Police say speed may have been a factor in a head-on collision that killed a man in Belgrade. Kennebec County sheriff’s deputies say just before 9 o’clock last night 30-year-old Jeremiah Baker was driving south on Route 27, in the wrong lane. Baker’s car crashed into a car headed north, driven by 31-year old Jessica Bourget. We’re told Baker was thrown from his car and died at the scene. Bourget was taken to a local hospital with a crushed ankle and a broken leg. Authorities say Baker was not wearing his seat belt.
Two leading construction companies are teaming up, and it could mean more jobs here in Maine.Starcon, which provides industrial and mechanical construction services, and Cianbro are are creating an alliance.Both firms have experience mobilizing large construction and maintenance projects throughout North America. “We’re tracking about 30 projects across and outside the United States right now, and we believe that those will go forward in time,” Said Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue. “So we’re maintaining a relationship and clients and looking forward to the opportunity.”Cianbro currently employs more than 1,300 Mainers. Company officials say they’re optimistic about the company’s continued growth.
Bangor police say they’ve now identified the suspects behind a string of burglaries in the Bomarc Road area.They say the stolen property they’ve recovered is worth tens of thousands of dollars, and is on the way back to its rightful owners.They tell us three homes, three businesses, and two vehicles were broken into between October and the first week of December.Lots of electronics were taken, including flat screen televisions and computers. The burglars also took some heirloom jewelry.Police say they found the suspects, and got the stolen property back through some quick police work. “It basically started in the patrol division,” Said Sgt. Paul Edwards of the Bangor PD. “The midnight crew got some information and relayed that swiftly to the detective division. They were in turn able to locate some suspects, more than one, up to three people that they were interviewing during this process.”Police aren’t naming those suspects yet, but expect they will be formally charged soon.
New Census Bureau data shows New Hampshire’s population exceeding that of Maine for the first time in 209 years.Both states have about 1.3 million residents. Estimates released Wednesday put New Hampshire’s population ahead by 6,274 people.Maine also has a much older population and therefore more deaths and fewer births than New Hampshire.New Hampshire’s growth rate has slowed recently. Migration from Massachusetts, for example, has declined by 34 percent in the last several years.
A Pittston home was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.Crews were called to the home on Smithtown Road before noon.The homeowner said he emptied ashes from the woodstove into an ash bucket and placed it outside near the porch. He said he left for a short time, and came home to find the house filled with smoke.By the time firefighters arrived, there was little they could do.The homeowner and a dog got out safely. The rest of the family was out Christmas shopping.
A fire ripped through a house in Greenbush Wednesday Night.The fire was on Main Road. Crews from Greenbush, Milford, Passadumkeag and Bradley responded to the scene around 5:30. The fire was called in by Rob Nason, who was driving by the home at the time. Fire fighters say when they arrived the fire had already spread. Fire fighters suspect the blaze began in a back corner of the home, but an exact location or cause is not known. At last report fire crews were still on scene fighting the blaze. Officials say the cold weather was creating a few problems and because of the size of the fire they were having trouble with man power.The home owners were not there at the time of the fire, however their two dogs were, they were rescued from the home. Route Two was closed for a while because of the blaze, but is now reopened.
Some recently deployed Maine Army National Guard troops will be spending the holidays at home.The 3rd Battalion 172nd Infantry unit is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan soon. But, thanks to a donation from Stephen and Tabitha King, they got a ride home to Maine first.Their bus pulled in to the Brewer Armory and the excitement grew.”Are you excited for Dad?” Ashley Gaboury asks her niece, Pheobe. “They all ask her ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ And she says, ‘For my Dad to come home.’”After a long ride from Indiana, these soldiers were home, for a 10-day visit.”It’s exciting, especially when they’re going to be leaving for a long period of time,” Gaboury says.”It’s awesome. It was an unexpected thing because we didn’t know if they were going to come home or not,” says Michelle Griffin, who was waiting for her fiance.The troops had some time off over the holidays, but many didn’t know how they’d be able to get home…until the King family donated the money for a bus ride.Spc. Tom Belton is from Bucksport.”I just plan on having a good Christmas with my family…and I’ll see the old lady,” Belton says, with a smile. “It’s not often something like this happens, you get to go home, see your family for Christmas and then take off again, but it’s just good to be home for the holidays.”They’ve been training in several different locations for the past couple of weeks.”We’re learning all the things we need to do, so we can do what we need to do overseas,” Belton says. “We’ve had a lot of good training, been to Louisiana, now we’re in Indiana,” says Sgt. First Class Brian Baker. For Baker, the trip home is especially good timing. His wife Angela is pregnant and their baby is coming any day.”Hopefully,” he says. “It better!” says Angela. “Thank you to Stephen King for bringing him home,” she says.Their unit is scheduled to leave for Afghanistan next month.
