It was a sandwich shop like no other. The Coffee Pot in Bangor closed Thursday, ending a business that’s been a part of town since 1930. Its owner, Skip Rist, is retiring.As always, they would keep their doors open Thursday only until they sold out of sandwiches. Hundreds upon hundreds of people came, lining up hours before they opened.Sarah Komuniecki and Photojournalist Mark Rediker bring us a tribute to The Coffee Pot, in the words of some of its friends.”I used to live in Bangor, always had a Coffee Pot,” says Eric Stover, of Orland.”We’re from California. I always tell my friends, I’m going to Maine and they say ‘Why?’ I say, ‘Well, I’m going for Coffee Pots,’ and then I’m like, ‘Oh and family, so…’” says Chelsey Berg, and laughs.”All the departments at the hospital want Coffee Pots, and I basically volunteer every Thursday to come and get them,” says Stan Dunton. “But this order’s bigger than usual. About 200 sandwiches.” “Do you think you’re getting out of here with 200 sandwiches?” we ask. “No, no he’s not getting out of here with 200 sandwiches, no way, Jose!!” says a fellow patron in line.”Just like everyone else here, I’m standing in line to get the last Coffee Pot sandwich. Statistically, where we are in line, 320 by the way, we’re not going to get a sandwich,” says Michelle Clark, of Levant. “So I came up here with 80 dollars and bribed the next guy in line to go get me two sandwiches.””The taste is the same. You go home and you still have the onions on you. You have a good memory,” says Greg Berg.”There are some things that are constant. And the Coffee Pot was a constant. Even if you didn’t buy one, you didn’t stand in line, you knew the Coffee Pot was there.””The Rist family has certainly been an iconic family. They’ve given back to the community,” says Jack Quirk. “It was a legend in the making and it will always be. Nothing will ever replace it. And I can understand why Mr. Rist is closing it down, because no one can do what their family did.””Here you go,” says Eric Stover, selling one of the sandwiches he just bought to Erik Rogers, of Bangor. “All right! Thank you, you’re the best,” he says in return. “I stood in line for two and a half hours. It was cold!” Stover says. “I’m the luckiest guy. God bless you. Thank you very much. That was terrific,” Rogers says.”No doubt, it’s worth the wait!” yells a man from a car. “Hooray!””Everybody, I think understood the impact that business had on the area. You’ve got Miller Drug right nearby, you’ve got Frank’s Bake shop right up the street. It was just a small business that made a very big impact,” says George Hale.”It’s a loss to our philosophy of living. Small business,” says Bill Miller, of Miller Drug. “He knew what his customers ate, and I don’t mean just a few customers. He will be sorely missed on State Street.””Skip, oh he’s just the nicest, gentlest guy. When I was a kid, his parents were there and I remember them. They were just wonderful family,” says Bernadette Gaspar, of Frank’s Bake Shop. “I think people are just going to miss his presence in the area.”The last sandwich ever sold went to 23-year-old Anthony Moore, of Brewer. “They’re so hard to explain. People who’ve had them, they know it. They’re good.”Erik Rogers sold the sandwich he bought from Stover to another woman, for a profit of one dollar. “She was too nice, I had to give it to her!” he says.She, in turn, shares it with folks in line. “That’s perfect. Thank you,” says a man, giving her a hug in return.At one point, a trumpeter walked into the crowded shop, playing Auld Lang Syne. “That street will never be the same and the city will never be the same without Coffee Pots.”
The Maine Forest Service wants your opinion on our state’s forests.They are asking people to go to an online survey. It’s part of a requirement of the 2008 Farm Bill.They want people to help them identify critical issues they need to focus on, and forestry programs that are working.The survey will remain open until January 15. The survey can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/mfs/state_assessment/index.html
Changing providers to save some change.Blue Hill selectmen were recently given the option to purchase electricity from Glacial Energy.It means parting from Bangor Hydro Electric Company, their current provider.Glacial says it would provide electricity for the town’s commercial buildings at a lower cost per kilowatt hour, and would require no formal contract from the town.John Bannister, chairmen of the board says he recently made this switch for his store in town. He says he has saved money and anticipates the town will as well. “I guess there’s no guarantee but it sure looks that way. It looks like it could be anywhere between 4% and 10% for very little effort on our part to do much of anything, its a no brain-er not much risk, why not try it.”Town officials say it may be some time before a final switch is made.
