Yesterday for 6/15/17
10 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA — In response to a spate of lightning-caused wildfires in the Canadian province of Quebec, Maine and New Hampshire have mobilized firefighting crews to assist in control efforts.
The Maine Department of Conservation’s Maine Forest Service dispatched eight forest rangers and one forester to Baie Comeau, Quebec.
The Baie Comeau area, more than six hours northeast of Quebec City, has seen more than 60 lightning-strike fires over the last few days.
The Maine Forest Service mobilized one 21-person wildland fire crew Thursday. The crew, lead by MFS Forest Ranger Mike Daigle, was scheduled to leave Bangor International Airport on Thursday. They planned to fly to Presque Isle to pick up the remainder of the crew.
Joining Daigle on the Maine team are Forest Rangers Sprague Wise, Dustin Pickering, Kevin Somers, John Cousins, Alicia Rautenberg and Sam Heffner, and forester Ken Canfield.
They will be joined by 13 civilian firefighters from northern Maine.
MFS Ranger Brad Bucknell and two Maine civilian firefighters joined a New Hampshire firefighting team in Manchester, New Hampshire, earlier in the day. Ranger Bucknell will serve as Crew Boss.
BANGOR — American Star, the newest member of the American Cruise Lines fleet, was officially named Friday on the Bangor Waterfront before more than 50 city officials and residents. The four-deck, 215-foot-long ship will sail nearly all of ACL’s “Maine Coast and Harbors” cruises scheduled for 2007.
The coastal cruise uses Bangor as a home port and visits boutique ports such as Bar Harbor, Rockland, Castine and Camden. The weeklong excursion aboard the American Star costs passengers between $2,670 and $5,050, depending on the cabin they select.
First lady Karen Baldacci took over naming duties for her husband, Gov. John Baldacci, who was unable to attend the ceremony because of pressing tax reform issues at the State House.
“I christen thee, American Star,” Baldacci said as she smashed a bottle of champagne wrapped in an American flag across the new ship’s pristine white bow.
Baldacci said she was encouraged by what the new ship meant for the Bangor region.
“Maine is open for business, and American Cruise Lines is a testament to that,” Baldacci said. “When visitors come to Maine and witness the beautiful scenery and warmth of the people, they come back.”
The newly named cruise ship has a passenger capacity of 100 and features 52 luxurious staterooms — each fashioned with flat-screen satellite televisions and DVD players. The ship also features a free computer kiosk for passengers, an elevator to all decks, four large lounges and a glass-enclosed dining salon large enough to accommodate all passengers in a single seating. The top deck offers deck chairs in both the sun and shade, as well as two pieces of cardio gym equipment.
BANGOR — When it comes to patriotism and love of country, few can compare to military veterans, said Donald Simoneau, state commander for Maine’s American Legion, on Thursday.
“We have pride in country, pride in the flag and pride in service,” he said of the approximately 26,000 Maine Legion members.
The 89th state convention began Friday at the Bangor Civic Center and runs through Sunday. Simoneau, who has served as commander for the last year, hands over the organization’s reins to a new state commander during this evening’s gathering.
Men and women, some wearing military attire and others proudly wearing caps or vests decorated with pins and medals could be seen all around the civic center Friday.
“Freedom doesn’t come free,” said Simoneau, referring to those in the audience with obvious or not-so-evident injuries from the their wartime service, such as missing limbs or emotional scars. “It just doesn’t.”
Simoneau, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, is himself wheelchair bound as a result of an accident in his driveway 25 years ago.
While people milled in and out of meeting rooms, they enjoyed the camaraderie with their fellow Legion members, all former brothers in arms from various branches of the military.
Most of the members at the conference were middle-aged or older. In the last year, the state’s American Legion has grown significantly and ranks third in growth for the nation, he said.
“We in fact started two new posts this year,” he said. “We started a new one in Turner and we got another one we’re just starting in Lebanon. And we have one we’re reactivating in Standish.”
Since many returning Vietnam veterans were not treated to a hero’s welcome, many of those veterans have stayed in the background for decades, but things began to change during the Gulf War and now with the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, Simoneau explained.
