The town of Frankfort has two fire departments.One is town run, the other an independently run volunteer station.Both departments received grant money to buy new trucks.But now there’s a question as to who owns one of them, the independent department, or the town.As Cori Skall explains, that’s the question up for debate at Friday night’s town meeting.”We opened up about 20 years ago and the reason we did it, we really needed some fire protection in this end of our town.”There are two fire departments in the town of Frankfort.The village fire department, run by the town, is right on route 1-A.The West Frankfort Fire Department is an independent department of volunteer firefighters, and it is located on the Swan Lake road.Both departments put in for federal grant money to buy new fire trucks, and both were approved.But West Frankfort’s Chief says he came across a problem, when checking with the dealership, on the title to truck that went to his department.”Instead of putting the West Frankfort Fire Department, he put town of West Frankfort. Of course we all know there’s no such place as West Frankfort, so he agreed to redo the paperwork and make it right, and send it in for the title.”Stone says the title was changed without incident, and the truck put in to service last year.But last month, stone says he got a letter from the town’s attorney, saying he had wrongfully changed the title, and that the town owned the truck, not the department.”I mean I’m in the town office all the time, picking up mail and doing different things…and they never once said Roy we have an issue, we want to talk with you, or anything.”Now the town is asking residents for permission to take legal action against stone…and to foot the bill for it.Stone’s wife, Sandra, who is the West Frankfort Department’s treasurer, also wrote the grant….”Everything that went on with our FEMA applications is correct.”We were unsuccessful in our attempts to contact the town selectmen, and the village fire chief for comment.”i’m hoping that the townspeople will just vote not to pursue legal action cause all that’s going to do it hurt this town.””I am just beginning to wonder just how much we have to fight just to be volunteers to help people.”The Frankfort town meeting will take place friday night at the Frankfort elementary school.It’s scheduled to start at 7-pm.
A rather sobering meeting was held today at the University of Maine.Faculty and staff members gathered to talk about the university’s budget and the need to cut 8-point-6 million dollars for the coming fiscal year.UMaine President Robert Kennedy has said that layoffs are inevitable as the number crunchers find ways to trim operating costs.He didn’t discuss any specific cuts today.The special forum was really a time to discuss where the university stands during this tough economy.”The other thing that i’m sure is very apparent to you and I want to remind you is that we’re not in this alone. If you talk to your colleagues all across the country many will tell you stories that are at least as dire or perhaps more so than what’s happening in the state of Maine and the University of Maine”.Kennedy says the budget cuts come at a time when enrollment and programs continue to increase at the university.Another forum will be held Monday so that others can learn how potential budget cuts will effect the state’s flagship university.
Searchers in Hampden today found the body of a young male identified as Nate Clark, a teenager who’s been missing since Sunday.The body was found near the gravel pit on Back Winterport Road in Hampden, close to where Clark was last seen.Hampden Police say Clark was upset when he went missing. There had been an extensive search for him the past four days.Police are still investigating.
A Belfast woman charged with murdering her husband changed her plea Thursday.31-year-old Amber Cummings entered a plea of not guilty in Waldo County Superior Court, according to the Attorney General’s Office.Cummings had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect.Recently released court documents say Cummings shot her husband, 29-year-old James Cummings, twice in the head last November while he slept in his bed.Those documents also say James Cummings was a collector of child pornography.A search warrant affidavit says a computer removed from the home contained movie clips and images depicting child pornography.
