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February 18, 2021

Texas lawman eager to make his mark on Lincoln Police Department   

LINCOLN - Johnnie “J.D.” Sparks fell in love with the state of Maine several years ago. Now at the end of his law enforcement career in Texas, stuck behind a desk after a life of working the roads, he decided to make a life-changing move. “I wasn’t anticipating getting the job,” the 56-year-old lawman said about his application to the Lincoln Police Department. “But I put in for it anyway.” He had already tested the waters in his home state, where he is currently employed as a Tarrant County Sheriff’s Deputy. None of the available police chief jobs there seemed to be what he was looking for.

 


 

Clifton man pleads guilty to 2019 murder of Lee Academy graduate

BANGOR - A Clifton man has been sentenced to three decades in prison after pleading guilty to murdering his girlfriend. Dwight “Jay” Osgood, 39, was arrested in January 2019 after police responded to 311 Airline Road in Clifton in response to a 9-1-1 call. Responders discovered the body of Kari Dill, 35, who was shot to death.

 


Chester selectmen finish budget work, poised to sign town meeting warrant

CHESTER – Selectmen will sign the annual town meeting warrant on Friday after putting the final touches on a proposed 2021-2022 town budget on Monday night.  When selectmen met last month in a budget workshop, the town had not received an estimate for surveying land purchased last year for additional cemetery lots. Voters agreed to purchase land that was once home to the Twelve Oakes Fair for $70,000 at the annual town meeting.


‘Keag explores options for collection $30,000 in outstanding sewer fees

MATTAWAMKEAG - Town officials are going to try a new approach this year to collecting outstanding debt on sewer bills. On Monday, the three-member Board of Selectmen agreed to include the names of people who are behind on the annual town report, similar to how outstanding taxes are reported. The decision was made after it was announced $30,318 is outstanding since January, with just 24 people responsible for $27,103 of that debt. Only 100 people utilize the town’s sewer system.


Allegedly caught red handed, local man returns to scene to steal again

LINCOLN - A local man is facing a felony charge after returning to a property to steal items after apparently being interrupted the first time. Nicholas Camp, 32, was spotted by the owner carrying the man’s snow scoop, which he promptly dropped and ran off back in January. He allegedly later returned on February 2, this time taking ice fishing traps, the scoop, and other items. Sgt. John Walsh of the Lincoln Police Department said Camp told the man he was “just cleaning up” before running away during the first encounter. “Nothing was stolen at that time,” Walsh said about the January encounter.

 


Gifford, Moison likely winners of Lincoln special election

LINCOLN - Though the official results of the town’s special council election will not be available before press time, it is likely Jeff Gifford and Cathy Moison will win their respective races. According to preliminary tallies, former councilor and state representative Jeff Gifford narrowly defeated Joshua Gray 80 to 73 for late councilor Sharon Sibley’s term, which ends in 2022. The ballot also contained 11 write in votes for other candidates.

 


Sanitary District offices to remain closed to public

LINCOLN – While the number of Covid-19 infections continue to decrease both locally and statewide, the offices of the Lincoln Sanitary District will remain likely closed to the public for a while longer. Superintendent Scott Hesseltine told the board during their Feb. 11 meeting that the reopening of the office won’t likely happen for a few weeks as the district looks to reduce potential coronavirus exposure to its employees. "That's part of the reason I'd like to keep the doors closed right now," Hesseltine said.  

 


RSU 67 board agrees to pilot E-Sports season for MA

LINCOLN – Mattanawcook Academy has joined a growing list of schools offering an E-Sports opportunity for its students this spring. The Regional School Unit 67 board gave its approval at its Feb. 3 meeting, allowing MA to participate in the 2021 spring season as part of a pilot program. MA will join other Maine Principals Association schools competing in one of five different games this spring, RSU 67 Athletic Director Bill McCarthy explained at the meeting. “It’s legit,” McCarthy said about the opportunity. “It’s exciting, to say the least, as I learn more about it.”

 


Lincoln emergency services faced with critical spacing concerns

LINCOLN - With a permanent solution likely years away, town officials are examining possible temporary fixes for a critical spacing shortage at the Public Safety Building. Town Manager Rick Bronson said this week the building was “bursting at the seams” now that the town operates its own ambulance service in addition to a full time fire department and police department. An assessment conducted by the Sewell Company of town-owned facilities concluded that Lincoln would likely need to build an all-encompassing municipal building to house public safety along with the town offices and possibly offer a space for elections. The Public Safety Building was ranked just above the aged Ballard Hill building in the study of 14 municipal holdings.


Lincoln Airport awarded $13,000 in federal funding

LINCOLN - With work on the town’s airport scheduled to begin next week, the municipality received another financial boost for the $4.5 million project. On Monday, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced both Lincoln and Millinocket airports would receive $13,000 each. “Like other airports around the world, Maine airports are struggling to make ends meet given the sharp downturn in passenger traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Collins said. “This investment will help ensure that airports across the state will continue to serve as engines of job creation and essential pieces of our transportation network after the current public health and economic crisis has passed.”


Millinocket reaches $150,000 settlement with former Deputy Police Chief Theriault

MILLINOCKET—The town of Millinocket has reached a settlement agreement with former Deputy Police Chief Janet Theriault, who will receive $150,000 paid in two equal installments. The Millinocket Town Council voted 7-0 during its meeting Thursday afternoon in favor of an order approving a settlement of claim with Theriault regarding a complaint she filed against the town with the Maine Human Rights Commission. The council vote came following an executive session where councilors met for consultations with legal counsel to discuss pending litigation. Terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed in Thursday’s public session as it had yet to be finalized by all parties. According to a copy of the fully executed agreement, which was released Friday afternoon by Millinocket Town Attorney Dean Beaupain, Theriault will receive two lump sum payments totaling $150,000. The first payment of $75,000 will be made within 30 days of the council approving the settlement with the second payment of $75,000 made during January 2022.