If you’re planning to spend Christmas alone, some folks in Central Maine want to invite you to dinner.For the 3rd year, The Central Maine Family Christmas Dinner is being planned.It’s being held Friday at the Waterville Elks Lodge from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.They’ll have a traditional turkey dinner and stockings for the kids. Last year they served about 700 meals. This year they’re planning on 1000.”It’s basically don’t spend Christmas alone. That’s the whole thing we didn’t want. That’s how it started, they said a lot of people are alone at Christmas. Come on out and enjoy the festivities. We got a hay ride going, Christmas caroling, Santa Claus for the kids.”Everything is free of charge. It’s all made possible by donations from area businesses and individuals.If you don’t have a ride, they’ll even provide that for you.Just give them a call at 877-5258. You can also log onto www.centralmainefamilychristmasdinner.com
An explosion in Thomaston at a cement manufacturer could be felt about 13 miles away in Union.That’s according to Sgt. Ken Grimes with the State Fire Marshal’s office.The explosion happened just after noon today at Dragon Products, while a demolition crew was tearing down part of the plant that is no longer used.Grimes says the explosion happened when sparks from a cutting torch set a pile of debris on fire.”While it was burning smoke and hot gases from the fire went inside this stand alone tank and at some point the mixture was just right and there was a smoke explosion which took the top of the tank off.” explains Grimes.There were some demolition workers nearby when the top blew off the tank, but they were not hurt.There was some damage done to the Main office building. The windows were blown out by the blast.Luckily the folks who would normally be in that building were at a company Christmas party when the explosion happened.No one was injured.
Some Maine entrepreneurs are giving folks the gift of warmth this year.Tom and Kate Chappell founded Tom’s of Maine. Now they own Ramblers Way Farm where they produce lightweight wool thermal wear.The Chappell’s decided to make a donation of 5000 pieces to families in need.They joined the Governor in making the presentation Wednesday. “There are so many people that are struggling. This is a real nice lift in their day to be able to get something like this for free, and to be warm and comfortable all day, it’s a great gift.”The thermal wear will be given to transition teams who work with struggling Mainers.For more information on the products, log onto www.ramblersway.com
Floral arrangements make great gifts this time of year, but a local nursing home wants folks to know certain arrangements aren’t allowed in their facility.As Meghan Hayward tells us, there are some alternatives.Tis the season to give.And at the top of that list are floral arrangements.But the staff at Stillwater Healthcare in Bangor want folks to know that residents can not have certain greens in their rooms because it’s against state fire code.”We just ask if it could be artificial greens. Fresh flowers are okay. It’s not the fresh flowers that present the difficulty, it’s the fresh greens.”Activities director Jennifer Weisheit says they keep the facility a lot warmer than most people would keep their homes, which can pose some dangers with floral arrangements.”The biggest safety hazard is the start of a fire. And the greens themselves dry out so quickly.”But there are some alternatives.”What we can do is we have permanent botanical arrangements. Some people call them silk arrangements in seasonal colors. And that is a great alternative. That is something that you don’t have to worry about watering and there’s no fire concerns.”And if you’re worried that it won’t have that christmas look, there’s no need to be.”We can still make it very Christmas looking. We have talented designers here that can make it happen.”Weisheit says nothing makes the residents happier than when they receive a bouquet , and she says they hate to have to take it away.So they suggest making sure what they are sending is allowed, before ordering and paying for it.” And what does this mean to you to get this floral bouquet? Does it make you happy? Yes.”
A man from Bangor accused of a string of burglaries on the city’s west side made his first court appearance Wednesday.Police say 38-year-old Peter McCaffrey is responsible for stealing hundreds of dollars worth items.Meghan Hayward has the story.A night stroll turned into quite an adventure for Bangor resident Josh Pelkey.”I was walking my girlfriend and her friend home from the Homeless Walk and this guy was screaming help me, help me, this guy robbed my house. So I ran down the hill and I chased him down the street and caught up with him and tackled him down to the ground and the guy who had his house broken into called the cops while I held him down.”Pelkey is talking about 38-year-old Peter McCaffrey of Bangor, who police say is responsible for stealing items worth hundreds of dollars, including a pistol and ammunition.Pelkey says he didn’t have much time to think before taking off after McCaffrey.”I was obviously kind of scared. He was a little drunk, so I didn’t know what he was going to do. So I pretty much bear hugged him and pushed him to the ground and just laid there so he couldn’t do anything.”In court, the state brought up a list of McCaffrey’s prior convictions, several being alcohol related.”Well it tells me he’s had probably substance abuse issues for a long time. He’s older than the person we usually see committing crimes of this nature. And it tells me he’s perhaps going to be difficult to deal with in terms of a resolution.”The defense did request McCaffrey be evaluated at Acadia Hospital.”Well I think that expresses their understanding that he has a substance abuse problem as well and a desire to deal with those upfront. My concern is that if you post a low bail on him with the addiction he has and the number of crimes he’s committed he’s likely to either commit more crimes or leave the area.”Pelkey says if he was in a similar situation again, he would do the same thing.”Oh yeah definitely. As soon as he said help I saw the guy he was running after and took off.”McCaffrey’s bail was set at three thousand dollars cash. His next court appearance is scheduled for March.
