|Saturday, February 28, 2009
Three gold balls have come back to Washington County thanks to the boys and girls basketball teams of Woodland High School in Baileyville and the Calais Blue Devils Saturday in state games at the Bangor Auditorium.
In the Class D girls contest, the Woodland Lady Dragons defeated Valley of Bingham by a score of 49-35.
Also in Class D, the Woodland Dragons followed that feat with one of their own -- and their first ever State championship by beating Richmond 49 to 43.
And last but not least-- after a nail biter, the CALAIS BLUE DEVILS beat Dirigo 40 to 39 in their Class C contest.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WOODLAND LADY DRAGONS, THE WOODLAND DRAGONS AND THE CALAIS BLUE DEVILS!
|Friday, February 27, 2009
CALAIS, Maine - Friends of a murdered Eastport man are outraged that he has been portrayed as having had something other than a platonic relationship with Katie Cabana - the woman who was slain near him last winter by convicted murderer Richard Widdecombe Jr.
The friends maintain that Widdecombe told authorities he was a spurned boyfriend of Cabana's acting in a jealous rage when he killed Aaron Settipani, 41, of Eastport and Cabana, 29, of Marshfield. The friends believe Widdecomb fabricated the relationship between his victims in an attempt to secure a lesser sentence.
Widdecombe, who pleaded guilty to the two murder charges in Washington County Superior Court on Feb. 9, was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
No one will ever know for sure what happened during the early morning hours of Jan. 23, 2008, when the 27-year-old Widdecombe killed Settipani and Cabana. The only version in the police report is from the killer.
"You have to keep in mind that all of the information, unfortunately, that we have to go on, on what happened there that night, you have to believe a man that killed two people," Chris Gardner, a friend of Settipani, said earlier this month. "His motivation [is] to say whatever he can say to lessen his guilt."
Gardner said he knew Settipani and knew that he and Cabana were only friends. The only reason Settipani was there that night was to help her, he said. "She was going through a terrible breakup with this individual," he said. "It appears that Aaron went over there on very short notice to help her out."
Another friend of Settipani's, David Claroni of Calais, said earlier this month that the slain man's friends still were having a hard time dealing with his death. "It has been a year," he said. "Something will still remind me of him. I don't focus too much on Widdecombe, the convicted murderer, now."
Claroni said that Settipani had a girlfriend.
"I try to think more on how Aaron would want to be remembered and that type of thing. I know the love of his life was his girlfriend in Saint John [New Brunswick]. My thought is he was there to help out a friend," Claroni said. "I know Aaron and I know he was very much in love with [his girlfriend] Elaine, and I think Katie called him because she knew he had a Jeep that could pull a truck out. I don't know what happened after that. I am going with that he went over there to help a friend, and that is how I am choosing to remember him and that is the way it should be."
Although friends are characterizing the relationship as platonic, Widdecombe apparently believed otherwise.
According to an affidavit on file with the Washington County Superior Court, around 11:30 the night before the shooting, Widdecombe approached Sgt. Jeff Ingemi of the Maine State Police who was on routine patrol in the area.
"Widdecombe told him that, a little while earlier, he had an argument with his girlfriend Katie Cabana during which he made some threats. Ingemi asked Widdecombe what threats he had made, and Widdecombe said Katie Cabana had been hanging around with Aaron [Settipani] and Widdecombe had threatened to beat Aaron up," the affidavit said. "Widdecombe inquired if the threats were reported to police. Ingemi checked and told Widdecombe that they were not."
In court Feb. 9, Leane Zainea of the Attorney General's Office said Widdecombe and Cabana had broken up five months earlier and he would not leave Cabana alone. She said he would sit outside her house in his car and watch it for hours. He even on occasion had looked at her cell phone records to see who she was communicating with and text messaging. Some of those calls and messages were between Cabana and Settipani, she said.
"There were a lot of text messages going back and forth," Widdecombe's attorney Jeffrey Davidson of East Machias said earlier this month. "We tracked down quite a few of them on that day and previous days. The exact number I couldn't tell you without actually looking at it, but - there were text messages going back and forth between Aaron and Katie."
When Widdecombe appeared in court Feb. 9 to enter his guilty plea, Cabana's cell phone records and the fact that Widdecombe had seen them was addressed by the state.
On the day of the shooting, Cabana told Widdecombe her van was stuck and when he offered to help she told him she had called Settipani.
Widdecombe became upset, Zainea told the court.
Widdecombe went to Cabana's residence and, according to the affidavit, saw that her van was not stuck. There was a Jeep in the driveway. Settipani drove a Jeep.
"Richard entered the residence with a Savage .30-06 rifle with four cartridges in the rifle and six cartridges in his pocket," the affidavit said. "Richard states that he heard what he thought was Katie and Aaron having sex upstairs [in her bedroom]," the affidavit said. "Richard said he heard them getting dressed and [he] hid next to a closet."
When the couple came downstairs, Cabana saw Widdecombe. He pointed the rifle over Settipani's head and told him to leave, the affidavit said.
Settipani left and Widdecombe followed him outside and shot the back window out of Settipani's Jeep, the affidavit said.
Settipani called 911 at 1:40 a.m. The dispatcher could hear Settipani saying, "Everyone makes mistakes ... we can work this out ... I am stuck. ... I am leaving," the affidavit said.
Widdecombe then went inside where Cabana also was calling 911.
It was 1:41 a.m. when Widdecombe shot Cabana in the back. "Katie went down and Richard went back outside," the affidavit said. It was then that he killed Settipani.
He then went back inside and shot Cabana a second time, the affidavit said. The shooting took place in front of Cabana's three children. One of the bullets struck her daughter's foot.
Gardner said he didn't buy Widdecombe's explanation that he stood downstairs and listened to the couple making noises in Cabana's bedroom.
"His statement was that was what enraged him so much. Then he must have very controlled rage," he said. "So he waited for them to what? Finish? He didn't go up over the stairs. He didn't barge into the room. ... So the fact that he was waiting downstairs until they were finished that in itself seems a little foolish to me."
Nor did Gardner buy Widdecombe's defense. "The fact is he showed up with a gun," Gardner said. "He wasn't just some poor shmuck who happened to stand at the bottom of the steps and heard something that upset him and he shot two people," Gardner said. "He evidently had some intentions in his mind when he showed up. You don't bring a gun to a picnic. When he is in court and wants to play the pity card — I am sorry I have no pity for this young man."
But Davidson, Widdecombe's attorney, said earlier that Widdecombe knew there was a relationship between Cabana and Settipani because Cabana had discussed it with him.
"From my perspective, it doesn't matter if there was," Davidson said. "It was Widdecombe's perspective."
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Friday, February 27, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine - A 27-year-old local man was sentenced Friday in Washington County Superior Court to life in prison for killing two people in Marshfield in January of last year.
Richard Widdecombe Jr. of Machias showed no emotion as Justice E. Allen Hunter pronounced sentence, after a daylong hearing during which friends and family members of the victims talked about how Widdecombe’s actions had devastated so many people.
Widdecombe was sentenced to two life terms, one for each victim, to be served concurrently.
During sentencing, Hunter said he had listened to the 911 calls that Katie Cabana, 29, and Aaron Settipani, 41, had made to police during the early morning hours of Jan. 23, 2008, when they realized that Widdecombe was going to shoot them. "You listened as they begged for their lives," the judge said looking at Widdecombe. "You ignored that."
Hunter said he could hear the "terror" in Cabana's and Settipani's voices when Widdecombe pointed the gun at them. He said there was no question that the shootings were premeditated.
That night Widdecombe went to Cabana's house in Marshfield during the early morning hours and shot Cabana in front of her three young children and then Settipani.
He also shot Cabana's daughter Autumn Rogers in the foot.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea on Friday described the shootings as "execution style."
"He could not stand being replaced by another man," she said, referring to Widdecombe's belief that he was being replaced as Cabana's boyfriend by Settipani.
Zainea said that Widdecombe ignored Settipani's plea not to shoot him and shot him twice, the last time in the head.
"In the recordings," Zainea said, "You can hear the fear and the pain in Aaron Settipani before he died," she said.
Cabana, the assistant attorney general said, also begged Widdecombe not to shoot her in front of her children. When she turned to go down the hall to see about her children, Widdecombe shot her in the back, Zainea said even as her son, Gabriel Brady, begged him not to shoot his mother. "Listen closely you can hear Gabe telling Katie 'Breathe, Mom … Don't shoot her Richard she is still breathing,'" Zainea quoted from the 911 tape. Despite the boy's pleas, Widdecombe shot Cabana a second time in the back.
He then shot Cabana's daughter in the foot. Zainea said that Cabana's daughter suffered unbearable pain and has had to undergo reconstructive surgery. There are more surgeries ahead, she said.
During the sentencing hearing, which began at 10 a.m., friends and family of both Cabana and Settipani talked about how devastated they were.
Officer David Claroni of the Calais Police Department, a friend of Settipani's, read a letter in court from Settipani's girlfriend, Elaine Boldon of New Brunswick. He said she chose not to be there.
In the letter, Settipani's girlfriend said that she knew soon after she and Settipani had met that they shared something special. She said later friends told her that he had planned to marry her. "I believe he went there to help [Cabana]," Claroni read from the letter. "He was not her new boyfriend as the attorneys said and the media repeated. Richard took away the love of my life."
