NECEC in Court Monday. (AP/Augusta) The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has launched a final public hearing before the commissioner decides whether to suspend a permit for a $1 billion electricity transmission project. Opponents of the project urged Commissioner Melanie Loyzim on Monday to uphold the will of the people who rebuked the project in […]

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Local News 11/23/21

NECEC in Court Monday.

(AP/Augusta) The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has launched a final public hearing before the commissioner decides whether to suspend a permit for a $1 billion electricity transmission project. Opponents of the project urged Commissioner Melanie Loyzim on Monday to uphold the will of the people who rebuked the project in a referendum vote. Project supporters urged her to wait until there’s a court ruling on the referendum’s constitutionality. The hearing began Monday just a few days after developers temporarily halted construction.


East Coast Herring Industry Declared Disaster

(AP/Portland)  The herring fishing industry in the Northeast qualifies for federal assistance because its 2019 season has been declared a disaster. The federal government has the ability to declare a “fishery disaster” when adverse circumstances in a fishery cause economic hardship. A recent scientific assessment of the herring population found that the species population has fallen, and tighter fishing quotas have made herring fishing more difficult.


Gas Prices Up in Maine

(AP/Portland)  Gas prices rose in Maine over the past week, but fell or held steady in the rest of northern New England. GasBuddy says prices in Maine went up 1.2 cents per gallon over the past week. The organization said Monday the price in the state was up to $3.44 per gallon.


Free Well Testing

(MDI)  College of the Atlantic has partnered with MDI Biological Laboratory to conduct free private well water sampling for MDI residents.  If you have a private well and are interested in having it tested, contact Sarah Hall at s hall at coa dot edu to set up an appointment during the November 29th through December 13th window.


Farm to Food Bank Program Receives Funding

(Augusta)  For the second straight year, a Maine organization will receive funding to help reduce food waste by providing food donated to food pantries by local farms.  The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will receive about $38,000 and will partner with Healthy Acadia to prepare family-sized packages of frozen wild blueberries from fields that otherwise would not be utilized. The packages will be distributed next Fall to more than two dozen pantries in the Downeast area.


Thanksgiving Meal Tips

(Undated)  Thanksgiving is coming, and so, perhaps, are the in-laws.  Butterball dot com has everything you need to know, from how long it will take to thaw that frozen turkey, to how large a turkey to buy for your number of guests.  University of Maine Cooperative Extension is another helpful resource, with healthy recipes and videos of vegetarian recipes, as well as ones that use local, Maine produce.  And if you find yourself stuck on Thanksgiving morning, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-M P Hotline to “gobble up” all the information you need to plan a perfect Thanksgiving meal!


MTI Accepting Applications for Forestry Recovery Program

(Augusta)  The Maine Technology Institute will oversee a multi-phase grant program to support Maine’s forest products industry and the people it employs, create and sustain jobs in rural Maine, and strengthen the state’s economy.  MTI is now accepting applications for the Forest Recovery Initiative, which will be funded by $20 million from the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to cover such things as payroll costs and expenses, utility payments, and operating expenses.  Deadline to apply for Phase 1 is January 31st.

Send Holiday Cheer, Not Pests

(Augusta)  Maine grown wreaths, trees, and other decorative materials are favorites for sharing with family and friends across the country.  But horticulturalists with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reminds shippers to carefully inspect plant material before packaging to make sure it’s free of insects and/or their eggs.  Also, clearly label packages with “Grown in Maine” and indicate contents, including types of greenery, nuts, fruits, and cones used to decorate wreaths because of regulations that vary from state to state.


Black Friday at the Black House

(Ellsworth)  If you’re looking for a unique gift while you’re out shopping on Black Friday, be sure to stop by the Black House at the Woodlawn Museum in Ellsworth!  Everything in the gift shop will be marked down for clearance, and you don’t even have to get up early – sale runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Plus, they’ll be raffling off a beautiful handmade wooden bowl created by a staff member from materials on the grounds of the Woodlawn Museum.  They’ll also be giving mini tours and offering warm beverages as you shop!

Ellsworth Tree Lighting

(Ellsworth)  It’s 25 feet of dazzling lights and greenery, as the Ellsworth City Tree Lighting kicks off the season on Saturday at the City Hall Parking lot.  Sponsored by Witham Family Hotels, the 5 p.m. event is part of Christmas in Ellsworth and coincides with Small Business Saturday, a shopping day set aside for small local businesses, shops and organizations often bypassed on Black Friday.


Blood Donations Needed

(Ellsworth)  As the giving season approaches, the American Red Cross reminds Mainers to consider giving the gift of life.  The pandemic resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from the previous year.  Anyone who donates between November 29th and December 16th will be entered for a chance at a private screening for 50 of the new film “The Matrix Resurrections, and will receive a $10 gift card courtesy of Amazon.  To find a drive near you, visit red cross blood dot org.

