Regional News

Waterville Opera House Premieres Spamalot

Updated 2 years ago

Waterville is the place to be for Monty Python fans Friday night.The Waterville Opera House is premiering Spamalot.Tonight is the first of six performances. “It’s a lot of fun, if you’ve seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s basically a recreation but the musical version so it’s much more funny, exaggerated, colorful, bright and entertaining,” said Spamalot set designer, Chad Lefebvre.Friday night’s show starts at 7:30.For more information or to buy tickets, call 873-7000 or go to www.operahouse.com.

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State Worker Allegedly Abused After Refusing to Shred Official Documents

Updated 2 years ago

State lawmakers are calling for an investigation after a state worker says she was abused because she refused to shred official documents.Sharon Leahy-Lind says her bosses swore at her, called her names, even physically abused her because she wouldn’t break the law. Sharon Leahy-Lind spoke about her case Thursday afternoon at her lawyer’s office but would not answer any questions. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and it is my goal to shine light on one area of state government that is broken and causing harm to me and to the people of Maine.” Leahy-Lind says her bosses at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention verbally harassed her and physically abused her because she wouldn’t follow orders that she says broke the law. She says her boss ordered her to shred documents before a newspaper could request them through a Freedom of Information act.Part of the complaint reads, “When she found out I hadn’t shredded the documents, she physically assaulted me, and ordered me to take the documents to my home and destroy and dispose of them there.”Leahy-Lind says she didn’t take them home or destroy them.The documents allegedly related to how the CDC went about distribuing money to certain health programs. Leahy-Lind alleges the process was rigged. One of the losers in the funding fight: Healthy Adroscoggin of Lewiston. The organization’s CDC funding was cut by more than half.”I have no idea what the administration was thinking about when they did that,” said Democratic senator from Lewiston, Margaret Craven. “It just seems like an unfair thing to do.” Craven serves on the board of Healthy Androscoggin and also represents Lewiston at the State House. She’s one of the lawmakers calling for an investigation to get to the bottom of this. “These are public dollars, and I think that the people of the state of Maine need to know that dollars are distributed equally and fairly, and actually be able to trace the dollars that are spent in the state of Maine.”The state’s oversight committee will decide next Friday whether to investigate.The Maine CDC and DHHS say they won’t comment on personnel matters.Sharon Leahy-Lind is on paid administrative leave.

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Bowdoin Tennis Team Punished for Hazing Incident

Updated 2 years ago

Bowdoin College’s nationally-ranked men’s tennis team will forfeit its next four matches and won’t be allowed to participate in postseason play for what school officials call a hazing incident. The Portland Press Herald, reports the sanctions were announced Wednesday in a letter from Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and athletic director Tim Ryan. Details of the hazing were not released. They said no one was put in physical danger and blamed the incident on “poor judgment.” Foster and Ryan wrote that the matter was brought to their attention by a student not affiliated with the team. After interviewing team members they found the school’s “well-articulated and frequently explained policy that prohibits hazing” was violated. The Division III Polar Bears are ranked sixth in the country with a 9-2 record.

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Androscoggin County Jail Cracks Down on Banana Peel Smoking

Updated 2 years ago

Administrators at a Maine jail have ordered kitchen staff to peel bananas before they’re served to inmates, and the jail has stopped serving oranges entirely, because prisoners have been drying and smoking the peels. Lt. Jeff Chute of the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn says the peel smoking has been a problem for six or eight months. Chute says guards were tipped off by a strong tobacco-like smell that was traced to the peels. He says there’s an urban legend out there that smoking dried peels and rinds can give the user some sort of high. He says that’s not true. He tells the Sun Journal, that all smoking is banned in the jail. Inmates have been using smuggled lighters or altered electrical outlets to spark the fruity smokes.

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50th Anniversary Events Planned for the Sinking of the USS Thresher

Updated 2 years ago

Those who lost loved ones in the deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history are preparing for an emotional 50th anniversary. There are weekend events in Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine, to memorialize the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher, which sank with the loss of 129 lives about 220 miles off Cape Cod on April 10, 1963. The Navy believes a leak in a pipe shorted out an electrical panel, leading to a cascading series of events that caused the destruction of the sub, now on the sea floor 8,500 feet deep. Part of the Thresher’s legacy is safety. Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., says, “We can never, ever let this happen again.”

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Big Pricetag to Repair Sarah Long Bridge

Updated 2 years ago

New Hampshire transportation officials estimate it will cost $2.5 million to repair a bridge between New Hampshire and Maine that was struck by an oil tanker that broke loose from a pier on Monday. Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the truss elements of the 73-year-old Sarah Long Bridge need to be replaced. Boynton said Pittsfield, Mass.-based contractor Cianbro has already begun work on steel fabrication, mobilization and staging. State officials were able to obtain the original design drawings dating back to the 1930s from the Missouri-based company that built the bridge, which will expedite construction of the new truss elements. The bridge carries 15,000 vehicles per day between Portsmouth, N.H. and Kittery, Maine. Officials in both states say reopening it is a top priority. The work could take four weeks.

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Woman Attacked in Lewiston Apartment

Updated 2 years ago

Police say a Lewiston woman has been taken to a hospital after she was attacked by a knife-wielding man in her own apartment. A suspect was taken into custody shortly after the attack was reported just after midnight Thursday. The victim was taken to Central Maine Medical Center with what were described as minor lacerations. The suspect was caught about a mile away by police who had a description of him. Police say early reports were that the victim had recently taken out a restraining order against the man. No names were released.

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Massachusetts Man Found Trapped Under Overturned Snowmobile

Updated 2 years ago

Maine game wardens say a Massachusetts man survived being trapped under an overturned snowmobile for 20 hours. Wardens say searchers on Wednesday morning found 64-year-old Paul Lessard of Milford, Mass., underneath his overturned snowmobile in a ditch with running water in St. John Plantation, near the Canadian border. Wardens determined that Lessard had been trapped since the previous day. They say he was conscious but showing signs of hypothermia following a frigid night with snow squalls. He was taken to Northern Maine Medical Center and then transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he was listed in fair condition. Wardens began searching for Lessard on Tuesday after a friend reported that he was overdue. He had left a rental camp Tuesday morning in Fort Kent.

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Concealed Weapon Information Bill Moves Forward

Updated 2 years ago

A bill that would keep private information on concealed weapon permit holders in Maine moves forward.Members of the judiciary committee voted 10-to-3 in support of it.The measure now faces votes in the House and Senate.

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State Officials and Passamaquoddy Tribe Make Progress in Elver Debate

Updated 2 years ago

Members of the Passamaquoddy tribe may be closer to resolving a standoff with state officials over eel fishing.The tribe is accused of jeopardizing the elver population by issuing more than 500 permits to catch the baby eels.State law allows only 200 permits.Both sides met in Augusta on Wednesday. They called the meeting productive and say common ground has been found.The Passamaquoddys claim their catch limits and rules do a better job protecting the species than state law does.

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State Senator Raises Concerns about Planned Amtrack Facility in Brunswick

Updated 2 years ago

A state senator has written a letter to the operator of Amtrak’s Downeaster Boston-to-Maine passenger train service saying that Brunswick residents near the site of a planned layover facility are being “abused.” Brunswick Democrat Stan Gerzofsky said in his letter to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority that he fears the $12 million building will bring noise and air pollution from trains idling up to five hours per day, resulting in health risks and decreased property values. The authority announced last week it had secured funds to build the layover facility and could break ground this fall. Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn tells the Times Record, the facility would actually eliminate many residents’ concerns because it would contain noise from the engines, and screen neighbors from pollution.

