(AP) – Crime in Maine inched up slightly in 2008, with rural crime going up nearly 7 percent and crime in urban areas edging down. According to figures released Monday by the Maine Department of Public Safety, the number of reported crimes rose 0.6 percent for the year. That compares with a 3.4 percent decline in 2007. Assaults, aggravated assaults and larcenies went up, and the homicide count of 31 hit the highest level since 1989. Robbery, burglary, auto theft, rape, arson and domestic violence were all down for the year.Full Report from the Department of Public Safety:Crime in MaineÂ increased just over a half of a percent during 2008, according to the MaineÂ Department of Public Safety. The 2008 increase in crime was +0.6%.Â Maine saw aÂ decrease during 2007Â of -3.4%, and increases totaling 5% for the two previous years. Â Â Public Safety Commissioner Anne H. JordanÂ said the index crimes that saw increases in 2008 were homicides, assaults (both aggravated and simple assaults) and theft.Â All other categories went down including robbery, burglary, rape and domestic violence.Â Â Jordan said, â€œDespite a recent rash in armed robberies and a number of suspicious deaths this year, Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country.Â With the exception of homicide and assaults, Maine saw decreases of most other crimes last year.â€Â Jordan said there were 31 homicides during 2008, compared to 21 homicides in 2007. Â The 2008 homicide number was the highest in Maine since 1989.Â Â Â Â Â Both aggravated and simple assaults increased for the second year in a row. Aggravated assaults during 2008 increased by +2.5%Â (813 cases in 2008 vs. 793 cases in 2007) and simple assaults increased by +2.7% (11,570 cases in 2008 vs. 11,264 cases in 2007).Â Aggravated assault involves serious bodily injury or the use of a dangerous weapon whileÂ simpleÂ assault does not.Â RobberiesÂ decreased for the second year in a row. In 2008, robberies declined by -4.9% (332 cases in 2008 vs. 349 cases in 2007) and robberies also went down nearly 9% in 2007. However robberies in the preceding five years had increased a total of +30.1%. Â Burglaries in 2008 decreasedÂ -2.4% (6,516 in 2008 vs. 6,677 in 2007) and also dropped the year before.Â Thefts increased in 2008 by +2.2%Â (24,582 thefts in 2008 vs.Â 24,060 theftsÂ in 2007).Â Â Â The Commissioner saidÂ reported rape-sexual assaults decreased byÂ -5.1% in 2008 (373 case reported in 2008 vs. 393 cases reported in 2007). Domestic violence assaults also decreased by -8.% in 2008 (5,311 reported in 2008 vs. 5,771 in 2007).Â Jordan said last yearâ€™s rape and domestic violence numbers reversed three consecutive years of increases.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jordan said, “Maine continues to work to reduce this violence against women andÂ victims are more willing to report the crimes.” Jordan encouraged victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to contact police, as well as support groups.Â The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number isÂ 866-834-HELP or [ http://www.mcedv.org/ ]www.mcedv.org and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s phone number is 800-871-7741 orÂ www[ http://www.mecasa.org/ ].mecasa.orgÂ Â Arson saw a decrease (-22.6%) during 2008Â (188 cases in 2008 vs. 243 cases in 2007). The value of the propertyÂ damaged by arson fires also decreased ($3,107,823 during 2008 vs. $3,825,380 during 2007).Â Â Â Â Motor vehicle thefts decreased by -6.9%in 2008 (1,173 cases in 2008 vs. 1,260 cases in 2007). Â Overall crime in rural areas, patrolled byÂ StateÂ Police and sheriff’s departments, showed an increase of +6.6% in 2008.Â Rural crimes going up in 2008 were aggravated assault (+19.8%), burglary (+8.1), larceny theft (+5.6%) and motor vehicle theft (+10.4%). Crimes going down in the rural areas wereÂ robbery (-48.3%), rape (-15.2%), arson (-60.7%), and simple assault (-1%).Â Crime in urban areasÂ decreased by -0.7% in 2008.Â Urban areas are made of communities with full time police departments. Urban crimes showing increases were larceny / theft (+1.5%) and simple assault (+3.8%). Urban crime that decreasedÂ during 2008 were rape (-2.5%), robbery (-0.9%), aggravated assault (-2.1%), burglary (-7.8%), motor vehicle theft (-14.8%), and arson (-9.9%).