Category archives for: Maine Attractions

FANS OF OXFORD PLAINS DRAGWAY SAY THEY CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SEASON TO START

oxford dragwayOXFORD — If attendance at Sunday’s meeting was any indication, Oxford Plains Dragway is revving up for a spectacular 2015 season. It was standing room only at Oxford’s Anderson Staples American Legion Post 112 on King Street with the roughly 150 people in attendance spilling over into the vestibule. Oxford Plains Dragway owner Jeff Shock and Operations Manager Crystal Lancaster called the meeting to allow drivers and fans alike to air their concerns and have questions answered about the new season. The dragway was closed for the 2014 season by the Mayberry family, which owned it then, because of staffing issues. Some old-time racers offered insight on how things were run at the dragway in the 1970s and ’80s, while others wondered if teens would be able to try their hand at drag racing — with a parent in the car. Lancaster said she’s already approached Oxford Hills Technical School to try to draw in young racing enthusiasts to the eighth mile track and will explore the concept of teen trail runs. (read more at the Advertiser Democrat)

If They’re Not Careful, the Non-Profit Lighthouse Museum Will Have to Start Attracting Visitors to Pay Their Bills

Rockland lighthouse museumROCKLAND, Maine — It is a dark time for the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland, and the volunteers who run it are desperately hoping to find a clear path through the financial straits that are imperiling the nonprofit’s future. “We’ve been paying as best we can for years,” volunteer board chairman Paul Dilger said of the museum’s efforts to cover bills that include a $3,500 per month mortgage and $3,000 per month to its condominium association. “It’s never been enough. We just can’t sustain it.” The problem really started almost a decade ago, Dilger said, when the museum’s board of directors voted in favor of joining a three-way condominium group to purchase 1 Park Drive in Rockland for the price of $575,000. It was 2007, and the midcoast economic climate was shifting. Credit card giant MBNA, which had owned the downtown building and done some work to upgrade it, initially had intended to let the museum use the space for free. But the company was sold to Bank of America, which offered to sell it to the museum and two other entities instead. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Manager Says Hyatt Is Losing Money Because of Old Port Bar Noise, Not Because It Looks Like a Soviet Prison. It’s Totally Not That

portland maine hyatt hotelPORTLAND — A Portland hotel says its losing business because of noise from bars in the Old Port. The manager of Hyatt Place, Alen Saric, says he’s receiving noise complaints from guests. “It’s coming from the, typically from the speakers put outside, from the doors being left wide open and having the bass blast inside the clubs,” Saric said about the noise. He’s asking for changes to Portland’s sound ordinance. Right now the city allows up to 92 decibels. According to Purdue University, 90 decibels is about the sound of a lawn mower or a nearby motorcycle. “Boston allows 70 decibels during the day,” Saric said. “And from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. they only allow 50 decibels.” Some local bar owners say the hotel could have prevented any issues with more soundproofing, knowing that this was an entertainment district. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Hollywood Casino Revenue Dips When A Guy Pays His Rent Instead

hollywood casinoBANGOR, Maine — Coming out of 2014 with a slight drop in net revenue, Hollywood Casino tried a 10-day experiment in which it kept its doors open around the clock. The test run didn’t yield the results casino officials hoped for, so the gambling facility has returned to its normal 19-hour day. “The biggest takeaway from our 24-hour experiment was that customers in Eastern Maine are content with our existing hours of 8 a.m.-3 a.m. daily at Hollywood Casino,” casino General Manager Jose Flores said in an email earlier this week. “Those who did come during the late-night hours we are not normally open had a great time, but the vast majority of our customers visit during our normal operating hours.” The trial run stretched from the day after Christmas through Jan. 3. Flores declined to say how many patrons the casino saw during those off-hours, or how much the casino brought in between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. compared to normal hours of operation. Hollywood Casino’s main competition, Oxford Casino, which is about a two-hour drive south on Interstate 95, has been a 24-hour operation since it opened for business in the summer of 2012. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Augusta To Ring In New Year With Ball And Property Value Drop

augusta maine new years ball dropAUGUSTA — Artists spinning balls of fire, a homemade version of the famous ball dropped each year in Times Square, and live music will help bring the new year into downtown Augusta on New Year’s Eve. For the second straight year, the owners of Gagliano’s Bistro plan to have their own festive ball drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s with a ball fashioned by Jason McFarland, husband of owner Helena Gagliano. They’ll drop the ball from the front corner of the restaurant’s building at 287 Water St., about 45 feet up. But McFarland said they want to step it up a notch this year, so he plans to add a green strobe light to the ball, which is made of wire, LED Christmas lights and a spotlight, to ramp up the ball itself and to bring live performers outside the restaurant for the festivities. “We’re trying to do a little one-upmanship from last year,” McFarland said Tuesday as he prepared to install the ball and the system of pulleys and wooden supports used to lower it. (read more at the Kennebec Journal)

