Crime/Public Safety/Drugs EMS Week (Washington County)  Next week is EMS Week nationwide.  Perhaps nowhere is the shortage of EMS workers more critical than in the state’s rural areas, like Washington County.  If you’re considering joining EMS, stop by Bluebird Ranch Restaurant in Machias or Calais Fire/EMS on Wednesday, May 18th at 4 pm. for an […]

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Local News 05/13/22

Crime/Public Safety/Drugs

EMS Week

(Washington County)  Next week is EMS Week nationwide.  Perhaps nowhere is the shortage of EMS workers more critical than in the state’s rural areas, like Washington County.  If you’re considering joining EMS, stop by Bluebird Ranch Restaurant in Machias or Calais Fire/EMS on Wednesday, May 18th at 4 pm. for an Expo featuring hands-on CPR and Stop-the-Bleed demonstrations, door prize drawings and more.  And all next week, Star 97.7 will be featuring interviews with personnel involved in all aspects of EMS – you’ll be amazed at the variety of opportunities and may even find a new career that those involved say is rewarding and life-changing.

Hermon School District Files Lawsuit Against Conservative Activist

(Hermon) A lawsuit alleges a conservative activist was on a personal mission to bully a Hermon teacher.  The Hermon School Department is suing 51 yo Shawn McBreairty, who allegedly called a teacher a “sexual predator” and made other disparaging comments on social media, his podcast, on local radio, and in a letter to the District.  The Bangor Daily News reports in recent weeks, McBrearity has accused multiple school districts, state agencies, teachers and others of indoctrinating students and teaching critical race theory.

Police Find Stolen Goods Worth Thousands

(Brooks)  Thousands of dollars of stolen goods – that’s what police say they found at a home in Waldo County.  WGME reports police received a call from a resident last week saying they had been burglarized.  Missing items included a snow blower, generator, and electronics.  After receiving a report of a second burglary at a home nearby, police were able to track down the goods, worth more than $10,000.  Authorities say they arrested 65 yo James Hatch.  All the stolen items were recovered.

Bangor Hospital Must Pay Psychologist for Unequal Pay

(Bangor)  Northern Light Acadia Hospital has been ordered to pay a Bangor psychologist more than $180,000 in back pay and damages, after it was determined the hospital’s parent company paid female psychologists about half what they paid their male counterparts.  The Bangor Daily News reports 59 yo Clare Mundell began working as a pool psychologist in 2017 for $50 an hour, but later learned her male counterparts were making between $90 and $95 dollars per hour.  Lawyers for Northern Light Health have asked the judge to reconsider his decision.

Yellow Tulip Project Celebrates Hope Day

(Ellsworth)  Tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day to celebrate Hope Day at Ellsworth’s Knowlton Park.  Hope Day is part of the Yellow Tulip Project, a nationwide youth movement that began with a Maine high school student and is designed to smash the stigma surrounding mental health.  The Knowlton Park Event will include speakers, performers, resources, activities and food vendors.

Sullivan Gazebo Light

(Sullivan)  No one works harder to light up the town than former Sullivan Town Manager Rob Eaton, who always makes sure the town gazebo is decked out for the latest cause or holiday.  Recently, someone unplugged a gazebo light panel and ripped it from the ceiling, taking it with them.  If you know something, say something.  Special thanks to town resident April Seavey who took it upon herself to replace the light panel.

Scarborough Police Rescue Ducklings

(Scarborough) This is National Police Week.   Sometimes – often – law enforcement officials put their lives on the line, even during a simple traffic stop.  And sometimes, they get down and dirty to rescue “the least of these.”  WMTW reports in Scarborough this week, officers noticed a man lying on the side of the road near a storm drain.  Turns out a mother duck was walking her ducklings near the drain when eight of them fell through and were calling for help.  Officers and a Public Works employee came to the rescue and were able to rescue all eight of the tiny ducklings, who were soon back on their way with Mom.  Be sure to thank an officer this week and next.

Local Politics

Mills Orders Flags at Half Mast for Lives Lost to COVID-19

(Augusta)  In solemn remembrance of the one million Americans who have now lost their lives to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills has ordered flags to fly at half mast through Monday, May 16th.  The stunning figure includes 2,332 Maine people who succumbed to the virus.

Environment

Dry Weather Encourages Browntail Moths

(Maine) This sunny spring weather is great for picnics, long walks, and – unfortunately – browntail moth caterpillars.  The Bangor Daily News reports forest insect experts expect this season’s infestation to be as bad as last year – the worst Maine has ever experienced – unless more rain falls in the next six weeks.  The moisture would help bolster the spread of diseases that kill the caterpillars, whose hairs can cause a blistering rash and even respiratory problems.  The crucial time for wet weather to hurt caterpillar populations is in May and June, when they’re most active.

Glass Recycling Webinars

(Maine)  You recycle those plastic bottles, cardboard cartons, and print publications, but it’s more and more difficult to find a place that recycles glass.  The Northeast Recycling Council is holding two webinars for glass recycling in rural communities.  The first, on June 6th and 11th, will help rural communities discover how to develop and maintain a successful glass recycling program.  Then on June 29th, a follow up will feature two rural regions in Maine that recently developed new glass recycling programs.  Learn more at n e r c dot org.

