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March 26, 2020

Department hosts first academy with bigger plans for future

HOWLAND - The local Fire Department has big plans for the future after hosting its first-ever fire academy training. Beginning Monday, March 9 and running through Friday, firefighters from several area departments were able to learn critical skills for combatting fires while more veteran members could brush up on subjects in order to remain sharp in the event of an emergency. “With such a turnover rate, and with so many new hires, very few (of Howland’s team) have had training on our equipment,” Noah Burr said Monday.    

Area schools to remain closed until at least April 27

Area schools will remain closed until at least April 27, according to announcements made by superintendents and news reports. Lincoln-based Regional School Unit 67, Howland-based School Administrative District 31 and Lee-based School Administrative District 30 are among several school districts in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties who agreed to keep schools closed through nearly the end of April. All three districts are part of what is known as the Penquis Superintendents Association, which agreed to the extended closure on March 20.

PVH prepared for virus response as state shuts down

LINCOLN - While the state has officially ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses, the local hospital is prepared for the eventuality that the pandemic reaches the area. “We are ready,” Hospital CEO Crystal Landry said during a phone interview last week. “We are prepared.” As of press time, there has not been a reported case of Covid-19, the coronavirus, north of Old Town. That does not mean the hospital has not taken precautions should an outbreak occur.

West Broadway fire leaves Lincoln family homeless

LINCOLN - A local family has been left homeless after their home was destroyed by a fire Friday morning. Officials believe Christmas lights on a stairwell ignited the house of Jamie Soucy at 397 West Broadway at 9:20 a.m. “We made an attempt at an interior attack when we first arrived on scene, but we were forced to abandon it due to smoke and descending debris,” Donnie Olson of the Lincoln Fire Department said.

Two busted after drug use in front of off-duty officer

LINCOLN - Two greater area residents were arrested last week after allegedly injecting illegal drugs while parked beside an off-duty police officer. Jeremiah Coffin, 39, of Lincoln and Michael St. Pierre, 50, of Springfield apparently did not notice or recognize the person in the car parked next to them at a West Broadway business before committing the crime.

HAN taking COVID-19 seriously, you should too

Health Access Network’s dedicated staff are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, and you should too. The best way of preventing spread of the virus, of protecting yourself and your family, is to act like you might be infected yourself.  The more you protect others, the more you protect yourself.  The best step we can all take to protect everyone is to keep our distance from others, at least 6 feet away, more if possible.  This is why the recommendation right now is NOT to go to work, to shop, or to gather together in any way unless you have to – you should stay home.  That’s what we call social distancing.

Boosted belt leads police to felony drug possession

LINCOLN - An attempt at a five-finger discount at a local retailer resulted in bigger problems for a local man after police discovered more than a stolen belt on his person. Samuel Michaud, 50, of Lincoln has been charged with felony Class C Possession of Scheduled W Drugs in addition to Theft by Unauthorized Taking after a trip to Marden’s Discount Store on Main Street Saturday, March 21. For a second time this week, it was an off-duty officer who first noticed the crime being committed.

Covid-19 pandemic impacts local meetings

As Maine and the nation try to contain the spread of the Covid-19, area towns continue to reschedule meetings and figure out how to move forward. An executive order from Gov. Janet Mills earlier this month barred gatherings of 10 or more people in keeping with guidance from state and federal officials regarding the spread of Covid-19, making it hard for local government boards to meet in public. Legislation approved on March 17 also allows for area town meetings and elections to be postponed, a path taken by several area towns. The legislation also allows for town boards to meet remotely, including the use of video conferencing and streaming software.

Coronavirus continuing to impact area towns, residents

The continuing spread of the coronavirus and the Covid-19 disease it carries has prompted major changes for some area businesses, particularly in light of recent executive orders issued by Gov. Janet Mills. Tuesday, Mills ordered that non-essential businesses close to the public from 12:01 a.m. Wednesday through midnight on April 8. Among non-essential businesses are shopping malls, theaters, casinos, fitness and exercise gyms, spas, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo and piercing parlors, massage facilities, nail technicians, cosmetologists and estheticians, electrolysis services, laser hair removal services and other similar and personal care and treatment facilities and services, according to the order.

