Folks in Benedicta are preparing for a big celebration this weekend.One they hope will bring all kinds of people together.Meghan Hayward has more.”The older people are getting very involved because it’s helping them to bring back memories and they’re digging through their closets finding history items. And they’re also bringing their families that have moved away. A lot of families are coming back for the weekend just to celebrate together.”Folks will be gathering in Benedicta to celebrate its 175th anniversary.Volunteer Anna Robinson says planning the celebration has been a lot of work.”And the biggest challenge has just been getting people able to give time. But its been incredible because when we need it it happens and people come out for it.”Robinson says she has focused on the children’s activities.She says involving the children in the celebration is important to her.”This is their community and it’s their parish. Hopefully some of them will grow up and stay here.”Isabella and Erin Robinson have helped planned the celebration and they’re excited.”Seeing everyone and having a lot of fun with my cousin, friends and family.”Erin is looking forward to the activities.”The bouncy tent and the ducking booth.”But besides having a good time, what does Robinson hope folks get out of the 175th anniversary celebration?”How important a sense of community is. Benedicta is an amazing community it really is.”For a complete list of the events planned you can visit their website www.gatheringinbenedicta.com.
A network that links medical information from 15 hospitals across the state is now on line.Health Info Net has been in the works for two years and was formally launched today. The electronic health information system allows doctors to share information about test results, medications, past illnesses and surgeries. For example, a doctor at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor can instantly pull up the records of a patient treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta.The network also connects three health clinics and the Maine Center for Disease Control.Maine is now the largest state in the country with a shared medical information system.
A man from Calais who hit and killed a motorcyclist from New Brunswick, will serve eight years for the crime. As part of a plea agreement, 39-year-old Chris Grant was sentenced today in Machias to eight years behind bars for vehicular manslaughter. He was also charged with aggravated assault and wreckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. In June of 2006, Grant was driving on Route 9 in Baileyville when he crossed the center line and ran into 57-year-old Gordon Lister, who later died.Grant’s truck then slammed into another truck, injuring two more people. Washington County District Attorney Michael Povich says Grant is already serving six years in state prison for selling drugs. Povich says today’s sentence will tack on about another 5 years to Grant’s time in prison.
Car dealers in Maine and across the country are anxiously awaiting word on the future of the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.It’s running out of money, just six days in.And as Amy Erickson tells us, at least one local dealer is worried about losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if the government can’t make good on its promise to reimburse him.”It’s a shame that a program that’s doing what it was intended to do has turned into such a mess.”Ron Russell of Darling’s is talking about the government’s new “Cash for Clunkers” program that started July 24th.It encourages drivers to trade in their gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles by offering rebates up to 45-hundred dollars.The program has proven wildly popular. So much so, the government is all but out of funding in less than a week.Russell says better planning could have prevented that.”Most of us could have predicted that this program that was slated for four months would have lasted a matter of days.”Now that the money’s run dry, folks like russell are worried they won’t get reimbursed for all the rebates they’ve already given for “Clunkers.” “We’ve done 79…that’s more than $300,000 that we’ve put out to consumers and yet we haven’t received a dime from the government. Not a penny.”Russell says it wouldn’t be so bad if he was making huge profits on the sales of the new, energy-efficient cars, but that’s not the case.”This car, for example, right here, there’s a $300-$400 profit for the dealer and we’re risking $4500 to realize that.”Legislators are now pushing for additional money to keep “Cash for Clunkers” going until it’s planned end date of November first.Russell hopes that happens. He says if the government isn’t able to reimburse the dealers who’ve already handed out the rebates the results could be disastrous. “For some dealers in this market, it could be a death blow.””It would be sad indeed if the outcome of it was to put more dealers out of business.”A bill that provides an additional 2-billion dollars in funding has passed in the House.
(AP)-Opponents of Maine’s new gay marriage law have submitted petitions seeking a November referendum on the measure.Leaders of the Stand for Marriage campaign said Friday they collected more than 100,000 signatures of registered Maine voters.Cartons containing the petitions have been turned into the secretary of state’s office to be certified.A November referendum will be held if at least 55,087 signatures are certified by Sept. 4. The referendum would ask voters whether the law should stand.Leaders of the campaign to overturn the law say marriage between one man and one woman is a basic building block of society and must be protected.Five other states allow gay marriage. They are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.Adrienne Bennett will have more on this story tonight.
The House is racing to the rescue of the extremely popular – but financially strapped – “Cash for Clunkers” program. Lawmakers want to addan additional $2 billion to the program. Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program amid concerns it could quickly use up the one-billion dollars in rebates for new car purchases.The Transportation Department called congressional offices late Thursday to alertthem to the decision to halt the program, which offered owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.By late Wednesday 22,782 vehicles had already been purchased through the program and nearly 96-million had been spent.The program was scheduled to last through November 1 or until the money ran out, but few predicted it would be depleted in days. The program kicked off Friday, July 24.Lawmakers said they would try to find additional funding for the program, which under the legislation could grow to $4-billion for the funding of up to 1-million new car sales.”Cash for Clunkers” will be honored Friday, July 31. After that it is unsure.Maine Senator Susan Collins is credited with pushing for the passage of the legislation.
