<![CDATA[NECN - ]]>Copyright 2018https://www.necn.com/feature/mainehttp://media.necn.com/designimages/clear.gifNECNhttps://www.necn.comen-usWed, 17 Jan 2018 08:15:37 -0500Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:15:37 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA['It's Phenomenal': Ice Jam Floods Roads in Maine]]>Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:39:42 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Ice_Jam_Leads_to_Major_Flooding_in_Maine.jpg

Incredible drone footage from the fire department in Fryeburg, Maine, shows River Street living up to its name — flooded after an ice jam on the Saco River Sunday.

The floodwaters have been receding, but part of Route 113, which connects to New Hampshire, had been closed for three days.

"It's phenomenal," said Michael Fougere, who lives on the New Hampshire side of the Saco. "It's the worst [flooding] I've seen in 23 years."

He drives on River Street to get home, and he has had to take major detours while the road remained closed.

According to Fryeburg Police, the road re-opened Tuesday afternoon.

The fire chief's new concern is a repeat ice jam this week, as cold temperatures return, and mild weather is expected over the weekend.

"The worst thing that could happen is if we get another real thaw and a lot of rain, and the whole thing lets go at once," said George Weston, who has lived by the Saco River his entire life. He said this ice jam is one of the worst he has ever seen.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA['It Happened So Quickly': Maine Ice Jam Covers Cars]]>Mon, 15 Jan 2018 19:10:09 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Maine+011518.JPG

More than a dozen cars are encased in ice along the Kennebec River in Hallowell, Maine, after an ice jam caused floodwaters to freeze around vehicles in a parking lot early Sunday morning.

"Unless you have scuba gear, there's no way to get them out," said Stephanie Arnio, a Hallowell resident who owns one of the trapped cars.

"It's a brand new car," said Andrew Terlesky, who owns a Subaru stuck in the ice. "You would never think it would flood this early in the wintertime."

According to Kennebec County Emergency Management Director Sean Goodwin, it could take several days for the cars to be towed out of the frozen lot.

The county EMA brought in a front-end loader to help break up the ice around the cars, in the hopes that the water will start to flow and recede out of the area.

"It's an ice jam, you can't predict when the ice jam is going to happen," said Goodwin.

Insurance agents say drivers without comprehensive coverage will have to pay out of pocket for this kind of flood damage.

"It's worth the coverage and worth the price to have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy," she said.

The ice jam and flooding has impacted Hallowell business owners, too. Wayne Hyde owns the Wharf bar and restaurant, and he said he heard a big crack around midnight Saturday. It was the ice breaking, and the flood starting.

"It happened so quickly," he said. "It looked like a river flowing onto the dance floor."

Hyde said he knows he lost food and possibly appliances in the flood, but he can't get inside to assess the damage.

"The doors are frozen shut," he said.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA["I'm Not a Victim': Man Writes Child Porn Arrest Memoir]]>Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:05:44 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Josh+Shea+.JPG

Publicly, Josh Shea was a city councilor, magazine publisher, and co-founder of a popular film festival in Auburn, Maine. But privately, he was struggling with alcohol and pornography addiction. In 2014, that addiction led to his high-profile arrest.

"I’m not a victim. I deserved to go to jail," said Shea.

He admits to downloading folders of pornographic images that contained images of minors. At the center of the criminal investigation was a recording he made of a teenager performing a sex act on a web camera. Shea said he didn’t know her age. It turns out she was 14.

"As long as they looked old enough to me, that was enough," he said. "That’s how sick I was."

In 2014, the habit he had tried to hide became front-page news. Shea was arrested and charged. The man who was once given a key to the city was locked behind bars for six months.

"I did a horrible, heinous thing," said Shea. "There are a lot of victims behind me, and hopefully I can do some good with what happened."

From his jail cell, he wrote a memoir about his downfall. In the book "The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About," Shea describes the start of his pornography addiction, and how it spiraled out of control as his alcoholism increased and mental health degraded.

He says his arrest may have saved his life.

"I'm so grateful for the police showing up at my door because I sit here today happier and healthier than I ever have been in my life and that's a miracle,"said Shea.

Getting to this place has taken years of therapy. In his research, he has come to understand how widespread pornography consumption and addiction has become. According to one national survey, 1 in 3 men between the ages of 18 and 30 say they may be addicted to porn.

But treatment, especially compared to other addictions, can be hard to come by.

"In Maine, for instance, there are five meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous in a week," he said. "In Portland, there are probably 25 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in a day."

Shea hopes his story can shed some light on the problem and need for more resources. Maybe, he says, it can prevent someone else from going down the same path.

"That's part of the reason for the book, is to say, 'You're not alone and there is help out there.'"

Shea’s memoir is now available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA['Get Out of Here!': Aggressive Owl Attacks Man Skiing]]>Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:29:52 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011841913.JPG

An aggressive owl has been dive-bombing and attacking on a popular cross-country ski trail in Maine, and the man injured by the owl is speaking exclusively to necn and NBC 10 Boston. 

"I was just skiing along and all of a sudden I got knocked down," said Ted Hall, a frequent cross-country skier at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine. He said it happened about two weeks ago. It was around dusk, and he never heard it coming. 

