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September 5, 2019

Ballard Hill fate headed back before Lincoln councilors

LINCOLN – The former Ballard Hill School building has once again been front and center, in more ways than one, in the minds of residents and elected officials. The building, once again in the town's hands, is expected to be discussed when the Lincoln Town Council holds its monthly meeting on Sept. 9 at the town office, located at 29 Main Street. "I think we need to deal with it," Councilor Sharon Sibley noted at an Aug. 26 council workshop.

Howland board hears Otelco internet plans at Tuesday meeting

HOWLAND – Otelco is planning to invest at least $500,000 in town to increase internet speed to town residents, a pair of company officials explained to selectmen Tuesday night. With additional help, including a grant from the ConnectME Authority, Otelco could partner with the town to bring fiber to all parts of the town, with community support needed to help make the town's grant application more attractive, the officials told the board at Tuesday's meeting. It marked the third straight week that selectmen heard from a potential broadband internet provider as selectmen and the economic development committee seek to improve internet speed and service.                                                                                 

Burlington voters vote to update tax maps, new billboard, tree harvest at town meeting

BURLINGTON – Voters gave the go-ahead to updated and digitized tax maps, install a new billboard sign and cut trees on its Grand Falls Township property during an Aug. 28 special town meeting. About 20 people attended the meeting, moderated by Burlington Fire Chief John Smith. • Voters agreed to take $45,000 from the town project fund, funded through tax increment financing funds, to have CES Inc. create a GIS tax map system and to update the town's tax maps.

PVH seeking additional time to submit bankruptcy plan

LINCOLN – In bankruptcy court documents, Penobscot Valley Hospital contends that it continues to work toward developing a plan to restructure millions of dollars of debt. It has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to extend deadlines to file its plan with the court to Oct. 15, as well as a deadline to seek acceptance of the plan to Dec. 14. Some creditors,  Machias Savings Bank, the state of Maine and the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority have registered an objection to the use of cash collateral without developing a bankruptcy plan, according to court documents.

Lincoln's Sgt. Walsh is town's first drug recognition officer

LINCOLN – Lincoln Sgt. John Walsh has helped fill a void in the region by becoming a certified drug recognition expert. Walsh recently completed the necessary classroom and field training to become what is believed to be the first Lincoln police officer to become a certified drug recognition expert, Lincoln Public Safety Director Dan Summers noted. "There's an obvious need for a drug recognition expert," Summers said. "They're few and far between," he added. Walsh said a main role as a drug recognition expert is to assist officers in impaired driving enforcement matters.

Attempts to switch price tags, skip past self checkout at stores halted

LINCOLN –  A Washington County couple used a novel approach to trying to leave a local store without paying for some of the goods they sought. After an investigation, a Princeton woman now faces felony theft charges for the attempted crime spree, according to police. Det. Mark Fucile was called to Marden's on Main Street by the store's loss prevention officer, who had Richard Lowder, 49, of Lubec and Florence Lonseth, 38, of Princeton in the office.

Several area residents indicted by Penobscot County grand jury

BANGOR – Several Lincoln Lakes area residents were indicted last week by the Penobscot County grand jury. • Two people were indicted in connection with a June drug bust at a Lincoln motel. James McCausland, 33, of West Enfield and Kristy Worster, 38, of Kingman were indicted on drug charges by the grand jury stemming from the bust. • A Lincoln woman was also indicted by the grand jury in connection with her April arrest. Kayla L. Black, 25, was indicted on one count of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs by the grand jury on Aug. 29. Also indicted by the grand jury was Alton K. Whitney, 38, of Mattawamkeag on one count of eluding an officer, one count of aggravated operating after habitual offender revocation, one count of driving to endanger, one count of violation of condition of release, one count of criminal speed.

Millinocket woman killed in motorcycle crash

MILLINOCKET—A 26-year old Millinocket woman was killed early Saturday morning in a motorcycle accident on Rice Farm Road in Millinocket. Haley Smith was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident that was reported around 2 a.m. in the area commonly known as Dead Man’s Curve.

Report of erratic vehicle leads to OUI arrest of Western Maine woman

MILLINOCKET—A report of an erratically operating vehicle culminated in the arrest of a Franklin County woman for allegedly operating under the influence. Joyce Smith, 65, of Jay was arrested following an Aug. 21 incident in Millinocket. She was summonsed to appear Oct. 9 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the operating under the influence charge.

