Classic Hits Newswire

--Ganong Expansion Will Create 50 New Jobs
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryMore sweet news for Canada's Chocolate Town on Monday --- 50 new jobs will be created by the expansion of Ganong Brothers Ltd.'s St. Stephen facility.

Premier Shawn Graham, David Ganong, president of Ganong Brothers Ltd., Minister of Fisheries Rick Doucet, and St. Stephen Mayor Allan Gillmor, were on hand at a Monday news conference in St. Stephen to make the announcement.

Graham announced that the Government of New Brunswick will provide Ganong Brothers Ltd. with a $375,000 forgivable loan and a $2-million term loan to assist with capital costs incurred by the company's facility expansion, and with new production equipment that will increase the operation's production capacity. The facility currently employs more than 300 people.

Ganong Brothers Ltd. was founded in 1873, and is a manufacturer of chocolates, sugar confections, and portable fruit snacks for the Canadian, U.S., and international markets.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Coast Guard Ends Unsafe Fishing Trip In Maine
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe U.S. Coast Guard has sent a Jonesport-based lobster boat back to port because their boat was missing required lifesaving equipment while they were fishing for lobster about five miles south of Moose Peak Lighthouse in Maine.

A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Jonesport boarded the 34-foot Hee Haw Monday afternoon and discovered that the boat was carrying an uncharged fire extinguisher, expired flares and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon with expired registration.

Authorities escorted the Hee haw back to its homeport of Beals Island.

"The Hee Haw can't get underway again until all three problems are corrected and the vessel is inspected by a Coast Guard official," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tonya Morris, the officer of the day at Station Jonesport.

"Fishing without the proper lifesaving equipment is a risk that should never be taken," Morris said.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Insanity Defense In Double Homicide
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maine StoryA Machias man charged in a double-killing is using an insanity defense.

Richard Widdecombe Jr. of Machias entered pleas of not guilty by reason of mental defect during an arraignment Monday in Washington County Superior Court, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Affidavits indicate Widdecombe confessed to shooting 29-year-old Katie Cabana and 41-year-old Aaron Settipani early on Jan. 23 at Cabana's home in Marshfield.

Cabana's 6-year-old daughter, Autumn Rodgers, was shot in the foot. Cabana's two sons, ages 5 and 9, also were home, but were not hurt.

- The Associated Press -
--Contract Awarded For Point Lepreau Project
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryA New Brunswick company has landed a $40 million contract with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to help refurbish the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station.

Lorneville Mechanical Contractors Ltd. of Saint John will provide general mechanical services for various trades and equipment for the project. The contract will create
225 jobs over 18 months.

AECL and the province's electric utility, NB Power, started the $1.4 billion project last month.

The goal is to add another 25 years of life to the aging Candu 6 reactor -- which is the only nuclear power plant in Atlantic Canada, located 25 miles from the Maine border.

So far, AECL has awarded more than $100 million worth of contracts to New Brunswick companies.

- The Associated Press -
--Quoddy Bay LNG: FERC Suspension No Surprise
Friday, April 25, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] notified Quoddy Bay LNG that they are suspending their review of the firm's LNG import project.

The letter, signed by J. Mark Robinson, Director of Energy Projects, dated April 25, says, "We are suspending our review of the Quoddy Bay LNG Import Project. In your responses to staff data requests, filed November 13, 2007, December 26, 2007, and February 29, 2008, you state that Quoddy Bay LNG, L.L.C. [Quoddy Bay] is not able to provide the information specified in FERC staff's May 15, 2007 and October 11, 2007 Information Requests concerning the proposed vaporizer revision as well as the safety and reliability of the proposed cryogenic transfer line."

The letter goes on to say, "Additionally, your filings state that the project design may be altered further pending negotiations with LNG suppliers and investigation into the use of additional mitigation measures."

"Without complete responses to these requests, we cannot proceed with our engineering review or with preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement," Robinson wrote.

But Adam Wilson, Quoddy Bay LNG's deputy project manager told WQDY News late Friday afternoon it didn't come as any surprise.

"We're aware of the FERC's issues and we are in the process of working on those questions that they are looking for and we'll have them sooner rather than later," Wilson said. "This totally in our control --- FERC will allow us to continue on with our application once we get them the information they need, but we're working on some commercial transactions right now that require us to not move forward on some of those information requests, Wilson said.

The Oklahoma-based Quoddy Bay LNG, L.L.C., proposes to site, construct, and operate the Quoddy Bay LNG Import and Regasification Terminal Project on the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation at Pleasant Point and Perry, Maine.

Local LNG opponents Save Passamaquoddy Bay quickly responded to the FERC letter Friday.

In a press release, SPB webmaster and researcher Robert Godfrey stated, "Naturally, we believe FERC has made the right decision today."

The president of the Washington, D.C. - based Downeast LNG, the other LNG import terminal proposed for Passamaquoddy Bay also weighed in on the FERC letter to Quoddy Bay LNG.

Dean Girdis told WQDY News, "I think it demonstrates the scrutiny of the FERC design review process and the care they put into reviewing the design of any proposed LNG facility. We certainly were pleased with our review process on the cryogenic side which was conducted last spring. We're continuing to work and address issues raised by FERC and we hope to get a Draft EIS sometime this spring."