Â Â The Uniform Crime Reporting Division (UCR) at the Maine Department of Public Safety tabulates the crime numbers each year. The numbers are based on reported crimes from local, county and state law enforcement agencies. The UCR statistics show thatÂ 34,008Â crimeÂ index offenses were reported to police during 2008 compared to 33,796 during 2007 for a total crime rate increase of +0.6%. Â Offenses comprising the crime index include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault,Â burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. TheÂ 34,008 crimes reported in 2008 represent a crime rate of 25.8 offenses per 1,000 people within Maine, which is also the same crime rate for Maine in 2007. That number compares to the national crime rate ofÂ 37.5 offenses per 1,000 population in 2007. The 2008 national crime rate is not yet available. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The total number ofÂ adults and juveniles arrested, summoned or cited by policeÂ decreased in 2008. Adult arrests dropped -1.2% (49,935 in 2008 vs. 50,531 in 2007) and juvenile arrests decreasedÂ by -3.5% during 2008 (6,842 in 2008 vs. 7,092 in 2007)Â Juvenile arrests have dropped in Maine in four of the past five years for a total of -29.4% for that five year period.Â The value of property stolen duringÂ 2008 was $27,898,529 compared to $27,453,736Â in 2007. Police recovered $6,931,815 of stolen property during 2008 for a recovery rate of 24.8%.Â Â The crime rate for violent crime in Maine for 2008 was one offense per 1,000 population compared to the national average of 4.7 per 1,000 for 2007.Â “Crime in Maine” is the annual publication of reported crime statistics from UCR. Past “Crime in Maine” numbersÂ will be postedÂ on the Department of Public Safety’s web page later in the summerÂ at [ http://www.maine.gov/dps ]www.Maine.gov/dps . Questions about local trends should be directed to police chiefs and sheriffs for detailed local crime statistics.Â Â 5-Year (2004 â€“ 2008) Maine Crime SummariesÂ 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004Overall Crime +0.6% -3.4% +4.6% +0.4% -1.2%Rural Crime +6.6% -5.2% +1.9% +4.4% +3.1%Urban Crime -0.7% -3.2% +1.3% -0.5% -2.3%Aggravated Assault +2.5% +1.7% -5.6% +12.1% -2.4%Assault +2.7% +3.3% -1.1% +6.8% -5.7%Robbery -4.9% -8.9% +18.6% +11.8% 0%Burglary -2.4% -1.5% +7.9% -1.1% -3.4%Auto Theft -6.9% -6.0% -0.3% +3.0% -10%Larceny-Theft +2.2% -4.4% +4.2% +0.2% +0.1%Arson -22.6% +25.9% +9% -6.8% -1.1%Rape -5.1% +15.6% +5.6% +2.5% -10.5%Domestic Violence -8% +3.9% +1.7% +5.2% -3.2Murder 31 21 23 19 19Adult arrests -1.2% +1.8% +7% -1.2% +1.2%Juv. arrests -3.5% -8.7% +0.6% -9.6% -8.2%Â Â
Officials with the State Medical Examiner’s Office say a man from Lubec died accidentally by drowning.A friend reported Kristopher Fergerson missing on December 2nd. The friends were collecting periwinkles in the Lubec Channel when the drowning occurred.
More than fifty walkers hit the streets of Bangor Sunday to raise awareness…and money…for arthritis.The annual arthritis walk kicked off at the Cohen School.Individuals and teams could choose to do a one or three mile walk.Walkers collected pledges, and all the proceeds will go the the arthritis foundation.Organizers say besides raising money, the walk is also a great way to let folks know just how prevalent arthritis is…in kids as well as adults.Walk Chairperson Robin Spencer Laurie also used the walk as a chance to ask folks to support a federal bill that would help those who suffer with arthrtis. “The bill, if it is passed, will help raise money for research and maybe get more arthritis programs out in the different states.” Said Laurie.The walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.27 million Americans are currently living with osteoarthritis. And 300,000 children have some form of juvenile arthritis.
Family and friends of a young woman killed in a car crash in Lee gathered Sunday to honor her memory.Patty’s Race is an annual run/walk that kicks off at Lee Academy.Patty Corbin was a junior at the school when she died in 2002.Her family started the Race in her memory the following year.They donate the proceeds to a scholarship fund in Patty’s name…it’s presented each year to a graduating senior.Patty’s Dad, Mike Corbin, was impressed that even on a dreary day, close to 150 folks showed up to honor Patty and help raise money for the cause. “It brings together everybody who knew her…it’s primarily for her memory and secondarily to raise money for scholarship fundraising and we’ve had tremendous support in the past and this year as well.”Patty Corbin was an honor student at Lee Academy who was also on the cross country and ski teams.
Tuition could go up by as much as 6 percent at the University of Maine.University System will discuss the proposal Monday at a meeting.Spokesman John Diamond says tuition hikes are always a last resort…and that campuses are already making big budget cuts to try and avoid them.Umaine Orono is already planning to lay off 32 people.If the tuition increase is approved, UMaine students would pay about $7,600.
