BANGOR, Maine — A Superior Court justice will allow former Maine Sports Hall of Famer and local disc jockey Dana Wilson to withdraw his no-contest plea to a charge of possession of child pornography. No-contest pleas result in convictions. Superior Court Justice William Anderson said in his ruling signed Thursday … Read more →
BANGOR, Maine — A Superior Court justice will allow former Maine Sports Hall of Famer and local disc jockey Dana Wilson to withdraw his no-contest plea to a charge of possession of child pornography.
No-contest pleas result in convictions.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson said in his ruling signed Thursday that he would set a date for Wilson to formally withdraw his plea, and set a trial date in March.
Anderson said that the most critical factor in his decision was that allowing Wilson to withdraw his plea would not affect the prosecution’s ability to present its case because evidence and witnesses would still be available.
“The court also believes that, especially in a serious case such as this, it is preferable for the case to be resolved by trial, rather than by a plea that the defendant wants to withdraw while continually protesting his innocence,” the judge wrote in his two-page ruling.
The judge considered four factors in deciding whether Wilson should be allowed to withdraw his plea. They include the length of time between his entering the plea and seeking to withdraw it, the potential prejudice to the prosecution, the defendant’s assertion of innocence and any deficiency in the proceeding at which Wilson entered his plea.
Anderson heard oral arguments on the plea withdrawal motion Jan. 3 at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said he disagreed with Anderson’s decision.
“Mr. Wilson has delayed this case for over a year,” Roberts, who is prosecuting the case, said Friday in an email. “The state was prepared for trial in December of 2012, March 2013 and May 2013. I am disappointed that the court has decided to allow him to extend this matter further. I feel badly for the civilian witnesses who were in court, prepared to testify, last May and who will now have to prepare for testimony once again.”
Efforts to reach Wilson’s attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor, were unsuccessful Friday.
Tzovarras told the judge Jan. 3 that Wilson wanted to take the action “ because he is innocent of the offense and believes he did not fully understand the state’s burden [of proof], potential issues for defense and consequences of a no-contest plea.”
The defense attorney said at the hearing that there was nothing in the police report to indicate that Wilson sought out the material, and he never confessed to the police.
Wilson pleaded no contest on May 23 before District Court Judge Greg Campbell to one count of possession of sexually explicit material, a Class C crime, as his jury-waived trial was about to begin.
On Aug. 19, the day before he was to be sentenced, Wilson fired his previous attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor. Silverstein said Wilson sent him an email dismissing him but was given no reasons by his client.
Roberts said in August that he would recommend the judge sentence Wilson to between 2½ and three years in prison with all but six to nine months suspended. Roberts also said he would urge the judge to impose two years of probation.
Monitoring of child pornography sites by law enforcement officials outside Maine led to an Internet address belonging to Wilson in February 2011, according to a previously published report. He was indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury in June 2012.
Wilson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012 for his basketball feats at Bangor’s Husson College, now Husson University, where he graduated in 1974. That honor was revoked May 29, 2013, by the hall’s board of directors, according to a previously published report.
Wilson remains free on $1,000 unsecured bail with conditions that include having no contact with children under the age of 16.
The DJ, who has no prior criminal record, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the charge if convicted.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.
CAMDEN, Maine — The police affidavit filed in order to get an arrest warrant for a man holding a pharmacist hostage at the Rite Aid Monday night offered more details about the ordeal, including that he held her as a “bargaining chip.” The affidavit was filed Friday in Knox County … Read more →
CAMDEN, Maine — The police affidavit filed in order to get an arrest warrant for a man holding a pharmacist hostage at the Rite Aid Monday night offered more details about the ordeal, including that he held her as a “bargaining chip.”
The affidavit was filed Friday in Knox County Superior Court by Camden police. Police obtained the warrant to arrest 34-year-old Robert J. Beerman on charges of kidnapping, terrorizing with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and violating a condition of release.
Beerman died Monday night when he shot himself in the head with the sawed-off shotgun that he brought into the pharmacy.
According to the affidavit, Beerman entered the store at about 7:30 p.m. and waved the shotgun around. He ordered customers and all the staff except for the pharmacy manager to leave.
Rockport police Sgt. Travis Ford from the neighboring town arrived early on at the Rite Aid and spoke to Beerman through an intercom at the pharmacy’s drive-up window. Ford spoke with Beerman for a few minutes and the suspect identified himself to the officer, according to the affidavit.
Police were then also able to watch what was going on inside by remotely accessing the Rite Aid surveillance cameras in the store. A still photo of Beerman was taken and Camden police Detective Curt Andrick was able to identify Beerman as well.
Maine State Police negotiators were able to convince Beerman to let the pharmacist out unharmed after about three and a half hours.
The pharmacist told police after her release at 11 p.m. that he demanded drugs from the pharmacy. He also told the woman, who has worked at Rite Aid for the past six months, that he needed her as a “bargaining chip.”
Early on in the nearly eight-hour standoff, Beerman locked the front door to the store on the Elm Street (Route 1) side of the store, locked the back door and pushed a soda machine in front of the back door to prevent anyone from entering.
Maine State Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said earlier this week that state police negotiators were in contact with Beerman by landline telephone on and off throughout the night. Beerman told negotiators that he was not going to harm the woman.
After Andrick got the arrest warrant, state police positioned an armored vehicle with a battering ram on Elm Street in front of the store and over a loudspeaker informed Beerman that he was under arrest and asked him to surrender.
When police got no response, the front door was knocked down, and soon after members of a tactical team entered and found Beerman dead in the employee break room at the back of the store.
Police are investigating where he got the shotgun.
This was the fifth time since 2010 that the Rite Aid in Camden has been robbed for drugs.
PORTLAND, Maine — Independent candidate Eliot Cutler on Friday appeared with GOP business owners who bucked their party to throw their support behind him in this year’s gubernatorial election. The business owners said Cutler’s experience in international commerce as well as government, his dedication to building and expanding “the Maine … Read more →
PORTLAND, Maine — Independent candidate Eliot Cutler on Friday appeared with GOP business owners who bucked their party to throw their support behind him in this year’s gubernatorial election.
The business owners said Cutler’s experience in international commerce as well as government, his dedication to building and expanding “the Maine brand,” and his pledge to keep workers’ compensation costs down made him perfectly suited to help the state’s economy prosper.
The event was held at DiMillo’s restaurant in Portland. Its owner, Steve DiMillo, was one of the businessmen endorsing Cutler.
