(Orono) – A University of Maine student faces charges after he placed a battery pack inside a microwave oven at a campus dormitory. The Fire Marshal’s office reports to Star 97.7 that 19-year old David Szucs is accused of criminal mischief and reckless conduct after Tuesday’s late night fire that filled Knox Hall with smoke. The fire destroyed the microwave. Szucs lives off campus in Burnham.
(Millinocket) – A 23-year old Millinocket man has died after a weekend shooting. State Police spokesman Steve McCausland reports to Star 97.7 that Cameron Pelkey died at a Bangor hospital after Sunday’s shooting. State troopers arrested 45-year old Jason Mulligan after the shooting and charged him with attempted murder. The Attorney General’s office is expected to elevate the charge now that the victim has died. Pelkey suffered a single gunshot wound according to the autopsy.
(Carmel) – Deputies in Penobscot County have arrested two men after a home owner reported a burglary in progress. The homeowner said he saw two men flee into the woods. Deputies were on scene in about 5-minutes and found a suspicious vehicle a short ways down the road. A search dog located one man on Route 2 and deputies located the 2nd man while questioning the first. Both 40-year old Fred Mason of Levant and 41-year old Joshua Smock of Charleston are charged with burglary.
(Kennebunkport) – Game wardens recovered a 71-year old man’s body in Kennebunkport yesterday. They’d been looking for Howard Lamson since family members reported him missing Sunday. Lamson suffered from dementia and the death is not considered suspicious. His body turned up about 3-quarters of a mile from his home on Oak Ridge Road in Kennebunkport.
(Blue Hill) Northern Light Health is ramping up their testing capabilities in Hancock County. Dr Mike Murnik says the big white tents outside the hospitals in Blue Hill and Ellsworth will soon be up and running. Dr Murnik says the closest testing tent already in operation is at Bass Park in Bangor.
Lobster Industry Impact
(Augusta) Patrick Kelleher, Director of the State’s Department of Marine Resources, issued a call for cooperation between fishermen and dealers during the pandemic. Kelliher said he did not have the authority to close the lobster fishery, but that he is working with Maine Governor Janet Mills to “fully understand what authorities may or may not exist.” Kelliher further called on harvesters and dealers to put aside any differences and actively communicate with each other about the realities of the market.
Domestic Violence Bill
(Augusta) Lawmakers gave final approval on Tuesday to a bill recognizing the jurisdiction of Maine tribes to prosecute domestic violence offenses committed on tribal lands. The bill restores the jurisdiction of Maine’s federally recognized Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indians who have committed certain misdemeanor domestic violence offenses on tribal land. That will allow Maine tribes to draw on federal funding available under the federal Violence Against Women Act. Experts say more than 80 percent of sexual assaults and 60 percent of physical assaults against native individuals are committed by non-natives, but many of the cases are never prosecuted.
Pen Bay Opens Respiratory Centers
(Rockport) Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast have established respiratory evaluation centers providing Covid-19 testing. The hospitals emphasize these centers are not walk-in testing centers. PBMC’s center is temporarily located in the building that was the Skin Center, with a tent set up as part of that facility. Waldo County’s center is temporarily located on Northport Avenue, also incorporating a tent. The hospitals say patients must have a referral from a provider in order to be evaluated or tested at these sites.
(Augusta) – New figures are due around noon-time today, but as of yesterday the number of confirmed and presumed positive Coronavirus cases in Maine has grown to 52. That’s up 10 from the previous day, and it includes the first Hancock County case. The Maine CDC says the bulk of the cases continue to be in Cumberland County. Increased testing is expected to see the number of confirmed cases to continue growing. Four Mainers were hospitalized with the virus that has led to emergency shutdowns and drastic isolation measures world wide.
(Ellsworth) Some relief for employees at Darling’s Chevrolet in Ellsworth. The car dealer posted on its FB page that the representative who visited the stores last week after being potentially exposed to the Coronavirus has tested negative for Covid-19. Darling’s says it’s both pleased and relieved with the news and grateful to customers for their concern and positive comments about their transparency.
(Augusta) – Some Day Care users have questioned whether their providers can continue to charge them if the centers are shut down. Attorney General Aaron Frey reports to Star 97.7 that it depends on whether providers have written agreements with clients. He says if the contract covers payment during emergency closures, the contract would stand. Frey says his office is not investigating actions by child care providers during the COVID-19 emergency.