A lot of folks who fish the ocean in Maine will soon have to register with the federal government.The new law takes hold on Friday.It requires folks to register who fish more than three miles offshore, or catch fish that live in the ocean and spawn in fresh water such as striped bass and shad.The new registry rule also applies to folks in seven other coastal states as well.The government says it’s being done to obtain better information about saltwater anglers and what they catch.Registering is free in 2010, a fee will be charged, starting in 2011.
The governors of 11 northeast and mid-Atlantic states, including Maine, have signed an agreement to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels.The goal is to lower the carbon content of fuels used by vehicles, which represent about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the region.The agreement, signed Wednesday, will help create a regional framework for a low-carbon fuel program by 2011.
It looks like a people’s veto referendum over changes in Maine tax law will go forward in June.A judge has upheld the validity of voters’ signatures collected by the people’s veto campaign.State senator David Trahan of Waldoboro is leading the Fed Up With Taxes campaign.The group is challenging a tax overhaul passed by lawmakers last spring which extends the state’s sales tax to several currently untaxed services.It also lowers Maine’s top income tax rate.
A 20-year-old Skowhegan man has been sentenced to ten years in prison for federal firearms crimes.According to court records, Raymond Ellis allegedly stole eleven firearms and a silencer from Bob’s Country Market in Skowhegan in February, 2009.Prosecutors say Ellis and an accomplice used a baseball bat to threaten store employees, then broke into a display case holding the weapons.Police say Ellis and another accomplice took the stolen guns to New Hampshire to swap them for drugs and money.At the time of the crimes Ellis was out on bail, waiting to be sentenced for another burglary conviction.
A Searsport man is facing numerous drug charges, after a search of his Swanville home reportedly turned up more than three pounds of marijuana, 500 prescription pills, cocaine, scales, and more than $26,000 in cash.53-year-old Arthur Stevens was arrested on Wednesday. He’s charged with four counts of unlawful trafficking in schedule “W” drugs.Also arrested were 56-year-old Alden Brown of Jackson. He’s charged with unlawful trafficking and unlawful possession of schedule “W” drugs, and 37-year-old Danielle White of Belfast. Charges with unlawful trafficking in schedule “W” and schedule “Z” drugs.
The Bangor Parks and Recreation Department has been given the green light to work with a citizens group hoping to bring a dog park to Bangor.They brought the idea before the city’s Government Operations Committee Tuesday, and members approved the idea.Now staff from the Parks and Rec department will meet with the members of BARK,the citizens group, to come up with a vision for the dog park.Their plan will go back to City Councilors for approval.
A Waterville man was arrested yesterday after police received a report that he was on his way to kill another man in the city.Sixty-year-old Joseph Grip was charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, driving to endanger and failing to stop for police.Police say grip has an extensive record.They also tell us two other men were in the car with Grip, including 49 year-old Mark Bailey of waterville.Police say he jumped out of the moving vehicle and scuffled with an officer. Bailey’s charged with resisting arrest.The investigation continues.” We think we have an idea who the person was that was supposedly going to be killed. However, Joe Grip or any of his passengers would not talk about that.”Grip was taken to Kennebec County Jail in Augusta and posted 25-thousand dollars bail.Bailey was taken to the hospital and refused medical treatment.And was released on 750-dollars bail..Grip is scheduled to appear in court in March.Bailey is scheduled for court in April.
There are some phony checks in circulation with the Savings Bank of Maine logo on them.Vice President of Security for the bank, Fred Cunningham tells TV-5 that it appears to be part of a cash-back scheme.The authentic looking treasurer checks have a light blue background and blue ornate borders with the green bank logo in the top left corner.Cunningham says they haven’t seen any of the counterfeit checks locally. He says they’ve turned up mainly in the Midwest and California.If you have any information about the fraudulent checks you’re urged to call Cunngingham at 582-5550.
