Crime/Public Safety/Drugs Daylight Savings Time Good Time to Check Smoke Detectors (Maine)  Daylight saving times begins this Sunday, March 13, and the Red Cross Northern New England reminds everyone to move their clocks forward one hour and to test their smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by […]

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Local News 03/09/22

Crime/Public Safety/Drugs

Daylight Savings Time Good Time to Check Smoke Detectors

(Maine)  Daylight saving times begins this Sunday, March 13, and the Red Cross Northern New England reminds everyone to move their clocks forward one hour and to test their smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Since January 1, 2022, the Disaster Action Team has responded to more than 60 fires across Maine, helping approximately 217 individuals in the aftermath of the nation’s most frequent disaster – home fires.

MDEA Breaks Up Out of State Drug Ring in Washington County

(Milbridge)  Maine Drug Enforcement Agents have broken up an out-of-state drug trafficking ring in Washington County.  Public Safety Information Officer Shannon Moss tells Star 97.7, agents arrested a Massachusetts man, the suspected source of the drugs, on I-95 in Newport on Monday.  Following that arrest, agents executed a warrant on the Milbridge residence of 36 yo Cole Kennedy and determined his was the residence from which the drugs were being distributed.  Washington County has seen a marked increase in violence, which authorities say is linked to the sale of illicit drugs.  Accordingly, MDEA has expanded resources in Washington County.

Police Identify Corinth Crash Victim

(Corinth)  The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who died in a two vehicle crash in Corinth Monday morning as 59 yo Gary Crane of Exeter.  The head-on crash injured the 69 yo man who was driving the other vehicle.  The crash remains under investigation, but authorities think icy road conditions contributed to the incident.

One of Five Charged in Machias Murder Pleads Not Guilty

(Machias)  One of the five men charged in connection with the murder of a 17 yo in Machias last November has pleaded not guilty.  Authorities say 17 yo Brandin Guerrero of New York was killed in the drug-related shooting.  23 yo Nathanial Kerruish of Machias is charged with felony murder and robbery.  The Maine Attorney General’s Office reports Kerruish is the first person from Maine charged in the case.  Three people from Massachusetts and another from New Hampshire are also charged.

Milo Man Charged in Death of Infant Son Pleads Not Guilty

(Milo)  A man charged with murdering his one month old son last August pleaded guilty this week in a Piscataquis County Court.  28 yo Reginald Melvin was indicted in the death of tiny Sylus Melvin in January.   WABI-TV reports additional court records have been sealed.  Melvin is being held on a quarter million dollars bail and is due in court again in May.

Tremont Fire

(Tremont)Tremont volunteers Tuesday responded to an early morning fire on Richtown Road that destroyed a number of hibernating perennials.  Steve Harper was operating a sand truck, treating for black ice, when he noticed the fire about 6 a.m. and called it in.  Firefighters discovered several hay bales on fire beneath a pergola garden structure.  The fire was contained to about a quarter of the plants stored under the structure.  Two nearby greenhouses were unharmed.

Dogs Rescued in Glenburn Fire

(Glenburn)  Strong winds hampered firefighters Tuesday morning as they fought a blaze at a Lakeview Road residence in Glenburn.  The fire reportedly spread from a vehicle that was parked outside the home.  The family escaped safely, but four dogs were trapped inside.  Penobscot County Sheriff Deputy Steve Boyd was able to kick the door in and rescue the dogs while firefighters battled the blaze.  The house sustained only minimal damage.

Norridgewock Fire Chief Honored

(Norridgewock)  Norridgewock Fire Chief David Jones has spent the last half century fighting fires.  Those who know him told NewsCenter Maine his dedication, hard work, and leadership never wavered, and he was known for his advice, “Don’t ask for more than you need, and you will always get it.”  Jones was honored this week with a celebration where the town presented him with a special “Golden Axe”.  Jones says he’ll be around through summer, with October 5th his last day before retirement. 

Local Politics

Lawmakers Push for Affordable Housing

(AP/Portland)  Maine lawmakers are unveiling a plan to allow denser development to try to curb a growing lack of affordable housing in the state. The proposal comes at a time when rental prices have gone up by 25% or more in some communities, and home prices are soaring throughout the state. Lawmakers proposed a bill this week that would allow up to four units on lots zoned for single-family housing. The proposal would also require the state’s government to provide grants and technical assistance to cities and towns to revise their own zoning rules.

Traffic Stop Bill Aims to End Racial Profiling

(AP/Augusta)  In an attempt to reduce racial profiling, lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban police from pulling over people for minor offenses. The proposal would eliminate what are called pretextual traffic stops — stops for minor offenses that can become an investigation into something else. The proposal would decrease offenses like not wearing seat belts, having expired registrations or inspections, or having faulty plate lights. The Portland Press Herald reports police and other critics of the proposal testified last week at a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing and said that making such offenses a low priority would lead to roads becoming more dangerous.

Mills,  LePage Address Rising Gas Prices

(Augusta)  Governor Janet Mills and Gubernatorial Candidate Paul LePage yesterday addressed rising gas costs.  Mills said the relief checks proposed in the supplemental budget are designed to help.  When asked about the proposal to suspend the state’s 30-cent gas tax for the remainder of the year, Mills said she is open to ideas and that that one was in the hands of the legislature.  LePage said he supports reducing the gas tax by 50% for the next 90 days.

Lawmakers Advance Child Protection Legislation

(Augusta)  Lawmakers yesterday advanced several bills designed to extend support to Maine families and invest at least $2.6 million dollars into child protection programs.  The four bills endorsed Monday would, among other things, increase supervision over child protection services, according to The Portland Press Herald.  The legislation follows a devastating increase in child deaths, many allegedly at the hands of parents, in the past few years in Maine.

