Maine officials, like their counterparts elsewhere, are monitoring swine flu developments. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dora Anne Mills said Monday that several Mainers have been tested for swine flu as it spreads throughout the world, but the tests all came back negative. But Mills says the state is preparing for swine flu’s expected arrival in Maine as people who have been traveling during spring break return and develop symptoms. Mills says the state’s been preparing for a pandemic for years and she’s in daily contact with her federal health counterparts. She expects 30,000 to 40,000 doses of anti-viral medicine to arrive in Maine from the federal government. Mills says the goal now is to minimize the flu’s impact.For more information visit www.cdc.gov/swineflu.
BANGOR, Maine (AP) – A former finance director of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his role in the misuse of tribal and federal funds. James Parisi Jr. of Portland was convicted in November of 11 of 21 counts of conspiracy and misuse of funds. He was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The 45-year-old Parisi’s co-defendant, former tribal Gov. Robert Newell, was handed a five-year sentence Friday. The Bangor Daily News said Judge George Singal also sentenced Parisi to three years of probation following his prison term and ordered him to pay $1.6 million in restitution. Parisi and Newell have been ordered to begin their sentences on May 27.
A New Sweden man died Sunday as a result of a motorcycle crash in Littleton. State police say Justin Tardie(21) was riding on Route 1 Saturday. He ran into the back of a car that was about to make a left-hand turn onto Hill Siding road. Tardie sustained serious injuries, and was taken by helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center where he died sunday afternoon.
The former police chief of Milo has pleaded not guilty of domestic assault. The district attorney’s office says Michael Poulin mailed in his plea through his attorney. He has requested a jury trial. Poulin is accused of attacking his wife. He resigned as Milo’s police chief earlier this month.
Police are looking for a man who robbed a bank Monday morning in Howland.They say a young man walked into the Bangor Savings Branch on Main Street just after it opened on Monday.He said he had a weapon and demanded money. After the teller gave it to him, he walked out.Police say the suspect is in his 20’s, about 5-foot-9 and between 150 and 200 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, camouflage jacket and goggle-type sunglasses.Police are reviewing surveillance video and hope to release a photo of the suspect soon. “The employees seem to be handling it pretty well,” says Lt. Wesley Hussey with the Maine State Police. “I mean, there were no weapons displayed, so that was probably a good thing for them. They seem to be doing pretty well with it.”Police say the suspect took off toward downtown, but that’s where tracking dogs lost his scent.A man matching the man’s description was seen sitting outside the bank waiting for it to open Monday morning. If you have any information about the robbery, you can contact State Police at 1-800-432-7381.
The murder trial got underway on Monday in the case of a Prentiss man charged with shooting his friend.The state’s attorney said bluntly — this is not a “whodunit” trial.Both sides in this case agree that by all accounts, 49-year-old Joseph Dumas did shoot his friend, 70-year-old Mario “Sonny” Litterio five times at a camp in Prentiss in November of 2007. Litterio was shot in the head and shoulders at close range, four times with a revolver and once with a rifle.The state hopes to prove Dumas did commit those acts “knowingly, or intentionally.”Defense attorney Richard Hartley, however, says Dumas was using an excessive amount of cocaine at the time of the shooting.He plans to introduce the jury to a state called “cocaine-induced psychosis,” which he says influenced Dumas’ actions that day.”Joe Dumas has absolutely no history of violent behavior and his reputation in the community will establish that,” says attorney Richard Hartley. “Secondly, the evidence will show unquestionably that Mr. Dumas and the victim in this case, Sonny Lotterio, were really best friends.”The jury began hearing from the state’s witnesses Monday morning.The trial is expected to last at least until Thursday.Dumas has been held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail since his arrest.
A veteran from Bangor who died in 1998 is finally getting the burial he deserves, thanks to the “Missing in America” project.The organization coordinates burials for the unclaimed remains of veterans across the country.Veteran Joseph Poirier’s cremated remains have sat unclaimed at Brookings & Smith Funeral Home since his death in 1998.No one ever claimed the urn.On Tuesday, Funeral Director James Fernald will bring the urn to the Maine Veteran’s Cemetery in Augusta so Poirier can finally have a proper burial.The Honor Guard and Patriot Guard Riders will be in attendance for the ceremony. “Here at Brookings & Smith, we have over 50 urns of people that have never been picked up by their loved ones and this gives us an opportunity to place them in a cemetery with dignity, a gravemarker and what a veteran with honor should receive.”Poirier was also a custodian at Bangor High School for several years.His burial service will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Augusta.The public is welcome to attend.
