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May 14, 2020

Chester family loses barn in fire

CHESTER - A Wednesday night fire destroyed a family’s barn and forced them out of their home, at least temporarily. Firefighters from multiple area departments responded to 19 Pea Ridge Road at 9:08 p.m. Wednesday night, at the home of Gordon and Linda Walls. “When we pulled up, the barn was completely on the ground and there was a lot of fire,” Lincoln Fire Captain Cory Stratton said. “The flames were up one side of the house and down the other and the porch was on fire.”    

Enfield continues preparations for busy spring, summer slate

ENFIELD - Town officials continued to prepare for busier spring and summer months at Monday's meeting. Part of that preparation was the unanimous awarding of a supplemental mowing contract to Yard Pros of Medford for $6,500 for the 2020 mowing season.

MA, Lee Academy detail graduation ceremony plans

Given restrictions on the size of public gatherings remaining in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, school districts across Maine have been looking for alternative ways to celebrate the class of 2020. Mattanawcook Academy and Lee Academy have come up with different approaches for their graduation ceremonies, which would normally be held in June.

Council unanimous in resolution to support local hospital

LINCOLN - The local hospital has been challenged by the national pandemic, and town officials wanted to demonstrate their support of the emergency facility. On Monday, Town Councilors unanimously passed a resolution in support of Penobscot Valley Hospital. “Be it further resolved that we need all various government entities to see PVH as vital to our portion of Maine and assist wherever possible to support PVH now and in the future,” the document read.

Town plans reopening, meeting scheduled for June

PASSADUMKEAG - Town officials are planning on opening its municipal office for business, and a tentative date for the annual meeting has been set. On Thursday, selectmen dedicated their first official meeting since the COVID-19 outbreak to determining how to begin getting back to business as usual.

Rowdy resident punching self leads to arrest of Florida Man

LINCOLN - A Florida man is facing multiple charges, including resisting arrest, after an early morning incident Sunday. Joseph Schaefer, 28, of Port St. Lucie, was not the source of the initial complaint, but quickly attracted the attention of Lincoln Police after they discovered him passed out behind the wheel of a car in the driveway of 4 Mechanic Street. The attention resulted in three charges: Class D Possession of Scheduled Drugs, Class E Refusing to Submit to Arrest and Class E Violation of Conditions of Release.

Letter to Lincoln Town Council questioning fiscal management

The following letter was submitted to the Town Council and Town Manager Rick Bronson from Dan Aiken. The letter and response are discussed in a separate story in the NEWS. I am writing to share my thoughts on issues involving the corona virus as they affect the citizens and businesses in the town.

Manager assures state tax collapse has minimal impact on town

LINCOLN - A local businessman has raised concern about the municipality’s money management during the current pandemic. Dan Aiken of Gateway Title submitted a letter outlining his concerns for the Town Council to discuss during Monday’s regular meeting.

HAN, KVHC receive federal funding to aid Covid-19 testing efforts

Two area health centers recently learned that they have received additional federal funding to enhance Covid-19 testing capabilities. According to a joint announcement from U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, both Health Access Network, based in Lincoln, and Katahdin Valley Health Center were awarded funding through federal legislation passed last month to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. HAN received $265,624, according to the joint statement, while KVHC received $336,769.

RSU 67 board approves proposed $12.78 million 20-21 budget

LINCOLN – Despite one last attempt to include funding for a school resource officer, the Regional School Unit 67 board ultimately approved a $12.78 million proposed budget last week. The spending plan, which represents a 4.3 percent overall increase over the current budget, would results in slight assessment drops for Lincoln and Mattawamkeag taxpayers, while Chester's share will increase by nearly 12 percent. It was approved at the RSU 67 board's May 6 meeting.

Towns, school districts facing public gathering limit hurdle to approve budgets

HOWLAND – As part of the town's annual budget approval process, residents have had a chance to examine and change the proposed spending plan before its heads to the voters for final approval. With restrictions in place limiting the size of gatherings that are scheduled to be extended through the summer months, scheduling such a meeting this year is trickier than usual.

Lee town office reopens to public

The Lee Town Office, which has been closed to the public since April 1 due to the COVID-19 outbreak announced on May 6 that they would be reopening their doors to the public. The decision to reopen comes as part of the decision by Gov. Janet Mills to allow for a step-by-step reopening of organizations around the state in order to continue to serve the communities in Maine. Mills’ guidelines require that organizations that are choosing to reopen establish safety precautions, including updated safety protocols and modifications that will protect the health and safety of employees and customers.

RSU 67 leaders looking toward 2020-2021 school year

LINCOLN  –As the 2019-2020 school year winds down, Regional School Unit 67 leaders are already looking forward to the next school year. RSU 67 students have been distance learning since March, when school buildings were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instruction will be offered to most students through June 10. Meanwhile, RSU 67 leaders are already planning for the 2020-2021 school year, Superintendent Jean Skorapa informed the district's board at their May 6 meeting.

Mackin appeals manslaughter conviction to Maine Supreme Judicial Court

MILLINOCKET—A Millinocket man who is currently serving a 5 1/2 year prison sentence for manslaughter stemming from the death five years ago of a Millinocket infant has appealed his conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Jessee Mackin, 37, is asking the state’s highest court to overturn his manslaughter conviction in the death of Larry Lord Jr., the 6-month old child who died May 7, 2015 from a traumatic brain injury and fractured skull two days after going unresponsive inside a Millinocket apartment.

