Twelve of 13 towns vote in favor of Mayo/Northern Light Health merger

Submitted by Seth Barden on May 5, 2019 - 7:04pm

Stuart Hedstrom • May 1, 2019

Residents and/or town officials of 12 of the 13 Hospital Administrative District 4 member communities have voted in favor of the proposed merger between Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft and Northern Light Health, a statewide system comprised of hospitals across Maine.

The non-binding town meeting votes on the plan were scheduled across the communities last month to help area legislators make a decision on submitting a bill to amend the hospital district charter to pave the way for a merger.

Sangerville citizens voted in favor of the plan via a 78-4 count during a Tuesday, April 30 special town meeting to become the 12th and final community to do so.

The evening before the proposed merger was OKed in Atkinson at 8-0, 48-4 in Guilford,14-5 in Parkman and 29-13 in Sebec.

Residents of Dover-Foxcroft approved the plan by a count of 136-7 during the annual town meeting on April 27. That same day a similar question passed 11-8 at a Willimantic special town meeting.

A majority of citizens in Abbot and Monson OKed the proposal via respective special town meeting votes of 23-13 and 20-6 on the evening of April 25.

The Dexter Town Council unanimously approved the plan with councilors’ votes on April 11. In Bradford the tallies were 20 residents in favor and one opposed on April 22 and the next night the measure passed 25-0 in Milo.

Cambridge is the lone community to vote down the merger plan, doing so via a 22-12 count at the first of 12 special town meetings April 20.

The combined tallies between the dozen communities with selectmen’s/town meeting governments was 434 to 73, about 85.6 percent.

In February directors of HAD 4, the quasi-municipal entity that owns and oversees the hospital, voted 15-3 to proceed toward a merger agreement. In March Northern Light directors unanimously approved the merger. Those involved have cited finances and a continuation of services — such as primary care, inpatient, OB, ER, ambulance and oncology — as key reasons for pursuing the merger.

During the Dover-Foxcroft town meeting at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft explained he, Reps. Paul Stearns, R-Guilford and Steven Foster, R-Dexter and Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville started meeting with Mayo Regional Hospital officials in November as well as meeting with other legislators in Augusta.

“HAD 4 is the last hospital administrative district in the state of Maine and it was formed by a special law,” Higgins said. “Basically it comes down to the charter needing to be amended.”

He said the HAD 4 charter describes the process for dissolving the district but there is not language for a merger. Such an amendment would need to be done via an amendment approved by the Legislature.

“As legislators we were asked if we would consider legislation...

Read More

Milo Recreation 2019 Summer Field Trips

Submitted by Seth Barden on May 3, 2019 - 6:33pm

Penquis Valley gives back with a day of service

Submitted by Seth Barden on May 3, 2019 - 6:29pm

Stuart Hedstrom • May 3, 2019

MILO — Penquis Valley School students traded in their books and pencils for rakes and shovels to get out of the classroom and into the community to give back during the fourth annual Day of Service on the morning of May 2. The grade 5-12 pupils divided into more than a dozen groups to carry out service projects throughout Milo and Brownville as a thank you to those who support the school and its programs.

“I guess for me I’m so proud of this tradition,” Penquis Valley High School Principal Michael Rollins told the entire student body gathered in the gym to start the day. “I came in three years ago and I’m so proud to see what our school can do to give back to the community.

Rollins said he has been amazed at how generous support for Penquis Valley has been. “This is one of the best opportunities you have to give back,” he said, with the students heading to various sites to rake, clean up, paint and more.

“Take pride in the fact you are helping your community, really think about what that means,” Rollins said just before the groups were called down from the bleachers to meet their teachers and head outside. Many of the Day of Service participants traveled by school bus while some working in downtown Milo walked to the sites.

One group going into the community by foot headed to the Penquis Animal Welfare Sanctuary (PAWS) across the Sebec River on Clinton Street.

“They are helping clean up outside, doing some spring cleaning, fixing feline beds and doing some extra cleaning we need to get done,” said Sandy Smart of PAWS, mentioning the sanctuary has a number of cats available for adoption.

Outside students and staff raked the lawn, helping clear the way for future organization benefit yard sales, and used wheelbarrows to haul the material out back, knocked down a lingering snow pile with shovels and washed cat carriers via hose.

Across town fifth-graders were spending their Day of Service at Harris Field.

“There’s all kinds of jobs, people are raking, mulching, picking up trash, painting,” grade 5-6 math teacher Erika Landry said.

The youngest Penquis Valley students were joined at the town recreational area by three seniors volunteering to work with them.