One after another, family members and friends of Cabana and Settipani rose to address the court. "I see a cold despicable cold-blooded murderer," one family member said of Widdecombe. "I hate you for what you've done," another family member said.
Cabana's sisters painted a picture of a loving sister who cared only for her children and family. Tamara Wilder, Cabana's youngest sister, said she started to scream when her mother told her that her sister was dead. She then went to the hospital and found her niece who told her, "Richard shot me and shot mommy too," she said.
After a short lunch break at about noon, it was time for Widdecombe's defense attorneys, Jeffrey Davidson of East Machias and David Mitchell of Calais, to talk about Widdecombe's life.
Davidson described the years of abuse that Widdecombe suffered first at the hands of his 14-year-old mother and mentally handicapped father, who was 18 years older than his wife. And the abuse he suffered at the hands of some of his foster parents and eventually the state Department of Health and Human Services, the attorney said. Davidson described the abuse as emotional, physical and sexual.
The defense attorney then described a day in 1988 when Widdecombe's mother took him shopping and ended up spending all of the money on herself. She only bought him a Matchbox car for $1.59 after the DHHS worker asked her if she was going to spend any money on Widdecombe.
Davidson said that Widdecombe was placed into 17 different foster homes during his young life.
It was during this time, Davidson said that Widdecombe began to manifest aggressive and angry behavior. While in foster care, he was hit with the side blade of a knife and forced to eat soap as punishment for his bad behavior.
When he became aggressive, he was placed on medication. "DHHS decided to medicate him into docility," Davidson said. At the age of 10, Davidson said DHHS gave up on him and placed him in various institutions. He was eventually returned to a foster home.
It was when Richard was 13 years old and he asked a family member at a foster home to "take down her pants" that the state stopped viewing Widdecombe as the victim and began treating him as a perpetrator, the defense attorney said.
As Widdecombe moved into adulthood, Davidson said, he joined first the U.S. Marines and then the U.S. Army, but failed at both. He returned to Machias, found an apartment and got a job at a local grocery store. It was then that he met Cabana. "Katie was the first adult female companion or relationship and he fell in love with her," Davidson said.
He said that Cabana was the "worst" person that Widdecombe could have fallen in love with because she had her own DHHS case history and her own mental health issues. He did not elaborate.
It was Cabana who broke up with Widdecombe, telling him she wanted to see other men, he said. Davidson said that Widdecombe was aware that she was seeing Settipani. On the night of the shooting she spoke with Widdecombe on the telephone and told him, "Aaron is here, I got to go," Davidson related.
Widdecombe went to Cabana's house and, according to Davidson, he heard Cabana and Settipani upstairs. He believed they were being "intimate," Davidson said. He said his client told him afterward that he was "angrier than he had ever been in his entire life."
Davidson said that when the two came downstairs he ordered Settipani to leave and Settipani did. Davidson argued that Widdecombe had no intentions of shooting Settipani. It was when he found Settipani's Jeep stuck that he went over to the Jeep and shot the man. "If Aaron had not accidentally wrecked his Jeep he'd be alive today," Davidson argued.
Widdecombe then shot Cabana and left. Police found him at his apartment where he eventually gave himself up. Afterward the defense attorneys went to Widdecombe's home to learn more about their client. Davidson said they found more than 1,000 Matchbox cars. When they asked Widdecombe why he had so many he told them, "sometimes at night [I] play with them because it calms [me]," Davidson said.
Mitchell, Widdecombe's other attorney, then asked the judge to show leniency in sentencing his client. He talked about other "jilted lover" cases that had domestic violence overtones like the Widdecombe case where lesser sentences had been imposed.
Widdecombe then addressed the court and the families. He told them that he was sorry for what he had done. He said he took responsibility and said he did not blame his behavior on his childhood. "It's torn me apart what I have done," he said. "I should have loved more instead of hated."
After hearing all of the statements, the judge took a break at about 2:30 p.m. and returned at about 3:45 p.m. to hand down his sentence. Hunter told Widdecombe that what he had done was premeditated. "You planned a deliberate killing," the judge said before imposing two life sentences.
RayAnn Wilder, Cabana's mother, said afterward that it was a "just sentence. - The 911 tape spoke volumes."
Referring to her daughter's death, she said, "We relive this every day."
Settipani's uncle Darren Hart of Gloucester, Mass., said that Settipani was like a brother to him.
"The sentence was good, but he [Widdecombe] could still live and breathe," he said. "There are people who can't do that anymore."
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Friday, February 27, 2009
Dippers took the plunge at high noon Friday for the Polar Bear Dip at Split Rock on the Passamaquoddy reservation at Pleasant Point.
70 dippers raised over $10,000 this year.
[ABOVE-Dippers wait at water's edge for countdown-WQDY PHOTO]
The Student Senate at Washington County Community College sponsored the dip. This year's theme was "Polarstock" based on 1969 and the Woodstock festival in New York.
The annual event benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor that provides free support and shelter to families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at hospitals in Bangor. People from Washington County use that facility.
[THE INTRO-WQDY PHOTO]
The sun was out and the air temperature was in the vicinity of 43 F. The water temperature was its usual Passamaquoddy Bay frigid. Dippers charged into the water with a stiff wind in their faces.
[THE OUTRO-WQDY PHOTO]
|Thursday, February 26, 2009
Calais Mayor Vinton Cassidy said the city will not reconsider its decision to bow out of the Washington County Emergency Medical Services Authority [WCEMSA].
The city made it official with a unanimous vote at their regular meeting on Feb. 12.
And there was more discussion during the public comment portion of Thursday night's Calais City Council meeting.
Brian Schuth, newly installed chairman of WCEMSA and president of the Eastport City Council addressed Cassidy.
"We'd really like to have an opportunity to sit down and speak with the city about what we think we can do. Everything is on the table. Governance structure, stipend structure, the way we base things. I realize this council has already made a decision and even then I would still like to ask that we could at least have this conversation. There's no risk to Calais, there's no reason for you to stop work on what you're doing now to have this conversation. We've been working out some alternative financial models that I think you should at least hear about and there are concerns we have about how our financial model will work in the long run that could have a long-term impact on Calais' emergency services," Schuth said.
[WQDY FILE PHOTO]
"I personally don't see any chance of us not continuing with our plan. Our concerns are the citizens of Calais. We have said that we certainly would consider any community, town or city, if it was fair and equitable to that community and to us, that we could service them as well," the mayor responded.
Cassidy said the city has proceeded with their plans by doing some hiring and buying equipment.
Following the meeting, Cassidy talked about the ambulance authority.
"I think one of the problems they've had is that they've been on the defensive instead of the offensive. I think they've got to put it behind them, move forward, say what can we do to make this work? I'm sure they can. I've looked at the numbers too, this isn't something we decided overnight.
Cassidy said if they ran their organization effectively they could make it work and we are certainly willing to work with them.
The mayor pointed out that there have been no complaints about the council decision to go it alone on an ambulance operation.
"Not one councilor has had one call from a citizen saying we did the wrong thing. Everyone we meet -- they all say, gee I'm glad you're doing this, it's good. We're looking out for the citizens of Calais," Cassidy said.
Cassidy said the care and service provided by personnel of Downeast EMS has been excellent. That's not the issue. It's what it has cost the city to belong to the ambulance authority.
"You make an agreement and you think that this is going to be paid, that is going to be paid. Then all of a sudden it all goes away, no one is overseeing it. We're probably going to save $200,000, I would say."
July 1 is the start-up date for the Calais ambulance service to be in operation. "I guarantee you we will," the mayor promised.
Cassidy said he believes the city can run their ambulance and Downeast EMS will continue as well.
"I perceive that if they regroup and organize and get a handle on it so that they're financially stable, I see maybe some of the smaller communities around them go with them, maybe a couple smaller communities come with us and then we have the mutual back-up for each other. I think that it'll be two separate entities and I think it will be successful and continue excellent care for the folks in Washington County," Cassidy said.
Also after the meeting, reporters asked Brian Schuth if he believed the costs could be lowered to make it more equitable for Calais.
"We certainly can resolve a lot of the structural issues that they raised. The issue of sharing the fire chief [Danny Carlow, the former WCEMSA director has been tasked by the city to get the new service up and running]which Calais states runs, I'm going to roughly estimate 60 to 80,000 dollars in additional costs because of hiring an additional firefighter --- we can solve that. There have been concerns about the base costs. We think we can deal with that, we think we can find another location and still keep it cost effective," Schuth said.
"We've shown over the last few years that we can restructure our stipends somewhat. A lot of what has been done in the authority was structured when things were not looking so good. They've been running stable for a while now -- we have some money in the bank."
Schuth felt that it was important to be able to meet with Calais City Manager Diane Barnes.
"I want to be able to work with them and with their plan as well because I think there are impacts to both of us, at least with the way the business plan is right now. Part of what we have to talk about is that Diane's numbers and some of the numbers we have aren't quite matching up. I think that may just be because we're looking at different numbers from different places and we have to make sure that we're talking about the same things."
"I feel confident that we can come back with something that will save Calais money and that will preserve ambulance service to the whole region," Schuth said.
|Thursday, February 26, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine - Worries about delays and "first-of-its-kind" technology used during the $1.4 billion refurbishment of a nuclear power plant just 30 miles from Maine's border has the Washington County commissioners wondering if NB Power has an emergency plan that includes Maine emergency personnel.
That concern prompted the commission to send a letter to Gov. John Baldacci, asking about the state's safety arrangements with the Point Lepreau plant.