“I believe he’s the best person for the job, in terms of experience, temperament and ideas,” DiMillo said. “He gets it. He’s a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He has created and grown companies and helped open new markets for Maine products, like lobster. … He’s also worked in government, managing multimillion-dollar budgets and making tough decisions. He knows the difference between helping and getting in the way.”
The other business owners who spoke in favor of Cutler for governor were Tom Moser of Moser Cabinetmakers; Bob Hews of Hews Company, a truck body manufacturer and distributor; and Bri Warner, a former U.S. diplomat turned wholesale pie baker. Jolene Lovejoy, a former GOP lawmaker from Rumford, also endorsed Cutler at the event.
Cutler is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat. In nearly every poll, he has trailed his partisan opponents by wide margins.
Cutler said Friday that the endorsement of Republicans was just one sign of building momentum for his campaign. His campaign announced Thursday that it had raised more than $400,000 from contributors in the last reporting period, and Cutler said Friday that Monday and Tuesday had been his largest 48-hour fundraising period to date.
The independent candidate also referenced recent high-profile appearances by former Democratic U.S. President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential hopeful Gov. Chris Christie. R-New Jersey, who each stopped in Maine to stump for their party’s Blaine House candidate.
Cutler said the parties could keep their national figures.
“I wouldn’t trade a boatload of ex-presidents or governors with presidential ambitions for the endorsements that I’ve received this morning,” he said. “Unlike Bill Clinton and Chris Christie, these five people actually have a stake in Maine’s future. They’re employing people, they’re paying taxes, they’re investing in our state.”
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates. Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.
LINCOLN, Maine — The Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill will resume production on Monday after what co-owner Keith Van Scotter described Friday as a 10-day maintenance and backlog-management shutdown, one of several this year. “We have sent people home,” said Van Scotter, who declined to say how many. The … Read more →
LINCOLN, Maine — The Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill will resume production on Monday after what co-owner Keith Van Scotter described Friday as a 10-day maintenance and backlog-management shutdown, one of several this year.
“We have sent people home,” said Van Scotter, who declined to say how many.
The mill usually shuts down annually at about this time of year for a week or two of maintenance, but Town Council member Dede Trask told the council Thursday night that workers told her that the mill shutdown sent home more people than usual due to a lack of orders.
“We always have orders,” Van Scotter said, attributing the shutdown to a weak tissue market. “It is a question of how we want to run them most efficiently.”
The shutdown began on Sept. 12 and will end Monday, Van Scotter said.
“We are always working hard trying to do better. It’s been a challenging year,” Van Scotter said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that, but I feel good about our prospects.”
Lincoln Paper employs 200 people, according to its website, lpt.com. The site advertises the mill as the largest producer of deep-dyed tissue in the United States, manufacturing napkins, towels, table covers and other specialty tissue products.
It also produced paper until an explosion at the Katahdin Avenue mill’s recovery boiler in November 2013 forced the layoff of 200 workers in December.
Home Depot announced Thursday that a breach at its U.S. and Canadian stores over a six-month period this year may have put an estimated 56 million payment cards at risk. That would make it the largest compromise of debit and credit cards in the string of cyberattacks that have hit … Read more →
Home Depot announced Thursday that a breach at its U.S. and Canadian stores over a six-month period this year may have put an estimated 56 million payment cards at risk.
That would make it the largest compromise of debit and credit cards in the string of cyberattacks that have hit retailers over the past year.
The breach hit 11 Maine zip codes where the retailer has stores, including Bangor, South Portland, Portland, Auburn, Augusta, Ellsworth and Waterville, based on an analysis of data pulled from a black market website by the blog Krebsonsecurity. Nationwide, the blog’s analysis of the credit card information for sale found it affects customers in 1,822 zip codes.
The attack that hit Target stores during the 2013 holiday season may have gained access to 40 million credit and debit cards, Target has said, although it was later revealed that the personal information of an additional 70 million consumers was also accessed.
Home Depot also said for the first time that the malware that facilitated the breach of its payment terminals “has been eliminated from the company’s systems.”
The home improvement retailer says its ongoing investigation has revealed that cybercriminals use a custom-built malware to evade detection once implanted on the company’s systems.
The string of breaches that have hit U.S. retail stores are thought by many experts to be the work of organized gangs of cybercriminals.
“Every indication is that it’s very much Eastern European,” says Johnson. “They’re incredibly organized. They may not necessarily use advanced technology, but they are very meticulous about their methods.”
“They do their due diligence in researching their targets and find a way into the network,” added Trey Ford, global security strategist at cybersecurity firm Rapid7. “Based on the information available, it’s a sophisticated, well-planned attack designed for a very significant pay day.”
And the 56 million payment cards potentially breached at Home Depot speaks to why big box retailers are great targets for cybercriminals, he says. Cybercrime is essentially a business: Hackers follow the money.
“You can be confident that the largest global retailers such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco and Metro AG are paying close attention as the investigation continues,” Ford says.
Home Depot said Thursday that it has completed a major security project that fully encrypts its payment data at its point-of-sales terminals in U.S. stores, an upgrade that was launched in January of 2014 — before the breach appears to have begun. Home Depot expects to complete the roll out of a similar system in its Canadian stores by early 2015.
Home Depot’s Canadian stores are already enabled with “Chip and PIN” — a more secure credit card technology that is used in much of the world, but has not yet been widely deployed in the United States. Major payment processors have set an October 2015 deadline for retailers to install such measures or be liable for fraud caused by using outdated methods. Home Depot says “Chip and PIN” will be deployed in all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.
The company is offering free identity protection services — including credit monitoring — to customers who used a payment card at a Home Depot store after April of this year.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused, and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges,” said Home Depot chief executive Frank Blake in a statement.
Unfortunately, beyond regularly checking their bank or credit card statements, experts say there’s little individual consumers can do to protect themselves at this point. “There’s not a whole lot of power consumers have,” says Ben Johnson of cybersecurity firm Bit9+Carbon Black. Even if consumers start monitoring their accounts now, they are still susceptible to fraudulent activities that may have occurred during the months before the breach was discovered, he says.
Johnson also worries that the frequency of breaches and the fact that payment card processors often end up covering the losses may desensitize consumers. “If people are exposed to this every week and not feeling it in their wallet, they may not really care.”
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August, the first month-over-month rise in that rate since May 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the percentage of job seekers who can’t find work at 5.6 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent one month earlier and down … Read more →
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August, the first month-over-month rise in that rate since May 2012.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the percentage of job seekers who can’t find work at 5.6 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent one month earlier and down from 6.6 percent, or 7,400 people, one year ago.