“I think … [the recent fighting] brought pride back into being in the military,” Simoneau said. “I think the organization is in great shape … and [it’s] the greatest program in the world,” Simoneau said.
25 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Despite a midyear tuition increase and cutbacks in academic and campus programs last semester, most University of Maine System students were satisfied with their campuses, a systemwide survey showed.
Conducted in April by the Edmund S. Muskie Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Southern Maine, the survey polled 502 university students from all seven campuses, or about 3 percent of the system’s full-time undergraduate enrollment.
The students were questioned by telephone on issues ranging from financial and social matters to plans.
Nine out of every 10 students surveyed said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their university experience this spring. Eight percent said that they were generally dissatisfied and slightly less than 1 percent reported that they were very dissatisfied.
The findings surprised university officials somewhat as students encountered on average a 15.5 percent tuition increase this spring to offset $11 million in state-mandated budget reductions.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” said Chancellor Robert L. Woodbury of the survey’s findings. Woodbury said that the survey would be held again next year and could be used to identify changing needs and issues on the campuses.
Brent Littlefield, president of the University of Maine Student Government, said he doesn’t disagree with the survey’s overall findings.
Generally, he said, most students do feel that the system provides a solid education. Littlefield speculated that students may have been looking for a bright spot after being hit repeatedly by reductions in programs.
The latest reduction didn’t “strike fear and terror into people’s hearts as it used to,” he said. But, he said,”it obviously has remained a problem.”
Littlefield did have some qualms with the survey.
It may give a general picture of students’ feelings, he said, but it doesn’t provide an accurate picture of concerns on each campus. Littlefield said he was concerned that the system would use surveys as the primary method of obtaining student comments.
“I feel that a lot of times we get buried in statistical data and lose the opportunity to get real input by real people,” Littlefield said.
Among other findings in the survey:
Seven out of 10 students said that cheating in academics was a little to a very little problem on their campuses. About 4 percent said that it was a great or very great problem.
Two percent said that they had both seen and experienced sexual harassment on campus, compared to the 89 percent who said that they had neither experienced nor seen it while on campus. Twelve percent said that they had witnessed racial harassment, although only one-third of 1 percent said that they had experienced it.
Suzanne K. Hart, director of the institute’s Survey Research Center, which conducted the survey, said that from the start the survey was intended to provide a broad overview of student feelings.
“We did not intend this to be a complete, comprehensive survey of all opinions among all the various subgroups among all the various university campuses,” she said. “It was intended to be an overview.”
The survey cost $5,000 to $6,000. If more money had been spent, more students could have been surveyed, Hart explained. The survey had a 4 1/2 percent sampling error.
The survey used responses from 50 students at each of the five small campuses, 100 from USM and 150 at the Orono campus. The results of the survey were weighted to reflect better the proportional size of the different campuses, she said.
Two Maine Army National Guard units have been selected to participate in a new national program creating a “quick-response force” for national and international situations at the direction of the president.
The 112th Medical Company, an air ambulance unit located in Bangor, and the 314th Medical Company, a ground unit with headquarters in Millinocket, and a detachment in Bath, will join 34 Army National Guard units from 22 states taking part in the program, according to a Maine National Guard spokesman.
The selection of two Guard units from one state, “especially a small state like Maine,” is unusual and significant, said Maj. Bruce M. Barry, state public affairs officer.
“It makes us feel good that they took the most qualified units” instead of succumbing to political pressure from some of the larger states that lobbied for participation, he said Monday.
With the scaling down of active army units, the National Guard has begun to pick up more of the responsibility for national security, said Barry. Under the new program, “Project Standard Bearer,” the guard units will form a pool with army reserve and active army units for rapid deployment in those situations requiring a military presence in this country or abroad under a presidential directive, he said.
The units will be expected to deploy from their armories directly to their area of responsibilities within seven days of notification, according to the Maine Guard spokesman.
As a result of their participation, the Maine units are expected to increase their personnel, get new equipment, and take part in more training missions, many of which support state activities, said Barry.
Barry said it was “sheer speculation” concerning the types of situations the Maine Guard units might face under Project Standard Bearer. He said the units would be deployed as part of the contingency force under the direction of the president for a 90-day period without congressional approval.
