It sounds strange, but it seems visitors are taking some odd souvenirs from Acadia National Park these days…rocks.Park officials say rocks are disappearing, some carried away as mementos in backpacks, others loaded into pickups for faraway landscaping projects.Acadia’s chief ranger, Stuart West, says he’s noticed a decline in the amount and variety of loose stones at the park’s busiest beaches. He says taking a rock doesn’t sound like a major problem, until you multiply it by hundreds of thousands of people.Rangers say they charge about a dozen rock thieves a year, who end up facing fines of 50 to a hundred fifty dollars apiece.
The rainy, cool weather we’ve had most of the past month was bad news for Maine’s tourism industry.Merchants across the state are hoping this weekend’s winning weather can help salvage their season.Businesses catering to tourists already anticipated a slow season because of the recession. Then they got a double-whammy with the wet, raw weather. Vaughn Stinson of the Maine Tourism Association puts the damage at millions of dollars in Maine alone. He says what the season needs is more days like Friday, when the temperature hit the 80s across the state.
A man from Brooksville is dead after a car crash in that town.It happened Friday evening, just before 6 p.m.The victim is identified as 46-year-old Michael Bernal.Police say his car ran off Varnumwille Road and landed upside down in a stream.Rescue crews pulled Bernal from the car and took him to Blue Hill Memorial Hospital…he was later pronounced dead.Police are investigating the crash.
A brother and sister from Clinton are seriously injured after an ATV crash.It happened around noontime Saturday in Moscow.Game Wardens say 20-year-old Sarah Green was driving an ATV on the Palmer Pond Road…it’s a multi-use ATV trail and road that leads to Bingham.Green’s 10-year-old brother was a passenger on the four-wheeler.Wardens say the ATV collided with a Jeep.Sarah Green suffered internal injuries…Wardens say she was not wearing a helmet.Her younger brother, who was wearing a helmet, suffered a compound leg fracture.Both were taken by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.No one in the Jeep was injured.
A 16-year-old Pennsylvania girl was swept downstream in the Penobscot River in northern Maine, but was able to reach shore just before she would have dropped over a waterfall. The Maine Warden Service says Rebecca Levine of Pittsburgh floated and bounced two and a half miles downstream and through rapids Friday evening. She is working on trails for a student conservation association. Wardens say Levine was floating with two other friends near a campground when she was swept downstream. She was wearing a life jacket. She told wardens she scrambled to get to shore when she heard the noise of the approaching falls, known as the “Big A” Falls. Levine was treated for scrapes, bruises and bug bites.
The world premiere of Tapped will be tomorrow at the Maine International Film Festival.Tapped is a documentary that trails the path of the bottled water industry.It shows the lives of those affected by the industry.Sarah Gibson one of the producers says the documentary shows those caught at the intersection of a big business and the public’s right to water.Tomorrow, before the movie premiere there will be a truck of 7,000 Poland Spring water bottles outside the Waterville Opera House.The 7,000 bottles represent one-fourth of the amount of bottled water Maine consumes in one week.Showings for the movie are tomorrow at 3:30, Monday at 6 pm and Wednesday at 9:30 pm.For more information on the movie or buying tickets you can go to www.miff.org.
History was brought alive today in Bangor.As Meghan Hayward tells us folks present learned a history lesson that will not be soon forgotten.The Mount Hope Cemetary in Bangor took a trip back in time Saturday.” This is the 175th anniversary of Bangor as a city and the 175th anniversary of Mount Hope Cemetary as a cemetary. We wanted to commemorate and do a rededication of the Civil War Monument that is here.”Bangor City Council Chairman Gerry Palmer says Bangor and the state of Maine paid a heavy price during the Civil War.He says they wanted to bring that event alive.An event that is important to to Bangor and surrounding residents.” Our history is all here in this cemetary and it’s a treasure for our community and other communities would be well served to have something like this.”David Gould of Winterport had the honor of being Hannibal Hamlin, a role he enjoyed playing.” We just kind of bring back a little bit of history for everyone. If nobody was willing to do that we’d just have modern speakers. It doesn’t have the same flavor.”Gould says he thinks the re-enactment will help more people understand the history.” It may capture their interest so they do a little more research and learn a little bit about Hannibal Hamlin, a unique vice president from the state of Maine.”Celeste Livengood of Orono was a spectator at Saturday’s events.” The rededication of the monument, there was a history that I didn’t know about and when they read the history it was very interesting.”Her son Michael Livengood also got to see everything firsthand.What was his favorite part?” The cannons. It was loud and stuff like that.”Palmer’s hope is that children like Michael who were present at Saturday’s events will return to the cemetary one day.” Really like them to do is go back to the trees that Lincoln and Hamlin planted. Young children that will be 50 to 60 years or older and say I remember when Lincoln and Hamlin planted those trees.”