Downeast LNG is proposing an import terminal in the Mill Cove section of Robbinston, Maine.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--State Police Investigating Local School Burglaries
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Maine StoryMaine State Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Office are investigating a string of burglaries the have occurred over the past week or so. The prime targets have been schools.

Sgt. Jeff Ingemi of the Maine State Police told WQDY News the Alexander School was broken into on April 13.

"Trooper Kim Janes processed the scene and colleted some evidence. It looks like money was stolen along with other items. I can't disclose all the information of what was taken but we're working on it," Ingemi said.

On April 14, the Charlotte Elementary School was broken into. Ingemi said the Washington County Sheriff's Department handled that incident. "Sgt. Travis Willey and Sgt. Dennis Perry have been helping us in trying to get this stuff solved," Ingemi added.

On April 15, the Pembroke School and the Edmunds School had been broken into. "Sometime during the night money was stolen from both places along with some other items, Ingemi said.

A window in the rear of the Pembroke School had been pried open to gain entry and a suubstantial amount of money was taken. At the Edmunds School an Apple computer was among the items taken, according to the Troop J weekly report.

Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday April 19, State Police responded to an alarm at the Aurora School on the Airline Road in the town of Aurora. "Some evidence was gained as well but no one ever broke in," Ingemi said. "There was an attempted break-in --- someone tried to get in but the alarm went off and they took off."

A citizen reported seeing a dark-colored Chevy S-10 parked at the school. State Police believe the Aurora incident is related to Washington County school break-ins.

At around 10:00 p.m. Saturday, the burglars were back in eastern Washington County.

"That night in Perry, Trooper Andy Foss responded to an alarm at the Perry Elementary School. [It] looks like entry was gained but the alarm went off and the suspect fled. On the Aurora and Perry [incidents] we were minutes behind the burglar. At this point we haven't caught the guy. We believe there's at least one person involved and we have some other information and quite a bit of evidence but we need a suspect to link it with," Ingemi said.

Sgt. Chris Donahue of the Calais Police responded to the Perry School with his canine to assist with a building search. There was no one inside. Sgt. Donahue's canine tracked from the point of entry to an area of the parking lot where it appeared that a vehicle had been parked.

"Any information the public may have would be helpful if they could call the State Police," Ingemi said.

There have been some business burglaries but police haven't linked them to the string of school burglaries.

"There was Eastern Plumbing in Dennysville --- a couple of their vehicles were broken into and some metal was taken -- but we're unsure if it's connected to the ones at the schools," Ingemi told us.

The Maine State Police in Orono can be reached at 1-800-432-7381.

"If anybody sees anything suspicious around any of the local schools please feel free to give the police a call --- we'll go check things out," Ingemi said.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Collins Reacts To Canadian Smuggling Dismissal
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe April 15 decision by a provincial court judge in St. Stephen to dismiss charges against three Charlotte County men accused of trying last year to smuggle two Guyanese nationals into the United States shocked those in the courtroom.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins reacted the same way Saturday when WQDY News showed her the St. Croix Courier Weekend story.

It was the first she had heard of it.

According to the published story, Provincial Court Judge David C. Walker denied the Crown's request for an adjournment saying he wasn't going to keep Canadians in a holding pattern to protect an American law that the Crown claimed was the essence of of its charge against the men when the U.S. did not appear to be either available or able to provide information to the court.

Father and son, John Wayne Richardson, 48, and John Jason Richardson, 22, and Byron Lawson Murray, 57, were charged with conspiring to break American law by attempting to illegally smuggle two Guyanese nationals into the United States. They were arrested Jan. 21, 2007 near a train trestle bridge in Mohannes across from Baileyville, Maine.

In a curious twist, Murray is the husband of Savita Singh-Murray, who spent over 130 days in jail in the U.S. for attempting to smuggle three Guyanese nationals into Calais, Maine in June 2005. She was sentenced to time served and sent back to Canada. U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock has barred her from entering the United States.

The case against the three men fell apart when U.S. authorities apparently were unable to testify for the Crown.

The Courier Weekend story said Judge Walker noted that he felt it was unusual that the Crown had not arranged to secure its essential U.S. witness before the charges were laid.

The paper reported Federal Crown prosecutor David Schermbrucker, Senior Counsel, Agent Supervision Team, Public Prosecution Service (Canada) in Halifax, said the decision would not be appealed.

Tuesday, Schermbrucker told the court that after the expert in U.S. law who had originally agreed to testify had been denied permission by his superiors to do so after inquiries were made through the Mutual Legal Assistance treaty between Canada and the U.S., the Crown had gone to Plan B and found a lawyer in Maine who was an expert in American law and who agreed to testify.

The defense lawyers argued that the Crown had not provided them with information on this person and what qualified him or her to be deemed an expert in American law.

The Richardson's attorney, Joel Hansen, said the Crown didn't have it's "U.S. ducks in a row." Murray's attorney, Patrick Hurley of Fredericton said, "Our neighbors don't seem to be that interested in getting this matter to trial."