NECEC Fate in Hands of Maine’s Highest Court

(Augusta)  Even though voters spoke loudly and clearly last November, it seems the fate of the New England Clean Energy Corridor rests in the hands of Maine’s high court.  The Bangor Daily News reports that’s because parent company Avangrid is challenging whether the referendum was constitutional.  Two other questions factor in the court’s decision – how construction affects the project, and whether the Bureau of Public Lands should have taken a public land lease in question to the Legislature in the first place.

Bangor Sees Record High Thursday

(Bangor)  Think it’s unusually warm for mid-May?  You’re right.  The National Weather Service in Caribou reports Bangor set a record high temperature on Thursday.  The 84 degrees registered on the thermometer was a degree higher than the record 83 degrees set in 1991.

Education

Teachers of the Year by County Announced

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Education Thursday announced the state’s 2022 County Teachers of the Year.  Rebecca Edmondson of Conners-Emerson school in Bar Harbor took Hancock County honors, Alyssa Stephens of Woodland Elementary in Baileyville was chosen for Washington County.  Waldo County’s Nancy Nickerson of Captain Albert W. Stevens School in Belfast was honored; and for Penobscot County, Emily Albee of Hampden Academy took top honors.

Liz Russell Appointed New EMCC President

(Bangor)  Liz Russell has been appointed the new President of Eastern Maine Community College, effective June 1st.  A native of Lincoln, Russell has been with EMCC for 28 years, and currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs.  Senator Susan Collins praised Russell’s appointment, saying she understands well every aspect of the college’s mission.

Infrastructure

Machias Substation Removal Could Temporarily Disrupt Power

(Machias)  Versant Power has scheduled maintenance near Bad Little Falls in Machias this coming Wednesday, May 18th, at several times and locations throughout the day.  A substation reaching end of life will be removed.  The project will also allow the utility to re-route power to some customers from alternate electrical circuits once the new substation is complete.  Crews will work near Route 1 and Elm Street to move customers served by the existing substation to other circuits in preparation for transition to a new substation this fall.

I-95 Closure

(Augusta)  The Maine Department of Transportation will be closing Exit 133 on and off ramps on the northbound side of  I-95 in Fairfield Sunday night into Monday morning for guardrail replacement work.  The closure is set for 9 p.m. Sunday through 6 a.m. Monday, but is not expected to take the full nine hours.

Lubec Celebrates Bandstand Repair

(Lubec)  The Town of Lubec is celebrating completion of Phase One of their Bandstand repair project.  Kurt Andresen and the Lubec Area Musicians’ Philanthropic Society completed repair of the deck, which is once again safe and aesthetically beautiful.  The town credited Wanda Corey for helping establish a bandstand repair fund and collecting donations, which are still being accepted at the Lubec Town Office.  The bandstand is an iconic gathering place overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay.

Business/Economy

Maine Farmland Trust Promotes Griswold to New Leadership Position

(Belfast)  Maine Farmland Trust’s new Vice President and Deputy Director is a familiar face within the organization.   Ellen Stern Griswold has been serving as Policy and Research Director.  In her new position, Griswold will be second to President and CEO Amy Fisher.  MFT is a member-powered statewide organization that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming, by filling the needs of farmers, landowners, and food markets in Maine.

Deer Isle Nursing Home Unlikely to Reopen

(Deer Isle)  Economic and other challenges make reopening Deer Isle’s Nursing Home AS a nursing home unlikely.  But the Bangor Daily News reports with the facility being still in good shape, the Board is looking at other ways it could be used to help area seniors. The Board wrote in documents released this week, they are considering uses without the many challenges faced by providing skilled nursing care.  Although the Board did not explicitly say they were giving up on resurrecting the nursing home, they indicated they would have public discussions in June about how to best use the facility in the future.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Novels Set in Maine Win IPPY Awards

(Yarmouth)  Two novels set in Maine nave won gold in their categories at the 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards, known as IPPYs.  Blue Summer by Jim Nichols took Best Regional Fiction gold, and William Carpenter’s Silence took gold in the Military/Wartime Fiction category.  Both books are published by Islandport Press.

Downeast Scenic Railroad Touch-A-Train

(Hancock)  The Downeast Scenic Railroad invites folks to Touch-A-Train on Saturday, June 11th, from 9 to 1:30 at the Washington Junction Yard in Hancock.  Admission is free, and those who wish to stay and ride the 1:30 train will receive $2 off the ride.  Participants can take a caboose hop, ring the locomotive’s bell, tour an active steam train restoration, and blow a steam train whistle.

May is National Foster Care Month

(Hancock)  May is National Foster Care Month – no better time to support Comfort Cases, a national organization that provides new backpacks filled with pj’s, a book, a stuffed animal, and personal care items to children transitioning to foster care.  Maine coordinator Lesley Robinson tells Star 97.7, as they begin packing this year, they’re especially in need of books, journals, pens and pencils, travel size toiletries and stuffed animals.  Visit our Star 97.7 FB page for more information on how you can help!

Sports

The Bruins were hot on the ice last night, beating the Hurricanes 5-2 in Game Six of the NHL playoffs.  The victory ties up the series at 3 games apiece.   Game Seven Saturday afternoon in Charlotte.

Red Sox take on the Rangers in Texas for three games, beginning tonight.

Game Six of Round two of the NBA playoffs that pits the Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Bucks is tonight in Wisconsin.  Bucks lead the series three games to two.