|Wednesday, December 31, 2008
There were quite a few hearty souls who gathered at Bank Square in downtown Eastport on New Year's Eve.
It was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Weather Service had called for northwest winds between 22 and 28 with gusts to 40 miles-per-hour. The wind chill values were to be around 15 below zero.
It sure felt that way.
At 11 p.m. U.S. time, or midnight Canadian time, a larger-than-life Maple Leaf was lowered from the top floor window at the Tides Institute and Art Museum to ring in the New Year as a band played "Oh Canada" as spectators joined in with the words.
There was a bigger crowd at midnight U.S. time.
A large replica of a sardine slowly descended to the ground as the band broke into a rendition "Auld Lang Syne" as people hugged and wished each other a happy New Year --and then beat feet for anyplace warm!
|Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The largest bird of prey in Canada is making a comeback in New Brunswick, according to Natural Resources officials.
Minister Wally Stiles said information collected in the spring shows the bald eagle population to be an estimated 110 to 145 breeding pairs.
"That's double the number of known breeding pairs 10 years ago and a huge jump from the 12 breeding pairs back in 1980," Stiles said.
The bald eagle is listed as regionally endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
In April, the Department of Natural Resources [DNR] along with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service [USF&W], conducted an aerial survey to estimate the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in New Brunswick.
The survey used a technique to be implemented country-wide in the U.S. next spring. The DNR and USF&W staff developed the sample design and layout, using geographical information system hardware.
Over six days in April, a pilot biologist from Maine and two department staff flew over predetermined areas to look for adult nesting eagles. Information was recorded using GPS technology and hand-held computers.
"Information gathered during the survey will be critical to the development of this report and allow us to make informed decisions about the continued recovery of the species in our province," Stiles said.
There are two bald eagle populations in New Brunswick -- one present year-round and another that migrates to the southeastern United States in the winter.
Most of the breeding population is found in the southwest of the province, where nesting occurs near freshwater lakes, rivers, estuaries and marine islands.
Adult bald eagles have a distinctive white plumage on their head an tail. They have a wing span of more than two meters. They build the largest nests of any bird species in North America.
European settlement and later, the impact of widespread use of pesticides, particularly DDT, dramatically reduced the bald eagle population throughout North America. The species has slowly recovered through legislation to protect the eagle and its habitat, and the banning of DDT and other pesticides in the 1970s, according to the DNR.
|Wednesday, December 31, 2008
PORTLAND, Maine --- Scientists think they have identified a wintering area and a possible breeding ground in the Gulf of Maine for the endangered North Atlantic right whale.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science Center said Wednesday its aerial survey team spotted 44 of the whales on Dec. 3 in the Jordan Basin area, about 70 miles south of Bar Harbor. Eleven days later, the team spotted 41 right whales just west of Jordan Basin.
Seeing 44 right whales together in the Gulf of Maine is a record during the winter, when daily observations of three or five whales are more common, said survey team leader Tim Cole.
Many female right whales head south in the winter to their only known birthing ground, off Florida and Georgia. But little is known about where many of the other whales go in the winter, largely because of poor surveying conditions due to bad weather.
In recent years, scientists have developed an aerial grid system for the Gulf of Maine and around Cape Cod that has resulted in more frequent inspections of areas that were rarely surveyed in the past, such as Jordan Basin and the Great South Channel off Cape Cod. They now suspect that more right whales spend the winter in the Gulf of Maine than previously thought.
"The whales appear to follow the circulation system of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and pursue their food," said Cole, who has been flying surveys for more than 15 years for the science center, based in Falmouth, Mass. "In the winter many of the right whales seem to be in the middle of the Gulf of Maine and off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and by early spring move into Cape Cod Bay, then the Great South Channel and then eastward toward Georges Basin. By midsummer, they head north into the Bay of Fundy."
With a right population estimated at about 325, scientists say it is important to know where the whales are at any given time. They have been listed as endangered since 1970.
The aerial survey team conducts research on marine species off the Northeast from Maine to North Carolina. NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Florida, which also has similar aerial survey teams, has similar responsibilities for the Southeast.
- The Associated Press-Bangor Daily News -
|Friday, December 26, 2008
2008 might not be considered a good year for some but it was another record year for the Port of Eastport.
In a Friday press release, the Eastport Port Authority said 2008 was another record year for cargo port activities, seeing approximately 376,873 metric tons of cargo over its piers. This 2008 total was an approximate 8,000 ton increase over the 2007 total, which itself was a record at the time. The Port of Eastport has celebrated record-setting growth for 7 of the last 8 years, having grown over 160 percent in this decade alone.
"This record of success is a tribute to the tremendous partnerships that make up the Port of Eastport. As such, the Eastport Port Authority would like to thank all of those at Domtar, Federal Marine Terminals, the Northeastern Longshoreman's Association, area harbor pilots, local independent truckers, the City of Eastport, the Maine Port Authority and all of those in the surrounding communities that have played an integral part in the Port's success," said Port Director Christopher Gardner.
