Family of Toddler Who Died of Drug Overdose Accuses DHHS of Being Unresponsive
(Bangor) Hailey Goding died in June 2021 of an apparent fentanyl overdose. She was just three years old. Now family members say Maine’s child welfare agency repeatedly failed to heed their warnings that Hailey should have been taken from her mother, whose drugs the child likely ingested. The family says they regularly called DHHS to warn them Hillary Goding had a drug problem, but that they never got a call and never had anyone from the agency reach out to them in response. An oversight agency claims they did not find any major problems with how the DHHS responded to the situation.
(Bangor) The family of a three year old who died in June 2021 after allegedly ingesting her mother’s fentanyl is pointing a finger at Maine’s child welfare agency. The family of Hailey Goding says they repeatedly contacted DHHS officials, warning Hailey’s mother, Hilary Goding, had a drug problem and that the toddler should be removed from the home. They say they never received a response from DHHS. A watchdog agency said it did not find any major problems with how the agency responded to the situation.
Nor’easter Brings Wind, Rain, Snow, Power Outages
(Downeast Maine) High winds and heavy, wet snow knocked out power to about 4000 Versant Power customers in Hancock, Washington, and Penobscot counties yesterday. The strongest winds were along the coast, with gusts reported over 50 mph. Road crews were out throughout the night clearing roads and restoring power.
Update on 10 Year Old Arrested for Bringing Firearm to School
(Monroe) An update from the Waldo County Sheriff’s office on the 10 yo student who was arrested Friday for bringing a firearm to Monroe Elementary School. Police say the suspect brought the .22 caliber handgun on the bus, where other students became aware of the firearm and reported it to school administration who alerted the school resource officer. When the gun was recovered, it was found to be unloaded with bullets in the same bag. Following an investigation, the student was charged with Aggravated Reckless Conduct and Criminal Terrorizing and released to the custody of a parent with an arraignment date of May 18th in Belfast.
(Monroe) The Waldo County Sheriff’s office Tuesday released further details about the incident involving a 10 yo student allegedly bringing a firearm to Monroe Elementary School. Authorities say the suspect had the .22 caliber handgun on the school bus. Other students became aware of the situation and reported it to school officials and the school resource officer. The gun was recovered and found to be unloaded with bullets in the same bag. An investigation resulted in the student being charged with Aggravated Reckless Conduct and Criminal Terrorizing and released into the custody of a parent. An arraignment is scheduled for May 18th at the Belfast Unified Court.
Business Reportedly Cited for Safety Violations
(Columbia Falls) The Maine Monitor reports the company affiliated with Wreaths Across America has, along with its affiliates, been fined more than $21,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor and its agencies for violations dating back to 2017. Worcester Resources is the family-owned for-profit company that supplies the wreaths. The publication says records show the company has also been penalized for violating rules on workplace safety and housing conditions for its largely migrant workforce. The Worcester family defended its record to The Maine Monitor, saying it maintains “a low violation percentage” compared to other large employers.
(Columbia Falls) The Maine Monitor says the company affiliated with Wreaths Across America, along with other affiliates, has faced fines and citations for violating rules on workplace safety and housing conditions for its largely migrant workforce, COVID-rule violations, clear cutting and other forestry violations and cabins built without permits. One OSHA violation worksheet reportedly notes, “Employer has lengthy history with OSHA record keeping issues.” If the records hold true, the company is not alone. OSHA says it routinely fines companies for workplace safety violations and that at least 12 Maine companies faced penalties of $40,000 or more in 2022.
Lobstermen Not Happy with Proposed Changes
(Ellsworth) Lobstermen are reportedly not happy with more proposed changes designed to increase the protection of lobster spawning stock. The Ellsworth American reports a group of about 30 lobstermen met this month at Ellsworth High School to discuss the proposal and ask questions of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which is suggesting increasing the minimum size for lobsters caught. One attendee said Maine has been the most restricted state in everything lobstermen do. Another said those fishing off the coasts of Washington and Hancock counties have seen more short lobsters egging out than ever.
(Ellsworth) A proposed change in the size of catchable lobsters had some rolling their eyes at yet another restriction that could be placed on Maine lobstermen. The Ellsworth American reports a group of about 30 lobstermen met recently at Ellsworth High School to question the change proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Commission wants to increase the minimum size for lobsters caught in order to protect spawning stock. Lobstermen who fish off Hancock and Washington County shores say stock assessment surveys don’t represent what they see on the water every day.
Maine Lawmaker Proposing Repurposing Vacant Malls to Address Housing Shortage
(Maine) Some shoppers say they could live at the mall – and that might not be a far-fetched idea. Those vacant malls increasingly popping up across the country could be repurposed to address a housing shortage if Maine legislator Dick Campbell has his way. The Bangor Daily News cites a closed mall in Providence, Rhode Island that was purchased in 2005 and repurposed into 48 micro-lofts and 22 first-floor retail spaces that were quickly snapped up. Renovating malls for housing purposes has been a growing trend, with units at the former Arcade Providence being quickly sold to tenants from retirees to younger people moving to the city for jobs.
(Maine) Shuttered malls are increasingly becoming the answer to a housing crisis, and Maine legislator Dick Campbell is asking why not in Maine? The Bangor Daily News reports a shuttered mall in Providence, Rhode Island was snapped up by a developer who in three years transformed the empty space into housing and new spaces for shops. The 48 micro-lofts were reportedly quickly sold to retirees and young people who moved to the city for jobs, and the 22 first-floor retail spaces were also quickly filled. Campbell says it’s time to rethink housing and encourage residential zones in unlikely places.