Teen facing charges after allegedly shooting finger with stolen gun

MILLINOCKET—A 17-year old Millinocket boy is facing multiple charges stemming from an incident last month when he is accused of stealing a firearm from another teen before shooting himself in the finger. The boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was charged with one count each of robbery, criminal threatening and altering a weapon following an investigation by the Millinocket Police Department.

Board cancels Summerfest 2020; amends tobacco policy

EAST MILLINOCKET – After much discussion and with much regret, the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen agreed to cancel this year’s Summerfest Celebration and look forward to planning a celebration in the summer of 2021. Saying a decision needs to be made for planning purposes, Board Chairman Peggy Daigle told the rest of the board that she’s been talking with organizer Will Cassio and as much as she and everyone else wants to have some kind of celebration for students and citizens she just didn’t see how it can be held with the COVID-19 restrictions. The uncertainty of how the summer will play out and what restrictions will remain in place make it impossible to plan.

Millinocket police alerts residents, businesses about counterfeit $100 bills

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Police Department is alerting area residents and businesses about a large number of counterfeit $100 bills that are being circulated throughout the area. Millinocket Police Chief Craig Worster said the counterfeit bills look almost identical to genuine currency making it extremely difficult to distinguish them from legitimate $100 bank notes. The biggest discernible difference is the counterfeit bills have “REPLICA” stamped in the upper and lower corners.

Coronavirus cases reported among Medway postal workers

MEDWAY—At least two employees who work at the United States Post Office in Medway have contracted the coronavirus, according to an official with the labor union representing postal service employees. Thomas Manley, president of the Maine chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, said he was aware of two employees at the Medway post office who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Both employees were believed to have since returned to work, but Manley didn’t have any additional information about their condition.

Stearns graduation plans announced

MILLINOCKET—The uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that Stearns High School graduation ceremony will have a different look this year. Since the unprecedented times have made for unusual circumstances the actual plans are just now materializing. Graduation will be held on Sunday, June 7, according to the school’s website.

Local restaurants resort to take out

MILLINOCKET—While not all restaurants in the Katahdin area have reopened for business, a few have. Specifically noted as of press time are the Scootic In and the Sawmill Bar and Grill. Others remain closed until a later period of time. But the question comes whether the food prepared is safe to handle or eat. Recent national news have had devastating results with plants that produce beef and chicken with many of them closing due to employees who have contracted the Coronavirus that has been the bane of the economy and the major cause for historic unemployment rates.

Millinocket police seek person of interest in ongoing investigation

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Police Department is seeking assistance from the public locating a local woman who has been described as a person of interest in an ongoing investigation. Police are seeking Racheal Jo White, 26, of Millinocket, who is believed to be staying at multiple residences in the Katahdin Region, including locations both in Millinocket and Medway, according to Chief Craig Worster of the Millinocket Police Department.

Man charged for allegedly leaving accident scene after car strikes house

MEDWAY—A 69-year old Medway man is accused of leaving the scene of a single-vehicle accident last week when his automobile was reported to have struck a residence on Pattagumpus Road. Barry Markham was summonsed to appear July 8 in Millinocket District Court on a charge of leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

East Mill man accused of ingesting drugs, operating under the influence

EAST MILLINOCKET—A 37-year old East Millinocket man is facing multiple charges stemming from an incident last week when he allegedly drove under the influence of drugs and possessed suboxone, which is he accused of trying to conceal by ingesting it. Daniel Deschaine is facing one count each of operating under the influence of drugs and unlawful possession of schedule W drugs. He is scheduled to appear July 8 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the charges.

School board accepts milk and bread bids

MILLINOCKET—The school board accepted bids for milk and bread for the school year 2020-2021 at the regular meeting on Tuesday, May 5.  Bimbo Bakeries and Oakhurst Dairy bids were accepted by the Board by unanimous votes. The meeting was via Zoom conferencing with all members present. Bimbo Bakeries was once again the successful bread company awarded by the school board. Bimbo Bakeries have been serving Millinocket schools for several years, according to Superintendent Francis “Frank” Boynton.

Our Katahdin receives Brownfield grants for mill clean up and assessment

MILLINOCKET - The Katahdin region received some much needed good news last week when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Our Katahdin $850,000 in two Brownfields Assessment and Clean Up Grants. Five hundred thousand dollars will be used to clean up the former Great Northern Paper Administration Building and the other $350,000 will be spent to inventory and devise a plan for environmental issues across the entire mill site.

Planning board to hold public hearing on solar farm proposal

MILLINOCKET—A solar farm is being proposed for a section of the former Great Northern Paper Company’s mill site which is now owned by Our Katahdin. The planning board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom in keeping meetings within certain guidelines dictated by social distancing expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stanley launches campaign for House District 143

Peggy Stanley (R-Medway) has   filed papers to run for House District 143, which includes the communities of East Millinocket, Medway, Millinocket, Patten, Hersheytown Township and Long A Township. Stanley, a former millworker at Great Northern Paper and small business owner, said that renewing the region’s economy is one of her top priorities if elected.