(National) Congress is rushing to work out the details of a sweeping stimulus package that would help individuals and small businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. Under the proposed guidelines, adults would receive $1000 each, children $500 each, and families of four $3000. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen said once the proposal is finalized, the first set of checks would be directly deposited into citizens’ accounts on April 6th, with another round in mid-May. The stimulus would also funnel cash to businesses to help keep workers on payroll, as widespread sectors of the U.S. economy shut down.
(National) As the federal government ponders sending checks to citizens to help ease economic distress during the Covid-19 crisis, the Federal Trade Commission is warning of potential scams. The FTC reminds people the government will never ask you to pay anything up front to get the money if and when it is sent. They also will never call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number. The reports of checks aren’t yet a reality, so anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
(Augusta) Governor Janet Mills pressed the federal government to provide more Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, and testing supplies to the state of Maine. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, Mills urged the federal government to expedite the release of PPE from the government stockpile and requested a steady and reliable supply of testing materials as the state’s outbreak intensifies. Mills also asked for clarification as to what degree the federal government would consider the age of a state’s population as a factor in providing supplies, given that Maine has the oldest median age of any state in the nation.
(National) The Food and Drug Administration has lifted restrictions on the production of hand sanitizers by compounding pharmacies during the current health emergency. While the FDA emphasized washing hands for at least 20 seconds is the ideal, they acknowledged the shortage of hand sanitizers and the incidents of untrained consumers creating their own hand sanitizers that may not meet critical standards in response to the shortage. The FDA said it recognizes the importance of experts creating hand sanitizers that are safe and reliable for consumer use and use by health care personnel.
(Ellsworth) The City of Ellsworth reminds parents that with the kids out of school, it’s not necessarily a good idea to go to the playground. Park benches, playground equipment, and climbing areas are not sanitized daily, if at all. Of course, you do want kids to get outside, but experts say trail systems, Acadia National Park, and city green spaces, such as the City Forest in Bangor, are much better choices.
(Ellsworth) Shaw’s Supermarkets have joined the list of grocery chains adding special hours for seniors to shop. Stores will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 specifically for senior citizens and other at-risk individuals. The Ellsworth Walmart has new hours in response to the Coronavirus. Walmart announced on its FB page they will be open 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until further notice, and the Auto Care Center will be temporarily closed as of today (Thursday). The store will also host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday, starting March 24th.
Plastic Bag Ban Lifted
(Augusta) Maine’s single-use plastic bag ban, which was set to begin April 22nd, has been … “bagged” … at least for now. The decision is due in part to large packaging of emergency pandemic measures and a concern that reusables may pose more of a risk of spreading the virus. Governor Janet Mills announced a series of actions Tuesday that included delaying the ban until January 15, 2021. Maine’s decision comes as some large corporations like Starbucks have taken steps to temporarily halt accepting reusable containers from customers.
Virus and Visitors
(MDI) The Mount Desert Islander reports some seasonal residents are coming weeks or even months earlier than usual this year in an attempt to reduce their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. Plumbers are receiving calls to turn on the water in homes; and with kids out of school, summer residents are taking advantage of returning early. The number of those potentially returning early is not high, but the move has sparked concern among year-round residents, who have taken to social media to debate the pros and cons, including the limited resources of the healthcare system on the island, with some suggesting the returnees self-quarantine in their homes for two weeks.
(Ellsworth) The Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared”, and Troop 86 of Ellsworth is helping people do just that by partnering with Loaves and Fishes Food Bank to deliver food orders to those high-risk individuals who are unable to go to the food bank. Troop leader Michael Springer tells Star 977 the scouts wanted to do something to help during the pandemic, put their heads together, and came up with the idea. Starting Monday the 23rd, Troop 86 will be partnering with the local WalMart, Hannaford and Shaw’s stores for deliveries as well. The scouts will make the deliveries at no charge within a 10 mile radius. To make arrangements or to find out more, you can call Springer at 479-7948.
And just a side note on the Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes temporarily has no walk in service. Currently, people are asked to call the food bank, tell a volunteer what they want, the items are bagged and ready for pickup outside the shelter.
- Red Sox Ace pitcher Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery
- Celtics guard Marcus Smart has tested positive for Coronavirus
- The Los Angeles Rams have released running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews.