Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend one of five Fresh Air Fund camps. Some of those kids are right here in Maine enjoying everything the pine tree state has to offer. There are 48 children staying with host families in the Auburn, Augusta and Waterville areas in either one or two week programs. If you’re interested in learning more about the fresh air fund you can log onto www.freshair.org
Forty years ago to the day, men walked on the moon for the first time. They inspired a generation of scientists and engineers to follow in their footsteps.Today we talked to a professor at the University of Maine about what those next steps could be.”Three…two…one….””Everybody on the planet came together and were cheering for the success of those three men.”In 1969, Neil Comins was a first-year college student in engineering.”Then the moon landing occurred and the realization of opening the universe,” he says.The landing drew Comins look skyward. Forty years later, he’s an astrophysicist and professor at UMaine, asking the big “What if?” questions about our solar system.”We’ve been sidetracked by so many other things in real life, here on Earth, that it’s only now that people are again focusing on the moon and beyond,” he says.We stopped going to the moon in 1972 primarily because it was expensive, he says. But there’s still much to explore there, like alternative fuel sources.”The reason for us to go to space today, to explore space, is to understand what’s out there for us to use that would justify the economics of it.”Comins says the next step for human spaceflight is Mars and the question of life there.”And finding that there had been, or maybe still is, underground in liquid water oceans under the surface. If there was or is life on Mars that’s something that’s going to change our perception of ourselves and our relationship to the universe.”He says it’s infinitely harder to get people to Mars than to the moon. While the technology is in reach, the cost, he estimates, is tens or hundreds of billions of dollars.”Going into space right now, in these economic times, is entirely debatable. It’s a very expensive proposition and we need that money here,” he says. “However, if we lose the momentum we have in the space program, that would be bad too.”
They couldn’t have asked for better weather sunday in Stonington for the 20th annual Fisherman’s Day celebration an annual celebration of commercial fishermen and their families. The day also sent the message that the fishing industry is alive and kicking here in Stonington.All the proceeds for the day went to help the Island Fishermen’s Wives Association, an organization that raises money for a variety of needs all over their community. “We give out scholarships for the kids every year going into the fishing community and kids going on to college,” says Manda Boycs, Co-President of the Islan Fishermen’s Wives Association, “we provide safety training for the coast guard and all of our fishermen at no expense, we do CPR training, hypothermia training, and we give out money to fishermen who’s boats have sunk, or who have been injured on or off the boat and to their families if a fishermen has lost his life.”People of all ages packed the commercial pier in Stonington and found no shortage of activities to keep them busy.”There is a lot going on here today,” said Boyce, “tee-shirts for sale, a bounce house for the kids, we got tons and tons of kids games, lots of food, and the coast guard boat is here giving tours and and there’s going to be whacky row boat races and a cod fish relay.”Some of the booths were geared towards teaching people about the fishing industry. Phil Averil is the owner of Ocean Adventure and he wanted to educate maine’s future generation about commercial fishing. “It’s great to know that the town cares enough to celebrate the fishing industry and keep it going,” says Averill, “and them having some hard times now as we all are, and there is a great turnout here and good food and fun stuff to do and things to learn it’s just a great operation.”For most of the kids here the day was most certainly a success. Some of them came to Stonington from all over the country. “Exciting, exciting and fun,” says Austin Manuel with a big smile on hi face, “I thought it was going to be boring when I first got here but it wasn’t.”
A woman and a five-year-old Island Falls boy were hospitalized Sunday night, after the ATV they were on crashed in a township near Sherman.The call for help came in around 6:45 pm.Game wardens say 27-year-old Janelle Grant and her young passenger were on one machine…riding with a group of ATVers that included other children.Grant’s machine hit a wash out on an old logging road in Township 3 Range 4 and roller over..The 5-year-old suffered head injuries: Grant broke her arm.Both were taken by helicopter to a Bangor hospital with what’s being described as serious injuries.A spokeswoman for the warden service tells TV 5 that they are not releasing the name of the young boy because the incident is under investigation.
Here’s a kiss you won’t forget. An adorable pooch puckered up to help raise money for other pets in need. The 13 and 1/2 year old wanted to set the world record for dog kisses.It was all part of the Hancock County SPCA pet show & fair Sunday afternoon at the Mount Desert Elementary school ball field in Northeast Harbor.For a $1 donation, folks could give Couscous a smooch and help her collect the final 100-thousand dollars to finish building the new SPCA facility in Trenton. We’re told Couscous kissed 515 people, establishing a new record, according to her owner.
Call it the luck of the irish.Sunny skies helped lured crowds to Belfast this weekend for the 3rd annual Maine Celtic Celebration.The three day event featured all kinds of celtic fun and games, including a Kilted Run and Row, Cod Toss Relay, Mud Flats Tug O War and the famous National Cheese Roll competition, which organizers say drew a crowd of about two thousand.The waterfront festival also included Irish music and dancing, as well as storytelling.Belfast, Maine is named after Belfast, Ireland, and a number of Celtic descendants live in and around the area.Sunday morning featured a true Celtic tradition- the Highland Heavy games.13 people participated in the games, including one woman as well as a 17-year old.Most were from Maine.
