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.
A Connecticut man has been arrested in connection with the robbery at TD Banknorth in Bangor Monday.30-year-old Lawrence Mark Sullivan was arrested Thursday at a motel in Weathersfield, CT.Police say he had robbed a bank in that town earlier this month.An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the TD Banknorth on Union St. during Monday’s robbery.There was a federal warrant for Sullivan’s arrest, Bangor police say they worked with Bangor FBI field agents to bring the case together.Officials say lots of credit goes to the quality of the video in TD Banknorth’s Bangor branch, and help from citizens.
Dancing is a great way to get some energy out, and get your creative juices flowing. That’s the idea behind a program sponsored by Community Health and Counseling.It’s called Dance, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, and it’s being taught in seven schools throughout the area including at Hermon Elementary School. Once a week dance instructor Tom McGary stops by to teach the kids the latest dance moves and some oldies but goodies.It’s part of a program by Community Health and Counseling. Coordinator Karen Hartnagle says the goal is to get the kids moving in a positive direction in their lives. “What we’re looking for is to really build that resilience and self esteem and one of the things that I think is if they learn to respect themselves and what they’re capable of doing down the road, they’re less likely to harm themselves with drugs, alcohol or something like that.””It’s really a new experience”, says one student, but one that brings smiles to the kids faces.”I didn’t expect it to be this fun.” That’s a common reaction for a lot of the boys when they start.”The boys the first class they may be a little reluctant but a soon as they realize how athletic it is, they just take right to it”, says instructor Tom McGary.They learn everything from hip hop, and improv to ballet, and you won’t hear a complaint from the kids.”We just dance and have fun. He teaches us to be creative. Mr. Tom is a great instructor”Each child walks away with their own lessons learned.”I like the educational parts like we get to learn a lot of our muscles like the abdominal, the biceps, the triceps”But they all get the message, that they’re talented, because there are no mistakes in this class, and there’s no competition. It’s not about being the best, it’s about trying their best.McGary says, “This class allows every child to shine. They don’t have to be the jock and they don’t have to be the smartest kid in class”The class will be putting on dance performances next month for their school mates and their parents.The dance classes are funded completely through donations and grants, so it’s always a struggle to find the funding.The class is currently taught in seven schools, but CHCS is looking to expand.To get more information about the class, contact Karen Hartnagle at 947-0366 extension 451 or e-mail or at email@example.com
About 4 tons of junk were collected at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor Friday. Employees of the hospital were invited to drop off all their electronic waste for free.That included lots of T-V’s, computers, printers and cell phones. Those items can contain harmful chemicals like mercury and lead. All of it was hauled away to be recycled.Ray Johnson, EMMC Environmental, Health and Safety Officer says offering this service for their employees, was their way of being kind to the environment. “We believe we need to get our employees more involved with our environment and to be environmentally friendly, and this certainly was one way we could show the community that we are looking to be greener.”The same company that was collecting the e-waste at EMMC will be doing so Saturday at the Bangor Mall.So folks are invited to drop off all their unwanted electronic equipment at the Mall near Sears from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM.This service is also be free.
The out-going president of Husson University will soon have a building named after him. The Husson Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the newest building on campus, the Beardsley Meeting House.That will honor Dr. William Beardsley. He announced he’s stepping down as president of the Bangor college in December after 22 years on the job.Beardsley says it’s a wonderful honor and he’s touched. The Chairman of the Board says it’s a well deserved recognition. The grand opening and official naming of the Beardsley Meeting House will be held during Homecoming in October.
When troops return from overseas, it’s always a joyous occasion.But for one soldier, the homecoming was especially happy because of the generosity of folks across the country.’My name is Sandy. I am the dog that you helped rescue from the pits of Afghanistan.’ That’s how Sergeant Eric Pierce started his thank you letter to everyone that helped him bring his dog home. Pierce met Sandy when he was stationed overseas.”We were out on a mission one day and we found a couple of stray dogs. We decided to bring them back to the post with us.” Says Pierce.Over the next six months, the soldiers grew close to the dogs. “When we’d get back from missions, we’d all be fighting all day long. Come back and, don’t really want to sit there and talk to the guy that you been fighting with all day. We had the dogs to help comfort us.” Pierce explains.But the soldiers were told they wouldn’t be able to take the dogs back to the U-S. “So we dropped them off down the road, about 20 kilometers down the road, and my company commander said if one of the dogs made it back to the base, that he would pay to have him shipped back.” Says Pierce.One dog made it back, and the commander made good on his word. Sandy made it back a few days later, so Pierce decided to rescue her, but he didn’t have the 29-hundred dollars to do it. Maddie Pierce, Eric’s mother, says “I tried raising the money on my own and I had raised 650 dollars from friends and family, who were very eager to help, but it wasn’t enough.”So she decided to put an article in the newspaper asking for donations.”The day it hit the newspaper, we had already reached our goal.” she explains.”We had an overwhelming outpouring of support from folks from all over the states.” Pierce says.They ended up raising 24-thousand dollars. Pierce and his mother are very grateful and would like to send a message to all of those supporters.”We’d just like to say thank you to everybody that helped out with the donations to support the troops and support animal rescue.”The rest of the money is being donated to animal shelters, including the Lucky Pup Rescue in Kennebunk, the Skowhegan Animal Shelter, and the Tigger House in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Time is running out to get your travel documents in order before new regulations take effect.Starting June first, you’ll have to have a passport or passport card to cross the Maine/Canadian border.Staffers from the National Passport Center in New Hampshire were in Bangor Friday, helping folks get ready for the transition.They answered questions about the new passport card, and helped Mainers fill out passport applications, so they’ll be ready when the changes go into effect.< "maine has a very long border and it has a history of people going back and forth across the border...and we want to make sure everyone's prepared when this regulation takes effect as of june one.">For more information on the new requirements, visit the department of state…at www.travel.state.gov
While most teens spent their school vacation week relaxing or hanging out with friends, one group of dedicated students spent their time off getting up at the crack of dawn and pushing themselves to the limit.They attended the Maine Wing “airman Academy,” run by the Civil Air Patrol.Amy Erickson was at today’s graduation ceremony.”I had lots of fun.”This wasn’t Max Hutchins’ usual April vacation.Instead of playing video games or hanging out with his friends, he spent the week at the Air National Guard base as a cadet in the Airman Academy.About two dozen kids, ages 12 to 19, took part in the program, which helps them learn and mature…and explore future career opportunities. “It also gives them a good introduction to how the program works as far as how to set up a military room, a military bed, learning how to drill together as a flight and instilling some of the character values we’re looking for. Integrity, honor, self-discipline…those types of things.”Lori Renzullo is the Academy’s commander.She says the difference she sees in the cadets after only a few days is remarkable. “they’ll have a great more self respect them for themselves and they’ll leave here knowing they’ve accomplished something that was hard and that took a lot from themselves. We moved them out of their comfort zone and made sure they really pushed themselves this week.” “I hope to get lots of rank and get to major general.”Like many of the cadets in the program, 12-year-old Kimberly Plummer has military aspirations. “Because it gives me more discipline and even though there’s a lot of yelling…it helps me be more organized.””I would like to join the air force.”This was Max Hutchins’ first time in the program. He says it’s given him a good foundation for military life. “I learned a lot of respect for higher ranks.” “learned more drilling, which is a lot of teamwork.” “It was hard, but well worth it.”Renzullo says she’s impressed with the maturity these young cadets have shown this week. “they give up their school vacation, that coveted time off from school, to take classes, get up at 5 am and do physical training and drill. It shows a real high level of dedication to the program.”Amy Erickson, WABI TV5 News, Bangor.>