Crime/Public Safety/Drugs Hampden Car Fire (Hampden)  An early morning car fire backed up traffic on I-95 northbound in Hampden on Wednesday.  Public Information Officer Shannon Moss reports to Star 97.7, the incident occurred just before 6 a.m. near mile marker 179.  The fire was quickly put out and the driver transported to a local hospital […]

Star 97.7 - Smooth Rock n' Roll Local News 07/28/22 - Star 97.7
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Local News 07/28/22

Crime/Public Safety/Drugs

Hampden Car Fire

(Hampden)  An early morning car fire backed up traffic on I-95 northbound in Hampden on Wednesday.  Public Information Officer Shannon Moss reports to Star 97.7, the incident occurred just before 6 a.m. near mile marker 179.  The fire was quickly put out and the driver transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.  Traffic was backed up for a couple of hours while crews worked to secure the scene.

Body of Missing Boater Recovered 

(Roxbury)  Maine Wardens have recovered the body of a missing boater in Roxbury.  A spokesperson says the body of 55 yo Thomas Averill of Roxbury was found about 8:30 Wednesday morning in Ellis Pond.  Search efforts began Tuesday night after Averill, who was fishing alone, apparently fell out of his boat.  Search efforts began after witnesses on shore noticed an empty boat moving across the pond.

Man Charged in Hit-and-Run Death

(Ellsworth)  Raymond Lester was booked into the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth Tuesday.  He’s been charged with murder in the hit-and-run death of his girlfriend and youth activist Nicole Mokeme.  The 35 yo Lester fled to Mexico following the incident at the Schoodic Institute last month.  Lester made his first court appearance yesterday, but was not required to enter a plea.  Because there are witnesses in both Hancock and Cumberland Counties, Lester will be appointed attorneys in both locations.  A bail hearing will be set for a later date.

(Ellsworth)   The man accused in the hit-and-run death of a youth activist at Acadia National Park in June appeared in court for the first time yesterday.  35 yo Raymond Lester is charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, Nicole Mokeme.  After the incident at the Schoodic Institute, Lester fled to Mexico, where he was arrested earlier this month.  Lester is being held in the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth.

Patten Man to Admit Responsibility for Death of Trooper

(Patten)  A Patten man will admit to responsibility in the 2019 death of a Maine State Police detective killed by the wheel of a logging truck trailer.  31 yo Detective Ben Campbell of Millinocket had stopped to help a motorist in a snowstorm along 1-95 in Hampden when he was struck by a tire that flew off the trailer.  The Bangor Daily News reports the truck was driven and owned by 55 yo Scott Willett.  Willett is charged with causing the death of a person while committing a traffic infraction, along with other counts of operating a defective vehicle.  He’s scheduled to appear in court next month.

Local Politics

LePage Says He Won’t Target Abortion Rights

(Augusta)  Republican Paul LePage this week said he would not target Maine’s stance protecting a woman’s right to choose an abortion.  When asked about an executive order signed by Democratic Governor Janet Mills that protects those seeking abortions here from other states, LePage responded the order wasn’t necessary.  LePage said abortion is legal here and that no one was threatening to reverse that. Mills put the order in place after the US Supreme Court stunned the country in June by overturning Roe vs. Wade.

Mills Could Push Constitutional Amendment to Protect Abortion

(Portland)  If she wins reelection in November, Governor Janet Mills says she may put forth an amendment to the Maine Constitution to protect abortion rights.  At a rally in Portland yesterday, the Governor said her office was looking into whether or not the Maine Constitution already contains such a provision.  If not, or if clarification is necessary, Mills said she would propose the amendment and that all options were on the table to protect a woman’s right to choose following last month’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade.

Business/Economy

Maine’s Employment Scene Shifts Markedly After Pandemic

(Maine)  Maine has come close to recovering jobs lost early in the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s been a marked shift away from health care and government employment to industries, including construction and business services.

The Bangor Daily News reports about three-quarters of those who received unemployment benefits returned to work in the final three months of 2021, but 16% of them took different jobs or ended up in different fields, according to Maine’s Center for Workforce Research and Information.  Between the shift, the state’s aging population, retirement, and other factors, experts say there are now two job openings for every one person seeking employment.

(Maine)  There are now two job openings for every one person seeking employment.  Although Maine is close to recovering jobs lost early in the pandemic, there’s been a marked shift away from healthcare and government employment to construction, business services, and other industries.  The Bangor Daily News reports about three-quarters of those who received unemployment benefits returned to work in the final three months of 2021, but 16% of them took different jobs or ended up in different fields, according to Maine’s Center for Workforce Research and Information.

Islesboro Couple Buys Up Land in Belfast

(Belfast)  An Islesboro couple is buying up land in Belfast, but no one is sure why.  The Bangor Daily News reports Alex and Kendra Brigham recently purchased more than an acre of undeveloped land in the downtown area.  The purchase was the fifth for the couple in Belfast.  The couple’s agent and property manager said they’re in no hurry to figure out what to do with the recently purchased property on Washington Street and adds the Brighams just really like Belfast and want to ensure the town’s character remains the same.

