A special Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce board meeting will take place this afternoon.It centers around the sudden firing of longtime chamber head, Candy Guerette.Guerette was terminated from her position as CEO and President of the chamber last week, after 13 years.The Chairman of the Chamber’s Board, John Diamond, sent a letter to chamber members saying Guerette was dismissed based on poor job performance.At an annual meeting yesterday, the full board unanimously supported the Executive Committee’s decision and the way it was handled.This afternoon’s meeting is scheduled for 3:30PM at the Bangor Public Library.Diamond says the board will listen, but not make a decision at the meeting.Some members will ask the board to appoint a special committee to investigate the decision to fire Guerette.
Lots of folks are happy the rain has finally let up. But some neighbors in Salisbury Cove say their flooding problems came before – and will last after – this most recent rain.”You don’t forget about water problems. It just gets worse,” says Al Robbins.He says two of his neighbors across Norway Drive have dealt with water damage from flooding for years.”There’s a culvert that goes from that pond across Route 3 onto this lot, behind those people’s homes that’s having the problem,” he says.Folks had blocked up the DOT culvert with a boat mooring to stay dry. But last week, workers cleared the block and water from the pond rushed back through the culvert to their homes.”I could see that water go down by inches, more than inches. It just went down,” Robbins says, gesturing to the pond from his property. “Then of course, these people were the recipients of all the water.”Bar Harbor Public Works Director Chip Reeves says, “We’re trying to work with DOT to come up with a solution. I’ve been in contact with the regional manager to discuss this.”He says the DOT used to maintain a drainage area behind the homes, but not anymore. Now, they don’t know who’s responsible.”We’re trying to look back through town records to see if it belongs to the town and we can’t find anything,” Reeves says. “We’re not allowed to spend taxpayer money on private property, so we’re trying to establish whose that is.”Reeves says he feels terrible for the homeowners, but right now, his hands are tied. Meanwhile, Robbins says his neighbors can’t take any more flooding.”It’s like they just said if we let it drag on, maybe they’ll forget about it. That doesn’t happen,” Robbins says.”Hopefully the three – the property owners, the DOT and the town – can come up with some sort of solution,” Reeves says.
With the sun shining brightly, the town of Rockland is busy getting set for the North Atlantic Blues Festival…Even with a sagging economy, producers say they expect about 16,000 people to descend upon Rockland this weekend, some of them traveling here from quite a distance. “The tickets that have gone out of my office have gone to 27 different states,” says co-producer Paul Benjamin, “we’ve sent tickets to all over Canada. I’ve sent tickets to Bermuda, and I’ve sent tickets to Japan this year, so blues fans do travel for quality events and we feel we put on a quality event.”The festivities are expected to reach their peak saturday night when the annual club crawl gets underway. The club crawl features several local bands performing all over the community. “We got the club crawl where we actually close down us route 1 on saturday night,” Benjamin explains, “and we have four bands on the street and we got 15 bands playing around town so we basically turn downtown rockland into a mini New Orleans.”That makes local business owners here very happy and for some who have been around awhile, they know what to expect, “crazy, just crazy,” says Time Out Pub owner James Beaulieu, “you know the festival brings in you know 10,000 people over the course of the weekend. It’s great, gotta love it, makes up for a long winter.”The producers say all the hard work is well worth it for the fans here.”One of the things that’s really exciting is about the show is that the artists say the Maine audience here in Maine is one of the best audiences they play for and you know melding together the audience and Maine and the great blues acts is really an honor to be able to put that together.”
Maine drug agents say they’ve busted up two out-of-state drug rings, working in Eastern and Central Maine. Fourteen people in all have been arrested. They say one investigation in Augusta cracked an operation based in Massachusetts that was allegedly selling heroin, cocaine and Oxycontin from motel rooms in Augusta.Agents found more than $20,000 in drugs and nearly $7,000 in cash, along with two handguns this week. Six people were arrested in connection with that case, with one from Maine.Another investigation in Bangor focused on a similar drug operation run from New York. Agents arrested eight people in that bust. Five of them are from Maine. Agents also seized more than $2,100 in drugs, plus $1,000 cash.
