Shirley Elementary Shuts Its Doors

Updated 5 years ago

Shirley Elementary School was one of the last remaining one room school houses on the mainland of Maine.In May residents voted to close the school because of rising costs and declining enrollment.The Shirley Elementary School bell rang for the last time Thursday.”I’m sad to see the school close. I think it’s been a very unique experience for the children.” says Joyce Lessard, a teacher a Shirley Elementary.After nearly 175 years, the one room school house is closing.”It’s sad for the community. Cause the school is the center of your community. But it is reality, you know, when you’re down to two students.” says Jacqueline Stevens, an education technician at the school.Ian – a third grader from Shirley, and Dean – a second grader from Greenville, were the only students at Shirley Elementary this year.”I get help with my work a lot that’s the best thing I think.” Ian says.Both students will be go to elementary school in Greenville next year… and have twenty to thirty kids in their classes.”I think at first it’s going to be a real adjustment. But they’re both wonderful students and I think they’ll do fine.” Lessard adds.”I won’t be nervous because I pretty much have a good experience there, two years here, two years there.” Dean says.Ian says he’s, “Looking forward to going there a lot because I know most of the people there and I’m going to be in 4th grade with Mrs. Roberts and she goes on like two field trips a year.” The students and teachers closed out this year and enjoyed their last weeks together by taking a few field trips of their own – One was to the State House another up Mount Battie.”It was a wonderful way to end the school year.” says Lessard.Dean adds, “I had really good friends and we were just like a family, we played with each other, it was very fun…. I’m going to miss this school very much.”

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Winn Fire Leaves Family of Eight Homeless

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Burning food is to blame for a fire in Winn that left a family of eight homeless. The fire on Military Road yesterday afternoon started in the kitchen when some chicken left on the stove caught on fire. Megan and Richard Plaisted live there with their six children, ages 3 to 19. Megan is also pregnant. It took crews from Mattawamkeag, Lincoln, Medway and Lee to put out the flames.The family’s closest relatives live in Upstate New York, so the Red Cross is now offering them help. Lee Academy put the family up for the night in a dorm and an insurance adjustor is making arrangements for them to stay in an apartment.Mattawamkeag Fire Chief Robert Powers says the fire was difficult to fight.”The house was build back in the 1800s. With such an old house there’s a lot of nooks and crannies. The fire is just hiding from us, we’re just trying to be careful.”Powers says one firefighter was treated for heat stress at the scene by Penobscot Valley Hospital.Folks who’d like to help the family with donations can contact Robert Fogg at 736-2033.

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Weight Watchers

Updated 5 years ago

The USA dietary guidelines recommend we eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Some of us are challenged to even eat one serving! Jackie Conn from Weight Watchers shares her best tips for achieving the recommended 9 servings.1. Start with vegetables. Before you put anything else on your plate, start with a salad, a heap of green beans, or a stalk of broccoli.After you’ve eaten your vegetables, add the other components of the meal. Since you’re eating your veggies first, when you’re hungry, you’re likely to eat more.2. Make a super salad. One 7-ounce bag of washed lettuce equals a bit more than one serving. Add a sliced tomato, a diced apple, and a quarter cup of raisins and you’ve just increased that to four servings.3. Keep it convenient. Either slice vegetables yourself and keep them in the fridge in ice water or buy precut vegetables. Don’t shun canned fruits, either. If they’re packed in unsweetened syrup, they provide a quick, convenient way to get a serving or more. Try canned peaches on ice cream or mandarin orange segments in salads. Frozen vegetables are another excellent shortcut. Throw them into soups or stews without defrosting. Buy bags of frozen chopped onions and peppers for quickstarts to dinners.4. Get them on pizza. Forget the pepperoni. Order a vegetable pizza. You’ll get sweet, roasted vegetables with every slice.5. Hide them. Add grated carrots to lasagna or spaghetti sauce. And use potato puree to thicken soups in place of cream.6. Use them as condiments. Salsas are all the rage these days. Don’t stop with tomato salsas. Fruit salsas (pineapple, onion, and mint, or cantaloupe, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar) make wonderful accompaniments to pork, fish, and chicken. Try jarred chutneys for an easy option.7. Give ‘em a roast. Roasting vegetables such as onions, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, eggplant, and even asparagus is a wonderful way to bring out their natural sweetness. Just spray the vegetables and pan with cooking spray, or drizzle on a bit of olive oil, then roast in a hot oven (450°F) until done. (Different vegetables require different cooking times.) Check often, and turn midway through. Grilling is another way to bring out the flavor in vegetables: try zucchini strips at your next backyard cookout.

