Oregon Trail Comes to Life for Elementary Students in Belfast

Updated 5 years ago

Students at East Belfast School have been on quite the journey since December.They’ve been walking the Oregon Trail.As Meghan Hayward explains they’ve finally reached their destination.The Oregon Trail came to life for elementary students at East Belfast School.”Since December we’ve been virtually walking the Oregon Trail and today is out celebration for our arrival.”For the celebration students got to go to different things that took them back to the days of the Oregon Trail.They were even served a special lunch, chuck wagon chili with cornbread.Kate Coleman coordinated all this. She says it seemed like a fun way for the kids to learn.”They’ve been so excited, so pumped up about this for a long time and they’ve been really into walking the trail and dedicated to walking at recess and running during recess.”At one station students go do-si-do, but what proved to be the favorite was the stop featuring two real oxen.Fifth grader Brandon Porter says the animals weren’t what he expected.”Crazy they’re big and their tongues feel rough when they lick you and they are a lot bigger than what you would expect them to be when they’re first born.”But Brandon’s favorite part.”Getting to pet them.”Fourth-grader Morgan Maker liked the big animals too. She says walking the Oregon Trail was a lot of fun but what surprised her most.”How long it took to get to Oregon.”The event was in collaboration with the Take Time program which encourages schools to tie in physical activity with the curiculum. “To incorporate it into the instructional time it gets them more interested in what they’re doing and a lot of kids it helps them to retain the information they’re learning it they are doing it in a more active way.”

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Belfast YMCA Pool Dedication

Updated 5 years ago

There will be a big splash at the Belfast YMCA tonight.They’re dedicating a new swimming pool complex.More than 500 guests have been invited to the dedication of the Tom and Sally Savage pool.It took five years and help from 600 donors.Donors names can be seen on tiles within the complex.The Y’s Sue Lapham says the donors are what made it possible.She says it will greatly benefit the Belfast community.”This is going to bring a wealth of programs to the community. The Waldo County YMCA focuses on mind, spirit and body and we’re certainly a community center for our community and we’re just going to expand on the offerings we have.”Aquatic classes at the center start Monday.

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New Homeowner Thanks to Federal Program

Updated 5 years ago

A man in Milo is a proud homeowner, thanks to a federal program that helps folks living in substandard conditions.Gary Powell says the move to his new digs has been nothing short of life-changing.Amy Erickson has the story.”I was living in a 1978 mobile home trailer. I tried to refurbish it myself, but ran into too much money and it wasn’t even worth fixing up.”Gary Powell thought he had no choice but to keep living in his rundown mobile home in Milo. Until one day, about a year ago, when he went to pay his taxes.”I found a pamphlet at City Hall and I followed through with it and I just happened to be one of the lucky ones, really.”That pamphlet included an application for the USDA and Penquis Replacement Home program.It’s designed to help folks who otherwise would not be able to afford home ownership.Powell met the criteria and was chosen for the program.”Gary was living in a very sub-standard trailer, right here on the site. Inadequate windows, plumbing, electric and a number of other problems.”Thanks to the USDA and its partners, Powell is now the owner of this brand new home that sits where his trailer used to.”I got a brand new house!”The best part is he can afford the mortgage himself.”We have a grant component to this. All these homes have a mortgage, but they also have a grant component that buys down the mortgage so the mortgage becomes affordable for these folks that have limited income.”Powell couldn’t heap enough thanks on the folks who turned out Wednesday to welcome him into his new home.”The conditions he lived in with his trailer to going to something like this is something he never expected and something he’s very proud of and thankful for.””It’s an unbelievable program. I couldn’t believe the people that worked behind the scenes for me to get this place.””It’s life changing, there’s no doubt about that.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Milo.