The water’s flowing again from a decades-old fountain in Belfast. The original fountain outside the Waldo County Shrine Club on Northport Avenue was built more than a century ago. But over time, the base of it crumbled away.So the local shriners to decide to replace the fountain. It took a few years of fundraising to come up with the thousands of dollars needed for the project. Construction finally started about a year ago. Alton Kenney, a Shriner and Emeritus Governor of the Springfield Shriners Hospital says, “We hope that it’s a beautiful fountain and anybody that’s interested in the fountains, why they just might want to get the history of it or something like that. What we wanted to do was just get it back to the property so we would have it.”The new fountain was dedicated in a special ceremony Thursday night.The shriners are still raising money to help finish off paying for the project. For a $25 donation, you can receive one of the original stones from the fountain. For more information, call the Waldo County Shrine Club at 338-9844.
Plans to move forward at Down East Community Hospital are already being put into motion, just a day after they learned they’ll continue to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, for the time being.The deadline for the hospital to meet federal standards has been extended to September thirtieth.Interim President and CEO Douglas Jones says they see the extension as recognition that the relationship with Eastern Maine Healthcare is a credible one.Last week a judge appointed Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems to take over the hospital and bring it back into compliance.Jones says he’s confident all the standards will be met by the new deadline.” The things that I’m particularly focusing on is high level organization of the hospital and making sure that we’re organized properly so people have the resources to do their work.”Jones says he and the staff have no doubt the hospital will be accredited.
The Ark Animal Shelter in Cherryfield is struggling financially.As Meghan Hayward tells us, the folks who run it are finding new ways to raise money.”The economic status has made it so a lot of people have to surrender their animals because they’re getting evicted, losing their jobs. They can’t afford to get their own day-to-day basic needs and the pets unfortunately are suffering.”Shelter Manager Lorna Konyak says she’s seen an increase in the number of animals being brought in, but unfortunately, a decrease in donations.”They’re now giving donations, a ten dollar one might only be 5 dollars now, and a 50 dollar one might be down to 20 dollars.”Konyak says it’s putting a huge financial burden on the shelter.”Because we still want to give our pets the level of care we’ve been giving them and stay open, but if we don’t get financial aid, we could very easily close from a year to a year and a half.”Konyak says they’re trying new things to help bring in extra money.”We recently started up a thrift shop that is going to be in Blue Hill and that should bring in some revenue.”They’ve also reduced expenses.”We have cut back on a lot of items that we use on a daily basis, more frugal about making sure we measure all our bleach and disinfectant products cutting back on the use of paper towel, trash.”Konyak worries about what would happen to the animals if the shelter closed. She says local folks would have no place to bring them.”They’ll end up abandoning their pets, which will mean there will be a lot animals in the streets and around the barrens, where they will probably succumb to the wildlife.”But Konyak says she isn’t giving up and will continue to operate for as long as she can, with the best interests of the animals in mind.
Mushroom season is here in Maine. And hunting for the tasty ones, while avoiding the toxic ones is important. An event Friday in Augusta could help.Mushroom photographer Taylor Lockwood will show his video called “The Good, the Bad and the Deadly”. It’ll teach the basics about poisonous mushrooms and their edible look-a-likes.The showing is set for 7 o’clock at city hall. Lockwood will also answer questions and give a short lesson on photographing mushrooms.
The Board of Directors of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce is backing a decision by its Executive Committee to fire the head of the Chamber, Candy Guerette. Guerette was let go last week after 13 years as President and CEO. The chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, John Diamond, sent a letter to Chamber members saying Guerette was dismissed based on poor job performance.Diamond says at an annual meeting today, the full Board of Directors unanimously supported the Executive Committee’s decision and the way it was handled. A special meeting of Chamber members, though, is set for tomorrow. Diamond says a group of members will ask the Board to appoint a special committee to investigate the decision to fire Guerette. He says the Board will listen to comments, but not make a decision based on them. That meeting is scheduled for 3:30 at the Bangor Public Library.
The Lubec Post office is marking the eighth annual West Quoddy Light celebration with a special stamp cancellation.It’s a special pictorial postmark dated July 11th.They’re hoping the free cancellation can serve as a souvenir of the anniversary for folks who come from all over the country to visit.Customers can request the special postmark by mail for thirty days after the event.
