Crime/Public Safety Arrest Made in Case of Missing NH Girl (Manchester)  Authorities have arrested the father of a 7 yo New Hampshire girl who hasn’t been seen in two years but who was just reported missing last week.  WMUR reports the arrest of 31 yo Adam Montgomery of Manchester was related to an arrest warrant […]

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Local News 01/06/22

Crime/Public Safety

Arrest Made in Case of Missing NH Girl

(Manchester)  Authorities have arrested the father of a 7 yo New Hampshire girl who hasn’t been seen in two years but who was just reported missing last week.  WMUR reports the arrest of 31 yo Adam Montgomery of Manchester was related to an arrest warrant for an assault charge, stemming from an incident involving his daughter, Harmony, who was 5 years old at the time.  Authorities say the search for Harmony, who was last seen in October 2019, is ongoing.

New Information Released on Bangor Fire That Killed Three Homeless

(Bangor)  New information was released Wednesday about the December 5th fire in Bangor that claimed the lives of three homeless men.  The fire marshal’s office confirmed the men died of smoke inhalation.  The fire happened at a vacant house on Union Street and claimed the lives of 28 yo Tim  Tuttle, 31 yo Dylan Smith, and 56 yo Andrew Allen.  Two other people were able to escape.

Chelsea Fatal Fire Ruled Accidental

(Chelsea)  The house fire that claimed the life of a 95 yo Chelsea woman on New Year’s Day has been ruled accidental.  Authorities say a stove burner was left on in the kitchen. Gladys McGuire lived alone and was found dead inside her Cheney Road home.

DHHS Releases Child Welfare Annual Report

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday released its annual report and formal response to the Maine Child Welfare Ombudsman’s Report for FY 2021.  DHHS said it adopted a Child and Family Services Strategic Plan in 2019 to ensure child safety, but said the pandemic affected the systems that care for families, contributing to the tragic child deaths DHHS announced in 2021.  The full report is available at maine dot gov.

(Augusta)  Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services has been under increased scrutiny since the deaths of four young children last year, allegedly at the hands of their parents.  On Wednesday, DHHS released its annual report and formal response to the Maine Child Welfare Ombudsman’s Report for fiscal year 2021.  Among other changes, DHHS says it is implementing its Federal Family First prevention Services Act plan, which will expand prevention services to help keep children and families healthy and safe.

River Dave Arrested

(AP/Concord, NH)  The 81 yo former hermit known as River Dave has been charged with trespassing.  David Lidstone’s cabin in which he had lived for three decades burned down on the property he was ordered to leave after months of conflict with the present landowner.  Lidstone received more than $200,000 in donations following the incident. Lidstone, who had secured temporary housing, was charged after he recently returned to the site of his former cabin, turning a shed into a makeshift home.

Infrastructure

Woodlawn Plumbing Issue Forces Re-routing of Traffic

(Ellsworth)  A plumbing problem at the Woodlawn Museum means there’s some digging going on across the main parking lot.  Executive Director Kathy Young tells Star 97.7, dog walkers are still welcome, but traffic is being re-directed to the croquet parking lot.  Work is expected to be completed before the snow flies tomorrow.  In the meantime, you’re asked to avoid the croquet court, walk past the little shed, and start your hike from the bridge that has flagging.

Residents Lose Power

(Tremont)  A sparking, burning pole reported just before 6 p.m. last night caused a power outage for residents of Bernard, Seal Cove, Swans Island and Frenchboro. The Tremont Volunteer Fire Department responded and tells Star 97.7 Versant replaced the transformer near 65 Tremont Road.  Residents lost power for about 45 minutes.

Education

MDOE Seeks County Teachers of the Year Nominations

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Education is accepting nominations for 2022 County Teachers of the Year.  Nominations can be made through 5 p.m. on February 4th and can be made by students, parents, school administrators, colleagues, college faculty members and associations.  Self-nominations and nominations by family members are not accepted.

UMaine Names Senior Advisor to School’s President

(Orono)  Diane Dunn, a University of Maine alumna, has been named Senior Advisor to the school’s President.  Dunn is a retired brigadier general from Newburgh with 33 years of military service under her belt.   

Local Politics

Legislature to Ponder How to Spend Surplus Funds

(Augusta) Maine lawmakers will tackle a money problem in January – how to spend $800 million dollars in surplus money.  Republicans are pushing to return the money to taxpayers, an option Governor Janet Mills says she’s open to discussing.  Republicans are calling it their “Give It Back” initiative.  The proposal would put 50% of the monies into a Rainy Day fund, with 50% given back to Maine taxpayers in the form of checks.

(Augusta)  It’s not often you have surplus funds with a puzzle of how to spend them – especially when that surplus totals $800 million dollars.  That’s one of the challenges facing Maine legislators this month.  Republicans are proposing a “Give it Back” initiative, with 50% of the surplus going into a Rainy Day Fund and the other 50% going to taxpayers in the form of checks.  Speaking on the matter this week in Portland, Governor Janet Mills was cautious but said she is open to discussing the Give It Back proposal.

