Residents of Vassalboro packed into the town office Wednesday night. Their mission, draft a new town ordinance addressing nudity. The issue started when the topless coffee shop, the Grand View, opened. The owner now wants to expand the business, and add a strip club. Vassalboro residents discussed several options, including an outright ban on establishments that have nudity. Many residents say, at the very least, they want to set strict guidelines for any new businesses opening in town.Vassalboro selectwoman Libby Mitchell warns an outright ban could result in a long legal battle. When the town of Farmingdale tried to put a ban on the books, the state supreme court overturned the ordinance. Vassalboro town selectmen will draft an ordinance in the next week and then hold another public hearing.The final vote will be June 8th.
The Maine State Planning Office hopes to use $2.3 million in federal stimulus money to retrieve lobster traps lost on the ocean floor.Referred to as “ghost” traps by fishermen and industry officials, the traps end up piling up on the ocean floor when they break free from their buoy. The traps continue to do their jobs catching lobsters, which eventually die because they can’t crawl out.Each year, the Department of Marine Resources sells 3.2 million trap tags to allow lobstermen to replace up to 10% of their tags due to lost traps.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to announce next month whether it will fund the 18-month project.
The value of Maine’s lobster catch plunged in 2008.The Department of Marine Resources reported that lobstermen caught 67.4 million pounds, bup by 3 million pounds from 2007, but the value of the catch fell $49.7 million.Commissioner George Lapointe said the numbers show him that the lobster population off Maine is in good shape, but the industry is in economic distress.The declining value of the catch not a surprise after demand and prices for Maine’s signature seafood tanked last fall.
Most people like a good book, and it becomes even better when it’s good enough to eat. There were lots of edible books at Eastern Maine Community College Wednesday.The Friends of the EMCC Library were hosting their 8th annual Books 2 Eat competition. People of all ages were asked to use edible materials to depict one of their favorite books. You could find everything from the Enchanted Forest, to Inch by Inch to March of the Penguins. Lois Marchand, Board Member for Friends of the EMCC Library says, ost of the entries were cakes, but some weren’t. “We have some nice ones that are not cake, that are vegetables. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one. There are just some very unique entries. It just always amazes me what people can come up with.”There were several categories for judging including Professional Chef, Children under 12 and Stephen King Representation.Folks who attended the event voted for their favorite. Then afterwards the masterpieces were either going to be auctioned off, or cut up and eaten.
Students in Glenburn were learning important lessons today on staying healthy. The Glenburn Elementary School held its 2nd Annual Wellness Health Fair.There were booths to teach kids about everything from the importance of hand washing to internet safety to basic first aid. Plus, crews from the Glenburn Fire Department were on hand to talk about fire safety. There was plenty to keep the kids busy.”The coolest thing I think, is the fitness testing over there. That or the stuff about asthma over there.”, said 4th Grader Zack Caron. Fellow 4th Grader Mackenzie DeIuliis added, “I think it’s important to learn these things so you’re healthy and it’s not hard for you to move, you have proper exercise and everything.”Staff members weren’t left out, there was a special section for them, that included massages. School officials hope the students will take what they’ve learned back home to their parents and siblings.
Across the country today, folks gathered for tax day tea parties. It was a grassroots effort that gave many a stage to voice opinions about government and the economy.In Bangor, the rally was held across the street from the Federal Building.Patriotic protesters took a cue from our forefathers. They say times may have changed, but taxes are still the topic of this tea party.”The problem is, we went from a two cent tax on tea, causing a revolution against a vast empire, to a time right now when 120 thousand dollars per person is gonna be extracted from every person in the country just to pay the interest on the money they just spent.” “They’re taxing us to death, and they’re spending money we don’t have.”People stood with signs and flags. They chanted and yelled for the causes they came to represent. As people drove by, they showed their support for those who showed up.”I’m here because I believe in our constitution and bringing back the freedoms of the people again.””We’re fed up with the way things are going, and how is that going. Spending our way out of this economy is not gonna work.””I’m here to help support getting the control back to the people and getting it away from the government.”They say the tea parties have nothing to do with political parties.”It is non-partisan. It definitely concerns taxation.””This is a homogenized group of people that the political group is not what’s important to. It’s what we have to say that’s important all over the country.”Their message was loud and clear.”We the people. We’re the ones that started this wonderful nation and we’re the ones that have got to keep it going.”
