Yesterday for 10/5/17


10 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

 BANGOR — Members of the city’s planning board this week recommended approval of a zone change requested by a Griffin Road landowner and granted final approval for a 25-lot subdivision proposed for Vizsla Avenue.

  The zone change for the Griffin Road parcel, located next to Kev-Lan at the corner of Griffin Road and Broadway, would result in the rezoning of 16.53 acres on Griffin Road from its current government and institutional service designation to high density residential.

  The change would allow for the construction of a wide variety of housing types from single-family houses to large-scale assisted living complexes with densities ranging from eight residential units per acre to as many as 25 units, depending on development type.

  City planning officials are looking favorably upon the request because it improves the potential for developing rental housing for the growing Husson College student population, according to a background memo prepared by City Planner David Gould.

  The zone change is subject to approval from the City Council, which is slated to take the request up during its next regular meeting.

  The subdivision on Vizsla Avenue was proposed by C.A. Strout and Sons Inc., who plan to expand the Pine Meadows subdivision, which was approved in the mid-1980s and now has 46 lots. The expansion would see the completion of Vizsla Avenue as a U-shaped road, beginning and ending on Shepherd Drive.

  The expansion will consist of single-family detached manufactured housing.


 BANGOR — People who come downtown for the Oct. 7 re-enactment of the shootout between the infamous Al Brady gang and the law will find themselves transported back to Central Street as it appeared 70 years ago, or so organizers promise.

  “There are going to be a lot of surprises on Sunday,” said Gerry Palmer, a Bangor city councilor and executive director of Northeast CONTACT, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group the event will benefit.

  “We have been planning this for nine months and our goal is accuracy,” said Palmer, who along with Richard Shaw, a Bangor historian who has had a longstanding interest in Brady, organized the event.

  Shaw grew up hearing about the shootout. His mother, a 22-year-old college student at the time, was a witness to the aftermath. She was on a trolley about a block away when a policeman climbed aboard and asked, “Anybody want to see blood and bullets?” Her boyfriend at the time passed, but Shaw’s mother ran to the scene, where she saw the bodies.

  The two aren’t just organizers; they also will play leading roles in the re-enactment. Shaw will portray Brady and Palmer will be Everett “Shep” Hurd, who owned the sporting goods store and who, suspicious that the gang members were here to hunt as they claimed, tipped off authorities.

  “This is not a theatrical event. This is a re-enactment. This is a ‘wow’ event and we have a lot that has to happen,” he said. “I can tell you that when you step onto Central Street Sunday, it’s going to be 1937.”

  The dramatic end to Brady, once known as “Public Enemy No. 1,” and his notorious Indiana gang took place at 25 Central St. on Oct. 12, 1937.

  In a shootout between Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Brady and fellow gangster Clarence Lee Shaffer Jr. were killed. Rhuel James Dalhover was captured and returned to Indiana, where he was found guilty of killing an Indiana state trooper and sentenced to death.

  At the time, 25 Central St. was home to Dakin’s Sporting Goods Co., where G-men had laid a trap for Brady and his cohorts. The storefront that once housed Dakin’s now houses Top Shelf Coin and Comics.

  The owner of Top Shelf has agreed to let re-enactors use the storefront for Sunday’s event.

  “We’ll be creating a storefront very similar to what was there in 1937,” Palmer said. Because all but one of the Central Street buildings that were there in 1937 still stand, the streetscape remains virtually unchanged. Planners, however, have re-created the Ballantine Ale advertising sign that appears in many of the photographs taken after the shootout.

  Adding to the atmosphere will be nearly 50 re-enactors in period attire, playing roles ranging from gangsters and G-men to store clerks and party girls.

  Given that their special guest for the day is one of the federal agents credited with ending the Brady Gang’s reign of terror, the pressure is on to accurately portray what went down on that fateful October day.

  Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Walter R. Walsh was one of the FBI agents who took the Brady Gang down. He was shot and wounded in the process, but recovered to go on to a distinguished career in the FBI and the military, including service in Okinawa, Japan, during World War II.

  Walsh also was a world-class marksman, competing for the Marine Corps and as part of the U.S. Olympics team in 1948. He also coached the Olympic team in 1972. He still shoots skeet today.

  “He’s a hero, a real, bona fide American hero,” Palmer said of Walsh.

  Walsh, who turned 100 in May and is a resident of Arlington, Va., has been tapped to serve as honorary chairman and parade grand marshal. He will be making the trip to Bangor this weekend with family members, including his son, Walter Walsh Jr.

  In a telephone interview on Thursday, Walsh Jr. said that his father’s role in the Brady shootout has become part of the family’s history.

  “Those guys were only feet apart, and I think that being a good shot was part of it, but I think it was more [due to] his self-possession and self-control,” Walsh Jr. said. “He remained cool and collected under fire. He didn’t get rattled. He was just that kind of guy — he’s still that kind of guy.

  “When Dad was wounded in Bangor, the FBI was still quite small and it was very close-knit in those days. J. Edgar Hoover himself came and got Mom [who was pregnant at the time] and escorted her on a plane to Maine,” he said.

