Crime/Public Safety/Drugs Gun Suicides in Maine Outpace National Numbers (Maine)  More than 85 percent of Maine’s firearm deaths in 2020 were suicides, and men were eight times more likely than women to use a gun to end their lives, according to a new report obtained this week by the Portland Press Herald.   In 2020, […]

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Local News 06/09/22

Crime/Public Safety/Drugs

Gun Suicides in Maine Outpace National Numbers

(Maine)  More than 85 percent of Maine’s firearm deaths in 2020 were suicides, and men were eight times more likely than women to use a gun to end their lives, according to a new report obtained this week by the Portland Press Herald.   In 2020, 154 people were killed by firearms in Maine; all but 22 were suicides.  The findings support data collected by national gun safety advocates, who say Maine’s rate of suicide deaths using guns is significantly higher than the national average.  Maine has a 24 hour hotline for anyone in crisis – 888-568-eleven-twelve.

Maine Invests in Suicide Prevention

(AP/Augusta)  Maine is investing $230 million in suicide prevention and mental health awareness after a report found more than 85% of gun deaths in 2020 were suicides. The state report concluded 132 of the 154 people killed by guns in 2020 died by suicide. According to the report, 118 of the suicides affected men. The research conducted by the state’s Center for Disease Control and Department of Human Services coincides with the gun control debate that has reignited across the U.S.

Discrimination Lawsuit Settled

(AP/Warren)  Maine will pay $395,000 to a former corrections officer to settle her claims of harassment and discrimination. Autumn Dinsmore resigned this month as part of the settlement of her lawsuit filed last year. There was no admission of wrongdoing by the Maine Department of Corrections. Dinsmore worked at the Maine State Prison and Bolduc Correctional Facility. She claimed she was subjected to harassment, based on gender and sexual l orientation.

Barn Fire

(Eastbrook)   A barn in Eastbrook is a total loss after an early morning fire on Sugar Hill Road Wednesday.  First responders from Eastbrook, Hancock, Sullivan, and others responded to the scene.  The fire was called in at about 3:30 yesterday morning.  No personal injuries were reported. Unfortunately, none of the animals inside the barn survived. .

K-9 Graduation Set

(Augusta)  No bones about it.  Well, on second thought, maybe there SHOULD be bones … LOTS of them.  Tomorrow morning, nine K9 teams will graduate from the Maine State Police’s K9 patrol school  The 14 week school teaches the pup police force obedience, protection, and searches, in addition to tracking, criminal apprehension and instruction on locating lost children and the elderly.  The following graduates were dogged in their pursuit of excellence:  K9’s Axel, Stuka, Bear, Murph, Titar, Gordy, Riggs, Geno, and Rebel.  We’re FUR-ever proud of you and your officers.

Local Politics

Anonymous Letter Accuses Eastport City Manager

(Eastport)  Eastport’s city manager and city councilors have come under fire after an unsigned letter sent to the town’s residents revealed Manager Kate Devonshire was subject to a court martial when she served in the U.S. Army.  According to the Bangor Daily News, the letter also alleges Devonshire declared bankruptcy after being dismissed from the military.  Devonshire admitted the statements were true.  She said after being sexually assaulted while serving, she coped by taking medication she was prescribed and by using synthetic cannabinoids that were illegal for members of the military at the time.

Ellsworth City Council Adds Another Budget Workshop

(Ellsworth)  The Ellsworth City Council has added another budget workshop to review debt service and discuss any potential changes.  The workshop is set for this Monday, June 13th, at 6 p.m. and will involve discussion only.  No votes will be taken.

Health

Vegan Farmers Create Compost Free of Animal Waste

(Undated)  You won’t find chemical or animal based compost on land that practices vegan farming – an increasingly popular practice, according to the Bangor Daily News.  Even manure from ethically sourced animals is a no-no.  Farmers who practice so-called veganic farming create their own homemade soil additives that can take up to a year longer to process.  But a growing number of farmers across the country say the effort is worth it in keeping with a vegan lifestyle.

Environment

Planets Align in Early Morning Sky

(Undated)  If you happen to be up 45 minutes to an hour before sunrise tomorrow morning, Shawn Laatsch, Director of the Versant Power Planetarium, tells Star 97.7, the stars – or rather the planets – are going to align for you!  (((PlanetAlign  “…right before sunrise.”  :13)))  Look for Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in a line in the East Southeast.  Laatsch says Venus and Jupiter are the 3rd and 4th brightest things in the sky, so ya can’t miss ‘em.

State Parks to Get Improvements Funding

(AP/Camden)  Look for infrastructure improvements at your favorite state parks in the coming months.  They’re part of a $50 million campaign for updates at the state’s 48 state parks and historic sites, which have experienced record attendance in recent years.  Governor Janet Mills and other officials announced the improvement campaign on Wednesday. Mills’ office said the campaign will include  improvements that allow the parks to accommodate the increased attendance. More than 3.3 million people visited in 2021.