A piece of history is being restored to its original glory in Brewer.The railroad tug “Saturn” is one of only a handful of its kind left in the world.And as Amy Erickson tells us, a man from Winterport has his hands full giving it a makeover.< "it's a labor of love. you've gotta be foolish to do this."Foolish or not, Jon Johansen's not giving up on his prized posession.Back in 2002, he purchased this historic tug, called "saturn," from Maine Maritime Academy.At 102 years old, she has quite a history."she was built for the Reading Railroad company and what she would do is run coal barges and car floats across the Delaware or in New York.""she has the classic lines of a tug and there's not many of these left in the world today. There's only maybe a handful...maybe 5 of these tugs left."A tour of the "saturn" is pretty impressive...from the captain's quarters....to the 15 ton engine that's as long as a pickup truck.Johansen is committed to restoring the Saturn to her original, 1907 glory.But it isn't easy."we're trying to get a good coat of paint on her from stem to stern, and unfortunately, i'm the only one doing most of the manual labor. It's therapeutic, but it's real dirty. One of the worst jobs you'll do."Johansen guesses it'll take about two years before he's done.Then he's hoping to share Saturn with the world...by bringing it to museums up and down the East Coast."say somebody like maine maritime museum or there's a railroad museum in portland, the narrow gauge...or mystic seaport...or maybe take her to events.""we want to make it so it's an educational exhibit for anybody who wants to know what it was like to work on tugs."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Brewer.>
Preparing meals at home aids in weight loss because there’s nosurprises. You know exactly what you’re eating and how it wasprepared. Contrary to popular belief cooking meals at home doesn’thave to take a lot of time. Jackie Conn from Weight Watchers sharessome cooking shortcuts to help you cut time AND calories. For quick jambalaya. Stir-fry salad-size shrimp, diced low-fatItalian sausage and chopped bell pepper. Combine with a cookedCajun-style rice mix until well blended.One-dish pasta entrÃ©es. Make simple family meals. Add chopped broccoliand diced lean ham to a cooked reduced-fat macaroni-and-cheese mix.Make a vegetarian version with chopped fresh tomatoes and lightlysteamed asparagus tips.Feed a crowd with a wild rice-turkey casserole: Stir-fry leftoverturkey breast, chopped broccoli and dried cranberries: combine with acooked wild-rice mix.Go vegetarian with black bean burritos. Stir-fry diced onions andcombine them with canned black beans (rinsed and drained) and a cookedrice mix. Layer down the center of tortillas, top with salsa andlow-fat shredded cheddar cheese, roll up, and bake until heatedthrough and the tortillas are slightly browned.Add a dash of lime juice, hot sauce and a cup of chopped cookedchicken breast to canned chicken soup. Sprinkle with cilantro andyou’ve got hot-and-sour soup. in a jiffy. Slice and arrange store-bought, precooked polenta. In a 9-inch squarepan top polenta with soy-based chorizo and a little tomato sauce. Bake until just heated through.
Senator Susan Collins says she has sucessfully secured $4.8 million dollars in federal funding to a wind project at the University of Maine.The Maine Offshore Wind Initiative would establish a National Center for Deepwater Offshore Wind Research at the school.The money was approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and is included in next year’s budget bill.The measure now goes before the full Senate Appropriations Committee, and if passed, on to the full Senate for approval.In June, Governor Baldacci met with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Maine’s Congressional delegation to discuss offshore wind power in Maine.
Native American tribes in Maine will soon have improved access to drinking water.The Penobscot tribe, and the Passamaquoddy tribes of Indian Township and Pleasant Point, will all share nearly one million dollars.It comes from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Indian Health Service.The Penobscot tribe is getting $216,000.It will fund metering leak detection as well as replace some hydrants.The Passamaquoddy tribe of Indian Township is alloted $346,000.That money will be used to renovate a lift station, improving wastewater services to 50 tribal homes.And the Passamaquoddy tribe at Pleasant Point will be handed $431,000.They’ll use it to pay for a water source study benefiting more than 1,000 households. The money will also be used for a meter enclosure and leak detection project in 262 homes. The money is part of $90 million dollars being handed out nationwide.It comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Fire crews from three towns spent more than five hours fighting a fire and cleaning up from that blaze in Rockport Wednesday.Crews from Rockport, Camden, and Rockland were called to a barn fire at 5:30PM.The owner of the three story barn reportedly heard an explosion before seeing the fire.The flames were doused and the scene cleaned up a little before 11 o’clock last night.The cause of the fire is not known.
