Approximately 3000 high school students drop out of school each year in Maine. The University of Maine is hosting a dropout awareness summit this week to try and combat this growing problem. “In Maine, we only have about 1 million people. if we’re losing 3000 a year, where they don’t have skills to take care of their own lives as well as contribute to their communities, that is an epidemic,” says Shelley Reed, Project Mnager for the summit.America’s Promise Alliance is putting on the two-day seminar that ends Tuesday. Three students who dropped out of school, but have since returned, were on hand to tell their stories and to provide some hope to students who are considering dropping out. “If you’re having trouble in school, don’t be scared to ask for help,” advises Anthony Lary, “which I know a lot of kids are scared to ask for help, and that is the first step, because once you ask for help, the doors are open and you can pretty much do whatever you want.” Lary dropped out of school after his freshman year but he returned, and in June, he picked up his diploma with his 4-month-old son in attendance.One thing he and others at the summit are trying to do is urge people to stop using the word, dropout. “We’re just talking about what effect the word dropout has on people,” says Courtney Connoly, a senior at Portland High School, “and we try to share our own stories, and try to find a new name other than drop out.””When you ask a person what a dropout is,” adds Lary, “what comes out is usually like a negative thing like deadbeat or loser, and nobody likes to be called any of those names. so, it’s like when you say dropout all that stuff is attached.”Lary is considering applying to colleges soon and plans to study photography and film making. He has this message for his son, “I hope he’s proud of me, and I hope to see him graduate some day. i really want too.”
The wet weather some blueberry growers say has been good for their crops could also be helping to spread a devastating fungus.A new disease was found in some Maine blueberry fields earlier this month.”I’m really concerned that this is going to be something that’s not easy to control, and something that’s really going to determine whether people get a crop off at all,” says UMaine blueberry pathologist Seanna Annis. This is what has Annis worried – Valdensinia leaf spots.”So far in Maine, we have it reported in five blueberry fields – commercial blueberry fields – and two other locations,” she says. Geographically, they’re in “various places Downeast, near the barrens and right along the coast.”But she says the disease is likely even more widespread. The spots are typically round and brown, and can have a bulls-eye appearance. In wet conditions, the huge spores can quickly infect leaves in both prune and crop fields, spreading exponentially.”It will cause all the leaves on these plants to fall off. The plant then spends its energy producing new leaves and it doesn’t produce flower buds,” she says. Crop fields will have fewer, smaller berries.In Nova Scotia, the disease has ruined 40 fields this year. While researchers aren’t yet sure how it got here, Annis says infected wet leaves easily cling to humans or equipment.”So that’s the really big concern is to find out where it is now and make sure we don’t further spread it.”She urges all growers to inspect their fields and report any infection. Affected areas should be burned carefully. “The last time I was out, I didn’t see anything out there,” says grower James Alexander of Greenfield.He says he hasn’t seen the fungus in his fields, but if he had to burn any infected crop, that’s better than the alternative. “It’d be a big loss, but it’d be a bigger loss to lose the whole field,” Greenfield says.To confirm or report the fungus, you can call the Blueberry Hotline at 1-800-897-0757.You can also find more information on the leaf spot from the University of Maine online.
Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island draw a lot of visitors.And that can cause parking problems and pollution.So in 1999 the Island Explorer bus was established. That first year 17-hundred people took advantage of the bus.Now it’s free for all to ride and the ridership has reached a major milestone.It started on Monday morning.Al and Jacque Pulsipher and their granddaughters Sydney and Jordan Casey were leaving their RV at Black Woods Camping Area and grabbing the Island Explorer to go to Sand Beach in Acadia National Park.It just happened that they picked the bus with a member of Friends of Acadia on board.”Well Jennifer was hiding in the back of the bus and after we told the driver where we wanted to go and asked for a little advice,” said Jacque. ” And then she got up and said well would you mind taking a little detour.”The detour took them into Bar Harbor to the Village Green, where a group of well wishers were waiting for them to step off the bus, and they were greeted by the Friends of Acadia President Marla O’Bryne.” And I’d like you to join me in thanking them for choosing to ride the Island Explorer bus service, being our three millionth passengers and your choices helped protect Acadia’s resources and reduce air pollution in the area. So Thank You.”The irony is that Jacque and Al rode the Island Explorer the first year it was in operation as well.”We were up here on a boat both the summer of 99. Summer of 98 and Summer of 99, and we were happy in 99 to find the bus system existed,” Al said. ” Because at that point we had no car so outside of our bikes which we carried on the boat the bus was great go us all over the island at that point.”Paul Murphy is the General Manager of Downeast Transportation and he didn’t think it was ironic but, “It certainly was fortuitous it was just sheer luck and I think that’s just great.”O’Bryne said, ” I was so pleased to see that they had ridden it the first year of operation and came back and brought their grandchildren and really set and example for their grandkids on how to visit a National Park and be light on the land.”Len Bobinchock is the Deputy Superintendent of Acadia National Park and he is amazed at the growth of the Island Explorer ” I mean this is fantastic, none of us had any idea that this system would be so succesful you know we all knew something like the Island Explorer was needed and people would use it but I think this far exceeds any of our expectations.”And after a gift pack and gift card from LL Bean and a Gift Membership to Acadia National Park the lucky family was still surprised, according to the Pulsiphers.”I think it was quite an opportunity and shock but it’s something fun we don’t get to be the three millionth of anything usually but that’s nice.”
The Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources says a meeting about how to resolve recurring turf battles on Matinicus Island was both civil and productive.George LaPointe and other state officials met with islanders on Saturday to discuss how best to manage the lobster fishery around the island after one lobsterman shot another last week. He told the Portland Press Herald that about 30 people attended the meeting, and came up with a number of ideas to protect the island community and avoid further violence.Another meeting will be held in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, lobsterman will be allowed to resume pulling their traps Monday as the four-day shutdown LaPointe imposed last week expired.
A mixed bag of weather didn’t stop the crowds from travelling to Bucksport this weekend for the annual Bucksport Bay Festival.The event is in its 12th year.Bucksport Mayor Lisa Whitney is also the event coordinator.She says Friday’s rain made things a little hectic, as organizers rushed to move activities indoors.But overall, big crowds turned out for the fun, from an antique car show to a 5k run…a pie contest to fireworks.Whitney says the visitors also helped give downtown merchants a much-needed boost.
The grounds of Fort Knox in Prospect were transformed into a Civil War battlefield this weekend.Members of the 20th Maine set up at the Fort for the weekend, for their annual encampment.They reenact scenes from the Civil War as a living history lesson for visitors.Paul Dudley is a sergeant with the 20th Maine…and President of Company B.He says the weekend is an exciting way to teach folks a little something while having fun at the same time.Another encampment is planned for August at Fort Knox.
A 21-year old man from Waterville is dead after a head-on collision in Readfield.According to police Gregory Tweedie was driving a Ford Focus on Route 17 when he attempted to pass another car Saturday afternoon.Police say he lost control of the car and collided with an oncoming truck.The driver of the truck, 51 year old Bonnie Norris was taken to the hospital, and has been released. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts police say.No charges are expected to be filed.
An autopsy performed Sunday on a 19-year-old man who was found dead along the shoreline in Bremen, Maine has not yet pinpointed why he died. Officials from the medical examiner’s office told TV5 News that further tests are needed to determine Ian Sanborn’s cause of death.The Maine Warden Service says Sanborn was digging clams with a friend on Friday when he said he wanted to rest before leaving the area. The friend left, but Sanborn never returned home. His body was found Saturday afternoon, a short distance from where he was clamming in an area in Broad Cove known as Bug-Tussle.His death remains under investigation.
