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November 16, 2017

2017 Harvest Moon expenditure exceeded amount authorized by council

LINCOLN - Councilors will be taking a closer look at the expenditures made on the Harvest Moon Festival, after a heated exchange between a resident and councilwoman brought to light the event not only lost money, but also more money was spent of town funds than originally authorized by the council. The council had authorized up to $5,000 be spent on the event, yet a report filed with the town listed an actual expense of $5,558.71. The event reported an income of $2,515. Though the report did not indicate non-monetary gains such as exposure of local businesses to new traffic due to an increase in visitors to the area, at least two residents were concerned by the unauthorized spending as well as the $3,000 loss taken by the town.

Two towns to “cool off” after fire department dispute

HOWLAND - An undisclosed personnel issue involving a firefighter from the Seboeis Fire Department has caused the town to end all mutual aid agreements with the neighboring community. “Unfortunately, with the recent circumstances we fear that any calls for service will not have the focus so much on the preservation of property but will result in personnel differences which doesn’t benefit either community,” Town Manager David Wilson wrote in a letter addressed to Seboeis Board of Selectmen. During the Monday, November 6, regular meeting, the Howland board voted unanimously to terminate its automatic mutual aid agreement following an executive session. Prior to that, the personnel issue had caused the Howland Fire Department to cease calling on Seboeis to aid in Howland incidents.

Local juvenile charged in MJHS bomb threat

LINCOLN - A student at Mattanawcook Junior High has been charged with terrorizing following a bomb threat that forced students to evacuate temporarily last Thursday, November 9. “At MJHS, we take all threats to the safety of our learners and staff very seriously,” Principal Christopher Cowing said in a press release, stating that a threat “Had been communicated in a student bathroom.” Police are not releasing the name of the suspect as he is a juvenile.

Howland town manager responds to questions from town expense report

HOWLAND – A series of questions regarding the town's finances during a Nov. 6 selectmen's meeting prompted a quick response from Town Manager David Wilson. Selectmen Glenn Brawn asked a series of questions about an expense report distributed to the board in advance of the meeting. One of the issues Brawn asked about concerned expenses getting the town's latest plow truck ready for service.

Some con victims may qualify to have money repaid

As the number of local residents taken in by any variety of cons and scams, from alleged federal grants to internet “soulmates” who need money sent to them in Nigeria, the Federal Trade Commission is reporting that those victims that sent money through Western Union may have some recourse to recover their losses. “American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a press release. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.” The refund program is a result of a January 2017 settlement with the Western Union Company, in which the company agreed to pay $586 million to resolve the charges brought by the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice. To file a claim, victims can visit FTC.gov/WU, but must do so before February 12, 2018.

State medical marijuana system explained to RSU 67 board

LINCOLN – Regional School Unit 67 administrators have noticed recently that some learners have been coming to school under the apparent influence of marijuana, Superintendent Dr. Keith Laser told the board recently. Laser told the board during an Oct. 18 meeting that dealing with those students, particularly those legally using medical marijuana, has added an extra challenge. At that time, it was suggested that Lori Libbey, a registered nurse and a licensed medical marijuana caregiver and consultant, attend a board meeting to discuss medical marijuana in Maine. Libbey, who owns and operates "Queen of the Hill Farm," a consulting and educational service, gave that presentation at the board's Nov. 1 meeting. Libbey specializes in CBD strains, one of 120 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

Lincoln Sanitary District board votes to keep same rates for third straight year

LINCOLN – Rates for Lincoln Sanitary District customers will remain unchanged for a third year in a row. At its Nov. 9 meeting, the board unanimously approved a $927,424.75 budget for 2018, a decrease of $10,380 from last year, Superintendent Scott Hesseltine explained to the board at the meeting. In a separate motion, the board approved rates of $10.07 per 100 cubic feet for residential and small commercial customers and $11.03 per 100 cubit feet for larger commercial customers. Hesseltine asked if the board wanted to take a month to review the budget or rate structure, but Chairman Darrell Dill felt the board should forge ahead.

Chief’s resignation prompts joint FD talks

MEDWAY – Last week’s resignation of Medway Fire Chief Jon Buckingham has renewed interest in pursuing a joint department with East Millinocket and some residents showed up to Monday’s selectmen’s meeting to make sure the board considered the option. Residents Robert Dewitt, George McLaughlin and Greg Stanley all spoke in favor of pursing a partnership with East Millinocket saying it is time to follow the successful examples of the schools, recreation and police departments and join forces. Dewitt said it is time for the town to move into the future and work with East Millinocket. He recommended the formation of a small committee to iron out the details and create a joint agreement.

New council and school board members sworn in

MILLINOCKET—With the votes in and the ballots counted, the Town Council will look slightly different, as will the Millinocket School Board. Those voted in at the ballot box on Tuesday, November 7 formally accepted their positions with a swearing in ceremony at the Council’s meeting on Monday, November 13. The School Board welcomes new members Richard “Dick” Angotti and Michael “Mike” Crowley to a three year term. Incumbent Kevin Gregory lost his bid for reelection and Board member Margaret “Meg” Manzo did not run for reelection. Angotti came in with 707 votes, Crowley 836 and Gregory drew 576 votes. On the Town Council incumbents Michael Madore, Gilda Stratton, and Louis Pelletier were unopposed winning reelection easily. The one contested seat was vacated by former Councilor Jesse Dumais when he accepted a position with the town. Vying for the open one-year seat was former Councilor Jimmy Busque and businessman Steve Golieb. Golieb won over Busque with a vote count of 643 to 509.

