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March 16, 2017

Lincoln man uninjured in log truck roll-over

CHESTER – A log truck operator avoided serious injury Monday after rolling his loaded vehicle over on the I-95 on ramp, spilling wood and diesel beside the road and down the embankment. Daniel Duncan, 34, of Lincoln was driving a 1998 Western 18-wheeler owned by Sunset Development Inc., of Greenfield, when he lost control as he turned the corner from the Access Road to the South Bound on-ramp at 4:30 p.m. “He said the load shifted,” State Trooper Tom Fiske said.

Return of logging industry could bolster economy in area towns

LINCOLN – Art House of Maine Woods Biomass Exports became re-energized whenever he was told he could achieve his vision for the Maine logging industry and a potential export business. “It gave me the power to keep powering through,” he said during an interview Tuesday. That drive is about to pay dividends, not just for his Searsport-based business, but for local loggers as well, as a five-year project to build a logging export business will take off from the Treeline Inc. woodlot Thursday.

Vachon resigns as Lincoln Transfer Station Coordinator

LINCOLN – After two-and-a-half years serving the town while seeking ways to improve recycling, Transfer Station Coordinator Tom Vachon will be resigning his post as of April 2, 2017. “It has been a tremendous pleasure for me to work for the town of Lincoln and I have very much enjoyed working with the citizens of this community,” Vachon said during Monday’s regular monthly council meeting. Vachon did not provide any comment on the specifics on why he was leaving his position, only that he wanted to be an example for his children.

Council reverses airport vote, proceeds with land assessment

LINCOLN – The town will continue the pursuit of a potential land purchase at the airport, reversing a decision made in January to suspend all money being spent on the project until approval was granted through referendum. Councilors voted 5-1 with Council Chairman George Edwards abstaining to seek a second appraisal of the property. The appraisal would be needed to be eligible for an FAA grant that would reimburse the town 90 percent of the cost of the property, with an additional 5 percent coming from the state. The cost of the appraisal would also be reimbursed. “We have two options, one to fund it through the town of Lincoln the other option would be to accept Keith Strange of PK Floats offer to fund the second appraisal up to $4,000,” Town manager John Sutherland said, following a motion to undo the January decision to cease all spending on the project.

Area departments battle blizzard, fire, during Tuesday night blaze

LINCOLN – Firefighters from seven area departments braved Tuesday night’s severe weather to combat a fire that broke out at the intersection of Taylor Street and Ariel Street. Severe winds and heavy snow kept many roads impassable and prevented some firefighters from being able to leave their driveways, providing an initial shortage of trained firefighters that could continue to fight the fire from the interior of the building. Initial reports of embers glowing beneath the porch of the house at 15 Taylor Street, owned by Lois McCormick at 9:47 p.m. was quickly escalated to a second alarm structure fire as smoke was observed from both the first and second level of the building. Firefighters also were concerned that the occupant may still be inside the building, however it was later learned she was safe at another location.

Demo and removal of the old tannery among those bids awarded at Howland selectmen's meeting

Several bids were awarded during Monday night's selectmen's meeting in Howland.  The first was a bid to purchase a new chasis for one of the town's aging trucks.  The winning bid went to Thornton Brothers of Lincoln for $31,852.  Cole-Whitney Ford offered a bid of $40,085 and O'Connor GMC's bid came in at $33,450. The next item open for bids was for a comprehensive road study to be done for the town.  The winning bid was by A. E. Hodgdon for $13,000.  C. E. S. had also entered a bid for $10,000-15,000.  The final subject of bidding was for the demolition and removal of the old tannery. 

