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June 23, 2016

Four area fire departments battle a late night forest fire in Lowell

LOWELL - Four area fire departments battled a forest fire Friday night that started after a fire resurfaced from an earlier brush burn. Firefighters from Lowell, Lincoln, Passadumkeag and Burlington responded to a fire in a wood lot at 9 pm Friday, but were able to contain the blaze before it extended beyond half an acre. A state forest ranger was also on the the scene, located half a mile past the Enfield town line. "It was an excellent job by everybody," Lowell Fire Chief Rick Smart said. "We had it knocked down very quickly." Smart said the team of more than 25 fire fighters were able to control the fire within half an hour of arriving on scene, as well as keep it from spreading to a nearby residence. Smart suspects the fire was a result of an earlier brush burn that "burned into the ground and resurfaced."

Penobscot Valley wins first regional baseball title, falls in state "D" contest

BANGOR –  The greatest season in Penobscot Valley's baseball history ended on a bit of a sour note, as the Howlers fell to Searsport 10-2 in the state "D" championship game on July 18 at Mansfield Stadium. To reach that game, the top-ranked Howlers edged third-seeded Fort Fairfield 3-2 on July 15 on the same field to earn its first regional baseball title. PVHS concluded its season with a 17-2 record, with both losses coming to Searsport. "Our only losses this season came against the state champs," PVHS coach Ernie Gerrish said after the state game defeat, the first for the Howlers since Searsport edged them 5-4 in early May.

Howland man charged following West Broadway crash

LINCOLN - A Howland man has been charged following a police investigation into a crash on West Broadway. Adam Powers, 34, has been charged with driving to endanger after he struck the side of a pick up being driven by William Gardner, 20, of Lincoln on Saturday, June 4. Gardner was treated and released at Penobscot Valley Hospital for minor injuries. Powers attempted to make a left turn onto West Broadway from the parking lot of US Cellular in his blue 2010 Dodge pick up when he collided with Gardner, who was attempting to make a left turn into the same lot.  The initial police report at the time of the incident stated Powers had allegedly been operating in a "reckless, careless and negligent manner."

Burlington's withdrawal from SAD 31 public meeting set for July 14

BURLINGTON – A meeting regarding the town's withdrawal from School Administrative District 31 has been set. The meeting, hosted by the town's withdrawal committee, will take place on July 14 at the town office starting at 6:30 p.m., SAD 31 Superintendent Michael Wright announced last week. The meeting date was established by the Department of Education, Wright said, noting that he would not be able to attend due to surgery. The meeting is part of a series of steps required as part of a coming referendum vote on the town leaving SAD 31. Should residents vote to leave the district, Burlington's withdrawal would take effect for the 2017-2018 school year.

Enfield voters opt to remain with PERC

ENFIELD – With no debate, residents at Monday's town meeting took selectmen's advice and will continue to send its trash to an Orrington facility. Voters unanimously agreed to continue hauling trash to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Corporation's trash-to-energy plant in Orrington at the annual town meeting, giving the selectmen authority to sign necessary contracts.  "We've done a lot of research on the trash business," Town Manager Theresa Thurlow said at Monday's annual town meeting. Enfield joins Howland, Lincoln, Winn and unorganized territories (handled through the Penobscot County commissioners) in remaining with PERC.

Lincoln man found guilty on weapons charge at Monday trial

BANGOR – A local man has been found guilty on a weapons charge following a one-day trial on Monday, according to police. David A. Smith, 50 of Lincoln was found guilty on one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited weapon following a trial Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor, according to Lincoln Detective Mark Fucile. A sentencing date had not been set as of press time.

Safety issues at transfer station draw concern from selectmen

HOWLAND - Trash at the transfer station, or at least trash not being cleaned up, is creating a safety issue for residents. That was the concern brought up by at least two board members during Monday night's regular selectmen's meeting. "We are starting to get liability issues and insurance issues over there," Selectman Thomas Hunter said. Hunter visited the transfer station last week due to complaints he had been receiving from residents. The list of complaints he investigated included dump picking, traffic flow, the amount of tires on the lot as well as random debris and garbage not being cleaned up. "Right now public safety is paramount," Chairman Glenn Brawn said.

