A family from Southwest Harbor arrived back home today after a 3 month journey across the United States.As Meghan Hayward tells us they were pushed to their limits and learned a lot about each other along the way.Cars lined the road while relatives and friends waited anxiously for the arrival of the O’Donnell family.” We basically went straight east from San Francisco. And when we hit the Ohio River we started curving Northeast. And we hit Eerie Pennsylvania and so we’ve going through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and now Maine.”The O’Donnells’ epic bike ride called “Rebecca’s Ride,” started on Memorial Day and came to an end Saturday in Seal Cove.The journey across the country was to help raise money and awareness for type one diabetes.Rebecca O’Donnell has type one diabetes.” I always have to test my blood sugar throughout the day so that’s 4 or 5 finger pricks a day and then I have to keep track of everything I eat and take insulin whenever I eat.”The ride was a challenge for Rebecca because all the exercise caused her blood sugars to drop.But she wants her determination to be a reminder for everyone with diabetes.” You can do anything now, I mean the technology is so great there’s no limitations to what you can do with diabetes.”Deb O’Donnell is Rebecca’s mother and the main reason the family decided to take the journey.She works at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor and because of the economy, her bosses were looking for ways to save money.Deb decided taking a 3 month leave of absence without pay would be the perfect solution.” So I presented it to Jackson Laboratory and my department head and they thought it was a pretty good idea.”The O’Donnells raised close to $9,000.All the money will go to the lab’s diabetes research programs.Deb says after spending so much time with her family she’s learned a lot about them.” I think the biggest thing for me is that I’ve learned the special gifts my kids and husband have that you don’t see because you don’t see them interacting with people as much as we did.”So what’s next for the O’Donnell family?First enjoying time with their friends and family they haven”t seen for three months and then maybe planning their next family adventure.
All Maine residents are being encouraged to get vaccinated against the swine flu this fall.Governor John Baldacci made the announcement in his weekly radio address.He says a fast-spreading flu has the potential to shut down schools and businesses, close government offices and leave vulnerable people without the support and services they depend upon. Baldacci says that could result in economic disruption and tragic consequences for some.Neither the seasonal flu nor the H1N1 flu vaccines is mandatory.But Baldacci says that the more people who are inoculated, the better chance of slowing the disease.Maine has just begun to receive doses of the seasonal flu vaccine, and Baldacci says the swine flu vaccine will likely be available in October.
A murdered Augusta woman’s estate has won a $672,000 lien against the estate of the man police say killed her before he committed suicide. But collecting the money might not be so easy.Maine State Police concluded that 63-year-old Albert J. Violettebludgeoned 60-year-old Naomi Buzzell last year in her apartment.Police say Violette then drove back to his Somerville home and shothimself to death. The two had been romantically involved until a decade ago, then remained friends.Buzzell’s attorney sought the lien as part of a wrongful death lawsuit against Violette’s estate.While the money was awarded, Buzzell’s estate may come up emptybecause Violette’s estate is worth little or nothing.
The state fire marshal’s office says a fire that gutted much of an abandoned mill in Gardiner was set on purpose.Assistant state Fire Marshal Joe Thomas says the fire was set in two different places in the structure. He said investigators are still trying to determine how the fires were set.The fire at the old Yorktowne Paper Mill on Route 126 wasreported at about 3 a.m. Wednesday.
100 people have been killed on Maine highways so far this year – the lowest total to this point in at least 16 years.Those numbers come from the State Police.Last year, 114 highway deaths had been recorded in Maine throughthe Labor Day holiday weekend, and in 2007 the total was 108. By comparison, there were 141 road deaths in both 2003 and 2004 preceding Labor Day.
More than 700-thousand vehicles are expected to travel the Maine Turnpike this holiday weekend.The numbers are down about two percent from last year at this time.Turnpike spokesman Dan Paradee said that’s because the later the weekend falls in September, the more people are thinking aboutschool and other activities closer to home. But with excellent weather predicted, turnpike officials say they’ll still be ready for a busy weekend.The heaviest volume is expected Monday in the southbound lanes between noon and 6 p.m.State Troopers are out in force on roads across the state…looking for drunk, speeding and reckless drivers.They also want to remind folks that there’s a lot of construction work going on right now, and it’s important to be extra cautious on the interstate.