A man from Rhode Island is in jail after a standoff with Police that shut down the Maine Turnpike.It happened Saturday night.State Police say 44-year-old Michael Ostrowski was speeding and led police on a chase from New Gloucester to just south of the Falmouth exit, where his pickup truck ran over spike mats.Police say Ostrowski then refused to leave the truck and repeatedly threatened to shoot himself or anyone who came near it.The standoff lasted close to three hours.Police closed the turnpike from New Gloucester to Portland during that time…traffic was backed up for miles.Ostrowski finally surrendered around 11:30 p.m.According to police, the weapons Ostrowski allegedly claimed to have turnedout to be a BB gun and a cigarette lighter that looked like apistol.Ostrowski is being held at the Cumberland County Jail.
Eastern Maine Community College sent close to 400 new graduates off into the world Saturday.The College held its commencement at the Bangor Civic Center today.As part of a recent tradition, the featured speakers were all students, including EMCC’s Student of the Year, Michael Handzel, Junior of Orland.378 students received degrees.EMCC President Joyce Hedlund says that with the state of the economy, some students are choosing to continue their educations rather than going out to look for work right away…but there are plenty of graduates heading right into the work force as well.< "they are prepared and a lot of them do have jobs at this time."i'm just thankful for EMCC being a part of this region and today is just proof of the value of this college to the region.">As part of an ongoing food drive to help Mainers currently out of work, the class of 2009 asked folks attending the ceremony to bring along some nonperishable foods.EMCC has set a goal of collecting ten thousand pounds of non-perishable foods or household items to donate to the Good Shepherd Food Cupboard.The Maine Community College system will then find donations to match EMCC’s ten thousand pounds.
Help is on the way for workers laid off at True Textiles in Guilford and Newport.Maine is getting more than 460-thousand dollars to help about a hundred workers affected by the layoffs.The money is part of the national stimulus program. It will pay for training and services to help workers get new jobs.The aid is in addition to other federal money for people who lose jobs because of foreign competition.
Maine Forest Rangers have been working round the clock to put out wildfires caused by the windstorm that blew through Maine 48 hours ago.Forest Service officals say Thursday’s high winds sparked about 45 wildfires in central and northern Maine alone.Most of those fires were caused by powerlines that were knocked down in the wind.Many were small fires, but one in Indian Purchase Township, west of Millinocket, burned nearly an acre…and an outbuilding, too.
A group of volunteers are making incredible progress building a house for a family battling a very serious disease.Members of a group called “A Wish Granted” spent the day framing up the home on Broadway in Glenburn Saturday.The group was formed last year when volunteers banded together to build a house for Sonya Barclay of Old Town, who was dying for cancer. She was able to see her dream home before she died.Now, the group is helping a 14-year-old boy with leukemia.Dimitrje Howe-Poteet has been in and out of the hospital for a year and just had a bone marrow transplant, so his immune system is weak.Because of that, the family is unable to live in their mobile home, which contains mold and mildew.So volunteers are building the family a small cabin where Dimitrje can recuperate comfortably.His mom says she’s overwhelmed by the generosity of the volunteers who are working so hard to help her family.<34:03 “that they took the time out of their busy days…is such a blessing…all the supplies…we couldn’t have done it without them.”>While construction was underway, the family held a fundraiser, with horseback riding, face painting, a yard sale and lots of goodies.All the proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and the EMMC Oncology Department.Work crews expect to have the home finished within ten to fourteen days…but they still need help.They’re looking for sheetrock, appliances, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and lots of other supplies.If you’d like to help, you can call 356-9770.Or, to make a donation, send checks to Birmingham’s Family Market, 10 Gilman Falls Road in Old Town, 04468.Checks should be made out to “A Wish Granted.”
Wind energy is a growing industry in Maine. Those involved with the technology are trying to get the younger generation interested. Students across the state were challenged to design and create their own wind energy system.The Composite Wind Blade Challenge was held today at U-Maine.”Renewable and alternative energy is like a huge deal in Maine politics and national politics. It’s becoming increasingly important with the economy, so it was great to be able to have that sort of real experiment to do.” says Erin St. Peter, a participant.High school students were challenged to design a wind blade and a turbine. They were provided with materials to make it and given certain criteria.”One of the things we want to do is we want to highlight the need for science and math learning so that kids are really thinking about that as they look at their future career possibilities.” says Paul Williamson, an organizer.James Wiesner, a participant adds, “There’s a boundless amount of energy out there in the winds and to capture all that energy and convert it into electricity would benefit everyone.”Governor Baldacci says, “We have an opportunity as you heard with wind energy windmills, production and manufacturing of those blades to really put people to work in our state it’s a huge opportunity.”This was the first competition of it’s kind in the U-S. The response surprised organizers.”It’s wonderful to see such an overwhelming response from high schools around the state of Maine.” They had around 30 teams. About 150 students competed.The designs were judged on how many watts were produced. If the winners are accepted at U-Maine, they’ll be rewarded with a research assistantship at the school.