Members of a local grange were honored on Sunday for their commitment to community service.Mystic Tie Grange Number 58 in Kenduskeag was presented with a special Spirit of America Foundation Award Sunday afternoon.They were chosen from more than 100 local granges across the state for their commitment to volunteerism and raising funds for community initiatives.Grange Master Cathie Spaulding says it’s a great honor to be recognized for all the hard work grange members do all year long. “We’ve supported our local school with school supplies, we do a food pantry once a week, we play bingo twice a week and all the funds are donated back to he community. We support local scholarship funds and we help the fire department raise money for equipment.”The Spirit of America Foundation was started in Augusta by Roger Pomerleau, to encourage others to volunteer.Everyone who receives a Spirit of America award this year will be honored at a special Spirit of America Day ceremony in 2010.
May first will soon be recognized as Native American Veterans Day in Maine.Governor John Baldacci signed the bill at the urging of World War II veteran Charles Shay of Indian Island.Shay said American Indians from Maine have served in every war since the American revolution, and it’s time they were honored for their heroism and patriotism.The Governor also conducted a ceremonial bill-signing to name a section of state Route 16 in Kingsbury Plantation the “Alton E. Worcester Highway.”The bill honors Worcester, who served 20 years in the Air Force and 27 years as first assessor of Kingfield plantation. He also worked as a blueberry farmer in the plantation for 28 years.
Maine lawmakers spent Sunday hammering out details of the state budget.The weekend session for the Appropriations Committee signaled a quickening of the pace of negotiations.Committee members gathered at noon and immediately broke offinto partisan caucuses.The Governor’s top budget aide said Friday that lawmakers who have been working to bridge a two-year budget gap once estimated at $340 million will probably soon face a new shortfall of close to $600 million more.The state Revenue Forecasting Committee is expected to lower its projections substantially this week.
The Central Maine Regional Communications Center is coming under fire for mishandling emergency calls.The dispatch center is based in Augusta.There are more than two dozen complaints filed by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputies, alleging that the Center has mishandled calls by sending officers to incorrect addresses and failing to advise officers when weapons might be invovled.Clifford Wells is the head of the Consolidated Emergency Communications for the state.He tells the Kennebec Journal that he remains confident in his dispatchers’performance, but that disciplinary action was taken last week andwill be taken this week.The newspaper said he did not elaborate on the discipline.
The warmer temperatures have many Mainers getting their yards in shape for summer, and that often means burning brush.But local fire departments are cautioning folks to hold off before lighting any fires these days.The high winds and dry conditions have the fire danger at a Class Three right now: that’s high danger.Lieutenant Troy Lare of the Bangor Fire Department says even small brush fires or campfires can get out of control when the winds are blowing like they are today…and when the ground is as dry as it is right now. “It’s been reasonably dry, even though we’ve had a little rain the other day. The grass is starting to green up, but there’s still a lot of dead undergrowth, it’s still pretty dry in the woods. You’re going to get a fast-burning surface fire these days and you may catch some pine or fir trees on fire as well.”Lair reminds homeowners that every municipality in the state requires a permit for any burning.All you need to do is contact your local fire department.
Students from Penobscot Job Corps were on a cleanup mission of their own Saturday.They joined forces with the city of Brewer to take part in the Storm Drain Stencil Program.Students spent the day cleaning storm drains and spray painting them with ducks to remind folks of the connection of the drains to our rivers and streams.They also passed out flyers to homeowners and let them know about keeping the drains clear of trash and debris. “A lot of people don’t really know this, but storm drains…whatever goes into them goes directly into the water supply. There’s no treatment facility or anything. “We need to promote awareness to keep it clean because it’s just a healthy thing to do and it’s also for the wildlife…we’re just trying to help out and keep it clean.”The cleanup was part of “Global Youth Service Day.”It’s an annual worldwide event that highlights and celebrates the contributions and volunteer effort of young people to their communities.
A group of folks in the greater Bangor area carried the spirit of Earth Day into the weekend.Members of the Bangor Area Storm Water Group got together Saturday to take part in the fourth annual Regional Stream Cleanup.The event is spread out through April and May and spans seven communities.On Saturday, volunteers did their best to tackle the Penjajawoc Stream off Stillwater Ave in Bangor. “For beautification, for people to sort of enjoy and walk through. When they come out of Hannaford they can see this nice clean area with wildlife and see the river running through. After another 6 or 7 weeks, there’ll be a lot of vegetation and it’ll be very nice.”The mission of the Storm Water Group is to protect water quality, while building community awareness about storm water pollution.They’ll spend the next six weeks or so cleaning up local waterways in Brewer, Orono, Old Town, Veazie, Hampden and Milford…and on the Umaine campus.