The plant, which is near Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, was completed in 1981 and is undergoing a refurbishment, which was originally scheduled to be finished in September but may not be completed until December or later. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, is handling the refurbishment.
"The principal cause for the delay continues to be the retube activities performed by [Atomic Energy of Canada] using complex tooling developed for this first-of-its kind job," said Chris Gardner, chairman of the Washington County commissioners, in the letter to Baldacci.
"First-of-its-kind is not necessarily the language the public would like to hear when discussing the refurbishment of a nuclear facility, especially when those performing the activities are not even successful at staying on schedule," Gardner said.
On Tuesday the Governor’s Office issued a statement saying the governor "agrees that the county should have the ability to weigh in on this matter. He is working to ensure that through appropriate federal channels, the county can have input. His administration is investigating the process. The state of Maine enjoys a close relationship with New Brunswick, and it is crucial that we continue to work across the border on matters that impact our peoples."
Right now the Washington County Emergency Preparedness Agency, which is responsible for countywide catastrophes, is out of the loop.
Mike Hinerman, director of the agency, said Tuesday that although the emergency management agencies in New Brunswick and Washington County have worked together in the past on floods and train wrecks, there has been no similar training in the event of a nuclear disaster.
"I have worked with the people on the Canadian side on other safety issues, but Point Lepreau is not one of them," he said.
While no plan is in place detailing how U.S. and Canadian agencies would react in the event of an emergency at Point Lepreau, the state and province do work together.
Andy Morton, deputy commissioner for the province's emergency measures organization, said Wednesday that the agency has worked with the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
"If we are running an exercise here or an operation, MEMA is one of our neighbors and therefore we share our situational information with them so they are aware of what we are doing. So if there are implications cross border, then the local agencies would work together as best they can to resolve any issues that may occur," he said.
Morton noted that the plant was not a threat to Maine residents. "Primarily the winds that affect Point Lepreau would not normally take anything towards the state of Maine," Morton said, referring to radioactive materials that might be released in the event of an accident.
Asked about a possible leak since Point Lepreau sits next to the ocean, Morton said that also would not be a problem. "It would be diluted so much the risks would be pretty minimal," he said. "Certainly that is not an immediate risk; there is a longer term risk and obviously there would be monitoring that would be taking place on both sides of the border."
MEMA spokeswoman Lynette Miller said Wednesday that the work going on at Point Lepreau does not pose a threat risk to the state.
MEMA is updating its general protocols for dealing with nuclear emergencies, she said. "So we will be working with Washington EMA as well as the different state agencies, the environmental health folks, the state police, the [Department of Transportation]," Miller said.
The plant at Point Lepreau includes a CANDU-6 pressurized heavy water reactor that uses natural uranium as its fuel source, the company says in a fact sheet. Construction on the facility began in May 1975 and was completed in 1981. CANDU stands for Canada Deuterium Uranium.
"This is the first CANDU-6 reactor refurbishment project, which is expected to extend the life of Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear power plant by 25 to 30 years," according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. news Web site. "AECL is hoping to market these refurbishment projects to other CANDU-6 reactor facilities around the world."
The refurbishment is not experimental, Heather MacLean, spokeswoman for NB Power, said Tuesday. "It is the first CANDU-6 to be refurbished, but there are other CANDUs being refurbished," she said. "We started planning for this as early as 2005, if not before, so there was an extensive preparation of planning as part of this."
Although she agreed the project was behind schedule, she said safety is a priority for the company. "There haven’t been any safety concerns for us," she said.
Gardner was not convinced.
"Some of our more specific concerns surround the safety assurances of the project and most importantly we must have an absolute understanding of disaster preparedness," Gardner said.
MacLean said Wednesday that the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization handles emergency issues and that the country’s regulatory agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, has people on site every day at Lepreau making certain safety measures are followed.
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said Wednesday in a statement that it was "vital that the United States and Canada maintain a mutual respect for each other’s actions and decisions in regard to energy policy and be cognizant that our energy polices must be built on mutual respect and collaboration. The Washington County commissioners have the right to provide input into an issue that may have an impact on the county and I appreciate their comments on this issue. Clearly, by maintaining an open line of communication and continuing to work with our neighbors, we can achieve compromises that yield results to the benefit of both countries."
Gardner noted that the province was not shy when it raised safety issues concerning the siting of a liquefied natural gas terminal in Washington County. Three companies have proposed building LNG facilities in eastern Washington County — Downeast LNG in Robbinston, Calais LNG and Quoddy Bay LNG at Pleasant Point.
"We are hopeful that New Brunswick is as mindful of the hazards their projects may pose to the people of Maine so much as they demand we are mindful of the people in New Brunswick," Gardner wrote. "A nuclear incident approximately 30 miles away from Washington County would be catastrophic and for any of us to not have a current and immediate response plan would be reprehensible."
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Thursday, February 26, 2009
Three drivers received their come-uppance after recent run-ins with the State Police.
According to Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland, a Livermore woman pled guilty to drunk driving after her car nearly struck a state police cruiser on Route 202 in Manchester last Friday morning.
The woman's car crossed the center line and just missed colliding head on with Trooper Samuel Tlumac's cruiser, which was going in the opposite direction.
She was arrested for operating under the influence and pled guilty to the charge at her first court appearance. She was fined $500, given a 96-hour jail sentence and had her driver's license suspended for three months.
Two teenagers are the "Speeders of the Week."
McCausland said two sisters did not make it to a high school basketball game recently because their car was stopped on the Maine Turnpike at 100 MPH. Trooper Mark Guilfoyle said the car was driven by a 17-year-old girl, who had her 14-year-old sister as a passenger. Guilfoyle notified the girl's parents as part of the Safeguard program, where police will contact parents when a teenage driver is doing something outrageous.
And on Interstate 95 near Houlton, Trooper Tim Saucier said a Chevrolet Tahoe passed his unmarked cruiser at 97 MPH. Behind the wheel was a 17-year-old boy who was showing off for a teenage friend in the passenger's seat. Saucier said the boy's parents were notified and were going to deal with him when he got home. In addition to the wrath of the two sets of parents, the two teens have a day in court and will automatically lose their driver's licenses.
|Wednesday, February 25, 2009
For the last nine years, the Student Senate at Washington County Community College hasn't disappointed -- they've come up with creative and sometimes kooky themes for the Polar Bear Dip -- their annual fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.
This year it's Polarstock and it's happening on Friday [Feb. 27] at noon at Split Rock at Pleasant Point on Route 190.
This year's dip is modeled after the 1969 concert and festival, Woodstock.
[LEFT-Dippers head into the water last year-WQDY FILE PHOTO]
The dip will take place at Split Rock at Pleasant Point on Route 190. Crews have plowed the snow for easy access to the water and the hasty retreat back out. Brave dippers solicit pledges from family, friends and the community and bear the icy waters of the Passamaquoddy Bay -- if only for a few moments.
The first polar bear dip was held in 2000 and $1,600 was raised. Over $130,000 has been raised and donated to the charity since the inception of the event.
[BELOW-Dippers beat it back out of the water last year-WQDY FILE PHOTO]
If you're interested in braving the weather to help raise funds for this worthy cause, sponsor sheets are available on the college's website www.wccc.me.edu, by stopping by the WCCC campus and at the following area locations: Calais City Building, Calais Free Library, Eastern Maine Electric Co-op and Johnson's True Value Hardware.
A free Polar Bear Sweatshirt will be given to dippers that have a minimum of $75 in pledges.
For more information on Polarstock 2009, please contact WCCC Student Senate at 207-454-1094 or Fran Tracy, WCCC Student Senate Advisor at 207-454-1054.
|Wednesday, February 25, 2009
ST. STEPHEN, New Brunswick - The town gave the Charlotte County Civic Centre project a definite push along the fast track it seems when it voted Monday night, Feb. 23, to authorize and application to the province's Municipal Capital Borrowing Board for about three-quarters of a million dollars in order to purchase the land needed upon which to build the $15-million complex.
The land abuts on town waterfront property along Budd Ave, near the St. Croix Public Library, the Visitor Information Centre and town square.
Council will apply to borrow $791,000, paying it back over a 20-year term. Chief Administrative Officer Hendrik Slegtenhorst explained that the figure represented $700,000 of an acquisition cost and $91,000 in partially recoverable HST.
The CAO explained that an application for authorization to borrow is not necessarily additional debt until council authorizes its actual expenditure.
Mayor Jed Purcell said in an earlier interview the money to purchase the land was part of the $2.1 million the town had pledged in support of the civic centre project.
A second motion pertaining to the civic centre was also passed by council. Described by the CAO as an "enabling motion" it permits two signing authorities on behalf of the town to enter into a formal contractual relationship with Wilgar Ltd. and the Charlotte County Civic Centre project "for the purpose of construction and operation of a multi-purpose recreation, cultural and meeting facility."
- The Saint Croix Courier -
|Tuesday, February 24, 2009
ST. STEPHEN -A Provincial Court judge has ruled that a Deer Island school teacher charged with 27 counts of Internet luring must appear before him to personally confirm his lawyer's request for a delay in his trial.
Judge David C. Walker told defense lawyer Joel Hansen that Jude O'Reilly, 34, who is currently living in Fredericton, must return to the courtroom on March 30, the day originally set aside for the beginning of his week-long trial. O'Reilly must confirm that he takes no issue with any delays requested by Hansen and a new date will be set for his trial.