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Frozen Poultry Products Recall

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

A company in Texas is recalling more than 600-thousand pounds of frozen poultry products because they may contain milk, soy or wheat that’s not listed on the label. Those products can cause an allergic reaction for some people.Pilgrim’s Pride is recalling all 32-ounce bags of Kroger, Fully Cooked, Buffalo Style Chicken Wings, Chicken Wings Sections Coated with Sauce.The bags have “Best By” dates of July 25, 2009 through June 8, 2010.They also have establishment numbers near the zip seal of P7091A, P73477, P13485A, along with a UPC code of 0 11110 97158 6 and Julian dates of 8207 to 9159.So far the company has received no reports of illness.

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Digital Television is Here

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

The biggest change in television since color, is here.Today, the federal government pulls the plug on the analog TV signal and replaces it with a digital one. TV5 will make the switch tonight at 11:59:59 p.m.Catherine Pegram has some last-minute advice on what you need to do to be ready for it.As of midnight tonight, television technology as we know it, will change forever. The current analog signal will be replaced with a digital one. Viewers who get their signal through a cable or satellite company don’t have to do anything to prepare for the switch. But Mainers who get their signal over the air will have to work to keep their picture. “If you are still watching on analog, you have to move now – as soon as possible – to get over to digital. That means getting a digital converter box or the TV set. You may need to upgrade your antenna, but you’re not going to know that until you do get that converter box or new television that receives digital signal.”TV5 Program Director Steve Hiltz says it’s easy to test out your converter box. And you don’t have to wait until 11:59:59 to find out if it works.TV5 is already sending out a digital signal. “We’re not going to make anything better right now. No one’s moving to another frequency, no one’s increasing their power, so if you’re not getting the signal, you’re not going to get it after midnight tonight. If you are getting the signal, you will continue to get them as you are. It’s okay to rescan – rescanning is always recommended, but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to anyone who’s not receiving a signal right now.”If you’re receiving a signal with a converter box, Hiltz says be aware that you could still lose that signal because of interference from trees or weather.”Look at your antenna situation. Look at your set up. Maybe you can raise your antenna. Maybe something like a signal amplifier can help you get that signal back again.”There are lots of websites that can still help you through the d-t-v transition. Such as:www.d-t-v.govwww.d-t-v answers.comwww.d-t-v for and www.d-t-v 2009.govAnd if that doesn’t work. “If you’re experiencing trouble with the signal, the FCC has set up a hotline that you can call and get help there. You can call the stations during normal business hours, they can usually help you out as well. And you can leave a message at the station.””Just like analog, digital isn’t perfect. Broadcasting over the air has never been perfect. There are folks who could not get the signals for years of stations they wanted to see. Sometimes digital has improved that. In fact, there are many cases people have told me they’ve picked up signals they didn’t see before but there are going to be some folks who are going to lose some channels probably and we’re going to try to help them.”Catherine Pegram, WABI TV5 News.And that hotline to the FCC for DTV help is 1-888-CALL-FCC.