Hospitals Overwhelmed with Need for Psychiatric Services

(Maine)  Hospitals in Maine are facing a dire need for psychiatric services.  The Bangor Daily News reports the problem is not new and has been the subject of lawsuits, as people with psychiatric needs have at times taken up half of an emergency room’s beds.  The average length of stay for people with behavioral needs is 26 hours – more than five times the average length of time a person with a physical injury stays in the ER.


Washington County Communities Tackle Broadband Issues

(Machias)  Washington County Communities are taking the future of broadband into their own hands.  The Sunrise County Economic Council will host a solutions-based discussion surrounding community driven broadband on Tuesday, December 7th and again on Thursday, December 9th to address issues such as slow speeds, high prices, unreliable connections, and lack of availability.  For information on times and accessing the discussion, visit the Sunrise Economic Council website.

Stonington Gets High Speed Broadband

(Stonington)  Stonington residents finally have fast internet service available, thanks to a cooperative agreement between the town and Consolidated Communications.  The Ellsworth American reports the gig speeds provided are 20 times faster than the national average internet service.  The Town of  Eastbrook is also getting the high-speed fiber connection availability.


Discounted ANP Park Passes

(Ellsworth)  Year-end discounted Acadia National park passes will once again be on sale at the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce this year.  Passes go on sale December 1st at various locations.  Passes are sold on a first-come, first serve basis until sold out, and the Chamber will have 1,000 passes available – again, that’s beginning December 1st.  Cash or check only at the Chamber office, located at 151 High Street in Ellsworth.


Houlton Residents Won’t See Electric Rate Increases

(Houlton)  While many Mainers are dreading a steep increase in electricity rates come January, customers of Houlton Water Company are breathing easy.  Because it is a consumer-owned utility rather than investor-owned, the Bangor Daily News reports HWC can set rates independent of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.  HWC costumes reportedly won’t see an increase in their rates for at least three more years.

Tattoo Parlors Become Mainstream

(Bangor)  Time was, tattoos were something seen only on the arms of the toughest bikers, sailors, and criminals.  Nowadays, the Bangor Daily News reports, tattoo parlors are status quo on Main Streets across the country.  A quick search shows three tattoo parlors in Ellsworth, and there are at least 12 in the Bangor area.  Overall, Maine boasts more than 200 licensed tattoo studios.


UMaine Works to Develop Super Potato

(Orono)  The University of Maine has been studying how to improve the state’s potato crop for decades.  The spuds are a critical element of the state’s agricultural economy, and the research has become even more critical with the warming temperatures of climate change.  The Bangor Daily News reports Maine is coming off a banner year, thanks largely to the success of the Caribou russet, developed through UMaine’s program.  Researchers say they need to be able to produce super potatoes that are resistant to changes such as heat, floods, and pests.

Mariaville Opens Little Free Library

(Mariaville)  Mariaville’s newly opened Little Free Library is dedicated to a long-time resident who has contributed time and resources to her home community.  The Ellsworth American reports Geneva M. Frost was born and raised in Mariaville, served on the select board, as a ballot clerk, and in various other capacities.  The Little Free Library opened in mid-November, with books free for the taking.  People can also donate books by dropping them off at the town office.

Park Loop Road Closure

(ANP)  Just a reminder the Park Loop Road at Acadia National Park closes to vehicle traffic on December 1st.  The Park Loop Road is currently closed from Jordan Pond to Cadillac Summit Road during a maintenance project.   Pedestrians and cyclists may use the road with caution.


Muzzle Loaders Season Begins for Deer Hunters

(AP/Augusta)  Hunting season for Maine muzzle loaders begins Monday.  Hunters who use muzzle loaders are allowed to harvest deer from November 29 to Dec 11, with deer season open statewide until Dec 4th.  The rest of the season is limited to a smaller area of Maine located mainly in the southern and central parts of the state.


Beth C. Wright Festival of Lights

(Ellsworth)  Light up your holidays with the Second Annual Festival of Lights at the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center in Ellsworth!  This year’s festival is every Friday and Saturday night through December from 4:30 to 7 p.m., with the exception of Christmas weekend. Watch the woods and gardens come to life at one of Downeast Maine’s most giving resources!


Holiday Wreath Making  (11/23)

(Grand Lake Stream)  Make your own wreath from fir boughs from the Downeast Lakes Community Forest this season.  The free program will be held at the Grand Lake Stream School Building on December 2nd and runs from 4 to 6 p.m., and they’ll teach you everything you need to know so you’ll walk away with a beautiful, natural wreath!




  • Celtics   108          Rockets 90
  • Buccaneers    30     NY Giants 10
  • The Bruins are off until Wednesday, when they’ll take on the Sabres in Buffalo
  • The New England Patriots meet the host the Tennessee Titans on Sunday