Yesterday for 9/14/17



10 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  A local band will have a rare chance this weekend to perform for the cast and crew of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” at the show’s private wrap party.

  “Extreme Makeover” has been in Milbridge for the past week building a home for the family of Brittany Ray, Ron Smith and their three children, the middle one of whom has autism.

  Gilpin Railroad Incident, a local band that formed in 2005, was selected to perform partly because of a connection it has to autism awareness.

  The group’s original track “Younger Days” was written by guitarist Chris Soper and was recorded on a CD to raise money for an autism school.

  As for genre, Soper said it’s an original acoustic rock band with its own style.

  “Nobody’s been able to put a finger on what exactly we play,” he said Friday.

  The band has about 30 original songs and also plays some cover band titles.

  “We’ve never done anything like this,” Soper said. “We’ve played some pretty cool concerts, but this is definitely probably the most people that have some influence that can help us out in the long run.”

  While the time and location of the private show can’t be disclosed, Soper said the group is looking forward to playing for the ABC crowd.

  “We’re awful excited about it,” Soper said. “We hope people respect and appreciate what we write about.”

  The band consists of Soper and Brad Radley on vocals and guitar, Becky Bowden on vocals and bass, Sharla Hamor on vocals and percussion, Amy Hopkins on keyboards, and Wayne Gross on drums. Jamie Moore, who is transitioning to be Gilpin Railroad’s new drummer, also will perform with the group.

 ROBBINSTON — Downeast LNG announced Friday it will temporarily withdraw its application for state permits to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal and pipeline in Washington County.

  The Washington, D.C.-based company notified the Maine Board of Environmental Protection of its decision in a letter sent Friday. Downeast LNG President Dean Girdis said Friday that the application is missing critical information from the Maine Department of Marine Resources and data from additional studies.

  “Basically we want to ensure that the record is complete and all the evidence can be reviewed,” Girdis said. “It is in our best interest, as well as that of the local residents and the state of Maine, to ensure that our applications include this information. Filing new applications is the best way to accomplish this.”

  Downeast LNG also would like more time to negotiate with Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge the proposed route of the pipeline that would connect the LNG terminal to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline at Baileyville, Girdis said.

  Opponents of Downeast LNG’s development plans consider the withdrawal a “blow” to the company’s plans to construct a 320,000-cubic-meter LNG import terminal, storage tanks, a regasification plant and a pier on an 80-acre site at Mill Cove in Robbinston.

  “We’re not surprised, yet we’re very happy that the waste of the public’s time and resources on a project that was always doomed to failure may come to an end, and we can all get on to more realistic and appropriate economic and quality-of-life enhancing efforts,” said Linda Godfrey, coordinator of Save Passamaquoddy Bay.

  Downeast LNG is one of two highly controversial LNG terminals proposed in Washington County. Girdis said he expects to file a new application by the end of the year and that the decision to withdraw should not affect his proposed construction schedule.

  Another application from Downeast LNG likely will mean another BEP review process and another round of public hearings, Girdis said. A week of public hearings on the initial application were held in July.

  In a Sept. 6 meeting, a BEP board member and Assistant Attorney General Peggy Bensinger questioned whether it would be appropriate for the BEP to act on Downeast LNG’s applications without complete comments from the Department of Marine Resources, according to the letter Downeast LNG sent to the BEP Friday.

  “In addition to evidence relating to resolution of DMR’s concerns, the Board’s review would benefit from additional evidence in other areas as well,” Downeast’s letter stated.

  In its new application, Downeast LNG plans to provide the results of additional lobster surveys in Mill Cove and possibly an alternative pipeline route that would not pass through Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, the letter states.

  The federal permit applications Downeast LNG filed last December with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will not be affected by the decision to refile state applications, Girdis said. The federal applications are still pending before FERC and other agencies.

 BREWER — Business and civic leaders celebrated the anticipated rebirth of the former Eastern Fine Paper Co. site Friday, touting the project as an example of what is possible when corporations and governments work cooperatively on economic development.

  The atmosphere at Friday’s gathering at the defunct mill seemed more like a pep rally than a news conference as speaker after speaker praised Cianbro Corp.’s plan to employ up to 500 workers at the proposed manufacturing facility.