Months of hard work paid off today for folks in the City of Brewer and at the Cianbro Corporation.The first modules from the company’s Brewer manufacturing facility left for Texas Thursday.Amy Erickson has the story.”It was incredible coming under the bridge. I got some great pictures. Totally incredible.”Grace Clement and scores of others lined the shore from Orrington to Bucksport Thursday…waiting for a the 354-foot barge, the “Columbia Boston”, to make its way down the Penobscot River.”I’ve worked around boats before and I know how incredible it is to move something that large.”The barge is transporting the first of the 53 modules being assembled at the new Cianbro facility in Brewer.They’re bound for Texas, where they’ll be part of an oil refinery expansion.Brewer City Councilor Larry Doughty calls it a historic day for Maine…since the partnership between the city, the state and Cianbro helped transform the shuttered Eastern Fine paper mill into a thriving manufacturing site that’s employing more than 400 people….”who’d ever guess the old paper mill would turn into such a plant as Cianbro’s modules? It’s unbelieveable what’s happened there.””it’s a huge coup. I keep saying it put South Brewer on the map…it put Brewer on the map, but South Brewer…it’s a great recognition of the city, period.”Officials from Brewer and Cianbro climbed aboard Coast Guard cutters today to accompany the barge on the first part of its journey.It’ll reach Port Arthur, Texas in about 20 days.Folks like Clement, who came out to see the barge for themselves, say it represents hope that more large-scale, high-profile projects can become reality in Maine…and in turn, create much-needed jobs.”I just really think it’s a great thing Cianbro’s doing, creating all these jobs.””Everyone that’s been involved with this has worked hard on the city side of it…and we’re also very happy and pleased with Pete Vigue. He’s done a tremendous job.”Workers at the Brewer site will build 53 modules before the 7 billion dollar expansion project is completed.If you didn’t get to check out the barge on its voyage Thursday, there will be be other chances.The folks at Cianbro tell us they expect to send shipments every four to six weeks over the next year or so.Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Brewer.
A Waterville man is behind bars after being arrested last night by the Westbrook Police Department.Police arrested 28 year old John Bishop for drug trafficking, carrying a concealed weapon, violation of bail, and failing to appear on a disorderly conduct charge from Franklin Sheriff’s Office.Bishop was recognized by police during a motor vehicle stop. Officers searched his vehicle and found over 35-hundred dollars in cash. Authorities believe the money is linked to drugs.They also found crack cocaine and marijuana that was packaged for sale.Bishop is being held in Cumberland County Jail.
No decisions were made Wednesday night regarding the continued employment of Milo Police Chief Michael Poulin.Town officials met for an emergency meeting after their police chief was arrested and charged with assault last week. Poulin is still suspended with pay. Police arrested him Friday on a domestic assault charge involving his wife.Wednesday’s meeting was held behind closed doors, and an attorney was present.After the meeting, Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said they were strictly discussing procedure, to make sure they move forward in the proper manner.He says – at this point – no information regarding the police chief has been presented to the selectmen.”The next step in the process,” Gahagan says, “is for us to continue to investigate and pull together documentation and things that we’re going to need going forward.”Poulin is free on bail and due in court at the end of April.Gahagan says, regarding Poulin’s employment, the town will move forward at the advice of their attorney. Wednesday night he couldn’t say when they will make a decision.
FairPoint Communications Inc. says it’s focusing on its call centers, billing process and the way it handles orders as it attempts to straighten out problems that have plagued the company over the past two months.FairPoint on Wednesday made public its nine-page “stabilization plan” created at the request of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.FairPoint says it has resolved its billing problems, for the most part, and is putting most of its focus on properly fulfilling orders from customers wanting to get connected or disconnected or have a change in service.Thousands of customers have experienced e-mail, billing and customer service problems since FairPoint took total control of Verizon’s wired telephone and Internet operations in northern New England on January 31st.
The icy water off Eastport was the location of a tragedy at sea Wednesday.Authorities have recovered the body of a fisherman whose boat sunk in Cobscook bay Wednesday afternoon.A little after 5 p.m. the Maine Marine Patrol found the body of 54-year-old Loren W. Lank of Lubec floating in the water.The search continues for his crewmate, 19-year-old Logan Preston of Machiasport.The Coast Guard received a report from another fishing vessel a little after 4 o’clock that a debris field had been found in Johnson Harbor off Eastport.The debris contained a survival suit and what appeared to be a submerged boat.The coast guard launched response boats and aircraft to search the area.The submerged boat is the All American, a 34-foot scallop dragger out of Lubec that was last seen around 3 o’clock dragging for urchins near Red Island.The search for Preston was still ongoing as of 4 o’clock Thursday morning.