Board to look at municipal building repairs, server upgrades

EAST MILLINOCKET – Selectmen learned that the recent hard rains revealed two leaks in the roof of the town’s municipal building. According to Administrative Assistant Angela Cote a small leak was discovered in the building’s auditorium – not bothersome yet but something that will need to be looked at eventually- and a second, larger leak that was discovered in the upstairs room that houses town records and documents. Cote said the area has been cleared so nothing can be ruined and some roof tar was applied to temporarily stop the leak but it’s clear that roof improvements will need to be done now sooner versus later. She said it will need to be a conversation during budgeting.

Council sets mil rate

MILLINOCKET—The Town Council set a mil rate of 33 during a special Council meeting held on Tuesday, September 3. The mil rate was set with the Council authorizing $200,000 to be taken from surplus to offset the rate to taxpayers. Without such a move the tax rate could have been 34 or more. The surplus will remain at 3 million dollars which has been recommended by auditors. The due  date for the first half payment of taxes is Thursday, October 3, 2019 and second half payment on Friday, January 3, 2020; although, the January date may be subject to change pending a possible calendar adjustment and approval of the Town Manager.

Millinocket man accused of driving under influence of drugs, possessing brass knuckles

MILLINOCKET—A Millinocket man is facing multiple charges after he was accused of driving under the influence of drugs and possessing brass knuckles during a motor vehicle stop last week. Corey Day, 34, was arrested Aug. 26 on charges of OUI drugs and possession of a dangerous weapon. According to Chief Craig Worster of the Millinocket Police Department, Officer Michael Winslow conducted a stop of a vehicle being driven by Day on Medway Road for a traffic violation. Signs of impairment were detected during the traffic stop, and field sobriety tests were administered, based on which Day was placed under arrest.

Medway man indicted on charges from alleged theft of items from Hannaford

MILLINOCKET—A 35-year old Medway man was indicted last week on two charges stemming from an April incident when he allegedly stole several items from Hannaford Supermarket in Millinocket. Adam Van Dine was indicted on one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and violation of condition of release. The Penobscot County grand jury returned the two-count indictment against Van Dine during its August session on Aug. 28 in Bangor.

EMPD receives grant for radar speed sign

EAST MILLINOCKET—Motorists travelling on Main Street in East Millinocket will notice a new permanent radar speed sign purchased with grant money awarded to the East Millinocket Police Department from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.

Police seeking public’s assistance curbing criminal mischief complaints

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Police Department is seeking help from the public as it continues to receive criminal mischief complaints around the community. According to Deputy Police Chief Janet Theriault, officers have received ongoing complaints of individuals, believed to be juveniles, throwing fireworks at homes in the areas of Aroostook Avenue and the Hillcrest playground in the New Development neighborhood. The culprits have fled the scene by the time police respond. Millinocket police have also received reports of continued destruction at playgrounds in town, mainly the Little Italy playground.

McNaughton makes ESEA presentation at school board meeting

MILLINOCKET—One of the key elements to a successful education for students is having programs and opportunities with the necessary funding in order to properly educate students from a wide and diverse and socio-economic background. This is generally foremost in the minds of administrators and educators and Millinocket schools provide for the best available education for students within the school department. Josh McNaughton, principal at Granite Street School presented the basic breakdown of federal grant monies and programs made available to Millinocket schools at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, August 27. The federal Elementary and Secondary Educational Act (ESEA) was initiated in 1965 and has provided educational opportunities for students through various Title programs ever since.

Council receives payment of taxes from Our Katahdin; approves loan

MILLINOCKET—The town council received a payment of past due taxes from Our Katahdin on Thursday, August 29 in the amount of $160,815.27. At a special meeting on Tuesday, September 3, the council passed “a waiver of certain taxes and expenses on past due taxes concerning GNP West, Inc., and GNP Holdings II LLC” which were inherited by Our Katahdin when it purchased the former mill properties from the town in an agreement dating back to January 4, 2018. With the IRS loan resolved, Our Katahdin was able to make the payment to the town.

Man charged with theft accused of stealing returnables from neighbor

MILLINOCKET—A Millinocket man is facing a charge of theft by unauthorized taking for allegedly stealing an estimated $30 worth of returnable bottles and cans from a neighbor. Isaac Berube, 30, was charged following an investigation by Officer Shawn LeVasseur of the Millinocket Police Department into last month’s theft complaint.