Millinocket residence tied to alleged drug dealer searched by authorities

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Police Department assisted other law enforcement agencies last week with the execution of a search warrant for a New Development residence linked to a Massachusetts man accused of trafficking heroin and cocaine. The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on Nov. 6 searched a New Jersey Street residence where Don Twiggs, 38, of Hyde Park, Mass. had recently been staying. Twiggs was arrested that same day by MDEA agents when his vehicle was stopped off the Newport exit of Interstate 95 and authorities seized 250 grams of heroin and cocaine destined to be sold in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, according to a press release from MDEA Commander Peter Arno. During the search of the New Jersey Street house, additional evidence of drug trafficking was uncovered. Millinocket Police Chief Steve Kenyon, Deputy Chief Janet Theriault and Officer David Cram assisted MDEA agents with the execution of the search warrant along with the Maine Warden Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

School board to review cell phone policy

MILLINOCKET—It is one of those situations where nearly everyone has one now: a cell phone. Over the years, cell phones have become much more than a phone for emergencies on the road. Cell phones have become almost indispensible for a lot of people, including students. Cell phones can now take pictures, access the Internet, and remind us of meetings. But while cell phones have many good uses, they can also be a distraction or a source for abuses to take place. The Millinocket School Board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 7 suggested that the cell phone policy be reviewed and updated by the policy committee to bring recommended changes on the use of cell phones when students and staff are in school.

Medway hires Lee as interim fire chief

MEDWAY – Saying it wanted a smooth transition and not wanting to leave the department without a leader, the Medway Board of Selectmen hired Aaron Lee Tuesday to be interim fire chief effective Nov. 17. He will receive a stipend of $600 per month with the board’s option of increasing that amount after evaluating his job performance. Selectmen voted 3-1 with Board Chairman Bruce Jones voting no and Selectman Emery “Jeff” Lee IV recusing himself from all discussions deliberations and votes as he is Aaron Lee’s spouse.

Leathers declared winner in East Millinocket selectman’s race

EAST MILLINOCKET—By a single vote, Kyle Leathers has been declared the winner in the contested race for a two-year seat on the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen. Results certified by election officials on Nov. 8 following a hand count of ballots gave Leathers a 217-216 victory over current Selectman Clint Linscott, according to East Millinocket Administrative Assistant Angela Cote. She said there is a timeframe of seven business days from the date of the certification of the results to request a recount, and Linscott had yet to do so as of Tuesday morning. Unofficial results on election night had Leathers and Linscott deadlocked 215-215 in the race to replace former Selectperson Kelley Michaud on the five-person municipal governing board. There were four write-in votes and 11 blank votes according to unofficial results.

Property maintenance ordinance questioned

EAST MILLINOCKET – After an executive session with town attorney Dean Beaupain, the East Millinocket Board of Selectman acknowledged that they need to take another look at the town’s property maintenance for its effectiveness and in fact may need to re-write it. Selectmen had already scheduled an executive session with Beaupain to discuss “rights and responsibilities regarding the wastewater treatment plant upgrade,” but added the general responsibility to property maintenance after resident Ed Hamm, Jr. attended the meeting to get an update on the junkyard problem near his home on Western Avenue. Hamm said he’s waited two years for the problem to be remedied and he heard from other people that the property owner had been cited, gone to court and found guilty but the property hasn’t gotten any better – in fact, he could argue that it’s worse.

Selectmen support planning board request, septic resolution

MEDWAY – Selectmen were asked if they support an ordinance being proposed by the newly formed planning board requiring all building permits pass by the planning board before being approved or denied by selectmen. When the town’s comprehensive plan is completed the town will then be zoned into different development areas that will allow on certain kinds of development and the planning board’s responsibility will be to ensure proposed development fits the criteria set out by the town for the particular zones. Currently there are no zones and very little regulations regarding where a business can locate in town. As planning board members have lamented in the past any kind of business can locate wherever there is a willing land seller or developer. By putting this ordinance in place, the planning board is giving the town a voice in what is developed and where it can be developed while zoning is created.

Planning board formulating permit ordinance

MEDWAY – After months of meeting and researching its rights and responsibilities, members of the Medway Planning Board have decided to recommend an ordinance to selectmen that requires at least all industrial and commercial building permits be reviewed by the planning board before that business or industry locate in town. Board members also discussed reviewing residential building permits and said although they didn’t want to hold any small projects up for homeowners, they wanted more consistency in the process and a better handle on what is being built in town. Board members will also ask that businesses be required to obtain a business license from the town. Currently there is no requirement to do so.

Residents cautioned to be mindful after suspicious incidents

MILLINOCKET—Magic City residents are asked to be mindful after a number of recent suspicious incidents that underscore the importance of making timely reports to police. The Millinocket Police Department has received a number of complaints about suspicious behavior involving juveniles in recent days with many of the reports coming after the fact, according to information from Deputy Police Chief Janet Theriault.