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Military Families Finding Support

Updated 5 years ago

There are thousands of military men and women from across the state that serve. Many have deployed at least once having to transition from a war zone to back home. Each service and family member will manage the transition from the war zone to the home front with different amounts of success. Some accomplish this transition within weeks. Others will need more time, and perhaps assistance. Readjustment is a complicated process with no clear demarcation points and no consistent timeline. To help assist service members and their families the Maine National Guard along with the Maine Military and Community Network set up a day-long conference to bring toether those who want to collaborate to make Maine’s military support system better. Governor John Baldacci and Major General John Libby attended the conference which was held Thursday at Colby College in Waterville. Perhaps the most memorable speakers though were the men and women who shared their experiences with deployment and the task of transitioning back into civilian life. Major Ronald Oldfield and his family shared with the audience their personal and very emotional struggles their family has faced through nine deployments. Major Oldfield admits it’s not that there aren’t any support services available that makes transitioning difficult, but rather that there needs to be more awareness that they are out there. For more information about state and local support services click here.

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Fourth-Grade Museum Curators

Updated 5 years ago

Fairmount School fourth graders walked over to the Bangor Museum and History Center Thursday with an important job to do.”We really worked hard on this. It was really hard to get this together, in like a month,” says fourth-grader Christopher Chasse. He and 21 other students were guest curators for the museum. “Southern doctors gave their malaria patients tincture of dogwood,” reads one student from her project.Last month, these students picked an artifact they liked at the Thomas Hill Historic House and Civil War Museum, and started reading all about it.”Book after book after book after book,” Chasse says.”The curator in many museums is the one who takes the collection of the museum and tells a story,” says Bangor Museum Curator Dana Lippitt.The stories these guest curators told Thursday took lots of research, and took them back in time in history.”I learned about Johnny Clem. He’s a famous drummer from the Civil War,” says one student.”I learned about a cutlass, which is like a sword. It’s pretty awesome,” says another.The students’ research will be on display all summer – from a cast of Lincoln’s hand to the enlisted men’s boots.”No, they were not good in wet conditions,” Chasse says, of the boots. “Very terrible.””Through this project the students learned history and civics, reading and writing and public speaking,” says their teacher, Jean Schmick. She and Lippitt designed the project to teach local history and public service, made even more fun when ghost stories are involved. “Samuel haunts the house today,” says one student. “He was the mayor of Bangor from 1863 to 1865.””It’s just a good learning experience,” Chasse says.

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Orono Apartment Fire an Accident

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

The fire that burned through an 18-unit apartment building in Orono was an accident. Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s office say the fire Tuesday afternoon was started by an electrical problem in the building’s wiring.A state electrical inspector who combed through the damage today determined the fire started in an outlet in a wall of a first-floor apartment, then spread throughout the building. More than two dozen people were left without a place to live, many of them college students. Everyone made it out safely, though one person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and two firefighters were slightly hurt.Firefighters were even able to rescue one of the tenant’s dogs, who spent more than two hours hidden in the rubble.

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Junior High Students Help Make An Enfield Beach Tobacco-Free

Updated 5 years ago

A beach in Enfield is now healthier thanks to some junior high students.As Meghan Hayward tells us, their efforts will be seen for quite some time.”So there are many pieces that brought this together. The students were happy to do it. We want them to feel that they can make a difference and to be a good citizen.”Junior high students at Hichborn Middle School in Howland did make a difference.They wrote letters to town selectmen this past winter urging them to ban tobacco at Morgan’s Beach and the ban was passed.Health and physical education teacher Barb Hamlin says she wasn’t surprised about the student’s letters being so successful.”They’re at an age where they’re really deciding for themselves whether or not they’ll do certain things and this is a key time for them to make health decisions and I think it was good they could advocate for health.”Seventh grader Aleisha Sides is one of the students that wrote a letter.She’s happy with the end result.”It’s exciting knowing we wrote something and it worked.”Sides says the ban is going to prevent children and others from getting hurt.”Little kids aren’t going to get hurt by cigarette butts and no one’s going to be burning their feet or stepping on anything so they don’t get hurt.”Thursday, the students hard work paid off as the tobacco-free signs were unveiled. Signs being presented, applauseSeventh graders Jenna Hope and Morgan Roy also wrote letters.”I felt glad.””It’s amazing. I’m speechless.”Now, every time the students come to Morgan’s Beach and see the tobacco-free signs, they’ll know it’s because of them.