On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Hansen suggested setting a new trial date, telling the judge O'Reilly is only about halfway through a psychological assessment. Hansen said the psychologist is not ready to proceed to trial March 30.
Special prosecutions Crown prosecutor Karen Lee Lamrock said she had no problem with the delay. However, she did request that the defense waive any future claims it might make about delays in O'Reilly's legal proceedings.
She asked the judge to note the delay was made at the request of the defense, not the Crown.
In an interview following an earlier court appearance, Hansen stated he expects the case to set a precedent in law because it will address the concept of Internet luring.
- The Saint Croix Courier -
|Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Four people were injured in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning at a busy intrsection in Baileyville.
The crash happened at about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning at the intersection of Routes 1 and 9 involving a state plow truck and a passenger vehicle.
State Trooper Jason Fowler told WQDY News a 1994 Toyota 2-door, operated by Annette Dana, 40, of Princeton was heading toward Calais. The plow truck was turning left from Route 9 onto Route 1 when the collision occurred.
The plow truck was driven by Donald Reynolds, 54, of Robbinston. Reynolds was not injured.
Dana's car struck the dual rear tires on the plow's passenger side.
Passengers in the Toyota included Clay Levesque, 41, Debbie Levesque, 43, and Randy Stevens, 24, all from the Princeton area according to Fowler.
The injured were taken to Calais Regional Hospital, and one was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center, Fowler said.
The trooper said damage to the plow truck was $200 and the Toyota was totaled.
Baileyville Police and Fire Departments, Downeast EMS and the Calais Fire Rescue responded to the scene.
Fowler said the crash remains under investigation.
|Tuesday, February 24, 2009
CALAIS, Maine - WQDY-FM announcer Bill Conley said something on the air Monday morning that he never had said before.
Along with the usual slew of school and other closings due to the snowstorm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow in parts of Maine Sunday night and Monday, he announced that the post office in neighboring St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was closed for the day.
[Bill Conley at the Classic Hits helm-WQDY PHOTO]
Conley said this was the first time he'd ever announced that a post office closed because of bad weather. He said the telephone call Monday morning came from a representative of the local post office saying the facility would not open even though some workers already were on the job. The familiar Canada Post trucks were parked.
Even the town's mayor couldn't mail a letter Monday. St. Stephen Mayor Jed Purcell said his first hint that something was different was when he arrived at the post office Monday morning and the steps weren't shoveled. Then he saw a note on the window indicating the facility was closed.
"I couldn't understand that myself," he said of the closed post office. "I went over just a few minutes ago to mail a letter and it was closed due to the inclement weather."
The storm dumped 12 to 20 inches of snow Down East, according to the National Weather Service, and similar amounts in nearby New Brunswick.
"Visibility is at zero percent and of course because of the snow accumulation the driveways are not cleared so it is very hard for the mail couriers to deliver the mail," Canada Atlantic Post spokeswoman Genevieve LaTour explained Monday afternoon about the St. Stephen closure.
Other post offices in Charlotte County, including St. Andrews and St. George, remained open, which LaTour said was a local decision.
"In St. Stephen they had assessed the situation and decided that it was not safe," she said. "And of course at Canada Post safety is a top priority."
While St. Stephen postal workers got an unexpected holiday, it was business as usual for post offices in Washington County, where "neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," as the motto on a New York City postal facility proudly states.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Monday, February 23, 2009
We had hardly dug ourselves out of last Thursday's snowstorm when it was quickly outdone by a howling snowstorm that blew into downeast Maine and New Brunswick Sunday into Monday.
The best [clean] word we heard Monday to describe our latest snowfall was "picturesque." The other words were not fit for broadcast or this Web site.
According to the National Weather Service on Monday, some preliminary snowfall totals included 7 inches in Milbridge, 8 inches in East Machias; 10 inches in Cherryfield; 11 in Jonesboro; 11.5 inches in Harrington; a foot in Wesley, Marshfield and Eastport; 13.9 inches in Robbinston; 14 inches in Whiting; 17 in Topsfield and 20 inches in Princeton.
The Associated Press also quoted the weather service saying gusts of 65 miles-per- hour were recorded in Cutler, with a 56 mile-per-hour wind at West Quoddy in Lubec.
Local public works crews around Washington County had themselves a handful as they worked in the wee hours Monday just trying to keep up with the storm.
Schools were closed locally on both sides of the border. In Maine, students got that coveted "extra day" tacked on to their vacation week.
WQDY & WALZ Classic Hits and our sister station WCRQ Border 102.9 broadcast an ever increasing list of cancellations and delays as the day wore on.
There were the usual storm day closures and some new ones. Canada Post's office in downtown St. Stephen was closed for the day and there was no mail delivery in St. Stephen on Monday.
[RIGHT-Snow piled high along Swan Street in Calais Monday afternoon-WQDY PHOTO]
[ABOVE-The great white way- High Street in Eastport on Monday-WQDY PHOTO]
[ABOVE-Frosted facades in downtown Eastport-WQDY PHOTO]
[LEFT-Finally got to the street just after the plow went by- WQDY PHOTO]
|Saturday, February 21, 2009
FINAL SCORES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY TEAMS IN THE EASTERN MAINE TOURNEY ACTION
WOODLAND LADY DRAGONS 49
FT. FAIRFIELD 34
WOODLAND GIRLS WILL FACE VALLEY IN THE STATE GAME NEXT WEEK
WOODLAND DRAGONS 48
CENTRAL AROOSTOOK 36
WOODLAND BOYS WILL FACE RICHMOND IN THE STATE GAME NEXT WEEK
WASHINGTON ACADEMY LADY RAIDERS
GEORGE STEVENS ACADEMY 51
WASHINGTON ACADEMY LADY RAIDERS 41
CALAIS BLUE DEVILS 71
CALAIS BLUE DEVILS WILL PLAY DIRIGO IN THE STATE GAME NEXT WEEK
- WQDY-WALZ Sports
|Thursday, February 19, 2009
Thursday wasn't an easy day to get around in Maine and New Brunswick.
[Digging out in downtown Calais-WQDY PHOTO]
[LEFT-Cars follow a MaineDOT plow north on Route 1 in Red Beach...20-25 in a 50 but fast enough on these roads-WQDY PHOTO]
[BELOW-Hard to tell where the road is in North Perry-WQDY PHOTO]
|Thursday, February 19, 2009
The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating a late night break-in at Newcomb's Gun & Saddle Shop in Perry.
Sgt. Jack Fuller of the Sheriff's Office told WQDY News they received a call from the alarm company shortly before midnight Wednesday.
State Trooper Kim Janes was in the area and responded to the scene. A weapon had been taken and the incident remains under investigation, Fuller said.
It was just about a month ago that Newcomb's and several other businesses in Eastport were broken into. A 19-year-old Pleasant Point man was arrested in connection with those alleged break-ins.
Authorities would welcome any information the public may have as they investigate this latest incident. Contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 255-4422 or toll-free at 1-800-432-7303.
|Thursday, February 19, 2009
Proponents of the Charlotte County Civic Centre know where they're going --- BUDD AVENUE!
They say the CCCC project is on the fast track.
"Originally it was thought that construction on the project might not begin for four years but, with federal and provincial economic stimulus being put in place, it became clear to us that the time to move is now," said Richard Fulton, president of the CCCC board of directors.
Fulton said "the federal and provincial infrastructure money that is available now is going to be spent somewhere with the intention of creating jobs and stimulating the economy as soon as possible. By being a project where shovels can be in the ground this year, we greatly increased our ability to access funding."
[From Town of St. Stephen Map-Budd Ave. is lower right along St. Croix River]
A decision on where the civic center will be located has also contributed to the fast tracking of the project.
Fulton said the Budd Avenue site has long been favored by the town and the board.
Its attractiveness increased when the Garcelon family made the offer of a very significant financial contribution connected to this site.
Although the site has been chosen, the fundraising efforts continue.
Fundraising chair Peter Heelis said the campaign is in the home stretch but the race is not won yet.
"We still need further pledges to reach our goal of $3.5 million dollars," he said. "This is the time for everyone who hasn't yet demonstrated their support with a donation or pledge to step forward and help us make it to the finish line."
According to CCCC officials, it meets criteria of being within town boundaries and provides a cornerstone for downtown revitalization.
It's close to Town Square, the Visitor Information Centre and the Chocolate Museum.
It provides an opportunity for waterfront development, public access to the waterfront and it's easily tied to walking trails and within walking distance for many.
Parking is available onsite, downtown and in waterfront parking lots.
There's good access via King Street, Milltown Boulevard, Old Bay Road.
Comes with major pledges of support from several donors. Existing water and sewer will reduce servicing costs significantly.
And it's the only site that is "shovel ready" which maximized opportunity for securing infrastructure funding now available but unlikely to be available later.
For more information about this project, visit the project's Web site:
|Wednesday, February 18, 2009
On Feb. 12, the Calais City Council voted to bail out as a member of the Washington County Emergency Medical Services Authority [Downeast EMS] and establish their own municipal ambulance service. City Manager Diane Barnes had put together a 22-page business plan detailing the how and why.
On Wednesday night, members of WCEMSA talked about the numerous issues that now loom before them.
They need to find a new director to replace Danny Carlow, the city's fire chief. Carlow has been tasked to establish the city's ambulance operation. They also need to find a new home either in Calais or close by. The Calais fire station houses their office and ambulances.