“Initially, there were some kids who thought this might be a Halloween prank.”On October 31st last year, an armed gunman made his way into the Stockton Springs Elementary School and held 11 children inside a classroom. no one was injured, but it’s a day students, teachers and parents will never forget.”I don’t think anyone prepares you to be prepared for something as extreme as what we experienced.”The school had a plan in place, but officials say they learned it could be better. They’re sharing their story with law enforcement, schools and other agencies in Washington county to show the importance of planning and working together.”There is no substitute for someone being aware, being willing, having the courage to do what they need to do in that moment.””Law enforcement also learned that day. There are things we have taken away from that and trying to improve on.”Police chiefs across Washington County have come up with a list of simple things to make schools more secure. they include making visitors sign in and developing a relationship with law enforcement.”We are trained for it. We know what to do to prevent loss of life. They were in a position that day to take that step if they had to. Fortunately it didn’t come to that.”Police say the size of washington county could make response time even longer.”We don’t want to scare anybody, but this type of thing can happen anywhere. It can happen at any time and you probably won’t get much warning. If you haven’t planned for it and you’re not ready for it, the results could be disastrous.”
A local woman is planning to travel to the African country of Ghana this summer, to help the folks there see the world more clearly.Cheryl Turner is a Certified Optometrist Assistant in Bangor, and will be part of a mission to provide eye care for the folks there.”I love what I do and I’ve always wanted to do something like this, and I went to a conference last year and found out about the opportunity.”So Cheryl went to Ghana last year, helping to perform eye exams and surgeries.She admits it was a culture shock, but it ended up being such a rewarding experience she’s going back.This time, Cheryl is linking up with an organization called Unite for Sight. She’ll work in small villages and a refugee camp in Ghana where eye care is desperately needed.”A lot of times, people over there are blind and have never even been to an eye doctor, and when they’re blind, one of their children basically has to take care of them, and then they can’t go to school”Cheryl says the lack of education keeps a lot of these families in a cycle of poverty. By treating their eye diseases, Cheryl and her team hope to break that cycle, but she needs a little help to get there. She has to raise 4500 dollars before she leaves in July. That will pay for travel expenses, and cataract surgeries that many people in Ghana simply can’t afford.She’ll spend two weeks in the African country, doing a lot of good, and getting something in return.”This time when I go, I kind of feel like I’ll be going home because the people there, they’re just so nice and they’re warm and they’re very welcoming and they appreciate everything you do.”Cheryl is holding a Spaghetti Dinner this Saturday, to help raise money for her trip.It will be held at the Hampden V.F.W. Hall from 4:30 to 6:30.Tickets are $5.Cheryl also has set up a website to explain more about her trip and fundraising. http://ghana2008.shutterfly.com
A man with ties to Mexico, Maine, is wanted for passing tens of thousands of dollars in bogus checks.Police say 28-year-old Branden Belanger has been cashing counterfeit checks in several communities including Farmington, Rumford, Madison, and even as far away as Gorham, New Hampshire.There are warrants out for his arrest.Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact their local police department.Farmington Police are actively on the case.To call them dial 778-6311.
A woman in Biddeford was shot to death by a police officer while holding what turned out to be a BB gun. Biddeford’s police chief says the woman was shot three times on a Main Street sidewalk last night after refusing several orders to drop the gun. He says one of the officers fired when the woman approached him in a threatening manner. It started with a 911 call by a woman threatening to kill herself. The chief says the whole incident was caught on a camera mounted inside a police cruiser. The attorney general’s office is investigating.
Police are investigating the death of a University of Vermont Student from Skowhegan.21 year old William Gates was found dead Monday morning by his roommates in a home in Burlington. Detective Michael Warren says there is no sign that the death is suspicious or a suicide. An autopsy has been scheduled. Blood and toxicology test results are expected to be available in four to six weeks.