Proposal Would Help Fund Newly Required Lobster Gear

(Washington, DC)  U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Congressman Jared Golden Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation to support lobstermen by creating a grant program to help them comply with federal right whale regulations that require a change in fishing gear.  The proposal would help ease the financial burden for fiscal years 2022 through 2024 by helping with the cost of compliance.  Senator Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree have signed on as co-sponsors.

Lamoine Election Results

(Lamoine)  Results from Tuesday’s Lamoine Town Meeting – Larissa Thomas and Kathleen Rybarz will serve as selectmen, Jane Fowler was elected Assessor, and Brett Jones and Robert Pulver will serve on the School Committee.


Yoga for Seafood Harvesters

(Maine) Whether it’s scallops, lobsters, or elvers, hauling in seafood is bound to be hard on the backs of fishermen and women.  The Bangor Daily News reports a new program aims to introduce them to yoga as a remedy to those aches and pains that are bound to “trap” them in a world of hurt.  Port Clyde oyster farmer and yoga instructor Antonia Small partnered with the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Maine AgrAbility to create an online library of poses picked to combat the repetitive tasks of those who make their living from the sea.  Small says even a few minutes a day can make a huge difference.


Clear Skies Offer March Planet Gazing

(Downeast Maine)  Act quickly when we have clear nights.  Star 97.7 asked Shawn Laatsch, Director of the Versant Power Planetarium what planet and star gazers should look for this month.  (((March/Planets  “… and Mars in our morning sky”  :18)))

(Downeast Maine)  A week from Sunday marks the day, at least on the calendar, to which we all look forward.  Versant Power Planetarium Director Shawn Laatsch nails down the details.  (((Spring “…in that way as well.”  :18)))


Drivers Pay Big for Repairs Caused by Potholes

(Undated)  Those deep potholes have drivers reaching deep into pockets for repairs.  Triple A reports in 2021, drivers paid more than 26 billion dollars in pothole related vehicle repairs.  A new survey found one in ten drivers sustained pothole damage significant enough to warrant repairs, with an average price tag of almost $600. Triple A recommends drivers check their tires for tread depth, tire pressure, suspension and alignment and keep their eyes on the road with a cautious eye scanning for potholes, and if you do notice something is off after hitting one, they say, have it repaired sooner than later at a trusted facility.


SMU Forgives $2M in Student Debt

(AP/Portland)  The University of Southern Maine has forgiven about $2 million in student debt accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Officials said Tuesday the move forgave the debts of more than 750 students acquired between spring 2020 and summer 2021. The school also capped debt forgiveness for fall 2021 at $2,225.  The school will use $2 million in federal pandemic relief money to pay for the debt relief.


Organic Valley to Offer Maine Dairy Farmers a Market for Milk

(Augusta)  Organic Valley Tuesday said the company will offer small Northeast organic family farms a market for their milk, after Horizon Organic last year notified farmers it intended not to renew its contract with them.  In its announcement, Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative, said it’s offering 80 small Northeast organic family farms – including impacted farms in Maine – a market for their dairy.  Governor Janet Mills applauded the news, saying Maine’s dairy farmers work hard every day, and she’s confident Organic Valley will benefit from the new partnership.

Ellsworth Tax Bills Due

(Ellsworth)  If you live in Ellsworth, did you pay your Property Tax Bill yet?  Tomorrow’s the deadline, and you can pay at the Tax Office in City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Can’t get there during those hours?  No worries, you can pay online or at the drop box in the Church Street Entrance of City Hall.  And if your tax payment is escrowed, but you just want to make sure your financial institution made the payment, you can use the online payment tool to look up your current account balance to verify that.

$6M in Maine Jobs and Recovery Grants to Support Maine’s Forest Industry

(Augusta)  Maine’s small, rural forestry companies will receive the bulk of $6 million dollars in Maine Jobs and Recovery Grants to support the state’s forest industry.  More than 200 companies are set to benefit, the vast majority of them with ten employees or less.  The awards will largely support rural logging and trucking firms adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The average award is about $27,000, with monies set to be delivered next month.

Maine’s State Pension System Hit by Russian Attack on Ukraine

(Augusta)  Maine’s state employee pension system would like to ditch Russian investments, which are basically worthless after the invasion of Ukraine.  But Russia blocked brokers from selling securities owned by foreign investors this week in response to tough sanctions from the U.S. and its allies that almost overnight tanked the Russian economy.  The Bangor Daily News reports the Maine holdings amounted to roughly one one-thousandth of the $19.3 billion dollars managed by the Maine Public Employee Retirement System.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Provender Pays It Forward

(Ellsworth)  Like most of us, Daron Goldstein and his wife, Joy, owners of Provender Kitchen & Bar in Ellsworth, have watched the suffering and hunger in Ukraine and wondered how they could help.  No stranger to providing meals to those in need, Goldstein posted on his FB page he’s been wracking his brain to come up with a way to contribute to those thousands of miles away.  This coming weekend, he’ll donate 15% of dinner sales in efforts to feed them.  He’s also placing a direct link to @ w c kitchen for donating to the cause, if you’re so inclined.  Not only does Provender serve some of THE best food around, the owners have two of the biggest hearts as well.


The Celtics are in North Carolina to take on the Charlotte Hornets.  The Bruins are off – they’ll be on home ice

Thursday to host the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Seattle Seahawks have reportedly agreed to trade nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a massive haul of draft picks and players.  A source spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the blockbuster trade is pending Wilson passing a physical and can’t become official until the start of the new league year on March 16th.