Crime/Public Safety Waterville Stabbing (Waterville)  Five people were hospitalized after a stabbing incident Tuesday in Waterville.  WABI-TV reports the stabbing occurred early Tuesday morning at a home on County Road.  Police say an argument between a man and a woman escalated, and the man began stabbing the woman and three other men.  Authorities say drugs […]

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Local News 01/12/22

Crime/Public Safety

Waterville Stabbing

(Waterville)  Five people were hospitalized after a stabbing incident Tuesday in Waterville.  WABI-TV reports the stabbing occurred early Tuesday morning at a home on County Road.  Police say an argument between a man and a woman escalated, and the man began stabbing the woman and three other men.  Authorities say drugs were involved. The suspect was also injured.

Abbot Fire Destroys Home

(Abbot)  A home in Abbot is a total loss, following a Tuesday afternoon fire.  Guilford Fire officials say, crews responded to the home on West Road about 1:15 yesterday.  The homeowner told fire crews smoke was coming from the floor.  No one else was home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.  The Red Cross is assisting the family.

Grandmother Pleads Not Guilty

(Bangor)  The grandmother of Maddox Williams, the four year old boy who allegedly died at the hands of his mother last summer, appeared in court yesterday in Bangor.  Sherry Johnson pleaded not guilty to concealing her daughter’s whereabouts from police.  Maddox suffered blows that fractured his spine and caused bleeding in his abdomen and brain, injuries his mother reportedly attributed to rough play with his siblings.

Education

Dirigo Reads Looks to Add Schools

(Bangor)  Dirigo Reads, a program that aims to put a book in the hands of every Maine first grader each month during the school year by 2025, wants to increase the number of schools participating next year.  Co-founders Dan and Karen Cashman of Brewer tell Star 97.7, they’re now soliciting schools for the 2022-23 school year.  The mission of Dirigo Reads is to improve the health and well-being of children in Maine through literacy, while sharing optimism along the way.  Interested educators should visit Dirigo Reads dot org.

Local Politics

Proposal to Ban Vaccines

(Augusta)  A bill that would ban mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for five years went before the Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday.  Supporters say the timeline, which would begin from when a vaccine was granted emergency use authorization, would allow for safety testing on the vaccines before their widespread roll out.  The bill was introduced last year by Republican Tracy Quint of Hodgdon.  Public health groups, including the American Cancer Society, stand in opposition, saying it undermines public health and puts people at risk.

Public Advocate Nominee

(Augusta)  Attorney William Harwood of Yarmouth has been nominated to serve as the state’s Public Advocate.  Harwood received a unanimous vote Tuesday from the Legislature’s Joint Standing committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology, paving the way for the Senate to consider his nomination.

Health

Additional National Guard Teams to Deploy to Maine

(Maine)  Governor Janet Mills will activate up to an additional 169 members of the Maine National Guard to help alleviate issues at hospitals impacted by record numbers of COVID-19 patients.  Guard members will serve in non-clinical support roles at healthcare facilities across the state.  In addition, FEMA has approved the Mills Administration’s request for two Federal COVID-19 Surge Response Teams for MaineHealth and Central Maine Medical Center.

Nurses Take Action on Staffing Crisis

(Undated)  Registered nurse members of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of RN’s, plan to hold actions across the country tomorrow to demand hospitals invest in safe staffing and that nurses receive optimal protections at work.  The union contents the U.S. is not experiencing a nursing shortage – but a shortage of nurses willing to risk their licenses of the safety of patients by working under the unsafe conditions imposed on them by “profit-driven employers.”  In Maine, a rally is planned from Noon to 1 Thursday at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Environment

Season’s First Right Whale Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

(AP/Bourne, MA)  Marine researchers have spotted a species of rare whale in Cape Cod Bay for the first time this season.  North Atlantic right whales number less than 340, and their population has declined in recent years. The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown said Tuesday it would spend the next five months observing the whales from the air and in the water to track their health.

Disease Devastating MDI Porcupines

(MDI)  One week this fall, five porcupines were rushed to Acadia Wildlife in Bar Harbor, suffering from labored breathing and runny noses.  The Bangor Daily News reports two died as they came in, and one soon after.  Executive Director Ann Rivers sent samples to experts to try to figure out a cause.  What they found was a virus that could wreak havoc on Maine’s porcupine population.  The Skunk Adenovirus 1 has been identified in hedgehogs, foxes, and raccoons, as well.  The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is working to study the virus and determine which animals are most at risk. It’s unclear whether and how the virus could affect humans.

Business/Economy

Take Out Alcohol

(AP/Augusta)  A Maine lawmaker has proposed to permanently allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol on a to-go basis. The businesses have been able to sell alcohol through takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic if accompanied by a food order. Distilleries have also been allowed to sell spirits without a food order. A proposal introduced this week by Democratic Sen. Louis Luchini would make the changes permanent.