  During a tour of former mill property, Cianbro President and CEO Peter Vigue said cleanup crews were working hard to prepare the site so that construction of the first prefabricated building “modules” can begin in April, as planned.

  “It looks better than it did, but it’s not where it needs to be,” Vigue said.

  But while site cleanup appears to be progressing rapidly, Cianbro still faces some regulatory hurdles.

  At the top of the list, Cianbro must receive federal authorization to dredge the Penobscot River so that enormous barges can dock at the facility. To receive the permits, the company will have to show that dredging will not harm endangered sturgeon and salmon known to inhabit that stretch of the river.

  Some residents along Penobscot Bay, meanwhile, are fighting a plan to dump the river dredges off their shores.

  Pittsfield-based Cianbro — and in particular Vigue, its high-profile leader — have been the darlings of the Brewer area ever since the company announced plans to convert the old Eastern Fine mill site into a module manufacturing facility.

  Up to 500 well-paid workers are expected to help build the steel building frames, which can stand five or six stories high, weigh in at 1,000 tons and carry a price tag of $10 million.

  Officials with the Bangor Region Development Alliance also used Friday’s event to announce that on Dec. 14 and 15 they will host a job fair for potential Cianbro employees and vendors. The career and vendor fair, called “Opportunity Cianbro,” will be held at the Bangor Civic Center.

  Vigue credited Brewer and state and federal officials with helping expedite the project.

  “You hear all of the whining about how you can’t do anything in Maine,” Vigue said. “Who says you can’t do anything in Maine? Look what’s happening here.”

  Cianbro is removing asbestos and other contaminants from several buildings that will remain on the site. Demolition crews could begin removing the rest of the former mill structures next month to make way for a giant, concrete work pad where the modules will be built.

  Other parts of the site — including roughly 4 acres of contaminated soil — will be fenced off and remediated later.

  “Make no bones about it. This is not a cakewalk to clean this site up,” Vigue said.

  Cianbro plans to move the massive completed modules on a 400-by-100-foot barge that will dock at a new pier built at the South Brewer site. But because the modules are so heavy, the company will have to remove up to 33,000 yards of river bottom.

  Those dredging plans have stirred up some concerns, however.

  Last year, University of Maine researchers documented the first populations of shortnose sturgeon — an endangered species — in the Penobscot in about 30 years. Subsequent research has found that many of the shortnose sturgeon fitted with tracking tags spent the winter in the Bangor-South Brewer area. Federally protected Atlantic salmon are also known to inhabit that part of the river.

  Gayle Zydlewski, an assistant professor in UM’s School of Marine Sciences, said the research team hopes to get a better sense of exactly where the sturgeon go in the river this winter.

  “We haven’t said they are right where the Cianbro facility is going, but it is in that area of the river,” Zydlewski said.

  Jeff Murphy, who handles endangered-species issues for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said he is working on a biological report on the sturgeon that he will present to the Army Corps of Engineers. But Murphy said such dredging projects are not new in Maine.

  “We understand the effects and we understand how to minimize the effects” on fish, Murphy said.

  Tom Ruksznis, Cianbro’s project manager, said the company is working with NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers to address the concerns over sturgeon and salmon.

  Meanwhile, some are fighting plans to dump up to one-third of the dredged material into Penobscot Bay off Rockland.

  The area is a certified dumping spot used repeatedly by the Army Corps in the past, but members of the Penobscot Bay Alliance say the dredges take a toll on the aquatic environment, including the bay’s thriving lobster community. Instead, they want dredges put on land.

  Ruksznis said the company doesn’t have enough room to place the clean dredge on land.


25 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  Balloonists preparing to race across the Atlantic Ocean hope to lift off early Wednesday morning.

  “It’s definitely the most serious alert to date,” Alan Noble, race director, said Monday afternoon. “There should be a launch as long as it all happens according to the timetable the meteorologists believe will happen.”

  The race teams are maintaining an even keel, having gone through the same drill twice already.

  “People are trying not to get excited today. The first two times people got excited and then fell down,” he said. “I told them to go out, enjoy themselves and relax.”