SAD 31 budget includes increased local shares, reduction of three positions

HOWLAND – Despite the loss of three positions from a proposed $7,146,621 million 2016-2017 budget, five of School Administrative District 31's six communities could see increases in their assessments should the plan pass as presented. The board approved the budget at its June 15 meeting, with members of the public gathering in the Hichborn Middle School's multipurpose room on Wednesday evening to vote on the plan at the annual district budget meeting. A separate budget validation vote at the polls is scheduled for June 28, which is the second and final step in the process. The overall budget represents a $12,087 decrease (or 0.17 percent), according to information distributed at the June 15 board meeting.

Selectmen recommend PERC, voters will decide

MEDWAY – Many hours of debate and discussion haven’t done much to make a decision on trash disposal any easier for the Medway Board of Selectmen. However, in the end the known and established business of PERC narrowly won the board’s endorsement over the new, yet-to-be-built MRC/Fiberight trash/recycle plant. In a 3-2 vote with Board Chairman Bruce Jones, Selectmen Darrell Lyons and Rob Farrington voting to stay with PERC while Selectmen John Lee and Jeff Nadeau with MRC/Fiberight, the board agreed to be united in their recommendation of PERC. The final decision will be made by voters at a special town meeting scheduled for June 29, 6 p.m. at the municipal building.

Police probing attack between teens at Stearns parking lot

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Police Department is investigating an alleged attack last week between two teenagers in the parking lot of Stearns Junior-Senior High School. The incident took place during a late Thursday night altercation involving two 18-year old males in the parking lot of the State Street school, according to information provided by Deputy Chief Janet Theriault of the Millinocket Police Department. The incident remains under investigation and the case is being reviewed by the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.

Richmond stops Stearns title hopes

BREWER—After 16 regular season contests and three games in the Northern Maine tournament, the Stearns softball team finally got the match up it had sought all spring during Saturday’s Class D state championship at Coffin Field in Brewer. Across the diamond from the Northern Maine titlist Lady Minutemen were the South champion Richmond Bobcats, the perennial softball power in the Pine Tree State’s smallest classification who came to Brewer fresh off their seventh-consecutive regional crown and in search of the program’s fourth gold glove in a row while riding a 69-game winning streak.  Included in the Bobcats’ string of consecutive victories was a 9-4 win over Stearns in last season’s Class D state final. Coach Nick Cullen’s Lady Minutemen sought to avenge that setback, halt both the Richmond winning and gold streaks, and claim the school’s first athletic state championship in a girls sport. But instead the coveted gold glove went back to Richmond for the fourth-straight season as the Bobcats joined Madison as the only schools in the state to ever win a quartet of consecutive softball state crowns.

Medway citizens pass all but one article

MEDWAY – A small number of citizens gathered last week for Medway’s annual town meeting and passed every article funding the school and town budgets but rejected one that transferred money for a town festival. Article 65 was supposed to transfer $2,000 from the town’s Centennial + 35 account to help fund a new festival called Penobscot River Fest. The River Fest is an attempt to revive a celebration on the Penobscot River much like the town used to have in Old Home Days and the Wooden Canoe Festival. It is the idea of Peggy Stanley and Kim Lyons. Stanley has met with selectmen several times to explain the plans and asked if there was any funding available to help defray the costs. The Centennial +35 account does have money and selectmen liked the festival idea and agreed to ask the townspeople to move $2,000 to help pay for the River Fest and created the article. At the town meeting the objection to the transfer was simple – that money was raised for a certain event and will be used to help pay for future celebrations of the town’s birth – it shouldn’t be moved around to pay for something else.

Public has little to say about budget

MILLINOCKET—It was the townspeople’s chance to weigh in on the budget process as it concerns the final analysis for input on Tuesday, June 21. In the end, a couple of attendees voiced concerns for the Recreational Department’s cuts and a plea to continue with funding of grooming ski and snowmobile trails. The Town Manager and Department Heads have worked hard on the budget process trying to keep revenue and expenditure figures within desired parameters in order to achieve a mil rate below 30. It has not been an easy task. Last year’s mil rate was at 29.66, according to Council Chairman Richard “Dick” Angotti. This year’s rate could be 30.58 if there are no further changes to the budget. “If nothing changes it will be 30.58,” Angotti stated. “It increases the budget by .92 on the mil rate. It’s not the final number.”