With the snowmobile season upon us.The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Snowmobile Association have teamed up to bring Mainers some snowmobile safety tips.Meghan Hayward has the story.” Ride Right, Ride Smart and Ride Responsibly.”That’s the message the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Snowmobile Association are trying to get across.What they’re really hoping for this season.” We’d like this season to be a safer one.”And they’re hoping a new public service announcement about snowmobile safety will do just that.In the PSA, Gerry James speaks about his son who died in a snowmobile incident last season.” His sled hit an embankment on a curve sending him over the embankment and into some trees. Brian died at the scene.”Brian was just 22-years-old. Governor Baldacci was on hand with something to say to Brian’s family.” We just want to say thank you for your son and the contributions he made being a member of our Guard. He was part of an elite group, he was one of our heroes.”The snowmobile industry has a 300 million dollar economic impact on the state of Maine.” Maine is the best place to sled.”Colonel Joel Wilkinson with the Maine Warden Service says there are easy steps folks can take to ensure safety while riding Maine’s trails.An important one.” Please leave a trip itinerary with a family member or loved one. Let somebody know where you’re going.”With a season like we’ve had so far, they say it’s important to know the conditions.And always follow this rule of thumb.” If you don’t know, don’t go.”
It started as a rumor. But then, there’d been rumors before. Wednesday it was confirmed by the man in charge himself. The Coffee Pot in Bangor is closing. Skip Rist is retiring. Their last day serving customers will be Thursday.”Oh my gosh, we’ll never get another good sandwich,” says Wanda Lincoln. People of all ages waited for hours in the cold Wednesday to put in one last order. “Coffee Pot’s always been here, always been here. And it’s always been good,” she says.”I love the onions of course, some people don’t, but it’s a different combination that you can’t get anywhere else,” says Travis Roy.”I remember getting them and going to Cascade Park and making a picnic of it,” says Evan Gillette.”I’ve been coming here for 53 years, and Skip’s been in business longer than that. I appreciate his business, and hate to see it go.”People here didn’t want to believe The Coffee Pot was really closing for good, but they heard it from Skip Rist himself.”The rumors are true, tomorrow’s the last day. We’ve been here since 1930 and it’ll be almost 80 years next year, it’s time for retirement. I’ve been working since I’m 13, and I’m 72, so I guess it’s time to give up,” he says, and laughs.Skip says there’s one reason why he’s stayed in business so long, and why people travel from so far away just to try it.”The sandwich is good,” he says.”I get the deluxe,” Lincoln says. “Actually, I get two of them, one to eat now, and one for later on.”Customers say there’s another reason, too.”Skip is just the nicest guy ever, and the girls out back know most people by name,” says Maryann Heald.”Just the way that Skip treats the customers and he’s always got a smile,” says Roy.”Of course,” Skip says, “my father started it, so he’s the one that had the idea. I just carried it through and that’s all.” Skip says this building will likely be demolished. He’s not sure what comes after that, but he knows this.”We’re very grateful we have such nice customers. Many become friends and they’ve been a wonderful group, they really are,” he says.So when The Coffee Pot ran out of rolls on their second-to-last day, people still poured in, for a handshake, a hug and a thank-you.”It’s really sad,” Heald says, “to think that he’s going to close for good.”On Thursday, their last day, they will be open from 10 a.m. until the rolls are gone.
The Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth is putting the finishing touches on a new 5-million dollar emergency room. The hospital says the current E-R is often over crowded. Designed 15 years ago to accommodate 12 thousand visits, the emergency room accepts 18 thousand plus patients each year. The new facility will have room for 24 thousand patients. Through the hospital’s capital Campaign 3.6 million has been raised in collected donations, and a 500 thousand dollar challenging grant has been added by an anonymous donor. Bob Merrill, chair of the hospital’s capital campaign says he had a lot of concerns about raising the amount needed, but so far things have gone well. He says,”It was a worry because this area has been hit, and lot of areas have been hit by the economy, but area businesses, employees, residents and summer residents have stepped up to the plate.” In addition to space the hospital will gain equipment including a life flight helicopter pad.
Folks with the Red Cross say they had a great turnout at their blood drive at the Bangor Mall Tuesday.They set up a blood donation center in an empty storefront near Sears, to make it easy for people to stop in while shopping.Trudy Darling with the Red Cross says a number of people didn’t plan to donate, but saw the mobile center set up and decide to give the gift of life. “My wife and I didn’t plan on giving blood today, we were just walking through the mall and saw the red cross here taking donations,” Said blood donor Kyle Missbach. “So we stopped in to do our part. If you see the opportunity, take it, it only takes a few minutes and you could save somebody’s life.” “That’s exactly what the red cross is looking for,” Said Trudy Darling. “We’re looking for first time donors, those who only donate once or twice a year. So we really appreciate those people coming out.”Darling says that in january, every red cross blood donor gets a free bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee.To set up an appointment at the Bangor Blood Donor Center, or if you just want to ask the Red Cross a question, you can call them at 941-2900.