When shown a copy of the Courier Weekend story, the Senator was shocked at the headline and what she initially read.

She told WQDY News, "I'm very concerned that the charges were dropped in this case. The allegations were very serious and yet the matter seems to have fallen through the cracks and was dismissed because the American officials were not present. It's just unacceptable and it's something I'm going to pursue further when I return to Washington."

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Land Port Of Entry - Calais Ground Breaking
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryBuilding a new border crossing between Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick has been years in the making.

Both communities have been subjected to endless traffic backups. The current Ferry Point Bridge that connects both downtowns and the smaller Milltown Crossing just cannot cope with increased volumes of traffic.

But progress is being made on the new bridge and on Saturday a ground breaking ceremony was held to begin construction of the new U.S. Land Port of Entry facility.

Governor John Baldacci, Senator Susan Collins and Representative Mike Michaud were on hand for the ceremonial event.

Lurita Doan, Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration said, "GSA is making good on our promise to build more capacity at our nation's ports of entry. Events here at Calais are proof of the building boom that GSA has ignited at our nation's borders."

Doan said Calais is probably the busiest non-commercial port in Maine. "It's the second largest commercial port in Maine and yet if you look at the traffic and the build-up, you know exactly why we're here today and why it's important to build this new border crossing."

The 70,000 square-foot facility will be constructed on a 52-acre site for the inspection of commercial and passenger vehicles and provide offices for the Customs and Border Protection agency. Construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2009.

Sen. Collins said the bond between the United States and Canada is strong.

"It is based on a shared history and shared principles. The bond between Maine and New Brunswick is based also on a shared future. The bond between Calais and St. Stephen is about shared lives. To those two communities, hands across the border is more than just a slogan for one of the great summer festivals, it is truly a way of life," Collins said.

"There have not been new ports of entry constructed in this country in two decades," Collins said. "But two of them are being constructed in the state of Maine -- one is in Jackman and the other is here in Calais."

Following the ground breaking ceremony, Calais City Manager Diane Barnes told WQDY News, "I think this is wonderful for Calais and St. Stephen and for the whole state of Maine. I am just thankful for our senators and congressional delegates for making this happen for us."

Commissioner David Cole of the Maine Department of Transportation told WQDY, "We can see the goal line from here, this has been a long time in coming. You'll remember those public hearings and meetings along the way --- there was a lot of time and effort so this is very gratifying to come up here and see this --- and hopefully coming to a conclusion in the fall of '09. It's going to be great for this city, for this region and for the state of Maine."

The current mayors of Calais and St. Stephen --- Calais Mayor Vinton Cassidy and St. Stephen Mayor Allan Gillmor held the same respective offices back in 1990. They were talking about a new border crossing then.

Mayor Cassidy told WQDY on Saturday, "In 1990, we had several meetings about this whole idea and the Calais City Council voted unanimously at that time to locate the bridge right here where it is. That was 18 years ago. Everyone knows that the six governments have worked together...and it's wonderful to work with Allan and the [St. Stephen] Town Council and I think there's a great relationship between the two communities."

And Mayor Gillmor told WQDY, "We started the process back in '89 or '90 where we tried to get all the levels of government together. That came and went, back and forth and so on. Finally that [Maine-New Brunswick Trade] Corridor Committee came on line and that's really got things physically moving."

"It's been at least 18 years and it's been an issue for much longer than that," Gillmor said.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--U.S. Fails To Connect, Canadian Smuggling Case
Friday, April 18, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryIn a decision that surprised and shocked those in the courtroom, a provincial court judge dismissed the charges against three Charlotte County men accused of trying last year to smuggle two Guyanese nationals into the United States.

Provincial Court Judge David C. Walker denied the Crown's request for an adjournment saying he wasn't going to keep Canadians in a holding pattern to protect an American law that the Crown claimed was the essence of its charge against the men when the U.S. did not appear to be either available or able to provide information to the court.

Although he called the judge's decision "a shocking development" defence lawyer Joe Hansen said, on behalf of his clients John Wayne Richardson, 48, and John Jason Richardson, 22, "We are very pleased."

The father and son were charged in January of 2007 along with Byron Lawson Murray, 57. Murray and his lawyer, Patrick Hurley, of Fredericton, declined to comment after the court proceedings Tuesday.

Hansen said the judge's decision raises the question as to whether the charge against the men should have been laid in the first place.

"They did not break Canadian law, per se," said Hansen.

"They were charged with conspiracy to break American law. Quite frankly to this day, I don't really know what that law is."

"I believe this case was to show the Americans that we're serious about border security," said Hansen. "We're prepared to cooperate with you, but they wouldn't cooperate with us. Go figure."

In handing down his decision, Judge Walker noted that he felt it was unusual that the Crown had not arranged to secure its essential U.S. witness before the charges were laid.

Federal Crown prosecutor David Schermbrucker, Senior Counsel, Agent Supervision Team, Public Prosecution Service (Canada) in Halifax, declined to comment after court on the judge's decision except to say the decision would not be appealed.

