LaGrange man to serve 5 years for fleeing police in stolen cars, including police cruiser

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 22, 2019 - 11:47am

Charles Eichacker, Bangor Daily News Staff • March 22, 2019

BANGOR — A 23-year-old LaGrange man who stole two separate vehicles last spring — a Dexter police cruiser and a Toyota Celica belonging to a veteran of the Iraq War — and led authorities on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed the Celica will serve five years of a 10-year sentence.

Appearing at the Penobscot Judicial Center on March 21, Tyler Tibbetts pleaded guilty to a half-dozen felony charges, including one that stemmed from an unrelated case in which he stole a vehicle in January 2018.

Besides his incarceration, Tibbetts faces three years of probation in connection with the May 11, 2018, chase and was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the owner of the Toyota Celica that he stole and crashed after driving over police spikes. He was sentenced to an additional fourth year of probation for earlier criminal charges.

Judge John Lucy handed down that sentence after it was recommended by District Attorney Marianne Lynch, the lead prosecutor for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties.

The owner of the stolen Toyota Celica attended the sentencing. He didn’t speak before the court, but provided a victim impact statement that Lynch read.

In the statement, the owner said that he saved up to buy the Celica while serving in Iraq and that the car had helped him deal with the “aftermath” of his deployment. The owner also said that when he was younger, he got in trouble with the law after being involved in a high-speed car chase — before he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force — and told Tibbetts that he still had the option to make himself a better person.

During the sentencing in the Bangor courtroom, Tibbetts wore a red jail uniform and stood next to his attorney, Seth Harrow, in an area reserved for inmates. When given the option to talk, he looked at the Celica owner and said, “I want to apologize…for taking your vehicle. You didn’t deserve that.”

After the sentencing, the owner declined to talk with a reporter.

The two most serious charges to which Tibbetts pleaded guilty were Class B felonies: escape and theft by unauthorized taking. The four other charges were less serious Class C felonies: two counts of theft and single counts of eluding an officer and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

Tibbetts also pleaded no contest to a Class C count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, which was related to an AR-15 rifle that was in the police cruiser he stole, according to Lynch. During the proceeding, Harrow said that Tibbetts was not aware the weapon was in the cruiser.

Lynch mentioned several factors in her sentencing recommendation, including that Tibbetts endangered members of the public and law enforcement. She also chose to dismiss other charges that had originally been filed against him.

He fled from police on May 11, 2018, after they had arrested him on a Somerset County warrant...

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Penquis Valley group going on Costa Rican trip of a lifetime for April vacation

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 21, 2019 - 8:33pm

Stuart Hedstrom • March 21, 2019

MILO — Next month a half dozen Penquis Valley High School students will be immersed in a different culture and environment, switching from pine tree forests to rainforests, as they spend April vacation in Central America on their “Exploring Costa Rica’s Natural Wonders” trip with Spanish teacher Michele Cabral through EF Education Tours.

For most of the half dozen juniors and seniors, the trip will be their first outside the U.S and for each it will be a first-time journey to a tropical climate when they visit the nation of approximately five million located between two oceans April 13-19. The group is scheduled to zipline through the rain forest, take a local cooking class, help in a school, visit natural parks and more.

“I’m excited to see a different country,” senior Cymeria Robshaw said.

“I’m excited to eat different food and go snorkeling,” classmate Katelyn Bostridge said. “It will really be great to actually see all of the things we have been learning about in (science teacher Katie Joyner-Roberston’s) Environmental Bio class. I can’t wait!”

“I’m most excited for the adventure, zip lining and snorkeling,” senior Camryn Rolfe said.

Junior Sydney Fowles is also looking forward to snorkeling, the trip is set to include an underwater visit to a Pacific coast reef, “and seeing a different part of the world.”

“I’m excited to get out of the country and see what the world has to offer and see another country,” junior Hope Grant said.

“Since I have been in Maine my whole life I want to see a different ecosystem and different animals,” junior Emily Herbest said.