The 15-th annual Hope Festival drew a huge crowd in Orono Saturday.The even inspires Mainers to get involved in creating a better world.More than eighty organizations were on hand, offering workshops and demonstrations about ways to curb the impact of climate change and how to live a greener life…There was also live music, including a performance by Dave Mallett.Those who took part say it’s powerful to see so many folks working together towards a common goal.< "it's a festival of people coming together from lots of different organizations, lots of volunteers. We're working on the theme of hope...the idea of bringing...that we continue to have hope for a better world, a cleaner earth, more justice for all people.">There were also plenty of events for little ones today, including fun with wind and solar power..and interactive African children’s games.
A big construction project is getting underway on the Penobscot bridge between Bangor and Brewer.Starting Monday, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction and lanes will be narrowed.Also, trucks longer than 25-feet headed into Bangor won’t be able to turn immediately after the bridge. They’re asked to use the Joshua Chamberlain bridge.The work will last for about four weeks while repairs are made.
Two accused killers from Waldoboro were in court Friday.Police say they stabbed one woman to death and critically wounded another.Earl Beiler and Corina Durkee appeared in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset.Facing charges of murder, attempted murder and burglary, 24-year-old Bieler and 42-year-old Durkee did not enter a plea in court. Durkee shielded her face from cameras. Her lawyer says she’s confused right now.”From the start, she’s denied any involvement in the acts. I think we’ve been given very little information from the state.”According to court documents, Earl Beiler and Corina Durkee came to Tracy Nield’s residence to help her change a tire, but she wasn’t home. Statements from Corina go on to say that Tracy came home while they were there and she was with two people, Rachel Grindal and Shantelle Quint. That’s when the stories about what happened next and who stabbed who don’t match up.”Find the right person who did it. Shantelle Quint.”Beiler told police he saw Shantelle Quint stab Rachel, but Tracy Nield, who’s unable to speak because of her injury, wrote a statement telling police that Corina stabbed her in the throat and Buddy (Beiler) killed Rachel.The affidavit also states that Nield does not blame Shantelle.Maine’s medical examiner says 27-year-old Rachel Grindal died from force injuries to the neck and torso.It’s a he said, she said battle, one that friends and family are still in shock over.”I grew up good friends with Buddy, and Corina is a relative of mine and just i can’t believe they’d do something like that. They were all friends with tracy and them guys.””I’m sorta freaked out. I still can’t believe it.”Some in town say drugs could have played a part in what happened.”I think it played a big role in their decision making.”Beiler and Durkee will remain behind bars, a bail hearing has been scheduled for April 30th.
L.L. Bean has announced that it plans to lay off between 200 and 240 members of its Maine-based work force because of lagging sales.In a company letter to its 5,400 full- and part-time workers said voluntary retirement incentives announced in February have helped reduce the number of layoffs, but were not sufficient to eliminate the need for job cuts.The letter, from President and CEO Chris McCormick, said the hope for a significant turnaround in sales that could restore L.L. Bean’s revenue to pre-recession levels “is just not realistic.”In addition to the layoffs in Maine, the company anticipates about a dozen job cuts at its out-of-state retail and outlet stores.
A former Passamaquoddy governor has been sentenced to five years in prison for misusing more than $1.8 million in tribal and federal funds.After a three-week jury trial, Robert Newell was found guilty in November of 29 counts of conspiracy and misapplication of the money. He was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 12Â½ to 15Â½ years. The defense cited the 65-year-old Newell’s age and ill health in urging the judge to impose probation or home detention.During the trial, Newell said he never intended to break the law and denied conspiring with co-defendant James Parisi Jr. of Portland to use tribal money illegally.Parisi, who was found guilty of 11 of 21 counts, will be sentenced Monday.
A Maine man arrested in Miami for allegedly threatening former President George W. Bush and then-candidate Barack Obama has pleaded guilty on lesser weapons possession charges.Raymond Geisel will be will sentenced in July, prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to ten months in jail, but Geisel could face up to ten years on each count of possession of ammunition and firearms by someone who had beencommitted to a mental institution.Geisel was institutionalized in Maine in 2003.In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the charges that Geisel threatened assassination against Bush and Obama.Geisel was first arrested in August.