The change comes as the national unemployment rate fell slightly from 6.2 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August.
The average unemployment rate for New England was 5.9 percent, with Vermont (4.1 percent) and New Hampshire (4.4 percent) at lower rates of unemployment than Maine. The jobless rate for Massachusetts was at 5.8 percent, Connecticut at 6.6 percent and Rhode Island at 7.7 percent in August.
Estimates of payroll jobs rose slightly to 611,300, continuing a long-term trend of growth, up 8,100 jobs from last year. That change reflects an estimated gain of 9,400 private sector jobs and 1,300 government jobs, according to the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Information and Research. Government jobs make up their lowest share of the total job market in 30 years at 16.2 percent, according to CWRI.
KITTERY, Maine — A Rhode Island woman killed in an accident on the Maine Turnpike Thursday was headed to her summer camp in Rangeley, according to police. The victim has been identified as Christine Anderson, 59, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland. Anderson and … Read more →
KITTERY, Maine — A Rhode Island woman killed in an accident on the Maine Turnpike Thursday was headed to her summer camp in Rangeley, according to police.
The victim has been identified as Christine Anderson, 59, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland.
Anderson and her husband, James, own the Rangeley camp.
Anderson was heading north at mile marker 2 when she was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer driven by Daniel Dunlea, 58, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, McCausland said.
Anderson was killed instantly, the state police spokesman said.
Dunlea’s truck, which was hauling a load of paper products for Reas Trucking, crossed the median before striking Anderson’s SUV head-on. The accident remains under investigation.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A man and a woman were arrested Wednesday after a large quantity of drugs, including 13 grams of bath salts, were found during a search warrant at a River Street residence. The search was conducted at 4 p.m. and resulted in the arrests of Franklin Arbour Jr., … Read more →
AUGUSTA, Maine — A man and a woman were arrested Wednesday after a large quantity of drugs, including 13 grams of bath salts, were found during a search warrant at a River Street residence.
The search was conducted at 4 p.m. and resulted in the arrests of Franklin Arbour Jr., 38, and Angie Sousa, 32, both of Augusta, according to Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills.
In addition to the bath salts, police found 1,250 bags of heroin, 24 grams of cocaine and over 100 marijuana plants, Mills said.
The seized contraband is valued at over $30,000.
Arbour was charged with three counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful possession of schedule drugs and aggravated cultivation of marijuana, while Sousa is accused of two counts of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, and one count apiece of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs and aggravated cultivation of marijuana.
Both suspects are being held at the Kennebec County Jail. Arbour’s bail was set at $50,000 cash and Sousa’s $25,000 cash.
The first wave of moose hunters will head into the woods on Monday in what has become one of the state’s most popular hunts. In all, 1,050 permit holders — along with their designated “subpermittees,” or co-hunters — are permitted to hunt during the first six-day session of the season. … Read more →
The first wave of moose hunters will head into the woods on Monday in what has become one of the state’s most popular hunts.
In all, 1,050 permit holders — along with their designated “subpermittees,” or co-hunters — are permitted to hunt during the first six-day session of the season.
The state’s head moose biologist, Lee Kantar of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said he expects hunters to enjoy their experiences. One key reason: The first week of the season regularly coincides with peak activity of “the rut,” or mating season.
Hunters who like to set up and call moose are apt to have their best success with that activity during the state’s first hunting session.
“September is clearly a world-class [moose-hunting] opportunity,” he said. “Next week is going to be unbelievable for calling, because it’s right in the rut … so next week you’ll be out there in northern Maine and have an opportunity to call in a big bull.”
The breakdown of this year’s hunting sessions, with Kantar’s synopsis on what sets that particular season apart, is as follows:
— Sept. 22-27: 1,050 bull permits in eight Wildlife Management Districts in northern and northeastern Maine.
Kantar’s take: “September is a world-class bull hunt. … We would like to open up additional management zones in September … [in order to] increase the opportunity for people to experience a September bull hunt in districts that didn’t have that before.”
— Oct. 13-18: 1,290 bull permits, 125 antlerless permits, in 19 Wildlife Management Districts covering the northern two-thirds of the state.
Kantar’s take: “A good portion of cows have been bred by that point, but there’s still some opportunity to do some calling and have some cows that are receptive as well. You may have a different advantage because all of the leaves are off the trees. And you get to bird hunt. It’s got pluses as well.”
— Nov. 3-8: 500 antlerless permits in five Wildlife Management Districts.
Kantar’s take: “November is really a cow hunt in limited areas. These are some areas where, based on our [management] goals and objectives, we can still harvest some level of cows.”
— Nov. 3-29, including Nov. 1 for Maine residents: 130 any-moose permits in six Wildlife Management Districts farther south than moose hunting normally takes place.
Kantar’s take: “There’s a very low density of moose [in these districts] and very challenging places to hunt. But there is a limited amount of any-moose permits for those areas.”
DIF&W biologists will continue their research into winter ticks and their role in moose mortality, and they will conduct sampling of moose during the October and November seasons to determine how many ticks are on each moose that biologists see at tagging stations. That research began in 2006; winter ticks are thought to compromise a moose’s ability to survive during harsh winters.
“We’ve always [studied the moose in] October because ultimately you want to do it as late in the fall as possible because that’s when those ticks are questing and looking for moose,” Kantar said.
At tagging stations across the northern tier of the state, crowds of people will show up on Monday — and throughout the week — to watch as moose are tagged and weighed.
Kantar took part in a limited “controlled hunt” last week, during which 25 disabled veterans tried to fill their tags.
Those moose proved popular, even though they arrived at tagging stations a week earlier than many people anticipated.
“We brought some moose into Ben’s Trading Post [in Presque Isle], and just one moose coming in starts to draw a crowd pretty quickly,” Kantar said. “There’s something awesome about moose when they come in [to tagging stations]. It’s a sight to see.”
Kantar said he feels that same sense of awe when he sees a moose out in the woods, on the hoof.
“We’re lucky to live in a state that’s got so many moose,” he said.
Kantar emphasized that the DIF&W has again included information on its web page about field-dressing and quartering moose in the field.
Many hunters like to bring the entire field-dressed moose to the tagging station, but Kantar said quartering the animals in the field is often the best option.
“It would be nice to see people work on quartering moose, especially on those hot days, and doing everything they possibly can to get that moose cooled down and salvage all that meat,” Kantar said. “The onus is on the hunter.”
