Crime/Public Safety Families of Sunken Vessel Get $1M Settlement (AP/Portland)  A judge has awarded nearly $1 million in damages to the families of four fishermen who died when their Maine-based boat mysteriously sank off the Massachusetts coast in 2020. The 82-foot Emmy Rose went down November 23rd as it was heading to port after a […]

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Local News 01/11/22

Crime/Public Safety

Families of Sunken Vessel Get $1M Settlement

(AP/Portland)  A judge has awarded nearly $1 million in damages to the families of four fishermen who died when their Maine-based boat mysteriously sank off the Massachusetts coast in 2020. The 82-foot Emmy Rose went down November 23rd as it was heading to port after a seven-day fishing trip. The Portland Press Herald reports U.S. District Judge John Woodcock distributed insurance proceeds from the boat’s owner.  The vessel, which was found in May, made no distress calls.  Authorities are investigating how it sank.

Bangor Woman Serving 50 Years in Murder Case Dies in Maine State Prison

(Bangor)  A Bangor woman serving 50 years for murdering her husband in a bathtub has died at the Maine State Prison.  Officials say 58 yo Roxane Jeskey’s death was attended by medical personnel,, but did not disclose the cause of death.  Jeskey was found guilty in 2014 in the death of her 58 yo husband, Richard, in June 2011.

Drugs

Westbrook Drug Seizure

(Westbrook)  Westbrook police, along with MDEA agents arrested two Massachusetts men Sunday on drug charges.  21 yo Corey Armstrong and 19 yo Jared Smith are charged with Class A Trafficking.  Agents had received a tip that a substantial amount of crack cocaine was to be delivered to a local hotel in Westbrook by men who were possibly armed.  At about 10:30 Sunday night, officers stopped the suspects’ rental vehicle and seized crack cocaine, two loaded handguns, and $1,300 in suspected drug proceeds.  The two were transported to Cumberland County Jail.  Agents approximate the value of the crack cocaine is $14,000.

Education

South Portland Band Teacher Represents Maine at Rose Parade

(South Portland)  This year’s Tournament of Roses Parade included a very special and unique band – one made up of 270 Band Directors from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  Maine’s only representative was an elementary Band Director from the South Portland School District.  Jen Fletcher tells Star 97.7, how she came to represent the Pine Tree State.  (((Rose 1  “…accepted for the 2021 Rose Parade.”  :20)))  Of course, we all know COVID wiped out 2021, but Jen says the Tournament of Roses allowed everyone accepted to carry over to the 2022 parade.

(South Portland)  If you’ve ever played an instrument in a school band, you know the power of music and those amazing, talented band directors.  This year’s 133rd Rose Parade in Pasadena honored band directors with their very own marching band.  Maine’s sole representative was a teacher who works with South Portland’s five elementary schools.  Jen Fletcher tells Star 97.7, she financed her trip in a unique and meaningful way.  (((Rose 2  “…and also be a fundraiser for my trip.”  :25)))  Jen said besides the parade, she enjoyed eight days in California, even taking in a trip to Disneyland, but that she couldn’t wait to get home and share the experience with her students.

(South Portland) On New Year’s Day, 270 band directors from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, formed their own band and marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade.  Maine had just one representative, an elementary band director and saxophone player from the South Portland School District.  When Jen Fletcher talks about what the experience meant, you’ll see why she was chosen to proudly represent our state.  (((Rose 3  “…the best thing I could ever do with my life.”  :26)))  Jen tells Star 97.7 she was somewhat of a celebrity when she returned home to her students, saying she’s never autographed so many band books in her life!

(South Portland) If you watched the Rose Bowl parade a week ago Saturday, you may have seen a unique marching band made up of band directors from across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.  Maine was represented by just one amazing teacher and saxophone player from the South Portland School District.  Jen Fletcher tells Star 97.7, she flew back on Sunday and couldn’t wait to see her students the following day.  (((Rose 4  “…can bring them so many opportunities.”  :24)))  Jen joked that, for her, it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, because after marching for 5-1/2 miles, she didn’t want to take another step.

MDOE and US DOT to Help Address Bus Driver Shortage

(Augusta)  With an increasingly alarming shortage of school bus drivers, the U.S. Department of Transportation is giving states the option of waiving the portion of the commercial driver’s license skills test that requires applicants to identify the “under the hood” engine components.  Secretary Pete Buttigieg said by allowing states to focus on the testing requirements that are critical to safety, states can get additional, qualified drivers behind the wheel to get kids to school safely.

Maine DOE to Offer Free Adult Education

(Augusta)  Maine adults seeking to pursue college have a new option to jumpstart their education with support from their local Maine adult education program.  A new partnership between the Maine Community College System and the Maine Department of Education will offer tuition-free college courses to the state’s adult education students.   Interested adults should contact their local adult education program for more information – and you can take advantage of the program with or without a high school diploma.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute to Establish Apprenticeship

(Augusta)  With more employers and educators recognizing the value of apprenticeships, the Maine Department of Labor has partnered with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to develop and pilot an Aquaculture Apprenticeship Program.  Anyone with a strong work ethic and interest in making a living on the water will soon have access to affordable and convenient training opportunities around the state.  The apprenticeship is made possible through a grant from the US Department of Agriculture.  More information is available at g m r i dot org.

