Yesterday for 9/21/17
10 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
The Bangor BAT Community Connector bus system received good marks from several environmental groups this week for helping to reduce emissions tied to global warming.
Overall, the report from New England Climate Coalition gave Maine and the rest of the region mixed reviews for efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from the transportation sector.
States that have invested most heavily in mass transit, such as Massachusetts, likewise are credited with taking the biggest chunk out of emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary culprit in global warming. Mass transit in Massachusetts averted emissions of 1.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2005.
But the report’s authors said states need to invest more in mass transit to reduce tailpipe pollution, which accounts for 40 percent of New England’s carbon dioxide emissions.
Maine, which spent $6.8 million on transit in 2005, was credited with averting 807 metric tons of greenhouse gases that year.
Several Maine mass transit programs, including Bangor’s bus system, were singled out in the report for helping avert greenhouse gas emissions.
The BAT Community Connector helped avert 119 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission in 2005, ranking it eighth among public bus systems in New England.
The Downeaster train and the state’s GoMaine van-pools also were credited with helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the authors called on the state to work on expanding mass transit opportunities.
Among the recommendations were:
— Extend Downeaster rail service to Brunswick and Lewiston-Auburn.
— Plan projects to enhance the efficiency of the state and region’s transit system, such as the Boston-Maine high-speed rail corridor.
— Boost ridership by improving existing transit systems.
— Rework transportation spending to funnel more money into mass transit.
Only by reducing Mainers’ reliance on the personal vehicle will the state be able to meet goals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the authors said.
BREWER — The city took an enormous step this week toward protecting its lone water source at Hatcase Pond and local officials hope other steps will follow.
City Council members accepted a conservation easement from Dedham residents Philip and Joanne Johnson for 545 acres or nearly 24 percent of the Hatcase Pond watershed.
“It’s huge,” Mike Riley, Brewer Water Department superintendent, said Friday.
“Once we’re able to own or have conservation easements for the land in the watershed, we’ll be able to control the quality of the pond permanently.”
Brewer gets its water from the William Hayes Water Treatment Facility at Hatcase Pond in Dedham.
The city paid $60,900 for the easement, which will protect the land from development.
“It demonstrates a firm commitment on the city’s part to pursue watershed protection of this important source of drinking water for [its] 10,000 residents,” Riley said.
Phil and Joanne Johnson should be commended, City Manager Steve Bost said.
The Johnsons “could have sold this land to developers for a good deal more money than they received for the conservation easement,” he said.
With the easement, the city now controls about 40 percent of the roughly 2,300-acre watershed.
“We’ve purchased quite a bit, a couple hundred acres,” Riley said. “This is the first formal conservation easement.”
Talks are underway with six other pond landowners.
About half of the remaining property is owned by The Mountainy Pond Club, a Maine corporation established in the 1920s, now controlled by 15 camp owners. If the club were to jump on board with the city, Brewer would control about 80 percent of the watershed, Riley said.
“We’ve started discussions,” he said. “They tell us we don’t have anything to worry about.”
“The city would like to use the successful acquisition of this easement as a steppingstone” to obtain others, Bost said.
MACHIAS — After a complaint was filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission, the Washington County commissioners have decided to change the name Squaw Island near Grand Lake Stream to Epahsakom, which means in the middle of the lake.
In the Waldo County town of Stockton Springs, which also is named in the complaint, the names Squaw Point and Squaw Head still are used, John Dieffenbacher-Krall said in his complaint filed in July. Dieffenbacher-Krall is executive director of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission.
Seven years ago, then-Gov. Angus King signed a bill into law requiring place names such as Squaw Pond to be changed. The change affected about two dozen places, including mountains, waterways, lakes, ponds and islands. The new law did not affect private entities such as the Squaw Mountain ski resort in Greenville.
Tribal state Rep. Donald Soctomah said this week that when the bill was moving through the Legislature, it was a learning experience for the whole state.
“It was a lack of understanding what the word meant,” he said.
Tribes in the state believe the word “squaw,” which roughly translated means “whore,” is demeaning to Indian women. “It has a long history associated with [the word],” he said. “It is demeaning and demoralizing, and it is used in a very bad way to attack our native women and young girls.”
Washington County commissioners voted recently to change the name of the island near Grand Lake Stream.
“You can praise Washington County,” Dieffenbacher-Krall said. “Washington County has decided to fix this situation, which is really our preference. We do not want to drag this into court.”
Soctomah also praised the commission and the town. He said he believes the commission would have changed the name sooner, but it appears the name just fell through the cracks. “I believe it was just missed,” he said.
County Manager Linda Pagels-Wentworth said Tuesday that changing the name was the right thing to do.
Although H.C. Haynes Inc., a large forestry holding company, owns the island, the company apparently is not concerned about the name change. She said the commissioners approached the town, who in turn approached the landowner. “The town had no feelings whatsoever, but thought it would be nice to contact the family, but there was no communications relayed back to us, so we proceeded with renaming it,” she said.
Also named in the Human Rights Commission complaint is Stockton Springs on the shores of Penobscot Bay.
“There is a homeowners association [in Stockton Springs] that has dug in their heels; they chose to engage in debate about what squaw means,” Dieffenbacher-Krall said. “I find that problematic.”
Five landmarks or groups use the name Squaw in one form or another in Stockton Springs. For a number of years, a private road providing access to exclusive waterfront homes was called Squaw Point Road. The homes belonged to the Squaw Point Home Owners Association. In response to complaints, the association renamed itself and its road Squapoint.
“All those are on private land, and the town’s position is that we prefer the landowner to tell us the name they want to be called,” Stockton Springs Town Manager Joseph Hayes said. “The town in the past has not imposed its will on the private landowner in Stockton.”
The town itself also had three geographical locations using the word Squaw: Squaw Head, Squaw Island and Squaw Point. In response to the complaint, the Board of Selectmen voted this summer to change their spelling and rename the areas Squahead, Squaisland and Squapoint.
“By state law, the selectmen are responsible for renaming geographical points if they are offensive,” Hayes said.
Hayes said the town has been in contact with the Human Rights Commission investigator and informed the commission of the board’s decision to drop the “w” from the word.
“Right now we are waiting to see what the complainant says, whether they agree with what the board has done. If it comes back to us that they are unhappy with what we’ve done, the board will change it to something else,” he said. “The board does not want to take this to court. Quite frankly, we would like to see it just go away.”
Hayes noted that the landmarks have “been that way forever” and that if the town was forced to change their names to something such as Squall Point, “people are still going to call it Squaw Point. That’s just the way it is.”
BANGOR — State, county and city officials Friday morning donned red plastic hard hats, then clutched shiny new shovels and dug into a pile of dirt at a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $37 million Penobscot County Judicial Center.
Construction on the Exchange Street site is expected to begin the week of Oct. 1. The project is estimated to take 18 months to complete.
Penobscot County commissioners next year are expected to address how space in the current buildings will be used after the courts move.
“This will be the fourth [Penobscot County] courthouse in Bangor but the first that will fully consolidate the courts [in Bangor] into one building,” Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley said at the brief event attended by more than 100 people, many of them lawyers with offices in downtown Bangor.
The 86,000-square-foot, 3 1/2-story building will combine the Penobscot County Superior Court and 3rd District Court in Bangor. More than 11,000 people each year are expected to pass through the doors of the new courthouse.
The structure will include seven courtrooms — one for arraignments, three for jury trials, three for family matters and one that can be used for ceremonial events or when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court convenes in Bangor. The building also will combine the District and Superior court clerks’ offices.
Judges’ chambers and staff offices will be inaccessible to the general public. Prisoners will be kept in secure areas and will not have to be brought through public areas as they are now in District Court. Conference rooms where lawyers can confer privately with clients instead of in hallways are included in the design.