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Environmentalists & Labor Officials Push for Employee Free Choice Act

Updated 5 years ago

Environmentalists joined forces with workers’ rights advocates for a press conference in Orono on Thursday.Members of the Sierra Club and the Maine People’s Alliance teamed up with labor officials and tradesmen to call on Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support the “Employee Free Choice Act.”Its supporters say the the legislation will level the playing field for Mainers by giving them the choice to unionize.Sierra Club officials say the Employee Free Choice Act will help ensure that good jobs are created in the new, clean energy economy.Bill Murphy is director of Umaine’s Bureau of Labor Education.He says the legislation is about justice for all workers.< "justice delayed is justice denied. And for millions of workers in america and here in this state as well, who are legitimately trying to organize a union, they've encountered this by having their justice, equity and opportunity for equality on the job either denied or delayed.">The Employee Free Choice Act includes tougher penalties for employers who try to harass or intimidate workers who try to unionize.It would also help employees secure a contract in a reasonable period of time.

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Bangor Doc Unveils Invention

Updated 5 years ago

As an Obstetrician for more than 30 years, Doctor Paul Smith of Bangor has delivered thousands of babies.But lately, he’s been working on a “baby” of his own.It’s an invention he says was born out of necessity…and he’s hoping it takes off.Amy Erickson has the story.To learn more or place an order, log on to

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Parade Protest Ruling

Updated 5 years ago

A federal judge has ordered the city of Augusta to pay $83,264 in legal fees and expenses to antiwar protesters who challenged the constitutionality of the city’s parade permit ordinance five years ago.U.S. district judge John Woodcock agreed on Wednesday that demonstration organizers had won a significant victory for the exercise of first amendment rights in Maine’s capital city and were entitled to reasonable attorney fees.A federal appeals court in 2007 ruled that the advance notice and meeting requirements of the ordinance were unconstitutional, and that the permit fee charged to demonstrators was excessive.

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State Workers Protest

Updated 5 years ago

Hundreds of state employees set up a tent city across from the state house on Wednesday, in a political standoff with Maine leaders.The governor has ordered cuts that will affect as many as 10,000 state workers.About 150 of them rallied and marched to the governor’s mansion Wednesday.They say the Baldacci administration has attacked their benefits and their bargaining powers.We’re told governor Baldacci was not there at the time.The Maine state employees association is in the middle of negotiations for a two-year contract. It expires at the end of June.

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Inmate Death Called Homicide

Updated 5 years ago

State police are treating the death of an inmate at the state prison as a homicide.Officials say 64-year-old Sheldon Weinstein of New Hartford, New York died in April from injuries he suffered at the prison in Warren.The medical examiner determined he died of blunt force trauma.Weinstein had been transferred there just eight days before his death.

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DTV Help Part 4

Updated 5 years ago

The switch to digital television is now just one day away.All this week, we’re bringing you information that should make the transition a little easier.Today we have a very important topic: antennas: will you need one, and if so, what kind?For more information about DTV, you can log onto

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FCC Official Gives Tips on DTV Transition

Updated 5 years ago

The transition to digital TV is less than two days away. The switch will be made at midnight on Friday.Sue McNeil, with the Federal Communications Commission spent some time at the Bangor Public Library Wednesday, meeting with people who still have questions on how to get ready. “The turnout’s been terrific so far and really great questions. People wanting to know what they need to do to either purchase a box, to set up their box, to ask questions about how to set up their antenna and it’s been great.The FCC is holding more informational sessions over the coming days. For a complete list you can log onto can also call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

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An Act for Homeless and Runaway Youth