He noted the success has lent itself to the Port of Eastport's ability to invest in other areas of opportunity, to include most recently its partnerships in tidal and possibly wind energy expansions.
"Going forward in 2009 the Port continues to look to strengthen its current operational base, while at the same time it looks to diversify and position itself to continue to be the state of Maine's premier deep water cargo port," Gardner said.
[A cargo ship waits before heading to the Port of Eastport as a U.S. Coast Guard boat from Station Eastport zips by. Campobello Island, New Brunswick can be seen in the background-WQDY PHOTO]
Federal Marine Terminals General Manager Roland "Skip" Rogers agrees and said he hopes that trough expansion of port services and facilities and diversification of their cargo mix that they can continue to serve the local community and state for many years into the future.
Senator Kevin Raye [R-Perry] said, "The Port of Eastport continues to exceed projections. Its proven record of success and healthy growth is a tribute to both the Port's leadership and its outstanding work force. As a bright spot for Down East Maine's economy, the Port deserves strong support from the State of Maine in order to ensure that it remains an integral part of the economic future of Washington County and of the state well into the future."
Gardner noted, "In today's global market place, the Port of Eastport feels it is very well positioned to be an essential link in Maine's 'green' cargo transportation network. Strengthening these networks is vital to the economies of not only the local area communities but to the entire State of Maine, as they are both economically and environmentally sound. As such, in 2009 the Port of Eastport, working in conjunction with all partners, will continue to make rail and all other intermodal possibilities a reality."
|Friday, December 26, 2008
The U.S. Coast Guard has an advisory for those folks who found kayaks under their Christmas tree -- be cautious and fully aware of the danger of sudden cold-water immersion if you decide to launch this weekend.
Al Johnson, the recreational boating safety specialist for New England's First Coast Guard District, said that those conditions create a perfect disaster recipe for any paddler who fails to recognize the risk and isn't properly prepared if things go wrong.
"My goal is to intentionally dampen the excitement of launching any new boat unless the launcher is properly attired and prepared for sudden cold water immersion and, better yet, has friends standing by with throw bags and safety lines," Johnson said.
With water temperatures in the 40-degree range or colder, Johnson said that wearing a dry suit or full wet suit and a Coast Guard approved life jacket is the only proper attire. Just wearing a life jacket is dangerous.
"Whether you're a new paddler or the most experienced mariner, a fall into cold water is painfully shocking and systematically brutal," said Johnson. "On sudden immersion in cold water there will be surprise, panic, gasping, hyperventilation, and an immediate rise in breath and heart rate, blood pressure, and an inability to hold your breath. Being prepared and properly attired, including wearing a life jacket, having a positive attitude, and doing periodic training are essential."
Boaters and paddlers who have not yet taken an approved boater education course for the winter months are encouraged to do so. Courses are available through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons or with state, private, or Internet providers.
|Monday, December 22, 2008
Residents in Washington County, Maine and Charlotte County awoke Monday to an arduous task of digging themselves out of a LOT of snow.
[King Street by Visitor Information Center in St. Stephen-WQDY PHOTO]
[Snow surrounds the WQDY-WCRQ Studios on Main Street in Calais-WQDY PHOTO]
[Looking down Middle towards Boynton Street in Eastport-WQDY PHOTO]
|Friday, December 19, 2008
A ban on point-of sale displays of cigarettes and the advertising of tobacco products in New Brunswick goes into effect on January 1.
The ban applies to point-of-sale advertising for tobacco products in all retail stores except specialty tobacco stores. Point-of-sale tobacco advertising is usually in the form of large racks or displays of tobacco products and signs.
The ban also applies to displays of tobacco products inside stores, and advertising of tobacco products outside. Cigarettes and other tobacco products will have to be kept out of customers' sight.
The amendments will create a new category of business known as a tobacconist shop. Such shops will be allowed to display products or advertise them inside and outside their premises. People under the age of 19 will not be permitted to enter these specialty stores unless accompanied by an adult.
The amendments will also make related violations of the Tobacco Sales Act a Category E offense under the Provincial Offenses Procedure Act. Anyone who violates the new rules will be subject to a fine of between $240 and $2,620 for a first offense. A second offense may result in a fine of up to $5,120, and up to 30 days in jail.
|Friday, December 19, 2008
According to CBC News, a Harvey, New Brunswick, firefighter is being hailed a hero after braving freezing water to pull a mother and baby to safety out of a submerged car.
Jerrad Swan was driving home on Highway 3 at about 5 p.m. Wednesday night in a storm when the blowing snow was at its worst. He was following a transport truck when he saw approaching headlights suddenly spin in a circle. He stopped to investigate.