“I believe that buildings the government creates reflect our values,” Saufley said. “This building is indicative of our values and demonstrates that government everywhere in Maine supports access to justice.
“The placement of this building in Bangor’s bustling downtown speaks volumes and about the value and quality of justice,” she continued. “The many large windows in it reflect the openness of justice in Maine.”
Gov. John E. Baldacci joined Saufley, his brother Peter Baldacci, a local lawyer and Penobscot County commissioner, Bangor City Manager Edward Barrett and other elected officials in turning over dirt trucked in for the event.
“This is going to be a state-of-the-art judicial center,” the governor said, “where citizens who need access to the judicial system can be in safe surroundings in very difficult times in their lives.”
Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justices Warren M. Silver and Andrew M. Mead, who will have offices in the new center, also participated in the groundbreaking. Both were appointed to their positions by Baldacci.
Silver has overseen planning for the new courthouse and pushed to see that construction would begin this fall.
“The biggest challenge has been that this is a very big project,” he said Friday. “We needed to make sure that it meets the needs of citizens and the judiciary.”
The recent escalation in construction costs has affected plans for the building, the justice said. Early proposals called for a four- or five-story building of up to 140,000 square feet with eight courtrooms and enough room for the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office staff of 20 or so people.
That changed earlier this year.
Now plans include work space that prosecutors would be able to use when they are in the building, but not permanent office space. Silver said earlier this year that it would cost an additional $7.5 million to include the more than 10,000 square feet prosecutors would need.
25 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
American balloonists stood poised Monday night to set two records after falling short in their bid to win the trans-Atlantic balloon race.
Race officials in Rotterdam, Netherlands, lost contact with U.S. pilots Troy Bradley and Rich Abruzzo on Monday afternoon. The two were headed for the coast of Morocco.
Moroccan air-traffic control in Casablanca picked up the balloon on radar and talked to the pair. Race officials in contact with Moroccan authorities early Tuesday morning (about 8:15 p.m. EDT Monday) said that the Americans were 38 miles west of the coastal town of Rabat.
The Belgians won the first trans-Atlantic balloon race. Wim Verstraeten and Bertrand Piccard touched down Monday morning in Peque, a small village east of Valladolid in northern Spain. They flew 114 hours, 27 minutes on their journey of nearly 2,600 miles. They crossed over the Portuguese coast in the predawn hours.
After more than 137 hours, 5 minutes, 50 seconds aloft (at 8:28 p.m. EDT), the Americans had broken the endurance record held by Abruzzo’s late father, Ben, who set it as the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1978. By the time the Americans touch down, they will have been aloft more than 140 hours.
And theirs would be the first balloon flight from North America to Africa.
“(The Moroccans) told us that the boys wanted to fly until sunrise and land,” Denise Bradley, Troy’s mother said from Rotterdam. “Operations were normal and everything was good.”
By flying south of the others, they stayed in clear weather, David Melton, the team’s alternate pilot, said Monday in an interview from Rotterdam.
The control center lost contact with the Americans after their generator failed and the batteries drained. Once that happened the electronics that automatically sent position reports shut down. They are carrying two fully charged, hand-held VHF radios and can transmit and receive transmissions within 50 miles.
“By our calculations, they still have enough fuel to fly two more nights,” Melton said, “and they still have plenty of food and water on board. If we can raise them, we may try to bring them down in the morning.”
Five balloons, identically outfitted, launched from Bangor in the early morning hours last Wednesday (Sept. 16) to start the race. The crossing had been completed only five times before the Chrysler Transatlantic Challenge. Failed attempts resulted in five deaths.
In this race, with all of the built-in safety features and available meteorological advice, the fact that bad weather forced two teams to make emergency landings at sea points out just how hazardous the crossing is, Les Stevens, the media coordinator in Bangor said.
Flying under the colors of the Union Jack, Don Cameron and Rob Bayly touched European soil Monday afternoon, coming down on a “long, sandy beach” near Monte Real, Portugal. Their crossing lasted 128 hours.