Cabral said this will be the first trip abroad for a group from Penquis Valley in over a decade. She said last year the students, most of whom have taken her Spanish classes, decided they wanted to see a tropical rainforest and experience another culture in person.

“They are really the ones working to make this happen,” Cabral said. “They have been excited from the beginning, they have been initiating fundraisers and helping each other get there.”

The per pupil trip cost is $2,680. Cabral said the six have averaged about two fundraisers per month since the end of the last school year and so far have raised about 40 percent of their individual costs.

They have sold quesadillas at the annual Black Fly Festival and at numerous school events, sold Yankee Candles for Christmas, raffled off a handmade afghan donated by a local resident as well as doggy and kitty treat baskets and will be hosting a student talent show on Friday, March 29. They have conducted a pair of boot drives, two 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, an ongoing bottle drive, an event at Bissell Brothers Three Rivers and a Spanish dinner for the Three Rivers Kiwanis. Most of the Costa Rica travelers have worked on the weekends to help fund their trips...

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Robshaw earns indoor track all-conference honors

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 20, 2019 - 3:24pm

Staff, Piscataquis Observer • March 19, 2019

MILO — Penquis Valley High School senior Cymeria Robshaw received a trio of postseason honors on the Penobscot Valley Conference/Eastern Maine Indoor Track League All-Conference Team.

Robshaw was selected for the Small School First Team in both the 55-meter dash and the triple jump. She also earned Small School Second Team honors in the long jump.

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Brownville Library News
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SAD 41 residents approve $2.4M Penquis Valley facility upgrade

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 15, 2019 - 12:04pm

Stuart Hedstrom • March 15, 2019

MILO — SAD 41 voters heading to the polls on Thursday, March 14 overwhelmingly approved — via a combined count of 152 to 25 pending verification of voting results from the towns — a referendum for a $2.4 million funding package to carry out a heating system upgrade converting from steam to hot water and energy efficiency project at the Penquis Valley School.

The referendum was approved in each district community: 7-1 in Atkinson, 55-9 in Brownville, 19-5 in LaGrange and 71-10 in Milo.

Last May a $2.3 million project was voted down via a count of 161 to 111 across the four communities. Residents of Brownville, LaGrange, and Milo passed the question 106 to 42, but in Atkinson the referendum was turned down 114 to 5.

Atkinson is scheduled to deorganize and join the Piscataquis County Unorganized Territory (UT) as of July 1. Had the project been approved last year then the community would have been responsible for 10.4 percent of the upgrade debt moving forward. As part of the UT, Atkinson students will head west to RSU 68/Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

In December the SAD 41 directors approved an amendment to the withdrawal agreement with Atkinson in which the town would not be liable for new debt approved prior to June 30, 2019 in exchange for an agreement by Atkinson that its selectmen would strongly recommend to the community’s voters to support approval of the new debt by district voters.

Atkinson traditionally paid about 10.8 percent of costs and this 10.8 percent of the project would be absorbed by the other three towns based upon the amendment to withdrawal agreement. Atkinson will make a one-time payment of $275,000 to SAD 41 prior to July 1 withdrawal.

The Penquis Valley project has three objectives. The first is to update the steam heating system infrastructure that is beyond its useful life, to improve reliability, comfort, indoor air quality and safety. The other objectives are to reduce annual energy and operating costs and reduce future building repair costs.

The gross proposed project cost is $2,414,923, with a little more than $2.1 million for the steam to hot water system conversion, another $190,000 is for LED lighting upgrades and an additional is for $34,700 for building weatherization improvements.

The project would be financed under a 20-year bond through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. The estimated annual bond cost, fixed for two decades starting with the 2020-21 fiscal year, is $177,694 but there would be various measures in place to reduce the costs.

SAD 41 would have a little more than $19,000 in existing budget savings for energy usage and another $40,000 in operating budget capital contributions. The Honeywell service contract would be reduced by $25,000, the maintenance budget could decrease by $2,500 and for the first year there would be a one-time...

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Three Rivers Kiwanis recognized as Distinguished Club

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 15, 2019 - 12:03pm