Moose meat can start to spoil rapidly, he said, and choosing to quarter the moose can make an enormous difference.
“It’s critical,” he said. “We’re talking about temperatures above 50 degrees [being too warm to expect meat not to spoil]. I’d be very cautious of temperatures between 40 and 50. You’ve got an animal that, inside, is 101 degrees. … It’s got to be opened up, and that hide’s got to come off, and that animal and that meat’s got to be cooled down.”
CUMBERLAND, Maine — Don Richards would rather not talk about the accident that nearly killed him. “I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” he said. Less than a year ago, the 81-year-old Richards was lying on a barn floor in a pool of … Read more →
CUMBERLAND, Maine — Don Richards would rather not talk about the accident that nearly killed him.
“I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” he said.
Less than a year ago, the 81-year-old Richards was lying on a barn floor in a pool of his own blood. He was surrounded by three longtime coworkers and friends who were certain Richards would die right there before their eyes.
But, to the surprise of everyone – friends, family, paramedics and doctors – Richards pulled through. And, just a few months after the accident, Richards returned to work at Don Richards Stables, a 50-year institution at the Cumberland Fairgrounds.
On Sunday, Sept. 21, Richards will be honored during the opening day of the annual Cumberland County Fair. Throughout the day, a series of fundraisers will benefit the Cumberland Fire Department, whose paramedics rushed Richards to the hospital, plus two other charities on Richards’ behalf.
The day will also feature the first-ever Don Richards Invitational Pace Race: a harness race with a purse of $15,000, which is the highest in the fair’s 143-year history, according to fair President Mike Timmons. Races begin at 1:30 p.m. The invitational will be the ninth race in a 10-race card.
Between each race, friends and relatives will step up to a microphone to offer their thoughts and anecdotes about Richards.
Timmons, who has known Richards for 50 years, said his friend is reluctant to be the center of attention for a day. Nonetheless, the fair is forging ahead with the plan.
“He’s alive,” Timmons said. “I have memorial services for people all the time that are dead. He’s lucky to be alive and I’d much rather have a full-day program to honor him while he’s alive.”
Richards might be uncomfortable with the attention he’ll receive Sunday, but he’s no stranger to the spotlight.
He is one of Maine’s winningest harness drivers: In a racing career that spans 65 years, the Yarmouth resident has won about 4,500 races, including his final race before retiring last year.
According to fellow harness driver Wallace Watson, Richards is a “living legend.”
“He’s one of the best guys who ever drove a horse in the state of Maine,” Watson said.
Richards began his stable services at the fairgrounds in 1963. He’s been working in the same barn since 1968.
But on Jan. 8, Richards nearly died in that barn, when he and three others were trying to break an energetic colt named Tommy Bar.
Richards was holding Tommy Bar’s lead rope when the horse suddenly reared up and kicked him in the face with a front hoof.
The injuries were profound, according to Donna Fenderson, Richards’ assistant of 40 years.
“The whole side of his face was off and against his neck,” she recalled. “You just can’t describe it. It was just – horrific. There was nothing there.”
The hoof had cleaved the left side of Richards’ face, including his nose, jaw and part of his left eye, which he eventually lost altogether.
Fenderson’s husband, John Fenderson, was there, too.
“Truthfully, I thought he was going to die right in my arms. There was so much blood,” he said. “Almost nobody else would have survived that.”
Cumberland EMTs stemmed the bleeding and rushed Richards to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he spent the next three months, Donna Fenderson said. For more than a month, Richards was in an induced coma while surgeons reattached his nose and face, reconstructed his jaw and attempted to save his left eye.
“I lost my eye,” Richards said this week, “but I see good out of the other one.”
After the coma, Richards had to relearn how to walk, talk and swallow, and is still undergoing rehabilitation. Nonetheless, he returned to work at his stables three months earlier than anyone expected.
Despite the ordeal, Richards said he had no reservations about working with horses again and harbors no ill feelings toward the colt that injured him.
“It wasn’t the horse’s fault,” he said. “He got scared and he struck me.”
Donna Fenderson recalled a brief interaction between Richards and the colt shortly after Richards returned.
“When he came back,” she said, “he told (Tommy Bar) ‘You might have got the battle, but I won the war.’”
LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on. Every day, from sunrise to sundown, 720 state-of-the art solar panels mounted on 30 dual-axis tracking devices produce up … Read more →
LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on.
Combined with another 216 fixed-mount panels that went on line in the fall of 2012, the arrays generate enough electricity to power 55 Maine homes and offset 250 tons of carbon annually.
“We have all the ingredients we needed for a successful large-scale solar project,” LDA President Carl Flora said. “We have a well-developed power infrastructure in place and a lot of wide open spaces. Loring is a big place and is an excellent site for this.”
The power generated by the panels is purchased by Emera Maine through the existing power grid in a process known as “net metering,” which helps offset LDA’s overall energy bill.
The fixed-mount panels, known as Loring Solar I, are arranged in two rows on a lawn near LDA’s office building.
Loring Solar II, the tracking panels, were placed on a parking lot not far from the LDA building and went on line this past summer, according to Flora.
The newest dual-axel panels seem to operate with a mind of their own — they move in accordance with the seasons, daylight and even weather conditions.
“Each unit has GPS tracking installed on it,” Rich Simon, president of The Power Company, said. “When you install them, you get full-time feedback through the Internet on where they are on the planet and their relation to the track and arc of the sun.”
Once that information is programmed, the panels then follow the sun and position themselves to best capture its rays.
On days with strong winds, the panels will position themselves to be parallel to the ground to prevent any wind damage. They also can sense whether snow has piled up on their surface.
“If they get covered with snow, they will tilt until the snow slides off,” Flora said.
At night, they will lie flat, ready to “wake up” the next morning to track the sun as soon as it appears above the horizon, Simon said.
“I would love to place one of those in a field of sunflowers,” he said. “It would be so great to watch them move together.”
Sunflowers naturally follow the direction of the sun as it moves across the sky.
By following the movement of the sun, according to Simon, the efficiency of the panels is increased by 40 percent over fixed-mount arrays.
The panels are tied directly to the existing power grid, and Emera Maine purchases the solar-generated electricity, which offsets LDA’s power costs.
“The power goes directly into the grid,” Flora said. “Then it is netted against our use.”
LDA leases the panels from The Power Company, which is based in Washington, Maine, and installs solar arrays for third-party use.
