Crime/Public Safety State Police Seek Man Wanted on Domestic Violence Charges (Greene) State Police are asking the public’s help in finding a man from Greene who is wanted on felony domestic violence charges.  Authorities say 39 yo Robert Robinson, Jr. could be driving a black Chevy Silverado crew cab pickup.  Maine State Police have posted […]

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Local News 01/05/22

Crime/Public Safety

State Police Seek Man Wanted on Domestic Violence Charges

(Greene) State Police are asking the public’s help in finding a man from Greene who is wanted on felony domestic violence charges.  Authorities say 39 yo Robert Robinson, Jr. could be driving a black Chevy Silverado crew cab pickup.  Maine State Police have posted a picture of the suspect on their FB page.

Pet Dog Leads Authorities to Seriously Injured Owners

(Lebanon, NH)  A pet dog is being hailed as a hero after leading authorities to a devastating crash where two men were seriously injured.  Troopers initially responded to a report of a loose dog on a bridge in Lebanon, NH, near the Vermont border on Monday night.  When they tried to get close to the German Shepherd, he ran to a damaged section of guardrail, which alerted troopers to the crash where two people had been ejected and were suffering major injuries and hypothermia.  Troopers say the dog,Tinsley, belonged to one of the men and was unharmed in the crash, deliberately leading officers to his owner.

Police Dog Suit Settled

(AP/York)  A man who filed a federal lawsuit claiming a police officer violated his constitutional rights by using a police dog during a traffic stop has received a $325,000 settlement in the case.  The Portsmouth Herald reports Stephen Brennan sued the town of York and the police officer after the traffic stop in September 2019.  An attorney for Brennan says his client suffered multiple injuries which required months of follow-up treatment as a result of dog bites.

Drugs

Poll Finds Strong Support to Ban Sales of Flavored Tobacco Products

(Portland)  Nearly two-thirds of Maine voters support a law that would end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine.  A poll released this week found more than half strongly favor such a law, and three-quarters are concerned about young people becoming addicted to tobacco products.  Support for a new law banning the products, LD 1550, had nearly universal backing in the poll, across all demographics, education levels, political parties and parental status.

Health

Maine EMS Board to Meet on Vaccine Requirements

(Augusta)  The Maine EMS Board will meet today to discuss the possibility of looser vaccine requirements for paramedics than for other health care workers.  Before Governor Janet Mills issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in August, paramedics did not have any vaccine requirements; though most colleges and universities where EMS workers are trained do.  A draft version of a permanent rule would only require proof of COVID-19 vaccines, though the rule is written so the board can add more vaccines if necessary in the future.  The current temporary rule would require all other vaccines except COVID-19 by 2024.  The EMS field is facing critical worker shortages, prompting the potential for looser requirements.

American Lung Association Offers Tips to Help Quit Smoking

(Undated)  If quitting smoking is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, the American Lung Association offers tips to help you commit to No Tobacco ‘22.  First, they say it’s never too late to quit.  Learn from past experience about what helped or hindered your resolve.  You don’t have to quit alone – enroll in a program such as the ALA’s “Freedom from Smoking” Program.  Talk to a doctor about medications to help you quit.  Lastly, just quit.  Don’t switch to e-cigarettes or other tobacco products.  For more resources and support, contact the American Lung Association.

Local Politics

Butcher Named First President of Maine Connectivity Authority

(Augusta)  Andrew Butcher of Portland will serve as the first president of the Maine Connectivity Authority, the new state entity charged with achieving universal availability of high speed broadband in Maine. Butcher received unanimous support Tuesday from the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.  Butcher has extensive experience in broadband, fiscal management and community infrastructure.

Portland City Council Passes Mask Mandate

(Portland)  The Portland City Council passed a universal mask mandate for indoor businesses and public buildings this week with a unanimous 9-0 vote.  The mandate takes effect at midnight tonight.  Houses of worship and schools do not fall under the mandate, Businesses can forgo the mandate by requiring COVID-19 vaccinations instead.  Rockland issued a similar mandate beginning last Monday.

Blue Hill Town Administrator Steps Down 

(Blue Hill)  Blue Hill’s first Town Administrator is stepping down.  Shawna Ambrose plans to depart the job at the end of the month, saying she needs to devote more time to her family.  Ambrose has been in the position since November 2019.  Prior to that, the Select Board oversaw town staff.  The Board has asked the Maine Municipal Association for help in recruiting a replacement.

Fate of Corridor in Hands of Maine Supreme Court

(Augusta)  The fate of Central Maine Power’s controversial energy corridor is now in the hands of the Maine Supreme Court.  The Bangor Daily News reports Business Court Judge Michael Duddy writes Avangrid’s arguments about due process, contracts and separation of powers present difficult questions that deserve review at the highest level.  But Duddy says he still doesn’t think the challenge by CMP’s parent company will prevail.

Business/Economy 

MaineStreet Business Building to Open in Machias

(Machias)  There’s something REALLY exciting happening in Washington County!  Denise Cilley, Entrepreneurship Program Director for the Sunrise County Economic Council, tells Star 97.7, the MaineStreet Business Building has been years in the making.  (((MSBldg 1  “…to developing a co-working space.”  :23))).  The building will have a number of shared spaces, where business owners, students, and the like can collaborate and have access not only to space, but to professional equipment and on-site business advice as well.

