Maine is expanding its program to put a computer on the lap of students to include all 7th through 12th graders.The education department announced on Wednesday that the state is negotiating a four-year lease with Apple inc. for 100,000 laptops.That’s enough for all students and staff.The price tag would reportedly be about $25,000,000 per year.Maine kicked off its first-in-the-nation program by distributing more than 30,000 computers to each 7th and 8th grader in public schools in 2002 and 2003. About 30 high schools also have laptops: now the remaining 100 or so public high schools would get them.
Two school departments voted on Wednesday night to each close a school.School officials in Augusta unanimously voted to close Hodgkins Middle School, and the Brunswick School Board voted unanimously to close Hawthorne Elementary School.The Augusta School Board cited budget constraints for the closure of Hodgkins, or the district could have ended up laying off some teachers.
Hundreds of high school students put pencil to paper today – it’s math meet time.In our part of the state, 31 teams from 18 high schools gathered at Bangor High School for the Eastern Maine Regional Math Contest.It’s the last meet of the year, and we hear the questions are tough.Joshua Scripture has been the captain of the Bangor Red Team – one of the top teams in the state.As a senior, this is his last math meet ever. He says that means it’s a bittersweet competition.”I look back at all the great memories I have,” Scripture says. “These math meets may seem kind of weird for some people – that math meets would be fun – but it’s a blast for a lot of people.”He says along with hanging out with his friends, he likes the chance to tackle truly challenging problems you just don’t see in class.
There are more than twelve hundred people living in Maine with HIV. Even rural areas aren’t immune. Organizers of a panel discussion at Colby College Wednesday hope that by talking about it, they can help prevent more cases.”It’s fallen out of the headlines,” says Sean Douglas, with HealthReach Harm Reduction. “We don’t see red ribbons at the Oscars anymore.”But HIV isn’t going away, and there are people living with the disease all over the state.”Traditionally, I think people will think of HIV as something gay men get or injection drug users get. But women are the one of the fastest-growing groups that are contracting HIV in the U.S.,” says Eliza Quill, with HealthReach Harm Reduction. That’s why she says the focus of Wednesday’s panel discussion was women, living with HIV in Maine.”I thought my life was over,” says one panelist.”People just don’t realize it. Especially in Maine…we have 1243 people living with HIV in Maine – but that’s only the people who have tested positive in Maine,” Quill says.She estimates there are an additional three to four hundred people in Maine with HIV who don’t know they have it – and that’s cause for concern.”Because it tends to be the folks who don’t know what their HIV status is who will end us spreading it unknowingly,” Douglas says.Quill says there are more than 56,000 new infections in the U.S. every year. “A third of those are women, and half are under the age of 25,” she says.Organizers hope to de-stigmatize HIV, and promote safety first. They say a quick, 20-minute test can tell you your status.”It’s just an oral swab, we don’t do blood tests anymore,” Douglas says.They’re hoping that, by talking about it, they can get past what people use to think about HIV.”This notion that, it’s not in my family, it’s not in my neighborhood, it’s not in my community,” Douglas says, “when in all actuality it’s touching all aspects of Maine.”For more information and local resources, you can go to: www.HIVtest.org
It’s wasn’t a beautiful spring day, but that didn’t stop Gov. John Baldacci from participating in an annual event that serves as a harbinger of spring. Baldacci was joined on a rainy Wednesday by Lyle Merrifield, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association, as he tapped a maple tree on the lawn of the Blaine House.Maine Maple Sunday is fast approaching. The event, scheduledeach year for the fourth Sunday of March, will be held on March 22. Baldacci noted that maple syrup is a multi-million dollar industry with licensed producers creating 215,000 gallons of syrup last year.