Tuesday, Schermbrucker told the court that after the expert in U.S. law who had originally agreed to testify had been denied permission by his superiors to do so after inquiries were made through the Mutual Legal Assistance treaty between Canada and the U.S., the Crown had gone to Plan B and found a lawyer in Maine who was an expert in American law and who agreed to testify.

Schermbrucker asked the judge for an adjournment and for a new trial date so this expert could be brought to court. He suggested in the meantime that the judge lift the house arrest order against the accused men until they came back to court for trial.

Schermbrucker said he felt there would not be any prejudice against the accused if the trial should be delayed by an adjournment and that there was great public interest in the seeing the trail proceed.

However, the defence lawyers argued that Canadian courts have no power to subpoena Americans to testify and that the Crown had not provided them with information on this person and what qualified him or her to be deemed an expert in American law.

They argued their clients had already been under house arrest for 15 months and that the Crown was no more in any shape to proceed with the trial than it had been at the original trial date in June of 2007 when it requested an adjournment for essentially the same reason, that the U.S. evidence was not available.

Hansen said the Crown didn't have its "U.S. ducks in a row" and said the charge against the accused was not murder, but a complex analysis of U.S.law to see if they were in conflict with Canadian law.

"Our neighbors don't seem to be that interested in getting this matter to trial," said Hurley.

He also noted the continuing expense incurred by the accused in retaining and maintaining their lawyers for numerous adjournments.

Hurley said having the Crown suggest there was no further need for house arrest against the accused during another adjournment, "says volumes for the Crown's case."

The three accused were charged with conspiring to break American law by allegedly attempting to illegally smuggle two Guyanese nationals into the United States.

They were arrested Jan. 21, 2007 near a train trestle bridge in Mohannes, about 19 kilometres west of St. Stephen. They appeared in custody in court the next day where bail was initially denied. The men were then released on house arrest conditions that the judge described Tuesday as "substantial, severe and restrictive."

There have been variations made over the months to the house arrest conditions.

On Feb. 13, 2007, the men appeared in court to elect their mode of trial, but since the Crown was not able to make a full disclosure of the information against them the case was adjourned until Feb. 27.

On Feb. 27, 2007, the defence lawyers requested an adjournment telling the court they had just received Crown disclosure and needed time to review the information.

June 14 and 5, 2007 were set for trial dates. Two weeks earlier, the Crown, with the agreement of the defense lawyers, felt there was a need for another adjournment because of a "massive" disclosure of evidence.

The trial was determined to require six days and was set to begin on Nov. 19, 2007. In late October, Hansen requested a trial date adjournment because of injuries sustained by John Jason Richardson in an accident.

The new trial date was set for March 27, 2008.

On that day, Crown prosecutor Peter Thorn, acting as agent for Schermbrucker, told the court of the Crown's failure to obtain an expert in U.S. law to testify and asked for a three-week adjournment to allow the Crown to pursue its attempts to secure an expert.

Schermbrucker told the court Tuesday that the Crown felt in order to prove to the court that the accused had violated U.S. law, the information had to come from an expert in U.S. law.

In an unrelated matter, Murray still has to be sentenced on a charge that he was at large on a court ordered undertaking involving a curfew during the 15 months he was waiting for trial. That charge, as well as a breathalyzer refusal charge on which he has already been sentenced, was laid as a result of an accident in February 2007. He was found not guilty on a dangerous driving charge in connection with the same accident where a mother and young child suffered injuries after their vehicle and Murray's collided.

- St. Croix Courier Weekend -
--Charlotte County Civic Centre Campaign Launch
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe Charlotte County Civic Centre [CCCC]Project officially launched their $3.5 million fundraising campaign to cover a portion of the costs of creating a new multi-functional sports and recreation complex for the future.

The Border Arena in St. Stephen is aging and to repair and upgrade it would be an expensive proposition --- and it wouldn't be able to offer everything that Civic Centre proponents envision.

Although unable to attend, Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Member of Parliament, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham and Rick Doucet, Minister of Fisheries and MLA, Charlotte-The Isles, sent letters of support which were read during the campaign launch festivities Wednesday morning at St. Stephen Elementary School.

In a press interview following the campaign launch, CCCC Board Chairman Richard Fulton told reporters they already have $1.2 million in pledges. As to why the campaign was launched at this time, Fulton said "if they had a thermometer that had nothing in the bowl people would be discouraged and would say we'd never get there."

"What we're hoping is that people are going say -- oh, they've already raised $1.2 million plus the Town of Stephen has already committed a significant amount of money then maybe it is going to happen --- maybe I need to get on board," Fulton said.

Support for the CCCC is coming from near and far. One of the largest contributions came from a former resident of St. Stephen.

Robert Quartermain is president of one of the world's largest silver companies. He's been a resident of Vancouver for the past 40 years. His contribution to the CCCC project came to just about $173,000.

Diane and David Ganong are Honorary Committee Co-chairs.

David Ganong said,"[the Quartermain] family has had deep roots here in the valley. Over the years they've been businesspeople in the valley and I believe that what Bob wanted to do was to have his family name carry forward in this community. Her wanted to put back into the community and improve the community he came out of. He jumped in immediately. It was a very pleasant surprise."

Donations to the CCCC project don't have to be that big.

