11 Indicted in Pot Scheme (Western Maine)  A federal grand jury has indicted all but one of a dozen people with pending charges related to an alleged $13 million dollar illegal marijuana operation that ran from 2016 to July 2020 in Western Maine.  The Bangor Daily News reports the indictments include former law enforcement officers, […]

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Local News 11/11/21

11 Indicted in Pot Scheme

(Western Maine)  A federal grand jury has indicted all but one of a dozen people with pending charges related to an alleged $13 million dollar illegal marijuana operation that ran from 2016 to July 2020 in Western Maine.  The Bangor Daily News reports the indictments include former law enforcement officers, a current police officer, a former Rangeley Selectman and others accused of participating in an operation to cultivate and sell the plant, in violation of Maine’s medical marijuana laws. 

Veterans Most Likely to be Scammed

(Portland)  A new AARP report says veterans, military, and their families are nearly 40% more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population.  Additionally, 4 out of 5 military/veteran adults were targeted by scams directly related to their military service or the benefits they receive.  Operation Protect Veterans is a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that helps protect Maine’s 127,000 military veterans and active duty service members against fraud.  Find measures to prevent scams at AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

Fans Plead for Normal Winter Sports Season

(Ellsworth)  They were cheering, crying, and applauding in the stands Tuesday in Ellsworth – but it wasn’t a sporting event.  Rather, the Ellsworth American reports parents, fans, and student athletes were petitioning for a more normal winter sports season, without masks for fans.  Superintendent Dan Higgins said he empathized and that superintendents statewide are in talks with the Maine Principals’ Association, the governing body for school sports. Higgins said the intent is to have a season and have it safely and keep schools open.

Infrastructure Bill Will Benefit Maine

(Washington, DC)  Passage of President Biden’s infrastructure bill likely means nearly $2.4 billion dollars to help address a backlog of work on highways, bridges, water and sewer pipes, and other physical structures on which Mainers rely daily.  The Portland Press Herald reports the infrastructure funding also includes at least a hundred million dollars for broadband internet expansion, $19 million for vehicle charging stations, and more than $230 million dollars for public transportation.

Warming Winters Affect Winter Sports

(Maine)  We may be loving this warm weather for now, but could warming winters lead to a Maine without ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and dog sledding?  According to a report in the Bangor Daily News, all these sports have suffered over the past few years as our winters grow milder.  Small towns especially count on those winter recreation dollars, with a 2020 University of Maine study showing the contribution of snowmobiling alone to Maine’s economy was more than 600 million dollars.

Mainers to Receive Disaster Relief

(Augusta)  The check’s in the mail – more than 500 thousand working Maine people will receive Disaster Relief Payments of $285, beginning Monday.  The one-time payments will be issued automatically to individuals who lived full time in Maine and who earned wages within the 2020 tax year of less than $75 thousand.  The payments are the result of a bipartisan budget deal for those who continued to show up to work during the pandemic last year and will come in the mail in the form of paper checks.

Lucerne Inn Arrest

(Dedham)  Deputies from Hancock and Waldo Counties responded to the Lucerne Inn Tuesday night in an attempt to locate a man with a temporary warrant for allegedly violating both a protection order and his bail. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department reports to Star 97.7 when they arrived at the inn about 11 p.m., 41 yo Timothy Mello fled on foot.  He was later located and arrested.  Mello is charged with Refusing to Submit to Arrest and Criminal Mischief. He was taken into custody by Waldo County on the initial charges.

EPL Offers End-of-Year Book Talk

(Ellsworth)  If you’re always looking for the next great book to read, mark your calendar for the Ellsworth Public Library’s December 1st End-of-the-Year book talk.  The talk will feature recommendations from all genres by Library staff, both fiction and non-fiction and will focus on books published in 2021.  Participants in the 3 p.m. virtual talk will be eligible to receive Advance Reader Copies of upcoming titles, courtesy of Blue Hill Books.  Visit the library’s website to register.

Vaccination Rate Nears 100% in Healthcare Workers

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday said 97.7 percent of Maine healthcare workers were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 at the end of October.  DHHS also issued a final rule that now adds COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations required of designated healthcare facility workers.

Mills Administration Invests in Seafood Dealers

(Augusta)  Maine seafood dealers and processors will benefit from a $10 million dollar investment in federal funds to upgrade their infrastructure through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.  The program will launch early next year and will be administered through the Maine Department of Marine Resources.  The Mills Administration says the funds will help seafood dealers upgrade buildings, equipment and utilities to help them increase the supply of  Maine-harvested seafood.