It’s rough riding out there on many of Maine’s roadways.It is peak pothole season, and there’s a certain stretch of route 2 in lincoln that’s in particularly poor shape.”It’s our main artery in our town. It’s heavily trafficked. The truck traffic is huge, here in Lincoln. And when you drive over the road, you are always thinking ‘why haven’t they fixed this road?’”Folks travelling along West Broadway in Lincoln have had a bit of a bumpy ride, as of late.”From the railroad tracks South to the intersection at McDonalds.” “It’s become very treacherous and dangerous for the vehicles because people that are driving South are pulling over in to the other lane to try to avoid damage to the car.”Lincoln town manager, Lisa Goodwin, says folks have been complaining to her about that road for years. “First of all, the road is in Lincoln, so they think it’s our road but it’s actually the state’s responsibility. And they come to us and want us to fix the road and pay for the repairs to their vehicles.””That section of roadway should be rebuilt. State has done some patch work up there, but evidently, it’s not holding. There needs to be some more catch basins installed and more crown to the road.”Public works director, David Lloyd, says the problem stems from poor drainage in the area.Maine Department of Transportaion spokesperson, Mark Lattie says that Lincoln is a candidate for funding, in the D.O.T.’s 2-year plan, but that nothing is definite. He says If the plan is approved, the earliest the repairs would be started would be this fall.While the work will admittedly take several months to complete, officials say, if approved the wait will be well worth it.”Lincoln is a service center. We have people coming from all over. And it just paints a really bad picture when people come in to town, and they have to ride over these rough roads. Why do they want to come back?”
There are between 30 and 40-thousand Mainers collecting unemployment benefits right now. Economists estimate that the number could get worse before there are any signs of a turnaround in sight. To support those economists, President Obama has incorportated extended unemployment benefits into the Recovery Act – up to an additional 20 weeks on top of the already 59 week benefit. In part II of our series on, “Hard Work, Finding Work” Adrienne Bennett sat down with four individuals who are trying to get by in an economy that has put them out of work. WABI TV5 NEWS Script:NATIONALLY MORE THAN 6-HUNDRED-FIFTY-THOUSAND AMERICANS JOINED THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINES IN FEBRUARY…SINCE THE RECESSION BEGAN IN DECEMBER 2007, MORE THAN 4-MILLION JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST…MAINE’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ROSE TO NEARLY EIGHT PERCENT IN JANUARY, WHICH IS SLIGHTLY LOWER THAN THE NATIONAL NUMBER…TONIGHT WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES, “HARD WORK, FINDING WORK” CENTRAL MAINE BUREAU CHIEF ADRIENNE BENNETT HAS BEEN ON THE STORY…SHE JOINS US FROM OUR WATERVILLE NEWSROOM WITH THE FACES OF THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO FIND WORK…ADRIENNE?THERE ISN’T JUST ONE FACE THAT DESCRIBES THE UNEMPLOYED.THEY ARE JUST OUT OF COLLEGE, READY FOR RETIREMENT AND IN BETWEEN.ONE THING THEY ALL AGREE ON — IT’S HARD WORK FINDING WORK TODAY…”I didn’t see it coming.” “I was laid off .” “I have been looking since the first of December.” “Got laid off right before Christmas.” THESE MAINERS ALL HAVE A STORY TO TELL ABOUT THEIR STRUGGLE TO FIND WORK…JESSICA ALAIMO IS 25 YEARS OLD WITH A JOURNALISM DEGREE. FRESH FROM COLLEGE, SHE WORKED IN PRINT FOR A YEAR, THEN WAS HIRED TO RUN A POLITICAL NEWS WEBSITE.”Prior to getting laid off, it was just another news story. (splice at :36) to me it’s scary now.” LIVING OFF SAVINGS AND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ISN’T THE SECURE INCOME SHE EXPECTED AS AN EDUCATED YOUNG WOMAN.”When I left college, I sent out over 50 resumes and got 3 job offers. I’ve sent out over 80 and haven’t even gotten an interview.” FORECASTERS FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR BUSINESS ECONOMICS EXPECT THE JOB MARKET TO SHRINK AND THE NATIONS JOBLESS RATE TO PEAK AT NINE PERCENT THIS YEAR.LOUISE EARLE HAS SEEN THE ECONOMY’S UPS AND DOWNS.”I am 62.” FOR ELEVEN YEARS, EARLE MADE A LIVING AS A FAMILY ADVOCATE IN EDUCATION. LET GO IN MAY OF LAST YEAR, SHE WENT SIX MONTHS WITHOUT A STEADY CHECK.”I didn’t really know where to start to look for a job.” SO SHE TOOK A JOB IN RETAIL.”It was just the hours were incredibly different from what I had been doing in