A woman from Stueben is in the hospital, after a rescue at Baxter State Park that lasted two days and involved multiple agencies.Rangers say 22-year old Ashley Dewitt fell while coming down Hamlin peak Friday afternoon or early evening.She broke her leg and couldn’t go on.Rangers spent a rainy Friday night on the ridge with Dewitt, camping out in tents they carried up, while an evacuation team was put into place.As a steady rain fell Saturday morning, the crew began carrying Dewitt down.They reached the Chimney Pond Ranger station at nightfall.At 8:30 Sunday morning, a helicopter from the 126th Army National Guard Medivac unit flew Dewitt to Millinocket Regional hospital.In addition to rangers from baxter, workers from Acadia National park, the Maine Forest Service, the State Fisheries and Wildlife Department and volunteers helped with the rescue effort.
A man was seriously injured in Bucksport Sunday afternoon, after his motorcycle crashed on Route 15.Police were called to the River Road around 4:30 pm.When they arrived, they found the bike about 12 feet off the road, in some grass.Bucksport Police Officer Ryan Knight says the driver was heading south at a high rate of speed.Officer Knight says the driver wasn’t able to make the corner, and his bike went off the road.The man, whose name has not yet been released, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with what police are calling severe but not life threatening injuries.
Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor Saturday to celebrate its continued return to a healthy body of water. The Penobscot River Revival – now in its second year – is designed to mark the progress that’s been made in the river and focus on what the future holds for it, too. Years of work has helped restored the river to a place for people to fish, recreate and enjoy its beauty. The festival, put on by the Lower Penobscot Watershed Coalition, included a number of exhibitors, artists and researchers tied to the Penobscot.Gayle Zydlewski of the Lower Penobscot River Coalition says “The river is really the centerpiece of many of the communities around here. And its also our lives depend on the river and the water that’s associated with it and other things that come from it. So people that are here with their displays have different values associated with the river and the idea is to try to connect all of those things together for everyone.”As part of the festivities Saturday, folks had a chance to take a ride on the river and learn about fish and wildlife restoration efforts. More than 500 people turned out to take part in it all.
FairPoint Communications faces more criticism for its service in Northern New England, this time in New Hampshire.The consumer advocate is asking the state’s Public Utilities Commission to open a new investigation into the company’s problems. Last year FairPoint took over Verizon’s landline phone and Internet operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Since then, it’s been plagued by customer service, billing and operational issues. A FairPoint spokeswoman says the company agrees more needs to be done in New Hampshire, but doesn’t think an investigation is warranted.
Hundreds of Mainers hit the streets today in what they called the biggest rally for healthcare reform in the state’s history. In Portland, they carried signs, and chanted: “The time is now for legislation that would provide access for all Americans”.The message of health care reform now is contrary to what Maine’s two senators say. Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins called this week for the President to back off from his end-of-the-month deadline for passage of health care reform legislation in the House and Senate.About three dozen people held a counter-rally in opposition to the government-backed health care plan.Terren Bradgon with the Maine Heritage Policy Center says, “We don’t want politicians playing doctor, taking away the patient-physician relationship and government getting in between that. We think that people need more choices when it come to private health insurance, but we don’t need big government taking away our options.”Democratic Representative Hannah Pingree, the Maine House Speaker, says, “For the farmers, for the mill workers, for the accountants and architects we all get sick, we all deserve some kind of peace of mind knowing we can get better without bankrupting our families.”Pingree says delaying adopting health care reform until after the legislative recess in August recess will give lobbyists from the powerful pharmaceutical industry too much time to confuse the public.
Hundreds and hundreds of folks are in Lincoln celebrate the town’s 180th birthday. This weekend also marks the 62nd annual Riverdriver’s Homecoming Festival. As many as 10-thousand people are expected over the course of the four-day event, with some coming from across the country for it. Organizers say the weekend gets bigger and bigger each year. One of the most popular draws on Saturday – the Homecoming Grand parade through downtown. Shelly Crosby, the community events coordinator, says the festival gives everyone a chance to reconnect.”It ties the community together, it gives our merchants the opportunity to bring their clients in. It allows families to have their extended families living away come home. It’s also a great weekend for a lot of alumni to match up.”A fireworks show put a cap on Saturday’s activities. A 5K road race, a golf tournament, a basketball tournament and gospel concert will round out the weekend Sunday.
They’re going hog wild this weekend in Millinocket.Hundreds of Harley-Davidson riders are in town for the Maine State HOG rally. It’s the first big event to allow riders to take a trip on the Golden Road, a privately owned logging road that goes deep in the Maine woods.Almost 750 people registered for the rally, which started on Thursday. Organizers say most of the riders are from Maine, they also represent almost two dozen other states. This is the first time Millinocket has hosted the HOG rally. Maine State Rally Coordinator Linda Billings say the event is expected to bring a nice economic boost with it.”When a motorcyclist comes to town, they bring in an average of $263 per person, per day. So if you’ve got 700 people registered, you’ve got quite a bit of money coming into town.”Besides the Golden Road ride, bikers also took part in a parade, a poker run and a number of skills games. The weekend wrapped up Saturday night with a bonfire and entertainment. This it the 14th year for the rally.