Brewer police say they’ve solved dozens of car burglaries over the past few weeks by catching some of the burglars in the act.Around 3:00 a.m. Friday, police say they found three men who later admitted to more than 20 motor vehicle burglaries in Brewer– and are linked to more than 30 burglaries in Bangor.18-Year-old Jessie Cote of Brewer, 20-year-old William Gustin of Bangor and 19-year-old Bryan Reed of Brewer have all been charged with burglary to a motor vehicle.Earlier this week, police arrested a 17-year-old linked to nine car burglaries.Brewer police say stolen property from this morning can be recovered by calling them at 989-7001.
A Holden thrift shop is throwing a “mega-sale” this weekend to benefit area seniors.This Saturday, Aunt Nellie’s Attic will unveil several pallets worth of goods donated from a national retailer, and offer a store-wide discount.The proceeds from the shop go to the Hammond Street Senior Center in Bangor.They sell everything from T-shirts to designer home goods. Items are priced at a few cents on up.Manager Kathy Clegg says she keeps the prices low so lots of people can afford to shop there. That’s one reason why they’re almost to their goal of raising 50 thousand dollars for the senior center this year.”We don’t try to make a huge amount of money on the items, we just try to re-do it into society. It’s almost like recycling, here,” Clegg says.Clegg calls the money they raise the “lifeblood” of the senior center.The sale is this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Aunt Nellie’s Attic on Route 1-A in Holden.
You still have a chance to see the nighttime view from the Penobscot Narrows Observatory this year.Friday and Saturday, the Friends of Fort Knox are offering folks a moonlight viewing in the observatory. It’s the last of the season.The top of the tower will be open from 8 to 10:30 p.m. if there’s good weather.It costs five dollars. You don’t need tickets in advance, but the last ticket will be sold at 10:07 p.m.The moonlight viewings will be cancelled if it’s cloudy or rainy.
In the summer, bad cases of poison ivy bring people into the ER at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor nearly every day.The vine is common throughout Maine. While poison ivy can be hard to identify, it can be easier to avoid the plant than deal with its itchy consequences.”It’s important for them to know what the plant looks like and how to avoid it.”Leaves of three, let it be. But John Jemison says identifying poison ivy isn’t always that easy.”The leaves can have some scallopy shape to them, some can be fairly round and not have that scallopy look. So there’s a lot of difference in what the plant looks like,” Jemison says. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist says one leaf usually stems off farther than the other two. The vine sometimes has a reddish tint, and the leaves sometimes a slight sheen.”It’s an invader plant, it likes edges. You can find it on edges of trails, edges of golf courses, really almost anywhere,” he says.The oils from the plant can last more than a week on shoes, clothes and bedding. So if you come anywhere near it, wash well with soap as soon as possible.”It causes small vesicles, basically, little fluid filled things, and they’re usually in a line,” says Dr. Tom Dancoes at St. Joseph Hospital. Dancoes says the rash should go away in a few weeks on its own. You can also treat the itch it creates.”Calamine lotion, a thing called Burow’s solution. You can use oatmeal baths,” he says. “If you have a rash and it gets even worse and its spreading like wildfire, and you’re thinking oh my goodness, what am I going to do? You can come to us and we can prescribe a steroid medicine, to be taken orally.”Jemison says don’t burn poison ivy if you find it. The oils can still be bothersome, so call a professional to remove it. Watch your pets, too. “If the pet runs off the trail and goes through poison ivy, then you can get it from the pet’s fur,” Jemison says.And even after the leaves fall, the vine can still cause you problems…so keep an eye out.