“This is real good news for the state of Maine,” said Barry about the participation of the units.
The city of Bangor will abate more than $91,000 in back taxes, if the City Council accepts the recommendation that its Finance Committee made Monday evening.
More than $39,000 that is potentially collectable is being written off. The remainder, nearly $52,000, is from accounts older than five years and has passed the statute of limitations.
The unpaid tax bills range from $7.86 one person has owed since 1981 to $1,109.37 a defunct company owes from 1990.
The list of past-due taxes is made up of 242 accounts, and includes the names of people and companies who failed to pay personal property taxes between 1981 and 1991.
About six weeks ago the total of unpaid taxes on personal property amounted to $100,300. Finance Director John Quartararo, working with City Solicitor Erik Stumpfel, was able to collect from or launch legal action against parties owing nearly $10,000.
Monday, the councilors had a hard time going along with Quartararo’s recommendation that the city write off the entire $91,000.
They agreed with Councilor Dennis Soucy who said that it just did not seem right that people can skirt their obligation to pay taxes. Their quandary was compounded by the prominence of some of the names on the list.
That may be, Quartararo said, but at the time the taxes were initially owed the company in question may have been out of business or it may not have had possession of the property in question.
Additionally, he said that it would not be worth the great time and expense required to track down the accounts given the slim chance of ever collecting.
Councilor Jane Saxl sided with Soucy. Councilor Gerard Baldacci said his misgivings were too strong to agree to abate the overdue taxes. The entire council will vote on the matter when it meets June 22.
The Finance Committee first discussed the matter six weeks ago. At the time, Quartararo said in a memo, “For the most part, the list is made up of the following type of accounts: those which are barred from suit due to the statute of limitations, out-of-business accounts, assessed taxpayers who have moved, taxpayers without the ability to pay and deceased taxpayers.”
Efforts at collection included a mass mailing, telephone calls and research with the Secretary of State’s office into the corporations, the dates they were dissolved and who the officers were.
At the meeting six weeks ago, several councilors who knew some of the people on the list said that they would talk to them about making good. That did not happen.
Changes are underway to ensure that the problem does not grow so severe in the future.
CASTINE — Capt. Elliot Rappaport of Blue Hill has been named master of Maine Maritime Academy’s schooner Bowdoin.
Elliot succeeds Capt. Andy Chase who is returning to full-time teaching in the academy’s nautical science department.
Rappaport, a graduate of Oberlin College, has several years of experience as a mate aboard oceangoing vessels. He was a watch officer aboard the schooner Westward, a training vessel of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on a trans-Atlantic voyage to Portugal in 1990-91.
He also has sailed aboard the brigantine Romance in the Caribbean, on the Maine windjammer Mary Day, and on the schooner Surprise out of Falmouth, Massachusetts. For the past three years, Rappaport has been chief mate and relief captain on the Bowdoin, providing sail training for Maine Maritime students on trips to Labrador, Greenland and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
The Bowdoin, which is designated as a National Historic Landmark and Maine’s Official Sailing Vessel, was launched at East Boothbay in 1921. The vessel was on 26 expeditions to the arctic under the command of Adm. Donald MacMillan, and was acquired by Maine Maritime Academy in 1988.
Reaching back to its 19th century maritime tradition, Bangor bid bon voyage Monday evening to one of its sailors as he embarked on a search for gold.
Bangor native Kevin Mahaney, who will skipper the U.S. Soling craft in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, beginning July 25, received a warm send-off from an estimated 200 well-wishers who gathered in the city’s West Market Square.
Mahaney, scheduled to depart for a training trip in Germany on Tuesday before traveling to Barcelona, is the second known Bangor native to represent the U.S. in Olympic competition. Jeff Turner, who was born in Bangor but grew up in Brandon, Florida, was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team. Mahaney is believed to be the first resident of the city to compete for the U.S. in the Games.
“I hope I do you all proud when I go over there to the Olympics, because you certainly did me proud tonight,” said Mahaney, 30, after being praised in speeches by city officials and serenaded with the ragtime sounds of the Bangor Band during the two-hour celebration.
