Gravel Pit Denied
(Lamoine) – A sizable gravel mining operation in Lamoine won’t get bigger for now. The Maine Supreme Court sided with a citizens group that opposed the proposed expansion of Harold MacQuinn Incorporated’s current 33-acre gravel operation to more than 100-acres. The town’s Planning Board had initially denied the expansion permit, but the town’s Appeals Board overturned the denial. A citizen’s group took the Appeals Board decision to court, and the high court upheld a lower court ruling denying the permit this week.
(Windham) – After an inmate at the Maine Correction Center in Windham tested positive for Coronavirus, prison officials had inmates and workers tested. By yesterday 148 tests were back – all negative. Corrections Department officials report to Star 97.7 they hope to have the other 39-test results back today. The prisoner who is in his 20s was immediately isolated after showing symptoms of the virus during the weekend.
(Bangor) The City of Bangor has ordered homeless camps along the Bangor Waterfront removed by tomorrow. Shelters, such as the Hope House, are working to find housing for displaced persons, although there are no easy answers to the issue of homelessness. There are, however, individuals like Shannon Denbow and Robert Kearns who take the plight of the homeless to heart. Denbow tells Star 97.7 they prepare the meals themselves, and depend on donations and, often, money from their own pockets to help those down on their luck.
Inmates Unemployment Ended
(Augusta) – Governor Janet Mills has ordered an end to allowing inmates to receive unemployment benefits. The Portland Press Herald reports Department of Corrections inmates who have been laid off from work-release programs have been receiving unemployment benefits for several weeks, due to the pandemic. Those benefits have included the $600 additional weekly benefits provided under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. In a letter to Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty, the Governor said she found the payments to be appalling and bad public policy and further stated she did not believe it was the intent of the Legislature or the Congress to allow inmates to receive such benefits.
Liquor License Reinstated
(Bethel) – A Bethel restaurant owner whose licenses were suspended for defying Governor Mills’ order and opening early says his licenses have been restored. WABI-TV reports Rick Savage posted on the Sunday River Brewing Company’s FB page they will resume serving alcohol yesterday. When Savage announced the restaurant’s opening on May 1st, people waited in long lines to dine in at the eatery, and did so again the following week, in spite of Sunday Rivers’ licenses being revoked. Restaurants in 12 Maine counties, including Oxford, where the restaurant is located, were allowed to open to dine-in customers, with restrictions, on Monday.
Dunlap on Voting
(Augusta) Secretary Of State Matt Dunlap says he’s recommending absentee voting in the July 14th primary because of concerns surrounding COVID-19. Dunlap posted a YouTube video this week saying in-person voting is still an option, but he encouraged voters to be cautious. Voters can ask for an absentee ballot for this election up to and even on Election Day. Ballots will be mailed out in mid June and must be returned to your town clerk no later than 8 p.m. on July 14th, with the safest option being to return ballots by mail.
Maine DOT Changes
(Kittery) – If you plan to travel near the Piscataqua River I-95 bridge this Memorial Day weekend, the Maine Department of Transportation has some good news. Beginning Thursday (May 21st) at 2 p.m., all three lanes of travel will be open in each side of the bridge and will remain open through the holiday weekend and on successive weekends through June 16th. Lane restrictions may happen during the week throughout those dates. After June 16th, lane restrictions will only happen overnight for the rest of the summer. The Maine DOT reminds drivers to stay alert and use caution when driving in construction zones.
Ellsworth Chamber Zoom
(Ellsworth) – Reopening and revamping businesses under the new COVID-19 guidelines can be confusing, and the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce knows retailers, restaurants and others have questions. Chamber Executive Director Gretchen Wilson tells Star 97.7, Attorney Anne-Marie Storey from Rudman Winchell will be on hand to discuss the legalities of issues such as personal protection, workplace accommodations, waivers and more during a Zoom meeting to be held today at 3 p.m. Contact the Ellsworth Chamber for a link to the meeting.
(Eastport) – A cruise ship stranded by the pandemic in Eastport may have to spend a few more months at the northern Maine port. Operators of the 750-foot MS Riviera want the vessel to remain in Eastport for the summer. The Port Authority of Eastport approved the plan, but Governor Janet Mills on Wednesday asked the Eastport City Council to weigh in. The ship is not carrying passengers, and the captain says the 100 crew members would stay on board the ship.
(Augusta) Maine saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases as the CDC reported another 78 cases Wednesday. Maine CDC director Dr Nirav Shah says that’s not a surprise as the state has more than tripled its original testing capacity. Maine now stands at 73 deaths, 449 active cases and 187 probable cases of COVID-19. One-thousand-110 Mainers have fully recovered from the illness.
Bald Eagle killed by Loon
BRIDGTON, Maine (AP) – Wildlife officials say a bald eagle died last year in Maine after being stabbed through the heart by a loon. The Bangor Daily News reports a biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently got word about the July 2019 attack. The evidence showed no gun residue but indicated that the big bird had been stabbed through the heart by the beak of a loon. The biologist believes the loon’s attack was a result of its attempt to protect its chick from the bird. The attack appears to be the first recorded wherein a loon has killed an eagle.
- Maine’s annual Lobster Bowl football game is canceled this summer due to Coronavirus
- The Patriots have now signed all of their draft picks. The final signing yesterday was defensive back and punt returner Kyle Duggar
- Denny Hamlin won yesterday’s NASCAR race at Darlington in a rain shortened event.