News

Swine Flu Confirmed in All 16 Maine Counties

Updated 5 years ago

Maine’s public health director says swine flu’s been confirmed in all 16 of the state’s counties and vaccination clinics are continuing in scores of schools. Dora Anne Mills of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in her weekly H1N1 update Thursday that there is no part of Maine that’s unaffected by the disease. Mills also said at least 25 schools across the state are reporting absentee rates of 15 percent or more due to swine flu. Several Mainers have also been hospitalized with swine flu. Mills said the state continues to see H1N1 vaccines trickling into the state. She says that by Friday, the state will have received 139,000 doses of swine flu vaccine. That’s enough for only one in five people in high priority groups.

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The Move to Ban Mandatory Vaccinations Turned Down Again

Updated 5 years ago

Debate on a bill that would ban mandatory vaccinations in Maine heated up in Augusta Thursday.People packed into the statehouse to urge lawmakers to clarify current law. Most of the people there were and say still are under the impression that the government has the authority to force vaccinations.Lawmakers say that’s not the case and there’s no reason to change anything. The bill was turned down in a 6 to 4 vote. To look at the current law click here.This is a follow up to this story.

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Farmers’ Almanac Predictions

Todd Simcox

Updated 5 years ago

”So right pretty much at the beginning, it was important to predict weather for farmers but today it’s probably even more important because we’re so mobile, we’re always going different places and we’re planning so far in advance.””I think since about 1820 or so, we’ve been doing the weather and doing it with a great deal of consistency because you’ve had only 8 people that have done weather in 193 years.”That’s an average of about 24 years per person predicting the weather for the Farmers’ Almanac… obviously, a very dedicated group. Its hard enough just forecasting the weather a couple days ahead, but the Farmers’ Almanac sticks their neck out using a secret but trusted formula to predict the weather two years in advance.”David Young, our first editor, was a calculator, mathematician, and astronomer, and so he developed a formula that was applied to sun-spot activity, planet positions, effect the moon has on the earth, and that allowed him and allowed us to do our weather two years in advance…””No they’re not meteorologists. I think they’re calculators. They can put together the formula and come up with what we need to have.”The end result is a year-long weather forecast for seven different regions of the United States…Geiger says the accuracy rating is somewhere around 80 percent.”I had a meteorologist in Philadelphia one time on television who was tracking his weather and my weather for three months, or my father’s weather at the time, but tracking it for three months, and his was the night before weather and ours was two years in advance. At the end of the three months, he was 78 percent right and we were 76 percent right.”The Farmers’ Almanac received a lot of press this past summer after putting that accuracy to the test with their rainy and cool forecast for New England.”This springtime at the end of June, a local reporter called me and said, ‘what do you have to say for yourself?’ I said… well… I’m sorry. And she says, ‘what do you mean you’re sorry?’ Well, I’m sorry I’m so right because all of July is going to be just like all of June.”With the winter months approaching, Peter says the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold and snowy winter for Mainers.”We’re talking about some snow some part, the latter part of November and December maybe 2 or 3 storms, then January and February being the big storm months which is probably no surprise but very specifically, we’ll talk about when there’s some heavy snowfall and we talk about march having some snow and maybe some flooding. So to me, that means there should be some real accumulation of snow this winter.”

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A Look into the Farmer’s Almanac