WCEMSA has a new chairman with Brian Schuth of Eastport, who is also president of the Eastport City Council. Schuth replaces Jim Porter, Calais' Assistant City Manager who resigned late last week.
"We're in business and we intend to stay in business," Schuth said. "If there's any question about that right now we should probably get that out on the table."
[Left to right-Bill Daye, Brian Schuth and Roger Holst-WQDY PHOTO]
"How we're going to do that is subject to a lot of questions. The model that we're living under is not that we just have one community that's trying to separate and disappear. Unfortunately, it's more like a messy divorce -- we have to live in the same house," Schuth said.
"Calais' plan presumes tacitly and in one place, explicitly, that Downeast EMS is going to survive in one form or another....how that's going to happen with two potentially competing businesses is very unclear but we know we are going to have to live intimately with Calais one way or another," Schuth said.
According to a letter from Barnes the city will be withdrawing its membership from the Authority effective July 1, 2009. "The city fully intends to honor its commitments to WCEMSA by paying in full its assessed stipend through June 30, 2009."
The city also thanked Downeast EMS and its employees for their high-quality service to the citizens of Calais over the past eight years.
Schuth said he has spoken with Rick Petrie, Regional Coordinator for Maine EMS who feels that he can be helpful in bringing some of the regional issues to the table.
"Calais' plan is professionally executed but clearly it has not taken into account any sort of regional impact," Schuth said. "I don't just mean the impact to my city [Eastport] and other towns, but to the fact that the functioning of any ambulance service around here depends on the ambulance services around it."
"Even if Calais is able to go forward, the hospital is caught in the middle. There are a bunch of entities that will be caught in the middle here, and there's no point in us being in a pissing match. It's my intention to call Diane Barnes and try to set up a meeting with her and with Rick [Petrie]. I'm hoping we can bring some of the other stakeholders to the table as well," Schuth said.
With the recent reports about Calais' decision, Bill Daye, chairman of the Lubec Board of Selectmen wanted to reassure the public that ambulance services will not lapse.
"One of my primary concerns is that the public be aware that there has been and will be no lapse in ambulance service. They have high-quality EMT's and ambulance service people. There is nothing to be concerned about at this time in terms of having an ambulance come to pick somebody up. They will be there and it will stay operational one way or another. To be quite frank, at this point in time, there is no threat to the operation of this ambulance service," Daye told WQDY News.
After the meeting, Schuth told local reporters that issues of restructuring, addressing costs and other concerns they felt Calais city councillors should have had to consider didn't get to them in time.
At the Feb. 12 workshop, the Calais City Council did not take public comment about the ambulance issue during the workshop or the council meeting -- prior to the vote.
Schuth had e-mailed Barnes prior to the meeting asking whether he could address the council and asked during the workshop. The answer was no.
Schuth said Wednesday the plan had been to address Calais on Feb. 26.
"When I went [Feb. 12 meeting] that was my intention to say that we are taking these steps, we are taking it seriously."
"Calais has held the chair of the Authority for a year and a half and while we were aware they were unhappy they also made no concrete proposals. They could have pulled their fire chief at any time. So while I think we could honestly be accused of taking longer than we needed to, at the same time, I was certainly blindsided that it was their intention to just pull out," Schuth said.
|Wednesday, February 18, 2009
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Lubec's SummerKeys recently received the Tourism Award for Commitment to Innovation & Creativity during a ceremony at the Governor's Conference on Tourism awards dinner held at the Marriot Sable Oaks in South Portland.
The Commitment to Innovation & Creativity award was given during the ceremony honoring those in the tourism industry who lead by example and demonstrate commitment to Maine as a world-class tourist destination. The awards are sponsored by the Maine Office of Tourism and the Maine Tourism Commission.
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner John Richardson and Director of Tourism Pat Eltman presented the award to Bruce Potterton, teacher and founder of SummerKeys.
The SummerKeys music program for adults began in 1992 with 50 piano students, three pianos and Potterton teaching everyone in his summer home. The program has expanded to offer a variety of week-long courses that attract beginner students and professional musicians from across the country and beyond.
"Up to 250 students arrive in Lubec each summer between June and the first week of September. Bed and breakfasts have opened to help accommodate the steady flow of visitors, local restaurants have enjoyed their business, and a summer resident/artist was even inspired to begin a Summer Brushes art program," said Eltman.
The Governor's Conference on Tourism is an opportunity for Maine's tourism industry to gather for professional development and to recognize those whose service and dedication is commendable.
|Tuesday, February 17, 2009
OROMOCTO, N.B. - An RCMP officer who was killed with his young son and daughter in a head-on collision is being remembered as a devoted member of the force.
The crash occurred Sunday night on Highway 7 near Oromocto, killing 31-year-old Constable Jason Porter, his five-year-old daughter Hannah, and son Jack, who was two.
The car Porter was driving hit a bus.
RCMP Sergeant Claude Tremblay, who knew the officer, called the accident a tragedy for Porter's family, and the Mounties.
Tremblay said Porter made a difference in the lives of young people when he was stationed at the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick.
He says Porter was proud of his aboriginal heritage and was a role model to the young people he worked with.
Porter was on his way home from visiting his parents in the Woodstock area.
He was a member at the Grand Bay-Westfield detachment and had been a member of the force for eight years.
The constable's car apparently lost control on the icy highway, veering into the path of the oncoming Acadian Lines bus.
There were no injuries on the bus.
- Broadcast News Ltd. -
|Tuesday, February 17, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine - Three of the four men responsible for the break-in at a gun shop in Columbia last year have been sentenced in Washington County Superior Court.
Jeffrey S. Croman, 21, of Baileyville, Joshua H. Robinson, 21, and his brother Chad E. Robinson, 23, both of Charlotte were sentenced last week by Justice E. Allen Hunter. All three pleaded guilty last Tuesday to charges in connection with the break-in, during which 12 handguns and one long gun were taken from the Four Corners Rod and Gun Shop during the early morning of July 28, 2008. A gun case was smashed. Police also found that two soda machines at the nearby Columbia Supermarket had been broken into.
The case against a fourth man, Aaron P. Flood, 18, of Calais, is still pending.
Croman, who entered guilty pleas to violation of a protection order and violation of conditions of release as well as to the theft and burglary charges at the gun shop, was sentenced to five years in prison with all but two years suspended, and three years probation. Joshua Robinson was sentenced to four years in prison with all but one year suspended, and was placed on two years' probation. Chad Robinson received a sentence of four years in prison with all but six months suspended, and was placed on two years' probation.
Police used a video surveillance camera to identify the vehicle the men used, and the four men were arrested shortly after the break-in. During the next few weeks the handguns were turned in to police or left in places where police were told they could be picked up.
Police later learned the men planned to sell or trade the guns for drugs.
Assistant District Attorney Joelle Pratt told Hunter that when police first confronted Croman, he denied he had gone into the store. Later police learned he not only was there, but he also had grabbed the long gun, while others had grabbed handguns.
Of the guns stolen, all but two were recovered. "Some people returned them wearing hats and carrying the gun in a shopping bag," Pratt told the court.
Pratt said that although Croman was only 21 years old he had a significant juvenile record that began when he was 15. Pratt asked that he be sentenced to two years in prison. "It will give him a chance to figure out what he is going to do with his life," she said.
But Croman's attorney, Carol Lewis of Lubec, recounted Croman's childhood history. She said he had been abandoned by his mother when he was 18 months old and raised by a father who was in and out of prison.
Lewis pointed out that her client needed help and needed to go through the state's Differentiated Substance Abuse Treatment program. She argued for a lesser sentence. "He needs to get treatment for drug and alcohol problems," she said.
The judge then asked Croman why he should be given a sentence lighter than the one asked for by the state.
"I have a little boy 3½ years old," he told the judge.
Studying the criminal files on his desk, the judge told Croman, "You’ve been a one-man crime wave for some time."
The judge then told the Baileyville man that he needed to get himself "squared" away and "transform" himself into a good parent. He then sentenced Croman to five years to the Department of Correction with all but two years suspended, with three years' probation.
The judge turned to Joshua Robinson. Pratt asked that Robinson be sentenced to four years with all but one year suspended.
Robinson’s attorney, John Churchill of Calais, pointed out that his client had made an "error in judgment" and also requested a more lenient sentence.
The judge suggested that Robinson clean up his act unless he liked "wearing orange" —the color worn by prisoners in the Washington County Jail. He then sentenced him to four years in prison with all but one year suspended, and two years' probation.
Robinson's brother Chad, according to Pratt, had assisted in the recovery of the missing weapons. She said that Chad Robinson chose not to make bail and already had spent six months in jail awaiting resolution of his case.
Robinson's attorney, Jeffrey Davidson of East Machias, also talked about how his client had cooperated with police.
The judge sentenced Chad Robinson to four years in prison with all but the six months he already had served suspended. He was placed on two years' probation.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Monday, February 16, 2009
Investigators say an 80-year-old man and his step-daughter died Monday in a house fire in Searsport.
Investigators say Eli LaPointe and his step-daughter, Megan Senter, died from smoke inhalation. Their bodies were found by firefighters shortly after they arrived at LaPointe's ranch style home on Porter Street.
LaPointe's body was found on the floor in his bedroom and Senter was found in a living room recliner.
Department of public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said an electrical power strip covered with clothing started the fire.
