Maine authorities say a fire in a Westbrook apartment building was started by a child playing with matches or a lighter.One person was taken to the hospital for suspected smoke inhalation.Public Safety Chief Michael Pardue tells the Portland Press Herald, that the fire started in a first floor apartment on Tuesday night.Officials say crews responded quickly to the building on Main Street because the fire station is a block away.An officer helped a resident escape from a second floor apartment. All other tenants got out safely.Firefighters tried to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings on the block.Pardue says the fire, which heaving damaged the building, melted siding of a neighboring building but caused no structural damage.
A heavy thunderstorm Friday caused extensive damage to Colby College athletic buildings.School officials say water leaked into the gymnasium, getting under the gym floor.Work crews are assessing the damage and say it looks like a significant portion of the floor, which is only five years old, needs to be replaced.Summer sports camps at Colby are still going on as scheduled.
The death of a former Maine soldier from Gorham is prompting the governor to order state flags to be flown at half-staff in the southern Maine town.Gov. Paul LePage has directed that the state of Maine flag be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset in Gorham on Wednesday in remembrance of Durward Benjamin `Ben’ Worster, who died a week ago at Frye’s Leap on Sebago Lake.Worster attended Gorham High School, and later was awarded numerous honors and medals during his Army tour in Iraq. After his discharge, Worster was as an officer at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.
One person was taken to the hospital after fire broke out inside an apartment building in Westbrook.Crews were called to Main Street around 9pm Tuesday night.Fire fighters shut down that part of the road.They cleared the scene around 1:30 Wednesday morning.No word yet on a cause or the extent of the victim’s injuries.We are told that the blaze is under investigation.
New England’s unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of a percentage point in May and is near its lowest level since January 2009.The New England office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday the jobless rate in the region was 6.8 percent last month, down from 6.9 percent in April. Officials say it has fallen 1.1 by percent in the last year.The national rate is 8.2 percent.Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate in the region, at 11 percent, and the second highest in the United States. Nevada’s is 11.6 percent.Vermont’s unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is the lowest in the region and the fourth lowest in the U.S
A 22-year-old Maine man is going to prison for five years for starting a fire that destroyed a plumbing and heating business in Freeport.Christopher Veysey II was sentenced Monday in District Court in Portland after pleading guilty to one count of arson and six counts of burglary of a motor vehicle.Police said Veysey last October was breaking into vehicles parked at Bob Miles and Son plumbing business on Route 1 in Freeport when some papers in one of the vehicles caught fire from the lighter he was using as a light source.The Portland Press Herald reported that the fire then spread from the vehicle to a building, resulting in $1.2 million in damage.
Transportation officials say two-way traffic has resumed on a lift bridge between Maine and New Hampshire that was struck by lightning strike.New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was in lift mode when lighting hit. He says the lift span came down at an uneven angle, causing damage that left a normally underground metal plate jutting out into one of the two lanes.He also says several gauges were knocked out by the lightning strike at 11:35 a.m. Monday.No one was hurt.The Piscataqua River bridge connects Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine, and is getting heavier-than-normal use during demolition of the Memorial Bridge. Police were directing alternating one-way traffic on Monday. Two-way traffic resumed on Monday evening.
A 75-year-old man has died from injuries suffered while climbing from trees into which his airplane crashed.William G. Gaddis of North Yarmouth died at a hospital Sunday after falling from tree tops where his plane landed around 7:15 p.m., shortly after takeoff from his private air strip next door.Officials say bystanders urged Gaddis to remain strapped in the ultralight plane until he could be rescued, but he began climbing out and fell about 40 feet.The case is being investigated by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
An 80-year-old Falmouth woman has died in a two-car crash.Falmouth police said Glenise Hutchins was killed in a crash at the intersection of Route 1 and Johnson Road at about 9:10 a.m. Saturday.Officials told the Portland Press Herald, that Hutchins was a passenger in one of the cars.Police did not release additional information about the accident, which is under investigation.
The Maine Turnpike Authority is cutting twenty positions in an effort to save money.The authority’s executive director says the cuts will save more than a million dollars a year.More than half the positions are supervisor jobs and their duties will be consolidated.Some customer service, maintenance, clerk and plow driver positions are also being eliminated at the end of this year.
There was a car crash on Route 1 in Presque Isle Wednesday that sent multiple people to the hospital.One of them, a little girl, has died.Traffic was backed up for about three hours while crews cleared the road.Presque Isle police say a van being driven by 26-year-old Sarah Berube of Presque Isle was stopped in the southbound lane, waiting to make a left hand turn when it was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by 73-year-old Arthur Collins of Caribou.Both vehicles came to rest in the northbound lane, forcing other cars off the road.A four year old girl was taken to a local hospital, where she died. Her name has not been released.Berube and Collins were taken to the hospital with injuries, as was 31-year-old Jerry Ouellette, a passenger in the van.The accident is still under investigation.