Hearing a baby boy crying and his mother screaming, Swan scrambled down a bank and broke through thick ice into chest-deep freezing water, where he found two crash victims inside a car submerging in 1.5 metres of icy water.
Swan first rescued the baby from the sunken car.
"The mother had climbed into the back seat of the car and she had freed the baby from the quick detach car seat," he said.
"She passed him out through the window to me."
He left the baby with another motorist who had stopped and then went back into the ice and water for the mother.
"I threw her on my shoulders and carried her across to the bank. By this time another gentleman had come along. The two gentlemen helped," Swan said.
"I passed the lady to them and they carried her up and put her in my car, and they came back over and helped me up. By this time I was pretty well numb."
About 10 minutes later the ambulance and fire crew arrived. The mother and child were taken by ambulance to hospital in Fredericton, which is about 50 kilometres northeast of Harvey, while Swan's fellow firemen tended to him.
"We got him out of his car. He couldn't walk then, everything was froze and we put him in the back of our rescue van to get him warmed up and get him stripped off." said Bob Jamieson, the chief of the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department.
Swan was taken to a hospital in Harvey then on to Fredericton where he was treated for hypothermia, bruises, cuts and scrapes suffered by crashing through the thick ice.
When asked about Swan, Jamieson can think only of one phrase to describe him: "He was a hero."
But Swan doesn't accept that.
"Those are big words. Heroes, in my mind, are the fallen soldiers we've had in Oromocto. They're the heroes. I'm just a firefighter that did what he's taught to do," he said.
- CBC News New Brunswick -
|Thursday, December 18, 2008
Both radio and television broadcast outlets of the Maine Public Broadcast Network [MPBN] in Washington County will leave the air in January because of reductions in state and federal funding.
[Tower site on Conant Hill in Meddybemps-WQDY PHOTO]
The transmitters of WMED-TV Channel 13 and WMED-FM 89.7 FM in Calais as well as that of WMEF-FM 106.5 in Fort Kent will be silenced for six months.
The announcement was made Thursday to network staff by President Jim Dowe.
According to the MPBN Web site [www.mpbn.net], "In response to reductions in funding at all levels, and particularly to cuts in state funding and the loss of various federal grants, it is essential that we take steps to protect MPBN's valued programming on radio, television and on the web; however, we have no choice but to make changes elsewhere in how we operate," said Dowe.
Other changes include reductions in staff, a hiring freeze and temporary wage reductions.
Cuts are not being made to the MPBN reporting staff.
|Thursday, December 18, 2008
ST. GEORGE, New Brunswick --- The RCMP in Charlotte County is reminding people of their responsibilities when it comes to clearing snow from their properties.
According to RCMP Sgt. Greg MacAvoy, it is a violation under the Highways Act of N.B. to put snow, or any obstruction for that matter, on a road or a highway. Those who do so can face fines of up to $2,500.00.
The practice can create a hazard to all passing traffic as well as possibly cause snowplow operators to lose control when their plow blade strikes a sudden change in the amount and density of snow on the road.
Police also remind people that while vehicle breakdowns can happen from time to time, cars and trucks cannot be abandoned within the limits of the highway.
Vehicles found abandoned in such a manner that they may pose a hazard to traffic or the removal of snow may be towed at the owners expense.
|Tuesday, December 16, 2008
LUBEC, Maine --- The cause of death of a 27-year-old local man who died earlier this month while harvesting periwinkles in Lubec Channel not far from his home is still unknown.
On Monday, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office said only that the cause of death of Kristopher Ferguson was not being announced "pending further studies."
She declined to elaborate.
Ferguson was reported missing by his friend Dennis Knox, 47, on Tuesday, Dec. 2, while harvesting periwinkles, know locally as "wrinkles," near the Lubec Channel Light.
When the tide started to come in, Knox returned to his car on Lower Water Street, but Ferguson did not follow. Knox notified law enforcement and a search involving multiple agencies was launched.
Ferguson's body was found nine days later when a local resident walking the beach discovered him lying just above the high-tide mark less than three-quarters of a mile from Lower Water Street and within view of the Lubec Channel Light, also called the Sparkplug.
The resident, Charles Legris, returned to his house and called police.
Police arrived and the section of beach along South Lubec Road was cordoned off Thursday night, Dec. 11, while freezing rain and ice pelted the area.
Ferguson shared a on South Lubec Road with Knox and Knox's girlfriend.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Monday, December 15, 2008
In the past week, personnel of Maine State Police Troop J handled a variety of complaints and incidents. Here a few:
|Monday, December 15, 2008
Maine State Trooper Andy Foss was recognized by his peers Sunday and awarded the Jeffrey S. Parola, Outstanding Officer of the Troop Award for 2008.
The award is given once a year and is based upon a vote from those within the Troop. This is the second year in a row that Trooper Foss received this award.
