Lots of winter fun for disabled veterans at Sunday River in Newry over the weekend.Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation sponsored the ‘Veterans No Boundaries’ program.Vets took part in alpine skiing, snowmobiling, and the biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and target shooting. Two time Olympic athlete Kristina Sebas-tean-ski was on hand to help.”You get to fit right in and it is just wonderful when you come here and everyone else there is to support you,” said Justin Galipeau, a disabled veteran at the event. “So, even with every other organization I am with here in Maine, we are on the same level, there is no segregation.” The Veterans No Boundaries program is a four-day event that continued Sunday with more downhill skiing at Sunday River.
Gas prices took a big leap in Maine this past week.Mainegasprices.com says the average price shot up 14 cents and is now $3.70/gallon.The national average is $3.48/gallon.
A transportation official says a lift bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine that was out of commission for a few days last month is deteriorating at a steady pace. Douglas Gosling, director of bridge maintenance for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, tells the Portsmouth Herald, the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge should last until its replacement is completed in 2017. But he says he can’t guarantee that. The 73-year-old bridge connecting Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine, was shut down last month after its center span got stuck during a routine test. Gosling said the center span isn’t the biggest problem – it’s the rusting floor beams and supports.
A Maine resident who served as the inaugural poet at President Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in is giving a free poetry reading in Portland. Richard Blanco will appear Feb. 26 at Merrill Auditorium in Portland. Blanco drew wide praise for his inaugural poem, “One Today,” that paid homage to the American experience. Blanco grew up as a Cuban exile in New York City and Miami, and moved to the small Maine town of Bethel several years ago. He told the Portland Press Herald he’ll read several of his works, including his inaugural poem, at the Portland event. Admission is free, but tickets are required and are available beginning Monday through PortTix, the ticketing arm of Merrill Auditorium. The reading is being arranged by the Creative Portland Corp. nonprofit organization.
Police fired tear gas into a trailer in Jay to capture a man who had been on the run all weekend. The State Police tactical team entered the home at the Pine Haven Trailer Park at about 4 p.m. Sunday and found Michael Gatcomb hiding under the bathroom sink. Police feared he may have been armed, but he did not have a gun. The tear gas was used only after hours of attempts to reach Gatcomb in the trailer via bullhorn and cellphone failed. Authorities had been looking for Gatcomb since Friday when he fled a traffic stop on foot. He is currently on bail for felony theft and was wanted on several warrants, including domestic assault.
A new stamp goes on sale Monday to honor of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. February 4th marks what would have been her 100th birthday. She was arrested in 1955 in Alabama for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. Her act inspired thousands of people to join the civil rights movement.
Local fishermen say new quotas on cod will have a devastating impact on an already struggling business.Regulators drastically cut the catch limit on groundfish on Wednesday.The “New England Fishery Management Council” imposed a 77% reduction in the cod catch in the Gulf of Maine, and a 50% cut for cod caught in George’s Bank.Many fishermen say it means the end of their careers. “Probably most vessels will be out of business. We can’t survive. 70%, that’s ridiculous,” commented one fisherman.Scientists say the new catch limits are necessary to rebuild a severely depleted cod population.
A day long discussion on poverty took place at Thomas College on Friday.Panelists spoke to students, faculty and community members on a wide range of poverty-related topics.They spoke about poverty education in Maine and delved into the strengths and weaknesses of Maine’s safety net for the less fortunate.
Some Mainers still don’t have power after Thursday’s high winds. At its peak, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power because of the winds.Bangor Hydro now has less than a thousand customers without electricity, but we’re told some people will have to wait until Saturday to have power restored. Most of the outages remain in Penobscot county.Central Maine Power also is reporting fewer than a thousand customers still without power. CMP expects to restore all of it Friday evening.
Police in Livermore Falls are investigating three heating fuel thefts in the past few days. Chief Ernest Steward Jr. says two homes and a church have been hit. While just five and ten gallons of oil were stolen from the homes, about 100 gallons of kerosene were siphoned from an outside tank from the church. Kerosene sells for more than $4 per gallon. The theft was noticed by a delivery person who noticed a fuel stain the snow. Steward says all three incidents are under investigation. It is unclear whether they are related. The Sun Journal, reports that no surrounding towns have reported fuel thefts.
A new report says stress, anxiety and panic attacks are on the rise at many US high schools.Experts blame heightened school performance and troubles at home, made worse by a shaky economy.It has some schools trying new things to help students cope.Camden Hills Regional High School and Belfast High have turned some classrooms into wellness rooms staffed by volunteer professionals who offer massage therapy and other stress-reducing treatments for students, with their parents’ permission.
