Schools installing cameras after several threats

In the wake of three bomb threats and an incident where a student brought a pistol to school, Boothbay Harbor schools are installing 22 cameras to monitor activity inside and outside the buildings.

Union 49 Superintendent Eileen King told a parents’ group Tuesday that contractors worked over the weekend to install the wiring. Some cameras are already in place for a $14,000 computer-controlled system.

While cameras won’t prevent future incidents, like the recent trio of bomb threats at the school, it will make it easier to investigate them, she said.

King made the announcement about the cameras at a meeting for parents and teachers following Monday’s arrest of a student who brought a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol to school. The student has been expelled, she said.

After the incident, police and school officials told students at an assembly what had transpired. King also sent a letter home to parents and invited them to Tuesday’s meeting.

In response to parents’ questions, King said the school has a series of mentoring programs in place designed to help students.

These include an invisible mentoring program where adults watch students without the student’s knowledge. “This student was being monitored in this way. We tried to get help, inside and outside the school, for him and his family,” she said.

– The Lincoln County News


Tribe wants voters to consider plans for casino again

 A proposal for a casino in Oxford County is spurring the Passamaquoddy Tribe to have the state’s voters reconsider the tribe’s plans for a casino in Washington County.

Black Bear Entertainment LLC gathered enough petition signatures that have been certified by the Maine Secretary of State’s Office for its proposal for a four-season resort casino in Oxford in western Maine to be considered next November on the statewide ballot.

Now, the tribe, which has twice had its casino or racino proposals turned down on statewide ballots, is trying to get the Legislature to approve a competing measure for a tribal casino and an Oxford County casino to be on the ballot, along with the stand-alone Oxford County proposal.

– The Quoddy Tides


Laboratory adding $4.5 million wing at Salisbury Cove

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory will add nearly 7,000 square feet of research space to its Salisbury Cove campus, according to documents submitted with the Planning Department recently.

The $4.5 million Marshall Wing would be built as an addition to the environmentally friendly Marshall Laboratory constructed in 2008. The new building would have a footprint of 3,500 square feet, a full basement, and two stories plus a mezzanine level.

The Marshall Wing would provide two new dedicated laboratory spaces for permanent staff and two ancillary labs for visiting scientists. The addition would allow 12 new research staffers to be hired at the lab, bringing research and administrative staff to a total of 60 people.

The building would be constructed on the site of an existing fish facility, the functions of which would be accommodated in the basement. The remaining space would house offices, labs, a microscopy room and related support functions, according to planning documents.

The new building would share an elevator and stairs with the existing Marshall Building. The placement of the Marshall Wing would enlarge an existing plaza and open up ocean views, according to plans.

Construction estimates place the cost of the new building at $352 per square foot, for a total of $3.4 million. Another $1.1 million is planned for fees, services, furnishings and the administrative costs of the move.

– Mount Desert Islander


Owners donate 82 acres to trust for conservation 

A $3.5 million 82-acre shorefront property on Indian Point Road has fallen under the ownership of a local conservation organization.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is the new owner of 82 acres of land at 105 Indian Point Road. Former property owners Robert and Diana Oliphant of Sedona, Ariz., relinquished all rights to the property in January and donated it to MCHT.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful gift,” MCHT’s Brian Reilly said. “We really appreciate the generosity of the Oliphants, who gave us this property in order to preserve this beautiful stretch of shore.”

MCHT officials have applied with the town for a property tax exemption on the land. As a nonprofit organization, the group is exempted by law from paying property tax.

Assessor Steve Weed said that MCHT meets all of the exemption requirements and will be approved. He estimated that $31,000 in tax payments will be lost by the town annually because of the deal.

– The Ellsworth American


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