A $35 million project in Ellsworth opened today to students.Renovation work at Ellsworth Middle School finished just in time for the start of the new school year. And educators hope the new space will mean better learning. “Do you have something you’re going to put homework in?”Sixth grade teacher Janet Higgins likes to start off the school year the same way.But this year she’s doing it in a completely renovated building, one with middle schoolers in mind.”Our sixth graders couldn’t reach the tops of their lockers and the lockers were really dingy, things seemed really dark. Even the hallways seemed old and dark. It was a school that ready for a really big face lift.”And it got it. Assistant Superintendent Katrina Kane says it’s taken about a year to gut Ellsworth Middle School and remodel it for the fourth through eighth grade classes.”The technology is updated, the teaching and learning spaces are better designed, the lighting is fabulous. It’s just a beautiful place to learn and go to school.”Eighth grader Nate Stephenson says it’s quite a surprise for the first day of class.”The hallway doesn’t slant downhill anymore. It’s all painted and there’s big glass windows and it’s very different.”Becky Anderson already knows the new space will make a big difference in the classroom. “I can do things I think better, more efficiently and have kids in one corner doing something and in another corner doing something else.”Eighth grader Aleta Looker agrees.”We’ll be a lot more organized with lockers, so we’ll all have our own space and time to organize and stuff like that. So it will probably help a lot more, if everyone keeps it clean and everything.”Work on an addition to the school won’t be finished until next year, but teachers and students say this part of the building is already making the grade.
A young boy from Glenburn recently returned from Costa Rica where he underwent a procedure that is not available in the United States.Meghan Hayward tells what he had done and how he’s coping.Eight-Year-old Kenneth Kelley was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.When we last talked with him and his family, they were preparing for a trip to Costa Rica where he would undergo adult stem cell therapy.”Kenneth had stems cells from umbilical chord blood and he got about 24 million stem cells while we were there in Costa Rica. He had injections every day over a period of four days.”Marty Kelley is Kenneth’s mother. She was told by the doctors in Costa Rica to not expect to see results for 8 weeks to 6 months.It’s only been 6 weeks since the procedure and she and her husband say they’re already seeing changes.”Immediately when we were in Costa Rica, he just started talking a lot more. His vocabulary is probably 20 percent more conversation. He started going up to strangers and talking to them.”Kenneth had no problem telling us what he did in Costa Rica.”We went to the beach and rain forest.”The Kelley family had to go to Costa Rica for the procedure because it’s not done in the United States.Marty is happy they made the trip.”We know this is going to work for him. And we are 100 percent confident we’ll be going back to Costa Rica in January. This is what he needs and because done so well in hyperbaric oxygen chamber, we know this is going to be good for us.”The hyperbaric oxygen therapy puts oxygen into the areas of the brain that have never received it, and creates stem cells in the brain.”We hope to have him fully recover from this.”Right now, they’re just happy to see Kenneth make the small changes and enjoy being a kid.If you have questions about the procedure or want to follow Kenneth’s journey, you can go to Marty’s blog.www.kennsjourneytorecovery.blogspot.com.
“Stay fire smart, don’t get burned.” That’s the motto firefighters across the nation will be touting this fall. Fire prevention week is October 4th through the 10th and will focus on burn awareness and prevention, as well as keeping homes safe from the leading causes of home fires.Winslow firefighters have a new tool they’ll be rolling out. The smoke trailer was bought by the department a couple years ago and the final touches are being made to it this week. The “made up” home is filled with fire hazards. Firefighters will bring the trailer to Winslow area schools where 4th graders will be able to check it out and learn from the dangers that lurk inside.Dozens of local businesses have pitched to work on the trailer or donate items for the inside. The trailer is piped to pump in theatrical smoke too, a feature firefighters say will teach them how to get out of a burning home.
A man from Vermont is travelling around Maine this fall, trying to piece together a history of the state’s family farms.He’s doing it using vintage photographs…and some old fashioned detective work.Amy Erickson has the story.