Gov. Mills signs law inspired by retired Lee Academy educator

AUGUSTA – A law inspired by a retired Lee Academy educator was signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills last week. LD 2108, "An Act Regarding Health Insurance Options for Town Academies," was signed by the governor on March 20 after passing both the State Senate and House of Representatives on March 17, just before the Maine Legislature adjourned early due to the Covid-17 pandemic. The law officially treats employees of "town academies," like Lee Academy, as retirees just like other state employees regarding state health insurance plans, according to a statement from the office of State Sen. Michael Carpenter, who sponsored the legislation.

Lincoln Lakes Food Cupboard faces coronavirus challenges

LINCOLN – The presence of the novel coronavirus has disrupted lives across Maine, including the Lincoln Lakes region. The Lincoln Lakes Food Cupboard has not been immune to a fast-changing landscape, but will continue to do what they can, according to the organization's executive director. The food cupboard will remain open Tuesdays form 9-11 a.m. at its Park Street location, Voisine said, but will change its operation to meet current Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention guideline and a Gov. Janet Mills executive order limiting groups of 10 or more people.

Area school districts offering meals for students, families

Area school districts continue to offer meals for children while they remain closed to instruction for the next few weeks.

Deadlines approaching for Howland, Enfield nomination papers

Howland and Enfield residents still have a few days to take out and return nomination papers for June 9 municipal elections, which are still moving forward at press time. Those interested in seeking nomination papers should call their respective town office first, as both are closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

East Millinocket working on ambulance service cost formula

EAST MILLINOCKET – After numerous discussions and meetings the East Millinocket Board of Selectmen and Ambulance Supervisor Les Brown are close to providing ambulance service areas with new financial terms of service. Board Chairman Peggy Daigle said that she, Brown, Selectman Mike Michaud and Administrative Assistant Angela Cote have been working on a formula using population counts to help pay down the service’s shortfall over the last year and moving forward to create sustainability.

Victim in Millinocket shooting dies from injuries

MILLINOCKET—A man who was seriously injured in a shooting March 15 inside a Millinocket residence died last week from his injuries. Cameron Pelkey, 23, of Millinocket died overnight March 18 into the morning of March 19 at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to information provided by Maine State Police Spokesperson Steve McCausland. Pelkey died of a single gunshot wound as determined by an autopsy performed Thursday at the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta.

Medway closes town office, selectmen’s meetings suspended

MEDWAY – Wanting to keep office employees and the general public as safe as possible Medway Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee announced on the town’s Facebook page that the town office is now closed to the public and weekly selectmen’s meeting have been suspended until further notice. Lee said there is a drop box located outside the office for residents to leave documents and payments and for employees to do the same. She said if a person calls ahead, which is recommended, at 746-9531 town office employees can often help over the phone or direct the caller to the resources or website that it needs eliminating the need to come to the town office altogether.

Katahdin Region schools remain closed through April 27

KATAHDIN REGION—Schools in the Katahdin Region will remain closed through April 27 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket School Departments announced the extension of the ongoing closure last week. Public schools in those three communities were initially slated to reopen on March 30 following a two-week closure due to the pandemic.

Authorities warn of scams regarding COVID-19

KATAHDIN REGION—Federal authorities are cautioned people across the country to be mindful of scam attempts targeting fears around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A recent announcement from the Federal Trade Commission focused on attempts from scammers related to the ongoing health crisis that has gripped the United States and the world.