A Yarmouth man is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for Governor of Maine.Steve Woods filed paperwork today with the Maine Ethics Commission. He’s been a business leader and has worked in municipal government for thirty years.He says he plans on spending the next few months touring the state and speaking with folks.
Governor LePage has turned down a deal offered by the state’s wholesale liquor distributor.Maine Beverage would pay the state $320 million over ten years if the state would extend the contract without a bidding process.That company has held the wholesale liquor contract for the past decade, a contract that runs out next year.The governor believes the state can make more money putting the contract out to competitive bids.
The lawyer for a woman accused of using her dance studio in kennebunk as a front for prostitution is joining a supreme court fight over privacy violations.A judge threw out firty-six invasion of privacy counts against Mark Strong, Senior of Thomaston who’s accused of being a business partner of Alexis Wright who ran the dance studio.Prosecutors have asked the high court to re-instate those charges.Wright faces the same forty-six charges, and sixty others.Wright and Strong are accused of videotaping prostitution clients without their knowledge.The judge who dismissed the counts against Strong ruled that people engaged in criminal conduct don’t have the same privacy rights as others.
Police arrested an Augusta woman Thursday afternoon they say was involved in a pharmacy robbery in the city last week.Stephanie McCormick, 22, is charged with aiding and abetting the robbery at the CVS on Stone Street on January 22nd. Authorities said McCormick wrote part of a note which read, “Quickly and calmly put all oxycodone in bag. If not, I have a gun and will start shooting. No scene!” If convicted, she faces a 30 year prison sentence and fines up to $250,000.Anthony Post, 19, of Auburn, was arrested last week.The investigation continues.
A Maine firefighter who said she was attacked by two men who tried to abduct her is now facing charges because police say she made the whole thing up. Rachael Welsh of Gorham has been charged with filing a false report. The 22-year-old Welsh, a firefighter in Westbrook, told police two men in a pickup truck assaulted her on Dec. 23. She was even taken to the hospital to be treated for a cut and bruising. Police searched for the men based on her descriptions of them but became suspicious because of inconsistencies in her story. She was charged a few days after making her report. Police did not disclose a possible motive. She has been placed on paid administrative leave. She could not be reached for comment.
A monthlong series of forums seeking public opinion about the Maine lobster industry is drawing to a close. The 16th and final forum organized by the Department of Marine Resources is taking place Thursday in York. Throughout January, lobstermen and others with an interest in the state’s signature seafood have packed into meetings held in coastal towns along the Maine coast. Commissioner Patrick Keliher and DMR staff attended the meetings in search of ideas about the harvest, prices, marketing, Maine’s relationship with Canada and the lobster licensing system. DMR officials will analyze the information they received before deciding how to proceed. Maine’s lobster industry was thrown into turmoil last summer when a lobster glut caused prices to plunge. Preliminary numbers show last year’s harvest totaled a record 123 million pounds.
A Connecticut man has been convicted in Maine of wire fraud for a real estate scheme. Federal prosecutors say 65-year-old Peter DiRosa of Manchester, Conn., and an associate solicited $600,000 from an elderly retiree in Kennebunk and said the money would be used as collateral for a loan to buy land in Hungary. Court records say after the money was sent to Hungary, $225,000 was transferred to bank account under DiRosa’s control. The U.S. Attorney’s office says DiRosa and his associate also lied about individuals allegedly affiliated with the real estate venture and about its projected financial success. DiRosa was convicted on Wednesday after a three day trial. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 as well as paying back the money.
A new report shows how many people in our state are suffering economically.The corporation of Enterprise Development reports 14.6% of Mainers live in poverty.46.4% have less than three months of savings to fall back on, and 23% are asset poor, meaning the assets they do have, such as a car or home, are overwhelmed by debt.
The city of Portland will count the number of its homeless residents. With the help of local, state and federal partners, Maine’s largest city will be searched Wednesday evening to determine how many men, women and children are homeless. Point-in-Time surveys of those people will help identify who is homeless, what factors led to becoming homeless, and what can the city and state do to prevent homelessness. Teams will conduct the surveys at one of the seven shelters within the city and search a number of outdoor locations to try and locate individuals living on the streets. The Point in Time Survey is a federal Housing and Urban Development requirement for certain funding. Portland receives $3.1 million from HUD for employment assistance, job training, supportive housing development and emergency shelters.