Legislature to Tackle Pressing Issues in January

(Augusta)  The Maine Legislature will tackle a host of issues in January, including how to spend $800 million dollars in surplus funds.  Governor Mills says she prefers a cautious approach as the pandemic drags on.  House Speaker Ryan Fecteau says his priorities include affordable housing and childcare.  Senate President Troy Jackson said the 2022 issues will be familiar, citing health care issues, property tax relief, education, and bringing more jobs to the state.

Legislature Reconvenes

(Augusta)  The Maine Legislature reconvened Wednesday, honoring the same COVID-19  safety protocols as last year.  Committee work will be done remotely, with lawmakers convening for votes.  The legislature is tasked with considering more than 200 bills carried over and more than 150 new bills.

New State Auditor Named

(Augusta)  Jacob Norton has been named Maine’s new state auditor, filling a position vacated by Matthew Dunlap in October.  Norton previously served 13 years in the Office of the State Auditor.

Health

Maine EMS Board Tables Vote

(Augusta)  The Maine EMS Board met yesterday to discuss the possibility of looser vaccine requirements for EMS workers as compared to other health care workers, but voted 9-8 to table the decision.  Prior to Governor Janet Mills’ COVID-19 mandate in August, paramedics did not have any vaccine requirements.  The EMS Board yesterday was to consider requiring proof of only the COVID-19 vaccine.  The rules committee will meet next Wednesday, the 12th.

UMaine System to Require Boosters

(Orono)  In-person students who attend schools in the University of Maine system will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot or be tested weekly.  That rule goes into effect next month.  Bates College and College of the Atlantic had previously announced plans to require boosters this spring.

Lincoln County Will Pay for EMS Training

(Wiscasset)  To help combat the shortage of EMT’s, Lincoln County says it will pay for training costs.  WMTW reports Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens asked county commissioners to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay the tuition for an upcoming EMT course in Boothbay, and commissioners unanimously approved the plan.

Maine Pre-teens, Teens Now Eligible for Boosters in Maine

(Augusta)  Maine pre-teens as young as 12 years old are now eligible to receive booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the expansion earlier this week.  The Maine CDC alerted vaccination sites in the Maine Immunization Program that they could immediately begin administering boosters to young people ages 12 to 15.

Environment

Stanley Subaru Set to Flip the Switch

(Trenton)  Stanley Subaru is going to flip the switch.  On January 21st at 11:30 a.m., the dealership will switch to solar power.  Participants at the event are asked to wear a mask.  RSVP by January 13th.

Business/Economy

Older Mainers Benefit from State Property Tax Deferral Program.

(Augusta)  The state of Maine is making available $3.5 million dollars in Lifeline Loans to cover the property tax bills of older or disabled Maine people.  The loan program will allow those 65 and older or those who are permanently disabled to age in place and ensure property taxes are still delivered to municipalities.  Property owners should submit applications to the town where they live.

Technology

Court Says Maine Can Require Cable Refunds

(AP/Portland)  A federal appeals court has revived a Maine law that requires refunds for customers who cancel cable service.  Maine’s law makes cable companies refund some customers who cancel accounts before the end of the month. Members of the telecommunications industry argued the proposal was preempted by federal law. The court found Maine’s law does not constitute an unlawful state regulation of cable rates.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Gouldsboro Cottage Pitched for Maine Cabin Masters

(Gouldsboro)  A town-owned cabin overlooking Jones Pond is being pitched for rehab by Maine Cabin Masters.  The Ellsworth American reports Birch Harbor resident Jackie Weaver got the go-ahead from the Town of Gouldsboro to pitch the cabin to the popular TV show.  Those in the know say whether the Jones Pond cabin is selected by the show is a long shot, but the Select Board is committed to revamping the structure and property if not.

Beth C. Wright Needs Volunteer Cooks

(Ellsworth)  The Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center is in need of volunteer cooks to help with their Home Cooked Healing Program.  The program provides healthy meals for cancer patients and their families on MDI and in the Ellsworth area.  Recipients receive meals for eight weeks at no charge while patients are undergoing treatment or are recovering.  Volunteer cooks prepare meals in their own homes once certified through Maine’s ServSafe Program.  Contact the Center by February 25th if you’re interested in “cooking up” a big difference in the community.

Broadcasting Legend Dies

(Houlton)  Maine broadcasting legend Dewey DeWitt has died.  For more than 70 years, DeWitt was “The Voice of Aroostook County”.  Senator Susan Collins, who grew up in Northern Maine, said DeWitt’s devotion to local sports was the hallmark of DeWitt’s career, calling play-by-play of more than 3,000 games over the years.  DeWitt, who first went on the air in 1950, was recognized by the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, Maine Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and held numerous other honors.  He was 99.

Oldest WW II Veteran Dies

(AP)  The United States’ oldest WW II veteran has died.  Lawrence Brooks’ regiment was stationed in Australia following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Brooks was 112 years old.

Sports

The Boston Celtics were a Jaylen Brown layup away from overtime after Brown got an easy steal off the Spurs inbound play.  But he missed the shot, and the win went to the Spurs 99-97.    Celtics headed to NY today to take on the Knicks

Bruins in Boston to skate against the Minnesota Wild