We’re learning more about the sudden firing of the long-time leader of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.Candy Guerette was let go last week after more than 12 years as the President and CEO of the Chamber. The chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors, John Diamond, recently sent a letter to Chamber members which says Guerette was fired based on poor job performance.An executive committee voted to dismiss Guerette nearly two weeks ago. She was offered three months severance pay and benefits.But Guerette countered with eight months severance, pay for vacation and sick time and the assurance that her position would not be filled by Diamond. The executive committee turned down the proposal, offered Guerette an extra month of pay and let her go July 1st.A special meeting of Chamber members this week will focus on Guerette’s dismissal. No word on what could come out of the meeting. It’s set for Friday at 3:30 at the Bangor Public Library.
It looks like the conflict over same sex marriage in Maine will come down to a showdown at the ballot box this fall.Opponents say they’ve collected enough signatures to stop the state’s new gay marriage law from taking effect and to put the issue before voters statewide.Mark Mutty of the stand for Marriage Maine Coalition says it took only four weeks to gather the more than 55-thousand signatures needed to get the question on the ballot. He says signature gathering will continue to ensure there’s more than enough petitions.Maine’s gay rights law is scheduled to go into effect September 12.But that will be put on hold after the petitions are turned in and if they’re certified by the Secretary of State.
Down East Community Hospital in Machias will continue to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, at least for now. The federal government threatened to pull that money starting July 10th because the hospital failed to correct a number of deficiencies. The moved threatened the future of the facility since Medicaid and Medicare money is its biggest source of revenue. But now the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services has decided to extend the deadline for the hospital to meet federal standards until September 30. That means the reimbursement money will continue to come until at least then, too.A judge appointed Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems last week to take over the hospital and bring it back into compliance. Doug Jones was also named the interim CEO during the receivership process.
Imagine an oil spill happened in the Penobscot River…The results could be devastating.Thankfully, though, there’s a group of folks who train several times a year so they’ll know what to do if the worst ever happens.Amy Erickson has the story.
The folks from Efficiency Maine have come up with an easy way for residents to help cut down their electric bills each month.They launched the new edition of their “Kill a Watt” program Wednesday at the Bangor Public Library.Efficiency Maine staffers are stocking library shelves with “Kill a Watt” kits, which consist of an electricity usage monitor and educational tools.Residents can use the monitors to determine how much electricity the difference appliances in their home are using each day.Energy experts say the program helps folks understand and manage their power consumption more effectively in their own homes.Efficiency Maine’s Richard Bacon says most folks don’t realize how much energy older refrigerators use on a daily basis.He estimates that by getting rid of an old fridge and switching to an Energy Star model, you can save up to twenty five dollars a month.
There will be a public meeting Thursday Night at 7pm to get input on a 23-million dollar clean up plan for the former Callahan Mine in Brooksville.The Environmental Protection Agency is holding the meeting.The mine closed in 19-72 and left behind contaminants.*****Also starting next week the Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin a three-to-four month cleanup at Rolnick Site along the Penobscot River in Brewer.The E-P-A hopes to remove lead-polluted soil and stabilize the shoreline on the four-acres, that once held both an auto salvage shop and a gas station. The Agency says it’ll be performing air monitoring throughout the project to ensure that dust stirred up at the work site doesn’t threaten workers.
Investigators are piecing together a car accident that killed a man on a street in Augusta.Police say 42-year-old Matthew Martel, who’s from New Hampshire, was walking across Western Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night when he was hit by an SUV driven by a man from Cumberland.Police say Martell has been drinking and roads were wet from rain. Crews tried to resuscitate Martel but he died at the scene.No charges filed have been filed.