For many generations people had to work hard to live…They raised much of their own food, made their own clothing and anything else they had to do to get by….Now, it appears that more people are getting back to the basics…The troubled economy and concerns about the food we eat are driving factors…We decided to see how some Mainers are becoming more self sufficient… Bob Cataan is a man who trully does wear many hats… A pharmacist by profession—bob is also a farmer, a timber harvester and veteranarian. I like the animals that are really big. They’re big enough to kinda scare you. Bob didn’t grow up with farm animals, but they’re certainly a big part of his life now.. When he’s not tending to the cattle or other critters–he can be found doing any of the scores of jobs that keep him busy…Bob is among a growing number of people who are getting back to the basics… They’re raising more of their own food and using the environment to not only save money, but to also give them peace of mind… I don’t think it was a cost savings measure, but the quality of food is dramatic compared to the grocery store. You know where everything comes from. You know what it was fed. You know what went into it regarding medicine…He’s certainly not alone… The city of Portland recently passed an ordinance that allows residents to have up to 6-hens at their homes… One of several Maine communities that have done so… There are also some people who still harvest ice during the winter like these folks in northern Maine. It will be used all summer long to keep food from spoiling and drinks nice and cold…”you might ask yourself, “what possesses grown men and women to venture out in 33 degree below zero weather to cut chucks of ice out of a frozen lake?” for the owner of several sporting camps it’s, in the words of Hank Williams Jr. A family tradition”..Family is also a big reason why bob Cataan has created his little farm.. He says you may save a little money raising your own food—once you make the initial investment for animals and equipment–but that’s not the reason he does it… He does it for his family. “do you like having animals at your house?””yeah” “why?” it’s so fun”.. they have more respect when they go to eat their dinner. At night they know what went into it from the beginning to the end. So when you leave extra you’re leaving all the extra work you did. And if there is anything extra, nothing gets wasted. It goes right back”…Just like out ancestors did … they didn’t have a choice. If you have an opportunity it’s a great way to show your kids how farm life is or how animals are and how to take care of them. Teach them some responsibility. It’s kinda a growing experience.
The first official day of spring is just around the corner, but with snow still covering the ground, Mainers have to go indoors to start their spring planting.”It’s really to extend our season, we don’t have enough days to grow many plants effectively.” Says Gleason Gray, a professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extention.To give your vegetables a good head start, you should let them germinate inside before transplanting them to your garden. But growing plants indoors takes more than just a green thumb.”The major factors are temperature, light, water, and the growing medium that you use to plant the seeds in.” Says Gray.He says a heating mat should be used to warm the soil to 70 degrees, growing lights should be put above the plants, and the best soil is a well-drained greenhouse mix. Once you have the right conditions, Gray says it’s just a matter of timing.”One of the earliest vegetable seedlings would be pepper plants which is 8 weeks before you plant it out, tomato plants are 6 weeks before you plant them out and then when you get to the vine crops it’s only 2 to 3 weeks.”He says the best time to plant vegetables outside is the end of May, so the earliest you should start planting inside is the beginning of April. He says it’s easy to see when a well-grown seedling is ready for transplant.”When it’s ready for transplant it will not be tall and streched, that means it’s had a enough light, it means it’s been grown at the right temperature, and it will have a good root system.”He says reading the back of the seed packages will help novice gardeners know how early to plant and what care is needed.For more information on growing seedlings indoors try these helpful links.â€¢University of Maine Cooperative Extension – free online newsletter for home gardeners. â€¢Marjorie Peronto, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has published a guide on starting seeds at home. â€¢University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers an extensive array of gardening information You can also call your local Extension office. In Penobscot County,the number is 800-287-1485 (in Maine) or 942-7396.
Many local businesses are struggling to survive in this tough economy.But some forward-thinking entrepreneurs have figured out how to use the web to drum up some serious business…for free!Amy Erickson has the story.”Everyone else was doing it and I had to keep up, essentially.”When Brett Slater first logged on to the social networks Facebook and Twitter, he had no idea how they could help his business. “I can live and maintain a lifestyle in Bangor Maine and I can still compete nationally, regionally and globally with a lot of guys who do what I do.”Slater’s company creates content for TV, radio and the web.Like others, he’s realized social networking is a great way to advertise your business for free.”If you’ve got a special at your store, you can tell people in the local community and who are following you about the specials at your store.”Kelly Cotiaux is a partner with Sephone Internet Solutions.She encourages all her clients to put their businesses on sites like Facebook and Twitter.She says it’s the easiest way to get your message out to huge numbers of people…and it doesn’t cost a penny.”Right now with the economy, this is a good time…if you somebody isn’t walking through your store, think of these ways to market yourself.””Facebook is exploding.” “The biggest growth is between 35 and 60 right now.””And that’s your customer! That’s the people that are out buying your products, learning about you and it’s a great way to do it, without feeling like someone’s in their face giving them a sales pitch.”Social networking has helped Paul Hilchey-Chandler bring in sales to Central Maine Wireless in Bangor.This past weekend, he let folks know about a special promotion.”I was posting that on my facebook status updates and putting out tweets on twitter.””Come in now, because it’s going to save you $30. And did it work? It worked!”Slater encourages other entrepreneurs to jump aboard the social networking train.”Without social networks, I’m limited to as far as I can drive in a day. But now, I have a home office, home studio, and I have a window to, essentially, the entire world, to do my business.”You can follow WABI TV5 on Twitter by clicking here.Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.