Mahaney will take charge of the U.S.’s 27-foot, single-masted craft and direct crewmen Douglas Kern of Austin, Texas, and Jim Brady of Annapolis, Maryland, in the international regatta. No U.S. Soling crew has failed to win a medal since Olympic competition began in 1972.
“I’d hate to be the first not to medal,” said Mahaney, who skippered his boat to victory in the Soling World Championship and U.S. Olympic trials in the past year. “I think we’ll be pretty strong over there.”
Brent Halsey, a friend of Mahaney’s and primary organizer of the event, read letters from Gov. John R. McKernan and U.S. Sen. William Cohen.
“Whatever the outcome, I can’t think of anyone better to represent our state,” McKernan’s letter read, in part.
“You are carrying on a long and proud tradition of people from Maine sailing ships. … Maine people have been among the world’s best sailors,” Cohen’s letter read, in part.
Steve Robbins, master of ceremonies, said the city is fortunate to have produced an Olympian.
“If you consider the billions of people on earth, and the few who are selected for this honor, we are fortunate to have one in Kevin,” Robbins said.
Mahaney expressed his gratitude to Bangor and its people.
“It’s very special, living in Bangor. I’ve traveled all over the world and there isn’t any place more special than Bangor,” Mahaney said.
50 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
BANGOR — It wasn’t the most serious crime in Bangor police annals, only the noisiest.
It all began in the early hours Wednesday at St. Joseph Hospital when the morning stillness was suddenly shattered by a series of loud metallic clangs. These were followed by a series of scraping noises that echoed across the darkened parking lot and into open windows.
A patient generally conceded to be hard of hearing awakened from a deep sleep and asked what was going on. The night nurse peered through the window and answered, “I think somebody is stealing hubcaps from a parked car.”
Elsewhere in the hospital, another night nurse witnessed the incident below and called police.
It probably would be an exaggeration to say that everybody in the hospital was watching, but it certainly was the most witnessed crime in a long time.
The hubcaps clung stubbornly to the wheels while the prowler, displaying more determination than aptitude, wrestled doggedly with the problem, oblivious to the noise.
In fact, he was so engrossed in his work that he failed to notice another parked car a short distance away from which four occupants watched his progress with growing fascination.
Neither did he notice the two police cars that approached from opposite ends of the parking lot.
After the second hubcap had come loose, police arrested the 19-year-old from Dow Air Force Base.
He appeared Thursday in 3rd District Court and pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted larceny and was fined $50.
The youth told Judge Morris G. Pilot that it was the first time he had ever attempted to steal hubcaps.
Nobody doubted him at all.
100 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
BANGOR — At a dinner in The Colonial on Thursday night, the members of the teams that will be in charge of raising Penobscot County’s share in the $100,000,000 campaign, which will be launched in the United States on June 18, learned the real necessity of the project and were advised as to the conduct of the plan.
The presiding officer of the meeting that followed the dinner was Hugh R. Chaplin, who was introduced by John Wilson. Mr. Chaplin delivered a masterly address and at the close received an ovation. Mr. Chaplin emphasized that people would not be subscribing to the fund in a charitable spirit, but that they would be performing a duty.
- W. Crist of Washington, an organizer for the National Red Cross, explained the mode of raising the money, a plan that has been employed with success in previous campaigns. He touched upon the need of the fund and told how it would be used in the alleviation of the condition of the soldiers who would go overseas. His recital of conditions in Belgium was a graphic one. In conclusion, Mr. Crist wished the members of the teams success.
The team members will have dinner at The Colonial next Monday at 6 O’clock, when the captains will receive the lists of names of those to be called upon for subscriptions and on the following day these names will be given to the members for the beginning of their work. The solicitors will meet at The Colonial for dinner for every night during the week of June 18 when reports as to progress will be made.
PORTLAND — John Adams of Houlton was elected commander of the Department of Maine, Grand Army of the Republic, at its annual encampment Thursday. C. T. Wardwell of Oxford was chosen senior vice commander and Charles E. Ames of Gardiner was chosen junior vice commander.
Disapproval of a certain action by the Legislature on pension bills was expressed in a resolution.
A resolution endorsing the action of Gov. Carl Milliken in authorizing Capt. T. A. Balentine of Portland to raise a regiment of heavy field artillery was adopted.