The Victoria Mansion in Portland is decked out for the holidays. This year’s theme is the Gilded Age.It celebrates the late 19th century period, when big fortunes were made and the dÃ©cor was lavish.Each year, local designers decorate rooms in the house. “They come in and they bring in their own decorations and they’re free to be inspired by the rooms and to interpret the theme however they wish so you always see something a little bit different. This year because the theme changes to a certain degree the designers change as well.”It’s the mansion’s major fundraiser.
Top lobster scientists are meeting in Maine this week to look at things that have affected lobsters in recent years.The Maine Sea Grant Program is hosting a conference in Portland focusing on things such as warming oceans, the changing food web and seafood economics. Scientists from the US, Canada and Europe are among those involved.UMaine research professor Rick Wahle says the lobster industry has reached a critical point, with the Maine harvest huge but the fishery virtually collapsed in southern New England.
Authorities say two people needed treatment at the hospital after dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide were found in their Kennebunk home. The homeowners called 911 at about 10 a.m. on Sunday to report that their carbon monoxide detector was going off in the Old Port Road home. Firefighters responded and tested the air in the home, finding high levels of the deadly gas. Both residents were taken to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford for evaluation. Firefighters say says the basement furnace is the likely cause. Authorities say carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so a detector is essential. Exposure to the gas can cause headaches, nausea and blurred vision.
Police are investigating multiple thefts from unlocked vehicles at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. Investigators are focusing on three men seen in a hospital security camera photo at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. Sgt. Edward Hastings says the department is asking the public for help identifying the three men. He tells the Sun Journal cash, cigarettes and electronic devices valued at more than $500 were taken from the vehicles. All vehicles were left unlocked at the time of the thefts. No damage to property has been reported.
A forester hired by Livermore has determined that about 1,250 trees were illegally cut from the town’s Memorial Forest. Town officials say they intend on recouping the value of the trees. Town administrative assistant Kurt Schaub tells the Sun Journal, that the forester is in the process of calculating the total value of the cut, based upon the size of each stump. Ninety-nine percent of the trees were hardwoods. Schaub says about 10 acres of town property was cut by a logger who cut over the property line. A letter was sent in September to the logger responsible for the cutting, informing him of the town’s intention to recoup the value of the trees, the cost of the survey and the cost of the timber valuation.
Black Friday is bringing numerous shoppers to Maine retail outlets, and a greater possibility of thefts. In Kittery, Police Chief Paul Callaghan says the two most common targets for thieves at the Kittery Outlets are clothing and electronics. He tells Foster’s Daily Democrat, the outlets typically have two types of thieves: casual opportunists who may steal an item or two at random and organized groups that are much more advanced. Callaghan said they distract store employees and line shopping bags with materials to eliminate sensors. Three people from New York were arrested in Kittery recently for allegedly taking about $8,000 worth of clothing from stores. Earlier in the month, four Massachusetts women were accused of taking $4,000 worth of merchandise.
While shopping for toys, be on the look out for toys that are too small or too loud.That advice from a public interest advocacy group known as “PIRG.”Using a Portland child care center as a back-drop, they talked about its 27th annual “Trouble in Toyland” survey.The group says even though some toys pass national standards, they still may be hazardous to the your child.The owner of this “child care center” says it’s a scary sight to see a child choking.She said any parent can use the “toilet roll test” to check and see if a toy is a potential choking danger for children.For a complete list of toys the group says could be dangerous, go to www.uspirg.org.
In some parts of New England, Hurricane Sandy is still affecting travelers. Those who haven’t rented a car for their Thanksgiving travel yet could be out of luck, because the storm created a shortage.Sandy damaged thousands of cars in the Northeast, rental cars included. So while the demand for rental cars is higher than usual, there are fewer available.We’re told this shortage shouldn’t affect travelers in the Bangor area.”We’ve checked with our car rental agencies here. They’re able to manage all the reservations that they have in their systems today. We heard that same report, but right at this point, no effect to folks here in Bangor,” said Tony Caruso, Airport Director at Bangor International Airport.In those areas seriously affected by Sandy, most existing car reservations are being honored, but the few cars still available to rent carry a hefty premium.
A group of New Hampshire and Maine residents has started a $60,000 campaign to put aesthetic lighting on the new Memorial Bridge. Committee member Ben Porter tells the Portsmouth Herald, that current plans are to install LED lights to illuminate the bridge’s towers, piers and a memorial plaque. He said there may be the ability to change the color of the lights, as well. The group has contracted with John Powell, owner of Light Time in Space in Allston, Mass., for design work. Powell handled lights for Moakley Bridge near the Boston Children’s Museum and other Charles River bridges. The new bridge connecting the states is under construction and is expected to be completed by July 2013. The old Memorial Bridge connected the two communities for nearly 90 years.
Eleven down, three to go, that’s the latest on legislative recounts here in Maine.Among the recount results that we know: In House District 54, Democrat Catherine Nadeau of Winslow remains the winner over Republican Susan Morissette of Winslow.In House District 45, Democrat Brian Jones of Freedom remains the winner over Republican Ryan Harmon of Palermo.The final results for the recount in Senate District 20 show Democrat Christopher Johnson of Somerville remains the winner over Republican Leslie Fossel of Alna.