Fire Marshals say there were three smoke detectors inside the house, but the batteries had been removed from all of them.
|Monday, February 16, 2009
An off-duty RCMP officer and his two young children were killed in a head-on crash Sunday evening near Oromocto, New Brunswick.
[Const. Jason Porter - RCMP PHOTO]
According to the RCMP, 31-year-old Jason Porter and his two children, 5-year old daughter Hannah Porter and 3-year old son Jack Porter died when the car he was driving struck a bus head-on on Highway 7 south of Oromocto just before 7 p.m. Sunday. The road conditions were extremely slippery at the time.
Jason Porter was a constable serving in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B. He was on his way home from visiting his parents in the Woodstock area.
Const. Porter had been a member of the RCMP for the past eight years. Born in Saint John, he had been serving in Grand Bay-Westfield since October 2004. Prior to that he was posted on the Tobique First Nation.
|Friday, February 13, 2009
Deputies from the Washington County Sheriff's Office along with the Maine State Police worked together rounding up nearly a dozen people on a variety of charges.
[Dep. Thomas Chambers escorts a guest on Thursday - WQDY PHOTO]
Sheriff Donnie Smith said approximately 15 deputies and troopers working over two operational shifts [about 14 hours] resulted in the arrests of 11 people and racked up approximately 15 violations.
Police said the purpose of the operation was to ensure compliance with the Maine Sex Offender Registry Act as well as probation and bail compliance throughout the county.
According to a Sheriff's Office press release, the following people were arrested:
|Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Calais City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to establish a municipal ambulance service they can call their own.
Citing economics and looking out for the city's taxpayers, officials voted to drop out of the Washington County Emergency Medical Services Authority and go it alone.
City Manager Diane Barnes put together a 22-page business plan for the city and presented it during a city council workshop that preceded the regular city council meeting Thursday night.
The workshop had originally been scheduled as a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee where the ambulance issue was one of several issues.
Discussion during the workshop was limited to the city council. Mayor Vinton Cassidy opened the workshop with the proviso that "this is not a public hearing, it's a workshop."
"Today's economy is driving this," Barnes told the council.
[Calais Fire Station - WQDY PHOTO]
"We're looking at ways to save money but we want to deliver the services more efficiently and at cost savings to the taxpayers if we can. We can do this by consolidating the fire protection and emergency medical services and it is expected, with careful management, that an ambulance service in the city can attain a break-even point and I truly believe that can happen," Barnes said.
"Looking at some of the data I have here -- the city of Calais -- we are subsidizing the Authority at some level -- subsidizing everybody including Eastport and Lubec. That will be a concern to the Authority , they won't have that revenue that Calais is generating right now, but we're looking out for the Calais taxpayers and what's best for the Calais taxpayers and what's equitable. The city is also willing to contract with other members if feasible. I just think that this will be a good deal for the city of Calais," Barnes told the council.
There was some discussion by the council and then former legislator Albion Goodwin of Pembroke, tried to add a comment to the proceedings.
He got as far as "Mr. Mayor" before he was interrupted..
"Al, excuse me. It's not a public hearing. I said that in the very beginning. At the end of our regular meeting you'll have a chance to make a comment. If we open it up we'll be here until midnight. It's up to the committee at this point," the mayor told Goodwin.
Then Brian Schuth, an Eastport City Councilor as well as liaison for Downeast EMS to the Calais City Council raised his hand and told the council that he had made a formal request to speak if he could.
Schuth made reference to an e-mail he had sent to the city manager earlier in the day and was trying to follow the council's proceedings as to whether he would be afforded an opportunity to speak.
Schuth had arrived shortly after Mayor Cassidy had made the opening statement "this is a workshop not a public hearing."
And Cassidy said it again. "At the end of our council meeting we do have a time for public input if you have some comments later."
"I'm to understand that if there is a moment for comment it's after the business of the meeting is complete, is that correct?" Schuth asked.
Council members affirmed that it was.
Schuth thanked them, got up and left the workshop.
The formal vote came later during the regular city council meeting and on the public safety committee's recommendation, the council voted unanimously to enact the city manager's business plan for a municipal ambulance service.
When the city council meeting finally rolled around to public comment at the end of the meeting, Goodwin, who was still present made no comment. Schuth never returned to the meeting.
Following the meeting, reporters asked Roger Holst of Alexander, vice-chair for the ambulance authority for his reaction to Calais' decision.
"I'm disappointed but I can only speak as a representative of the town of Alexander. In talking with the selectmen in Alexander, we expect to continue on with Downeast EMS. I encourage all others that are a part of Downeast EMS to. We will be competing with the city of Calais by the sounds. Jim Porter is the chair of Downeast EMS and so for any further comments I'll refer you to him," Holst said.
Jim Porter who is Assistant City Manager in Calais had no comment when asked.
As to the e-mail referred to during the workshop, Barnes said Schuth "had e-mailed me a request to speak on behalf of Downeast EMS and the Authority."
"I passed on his request to the mayor. I e-mailed him back that during workshops that the mayor and the city council is not accustomed to taking public comment and I also told him that at the end of the regular council meeting we do take public input. That's what I e-mailed back to him," Barnes told us.
|Thursday, February 12, 2009
AUGUSTA, Maine - Residents of Washington and Aroostook counties will continue to receive radio and television transmissions from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network under an agreement announced Thursday.
MPBN officials sparked an uproar in far northern and eastern Maine last year when they announced plans to shut down two radio towers and a television tower in Calais and Fort Kent as a cost-saving measure. The towers were scheduled to go silent on Feb. 28.
Faced with growing pressure from politicians and devoted listeners in the affected areas, MPBN officials said Thursday they will continue operating the towers. Instead, the network will explore other ways to save money that do not disproportionately affect one area of the state.
"The only thing I hope is that people are going to work with us on this," said Jim Dowe, MPBN's president.
Gov. John Baldacci's office, which has been heavily involved in the towers debate, and legislative leaders have pledged to work with the network on funding issues. MPBN receives just shy of $2 million in state funding to support statewide broadcasting.
The decision was welcomed by those leading the effort to save the television and radio broadcasts into some of Maine's farthest-flung communities.
Sen. Kevin Raye, R-Perry, who is sponsoring a bill tying state funding for MPBN to continued statewide broadcasts, credited the network's employees for their willingness to accept pay cuts last winter. Ten percent of MPBN's staff also was eliminated.
"It demonstrates a very significant commitment to the work that they do every day and the value they place on the service they provide," Raye told a legislative committee hearing his bill. The committee endorsed the measure, LD 266, in a unanimous vote.
But MPBN's reversal did not spare the network from being rebuked by loyal listeners still smarting over the fact that they were nearly cut off. Some predicted it would have lasting impacts on donations from their corners of the state.
Bob Peacock of Eastport was among a handful of Washington County residents who made the four-hour drive to Augusta to speak in support of Raye’s bill. Peacock noted that the decision to stop operating the towers happened around the same time as a pledge drive.
"I know people who donated and then found out the next day they're not going to get any coverage," Peacock told members of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. "Where is the fairness in that?"
Several speakers accused network executives of ignoring the needs of residents most dependent on MPBN's services to stay connected with the rest of the state. Such decisions only exacerbate perceptions of the existence of "two Maines," Raye and others said.
Machias resident Frank Cassidy accused MPBN officials of deciding that people in Washington County and far northern Maine were unequal to those in the state's more urban areas.
In some communities along Maine's northern and eastern borders, MPBN broadcasts are the only U.S. signals available to residents.
"We would have known more about Canada than what was going on in Maine," said Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais.
Dowe accepted full responsibility for the original decision, adding that he found the strong response from angry listeners reaffirming about the network's importance. Asked where else MPBN could save money, Dowe said those decisions have not been made yet.
"It may impact people, it may impact places," he said. "We would like to think it will be solved with a revenue answer."
Dowe said MPBN's leadership supports Raye's amended bill tying state funding for MPBN to continued broadcasts throughout the state. That bill now heads to the full Legislature for consideration.
Baldacci also welcomed the decision to continue broadcasting.
"It recognizes that we are one state and all our people are equally important," Baldacci said in a statement. "In addition to providing educational and cultural programming, MPBN plays a key role in the state's emergency broadcasting system, and those services must be maintained throughout the state."
But Suzanne Goucher, executive director of the Maine Association of Broadcasters, which represents television and radio stations across the state, said MPBN's financial troubles are not unique. This case has simply received more media attention, she said.
"This is not happening in a vacuum," Goucher said. "It is throughout our industry. We are all feeling it."
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Thursday, February 12, 2009
Earlier this month, Calais Fire Chief Danny Carlow, 55, was designated as a Level 2 local emergency management director.
The designation came after years of hard work and training.
"Basically what it means is that Danny spent years learning how to be an emergency management director," Mike Hinerman, director of the Washington County Emergency Management Agency, said.
"It means the city of Calais and the general area as a whole are well protected because of his experience ... Basically it means that Calais is right up there with the big boys down south."
Hinerman also noted that Carlow is the only Level 2 director in the county. "That comes from years of experience, dedication to training, classes, meetings, all kinds of things," he said.
The designation also helps Calais as it applies for federal emergency management grants. Carlow has been a member of the Calais Fire Department since 1973.
[Calais Fire Chief Danny Carlow speaks with reporters-WQDY PHOTO]
He was promoted to chief in 1995, and appointed director of the county's ambulance service seven years ago.
