Local Politics Sumpter Retires (Mount Desert)  Retirement won’t mean sitting this one out for the current part-time director of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce.  Micki Sumpter, who’s been in that role for the past three and a half years, will spend a few hours a week mentoring Interim Director Maddie Bierman, at least through […]

Star 97.7 - Smooth Rock n' Roll Local News 01/03/2 - Star 97.7
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Local News 01/03/2

Local Politics

Sumpter Retires

(Mount Desert)  Retirement won’t mean sitting this one out for the current part-time director of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce.  Micki Sumpter, who’s been in that role for the past three and a half years, will spend a few hours a week mentoring Interim Director Maddie Bierman, at least through October.  Sumpter has the experience under her belt, having also served as former Executive Director of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce.

Tremont Campground Moratorium

(Tremont)  The six-month campground moratorium approved by Tremont in November could now be extended through this summer and fall.  The Mount Desert Islander reports residents requested an additional six-month hold at a recent Select Board meeting.  Board members voted unanimously to hold a public hearing to discuss the matter on January 24th.

Legislature Looks at Basic Income Proposal

(Augusta)  Can cash payments help lift people out of poverty?  That’s a question being considered by Maine lawmakers as they reconvene this week in Augusta.  The Portland Press Herald reports providing cash payments as an anti-poverty tool is far from a new idea.  It’s usually a limited cash benefit designed to help people pay off debt, return to school, or purchase reliable transportation in order to get to and from work.  The issue reportedly has bipartisan support.

Business/Economy

Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect

(Augusta)  Minimum wage earners should see a little extra in their next paychecks.  The state’s minimum wage increased by 60 cents on Saturday.  The minimum wage is now $12.75, with the new tip wage at $6.38.

Island Explorer Hopes for a Return to Normal

(Trenton)  COVID sidelined the Island Explorer bus system totally in 2020.  Last year, the buses were fired up again, but only at limited capacity, with routes reduced in half.  This year, Downeast Transportation, which operates the buses, hopes to return to a near normal schedule.  The Mount Desert Islander reports geographic coverage could return to pre-pandemic levels, with fewer service hours than in 2019.  Director Paul Murphy said COVID will continue to drive decisions.

Concrete Plant Seeks Change

(Ellsworth)  Developers of an Ellsworth cement plant at 575 Bucksport Road will come before the Planning Board on Wednesday, hoping to make things a little more …. well, concrete.  The Ellsworth American reports Hughes Brothers received approval for industrial use zoning to operate through April 1st back in November, but will seek an amendment that would allow the plant to operate year round and to erect a 1500 square foot structure for winter work.

Bar Harbor’s Benefit Prompts Other Towns to Consider Paid Parking

(Bar Harbor)  Last summer, Bar Harbor’s decision to implement paid parking reaped millions in revenue for the town.  Now, at least two other towns are considering the move.  The Bangor Daily News reports Camden and Rockland officials plan to discuss the strategy; not only for financial gains, but also as a way to rein in the challenge of downtown parking in both communities.

Crime/Public Safety

Law Enforcement to Hold News Conference on Missing Naples Man

(Gray)  Maine State Police and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office will hold a news conference this morning regarding a missing Naples man.  67 yo Mark Conley was last seen in the Lewiston area on Christmas Eve, and both agencies are asking the public’s help in locating him.  Conley is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, with balding hair and blue eyes.  Police say he drives a silver 2016 Jeep Patriot with Maine plates.

Mount Desert Police Officers Get More Protective Gear

(Mount Desert)  Mount Desert police officers are getting an after Christmas bonus – seven new rifles, eight new rifle sights, and new bullet-proof vests.  The equipment will mostly replace outdated firearms and other equipment.  The Mount Desert Islander reports the vests will be purchased with a thousand dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, once it’s fully approved.

Local Officer Graduates Near Top of Class

(Ellsworth)  The December 17th graduation ceremony itself was cancelled, but Ellsworth Police Officer McKay McLean was still high on the list of graduates in the 40th Maine Criminal Justice Academy class.  McLean, a patrolman with the Ellsworth PD,  placed 7th out of 57 in the 18-week basic law enforcement program.

2021 Homicides Claim Young Victims

(Maine)  Although there were four fewer homicides last year than in 2020, more than a quarter of the victims were young.  The Bangor Daily News reports the state recorded 18 homicides last year, the same as in 2016.  But the year stood out because of the number of child victims.  The high profile deaths of four Maine children, who allegedly died at the hands of their parents, led to increased scrutiny of the state’s child welfare system.

Child Not Seen for Two Years Just Reported Missing

(Manchester, NH)  A 7 yo Manchester, NH girl who hasn’t been seen in two years was just reported missing last week.  WMUR reports Harmony Montgomery was just five years old when she was last seen in October 2019.  Police did not say who reported the little girl missing, but they are working with family members and trying to determine where she went to school before her disappearance.

Chelsea Fire Claims Life of 95 yo Woman

(Chelsea)  A house fire in Chelsea Saturday claimed the life of the 95 yo homeowner.  Public Safety Department Spokesperson Shannon Moss tells Star 97.7, firefighters were called to 87 Cheney Road shortly before 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and found the body of Gladys McGuire, who lived alone at the residence.  The blaze destroyed the home.  Investigators continue to look for a cause.