In other words, Flora said, The Power Company paid for the $1.2 million project, owns the panels and benefits from any and all state or federal alternative energy tax credits or incentives.
At the end of six years — when those credits and incentives dry up — the LDA will have the option to purchase the panels or continue the lease agreement.
In the meantime, the LDA is making an annual lease payment of $54,689, or 95 percent of the panel’s electrical output.
So far, Flora said, the deal has resulted in only minor savings — about $3,000 a year — in LDA’s overall power bill. In fiscal year 2014, according to Donna Sturzl, LDA director of finance and accounting, the power bill totaled $125,700.
“It might not seem like a lot,” Flora said, referring to the savings generated by the solar project. “But it is a savings to us and does not cost us anything.”
Flora added that the solar power project comes down to more than dollars and cents.
“Why not do it?” he said. “It’s just kind of a neat project and it’s a great conversation starter that generates positive attention, and that’s important in attracting the kinds of businesses we want to draw here.”
Flora also spoke of possible educational opportunities.
“There also are a lot of intangible values here,” he said. “Job Corps is right nearby, and some of the students could learn to work on solar arrays. We would be happy to see local schools come for show-and-tell sessions.”
Should LDA decide to purchase the panels in six years, Flora said, preliminary estimates show the authority could see energy savings in the “tens of thousands of dollars” over the 20- to 25-year lifespan of the panels.
Loring Solar I and II combined is the largest solar project of its kind in the state, but Simon said a larger project — a 4,500-panel array being installed at Bowdoin College by the company Solar City — is expected to go on line later this year.
Simon started The Power Company in 2010 as an energy consultant and development company specializing in solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial properties.
In addition to the lease payments, the company’s return on investments comes from federal tax incentives tied to alternative power installation.
In addition to the Loring projects, Simon is working with the Deer Ridge Farm apartments in Wiscasset, where six solar arrays are supplying 30 percent of the low-income units’ electricity needs.
“We are working toward having them at ‘net zero,’” Simons said. “At that point they will have enough panels to produce the amount of energy to equal what they would take from the grid.”
Simon plans on installing two additional arrays to get Deer Ridge Farm to that point.
He also is working with Matinicus Island officials on a grant application for a solar array to provide long-term, sustainable power to island residents who pay five times the energy rates as people on the mainland.
“We have designed a system for them that has solar energy production capabilities plus battery storage for that power,” Simon said. “This is the kind of project that fits our mission really well.”
Simon said his company does have plans for other projects in Maine but declined to discuss them yet.
He did say, however, he is pleased with how things are going at Loring.
“I enjoyed working up there,” Simon said. “The people have a real ‘let’s get it done’ attitude, and Carl [Flora] is a smart and receptive man who is trying to do more with energy development.”
To date Simon’s company has invested around $1.4 million in solar projects in Maine and he admits, in the big scheme of things, it is not a huge amount of money, but he is optimistic his company will continue to grow with the state’s energy needs.
“We are looking at the best path for solar development working with communities and nonprofits,” he said. “We are not a big company, but we are moving through what are kind of uncharted waters and we are proving it is doable: That is how business grows.”
EDINBURGH — Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout. A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, … Read more →
EDINBURGH — Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout.
A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, as well as allies across the world who were horrified at the prospect of the United Kingdom’s separation.
Unionists won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent with 31 of 32 constituencies declared.
Political leaders of all hues agreed that Britain would be changed for good nonetheless.
Unionists cheered, kissed and drank wine and beer in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city where secessionists won, while nationalist leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat in Edinburgh, which supported the United Kingdom.
“Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country. I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland,” Salmond said.
Cameron, speaking outside his official London residence in Downing Street, said the question of Scottish independence had been settled for a generation.
“There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people,” said Cameron. Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday.
The campaign for independence had electrified this country of 5.3 million but also divided the passions of friends and families from the remote Scottish islands of the Atlantic to the tough city estates of Glasgow.
Sterling strengthened sharply against the dollar and the euro while British share prices rose. Royal Bank of Scotland said it had scrapped plans to move its registered office to England.
Though the break up the United Kingdom, the world’s sixth largest economy and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been avoided, Britain’s rulers admit the Scottish vote will lead to a reshaped the union.
Speaking in front of an image of a giant white on blue Scottish flag, Salmond laced his defeat with a warning to British politicians in London that they must respect their last minute promise of more powers for Scotland.
“Scotland will expect these to be honored in rapid course,” he said before walking off the stage, his head bowed.
Opinion polls showing a surge in Scottish separatist support in the two weeks leading up to the Sept. 18 vote prompted a rushed British pledge to grant more powers to Scotland, a step that has angered some English lawmakers in Westminster.
In an effort to deflate that anger, Cameron vowed to forge a new constitutional settlement that would grant Scotland the promised powers but also give powers to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues,” Cameron said.
“All this must take place, in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland.”
Cast as a constitutional revolution, commentators said Cameron’s pledge of more powers to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom was aimed at sedating ‘the slumbering beast of English nationalism’.
Cameron’s Conservatives have seen members seep towards the United Kingdom Independence Party, an anti-European Union party, ahead of a referendum on EU membership that Cameron has promised by the end of 2017 if he wins the 2015 election.
“I’m not convinced by what I’ve heard this morning from Mr Cameron this morning that he seriously wants to address that,” UKIP leader Nigel Farage said.
Seeking to tap into a cocktail of historical rivalry, opposing political tastes and a perception that London has mismanaged Scotland, nationalists said Scots, not London, should rule Scotland to build a wealthier and fairer country.
Though the nationalists won Glasgow, they failed to live up to opinion polls before the vote which forecast that the United Kingdom’s fate was balanced on a knife edge.
“We have chosen unity over division, and positive change rather than needless separation,” Alistair Darling, head of the “Better Together” campaign and a former British finance minister.
The vote prevents 59-year-old Salmond from winning his dream of an independent Scotland, a goal for which he has worked with a mix of shrewd calculation and nationalist passion for his entire adult life.
Unionists had warned independence would usher in financial, economic and political uncertainty and diminish the UK’s standing in the world. They have said that Scotland would not keep the pound as part of a formal currency union.
U.S. President Barack Obama and European Union leaders had made clear they wanted the United Kingdom to stay together.
Marin Schulz, the center-left speaker of the European Parliament, told German radio that while the referendum had been an internal matter for Britain: “I admit I am relieved by the result.”
While Scottish leaders promised to work together, Scots remained divided in joy and disappointment over the fate of their country.