The artistic community of Native Americans was on display in Bar Harbor today.The Native American Festival kicked off with a traditional prayer facing each cardinal direction.Folks attending the festival had the opportunity to collect baskets and jewelry from the artisans.It also allowed them a unique look into the Native American history.An opportunity that Director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, Theresa Secord says benefits them.” It really generates income for the tribal artisans and in this economy that’s important. It also encourages the next generation. They’re able to see others practicing our ancient traditional art and they get encouraged by some little sales of their own baskets and things.”Secord says one of the things she is most proud of about the festival is how it brings together three and four generations of family.
A man died in a bad car accident Friday in Brooksville.Police received a call around 5:30 that a vehicle had gone off Varnumville Rd. and landed upside down in a stream.When crews arrived, they pulled the driver from the car and took him to the hospital in Blue Hill, where he was pronounced dead.Officials later identified the driver as 46-year-old Michael Bernal of Brooksville, his family has been notified.Police are investigating, but believe driver inattention may have been a cause.
A woman in Ellsworth is spear-heading an effort to raise money for a home for young adults with disabilities.Linda Elliot owns the property in Ellsworth where the home would be built. Her son, Jake Van Meter, is twenty-five-years-old and is living in a nursing home with people three times his age.The proposed house would have room for up to six people all in their mid-twenties. The people who’d live there would have moderate to severe physical limitations but score average to above average on cognitive tests. They have a place where they can get that 24 hour care, have a place where they can move around easily in the facility and be with individuals their own age, right now there’s many of them that are in nursing homes that are just existing, they’re not thriving they’re existing.The United Cerebral Palsy of Maine has agreed to be the fiscal agent for the project.
Belfast, Ireland meets Belfast, Maine next weekend. Organizers are getting ready for the Maine Celtic Celebration. It’s the third year for the festival which will take place by the boat house on the waterfront. Vendors and musicians will be set up along the steamboat landing and the commons. Diane Braybrook says lots of games are scheduled for the weekend, too, like a cod-toss throw, a three-legged race and a cheese roll.”The participants first have to race up the hill. The first ten that can make it up the hill get to race down the hill to catch the cheese. The cheese is donated by the State of Maine Cheese Company. We have four huge wheels and the winner gets the cheese.”The celebration starts next Friday night with a benefit dinner. It gets going Saturday morning with a road race and parade.If you can’t wait until then for fun on the Belfast waterfront you might want to check out the Arts in the Park. The fine arts and crafts festival starts tomorrow morning at 10.
There’s a helipad at the local hospital. Which will save a lot of time in emergencies and could save lives.Chelsey Anderson reports.”You guys ready to go in and take a look? Okay! Here we go.”Folks turned out Friday morning to get up close and personal with the Life Flight helicopter and crew.”You want to try my helmet on sweetie? Okay. There.”Waldo County General Hospital recently received a 75-thousand dollar grant through the Life Flight Foundation for a helipad.Up to now Life Flight flew to Belfast’s Airport. From there patients were taken by ground ambulance to the hospital, adding an extra 15-to-30 minutes to their arrival. Support Services Director Gary Haslam says that will change.”Have them arrive and get them dispatched and out of there in about 12 minutes.”Bangor Base Manager and Flight Nurse, Sandy Benton says this is extremely beneficial to patients with trauma and cardiac issues.”They don’t have time. They don’t have a lot of extra minutes.” “A minute can make a difference in someone’s life, so 15 of those is huge. Now with a dedicated helipad in the community that’s going to make it a lot safer for everybody.”Benton appreciated the show of support from the hospital faculty and community. “They’re saying, we believe you should have access to healthcare and that’s really important to all of us. Because you never know when you’re going to be driving down in the community and need Waldo community and Life Flight of Maine.”
Firefighters in Waterville are looking for a few good bowlers. It’s for a charity bowling event at the end of summer. The tournament is designed to raise money for local organizations in need and for other charities the Consolidated Firefighters of Waterville support. Organizers hope to have at least 48 teams in the tournament, set for Sunday, September 20th at the Sparetime Recreation Center in Waterville. Lt. Scott Holst says the top three teams will win money to go to their favorite charity.”It helps our local charities, our local schools. Not just Waterville, but Winslow, Oakland, Fairfield, anybody that wants to join in. So it’s going to benefit about everyone in the community.”The Consolidated Firefighters of Waterville is hosting the state convention two years from now. Members are putting together several events to raise money to run the convention.For more information about the bowling tournament and other activities, call 680-4735 or go to www.watervillefire.com.
Work is underway to contain an oil spill off Port Clyde.Last night a fishing boat sank while docked.It’s believed that the boat held a thousand gallons of diesel fuel.Maine Department of Environmental Protection crews have put containment booms in place and are also using special pads to help absorb the fuel.We’re told the pads so far have removed about about 15 gallons of fuel from the water.The DEP has been assisted by the United States Coast Guard, Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Department of Agriculture.