Todd Simcox

Updated 5 years ago

”The Farmers’ Almanac itself was started in Morristown, New Jersey back in 1818.”More than 190 years later, the Farmers’ Almanac is still going strong. Ray Geiger, who was running his own company at the time, took over as editor of the Farmers’ Almanac in the mid-1930s and after editing 20 editions, decided to pack up and move north to Maine.”So my father came along and just absolutely fell in love with Maine and with Lewiston and became a very passionate person about the community he lived in and when we brought the company into Maine, we were probably a struggling company at the time but over the years, we’ve grown.”And grown they have, from a circulation of approximately 86,000 back in the 1930s to about 3.5 million today… some are given away by businesses… others are sold in stores. Editor Peter Geiger says it’s a small but dedicated group that puts together each annual edition, averaging 200 pages.”We are a small and humble group of about 5 people. And Sandy Duncan my managing editor, Dick Plourde the graphic designer, Jaime one of my writers and there’s myself. Then there is the physical process of putting it together and printing it but in terms of editorial content there are 5 people who work on it throughout the year and capture what’s important and put it into the book.”They’re always working a year in advance for next year’s edition…so how do they decide what content will be relevant for the coming year?”Well it’s a process. First of all when you’ve been in business doing the same thing for 193 years, you have people always sending you information and advice on what they’d like to see in the publication. I have an advisory council of about 700 people that give me advice on what they’d like the see in the publication.”No matter what decisions they make… there’s always a basic theme to the Farmers Almanac.”I’ve always wanted a publication that is good for the entire family, all members of the family. I really want it to be something everyone can read. I want teachers to be able to use it in their classrooms and so that’s sort of my grading point. It’s got to be for everybody.”With families in mind… almanacs have been known as guides to good living, giving us ideas on how to do things and do them well, and making life easier for yourself and those around you.”The Almanac is really a guide to good living for no matter what you do whether its foliage watching, whether its looking for the first date or whether its planning a vacation then the almanac does offer some great insights. But more importantly, nowadays, I think we have some tremendous ideas on how to be frugal and how to stretch dollars and to do it in ways that are meaningful for people so I think the almanac is a lot of things.”The Farmers’ Almanac may be better known for its weather forecasts, which only account for about 10 percent of the publication. A small part? Yes, but it plays a large role in the lives of their loyal audience. The Farmers’ Almanac prides itself on its roughly 80 percent accuracy rating.”It is what it is and people do enjoy it. People plan their lives by the almanac for a variety of reasons whether its best days or planting information. And they depend on the almanac for weather and they might go buy a snowblower if we’re calling for heavy snow. And that’s what we’re about.”

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Man Arrested in Illegal Alien Case

Updated 5 years ago

A man from Harrington is in trouble for bringing illegal aliens to Maine to work at a sea cucumber processing plant.48-year-old Juan Centen-Perez pled guilty in federal court in Bangor Tuesday to visa fraud, transporting and harboring illegal aliens, and conspiracy to hire them. He awaits sentencing, and could be imprisoned for up to ten years.He came to Maine as a migrant worker about ten years ago and opened a Mexican store and restaurant in eastern Maine.

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Bingham Man Charged with Raping a Minor

Updated 5 years ago

A man from Bingham accused of raping a young girl has been arrested.56-year-old Dana Davis is charged with gross sexual assault.Police say the incident happened in 2001 when the girl was seven.The girl didn’t say anything about it until recently, and her mother called police.Davis is free on bail as of Thursday morning.

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Bangor Vaccine Clinic

Updated 5 years ago

The city of Bangor is still working hard trying to vaccinate school children against the H1N1 virus.They held another clinic on Wednesday at the Bangor Civic Center.It was for children in the greater Bangor area in grades K through 12.The hours for this clinic were shorter than the last one because they had fewer doses. 2,000 children were vaccinated this time, about half who received the vaccine last time.They did run out of the seasonal flu shot for a short time, but then got another shipment in during the clinic.

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Goodrich Memorial

Updated 5 years ago

The man allegedly shot to death by his son will be laid to rest Thursday.Perley Goodrich senior’s memorial service will be at 1pm at the Crosby and Neal Funeral Home in Newport.Following the service, folks are invited to head to the former Palmyra town office for a get together.There will also be a candlelight vigil on Sunday at 4 pm down at the Newport waterfront.A fund for Perley senior’s wife, Sandra Goodrich, has been set up at Bank of America.Checks can be sent to any of the Bank of America branches, just make them out to the Sandra Goodrich Fund.