Peter and Norah Heelis are Campaign Co-chairs and they said numerous smaller donations will make this project.

"We are very pleased to receive a donation of $172,000, obviously we'd have to be, but the success of the project will be judged by how many individuals come up with a $50 or a $100 [donation]. If they don't have $50 or a $100 they can volunteer," Heelis said.

Norah Heelis suggested that people could also donate to the project over a period of time.

Several sites are being assessed but THE site has yet to be chosen. Although the facility will be located in St. Stephen, it is part of the greater community that extends on both sides of the border --- as the Border Arena does now.

Peter Heelis said they do have some very capable people aboard on the Calais side supporting the efforts.

"They are committed to the project already. They have not initiated any fundraising on that side yet. [But] we believe that we will see people who will use this facility and understand the importance of it who will make donations to it," Heelis said.

Norah Heelis said, "I think there is enthusiasm for the project there and it's the participation of people from the surrounding communities and especially in Calais and St. Stephen -- it's really always been an international community and that's what we're hearing from the people like John and Lorraine Mitchell [of Calais] who agreed to be on the Honorary Committee. Sidney and Nancy Unobskey also agreed to be on the Honorary Committee. They recognize that historic connection between the two communities."

For their part, the federal and provincial governments are also expected to offer $4.7 million each.

Over the next 6 months the Major Fund-raising Campaign will be gathering commitments to achieve their goal of $3.5 Million.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Fundy Islands Ferry Project To Be Adjusted
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Brunswick StoryThe design and construction of three new ferries for the Fundy Islands is being separated from the operation and maintenance of the Fundy Islands Ferry Service.

New Brunswick Transportation Minister Denis Landry announced the change to the Fundy Islands Ferry Services Project following receipt of a non-compliant bid from the project's only remaining proponent.

In August 2006, the N.B. Department of Transportation announced it was issuing a request for qualifications to design and construct new ferries for the Fundy Islands and to maintain and operate the vessels and associated wharves for 15 to 20 years.

Three proponents responded and qualified to move on to the request for proposals (RFP) phase of the project. Only one of these firms submitted a proposal, which did not include all of the information that was required in the RFP. As a result, the department could not evaluate the bid or the cost to the government.

Landry said the next step is to seek a shipbuilder to design and build a new ferry for Grand Manan. NBDOT will design and call tenders for new ferries for White Head Island and Deer Island through the traditional process. "We will also be seeking an operator for the service to the three islands," he said.

The minister added the department is immediately issuing a request for expressions of interest to shipyards around the world, asking their interest in designing, building and delivering a new 101-car ferry for service between Blacks Harbour and Grand Manan Island. The department is targeting to have the new ferry in service by summer 2010. An RFP will be issued to a short list of shipyards based on the responses received. The short list of shipyards will be announced.

A similar process will be followed to secure an operator for the service after the RFP for the Grand Manan ferry is issued.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Grand Manan Boat Fire Accidental, Say RCMP
Monday, April 14, 2008

New Brunswick StoryEarly Monday morning, Grand Manan firefighters responded to a report of a boat on fire near the Ingalls Head Wharf. Police said the vessel was in a boatyard at the time.

Grand Manan RCMP said the fire originated from a piece of electrical equipment on board. It appears to be accidental based on what they have so far, but their investigation is ongoing.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--St. Croix #1 Firehouse Committee Gets Big Boost
Monday, April 14, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryEfforts to restore the St. Croix #1 Firehouse got a big boost last week.

Savings Bank of Maine pledged $35,000 over the next three years. The first installment came as a $15,000 check that was presented Friday afternoon to members of the committee. The remainder will be made in two payments of $10,000 each of the next two years.

For the past four years, the volunteer group has been working to save the St. Croix #1 Firehouse. Their goal is to establish a fire-fighting museum in the old fire barn on Church Street next door to Calais City Hall.

Built in 1874, the building served as a firehouse through the late 1960s. The city had decided to build a new structure on North Street to house the fire, police and public works departments.

From 1970 through 2003, the old firehouse served as a meeting place for senior citizens, an occasional city council meeting and a polling place.

Dennis Brown, Executive Vice President, Savings Bank of Maine said Friday the bank is pleased to be supporting the St. Croix #1 Firehouse restoration project.

"We believe that being a good neighbor and giving back to our communities serve as benchmarks of our success. Our commitment to this community-based effort to save this historic building and its unique architecture is an investment in the heart of Calais. In addition, the firefighting museum will preserve history and provide educational opportunities for years to come," Brown said. "We wanted to do our part."

Ted Carter heads the restoration committee. He called the donation "a huge boost."

"We're going for $400,000 so this really represents almost ten-percent of what we need. We're just very pleased with this and this will help us to leverage other money," Carter said.

Volunteer carpenters have been busy building a new belfry that will be placed atop the red brick hose tower. The original belfry was removed in the early 1970s after too much water damage had pretty much destroyed the structure.

According to an April 11 Bangor Daily News story, volunteer carpenters Roy Curtis, Brian Marshall and Charlie Towns were hard at work last week on the new belfry being built inside a former airplane hangar in Baring.