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Three Boys Robbed at Knife Point in Brewer

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Brewer Police are trying to find the person who robbed three young boys at knife point at the ball fields off of North Main Street.Detective Sargent Jay Munson says the boys, in their mid-teens, called police around 9:30 Friday night. They said the person confronted them, stole money and took off. Police searched the surrounding area, without any luck.Munson says they’re looking for a couple of possible suspects right now.

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Trailer Spill

Updated 5 years ago

Road crews in Glenburn were on cleanup duty early Wednesday morning: a trailer on a semi became detached and rolled over.The truck was hauling aluminum, which spilled across a section of the Hudson Road, near the Glenburn town line.Officials say that sand and gravel were also strewn everywhere, creating a travel hazard, but said that they should have the road clear in time for the morning commute.

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Caribou Crash Update

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

The drivers of a motorcycle and an ATV are recovering after colliding last night in Caribou.Police say 44-year-old Richard Kish was riding his motorcycle west on Woodland Center Road about 9:30. A 16-year-old boy on an ATV was headed in the same direction when the two crashed. Police say the teenager was wearing a helmet – Kish was not. We’re told the boy was taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou for scrapes and bruises. Chief Mike Gahagan says Kish was flown to EMMC in Bangor and is recovering from broken bones. Police are still trying to piece together what happened.

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Maine Papers Bought By Bangor Native

Updated 5 years ago

After 15 months of an uncertain future, the sale of a group of Maine newspapers has given employees something to keep writing about.Mainetoday Media Incorporated now owns the Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram.The sale doesn’t come without change though.The four papers once owned by Blethen Seattle Times Group is now the product of Bangor native Richard Conner.Connor, who is CEO of Mainetoday Media Inc, now serves as editor and publisher of three daily papers including the Waterville based Morning Sentinel and the Kennebec Journal in Augusta.The sale also includes the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram and Mainetoday websites.Quoted in the Morning Sentinel, Richard Connor says the two central Maine papers will not see major changes made in the foreseeable future.But big changes have hit some employees. So far, 31 non-union workers have been let go, and writers for the Sentinel have reported that as many as 100 people could lose their jobs.New contracts have also gone through.”We have to have some concessions, a 10% pay cut, 2 year pay freeze, hard freeze on our pension plan. These were painful concessions, but they were needed in order to for Connor to get financing, and in exchange we get a larger voice in the company and I think a different relationship with the new owner, more of a partnership.””We have to make certain that the economic model here where the expenses are relative to revenues which have been declining in newspapers over the last few years that those two bars come together in a way that makes sense in order to do that we’ll have to trim some expenses.”Those who read the papers will also notice a difference.”We will devote more news to space going forward and I think our readers and advertisers will see a big difference.”That’s the one difference in direction which could ultimately decide the future of these papers.

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Local Businessman Honored by Maine Guard

Updated 5 years ago

A local business man and his company have been honored by the Maine National Guard for supporting the military.Lawrence Gagnon was given an appreciation award from the Secretary of the Army and the company he works for, Bankers Life and Casualty Company, was given the Seven Seals Award. That’s the highest honor the state organization can present to a business.Guard officials say they have gone beyond what is required by law to support military members and their families.Melissa Trojecki is an employee of Banker’s Life. Her husband was deployed overseas and expects to go back next year. “It’s wonderful to have all the people here who support the military.”Gagnon says, “I have a lot of respect for them, especially working in a business, we need them, and it’s great that Banker’s and everybody has that freedom to give people the freedom to protect our country.”Gagnon was presented the award in a surprise ceremony Tuesday.