  Brady isn’t the only gangster whose career Walsh helped put to an end. Walsh also was involved in the capture of Lester Joseph Gillis, better known as Baby Face Nelson, and was the agent who arrested Arthur “Doc” Barker of the infamous Ma Barker Gang.

  Though some criticize the event as one that glorifies gangsters, Palmer sees it differently.

  “This is our history. This is not being done to celebrate Al Brady and his henchmen. It is to honor Maine people, who diagnosed the problem, got law enforcement involved and ended their reign of terror, so we’re not glamorizing this in any way.”

  “This is just history,” Shaw agreed. “It’s about good versus evil. We knew who wore the white hats and who wore the black hats in those days. I guess when you live by the gun, you die by the gun.”

 BREWER — Book enthusiasts and all others interested in seeing the new city library are invited to a grand opening celebration beginning at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 6 at its new home at 100 S. Main St.

  Opening ceremonies will include tours, door prizes, refreshments and entertainment, Donna Rasche, library director, said Friday.

  “When you walk in the door to the library one of the first things you see is a custom-made circulation desk,” she said. Local carpenter Vince Lewer has “done an amazing job. It has a book drop, a place to ask questions and is accessible for a wheelchair to come up to the desk to put books down.”

  The Brewer Public Library closed its doors at its Union Street location in September for the big move to the former location of Sargent, Tyler and West Insurance, which was built as an elementary school.

  “It was originally the School Street School,” Assistant City Manager James Smith said.

  The new library has a small park adjacent to the building; ample parking, which the Union Street locale did not have; and two computer rooms, one for adults and one in the children’s area.

  “We have eight new computers for people to come in and check their email or surf the internet,” Rasche said.

  All users, both young and old, must sign in to use the computers before they are allowed to log on, she said.

  There are two separate quiet reading rooms, another amenity that was missing from the Union Street facility.

  “There was not a convenient place for someone to sit down and read the newspaper or read a book,” Rasche said.

  The one-level library has an open layout with enough room for wheelchairs to easily move around, another attractive feature over the former two-story facility.

  ORONO — Acclaimed journalist and Washington insider Bob Woodward targeted the leadership of the Bush administration on Friday, saying the president and top officials mishandled the lead-up to war and continue to be in denial about the dire situation in Iraq.

  Woodward told a packed house at the University of Maine that, based on his hours of interviews with President George W. Bush, he believes the president feels a strong idealistic “duty” to spread democracy to other nations and to end tyranny.

  But Woodward suggested that the president and other top officials have allowed that idealism and zeal to cloud their recognition of the stark realities in Iraq. As a result, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been unwilling to change course in Iraq.

  “The president and vice president are out there telling everybody that the war is going well time and time again,” Woodward told several hundred people attending the William S. Cohen Lecture at the University of Maine’s Hauck Auditorium.

  Woodward rose to fame in the early 1970s as half of the two-person reporting team at The Washington Post that uncovered the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon White House. He and colleague Carl Bernstein won the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative work on the Watergate scandal.

  In the decades since, Woodward has written more than a dozen books and continues to be one of the most influential and respected journalists in Washington.

  He has written three books on the Bush presidency and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, often gaining unprecedented access to not only the president and other administration officials but to classified documents. His most recent book, “State of Denial,” is a stinging critique of the administration’s handling of the Iraq war.

  Cohen, a former senator and secretary of defense during the Clinton administration, was equally critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war.

  The Bangor native said the Clinton administration would never have invaded Iraq unless Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait or Saudi Arabia or began shooting down American warplanes that were patrolling the north and south of Iraq at the time.

  Had the Clinton White House decided to invade, however, the administration planned to send between 400,000 and 500,000 troops to Iraq, Cohen said.

  “We did not think he posed an imminent threat to us or his neighbors because he had been so degraded” by targeted strikes, Cohen said.


25 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

   WASHINGTON — First District Rep. Tom Andrews said Monday that his bill to boost jobs in the U.S. commercial shipbuilding industry has passed both houses of Congress and is on its way to being signed by the president.

    The bill, which was passed in the remaining days of the session as part of next year’s defense budget, targets the unfair trade practices of foreign competitors in an effort to halt the steady decline of jobs in the commercial shipbuilding industry.

    “In the last 10 years, 120,000 jobs at American shipyards and businesses that support those yards have been lost to unfair trade practices by our overseas competitors,” said Andrews. “These were good, well-paying jobs. Many of them were Maine jobs. This bill is an important first step to bringing those jobs back to America.”

    Andrews’ bill seeks to level the playing field between the United States and its foreign competitors by pressuring foreign countries to end their subsidies for commercial shipbuilding contracts. The subsidies allow the foreign yards to build commercial ships — tanker, cruise ships and other non-military vessels — for less money than U.S. yards. This unfair advantage has resulted in the virtual elimination of commercial shipbuilding in this country.


 OLD TOWN — LaBree’s Bakery has received state approval for a $2.5 million expansion.