The computer hacker involved in one of the largest credit card thefts in U.S. history has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and wire fraud.Albert Gonzalez of Miami is accused of hacking into the computer systems of several major retailers, including Maine-based Hannaford supermarkets, then stealing tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers.Gonzalez entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Boston.It’s the last of three cases against him.He pled guilty in September to charges involving other retailers, like T.J. Maxx.Under a plea agreement, Gonzalez will likely serve 17 to 25 years in prison.Sentencing is scheduled for March.
A woman charged sexual assaulting a man so badly that it left him in critical condition last month now tells police she did it as “a joke.”27-year-old Laura Smith told police that she sexually assaulted the man, then burned him with microwave-heated water while he was passed out.The 43-year-old victim suffered burns on his back, a broken ankle, and a perforated bowel.He told police he awoke with injuries after getting drunk at a party on November 28th.Smith tells authorities the victim broke his ankle when he fell on stairs as she and a man attempted to drag him to his home.The victim remains hospitalized.Smith turned herself in to police on December 8th.
New Year’s Eve is just a couple days away, and Bangor’s celebration will be bigger than ever.This year they have 14 different venues around the city with 20 different entertainment options and activities.It all got started back in 2004 when attorney Stephen Smith decided to drop a beach ball, covered with lights off his building in Downtown Bangor.That’s happened each New Year’s Eve ever since, but now, Downtown Coordinator, Shirar Patterson says the celebration includes a lot more.”It’s kind of become a symbol of Bangor. We like to have fun. We don’t take things too seriously but we know that New Year’s is important and I think people look forward to just see the ball drop and to countdown together. It’s a lot of fun.”The festivities kick off at noon. There are activities for people of all ages, including young children.It will all end with the ball drop in West Market Square.For a complete schedule of activities, you can log onto www.downtownbangor.com
More than 4,000 Bangor Hydro customers are still without power. Most of those outages are in Hancock, Lincoln and Piscataquis counties.Bangor Hydro says they have extra crews from other divisions helping to restore power.And they want to remind customers to stay clear of any downed power lines and trees touching them.” What’s been causing the biggest problem so far has been heavy snow weighing down on tree limbs and power lines.”Bangor Hydro expects strong winds to cause additional outages tonight.And they say some customers will be without power through the night.
An Eddington man cleared of trying to kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend will still go behind bars.Ryan Witmer was sentenced to 4 years in prison Tuesday on lesser charges.Meghan Hayward reports.Ryan Witmer was back in court nearly two months after a jury found him not guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault and burglary from an incident in June of last year.But he was convicted of simple assault and violation of a protection order.Witmer’s lawyer argued it was a case of self-defense.” This is an individual who you don’t see coming in an out of the courthouse. I mean he’s not a frequent flyer to the courthouse. He’s never had any adult brushes with the law.”The prosecution accused Witmer of forcing his way into the home of his then estranged wife while she was watching a movie with another man.” He chose to break-in and the court heard the two versions of events. But it’s certainly clear there were some very traumatic events that occurred within and clearly some very life threatening events that occurred within.”Witmer’s ex-wife spoke in court, saying she had no hard feelings toward the jury because they acted on the information they were allowed to hear.But she told the judge she hoped he would keep Witmer away from her and her family for as long as possible.” Because every day he is behind bars is every day that my family is safe.”Prosecutors say the man was stabbed eleven times and Witmer’s ex-wife was cut on her arms.The other victim released a statement saying.”We have been deeply disappointed in the verdict of this trial. Today at sentencing the judge did an excellent job of placing blame where it belongs by sentencing Ryan to the maximum he could. The judge also demonstrated that Ryan is a threat, and has no regard for the law, by sending him directly to jail to serve his prison time.” The state asked for a 4 year sentence, while the defense argued for a 60 to 90 day sentence.” I was gratified that Justice Anderson agreed with the state that this was a very serious protective order violation. That breaking into some body’s house in violation of protective order in the middle of the night and causing the consequences that occurred here needed to be taken extremely seriously by the court. I thought it was a good sentence.”” I’m disappointed. I know the family, Ryan’s mother is disappointed. Ryan is obviously disappointed. The sentence appears to reflect more of a disagreement with the jury’s verdict than it does actually reflect what the jury found Ryan did.”With time already served, Witmer will go to prison for two-and-a-half years. His lawyer plans to appeal the sentence.