Downeast Maine Could Become National Heritage Area (Machias)  Downeast Maine could soon add a prestigious designation to its resume.  Crystal Hitchings with the Sunrise County Economic Council tells Star 97.7, Washington and Hancock Counties recently completed a feasibility study to become a National Heritage Area.  (((Heritage 1  “…who are committed enough to carry a program […]

Star 97.7 - Smooth Rock n' Roll Local News AM 11/19/21 - Star 97.7
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Local News AM 11/19/21

Downeast Maine Could Become National Heritage Area

(Machias)  Downeast Maine could soon add a prestigious designation to its resume.  Crystal Hitchings with the Sunrise County Economic Council tells Star 97.7, Washington and Hancock Counties recently completed a feasibility study to become a National Heritage Area.  (((Heritage 1  “…who are committed enough to carry a program forward for the long term.”  :19)))  The study could go before Congress early next year.

(Machias)  Washington and Hancock Counties are similar geographically and economically, and are historically connected.  Crystal Hitchings, who oversees Community Promotion and Infrastructure, tells Star 97.7, that connection inspired the Sunrise Economic Council to seek designation as a National Heritage Area.  But it all began with some blueberry growers.  (((Heritage 2  “…began looking at National Heritage Area as a designation.”  :17))).  Over time, Hitchings says, the conversation grew and people realized the wild blueberry was the tip of the iceberg in telling the full, significant story of Downeast Maine.

(Machias)  Thanks to the Sunrise Economic Council, Downeast Maine is on its way to becoming a designated National Heritage Area.  Crystal Hitchings, who oversees Community Promotion and Infrastructure, tells Star 97.7, once designated, the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service will match the region in funding, up to roughly $350,000 per year.  (((Heritage 3  “…and allows those to happen more quickly.”  :20)))

(Machias)  Thanks to the Sunrise Economic Council, Downeast Maine could be designated a National Heritage Area as early as next spring.  Crystal Hitchings tells Star 97.7 they recently completed and submitted a feasibility study…an important first step in obtaining the designation.  (((Heritage 4  “…and then the program begins.”  :24)))  Hitchings says the National Park Service has a 60-day deadline for review, and state congressional delegates could take it to Congress to be voted on as early as this spring.

Bangor-based Nonprofit Receives DOJ Funding

(Bangor) A  Bangor-based nonprofit will receive more than $700,000 from the Department of Justice.  The Penquis Opioid Affected Youth Initiative will provide enhanced services to youth in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties.  Sources note the opioid crisis and current pandemic have significantly impacted Maine’s children and youth.

Participants in Alleged Marijuana Ring in Court Thursday

(Bangor)  All but one of a dozen participants charged in a medical marijuana conspiracy in the Farmington area were arraigned in federal court in Bangor Thursday.  Investigators allege 41 yo Lucas Sirois of Farmington was the ringleader of the 6-year, 13 million dollar operation, but those charged also include a Rangeley selectman, a Franklin County Assistant DA, and two former deputy sheriffs.  Sirois’s lawyers contend his actions were legal under state law.

Opponents of CMP Corridor Rally Outside Maine DEP

(Augusta)  Opponents of the so-called Clean Energy Corridor rallied outside the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in Augusta Thursday.  WABI-TV reports the group demanded state regulators pull CMP’s permit for the project.  While Mainers overwhelmingly approved a referendum to stop construction of the 145-mile corridor, that referendum does not take effect until January, and work on the project has continued.

Federal Regulators Order Lobstermen to Remove Gear

(Portland)  Federal regulators have told lobstermen off the coast of Maine they must remove their ropes and other gear from a nearly 1000 square mile area in order to protect the endangered right whale.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the removal must be done in the next two weeks.  Lobster and crab fishermen say the ruling could virtually destroy the industry.

Mainers Sign On To

(Augusta)  More than 8 thousand Mainers have selected plans for affordable health coverage in 2022 through CoverME dot gov, the state’s resource for Maine people to compare plans, apply for financial assistance, and enroll in a 2022 health plan.  The portal has been open just two weeks.  Open enrollment continues through January 15th.

RH Foster Donates to Kids’ Cancer Care

(Bangor)  RH Foster Energy on Thursday donated nearly $15,000 to Children’s Cancer Care and Treatment at Northern Light Pediatric Care.  Executive Manager Katie Foster said the funds were raised over a two-month period  (((Foster 1  “…for the time period that we ran the program.”  :08)))  The monies come from a fundraiser conducted at each Freshies location during August and September.

(Bangor)  The Raish Peavey Haskell Children’s Cancer and Treatment Center at Northern Light Pediatric Care received a check Thursday totaling more than $14,800 from RH Foster Energy.  Executive Manager Katie Foster explains “The Giving Pump”..  (((Foster 2 “…all of our customers who filled up at a purple pump.”  :26)))

Mobile Phone Upgrades

(Bangor)  If you’ve had your mobile phone for more than five years, you may need to upgrade or replace it soon.  Older 3G Network technology is set to be replaced by a speedier technology, beginning in 2022.  Once replaced with newer 5G technology, 3G users will no longer be able to make or receive calls or texts, including 9-1-1 calls.  The most recent data shows only about 4% of Mainers still connect via 3G networks.

