A former South Portland man convicted of murder was sentenced to life in prison in the death of a woman 26 years ago.In June, a jury found 52-year-old Thomas Mitchell Junior guilty of sexually assaulting and stabbing Judith Flagg at her Fayette home in January 1983.The crime went unsolved for decades until police used DNA and new technology to link Mitchell to the scene.At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was completing prison sentences for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder. His lawyer says Mitchell maintains his innocence and will appeal the murder conviction.
Two people were taken to the hospital after a pickup truck collided with a rescue vehicle in Newport Saturday evening.It happened just before 6 p.m. on Elm Street, just past the Ridge Road intersection.A Newport Fire and Rescue crew was headed out on an emergency call…with lights and sirens on…when they were struck head-on by a pickup truck.State Police say it appears the driver of the pickup was trying to maneuver around a car that had stopped in the middle of the road…and in doing so, drove into the path of the rescue vehicle.The pickup driver suffered leg injuries and was taken to the hospital.His passenger was also transported, with minor injuries.The two firefighters in the rescue vehicle suffered bumps and bruises.So far no charges have been filed.The crash is under investigation.
F-A-A officials are investigating a helicopter crash off Little Deer Isle.It happened just before 5 p-m on Saturday.The internationally registered helicopter made a controlled landing using floatation devices.None of the four people aboard were injured.A lobster boat towed the undamaged helicopter to shore.F-A-A officials don’t know where the helicopter was going or why it had to land in the water. An investigation is underway.
Hundreds of music lovers descended on Winterport Saturday for the town’s annual music festival.Now in its fourth year, the festival showcases all kinds of local talent…and also raises money for a great cause.Part of the admission fee goes toward providing music scholarships for students in S-A-D 22.Festival Chair and Town Manager Philip Pitula says attendance has grown every year…and he’s thrilled that the event has become a way for folks to come together to hear some great music…and help kids in their community.
The Senate has approved five million dollars for a UMaine study on offshore wind generation.The money comes from a 2010 energy and water appropriations bill just approved by lawmakers.The proposed research program would study wind turbine technology that can operate in the harsh conditions of the Gulf ofMaine.Meanwhile, a state task force continues to discuss the idea ofdeveloping ocean-based renewable energy projects off Maine’s coast.
Parts of Route 295 that have been closed for construction will reopen to traffic this week.The northbound lanes between Gardiner and Topsham have been repaved. With the work done, the northbound and southbound lanes in the 17-mile stretch of 295 are reopening. The contractor finished three weeks ahead of schedule.Southbound traffic has been rerouted from the highway to U.S. Route 201 since mid-June when the 35 million dollar project got underway. It was funded with federal stimulus money.
A ship christened Saturday at Bath Iron Works has been named for a Marine who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers in Iraq.Corporal Jason Dunham of New York was a Medal of Honor winner.He died in April of 2004…8 days after the grenade blast.Members of Dunham’s battalion were on hand for the christening, along with his family members.
Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating a plane crash in Livermore Falls.It happened this morning.The single-engine plane had just taken off from Bowman Airfield when it crashed.Two people were onboard…neither suffered serious injuries.No word yet on what caused the crash.The investigation is underway.
Maine parks as economic engines.That was the topic of discussion today at a citizen summit in Belfast.Doctor John Crompton is a distinguished professor at Texas A and M University, he was was the guest speaker at the event.Crompton says too many folks see parks and recreation as added extras, when in some cases, they’re actually central to economic development.” It’s central in several senses. First of all in terms of quality of life. Many businesses are looking for today. However you define quality of life parks and recreation are part of it.”The event was free and open to the public.
Customers at Borders can give a book and help a child or adult.Starting today Borders has teamed up with the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.The price of books range from 3 dollars to 15 dollars.And can improve the literacy of children and adults.All the book donations from Borders’ patrons will go directly into homes in the area where they are needed most.Something Cafe Supervisor Ann Redman says they are happy to help with.” We feel great. I mean like I said anything we can do. We know how hard it is right now. Everybody is having such a hard time with the economy and having a hard time time making ends meat. So the fact that we can take $2.99 book and say here you go give it to an adult who needs to learn how to read or a kid from that family who is also trying to learn how to read makes all the difference in the world.”For more information on how you can support a more literate community call the Literacy Volunteers of Maine at 947-8451.
A family of five from Pittsfield who lost their home to a fire.Are now closer to getting a new home thanks to folks all across the state of Maine who have donated money and items.As Meghan Hayward tells us the family is use to giving by not receiving.Less than two months ago the Dodge family of Pittsfield lost their home in a fire.But in that small amount of time things have started coming together.Chaplin of the Sheriff’s Department Kevin Brooks has been helping build the Dodge’s new home.He says the family of five deserve all the support.” Typical rural Maine family. Just pulling together, working with what they can do to help each other out and meet their basic needs.”Brooks says the Dodge family would much rather be giving then receiving.” Will is the kind of guy, he would do things for others as well. It’s a little hard for him to accept some help but he needs it right now.”Brooks says he is surprised with the progress.” More than I expected I came Monday to check in on him and I saw the walls standing. I expected to just see slab so he’s really been doing well.”Michael Havey is a neighbor to the Dodge family and has been lending a hand too.” I’ve just been helping them with the rafters and came out and helped burn the rest of his house down a couple weeks ago.”Havey says he’s happy with the number of people who have come our to help.” Well it’s nice to see everybody. It’s real important for a small town to come together and help everybody else out.”Something Brooks says speaks volumes for the small communities in Maine.” I think it speaks well of it, pulling together and trying to help each other out. I think a lot of other communities would do just the same.”
Animal lovers in the Belfast area are invited to what’s sure to be an emotional film screening this weekend.”An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever” is an award-winning documentary about pets left behind during Hurricane Katrina.The director will be showing the film on Sunday evening at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast, and he’s getting local animal organizations and rescue groups involved.It’s part of what he’s calling “The Rescue Party Tour,” his effort to help local animal causes across the country. He says the movie’s content often spurs people to want to help.”People have come away from the screening feeling very motivated or empowered to make a difference in their communities. And that’s what I was hoping to do,” says director Tom McPhee.He cautions that the movie’s content is powerful and not intended for people under 14.An American Opera will be shown this Sunday at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast at 6:15. Tickets range from 10 to 25 dollars, with some proceeds going to local animal charities.For more information, visit the Rescue Party Tour online.
(AP) – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Maine Education Department say they’ll be working with schools on a flu vaccination program for students this fall. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Maine CDC director, says the program will likely start with large-scale vaccinations against the seasonal flu, followed by vaccinations against swine flu when they become available. Mills says that there’s no plan at this point to make the inoculations mandatory. As it stands, there are more than 300 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine flu in Maine, but the actual number is believed to be far higher. The state is holding a “flu summit” in August. Education Commissioner Susan Gendron says it represents an opportunity to plan for the fall, when students return to school.
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing an exciting activity for kids.EPA is letting kids learn about life aboard an ocean research ship and all the work done to protect New England’s coastal waters.Starting today, and continuing for a week you can follow scientists from EPA’s ocean survey vessel.EPA staff will post information onto a daily web-based logbook.To follow along go to their website www.epa.gov/ne/bold kids.
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.