Ken Thomas, owner of the International Motel in Calais, donated the lumber for the new belfry.

"We still have the original bell that came out out of the station and it will be put back in" once the project is completed, Dick Barnard, a member of the restoration committee told the newspaper.

Barnard was the project's original voice back in March 2004 who brought the plight of the building to the public's attention.

Barnard said Friday, "I'm very grateful to the Calais Savings Bank of Maine for standing with us on this project and making a donation like this. It makes me feel that they must believe in this project to donate that type of money."

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--RCMP In N.B. Must Offer Bilingual Service
Friday, April 11, 2008

New Brunswick StoryCanada's top court has restored a Federal Court ruling ordering the Mounties to serve all of New Brunswick in both English and French.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled unanimously that the RCMP must obey language laws in Canada's only bilingual province.

The judgment restores a Federal Court of Canada ruling that was overturned on appeal.

At issue was whether the RCMP, a federal agency, must obey provincial language laws.

The case dates back to an incident almost eight years ago, when a French-speaking woman was stopped for speeding near Woodstock.

The RCMP officer could not speak French, but issued her ticket in French.

- Broadcast News Ltd. -
--Eastport Irving Mainway Will Not Be Rebuilt
Friday, April 11, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryIt was an icy morning in February when a fire broke out at the Eastport Irving Mainway. A few customers were in the store when they smelled smoke. Everyone fled the store as fire welled-up through the rear of the building. It wasn't long before flames burst through the roof and high into the sky as firefighters worked to keep flames from spreading to nearby structures. But the store was gone.

Ever since the fire on Feb. 6, there had been speculation on what would the Canadian-based Irving Oil would do with the property. The company announced their decision this week.

"Irving Oil has decided, upon careful consideration, not to rebuild its Eastport, Maine location. Today's economic conditions have prevented us from doing so. We will work diligently, however, to find a new vendor, either a buyer or lessee, who will operate a convenience retail store under the Irving brand and continue to offer our quality products and customer service to the people of Eastport and the surrounding areas," said Harry Hadiaris, Director of Convenience Retail for Irving Oil.

Eastport City Manager George "Bud" Finch told WQDY News Thursday the Irving fire was a blow to the local economy.

"It ranged from the loss of the jobs of those people who were employed there to the loss of service and the interruption of a daily routine for many of us who were served by their presence," Finch said.

"While this comes as a disappointment, we will continue to work with Irving as they pursue a new vendor, buyer or lessee. As a small community we were fortunate that local businesses did rise to the occasion with Jim Lowe at Bay City Mobil extending his hours and days for fuel needs, Merrill and Roger Conti extending their hours at the R&M IGA and the early opening of the seasonal Moose Island General Store. While the current economic conditions have created great difficulties for businesses of all sizes, I am confident that our continued work with Irving and others will ultimately bear fruit and once again there will be a thriving business on the corner," Finch said.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--District 1 RCMP Make Alcohol-Related Arrests
Friday, April 11, 2008

New Brunswick StoryDistrict 1 RCMP dealt with a variety of alcohol-laden individuals in the past week.

One involved a report of an intoxicated man outside the St. Stephen Library on Budd Avenue. A 56-year-old Moncton man was arrested under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act and lodged in the District cells. Upon further investigation it was noted that the man had appeared earlier that day at the St. Stephen Provincial Court and was released on a Probation Order. One of the conditions --- not to be in the Town of Stephen if intoxicated.

While on patrol in the Pennfield area, RCMP witnessed a vehicle doing U-turns in the parking lot at a local business just after midnight. Police stopped the driver and after a closer check, police determined the operator was impaired by alcohol. An 18-year old Pennfield man was arrested and later released on a Promise To Appear in provincial court in June to answer to the impaired driving charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Police also report a 30-year-old Back Bay, N.B. man was issued a ticket under the Liquor Control Act after police stopped the vehicle he was riding in and found an open bottle of rum on the subject.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Extra Hours For Charlotte County Candidates
Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Brunswick StoryElections New Brunswick tells WQDY News the Municipal Returning Office for the Charlotte County region will be open extra hours Thursday April 10 --- from 6 to 8 p.m.

This is being done to make sure candidates in the upcoming elections have the time, outside of regular business hours, to file their nomination papers.

The deadline is Friday at 2 p.m.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Calais Officials Hear From Calais LNG Officials
Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe Calais City Council and Planning Board held a joint workshop Tuesday night on the Calais LNG proposal.

The workshop was held at the Washington County Community College and it was open to the public although Mayor Vinton Cassidy explained at the beginning that it wasn't the place to debate the merits of the project, it was an opportunity for both boards to hear some particulars from Calais LNG proponents.

Art Gelber, president of Gelber Corp., a natural gas industry expert, is the financial advisor for Calais LNG.

Ian Emery is the founder and regional issues advisor. He is also a State Representative from Cutler who is not seeking re-election.

During Gelber's Power Point presentation, he said there would be some 250 construction jobs and 40 to 60 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance after construction.

The proposed liquefied natural gas import terminal would be built in the city's Red Beach section along the St. Croix River across from the Canadian Port of Bayside in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Gelber and Emery fielded questions from city councilors, planning board members, reporters and the public.