Bangor Winter Carnival Cancelled Because Of Winter, Will Be Rescheduled As An Irony Carnival In June

bangor winter carnivalBANGOR, Maine — Holiday parades in Bangor and Ellsworth have been cancelled because of icy weather forecast for Saturday. Neither parade has been rescheduled. “We’re just not going to do one this year and I’m so sorry. People have put so much work into the floats and everything,” Barbara McDade, co-chairman of the Rotary Club of Bangor’s Festival of Lights parade committee, said late Friday afternoon. “It’s just so much work to put on a parade that we couldn’t figure out how to have it at another time,” she said. With freezing rain and sleet anticipated for much of the state through the afternoon and into the evening Saturday, “We were just afraid of floats skidding into the crowd or off the road,” McDade said. “We could deal with snow, but with the rain?” McDade said this year’s holiday parade was the first ever she can recall being canceled due to weather.“In fact, everything I sent out said rain or shine, we’re going to have the parade,” she said.(read more at the Bangor Daily News)

 

Maine Gambling Industry Estimates That Several People Still Have Toll Change And Laundry Quarters They’d Like To Get Their Hands On

maine gamblingBANGOR, Maine — A recent report released by a gambling management and advisory firm about the potential for more Maine casinos has excited state legislators. But the state’s two existing casinos and local governments invested in their success or failure expect to push back, arguing further casino development could stifle or quash the fledgling industry. Last month, New Jersey-based WhiteSand Gaming released a report recommending that Maine could sustain one or two more casinos, depending on the size and location. Members of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, which oversees gaming in the state and commissioned the report, applauded the results. The WhiteSand study suggests that the state’s economy easily could handle one more casino as long as it is in southern Maine, and potentially another smaller casino in either Washington or Aroostook county, close to the Canadian border. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Coroner Pissed There’s No Box For ‘Trampled By Elephants In Maine’ On The Form

hope elephantsHOPE — A former veterinarian who turned a small farm in midcoast Maine into a sanctuary for two retired circus elephants was killed Tuesday morning when one of the animals apparently stepped on him after he fell in their enclosure. James Laurita, co-founder of Hope Elephants, was found dead inside a corral shortly after he went in to feed the two elephants, Rosie and Opal, around 7 a.m. Knox County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim Carroll believes Laurita fell into the corral and hit his head on concrete. An autopsy conducted later Tuesday by the state medical examiner concluded that Laurita, 56, died from asphyxiation and multiple fractures resulting from compression of the chest, presumably because one of the giant mammals stepped on him. It was not immediately clear Tuesday what would become of the Hope Elephants organization or the animals themselves in the wake of Laurita’s death. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been called in to investigate, police said. A man who was keeping media away from the facility Tuesday said there is another elephant handler on staff and that an emergency plan is in place to take care of the elephants. The sheriff’s department is still investigating, but has ruled Laurita’s death an accident – one that rocked this rural town in the Camden Hills area of Knox County. (read more at the Portland Press Herald)

Only Caribbean Person At Sugarloaf Reggae Festival Looks At The Crowd Through The Kitchen Window Near The Sink

Sugarloaf Reggae FestivalCARRABASSETT VALLEY — Maine’s biggest cure for spring fever was underway Saturday during Sugarloaf’s 26th annual Reggae Festival. It was a scene in which three bananas and a chicken drank beer with a Gumby. The ski resort celebrating spring to the beat of Caribbean music got a boost from warm and sunny weather. “People just need this,” said Jacob Martinsen of Boston. “It’s been a long, cold, brutal winter and this is just what we needed: some sun, some friends — some fun.” Soft snow, spring skiing and riding and plenty of music, sunshine and an eclectic cast of characters from across New England and the world made memorable moments for many. University of Maine students Samantha Harrington and Madeline Mazjanis stopped dancing long enough to shoot a “selfie” with the crowd in the background. The pair and their friends said they came to celebrate the change of seasons and the snow. Chet Jordan, 23, said he’s been coming to the resort’s annual reggae festival since before he could walk. “My mom would bring me up here in my sled,” he said. (read more at the Lewiston Sun Journal)

Tests At Ogunquit Timeshare Resort Detect Near-Lethal Levels Of Discount Disney Three-Day/Two-Night Vacation Vouchers And $100 Gift Cards, And Some Carbon Monoxide

Timeshare resortOGUNQUIT — Twenty-one people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and seven of them had to be hospitalized following an incident Sunday at a Route 1 time-share resort that the fire chief said was not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Fire Chief Mark O’Brien said tests at the resort detected highly elevated levels of carbon monoxide – 300 parts per million compared to 35 parts per million, the level that triggers carbon monoxide detectors to go off. “These were extremely high levels,” O’Brien said Sunday night during a news conference outside the resort. “These were 10 times what the normal levels would have been. It’s very scary. We could potentially have had 21 deaths here.” The affected building, one of four on the property, did not have any carbon monoxide detectors – an omission that might constitute a violation of state laws, the fire chief said. (read more at Portland Press Herald)

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