MLA Responds to U.S. Court of Appeals Decision (Portland)  The Maine Lobsterman’s Association says new federal rules intended to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale will effectively kill Maine’s lobster industry, yet fail to save the whale.  Executive Director Patrice McCarron contends, the industry has already made changes and that no whale fatalities have […]

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Local News 11/18/21

MLA Responds to U.S. Court of Appeals Decision

(Portland)  The Maine Lobsterman’s Association says new federal rules intended to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale will effectively kill Maine’s lobster industry, yet fail to save the whale.  Executive Director Patrice McCarron contends, the industry has already made changes and that no whale fatalities have ever been attributed to Maine’s lobstermen.   (((Lobster 1  “…that those things are taken into account.”  :21)))

(Portland)  Maine’s lobstering industry supports more than 10,000 jobs and is worth roughly half a billion dollars at the dock each year.  Maine Lobsterman’s Association Vice President Dustin Delano says, for most, it’s more than just a job.  (((Lobster 2   “…and we support our local economies.”  :25)))  The MLA says the new rules instated to protect endangered whales actually endanger Maine’s entire lobster industry.

(Portland)  Earlier this year, the National Marine Fisheries Services released a 10-year whale plan that requires the Maine lobster fishery to reduce risk to right whales by 98%; something the Maine Lobster Association calls an unachieveable goal.  President Kristan Porter says the new rules will make it impossible for the lobster industry to survive. (((Lobster 3  “…in better shape than they were before.”  :24))) The MLA says it shouldn’t be a choice between saving the right whale or saving the Maine lobster industry.

Ellsworth Public Library Hosts Santa’s Magic Mailbox

(Ellsworth)  Santa’s Magic Mailbox is coming to the Ellsworth Public Library again this year.  Write a letter to Santa, addressed to Santa Claus, the North Pole, and drop in in the special mailbox on the library’s lawn, beginning November 29th.  No postage necessary, but be sure to include your full name and mailing address, so Santa can send you a personal reply!  Letters will be picked up through December 17th.

Mills Expands Boosters Availability

(Augusta)  Effective immediately, all Maine adults age 18 and over are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, regardless of underlying medical condition.  Governor Janet Mills announced the expansion Wednesday, saying it would protect the health of Maine people, limit transmission of the delta variant, and help ease the burden on healthcare workers.

(Augusta)  No waiting – Mainers age 18 and over are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster.  Until yesterday, boosters weren’t widely available except to older adults or those with underlying conditions.  Governor Janet Mills Wednesday lifted that restriction, making boosters an option for all Maine adults.

Legislation to Crack Down on Robocalls

(Washington, DC)  Americans are inundated with robocalls.  A bipartisan bill approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday would double the penalties for illegal caller ID “spoofing”, a tactic scammers often use to trick victims into answering their phone calls.  Such spammers masquerade as government officials or well-known businesses to convince consumers to share personal or financial information.  The bill would increase the fine per violation from the current $10,000 to $20,000 and double the maximum fine to 2 million dollars.

Artist Tapped for Downtown Mural

(Ellsworth)  Maine Artist Judy Taylor will paint the downtown Ellsworth outdoor public art mural.  Heart of Ellsworth reports Taylor was chosen by a jury of five community members.  Taylor owns and operates a studio in Seal Cove.  The mural will be painted on the brick Coastal Interiors Building on the banks of the Union River.

Grohoski Responds to Electricity Rate Hikes

(Ellsworth)  Ellsworth and Trenton Representative Nicole Grohoski Wednesday responded to the staggering electricity rate hikes set for the first of the year.  Grohoski noted skyrocketing fossil fuel costs were triggering the nearly 89% supply rate increase, underscoring why it is important to quickly move away from volatile fossil fuel prices toward local, clean energy generation that has a fixed, upfront cost.  Grohoski encouraged Mainers to subscribe to a community solar program for immediate savings, noting subscriptions are available to renters as well as homeowners.

Governor Responds to Lobster Fishery Closure

(Augusta)  The U.S. Court of Appeals has reinstated a 967 square mile fisheries closure off the Maine coast.  The closure had been temporarily suspended in October as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Maine Lobster Union.  Governor Janet Mills said the sudden closure will cost hundreds of fishermen millions of dollars and will have a profound impact on other businesses.  The Governor vowed to do everything possible in the coming weeks and months to defend Maine lobstermen.

US Appeals Court Reinstates Fishing Ban

(AP/Portland)  A U.S. appeals court has reinstated a ban on lobster harvesting in hundreds of miles of productive fishing waters off the Maine coast to try to protect rare whales. The Maine Lobstering Union had won emergency relief to stop the closure of lobstering grounds. Federal regulators had ruled the closure was needed to help protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from extinction. But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the closure is back because removing it prevents the government from performing its task of protecting the whales from death by entanglement in gear.

Evidence Banned in Alleged Trooper Profiling Case

(AP/Portland) A federal judge has ruled evidence seized by police officers during a traffic stop cannot be used, in a case that has touched off a debate about racial profiling in Maine. The case concerns Trooper John Darcy, who was recorded talking to another trooper on a cruiser microphone just before stopping a Black motorist driving through York in August 2019. Darcy reportedly said the man looked like a “thug” and pointed out his dreadlocks and shirt, but also stated he was not racially profiling the driver. The judge ruled Monday the initial stop was unconstitutional, and the evidence collected cannot be used. The driver pleaded not guilty to charges.

