Time is running out to get your travel documents in order before new regulations take effect.Starting June first, you’ll have to have a passport or passport card to cross the Maine/Canadian border.Staffers from the National Passport Center in New Hampshire were in Bangor Friday, helping folks get ready for the transition.They answered questions about the new passport card, and helped Mainers fill out passport applications, so they’ll be ready when the changes go into effect.< "maine has a very long border and it has a history of people going back and forth across the border...and we want to make sure everyone's prepared when this regulation takes effect as of june one.">For more information on the new requirements, visit the department of state…at www.travel.state.gov
While most teens spent their school vacation week relaxing or hanging out with friends, one group of dedicated students spent their time off getting up at the crack of dawn and pushing themselves to the limit.They attended the Maine Wing “airman Academy,” run by the Civil Air Patrol.Amy Erickson was at today’s graduation ceremony.”I had lots of fun.”This wasn’t Max Hutchins’ usual April vacation.Instead of playing video games or hanging out with his friends, he spent the week at the Air National Guard base as a cadet in the Airman Academy.About two dozen kids, ages 12 to 19, took part in the program, which helps them learn and mature…and explore future career opportunities. “It also gives them a good introduction to how the program works as far as how to set up a military room, a military bed, learning how to drill together as a flight and instilling some of the character values we’re looking for. Integrity, honor, self-discipline…those types of things.”Lori Renzullo is the Academy’s commander.She says the difference she sees in the cadets after only a few days is remarkable. “they’ll have a great more self respect them for themselves and they’ll leave here knowing they’ve accomplished something that was hard and that took a lot from themselves. We moved them out of their comfort zone and made sure they really pushed themselves this week.” “I hope to get lots of rank and get to major general.”Like many of the cadets in the program, 12-year-old Kimberly Plummer has military aspirations. “Because it gives me more discipline and even though there’s a lot of yelling…it helps me be more organized.””I would like to join the air force.”This was Max Hutchins’ first time in the program. He says it’s given him a good foundation for military life. “I learned a lot of respect for higher ranks.” “learned more drilling, which is a lot of teamwork.” “It was hard, but well worth it.”Renzullo says she’s impressed with the maturity these young cadets have shown this week. “they give up their school vacation, that coveted time off from school, to take classes, get up at 5 am and do physical training and drill. It shows a real high level of dedication to the program.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.>
A Maine-based company whose Missouri factory gave area farmers fertilizer that critics say contained a cancer-causing chemical is disputing the claims and defending its environmental record.Prime Tanning Corp., of Hartland, responded to a lawsuit that accuses it of knowingly distributing sludge containing a known carcinogen as free fertilizer to farmers in four counties.Environmental activist Erin Brockovich says the chemical in question — Hexavalent Chromium — may be linked to what some area residents believe is a high number of brain tumors in the region.Prime Tanning vice president Grover Elliott says the company believes the claims are baseless and it looks forward to cooperating with state and federal investigators.
Latin Americans have generated millions of dollars in the state.However, there has been little information on how they’ve done that and who exactly they are…until now.In a report released Thursday, members from the Maine Center for Economic Policy have put a face to the latinos and hispanics who are contributing to, and changing, Maine’s economy.”I think we need a little bit of color.”As one of the whitest states in the country, Maine is starting to see an increase of immigrants, in particular hispanics and latinos.In an effort to help the majority understand Maine’s largest minority group, members from the Maine Center for Economic Policy have compiled information tying hispanics to the economy.”We are people that have an education, we are intelligent, capable of owning businesses and capable of brain surgery and that’s the beauty of this report.”In 2002, there were more than 700 hispanic run businesses, generating $113,000,000 to Maine’s economy.”It really gets the stigma out that all hispanics are short, brown and come here to do menial work.” “We’re also professionals, that we are people that have been born and raised here and actually been here since 1860.””Maine has kept track of the hispanic population since 1860 when the U.S. census reported that 25 hispanics lived in Maine. Since then that number has grown to nearly 16,000 in 2007.” “In 2007, hispanics made up 1.2% of Maine population. That seems small, but between 2000 and 2007 that’s a 67% growth rate.” Bianca Soto Gomez is featured in the report. She holds a master’s in Agricultural Education and works as a soil conservationist. Bianca was born in Puerto Rico. Many Mainers confuse her as being Mexican.”When I came to Skowhegan, when people saw me they said, oh, you’re not from here.” Bianca says while she is welcome in her community, there is a lack of cultural education. Something she would like to help change.”They don’t know about us.” The reports authors admit this is only a starting point, but one they hope will lead to erasing stigmas and showing what steps can help Maine prosper, not as separate groups but as one.”Open your mind and help one another.”
