Versant Programming (Orono)  Next month, NASA will launch a brand new space telescope.  Shawn Laatsch (LAWtch – rhymes with “scotch”), Director of the Versant Power Planetarium on the University of Maine campus, tells Star 97.7, this Saturday, they’ll have special activities for all ages to celebrate the amazing new space technology.  (((Planet 5  “…and some […]

Star 97.7 - Smooth Rock n' Roll Local News 11/15/21 - Star 97.7
409 High Street - P.O. Box 1171 - Ellsworth, ME 04605 - Phone: 207-667-0002 Fax: 207-667-0627

Local News 11/15/21

Versant Programming

(Orono)  Next month, NASA will launch a brand new space telescope.  Shawn Laatsch (LAWtch – rhymes with “scotch”), Director of the Versant Power Planetarium on the University of Maine campus, tells Star 97.7, this Saturday, they’ll have special activities for all ages to celebrate the amazing new space technology.  (((Planet 5  “…and some special presentations in the Dome.” :16)))  Activities are happening from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Planetarium … and that’s this Saturday, November 20th.

Lunar Eclipse

(Undated)  If skies are clear, Mainers will join sky watchers around the world in viewing the longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years this Friday.  The eclipse will occur in the predawn hours on November 19th, with maximum eclipse at 4:03 a.m. when 97% of the moon will be eclipsed.  Look high in the western sky for the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years.

Dental Workers Excluded from Vaccine Mandate

(Augusta)  The final COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers released last week excludes employees at dental practices and emergency medical service workers.  But although EMT’s are now exempt under the STATE rule, the Maine EMS Board has decreed its own rule, in effect until November 21st, which still requires emergency medical service workers to be fully vaccinated.  The mandate has created a critical shortage of EMT’s, especially in some of the state’s smaller towns and more rural areas .  A public hearing is set for November 22nd and 23rd via Zoom to further consider the EMS Board’s rule.

Kids Vaccinations

(Maine)  More than 3000 Maine children ages 5-11 got their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first week after it received federal approval.  About half those shots were administered in Cumberland County.  The number represents about 3% of the state’s 5-11 year olds.

Blue Hill Public Library Young Readers Program

(Blue Hill)  The Blue Hill Public Library has a lofty goal for very young readers…a thousand books before kindergarten. Kids receive a prize for every 100 books they read with anyone – parents, friends, or family members.  Studies show reading is the number one predictor of success across the curriculum.

COVID Hospitalizations Reach Record High

(Maine)  Hospitalizations from COVID-19 reached an all-time high on Friday.  The Portland Press Herald reports 248 people were hospitalized with the virus, passing the previous mark set in September.  Prior to September, hospitalizations had not gone above 200 since January.

Driver Shortage Slows Potato Passage

(AP/Caribou)  In spite of a strong yield this year, Maine’s potato growers are struggling to get the spuds to market.  That’s because of supply chain delays, fuel costs, and a lack of transportation workers.  Some experts say the shortage could mean growers will receive less money for the bountiful crop.

Recovery Plan for Maine’s Forest Economy

(Milford)  A $20 million dollar Forest Recovery Initiative will support the state’s forest products industry and the people it employs, create and sustain jobs in rural Maine, and strengthen the state’s overall economy.  The monies are part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan and will provide grants to Maine loggers, foresters, lumber yards, and other members of Maine’s forest products sector.

Special Election Set

(Augusta)  A special election has been called to fill the House District 27 seat vacated when State Representative Kyle Bailey resigned in October.  The District is made up of parts of Gorham and Scarborough.  The special election will be held on January 11, 2022.

Bangor Site of Opioid Treatment Program

(Bangor)  A pilot opioid treatment  program pioneered in Bangor will see its effects begin to reach centers across Maine this week.  The year-long pilot was developed by Penobscot Community Health Care at its Bridge Clinic, which opened nearly three years ago with medication-assisted treatment.  The Clinic’s goal has been to make treatment more accessible.  The program will especially target rural communities.

More Details Come to Light in Alleged Pot Scheme

(Farmington)  More details emerge after a dozen people were indicted last week for their involvement in what authorities say was an illegal medical marijuana scheme that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The Portland Press Herald reports two of the four law enforcement officers involved were promised partial ownership in the business and given company cars to help with the operation.  A Rangeley selectman is reportedly accused of accepting thousands of dollars for advocating for an ordinance that would have loosened medical marijuana rules.  Supporters of the operation say participants were simply taking advantage of an opportunity that opened when Maine legalized the industry.

Roadrunner Hitchhikes to Maine

(Westbrook)  While Maine does have coyotes, that’s not likely the reason a small roadrunner hitched a three-day cross country ride on the back of a moving company truck on its way to Maine from Nevada.  NewsCenter Maine reports employees of the moving company called the Westbrook Police Department upon arriving at their storage facility in Westbrook.  Police were able to take the stowaway to Avian Haven in Freeport to be cared for.

Puerto Rico Has U.S.’s Highest Vaccination Rate

(Puerto Rico)  Where in the U.S. will you find THE highest COVID-19 vaccination rate with one of the lowest community transmission rates?  Sources such as ABC News and Time Magazine report that would be the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico, where 4 out of every 5 people eligible are fully vaccinated against the virus.  According to NewsCenter Maine, researchers speculate the numbers are high due to the fact the vaccine was not politicized on the island territory to the extent it has been on the U.S. mainland.