“I do believe the landing was OK,” Belthyn Richards, race coordinator said from Rotterdam. “Don and Rob are safe, and the equipment is all right.”
Melton said, “We just got a message through satellite that they were on a beach with a bunch of people from the town helping them pack up the equipment. They plan to spend the night and fly out tomorrow.”
Separate, strong storms forced two teams to declare emergencies and land at sea. The Germans ditched in the Atlantic Ocean less than halfway across. Picked up by a supertanker, they are due to arrive Oct. 1 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Dutch dropped into the English Channel, about 65 miles southwest of the English coast.
For two nights the Dutchmen piloted their craft in violent weather. A storm in the Bay of Biscay sent them reeling north toward open ocean. Battling the elements severely taxed Evert Louwman and Gerhard Hoogeslag.
In a message sent by satellite telex to the control center, the pair said, “It’s pouring out here like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The balloon is as heavy as lead.”
They were picked from the water by helicopter and flown to a hospital in Truro, England. After a checkup they were discharged. They then checked into a local hotel for some hot food and sleep. Later in the day they flew to Rotterdam.
Forced to abandon the gondola at sea, Louwman dispatched a crew to retrieve it.
“Evert and Gerhard were just here,” Melton said. “They’re doing real well. They look good but they’re a little weary.”
Despite the emergencies and potential for new records, the spotlight shone brightest on the two Belgians.
“We are pretty excited to be the first in the race,” Verstraeten stated in a telex to the control center shortly after crossing the coast.
His girlfriend, Dominique Vermeulen, stayed in Bangor for five days after the race. At the press briefing Monday morning she said, “He phoned me from the gondola this morning at 2 a.m.,” she said. “He called, `Dominique, Dominique, It’s me.’ He was very, very happy. Then he had to lay down the phone because he had to land.
“We will see each other tomorrow in Belgium,” Vermeulen said. “It’s a dream come true for him.”
50 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
Bangor Postmaster William E. Comer said Thursday that he expected to hear from the General Services Administration on Monday as to when the post office could move into its new quarters in the Federal Building on Harlow Street, now nearing completion.
Comer said that he thought the move would be made sometime between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 but believed that the GSA would let him know the exact date on Monday.
At the same time, Comer said that the postal annex on outer Hammond Street was to be sold. “The GSA and Post Office Department have conducted several studies over the past two years as to space needed and manpower requirements and we have found that the building will not be needed for the foreseeable future”
Comer said that at first it was believed there would not be sufficient “working space” in the new building. “But actually we have picked up 10,000 square feet more working space than we now have in the two buildings,” Comer said. “This does not include office space.”
The postmaster said that at present there is 17,000 square feet of working space in the downtown post office and the postal annex on Hammond Street. The new building, he said, will have 27,000 square feet of working space.
100 years ago
As reported in the Bangor Daily News
- H. Curtis, superintendent of car service of the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, has resigned to accept a position with the Car Service commission, which is now attached to the so-called War Board in Washington. The Car Service commission has a right at any time, and under any circumstances to order cars from any part of the country to another, where they may be needed, thus doing away as far as possible with car congestion and shortage.
Mr. Curtis has been in the employ of the Bangor & Aroostook for a number of years, and has been a most efficient man in his line of work. The railway officials will feel his loss, but congratulate him on this advance, and what they consider an honor to his business ability.
- H. Daggett of Houlton, heretofore chief clerk in the offices of J. B. McMann, superintendent at Houlton, will fill Mr. Curtis’ position in the future.
EASTPORT — The auxiliary yacht Half Moon of Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, used during the past season in Eastport Harbor and neighboring waters, was taken under her gasoline engine power Thursday morning to New York for the winter. The yacht was at Eastport on Wednesday and stripped for the trip.
Roosevelt had only five days visit this month to his cottage at Campobello, as he was unable to leave Washington for any longer trip in this section.