Today marked the final day of harness racing at Bass Park for the spring and summer and surprisingly, the season was a success, despite some big obstacles. “It’s gone really well,” says Corey Smith, Director of Raceway Operations, “we’ve had a lot of rain this year but that aside it’s been great racing the tracks been wonderful the races have been great, it’s a nice day today to cap off our season for the summer and spring.”Some of the fans on hand couldn’t help feeling a little emotional. “Sad, I always feel sad on the last day of the year,” said Dolly Sawyer of Bangor who is a regular fixture here at the reacetrack.It seems even a poor economy wasn’t enough to slow down the wagering here. “The wagering is doing really well,” remarks Smith, “our export signal has just gone through the roof, we’re up over 50% over last year, as for export signal that’s just fantastic.”With record setting rainfall totals this season the racers were ecstatic about the track conditions according to Smith. “They rave about the tracks,” he says, “we’ve had a lot of rain this year and the track has held up beautifully so what we did last year for work it’s been great.”As they bid farewell to another season of harness racing, the folks around Bass Park already have their sights set on next year.”More barns,” says Smith, “we’re focusing on the back stretch right now and we’re going to be looking at the race dates for next year coming up in october, so we’ll be getting a new calendar out for next year coming right up.” “We’re looking forward to big crowds, nicer weather, and the success of harness racing in maine,” says Jim Kelley, Vice President of Standard Board Breeders and Owners Association.Now that the season is over, what will some of these harness raicng fans do now to pass the time?”We’ll probably go to hollywood slots!” jokes Sawyer.
A respected Maine retailer who built a retail clothing store into a 14-store chain in Maine has died after a long illness.Eighty-three-year-old Robert Reny senior passed away yesterday.Reny started his first store in 1949 in Damariscotta.Employees at the Ellsworth Reny’s say they were saddened by the news of his death.Store Manager Nick Tripp says Reny had a huge impact on anyone who met him.” You hear the term larger than life personality and he certainly fit that bill quite well. He was a very good man and had a great personality to go with it.”Governor John Baldacci also released a statement, praising Reny for his long-standing efforts to promote Maine businesses in the Statehouse.
Senator Susan Collins and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar were in Bar Harbor today.Getting a boat tour of Acadia National ParkIt was the first visit to Maine for Secretary SalazarAnd as Meghan Hayward tells us, it probably won’t be his last.” You know I had seen Acadia on a map. Senator Collins had actually talked to me about Acadia before. But I had never contemplated the immenseness of the place, the beauty and the fact that there is more than sixty islands that make up this place.”On Saturday Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar got to see Acadia National Park firsthand.He and Senator Susan Collins got a boat tour of Acadia, which has just recently received more than 8 million dollars in project funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama earlier this year.It’s money Salazar says will benefit the area greatly.” The stimulus money that is being spent here at Acadia is going to create jobs. It’s going to create jobs now and it’s also going to make the investments that will make sure Acadia continues to be the economic engine for this area that it has been in the past.”Salazar says the impact from the money will be seen for years to come.” The improvements that are being made at the environmental school in Schoodic and the other investment in the park will ensure we are creating jobs now as well as protecting the place for future job creation.”Salazar says in such trying economic times he hopes the steps being made will boost everyone’s morale.” I think in these times of economic crisis when we’re facing so many problems internationally. Here at home it’s important for us to refuel the spirit of Americans.”Saturday’s trip to Maine was the first for Secretary Salazar.Senator Collins visited acadia last year.But says its beauty always surprises her.” It’s wonderful to see the progress of Schoodic on the education center which I am particularly interested in.”Senator Collins says she was happy Secretary Salazar accepted her invite and hopes he will return.He says it’s quite likely.” It really is one awesome place for this country and Maine.”
Little ones danced to their hearts’ content at the Bangor Opera House on Saturday.A CD release party was held there for The Flannery Brothers’ album, called “love Songs for Silly Things.”Dan and Michael Flannery write children’s music and have been performing around Maine and New England.They recently won a prestigious children’s songwriting competition.The folks at the Penobscot Theatre hosted the celebration, which included jugglers and face painting.The proceeds from tickets will go towards their childrens’ theatre programs.For more information on The Flannery Brothers, or to purchase their CD, log on to www.flannerybrothers.com
Uncle Henry’s will no longer be distributed by the Boston Herald.Officials at the paper apparently made the decision after pressure from anti-gun activists, who said gun sales arranged through Uncle Henry’s were contributing to violence on the streets of Boston.The booklet’s pulisher, Kevin Webb, says he’s looking for another Boston-area distributor.He also says the Uncle Henry’s website will continue to list firearms.