Gateway Milbridge Match Challenge

(Milbridge)  Gateway Milbridge has received a $25,000 donation match challenge.  Anonymous donors have offered to match every dollar donated to Gateway Milbridge and the Milbridge Theatre project up to 25-K to help raise the funds necessary for the work on the interior of the new theatre and community arts center building.  Tax deductible donations may be made online at milbridge theatre dot org.

New Maine Milk Commissioner

(Augusta)  Julie-Marie Bickford will serve as the new Maine Milk Commission Executive Director effective December 1st.  Bickford will be the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s primary liaison to the dairy industry.

Island Nursing Home

(Deer Isle)  The Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle closed in August, ending a 40 year run of serving the community.  The Bangor Daily News reports a groundswell of support for reopening the facility prompted the creation of a task force in September, which determined a lack of affordable housing is a deterrent to reopening.  Between 26 and 28 people reportedly declined job offers at the home because they could not find housing in the area.  Any reopening would likely come in stages and be dependent on local landlords renting homes at affordable rates for two to three years while longer-term affordable housing measures are taken.

Hazard Pay for Ellsworth First Responders

(Ellsworth)  Ten Ellsworth City firefighters and 18 dispatchers and police officers will each receive $1,000 in hazard pay related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The Ellsworth City Council this week voted 5-2 to award the money from American Rescue Plan funding.  Council members Gene Lyons and Steven O’Halloran voted against the hazard pay, saying it was a fairness issue with other city employees who worked during the pandemic.

Ellsworth Council Wants Citizen Input on ARPA Funding

(Ellsworth)  The City of Ellsworth is set to receive some $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding – and City Council wants citizen input on how those monies should be spent. Chairman Dale Hamilton said at this week’s City Council meeting the public is welcome to make their voices heard as to how the city should utilize the funding.

Lincoln Distributes Free Smoke Detectors

(Lincoln)  There’s nothing easy about the death of a child, but the deaths of two children in separate fires in Lincoln in the past year prompted the Lincoln Fire Department to take action to prevent further such tragedies.  According to Captain Cory Stratton, in both cases, the children died in buildings that did not have working smoke detectors.  A fundraising campaign raised $5500, which will pay for more than a thousand smoke detectors to be given out free to children through Lincoln area schools.

Hancock Fire Trucks Sport 509

(Hancock)  Each one of the trucks of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department has something new – a 509 decal.  Members said they all worked many scenes with Deputy Luke Gross, and the decals are just a reminder he’s still there with them and watching over.

American and Other Airlines Cut Services from Bangor

(Bangor)  Bangor area travelers won’t be able to fly the friendly skies between Maine and New York’s LaGuardia airport quite so often in the future.  American Airlines announced this week it will cut service between both Bangor and Portland and LaGuardia, with both routes ceasing operation on January 4th.  Maine School Boards Face Irate Parents

(Undated)  More and more School Boards in Maine are having to request police presence at board meetings.  The Bangor Daily News reports the requests come as irate parents even sometimes stage protests outside board members’ homes over masking and vaccination, remote learning, and culture debates about antiracist education.  Some meetings have reportedly become so volatile, they have resulted in threats and arrests.

Commissioners Explore Regional Ambulance Service

(Ellsworth)  The Hancock County Commissioners this week discussed forming a regional ambulance service that would help provide coverage in the greater Ellsworth area.  Public Safety officials say that coverage is lacking –  not in quality, but in availability.  The Ellsworth American reports the issue hit home when Deputy Luke Gross was struck and later died on Route 3 in Trenton and Northern Light said they would need to bring an ambulance from Bangor.

Sunday River Opening

(AP/Sunday River)  Another New England ski areas is opening. Sunday River today joins Killington, which already opened. But novice skiers may want to wait. The resort’s Locke Mountain Triple lift will be in operation for passholders for advanced terrain on the T2 and Upper Sunday Punch. Other resorts across the region will be opening between now and December.

Something Special About Portland Christmas Tree

(AP/Portland)   The holiday tree in Maine’s largest city will be a balsam fir planted by a resident nearly four decades ago. Portland has a tradition of harvesting a tree from a local neighborhood to serve as its downtown holiday centerpiece. This year’s tree will be one planted long ago by Richard Olsen in the Riverton neighborhood. Olsen died last year at age 80 and his widow, Patricia, said sending the tree to Monument Square was something he always wanted. It’s set to arrive downtown sometime today.

Sports

  • The owners of the Boston Red Sox (Fenway Sports Group)  are reportedly in talks to buy the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.  Sources say Sportico, which first announced the talks, valued the Penguins last month at $845 million.
  • The New England Patriots are in Atlanta to take on the Falcons.
  • Celtics couldn’t escape the talons of the Atlanta Hawks; Hawks with the 110-99 win. The Celtics host the Lakers Friday.
  • Boston Bruins in Philly Saturday to take on the Flyers