While many students are on vacation this week, more than 200 bus drivers are still driving around.About 250 school bus drivers from across the state showed up at Messalonskee High School in Oakland for their annual training workshop.A skills competition is set up to help drivers with their maneuvering.The course took drivers through different obstacles that simulate real-life situations.There were also safety classes for the drivers.The Maine Association for Pupil Transportation is a non-profit group that puts on the training every year.
The Bangor base of the Maine Air National Guard has figured out a way to save energy and money, all while creating a better work environment.For that, they were honored Thursday.”It’s amazing…a much smaller bulb but much better lighting.”The Maine Air National Guard used to use 30 different kinds of light bulbs around their Bangor base. Now they use just one, energy-saving type.”I enjoy it. It’s a lot easier on the eyes, and it’s just nicer because it feels like it’s sunlight in here.””The light is not as glaring as it used to be, and the lights before were up inside the ceiling and obviously it’s a good work environment.”Efficiency Maine, a part of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, applauds the base’s efforts.”…and in total, the projects will save nearly a half a million kilowatt hours a year, and that’s enough to power 73 maine homes year round.”Commissioner Jack Cashman says the base is a role model, showing others how to reduce dependence on foreign fuels, and cut emissions.”Energy efficiency is the best bang for the buck in terms of getting that done the fastest. We don’t do it without partners, and the Maine National Guard has been a great partner.”Five more projects are in the works, at other bases across Maine. In addition to lighting, they’re tackling heating and air conditioning systems.”And if we can do things more energy efficiently, it’s a win-win situation. they help financially as well as how to do certain things.”
New fishing regulations took effect in early April for lobstermen.The regulations are meant to help protect the endangered right whale, but many lobstermen are unhappy with the new rules.Most lobstermen used floating rope to set traps, because right whales can get caught in the floating lines, new regulations have made this type of rope illegal.Lobstermen are now forced to use expensive sink rope, and they say the extra costs don’t end there.”Before I could just grab the bouys and just hall them up, now what we have to do is when we grab a bouy we have to get right up over the traps and try to pick them right straight up. So it makes sure they don’t get caught down around the rocks.” says Danny Staples, a lobsterman.Hauling traps was never an easy job, but the new sink rope makes it that much more difficult. “You have to work awful hard to get them back, and you’re still gonna lose some.” adds Staples.And lost traps means lost wages.Gerry Cushman, a lobsterman, says “An average trap I would say is gonna cost 70 dollars. For every one that you leave at the bottom of the ocean, if you leave a pair that’s 140 dollars – not including that you’re not gonna be able to fish that trap for the rest of the year.” While the State says the new rules have been put in place to protect whales, Cushman, a lobsterman out of Port Clyde, says the waters he fishes don’t support right whales – making the new rules unnecessary.”Why would whales want to go up on 8 or 10 fathom of water on rocky bottomâ€¦ it doesn’t make sense.”Cushman says tracking the whales and fishing equipment could be key to making reasonable regulations. “Buoy marking I think we could improve on that, I think we need to improve on that to understand more about the whales, and I hope in the future we have more regulations on that.” But even if there are more regulations on the water, is there enough in the water to sustain the whales.”They need up to, something like 4 thousand pounds of feed in a certain area and there’s only a few areas in the state of Maine that that happens.” explains Staples.Cushman and Staples agree some regulation is needed to protect endangered species, like the Right Whale.”The public out there thinks that we’re the bad guys and we’re not, we don’t want to kill the right whales anymore than anyone else.” Staples says. But they want more research done before rules are put in place. Cushman explains, “There’s a lot that we do not know about them and we need to find out before we make regulations about them that can put fishermen out of business, or put costs significance on them that’s unnecessary.”