Healthy Beaches Conference Returns

(AP/South Berwick)  A conference about the health of the Maine and New Hampshire coasts is coming back after a three-year hiatus. The 13th Biennial Beaches Conference is scheduled to take place on June 10th at Berwick Academy in Maine. The conference is intended to bring together scientists, students, regulators and many others to brainstorm about the future of the region’s beaches.  Conference themes include tourism, coastal management and community resilience in the era of climate change.

Education

Ellsworth Public Library Kicks Off Summer

(Ellsworth) The Ellsworth Public Library kicks off their summer reading program – Oceans of Possibilities – on Saturday, June 18th at 11 a.m. There will be fun, games, crafts and stories. And if you’re looking for that next great book, the library now subscribes to Book Page, a free magazine for book lovers. Read reviews and discover great new books across all genres. Pick up your free copy at the library!

Hot Summer Lunches Continue for School Children

(Augusta)  As the school year comes to an end, Maine children can access nutritious meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, administered by the Maine Department of Education (DOE).  Meals are available at hundreds of sites across Maine and will be listed on the Maine DOE’s Hot Lunch Summer website.

DEFYMCA Offers Inclusive Program

(Ellsworth)  Everybody wants and needs to fit in – and that includes children with mental and physical disabilities.  This Fall, the Downeast Family YMCA is offering the “Blue Lobster” program for children as unique as those azure crustaceans.  The program will help children grow through recreational opportunities.  The Y will hold three informational sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the program.  Contact the Downeast Family YMCA for more information.

Business/Economy

Maine Farmland Trust Awards Community Food Grants

(Blue Hill)  Home delivery of free, fresh produce to those living on the Blue Hill Peninsula.  That’s one of the benefits coming as a result of Maine Farmland Trust’s 18 Community Food grants for projects that promise to increase food sustainability and improve health and well-being on the Blue Hill Peninsula.  Healthy Peninsula will be among those receiving funds, and planning for the home deliveries.

Check the Status of Your Relief Check

(Augusta)  Those $850 relief checks from the state continue to go out in the mail.  If you’re wondering when you’ll receive yours, you can now get an approximate timeline.  You’ll need to put in your social security number, 2021 tax filing status, and federal adjusted gross income from your 2021 tax return at maine dot gov and search refund status. While the site won’t give you an exact date, it will tell you approximately when your check will be delivered  – for instance, within the next two weeks.

(Augusta)  Those $850 relief checks from the state continue to go out in the mail.  If you’re wondering when you’ll receive yours, you can now get an approximate timeline.  You’ll need to put in some information, including federal adjusted gross income from your 2021 tax return at maine dot gov and search refund status. While the site won’t give you an exact date, it will tell you approximately when your check will be delivered  – for instance, within the next three weeks.

Changes Coming from Credit Reporting Bureaus

(KHN)  Beginning July 1st, paid off medical debt will disappear from credit reports.  That’s just one of the changes surrounding medical debt announced in March by the credit reporting bureaus.  Kaiser Health News says, in addition, debts under $500, even if not yet paid, come off reports next March, and no medical bills of any size will appear until they’re at least a year old, beginning the first of July.  KHN also reports there will be positive changes to the games debt collectors can play with your credit score.

Good Shepherd Launches “Harvesting Good”

(Auburn)  The Good Shepherd Food Bank has launched a new venture.  Partnering with Maine blueberry harvesters, the state’s largest hunger relief organization created “Harvesting Good” to provide welcome work during the off-season and local produce options year-round.  The Bangor Daily News reports the non-profit arm of the food bank also plans to grow and freeze some 600,000 pounds of broccoli this year in conjunction with Circle B, W.R. Allen, and Jasper Wyman and Son in Milbridge.  Net profits will be donated to area food banks.

Human Interest/Entertainment

Community Party and Art Show

(Ellsworth)  A mammoth video installation will headline a community party to kick off the Water Street Mural in Downtown Ellsworth later this month.  Entitled “Beyond the Brick”, the Heart of Ellsworth event is open to the public in the downtown district.  Participants will have the opportunity to share their ideas for the mural with the artist.  The event is planned for Saturday, June 25th, beginning at 7 p.m.

Turtle Rescue

(Bangor)  Kudos to the hero who stopped traffic yesterday to save a life.  Nancy Neely reports on the Downeast Maine Traffic site about 1 p.m. yesterday, she was turning right off 395 onto Route 1A when traffic slowed to a stop on both sides.  Turns out, a turtle was crossing the road.  People were out of their cars, and the turtle was about half way when Nancy writes a kind man in a box truck got out, picked up the turtle and walked it to the ditch at the side of the road.  Hooray to all of you who stopped!

Other

Bruins Fire Coach

(AP)  The Boston Bruins have fired Coach Bruce Cassidy, who led them to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the best record in the league the following year, and at least 100 points in each of his four full non-pandemic seasons.  Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said it was a difficult decision, but the team hasn’t gotten out of the second round since the 2019 season.

Sports

The Celtics pulled ahead in the NBA finals last night in San Francisco, beating the Golden State Warriors 116-100.  Celtics now lead the series 2 games to 1.  Game Four is Friday in Boston.

Red Sox beat with a repeat of Monday’s game, beating the LA Angels 1-zip.  Last game between the two is Thursday night in LA.  Red Sox travel to Seattle Friday for a series against the Mariners.