Maine residents get free access to all state parks and historic sites Saturday, August 1st.”Maine Day” is an annual program sponsored by the Bureau of Parks and Lands.It’s their way of thanking Maine residents for supporting the state’s parks.They bring in about 100 million to the state’s economy each year.For a listing of the state’s parks and historic sites, log on to www.parksandlands.com
The Belfast woman charged with murdering her husband while he slept will use Battered Woman Syndrome and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for her defense.31-year-old Amber Cummings is accused of shooting 29-year-old James Cummings in the head while he slept on December ninth.Amber Cummings has pleaded not guilty.The state has asked that Cummings undergo a mental exam.Before the shooting, Amber Cummings told police her husband was plotting to build dirty bombs and set them off during President Obama’s inauguration.Police removed radioactive and explosive materials from the Cummings’ home after the shooting.
Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program amid concerns it could quickly use up the one-billion dollars in rebates for new car purchases.The Transportation Department called congressional offices late Thursday to alertthem to the decision to halt the program, which offered owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.By late Wednesday 22,782 vehicles had already been purchased through the program and nearly 96-million had been spent.The program was scheduled to last through November 1 or until the money ran out, but few predicted it would be depleted in days. The program kicked off Friday, July 24.Lawmakers said they would try to find additional funding for the program, which under the legislation could grow to $4-billion for the funding of up to 1-million new car sales.”Cash for Clunkers” will be honored Friday, July 31. After that it is unsure.
A federal disaster has been declared for eight counties in Maine.The declaration comes after heavy rain, hail, high winds, flooding, and landslides caused an estimated $2,500,000 in damage during June and July.The effected counties are Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington County.Federal support will be given to those areas to repair damaged public infrastructure.The federal government will cover 75% of the repair costs.
Saturday is supposed to be beautiful: a great reason to head to Maine’s state parks and historic sites.And here’s another bonus: Maine residents get in for free.Saturday is “Maine Day.”All Maine residents are eligable for a one day pass to all state parks and historic sites.The free-access day is done as an expression of thanks from the Bureau of Parks and Lands, under the maine department of conservation.For a full list of Maine’s State Parks and historic sites, go to: www.parksandlands.com
If you travel on outer Stillwater Ave in Bangor you’ll want to watch out for construction crews.Work is underway on some improvements between Longview Drive and Tripp Drive on Stillwater.The road could be down to one lane at times over the next one-and-a-half months.City officials say a slight hill on the road created a blind spot, which will be eliminated.Crews will also reconstruct the foundation under the road and create a better surface, and widen it near Chase Road.It’s a joint project with the M.D.O.T. that will cost around $950,000, with the majority of that money coming from federal funds.
Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor wants police to add a taser to the hospital’s life-saving equipment.Hospital officials say they’ve seen an increase in aggressive behavior in the emergency room, because of fewer inpatient psychiatric beds and less outpatient counseling.They want a taser on hand at the hospital for police to use in case of an emergency.The Bangor city council has some say in the idea.It has to decide whether to allow police to accept a $1,000 grant to buy the taser, which would be kept locked-up at E.M.M.C.’s emergency room, for officer use only.The council is expected to vote on the plan August 10th.
With temperatures always in flux outside, some folks headed inside Thursday to talk about new ways to heat and cool their homes. They also got a behind-the-scenes look at a locally manufactured technology.”We love electricity here. Because there’s so many ways to produce it. And so many different ways to use it,” says Duane Hallowell. Hallowell says the open house in Bangor was all about learning new things, whether it was about programmable thermostats or insulation made out of blue jeans.”I believe companies will be grouping together in the coming months and years to help people in what choices are out there,” Hallowell says.He brought local utilities and businesses together Thursday to answer questions for folks about energy-related rebates, tax credits and more.”The craftsmanship that’s going on here in Bangor is wonderful,” says Mark Burnett, a visitor to the open house.Some people are intrigued by Hallowell International’s electric heating and cooling system, which uses outside air.”I’m really impressed with the workmanship, the thought that’s gone into it. Typically heat pumps have never worked well in the bitter cold of Maine,” Burnett says.”Really, what we did was take a conventional system and make it work well in northern climates,” Hallowell says. “I think up here, typically we’re scared of electric power because we think it’s expensive. And it doesn’t need to be. It’s the end device that uses energy and how efficient that is.”While heat pumps are popular down South, Hallowell says the technology is new for folks here. But 300 homes in Maine are now using one of his company’s locally-made products.”We make a good product here,” says Michael Paul, a Hallowell employee who was showing his family around the open house. “I believe in what we do.”Hallowell says he hopes to make the open houses a regular event, held at various energy industry companies in the area, so folks can ask questions without feeling pressured to buy anything.
Investigators are trying to figure out what started fire that ripped through a home in Holden today. Crews got the call to the Levenseller Road around 12:30 this afternoon.Fred Storen, a passer-by, called the fire in. Storen was driving by the house when he saw the fire, he stopped and entered the home to make sure there was no one in the house.Storen then did his best to control the flames until crews arrived.Crews from Holden, Brewer, Eddington, and Dedham responded to the scene.Officials say the house is a loss.No word yet on a cause or origin for the fire.