Acadia National Park Seeks Space for Employee Housing
(ANP) Acadia National Park is seeking to lease space for employee housing from mid-April to mid-November. Properties would preferably be within 30 miles of Bar Harbor and must meet federal requirements for fire safety, accessibility, seismic, and sustainability. Park officials say they are looking to lease fully or partially furnished spaces with full kitchens, bathrooms, and living/dining space to house between three and ten employees who would be allotted separate bedrooms. More information can be found at n p s dot gov.
(ANP) Acadia National Park delights thousands of visitors each year. To accommodate those from away, the park must find suitable housing for seasonal employees and is looking to lease properties within 30 miles of Bar Harbor between mid-April and mid-November. Properties must meet certain standards and be fully or partially furnished with full kitchens, bathrooms, and living/dining space, along with bedrooms for between three and ten employees. For more information, visit n p s dot gov.
Columbia Falls to Vote on Large Scale Development Moratorium
(Columbia Falls) The tiny town of Columbia Falls will vote March 21st on a large-scale development moratorium, largely in response to a proposed billion dollar project known as The Flagpole of Freedom Park that developers say will bring jobs and visitors to rural Washington County. The project is not without its detractors, especially among residents who fear their quiet lifestyles will be turned into a theme park. The developers are the family behind Wreaths Across America. After pushback last fall, the Worcesters said they were reevaluating the project which was originally proposed as a for-profit venture. Many veterans and would-be financial backers opposed that angle.
(Columbia Falls) On Tuesday, the tiny town of Columbia Falls will vote on a large-scale development moratorium. The town has hired attorneys and consultants in response to a proposed billion dollar theme park, “The Flagpole of Freedom”. The family behind the project is also behind Wreaths Across America. They say the park will bring jobs and economic stimulus to the rural Washington town. But many in town say they fear their quiet rural lifestyles being turned into a circus. After pushback last fall, the Worcesters said they were reevaluating the project which was originally proposed as a for-profit venture – which some veterans and would-be backers opposed.
Maine Seacoast Mission Looking for Volunteers
(Cherryfield) Looking for a place to put your skills to work making a difference? Maine Seacoast Mission is looking for volunteers to support its education, community and food security programs on the Downeast campus in Cherryfield. Volunteers can help on a recurring or as-needed basis that works with their schedules. The greatest need is on Saturdays where volunteers help guide activities from 10 until 2, but they also can use help at their food pantry, with the EdGE after school program and more. Apply at seacoast mission dot org forward slash volunteer.
(Cherryfield) Teens and adults looking to complete volunteer requirements or anyone looking to make a difference are invited to volunteer with Maine Seacoast Mission. The mission has opportunities for volunteers on a recurring or as-needed basis to help with their food pantry, afterschool programs, Saturday activities, archiving documents, and more. Apply at seacoast mission dot org forward slash volunteer.
Dennysville Begs for EMS Support
(Dennysville) As is the case across much of the state, those who serve as EMT’s, ambulance drivers and support personnel are growing older and begging for help in order to keep the vital service operating. Phil Roberts has served Dennys River Volunteer Ambulance Service for 44 years and is asking potential new volunteers to attend a March 16th meeting at the Edmunds School, beginning at 6 p.m. The first of April, an EMT class will be offered at WCCC in Calais. Information on the class will be available at the meeting.
(Dennysville) As first responders who run the Dennys River Volunteer Ambulance Service, Wayne Seeley and his wife have seen it all. In their 57 years, Wayne says they’ve pulled folks from vehicle wreckage, answered calls at all hours, and revived people who’ve suffered heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions. Now, the tiny service is in desperate need of young people to take the reins. They’re asking potential volunteers to attend a meeting tomorrow night at the Edmunds School, beginning at 6 p.m. The first of April, an EMT class will be offered at WCCC in Calais. Information will be available at the meeting.
River Flow Advisory Committee Meets
(Augusta) The state’s River Flow Advisory Committee met virtually earlier this month to discuss winter weather, snowpack, river ice and hydrologic conditions in preparation for Spring. Yesterday and today notwithstanding, winter conditions have been mild to moderate compared to normal, with below normal snowpack coupled with well above average temperatures across the state. Although much of the state has seen below normal snowfall, experts say that’s changing with recent almost back-to-back storms. Above average temperatures in January have also led to the state having less river ice than normal for this time of year.
(Augusta) Less river ice, less snowpack in most of the state, and temperatures above normal. That’s the finding of the state’s River Flow Advisory Committee, which met virtually earlier this month to discuss those and other topics in preparation for Spring. The group said recent nearly back to back snowstorms have added to the snowpack. The US Coast Guard has four Maine-based icebreakers ready to respond to ice jams, and will continue making regular icebreaking trips through the rest of the season, which ends March 31st.
Greeley Funeral Services Set
(Bangor) Funeral services for Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley will be held this Friday afternoon at 2 at the Anah Shrine Building in Bangor. Carpooling is suggested due to limited parking availability. WABI-TV will live-stream the service.
The Tigers beat the Red Sox yesterday in Spring Training 6-2. Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon.
Celtics in Minnesota tonight to take on the Timberwolves
The Blackhawks beat the Bruins last night 6-3. Bruins in Winnipeg Thursday to skate against the Jets.