(Undated) – The predictions a few days ago brought an expectation of a foot or possibly more of snow starting today. That changed. The storm moving in this morning will drop an inch or two along the coast before mixing with rain and changing to all rain. Another round moves in tonight, again with a mix and change over. Total snow accumulation may be only 4-inches or so. School is open throughout Downeast Maine this morning.
(Ellsworth) – County Commissioners in Hancock County have opted to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous People Day. The Ellsworth American reports the move came over an objection from Sheriff Scott Kane who said that union contracts specifically refer to Columbus Day as being a paid holiday. A handful of communities in Maine have made the holiday name change to honor Native Americans.
Bus Driver Shortage
(Swanville) – They didn’t have school in the Waldo County town of Swanville. It wasn’t weather – it was a lack of bus drivers. RSU 71 closed the Nickerson Elementary School, but kept school open at the Troy Howard School in Belfast and at Belfast High School. Students at those schools had to find their own rides from Swanville. The RSU has a shortage of substitute bus drivers. School officials around New England say it’s a problem. Low pay, low unemployment, a lack of benefits, and difficult licensing have contributed to the driver shortage.
Meth Busts & a Death
(Indian Island/Bucksport) – The methamphetamine problem persists in Maine, and the past weekend brought that to light. A 38-year old woman’s death on Indian Island led Penobscot Nation Police to a meth making operation. They called in the Drug Enforcement Agency which removed the meth making materials on Saturday. The next day, drug agents responded to a Bucksport home where police had received a disturbance complaint. Agents gingerly removed more meth making items and charged 28-year old Megan Patten with drug crimes. The DEA had responded to the same house in November.
Alleged Killer in Court
(South Paris) More details about the double murder in South Paris last week after the accused killer made his first court appearance. 49-year-old Mark Penley is held without bond for allegedly shooting his ex-girlfriend Heather Bickford and her boyfriend Dana Hill to death. The Bangor Daily News reports court documents say 31-year-old Bickford was in fear for her life up to the very day she was killed. Penley allegedly entered her apartment on January 1st and killed the couple, then called 9-1-1. Police arrived to find Penley holding Bickford’s infant child and her 8-year-old on the couch.
Accused Murderer Pleads Insanity
(Farmington) A man from Jay charged with killing his girlfriend goes on trial this week. James Sweeney is using an insanity defense and has waived a jury trial, so a judge will hear evidence in the trial. Sweeney is charged with the 2017 killing of 51-year-old Wendy Douglas. Police say Sweeney killed Douglas while she slept in her home. Investigators believe a baseball bat found in Douglas’ home was used in the killing. Sweeney, who is deaf, turned himself in after the death and gave police a note saying he hurt his girlfriend but not admitting to her murder.
Eagle Shooter Sought
(Waterford) Maine Operation Game Thief is offering up to a thousand-dollar reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person who shot and injured an eagle in Waterford. Wardens responded to Papoose Pond in Waterford the day after Christmas but failed to capture the injured bird. Days later wardens returned to the same area and successfully captured the bird and brought it to Avian Haven in Freedom. An X-ray showed the eagle had 6 shotgun pellets lodged in its jaw, wing and leg. The bird died December 30th. Anyone with information is urged to call Maine Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US.
(York) An Aroostook County man pulled over on the Maine Turnpike in York was allegedly transporting 40-grams of heroin. State police stopped the vehicle Sunday as 43-year-old Damon Fagan was traveling north. Fagan is charged with Aggravated Trafficking and Violating Release Conditions, as well as Operating After Suspension.
Plant-based Diet Workshop
(Ellsworth) A prominent figure in Ellsworth who began his transition to a plant-based lifestyle 5 years ago will share his story and experience with the public. Ellsworth city council chair Marc Blanchette has lost 184 pounds and maintains his health and weight with exercise and a diet of grains, fruits, beans and vegetables. Blanchette will demonstrate how simple and affordable it is to cook and eat a plant-based diet and he’ll also dispel myths and break stereotypes. His workshop is tomorrow evening (on 1/9) at 6 at the Ellsworth Public Library.
Mills – Legal Team
(Augusta) Bangor lawyer Aaron Frey is taking over as Maine’s attorney general and says he’ll work with other state attorneys general on litigation. Attorney General Frey replaces Democrat Janet Mills, the state’s new governor. Frey says he’ll explore joining multi-state lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry and its moves to market highly addictive drugs.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is naming the president of Maine’s community colleges system as her top legal counsel. Mills said Monday that Maine Community College System President Derek Langhauser will serve as chief legal counsel and Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda Pistner will serve as deputy legal counsel. Langhauser has served as counsel for both former Maine Republican Gov. John McKernan and former Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
- Clemson 44 Alabama 16 (National College Football Championship)
- Boston Celtics 116 Brooklyn Nets 95
- The Bruins host Minnesota tonight.
High School Basketball
Ellsworth defeats Washington Acad.
Bangor 60 Edward Little 46
Jonesport Beals 83 DI/Stonington 65
Belfast 50 Waterville 48
Woodland 48 Machias 35
George Stevens 64 Lee Academy 12
Calais 76 Bucksport 40
Bangor 45 Edward Little 34
DI/Stonington 67 Jonesport Beals 50
Narraguagus 61 Shead 38
Penobscot Valley 54 Searsport 25
Waterville 50 Belfast 25
Woodland 89 Machias 28