The award is named in honor of Trooper Jeffrey S. Parola, who was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic dispute involving firearms. Parola's cruiser crashed in Sidney.
A state trooper for five years, Parola had served in Troop J and Troop C. At the time of his death on November 13, 1994, the 27-year-old Parola was a member of the Tactical Team.
|Monday, December 15, 2008
Another interesting week for Maine State Troopers dealing with speeders and wrong-way drivers. Steve McCausland of the Department of Public Safety compiles the information.
You can't make this stuff up.
|Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Machias Rotary Club held their annual auction on Friday and Saturday evening.
The Ken Manchester Memorial Auction was held at Machias Memorial High School and carried live over Washington County TV local cable access channels and WALZ 95.3 FM.
[The Nerve Center for the Machias Rotary Auction is the MMHS Cafeteria. Guys with the funny hats facing the camera are Rotarians Mike Shannon and Jeff Chick-WQDY PHOTO]
The Machias Rotary Club expressed their thanks to the many area businesses for donating products and services for the auction as well as the many folks who called in bids.
This year's auction raised around $10,000.
|Saturday, December 13, 2008
LUBEC, Maine --- Charles Legris was walking his dog on the beach just before 2 p.m. Thursday when he happened upon the body of a missing 27-year-old periwinkle harvester.
Legris knew immediately it was Kristopher Ferguson, the boyhood friend of Legris' son.
"I was out there and I was walking with [my dog], and far away I thought maybe there could have been a log or something, but I saw that there was...something light..so I thought maybe it was a piece of plastic or a mannequin," he said. "But as I walked more I was thinking, 'Oh no, I hope not."
Legris' fear was realized when he came upon Ferguson's body.
I recognized him right away," he said. "I said a small prayer for him."
Ferguson was reported missing by his friend Dennis Knox, 47, on Tuesday Dec. 2, while harvesting periwinkles, known locally as "wrinkles," in Lubec Channel. When the tide started to come in, Knox returned to his car on Lower Water Street, but Ferguson did not follow. Knox notified law enforcement and a search involving multiple agencies was launched.
Ferguson's body was not found until nine days later when Legris discovered him lying just above the high-tide mark about three-quarters of a mile from Legris' home on Lower Water Street.
The harvester's body was within view of the Lubec Channel Light, also known as the Sparkplug, where he was last seen picking wrinkles.
[4-wheeler checks beach at low tide back on Dec. 3. Lubec Channel Light "Sparkplug" in background-WQDY FILE PHOTO]
Legris returned to his house and called police.
Police arrived and the section of beach along the South Lubec Road was cordoned off Thursday night while freezing rain and ice pelted the area.
Ferguson's aunt Mary Stuart lives just a few houses away from Legris, whom she described as a friend.
Stuart said Friday she was relieved her nephew's body had been found.
"I feel a lot better; I feel more closure to it. At least we found something thanks to him," she said.
Ferguson's mother, Donna, declined to talk to the media, but did say she was relieved her son had been found.
Department of Marine Patrol Officer Russell Wright was at Stuart's house on Friday giving the family an update.
Wright said it was not unusual for a body to be missing for as many as nine days to be recovered. "A lot of times it takes awhile for the body to resurface," he said.
Wright said he was awaiting the results of the autopsy, which was expected sometime over the weekend. Because of the stormy weather, Ferguson's body was not taken to the state medical examiner's office in Augusta until Friday morning.
The medical examiner's office was closed Friday because of Thursday night's ice storm.
The Maine State Police and the Washington County Sheriff's Department are also awaiting the autopsy results.
"Basically we are assisting Marine Patrol at this time with interviews and also time lines and trying to assist them with the investigation," state police Lt. Jackie Theriault said Friday.
"There remain some questions in reference to the investigation," she said. "And we again have done a lot of interviews and re-interviews and it just requires a lot of detectives."
Asked about talk in the town that Ferguson may not have drowned, Theriault said, "We have absolutely no idea...There are some rumors that may or may not be factual, but we do follow up on those and we try to prove or disprove any information that we get...At this point we have no information or anything that leads us either way."
The town Friday was mourning the loss of one of its own.
Town administrator Maureen Glidden said she was relieved Ferguson's body had been found. "I think it's good that the family has some closure," she said.
One family member, who asked not to be identified, agreed that finding the body would bring closure, but said she would not be satisfied until she learned how Ferguson had died.
Jerry Rahilly, who operates the redemption center in town, also wanted to know what happened. He was on Lower Water Street on Friday morning in his truck staring out at the Lubec Channel and watching the pounding surf.
"Where did he go? Did he go all the way to Grand Manan and back, or was he even out there to start with?" he asked.
Bill Daye, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Ferguson was well-loved in the community. "I haven't gone to sleep at night without thinking about this first," he said of Ferguson's disappearance. "A lot of prayers have been said this week that they'd find him."