(Machias)  The mission of the Sunrise County Economic Council is to bring job creation and prosperity to the Washington County region.  Entrepreneurship Program Director Denise Cilley tells Star 97.7 how the MaineStreet Business Building, an entrepreneurial hub, is supporting that mission.  (((MSBldg 2  “…jobs and revenue will come with that.”  :25)))  MainStreet Business has already worked with hundreds of local businesses, with demo and construction beginning in Spring 2023.  In the meantime, Cilley encourages businesses to reach out to them at sunrise county dot org.

(Machias)  When the MaineStreet Business Building opens in Machias, it will house staff, meeting and conference rooms, designated desk space and an open co-working space – all fully equipped with modern technology to support new and existing businesses.  Denise Cilley with the Sunrise County Economic Council tells Star 97.7, it will be much more than just a physical space.  (((MSBldg 3  “…to the local government, if they decide to do so.”  :23)))  Cilley emphasizes you don’t have to wait for the physical building to find support.  SCEC is always ready with support and advice at sunrise county dot org.

(Machias)  The Sunrise County Economic Council just wrapped up a Capital Campaign for the MaineStreet Business Building, with support from local business and community members, foundations, and federal grant funding.  Demo and construction for the business hub is set for Spring 2023; but Entrepreneurship Program Director Denise Cilley tells Star 97.7, people don’t have to wait for the physical building to find support.  (((MSBldg 4  “…to start getting that support.”  :17)))  You’ll find a host of opportunities at sunrise county dot org.

Property Tax Deferral Program

(Augusta)  The Maine State Legislature recently announced a new opportunity for Maine residents to temporarily defer collection of homestead property taxes.  To qualify, taxpayers must be receiving a homestead exemption, be 65 or older or unemployable due to a disability, have liquid assets of less than $50,000, and the property must not have a municipal lien against it.  Qualifying residents can apply through their local assessing department.

Bull Moose Sold to Employees

(AP/Portland)  Longtime Maine-based music retailer Bull Moose is being sold to its 140 employees. The Portland Press Herald reports founder Brett Wickard will stay on as interim CEO and chair of the board during the transition. The chain has 11 locations in Maine and New Hampshire. Wickard opened the first store in Brunswick in 1989 when he was a student at Bowdoin College.

Landlords Get Emergency Rental Assistance

(Augusta)  Maine landlords have received more than one hundred million dollars in federal emergency rental assistance on behalf of their tenants.  The funding has helped more than 17,000 households.  WABI-TV reports eligible tenants may receive up to 18 months of rent payments or financial help with utility bills.  Funding for the program will continue to be distributed to those in need well into 2022.

Transportation Grants Will Benefit Older Mainers

(Ellsworth)  Programs to assist older Mainers with transportation received a total of $141,000 dollars in grant funding in 2021 through the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Charity Foundation Fund.  The grants went to outreach programs in Saco, Bangor, Brunswick, and St. George, among others.

Supply Chain Rebound

(Arlington, VA)  Good news for supply chain woes.  The American Trucking Association Tuesday released its annual look at the future of freight economy, and it shows a strong rebound and continued growth.  After falling 6.8% in 2020, freight volumes are expected to surge 7.4% this year.  Chief Economist Bob Costellow predicts continued growth in freight demand across all modes for the foreseeable future.

Technology

Tik Tok Testing Repost Button

(Yahoo News) You may find those Tik Tok videos annoying; but admit it – every once in a while you come across one that makes you laugh and you wish you could share it.  Yahoo News reports Tik Tok is testing a repost button in its app that allows users to do just that – quickly re-share a clip with their followers.  Though not available to everyone yet, Tech Crunch reports when the bugs are worked out, reposting a clip won’t publish it to your profile, but will push the video to the “For You” feeds of your friends.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Lost Table Debuts on Magnolia Network

(Freedom)  Visitors from around the world make reservations by submitting postcards to a unique restaurant in tiny Freedom, Maine.  Erin French followed her passion and opened the Lost Kitchen, where she serves a locally inspired and sourced menu.  In case you can’t get reservations, you can tune in to “The Lost Table” when it debuts this Thursday night on the Magnolia Network.  The show airs at 9 p.m. on the former DIY Network.

White/Ludden Romance Had Ties to Maine

Sources are reporting Betty White’s last word was “Allen”, referring to her late husband, Allen Ludden.  WABI-TV reports that lasting romance began right here in Maine.  White and Ludden reportedly came here during summer stock and performed at the Lakewood Theatre in Madison.  It was the summer of 62, and White is said to have fallen in love with her handsome co-star.  The two originally met on the set of Password, a game show hosted by Ludden.  White never remarried after Ludden’s death, saying in an interview, “When you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”

Sports

Bruins must have had “winning” as their New Year’s Resolution – they’re 3 and 0 for the New Year with last night’s 5-3 win over the NJ Devils.  Bruins host the Minnesota Wilds on Thursday.

The Celtics home tonight to take on the San Antonio Spurs.