A ground breaking was held this evening for the Veterans Memorial Park in Hermon.The committee has been planning for the park for almost a year and a half now.The site is marked off, it will be in front of Hermon Elementary School….The monument for the park was designed by the committee and has already been made.Larry Davis, chair of the committee, says the town has been very supportive.He says this community is very veteran based, so this tribute is important to the area.The committee is selling brick pavers to help raise money for the park.They will be engraved with the name of a veteran, and placed in the memorial.For more information you can contact Laura Cushing at 415-8971, or by email at Lcushing@bluecat5.com.
While reduced funding has forced the curtailment of hundreds of miles of highway maintenance projects in Maine, $130 million in federal stimulus money is paying for highway and bridge reconstruction throughout the state. The Transportation Department says 40 percent of this year’s scheduled maintenance projects – basically repaving – have been canceled. The Legislature’s Transportation Committee is trying to find a way to bolster funding over the long term. However, one-time federal stimulus money is supporting more substantial projects this season. The largest is on Interstate 295 from Topsham to Gardiner.
It didn’t take long for the latest resident here in the alzheimers unit at Birchbay Village in Bar Harbor to make new friends. For figaro, a 9-year-old cat, it took him about a day. “He’s a wonderful friend,” says resident Joan Parker, “he’s a sweetheart, no complaints, we don’t hear any complaints.” The 17 pound feline spends his nights curled up and asleep on Parker’s bed.The staff here says Figaro is quick to help out around the place. “He makes rounds just like a doctor would, goes and visits patients,” says CNA Debra Ireland, “he goes to all the rooms, he goes and checks on the residents to see what they’re up to and then he’ll leave the room and go on to the next one. he does that a couple times a day.”Many of the residents here have families who live far away…Figaro has made this place feel a little more like home. “He’s special to the residents because he actually live here,” says Ireland, “they have their own cat, their own animal.”Denise Plano, Director of Health Services, says the introduction of Figaro, along with using some other philosophies, such as the friends approach, has had a signifigant and positive impact on the residents. “We’ve been able to decrease our utilization of anti-psychotic medication, the dosing of that by 84% and we’ve been able to decrease hospitalization rates by about 90%, so just adding the cat and some of those other intervention philosophies really makes a difference.”As for Figaro, he’s found himself a comfortable home for the forseeable future.
A child from the Bangor area will venture to Costa Rica to be the first person from Maine to have Adult Stem Cell Therapy for Autism.As Meghan Hayward tells us, his parents have high hopes for their son’s continued progress.” What color is your popsicle today? Red, Red.”Eight-year old Kenneth Kelley was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two.A diagnosis that came as a shock to his mother.”I went through a couple years of denial of his autism diagnosis.”Marty finally came to terms with her son’s diagnosis when he was five-years-old.Her cousin came to her with information about biomedical intervention.But Marty was worried she had waited too long.”One of the first things we did was buy a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and within a couple of days, he actually sat down and traced the alphabet from A to Z by himself which was huge. First time he’d ever done that.”While the hyperbaric oxygen chamber has given them great results, Marty says every day is still a challenge.”It’s really hard because he just we can’t go anywhere and we can’t have anyone over. He just screams all day.”Another concern is how difficult it is on her other children.Ten-year-old Philip likes playing big brother to Kenneth.”We play hide and seek, sometimes tag. Sometimes we wrestle.”But he says it isn’t always easy.”When people call my brother names, it really bothers me.”After a lot of research, Marty came across Adult Stem Cell Therapy.The stem cells go into the body, find the damaged areas, and begin to form new working blood vessels that carry oxygen and rejuvenate the damaged tissues.The therapy is not done in the United States. They will take Kenneth to Costa Rica.”It feels as though, yes there is hope and yes, truly he will become a normal boy that will face challenges that we all face as adults.”A hope that both parents are holding onto and praying Kenneth will continue to progress. “What time is it? 8 o’clock. That’s right.”An Autism Biomedical support group is being created.The first meeting is july 18th at 10 am.To learn more, call 942-2459.
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.