Federal, state and local tax dollars are being used to buy products made in sweatshops, according to a new report released today by SweatFree Communities. But, the report says, more local and state governments are adopting policies that would require government contractors to meet a set of ethical standards, and advocates are calling on elected officials to join the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium to end tax dollar support for sweatshops.Â Maine officials and advocates are part of the Consortium steering committee.Report findings include child labor, obligatory pregnancy tests, firing and blacklisting of workers who support a union, poverty wages, and forced and unpaid overtime. Subsidizing Sweatshops II: How our tax dollars can foster worker rights and economic recovery rather than fuel the race to the bottom follows the groundbreaking 2008 first report.Â It is based on in-depth interviews with over 100 workers in 8 factories spanning five countries who produce uniforms for public employees such as police officers and fire fighters for nine major uniform brands. Four of the case studies are newly-researched factories, while four look at what improvements have been made in factories researched for the 2008 report.Workers at Propperâ€™s Suprema Manufacturing factory in the Dominican Republic make pants for the Maine State Police.Â The workers report serious concerns about low wages, excessive production quotas, and an unhealthy working environment.Â One worker was fired just days after she was interviewed for this report.Â According to investigators, Sonia Altagracia Shals was fired for associating with members of the legally registered union at the company.Â Sonia is a single mother with four children, who had worked 7 years at the Suprema factory.â€œMaineâ€™s Code of Conduct for apparel suppliers does not allow freedom of association violations where workers have that right and we take very seriously credible reports about labor violations in supplier factories,â€ Maine Purchasing Director Betty Lamoreau said.Â â€œWe have asked our vendor to request that the company investigate the firing of Sonia Altagracia Schals and to reinstate her with full back pay if there is evidence the company fired her in retaliation for supporting the union or for participating in the research project.â€Â Lamoreau added, â€œWe seek to work with vendors to rectify labor violations and ensure working conditions improve rather than terminating contracts.â€Elected officials, fair trade advocates, clergy, and labor leaders gathered today at the State House in Augusta and at U.S. Post Offices in at least 17 U.S. cities to release Subsidizing Sweatshops II and call for end to taxpayer support for sweatshops.â€œWe have a choice: we can use our tax dollars to elevate conditions for working people, or our tax dollars can fuel the race to the bottom that has cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers their jobs and led to inhumane sweatshop conditions around the world,â€ said Bjorn Claeson, Executive Director of SweatFree Communities and author of the report. â€œBy joining the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, our cities and states can make a real difference in the lives of working people while helping to create a more sustainable economy.â€Maine is one of the leaders of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium.Â â€œI am pleased that Maine has joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, and proud of Maineâ€™s continuing leadership in sweatshop-free purchasing,â€ said Lamoreau.Â Other states and cities that have committed to join the Consortium include the State of Pennsylvania: the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: the City of Portland, Oregon: and the City of Olympia, Washington.Download the report at www.sweatfree.org/subsidizingSweatFree Communities coordinates a national network of grassroots campaigns that promote humane working conditions in apparel and other labor-intensive global industries by working with both public and religious institutions to adopt sweatshop-free purchasing policies. Using institutional purchasing as a lever for worker justice, the sweatfree movement empowers ordinary people to create a just global economy through local action. Learn more at [ http://www.sweatfree.org/ ]www.sweatfree.org.The Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, comprised of states, cities, counties, local government agencies, and school districts, as well as human rights advocates and labor rights experts, will pool resources of public entities to investigate working conditions in factories that make uniforms and other products for public employees. Cities and states will hold vendors to ethical standards, and create a market large enough to persuade companies to deal responsibly and ethically with their suppliers and workers. Learn more at www.buysweatfree.org