the past.”LIKE MANY OLDER ADULTS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, EARLE HAD TO DIP INTO HER 401K AND SAVINGS TO MAKE ENDS MEET.”I certainly felt as if my life was hitting a downward spiral being an older worker.” SHE LEFT RETAIL AND NOW HELPS SENIORS FIND EMPLOYMENT. WHILE IT’S REWARDING, EARLE ADMITS…”I’m still looking, yes.”SO IS COURTNEY DUNCAN, A 27 YEAR OLD MOTHER WHO WAS SHOCKED TO FIND OUT SHE HAD BEEN LET GO AFTER FIVE YEARS AT A RESIDENTIAL GROUP HOME.”I was like ok, where’s my money for the mortgage going to come from?”NOT KNOWING WHERE TO TURN, SHE CAME TO THE AUGUSTA CAREER CENTER FOR HELP”It’s really nice to know that there are other people as frustrated as you are and there are people that have been out of work as long as you have.” IT’S BEEN OVER THREE MONTHS. DUNCAN HAS HAD THREE INTERVIEWS.”You’re competing against more people.” 2.04.09 “It’s almost a full-time job to find a full-time job.”CAREER CENTERS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE SEEN AN INFLUX OF JOB SEEKERS DURING THE PAST THREE MONTHS.”I came here just about everyday.” AFTER THREE YEARS AS A STATE WORKER, BUDGET CUTS PUT 24 YEAR OLD ALISON MAYHEUX OUT OF WORK.BECAUSE OF THE HELP SHE GOT FROM RESOURCES AT THE CENTER, SHE LANDED A JOB AFTER TWELVE WEEKS OF LOOKING.”A lot of emailing out my resume, phone calls, emailing, searching.” FOR THOSE WHO ARE STILL SEARCHING…”There are people in the same boat as you, you’ll get through it.”IF YOU’RE UNABLE TO GET TO A CAREER CENTER, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MAINE CAREER CENTER DOT COM – YOU’LL FIND AN ONLINE JOB BANK…LABOR COMMISSIONER LAURA FORTMAN TELLS ME SOME OF THE JOBS BEING CREATED FROM THE NATIONAL RECOVERY ACT HAVE BEEN POSTED…BETWEEN 13 AND 15-THOUSAND JOBS WILL EITHER BE CREATED OR MAINTAINED BECAUSE OF FEDERAL DOLLARS…SO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THOSE POSITIONS, WHICH WILL BE IN THE CONSTRUCTION, HEALTHCARE AND OTHER FIELDS.CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MAINE CAREER CENTER JOB BANK
A piece of Knox’s history is well on its way to being restored to its original glory.Back in December, inmates at the Maine State Prison’s Industries Program began working on the town’s antique, horse-drawn hearse.Today, folks from the historical society paid a visit to the prison in Warren to check on the progress so far.Amy Erickson was there.The last time the folks from the Knox Historical Society saw the town’s antique hearse…it looked like this…Fast forward just three short months…here’s what it looks like now.”It was amazing! The transformation! It’s beautiful. I just love it.”The progress is thanks to the hard work of the inmates in the Maine State Prison’s Industries program.Since the prison built the original hearse in the late 1800s, the folks who run the industries program thought it was fitting that they restore it for the town.”They’re doing a wonderful job. from what I’ve seen so far. I’m really impressed.””It’s quite a challenge. We’re having a good time doing it. We love doing it.”Ron Harnish has put many hours into the project…it hasn’t been easy.”There’s a massive amount of hand sanding. We’ve probably got 60 hours on one side just hand sanding.””We still have a lot of sanding to do. Once we get that done, we’ll send it to the upholstery shop and have the inside all upholstered. Then we’ll bring it back and paint it.”Robert Welch wasn’t prepared to see such a drastic change in such a short amount of time.”It’s hard to believe some of these inmates have got the skills to do something like this. They’ve really got something behind them. I love it.””Remarkable. Remarkable. It’s hard to believe what a piece of history this is.”The town of Knox bought the horse-drawn hearse for three hundred dollars back in 1889.Present-day historical society members are hoping to be able to unveil the restored piece at the Brooks 4th of July parade this summer.”It’s awesome. I’m just really happy that we decided to do this.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Warren.>
Police are investigating an armed robbery in Augusta Wednesday morning.It happened at the Maine Education Credit Union on South Chestnut Street around 9 a.m.Witnesses say the suspect was wearing a mask, had a silver gun, and handed a shopping bag to a clerk. He then made off with an undisclosed amount of money.Police are describing the suspect as 5’8” and 180 to 200lbs. Witnesses say the robber left with a Hannaford shopping bag full of cash. There have been six similar robberies in central maine in the past four months, none have been solved.
