Virus – Maine
(Orono) – No one in Maine has yet to test positive for the new coronavirus, but several colleges are not taking any chances. The University of Maine system says campuses will close down on March 22nd, and spring semester courses will only be offered on-line. Bowdoin College in Brunswick is taking a similar approach. The sports conference that Bowdoin, Bates and Colby play in has canceled its spring sports season as well.
(Augusta) – Just over two years ago then-Governor Paul LePage ordered the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport closed and abruptly moved prisoners to other facilities in the middle of the night. The facility remains closed, and now lawmakers, who’ve voted to reopen the prison, will wait for a strategic plan for all of the Department of Corrections. WVII-TV reports funding to reopen the Machiasport prison was approved, but no facility has yet opened, and likely won’t until the study is complete.
MMA – Bucksport
(Bucksport) – Maine Maritime Academy has opened its new training center in Bucksport, and students started attending classes last week. The Bangor Daily News reports Governor Janet Mills toured the facility at the former Verso Paper Mill site yesterday. The facility will see about 900-students use the campus in the next year – 400 from the Castine school campus and another 500-maritime professionals who require continuing education and certification.
(Augusta) – Maine’s Secretary of State is urging residents to utilize on line services for motor vehicles transactions. Most communities offer rapid renewal service to register cars and trucks, and many driver license services can be taken care of on-line. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap reports to Star 97.7 that motor vehicle branches remain open and staffed, but a lot of the services are also offered on-line.
Great Harbor Shootout
(SW Harbor) Junior high and high school basketball players from all over Maine gather in Hancock County this weekend to compete in the Great Harbor House Shootout. Harbor House spokesperson Diana Novella tells Star 97-7 that more than 80 teams will play games in 6 different locations starting tomorrow through Sunday. Novella says it takes about 100 volunteers to make the Great Harbor Shootout possible.
Foreign $ Ballot Q’s
(Augusta) — The Maine Legislature is deciding whether to stop foreign corporations from spending money to influence state elections. The bill that had a public hearing Wednesday came in response to Hydro Quebec’s spending in support of a power transmission corridor to bring hydropower from Quebec through Maine to the new power grid. The company has spent thousands of dollars in support of the project, which is now subject to a state referendum. The bill’s sponsor says foreign money is currently barred from federal elections and from state elections involving candidates, but there’s no such prohibition on foreign spending in state ballot questions.
Dig Safe Law Intensifies
(Augusta)— A bill in response to a fatal explosion that is designed to make digging in Maine more safe has passed the state’s Legislature. The Maine Legislature approved Democratic Rep. Seth Berry’s proposal to include liquefied propane gas lines in the state’s “Dig Safe” laws on Tuesday. The new law stems from an explosion last year at the LEAP Inc. building in Farmington. The blast killed a firefighter and injured six others and a building supervisor. Danielle Bell Flannery, whose father, Fire Capt. Michael Bell, died in the explosion, testified in favor of the bill.
Mud Season-Carriage Roads
(Acadia Nat’l Park) It’s mud season, and that means the carriage roads inside Acadia National Park are closed to all users beginning today. Warmer weather and wet conditions have softened the carriage roads and made them susceptible to damage. Walking, bicycling, and riding horses on the carriage roads under the current conditions can cause ruts and potholes that will channel water and intensify erosion. The National Park Service encourages visitors to enjoy Acadia’s hiking trails and the Park Loop Road, which is closed to motor vehicles until April 15th.
Two Men Sought
(Local) Maine State Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for two men from the greater Downeast and Northern Maine region. They say 26-year-old Jared Foster of Danforth and 44-year-old Jason Lavasseur of the Danforth-Houlton area have 4 active arrest warrants. Anyone who knows of their whereabouts is asked to call the State Police barracks in Bangor.
New MEMA Director
(Augusta) Governor Janet Mills has sworn in the new director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Peter Rogers has served as acting director since June and deputy director since 2014. His nomination was approved unanimously by the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety and the Maine Senate.
Birthday Cake Contest
(Ellsworth) A birthday cake-making contest is planned this weekend during Ellsworth Winter Carnival in honor of Maine’s 200th birthday. Participants who have already registered will bring their 100% edible entries to the former J&B Atlantic building on Main Street to be judged by a panel AND by spectators on Sunday. Attendees pay $5 admission and get to taste all the cakes in the contest. For details or to learn about other Winter Carnival events visit: Ellsworth 200 dot Com.
- The NBA has put it’s season on hold indefinitely as a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus.
- The NCAA Men’s and women’s basketball playoffs will not allow fans at games due to fear of the spread of coronavirus.
- The NESCAC conference which includes Colby, Bates and Bowdoin College has canceled its spring sports season.
- Boston Red Sox 3 Tampa Bay Rays 1 (Sox have scheduled day off today)
- The Red Claws lose to Delaware 113 to 92
- Former Ellsworth High School basketball star John Edes has died in Rhode Island. Edes was part of the state champion teams in the mid 50’s and is in the New England basketball hall of fame. He was 83.