"I was kind of freaked out," he said. 

Hall didn’t know what hit him until he looked up. 

"This owl flew right into a tree, right close by," he said. "It just kind of perched and looked at me." 

Hall got back up on his feet and tried to back away. "I was yelling at it, 'Get out here! Get out of here!' It would not move. It kept staring at me." 

Then, the bird believed to be a Barred Owl, took another dive bomb at him, and barely missed his head. Hall escaped with two scratches on his scalp. He reported the incident to the staff at Pineland Farms. 

"This is the mating season for this owl and that's why she's being a little protective of her area," said Matt Sabasteanski, Outdoor Recreation Director at Pineland Farms. 

They have placed signs and posted on Facebook about the attack, warning other skiers to be careful on the Campus Trail. They suggest wearing a helmet, carrying an object like an umbrella, and waving your arms over your head if approaching the owl’s area. 

"They’re a powerful bird," said Sabasteanski. "They could do some damage to a human."

The attack was the talk of the trails Thursday. Some skiers were hoping to catch a glimpse of the notorious Barred Owl. 

"We thought it was amusing – it sounded like a once in a lifetime kind of thing," said skier Chris Lanou. 

Hall says the attack hasn’t deterred him from going back to his favorite skiing spot. Days after the attack, he admits the story is a hoot. 

"We live in Maine," he said. "This stuff happens." 

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Researcher Says Whale Protected Her From Shark Attack]]>Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:00:06 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011801167.JPG

A Maine researcher who has dedicated her life to saving whales says a humpback returned the favor. 

Nan Hauser, of Brunswick, Maine, was diving off of the Cook Islands last September and filming a movie about her work with whales. 

Her Go Pro footage shows a 50,000-pound humpback whale approaching, and get dangerously close. 

"I had never seen a whale do this," Hauser said. 

She said she has a strict rule about not touching the animals, but this whale started to touch her. It can be seen guiding her along, pushing her, even moving her onto his fin. 

At one point, the whale lifts her above water. She can be heard calling out for help because she thought the whale could kill her. 

"If he whacks me, he may break my bones and rupture my organs, but hopefully he won’t kill me," she said she remembered thinking. 

For 10 minutes, the humpback circled her and pushed her back in the direction of her boat. Off camera, and in the distance, Hauser caught a glimpse of something more sinister: a large tiger shark was swimming in her direction. 

"I seriously thought it was another whale, it was that big," Hauser said. 

After studying the video footage and consulting other scientists, Hauser believes the humpback was shielding her from the shark, and attempting to save her life. 

She said humpbacks have been known to display altruistic behavior, protecting other animals from predators, but this is the first documented case of a humpback protecting a human.

"I think about it every day," she said. 

She released the video footage this week, and the clip has been shared around the world. Hauser hopes it inspires people and makes them see whales in a new way. 

"If I can show the world how incredible whales are, and how they think…I hope people who watch this video will be inspired to be that way, too," she said. 

In the video footage, Hauser can be seen getting back on her boat to safety. The whale pops its head up, looking in her direction. She believes it was checking to make sure she was safe. 

"I love you!" she can be heard calling out to it. 

<![CDATA[3rd New England Krispy Kreme Location Opening Next Week]]>Wed, 10 Jan 2018 11:27:08 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-50850209.jpg

New England's third Krispy Kreme location is scheduled to open next week.

While there are no stores in the Greater Boston area, there are Krispy Kreme locations in Saco, Maine and at Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

A third location, in Auburn, Maine, is scheduled to open on Monday at 6 a.m. The store was originally scheduled to open in October - when the Saco location opened - but design delays held things up.

WCSH-TV is reporting that during the store's first week, "free dozen" cards will be given out every day to 15 customers who receive a golden sticker inside their doughnut box.

When the Saco store opened back on Oct. 3, Maine residents waited in line beginning at 3 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gov. LePage Extends Maine Fuel Delivery Declaration]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:17:31 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011773521.JPG

Heating oil deliveries are delayed across Maine, and oil companies say it will take time to get through a backlog of orders. 

Gov. Paul LePage extended an emergency declaration Tuesday which allows drivers delivery heating fuel to work longer hours. 

"Our oil delivery drivers need the flexibility to be on the roads so Mainers can heat their homes over the next several days," said LePage. 

Oil companies big and small are having problems meeting demand. A prolonged stretch of bitterly cold weather caused tanks to run empty faster than usual. Homeowners have been calling companies asking for emergency deliveries. 

"This is the worst we’ve ever had it," said Sarah Makinen, manager of the F.L. Butler Company in Farmington, Maine. "It will be a long time before [oil companies] catch up." 

Joe Grenier, a homeowner in Lisbon, has been waiting more than a week for a delivery. He is making do with a pellet stove in his basement and space heaters in the bedrooms, but says it’s been a frustrating experience.

"I’ve never had to wait this long," he said. 

Grenier said his usual heating oil delivery service didn’t pick up the phone. He tried contacting three other companies before he was able to schedule a delivery – and even then, had to wait several days.