Help Protect Local Waterways through Streets and Streams Cleanup EventsThe City of Bangor is supporting multiple organizations for this year’s street and stream cleanups. Opportunities abound for individuals and organizations interested in helping to remove the litter that makes its way from our streets and sidewalks to our waterways. If you would like to volunteer for any of this year’s events, or become a sponsor, please contact the City of Bangor Environmental Coordinator.April 19, 2009 – Cascade Park – Adopt-A-Park, Hannaford Earth Day!April 22, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Union St. to Penobscot Waterfront) Penobscot Job Corp Academy. April 22, 2009, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Waterfront) Maine Vocational Rehabilitation Associates April 25, 2009 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Penjajawoc Streets & Stream (Bangor Mall Area) – Me Audubon Society and Mall area businesses April 25, 2009 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Second Annual Maine Community Clean Up Event (meet at Hermon Elementary School) May 2, 2009 United Way – Camp Bangor, Camper Volunteer Day – Parks Cleanup (Broadway, Chapin, Stillwater, Hayford, and other areas)May 16, 2009, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Birch Stream Clean Up (Meet behind Airport Mall) Sponsored by Bangor Area Stormwater Group and area businesses.The Bangor Area Storm Water Group is also soliciting help from community groups, businesses, families, and individuals in conducting our Fourth Annual Regional Stream Cleanup. This event is taking place in the seven municipalities forming the Bangor Urban Area (Bangor, Brewer, Orono, Old Town, Veazie, Hampden, and Milford) and on the UMaine campus throughout late April and May 2009. This event is a coordinated regional effort to clean up our local waterways and protect water quality, as well as to build community awareness about storm water pollution.At each Stream Cleanup gathering, volunteers will meet in the morning for a short safety discussion before heading out to the designated cleanup sites. All volunteers will be provided with free T-shirts as well as gloves and safety vests to wear during the event. Afterwards, everyone is invited to stay for a picnic lunch to recognize our volunteers’ hard work. If you would like to volunteer for this year’s event, if you would like to become a sponsor, or for more information please contact the Stream Cleanup Coordinator for your town listed below.Bangor: April 25 and May 16, Wendy Warren 992-4255 Brewer: May 16, Ken Locke 949-5417 Hampden: May 9, Bob Osborne 862-6527 Milford: May 30, Barbara Cox 827-2072 Old Town: May 11-15, Dave Wight 827-3974 Orono: May 16, William Murphy 866-5051 Veazie: May 9, Allan Thomas 947-2781 UMaine: April 29, Scott Wilkerson 851-3049
It’s a sure sign of spring.Acadia National Park’s Loop Road and Visitors Center opened for the season today.Amy Erickson takes us there.<"it's gorgeous. We were just watching bald eagles out here today."Park Ranger Betty Lyle says Mother Nature couldn't have provided a better day for the start of the season at Acadia National Park. "it's a beautiful day here. We've had a lot of hiking requests, a lot of people want to get down along the ocean...it's just a great day to be anywhere in the park."Visitors were everywhere...from Sand Beach...to Thunder Hole...They came from all over the country to get a glimpse of Acadia's beauty.Nancy and Ed Faust journeyed from Cornwall, New York. "it's the most beautiful park we've ever seen. We love to walk and hike and it's nice to be in the mountains and see the ocean at the same time."The couple's last trip here was more than 30 years ago, so they planned on retracing their steps. "we're just going to do the loop. We want to try to get to schoodic, because that's left an impression with me all this time."They shouldn't have any problems getting around, since much of the Park is now open."most of the hiking trails are open, though we want people to use a lot of caution because there's still snow and ice out there. The trails that are still closed are the precipice because the peregrines back and they're nesting there."The Valley Cove trail is closed for the same reason.The carriage roads are also closed, since they're still too soft for traffic.But that isn't stopping the War family of New Jersey from doing what they've set out to do in the park." "we're on a mission to see a moose!" "what do you want to see today? A moose. Do you see a lot of moose in New Jersey? No."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Acadia National Park.>The Hull’s Cove Visitors Center is now open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.For more information, log on to www.nps.gov/acad
Medicare officials spent the day at Downeast Community Hospital in Machias.April 15-th was the deadline set for the hospital to comply with federal requirements or risk losing Medicare reimbursement.A recent federal survey found the 25 bed hospital out of compliance.According to the Bangor Daily News, a Medicare investigation found failures in the hospital’s emergency room procedures.Hospital spokesperson Robin Popp was hopeful the inspectors would finish their survey by the end of the day.No word yet on their findings.In February, state officials downgraded the status of the hospital’s license to conditional.