The Penquis agency in Bangor wants to make sure everyone that needs help with heating assistance, gets a chance to apply for it.The deadline to submit an application form LIHEAP assistance is April 30th.The folks at Penquis are encouraging people who have not applied, because they think they are not eligible, or they were previously denied, to apply again.They say the income guidelines for aid have been increased this year.People who were denied can re-apply if their financial situation has changed.To apply, just call your local community action program, or the Penquis fuel assistance line at 973-3630.You’ll need to set an appointment, and bring proof of household income, and the social security numbers and dates of birth for everyone in the home.
Folks from Blueberry Broadcasting and the Childrens Miracle network are gearing up for their yearly CMN radiothon.The three day event will kick off Thursday morning at 6-am.They’ll be set up at the Bangor Mall, center court in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods.Each year, the radiothon has helped raise money for CMN..The money collected will stay local, and go to buy medical equipment and therapy for more that 125-thousand kids who will need services this year.The event will run from 6am to 6pm Thursday and Friday…and from 10 to 4 on Saturday.
A group of maine farmers and religious leaders met in brewer today to show their support for the Employee Free Choice Act.Organizers say the act, which was introduced in the US House and Senate Tuesday, would put some key decisions in to the hands of employees…including the right to form, join and assist labor unions.Organic farmer Thomas Young of Bangor, says he’s joining with 24 area farms to endorse the act, saying it’s a good first step in securing rights for farmers.Reverend David Grainger from the Orono Methodist Church, says the act helps protect three key issues referenced in the Bible: preserving the dignity of the worker, the sanctity of the work place, and ensuring justice in the work place.”How can we guarantee the safety and quality and dignity of our own food, if the people who grow and produce it, are not provided safe and respectful and secure work environment? The employee free choice act will help us to achieve this goal.””Here, in 2009, we have a piece of legislation that actually specifically addresses many of these particular complaints, so this is why our church, and many in the Christian and interfaith communities support the employee free choice act.”>Senators Snowe and Collins have issued statements saying while they support workers rights to organize and bargain collectively, they opposed the act.Both believe the employee free choice act would jeopardize worker’s rights to remain protected when making crucial decisions affecting their jobs.
Seventeen year old Tim Kretschimer walked into his junior high school this morning and opened fire, killing 17 people. Among the dead are three teachers and 11 students. At least 6 others are injured. The shooting occurred in the down of Winnenden, just outside of Stuttgart. Police say that Kretschimer walked into a school classroom dressed in military gear and shot wildly for 2 minutes before running off. Police placed the town on lock down while they searched for the boy. Officials originally believed that they had shot and killed Kretschimer in a standoff, but it now looks like he took his own life.
State Police say Route 2 in Gilead, near the New Hampshire border, has been shut down because of a jack-knifed tractor trailer blocking the road Wednesday. The crash took place about 11:30 a.m. and troopers expect the shutdown will last until mid afternoon Wednesday. No one was injured and there was little damage to the big rig. The crash took place near the Bog Brook training area along the busy east-west highway and a number other tractor trailers are now stopped on the road because of the shutdown.
Cianbro in Brewer has been making huge pieces of equipment for an oil refinery in Texas for the past year.The barge that will take the first of those modules down the coast docked in Brewer Tuesday.Four of the modules will be loaded onto the barge in the next few weeks.The order calls for a total of 53 modules, totaling up to 9000 tons of steel, and 200,000 feet of pipe. “The workers can step back and look at the fruits of their labor and see it coming to life.” Cianbro’s General Manager Joe Cote told TV5 on Tuesday. “It’s pretty exciting for them and I couldn’t be any happier quite frankly.”The trip to Texas on the barge takes between two and three weeks.Besides the Brewer plant there are three other sites making parts for the oil refinery.
The Eastern Area Agency on Aging is holding a raffle from now until May offering a week of free meals from seven area restaurants.Raffle tickets are available at: Dino’s Pizza, 393 N. Main, BrewerPizza Oven, 33 Lincoln St., BangorEAAA offices, 450 Essex St., Bangoror call Ken Banks at 941-2871The Raffle drawing will be held on May 2nd, and the winner will be notified by phone that same day.