Westbrook Police Make Large Drug Seizure

(Westbrook)  Westbrook Police Officers conducting an investigation at a private home seized an estimated $80,000 worth of mairjuana, cocaine, LSD, oxycodone and other drugs Sunday, along with cash, an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  WMTW reports the department made the post on its FB page but did not share whether arrests had been made, as the investigation is ongoing.

Job Market in Turmoil

(AP/Washington)  For the second straight month, Americans quit their jobs in record numbers in September.  The U.S. Department of Labor reports some switched for a bump in pay, while others quit for better working conditions.  The Department said newly-empowered employees are demanding higher incomes, which has stimulated the economy as Americans are able to spend more.  However, rising inflation is offsetting much of the pay gain received by workers.

Solar Farm Proposed Off Route 1

(Gouldsboro)  Gouldsboro could be the site of a proposed solar farm by mid 2022.  The Ellsworth American reports Borego Solar Systems is proposing a 5,050-panel solar farm on a 14-acre tract reached via the Tower Road from Route 1.  The Planning Board is expected to learn more at Tuesday night’s meeting, but the company has reportedly already secured a 20-year lease from the property owner.

Proposal to Save Old Jail

(Ellsworth)  The Ellsworth Historical Society would love to see the old jail preserved, but it will take someone with deep pockets.  The Ellsworth American reports the building has not been maintained and now needs about one-point-five million dollars worth of work and has become a safety hazard.  The Historical Society will relinquish the building back to the County, as it simply doesn’t have the means to preserve the building.

Cabbage Cash

(Milbridge)  Mia Dorr of Milbridge Elementary School will be putting some cabbage into her college fund after the young student won a thousand dollar scholarship for growing a 12-pound cabbage.  The scholarship was awarded by Bonnie Plants, which launched the program as a remote-friendly learning activity.  Dorr said she won’t be making coleslaw anytime soon, as her cabbage became home to some greens-loving insects.  Dorr received a starter cabbage plant and the lessons needed to care for it from Bonnie Plants, and the project “grew” from there.

Free Clinic in Blue Hill to Close

(Blue Hill)  Today is one of the last for Peninsula Health Services, a free clinic in Blue Hill.  The Board voted to close the clinic due to staff challenges and issues recruiting volunteers.  Fortunately, the Board reports most of their clientele have been able to find affordable health care.  The clinic is open from 3 to 6 today, 9 to Noon on Saturday, and from 3 to 6 on Monday, November 29th.  Patients may request their records by calling the clinic and leaving a message.

MDI Turkey Trot Goes Virtual

(Bar Harbor)  Before you fill up on that turkey and stuffing, why not work it off at the MDI YMCA’s Catch That Turkey 5K?  The race is going virtual again this year, and you can run or walk the course anytime between November 25th and 28th and submit your time before 8 p.m. that Sunday.  All registered participants will receive a medal and race certificate mailed to their address.  Register at run sign up dot com.

MDOL Promotes Hire-A-Vet Campaign

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Labor reminds employers there’s still time to participate in Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign.  The Campaign seeks to engage at least 100 employers to hire 100 veterans in 100 days.  Since this year’s kick-off on August 26th, 156 employers have signed on and have reported over 70 hires so far.  Upcoming Hire-A-Vet events include this Thursday, November 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. and on December 9th from 1-4.  The December event will feature sponsoring employers.  For more information, visit maine career center dot com.

Firewood Tips

(Maine)  There’s nothing like a cozy fire in a wood stove on a cold winter night.  As you probably know, dry, seasoned firewood burns best.  So ordering wood in the spring in order to give it the summer to be stacked and dried is ideal.  But what wood burns best?  The Bangor Daily News reports in general, hardwood trees – those that flower and bear fruit – burn better than softwood conifers.  Oak is also popular and easy to come by.  According to the article, in terms of warmth, maple lights quickly and has one of the highest heat outputs among common fire woods.

Bangor City Councilor Dies

(Bangor)  Bangor lost one of its City Councilors Friday night.   46 yo Sarah Dubay, who was serving her first term on the council, passed away from lung cancer at Eastern Maine Medical Center.  The Bangor Daily News reports Dubay had disclosed her illness to fellow council members over the summer and continued to work until the past several weeks.

American Lung Association Releases Report

(Augusta)  Tomorrow (Tuesday) the American Lung Association in Maine will release the 4th Annual “State of Lung Cancer” report.  Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women.  The report explores the toll of lung cancer and opportunities to save lives nationally and state-by-state and examines key indicators in Maine, including new cases, survival, early diagnosis, surgical treatment, lack of treatment and screening rates, as well  as the impact of lung cancer on people of color.   The report can be accessed at lung dot org forward slash s o l c (for state of lung cancer).

RSU 24 Students Get Long Thanksgiving Break

(Sullivan)  Students and Staff at RSU 24 will get more than turkey and stuffing next week – they’ll enjoy a full week off from school.  Superintendent Michael Eastman sent a letter to parents saying it’s obvious people are exhausted, impacting  the mental health of many stakeholders in the District, which encompasses Sullivan, Eastbrook, Steuben, and other area towns.  Eastman wrote the District will be altering the school calendar in order to accommodate the break.



  • Bruins beat Canadiens 5-2
  • Celtics lose a close one to the Cleveland Cavs 89-91. Teams face off again tonight in Cleveland
  • Patriots trounce Browns 45-7
  • Buccaneers lose to Washington 19-29