Carlow said he took on the extra training because he felt it was important to the city.
"I felt I had an obligation to provide this type of service to the citizens of Calais," the chief said.
"once you get involved in the system, you'll find out fairly quickly that no community, that I am aware of, can do everything on its own. So you need to reach out to the other communities and in turn provide them with services whenever possible so we can all work together as a group."
Carlow said although communities have mutual aid agreements to help one another, more was needed in the event of a major catastrophe.
"When any type of emergency goes beyond what local resources that local and the county can provide, then we have to have a system in place to reach out even to the national level and these courses all train you in how to do that," Carlow said.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Thursday, February 12, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine - Two Baileyville men were sentenced to jail terms Tuesday in Washington County Superior Court in part for their role in a racially motivated incident with some American Indian youth in 2007, and for other crimes they committed while they were free on bail.
Among the charges faced by David Townsend, 22, was aggravated assault, criminal threatening, disorderly conduct in connection with the racial incident and three counts of aggravated trafficking of scheduled W drugs and violation of condition of release. During court on Tuesday, the aggravated trafficking was reduced to trafficking. Justice E. Allen Hunter sentenced him to one year in jail and two years of probation.
Nicholas James, 18, was sentenced to nine months in jail and two years of probation on charges of assault and burglary. Six months of his probation will be served under house arrest.
Both men also received five-year suspended sentences, and were returned to Washington County Jail.
First Assistant District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said Tuesday that it was clear from the evidence that although Townsend was only an accomplice in the racial attack, he was just as guilty.
The evidence showed, Cavanaugh said, that Townsend joined in the foray two years ago along with his younger brother, Corey, but it was Corey Townsend who got into the fight with the Indian Township tribal youth.
Cavanaugh also noted that although racial epithets were yelled by some of the men, none was by Townsend. The most that Townsend said was "Go, Corey go," Cavanaugh said of the fight.
Townsend’s brother, who was a juvenile at the time, already has had his day in court. Last year, he was found not guilty on the aggravated assault charges, but was convicted of a lesser charge of assault. He also was found guilty on a criminal threatening charge, but was found not guilty on the disorderly conduct charge.
Two other men who allegedly also were involved in the assault - Adam Casey and Sean MacArthur - are still awaiting trial.
The arrests stemmed from an Aug. 19, 2007, incident on Broadway Street in Baileyville after two tribal members were attacked and beaten up. When police arrived, they found that one of the Passamaquoddy youths had bruises, cuts and swelling on his arm and injuries to his head.
According to the complaint on file in the court, the defendants drove up to the victims and emerged from their cars armed with two-by-fours, sticks and pipes. The complaint goes on to say that one of the Baileyville men yelled, "Come on, let’s get the Indians." The other defendants also directed anti-American Indian epithets at the victims.
Last year, the Washington County Superior Court ordered the four men and juvenile to stay away from five Passamaquoddy youths from Indian Township and to refrain from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.
The defendants consented to the court order by signing consent decrees. But under the decrees, the defendants did not admit to committing the threats or assaults or otherwise violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.
But under the order, any future violations of the Maine Civil Rights Act by the defendants will be prosecutable as a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail.
Addressing the sale of drugs, Cavanaugh said that while Townsend was on bail he was caught in November selling drugs to a confidential informant.
Townsend's attorney Carol Lewis of Lubec reiterated that Townsend was not directly involved in the assault. "He never yelled a racial slur and never hit anyone," she said. "He was an accomplice and he is willing to accept responsibility."
"I have changed," Townsend told the judge. "And when I get out I have a job. Jail is not fun, that's for sure."
Next up was Nicholas James.
Cavanaugh said that while James was on bail, he stole collector coins valued at more than $1,000 from a Baileyville resident who was at church at the time and $4,000 from his grandparents. The money was used to feed James' drug habit, the DA said.
James's grandmother then appealed to Justice Hunter to allow her grandson to get help for his drug addiction problem and not be sent to prison.
James' uncle, Colin Leeman, also asked the judge to show leniency. After the money was discovered missing, he said his nephew confessed almost immediately to what he had done.
James' attorney Norman Toffolon of Machias urged the judge to allow his client to go to a residential drug treatment program, not jail.
James then apologized to the court. "I messed up," he said.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Lincoln Memorial Library in Dennysville has received a planning grant from the Maine Reads Foundation to develop projects that will promote literacy in the community.
An Advisory Board has been set up to discuss ideas for suitable projects. The members of the Board are Library Trustees Colin and Ron Windhorst, Scott Johnson of the Whiting Village School, Carolyn Mahar of the Pembroke Elementary School, Emily Trundy and Barbara Windhorst of the Edmunds Consolidated School and Barbara Baig, Program Librarian at the Lincoln Memorial Library.
The Board will hold a public meeting on Monday February 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Library. Everyone interested in literacy in the area is invited to attend.
The Board will then decide on a particular project for which the Library will apply to Maine Reads for funding. One project under consideration is a creative writing workshop for middle school students.
Questions about the Feb. 23 meeting may be directed to Barbara Baig at 726-4263.
|Wednesday, February 11, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine -A Calais woman pleaded guilty in Washington County Superior Court on Tuesday admitting that she stole nearly $200,000 from the Calais School Department.
Tina Moholland, 37, was charged with stealing $197,020 between Sept. 23, 2004, and Nov. 9, 2007, from the Calais Day Treatment Program.
Moholland stood next to her attorney Jeffrey Toothacker of Ellsworth as she entered her plea. She could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. She remains free on bail and is expected to be sentenced in June.
For seven years, Moholland worked as a secretary, receptionist and bookkeeper for the Calais Day Treatment Program. Her job was to bill districts that sent students to the day treatment program. The tuition money was logged under a grant the city treatment center had received, and the state would deduct that amount from the grant. Moholland allegedly was depositing the tuition checks into her own accounts.
The theft involved a total of 29 checks paid to the city.
One check was deposited to her account at Bangor Savings Bank. The other 28 checks were deposited to her account at Savings Bank of Maine, formerly Gardiner Savings Institution and Calais Federal Savings and Loan Association.
Checks ranged from as much as $29,276 paid by Indian Township to as little as $2,600 paid by the town of Baileyville. Other communities that paid tuition were: Pleasant Point, Perry, East Machias, Lubec and Eastport.
Moholland was able to deposit the checks into her own accounts because they were made out not only to the Calais Day Treatment Program but also to her. "All of the checks were endorsed by Moholland and put in her own account," Hancock and Washington county District Attorney Michael Povich told the court on Tuesday.
The savings and loan bank caught on. "Finally the bank woke up and said something was wrong," Povich said. It refused to deposit the check and notified the city, which in turn notified police, Povich said.
In the meantime, Moholland took the 29th check that the savings and loan bank had refused to Bangor Savings Bank in Calais and opened an account as Tina Moholland doing business as the Calais Day Treatment Program.
Calais police confronted Moholland, Povich told the court, and she confessed. She was fired from the school department. "She said she was a single mother who wanted the same opportunities as other people had," Povich related.
Povich said that the treatment program had about 40 students. He described them as "kids with behavioral problems."
Last year, Union 106 Superintendent James Underwood told the City Council that the savings and loan bank had agreed to make good on the checks.
"So between the $10,000 insurance and the little money we were able to retrieve, the Savings Bank of Maine has agreed to give us all of the rest of the money back," Underwood said last year.
- The Bangor Daily News -
|Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The town of Baileyville will be looking for a new town manager now that Luke Lazure has given his resignation.
Town Council Chair Dottie Johnson confirmed Tuesday for WQDY News that Lazure will be taking a job elsewhere. The resignation became official on Monday night. Lazure began as Baileyville's town manager on July 14, 2008.
Although his tenure was brief, Johnson said the town council was pleased with what Lazure had accomplished in his time in Baileyville.
|Monday, February 09, 2009
MACHIAS, Maine - A Machias man accused of murdering his former girlfriend and another man has changed his plea to guilty and now faces a Feb. 27 sentencing.
Twenty-seven-year-old Richard Widdecombe Jr. of Machias last year confessed to shooting and killing Katie Cabana, 29, and Aaron Settipani, 41, at Cabana's home in Marshfield on Jan. 23, 29008. In April, he entered a plea of not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of mental defect.
On Monday, Widdecombe appeared in Washington County Superior Court and changed his plea to guilty.
Widdecombe showed no emotion as he answered the questions of Judge E. Allen Hunter. Widdecombe faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison on each count.
- The Associated Press -
|Monday, February 09, 2009
RCMP in St Stephen are investigating a snowmobile crash which killed a man in the Flume Ridge area north of St Stephen over the weekend.
Police said 48-year old David Morrow of Oak Bay was killed Saturday night when his snowmobile left the trail and struck some trees.
Both the RCMP and the Coroner's Office are investigating.
|Monday, February 09, 2009
Among the incidents handled by Troop J, Maine State Police over the past week;
On Feb. 2:
On Feb. 4:
On Feb. 6:
On Feb. 7:
|Friday, February 06, 2009
Extreme low tides over the next week may cause delays for travelers who use the John E. Rigby and the Deer Island Princess ferries.
The period of delays extends from Friday Feb. 6 to Saturday Feb. 14.
Authorities note the precise time of extreme low tides depends on the weather. Disruptions due to tidal conditions may occur between the following hours:
[All times are Canadian].