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Substance Abuse Programs in Bangor Hurt by State Funding Problems

Updated 5 years ago

For the past five years Manna in Bangor has offered residential substance abuse treatment to men and women, and less than a year ago they added a homeless shelter for men battling addiction. Now those programs are being hit hard by state budget problems.”The drugs controlled me. All day long I’d be hunting for drugs.”Lisa Maloon was a Certified Nursing Assistant, when she injured her back in 1999. She was prescribed narcotics for the pain, percocet and vicodin.At one point she took up to 20 pills a day looking to the streets for a supply. Eight years later she realized she was addicted.”What really woke me up was my daughter looked at me and said ‘Mom, that’s all you do is hunt for pills.’ I didn’t have time to be a mother to them, I didn’t have time to be a wife to my husband. My whole life consisted of finding pain pills and using them.”Lisa tried another treatment facility she says didn’t work, then she went to Manna’s Derek House and spent six months in their program.She says the difference here: this is a Faith based Christian program.Counselors say it really works.”Most residential facilities will have a 30 percent success rate. Here it’s more like 72 percent success rate.”Less than a year ago, Manna added the Elijah House for homeless men addicted to drugs or alcohol. But now those two programs are in jeopardy. Both rely on MaineCare for a quarter of their funding. Two weeks ago, Manna was notified that the state would stop all payments to them for three weeks, leaving nearly a $75,000 hole in their budget.”I have a slight trickle of sweat right now that I’m gonna have to say to somebody you can’t come back here tomorrow or have to close the doors.”Most of the funding for the programs comes from private donations, but those have been down recently.Still Manna Executive Director Bill Rae is appealing to the public for help now, to dig a little deeper into their pockets and make a donation.He says these are programs that help transform people in need, into people who have something to offer our community. Just take a look at Lisa, she’s been off drugs for close to two years now, will start working and volunteering here at Manna, and is enrolled in college to become a drug abuse counselor.”It’s like a big weight has been lifted off me that I’m not controlled by drugs anymore. I’m not controlled by anything. It’s just an awesome feeling.”If you would like to make a donation to Manna’s substance abuse programs, you can send them to: Manna Ministries 629 Main Street Bangor, Maine 04401 990-2870

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Area Home Sales Up

Updated 5 years ago

It’s been a busy few months for local realtors, who say they’re finally seeing signs of life in the region’s housing market. One of the groups that’s helping to boost sales is first-time homebuyers, thanks to the tax credit they receive.”We paid off back debt to free up more toward our mortgage, so it was really handy. It gave us a little more money to make upgrades to the house,” says Jennie Cates. She and her fiance, Jean-Paul Dugre, decided to buy this house in October, thanks in part to their first-time homebuyer credit of 75-hundred dollars.Jon Dawson of ERA Dawson says low prices, low interest rates and the first-time homebuyer credit are leading to more sales.”We really saw those signs showing showing up in March or April of this year,” Dawson says. For the month of May, home sales in our area went up more than 25 percent over last year. Pending sales increased about 11 percent.”This is really the beginning of the recovery that everybody’s been looking for. I can’t stress enough the importance of housing to lead a recovery, whether it’s local or national, because it means job preservation, it means strength and vitality to the economy,” Dawson says.Robert Norris of Prudential Northeast Properties says they’re seeing more sales now than they have in years.”I believe we’re going to see improvement month over month certainly for some time,” Norris says.And he says a new credit the Maine State Housing Authority is rolling out this week could help the trend continue.”When you add all those little pieces together, all of a sudden we see people coming out, looking at houses and signing contracts,” he says.”It’s really comforting to know it’s your own home,” Cates says.

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Guilty of Double Murder

Updated 5 years ago

Guilty. That’s the verdicts in the double murder trial of a man from Sumner.After a full day of deliberations jurors found 33-year-old Duane Waterman guilty in the shooting deaths of 50-year-old Timothy Mayberry of West Paris and 43-year-old Todd Smith of Paris last July at Mayberry’s home.The prosecution said Waterman had been dealing drugs for Mayberry and owed him money.Waterman took the stand and denied having any part in the shootings.Waterman was returned to the county jail and awaits sentencing. Murder in Maine is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

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Books on Parade

Updated 5 years ago

Some story books came to life in Bangor today.The folks at Downeast Elementary School held their annual Books on Parade.Each classroom picks their favorite story book they have read and creates a float based on the book.The students walked their way around the school twice showing off what they have been working on.Librarian Kimberly McNutt says it seemed like a fun way to get the students involved in reading.”I just thought it was a great way to end the year. Reminding the students they can read books throughout the summer.””Just going around and pulling the float and seeing everybody.”Family members showed up for the parade.The students tossed candy to the crowd.