The leader of Maine’s community colleges says starting this fall the statewide system will cover tuition costs for up to two years for full-time dependent students whose parents lost their job.Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, president John Fitzsimmons of the Maine community college system, as well as University of Maine system chancellor Richard Pattenaude, pledged to maintain and enhance effectiveness and efficiency during a period of economic turmoil.Tuition runs about $2,500 a year, according to Fitzsimmons.He says that Maine’s community college system may be one of the state’s most important tools for economic recovery.
A local firefighter and his family are homeless, after flames ripped through his residence in Pittston Tuesday. Another firefighter was injured fighting the blaze. The two and a half story home at North Beech Hill Road is still standing, but it has significant damage, according to Pittston fire chief Jason Farris.Nick Edgar is an Augusta Firefighter.Edgar was working in his garage when he first noticed the flames.Edgar was able to get the family’s pets out safely. No one else was inside at the time.Seven surrounding communities were called in to help battle the fire.One firefighter was hospitalized with heat exhaustion. Chief Farris says the fire started in a corner bedroom.He’s calling it accidental, but adds the cause will likely remain a mystery because of the heavy damage.The Augusta fire department is accepting donations for the family. Items may be dropped off at the central station at the top of Water Street.
The Coast Guard is assisting a commercial fishing boat from Maine that was disabled after a collision with another vessel about 50 miles Southeast of Cape May.A Coast Guard spokesman says no one among the eight-member crew of the 71-foot fishing boat Dictator, homeported in Southwest Harbor, was injured when the boat collided with the 965-foot merchant vessel Florida.The Dictator’s rudder was damaged in the collision shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, leaving it unable to proceed under its own power.The Coast Guard says a cutter, dispatched from Cape May, was planning to tow the Dictator and its crew to the nearest port.The Florida was proceeding to Savannah, GA.The accident is under investigation.
The owner of the Grand View, a topless coffee shop in Vassalboro, is setting his sights on opening a strip club.Donald Crabtree now plans to seek an entertainment license for a strip club that would be open from 6 am to 1 am and have a seating capacity of 300.The Vassalboro town manager has drafted a proposed adult entertainment ordinance that would ban nudity at local businesses. That came in response to complaints about the coffee shop.A town meeting has been called for Wednesday night to discuss the ordinance.The public is encouraged to attend and voice their opinions.The meeting is scheduled to take place at 6:30 at the town office on Main Street.
Colby College President William D. Adams will hold a public forum Wednesday, April 15, at 8 p.m., regarding the events of Sunday, April 12, that resulted in the arrests of two students. The forum will take place at the Alfond Rink in Colby’s Alfond Athletic Center.President Adams and his senior administrative colleagues will answer questions and speak to the concerns that have been expressed.A Web site providing updates from the College is available at www.colby.edu/april12incident.Colby College students demonstrated in protest Tuesday against the arrests of two students at the campus in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday. Organizers of Tuesday’s lunch-hour rally say police and college security used excessive force and that the treatment received by one of those arrested may have been racially motivated. Police from Waterville and three neighboring communities, plus sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, responded to a call for additional police support. Authorities say two drunken students were arrested after they interfered with efforts to help a student who was ill. Protesters have released a video clip of the arrests that they say backs up their case that excessive force was used.
Police arrested a man from the guildford area today for child pornography.Larry Daggett has been charged with possession of porn involving children under 12.The State police computer crimes unit conducted the investigation..They say he was accessing images on the internet using a peer to peer network called gnuetella.No word on what tipped police off.Daggett is connected to a child care facility in the Sangerville area. His wife reportedly runs it.Officials don’t want parents of children who go to the daycare to panic. District Attorney, Chris Almy says, “There’s no indication at this point that any of the people at the child care center, the child care facility, were victims in any way. If there is some concern among parents they should have the police talk to their children.”Daggett is being held at the Piscataquis County Jail.Bail was set at $25,000, and officials do expect him to post that.He’s scheduled to appear in court again on May 18th.
