Finding the color on a bleak winter day

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Whether shoveling, plowing or snowblowing through this latest storm a lot of Mainers had their minds in warmer places.

People in the Lewiston-Auburn area did all they could to embrace the inch upon inch of fresh new snow that fell Wednesday.

But our crew went in search of a warmer and greener pasture.

What we found was the greenhouse at Blais Flowers and Garden Center in Lewiston.

While the snow fell outside we were surrounded by vibrant colors and fresh green plants.

Lily Doyon has worked at Blais for 16 years and says it's not uncommon for people to walk through the store in the dead of winter just to enjoy the colors and smells of spring.

Report supports red light cameras, but they are illegal in Maine

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Cities of Lewiston and Auburn did a transportation safety pilot program using equipment now hailed as life-saving nationally but ruled illegal in Maine.

The Red Light Camera system captures a photo of a vehicle traveling through a red light.  In 2005 the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments along with the cities of Lewiston and Auburn installed 5 cameras at intersections with high crash rates.

The results found more than 4,600 drivers drove through red lights but with awareness of the camera system the number of violations dropped by 28%.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report Tuesday outlining how the camera system successfully reduced the number of crashes and red light violations in cities throughout the country.

Voters approve to consolidate Jay/ RSU 36 School Systems

Last Tuesday January 25 voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore approved the plan to consolidate Jay and the RSU 36 school systems. RSU 36 includes the towns of Livermore and Livermore Falls. All three towns overwelmingly approved the proposal. Voters in Jay approved 710- 185. Voters in Livermore Falls approved 331- 101 and voters in Livermore approved 261- 133. Consolidating the school systems will save over 400,000 dollars. Back in January of 2009 voters in all three towns overwelmingly voted down the issue. The ballots have been sent to Augusta for final approval and then the next step will be to elect a 13 member school committee. Jay will have six representatives, Livermore Falls will have four and Livermore will have three. The middle school level is expected to consolidate right off next year due to Livermore Falls Middle School condition.

Walton Elementary School

At Walton Elementary school the staff developed a math program based on the Kinesthetic learning style.  Physical education teacher Josh Fortier developed the program in conjunction with other faculty.  Fortier creates physical activities for students to carry out in the gymnasium.  While each student is carrying out the physical activity Fortier quizes them on math facts using flash cards.  Children also must stop at various places along the way and complete math problems on a white board before moving on.  The kinsthetic style proposes that the physical activity reinforces the head knowlege and creates better retention.  Fortier says it's working.  Math scores are already up!  The program is just about a year old and Fortier has plans to continue the program next year.  One thing is certain!  The kids love it!

Hit and run suspect withdraws guilty plea

AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A man from Auburn who investigators say hit another man with his car in retaliation for an earlier fatal crash has decided to fight the charges and go on trial.

William Panzino had pleaded guilty to Reckless Conduct and was scheduled to be sentenced Monday.

Investigators say he struck Kyle Karkos with his car and sped off in retaliation for a car crash Karkos was involved in 4-years earlier. Karko's passenger, Kenny Jellison died in that crash. Karkos was later found not guilty of Manslaughter.

Woolwich man charged in Lewiston shooting

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A man from Woolwich is being held at the Androscoggin County Jail in connection with a robbery and shooting Thursday night in Lewiston.

Investigators say officers responded to a disturbance on Marble Street. When they arrived, officers say they discovered that shots had been fired at a residence and a female was injured.

The woman was taken to Central Maine Medical Center for treatment.

Officials say prior to the shooting, they learned a residence down the street had been broken into and items were stolen.

Police say they identified Nicholas Malcolm, 22, of Woolwich as their suspect. Malcolm was arrested and charged with robbery, reckless conduct with a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault.

Malcolm is being held on $10,000 cash bail.

Vacant Lewiston building to see new life

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It takes just one walk through the Intown Manor building in downtown Lewiston to realize the space needs a complete overhaul.

Starting next month the landmark building will get just what it needs.

The Lewiston Housing Authority is purchasing the more than 100 year old building to turn it into 32 senior housing apartments.

The project will take $8.7-million to complete.  The majority of that money is from private investment, according to James Dowling who heads the Lewiston Housing Authority.

Originally the building was an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity.

Construction is expected to begin next month and the apartment should be complete in the fall.