For years the right whale was a popular target for whalers but now it’s believed there are only between three hundred and four hundred left. Actions being taken to save these whales have a direct impact on many Mainers.Floating rope was used by lobstermen when they set traps, but it posed a threat to the right whale. Many have died after getting caught and tangled in the lines.A new regulation went into effect earlier this month that stops lobstermen from using floating rope – they now have to use sink rope.But trading in the old ropes that are now illegal for new ones carries with it a financial burden too big for many to bare.”It’s a double edge sward. They’re grateful for the financial assistance, they think the rule is cockamamie and they don’t want anything to do with it, but they know it’s a regulation they’ve got to comply with.” says Laura Ludwig with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Association.The financial assistance comes in the form of the Rope Exchangeâ€¦.Federal Grant money was used to fund it. For each pound of old rope that was brought in Fishermen were paid a dollar 40. The old rope will not go to waste, it will find a welcome new home.”All of the good stuff will be used to make woven door mats by a company here in Waldoboro” adds Ludwig.The Exchange was meant help defer the cost of the sink rope.Ludwig explains, “They weren’t going to be able to afford to do a swap over without some sort of financial assistance.”But it won’t cover it all.”The cheapest sink rope around is probably around 2 dollars, 2 dollars and 20 cents â€¦ plus a third more in weight, so it is expensive.” says Pat White of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Association.Frank Thompson, a Lobsterman, says “Last winter it cost me 22 thousand just to rig over one boat with the neutral buoyant rope.”While the State points to the safety of the whales, Some lobstermen, like Thompson, say where they fish, whales are not a concern. “We don’t have a problem with the whales, all we got is humpbacks, and we aint never caught a whale in 43 years of fishing , so.””I’ve only seen one or two Right whales in 22 years on the water here in Maine.” says James O’Brien, a lobsterman.”The downeast guys I think are getting a little bit of an unfair shake out of this because of the area that they fish… They don’t fish anymore than 10 miles out and the whales that are sited are all 40 or 50 miles out.” White explains.They say the old rope could last for five yearsâ€¦ but because of the rocky Maine coast the sink rope may only last a season.White goes on to say, “Some of the stuff, the guys have complained they’ve only been able to haul it three or four times. Rope manufacturers are going to get better at what they do hopefully, but that’s gonna take time.”Until that time comes, lobstermen will have to find a way to cover the cost and stay afloat financially.”We’ve applied through congress two different appropriations to see if we can get more money, because I know we’re gonna need it.” says White.Ludwig adds, “I have a huge long waiting list at this point. We ahve pretty much run out of money for this program until we can hopefully garner more support from the federal governement.”
Fire destroyed an old farm house in Warren Wednesday afternoon.Fighters from Warren, Union and Waldoboro responded to the home on the Anderson road.Family members were not home and we’re told the family dog is safe.Outbuildings were still standing on the property.As for the home…only the chimney was left standing.The State Fire Marshal was called in to investigate but a cause can not be determined because of the extent of damage.
The owner of Maine’s only casino is reporting flat first-quarter earnings that still managed to beat Wall Street’s expectations. Casino operator Penn National Gaming reported today that it earned $40.7 million, or 38 cents a share, for the three-month period. Analysts were expecting a profit of 33 cents a share. The Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based company also boosted its full-year profit forecast. Penn National owns the Hollywood Slots and Raceway casino in Bangor, along with gambling and racing operations in 13 others states and in Ontario. (AP)
A man and a woman from Waldoboro have made their initial court appearance in last weekend’s stabbing attack that killed one woman and left a second woman critically wounded. No pleas were entered when 24-year-old Earl “Buddy” Beiler and 42-year-old Corina Durkee, both of Waldoboro, appeared in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset where a judge read the charges against them. They were charged Thursday afternoon with the murder of Rachel Grindal, the attempted murder of Tracy Neild and burglary. Detectives said the two victims, along with a third woman who ran to a neighbor’s house for help, had interrupted a burglary inside Neild’s mobile home. Neild is recovering at a Lewiston hospital.