Husson University is getting the word out that classes will be held this Monday, Labor Day.Director for Public Affairs Julie Green says University officials made the decision to keep the school open on the holiday.Green says it just makes sense this year, because of the class schedule.Students started back on campus this past week, and Green says it’s too soon to send them home.Green says that in exchange for working on Labor Day, faculty and staff members will be given a floating holiday to use later in the semester.
Fire fighters spent part of last night battling a fire in Machias.The call came in around 6:30.Crews from five towns were dispatched to a trailer park off Route One.No word yet on damages or a cause.Fire fighters cleared the scene around Midnight.We’ll have more information when it becomes available.
A Farmington man is dead after a three car accident in Wilton Thursday.Daniel Jackson (66) was traveling West on Rt. 2 toward Dixfield when his vehicle crossed the center line and stuck a tractor trailer truck driven by Nicholas Steven (25) of Corinth.A third vehicle driven by Edward Towers (44) of Dixfield was traveling behind Jackson’s vehicle, and struck that vehicle after Jackson collided with the tractor trailer.Jackson was pronounced dead on the scene. Three of the five occupants in Towers vehicle were treated by rescue crews at the scene, but refused transport to a hospital.A reconstruction team was called in to determine the cause of the accident. The Wilton Police Department is continuing to investigate.
Students just moved into UMaine last week, and some have picked an unusual location.The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has set up tents in the center of campus as a fundraiser for a group called YouthAIDS.The effort raises money to teach young people in developing nations about safe sex practices, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. The fraternity came up with the fundraiser four years ago. They spend all week camping near their tents, collecting donations and educating students about the program.Fraternity member J.D. Kray says fellow students are happy to pitch in. Last year, they raised 14 hundred dollars.”A lot of people are very receptive. They don’t know much about it, so they’ll stop and ask what’s going on, what are we doing. As soon as we tell them, they’re very receptive and think it’s a great cause. And they almost always give money,” Kray says.YouthAIDS targets people from the ages of 15-24 in more than 60 countries.The fraternity brothers spend 24-hours a day at the camp out, although they do take time off for class.They’ll be there until Friday.
A second arrest has been made in connection with the murder of a 19-year-old woman from old town. Holly Boutilier’s body was found in a shack by the Penobscot River in Bangor early last month.Twenty-seven-year-old Justin Ptaszynski, described by police as a Bangor transient, made his first court appearance today.Ptaszynski was arrested earlier today.He’s charged with murder and hindering apprehension or prosecution.Thirty-four-year-old Colin Koehler of Bangor had previously been charged with murder in the case. He was indicted by a Penobscot County Grand Jury in August.According to court records, surveillance video from Hollywood Slots shows two men leaving the crime scene.In an interview with Bangor Police, Ptaszynski said he was the second subject in the surveillance video.Police say he told them he had no prior knowledge that Koehler planned to kill Boutilier.A court affidavit states Ptaszynski says the three of them had gone on a walk along the Penobscot River when Koehler pulled out a sword.The affidavit says Boutilier died from multiple stab wounds to her abdomen and a laceration to her neck.”But I think it’s worth and important to note that it is not him who is alleged to have wielded the weapon which caused Miss Boutilier’s death,” said Ptaszynski’s Attorney Jeff Silverstein.”The investigation has been ongoing since the time of the initial interviews with Ptaszynski and the police have developed additional information,” said Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson.Both Ptaszynski and Koehler are being held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail.A bail hearing for Ptaszynski has been scheduled for next month.
(AP) Maine education officials are celebrating an expansion of the state’s laptop program into more than half of Maine’s high schools this fall. Maine put a computer on the lap of each seventh- and eighth-grader in 2002 and 2003, and state officials hoped to get 100 percent participation from high schools this fall. Education Commissioner Sue Gendron says the state fell short of that goal largely because of the short time frame for high schools to sign on over the summer. But she says the 63,000 laptops being distributed this fall still represents the biggest program of its kind in the nation. Gendron says the state will achieve the 100 percent goal within two years. All seventh- and eighth-graders in public schools will get new laptops, as will students in more than half of the state’s 119 high schools.