Maine home sales were up last month, but the median sales price was down about ten percent.That’s according to the Maine Association of Realtors.Real estate agents sold 1,133 homes last month, up from 996 the previous June.The median sales price was $170,000, which was up from May but down from a year ago.While Maine home sales were on the rise in June, the association says sales in the Northeast fell about 5 percent from a year ago.
This year’s spread of Red Tide could have a serious economic impact on Maine’s coastal communities.That word comes from Umaine researcher Kevin Athearn.He’s a professor of natural resource economics.He says just a one-week closure of harvesting soft-shell clams, mahogany quahogs and mussels would mean a nearly 3 million dollar loss to Maine’s economy…This year, though, red tide closures are expected to last much longer…possibly even months.Senator Olympia Snowe recently announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospherics Administration will dedicate $121,000 to research on the current outbreak.
Dozens of bikers descended on the Bangor waterfront Saturday to help raise money for kids with autism.The Ride for Autism Awareness is a 55 mile trek.The money raised will help support local families whose children live with the neurological disorder, which is said to affect one in every 150 kids.The route went from Bangor to Brewer, then Bucksport, Stockton Springs, back through Hampden and ending in Bangor at the University College of Bangor.Eric and Monique Iken are co-organizers of the event.They have three sons with autism, so the cause is close to their hearts.The ride has been held in Lincoln the past two years…this is the first time it’s been held in Bangor.
Dozens of World War two veterans are in Bangor this weekend for an emotional reunion.The 64-th annual reunion of the Ninth Infantry Division Association is being held at the Ramada Inn.More than a hundred veterans known as the “old Reliables” came from around the country for the celebration.Many are in their nineties, but were eager for the chance to get together with old friends to reminisce..There was also an emotional memorial service for those members who were killed in action…or who have died in the years since the War.
A Waterville man in jail on child molestation charges is now facing federal prison time.38-year-old Olin Dudley Stevens is behind bars at the Maine State Prison for sexually assaulting two girls younger than 14, back in 2007.He’s serving an 8-year sentence.Now, he’s also facing seven years in federal prison for not registering as a sex offender when he moved to Maine from Rhode Island.Some of that will be served concurrently with his state sentence.Stevens was required to register as a sex offender in Rhode Island, following conviction on two sexual assault charges in 1993.
Rockland has received a very special honor, it’s been named a Coast Guard City.There are only 8 cities in the US that have attained that designation, and Rockland is the only one in New England.The Coast Guard Barque Eagle pulled into port today in Rockland as part of a city wide celebration.Many braved the rain in Rockland today to watch the tall ship pull into port.Coast Guard Barque Eagle was built in 1936 as a cadet training ship for the German Navy. The US got the ship as a World War two reparation. It was renamed the Eagle and has served the Coast Guard as a training ship since 1946.Dan Kubasch, a cadet aboard the ship says, “We’ll take a couple of weeks on here and learn the old way of sailing before we move to a modern day coast guard cutter with power.”The cadets learn basic seamanship and nautical skills aboard the Eagle.”It’s certainly a unique experience, something that almost no one sees routinely in their lives.” says Eric Jones, a commanding officer on the Eagle.Today the Eagle was part of Rockland’s celebration. It’s been named a Coast Guard City.Jim McPherson, Sector Commander for Northern New England says, “There’s very few cities that even qualify to be a coast guard city. The celebration really signifies our great connection with the people of Rockland.”The celebration includes a street fair and the city will dedicate a bell outside the Lighthouse Museum to the Coast Guard.Michael Miller, Chairman of Rockland City Coast Guard Committee says “The city has always interacted with the coast guard, ya know, in cities like New York or larger cities, it’s not really a hometown. In Rockland it is a hometown for these guys.””Other bases in the Marine Corps, in the Navy, they’re huge bases that kinda take over the area. We in the coast guard have small bases and all our people are really in the community.” says McPherson.And the folks of Rockland say they’re proud that the Coast Guard will call their city home.
Two people were sent to the hospital after a car accident on the Odlin Road in Bangor.Two cars collided late this afternoon. An S.U.V. ended up on its side in a ditch. Fire crews had to stabalize it before getting the driver and a passenger out.Both suffered serious injuries and were taken to local hospitals. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.The driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries. Bangor Police are investigating.