Maine: Lawrence High School students make blankets for hospice patients, and the Good Shepherd Food Bank gets $33,000.

Students in Lawrence High School’s JMG program will make more than 35 blankets to be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area

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This holiday season, Mainers in hospice care will be receiving a gift, but it will be coming from someone they have never met.

The students in the Lawrence High School’s “Jobs for Maine’s Graduates” program, also known as JMG, are making blankets that will be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area.

“I think this project is great. I think it gives people in the home comfort and just a little something extra for the holidays,” said Rilee Bessey, a junior at Lawrence High School.

Student plan to make more than 35 blankets to be donated. They are also making holiday cards to be distributed to the patients.

“My students are always looking for ways to give back. They really care about others and doing more things in our community to help those in need,” said JMG specialist at Lawrence High School Katherine Wood.

The students in Wood’s JMG class have worked more than 500 hours doing community service in 2018.

“Understand that not everybody has what you may have,” said Lawrence High School junior Bryson Dostie. “Everybody needs to get a little bit of something around the holidays,” Dostie added.

JMG is program across Maine in 131 schools. The organization’s students worked more than 30,000 hours this year doing community service projects.

And…

Maine’s largest hunger relief organization receives final installment of $100,000 promise!
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The Good Shepherd Food Bank received a check for $33,000 from the Maine Credit Union League to complete a three-year contribution to the food bank

The largest hunger relief origination in Maine now has in its hands, the final part of a $100,000 promise of support.

The donation comes from the Maine Credit Union League who promised in 2016 to provide the food bank with $100,000. Today the MCUL presented a check for $33,000 at the George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Waterville. The Good Shepherd Food Bank donates goods to the school’s food pantry.

At an assembly Wednesday morning, students in the school shared essays in front of their classmates about what the school’s food pantry means to them.

“To hear from students who are seeing it in their classmates and some of them likely experiencing themselves, I think that really hits home,” said Ethan Minton, the Good Shepherd Major Gift Officer.

The George J. Mitchell school food pantry has received more 60,000 meals worth of food from Good Shepherd since 2013.

“It helps highlight how much of a community effort this is and how aware people are of the hunger problem in the state of Maine and what people can do to help alleviate that problem,” said Tim Brooks, the Vice President of Corporate Marketing for the Maine Credit Union League.

The MCUL’s Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised over $8 million since starting the program in 1990.  In 2017, the credit union raised $740,000 for the cause.

Kassidy Plummer is representing Maine cheerleaders in the annual London, England New Year’s Day parade!

Ringing in the New Year with a cheer

PORTLAND, Maine — A Mainer is going from firing up the crowd in the Deering High School gym to the cheering on streets of London.

Kassidy Plummer will pound the pavement with 1,000 other American cheerleaders in London’s New Year’s Day parade, an event that draws a crowd of 300,000 people and is televised all over the world.

“We have to learn a dance and we’re performing it seven times,” says Plummer. “I’m in the first dance.”

The Deering sophomore has been cheering in Maine for twelve years. This past summer, she was one of three girls at the Portland Area Cheer Camp to be named an All-American, which qualified her for the chance to cheer in London.

Plummer’s been practicing her moves, and she’s ready to show off her skills to the world.

“It’s a really great opportunity because Maine is not really noticed for anything,” says Plummer. “Going over seas and performing for everybody is amazing.”

The London New Year’s Day parade will begin at noon in London, 7 a.m. Eastern Time.

Richmond, Maine: Murder, suicide ruled cause of Richmond couple’s death, police say

Neighbors in the small community who knew the victims personally are already feeling their loss Sunday night.
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State Police say say the death of a Richmond woman over the weekend was a domestic violence homicide. Detectives say Niomi Mello was shot to death by her long time boyfriend, Kirk Alexander Jr., who then turned the 9mm handgun on himself. Both were shot in the head. Families members were updated on the case Monday.

The bodies of the couple were found in the kitchen of their home Saturday morning by Mello’s 11-year-old son, after he awoke. The boy then went to a nearby store and police were called. The shooting likely took place late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The two bodies found deceased inside of a Richmond home Saturday afternoon have been identified as Kirk Alexander Jr., 46, and his longtime girlfriend, Niomi Mello, 37.

Their cause of death still has not been released to the public.

Neighbors in the small community who knew the victims personally are already feeling their loss Sunday night.

Pastor Lester Dow Jr. and his wife, Mary, have been with the Richmond Corner Baptist Church for more than 15 years.

“Our neighbors, we care about them all,” Dow told NEWS CENTER Maine Sunday.

Something happened inside of their neighbors’ Post Road home Saturday, where police confirm Mello’s 11-year-old son found the couple’s bodies in the kitchen.

“Very sad thing and very tragic thing,” said Dow.

Though not close with his neighbor, Dow recalls seeing Alexander from time to time.