  The weather forecast delivered Monday morning was a drastic improvement from the briefing the day before. On Sunday morning the prognosis was dismal. The meteorological team in Holland had held out little hope for a launch before the end of the week.

  On Monday, the news was much cheerier. The weather forecasters said a variety of weather patterns should come together to create favorable conditions for a launch late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

  The turnaround was the second in five days. Last Thursday hope was held out for a weekend start. The hope was dashed Friday with a new forecast.

  The latest forecasts call for the high-pressure system that is bringing Bangor such nice weather to move slowly seaward. The winds move clockwise around the system. Along the back side of the high, the winds would propel the balloonists toward Newfoundland.

  “That is where we can pick up winds that would take us across the Atlantic,” Noble said. “Over the Atlantic there is a dip south and then they would be carried back toward Europe. It’s not a perfect scenario.”

  By the time the balloonists have crossed the Atlantic and are approaching the coast of Europe, they should fly on the edge of two systems, a high and a low.

  They will be able to use the winds in two weather systems to provide 100 degrees of steerage, he said. They can steer toward England or France.

 Noble spent most of Monday afternoon at Bangor International Airport in the hangar where the equipment is stored. He was awaiting delivery of a new cargo container — a 40-foot trailer twice the size of the one in which they had planned to ship extra supplies back to Europe.

  It seems that several racers found some bargains they could not pass up — a rider mower, a 17-foot Bayliner speedboat, and several Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The owners of the goods reckoned that buying them in the United States cost them less than half of what it would cost them at home in Europe.

  Pacing inside the hangar, Noble stopped for a minute to stare at the five yellow race gondolas lined against one wall.

  “It’s fantastic to think that they’re here now and in two days they’ll be hanging over the Atlantic and a couple of days after that they’ll be bumping ground in Europe,” he said.

  Seeking to calm a troubling dispute, the Bangor City Council asked factions on both sides to work out their differences over a proposal to build a homeless shelter in a residential neighborhood.

  Nearly 70 people packed the council chambers Monday night to watch the council debate a non-binding resolution asking Manna Inc. and Friends of Broadway to patch their problems.

  Manna Inc. already operates a soup kitchen on the intersection of Union and Clinton streets. The nonprofit street ministry has planned to convert the former Jewish Community Center on Somerset Street into a homeless shelter.

  Most of the neighborhood’s residents opposed the idea and formed Friends of Broadway to fight it.

  The council passed a meek resolution asking the two “to resolve their differences over the proposed siting of the Manna Inc. facility and … to meet together for the purpose of resolving their differences.”

  Councilor Marshall M. Frankel originated the resolve to encourage to groups to talk “without animosity” to find common ground.

  Manna has looked at other buildings in the city’s downtown and outskirts, said Bill Rae who runs Manna. Converting them would be feasible only if the city and its residents pitched in to help.

  Responding to the complaint that a shelter is not the highest and best use for the former JCC building, Rae said, “What better use than doing the work of the Lord?”

  Residents should allow “God to come in and heal people, to help people in this city,” Rae said.

  The approach of Friends of Broadway has been and will continue to be a positive one, said Charles Gilbert, an attorney hired to represent the group.

  “Friends of Broadway understands the needs of the community in dealing with homeless people. That’s not the question,” Gilbert said. He added that for obvious reasons they would prefer it not be the JCC building.

  While residents packed the council chambers, councilors were in short supply. Five — Gerard Baldacci, William Cohen, Marshall Frankel, Jane Saxl and Dennis Soucy — attended the meeting. Four did not. Cohen, the council chairman, said Richard Stone and John Bragg had family commitments; W. Tom Sawyer was out of town; and Patricia Blanchette was ill.

  None of the councilors present opposed the resolve.

  “The city will stay involved in this process,” Cohen said. “That’s not an issue.”

  Later in the meeting, the council in a 3-2 vote passed an order directing City Manager Edward A. Barrett to sign on behalf of the residents a petition opposing a rate increase proposed by the Bangor Water District.

  Councilors Baldacci, Frankel and Saxl supported the move. Councilors Cohen and Soucy opposed it.

