LAGRANGE — One 9-year-old girl is hoping to give back this holiday season, but not everything went exactly as planned.

Mikayla Hayes says she wanted to make a difference this holiday season by contributing to Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas child.

“Operation Christmas Child is a ministry that sends packages to children all around the world. A lot of countries participate in Operation Christmas Child, ” said Johnathan Ray, pastor at LaGrange Baptist Church.

She surpassed her goal this year and filled 40 shoeboxes with toys and hygiene essentials — all in the spirit of giving.

“I did a bottle drive to get the money and went to the store the get the stuff,” said Pastor Ray.

“She absolutely exceeded our expectations. Little Mikayla, 8 years old, put together 39 shoe boxes by herself, of course, assisted by her mom. Her mother said,  ‘This is Mikayla’s idea,’” said Ray.

Mikayla and her mother, Stacey, planned to drop off these gift boxes at the church last Sunday when life took an unexpected turn.

Stacey was taken to the Northern Light Mayo Hospital just the day before.

She had been battling what she thought was the flu but turned out to be complications from COVID-19.

“Her mom passed away Saturday night and we congregated here Sunday morning. It was a sad morning,” said Pastor Ray.

According to Pastor Ray, fate is in God’s hands.

“I have no doubt God has a plan for Mikayla and these boxes. I want to start a Mikayla fund. I only want it to get bigger and better,” said Pastor Ray.

MILO — A former teacher at Penquis Valley High School has been arrested for allegedly having sex with one of his students.

Herbert Carey, a 70-year-old from Milo, was arrested by the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office for six counts of gross sexual assault.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Almy said the offenses took place in 2015 and 2016 and were with a female who was in her junior and senior year of high school.

He said the information came to light this summer and the sheriff began investigating.

“The evidence we have right now is that there was one student who was involved in these series of incidents,” Almy said.

Almy said this type of offense is a Class C felony and punishable by up to five years in jail.

We have reached out to Penquis Valley High School for comment but have yet to hear back.

Click the link to view the video!!

MILO– It’s been years in the making but the Penquis Valley Middle School now has a  playground.

Debbie Page, Social Studies Teacher at Penquis Valley Middle School said, “I knew how important it was for students to have a playground when I transferred here, all they had was a mound of dirt and an old basketball court.”

She said all of the funding from the playground came from donations.

“An elderly grand parent heard about what we were doing and she wanted to help, she wrote us a check for 50 thousand dollars,” she said.

Ava Harmon 5th grader at Penquis Valley Middle School, “my favorite thing is either the slides or all of it,” she said.

Caroline Snide, 4th Grader Penquis Valley Middle School said, “it’s welcome to everyone after school hours and I’m thankful that we raised enough money to have the playground.”

Kay Brenhurd, 5th grader Penquis Valley Middle School said, “all we had is a deflated ball to play with and that was about it.”

Alice Bavelaar, 3rd grader at Brownville Elementary said, “today’s my birthday and it’s kind of like the playgrounds birthday so I would like to say happy birthday to the playground.”

The playground will be built in 3 phases. Organizers said the second part will likely be built sometime late summer or early fall.

Hannah Bavelaar, 4th grader at Brownville Elementary said, “I’m excited for the playground because it looks so cool and i cant wait to play on the zip line and the dome looks so cool to go on.”

Other donations came from Joan and Bill Alfond.

Click the link to view to video!

MILO – The 59th Annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby wrapped up on Sunday.

The event was held by the Milo Fire Department, with the chief saying the turnout for the derby was a little greater than last year’s.

“The weather has cooperated. The lake has been booming with people. They’ve been catching a lot of fish, a lot of happy people running around on the lake with their snowmobiles and four wheelers and pulling in fish left and right,” Milo Fire Chief Donald Richards said.

Families by the dozens were on Schoodic Lake to fish and eventually weigh their trout, grouper or salmon to see where they ended up on the leader-board.

“It went pretty good, we just kind of got lucky,” said Jackson Hutchins, a St. Albans resident who came out to the derby with his two young sons, William and Andrew.

“I really like my fish I caught,” William Hutchins said. “t was really hard. It was really hard.”

Richards said the weekend event drew a lot of people for good reason. In total, there were over $18,000 worth of prizes on the line with a grand prize being a new ATV.

“The grocery store is booming. The little bait shop there and the gas station, it’s quite a boom for the town and the area,” Richards said.

Go to the derby’s website to see the prize drawing.

MILO — Grab your fishing gear because the 59th annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby is taking place this weekend.

The Milo Fire Department will be hosting the derby Feb. 13 and 14.

Anglers can catch fish at Schoodic, Boyd, Ebeemee and Seboeis lakes during the event with a $10 entrance fee.

Assistant Fire Chief Michael Harris said a 2020 ATV and cash are among the prizes for the event.

“The regulations set forth from the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be followed,” he said. “So what that means is if you’re coming to register a fish, they will only let one person in at a time. Everyone must be wearing a mask and practice social distancing.”

Harris said a dollar from each ticket benefits the Make A Wish Foundation.

BROWNVILLE – A local man is continuing a decades long initiative of feeding deer but now is looking for a little help to keep it going.

“They come back every year, the same deer, and they bring more babies, and then the babies bring babies, so it’s a good thing,” said Richard McMahon, who manages Brownville’s Food Pantry for Deer.

Brownville’s Food Pantry for Deer is a non-profit organization that has been feeding deer in the area for decades.

12 years ago, McMahon began managing it.

“We’ve destroyed their habitat. They have no habitat left. There’s no predator control, and the hard winters are hard on them,” McMahon said. “This seems to, the supplemental feeding helps.”

Each morning, McMahon dumps 450 pounds of grain into his “oatmobile” to deliver to the deer.

“I have a side by side that my boy put an apparatus on the back, which I can sit inside and just put buttons in,” McMahon said. “The feed goes out automatically.”

McMahon said much of the expenses are paid for through donations.

“In the last two years, the donations have taken care of the grain,” McMahon said. “We’ve got a lot of other expenses, but every year, we’re getting bigger and better.”

People travel from all over to watch the deer from the roadway.

“I’ve been seeing their videos on Facebook,” Clay Swett, a Canton resident said. “The Brownville Food Pantry, they do a live video all the time, and I like watching it.”

McMahon said they get thousands of viewers online as well.

“Facebook is on for six hours a day,” McMahon said. I recommend YouTube. It’s 1080p it’s on 24 hours a day. We have six channels to choose from.”

McMahon said the best time to see the deer is between 3 p.m. and dusk from the street located at 6 Rips Road in Brownville.

To see the livestreams, visit Brownville’s Food Pantry for Deer on Facebook or YouTube.