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Miller Appears in Court

Updated 5 years ago

A woman accused of reckless conduct with a firearm in connection with the shooting of a lobsterman on Matinicus Island was in court Wednesday.45-year-old Janan Miller is accused of pointing a shotgun at 41-year-old Christopher Young and another lobsterman in July.Miller pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.Prosecutors say her father, E. Vance Bunker, shot Young.Bunker faces several charges.Young is also facing charges for refusing to leave Bunker’s fishing boat.Miller remains free on bail.

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Bangor and Brewer Joint Committee

Updated 5 years ago

The city of Brewer can move forward with plans to form an exploratory committee with the city of Bangor.On Tuesday voters approved the idea to look at ways the two cities could work together to save money.The idea for the committee was proposed to Brewer city councilors last spring, but not all of them approved it, so the measure went to voters.City councilor Joe Ferris says judging by the more than two-to-one vote, it’s clear residents support the idea. “They found very little wrong with exploring– and this is only an exploratory way of looking at how our two cities can work together. It almost, to me, seemed like a slap in the face that our council wouldn’t look at ways we could work together to save money.”Ferris says the next step is to put together the joint committee with Bangor to start the research process.

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Hermon Motorcycle Accident

Updated 5 years ago

A Levant Man was taken to the hospital earlier this evening after a motorcycle chase ended in a crash.20 year old Harry Coffin was doing wheelies on his motorcycle on Union Street in Hermon around 6:00 this evening.Officials spotted him and attempted to pull him over. Coffin took off on the bike and led police on a chase.A few minutes later a Penobscot County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to block Coffin at an intersection. Coffin hit the cruiser and was thrown from the bike.He was taken to Eastern Maine Medial Center with minor injuries.

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Lipizzaner Stallions

Updated 5 years ago

Lipizzaner Stallions are a breed of white horses. They are originally from Europe and are traditionally a symbol of grace and majesty.The 40th anniversary tour of the world famous performing Lipizzaner Stallions has taken them to Bangor.Twelve horses and their riders perform what some call an equine ballet. It was originally inspired by a traditional Spanish riding school. Troy Tinker, the Master of Ceremonies, says there’s something for everyone at this show, “The steps and movements from the art of dressage, the classical riding style set to music in an equine ballet. We’ll also show you the big leaps and jumps, the big war maneuvers they’re famous for, the airs above the ground. The focus really is the partnership between the horse and rider.”The group’s first show was Wednesday evening. There is also one Thursday night at the Bangor Auditorium, it starts at 7:30. Regular admission is between 20 and 25 dollars.The group’s next stop is Portland.

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LURC Meetings

Updated 5 years ago

The Land Use Regulation Commission, or LURC, will hold educational outreach sessions in Grand Lake Stream.LURC officials will speak to folks about permitting and compliance matters.They’ll also have a question and answer session following the presentation.The session will be held on Thursday, November 5th, from 3:00pm – 5pm, and from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. The meeting are being held at the Grand Lake Stream Plantation Office at 15 Water Street in Grand Lake Stream. For more information you can contact the LURC office in Augusta at 287-2631.

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Reaction Mixed to Close Vote on Question One