"Lubec is a close-knit community," he said, "and while there is no way in expressing it, everybody [feels] awful."
People were searching nearly every day for the man, Daye said.
Just before Ferguson's body was found, Daye added, Wright and the town's fire chief, Bobby Hood, had put together another search party. "We were just going out the door to actually search [the beach along] South Lubec again," Daye said. "We were heading out the door and we'd gotten no further than our trucks out there when the call came through that he had been found."
Friend Selena Davidson, who was working at Murphy's Restaurant on Friday, said she went to school with Ferguson and described him as a "nice guy" and a great father to his 5-year-old son Joedean.
Ferguson wasn't afraid to work, she added.
"Obviously, he was down there trying to get wrinkles for what, 60 bucks he might have made out of it? He was always working. He was a good guy. Too bad, really," she said.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Friday, December 12, 2008
The St. Stephen RCMP are investigating possible fraudulent pledge requests for donations to the Charlotte County Cancer Society. This activity has been reported in the Pine Street area.
Police are asking anyone living on or near Pine Street who has been approached to make a donation to the Charlotte County Cancer Society to contact Cst. Danny Gourdeau of the RCMP St. Stephen Detachment at 466-7030.
The Charlotte County Cancer Society remains a legitimate organization that relies on the generosity of the citizens of Charlotte County. All of the funds raised by the Charlotte County Cancer Society remain in Charlotte County for the purpose of providing assistance to those who have cancer.
If you have any questions about the fund raising efforts of the Charlotte County Cancer Society please contact them at 467-9005.
|Friday, December 12, 2008
District 3 Kennebecasis RCMP are warning the public about a phone scam occurring over the past two weeks.
Police say someone calls you and claims that your car warranty has almost expired ---and they ask if you would be interested in extending the warranty.
Then the caller asks you for YOUR personal information about bank accounts and other such things.
Reports of a smiliar type of scam were also reported recently in the Campbellton area as well.
The RCMP say this is a scam.
Police advise you should always make additional inquiries before buying extended warranties over the phone and never give out personal information when the authenticity of the caller is not known.
There are any number of other telephone scams out there including "consolidation of debts" or the "you've won a prize --- but YOU have to send us money."
If you receive any suspect solicitation over the telephone, contact your local RCMP detachment or call PHONEBUSTERS at 1-888-495-8501.
|Friday, December 12, 2008
LUBEC, Maine ---- The body of a 27-year-old periwinkle harvester who had been missing since Dec. 2 was found Thursday afternoon by a man combing the beach near South Lubec Road.
Police were expected to take Kristopher Ferguson's body to the medical examiner's office in Augusta Thursday night.
Around 2 p.m., Charles Legris was walking the beach near his home on Lower Water Street when he spotted the body, Sheriff Donnie Smith said Thursday night.
"We immediately turned the case over to the Maine State Police and the Department of Marine Patrol," Smith said.
Police are treating the death as a drowning, the sheriff said.
Ferguson's body was found within view of the Lubec Channel Light, known locally as the Sparkplug, where he was last seen harvesting periwinkles.
"He was in line with the Sparkplug," Smith said.
Smith said it was too early to speculate as to why it took so long for Ferguson's body to surface. "If he did drown right there, he didn't go very far from where he went in the water," Smith said.
Ferguson and his friend Dennis Knox, 47, also of Lubec were harvesting periwinkles, known locally as wrinkles, in the Lubec Channel near South Lubec Road the night of Tuesday, Dec. 2.
The Lubec Channel is popular with harvesters of periwinkles, a small edible species of gilled snail found in coastal areas from Maine to Virginia, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Harvesting wrinkles in the dark is not unusual, because most fishermen follow the tides. Ferguson and Knox had walked to the flats off Lower Water Street in what is known as the Brownville section of Lubec.
Knox told police afterward that he and Ferguson had been picking wrinkles when the tide started to come in. He said he told Ferguson to quit and return to the car, but when he turned around Ferguson wasn't behind him.
Knox said he could hear Ferguson hollering and that he believed his friend had been caught in the rising tide and had gone to higher ground to await rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Knox went to the nearby U.S. Customs Office at the foot of the Roosevelt-Campobello International Bridge to summon help.
Police and volunteers began combing the beach at about 10 p.m. and continued their search throughout the night and into the next day without success.
The investigation is expected to continue today.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Utility crews were kept busy Wednesday responding to reports of trees on power lines and scattered outages.
[Limbs down on Shackford Street in Eastport late Wednesday morning-WQDY PHOTO]
High winds and rain buffeted the region but at least the temperatures were mild reaching the mid-50's during the day. The National Weather Service forecast calls for temperatures to drop into the 20's Wednesday night.
