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OCTOBER 16, 2014

LaGrange man injured in Howland Monday morning rollover crash

HOWLAND – Speed appears to have played a large role in the single car crash on Monday morning on the LaGrange Road. According to Deputy Patty McLaughlin of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, William Tash, 56, of Lagrange was taken to Penobscot Valley Hospital by Howland ambulance for treatment of a head injury he sustained as a result of the crash, which occurred at about 11 a.m. on Monday. Tash was driving east on the LaGrange road, driving toward Howland, passing vehicles along the way. according to McLaughlin. He crested a hill and saw a pickup backing out of a woods road onto the LaGrange Road, according to McLaughlin.


Howland voters choose to keep current transfer station in place, reject salt shed

HOWLAND – With voters providing a clear voice at the polls Tuesday, a pair of proposed projects have been steered to new courses. Voters opted to keep the town’s transfer station at its current location during the special town referendum vote on Tuesday afternoon, with 156 of 240 voters opting for that choice among three transfer station options. Options to explore a new site for the transfer station and recycling center (30 votes) or to switch to curbside pickup and close the transfer station (46 votes) trailed far behind in the results, announced by Town Manager Tracey Hutton on Tuesday before the regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting. In a separate question, voters also rejected taking $50,000 – half from undesignated fund balance and half from a building reserve account – to build a new salt shed near the highway garage. The final vote was 98 in favor and 123 opposed.


Supreme Court hears appeals at Mattanawcook Academy

LINCOLN – For the first time in its history, the state’s highest court heard three appeal cases at Mattanawcook Academy last week. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, as part of its continuing program to hear cases at Maine high schools, spent Oct. 8 in MA’s cafetorium hearing the cases, allowing students a chance to see the appellate side of law up close.  “Students never have an opportunity to see appellate law,” Chief Justice Leigh Saufley in an interview after the cases were heard. “They see the trials (on television), but they don’t see what real trials look like,” Saufley added. “They don’t see the final piece.” The court was invited to MA by outgoing State Sen. Emily Cain of Orono, who represented Lincoln as part of her district. She is seeking to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud in Congress, as Michaud is seeking to become Maine’s next governor.


Bear referendum, bond questions facing voters on November ballot

In less than three weeks, voters will be asked to cast their votes for state, local and federal legislators. Additionally, several referendum questions will also be posed to state voters, including one that would change bear hunting practices in the state. There are also six bond questions on the state ballot, asking voters to approve borrowing $50 million for a host of projects. The question gaining the most attention and airtime is the first question, which asks voters to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps in bear hunting, except to protect property, public safety for research purposes.


Creditors meeting set for Oct. 29 in GNP  Maine Holdings, LLC bankruptcy

BANGOR—A meeting of creditors has been set for Oct. 29 in Bangor for the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case of GNP Maine Holdings, LLC. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the Penobscot County Probate Court on Hammond Street after a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware earlier this month granted a motion filed by a group of creditors to move GNP’s case from United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, where it was originally filed, to the District of Maine in Bangor. United States Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath issued the order on Oct. 3 transferring the bankruptcy proceedings to Maine from Delaware. A creditors meeting was initially slated to take place this week in Wilmington, Del. but was cancelled because of the venue change. GNP’s bankruptcy case has been assigned to trustee P.J. Perrino Jr. of Augusta.


Board to ask for reduction in town value

EAST MILLINOCKET – After another meeting in executive session with town attorney Dean Beaupain and tax assessor William Van Tuinen (via phone) the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen agreed to asked Van Tuinen to petition the Maine Revenue Service to ask that the town of East Millinocket value be reduced. Board Chairman Gary MacLeod said the town will ask that the current state value of $106 million be reduced to approximately $80 million due to the bankruptcy filing of Great Northern Paper/Cate Street. The reduction in value, if granted, won’t provide any immediate relief for the town but does mean that the town would be eligible for higher state funding opportunities sooner.


School Board rejects the proposal to close school

MILLINOCKET—A proposal that would have closed Granite Street School and moved the town’s elementary aged students into Stearns Junior-Senior High School to create a K-12 facility was unanimously rejected last week by Millinocket school leaders. During their regular meeting on Oct. 7, members of the Millinocket School Committee voted 5-0 against a motion to pursue a plan to move students from Granite Street School, which currently houses kindergarten through sixth grade, across town to Stearns, which is presently a grade seven through 12 school.


Family Dollar planning late November opening

KATAHDIN REGION—Family Dollar is targeting late November for the opening of its new location in East Millinocket while also unveiling plans for the construction of a new building for its store in Millinocket. Cliff Cermek, community affairs specialist for the Charlotte, N.C.-based retailer, said in an e-mail Family Dollar is closing in on the opening of its East Millinocket store. Cermek said around mid-November the company will formally receive control of the Main Street store from its developer. After that occurs, Family Dollar’s store opening team will build shelves, stock merchandise, set signage and point of sale systems as well as carry out other various tasks to prepare the location to open. According to Cermek, it takes approximately two weeks for the store opening team to complete its work putting the location on track for a late November opening. He added the opening of the East Millinocket location will create between eight to 10 team member positions. Cermek said the company seeks to hire locally as “it’s our goal to be a great partner in the communities we operate.”


Millinocket Town Council to hold several community forums on municipal finances

MILLINOCKET—As the town of Millinocket encounters a continued uncertain financial future because of the instability of its largest taxpayer, elected officials will hold a series of community forums to examine municipal finances and potential operational changes in town departments. Town Manager Peggy Daigle said a total of five forums with the Millinocket Town Council are on tap with the first held Wednesday (presstime). Councilors will meet again next Wednesday, Oct. 22, and then again Nov. 5, Nov. 12 and Nov. 19. Each session is slated for 4:30 p.m. in Charles Sanders Council Chambers on the top floor of the Millinocket Municipal Building. She said different municipal departments will be the subjects of discussion during each of the forums. The overall goal of the meetings is to prioritize municipal services in advance of preparing the fiscal year 2016 budget, when town councilors will need to contend with further municipal valuation reductions as well as the likely loss of tax revenue from Great Northern Paper because of its bankruptcy.