Firefighters thwart toxic fire at former East Millinocket mill site

EAST MILLINOCKET—Firefighters from four area departments battled a potentially toxic blaze Monday night at the former Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket working to extinguish a fire that was feared could have forced the evacuation of the community if it continued to burn. Chief Les Brown of the East Millinocket Fire Department said nobody was injured during the blaze that was reported around 6:30 p.m. The fire occurred in an area of the former mill site that was undergoing demolition with metal and other debris catching ablaze. About 30 firefighters from East Millinocket, Medway, Millinocket and Lincoln responded to the scene while Mattawamkeag Fire Department provided coverage to the area during the call. Brown said the aerial ladder truck from Lincoln Fire Department was instrumental in dousing the fire as it was able to get above the burning debris to spray water. The demolition crew working at the site also responded to assist firefighters. Brown said the crew used two large excavators to haul out burning pieces of debris with firefighters using Lincoln’s ladder truck to extinguish the fire. Firefighters cleared the scene around 11 p.m. Monday, but Brown said if not for Lincoln’s ladder truck they might still be there on Tuesday morning.

Selectmen encouraged to share ideas on marketing region

EAST MILLINOCKET – Medway Citizen Bruce Cox met with selectmen to talk about a community development project he and several other citizens are working on to increase signage in the area. The goal is to provide better information and directions to locals and tourists who come to the Katahdin region looking for the region’s history and activities. Cox explained that he was recently invited to take part in a national conference on economic development in rural communities; he said he immediately agreed to take part because he is interested in helping the region. What became clear is that “economic development today is much different than 20 years ago,” Cox said and the region needs to adapt.

Millinocket man arrested after allegedly attacking man inside apartment

MILLINOCKET—A 37-year old Millinocket man was arrested last week days after an incident at a State Street apartment where he allegedly assaulted its male occupant. David “DJ” O’Clair was charged with one count each of assault and violation of condition of release in connection with the March 2 incident. He was transported to the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor following his arrest, which stemmed from allegedly committing new criminal conduct with the alleged assault thereby violating terms of release from a December warrant arrest, with summonses to appear April 5 in Millinocket District Court to answer to the two new charges. According to information provided by Deputy Chief Janet Theriault of the Millinocket Police Department, the incident was reported around 4:30 p.m. March 3 when another citizen indicated to police that his friend was assaulted the prior evening. Officer David Cram met with the alleged victim, who stated he was assaulted in his State Street apartment by O’Clair after the man entered the residence uninvited.

Millinocket Town Council approves energy contract; says no to moratorium

MILLINOCKET—The Millinocket Town Council was busy on Thursday, March 9. At its regular meeting, the council gave approval for an electricity contract that will save the town $3,000 and voted against a marijuana moratorium that would have extended the state’s mandated moratorium beyond February 2018. The public had voiced concerns about whether or not to approve a marijuana moratorium on Thursday, March 2. At that meeting there was an estimated three-to-one margin of residents who favored having no extended moratorium. At the regular council meeting, that margin likely reversed with many voicing concerns over the marijuana moratorium. To be sure, the state had passed the citizen’s initiative by the narrowest of margins: 2,600 votes were all that separated the yeas versus the nays narrowly passing 50.2 to 49.8. Millinocket’s own vote had defeated the ballot question by 400 votes, according to results published by nytimes.com.

Millinocket School Board mulling state educational vision

MILLINOCKET—The state is proposing a new idea for education and it is coming at a time when many smaller school districts are struggling with financial budgets and declining enrollments. The Department of Education (DOE) is seeking the willingness of combining educational resources and bridging the gaps with larger facilities in a pilot program that would facilitate consolidation. School districts are being approached to reach out to neighboring districts in a regional concept that could possibly link three to five schools into a career and technical school (CTE). Partnerships would be formed as schools collaborate with one another as a CTE. A Bangor Daily News (BDN) article posted by reporter Nick McCrea on February 28 states that the “Maine Department of Education is promising a pilot project that would spur consolidations among neighboring high schools and is counting on struggling school districts to be among the first to try it out.” In most instances, the old schools would be abandoned and a new bigger school facility would be built with help from the state coffers. Or at least the state is dangling a carrot in front of the CTE to partially fund the project. And the DOE is seeking the collaboration of school districts to become the pilot project for the CTE. Acting Commissioner of Education Robert G. Husson announced on January 23 the newly devised educational system to break new ground in innovation that would combine vocational education, high school, and a college curriculum that would essentially become a 9-16 school system.