<![CDATA[Baby Moose Rescued After Being Stranded in Snow Is Put Down]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:36:49 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Maine+Moose+3.jpg

A baby moose that was rescued by a group of good Samaritans after it was trapped in a snowy Maine field has reportedly been put down because it was sick.

The Portland Press Herald reports the calf, which nine people rescued in Crouseville on Monday, was put down after game wardens observed the moose was showing signs of lungworm.

Photos of the rescue were shared on Facebook by Barbetta Ann Bowker Turner.

Lauren Allen, whose husband helped in the effort, told WCSH-TV that it’s not the first time the moose has gotten stuck.

"I know a bunch of folks helped it last week too," she said.

The group, which included game wardens by the end of the effort, were eventually able to dig the calf out and get it back on stable ground.

"They loaded her up on a flat sled and got her out,” Allen said.

However, Maine Warden Service Cpl. John MacDonald told the Press Herald that there were signs the moose wasn't doing well at that point.

After they reportedly moved the moose to a secluded area near a home, the homeowners informed wardens that the animal hadn't moved afterwards. Returning wardens then noticed the symptoms of lungworm.

"It was pretty apparent the moose was very labored in breathing," MacDonald told the Press Herald.

Photo Credit: Barbetta Ann Bowker Turner
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<![CDATA[BPD Captain Drives 4 Hours to Help Stranded Family]]>Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:59:43 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011743952.JPG

A Boston police captain may be jokingly calling it a kidnapping, but a family from Northern Maine says he saved their day.

The Malenfant family found themselves stuck in Boston last weekend. They had just been in New York City, where 19-year-old daughter Kori had brain surgery for chiari malformation, a rare disorder. She was recovering well, but she had doctor’s orders to rest and take it easy.

The family was on their way back to Westfield, Maine, when inclement weather hit. Their train from New York took longer than expected, and by the time they made it to Boston, they had missed their train by about five minutes. The next train to Maine was a few hours away.

Stuck waiting in North Station, the family realized it was too cold, crowded and uncomfortable for Kori.

"Once we realized there was no way to get out of the cold and that her comfort, and really her safety was an issue, we became alarmed," said mother Wendi.

She found two Boston police officers at the train station, explained her daughter was recovering from surgery, and asked if there was anywhere to get warm or even store their luggage so they could find somewhere else to wait. The officers called their captain, Kelley McCormick.

"I've been through a lot of medical things with my family," said Captain McCormick. "I know what it's like to sit in those situations. So I had an opportunity. And I said 'I'll tell you what, follow me outside.'"

The officer led them to an unmarked police cruiser and they got inside. The Malenfant’s assumed they were there to just warm up, and take a spin around the block. They were thankful for that much.

But then they felt the ride getting longer, and noticed they were heading north on the highway.

"[Wendi] asked 'Are you driving us to Portland?' and I said 'Yes, it’s a kidnapping, but it’s a legal kidnapping,'" said the captain. 

The family was stunned. He was driving four hours, round-trip, to take them to where their vehicle was parked in Portland. They were quiet for a moment, then burst into tears.

"We were so emotional," said Kori. "He was just so kind and humble."

"He said 'Don’t thank me, it’s the commissioner’s gas,'" laughed Wendi.

When they finally got home to Westfield, the family was still feeling stunned. Kori took to her Facebook page, posted the photo she took with Captain McCormick, and wrote a post recapping their ride.

"Tonight, something absolutely amazing happened to us, and I don’t think I’ll be able to truly capture it in words," she wrote.

Her post has received more than 11,000 likes and 7,000 shares. On Monday morning, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took notice and tweeted, "Thank you, Captain McCormick – a great example of how our @bostonpolice are constantly going above and beyond."

Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[New England Marks 20 Years Since Record Ice Storm]]>Sat, 06 Jan 2018 08:15:43 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/AP_18005559843599.jpg

This month marks 20 years since one of the most devastating ice storms on record impacted New England.

The ice storm of 1998 started on Monday January 5 with light freezing rain overspreading parts of Northern New England.

Freezing rain forms when snow falls out of a cloud, melts in a layer of warm air between the cloud and the ground, then freezes on contact when it hits cold surfaces like roads, trees, and cars. Everything becomes coated in ice.

The freezing rain continued in waves, picking up in intensity, during the middle of the week, finally ending the following Saturday.

A widespread 1-3” of ice accretion was reported from Maine and New Hampshire, into parts of Vermont.

That knocked out power to more than a million people across Northern New England, including 80% of Maine’s population according to the National Weather Service.

It took weeks to fully restore power in some cases.

Until the damaging October wind storm of last year, the 1998 ice storm held the record for knocking out power to the most customers for many utilities in the Pine Tree State.

Several people died due to accidents related to the storm.

At least three, according to the National Weather Service, died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Others were killed by hypothermia.

While this ice storm was primarily confined to Northern New England, an ice storm 10 years later in December of 2008 also brought widespread damage to Southern New England.

Photo Credit: Bill Sikes/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Cleaning Up Storm Damage in the Bitter Cold]]>Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:08:12 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011676145.JPG

Kennebunkport, Maine, is cleaning up in the bitter cold, removing snow and repairing flood damage from Thursday's blizzard. 

Maine recorded the third highest tide during a strong winter storm, creating coastal flooding that covered the downtown area known as Dock Square. 

"We do get a little flooding, but not like this," said Luanne MacDonald. She owns a restaurant called The Hurricane, and said it looked like one hit. 

"This was a winter storm, but it was like a hurricane - a category three," she said. More than six inches of ocean water filled the floors of her restaurant, ruining hardwood and carpet, and possibly destroying appliances. 

This flood damage adds insult to injury, suffered earlier this week. 

"Thursday the pipes froze, and then they burst on Friday," said MacDonald. She had to close her business early and lost four days of revenue, including produce and seafood. 

"Now I have a flood claim," she said. 

Around the corner on Ocean Avenue, several other businesses flooded. Wendy Webstergood owns an art store called The Port. 

"I've seen [the water] come up high, but I've never seen it come in here," she said. 

It's too soon to have an estimate on the damage. She spent Friday moving artwork out of her store. 

Kennebunkport's Town Manager said the town was prepared for strong winds and heavy snowfall during a blizzard Thursday, but were surprised at the extent of the flooding. 

Laurie Smith said several roads were closed, but some drivers still attempted to get their cars through them. 

"I think people don't realize the danger they're in when they do that," she said. 

As the flood water recedes, the temperatures are also going down. Smith's concern this weekend is the return of subzero temps, when people in town are waiting for heating oil deliveries. 

"Oil deliveries have been an issue and running out of supply," said Smith. 

<![CDATA[Crews Suspend Search for Missing Clammer in Maine]]>Fri, 05 Jan 2018 21:11:59 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011669502.JPG

Rescue crews in Maine have suspended their search for a man who went missing while on a clamming trip near Long Cove Thursday night during a massive snowstorm that battered the region.

Paul Benner, 33, was reported missing by his family after he did not return home, according to the Coast Guard. Crews found an unmanned skiff that matches the description of the boat he was in.

Friday night, the Coast Guard announced that the search for Benner had been suspended.

The missing man reportedly left the Long Cove boat ramp at 5 p.m. to clam on Clark Island.

The Coast Guard, Knox County Sheriff's Office and Maine Marine Patrol searched the area for Benner Thursday night around 11:30 and continued their search Friday morning. 

According to WCSH, officials say Benner is not a commercial clammer.

Benner's parked car was also found near where he launched his boat.

The Coast Guard says seas in the area are about three feet and the water temperature is about 37 degrees.

Editor's note: The Coast Guard initially identified the clammer as 35-year-old Paul Brenner, but later identified him as 33-year-old Paul Benner.

Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Heavy Snow, Flooding Won't Stop Mainers]]>Thu, 04 Jan 2018 23:33:04 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/214*120/Storm_Brings_Concerns_to_Coastal_Maine.jpg

Not even a bomb-cyclone blizzard can stop Mainers on a mission. Even in blizzard conditions, people were sledding, cross country skiing, and fat-biking through Portland.

"We don't live in New England to be warm and comfortable all the time," said Seth Levy, biking down Congress Street Thursday afternoon. Maine's largest city recorded more than 10 inches of snow, and achieved blizzard conditions by 3 p.m.

At 15 inches, Turner appeared to receive the most snow by Thursday night.

Wind gusts as strong as 47 miles per hour hammered Maine’s coast, and ushered in high tide that caused coastal flooding at 12:30 p.m.

From Kennebunkport, to Port Clyde, to Portland’s waterfront, low-lying areas experienced flood waters that were slow to recede.

"We've never seen flooding quite like this," said Portland resident Herb Ivy, who couldn't get into his home due to the flood waters on the Portland pier. "I can't get home, and my family is inside the condo and they can't get out."

At the height of the storm, more than 5,000 customers lost power across Maine, but power companies were quick to restore many of them.

Portland Public Works Director Chris Branch said his concern has turned to Friday and Saturday, when a blast of arctic air returns. When temperatures fall below 15 degrees, road salt is not effective.

"Worst case scenario, we'll just have to switch over to sand," he said.

<![CDATA[New Year's Baby Born in Parking Lot ]]>Wed, 03 Jan 2018 18:01:58 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/233*120/NewYearBaby1.JPG

Every New Year's Day, there are news stories about the first babies born in the new year. But none are quite like the story of a baby in Bangor, Maine, who couldn't wait to make it to the hospital.

Mother Jennifer Sicard-Flood started feeling contractions New Year's Day. She piled into a friend's pick-up truck, and made the one-hour drive to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

As her contractions started speeding up, so did the car.

"I was a little worried, but at the time, your adrenaline is so up there, and you're in so much pain," said Sicard-Flood. "You're just thinking, 'Oh my god, the baby is coming.'"

The driver raced to the hospital, and made it to a parking lot nearby. They were so close, yet so far from the delivery room.

"I had started feeling like I needed to push," she said.

The driver ran out of the truck to get help from the hospital, while the passenger helped Sicard-Flood get into position. With one foot on the seat, and another on the dash, she delivered her baby in the parking lot.

Paramedics from the Bangor Fire Department beat hospital nurses to the scene. When Lt. Andrew Emery arrived, he found a tired mother and cold, slightly blue baby.

"We gave him oxygen, and a warm ride to the E.R.," said Lt. Emery. "Babies don't wait, but zero degree [temperatures] is probably not the ideal weather [to have a baby]."

Despite his chaotic entrance, baby Lucas Wayne Flood was peacefully sleeping at EMMC Wednesday morning, cleared to be taken home.

Sicard-Flood said she is overwhelmed with gratitude to the firefighters, and the friend who delivered in her time of need.

"Thank you," she said through tears.

Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[AAA Receives Record-Breaking Cold-Related Calls in Maine]]>Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:02:00 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011572340.JPG

It’s been a record-breaking week in Northern New England for low temperatures and for roadside assistance calls to AAA. 

On a typical winter day, the regional headquarters in Portland, Maine, receives between 1,500-2,000 calls, but last Friday, AAA of Northern New England received 8,700 calls. The record-breaking pace hasn’t let up since. 

"It’s been all hands on deck, all resources out on the roads," said Pat Moody, spokesman for AAA of Northern New England, who has been out of the office and jumping cars to help meet demand. 

"When the temperatures drop below zero, cars – whether they are new or old – are having challenges," he said.

On Tuesday, calls were coming in at a rate of 1,000 per hour. 

"We are anticipating a storm coming in, which is going to add to that volume of work," said Moody. 

Garages and tow truck companies have been working around the clock to meet the demand for services. 

"Our phone has been ringing off the hook," said John Gavett at the Woodford St. Garage in Portland. “We’re seeing mostly [dead] batteries, some belts, and really low tires.” 

Gavett recommended drivers have batteries tested, and replaced if necessary. He also said having the gas tank more than half-full can help keep the car running. If a driver gets stuck in the cold, keeping an emergency kit with warm clothes, a cell phone, and charger can keep the driver safe until help arrives. 

"Basic stuff goes a long way," said Gavett. 

<![CDATA[Arctic Air Blast Kicks Off Maine's Ice Fishing Season]]>Mon, 01 Jan 2018 16:49:44 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011540497.JPG

With a blast of arctic air, Maine's ice fishing season is off to a solid start.

Jan. 1 marks the official start of the season, and dedicated anglers braved temperatures nearly 20 degrees below zero to ice fish on Sebago Lake Monday morning.

"It's not bad if you're moving around," said Aaron Cieslak.

He said the cold temperatures can't keep them away from their favorite winter past time.

Cieslak said typically they have to wait until February to ice fish on a body of water as large as Sebago Lake, but subzero temperatures helped freeze the water faster this year.

"People wait all year for this lake to freeze," he said. "It froze for the first [of the year], and everyone is excited."

The Maine Warden Service warns people to check ice thickness often, especially if it is the first outing of the year. It takes two inches of ice to support a person standing on a body of water, but it's not safe to ice fish unless there's around four inches. It takes several more inches to support the weight of a snowmobile or vehicle.

Late last month, a Warden Service plane crashed through thin ice when a pilot attempted to land it on Eagle Lake.

On Sebago Lake this New Year's Day, the only thing they're landing is fish -- and a lot of them.

"With these cold temperatures I think we're going to have a good time," said Brian Sullivan. "We'll be ice fishing into April."

<![CDATA[Authorities Warn Snowmobilers to Take Safety Precautions]]>Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:30:35 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Tips_to_Keep_Safe_on_a_Snowmobile.jpg

This holiday weekend is the unofficial start to the snowmobiling season in Maine, and several factors could make it a dangerous one.

Temperatures have struggled to stay in the single digits this week, and are expected to be subzero in parts of the state this weekend.

"Your odds for getting into trouble increase when the temperatures are that cold," said Corporal John MacDonald with the Maine Warden Service. He is advising riders to pack extra layers of warm clothing.

So far this winter, there has been one snowmobiling fatality in Maine. Last winter, there were nine fatalities. MacDonald said some of the leading causes of fatalities include excessive speed, falling through thin ice, and drinking while driving.

"People think they're out in the wilderness, they'll have a few pops before they head back on the trails," said MacDonald. "It's not a safe thing to do, and it certainly is against the law."

He said wardens will be prioritizing snowmobile safety this New Year's weekend. They're advising people to wear jackets that come with built in flotation, and pack ice picks, in case they fall through thin ice.

"It could save your life," he said.

In a typical winter, there are more than 85,000 snowmobilers registered statewide, according to the Maine Snowmobile Association's Executive Director Bob Meyers. He said roughly 20 percent are riders from out of state.

"Maine is regarded as the snowmobile destination in the northeast," said Meyers.

One concern is having enough volunteers to maintain the state's 14,000 miles of trails. With fewer people involved in local clubs, they are seeking help for trail upkeep.

"It's a huge winter industry and the infrastructure is based on volunteer labor," said Meyers. "If everybody pitched in and just did a little bit, that's all it would take."

<![CDATA[38 Letters From Red Sox Legend Ted Williams Up for Auction]]>Thu, 28 Dec 2017 19:10:43 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Ted+Williams+Letters.JPG

A Red Sox legend known for his hitting is now getting attention for his writing. An auction house in Biddeford, Maine, has obtained 38 letters from Ted Williams to his mistress, Evelyn Turner, written during his time serving in the Korean War.

"They're fantastic because they're one-of-a-kind," said auction manager Troy Thibodeau. "Every day, he wrote a new piece of history — and we have them."

Williams played for the Red Sox from 1939 to 1960, and is considered one of the best baseball players in history.

A softer, secret side of the sports hero is revealed in his personal letters to Turner. Some of them detail their scandalous affair. Others are emotional, as he discusses his father's death. In one letter, expected to be sold for $10,000, Williams writes about a near-death experience during the war.

"His plane was shot down, and all out of control," said Thibodeau. "It was on fire, skidded 5,800 feet across the runway, and he bailed out of the plane moments before it exploded. He only ended up with a twisted ankle."

The 38 letters will be sold as separate lots and are expected to go for thousands of dollars each. Thibodeau said so far, more than 6,000 people have signed up to take part in the auction on Jan. 3. 

Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Tattoo Shop Says No to Nazi, KKK Ink Requests]]>Thu, 28 Dec 2017 15:00:00 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-123997589.jpg

A Maine tattoo shop says they are not in the business of making hateful messages permanent with body ink.

Alison and Justin Wheeler, owners of Rockland-based Siren Song Tattoo, told the Bangor Daily News they recently responded to a Facebook request for a Nazi tattoo after denying about four or five other Nazi, Ku Klux Klan or white supremacy-related ones.

This Dec. 23 post came from a person inquiring about a tattoo. 

"Hey i want a nazi logo on my chest in a couple months. Would you do that for me? Some people may be weird about it so i figured id ask.”

The Wheelers responded to the post.

"Hhheeeyyy everyone good snowy morning!! So we wouldn’t normally do this but there have been an alarming amount of people wanting Nazi/KKK tattoos this year! So we are declaring now that we do not create images or re create images that pertain to these parties and like parties. Also anything slightly related, like any “Viking” imagery that has been used in white supremacy iconography. Get over it and stop asking us, we ain’t about that [expletive]! Happy happy holidays everyone!!!"

Alison Wheeler told the Bangor Daily News that they opened their Rockland shop about eight years ago after relocating from Richmond, Virginia. When they were there, they would occasionally receive rare requests for images of swastikas. But since moving to Maine, the couple can't recall receiving any requests for those types of images until this year.

"I don’t know if there’s one exact thing [contributing to the rise]," Alison Wheeler told the paper. "I don’t know — maybe they’re getting braver."

Since the Wheelers posted their Facebook response to the man who requested the most recent Nazi tattoo, a number of patrons and supporters have applauded them for taking a stance against hate.

"Thank you for standing against this ignorance and making the public aware of it. You're awesome," wrote Kay Stephens.

"Thank you for standing up against bigotry, racism, ignorance, and hatred," added Kelly Varner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Popular Attraction in Maine Could Take Town to Court]]>Wed, 27 Dec 2017 16:59:10 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011435325.JPG

One of the most popular attractions in midcoast Maine is fighting to expand and could be taking the town of Boothbay to federal court. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has been planning a major construction project, but the garden’s growth has been controversial. 

"They are looking to scale up in a Disneyland kind of way," said Jason Anthony, whose family owns property that abuts the expansion site. 

The Anthonys are worried that the construction could compromise the region’s water supply, Knickerbocker Lake. They are also concerned that it could disrupt the area's wetlands, and create too much noise and traffic in the small and quiet area. 

"Once you start fighting for things as important as this, it’s hard to stop," said Anthony. His family has been fighting the project at every phase. After a year of public hearings and appeals, the Boothbay Board of Appeals voted 3-2 this fall to overturn the Planning Board’s approval of the project. Board members decided the construction was inappropriate for a watershed zone. 

But according to a 15-page complaint filed in federal court this week, two Board of Appeals members met with the Anthony family privately before making that final vote. 

"[The proceedings] violated the Gardens' clearly established constitutional due process rights guaranteeing notice and the opportunity to be heard at all government proceedings where evidence putting a party’s property rights at stake is gathered," the complaint states. 

After those private meetings, the board held an on-the-record site visit to as a "cure" – but a lawyer for the Gardens' alleges that it was insufficient to “purge the taint” of the private meetings with the Anthonys. 

"They agreed the process was effective at the time, and they made no complaint [about the cure] whatsoever," said Jason Anthony. "At the last minute they started crying foul when the vote didn’t go their way." 

A lawyer and the director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens declined to be interviewed and said the complaint speaks for itself. A court date for has not yet been set. 

The planned expansion includes a new visitor center, gift shop, restaurant, research facility, and parking lots. In 2016, visitation to the gardens grew to 190,000 people, and the CMBG says the expansion will help accommodate the crowds, creating jobs and bringing more tourism dollars to the area. 

<![CDATA[Mother of El Faro Victim Brings Aid to Puerto Rico]]>Tue, 26 Dec 2017 19:00:34 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011408779.JPG

People in Puerto Rico, still recovering from Hurricane Maria, are getting some aid from a mother in Maine.

Deb Roberts of Wilton organized a supply drive and filled an 18-wheeler with items like sanitary supplies, water, and batteries. The items were shipped to the island, and Roberts went down to deliver them to 250 families.

"As soon as we pulled in, they were singing," she remembered. "They were so thankful, and so happy."

It was her first time on the island, but Roberts felt a strong connection to the place and people. Her son, Michael Holland, was a crew member on the cargo ship El Faro. The ship was en route to Puerto Rico when it encountered a hurricane and sank. All 33 crew members died.

"Getting to the island, I could feel Mike's spirit," she said.

Her trip retraced his steps, and completed a mission to the island he could not complete. Roberts said organizing supply drives like this one helps her heal.

"Helping others is what helps me get through," she said. "Doing things in his name is my job for the rest of my life."

Photo Credit: Deb Roberts]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Police Hand Out Gifts, Not Citations]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 19:44:56 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011337144.JPG

In one Maine town, traffic stops are ending with smiles, handshakes and hugs. Instead of giving out citations, Fryeburg Police officers are handing out gift certificates from local businesses.

"That's what the holiday season is all about," said Fryeburg Police Chief Joshua Potvin.

He said 20 drivers have been pulled over this week for traffic violations like speeding, or not wearing seatbelts.

"These are traffic violations where they would most likely be getting a warning anyway," said Chief Potvin.

When it appeared officers were writing a ticket, they were actually handing over a holiday card.

"You get a meal on Fryeburg Police," the chief told one driver, who immediately thanked the officers and asked for a hug.

Driver Joe Vaughan posted to the Fryeburg Police Department’s page: "I am still speechless by the random act of kindness. Thank you again, not only for the card, but also helping restore my faith in humanity."

Potvin said this special gift card ends the year on a high note, after his officers have struggled through a difficult time. This summer, a fellow officer died while performing a water rescue. The community rallied around the department.

"We started out the summer very rocky," he said. "Our community was really supportive of us so this is our opportunity to give back to them."

<![CDATA[Retired State Police Trooper Accused of Trafficking Fentanyl]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:33:24 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/212*120/Jeffrey+Linscott+Maine+State+Police+composite.jpg

A retired Maine state police trooper has been arrested on drug trafficking charges.

Fifty-one-year-old Jeffrey Linscott was arrested by DEA agents late Wednesday night in Gorham. He faces multiple charges, including aggravated trafficking in schedule D drugs (fentanyl).

The Buxton resident was taken to Cumberland County Jail, where his bail was set at $50,000. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

State police say he was arrested after DEA agents caught him delivering suspected fentanyl to a customer in a Hannaford store parking lot on Main Street in Gorham.

Authorities allegedly seized several grams of what they suspect is fentanyl, packaging materials, scales and $1,000 in cash.

Agents have been investigating Linscott and several others for selling heroin, fentanyl and cocaine around Cumberland County, state police said. Undercover agents also allegedly bought drugs from him during their investigation.

Linscott retired from the Maine State Police in November 2010 after 22 years.

Photo Credit: WCSH6]]>
<![CDATA[Woman in Maine Donates Kidney to a Stranger Ahead of Holiday]]>Wed, 20 Dec 2017 18:37:15 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/262*120/WaughKidney.jpg

This Christmas, a woman from Wilton, Maine, is preparing to give the gift of life. Beckie Bowerling has signed up to donate her kidney to someone she may never know.

"I have two kidneys, I only need one, so to be able to help is amazing," she said.

Bowerling said the idea to donate first occurred to her about 15 years ago, while working at the Franklin Savings Bank in Farmington. One of her customers was a veteran who regularly received dialysis treatments. She will never forget his joy when he finally received a kidney donation.

About six months ago, she was watching the local news and saw a story about the need for kidney donors. According to the National Kidney Foundation, about 110,000 people are on a waiting list, and each day, 13 people die waiting.

"I just looked at my husband and said, 'I'm doing it,'" she recalled.

Bowerling went to the Maine Transplant Program and signed up to be a non-directed donor. According to Dr. Juan Palma at the Maine Transplant Program, these kind of altruistic donors are extremely rare: only about three in Maine each year, and 200 across the country, volunteer.

"I think the donors are wired differently than us," Dr. Palma said. "They see the greater good."

Dr. Palma said sometimes these non-directed donors can be the missing link for what’s called a kidney donation chain – triggering successful transplants for multiple people.

"It's amazing," he said. "Donation basically portrays the best of human kind."

If everything goes according to plan, Bowering could be in surgery as soon as January. Recovery from this major surgery typically takes three days in the hospital, and several weeks of rest.

"My daughter did ask – can you die from this surgery?" said Bowering. "The chances are so, so low, but for the people who don’t get a kidney – they will die."

It will be up to the recipient to decide to reveal his or her name. Bowering hopes they will decide to meet her.

"Just to give them a hug, and see the smile on their face – to know I've extended their life," she said.