Here’s a kiss you won’t forget. Sunday you can pucker up with a pup and help raise money for other pets in need. CousCous wants to set the world record for dog kisses as part of a benefit for the Hancock County SPCA. We’re told CousCous is known for her uncanny ability to kiss gently on demand.For a $1 donation, you can give CousCous a smooch and help her collect the final $100,000 to finish building the new SPCA facility. It’s all part of the SPCA Pet Show amd Fair, which will also feature carriage rides, face painting and pony rides. The fair runs Sunday from 1-5pm, at the Mount Desert Elementary School ball field in Northeast Harbor.
Governor Baldacci is asking Maine’s congressional delegation to consider emergency aid to help the state’s shellfish industry.Officials at the Maine Department of Marine Resources think extensive red tide and flood closures may restrict harvesting for weeks.As of the end of last week, virtually the entire coastline was closed to the harvesting of shellfish.Normally, Maine’s shellfish industry contributes between $40 million and $50 million dollars to the economy each year.
A homeless man in Bangor is now waiting to be sentenced, after pleading guilty to manslaughter for beating another man to death at amakeshift camp in the woods along I-95.58-year-old Stephen James admitted in court Thursday that he killed 63-year-old Clyde Worcester in April of last year. As part of a plea agreement, the murder charge against him was downgraded to manslaughter.James faces up to 25 years in prison.Sentencing is expected in late August or early September.
A judge has found a man from Palmyra who stabbed his brother to death while he was sleeping not guilty by reason of insanity.24-year-old Enoch Petrucelly of Palmyra was charged with murder last August after he killed his brother, Michael, while the two were visiting friends on North Haven.A judge ruled yesterday that Petrucelly was not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. He’s now been ordered to an institution for the mentally ill.Court paperwork shows Enoch Petrucelly told detectives he killed his brother because he thought his brother was romantically involved with a woman Enoch was in love with.
It was a trip back in time for some children downeast. Several children in jonesboro dressed up in colonial period clothes for a children’s parade.Some of the kids pedaled their way through the parade, while others walked.The parade was part of Jonesboro’s Bicentennial Celebration.And there was no doubt the parade was a hit with the kids.” Good, I had fun.”” I was in the parade, it was fun.”” Because I like getting the candy.”A few prizes were even given out after the parade.
Despite the rainy weather folks in Jonesboro were out and about celebrating the town’s bicentennial.Meghan Hayward has the story.” We started about 18 months ago, started with a small group of people and in the last few months we’ve picked up another dozen to 15 people.”The committee may have started out small but the group put a lot of work in making sure the Jonesboro Bicentennial Celebration was a success.Something chairman of the committee Jim Varney says means a lot to the Jonesboro community.” It’s tremendously important it has brought so many people and brought so many people back together.”A pancake breakfast at The Scoop formerly the Whitehouse Restaurant kicked off the celebration.Owner Lorraine Proctor says they were happy to host the event.” This restaurant has a long tradition of serving great breakfast and we hadn’t done that for awhile so we decided this would be great time to do that.”Proctor says Jonesboro really needed a celebration like Saturdays.” I think it’s very important. It’s brought the community together, given everyone something to look forward to. And it was time for this little town to have something like that and 200 years is a great celebration.”It also gave local crafters a chance to show off their skills.And an important member of Jonesboro’s history even made an appearance at the crafts fair.” I am representing Samuel Watts. He fired the first shot during the Margaretta and mortally wounded the British officer.”Watts was one of the key figures during the Margaretta.A book was even made for the birthday celebration which provided all the history of Jonesboro.But what does Varney hope folks will get from the bicentennial celebration?” I think they get a feeling of pride and they’ll reflect back on the history.”
Folks in Lincoln got board a special train today.As Meghan Hayward tells us this particular train can go all over.” All aboard.”And folks were going all aboard the Roaming Railroad in Lincoln Friday.”What’s really neat is its fun for adults and children alike. Almost every ride you have people from 6 months to 90-years-old on it.”The railroad serves the entire northeast.And can operate on pavement, concrete, grass and even hard packed dirt or gravel.There’s even musical entertainment throughout the ride.The red hatters were the first aboard the train on Friday.”I can hardly wait to see the big town of Lincoln. It’s so much fun.”Katahdin Cellular sponsors the roaming railroad.And made it free for all to ride.”Oh it just gives a wonderful opportunity for everyone to have fun and free and in this economy it helps to have free things for the kids to do.”And the train was definitely a hit with the folks of all ages.”It was awesome.””We waved to people, people waved to us. Oh it was great.”The roaming railroad is in town for Lincoln’s Homecoming this weekend.For a complete list of homecoming events go to the website www.lincolnmaine.org.