“I’m delighted. It’s overwhelming as well. The people listened, they thought about it, and now they have spoken,” said Sheila Gilmore, a Scottish-born Labor lawmaker who welcomed the preservation of the union.
But Calum Martin, a 21 year-old history student at Edinburgh University who voted for independence said the question of secession would return.
“It’s a disappointing result but it sets the stage for going forward,” Martin said. “As long as there are flaws, there will be calls for independence. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out.”
BREWER, Maine — When the general manager of the Vacationland Inn in Brewer got a call from the producers of “Hotel Impossible” on the Travel Channel, she thought there might have been a mix-up or someone was playing a joke on her. It was all true, though. Producers had chosen … Read more →
BREWER, Maine — When the general manager of the Vacationland Inn in Brewer got a call from the producers of “Hotel Impossible” on the Travel Channel, she thought there might have been a mix-up or someone was playing a joke on her.
It was all true, though. Producers had chosen the Wilson Street hotel, owned by Cheryl and Ross Bradford, to receive renovations and world-class advice from the show’s host, renowned hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri.
“At first it was hard to believe, but then as we got going, we realized this would be an incredible resource for us. It’s just been incredibly exciting,” said general manager LeeAnn Hewey.
Production crews from the show and a number of local contractors spent Sept. 16-18 at the hotel, doing top-secret renovations and lending their skills to train the staff. The fifth season premiere of “Hotel Impossible” is set to air Oct. 7, and the Vacationland Inn episode is expected to air in late November.
Though what the renovations are exactly will remain a closely guarded secret until the show airs, producers did allow one little sneak preview: It’s one large room in the hotel, and it’s being completely transformed.
What Melchiorri is focusing on are other problems, including staff training, communication and customer service.
“The renovations of this hotel aren’t as important as the story about what we have to fix to take it to the next level, because they’ve done a good job renovating it themselves,” said Melchiorri. “It’s more about the internal workings of the hotel. Communication is always key. … There are always serious issues in any hotel with the dynamics between management and employees. I have to come in and understand those dynamics very quickly.”
Melchiorri has been all over the world and in almost all 50 states for the show, but he had not yet been to Maine.
“I get a call, the producers tell me, ‘You’re going to Maine, you have a hotel to save,’ and I show up and I save the hotel,” said Melchiorri. “It’s beautiful here. It’s funny, I really like going to new places, but I live in New York, and I’ve never been to Maine. I was on a lobster boat in Bar Harbor yesterday. It was wild.”
The “Hotel Impossible” team found the Vacationland Inn after looking for a worthy candidate in New England. The show has filmed in countries all over the world, from Africa to Europe to all over the U.S. and Canada.
“It really depends on what the hotel has to offer,” said Blanche Garcia, lead designer and co-host of the show. “Anthony looks at the dossier to make sure that from the standpoint of a hotelier, that he can help, and that they need help and can be honest with you and want to work on their hotel.”
The local team of electricians, carpenters and builders assembled to complete the whirlwind 72-hour transformation includes Electric Works of Old Town, Violette Builders of Old Town, Brian Moore Carpentry of Eddington, Applicator Sales and Service of Bangor and Viking Lumber, as well as the lead contractor of the team, Ryan Francis of Maine Construction Group, out of Hampden.
“When Blanche called me I almost fell out of my chair,” said Francis, a 2010 graduate of the construction engineering and technology program at the University of Maine. “We’ve been working together for almost a month on this project. … A project like this would take weeks, but working this quickly has been really exciting. This is our high point right here. This is the dream job.”
Though Vacationland Inn staff are hotly anticipating the reveal of the renovations, the counseling from Melchiorri will perhaps be the most important help they’ll receive while “Hotel Impossible” is on site.
“You always see this on TV, but now that it’s actually happening to us, we’re trying to absorb as much of it as we can,” said Hewey. “We’re picking Anthony’s brain and learning from him about what we can do better. … Even if this didn’t end up on national television, this would still be such a great experience.”
CONAKRY — Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday. “The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. … Read more →
CONAKRY — Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
“The eight bodies were found in the village latrine. Three of them had their throats slit,” Damantang Albert Camara told Reuters by telephone in Conakry.
However, Guinea’s Prime Minister Mohamed Saïd Fofana, speaking in a television message that had been recorded earlier, said 7 bodies of 9 missing people had been found.
He said six people have been arrested following the incident, which took place on Tuesday in Wome, a village close to the town of Nzerekore, in Guinea’s southeast, where Ebola was first identified in March.
Since then the virus has killed some 2,630 people and infected at least 5,357 people, according to World Health Organization, mostly in Guinea, neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia. It has also spread to Senegal and Nigeria.
Authorities in the region are faced with widespread fears, misinformation and stigma among residents of the affected countries, complicating efforts to contain the highly contagious disease.
Fofana said the team that included local administrators, two medical officers, a preacher and three accompanying journalists, was attacked by a hostile stone-throwing crowd from the village when they tried to inform people about Ebola.
He said it was regrettable that the incident occurred as the international community was mobilizing to help countries struggling to contain the disease.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama’s plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants on Thursday, a major part of his military campaign to “degrade and destroy” the radical group. The Senate voted 78-22, in a rare bipartisan show of support for … Read more →
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved President Barack Obama’s plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants on Thursday, a major part of his military campaign to “degrade and destroy” the radical group.
The Senate voted 78-22, in a rare bipartisan show of support for one of Obama’s high-profile initiatives.
Ten Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans voted no. Some objected to including a “war vote” in a spending bill.
With the House of Representatives approving the legislation on Wednesday, the measure goes to Obama to sign into law.
Others worried that getting involved with the rebels would lead to broader involvement in Iraq or Syria’s civil war or that any arms given to them might fall into the wrong hands and end up being used against U.S. forces or their allies.
The measure was written as an amendment to a spending bill that would keep the U.S. government operating on Oct. 1, the start of a new fiscal year.
The legislation is likely just the start of a debate over what longer-term role the U.S. military should have in battling the Sunni Islamist militants who have killed thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, declared war on the West and are held responsible for beheading two American journalists in recent weeks.
“Today, I voted to keep the government open and prevent the disruption of federal services so critical to the lives of many Americans,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The American people do not want dysfunction in Washington to lead to another harmful government shutdown like the one we experienced last year, and allowing that to happen would only further jeopardize our still struggling economy.
“I am disappointed, however, that Senate leaders did not allow a full debate or hold a vote on an authorization for the use of military force or the president’s overall strategy to confront the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL,” she said.
