Last month, we told you about a food pantry on Indian Island that was in need.A local school has come together to collect food donations to help fill the shelves at the pantry.Meghan Hayward has the story.”We have a special mass today. Our first joint mass of the year, which means all of our kindergarten through eighth graders are coming together and we do that in celebration of All Saints Day.”Students from the All Saints Catholic School in Bangor came to mass with their arms full of food items.”Well, for each of our joint masses during the year, we always try to do a service project to try and help those in the community that need it.”After hearing about the Indian Island food pantry on TV5, they decided to collect canned goods and non-perishable items to donate.”The food this year is going to go to Indian Island. Sister Sue and Sister Judy did an interview recently where they indicated that their cupboards were empty and so some of our students who knew them from their work in our school a couple years ago saw them on TV and thought it would be the perfect place this year to benefit from our donations.”Principal Marcia Diamond says it’s important for students to see what it’s like to give back.”I think it’s critical to our Christian message which is to serve others. So anything they can do and we can teach them to do is real important.”Sixth-grader Caitlin Hillery was happy to help.”I think it’s really important because the people who don’t have food might be sick or hungry and they might die if they don’t have enough. We should give food to them so they don’t die because we already have enough.”Sister Judy Oliver from the pantry was happy to hear the good news.”Our first response was extreme joy and great happiness. And we told the teacher that we were very appreciative that they thought of us and very anxious to receive the food.”Sister Judy says the donations are a big help.”Well it certainly means we’ll be able to replace the empty shelves. Put some food on the shelves and if there’s any of it we might be able to save for our Thanksgiving baskets we’ll put it aside.”
Friends and family are coming together to bring a Mainer in California back home.27-year-old Gabe Allen was critically injured when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on vacation in San Francisco in August.Now the community is raising money for a special trip back to the East Coast.”When he was in a coma for seven weeks, it was difficult.”Summer Allen says her brother Gabe – an avid cyclist and cupcake fan – is exceeding doctors expectations as he recovers in San Francisco.”He is able to recognize words on a page, he’s able to respond to basic commands and these are all really important basic things when you’re recovering from a brain injury that the rest of us just don’t even think about.”Gabe’s mother has been by his side since the accident, while friends in Maine, New York and even California have raised money for an air ambulance ride him. It could cost around $30,000. “It’s a very expensive service but it’s very important when you have someone with these sustained injuries that you kind of get them to where they’re going quickly.”Allen says she’s been amazed at the community support so far – support she knows will soon bring her brother home. “I had no idea that so many people were so wonderful, so caring – care so much about him.”A couple of fundraisers for Gabe Allen are scheduled for this week. The first is benefit supper that took place Thursday night at the L.H. Smith school in Winterport. On Sunday afternoon, a benefit concert will be held at the My Fork Bar and Grill in Winterport. That starts at 1 p.m. with a $5 cover charge. In addition to those fundraisers, bicycle-frame builder Anthony Maietta, a native of Winterport, is donating a custom-built frame for a benefit raffle. The raffle will start in the next week or so. Details can be found at www.getbettergabe.com.
After Tuesday’s results were tallied Maine voters have now rejected Tabor for the 3rd time. The day after election day supporters of Tabor said, in the end it was money that did them in. Martin Sheehan is the Communications Director for The Maine Heritage Policy Center and he says it’s hard to win an election when your opponent has deeper pockets. “The problem was, truly if you want to do a day after look back it was money. We were probably outspent 20-1 would be my guess, out of state money, union dues, even the MMA (Maine Municipal Association) which is tax payer money.”Meanwhile the folks who opposed Tabor, like field organizer Tom Battin, said the folks they talk to couldn’t understand why it was on the ballot for a 3rd time. “A lot of people didn’t understand that Question 4 was Tabor. When we explained what it was they said ‘didn’t we vote on that in 2006?’ Why is this on the ballot again, I don’t understand and we didn’t either.” Tabor supporters say that, even in defeat, they’re hopeful their message got through to Mainer’s. “There’s always something that can be cut, whether it’s bottled water, entertainment and catering was $700,000 last year, it’s crazy the amounts of money. People who tell you they can’t afford to give back any tax money and they’re spending your tax money you got to question that and I think that message got through.”Battin and his supporters are hoping we’ve seen the last of Tabor. “I would just sort of paraphrase Rick Santelli, the Wall Street trader just to say are you listening? the people of Maine have said to you very clearly 3 times, No! If you put it on the ballot again I don’t know what to say for you frankly.”However the opposition seems undeterred. “Keep up the fight, it’s a multi faceted approach and Tabor is one way to fight spending and control spending at the state level and another one is being in touch with your legislature.”