Updated 5 years ago

In a close vote, Mainers approved Question One, rejecting the same sex marriage law the legislature passed earlier this year.53-percent of voters said yes, and 47-percent no, a margin of about 33-thousand votes.Experts had predicted a close race. But while many guessed how it might turn out, no one knew for sure until early Wednesday morning.Those who had predicted high voter turnout would favor the No On One campaign– turned out to be wrong.After a long campaign, both sides watched the returns closely. In the end, it was a tearful defeat for supporters of same-sex marriage.”We have two young boys, seven and four, who were quite…upset this morning. My 7 year old… he couldn’t understand why we lost. Couldn’t understand what to do. ‘You mean, we lost? Why would people treat us differently?’” says Betsy Smith, with Equality Maine.”It’s sad to see that. Certainly any time you see anyone in tears it doesn’t bring any kind of pleasure at all. We just wish there were other ways to deal with some of those issues, so that people wouldn’t have to go through that,” says Rev. Bob Emrich, with Stand for Marriage Maine.University of Maine political science professor, Amy Fried, says some people had looked to Maine as a possible turning point for same-sex marriage.The issue has never won at the ballot box, in any state. “If you look at polling data nationwide, you don’t have a majority of people who support same-sex marriage. But if you take the number of people who support same-sex marriage, and you add the number of people who support civil unions, you do get a majority. I expect that it’s the same in Maine,” Fried says.Supporters of same-sex marriage say they are not quitting their effort, but say it’s too soon to tell what will happen next.”Even if an expansion of domestic partnership, or a civil union bill were to come forward, I think it will probably wait until after the next legislative and gubernatorial elections,” Fried says.Emrich says if the question of same-sex marriage comes up again, they will fight it.”Marriage matters. We think it’s very important to protect the tradition and the institution,” he says. “So if it’s challenged again, like we did this time, we will reluctantly do what we can.”

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Fortunato Sentence

Updated 5 years ago

A Newburgh man will spend a half-year in jail for his role in a party police say might be connected to the death of a Hampden teenager.Forty-five-year-old Michael Fortunato was also fined 8-hundred dollars for supplying teens with pot and prescription muscle relaxers at a party at his home in March.Prosecutors believe that 17-year-old Nathan Clark of Hampden was one of those teenagers. He went missing in March, his body was found days later in a gravel pit in Winterport.In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Fortunato pleaded no contest to unlawful furnishing of the muscle relaxant and guilty to furnishing marijuana.

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Mainers Approve expanded Medical Marijuana Law

Updated 5 years ago

(AP) – With Tuesday’s election, Maine becomes the fifth state to allow dispensaries where marijuana can be distributed to medical patients. But medical marijuana advocates say Maine won’t become like Los Angeles, where hundreds of dispensaries have popped up and come under critical scrutiny. Ethan Nadelmann of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance says Los Angeles is the “wild west West” of marijuana dispensaries. He says Maine law requires that dispensaries be licensed by the state, while California law does not. He adds that Maine law narrowly defines medical conditions for which patients can be prescribed pot, while California allows doctors to recommend it for virtually any ailment.

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All Saints Catholic School Gives Food Donation to Indian Island Food Pantry

Updated 5 years ago

Last month, we told you about a food pantry on Indian Island that was in need.A local school has come together to collect food donations to help fill the shelves at the pantry.Meghan Hayward has the story.”We have a special mass today. Our first joint mass of the year, which means all of our kindergarten through eighth graders are coming together and we do that in celebration of All Saints Day.”Students from the All Saints Catholic School in Bangor came to mass with their arms full of food items.”Well, for each of our joint masses during the year, we always try to do a service project to try and help those in the community that need it.”After hearing about the Indian Island food pantry on TV5, they decided to collect canned goods and non-perishable items to donate.”The food this year is going to go to Indian Island. Sister Sue and Sister Judy did an interview recently where they indicated that their cupboards were empty and so some of our students who knew them from their work in our school a couple years ago saw them on TV and thought it would be the perfect place this year to benefit from our donations.”Principal Marcia Diamond says it’s important for students to see what it’s like to give back.”I think it’s critical to our Christian message which is to serve others. So anything they can do and we can teach them to do is real important.”Sixth-grader Caitlin Hillery was happy to help.”I think it’s really important because the people who don’t have food might be sick or hungry and they might die if they don’t have enough. We should give food to them so they don’t die because we already have enough.”Sister Judy Oliver from the pantry was happy to hear the good news.”Our first response was extreme joy and great happiness. And we told the teacher that we were very appreciative that they thought of us and very anxious to receive the food.”Sister Judy says the donations are a big help.”Well it certainly means we’ll be able to replace the empty shelves. Put some food on the shelves and if there’s any of it we might be able to save for our Thanksgiving baskets we’ll put it aside.”