There were some other casualties on Wednesday:
[Monday's Snowman in downtown Calais is now half the man he used to be-WQDY PHOTO]
|Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Minor injuries were reported in a single vehicle crash early Tuesday afternoon on the River Road in Calais.
[Downeast EMS personnel ready injured person for transport to hospital-WQDY PHOTO]
A white GMC pickup truck skidded into a utility pole on Hinckley Hill. Road conditions were slushy and snow was falling at the time.
One woman was transported to Calais Regional Hospital with what were described as minor injuries.
The truck came to rest up against the utility pole facing north in the southbound lane.
Calais police, Calais Fire Rescue and Downeast EMS responded to the scene.
Patrolman Greg Sawyer told WQDY News people need to slow down!
"The roads are really slippery where the temperatures are geting a little bit warmer -- all this snow is turning into water -- and it is really getting greasy underneath. People need to slow down and increase their following distance with other vehicles," Sawyer said.
"Luckily, this is just a single vehicle accident. There's quite a bit of traffic through here during the middle of the day," Sawyer noted.
"He did hit a telephone pole but at least he didn't hit any other vehicles. Right now it's looking like nobody was seriously injured," Sawyer said.
|Monday, December 08, 2008
Various and sundry incidents kept MSP Troop J busy over the past week. Here are a few;
Police also reported that Conners' sister, Tina Ham, 41, of Steuben, was also arrested for assaulting a 14-year-old boy at the residence during the same incident. She was also taken to the WCJ.
Troopers returned to the scene the following day and found the gun hidden behind the residence. Sergeant Tim Varney, Troopers Barry Curtis, Greg Mitchell, David Barnard along with the Washington County Sheriff's Office and Gouldsboro Police assisted.
Unfortunately, the woman sent the money. The scam artist called again later and requested that the woman cash a check for $4,000.00 that they were going to send to her. The scammer requested that the woman mail a portion of the check back to him. Trooper Pickering advised the woman that this was a common scam and she was advised not to cash the check.
Sgt. Randy Perry of the Washington County Sheriff's Office located the vehicle on the Epping Road in Columbia. Trooper Burns arrested the operator, Benjamin Veader, 20, of Pembroke, for operating under the influence. Police summoned Veader for leaving the scene of an accident, driving to endanger, illegal transportatiom of liquor by a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia. Veader was transported to the Washington County Jail where an intoxilyer test was administered.
|Monday, December 08, 2008
Last week the temperatures in Calais weren't all that bad considering. That all changed over the weekend. By Monday, it not only looked like December, it felt like it. During the daytime, the temperatures were in the teens and windy. By Monday night the winds had calmed down and the temperatures were headed for a low of 3F.
But for the guy pictured below -- the cold weather suits him just fine.[WQDY PHOTO]
|Thursday, December 04, 2008
This can be a tricky time of year for motorists trying to judge whether the road is just wet -- or is it black ice?
On Thursday morning it seemed to be black ice in a number of locations around Washington County and Charlotte County.
Calais Police had two examples back to back Thursday morning on Route 1 south of the city.
Police Chief David Randall told WQDY News it's that time of year where you don't know what the roads are like just by looking at them.
"With the temperature hovering where it does -- just freezing -- above -- below freezing -- the road looks wet but it's black ice. It's time for people to remember how to drive in the winter," Randall said.
"If it's bad in January or February, people get a grasp because they know there's snow and they should slow down because there might be some ice there. We always have this first bad spell like today [Thursday] where we had a couple of vehicles off the road -- one on its side and one that actually rolled over."
"We always seem to have it every year -- at least the 19 years I've been here. It kind of catches everybody off guard and they forget how to drive in the winter," Randall said.
"We just want everybody to be aware winter's coming. Just brake a little bit sooner before you get to the stop signs, watch the corners and curves. Try to think back to all the places on your way to work or school that are always slippery," Randall said.
He mentioned a few notorious spots around Calais:
[Route 1 north by rock ledges near Pike's Woods rest area-WQDY PHOTO]
Another issue for motorists is visibility.
"This time of the year you might not be able to see the road quite as clearly as usual because the sun is so low in the morning when people are going to work or going to school.
"Just be aware --- slow down --- if you have any doubts at all just slow down and we all hopefully will make it through the winter," Chief Randall said.
"We want everybody to be safe."
|Thursday, December 04, 2008
Officials from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- FERC -- held a scoping meeting Thursday night on the proposed Calais LNG project.
Over 100 people attended the meeting which was held in the gym at St. Croix Hall on the Washington County Community College campus.
Members of the public --- from both sides of the border -- took the opportunity to voice support or opposition before FERC officials on the Calais LNG import terminal proposed for the Red Beach section of the city.
Some past and present city officials and others spoke in favor of the project. There was also opposition voiced by residents from Calais and New Brunswick.
The meeting lasted about three hours.
|Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Maine Marine Patrol have suspended the search for a man who went missing Tuesday night while harvesting periwinkles at low tide in the Lubec Narrows between Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island, New Brunswick.
The search for the missing man, 27-year-old Kristopher Ferguson of Lubec, may have been suspended but the investigation continues.
Authorities said Ferguson and 47-year-old Dennis Knox, also of Lubec, were out on a sandbar in the narrows gathering periwinkles and had become separated as the tide came in Tuesday night.
Periwinkles are a small, edible species of gilled sea snail found in coastal areas from Virginia to Maine.
Sgt. Jack Fuller of the Washington County Sheriff's Department told us the Washington County RCC first got a call from [U.S.] Customs that there were two "wrinkle pickers" down on Lower Water Street and they got separated.
[Sgt. Jack Fuller of the Washington County Sheriff's Department-WQDY PHOTO]
"One had come to the office there to call the for help and had the Coast Guard on the way. There didn't seem to be an emergency at that time. His buddy was supposedly on an island [or higher ground] waiting for the Coast Guard to pick him up," Fuller said.
In an interview, Knox told Fuller they "were picking wrinkles."
"He saw the tide coming in and so he started in and told Kristopher to follow him. He said the last time he saw him he was still picking wrinkles. He got to the car and Kris was not behind him and he went back down and could hear Kris hollering because the tide was coming. He went to Customs to call for the Coast Guard. He came back down and he could still hear Kristopher yelling out there someplace," Fuller said.
"We searched here all night --- Coast Guard, choppers, boats, [Maine]Marine Patrol, [Lubec] fire department, gosh, we probably had 40 people out on the beach with ATV's working the area ---- nothing."
[Searcher rides down beach at low tide Wednesday morning. Lubec Channel Light in distance-WQDY PHOTO]
[Bill Daye, chairman of the Lubec Board of Selectmen rides his four-wheeler along the beach at low tide Wednesday morning-WQDY PHOTO]
Daye told us a little about Kristopher Ferguson.
"He went to high school with my kids and he had a twin brother. They were basketball stars at the school. Of late I understand, he's been a carpenter. Good kid as far as I know," Daye said.
Boats from Station Eastport patrolled out around the Lubec Channel Light, known as the "Sparkplug" on Wednesday morning as U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England continued to broadcast on VHF Channel 16 "for mariners to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings."
Two U.S. Coast Guard boats, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, a Maine Marine Patrol Boat, Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Lubec Fire Department, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police saturated the area during the 17-hour search for Ferguson. The total search effort included more than 60 responders and covered 27 square nautical miles.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Ferguson's family and friends," said Capt. James McPherson, commanding officer of Sector Northern New England. "Ending a search is one of the most difficult decisions I'm forced to make."
Though the wind and seas were calm for the search, the 20-foot tidal range and 6-knot current, one of the strongest in the country, made it difficult at times for boats to access the area. Lubec firefighters and the RCMP augmented the efforts by searching along the shorelines. Cold air and water temperatures, 38 and 48 degrees respectively, posed additional concerns during the search, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a press release.
[Bill Daye and Lubec Fire Chief Bobby Hood walk along grass and brush on shoreline-WQDY PHOTO]
It's times like these when we really value our relationships with partner agencies, McPherson said. "It's extremely frustrating for the Coast Guard to expend this level of effort and not find any evidence of the missing person in this confined area."
The Maine State Police Criminal Investigation Division is assisting the Sheriff's Department in the investigation.
Sheriff Donnie Smith told WQDY News Wednesday evening that while the search has been suspended, their investigation is continuing.
|Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Federal energy regulators will be in Calais Thursday night to hold a scoping meeting for the proposed Calais LNG project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] scoping meeting begins at 6 p.m. U.S. time at the Washington County Community College. FERC uses the scoping meetings to solicit input from the public on proposed energy projects.
No doubt the agency will get plenty of it in Calais.
Calais city officials have gone on the record in recent years supporting any and all liquefied natural gas import terminal proposals made for Washington County. They're especially supportive of Calais LNG which would be located within city limits.
Speaking on WQDY-WALZ's public affairs program "Streetbeat" hosted by Bill Conley on Tuesday morning, Calais Mayor Vinton Cassidy and City Councilor Joyce Maker voiced their support and encouraged the public to attend the FERC scoping session Thursday night.
Maker said it was a chance for people to "stand up and be counted. I think this is an opportunity for them to show up down there at Washington County Community College and tell them [FERC], I support this project," Maker said.
Asked if they knew where Governor John Baldacci sits on the issue, Maker indicated he was very supportive. "He's very hopeful that we'll have a huge turnout here -- but he's been very supportive. The Calais LNG people have personally talked to him about this venture."
"FERC wants to know whether the people in this area really support an LNG, that's the bottom line," Cassidy said. "I'm sure there will be some opposition maybe even from across the puddle here -- [but] I think what's going to play the biggest role here is -- what do the people in this area want."