DECP THAW Fund Helps Mainers Stay Warm

(Ellsworth)  These bitter cold days are no fun for anyone, but they’re especially daunting for those who lack the resources to adequately heat their homes.  Energy Services Director Lee Hardison tells Star 97.7 how Downeast Community Partners offers heating help for Hancock and Washington County residents.  (((THAW 1  “…in the colder months of the year.”  :17))) Those in need can call Downeast Community Partners.  And, of course, with all the needs this time of year, the THAW fund is always gratefully accepting donations, as well.

(Ellsworth)  If you or someone you know lacks the resources to adequately heat their home during this bitter time of year, there ARE resources out there to help.  Downeast Community Partners’ Energy Services Director Lee Hardison tells Star 97.7, that’s the purpose of their THAW fund.  (((THAW 2  “…or whatever the heat source may be.”  :20))) Hardison says in order to spread the help around, they try to help people just once every 12 months; and, of course, that help depends on the THAW fund itself being funded.  If you NEED help or if you would LIKE to help, you can reach out to Downeast Community Partners at 610-5914.

(Ellsworth)  Downeast Community Partners’ THAW fund provides heating assistance to those in need in Hancock and Washington Counties.  But Energy Services Director Lee Hardison tells Star 97.7, their ability to help is dependent on donations to the fund itself.  Star 97.7 asked about a recent contribution from Versant Power.  (((THAW 3  “…for our clients that we serve.”  :18)))  With the bitter cold, Lee says the fund is always in need so they can help even more people.  If you’d like to contribute, or if you know someone that could use heating assistance, contact Downeast Community Partners in Ellsworth.

(Ellsworth)  Downeast Community Partners’ outreach is almost unfathomable.  One of their many programs is the THAW heating assistance program.  Energy Services Director Lee Hardison tells Star 97.7, right now, they’re in need as well.  (((THAW 4  “…almost out of money.”  :06)))  If you’re feeling especially grateful for your warmth in this bitter cold and have the resources, Hardison says they welcome your donations so they can help even more people in need.  (((THAW 5  “…04605.”  :18)))  We’ve posted that information on our FB page, as well.

Town Managers Face Soaring Real Estate Prices on MDI

(MDI)  Even town managers in municipalities in and around MDI are feeling the pinch of an increasingly unaffordable housing market.  The Bangor Daily News reports SW Harbor’s Town Manager is commuting from off-island; and Kevin Sutherland, Bar Harbor’s new Town Manager, has found only a three-month rental in Bar Harbor in which to live while he searches for long-term housing.  Sutherland said there’s not much to look at for less than half a million dollars.  The issue puts a spotlight on the challenges facing seasonal and other workers on the island.

Lobster Tag Prices Rise 50%

(Ellsworth)  Maine’s beleaguered lobstermen can’t seem to catch a break.  First, stringent new federal rules to protect the endangered right whale have cost the industry months of prime fishing.  Warming waters due to global warming have had an effect.  And now the Ellsworth American reports trap tags for the 2022 season will be 75 cents – up from 50 cents last year.  A lobsterman fishing the maximum 800 traps will be out $600 for trap tags – a $200 increase.

Millions Needed to Reopen Deer Isle Nursing Home

(Deer Isle)  It will cost Deer Isle’s Island Nursing Home millions to reopen – that’s according to a task force formed to study a plan to bring back the care facility.  The Bangor Daily News reports the facility will need to invest millions to construct workforce housing and raise additional funds in order to be operational. 

Infrastructure

Hospital Plans Demolition of 100-year-old Buildings

(AP/Bangor)  St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor is moving ahead with plans to demolish eight buildings that are more than 100 years old. The Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday four of the buildings near the main campus have already been knocked down. St. Joseph’s President said engineering reviews found the structures had significant risks. Despite some outcry, Bangor’s Director of Code Enforcement says the city’s historic preservation rules do not apply to the buildings.

Piscataqua River Bridge Lane Closures in Kittery

(Kittery)  If you’re heading I-95 through Kittery this week, expect lane closures on the Piscataqua River Bridge.  The closures are set for today through the 14th to facilitate the installation of overhead signage.  MDOT says, as always, work is heavily dependent on the weather.

Human Interest

Winning Lottery Ticket Sold

(Westbrook)  A Westbrook convenience store will get a $25,000 bonus for selling a winning lottery ticket worth three million dollars.  The Mega Millions ticket was sold to one of Westbrook Market’s regulars.

Maritime Museum to Offer Free Admission to Kids Through 2026

(AP/Bath)  The Maine Maritime Museum is offering free admission to those 17 and younger through the end of 2026. Rebecca Roche, the museum’s director of development, said it’s a step toward a goal of permanently eliminating admission fees for children to make the museum more accessible.

Sports 

The Celtics head to Indianapolis today for a rematch with the Pacers, and the Bruins are on home ice to skate against the Montreal Canadiens.