Milford Explores Having Its Own Ambulance Service

(Milford)  The town of Milford could soon have its own ambulance service after residents approved the change at a special town meeting.  The Bangor Daily News reports an increase in emergency calls have stretched Old Town’s ambulance crews thin, making it necessary for Milford to acquire and staff an ambulance of its own in order to provide faster service on its side of the Penobscot River.

Commissioner Responds to Lobster Fishery Closure

(Augusta)  Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Kelliher yesterday responded to the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to reinstate closure of  967 square miles’ fisheries off the coast of Maine.  Kelliher said the lobster industry is suffering from whiplash, trying to change plans based on the rapidly evolving court decisions and that moving gear around 30 miles offshore at this time of year poses a serious safety risk for the fishermen.

MLA Fundraising Appeal

(Portland)  The Maine Lobstermen’s Association wants to raise ten million dollars for potentially costly court battles over right whale supporters.  Federal laws to protect the endangered right whale have resulted in the closure of nearly a thousand square miles of the lobster industry’s fishing grounds during prime lobster season.  The Bangor Daily News reports the last known entanglement in Maine lobster gear was 17 years ago, and the whale survived.  The MLA says no whale deaths have ever resulted from Maine’s lobster industry.

Maine Community Foundation Funds Conservation Projects

(Portland and Ellsworth)  The Maine Community Foundation, based in Ellsworth, awarded more than $121,000 in grants this year to 14 organizations through the Conservation for All Fund.  Among other projects, grants will build a themed playground and forest trail for the Lake George  Corporation and offer art, science and outdoor recreation for Afro Indigenous people in Maine through the Rise and Shine Youth Retreat.  The next deadline for applications is August 1, 2022.

Machias Decorating Contest

(Machias)  The Town of Machias is holding its fourth annual “Deck the Falls” Holiday Decorating Contest!  There are two categories, with three prizes in each – Business and Residential.  If you’d like your display judged as part of the contest, be sure to call the Machias Town Office.  Entry deadline is December 10th, and there’s no fee to enter.

Cherryfield Christmas Stories

“Christmas Stories” is the theme for Cherryfield’s 8th Christmas Exhibit.  The display will feature Nativity scenes, villages, a train or two, Christmas stories and more and will be located on the first floor of the Cherryfield Academy Community Center.  The Exhibit is open December 3rd from 4-8 pm and December 4th and 5th between 2 and 8 p.m.

Lincoln Holiday Events

(Lincoln)  The Town of Lincoln is the place to be on December 4th!  Enjoy a drive-through Breakfast with Santa from 8-10 at the Town Office, where they’ll also be collecting Toys for Tots.  At Noon, the American Legion Honor Guard will have a wreath-laying at the Lincoln Veterans’ Memorial.  And that evening, don’t miss the Festival of Lights Parade at 5 p.m., followed by the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, complete with hot chocolate and carolers at Veterans’ Memorial Square.

Economic Development Tourism Grants

(Washington, DC)  Maine’s tourism economy is getting a boost.  The Economic Development Administration is awarding nearly 11 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Funding to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of Tourism.  Senator Angus King said the funding with strengthen the outdoor recreation industry through upgrades to recreational infrastructure and a new marketing campaign promoting outdoor recreation in Maine.

Ellsworth Chamber Offers Discounted ANP Passes

(Ellsworth)  Year-end discounted Acadia National Park passes are once again on sale at the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce this year.   Passes are first-come, first-serve until sold out, with 1,000 passes available.  Cash or check only at the Chamber Office, 151 High Street, Monday through Friday from 9 to 4:30.

EMS Board Zoom Meeting

(Augusta)  The EMS Board will hold a special Zoom meeting Monday and Tuesday on the topic of the vaccine mandate.  Although the mandate for EMS workers was lifted by the state, the Board kept the requirement in place.  The Maine EMS emergency rule is in effect until Sunday, and the Board may plan to take additional actions until Maine EMS’s final rule is released.  The ruling has at least in part resulted in a critical shortage of EMS workers, particularly in small towns and rural areas.  Persons interested in attending the Zoom meeting should visit the Maine EMS website.

Belfast Triples Stipend

(Belfast)  Belfast City Councilors this week voted to triple its stipend for first responders.  The Bangor Daily News reports the move comes as communities across Maine and across the country grapple with frightening shortages of firefighters and other emergency responders.

INSPIRE Hosts Ornament Decorating

(Ellsworth)  Healthy Acadia’s INSPIRE Recovery Center in Ellsworth is hosting an ornament decorating event tomorrow from 10 until Noon.  Community members and their families are invited to come in for a morning of fun and holiday spirit.

Triple A Projects Heavy Thanksgiving Travel                                                                                                                 

(New England)  Buckle up for a crowded drive!   AAA projects 2.4 million New Englanders will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of more than 15% over last year – making it the third highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since AAA starting reporting data.  As usual, the great majority of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations.


  • The Celtics host the Lakers
  • The Bruins head to Philadelphia to skate against the Flyers on Saturday
  • New England Patriots   25   Atlanta Falcons 0
  • No more Cleveland Indians or Chief Wahoo – as of today the team will be known as the Cleveland Guardians in deference to indigenous peoples.  It’s not the first time the team has had a name change.  Until 1915, they were known as the Cleveland Naps for hall-of-famer Napoleon Lajoie, then the Cleveland Spiders.  The name “Indians’ was in honor of former player, Louie Sockalexisa, a Penobscot from Maine and the first full-blooded Native American to play in Major League Baseball.