Accidental Firearm Discharge 

(Bangor)  A Bangor man is recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg after his firearm apparently discharged accidentally.   The Bangor Police Department reports to Star 97.7, first responders were called to 70 Springer Drive shortly before noon New Year’s Eve.  The man was transported to a local medical facility for treatment.  The case is under investigation – police have not released the name of the victim.

Man Charged in Seal Harbor Incident

(Seal Harbor)  That car we told you about that was partially submerged off Seal Harbor Beach last week?  Turns out it was a rental, and the driver has been charged with criminal mischief after he drove the car into the water at low tide.  The Mount Desert Islander reports Saravanan Parthiban of India was making donuts in the sand when the car got stuck.  Parthiban and his three passengers made it out safely, and a local towing company was able to recover the car; although we’re told the vehicle is a total loss.

Speed/Alcohol Allegedly Play Role in Deadly Crash

(Bristol)  Investigators from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office say speed and alcohol likely played a role in a deadly News Year’s Eve crash.  According to WMTW, the crash occurred just after noon on Route 130 in Bristol.  Authorities say a pickup truck, driven by 39 yo Robert Campbell of New Harbor, crossed the center line and hit a car driven by 69 yo Karen McCubbin of Bristol head-on.  McCubbin was killed in the crash.  Campbell and a 6 yo boy in McCubbin’s car were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Drugs

Hancock County Joins National Opioid Settlement

(Ellsworth)  Hancock County Commissioners last month voted for the county to join a national opioid lawsuit being handled in part by the state’s Attorney General.  The Ellsworth American reports there are two settlements pending – one with Johnson & Johnson and the other with three major drug distributors that apportioned opioids.  Those who sign on to a settlement then release claims against the drug companies, potentially making a settlement more likely.

Together Place Offers Vocational Carpentry Group

(Bangor)  Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center wants to help you “build” on the new year, with a Vocational Carpentry Workshop.  Sessions begin this Friday, January 7th, and run for six weeks at 2:30 p.m. People in all forms of recovery, mental health or substance use, are invited to participate on a first-come, first-served basis.  Visit the non-profit’s FB page to register.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Monteaux School Names New Director

(Hancock)  The Monteaux School of Music in Hancock has named Stan Renard Executive Director, beginning with the 2022 season.  Renard is an alumnus of the Monteaux School, a violinist and violist and founder of the Grammy-nominated Bohemian Quartet.

Pond Skating at Woodlawn
(Ellsworth)  The pond at the Woodlawn Museum, Gardens and Park will be ready for skating soon.  Director Kathy Young reports the groundskeepers have done a lot of work to make the pond safe and as big as possible.  All it needs is a little more rain and another good freeze, and you can sharpen those skates and hit the ice!

Holiday on the Harbor 

(Rockport)  Rockport’s Holiday on the Harbor was all set for December 11th, but Mother Nature had other ideas.  A reschedule to the next day had to be “blown off” due to high winds.  So, plans were made for December 19th – enter a predicted snowstorm.  So it appears, third time really was a charm as the fireworks blasted off – finally – on Friday, New Year’s Eve.  The Pen Bay Pilot reports the show went on for a good 20 minutes, hopefully signaling many more good things in 2022.

Desperate for Help

(Greene)  For years, a man named Norm Blais drove a beat up old truck so he could selflessly give all he had to the care of hundreds of unwanted cats living in the woods in mid-Maine.  Norm passed away on December 22nd, leaving the care of the cats in peril.  Norm’s partner, Rose, plans to carry on his 40-year legacy; and Forgotten Felines of Maine has organized a fundraiser to help with food, vet care, shelter, and warmth.  We’ve shared the GoFundMe link on our FB page.

Health

Rockland to Require Masks in Public Buildings

(Rockland)  The City of Rockland is requiring all persons visiting a public building to mask up, beginning today.  City Manager Tom Luttrell issued the requirement in a news release, saying Rockland wants to take all precautionary measures to keep citizens safe, especially with the surge of the omicron variant.

COVID Policy Changes Affect Schools

(Maine)  Students and staff heading back to school today will find notable changes in policy, designed to keep schools open amidst the ongoing pandemic.  Among other changes, exposure to an infected person on a school bus or outdoors will no longer be considered a close contact or force a student to stay home.  In addition, the Portland Press Herald reports students participating in pool testing are exempt from quarantine after classroom exposures and will no longer have to quarantine after exposure in their homes or communities.

Technology

Anglers Have New FLOAT Tool

(Augusta)  Anglers wanting to know which of Maine’s thousands of inland waters have special fishing laws now have a new tool – the Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool, or FLOAT.  FLOAT is a map-based online tool that gives those who fish the state’s lakes, ponds and rivers information on their basic rules and laws.  For more information, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Sports

New England Patriots roared past the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, 50-10.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled out a close one, adding 11 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Jets in NY 28-24.  CBS reports, with the Bucs trailing in the third quarter, Antonio Brown exited, taking off his pads and giving some of his equipment to fans, waved, and departed the stadium shirtless.  No clear reason yet as to why he left, but sources say Brown was benched by head coach Bruce Arians prior to his leaving the game.

Celtics (host)  116    Orlando Magic 111 (OT)

The Bruins pulled off an overtime win Saturday to start the New Year with a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres and built on that with a 5-1 blow to the Red Wings on Sunday.  Bruins back on the ice Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.