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August 11, 2016

Sudden severe storm blocks some area roads, shuts down businesses

LINCOLN - When Saturday afternoon's cloudless blue sky suddenly filled with purple clouds and distant rumbles of thunder, residents knew they were in for yet another severe thunderstorm. The intense wind, rain and, in some cases, hail brought with it another round of destruction, knocking down trees and power lines, leaving most of Lincoln and parts of Lee without electricity until Sunday afternoon, effectively shutting down most of the businesses along with a few streets.

Council concerns lead to rejection of bids for Lincoln tax acquired properties

LINCOLN – An attempt to sell seven tax acquired properties Monday night brought questions on a pair of fronts, prompting the Lincoln Town Council to reject all bids submitted for the properties. According to a motion listed on the meeting's agenda, 10 different properties were listed, with eight fetching bids above the minimum bid price and two drawing no bids. The properties were acquired by the town through the fiscal year 2014 foreclosure  process for non-payment of property taxes and were advertised in local newspapers and on the town's website.

Peggy Daigle hired as Lincoln's interim town manager

LINCOLN – The town council has turned to a familiar face to step in as temporary town manager. At the end of Monday's meeting, councilors unanimously voted to hire Margaret "Peggy" Daigle as its interim town manager, paying her $60 per hour for a four day week, starting on Aug. 23. She will replace Ron Weatherbee, who has accepted a teaching position at Penobscot Valley High School in Howland after spending 25 months as Lincoln's town manager.

Fast acting firefighter saves Howland home

HOWLAND - Newly hired town manager David Wilson took some time Friday to meet some of the emergency responders, visiting the fire station around noon. He ended up witnessing the observant eye of an EMT and the fast thinking of a firefighter save the home of a resident. Kristi Bryer was standing in front of the station, speaking with fellow firefighter Chris Lord and Assistant Chief Jason Helms when she saw what looked like smoke coming up from under the porch of the house located at 9 Willow Street, directly across from the station. "She noticed smoke," Wilson said. "(Lord) walked over and lo and behold it was a fire."

Police, Rite Aid employee end shoplifter's three store spree

LINCOLN - An observant cashier at the local Rite Aid and two persistent Lincoln police officers were able to end a Bangor woman's shoplifting spree in Lincoln and recover merchandise from three businesses. Lisa Petersen, 46, of Bangor was charged with three counts of theft and criminal trespass after police recovered more than $300 worth of product from Rite Aid, Dollar Tree and Walmart last Thursday night. "Officer Josh McKechnie and Andrew Scelso responded to Rite Aid on a shoplifting complaint," Detective Mark Fucile of the Lincoln Police Department said. Fucile said that while the employee was speaking with the woman, who was later identified as Petersen, she began throwing items under a car, including perfume and a sundress.

Sudden strong winds topple Lincoln landmark Elmo the Elm

LINCOLN - Elmo has been a resident of the town of Lincoln for well over 200 years, a local landmark and the last remnant of the elm trees that once lined West Broadway before the Dutch Elm Disease wiped out a large number of the great trees. Elmo was on the threshold of stardom, too, as possibly the largest elm tree in Penobscot County, if not the state. Terri Coolong, a forester for the Maine Forestry Department was preparing to enter it in the Big Tree contest being run by her deepartment in conjunction with the Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District. "I had just measured the tree last week," Maine District Forester Terri Coolong said. "I have lived here for 30 years and always admired that tree." In a matter of minutes, however, Saturday's strong winds and sudden storm ripped down the 87-foot-tall tree. The tree, whose trunk measured 43 inches in diameter and had a crown spread of more than 78 feet, fell with such force, it took down power lines and damaged at least six power poles between Mainely Rent to Own and Goding Avenue. "It was definitely a huge tree," Coolong said. Coolong works in education and outreach, as well as enforcing Maine's Forest Practice Act and water quality laws. Coolong said she estimated the tree was roughly 210-years-old, with the spacing in rings indicating it was still growing well.