MRH provides community update on COVID-19

MILLINOCKET -  Millinocket Regional Hospital is sharing information with the public in regards to their procedures during the Covid-19 outbreak.  CEO Bob Peterson issued the following statement Tuesday. “Due to the severity of this virus, MRH has taken a proactive approach to protect our patients, staff and community as a whole,”  Peterson said.  “We have a solid plan in place, and that plan is continuously evolving to incorporate the latest information and CDC guidelines, which are received several times a day.  We are closely following the progression of the outbreak and adjusting our response accordingly.” he said.

MRH community tips their cap to retiring well-loved nurse

MILLINOCKET - A veteran RN known for wearing her nursing cap every day has retired from service at Millinocket Regional Hospital.  Judy Knowlton retired at the end of February after a long and distinguished career in the Katahdin community.  She was recently honored at a gathering to wish her well as she explores new horizons.   Katie Mackin, Marketing Coordinator for MRH, said that Knowlton has had a big impact on the area. “She’s touched a lot of lives here in the community and was part of the delivery of many babies who still reside here in the community; some of which work here at MRH,” Mackin said.

Man arrested after alleged syringe chase

MILLINOCKET—A 23-year old Millinocket man was arrested last week following an incident when he allegedly chased a female family member with a syringe loaded with his prescription medication inside their shared residence. Nolan Poole was arrested Thursday on a charge of domestic violence criminal threatening and summonsed to appear May 6 in Millinocket District Court.Mackin said.

Millinocket woman charged with OUI after backing into vehicle

MILLINOCKET—A 60-year old Millinocket woman was charged with operating under the influence accused of having a breath-alcohol concentration of more than twice Maine’s legal limit when she backed into another vehicle last week. Donna Charette was summonsed to appear June 3 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the OUI charge stemming from March 18 incident investigated by Sgt. Michael Winslow of the Millinocket Police Department.

Woman accused of illegally connecting electricity

MILLINOCKET—A 26-year old woman is facing multiple charges accused of illegally connecting electricity service at her Millinocket residence. Racheal Jo White was summonsed Sunday on charges of theft of services and criminal mischief following an investigation conducted by Officer Elizabeth Jasper of the Millinocket Police Department. White is scheduled to appear June 3 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the charges.

Theriault recognized, broadband study update

EAST MILLINOCKET – Selectmen took a few minutes during their meeting time to remember Alfred Theriault, a town employee of over 20 years, who passed away after a brief illness on March 14. Theriault worked as the cemetery superintendent and at the transfer station and was fondly remembered for his kind smile, work ethic and problem solving abilities.

Financial institutions release statement on COVID-19 pandemic

WESTBROOK—The Maine Credit Union League (MECUL) and Maine Banking Association (MBA) issued a joint statement regarding Maine’s financial institutions during the outbreak of the Coronavirus. The pandemic caused by the spread of Covid-19 has customers and financial institutions taking precautions during this unprecedented time in recent history. Customers and bankers are all concerned about health, safety, and wellbeing during this time of uncertainty which has instituted measures to maintain safe social distances while conducting business.abilities.

Medway board adopts remote learning plan

MEDWAY – The Medway School Board met Monday to approve a remote learning plan compiled by Medway Middle School educators. Superintendent Marie Robinson and Principal Alyssa Dickinson presented the plan saying it was developed using the recommendations of the state department of education. The remote learning plan includes student expectations, parent expectations, teacher schedules and lesson plan guidance that include ed tech responsibilities. Dickinson said students, parents and teachers will be expected to follow the plan beginning March 30. Robinson confirmed that as of now the schools are out until Apr. 27 due to the state of emergency declared by Gov. Mills and this plan will be in effect.

Schenck High School Hall of Fame to induct five this summer

The Schenck High School Hall of  Fame Committee is pleased to announce the 2020 Inductees. The Hall of Fame honors Schenck alumni for their exceptional accomplishments in athletics, the arts, or their professional endeavors. It also recognizes teachers, coaches, or community members, who may or may not be Schenck graduates, but have made significant contributions to the Schenck High School community. The 2020 inductees are Karen Morin Giberson, Margaret “Gillie” Gillis, Durward Heal, Donald Nisbett, and Joel Stanley.