Maine Farmers Receive Mental Health Assistance

(Augusta)  Farmers across the state of Maine are set to receive $500 thousand dollars in USDA funding to provide stress assistance and mental health resources.  The pandemic, droughts, supply chain disruptions, and labor challenges have created heightened levels of stress in the agricultural community, according to DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal.  The project will begin next month and will provide direct service for farmers in immediate need and referrals to mental health counseling as needed.  Contact the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, andForestry for more information.

Measles Comeback

(Gray News)  More than 22 million infants around the world missed their first dose of the measles vaccine during the pandemic, with the CDC reporting major measles outbreaks in 26 countries in 2020.  WABI-TV reports officials with the World Health Organization say it’s critical countries vaccinate against COVID-19, but routine immunizations must be protected so the world doesn’t trade one deadly disease for another.

Funding for Potato Research

(Washington, DC)  When it comes to potatoes, Idaho has nothing on Maine.  Now the University of Maine has received more than $500 thousand dollars to conduct research on potato breeding in Maine.  It’s not as racy as it sounds – the research will help to improve the potato’s resistance to extreme weather and other stressors to ensure the industry remains strong.  It could also help develop new potato varieties with improved heat tolerance and increased resistance to pests and disease.  Bring on the French fries.

Red Cross Warns Flu Season Could Further Impact Donations

(Bangor)  The American Red Cross warns a potential spike in flu cases this year could further strain already critical shortages in blood supplies.  Donors are urged to give now to combat the lowest levels of blood supplies seen in more than a decade.  There is no waiting period for those who have received a COVID vaccine or flu shot.  To schedule an appointment, visit Red Cross Blood dot org.

Emmaus Seeks Thanksgiving Donations

(Ellsworth)  Just a quick reminder the Emmaus Homeless Shelter is accepting donations to help fill the need for Thanksgiving baskets.  Last year, the shelter provided 300 families with Thanksgiving food boxes, and just $20 fills  one of those boxes with turkey or ham, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, potatoes, pie and more.  Checks can be sent toP.O. Box 811, Ellsworth.  The last day to sign up for Thanksgiving if you are in need is November 17th.

Northern Light Goes Digital With Vaccine Cards

(Ellsworth)  Worried about losing that “proof of vaccination” card?  Northern Light announced Wednesday it will make the cards available digitally.  The so-called “SMART” Health Card can be accessed through the Northern Light Health patient portal by anyone who received their vaccine through the Northern Light system.

Dog Photos with Santa

(Trenton)  Christmas has gone to the dogs at the SPCA of Hancock County in Trenton!  On Sunday, November 21st, come get your picture taken with your precious pup and Santa Claus.  Photos are by appointment only, and will be available between 9:30 and 2:30 on the 21st.  Each photo session is $20, with proceeds benefiting the SPCA of Hancock County.  Registration details available at s p c a hancock county dot org.

Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services

(Augusta)  The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services reminds you they serve as the state’s advocates for veterans and their families.  Seven field offices, including offices in Bangor and Machias, are staffed with specially trained Veterans’ Services officers who can assist with connection to the VA and state benefits.  They also can assist with veterans’ identification, connection to employment, education and advocacy for those who are homeless or facing legal issues.  Field offices can be reached at maine b v s at maine dot gov.

Free Acupuncture for Healthcare Professionals

(Ellsworth)  Healthcare professionals can register for one or more free acupuncture sessions at Healthy Acadia’s INSPIRE Recovery Center.  The services are offered in the hopes healthcare professionals will see the potential of acupuncture to help those in recovery and be able to help spread the word about it and become certified in the near future.  Sessions are offered on Monday, November 15th and Thursday, November 18th.  Visit healthy acadia dot org for more information.

Sports

 

  • The Celtics defeat the Raptors 104-88. Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks Friday.
  • The Bruins are home tonight to face the Houston Oilers

National News

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — F.W. de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela and as South Africa’s last apartheid president oversaw the end of the country’s white minority rule, has died at the age of 85. The F.W. de Klerk Foundation confirmed  Thursday the former president died after a battle against cancer at his home in the Fresnaye area of Cape Town. It was de Klerk who in a speech to South Africa’s parliament on Feb. 2, 1990, announced that Mandela would be released from prison after 27 years, electrifying a country that for decades had been scorned and sanctioned by much of the world for its brutal system of racial discrimination known as apartheid.