Local Politics

Ellsworth Council Votes to Extend Hazard Pay to All City Employees

(Ellsworth)  Recently, Ellsworth Police and Fire Department employees who worked during the pandemic each received a thousand dollars in hazard pay.  At last night’s City Council meeting, a discussion about equity for all city employees took center stage.  Councilor Dr. Casey Hanson commented on how conditions surrounding the pandemic have changed and why hazard pay for those first responders mattered.  (((Hanson  “…and there were no vaccines.”  :21)))  Ultimately, Council voted to give the remaining 60 city employees hazard pay as well, with only Councilor Marc Blanchette voting against the measure.

(Ellsworth)  Ellsworth City employees will each receive one thousand dollars in hazard pay from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funding.  After a lengthy discussion at last night’s Council meeting, all but one member voted in favor of the measure.  Councilor Marc Blanchette explained his “no” vote.  (((Blanchette “…and we got the screws.”  :20)))  Blanchette said businesses and community members faced losses just like city employees.

(Ellsworth)  The City of Ellsworth will devote another $60,000 in ARPA funds to pay City employees who worked during the early part of the pandemic – with the exception of Fire and Police, who already received hazard pay, and school employees.  Arguments were made both for and against the proposal at last night’s City Council meeting, with Chairperson Dale Hamilton expressing what many feel about how the pandemic has been handled.  (((Hamilton “…than it ever was at the beginning of the pandemic.”  :28)))  The city has a total of about $800,000 in ARPA funds that must be used according to federal guidelines.

(Ellsworth)  City of Ellsworth employees will receive $1,000 each in hazard pay for working during the early part of the pandemic.  After a lengthy discussion during last night’s City Council meeting about fairness and equity for all those who worked during the pandemic, only Councilor Marc Blanchette voted against the measure, commenting the public would see it as the city “taking care of its own.”

Maine Only State Without Public Defender

(Augusta) Maine is the only state that does not employ public defenders to represent people who cannot afford to hire their own attorneys.  Instead, the Pen Bay Pilot reports, Maine contracts exclusively with private lawyers to represent these defendants.  An investigation last year by the Maine Monitor revealed the courts made at least 2,000 case assignments in five years to ineligible attorneys.  Maine’s first public defender office was supposed to begin accepting cases this month, but delays by the Legislature have reportedly kept the state’s system of public defense in place for another year.

Environment

Pet Safety Tips for Frigid Weather

(Undated)  MDI/Lost and Found Pets has some timely tips for pets in this frigid weather.  They say tempting as it may be NOT to, it’s important you go out WITH your pet when he she needs to use the bathroom.  If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for THEM outside.  Keep antifreeze and other dangerous substances out of reach – animals are drawn to its sweet smell.  And bang on your vehicle’s hood and honk your horn to make sure feral and outdoor cats haven’t sought shelter near that warm engine.

Communities Wrestle with Lack of Recycling Options

(Hampden)  Years after a new waste plant promised to remove recyclables from loads of trash and prevent buildup in landfills, many of the communities that opted to send their waste there are left with virtually no recycling.  The Bangor Daily News reports most were waiting for the opening of the Coastal Resources of Maine plant in Hampden, which was expected to start in 2018.  Communities have the option of resurrecting recycling programs, but many say the cost would outweigh the benefit.  115 communities are tied to the Coastal Resources plant, the sale of which remains in limbo.

Second Hand Goods Making A Comeback

(Maine)  With supply chain shortages continuing to plague Maine shoppers, the Bangor Daily News reports, many are shopping for second-hand and used goods.  Second hand retailers point to an increased demand for storage pieces, bookcases, dining tables and chairs in particular.  Used appliance dealers say while demand has leveled out, they still field calls for such things as used refrigerators, ranges, washers and dryers.  Auto dealers, too, say they’ve seen an increase in demand for used vehicles.

MEMA Urges Caution with Sub–Zero Temperatures

(Augusta)  With today’s sub-zero temperatures and extreme wind chills, the Maine Emergency Management Agency is urging Mainers to stay warm and to check on friends, family and neighbors.  Warming centers will be open, with support available by calling 2-1-1 or by visiting MEMA’s website.  Mainers are urged to be sure alternate heat sources are in proper working condition; and they say never use your oven to heat your home, as it can be a fire hazard.  And be sure pets and livestock have adequate heat and shelter.

Business/Economy

State’s LiHEAP Program Gets Extra Funding

(Augusta)  Maine’s annual funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, will receive more than double its usual funding this year.  U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree reports the state will receive more than $90 million dollars, with $55 million coming from the American Rescue Plan Act.  Persons needing home heating assistance should contact their local Community Action program agency or through maine housing dot org.

Versant Donates to DECP THAW Fund

(Ellsworth)  Downeast Community Partner’s THAW Fund has received a $15,000 donation from Versant Power for heating assistance.  Assistance is provided to households in Hancock and Washington Counties based on need, regardless of income.  If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, visit downeast community partners dot org.

Maine Trucking Company Sold to Canadian Firm

(AP/Bangor)  First Getchell Ice, then Dead River … now another longtime locally owned business has been sold.  Hartt Transportation, a Bangor-based trucking company, has been purchased by a Canadian firm, ending 73 years of local ownership.

Sports

 

  • Bruins  7  Washington Capitals  3  Bruins host the Canadiens Wednesday.
  • Celtics  101 Indiana Pacers  98    Celtics now travel to Indiana for Wednesday’s rematch with the Pacers.