  The project will almost double the size of LaBree’s plant on Gilman Falls Avenue, according to Mark Whiting, a project analyst with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The expansion would result in several dozen new jobs at the bakery, Whiting said, but he was unsure of the exact number.

  Bernard LaBree, president of LaBree’s, declined to discuss the project. “We’d rather keep a low profile,” said LaBree.

  According to Whiting, the bakery will increase its production area by 28,740 square feet, its freezer space by 6,100 square feet. The expansion would allow LaBree’s to redesign its production line and increase its output, he said.

  Whiting said the project raised several issues for environmental regulators: traffic, erosion control, and the presence of some forested wetlands. Even so, the DEP approved the project in about five months — very quick action for the agency.

  “It’s a jobs issue,” said Whiting. “This is a family business that is important to Old Town. The governor has directed us to treat these kinds of projects in the most expeditious way we can.”


  GREENVILLE — The opening day of the 1992 moose hunt season was not as successful as last year, according to Paul Fournier of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

  A total of 295 moose were bagged on the first day of the season, compared with 353 last year. Of those 295 moose, 244 were bulls and 51 were cows.

  A Boothbay Harbor man was the first hunter to have a moose tagged Monday. Stephen L. Pitcher, 45, showed up at the Greenville tagging station at 6:20 a.m., said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department spokesman Paul Fournier.

  Pitcher’s moose, which weighed 690 pounds field dressed, was killed in Big Squaw Township between Rockwood and Greenville, Fournier said.

  The largest tagged moose was a 1,015-pounder, shot by John Wagg of Auburn. The moose was registered in Greenville. Fournier did not know where the moose was shot.

  Moose-hunting permits for the six-day hunt were awarded in a lottery held earlier this year. Nine hundred of the permits are held by Maine residents, the remaining hundred by out-of-staters.

  This year’s hunt opened amid growing concern that the moose population is getting out of hand in some areas. Authorities report an increasing number of collisions between moose and motor vehicles along the state’s highways.


50 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  Mrs. Marian Bagley, president of the Maine Teachers’ Association, described the Maine teacher of today in a talk before members of the Bangor Kiwanis Club.

  “She is better paid, although not nearly enough … is socially free, politically minded … a highly professional person who is becoming more and more specialized in her field,” said the MTA president.

  According to Mrs. Bagley, a social studies teacher and guidance counselor at Machias Memorial High School, the female teacher of today has progressed greatly from the one-room school marm of yesterday.

  Contrasting the past notions of a female teacher with those of today, Mrs. Bagley asserted: “She could not do the things other average people, even parents, could do. She couldn’t take a drink, smoke a cigarette, wear too stylish clothes, attend dances, or associated with those who did.”

  The MTA, said Mrs. Bagley, works to protect its members against unlawful pressures, presents legislation, encourages improvements in working conditions and promotes a climate among citizens for an improved curriculum.

  The MTA president predicted that Maine soon will see the complete consolidation of schools into administrative districts, the use of teacher aides in all classrooms and the increased support of education through general purpose federal aid.


100 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

    Nine more deer passed through the Bangor inspection station on Thursday, one more than on the previous day. Reports from the returning hunters indicate that there is plenty of big game in the Maine woods this year, although the number of hunters is not as large as usual, many reasons entering into the matter, although the war is thought to be the main cause. All of the deer that have passed through Bangor are of good size and it looks like a good year for the hunters.

  AUGUSTA — The adjutant-general’s office has ordered the formation of a new regiment that will be known as the Third Maine Infantry, National Guard.

  Leroy D. Moulton and Nathan C. Redlon of Portland and Sabine W. Wood of Bangor are designated and authorized to recruit companies for the Third Maine Infantry in their respective cities.

  The work of recruiting was started Thursday afternoon in Bangor as soon as the order was received.

  Mr. Wood desires to emphasize the fact that men with partial dependents may now enlist. At the time of the mobilization of the Second Maine Infantry in the spring, many men of that regiment were discharged on account of having dependents. The pay of an enlisted man is now $30 a month, with clothing and board provided, thus allowing a man with a family to make a liberal allotment from his pay to aid in their support during his absence.

  The new company affords an excellent opportunity for men of all ages from 18 to 45 years to offer their services to the cause at the same time retaining their present employment. For the present, the company will not be mobilized, but will be held in readiness in Bangor. It will be armed and equipped at once and drilled and trained during the winter months, it being doubtful if the regiment will be mustered into federal service before next spring. In the meantime, it will be available for police, guard or other duty within the state.

  In the general order announcing the authorization of the Third Maine, three medical officers were appointed. Among these, Bangor is honored with one, 1st Lt. Dr. Harrison J. Hunt, who recently returned from Greenland, where he served for four years as surgeon to the MacMillan Crocker Land expedition. Dr. Hunt is a graduate of Bowdoin and a former football star.

  The company should be quickly raised to its present authorized strength of 100 men. In order that all members may attend drills regularly, and also that they may be available on short notice for any sudden call to duty, no men will be accepted whose residence lies outside the radius of the various trolley lines connecting with Bangor, unless individual automobile transportation can be had.

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