A friendship that took root during World War Two and has endured through generations, was on public display in bangor today.It’s the story of a local man who was wounded in Germany, and a German woman who came to his aid, as well as his fellow soldiers.”She went from man to man treating and bandaging wounds. She made several trips into her house for more clean white bed sheets. Mrs. Hagemann didn’t ask for thanks. She didn’t expect any. She spoke no English but she was doing what needed to be done.”And that’s how the nearly sixty-five year old friendship between Galen Cole and the Hagemann family began.Cole says he always wanted to return to Germany and give proper thanks to Klara Hagemann for all she did to help the wounded from the Fifth Armored. “That was my intention when I first returned to Europe in 1964. (12:33) I found the farm but it had been nineteen years before I could arrange a trip back there, and Grandmother Hagemann had died.”But who he did find was Klara’s son Theodore and his wife Elizabeth, who are both now deceased, and their six children including Irmgard.On one visit Galen decided it was his turn to prepare dinner. A dinner that he’s always remembered. ” After we adults had spoken, the near perfect English words of then eleven year old Irmgard, now the mother of Jonas and Lukas stand out. Irmgard stood up and stated in part, ” This evening and all that it means to us has happened because of the caring of my grandmother. She was a very kind and special person. That help of my grandmother was surely a gift from Heaven.”And Irmgard, her husband and two sons have come to the United States for the first time and are visiting Galen right here in Bangor. ” I feel I am not alone here my parents and my grandmother are here with me and standing behind me and I think they want me to be here.”Irmgard says the trip has allowed her to become close friends with Galen’s daughter Janet.She says she is surprised at the similarities they share.”of course it’s another culture but the main thing you have to take care of your sons and your husband.”Irmgard says she is grateful she and her family were able to make the trip.She says throughout the trip she has carried a lesson her mother taught her.”My mother was never able to speak English but she always found a way to stay in contact with Galen. She didn’t care so much about limits of language. She always taught me I am able to understand what they want to tell me.”And what will Irmgard take back to Germany with her?”All the people around here being so nice.”But she will leave one thing behind, a peace candle that she placed on the grave of Charlie fFanagan, a World War Two casualty and friend of Galen Cole.Irmgard says the peace candle represents how different the times are now from back in 1945.
A woman involved in a car crash in Amherst is recovering, but her service dog remains missing. 40-year-old Jodi Thomas of Charlotte was driving along Route 9, around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.Police say 63-year-old Daniel Dodge of Augusta pulled out of the Amherst General Store in front of Thomas. She swerved to miss Dodge’s car.Thomas’s car hit a guardrail, rolled over and landed upright in the road. She was treated at a Bangor hospital and released. The car is a total loss.A Golden Retriever named ‘Shadow’ was in Thomas’s car at the time of the accident. He ran off and hasn’t been seen since. Anyone with information about Shadow, can call Michael or Joshua Ellis at 859-0620.
A road in Knox County washed out by last week’s heavy rains is open again. Appleton selectman Donald Burke say crews finished repairs on the Appleton Ridge Road yesterday and cleared it for travel again. Heavy downpours early Thursday morning damaged more than two dozen roads in Knox County, especially in the towns of Appleton, Union and Washington. At least half-a-dozen of the roads had to be closed for part of the day while town and state crews made emergency repairs. The damage was so extensive on the Appleton Ridge Road, though, that it couldn’t be finished until yesterday.
At least one driver involved in a three-car crash in Eddington is out of the hospital. Five people in all went to the hospital after the cars collided Sunday, near the intersection of Routes 9 and 46.Authorities say a car driven by 33-year-old Torey Howard was trying to turn into the Tradewinds Market parking lot and cut off an SUV driven by David Lainsbury of Eddington.The SUV grazed the car, then swerved into the other lane, colliding with a pick-up driven by 33-year-old Jeremy Mutton of Canada.Lainsbury is out of the hospital.There’s no information available on the condition of the other drivers. Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating.
A man from Massachusetts accused of a paving scam in Lincoln could also be in trouble in Millinocket. Police there are considering filing charges against 24-year-old William Stanley, too.Lincoln police have already charged him with three misdemeanor violations of a state law aimed to keep consumers safe.They say last month Stanley offered to cut a deal on paving projects for at least four people in Lincoln, but the work ended being overpriced and shoddy. Police in Millinocket are investigating two similar complaints. They encourage anyone who believes they may have been scammed to contact them at 723-9731.
Folks in Brooksville will have a number of questions later this week about a 23-million dollar cleanup project at the former Callahan mine. The Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a public meeting Thursday night to get input on the plan. The mine, which closed in 1972, left behind a number of contaminants. It was listed as a Superfund cleanup site in 2002. State Representative Jim Schatz met Monday with the community to prep for the public hearing. He says folks want to make sure all the parts of the recommended cleanup plan are necessary and won’t create anymore environmental damage. They also want to extend the EPA’s 30-day comment period on the project. The public hearing is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Brooksville town office.