Two hours after Jacob Hall was born in Bangor, he was on his way to a hospital in Boston.”I mean, it’s just a shock to have someone come into your room and say, your son’s not gonna make it, I mean…”Jacob had C-D-H, a birth defect that stops a baby’s lungs from growing.”I was petrified”After an operation and a 17 day stay in Boston, Jacob got to go home. But the relief was short lived.”July 31st he was fussy and vomiting, so we decided to take him to the emergency room.”Doctors discovered Jacob’s hemoglobin level was at 3.8 – a normal level would be about 14. He was in for another long hospital stay.”We were there from that Thursday to Friday, until Monday. He had six transfusions over that weekend.”Since then, Jacob has had blood transfusions every two weeks to keep his count up. If it dips too low, it could be fatal. But there’s a lingering question.”Why does the blood count keep going down?”Doctors can’t figure out what’s making him sick.”There’s got to be somebody, somewhere that can puzzle this out.”He’s seen several specialists and Jacob’s parents are looking everywhere for answers.”We’re headed to Boston Children’s hospital on May First to have a consult and some tests.”They’re even looking into the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, but their insurance doesn’t cover tests done there. “In order to even be seen, you have to pay five-thousand dollars down and turn before they’ll do any tests. You have to pay them upfront for the tests.”Jacob’s parents say they’re taking it day by day, but they don’t know what they’d do without the support of those around them.”Family members is the biggest comfort to Jessie and Ray. To have family that can step in and give them a little help.”To help raise money to see the specialists in Minnesota. Jacob’s family is having a spaghetti dinner.It will be Sunday, April 26, from 2 to 8 pm. They’re having it at the Corinth Snowmobile Club. There will be raffles, arts and crafts – and of course a delicious dinner.
With Rabies season right around the corner, vet tech students at a local university are doing their part to make sure people get their pets vaccinated.Meghan Hayward has the story.Vet Tech students at the University College of Bangor are offering their services to the public at an affordable cost.”we’re going to be offering basically it’s a rabies clinic but we call it Wellness day. We’re going to do a quick but thorough physical of all the animals that come in. We’ll also offer nail trimming with that.”Doucette says their concerned about the animals in these tough economic times.He understands how difficult it is for some owners to shell out money for their pets.but Doucette says it’s important to remember that this expo does not replace an actual visit to a vet clinic.”having a vet and having your pet taken care of and having a good physical exam with a licensed vet is of supreme importance.”This is the second year this event has taken place and Doucette expects an even bigger turn-out this year.”if the calls I’ve received indicate growth, we’re going to have a lot of people here on Saturday.”The clinic works with the organization Save Our Strays which finds stray animals and brings them to the clinic.From there…the students take over.”we nurse them back to health, give them the shots, vaccines, the physicals.”Students graduating from the three year vet tech program receive an associates degree and then have to be licensed.”once you pass that licensing test than you are a licensed vet tech and at that point the only thing you can’t do is prescribe, surgery and diagnose. The vets need to do that but we are the vets right hand for everything else.”
Emotions ran high in Augusta Wednesday during a day-long public hearing on a bill that would legalize same sex marriage.While most bills are heard at the state house, this one had to be moved to the civic center to accommodate the thousands of people who wanted to be heard.The debate has begun with voices from both sides speaking loud and clear.The bill’s sponsor, Senator Dennis Damon, spoke first. “Live and let live.”Followed by a standing ovation.But it wasn’t long before opponents had their say. “Parenting will no longer exist. Now I know I’m simply a farm boy from central Maine, but I learned many years ago that children don’t happen without a mom and dad.” Said state representative Phil Curtis.While some say family tradition will be lost to government if the same sex marriage law passes, others say killing the bill would deny civil rights just as history has to minorities. “I remember 40 years ago even people in Maine told us it was wrong to get married.” Said NAACP member Bob Talbot. “Blacks and whites should never marry, people say the same thing today about gay and lesbians. It was wrong 40 years ago, it’s wrong now!”With seating for 4,000, the auditorium filled up fast. Revealing a common theme, red, the color supporters of gay marriage wore to show their unity. But there were plenty of others representing those against the measure too.Pastor Bob Emrich says the foundation in which marriage is based on would be compromised if gay and lesbian couples were allowed to wed. “What we’re concerned about is that this experiment with redefining marriage no one really knows the long term consequences. We don’t know what the impact would be on children.” Same-sex couples who have adopted children couldn’t disagree more. “That was hard for me to swallow, because when we came in we talked about love, family, and security. ‘Because he’s not living with a male and female he’s going to be a drug addict, he’s going to fail in school’ and that’s absurd, it’s fear.” Gay father Rodney Mondor said. “To say that kids absolutely need a mom and dad negates all the wonderful things single parents have done, divorcees, widows, and by us.” Added mother and former Bangor Humane Society director Bev Uhlenhake.Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont are the only states to allow same sex marriage. On Friday, gay and lesbian couples in Iowa will be given the same rights. This public hearing only marks the beginning of Maine’s debate with the issue which could take weeks or months to come to a decision on.
