Study says Maine casinos a boon to economy

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A study by Oxford Economics commissioned by the American Gaming Association said that Maine's two casinos have a substantial impact on the economy, employing nearly 15,000 in state jobs, paying $83 million in taxes and had a total economic impact of $227 million in 2013.

The General Manager of one of those two casinos, Hollywood Slots in Bangor, said the establishment has come a long way in 10 years. It opened in 2005 with just 120 employees and now it's working out of a more than 257,000 square foot facility with about 400 hundred employees. He also said the casino has a symbiotic relationship with the other businesses downtown. Local businesses said they've seen more customers since the casino came in.

Man sentenced for "sophisticated" marijuana grow-op

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A judge sentenced a Monroe man Friday for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a drug involved premises and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Court proceedings showed that agents searched James Ford's home in November 2011 and found a large "sophisticated" indoor marijuana growing operation and two rifles. The U.S. Attorney's office said that evidence submitted during trial showed that Ford and his family members worked to grow hundreds of marijuana plants at his home.

Ford was found guilty of the charges during a jury trial in Nov. 21, 2013. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and eight years of supervised release.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Waldo County Sheriff's Office and the Maine State Police.

Mockingjay Part 1 premieres in Bangor

BANGOR, MAINE (NEWS CENTER) -- The next installment of The Hunger Games movies, Mockingjay- Part 1, hit Bangor theaters Thursday night.

Fans had the opportunity to relive the adventure of lead character Katniss Everdeen from the beginning as Bangor Mall Cinemas featured a Hunger Games Movie Marathon showing the first two movies, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, back to back.

The movies are based off of the book series The Hunger Games written by author Suzanne Collins.

Bangor man sentenced for role in bath salt ring

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A judge sentenced a Bangor man to for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute MDPV, a compound commonly referred to as "bath salts."

Court records show that David Hines, 38, and members of the conspiracy distributed large amounts of bath salts in Penobscot, Aroostook and Knox between April to December 2011. Hines obtained bath salts from other members of the group and traded and sold it to others. Following the search of a co-conspirator's residence in Bangor and seizure of bath salts, Hines and another person removed some additional bath salts that police had missed. The U.S. Attorney's office said law enforcement caught the person that ended up with that additional amount of bath salts.

Former pharmacy tech pleads guilty to drug charge

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District court to charges of fraudulently acquiring Hydrocodone and food stamp fraud.

Court records show that from July to November 2013, Tonia Smith, 42, of Perry, Maine, used her position as a pharmacy technician at the Indian Health Service Center to steal Hydrocodone. She then shredded records to hide her thefts, said the U.S. Attorney's office. The investigation also showed the from January to November 2013, Smith bought EBT cards off of food stamp recipients for amounts less than the assigned credit. She then used the cards to make unauthorized purchases.

New York man sentenced for role as drug courier in Maine

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A judge sentenced a New York man Wednesday for possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in Maine.

Court documents said that on March 15, 2013, Waterville Police offers approached Ebony Howard, 29, and William Waters,33, after police had received a tip that two were traveling with a large amount of oxycodone. Police took Howard and Water to police headquarters and officer seized 645 oxycodone 30 mg tablets from Howard. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Waters admitted to authorities that that Howard was doing him a favor transporting the pills. He said he got the pills from New York City and that he intended to distribute them in Maine. At sentencing, Waters was identified as a courier for a central Maine drug dealer, Maurice McCray, who was sentenced Tuesday.

Businesses intriguing vacationers with social media

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As Bangor becomes more and more of a destination spot, many business owners said visitors need to know where to find the "treasure spots." To drive up business and bring awareness to local spots, businesses are increasing their social media presence, using photos and hashtags.

Blaze Restaurant Manager Jake Bridges recognizes the importance of the social buzz and said customers posting online starts the trending cycle.

"If you aren't online, sometimes it's like you don't exist. You have to be a presence online, so many people come into town or even just people from town and they will Google and start looking at the reviews," he said.