“We are here basically so we can give the fifth-graders some role models,” Jeremy Martin said. “It means a lot.”

“You’re never too old to be a role model,” classmate Jake Bailey added.

“It means a lot to give back to the community that has given us so much,” Camryn Rolfe said.

The three members of the Class of 2019 were busy setting up a pump to clear portions of the baseball and softball infields of rainwater prior to games that afternoon against Greenville High School.

A pool of water had collected on the dirt around homeplate on the baseball diamond as Bailey adjusted the hose to pump the liquid...

Read More

B-BJ Historical Society Annual Meeting

Submitted by Seth Barden on May 3, 2019 - 6:26pm

AG's Office identifies Medford man involved in officer involved shooting

Submitted by Seth Barden on April 30, 2019 - 2:06pm
Linked from: WABI TV-5

MEDFORD, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Attorney General’s Office has now identified the man involved in Friday's officer-involved shooting in Medford.

We're told 40-year-old, Douglas Hazen of Medford is in critical condition at a Bangor hospital.

On Friday, authorities said Piscataquis County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Todd Lyford tried to pull over Hazen who had arrest warrants against him.

Police said when Hazen didn’t pull over, a low-speed chase ensued, and Milo Police Chief Damien Pickel joined the pursuit.

The officers followed the vehicle to a residence on Partridge Lane and that's when authorities said an armed confrontation took place.

At this time, it's unclear which officer shot the man.

Police shoot man in Medford after chase

Submitted by Seth Barden on April 30, 2019 - 2:04pm

Eesha Pendharkar, Bangor Daily News Staff • April 28, 2019

Two police officers were involved in the shooting of a 40-year-old man in Medford on Friday, according to Piscataquis County Sheriff Robert Young.

Piscataquis County Chief Deputy Todd Lyford tried unsuccessfully to stop a vehicle driven by Douglas Hazen of Medford, who was wanted on arrest warrants. Lyford chased the car, and Milo police Chief Damien Pickel joined him in the pursuit.

“The man drove a circuitous route to a residence on Partridge Lane in Medford where an armed confrontation occurred, and the man was shot by the officers,” Young said.

Hazen was taken to a Bangor-area hospital, where he is currently being treated. Neither police officer was injured. Hazen is in critical condition, according to Marc Malon, spokesman for the Maine attorney general’s office.

A neighbor said Hazen lives alone in a small cabin with no power.

The Maine attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting, as is standard procedure for all police-involved shootings in the state, Malon said.

“There is no continued threat to the public,” Clukey said.

Medford, in Piscataquis County, is home to about 250 residents.

CBS affiliate WGME contributed to this report.

Four more towns vote to approve Mayo merger with Northern Light Health

Submitted by Seth Barden on April 30, 2019 - 2:03pm

Staff, Piscataquis Observer • April 30, 2019

Citizens in Guilford, Parkman, Atkinson, and Sebec all voted Monday night in favor of moving forward with a merger between Mayo Regional Hospital and Northern Light Health. Guilford residents voted 48-4, Parkman residents voted 14-5, Atkinson residents voted 8-0 and Sebec residents voted 29-13, all in favor of the merger at special town meetings held Monday evening.

“Quality local care is just as important as good schools and good roads for people in rural Maine,” said Mayo Regional Hospital president and CEO Marie Vienneau. “The votes that were cast tonight in four of the thirteen communities represented by Hospital Administrative District 4 are very important to the overall conversation about rural health care. It’s a very strong signal that quality care close to home is something that people in this region feel very strongly about. We believe that the votes in favor of this merger is another step in the right direction to ensure that care remains available in Piscataquis County.”

The four town’s votes Monday night are the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th out of 13 communities. Dexter’s Town Council unanimously approved the merger earlier in the month by a vote of 7-0. Monson, Abbot, Bradford, Milo, Dover-Foxcroft and Willimantic voters all approved the merger at their own town meetings. Cambridge is the only town to have voted against the merger so far. The remaining town to vote is Sangerville, with a town meeting scheduled for Tuesday night.

Because Mayo Regional Hospital is owned and operated as a Hospital Administrative District, its board is made up of members who are elected by the communities served by the hospital. HAD #4 is the only HAD left in Maine and is a quasi-governmental agency with taxing power. The effect of the merger would be to transform the HAD into a Maine charitable tax-exempt nonprofit corporation that would have a community-based board but would not have taxing authority. This would relieve the towns in the HAD from potential liability for the certain indebtedness of the hospital.

Lost Dog

Submitted by Seth Barden on April 29, 2019 - 9:40am