King wants National Park contract process reform


BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Senators Angus King and Susan Collins are continuing to fight the National Park Service over the way it awards contracts to companies providing concession services inside national parks.

The issue became hearted last year when the park service selected a New Mexico based corporation over a Maine company to operate the Acadia National Park concessions, including three gift shops and the restaurant at Jordan Pond House.

Acadia Corporation had been operating those concessions for 80 years before losing the bid last year. Dawnland LLC, a New Mexico based company, signed a 10-year contract with the park service.

Sen. King believes the bidding process is flawed because they didn't factor in the $3 million impact to the local economy. He said they're not holding the company accountable for what it promises in the bidding process.

Anonymous donor saves Ellsworth free clinic


ELLSWORTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An anonymous donor has stepped forward to help keep the Ellsworth Free Medical Clinic open.

Just a month ago, the clinic thought it might have to close in August due to lack of funds. This week, the clinic received a grant of $25,000, which is enough to keep its doors open until at least the end of the year, according to staff.

The Maine Community Foundation organized the grant, but the source of the money remains a secret, even to the clinic's staff.

Bar Harbor could break cruise ship visit record




BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- May is the unofficial start of cruise ship season.

A handful of the vessels bringing tourists from all over the world have already docked at Maine ports. Bar Harbor could even set a record for the number of cruise ship passengers expected to visit this year.

If there are few changes to the 2015 schedule, 170,000 people from the ships could visit the town.The largest of the cruise ships set to dock this year, Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas carries over 3600 passengers.

According to Cruise Maine, cruise ships brought roughly $45 million to Maine's economy in 2013.

Not every business gets an equal share of visitors when the passengers get here though.

Eastport-Deer Island Ferry won't run this summer


EASTPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A summer tradition in Eastport will be taking a vacation of its own this year.

The seasonal ferry between Eastport and Deer Island, New Brunswick won't be running.

According to the Eastport Port Authority, the Canadian company that runs the ferry got an offer from the province to operate another ferry route in New Brunswick.

Although the number of passengers on the ferry dropped significantly after 9/11 when passports were needed to go to Canada, it's still a local tradition.

Testimony in nurse's license trial ends


MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A registered nurse from Steuben fighting to keep his nursing license from being suspended testified Thursday as the case drew to a close.

In 2010, the state nursing board voted to suspend John Zablotny's license for two years. They were holding him responsible for discharging a heavily medicated patient and letting him leave the hospital on a New Year's Day snowstorm in 2008. The patient, 61-year-old Reid Emery, was found dead the next day not far from the hospital.

Zablontny teared up three times on the stand as he explained a play-by play of the two hours Zablotny interacted with Emery. His lawyer, Zablotny's attorney Joe Baldacci argued that his client clearly did not have the information he should have had about Mr. Emery.

Helen's Restaurant holds soft opening


MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Destroyed by fire last July, a popular restaurant in Machias is back up and running.

"So glad this opened back up because I know how good it was. The community has come together to support this. So, just happy to have it open again," said Hampden resident David Lowell.

It's been several months of emotional and financial struggle, but Helen's Restaurant has managed to rebuild and restock its kitchen.

Construction began only three months after the devastating fire destroyed the beloved restaurant.

At a soft opening Tuesday, owners David and Julie Barker said they are happy to be back in their routine.

The grand opening will take place on the anniversary of the fire, July 11.

Nurse battling license revocation after '08 patient death


MACHIAS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A registered nurse from downeast Maine continues to fight in the courts to overturn a ruling by a state board to revoke his license.

The state board of licensure revoked John Zablotny's license in 2010, citing his handling of a patient who died after leaving the Downeast Community Hospital on New Years Day of 2008.

Zablotny was a nursing supervisor at the hospital. It was on Jan. 1, 2008 that he discharged 61-year-old Reid Emery from the hospital. Emery left during a heavy snowstorm wearing light clothing and while he was heavily medicated. He was found dead in a snowbank outside the hospital the next day.

In opening statements, Prosecutor Andrew Black called this "a healthcare nightmare" and said Zablotny callous disregard led to Emery's death.