Maine Supreme Court rejects appeal of Day’s Auto Body in lawsuit

PORTLAND/MEDWAY—The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled against Day’s Auto Body of Medway in its appeal of a lower court’s ruling that granted summary judgment in favor of the two defendants, the town of Medway and Emery Lee and Sons, in the civil lawsuit brought by the Medway business stemming from the response to the fire that destroyed the company’s auto shop in 2011. In an unanimous opinion issued last week following oral arguments in the case that were held in May, the state’s highest court affirmed the ruling of Superior Court Justice William Anderson, who last year decided both the town of Medway, through actions of its fire department, as well as Emery Lee and Sons, which was called by fire personnel to assist at the scene with an excavator, were immune from the claim brought by Day’s Auto Body  by the Maine Tort Claims Act. In a lawsuit filed in 2013 by Day’s Auto Body in Penobscot County Superior Court, the company alleged the town of Medway and Emery Lee and Sons used vehicles, machinery and equipment negligently in the course of their response to the fire on Oct. 3, 2011. The Medway Fire Department was accused of several acts, including filling hoses with water before their nozzles were opened, refusing to allow firefighters to enter the building, spraying water on a fireproof door, refilling fire trucks from a single hydrant rather than two others that were available or the nearby Penobscot River, driving a truck toward a water holding tank that made it impossible to unload the water, and improperly connecting a water hose to a nozzle.

Nature Conservancy gives special presentation to Millinocket council

MILLINOCKET—At the regular meeting of the Millinocket Town Council on July 28, the Nature Conservancy gave a special presentation regarding some of its recent activity in the Katahdin Region. Nature Conservancy representative Bill Patterson was in Charles Sanders Council Chambers to inform council members regarding updates on its land and recreational opportunities in the area. Since 2002, Nature Conservancy has been active making land acquisitions in the Debsconeag, Trout Mountain, and other areas. Many of these lands are designated for recreational use by hikers, campers and other parties interested in utilizing the trail systems. Nature Conservancy, according to Patterson, has also been working with various land owners to make trails and points of interest available not only to tourists, but also to the local residents. Improvements on the trail to the Ice Caves near Debsconeag until recently have been underutilized due to relative obscurity and inaccessibility. Nature Conservancy has been working since 2008 to change that.

Medway board chooses to interview candidates for recreation position

MEDWAY – Hiring a new recreation director got one step closer Monday evening as the Medway Board of Selectmen chose three applicants for interviews. After meeting in executive session with outgoing director Jody Nelson (who will become the East Millinocket Recreation Director upon the retirement of Frank Clukey this December – with vacation time accrued his last day is Sept. 12), Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee said three applicants had been chosen from a pool of six to interview. Lee said the board would like to do all the interviews in one setting so she is in the process of working with Nelson to coordinate schedules. Since Nelson is succeeding Clukey, whom she has worked with for 13 years, she won’t need any training to assume her new duties but she has said she would like some time to work with and train a new Medway director, who will be her assistant, before fall programming swings into full gear.

Personnel policy review brings out FD issues

MEDWAY – The Medway Selectmen continued their revamp of the town’s personnel policy with a second review Monday evening. The board is trying to simplify the policy while at the same time change it to better fit the current work environment, budget and expectations. Administrative Assistant Kathy Lee presented the board with an amended version according to selectmen’s request from the previous week’s meetings. Gone is the long, specific dress code replaced by one paragraph that requires an employee to be dressed to meet the expectations of their job whether it’s in an office environment or as grounds maintenance. Included is the required safety equipment for a particular job and prohibition of clothing with offensive language or pictures.

Police bust pair on active arrest warrants

MILLINOCKET—Two men found themselves in the Penobscot County Jail following recent unrelated incidents when they were taken into custody on outstanding warrants. Dana Pelletier, 31, of Millinocket was arrested earlier this week on a warrant for failure to appear on a charge of operating after suspension while Shawn Michaud, 31, of Millinocket was arrested late last month on three warrants for failure to appear and violation of condition of release associated with charges of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs and stealing drugs. Each man was brought to the county jail in Bangor following his arrest.