Greeters getting video gear to let troops see loved ones

Troops returning home after serving overseas will soon be able to talk to loved ones by more than phone when they stop over in Bangor.

The Maine Troop Greeters organization is getting a laptop computer and a webcam that will allow troops to contact family and friends through a video conferencing program when they pass through Bangor International Airport.

Since the first Iraq war, troop greeters have been at the airport for every military transport flight coming from and going overseas. In all, they’ve greeted more than 5,000 flights carrying more than 1 million troops.

The Maine Association of Police is giving the group the equipment.


Baldacci touts state exports; bill would require voter ID

Maine Gov. John Baldacci is focusing on exports this weekend, while Republicans are focusing on a proposal to require photo identification to vote.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Baldacci said that Maine’s exports were up 45 percent in the first half of the year, and he said the news was even better concerning the paper industry.

He said Maine’s pulp exports were up 200 percent and paper exports were up 72 percent.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Rich Cebra of Naples said public reaction to his bill to require a photo ID to vote has been positive. He said 26 states require either a photo ID or some other form of identification to vote.

Maine to receive $580,000 for road safety initiatives

Maine will receive more than $580,000 in federal grants to improve its highway safety data systems and to distribute child restraint devices to low-income families, the state’s two senators said Friday.

Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins said the grants are being awarded to the Maine Department of Transportation from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grants total $581,337.

Most of the money – $500,000 – will go to the state’s safety information system to improve the timeliness, accuracy, uniformity, integration and accessibility of data on traffic safety, a statement from Snowe and Collins said.

The rest of the money will be used to buy and distribute child restraints, such as booster seats, to low-income families. The money also will be used to step up enforcement of laws requiring child restraints, and for training on proper use and installation.


Solo paddler nearing end of record trip on Canoe Trail

A New Jersey paddler is nearing her goal of becoming the first woman to complete the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail on her own.

Cathy Mumford of Colts Neck, N.J., started her solo trip on June 19 in Old Forge, N.Y., and has paddled through Vermont, southern Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. As of Friday, she had 80 miles to go before finishing in Fort Kent on Monday.

The 50-year-old Mumford was inspired by another New Jersey paddler, Mike Stavola, who set a speed record last summer by completing the canoe trail in 32 days.

Red tape nearly thwarted her. Her kayak didn’t meet regulations for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, so she’s now paddling in a borrowed kayak.


Ticket holder yet to claim $12.5 million lottery jackpot

No one has come forward to claim a $12.5 million Tri-State Megabucks prize, the ticket for which was sold at a New Hampshire convenience store.

The winning numbers for the drawing on Aug. 4 were 8-9-12-20-35, and the Mega ball was 4.

The New Hampshire Lottery said the ticket was purchased sometime that week at the Top of the Hill store on Route 135 in Dalton.

The store owners, Bob and Merelyn Richard, have received a $30,000 retailer’s commission.

The largest jackpot for Tri-State Megabucks or Megabucks Plus was $16.4 million in January 1992. That prize was split between two winners in Maine and Vermont.

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