Island and Lighthouse Near Acadia for Sale

(Mark Island)  Dreaming of owning your own island off coastal Maine?  Mark Island on the western side of Schoodic Point in Frenchman Bay could be just what you’re looking for – and it comes with its own lighthouse.  The 166 year old lightkeeper’s house boasts three bedrooms and three baths, solar power and woodstoves, among other amenities.  The 2.75 acre island is assessed at $680,000, with an asking price of $2.3M.  And if that locale won’t do, the Bangor Daily News reports there are islands for sale off Beals, Vinalhaven, Westport, and many other scenic locations in Maine.  Check with a local realtor.

Staffing Shortages Affect Ferries

(Islesboro)  Staffing shortages are going off shore – affecting ferry services across the state.  NewsCenter Maine reports a lack of crew members is forcing ferries to cancel trips on scheduled days.  Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Merrill said not only is the lack of available mariners an issue, so is low pay.  In some cases, ferry services are one sick call away from having to cancel a run.  Merrill said they had to cancel runs on Penobscot Bay ferries 29 times from early May through July 4th, with more since as staffing problems persist.  Bottom line, check ahead if a ferry trip is in your future.

Treworgy Orchards Unveils 2022 Corn Maze Design

(Levant)  While some don’t want to think about it, others are looking forward to the crisp, cool days of fall – and the annual trip to the Treworgy Corn Maze in Levant.  This year’s maze, which officially opened Saturday features Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, a honeypot and honeycombs to honor the 95th anniversary of A.A. Milne’s book, Winnie the Pooh.  It takes at least a month to carve out the maze, which each year has a different theme.  Treworgy regularly places in a nationwide contest to pick the best corn maze in the country.

Maine SpacePort Complex Receives Funding

(Augusta)  Move over NASA, the Maine Space Grant Consortium has been awarded $1.2M dollars for development of the Maine SpacePort complex.  The grant will be matched with state and local funds.  Proponents say the complex will create well-paying jobs and economic growth, along with opportunities for Maine people to enter the growing space industry.  The complex will be built at Brunswick Landing within the next ten years and will house a satellite launch and a manufacturing facility for equipment to support it.

Health

Red Cross Offers Incentives for August Donors

(Ellsworth)  The American Red Cross reports a drop in donations in recent weeks has caused a nearly 20% decline in critical supplies of blood.  To encourage donors to give in August, anyone who comes to give next month will be entered to win gas for a year and will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.  Find a donation site near you and register to donate at red cross blood dot org.

Flavors Hook Kids Supporters Deliver Signatures to Bangor City Council

(Bangor)  Supporters delivered more than 300 signatures to Bangor City Council Wednesday, encouraging them to vote to reenact a city ordinance that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Bangor.  Chelsea Stephens, a field organizer for Flavors Hook Kids Maine, shared her thoughts at Wednesday’s rally.  (((Flavor 1  “…just something that just needs to happen.”  :15)))   Bangor was the first Maine community to vote to end the sale of flavored tobacco products last fall, but City Council in May voted to repeal the ordinance after realizing it had not properly notified affected stores.

(Bangor)  Supporters delivered more than 300 signatures to Bangor City Council Wednesday, encouraging them to vote to reenact a city ordinance that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products in Bangor.  Lance Boucher of the American Lung Association said the tobacco companies use targeted tactics to try to stop meaningful policies to protect children.  (((Flavor 2  “…tobacco products within Bangor.”  :24)))  City Council voted in May to repeal the ordinance after the tobacco industry allegedly exploited a decades-old law to force such action.  A vote on a new ordinance is expected in early August.  Bans went into effect in Portland and Brunswick on June 1st.

Education

Sumner Campus Opening Delayed

(Sullivan)  Disappointing news out of Sullivan – students won’t be able to access the Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus this September as planned.  RSU 24 Superintendent Michael Eastman wrote in a letter to staff this week there are issues with the sprinkler system and grades 6-12 students won’t be able to be in the new facility for several months.  The issue involves water pressure in the area that makes it impossible for the sprinkler system to function adequately.  Supply chain issues with needed materials to fix the problem mean it will likely be December before the new campus is ready to welcome students and staff.

(Sullivan)  There’s always a glitch or two when building a new home or facility, and students and staff planning to open the new Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus in Sullivan in September learned this week that won’t be happening.  RSU 24 Superintendent Michael Eastman addressed the issue in a letter to staff this week.  While the structure itself will be ready in September, a problem with water pressure in the area makes the facility’s sprinkler system unable to function properly.  It could take several months to rectify the problem, with opening now tentatively planned for December.

Sumner Students Support You’ve Got A Friend

(Sullivan)  Sumner students recently stepped up in a big way to contribute to a fund that provides one-time grants of a thousand dollars to residents of Hancock County who are in need of financial assistance to overcome setbacks.  The grants, administered by Healthy Acadia, help people reach goals as they move toward self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.  The Sumner Memorial High School Chapter of the National Honor Society held a fundraiser earlier this year to raise money to donate to the fund.  The students raised $500 to contribute to the You’ve Got A Friend Fund.

Sports

Cleveland Guardians 7, Red Sox 6