“This week, I wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry to express my concerns about the scope of the Administration’s proposal, the process for vetting members of the opposition, and what the Administration is doing to detect and disrupt plots from other terrorist groups intent on harming Americans,” Collins said. “My support for the president’s overall strategy against ISIL will depend upon the answers I receive from Secretary Kerry and the president’s ability to prove that the administration can build an effective coalition of allies against these terrorists.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, also voted in favor of the resolution that authorizes the Department of Defense to train and equip vetted elements of the Syrian opposition in the fight against Islamic State. King explained his vote in a floor speech delivered earlier in the day, in which he also outlined his broader thoughts on the administration’s strategy.
“One of the most fundamental purposes listed in the preamble is to provide for the common defense and ensure domestic tranquility. This is why we’re having this debate today,” King said. “This arming and equipping provision is not a panacea. It is not going to end the war. It is not going to be easy. It is no sure thing. …[I]t is the least worst option. It is one that we must undertake. It has to be part of the solution because to root out ISIL, whose headquarters is in Syria — not Iraq, there are going to have to be troops. …Where are those troops going to come from? Not from the United States. They have to come from within the Syrian opposition itself.”
The rebels have been fighting a three-year-long civil war seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has held onto power despite the rise of the Islamic State group and a long covert U.S. effort to back the moderate fighters.
The amendment to arm and train the rebels passed the House on a vote of 273-156, with support — and opposition — divided between Democratic and Republican lawmakers. If Obama signs it into law as expected, the authority to train and arm the rebels would expire on Dec. 11.
Obama sought the authorization to have some congressional buy-in for his plan to stop the violent Islamic State militants, whose takeover of large parts of Iraq and Syria is seen as a threat to U.S. national security.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday easily approved controversial legislation requested by President Barack Obama to allow the training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels in their fight against Islamic State militants. Senate passage, by a vote of 73-22, came a day after approval by the House of Representatives. … Read more →
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday easily approved controversial legislation requested by President Barack Obama to allow the training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels in their fight against Islamic State militants.
Senate passage, by a vote of 73-22, came a day after approval by the House of Representatives. The Senate legislation also temporarily keeps the government running in the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 and reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank through June 2015.
The bill now goes to Obama for signing into law.
Editor’s note: This is one of a series of articles examining the bond questions that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in Maine. Question 2 reads: Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats … Read more →
Editor’s note: This is one of a series of articles examining the bond questions that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in Maine. Question 2 reads: Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?
ORONO, Maine — Just weeks after she joined the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension as director of the animal health laboratory in 2008, Anne Lichtenwalner got a call from a cattle farmer.
The man on the phone was frantic. His animals were getting sick and dying, and he needed help. He said he had a cow that died, and he wanted to bring it to the lab for testing to find out what killed it and the others.
This appeared to be a reasonable task for the lab, which frequently works with farmers and the state to test domestic and wild animals in order to monitor their health.
Lichtenwalner told the farmer to bring in the dead cow, but she did not anticipate the difficulty that ensued when he showed up at Hitchner Hall, located at the middle of the Orono campus, with a 700-pound carcass in the back of his pickup truck.
Lichtenwalner and several others worked together to roll the cow onto its back, place it on a gurney and wheel it through the narrow door to the lab. She was able to perform a necropsy on the cow on the floor of the lab, then she needed to cut up the carcass into 50-pound pieces to dispose of it.
That is just one of the stories scientists at UMaine’s Cooperative Extension tell when explaining why they are asking voters to approve an $8 million bond for animal and plant diagnostic services this November.
The bond, Question 2 on the ballot, would allow UMaine’s Cooperative Extension to build a new facility on UMaine’s campus that would house labs for the monitoring and testing of insects and pests that plague domestic and wild plants and animals in Maine.
A bill proposing the bond was sponsored by Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport. Voters turned down a similar proposal in 2012, which would have awarded UMaine $7.8 million to build the new facility.
“The informal feedback we got was the public did not have a clear understanding of what they were voting for,” John Rebar, executive director of the cooperative extension, said.
This year, the wording on the ballot was changed, an informational website was created, and Rebar has been traveling across the state to educate groups about what the money would be used for.
The question for voters will be whether they think this new facility is worth their investment.
“Bonds are a go-to solution for a number of issues,” according to Matt Gagnon, chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative research organization. “It’s something that I think we should get away from.”
This election season, voters will be asked to approve $50 million worth of bonds for small businesses, clean water, medical research facilities and the marine industry.
“We oppose the increase of debt to the public, particularly at a time where budgets are so tight,” Gagnon said, adding that as a UMaine graduate, he’d love to see the campus grow, but he could not justify this bond.
If approved, the animal health laboratory headed by Lichtenwalner and the facility that researches plants and insects would be housed at a new facility, which would be located somewhere on campus but on the outskirts, said Rep. James Dill, D-Orono, who is a pest management specialist at UMaine’s Cooperative Extension.
Lichtenwalner said a bigger building is essential to serve the growing livestock population in Maine. The new facility would have the capacity to safely and more cheaply dispose of animal carcasses after they’ve been tested. Under current conditions, UMaine’s Cooperative Extension freezes the animal remains, then farmers need to pay 70 cents per pound to an outside company that removes them.
She and Dill, whose facility researches ticks, bedbugs, mosquitoes and other pests and invasive species, said their capacity to serve Maine farms and wildlife would be greater if they could safely secure their facilities to keep diseases and insects from escaping.
“Right now, we can tell you what things are,” Rebar said. “But we can’t thoroughly investigate them because we don’t have the biosecure lab.”
Dill said there is no laboratory in Maine that can test whether a tick has Lyme disease, so ticks are sent out of state for testing. It can take three to eight weeks for those who were bitten to get the results.
Dill’s story about why he needs the new facility happened more recently.
In July, a young father came into UMaine’s Cooperative Extension with an engorged deer tick he pulled out from behind the ear of his 7-day-old baby. He wanted the tick tested for Lyme disease, but Dill had to tell him to take the insect elsewhere.
If the new facility is approved, Dill would be able to determine whether affected people, such as the baby, need to be treated for the disease.
Better equipment also would allow Dill and other researchers to do more extensive monitoring of mosquito-borne diseases and the spotted wing drosophila, a type of fly that came to Maine in 2011 and cost the blueberry industry nearly $4 million in 2012, according to Dill.
“Everything we learn we’re going to use in educational outreach,” Rebar said.