Last year the community came together for an Old Town woman who was dying of cancer.Sonya Barclay was able to see her wish come true before she passed. A group of people built a home for her husband and children.Now that group is coming together once again to build a home for another family facing a tremendous battle.”We work with a group that we like to call wish granted.”Because that was what happened for Sonya Barclay and her family in Old Town last year, thanks to hundreds of volunteers including these three guys, John Birmingham, Stan Peterson, and John Gaudet.They’re at it again. This time they’re helping a 14 year old boy who has been battling a rare form of Leukemia for over a year.”We can’t live in our mobile home anymore because there’s trace mold and fungus probably in the entire state of Maine, anyplace you would live.”For Dimitrje Howe-Poteet that mold, fungus and bacteria can be deadly. He underwent a bone marrow transplant a few months ago, and his mother says his immune system is weak.So the folks from Wish Granted have stepped forward to build a small cabin for Dimitrje, his mom and her partner on their property off Broadway in Glenburn.”The cabin has been thoughtfully designed, it’s small but it will be easy to clean.”Our goal is to get him a home to get him through this convalescent period. Over the next 2 years and that time we’ll readdress their residential requirements and hopefully this building will be turned into something we can utilize for non-profit purpose.”The ultimate goal, to help a family like this every year.The framing will go up Saturday then it should just take a few weeks to get the cabin completed.As Dimitrje and his family watch the whole process evolve, they are grateful and promise to pay it forward.”It’s amazing to see community come together.””I’ll be able to live in this new place because I can’t even be anywhere near our old house because of the mold”The wish granted group knows there’s no place like home, and so when they see a family like Dimitrje’s who’s been in a battle for his life, they’re glad to help ease burden.”We want to create a place they can focus on recuperating, recovering and enjoying quality of life that might not ordinarily have otherwise.”The family is already fulfilling their promise of paying it forward.They are holding a fundraiser Saturday, May 16 at the building site at 3202 Broadway in Glenburn. They say they owe a lot to the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor. That’s been their home away from home. The money raised will go to that charity.They’ll be holding a flea market, as well as offering lots of other fun activities including horseback riding.The Wish Granted group also needs some help to get the home completed. They need donations of building materials. You can also make a cash donation to the project at the Merrill Merchants Bank in Orono. Just let them know it’s for the Dimitre Howe-Poteet Fund. You can also make donations to “A Wish Granted”. Send checks to Birmingham’s Family Market, 10 Gilman Falls, Old Town, Maine 04468.
Tonight we know a lot more about the impact of budget cuts at the University of Maine.At least 140 jobs will be impacted. It includes thirty-two layoffs.Thirty-one positions will have reduced hours and seventy-seven jobs that are vacant right now, will not be filled.UMaine President Robert Kennedy says when they saw the economic collapse begin last fall, that’s when school officials started to get ready for cutting back.But he is optimistic about what the future holds for UMaine.”So the University of Maine is very viable and I think its at least as valuable or more valuable in the future in going forward in our service to the state.”Kennedy says they’ve worked hard to make sure there’s minimal impact to students.Cutting staff will save the school 3-million dollars. We’re told another six million will be saved cutting operating expenses and through efficiencies.
There will be an open house tonight at Mount Desert Island Hospital.It’s so folks can check out the obstetrics unit, which has undergone changes in recent years. All to make expectant moms feel more at home.Meghan Hayward has the story.A nice robe is one of the comforts you’ll find in the obstetrics unit at Mount Desert Island Hospital.”It’s excellent care provided with a personal touch and an emphasis on family care.”From the moment you step inside their rooms, they guarantee personal attention.”Each woman gets that individual care and because we as providers perhaps don’t have quite as many deliveries, we can be present in each and every one and really not just be there for the delivery but be in and out through the course of the labor as well.”Water birth is another option the hospital offers to those interested.Some rooms are even equipped with a hot tub that patients can use while staying in the OB unit.Family practice doctor Mary Dudzik says they want patients to not even realize they’re in a hospital.”All the rooms are designed really to be as homey as possible.”A couple of years ago, more space was added to the OB unit. Dudzik says it’s been a significant addition to the hospital.”I think the OB department here is one of the signature departments of this hospital.”Dudzik says they know women have several options as to where they want to deliver and this open house is a way for people to see what their OB unit offers.The open house is from six-thirty to 8 pm tonight.