A conflict over the firing of the head of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce appears is over, just hours before a special meeting to talk about the dismissal of Candy Guerette was scheduled to start. The Chair of the Board of Directors says Guerette has agreed to accept a severance package of four months of pay and four months of health insurance. Guerette was let go last week after 13 years as President and CEO. The decision was made by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, based on what they called poor job performance.The Chair of the Board of Directors, John Diamond, says the board decided around noon today to call off the 3:30 meeting after receiving a letter from Guerette’s lawyer. In the letter, Charles Gilbert said the original reason for calling the meeting has been resolved and there’s no longer any practical or legal purpose for it.The original severance package for Guerette offered her three months of pay and benefits. She countered with eight months severance, pay for vacation and sick time and the assurance that Diamond would not fill her position.At today’s meeting a group of members was expected to ask the board to appoint a special committee to investigate the decision to fire Guerette.Just yesterday the full Board of Directors unanimously backed the actions of the Executive Committee to oust Guerette. Her lawyer says Guerette appreciates the support she’s received and that it’s time to move on. He says Gurette has nothing but the highest regard for the Chamber and its mission and wishes it and her successor nothing but the best.Diamond say the process to replace Guerette will begin immediately.
Breaking a sweat and being pampered, that’s what ladies at the Curves in Hampden experienced today.It was a health fair offering massages, make-up consultations, a nutritionist and much more.Women stopped in throughout the day. All the services were free.Co-owner Catherine Perry says they were happy to host the health fair”It’s very important for women to have a place where they can seek support especially of other women and we work really hard to make them feel like they have a place to go in the community where they can keep themselves healthy and well-balanced.”Self-defense was part of today’s package, with an expert on that topic from Hampden giving instruction.
The arts are coming to Pittsfield in a unique way.As Meghan Hayward tells us you just might be sitting on it.”I think it’s just a great idea. It will bring interest and hopefully a little excitement. People can go around and look at all the different chairs and brighten up the downtown.”This community art project is called “Getting Comfortable in Pittsfield.”Eighteen adirondack chairs were painted by local folks.Jean Bradshaw is one of the artists.She says it didn’t take her as long as she had expected to design her chair.”Over the course of two weeks I probably spent five days.”But Bradshaw says she did come across a challenge.”I normally work with water colors. So it was kind of outside the box for me to work with acrylics.”The chairs will be placed around Pittsfield all summer long.In the Fall they will be auctioned off by the Town Council, with the money going to help pay for new seats for the Pittsfield Community Theater.Artist Hazel Mitchell is happy about that.”I think it is good to give something back to the community and to bring the artists together, it was a nice thing to do.”Mitchell is amazed with the chairs.”I think there’s a real range of creativity.”The chairs were made by Walpole Woodworkers, which also donated some of them.Starting Saturday you’ll be able to see the chairs on display throughout Pittsfield.
Films from around the world will be on the big screen in Waterville this Weekend. The Maine International Film Festival opens today. This is the 12th year for the festival, which gets bigger each summer. Last year attendance reached more than 9-thousand visitors. The festival will feature nearly 100 films around the world. They’ll be shown in two locations – the Waterville Opera House and Railroad Square Cinema. Festival Venue Manager Serena Sanborn says, “There’s a lot of Maine movies this year. Our opening night film tonight is “the Rival”, which is about Cape Elizabeth and Rumford football teams, so that’s really fun. But you’re going to see movies from everywhere, you’ll see movies in all languages and you’ll see movies for kids, so it’s really fun.”At this year’s festival, director Arthur Penn will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Some of his credits include “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Miracle Worker”.The 10-day film festival is also branching out. It will wrap up next weekend at the Portsmouth Music Hall in New Hampshire.For information on films and show times, go to www.miff.org.
We have some good news to report.Shadow, the missing Golden Retriever involved in a crash in Amherst has been found.Jodi Thomas of Charlotte had her Service Dog Shadow in the car with her when she was involved in a car crash on Route Nine Tuesday afternoon.She escaped the accident with only minor injuries, but Shadow ran off in all the commotion.Thursday night, Jodi and her boyfriend got the call that Shadow had been found on the Tannery Loop Road in Amherst.He was tired and dirty, but otherwise okay.The couple would like to thank Brian Tripp of the Warden Service and everybody in the town of Amherst that helped in the search for Shadow. They’d also like everyone to know that Jodi is doing fine.
A special ceremony was held in Belfast last night, to re-dedicate a decades-old fountain.the original fountain outside the Waldo County Shrine Club on Northport Avenue was built more than a century ago.But over time, the base of it crumbled away.So the local Shriners decided to replace the fountain.It took a few years of fund-raising to come up with the thousands of dollars needed for the project.Construction finally started about a year ago.The Shriners are still raising money to help finish off paying for the project.For a $25 donation, you can receive one of the original stones from the fountain.For more information, call the Waldo County Shrine club at 338-9844.