Questions ran the gamut from Canadian opposition to any and all LNG terminals proposed in Passamaquoddy Bay and other relevant concerns.

As to the question about the Canadian opposition to LNG tanker passage through Head Harbour Passage, Gelber told WQDY News following the workshop, "we're hopeful the Canadians will be good neighbors. They have desires to be an energy hub in New Brunswick creating opportunities in New Brunswick. We hope that as neighbors in the spirit of cooperation, that we can find common ground between what we're doing and what they're doing. We have interests, they have interests. There are things that they want to do that involve us as there are things we want to do that involve them."

"We're still confident that we can do our project and move forward and that's our intention --- to keep doing what we're doing --- we think we're on the right track," Gelber said.

Calais LNG expects to open an office on Main Street in the city's downtown soon and a web site is expected to be online shortly.

Ian Emery told WQDY News about the team behind the project and their key investor.

"This is a project that has been on the drawing board for the last year and a half. There's a new team bringing this project forward --- people from the natural gas industry that are on as project managers and [we're] working with a whole group of people that have a proven record in building facilities like this," Emery said.

Calais LNG's key investor is Goldman Sachs LLC.

"Having Goldman Sachs as the financial partner is very significant here. That really demonstrates to people the credibility of this management team. Goldman Sachs is not going to invest money in a project that is not completely thought out," Emery added.

Earlier on Tuesday, WQDY News contacted Mayor John Craig of St. Andrews, New Brunswick for reaction to renewed interest in keeping the Calais LNG proposal moving forward.

The outspoken Mayor Craig has been a staunch opponent of Calais LNG's predecessors, the proposed Quoddy Bay LNG project at Split Rock and the Down East LNG project at Mill Cove in Robbinston.

Nothing has changed.

"The answer is still the same in St. Andrews and it's also the same answer coming out of Ottawa. The Prime Minister of Canada has made it very clear to the President of the United States that no LNG supertankers will be coming through Head Harbour Passage. That is the only way to get through and the country of Canada has the sovereign right to make sure that no tankers go through there and they will stand up and make sure of that," Craig said.

"Our M.P., Greg Thompson, is a Cabinet Minister in our country and they've made it very clear that won't happen. St. Andrews will make sure that also doesn't happen," the Mayor added.

Asked whether the Town of St. Andrews had a message for the City of Calais, Mayor Craig told WQDY News, "Our message is not just to the City of Calais but also to all the developers. The message is that St. Andrews will stand up to protect our way of life and to make sure that the Passamaquoddy Bay is not industrialized. You cannot mix industry with tourism --- people come to our area to get away from that sort of thing --- and it has been that way for many generations --- and we're going to make sure that that continues on," said Mayor Craig.

Where St. Andrews has put its money where its mouth is in fighting against LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay, Calais is a little more receptive to any business that voices an interest in their community and that has been true of LNG proposals.

Calais Mayor Vinton Cassidy told WQDY News, "I've been in this community for years and been involved in local government for 37 years and I can tell you the majority of the people in Calais want to see some development, something happen. I've seen letters from Washington, D.C., [Sen. Olympia Snowe's] office and [Sen. Susan Collins'] office, and [Congressman]Mike Michaud's office and it's very clear to me that the United States has a right to free passage through those areas, but that's not a decision the Calais City Council will make, that will be done between Washington and Ottawa. I'm not much of an investment person but I know that I wouldn't spend the money they're going to spend, if they thought there was a problem with it."

"We appreciate their feelings over there but I happened to catch an article in the Saint John Journal [sic] this week where they're predicting $44 billion dollar growth in New Brunswick because of LNG, 30,000 new jobs and here --- we shouldn't do it!" Cassidy said.

"I don't have much sympathy for them to be honest," Cassidy added. "I just think they don't want the competition."

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--District 1 RCMP: Reports Of Credit Card Fraud
Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Brunswick StoryDistrict 1 RCMP have received several reports of credit card fraud over the past week.

According to police, complainants are reporting that charges in Korea and India are appearing on their credit card statements and monies are being withdrawn from bank accounts via debit card.

RCMP advise the public to use extra caution when using a credit card and debit card and to monitor statements and bank accounts carefully.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Search & Rescue Efforts End In Moncton, N.B.
Monday, April 07, 2008

New Brunswick StoryAuthorities have ended an intense search and rescue effort for a missing man in Moncton.

Police said the 22-year old Moncton man and a friend were walking a dog on railroad tracks over Halls Creek early Friday evening when a train approached. RCMP said the man was struck by the train and thrown into the water.

Over the weekend, RCMP divers had searched the waters of Halls Creek and a portion of the Petitcodiac River but were unable to locate the man's body.

"This was a very difficult search as the muddy terrain is treacherous and the muddy waters have very strong currents and high tides this time of year," said Cst. Chantal Farrah of the Codiac Regional RCMP.

The victim's family has ask that his name not be released.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Search For Man Hit By Train In Moncton
Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Brunswick StoryRCMP resumed the search Saturday for a man who was struck by a train and thrown into the water of Halls Creek in Moncton.