A new eatery is set to open in Hampden next week.Anglers is a seafood restaurant with locations in Newport and Searsport.Owner Bud Hall is now expanding into Hampden.He’s just about completed renovations on a building on the Coldbrook Road.The restaurant will seat about ninety people, and will offer the same menu items as the other locations.It opens for lunch next Wednesday.For more information or to check out the menu, log on to Anglers seafood restaurant dot com.
Folks in Dixmont and surrounding towns are used to having a quick response if they ever need an ambulance.For 18 years, Ginny and Butch Cole have operated Community Ambulance out of their home on the Kennebec Road.But the Coles say it’s time to close their doors because bureaucracy has made it too tough to run their business.Amy Erickson has more.< "It's been my life for 18 years."Virginia Cole says the decision to close Community Ambulance on June 30-th is bittersweet.She has a passion for saving lives, but says the government's making it too tough to run her small business."The government's not paying its bills and from what I hear from the congress and senate, the medical fields are going to be hit...hit hard.""It costs us $8-$10 to put oxygen on a patient. Mainecare, or Mainecaid, now pays $6. So every time I put oxygen on a patient, I lose money.""Our income keeps declining and our expenses keep inclining. And we just can't keep taking the cost of it. My husband and I have mortgaged our home several times to keep this ambulance up."Cole and her husband Butch are the primary responders for Dixmont and surrounding towns, though they receive no funding from those municipalities.Once they go out of business, folks may have to wait for an ambulance from as far away as Bangor.The Coles worry about what that means for the sick and the elderly, but say they just can't keep pouring their personal savings into the operation."I'm sorry about the communities, but maybe they should have supported us a little better.""We've spoiled the towns by being able to respond. We're about the fastest ambulance in the whole area. At no cost."The last straw came in April, when the state notified the Coles they'd have to make the switch to computerized reporting.They said no way."To hire somebody to sit down at a computer and do this? I don't have the money to do that."Butch Cole says the community likely won't realize the importance of Community Ambulance until it's gone."I think they're going to have a rude awakening. Because some of the new requirements they have with the state...on structure fires, we always used to go and stand by. Now it's mandatory. That was at our expense. It just got to the point that all these little small expenses we're not able to afford any longer."Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Dixmont.>
The University of Maine says it will cut spending during the coming academic year by $8.8 million, a move that will result in 32 layoffs. In its announcement Friday, the university said 31 other employees will see a reduction in their work hours. In addition, 77 positions are being held vacant for elimination.The university said reductions in personnel costs account for all but $3 million of the cuts. The balance will come through reduced operating expenses and administrative efficiencies. Most of the layoffs are at the Cutler Health Center, whose operations were transferred to a private provider. Four of the five faculty being laid off are coaches in sports that were discontinued. The university’s budget for the year beginning July 1st totals $248 million. (AP)
A legislative committee has unanimously endorsed a proposal to allow Maine to track student progress by a social security number.Thursday’s vote came after lawmakers sought assurances that student data would be secure and that parents could withhold their child’s social security number from the data collection.Maine would reportedly join 14 other states that collect social security numbers to track students’ achievement.
Tuition rates could be on the rise by more than five percent for undergraduate students in the University of Maine system.On Monday the trustees will review a proposal to raise the rates for the coming academic year.This year tuition went up by 10.8%, and the university pledged to keep increases to an average of six percent.In light of the bad economy the campuses are making cuts in their budgets to hold down tuition, but university system spokesman John Diamond told the Kennebec Journal Thursday that “tuition increases are the revenue sources of last resort.”At UMaine, students’ rates would increase by 5.9% raising overall tuition to $7,591.At USM, the percentage is six percent, but the dollar figure is lower going up to a total of $6,930.
Power crews are back at work on Friday, restoring electricity to about ten thousand homes and businesses that lost it in Thursday’s wind storn.As of 4:30 Friday morning, Bangor Hydro was reporting 478 power outages.The majority of them are in Piscataquis and Lincoln Counties.Residents in the Colonial Trailer Park on Ohio Street in Bangor got quite a scare.High winds knocked a tree down in the middle of a very crowded area.It just missed doing serious damage to homes and cars.All administrative phone lines in Penobscot County are down this morning, and have been since last night. Officials believe its weather-related.911 emergency lines are still working.Repairs are underway and full service is expected again by mid-day.