Maine’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month.It was 7.4% in October, down .2% from the previous month.The unemployment rate for all of New England in October was also 7.4%.
A convicted murderer from Lewiston has been sent back to prison for more than two years for threatening to kill an official with the Social Security Administration. Harold Rowe was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland to two years and three months behind bars, followed by three years of probation. The 55-year-old Rowe pleaded guilty in August to a charge of mailing threatening communications to the deputy commissioner for Budget, Finance and Management of the Social Security Administration in Baltimore in September 2011. The Bangor Daily News, reports that Rowe threatened in a rambling letter full of spelling errors to kill the federal employee if his social security checks were stopped. Rowe spent 27 years in prison for a 1982 drug-related shooting death.
Prosecutors say a homeless man from Portland accused of raping and beating a woman and leaving her in the bathtub of a Saco motel room was tied to the crime through DNA evidence. Lebon Bruno made his first court appearance Monday in connection with the death of Elizabeth Williams of Portland. The 55-year-old Williams was found by housekeepers at the Sunrise Motel on Nov. 6. She died the following day. The 39-year-old Bruno did not enter a plea and remains in custody. He’s charged with murder and sexual assault. Court documents indicate that blood stains on Bruno’s shoes and body matched Williams’ DNA. Williams suffered internal injuries, eye and neck bruising, broken teeth, a broken nose and “a non-survivable brain injury.” Bruno told police someone else killed the woman.
An Army sergeant is returning home to Maine five months after being seriously injured in a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan. Sgt. Helaina Lake is arriving Tuesday at Portland International Jetport. A motorcade of police, firefighters and others will bring her to her hometown of Livermore Falls, where she graduated high school in 2007. Lake was severely wounded in June when Taliban insurgents attacked a base in eastern Afghanistan where she was stationed. Two Americans were killed and dozens were wounded. The Sun Journal, reported that Lake has spent months in and out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where she has undergone numerous surgeries for burns, an arm injury and a shattered leg.
A panel that’s looking at Maine’s election process to make sure it’s fair and secure is holding its eighth and final public hearing. The Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine is holding a hearing Tuesday evening at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. The five-member panel was appointed in May to study the voter registration process, voter participation and how elections are conducted. The hearings are being held so the commission can better understand how Mainers view the state’s voting process and how they think it can be improved. The commission will report to the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs by February.
The Phippsburg Fire Department with help from colleagues in Bath rescued a man who got stuck in a chimney during the weekend. Phippsburg Chief James Totman says the department got a call at about 5:15 a.m. Saturday for a 19-year-old man stuck in a chimney. Totman tells The Times Record, that Cody Ayer was lodged about four feet down. The Bath Fire Department used its ladder truck to swing over the chimney, take bricks down, and get to the man. The rescue took about 45 minutes. Totman says Ayer may have been cleaning the chimney. He did not require medical attention. Police took custody of Ayer on a parole violation and transported him to jail.
A 24-year-old Sanford man has been convicted of manslaughter and several other charges for causing a traffic accident in town that killed one person and sent five to the hospital. A York County Superior Court judge found Zachary Bubar guilty on all nine counts following a two-day bench trial last week. The Journal Tribune, reports that sentencing has not been scheduled. Authorities say Bubar was behind the wheel of car in July 2010 that crashed into a van. Police say a speeding Bubar pulled into the northbound lane around a car that was signaling to make a right turn and slammed into a van headed north. Shawn Beaulieu of Sanford was in the front passenger seat of Bubar’s vehicle. He was taken to the hospital where he died.
School bells will ring extra early at Southern Maine Community College next semester. The South Portland school will offer 10 early-morning classes in the spring 2013 semester, with start times of 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. The college says the added flexibility in the schedule is designed to serve two purposes. It will provide more options for the college’s increasingly diverse student population, many of whom are working professionals or have family demands. The change will also help to ease traffic congestion on Broadway, the main South Portland artery to SMCC, during the morning commute.
Police are investigating a motorcycle crash in Kittery that killed a New Hampshire man. Kittery police say 53-year-old Christopher Flayhan of Somersworth, N.H., was killed when his Harley-Davidson motorcycle collided with a pickup truck on Brave Boat Harbor Road about 11:25 a.m. Saturday. Officials say the pickup was driven by 60-year-old Tim Pickett of Eliot. The accident remains under investigation.
Regulations that are believed to impede business growth will be the topic at a public meeting in Portland. The Maine Regulatory Fairness Board is inviting public testimony on regulatory and statutory issues that impact Maine businesses, at its meeting on Friday at the Portland library. The board is holding hearings across the state to invite testimony that highlights regulations in need of a closer look or changes. The Legislature last session passed a regulatory reform law aimed at reducing red tape and unreasonable regulations, but the effort continues to enhance Maine’s business climate. The Board is chaired by Secretary of State Charlie Summers and has four members who are, or have been, business owners or operators.