Former Bangor Mayor, Richard Greene, was back in court today and he received some jail time.Greene faced several charges, Including two counts of operating under the influence.Greene was also in court for writing bad checks.He was sentenced to 12 days in jail and 14-hundred dollars in fines. He will also lose his license for a significant period of time.Greene is reportedly in the process of entering a program for second time offenders. That’s expected to begin in June. Until then he must follow strict bail conditions.
When David MaClaughlin, Executive director of Audio at NESCOM, told his students they’d be taking part in Shure Microphone’s national competition, they were more than excited.”We were all like OK! Ya know, let see what we can do. The next like four and a half months were pretty intense.” says Cameron Smith, a student.It was NESCOM’s first time in the competition. They had to record music using a box full of mics Shure gave them. All the recording had to be live.”For example, usually when you’re recording a bass guitar you just play it right into the board, but with this we actually had to play the bass guitar into an amplifier and then mic the amplifier.” Says Jacob Lansky as student. The competition was judged by industry leaders.MaClaughlin says, “There wasn’t a single person on the judging who hasn’t won at least four grammies.”They say this gave them insight into what the real world of recording is like. “It was definitely an eye opener to how long sessions can go. A lot of the time we were betting on 12 hour plus sessions.” Says Joshua Strange a student. The music was done by a local duo, Sam and Yuri – along with a string quartet and a flute. Using NESCOM’s equipment, these talented students mixed the track.”I know we all worked really hard on this recording and we definitely put our heart and soul in everything.” Strange says.Smith goes on to say, “We’re putting our names and our seal of approval on this so we want it to be the best it can get.””After we did this recording it was good enough, whether we won first or got dead last.” Strange adds.But when the guys heard the news, they were pretty psyched about their first place finish. They say it was a total team effort.”I think we worked great as a team. This was an incredible team.”
The calls from the latest phone scam to hit the area appear to be dying down, but not before a few people fell victim.Officials at Bangor Savings Bank say they first heard about the calls on Easter Sunday.They were automated calls telling folks that their credit or debit card had been compromised, prompting them to enter their account information.Senior Vice President at Bangor Savings Bank, Yellow Light Breen says a few of their customers did so, and at least one person had money taken from their account.But Breen says they are working with all these people to make sure that they don’t lose any money, and he says this should serve as an important reminder to everyone. “Your bank will never ever call you or e-mail you, especially with an automated message ever trying to get you to give up confidential information. We simply won’t, period, end of story.”If you do ever have questions about your account, you should always contact your bank, at a phone number or e-mail address that you are familiar with.Several other banks in the area are also warning their customers about this scam.If you did get one of the calls, and gave them your account information, you should contact your bank immediately.
Bangor police are now confirming that a man who died at Weber Mortgage on Broadway yesterday, committed suicide.There are reports that the bad economy was a motivating factor for the man.In fact, the recession might be a reason for an increase in calls to suicide hotlines across the country.Traffic came to a halt on a section of Broadway in Bangor Monday afternoon as a robot and a tactical team made their way into the Weber Mortgage building. A man had called a friend threatening to take his own life. It ended when authorities discovered the man’s body. He died of a self inflicted gunshot wound.”Really at that moment they can’t come up with anything but that option.” Dr. David Prescott of Acadia Hospital says the victim in this case had several of the top risk factors for people who complete suicide.He was a man, caucasian, over the age of 55 who suffered a huge loss. Reports out, suggest the man was upset over the bad economy.”One of the big worries we’ve had in the mental health profession is there’s some pretty clear evidence as far back as the great depression in the 30′s that when an economic downturn happens that obviously people’s stress levels go up and one of the things you start to see is a climb in the suicide rate”During this current recession, suicide hotlines are seeing an increase in the number of people seeking help. In some cases, they’re up as much as 30 percent.Most of the people who do contemplate taking their own life, have a history of mental health problems, money worries can make matters worse.Dr. Prescott says that high stress can diminish a person’s ability to solve problems, so they need to reach out.”Talking about it is often the first step to solving the problem and even though to you at the moment, there’s gonna seem like there’s no good options, they really are out there.”If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call one of these hotlines for help.Adult Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112Teen Crisis Line: 1-800-499-9130..Acadia Hospital: 1-800-640-1211… There are trained professionals available 24 hours a day who can help you.