The current economy has many people feeling shaky about their finances. Could a lack of early education be at the root of many people’s money troubles?Money is a taboo topic in many households. But some experts say open and honest discussions with kids early on could help to create a more financially savvy generation. “When I was growing up nobody really taught me about finance. It wasn’t something that was discussed at home and I really had to find my own way and learn things sometimes the hard way.” Says D’arcy Main-Boyington, a financially savvy mother.Main-Boyington started teaching her son Jed about finances at a young age. She wants him to be comfortable with concepts like credit, savings and long term planning. “Let’s say you do it and it’s gonna be really good for the afternoon. It might not be for the rest of the year.” Jed explains. The current economy has left many people in a financial mess and like Main-Boyington, some parents are trying to teach their hard learned lessons to the next generation. Marion Syverson, President of Norumbega Financial, believes teaching kids about money in a fun way is key to helping them understand. “You can have games where you’re doing it with fun, you can make kids shop with you, it depends on the age of the kid” explains Syverson. Tools like educational comic books can make learning easier and relating it to things kids like can make it more fun.Syverson says, “I mean I like pretty stuff, so if there’s a way I can get more pretty stuff because I’m learning about money that’s fun for me.” Syverson says an allowance can be a good way for parents to ease their kids into the world of saving and spending. “Allow them to make small errors while you’re right there. Ok, so they blow the whole allowance. What happens now? They’re not making a car payment, they get arrested? Nothing bad happens. Now is a really good time to make mistakes with money, because you’re right there.” Says Syverson. Catherine Haskell works with Junior Achievement, a nation-wide program that goes into K-through-12 classrooms and teaches kids about the economy and their community. “It’s all hands on activities. We break it down into simple digestible lessons for them.”The lesson are age appropriate. They start by teaching the younger kids about saving money. Haskell says, “Then in the high school, we talk much more about micro, macro, and international economics.” The goal is to teach them how to plan for their financial future. Haskell taught her own daughter to be fiscally responsible by putting her in charge! “She had to pay the bills and she had to decide how we spent our extra money.” Haskell explains.Syverson agrees real world lessons may be the best way for kids to learn. She thinks parents should take the taboo out of talking about money. “Perhaps then they won’t argue with us as much. I mean I have friends who have actually let their kids go shopping with them and said this is all the money we have for school clothes this year, use it the best way you think.” Experts say learning these lessons early will help kids plan for their future. The Federal Reserve has fun and educational resources linked on their website.For more information on Junior Achievment you can visit their website.
Wednesday is Franco-American Day in Maine.A daylong celebration will take place in Augusta to recognize Maine’s French heritage.Events include performances, featuring French music, a Franco-American menu in the Cross cafeteria, the presentation of colors by the Franco-American veterans, and appearances by dignitaries from France, Canada and the Province of Quebec.Also Wednesday: six people will be inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame.