Wreaths going to Arlington prompt national recognition

Maine’s U.S. senators have introduced a resolution designating Dec. 10 as Wreaths Across America Day.

That’s the day a convoy of trucks is due to arrive at Arlington National Cemetery and lay Maine-made balsam wreaths on grave sites.

This is the 20th year of the event, which was started by Morrill and Karen Worcester, owners of the Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington.

The Worcesters plan to put wreaths on virtually all 220,000 headstones in the cemetery to pay tribute to the nation’s veterans.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins say they’re introducing the resolution to extend their appreciation for the Worcesters’ efforts and join them in paying homage to the nation’s military veterans.


Gift of $3 million to help promote science and math

An anonymous donation of more than $3 million will be used to encourage Maine’s middle and high school students to explore science and math.

The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and the Maine School of Science and Mathematics will announce a new collaboration, called the Reach Center, on Tuesday at Southern Maine Community College.

Jan Mokros, the alliance’s director, said the new center will spend the next few months developing partnerships among research institutions, educators, schools and businesses around the state.

The goal is to offer mentoring programs, online classes in specialized subjects such as robotics, and summer and after-school programs.

The center also will help connect students with other projects that promote science and math education.


CMP begins constructing new transmission line

Billing it as a stepping stone to the future integration of wind-generated electricity, Central Maine Power Co. began construction this week of a $33 million transmission line between Moscow and Benton.

The 39-mile line will consist of about 465 utility poles.

It is being built parallel to an existing line, and the project is scheduled to be completed by spring.

The project cost will be shared by utility customers throughout New England, with CMP’s customers paying about 7 percent.

CMP expects the additional line to enhance electricity reliability in Somerset County, in addition to the Kennebec County communities of Benton, Clinton, Waterville and Winslow.

CMP, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility.


Tribe’s water bottling plan nears goal for financing

The leader of the Passamaquoddies says the tribe has nearly completed lining up investors for a $25 million water bottling plant.

Gov. Joseph Socobasin says the proposed plant in Indian Township would provide 96 full-time jobs.

The plant is important for the tribe since a proposed tribe-owned racino failed at the polls in November.

Socobasin said the plant would be the only Indian-owned water bottling company in North America.

The water would come from a spring water aquifer on tribal land in Washington County.

He says at least 1 million gallons a day can be extracted without affecting the aquifer’s recharge capacity.

The goal at first is to market the water to Native American casinos and hotel chains.


Blast damage to homes brings apologies from firm

A blasting company is apologizing to three Mount Desert Island homeowners whose houses were damaged when a blast sent debris flying from a quarry.

David Eastman of Northern Drilling and Blasting in Exeter said his firm has been drilling off and on for a decade in a Tremont quarry without any problems. But one day last week, a blast sent rocks flying toward neighboring properties.

Homeowner Bruce Rich said a large rock came through his bedroom wall and smashed the bedroom door, while other debris took out a wall of his outside workshop, smashed five lobster traps and punched several holes in his roof.

Eastman said he’s apologized to the homeowners and has been trying to arrange for repairs.


Two charged in robbery of credit union in 2009

Authorities have arrested two men they say were responsible for an armed robbery at a Skowhegan credit union more than two years ago.

Forrest Goodwin Jr. of Fairfield, 33, was arrested Monday on a charge of armed bank robbery.

An inmate serving time on unrelated charges at a Wiscasset jail, Paul Garland of Oakland, 26, was arrested on the same charge Wednesday.

Police say the men are responsible for the robbery at the Taconnet Federal Credit Union on June 10, 2009. A man wielding a knife robbed the credit union, then escaped on a motorcycle driven by someone else.

The suspects are due in federal court in January.


Man arrested at motel and bath salts seized

Brewer police following up on a tip about suspicious activity have arrested a Bangor man and accused him of selling bath salts.

At a motel this week, police arrested Ryan Ellis, 32, on charges of aggravated trafficking in a synthetic hallucinogenic drug, possession of concealed weapons, having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, trafficking in dangerous knives and refusal to submit to arrest or detention.

A search of his room turned up nearly a pound of bath salts with an estimated street value of more than $60,000. The search also yielded four guns and a knife.

Ellis was released on $2,000 bail.

Bath salts mimic cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine and can cause disorientation, extreme paranoia and violence.


Revolution trail trek to raise funds for history museums

The editors of an American history magazine plan to walk a Revolutionary War trail from the southern Adirondacks to Boston to raise funds for museums in New York, Massachusetts and Maine.

The Saratogian newspaper reports that the editors at Patriots of the American Revolution magazine plan to spend 12 days in April walking along the Knox Trail from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston.

The trail follows the route Col. Henry Knox took while leading an expedition that hauled dozens of artillery pieces from the fort to Gen. George Washington’s troops outside Boston in the winter of 1775-1776. The arrival of the cannon forced the British to evacuate Boston.

The walk will raise money for the General Henry Knox Museum in Thomaston, Maine; Fort Ticonderoga, the New York State Military Museum; and Boston National Historical Park. 

– Staff and news service reports