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Man Injured in Pittston Dirt Bike Accident Dies

Updated 2 years ago

Police say a young man seriously injured in a weekend dirt bike accident in Pittston has died. The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office says 22-year-old Michael Lund died of his injuries Tuesday at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Police initially reported that Lund was from Pittston, but later said he was actually from nearby Richmond. Police tell the Kennebec Journal, that Lund was visiting a friend on Sunday evening when he went for a ride alone on the bike. He was not wearing a helmet. Friends went looking for him when they could no longer hear the sound of the engine. They found Lund lying just off the road. The bike was not damaged. Police say the investigation is closed.

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Senate Votes to Increase Minimum Wage

Updated 2 years ago

The Maine senate has voted to increase the minimum wage.The senate gave preliminary approval today in a party line vote.The House approved the measure last week to increase the minimum wage to $9 by 2016.Current minimum wage is $7.50 per hour.Maine’s minimum wage hasn’t increased in four years.

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Pittston Man Injured in Dirt Bike Accident Remains in Critical Condition

Updated 2 years ago

A Pittston man injured in a dirt bike accident last weekend remains hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities say 22-year-old Michael Lund was hurt while out riding a dirt bike without helmet at about 7 p.m. Sunday. He was flown by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he remained in critical condition Monday. Police tell the Kennebec Journal, that Lund was seen riding his motorcycle alone on Troop Road, but when he didn’t return, friends went searching for him. They found him off the road. Police say the dirt bike was not damaged. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened.

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Inspection to Start on Sarah Mildred Long Bridge

Updated 2 years ago

A bridge between New Hampshire and Maine that was hit by an oil tanker will remain closed as crews start to inspect the damage. The oil tanker broke loose from a pier on Monday and struck the heavily traveled bridge. While transportation officials say the collision caused structural damage to the bridge and damage to the tanker, there was no evidence of leaking from the vessel. The bridge is owned by Maine and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says the bridge will remain closed until a thorough inspection and engineering analysis and repairs are done. The inspection and analysis was expected to start early Tuesday morning.

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Medical Marijuana Lobbyist Wins Bid for Dinner with Governor

Updated 2 years ago

A lobbyist for medical marijuana caregivers of Maine will be breaking bread with Governor LePage.Paul McCarrier bid a thousand dollars at auction Thursday, which turned out to be the highest bid for a meal with the governor to benefit a scholarship fund.McCarrier says he won’t use the opportunity to lobby LePage.He put in the winning bid after others, including Democratic lawmakers, drove the price up to $875He offered $1,000 and that was that.

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Oil Tanker Crashes into Kittery-Portsmouth Bridge

Updated 2 years ago

An oil tanker crashed into a bridge that links Maine and New Hampshire.The 473-foot long ship crashed into the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge around 1:30 Monday afternoon.That bridge connects Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.The Coast Guard says there’s no sign of a spill and no reported injuries.Authorities say the bridge will be closed to traffic until it’s inspected.

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First-Time Campers Eligible for Maine State Park Contest

Updated 2 years ago

If you’ve never been camping you’re eligible to win a free weekend of camping this summer.Maine state park officials say 44 first-time campers will be picked for a free weekend at one of Maine’s eleven state park campgrounds.Raffle applications are available online and at Maine state parks. The contest runs through the end of May.

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EMMC Conducts Colon Cancer Study

Updated 2 years ago

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Maine.A new study taking place at Eastern Maine Medical Center could help lower those numbers.The hospital is looking for folks who’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer in the last year or had polyps removed.The trial will explore whether a drug commonly used to lower cholesterol could prevent polyps from reoccurring.Anyone who’d like to participate in the national study can call 973-4274 for more information.

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Massachusetts Most Wanted Appears in Portland Court

Updated 2 years ago

A man who disappeared while awaiting sentencing for three rapes 34 years ago in Massachusetts is held without bail there after agreeing to return without a fight.Gary Irving, 52, was in court in Portland Monday morning. He agreed to go back to Massachusetts. Police say he was living in Gorham, using the name “Gregg” Irving. He had been on the Massachusetts Top 10 Most Wanted list for decades.

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