Since last week, Maine energy officials say that home heating oil has risen by one penny per gallon, to $2.56.The Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security said rising crude oil prices over the last two weeks are reflected in the heating fuel prices.Additionally, a survey from the energy office shows that oil prices vary from a low of $2.25 per gallon in southwestern Maine to a high price of $2.85 per gallon in eastern parts of the state.Energy Director John Kerry said Maine consumers should prepare for this winter’s heating season by taking steps to weatherize their homes, reduce energy consumption and create an energy budget.
A huge Navy ship collecting a nuclear-powered research sub that’s due be delivered to Washington state is currently at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The vessel, USS Carter Hall is 609 feet long and has more then enough space for the deep water research and engineering submarine that is 150 feet long. The submarine arrived in Kittery, Maine in 2008 and it was officially decommissioned nearly a year ago.While awaiting its cargo, the Carter Hall is dominating the waterfront. The dock landing ship is designed to transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles in amphibious assault operations.
The town of Friendship voted yesterday to allow the sale of beer and wine.Despite beer and wine being allowed to be sold, liquor will not be sold and alcoholic beverages will no be sold on Sundays.Friendship has been dry since 1919 and voters rejected previous attempts to overturn the alcohol ban in 1987, 1992, and 2000.
Bangor Hydro is releasing reports that newly-installed copper wiring was stolen from one of their substations over the weekend.Utility crews finished making repairs from an earlier wire theft on Friday evening. When they returned Monday, work crews discovered the thieves had returned to steal the newly installed copper wire from the substation in its northern service territory.John Greaves, a safety officer with Bangor Hydro said the utility is working with the sheriff’s department and state police to find the thieves.Greaves said the thieves could be injured or killed by cutting the wires.
Town officials in Central Maine have yet to tally the votes, but the consensus is that voter turnout has been heavy there.On Tuesday our Central Maine crew trekked across the area to four communities: Fairfield, Skowhegan, Waterville, and Unity.Both Fairfield and Skowhegan had lines forming before the doors opened in the morning, while traffic in Waterville and Unity was steady much of the day.Unity College students made their mark by marching to the polls. “If they cut back taxes for cars probably I’ll have higher college payments to support those taxes,” Said Marsha Barnes, a Freshman attending Unity College. “For the next four years this is going to affect me and if I decide to live in Maine after college it’s going to affect me even more so I feel I should have the right to vote and I’m going to.”Every year, college faculty and staff encourage students to make the walk from campus to the polls to cast their ballots.This year, staff says turnout was actually a bit lower than expected.
Two former high school honor roll students have pleaded not guilty to murder.they were charged in connection with the shooting deaths of two men in their home in rumford.20-year-old Richard Moulton and 19-year-old Erik Hamel, both of Mexico, entered the pleas Tuesday in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris.The two were charged on August 4th, a day after 22-year-old Victor Sheldon and 48-year-old Roger Day, junior were found shot to death.Court documents indicate the motive was revenge.They state Hamel and Moulton believed Sheldon assaulted his estranged girlfriend, who had begun dating Moulton.
The H1N1 virus is continuing to spread through Maine schools. The Lincoln school system is reporting five confirmed cases.School health officials report one confirmed case at Lincoln Elementary, and four cases at the junior high school.The schools are sending permission slips home, asking parents for permission to vaccinate their children.Parents are encouraged to return the paperwork as soon as possible.
The second flu clinic for school-aged children in the greater Bangor area is scheduled for Wednesday.The clinic will run from 9:30am until 2pm at the Bangor Civic Center.The hours are shorter this time around because there’s less vaccine to go around.Students in grades K through 12 in the greater Bangor area will be able to receive both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine at no cost.Students attending without a parent or guardian need a signed permission form.Again, the clinic runs Wednesday from 9:30am to 2pm at the Bangor Civic Center.
Owners of the Muddy Rudder restaurant in Brewer are doing their part to honor our men and women and uniform.This Veterans Day they’ll be giving away one free entrÃ©e to any U.S. servicemen from any of the five branches of service.Military members can choose from anything on the menu, including lobster and steak.Management and staff say it’s important for all of us to remember those who serve this Veterans Day. “Well I think it’s an important message that the men and women in uniform are extremely important in our everyday lives and we should be thankful for what they do for us,” Said the Muddy Rudder’s general manager, Tom Workman.In addition to their location in Brewer, owners of the Muddy Rudder are also offering the free entrÃ©e at their other location in Yarmouth, as well as at the Freeport cafe.