Twenty-five years ago, Charlie Howard was attacked and killed in Bangor because he was gay.His death shocked the community and spurred lots of folks to work to encourage respect for all people.”People like Charlie Howard paved the way for others now,” says Mark Doty, senior pastor at Hammond Street Congregational Church. Howard had been bullied his whole life for being gay. But, he told people, he didn’t want to hide who he was.”It cost him his life,” says William Carlin. Doty and Carlin are members of the Charlie Howard Memorial Committee.23-year-old Howard was brutally beaten and thrown off the State Street bridge by three teens in 1984.”It did bring a lot of attention to our community. People have resolved to really do something positive and to affect change in a good way,” Doty says.As folks look back over the past 25 years, they say some things have changed for the gay community.”There has been an incredible spirit of tolerance and understanding. When I came here in 2001, I was the only out, gay pastor in Bangor. And the folks in the church didn’t know how it was going to go,” Doty says.Much like Charlie Howard, Doty told folks he wouldn’t hide who he was.”I was voted in as pastor. And so that was, I think, a kind of watershed moment for this church and the community,” he says.There have also been milestones for the gay community in Maine like the passage of the same-sex marriage act.Though many people didn’t know Charlie Howard personally, they say he’s an inspiration.”We want to discover who people really are – and that we’re all the same in so many ways,” Doty says.Events will be held over the next several days in Bangor in honor of the 25th anniversary of Charlie Howard’s death. –Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Service at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St. Dedication of the the Charlie Howard Memorial at the State Street bridge to follow.–Wednesday, 7 p.m., Concert featuring Maine Gay Men’s Chorus, Women with Wings and Voices for Peace, Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St.–Thursday, 5:30-6:45 p.m., Art exhibit and reception, “Charlie Howard, 25 Years Later, How Far Has Maine Come?” at the Bangor Public Library.–Friday, 6 p.m., Pizza supper and film, “Inlaws and Outlaws,” at the Hammond Street Congregational Church, $5 for pizza.–Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Workshops on various topics, Hammond Street Congregational Church. -9-10:30 a.m., “Marriage Equality for Maine in 2009.” -11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., “Reading the Bible Through a Queer Lens.” -11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., “Ugly Ducklings.”–Sunday, 9 a.m., 25th Annual Charlie Howard Memorial Service, Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St., followed by a walk to the State Street bridge and the casting of flowers into the stream.
Plans are ready to move forward for a new hangar at the Bangor Air National Guard Base.Senator Susan Collins announced last night that the appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs voted in favor of her request for 28 million dollars towards construction.The new hangar would replace the 55-year-old building the Maine Air National Guard now uses.We’re told harsh winters have really beat up the old hangar and a new one will better protect the guard’s aircraft.President Obama had already set aside the money in next year’s budget.The spending bill must now be approved by the full appropriations committee as well as the Senate.
Piscataquis County Sheriff’s dispatchers say heavy rains last night caused the Elliotsville Road in Willimantic to become washed out. They are advising motorists to find an alternate route.
Tomato plants have been taken off store shelves in New England after the appearance of a destructive plant disease.But not before consumers may have bought them, which is causing concern. Late blight has been detected in Maine, putting crops at risk if the disease isn’t destroyed.Adrienne Bennett reports.”They really need to look out for this disease in their home garden.” “Lift up like this.” You don’t have to have a green thumb to get rid of late blight, you just need to know what to look for. Susan Anderson is a disease expert at Johnny’s selected seeds.”It’s water soaked lesions. There’s usually white furry looking sporulation. It’ll kind of droop.” Hundreds of tomato plants are growing at Johnny’s farm in Albion — late blight free, but it only takes one infected plant to spread the disease, which is most common in tomato, potato and eggplants. The wind carries the spores, spreading the fungus easily and rain encourages its growth. “It doesn’t help at all with fungal diseases. That’s why people are worried because of the weather pattern.” “Late blight was made famous in the 1840’s as the cause of the Irish potato famine. While the disease doesn’t pose a threat of famine today, it could ruin crops for farmers and gardeners unless they take action.” “We don’t want the disease to spread to our potato growers in the state.” Anderson urges anyone who detects late blight in a plant to destroy it. “When they see it, pull it out of the garden and put it in a bag and throw it into the trash.” Preventative measures can be taken too. “Johnny’s carries Kocide, which is a copper based fungicide they can spray on their tomato and potato plants.” While late blight can kill entire crops, the disease is no danger to people, so touching infected plants is not harmful.