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Dedicated Teacher Recognized at Retirement Ceremony in Milo

Updated 5 years ago

A teacher in Milo was recognized today for all the years he has dedicated to educating others.A serious endeavor indeed.But as Meghan Hayward tells us today there were plenty of laughs at his expense. “Declare June 16, 2009 Walter Oakes day.””Because he just thought he was going to retire and just quietly go away, and it’s been one party and thing after another.”MSAD 41 Staff made sure Mister Oakes’ retirement would not be a quiet one.At Tuesday’s ceremony they took a trip back in time with photos and even serenaded Walter who sometimes goes by his middle name Eddie. “Eddie your leaving.”Walter has been teaching for fifty years, with 47 of those years being within MSAD 41.Penquis Valley High School principal Scott Gordon says there’s a uniqueness to Walter.”First of all his longevity. He’s been here for 50 years and that in itself is something unusual for an educator in Maine.”Gordon says even after teaching all those years Walter’s sense of humor is still intact.”He emails the staff…you might be a redneck if and the response varies from day to day and that’s his thing. His way of spreading humor.”At Tuesday’s ceremony several staff members dressed in flannel shirts in honor of those redneck jokes.But what is the next step for Walter Eddie Oakes?”Well they tell me I’m at the top of the substitute list. Can’t really break clean I guess.”His wife Nancy says she has plenty of things for him to do.She says his chores have slipped over the years.But she admires his dedication to the school and his students.”He’s never missed a day of school. And I say you have 395 sick days let’s go to Bangor and he would never think of doing something like that.”There is one thing Nancy thinks he will enjoy about retirement.”I’m a walker and I get up at 6 or 7 and he says not to bother him until 8.”A man whose been waking up early and going to school for 67 years and left an impression on so many.

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WABI/Time Warner Agreement

Updated 5 years ago

We’re pleased to announce that WABI TV 5 has reached a long-term agreement with major cable provider Time-Warner.It means we’ll be carried on Time Warner Cable Systems for many years to come.And it means that all of TV 5’s high definition programs will become available through Time Warner Cable.Time Warner will add WABI’s high definition signal to its digital service soon and will inform its subscribers when that feature is added.

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New Playground in Bangor Dedicated to School Custodian

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A newly remodeled playground in Bangor is dedicated to a man who’s dedicated his life to supporting kids. Students at Downeast Elementary School celebrated the opening of the Jeffrey L. Simpson playground today. It’s named in honor of the school’s former head custodian. Simpson was in charge of keeping the building well-maintained for 14 years.He no longer works at the school because of health issues. But he says he’s touched so many students still remember him and all the kids in the community have a nice, new place to play. “It’s exciting because it’s all about the kids. That’s the way I’ve always been, it’s all about the kids. You never cleaned a building for the teachers or for your boss, you clean it for the kids. It has to be clean for the kids in the morning time. That’s the way i’ve always believed.”The previous equipment had been used for more than 10 years and was showing a lot of wear and tear. Members of the Parent-Teacher Organization worked for months to get grant money from the city to replace the playground, which includes lots of slides, swings and even a rock climbing wall. There’s also a shaded area for picnics and other activities.