"We've seen opposition from New Brunswick -- we all look and see that Saint John is building one. I don't really like to dwell on the New Brunswick issue but somebody said they went on to Irving's Web site and all they did was list how safe the LNG was for them in Saint John. I understand the politics of that whole thing," Cassidy said.
"The other thing --- I think our site is good because it's not seen from the highway [U.S. Route 1], and it's right across from that industrial Bayside port they have over there."
"I always got a kick when the mayor of St. Andrews said --'we can't mix industry and tourism. Those aren't cruise ships going by your dock out there," Cassidy chuckled.
One of the people long opposed to Calais LNG, Downeast LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG, is Robert Godfrey, webmaster and researcher for Save Passamaquoddy Bay 3-Nation Alliance. He told WQDY News on Tuesday, "The Calais LNG project is just as inappropriate as the other two proposed LNG projects were -- for multiple reasons, one of which is the LNG industry itself says that this is an inappropriate location. Passamaquoddy Bay is entirely inappropriate for LNG facilities. They need to be offshore or away from people in easier-to-navigate waterways," Godfrey stated.
"Despite public support for the project and Calais government support for the project, that doesn't justify a poorly-sited LNG facility. It's entirely inappropriate at that location," Godfrey added.
Ian Emery, Project Development Director for Calais LNG, clarified on Tuesday that FERC would NOT be holding a public site visit on Thursday morning.
"From what I understand, at this point our most recent update with respect to the scoping session is there will no public opportunity to go on a site visit on this date. We still are having our scoping session at 6 o'clock at night at the community college but there will be on site visit scheduled," Emery told us.
FERC runs the scoping session. Calais LNG will present their project and the public will add their two cents either way.
"This is a meeting that is intended for the public to participate, to come in and talk about the project, to ask questions and then we will have an opportunity to address their questions when the session is done and we'll do that as part of our application process and we'll be preparing ourselves for a full permit submission here later this winter," Emery said.
|Tuesday, December 02, 2008
There will be no public site visit for the proposed Calais LNG project, BUT the scoping session will proceed at 6 p.m. on December 4 at Washington County Community College. The scoping session is open to the public.
The initial information about a "public" site visit on the morning of Dec. 4 came from comments made to the Calais City Council at their Nov. 20 meeting by Calais LNG Project Developer Ian Emery.
On Tuesday, Emery told WQDY News the latest information he had was that there would be no "public" site visit but that the evening scoping session would still take place at 6 p.m. at WCCC.
|Monday, December 01, 2008
Maine State Police Troop J were kept busy with various incidents over the past week. Here are just a few:
Prior to notifying the police, the caller discovered at least two additional seasonal homes in the area appeared to have been victims of criminal mischief as well.
Trooper Burns investigated eight burglaries or criminal mischiefs to homes within a half-mile of each other that had been damaged or broken into. In two of the homes, illegal entry had been made and suspects had stolen items from inside. In five of the other homes, damage ranging from broken screens to doors was evident.
By the end of the day, Tpr. Burns had located those responsible and recovered all of the stolen property.
The trooper arrested a 19-year-old man and a juvenile, both of Lubec.
The burglaries occurred on Saturday night [Nov. 22] starting at 9:30 p.m. Recent snowfall and cold temperatures were key factors in locating the suspects. It had snowed on Saturday leaving 2 inches of snow on the ground. The burglary suspects left clear footprints around all properties and the temperatures had remained in the 20's both Sunday and Monday keeping the tracks visible. Neighbors reported seeing fresh tracks on Sunday morning.
|Monday, December 01, 2008
Calais Police arrested a local woman over the weekend on a charge of O-U-I after receiving a complaint of erratic driving.
Sgt. Chris Donahue told WQDY News on Monday, another driver had observed the alleged erratic operation and used a cell phone to call police --- and kept the suspect vehicle in sight until police arrived.
According to Donahue, the complainant told the dispatcher, a green Jeep SUV "was all over the road."
"The caller followed the Jeep down the River Road with the vehicle stopping several times and then pulling back out into the roadway and then ending up on the Shattuck Road --- giving us a play-by-play the entire way down of how bad the driving was -- he [the complainant] felt that it was definitely a safety issue," Donahue said.
When Donahue caught up to the Jeep it had come to a stop on the Shattuck Road several miles south of downtown Calais but within city limits.
The sergeant said this was one of those situations where another driver observed erratic operation and notified the authorities.
Donahue said the cell phone caller was "definitely in fear that someone was going to get hurt." Anytime somebody has a suspicion that somebody is driving under the influence, the best bet is to call the police."
"I wouldn't necessarily say follow the person the entire way. If you can do so safely, that's fine. But don't put yourself in any risk," Donahue said.