Question 7 is a close race.The question asks Maine voters, “Do you favor amending the constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?”With 528 of 608 precincts reporting in, the vote stands at 48% in favor, and 52% voting against.
Maine voters have approved a $71.25 million bond issue to pay for transportation improvements across the state.The money will pay for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, and public transit, ferry and port facilities.Officials say the bond makes the state eligible for more than $148 million in federal and other matching funds.Unofficial results have Question 6 leading 65% to 35% with 87% of precincts reporting.
Medical marijuana users in Maine will be able to buy their pot at licensed dispensaries after voters approved a bill that expands the state’s existing medical marijuana law.The new law allows patients to buy marijuana at nonprofit dispensaries. It also expands the medical conditions under which people can be prescribed the drug.In unofficial returns, Question 5 was leading 59% to 41% with 87% of precincts reporting.Supporters say the law will give people with chronic illnesses a legal and convenient way to obtain marijuana. Critics say the law has a lack of controls and will increase the availability of the drug to people not authorized to have it.Mainers approved a referendum in 1999 allowing the medical useof marijuana.
Maine voters have rejected a referendum that would have placed limits on increases in state and municipal government spending and taxes.David Crocker, chairman of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights campaign, conceded the race at 10:30 p.m.The measure would have held government spending increases to the rate of inflation plus population growth, with voter approval required to exceed those limits.Supporters said government spending needs to be reined in to attract jobs and give people more money in their pockets. Critics said the measure took away local control and would cut funds for schools, roads and police and fire departments.In unofficial results, the referendum was failing 60% to40% with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
Mainers have voted against scuttling the state’s school district consolidation law.Critics of the law said consolidation should not be mandatory because it doesn’t make sense for many small school districts. They also say the law hasn’t delivered on promised savings.But consolidation supporters said repealing the law would cost Maine $37 million a year.Since the law was adopted two years ago, 98 school districts have been consolidated into 26 districts. But 126 rural schools districts haven’t complied with the law and now face potential state funding reductions.With 87% of precincts reporting, Mainers were rejecting a referendum proposal to repeal the consolidation law by a margin of 59% to 41% in unofficial returns.
Maine voters have rejected a proposal to scale back the state’s motor vehicle excise tax.Question 2 would have cut the rate of the municipal excise tax on newer vehicles while exempting hybrid and other highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise taxes.Supporters said the referendum would save Maine taxpayers $80 million a year while promoting cleaner air and greater fuel efficiency. Critics said if the proposal would have resulted in a tax shift that would be made up by higher property taxes.Campaign spokesman Chris Cinquemani (CHINK’-eh-mah-nee) conceded the race shortly after 10 p.m. Unofficial results show the proposal failing 74 percent to 26 percent, with 28 percent of precincts reporting.
The Associated Press has called Question 1…and it looks like the YES vote has it.With 528 of 608 precincts reporting, 53% (266,324 votes) were opposed to same-sex marriage and 47% (238,595 votes) were in favor.The law allowing homosexuals to wed was passed by the Maine Legislature in May but never took effect because of a petition drive by conservatives.Gay marriage has never won at the ballot box in any state. A victory for the gay-rights side could energize activists nationwide and blunt conservative claims that same-sex marriage is being foisted on states by judges or lawmakers over the will of the public.
In Bangor, election officials say they were expecting a larger than usual turnout for an off-year election– but the number of people who showed up throughout the day exceeded even what they predicted.Folks started lining up outside the Civic Center before seven o’clock this morning to cast their votes.It was fairly steady without much of a wait for most of the day. But during peak evening hours, the building was packed, with a line out the door.”I was pretty stunned to see this kind of crowd. Of course, remember, polling places have consolidated here in Bangor and in other places, but even spread out over four or five polling places this is pretty good. This is a pretty amazing turnout,” says Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. He stopped in Bangor while visiting polls around the state. Some voters were upset to find the wait. Bangor officials say they are learning and working to make things run more smoothly for the next election.Dunlap says today’s turnout could reflect record numbers for an off-year election in Maine, a testament to how strongly voters feel about the issues packing the ballot this year.