January 12, 2013


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Maine lobstermen will be the focus of the first episode of a new monthly half-hour series on the cable news network HLN.

The new series is called “American Journey” and will debut with an episode on the struggles and daily lives of Maine lobstermen  at 8 p.m. Saturday. The episode will be repeated at 8 p.m. Sunday

The new monthly series is hosted by Ty Pennington, best known as host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” HLN crews filmed in Down East Maine last summer, in areas near Ellsworth.

Other episodes in coming months will include a story about life on a commune and on Delta blues culture.

HLN can be seen in much of southern Maine on Time Warner Cable Channel 39.


Governor orders flags flown at half-staff for guardsman

Gov. Paul LePage has ordered that U.S. and state flags be flown at half-staff at Maine National Guard facilities in honor of a longtime Army National Guard officer who died without warning this week at the age of 44.

Lt. Col. Michael Backus died Monday while doing regular duties at Camp Keyes in Augusta. The state Medical Examiner’s Office said autopsy results are inconclusive pending further study.

LePage ordered that flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise Friday to sunset Sunday.

Backus’ funeral is scheduled for Sunday at the University of Maine at Farmington.


Snowmobile festival set despite tragedy on lake

A nearly quarter-century-old snowmobile festival will go on as planned despite the presumed deaths of three sledders who apparently rode into open water on Rangeley Lake last month.

The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club, organizer of the annual Snodeo, decided to carry on with the festival scheduled for Jan. 24-26 after meeting with the Maine Warden Service and town officials.

The Warden Service has been leading recovery efforts. A woman riding separately died when her snowmobile fell into the lake at about the time the men went missing.

Snodeo chairwoman Sandi Dumont told the Sun Journal the loss of the men is “unfortunate,” but many people plan vacations around the event, which provides an economic boost to town.

From 3,000 to 6,000 people are expected to attend.


Nonprofit plans to reopen Squaw Mountain ski resort

A ski resort in northern Maine that hasn’t operated in three years is grooming its trails in anticipation of opening again.

A nonprofit group said it hopes to have the Big Squaw Mountain resort outside of Greenville open for the weekend of Jan. 19.

Amy Lane, president of The Friends of Squaw Mountain, said her group is leasing the resort from the owner for $1 a year.

Since launching its plan in December, the group has raised $21,000 in donations, she said. Dozens of volunteers have been working to spiff up the lodge, get the boiler running, fix broken pipes, get the ski lift going and groom the trails.

Local residents said the mountain once employed several hundred people but it has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

– From staff and news services

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