That applies to UMaine students, who work at UMaine’s Cooperative Extension, and Mainers who are affected by the pests and diseases.
OWLS HEAD, Maine — Knox County Regional Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves said a pilot made an amazing landing after his plane was damaged in takeoff Thursday afternoon. Stephen Morrison II of Rockland said he was taking off with his father, Stephen Morrison Sr., also of Rockland, for an afternoon flight … Read more →
OWLS HEAD, Maine — Knox County Regional Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves said a pilot made an amazing landing after his plane was damaged in takeoff Thursday afternoon.
Stephen Morrison II of Rockland said he was taking off with his father, Stephen Morrison Sr., also of Rockland, for an afternoon flight on a beautiful day when a puff of wind hit his Piper Cub single-engine plane.
“I fly a very light plane, maybe 700 pounds, and this puff of wind struck, and the plane got away from me,” Morrison said.
When the plane veered slightly to his left off the main runway on takeoff, the right landing gear struck a VASI (visual approach slope indicator) light. The lights are located about five feet from the paved runway and about 3 feet tall.
After the plane struck and Morrison realized that the landing gear was damaged, another problem became apparent. The hand-held radio he carried with him was not working for a reason he did not know.
Morrison flew low by the airport and yelled out the door to someone on the ground to have fire trucks and an ambulance respond in the event they were needed.
He then flew low by a grassy area to indicate to the people on the ground where he planned to land. The fire trucks and ambulance then arrived and positioned themselves near that location.
He was in the air for about 20 minutes.
The plane came down, and he relied on the left landing gear until the plane slowed down. The right landing gear then came to rest on the ground and dug into the dirt, causing the plane to make a complete 180 degree turn.
Morrison and his father were uninjured.
“The landing was just amazing,” Northgraves said. “There were a lot of high fives after he and his father got out of the plane.”
The plane was towed to a hangar. He said he did not know the extent of damage. The propeller also was damaged in the landing.
Northgraves said that the Federal Aviation Administration will send a representative to the airport to look into the matter.
Morrison said he was grateful for the response from emergency personnel and everybody on the ground.
“Accidents happen, that’s why they call them accidents,” he said.
LUBEC, Maine — A group of volunteers will gather at Mowry Beach during low tide Sunday to begin the process of digging up and recovering the bones of a stranded whale was buried at the site 20 years ago. “This is just the beginning,” Rhonda Welcome, one of the organizers … Read more →
LUBEC, Maine — A group of volunteers will gather at Mowry Beach during low tide Sunday to begin the process of digging up and recovering the bones of a stranded whale was buried at the site 20 years ago.
“This is just the beginning,” Rhonda Welcome, one of the organizers of the effort, said Wednesday.
The 54-foot finback whale, properly known as a fin whale, was stranded on the beach in 1994. A backhoe was used to dig a trench and bury the carcass.
Welcome operates Turtle Dance Totems, a small business, in the coastal town with her husband, Chuck Kniffen. They were walking on the nearby beach when they discovered whale bones protruding from the mud in the fall of 2013, she said. Welcome broached the subject of recovering the bones with other residents.
Sunday’s event is a preliminary dig. Volunteers will map out a grid of the area, mark it with flags and dig several test holes, according to Welcome. One object of Sunday’s efforts will be to determine whether the bones still have any whale flesh or other remains attached. The remains will be excavated Oct. 4-5.
The bones eventually will be cleaned, reassembled and put on display somewhere in Lubec, Welcome said.
Organizers have obtained permission and guidelines from the Downeast Coastal Conservancy to remove the skeleton from the organization’s inter-tidal property.
Gayle Kraus, a professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias, and Rosemary Seton, a research associate and marine mammal stranding coordinator with the College of the Atlantic’s marine mammal research group, Allied Whale, will help lead the effort. Kniffen also has been in contact with Dan DenDanto, a senior scientist at Allied Whale, who has expertise in cleaning, articulating and restoring whale skeletons.
“We want everybody to be part of digging it up and putting it back together,” said Welcome, who is hoping for about eight to 10 volunteers. “There is something very mystical about whale bones,” she added.
Anyone interested in joining the recovery effort or in more information can do so by visiting Turtle Dance Totems’ Facebook page, calling Welcome at 733-4844, emailing email@example.com or just showing up. Volunteers will meet at the beach, located at the end of Pleasant Street, at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21. They should have adequate boots and bring rubber gloves and clam rakes if possible. The work is expected to wrap up by 4:30 p.m.
RICHMOND, Maine — A Richmond woman and her infant daughter were taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta to be checked for smoke inhalation after their Brunswick Road home caught fire Thursday morning. Just after 7:30 a.m., firefighters from Richmond, Litchfield, Gardiner, Dresden, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham were called to the … Read more →
RICHMOND, Maine — A Richmond woman and her infant daughter were taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta to be checked for smoke inhalation after their Brunswick Road home caught fire Thursday morning.
Just after 7:30 a.m., firefighters from Richmond, Litchfield, Gardiner, Dresden, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham were called to the fire at Brunswick Road, also known as Route 201, not far from Alexander Reed Road.
Richmond Fire Chief Matt Roberge said that when he arrived, smoke was coming from the attic eaves and he could see a burn mark on one side of the building.
Jobinn McDowell and her 6-month-old daughter were home at the time the fire broke out, but Roberge said everyone got out, and the mother and child were taken to the hospital as a precaution to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters used 200 to 300 gallons of water to douse the fire, which was contained mainly to the kitchen area. Investigators said it started in a deep fryer on a stove.
Tim Arnold, who lives behind the house, was leaving his home when he saw smoke coming from the building.
“I was just backing up, and I see smoke coming out, and then I see Jobinn come out and throw the baby in the truck, and then she went back in, so I hurried right down there,” Arnold said. “Next thing I know, I see a flash of fire. It went right through the door.”
Roberge said McDowell suffered minor burns to her fingers. He said the kitchen will have to be replaced and the rest of the house cleaned from smoke and water damage.
The state fire marshal’s office determined the blaze to be accidental.
Another neighbor, Robert Jolly, said that McDowell and her daughter had returned home Thursday afternoon and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Jolly said a dog was rescued, one cat died in the fire and another is unaccounted for. A third cat, Zoe, was rescued and was suffering from smoke inhalation. Jolly and a North East Ambulance paramedic gave the cat oxygen. Jolly took Zoe to Winthrop Animal Hospital where it remains but should be fine.