  “We need to stand up for the citizens and the ratepayers and to do what is in our power to challenge this increase,” said Baldacci, who sponsored the order.

  Surrounded by senior citizens, U.S. Rep. Olympia J. Snowe on Monday highlighted her work to help Maine’s elderly, a group traditionally known for its consistent turnout at the polls on Election Day.

  At press conferences in Bangor and Auburn, Senior Citizens for Olympia Snowe called the veteran representative a hero to the elderly, and promised to work to keep her in the U.S. House. But one national senior group’s ranking gives Snowe less enthusiastic applause.

  A handful of representatives from seniors groups took turns praising Snowe, reviewing her work to fund research for osteoporosis — a degenerative bone disease mostly affecting elderly women — and her recent selection by New Choices magazine as one of Congress’ top 11 members for their issues.

  “Seniors need Olympia in Congress,” said Joan Janeski, president of the Bangor chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons. “I’d hate to lose her.”

  “As we approach the senior years, it’s kind of nice to know we have someone in Congress who won’t forget the older American,” said the Rev. Bernice Damon, leader of the Brewer Alzheimer’s support group.

  With 4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s, Snowe said, “it needs all of our support.”

  As a member of the House Select Committee on Aging, Snowe said she has made a priority of issues affecting seniors, in part because of the high percentage of elderly Mainers in the 2nd District. Some 13 percent of Bangor’s population is over 65, and 25 percent of the district’s population will pass that threshold in the next 20 years, she said.

  Among her successes, she said, is a pending update of the Older Americans Act of 1965, which provided the national infrastructure for seniors programs, as well as the recent Rural Health Care Bill of Rights. More than a quarter of the state’s elderly live in rural areas, Snowe said, adding she supports a proposal to ensure the Older Americans Act funding reflects geographic needs.

  Snowe is the ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Aging’s Subcommittee on Human Services, which oversees the Older Americans Act.

  While Snowe has enjoyed the general support of the seniors community, at least one national group gives her congressional record mediocre marks. The National Council of Senior Citizens gave Snowe a cumulative rating of 48 percent based on her votes on 10 bills they believed important to seniors. In 1991, she received a 50 percent rating, up from 30 percent in 1990. Figures for 1992 were not available.

  By comparison, the Massachusetts delegation of mostly Democrats received ratings of either 100 percent or in the 90s; New Hampshire members of Congress received one 100 percent and one 80 percent; and Vermont’s only representative, a socialist, received a score of 100 percent, according to the Council of Seniors.

  During the 102nd Congress, now in session, Snowe has sponsored 16 bills and co-sponsored 22 others dealing with seniors issues, according to information provided by her office. Ten of those bills, most of which are related to the Older Americans Act, are awaiting further action in the Congress. Three Snowe-sponsored bills on seniors issues have been signed into law: the establishment of National Family Caregivers Week, the designation of Mother’s Day as National Osteoporosis Prevention Week, and a bill to increase the share of transportation assistance to rural and small urban areas.


50 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  ORONO — Two top University of Maine officials indicated Thursday they were not downhearted over the university’s loss of some $6,000,000 through the negative vote on question eight in Tuesday’s state referendum.

  Speaking at a faculty breakfast attended by some 475, Dr. Lawrence M. Cutler, president of the board of trustees, said: “None of us feels pessimistic about the results of the voting. We have a great deal of optimism, but what will happen I am sure no one knows. No one has a crystal ball, but somehow or other we’re going to keep the place open.”

  University President Edwin Young, commenting on the state referendum, said: “We didn’t fare too well in our capital budget requests, but the outcome I think had very little to do with the university. We were part and parcel of a large package. This should be considered as only a very temporary setback.”


100 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

   PORTLAND — The plurality against women’s suffrage in Maine at the special election on Monday was 18,214 in a total vote of 59,308, according to unofficial returns tabulated tonight from all election districts, except two small places and from seven of the 12 military organizations in which there are Maine soldiers.

  The vote was 20,547 to 38,761, including the soldiers’ vote so far received at Augusta, which was 419 in favor and 783 opposed. The missing towns are Amherst and Medford, which cast 118 votes at the last election.  


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