Friday, Feb. 6, 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 8, 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 9, 5 a.m.- 7 a.m.; and 3:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 5 a.m. - 8 a.m.; and 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.; and 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 12, 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.; and 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 13, 6:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.; and 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 14, 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Further information on ferry service may be obtained by calling 1-888-747-7006.
|Thursday, February 05, 2009
The Washington County Sheriff's Office has gone world-wide -- on the Internet.
Sheriff Donnie Smith told WQDY News their new Web site contains information about the agency, things going on, patrol and corrections officers as well as e-mail links to the administration.
"Something that was very important to me was a direct link to the Maine Sex Offender Registry. That's really why I wanted the site up," Smith said.
The Web site also promotes the beauty of Washington County by picturing local scenes of the Sunrise County.
"It's just something I wanted to do since I've been in office but it just took time to get it together and push it forward. It's been up now for about three weeks and we'll be updating it throughout my administration and add things that we need to in the future.
The Web site is www.wcsheriffsoffice.com
|Thursday, February 05, 2009
Sex offenders who must report to the Washington County Sheriff's Office [WCSO] but fail to do so are being charged.
It's time consuming for the WCSO to conduct sex offender registrations -- it has to be done -- but for those who must report to the department because of where they live -- it turns out that some don't do it in a timely manner.
Sheriff Donnie Smith told WQDY News he's tired of people coming up and registering late or not showing up for their appointment to register.
"We've got two different people in this agency that have to coordinate to register these sex offenders and when they don't show up or call and give excuses that they don't have the $25 [fee for the registry] or they don't have a ride, we'll find them a ride. If they're late, they're going to be arrested," Smith said.
Resources are tight at the WCSO.
Smith noted one incident in particular where a man canceled his appointment and he was arrested.
"His excuse was he didn't have the $25 and he didn't have a ride. After he was arrested, he came up with $140 cash bail and he got a ride home, so evidently he did have money and he did have a ride. I'm taking this seriously and I'm not going to tolerate it any longer," said Smith.
"We have to know where they're living, their employment, their status, and all of their contact information, plus they have to provide us with $25 which goes to the state to maintain the sex offender registry," Smith explained.
"It's not all of them but there is a problem in getting some of these people to abide by the current law which is to register on time. We've had a number of people call us and make appointments and then don't follow through -- call and cancel or don't show up. We've been allowing that to some degree but now it's such an issue that I've told the officers I want them charged now if they register late or [if] they don't show up we'll need to go get them and charge them with failing to register."
Smith said it's a matter he takes very seriously.
"I equate it to not showing up for court. If you don't show up for court on time there's a warrant for your arrest and I don't see this as being any different. This is very important and it's a concern of people in the community about the sex offenders living in their area and that's why we have the registry and the law that was enacted. I believe these people should abide by it," Smith said.
|Wednesday, February 04, 2009
BANGOR, Maine (AP)- A 48-year-old Canadian man has been sentenced in Maine to 85 months in prison on Oxycontin distribution charges.
Arthur Michael Kinsella of New Brunswick was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
Prosecutors say Kinsella, who was convicted in August, made frequent trips from Canada to Maine from 2003 to 2005 to deliver Oxycontin pills to a middleman in the Bangor area who then distributed the pills to another dealer in Penobscot County.
- The Associated Press -
|Wednesday, February 04, 2009
RCMP officers resorted to a Taser in subduing an armed woman at a Sussex, New Brunswick shopping mall.
Police received a report Tuesday afternoon that a woman was allegedly brandishing a knife and chasing her husband inside a barber shop at the mall.
Stephanie Doucette, 30, has been remanded for a psychiatric assessment and will be back in Hampton provincial court on Feb. 10 to enter a plea on several charges.
Police said there were a number of other customers inside the shop at the time including a child.
RCMP officers responded made several verbal and physical attempts to control the situation however the woman refused to put down the knife and continued to try to attack her husband with the knife.
An officer used a Taser to subdue Doucette. She fell to the ground and was handcuffed by police. Paramedics arrived almost immediately and took the suspect to the Sussex Regional Hospital where she was examined and then released to police.
|Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Mail had piled up, the car hadn't been cleaned off and neighbors said they hadn't seen any smoke coming out of the chimney.
Feeling something was amiss Monday, a postal service worker requested police check the well-being of the occupant at 50 Third Street in Eastport.
Officer Bill Lindsey checked and found the resident, 50-year-old Gerard Koed to be deceased.
Lindsey told WQDY News on Tuesday the death is not considered suspicious but the incident has been turned over to the medical examiner's office for investigation.
Lindsey said Koed grew up in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Koed had been a student at the boat school several years ago and later bought a home in Eastport. It appeared Koed had been doing some renovations in the home.
In his daily update, Eastport City Manager George "Bud" Finch said due to the extreme cold spells we have been experiencing this winter and the number of residents living alone we encourage people to keep an eye out on their neighbor's well being and homes.
"We are also asking folks who live alone to notify their neighbors and families when they will be out of the area to facilitate the handling of "check well being" calls. Should anybody have questions regarding the well being of their neighbors or others they are encouraged to notify emergency personnel," Finch said.
|Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Murder and manslaughter charges have been laid against a couple from southwestern New Brunswick in the death of a newborn baby boy.
The charges against the Moores Mills couple in connection with the death of their baby was upgraded from the earlier charge of concealing a body of a newborn baby.
They appeared Tuesday in St. Stephen Provincial Court.
27-year old Rodney Miller has been charged with first degree murder. 19-year old Sarah Russell has been charged with manslaughter and accessory after the fact.
The RCMP have determined that the baby boy was born sometime between January 5 and January 22.
Police have determined the baby was killed and the body was then hidden.
Both Miller and Russell were sent for a 30-day psychiatric evaluation.
The couple are scheduled to appear again in St. Stephen Provincial Court on March 17.
|Monday, February 02, 2009
ST. STEPHEN -- A Russian sailor charged with possession of child pornography and trying to smuggle prohibited goods into Canada has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and fined a total of $3,225 after he changed his pleas to the charges Thursday Jan. 29 in court here.
"I am sorry for this trouble caused," Sergey Vonarshenko said in English reading from a printed card.
The services of a translator were used during his court appearance.
Provincial Court Judge David C. Walker issued a deportation order for Vonarshenko to come into effect as soon as he serves his jail sentence, which the judge reduced by eight days, giving him double time credit for the four days Vonarshenko served on remand since his arrest Jan. 25.
Before sentencing, Vonarshenko's lawyer, Larry Crandall, suggested the judge might credit Vonarshenko with triple time, saying the man was treated violently by other inmates at the jail in Saint John.
Describing Vonarshenko as "quite vulnerable, because he couldn't speak English or French," Crandall said the man wasn't segregated from the other inmates and was punched in the face, pushed down and while down, kicked repeatedly.
The judge placed Vonarshenko on Canada's sex offender registry for the next 10 years and ordered him to provide a DNA sample for the RCMP's national data bank.
The judge also prohibited Vonarshenko for the next 10 years to be in a public park, swimming area, daycare centre, school yard, community centre or in a position of authority, either by employment or as a volunteer, over youngsters or to use a computer to communicate with any young person under 16 years of age.
The sailor's laptop and a hard drive were ordered forfeited.
In passing sentence, Judge Walker stated that a message must be sent that those who come to Canada with child pornography will be dealt with aggressively and severely.
"In the creation of of child pornography, the most fragile are victimized," said Judge Walker.
Crandall said that the sailor had back wages owed to him and would be able to pay his fine.
Judge Walker ordered that the fines be paid by Feb. 20 or Vonarshenko must spend, by default, an additional 51 days in jail. Crandall said since the money had to come from overseas, he wasn't certain the fines could be paid by the end of Vonarshenko's jail sentence.
Vonarshenko, identified by a spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA] as a fourth engineer on the Avila Star, a commercial cargo ship registered in Liberia, was arrested following a standard search of the vessel by CBSA officers when it docked at the port of Bayside to load paper for Ecuador.
They discovered a 90-second pornographic video on a laptop computer in Vonarshenko's quarters. The video depicted an adult male having intercourse with a girl between the ages of 7 and 9.
Karen Lee Lamrock, from the specialized prosecutions division of the provincial Crown prosecutor's office in Fredericton, said the male's face was never shown.
"The child is not afforded the same level of privacy. Her face is depicted," stated Lee Lamrock.
Lee Lamrock strongly urged the viewing of the video by the judge before sentencing, saying that words couldn't fully describe the degrading nature of the film.
"Words alone cannot describe the abuse depicted in these images," said Lee Lamrock.
She said that people think child pornography consists of just pictures of unclothed children.
"What you really see is a child being sexually violated," said Lee Lamrock.
Lee Lamrock said Canadian Parliament's main purpose behind creating a law to ban the production and distribution of child pornography was to prevent harm to children.
She said the law and the sentences imposed are to send a message that children need to be protected from the harmful effects of such exploitation and that they are not appropriate sexual partners.
Lee Lamrock said possession of child pornography contributes to the market that sells it which in turn contributes to the seduction and grooming of young victims.
She asked the judge to impose a deportation order on Vonarshenko so that he would "not be allowed back into our country forever more."
Federal Crown prosecutor David Lutz described the video in Vonarshenko's possession as "vile material" being brought into the country and told the judge that the CBSA wanted to make it clear to anyone entering Canada on plane, ship or car that they will be prosecuted for "this type of disgusting material."
- The Saint Croix Courier -