside the home.43-year-old James Grindel is being charged with burglary.Authorities say Grindel confronted the caretaker and rammed the caretaker’s car several times with his own vehicle while he was leaving.Grindel was eventually arrested in Tremont.Police say more charges are possible.
True Textiles has been hit with more layoffs in recent days.Employment at the three plants in Guilford and Newport has reportedly dropped over the past several months from about 650 to between 450 and 500.90 workers were laid off in January, and operating hours were subsequently reduced from three shifts to two to help put production in balance with sales.True Textile, whose three plants were formerly known as Interfacefabric inc. and Guilford of Maine respectively, says it has no plans to close the Maine operations.
The fate of the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital’s obstetrics unit is still up in the air.The hospital was headed for bankruptcy when they started tightening belts back in December.To start the hospital cut 30 positions, then the board of trustees voted in February to cut the OB department unless supporters could raise $600,000 by March 10th.Efforts fell short of that goal, but they did raise a significant amount of money. Now supporters are waiting to see what happens. “I think there’s a lot of people within the Hancock County area that use Blue Hill, and I think they’re probably a lot of anxiety knowing they would have to travel the extra distance to Bangor.” A former patient of Blue Hill Memorial told TV5 on Wednesday.Hospital officials say the state owes Blue Hill Memorial $3,000,000 in payments.Dr. Erik Steele did meet with the obstetrics staff on Tuesday and thanked them for their hard work and congratulated them on raising the money for the program.Dr. Steele then began planning for the next fiscal year in budget meetings.They say the economic stimulus monies that are part of the Mainecare settlement will be included in discussions, but they need to analyze all the information before finalizing the budget.The administration of the hospital will be looking at whether the stimulus money and the funds raised by the staff will be enough to preserve the OB department for another year.