A law to promote alternative fuels is giving paper mills an unintended multibillion-dollar tax windfall.Paper companies discovered they qualify for federal tax credits because they use a byproduct in the paper-making process to power their mills.International Paper has received nearly $72 million in creditsfor a single month. Verso Paper got a nearly $30 million credit fora single mill in Maine for the fourth quarter of 2008.Congress offered firms 50 cents a gallon to blend renewable fuels like ethanol with traditional fossil fuels like diesel oil.When turning wood into pulp, paper mills produce a liquid substance called “black liquor” that is often used as fuel to power the mill.The tax credit, however, is only available to firms that produce a blend of renewable fuels and traditional fossil fuels. Late last year some paper companies realized they could qualify for the credit by adding small amounts of diesel to the black liquor used for powering their mills.Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is working on a bill that could end the credits for paper companies.
Some Bangor Hydro employees spent the day on Wednesday sprucing up a childcare facility in Bangor. It was part of their Earth Day celebration. They decided to clean up the yard around the Penquis Childcare Center on Venture Way.This is just one of their activities they have planned for the week. They are also holding an auction within the company of recycled and unused goods donated by employees, they’re asking employees to take a Green Pledge, and they have a recycled art contest for their workers.Kendra Overlock, member of Bangor Hydro’s Green Team says it’s part of the company mission to be as green as can be. “This gave us an opportunity to highlight that but we’ll be doing activities throughout the year to engage in the community and inside our company as well to be more environmentally friendly, more efficient with our resources. So it’s not just a one day event for us.” Overlock also says the company is trying to achieve L.E.E.D. Certification for their new facility on Illinois Avenue in Bangor. L.E.E.D. stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Acadia National Park will get more 8-million dollars from the National Park Service.Senator Susan Collins says the money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.It will be used to make repairs and improvements to the park.
One of three Colby College students arrested on Easter is challenging bail conditions that bar him from possessing alcohol and require that he submit to searches and testing for alcohol use or possession.22-year-old Ozzy Ramirez is charged with assault and criminal trespassing for allegedly trying to interfere with efforts to assist a student who was ill after a dance on campus. Ramirez’s attorney told the Morning Sentinel that the bail conditions violate his client’s fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. District Attorney Evert Fowle says the bail conditions are appropriate and that Ramirez’ drinking helped get him into trouble.
During these tough economic times people are finding it hard to even take care of life’s basic necessities – Like food and medicine – and still make the mortgage.For some, the bills just add up too fast – and lead to the devastation of foreclosure.Barbara McIntosh’s problems began years ago when she had to spend time in the hospital for a slew of medical issues – and couldn’t get health coverage. “Evidently I was deemed 27 dollars over the limit to get coverage so the hospital sued me.” explains McIntosh.To pay her medical bills McIntosh mortgaged her home.”My payment was 610 dollars and 98 cents and that was supposed to come out of 800 a month.”McIntosh couldn’t make the high payments.Her daughter Jamie says, “About a year ago she was served with papers by the sheriff, a foreclosure notice.”McIntosh’s story is a sad one, but it’s not the only of it’s kind.Larry Dansinger, a friend of McIntosh, says “When I looked in the registry of deeds for Waldo County the number of foreclosures doubled in two months from 16 to 32.”The Waldo County Sheriff says ten years ago having ten foreclosures in the county each year would have been a lot. The sheriff says in 2008 there were 180 foreclosures, and there have already been 80 in 2009 – a sure sign of tough times.”And if you extend that out to a whole year for a whole state, we maybe talking about 10 thousand foreclosures.” says Dansinger.And McIntosh says help is hard to find right now. “Trying to get help has been really really difficult because all of these social services, they’re so overworked.””It just seems like there’s so much red tape to go through to try to get any type of answers.” says her daugher.The mortgage company has given McIntosh until May first to leave the house. She’s not sure what she and her cats will do when that day comes.
Two people from Washington County were arrested on drug charges.48-year-old Gerald Perry is now charged with unlawful trafficking of schedule drugs.34-year-old Melissa Cox was charged with aggravated trafficking of schedule drugs.The Washington County Sherrif’s office along with agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement agency seized 42.5 grams of cocaine and over fifty pills worth over $900.Both are being held at the Washington County jail on $25,000 bail.