People in a giving mood can earn themselves a free trip to the Bangor State Fair this year. The Red Cross is giving away wristbands good for free admission and unlimited access to all the rides to anyone who doantes blood at one of their blood drives this week.Thursday the Red Cross bus could be found at Beef O-Brady’s in Brewer. The folks at the Red Cross say if you can’t make it to one of their mobile blood drives, don’t worry, you can still earn your wristband by coming giving at the blood center.”The center is doing the same promotion this week so I think a lot of people have decided that they’re going to go to the center versus being on the bus but we have a really high turnout on the bus,” says Donna Bligh a Collection Specialist with the Red Cross.The last chance to get your wristband is friday from ten-to-two at the red cross blood center located at 900 hammond street or call 941-2900 for more information.
Crews are busy putting on the finishing touches as the Bangor State Fair gets underway friday afternoon at 2:00. The new opening times are 2:00 monday thru friday and noon on saturday and sunday.Admission is $10 and not only gets you in the front gate, but also unlimited access to all the rides.”We have the most popular teenage rides,” says E.J. Dean Vice President of Fiesta Shows, “the remix being behind us, the freak out, and the zipper, among a few.”If you’re not feeling quite that daring there are other alternatives. en we have some of the family rides,” says Dean,” the tilt-a whirl for you know all the nostalgia of going to the carnival over the years, the merry-go-round, funhouses and dark rides. whether you’re a teenager wanting to go on some thrill seeking mission to a grandparent enjoying the memories you had as a child with your grandchildren.”Some traditional favorites will be gone from this year’s fair, like the tractor pull and demoliton derby. Organizers fear if the track is torn up, it could injure some of the horses.However there are some new attractions like a group of bengal tigers. “Well your going to see eight bengal tigers,” says Mike Inks a handler with Marcan Tiger Preserve, “bengal tigers are native to india. a lot of people don’t know there are four different colors that bengal tigers come in, the most rare being the snow white bengal tiger, there’s only about 40 of those in the world so it’s a great opportunity to see them up close and personal right here in your hometown.” Some popular acts will be back as well, like the Dsconnected K9’s dog show, returning for its second year. “It’s a 30 minute show, we do three shows a day, all the dog’s routines are choreographed to music and the dogs are having fun catching frisbees.” This act actually features a world champion. “This is Harley Davidson and Harley is the current world frisbee dog champion he’s a 5-year-old border collie.”You can see Harley and the bengal tigers as well as all the attractions starting Friday at 2:00. For all the fair information log on to their website bangorstatefair.com.
A Corinth man has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for downloading child pornography. Prosecutors say he committed the crime at the same time he was trying to adopt a child.41-Year-old Arthur Cole was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.He’ll also be required to serve 10 years of supervised release after he completes his jail sentence.According to court documents, in the Fall of 2006, Cole intentionally downloaded and knowingly possessed hundreds of images of child pornography on his computer.Cole pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2008.
The Ronald McDonald House in Bangor has a new deck thanks to some folks from a few local Lowe’s.Volunteers from Lowe’s stores in Brewer, Ellsworth and Augusta tore down a 25-year-old deck and built a new one with composite materials that make it safer.Lowe’s partnered with the Ronald McDonald house through their Heroes Program.” All of these people are volunteers. They’re not on the clock. We have employees coming in on their days off.”” They’re donating all the labor and the materials and doing this on their own time to really help us out at the Ronald McDonald House so it’s truly special.”Today the Ronald McDonald house held a BBQ for the Lowe’s volunteers to show their appreciation.
Kids at Camp Capella in Dedham are wrapping up a special program that helped connect them with campers halfway around the world.As Amy Erickson reports, the experience has helped little ones in two very different countries realize how much they have in common.”Part of the camping experience the last two weeks has been learning about these kids from around the world. It’s learning through play and it’s what we do really well here.”At Camp CaPella, it’s not just swimming and crafts that get these kids excited.The campers are also using the computer to make friends half a world away.Thanks to a special project sponsored by the State Department, they’ve spent the past two weeks communicating with Special Olympics athletes at a camp in Turkmenistan, north of Iran and Afghanistan.”Right there, it looks like they’re doing some arts and crafts, just like we do here! And here they’re playing basketball.””They play table tennis.””They have waterfalls that they swim in.”Thursday, Camp CaPella kids received photos from their counterparts across the globe. The images helped the Maine kids realize that around the world, folks with disabilities are doing amazing things.”I think they’re learning a concept, that kids all over the world have disabilities and we all have our challenges…and there are other kids that are not so unlike them, even all the way around the other side of the world.””Those kids are very smart and very active.”6-year-old Hunter Giroux says he’s learned quite a bit from the experience.He says he’d like to hop a plane to Turkmenistan someday…once he learns the language.”They do not speak American…but they speak Turkman.”Camp CaPella Executive Director Dana Mosher says he’s amused by what factoids about Turkmenistan have fascinated his campers.”They don’t have McDonalds hamburgers in Turkmenistan and they couldn’t imagine. They don’t have hamburgers in Turkmenistan??!!”