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Giant Baby Bottle Raises Awareness About Toxic Chemicals

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Environmental activists in Bangor used a massive baby bottle as a backdrop to raise awareness about toxic chemicals in products for children. They stood in front of a 20-foot inflatable bottle to demand a ban on the chemical known as BPA and encourage businesses not to sell products with it.BPA is usually found in plastics, such as as baby bottles and sippy cups. It’s also used in the lining of metal food cans, including infant formula.The activists say BPA is linked to health concerns such as cancer, reproductive problems and learning disabilities.Heather VanFrankenhuyzen is a mother concerned about her daughter’s safety.”I do everything I can not to expose her to toxic chemicals. We use all natural stuff to clean our house. I try to make sure everything she wears is safe and then when we don’t even realize it, we’re giving her chemicals that are disrupting her growth, that are endangering her in the future and it really upsets me.”The Maine People’s Alliance says the federal government needs to step up and close loopholes that allow the use of such chemicals such as BPA. Maine is already leading the way with the Kid Safe Products Act, passed last year. But members say the effort needs to rise to the national level.

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Keith’s Korner at Pickerel Pond

Updated 5 years ago

Families fishing together.There was plenty of brook trout for the catching, and a lot of memories being made.Keith Erickson takes us to Maine Youth Fish and Game Associations’ Spring Family Fishing Day.Nobody earlier on the pond than Jordan Pinkham. He was out here at 4:30 in the morning.”And around 5 o’clock is when I got my first trout.”And more and more people kept arriving. Including Jim Willette and his son Sidney. “You like that one?” “That’s a good one.” “I grew up not fishing a lot, and the way they come out here and do this for the kids teaches them a lot of morals and values.”6 year old Cody is actually friends with Sidney. So they met up and had a prime spot right on this dock. “It’s really fun.”The pollywogs and bait fish provided entertainment. Meanwhile, Cody’s dad, Jeff helped out wherever he could. “If we catch any fish we’ll take’em home and Mom will eat’em. Him and Mom will cook’em right up and eat’em. I don’t even clean it. I leave it for her.””You got it!”The excitement really picked up when Sidney’s bobber went under.”Yeah! Sidney’s first brook trout!””Well, do you want to keep him for your first ever brook trout?” “Yeah!””Whenever the children usually get a taste of Pickerel Pond, they want to come back.””Look at the colors on that Sid.” “Nicely done Sid!” “Yeah.””Our number one deal is for the kids to get acquainted with the outdoors and to respect the outdoors.”And that’s some pretty good advice.

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Raye’s Mustard Heads to D.C.

Updated 5 years ago

A mustard mill in Downeast Maine is celebrating the delivery of its award-winning condiment to the White House.Senator Olympia Snowe served as the middleman, shipping over a gift pack of Raye’s Mustard after news reports said President Obama preferred mustard on a burger.Raye’s is described as the last remaining authentic stone ground mustard mill in North America.It’s owned and operated by Senator Snowe’s former Chief of Staff, Maine Senate Minority Leader Kevin Raye, and his wife, Karen.They are the fourth generation of the Raye family to own and operate the Eastport mill. It was established in 1900 to supply Maine’s once-thriving sardine industry.

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Changes to Several Maine Newspapers

Updated 5 years ago

Blethen Maine Newspapers, which include the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, The Morning Sentinel in Waterville and the website, are now under new ownership.The sale went through Monday to an investor group led by Bangor Richard Connor.The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram are also part of the sale.Together, the papers employ nearly 500 people.Connor says his new company is poised to be profitable, but future cuts at the newspapers might cost 100 employees their jobs.Connor has let go a number of employees already including top executives.

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Benefit Dinner for Orono Fire Victims

Updated 5 years ago

A spaghetti supper tonight in Orono will benefit victims of the apartment fire there last week.23-people were left without a place to live, many of them college students.The fire started in a wall outlet in a first-floor apartment.Everyone made it out safely, including several pets.Area organizations are hosting a dinner tonight at the Church of Universal Fellowship, at 82-Main Street in Orono.Seatings start at 6 and 7 p.m. Donations will go to help those who lost their homes and belongings.The church is also collecting clothing, furniture and household items until 9 p.m. tonight.For more information you can call the church at 866-36-55.

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