 


Citizen claims public input silenced in super hiring

MEDWAY – Former Medway selectman and school board member John Farrington used the public comment section of the Medway School Board meeting Feb. 9 to tell members he didn’t think they meet the burden of the public’s right to know when they accepted former Medway Middle School Superintendent Rick Lyon’s resignation during the Jan. 12 school board meeting. Board members acted at that same meeting and hired Quenten Clark as superintendent after an executive session. Farrington said the board didn’t post Lyons’ resignation on its agenda and certainly not that it would be hiring a replacement immediately. By not allowing the public to know or participate in any kind of discussion the board violated the spirit of the public’s right to know that is going on at board meetings.


MRH conducts first mass vaccination clinic; more to come

MILLINOCKET – All the planning and preparation paid off as representatives at Millinocket Regional Hospital conducted the first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Millinocket at Stearns High School on Feb. 17. Vaccinations were by appointment only. The confirmation that the hospital was receiving 300 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week, jump started the mass vaccination plan and MRH staff began calling citizen’s that pre-registered for appointments. MRH Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips, RN, BSN, MPH said the hospital was very pleased to be able to offer a vaccine clinic of this size and assured the public that planning has been ongoing to ensure the best experience for the patient.

 


Council receives COVID update from MRH

MILLINOCKET—Nearly a year has passed since the COVID 19 pandemic reached into our lives and closed much of what was once a normal existence. The coronavirus has caused the extreme need to have residents vaccinated in our area. Meeting that need and demand for vaccinating communities members has been at the forefront of administrators, doctors, nurses, and  staff at Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH). Todd Phillips, Infection Prevention Specialist for MRH and the MRH Community Vaccination Plan updated the Council on the status, progress, and forthcoming efforts to vaccinate residents in the community at the Council meeting on Thursday, February 11.


Tax acquired properties bringing revenue to Millinocket

MILLINOCKET—The Town Council was under the gun during the budget process for Fiscal Year 2021. Councilors approved new territory with the mil rate being set at 34 in September by a 6-1 vote.  An extra mil had been approved to provide for extra funding of anticipated legal fees and settlements with concerns brought about with issues to the police department and other issues. The additional mil added to the budget was hoped to cover expenses during unprecedented times. An extra $200,000 wouldn’t hurt. But how can additional revenues be secured that would help to offset some of these issues that the Town needs to resolve? Part of that solution may be in the revenue being generated by tax acquired properties. Three properties had the potential for a boost of an additional $44,000; funds that the Council would welcome at a meeting on Thursday, February 11.


Report of suspicious activity at business leads to alleged suspended driver

MEDWAY—A report of suspicious activity at the parking lot of a Medway business led police to charge a Patten woman accused of driving with a suspended license. Andrea Tremblay, 29, was summonsed to appear May 5 in Millinocket District Court on the operating after suspension charge stemming from the Feb. 6 incident.


Woman charged for driving without license following Medway stop

MEDWAY—A vehicle inspection sticker that had been expired for almost two years drew the attention of an East Millinocket police officer and led to a traffic stop that resulted in a charge against a motorist accused of driving without a license. Kylie Tibbetts, 23, of Milford was summonsed to appear April 7 in Millinocket District Court on a charge of operating without a license.


Motorist facing multiple charges accused of twice driving wrong way on I-95

MEDWAY—A man from central Penobscot County was arrested Saturday night on a host of charges after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to two reports of a vehicle going the wrong way on Interstate 95, including one such incident in Medway. James Ahern, 51, of Greenfield was charged with two counts of driving to endanger as well as one count each of reckless conduct, operating under the influence and operating wrong way on a divided highway. The charges stem from a pair of incidents when Ahern was allegedly going the wrong way on I-95 in northern Penobscot and southern Aroostook counties.


Town seeks order to generate revenue from timber harvesting of airport lots

MILLINOCKET—The Town rescinded one order in exchange for another that will allow the possibility of generating revenues from the harvest of timber located on airport properties. While Millinocket is not in the business of timber harvesting, the availability of earning some income from wood that needs to be cut to make way as the future site of a solar farm. Land that is connected with the Millinocket Municipal Airport is being considered as an ideal place where a future solar farm project could be placed.


Millinocket schools handling changes from COVID

MILLINOCKET—It has now been eleven months since COVID-19 began making drastic changes to how students are educated in local schools. Students and staff have learned to make the adjustments; although, schools are not out of the woods just yet. As news of the fast-spreading global pandemic took front-and-center stage schools scrambled to make the shift to distance and virtual learning models for which there was little preparation or almost no advanced warning.


Report of intoxicated person leads to arrest of Millinocket man for OUI

MILLINOCKET—A report of an intoxicated individual culminated in the arrest of a local man accused of driving with a breath-alcohol concentration of more than two and a half times Maine’s legal limit. Jason Freeman, 49, of Millinocket was arrested Feb. 9 on the charge of operating under the influence. He was released on bail following his arrest and was summonsed to appear May 5 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the charge.


Getting kids in school, COVID money ideas discussed

MEDWAY – At his first official school board meeting, Medway Middle School Superintendent Quenten Clark told Medway School Board members that he favors getting students back in school. Clark said he will follow Maine Department of Education (DOE) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines but he will be working to find ways to get as many students back into MMS for in-person learning as soon as it can be done safely. “We need to get kids back in school as soon as possible,” Clark said, “They need to be here. I’m going to brainstorm with (MMS Principal) Alyssa (Dickinson) to see how we can do this. We’ll follow the DOE and CDC protocols but we need to get kids back.”