While you may think making a dollhouse is kidsplay, there are a couple of local ladies who would disagree.Miniaturist Ginger Graham and retired elementary school teacher, Jane Dopheide have been working on the “three story house” for nine years.The dollhouse was inspired by the stories and illustrations of Maine author, Barbara Cooney.The house features rooms from the stories, “Mrs. Rumphius”, “Emma” and “Island Boy”.The duo showed off some of their techniques, at a special talk Tuesday, at the Bangor Public Library.That’s where the house has been on display since February.The women say they still have a few finishing touches they’d like to add to the house, and that’s it’s been a fun challenge to create such a detailed miniature.There are cluster flies in the corner of one window, a mouse hole in the kitchen and even a miniature portrait of Cooney in the house.They debuted the house at one of the author’s favorite libraries, in Damriscotta, and when it’s finished it’s stay at the Bangor Public Library, the women say they’d like to take the house on a school tour.
Tuesday night Governor Baldacci talked about opportunities in energy, health care, education and economic development in Maine, in his annual State of the State address.As expected, he struck a hopeful tone, saying the resources we have within our state will be better utilized going forward. He introduced programs he says will be the way out of this economic crisis. “Our strengths are undeniable and we will not be deterred. It may be dark right now, but we’re not lost in the night.”Governor Baldacci says with the federal wind at our back, investments Maine makes now will pay off.With regard to healthcare, for the long term, he proposes a better wellness program. In the short term, a voucher system to help people afford healthcare after layoffs. “Vouchers will help the newly unemployed buy private health insurance or help them to enroll in a temporary, affordable health care plan,” he says.Also important, he says, is to train doctors here so they stay here, introducing scholarships and partnerships. He also emphasized commitments to state hospitals.With regard to education, the governor says he’ll continue K-through-12 reforms. “The way forward is to stop wasting money on bureaucracies and administrations.”But the big topic of the night was energy. He says energy mistakes are what led to our recession – and won’t be repeated. “Not this time, not again, no more,” he said, to a standing ovation.He outlined an energy plan that helps Mainers better weatherize their properties and invest in energy upgrades…while creating a new, green-collar workforce, providing much-needed jobs.He says the state’s already made impressive headway with regard to wind, tidal, solar, and other forms of renewable power. “Our location puts us at a position to become a renewable energy engine for our country.”He also wants to strengthen our energy transmission system, taking advantage of transportation corridors already lining our state. “But if we want to capitalize on our advantages,” he says, “we must be aggressive.”
A 41-year-old Thomaston woman who filed a lawsuit after being strip-searched at the Knox County Jail will be getting $290k in a settlement.Laurie Tardiff was arrested in 2002, accused of tampering with a witness and was searched. The tampering charge was later dismissed. She claimed the strip search was unnecessary and excessive. Officials say the county has insurance to cover the cost of the settlement.
A 3-year-old from the mid-coast is recovering from Meningitis. State health officials say it likely happened because the child didn’t receive all of the recommended vaccinations. At 2 and 4 months he did get vaccinated for a type of flu, known as HIB, that leads to meningitis in children. However, health officials say he didn’t get three other booster shots that are recommended through age 15-months. The child was hospitalized in intensive care, and is recovering. Family members, including an unvaccinated infant, have been treated with antibiotics as a precaution. The maine center for disease control is stressing the importance of keeping children current with their vaccinations.For more information, you can contact the maine CDC at www.maine.gov/dhhs or contact your child’s doctor.
Spring officially begins on March 20th. That’s more than a week away, but a nice day like today, makes some folks dream of warmer weather, and if you look hard enough there are signs of spring all around.So there are still piles of snow, and the Penobscot is still frozen, but listen closely.That’s the sound of melting, and if you head over to the Kenduskeag, it’s not so icey, the water’s flowing. Add in the sun shining, birds chirping and the mud.”Yeah, the mud, the mud in my dogs paws.”It was enough to give some folks the first dose of spring fever.”Lovely, I’m loving it.””It’s amazing, beautiful, sunny, not what we expected.”Catherine and Tom Floyd are visiting from Seattle, they think this weather is so great, they’re not even wearing jackets.And near the Bangor waterfront, we found some folks making use of the picnic tables, even though they’re still surrounded by snow.”That’s a little different but if you just stay inside you get older and older, you’ve got to get and and live and be.”Even frolicking in the white stuff feels better these days. It makes folks feel a little more optimistic that warmer days are not too far away.”We’re on the verge of spring””I’m definitely feeling like rolling down the windows, opening the windows in the house and getting some air in there now.”But one nice day is not enough to convince some folks.”what do you think of the weather? Need more of it.”And any Mainer knows, Mother Nature is bound to send us a little more wintry weather.”I just know it’s gonna get colder, it’s still only March.”