Candy sales are up 3% this holiday season according to one local business. Matthew St. Jean, who co-owns Specialty Sweets on Stillwater Avenue with his wife, says they’re used to being busy, but not quite this busy. He says, “We have family members helping out every single day. We have sometimes my mom and dad driving. We have brothers and sisters that work out back making candy as well.” Every night, the couple works from when the store closes about 6pm to 1am the next day making candy.
Post office across the state will be open on Christmas Eve as folks try to get their last minute cards and packages in the mail. Most of them will close at noon.But ten locations will stay open until 5 p.m., including Augusta, Bangor, Ellsworth, Rockland and Waterville. Portland, Auburn, Lewiston, Bath and Presque Isle will close at 5 p.m., too.All Post offices will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call 1-800-ASK-USPS.
The employees of a Brewer motel spread some good old fashioned Christmas cheer Tuesday, and wore costumes to match.The folks at the Vacationland Inn decided to go caroling after a company Christmas party last year.They decided on a repeat performance this year at Woodlands in Brewer, with a twist.They had a contest to see who could come up with the best old fashioned costume.The one voted the best by her colleagues got a few bragging rights. The real winners: the residents and the carolers who got to spread a lot of christmas cheer. “I thought it was just lovely. Really appreciated it.” “I enjoy it very much,”Said Francis Wright, a resident at Woodlands. “I think it’s great. I just wish I could be up there singing.” “People today, they’re just such in a rush to find the present to get it under the tree, but there’s so much more to Christmas,” Said Cheryl Bradford, the co-owner of the Vacationland Inn.The residents also got to join in on the Christmas classics. Many told us the visit gave them a lift.
We’re seeing a lot of red and green these days, but some folks are having problems with the blues.Kathleen Dumont is a licensed clinician at Kennebec Behavioral Health in Skowhegan.She says about half of the population is stressed by the holiday season.Research shows that during this time of year there’s an increase in depression, domestic violence, and drunk driving accidents.Dumont says it’s important to remember that many have a tough time getting through the holidays. “They just want to get through, particularly people who have mental illness or substance abuse problems are struggling to just get through without drinking or without having a meltdown or being hospitalized. And so if people could be more kind to one another and realize for the person sitting next to you it may not be the most wonderful time of the year.”If you or if someone you know is having a tough time right now, there is help available.Kennebec Behavioral Health has trained professionals on hand around the clock. For more information check out the website www.kbhmaine.org
Police arrested a West Gardiner man on drug charges Tuesday.Timothy Sounier was arrested after a search of his home tuned up more than three grams of cocaine, along with oxycontin, heroin, cash, and a significant amount of narcotic packaging and drug paraphernalia.Sounier has numerous drug convictions dating back to 1993, which include convictions for trafficking, possession, and falsifying physical evidence.He is being charged with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, and violating conditions of release.
A Mars Hill woman has pled not guilty to charges she produced child pornography that was posted on the internet.31-year-old Julie Carr is being held without bail.The case came to the attention of police when investigators in the United Kingdom found a live web cast of a woman committing sexual acts on a young child.The broadcast was traced to Mars Hill.Carr was arrested in June.She has already pleaded not guilty to state sex charges.She faces up to 30 years in prison.
A group that wants to build a casino in Western Maine has delivered more than 90,000 signatures to election officials.Black Bear Entertainment is trying to get the matter before Maine voters.It wants to build a casino and resort in Oxford.If the secretary of state certifies more than 55,000 signatures, Mainers could vote on the issue next November.
A holiday display in Burnham is helping to ‘light up’ the faces of children and adults.48 thousand lights go into making it.”I think it’s awesome.” says one spectator.And countless hours are spent putting it all together.”It looks realistic.” says a young onlooker.This musical light display in Burnham is put on by Sheila and Clifford Palmer. This is the second year for the show.”Apparently the word is getting out and we’re enjoying it because everybody else is enjoying it.” says Clifford.The couple has created a scene of twinkling characters that move and dance to a set of classic Christmas songs.”We have some band characters that move to the music, we have santa on a harley, we have a rudolph that come on now and then.” says Sheila.”What’s your favorite part? Ummmm Santa Clause on the motorcycle.” says a young girl watching the show.”Mine is the leaping arches.” adds Sheila.”I think it’s pretty amazing for Burnham. Is there anything like this around? Not really.” says a young observer.The Palmers spend the year planning it out, and months putting it together. For the public, this dazzling show is free of charge.Sheila adds, “We love it that people are enjoying it. That’s why we do it for people to enjoy.” The light display is located at 31 Morgan Road in Burnahm.It goes from 5:30 TO 8 Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 TO 9 Friday and Saturday.The show runs through December 31.