Updated 5 years ago

Over the years, the Statewide Homeless Council has looked at a plan to end homelessness in Maine.It became clear that one population didn’t fit easily into their plans – homeless and runaway youth.The ceremonial signing of a bill in Augusta Wednesday marks the state’s commitment to ensure services for that group.”It’s to make sure this population, who are a very special, distinct, population are served, and it’s based on the national model,” says Sally Tardiff, of the Shaw House in Bangor.The national model is a three-tiered program providing shelter, outreach and transitional services.Or as Tardiff says, taking at-risk kids from emergency, to stability. And saving the state money in the long run.”Because the community won’t have to pay the higher cost in the long term of kids who are not self-sufficient, who may become incarcerated,” Tardiff says.That’s where 17-year-old Matthew Anderson says he’d be, without the services at the Shaw House.”Probably in jail,” Anderson says. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve gotten off probation, I got my GED, I got my permit and I enrolled in college. I start at NESCOM in September.” 19-year-old Eric Moore says within a month of coming to the Shaw House, he’s living on his own and getting ready for UCB.”I started getting my life back on track from getting out of the juvenile system,” Moore says.While Tardiff says today is a happy day, it only marks the beginning of more hard work to come.”At this point in time, there’s no funding attached to the bill,” Tardiff says. “I guess what I’d say is it’s a good first step. There obviously has to be dollars to actually provide the services the bill recommends.””Now that I see what these organizations actually do for teenagers,” says Anderson, “I think it’s something that should be funded.”

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A Pig Shines at the Harmony Elementary School

Updated 5 years ago

Students at Harmony Elementary School saw their hard work pay off today.As Meghan Hayward shows us, their principal may not have been quite as excited. “Kiss the pig, kiss the pig.””This year, they said I had to kiss a pig so that was the deal. So I upped the ante and I said you have to raise 1,000 dollars in pennies.”The entire Harmony Elementary School gathered outside Wednesday to see their principal kiss the pig.The students raised $1,000 dollars worth of pennies to go toward a new playground.David Chadbourne of Chadbourne Farm brought the pig.”I was just hoping he would be gentle with her. She’s not use to this. I told him he should have some flowers since its the first date, she should be given flowers.”The pig, sometimes called “pork chop,” made her entrance, bow and all. But not without putting up a fight. “pig grunting”Finally, the big moment. “Kissing”Tracy says the kids deserved this for all their hard work.”The students themselves, predominantly the K through 5 kids, have been really excited and really put a lot of work into this.”The Parents Teachers for Kids Group organized the entire fundraiser.President Tracy McKenney says she saw the need for a new playground when her daughter first started school.”And I just decided the playground was not a safe place for her to be playing. The slide was huge and I just didn’t like her going down the slide.”Tracy’s daughter, first-grader Caitlin McKenney, says her favorite part about the whole thing was seeing her principal dress up like a farmer.”Cuz he’s a farmer, he’s kissing a pig and he’s a farmer. Farmers always kiss pigs.”A fun fundraiser that got the children involved and left the principal saying there’s a first time for everything.”I have never kissed a pig before.”

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Peace Corps Recruiters in Bangor

Updated 5 years ago

Some Peace Corps recruiters were in Bangor today.The Peace Corps is approaching its fiftieth anniversary.There are nearly 200,000 voLunteers, 1,500 of those from Maine.Today they provided an informational session for anyone interested in joining.Recruiter Ed Dalton says it’s a big commitment, but he always gets great feedback. “Most people say that they’re very happy to have joined the peace corp. They enjoy the peace corps and almost everyone says they get a lot more out of it then they were able to give.”For more information, you can log onto

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No Moratorium on Grocery Store in Town Hill

Catherine Pegram

Updated 5 years ago

Voters in Bar Harbor have rejected a moratorium on large commercial development in the village of Town Hill, allowing a grocery store project to move forward.Hannaford Brothers wants to build a new store in Town Hill. It would be the second Hannaford grocery on Mount Desert Island.Some residents are worried the store would change the character of the village. More than 200 signatures were gathered on a petition calling for a six-month ban on such projects. But in a town vote yesterday, 55-percent of voters nixed the ban.The Bar Harbor planning director says Hannaford Brothers has not yet submitted an application for the project.

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