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Winterport Rallies to Bring Native Son Home After Bicycle Crash

Updated 5 years ago

Friends and family are coming together to bring a Mainer in California back home.27-year-old Gabe Allen was critically injured when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on vacation in San Francisco in August.Now the community is raising money for a special trip back to the East Coast.”When he was in a coma for seven weeks, it was difficult.”Summer Allen says her brother Gabe – an avid cyclist and cupcake fan – is exceeding doctors expectations as he recovers in San Francisco.”He is able to recognize words on a page, he’s able to respond to basic commands and these are all really important basic things when you’re recovering from a brain injury that the rest of us just don’t even think about.”Gabe’s mother has been by his side since the accident, while friends in Maine, New York and even California have raised money for an air ambulance ride him. It could cost around $30,000. “It’s a very expensive service but it’s very important when you have someone with these sustained injuries that you kind of get them to where they’re going quickly.”Allen says she’s been amazed at the community support so far – support she knows will soon bring her brother home. “I had no idea that so many people were so wonderful, so caring – care so much about him.”A couple of fundraisers for Gabe Allen are scheduled for this week. The first is benefit supper that took place Thursday night at the L.H. Smith school in Winterport. On Sunday afternoon, a benefit concert will be held at the My Fork Bar and Grill in Winterport. That starts at 1 p.m. with a $5 cover charge. In addition to those fundraisers, bicycle-frame builder Anthony Maietta, a native of Winterport, is donating a custom-built frame for a benefit raffle. The raffle will start in the next week or so. Details can be found at www.getbettergabe.com.

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For The Third Time Mainer’s Say No To Tabor

Updated 5 years ago

After Tuesday’s results were tallied Maine voters have now rejected Tabor for the 3rd time. The day after election day supporters of Tabor said, in the end it was money that did them in. Martin Sheehan is the Communications Director for The Maine Heritage Policy Center and he says it’s hard to win an election when your opponent has deeper pockets. “The problem was, truly if you want to do a day after look back it was money. We were probably outspent 20-1 would be my guess, out of state money, union dues, even the MMA (Maine Municipal Association) which is tax payer money.”Meanwhile the folks who opposed Tabor, like field organizer Tom Battin, said the folks they talk to couldn’t understand why it was on the ballot for a 3rd time. “A lot of people didn’t understand that Question 4 was Tabor. When we explained what it was they said ‘didn’t we vote on that in 2006?’ Why is this on the ballot again, I don’t understand and we didn’t either.” Tabor supporters say that, even in defeat, they’re hopeful their message got through to Mainer’s. “There’s always something that can be cut, whether it’s bottled water, entertainment and catering was $700,000 last year, it’s crazy the amounts of money. People who tell you they can’t afford to give back any tax money and they’re spending your tax money you got to question that and I think that message got through.”Battin and his supporters are hoping we’ve seen the last of Tabor. “I would just sort of paraphrase Rick Santelli, the Wall Street trader just to say are you listening? the people of Maine have said to you very clearly 3 times, No! If you put it on the ballot again I don’t know what to say for you frankly.”However the opposition seems undeterred. “Keep up the fight, it’s a multi faceted approach and Tabor is one way to fight spending and control spending at the state level and another one is being in touch with your legislature.”

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Oil Prices Up Slightly

Updated 5 years ago

Since last week, Maine energy officials say that home heating oil has risen by one penny per gallon, to $2.56.The Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security said rising crude oil prices over the last two weeks are reflected in the heating fuel prices.Additionally, a survey from the energy office shows that oil prices vary from a low of $2.25 per gallon in southwestern Maine to a high price of $2.85 per gallon in eastern parts of the state.Energy Director John Kerry said Maine consumers should prepare for this winter’s heating season by taking steps to weatherize their homes, reduce energy consumption and create an energy budget.

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