The recent rainy weather seems to have had an impact on just about every outdoor business and the tourism industry in Bar Harbor is no different. The restaurants and gift shops are just some of the industries that depend on good summer weather. David Paine, owner of Jordan’s Restaurant on Cottage Street says they’re hanging in there despite the soggy weather. “I would say that our business is down slightly,” Paine says, “we don’t get effected by it as much as the boating business or the campground business or the golf course business. Those are down quite a lot more I think.”Over at Geddy’s Restaurant and Gift Shop, owner Heather Davis says she thinks the slow down in business isn’t due only to the rain. “We find that some people may buy one tee shirt in the gift shop instead of three, so I’m not really sure it’s the weather, I think it’s more the economy,” davis says.Many of the regular visitors here have noticed a decrease in foot traffic, and the gloomy weather has also not gone unnoticed. Pat Jencks of Surrey has been vacationing here for many years and doesn’t remember a year where the rain has been this bad. “Hideous, just hideous,” says Jencks, “it’s really bad for the boats it’s hard for all the recreational activities, they’re really hit hard by it.”For those people who make their living in the boating business, they think a few weeks of sunshine could turn it all around. “Sunny days, people are basically fair weather people,” says Steve Dugay, the owner at Aquaterra Adventures, “they’re kind of tired of the rain, when the sun pops out our business just goes crazy, absolutely crazy. The other day we had nobody on the one 1:00 trip, then the sun popped out they literally came out of the fog so we’ll take it either way.”
Several area science teachers spent part of their summer in space.Space Academy, that is.The group was among nearly 300 school teachers across the nation that spent a week at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.Joy Hollowell spoke with the cadets at the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor, about their experiences.===========”When are we going to Mars, when are we going to land on the moon again?”Questions from students, that science teachers Sarah Farnham and Lauree Gott wanted to answer. So they applied and were accepted to an elite program at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. “We kind of varied between doing astronaut simulations, like missions like they have here at the Challenger Learning Center, and the like teacher workshops,” says Sarah Farnham, who teaches at Winslow Junior High.The program is sponsored by Honeywell, which also paid for the trip. The whole idea is to give teachers the material to get their students inspired about math, science and engineering. The days were long.”oh, they were 14 hour days. Minimum,” says Farnham.But exciting. I asked both teachers this question…”is it safe to say that the simulations were the best part?”definitely yes.””One of the things our counselors told us at the beginning was to try this week to go outside of our comfort zone. So I didn’t say no to anything, and my heart was just a beating,” says Farnham.Chad Bell attended the space program two years ago and was so inspired, The Millinocket science teacher applied for the Advanced Camp. Part of their time was spent at the Kennedy Space Center.”we took a tour of the Vehicle Assembly building, which a lot of people aren’t able to get into, so it was kind of cool to see that. But inside, they were working on the new Ares rocket, stacking it right before our eyes,” says Bell.All three agree, it would be a thrill to actually go into space, but they’d be just as happy living out that dream through their students.”I hope one of my kids ends up being an astronaut,” says Gott. Joy Hollowell, WABI TV 5 News.+++++++++++++++++Ricia Hyde, who teaches at Waterville Junior High, also attended the space camp in Alabama.In addition to the U.S. teachers, educators from 15 other countries also took part in the program.
Maine has the oldest population of residents in the country.So its no surprise that the numbers are also high when it comes to Mainers with Dementia.A new program in Bangor is helping those with early signs of Alzheimer and other memory loss problems.Joy Hollowell tells us about Memory Joggers.+++++++++Each Monday, Jane Campbell and her dad Ron spend their mornings at the First United Methodist Church in Bangor. Ron Newcomb is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”We’ve been searching for a group like this since the very beginning, that was five years ago, and so we were really excited about it and it is exactly what we were looking for,” says Jane Campbell.The program is called “Memory Joggers,” and its offered through My Friends Place, an adult day program.”which we started like 8 years ago, which had more to do with people with moderate memory loss,” says director Barbara Fister.She soon realized there was a need to help folks with early memory loss. Fister started Memory Joggers in January of this year. Participants come for four hours a day and work on memory as well as physical exercises.”yeah, I think they try to work on our mind, what’s left of it (ha,ha,ha),” says Lloyd Willey, one of the participants. When asked if he thinks its working, Lloyd replies, “Oh yeah, I think so. I go to work every day for a couple of hours.””we’ve been told that it’s a very positive approach and I feel also that memory joggers is a pro-active approach,” says Barbara Fister.Jane Campbell sees a difference in her dad as well.”he really enjoys it and I get to spend time with my dad,” says Campbell.==========Memory Joggers meets every Monday from 9 AM until 1 PM at the First United Methodist Church in Bangor.For more information, you can call the program’s director, Barbara Fister at 945-0122 or visit them on the web at www.memoryjoggers.com