According to police, two people were walking their dog along railway tracks early Friday evening when they saw a train coming in their direction. Their dog was on the tracks when the 22-year old Moncton man attempted to remove it and they were both struck by the train. The impact flipped the man over a bridge into the water of Halls Creek.

RCMP said the man was last seen in the water. They noted the area terrain is very treacherous with high tides and fast flowing currents.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Guilty Plea To 2007 St. Stephen Armed Robbery
Friday, April 04, 2008

New Brunswick StoryDNA helped the RCMP in tracking down a suspect in the 2007 armed robbery of a St. Stephen convenience store.

On Feb. 5, 2007, two men wearing wearing ski masks entered the Riverside Grocery on Milltown Boulevard. One man demanded money while threatening the store clerk with a bloody syringe. While fleeing the scene, the man dropped the syringe inside the store.

RCMP investigators established the contents of the syringe to be that of human blood and they were able to extract a DNA profile. Subsequent investigation led police to identify suspects and obtain DNA samples from them.

Once obtained and analyzed, the blood in the syringe left at the crime scene in St. Stephen was that of 28-year-old Gary Neil Johnston.

Late last month, Johnston was arrested in St. Stephen and admitted his role in the 2007 Riverside Grocery robbery as well as another armed robbery in Saint John last August.

Earlier this week, Johnston appeared in Saint John Provincial Court where he entered guilty pleas to both armed robberies and to wearing a mask with intent to disguise himself while committing an offense.

Police said Johnston also admitted to a number of other criminal charges involving driving while prohibited and impaired driving.

Johnston remains in custody until his next court appearance April 15 on both robberies and other charges.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--RCMP Seek Info On Stolen Equipment
Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Brunswick StoryThe RCMP in St. Stephen are investigating the theft of equipment from the new highway construction zone area near St. David Ridge Road.

Missing is an Allmand 10-15 foot tall fixture with 4 large spotlights and a Cat diesel engine generator, beige and yellow in color.

Police say any information the public may have would be greatly appreciated. Please contact your local RCMP office.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--Eastport Man's Death; Hypothermia And Drugs
Thursday, April 03, 2008

Maine StoryThe state medical examiner's office says an Eastport man whose body was found in a snowbank the day after he walked out of Down East Community Hospital died from a combination of hypothermia and drugs.

The 15-page autopsy report obtained by the Bangor Daily News indicates 61-year old Reid Emery had five different drugs including powerful painkillers in his bloodstream when he left the Machias hospital on the evening of Jan. 1 against the wishes of doctors and nurses.

Police found Emery's body the next day in a snowbank near the hospital. He wasn't wearing a winter coat or appropriate shoes. After the autopsy, the medical examiner ordered toxicology reports.

Emery's death prompted an investigation of Down East Community Hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But prosecutors say criminal charges weren't warranted.

- The Associated Press -
--Street Scape Grant Awarded To City Of Eastport
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Maine StoryThe City of Eastport was officially notified Wednesday that they will be the recipients of a $150,000 Street Scape Grant.

According to Eastport City Manager George "Bud" Finch, the funds will be used for the completion of sidewalk and streetlight replacement along Water Street as part of the city's downtown revitalization plans. A ceremonial check was presented by Department of Economics and Community Development Commissioner John Richardson Wednesday morning at Eastport City Hall.

Finch said the city was very pleased to be recipients of a 2008 grant during what are very difficult financial times at all levels of government.

"Without the grant the city would not have been able to fund the continuation of the project during the coming summer construction season. We thank all that participated in the project and the state for its continued support of the city," Finch said.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--RCMP Arrest Pair In Moncton, Drug Trafficking
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Brunswick StoryCodiac Regional RCMP arrested a pair of Moncton men for alleged drug trafficking in separate incidents earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a 51-year-old man was arrested for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking during a residential search. Police seized prescription medication including Hydromorphone,Oxycodone, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and cash.

The day before, police arrested a 26-year-old man on similar charges. Police seized Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, hash oil, marijuana, prohibited weapons and cash.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -
--3 Hats In Ring For St. Stephen Municipal Elections
Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New Brunswick StorySo far, three hats have been thrown in the ring for the St. Stephen municipal election.

Two incumbents -- Mayor Allan Gillmor and Councillor Jim Maxwell -- filed their nomination papers Friday, as did former councillor Ken Parker.

Three council seats will be up for grabs around the St. Stephen table with the announcements last month by councillors Marg Miller, Al Corbett and Mary Gillmore that they don't plan to re-offer in the May 12th municipal election. Nominations close April 11.

- The St. Croix Courier -
--Road Work For New Bridge Starting Soon
Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Maine StoryNew Brunswick StoryThe Calais Police say road construction will be starting again in the Baring Street [U.S. Route 1] area for the new international bridge connecting Calais with St. Stephen.

The area affected is between Boardman Street and Magurrewock on Baring Street.

Police will be doing extra patrols in the area watching the speed of traffic through what will soon be a posted work zone. They note that the fines are doubled in construction zones.

The Calais Police are asking motorists to watch for the change in the speed limits as well as the construction workers in the area.

- Tom McLaughlin, WQDY-WALZ News Director -