State emphasizes respect for tribe’s sovereignty

Maine officials have smoothed over complaints by the Penobscot Nation for surprise bus inspections conducted by state police on tribal land.

Tribal officials said the reservation’s sovereignty was violated when Maine State Police without notice boarded nine buses taking people to high-stakes bingo games two weekends ago. Police issued four summonses.

Public Safety Commissioner John Morris, the head of the Maine State Police and other state officials met with tribal officials Tuesday on Indian Island to discuss the matter.

The Bangor Daily News reported that state officials, in a joint statement with the tribe, said they recognize and respect the tribe’s sovereign status and that the bus inspections didn’t reflect any negative attitude toward the tribe or its bingo operation. The statement said the state and tribe will work together toward a more collaborative relationship.


Least effective drug court going out of business

The state drug court in Bangor is closing.

Penobscot County Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts said people who are already in the program will continue to participate but no new defendants are being admitted.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Maine’s five other drug court programs will continue, as will the year-old Family Drug Court in Bangor. The other drug courts for adults serve Cumberland, York, Hancock, Androscoggin and Washington counties.

The money that went to the Penobscot County program, which had the highest failure rate in the state, will be shifted to what is known as the mental health court in Kennebec County, which has been shown to be more effective.

Drug courts help people with substance abuse problems find treatment.


Longtime postal worker sentenced for drug thefts

A longtime U.S. Postal Service employee is going to jail for 30 days for stealing prescription drugs that were being mailed to veterans in Maine.

Joseph Skehan of Houlton was sentenced Wednesday in Aroostook County Superior Court. Skehan, 57, had worked for the postal service for 32 years when he was arrested in February.

Officials said Skehan took hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller, from packages that the Veterans Health Administration had mailed to veterans in the Houlton area.

Skehan’s attorney told the Bangor Daily News that Skehan had a legal prescription for painkillers and developed an addiction.


Ashland chief collides with moose, pickup truck

The police chief of Ashland is recovering from injuries he received when his vehicle collided with a moose and then crashed into an oncoming pickup truck.

Officials say Cyr Martin, 46, was driving on Route 11 between Portage and Eagle Lake when his sport utility vehicle struck a moose about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

State police Sgt. Tom Pelletier told the Bangor Daily News that Martin’s vehicle then swerved into the oncoming lane, colliding head-on with the pickup.

Martin and the pickup truck driver, Melford Bouchard of Newburgh, were flown to Eastern Maine Medical Center. A passenger in the pickup was treated and released from a hospital in Fort Kent.

Pelletier said Martin suffered serious injuries to both legs, while Bouchard received chest injuries.


Reopened paper mill faces tight delivery deadline

A paper mill that was bought by a New Hampshire group last week will be producing paper again by Oct. 10.

Great Northern Paper’s new CEO said the mill needs to ship its first order by Oct. 30.

The plant will start with a staff of 215 workers.

Mill Manager Richard Cyr of Portsmouth, N.H.’s, State Street Capital, says it’s a short window to fill the first order and it will put a lot of pressure on everyone.

Mill managers were to report to work Thursday and today, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Cyr says they’re depending on the “strength, conviction and ability of the region’s papermakers, their talent, to produce the paper.”


Star-gazing to have its day under Acadia’s night sky

A celebration of eastern Maine’s stellar nighttime sky is kicking off on Mount Desert Island.

The third annual Acadia Night Sky Festival gets under way today and continues until sunrise on Monday. The festival includes entertainment, panel discussions, workshops, science programs and opportunities for star-gazing throughout Acadia National Park.

The event aims to promote the protection of the area’s night sky, which remains largely unobstructed by light pollution from the island’s towns.

The festival is put on by the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Acadia National Park, Friends of Acadia, Schoodic Education and Research Center, College of the Atlantic and the Mount Desert Island Chamber of Commerce.

– From staff and news services