A second New Hampshire man has been sentenced in connection with the killing last year of a Maine woman whose body was found in a ski area pond.Trevor Ferguson pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to rob 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer. He was sentenced to at least sevenyears in prison.He was accused of driving the getaway car after the crime.Dittmeyer ,of Portland, Maine, was found in a snowmaking pond atCranmore Mountain in Conway last year. The discovery came four daysafter her car was found idling in the ski area’s parking lot withher 14-month-old daughter unharmed inside.Anthony Papile of Ossipee pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
A 21-year-old Lewiston man has pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the death of a woman whose body was found buried in the basement of a Lewiston apartment building. The Sun Journal of Lewiston says Bob Ryder entered the plea Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn. He had initially been charged with murdering 38-year-old Danita Brown of New Gloucester. Brown’s decomposing body was found last July after she had been missing for severalweeks. Court documents say Ryder admitted he had hit Brown in the headwith a clock and hid her body. Justice Mary Gay Kennedy said she’ll set a sentencing date aftera pre-sentence investigation. Ryder faces a sentence of up to 30years. (AP)
A Somalia-born Lewiston High School graduate who went on to Columbia University has been chosen as this year’s motivational speaker for city middle school students.Hossain Naji is scheduled to speak Wednesday as the 2012 “START Star” at the Lewiston Middle School.Project START, which stands for Steps for Accomplishing Real Life Transitions, is a program to help middle schoolers understand how the choices they make in high school affect their future.Middle School Career Aspirations Director Billy Jo Brito tells the Sun Journal, Naji is a good role model. Naji helped create a video in 2008 in high school to warn students about the dangers of alcohol.He graduated in May as a film major from Columbia and plans to pursue a career in the film industry.
A three-car crash in Winthrop sent eight people to the hospital Thursday night.Police say a car driven by a woman from Lewiston was struck from behind by a car driven by Kayla Grant 20, of Auburn. Grant’s vehicle then crossed into the other lane and was hit by a pickup driven by a Brenda Ross, 44, of Winthrop. Grant, Ross, and three passengers from each of their vehicles taken to a Lewiston Hospital. The injuries are not considered life-threatening.
The Coast Guard is giving away a lighthouse. The Halfway Rock Light Station is almost five miles off the coast of Bailey Island between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small.It’s on the national register of historic places. The coast guard wants another federal agency, state or local government, nonprofit, educational agency or community development organization to take over the lighthouse.There hasn’t been much interest. It will be put up for auction if there are no takers.
A Portland man has been found guilty in the beating death of another man.Ernest Weidul was charged with manslaughter, elevated aggravated assault and driving after suspension.Prosecutors say in May 2010 he struck Roger Downs Jr. more than three dozen times inside Downs’ apartment where the two men spent the night drinking.Weidul’s attorney claimed Downs died from pneumonia and not the injuries he suffered in the beating.Weidul is scheduled to be sentenced in three weeks.
Four Maine school districts have forfeited a total of nearly $1 million in grants over a technicality.The grants awarded to programs in Portland, Biddeford, Auburn and Fryeburg were withdrawn earlier this month after an organization that was denied a grant appealed the decision.The appeal brought to light a mistake in the wording of the request for proposals.A spokesman for the Department of Education said the mistake occurred because of staff turnover in the agency. The staff member who drafted the request for proposals left the department shortly before it was issued.The school programs can re-apply in early July.State Sens. Nancy Sullivan of Biddeford and Lois Snowe-Mello of have sent a letter to Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen urging him to reconsider the decision.
A Brownfield man who shot his neighbor during a domestic dispute has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.Keith Brain was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to elevated aggravated assault for shooting James Walsh in the arm and the leg in July 2010. The 44-year-old Brain was also ordered to pay up to $7,500 to cover Walsh’s medical bills.The Sun Journal, reports that at the request of his lawyer, Brain won’t have to start serving his sentence until Thanksgiving so he can use vacation and holiday time to avoid losing his job.Police say the shooting was sparked by a dispute between Walshand his ex-girlfriend.The ex-girlfriend had been storing belongings on Brain’s property, and Walsh came to the property where a confrontation ensued.
A New Hampshire man is scheduled to plead guilty in the disappearance and death of a Maine mother last year.Attorney General Michael Delaney says Anthony Papile will enter a guilty plea and be sentenced in Carroll County Superior Court.Papile is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer of Portland, Maine.Dittmeyer’s car was found idling in the parking lot of a North Conway ski area in April 2011 with her 14-month-old baby unharmed inside. Dittmeyer’s body was found nearby four days later.Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young would not say what charge Papile will plead to.Prosecutors say Dittmeyer was lured to a friend’s apartment and clubbed by two men who plotted to steal drugs and money from her.