“Several years ago, we were back and forth some and I invited him over for coffee and we talked about the Lord’s word and scripture,” said Dow. “I hadn’t seen him for a long while until just the day before this happened. Two days ago now. I had a little conversation. Everything seemed fine.”

Standing inside his church Sunday afternoon, Dow now realizes everything may not have been fine.

He said Alexander was more than just his neighbor. He was the church’s neighbor.

“I feel it personally but also folks in the area here and the church because they’re right next door, you know, a neighbor in that sense to everybody,” exclaimed Dow. Dow plans to spend the next few days comforting the community, which is already feeling the gravity of this loss, while the police continue to investigate the couple’s manner of death.

Autopsies have been completed by the State Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta and the results will be released Monday, according to state police.

Whales have worse than average year for entanglement in gear

The NOAA released a report on the subject of whale entanglement Thursday. The agency says the number of cases nationally was 76, and 70 of the entanglements involved live animals, while the rest were dead. The 10-year average is closer to 70 entanglements.

The agency says about 70 percent of the confirmed entanglement cases were attributable to fishing gear, such as traps, nets and fishing line.

The NOAA says the entanglements happened along all U.S. coasts except for the Gulf of Mexico. Entanglement’s a major concern for jeopardized species such as the North Atlantic right whale, which number only about 440.

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U.S. Border Patrol Fires Tear Gas at Families Seeking Asylum!

H1 border patrol tear gas

In Tijuana, Mexico, U.S. border patrol officers fired tear gas Sunday into a crowd of desperate Central American asylum seekers as they tried to push their way through the heavily militarized border with the United States. Among those attacked were mothers and small children, who were left gagging and screaming as tear gas spread. Mexican federal police officers in riot gear moved in and arrested dozens of the migrants; Mexico’s government says they’ll be deported to Central America. The group had broken away from a peaceful protest of thousands of migrants demanding entry to the U.S. where they hoped to win asylum. The migrants are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and are fleeing widespread violence, poverty and mass unemployment. This is 37-year-old Honduran asylum seeker Saúl Hernández.

Saúl Hernández: “My message to the United States president is not to scare people, because he’s showing Mexico that he has the military power. He’s also frightening Mexico. Please remove your troops.”

In response, the Trump administration temporarily closed the San Ysidro border crossing, one of the busiest ports of entry in the world, with more than 90,000 people crossing each day. Meanwhile, the administration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied it had made any deal with the Trump administration to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their U.S. asylum claims are processed. The denial contradicts tweets by President Trump and a report in the Washington Post on Saturday.

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Maine Fishermen use petition and social media video to protect working Portland, Maine waterfront

“We did not want to do this, too big a project for us,” said Lane. “But we feel as threatened today as we did back then so we have to do something to slow things down.”

PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine)–Fishermen who work out of Portland Harbor say they’re worried about getting forced out by development. A similar fear prompted a referendum vote and city ordinance more than 30 years ago to protect the working waterfront. Now fishermen like Keith Lane say they need to do it again.

Their immediate concern is a proposal to build a large hotel complex on Commercial Street next to Chandler’s Wharf condominiums. It’s the first development of that kind to be proposed for the waterfront side of the street. Fishermen have produced a video they hope will tell their story through social media. And they have started a petition drive to block the project with a referendum vote.

“We did not want to do this, too big a project for us,” said Lane. “But we feel as threatened today as we did back then so we have to do something to slow things down.”

Lane says they want to stop encroaching development, and Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, said Wednesday he thinks the fishermen are making a valid point.

“We can tell already the marine industry is getting squeezed.,” Strimling told NEWS CENTER Maine. These guys feel it every day and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that if we don’t take a hard look at it we could lose something that’s precious to our economy and our character.”

The 1987 working waterfront referendum restricted non -maritime uses of the area between Commercial Street and the harbor. However, Keith Lane says three have been changes over the years that weakened the law. He said fishermen want only maritime business development in the wharf areas, saying keeping fishing related businesses close to the water it crucial to the future of fishing.

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John Ewing/Staff Photographer: Monday, January 28, 2008….Commercial fishing boats from Maine have joined the fleet of boats now fishing out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, because of increased restrictions in this state.

Federal judge will hear Wealthy Republican Loser, Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s concerns to ranked-choice voting on December 5

Rep. Poliquin and his lawyers say ranked-choice voting is not constitutional, and that under the old system of one party, one vote, which Maine has used for decades, that he is technically, the winner of the CD 2 race.

(NEWS CENTER Maine) — A federal judge plans to hear concerns from Congressman Bruce Poliquin and his lawyers on December 5 regarding the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting and why they believe that he should be declared the winner of Maine’s second congressional district.

Rep.-elect Jared Golden found out Thursday, along with the rest of the state, that he was the apparent winner of the November 6 election after two rounds of ranked-choice voting gave him the majority.

Judge Lance Walker is scheduled to hear the preliminary injunction at 10 a.m. in Bangor. Poliquin is seeking for the judge to declare ranked-choice voting unconstitutional and declare him the winner of the Nov. 6 election.