She hopes her story will inspire others to consider organ donation.

<![CDATA[Investigation Underway After 2 Shot]]>Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:20:43 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Millinockett+shooting+scene.jpg

A Maine hospital was put on partial lockdown Tuesday night after receiving two shooting victims at their emergency room.

WCSH-TV reported that the lockdown at Millinocket Regional Hospital was lifted at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The hospital's Vice President of Human Resources, Lisa Arsenault, said she did not have the names of the victims who had been taken to the hospital or their conditions. The victims, however, had been transported to a different hospital.

Meanwhile, police had been at the scene of a shooting at a home on Main Street in Millinocket where several neighbors told WCSH-TV that a couple who lived at the home was going through a divorce.

Authorities would not say if anyone was in custody in connection with the shooting. Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland would only confirm that there had been some sort of incident.

Photo Credit: WCSH-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Secret Santa Giving Cash to People at Food Pantries]]>Tue, 19 Dec 2017 17:33:00 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000011261586.JPG

Across Maine this week, an anonymous donor is donning a Santa Suit, giving out one-hundred-dollar bills to people at food pantries.

"They never know where I'll be, or when I'll be there," said the Secret Santa. "I just want to show up and really spread the spirit of Christmas to these people."

The mystery man made stops at food pantries in Naples and Bridgton Tuesday morning and plans to have several more surprises in the days leading up to Christmas. He gives out his own money and plans to distribute $20,000 this year.

"It's got to come from the bottom of his heart," said Jason Ditucci, who received $100 at the Bridgton food pantry Tuesday. "To give your own money to total strangers, it just shows the love in your heart."

This "Secret Santa of Maine" was inspired by the "Secret Santa of Portland," an anonymous man who also wore a Santa Suit and gave out $100 bills in the Portland area for eight years.

This year, that Secret Santa posted to Facebook that he was "retiring," but a new group was going to fill his shoes. A husband and wife team, who want to remain anonymous, are taking over and keeping the tradition alive.

"It just does my heart good," said the new Secret Santa.

Some people at the food pantries said they planned to use the money for heating oil, prescriptions, or stocking stuffers for Christmas. One woman said her partner just lost his job, and this money will help them get through a tough time. One man said he came to the food pantry Tuesday on a near-empty gas tank, and the money will help him get home.

"I hope he knows how much of a difference he makes," said Debra Lippincott, at the Bridgton food pantry. "This is a Merry Christmas for all of us." 

<![CDATA[2 New England States Make List for Worst Driving in Winter]]>Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:59:01 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Philly+Snow+Driving.jpg

With winter weather hitting the region, it’s important to remember driver safety – and two New England states may need to remember driver safety more than others, according to a new report.

Safewise recently released a report breaking down which states are the best at driving in inclement conditions, including snow and rain, and which ones are the worst.

Vermont drivers are the worst at driving in snowy conditions, according to data analysed by Safewise. Maine drivers are not only bad at driving in the snow, but they also face dangerous conditions when driving in rain, according to the report. The Pine Tree State is the eighth most dangerous state for driving in the rain, and the fifth for driving in the snow.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island made list with the safest conditions on the road for both rain and snow overall.

States with the most snowfall don’t necessarily prove to be the most dangerous, according to Safewise, which found that only one of the 10 most dangerous snow states – Michigan – was also ranked as one of the highest for wintry weather-related crashes.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA['Good People Do Still Exist': Single Mom Gets $500 Tip]]>Tue, 19 Dec 2017 13:20:37 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Trisha+Murphy+Dennys+Tip.jpg

A single mother of four from Maine says her faith in humanity has been renewed after a stranger gave her a $500 tip, saving Christmas for her children.

When Trisha Murphy, of Sullivan, isn't working at a nursing home in Seaport Village, she picks up extra shifts at a Denny's restaurant, all while taking classes to become a certified nurse assistant. 

In a Facebook post Sunday, Murphy wrote that she began her Saturday morning shift at Denny's particularly stressed because her car was towed and she did not know how she could afford to pay the $735 she needed to get it out and buy Christmas presents for her school-aged kids.

"I went into work, racking my brain as to how I was going to pull this off," she wrote. "I can pick up a couple extra shifts and do some odd jobs. That would mean I'd have to pay extra for a sitter though."

Murphy wrote that she "painted on a smile" and waited on a table of three men.

"The older of the three kept asking me about Christmas. I just told him I'm in it for my kids, but besides that, I don't really get into it all that much," she wrote. "He joked that he'd come be Santa."

When it came time to pay the bill, Murphy said the man insisted she cash him out instead of the restaurant's hostess. 

"When he put his card in, he had a huge, ear to ear, smile. The receipt printed and I almost collapsed!" Murphy said of the $500 gratuity on the receipt. "I looked up at this grungy-looking man, my face as white as snow, and tears in my eyes. He just smiled again and said 'Merry Christmas, dear.'"

Murphy says she doesn't know the man's name, but hopes "he realizes that he literally saved Christmas for my children and I."

"Good people do still exist. Yesterday was the day I met Santa," Murphy added.

Photo Credit: Trisha Murphy]]>