A Waterford family has lost its home and most of its worldly possessions following a weekend fire. Nearly 60 firefighters from five western Maine towns battled the blaze first reported at about 1 a.m. Sunday. The three-story home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Homeowner Patrick MacDonald tells the Sun Journal, that the house had fire detectors, but they did not alert the family to the fire. Instead, they smelled the smoke. MacDonald and his wife, Christina, got their children and another relative out before anyone was hurt. MacDonald says the family has lived in the home about six years and put everything they had into it. The cause remains under investigation.
York County sheriff’s deputies responded to two fatal accidents over the weekend. Authorities say two motorcycles traveling together collided on Route 109 east in Acton just before 5 p.m. Sunday. One of the motorcycles lost control and struck a guard rail. Police say the operator, 62-year-old Girard Blais of Hampton, N.H., died instantly. The rider of the other motorcycle is expected to survive. Deputies say neither motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. In an unrelated crash, a pickup truck struck an embankment and a tree just after midnight Sunday in Lebanon, killing the driver and passenger. The driver was identified as 54-year-old James Ham of Lebanon and the passenger as 44-year-old William Barker of Somersworth, N.H. Speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors in both accidents.
Officials say a California man is in stable condition after overturning his boat in the ocean off Maine. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department says 25-year-old John Alexander Eckhouse of Sherman Oaks, Calif., flipped a 14-foot Boston Whaler in Middle Bay off Harpswell around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Authorities say Eckhouse was near drowning when a fisherman in the area heard his screams for help, rescued him and brought him to shore. Officials say he was brought to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick suffering from hypothermia.
Central Maine Power is moving forward with construction of a 345,000-volt substation in Kennebunk.The substation, which will cost roughly $30 million, is one of five 345,000-volt substations the company is building under the Maine Power Reliability Program.Construction began this month in Kennebunk. CMP’s Doug Herling says the project will “ensure long-term reliability and add capacity for the transmission system in one of the fastest growing areas of the state.”CMP and its parent company, Iberdrola USA, are spending more than $500 million upgrading the power grid.The project aims to double the capacity of the backbone of the state’s power grid by 2015. All told, there will be 440 miles of new transmission lines in addition to the new substations.
The recent toll increase on the Maine Turnpike, is leaving daily commuters with a large bill.That’s because the flat-rate commuter pass is being replaced with a volume-based discount system. Turnpike spokesman Dan Morin says the program is expected to hurt about 2,000 customers.Some daily commuters will see about a $100 increase. Morin says the goal is to make a fair rate for all drivers. The new volume discount is for motorists who use the turnpike more than 70 times a month.
Maine Attorney General William Schneider says he’s disappointed by a federal appeals court’s rejection of Maine’s lawsuit to speed up the implementation of Medicaid cuts.The court ruled on Thursday that Maine’s request to wipe out Medicaid for more than 20 thousand residents is premature because the federal government has until November to consider it.Schneider says the court didn’t address Maine’s legal arguments but focused on the administrative process.Maine lawmakers voted to cut coverage to thousands of Mainers effective October first.
Maine’s highest court listened to arguments yesterday seeking to remove certain names from Maine’s sex offender registry.Attorney Jim Mitchell represents thirteen people on the list who served their sentenced before the registry was created in 1999.Maine’s Supreme Court also heard from Deputy Attorney General Paul Stern yesterday.He says it’s important to keep the names on the list because it’s not fair to guardians who might be moving next door or working with someone who could still be a danger to their children, but Mitchell says the convicted sex offenders he represents are being punished retroactively.”If something wasn’t criminal when you did it, you can’t come back a year later and say ‘Now we’re making it criminal, so we’re gonna prosecute you.’ No we don’t treat people that way.””There’s no reason to believe somebody who was convicted of a serious sex offense or multiple sex offenses in the 1980s is any more safe than someone who was convicted of a sex offense today.”Mitchell says there’s a chance this matter could go back to trial again, but he’s hoping the court will make a decision.
Two Milbridge men are charged with selling heroin in Washington county.Undercover drug agents say they bought drugs from 44 year-old Jose Ramon Quinones Natal and 23 year-old Henry Yadiel Hernandez Quinones.They were arrested Wednesday at a home on Water Street.Drug agents say they seized more than 300 retail bags of heroin and more than 8 grams of bulk heroin, with a total value of 18 thousand dollars.Police say more arrests are likely.
Maine environmental officials say a Wilton building that was once described as the worst asbestos hazard in the state has been largely cleaned up. The former Forster Mill building on Depot Street is scheduled for an inspection by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection on Friday. Department spokeswoman Samantha Depoy-Warren tells the Morning Sentinel, that enforcement team members were jubilant after seeing photos of the cleanup site. The man who owns the building and the contractor that created the safety hazard face fines from state and federal enforcement agencies. Asbestos fibers are known to cause cancer when inhaled. The volume of the material, some of which had been ground into dust, led Bob Rickett of Abatement Professionals to call it the worst he’d seen in 30 years of asbestos remediation.
State health officials say West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes trapped in Biddeford and Scarborough. State Epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears said Thursday the confirmed positive results came from routine surveillance of monitoring pools in northern York County and southern Cumberland County. The terrain at the two new sites is similar to where West Nile was found earlier in Gorham and Standish. The Portland Press Herald, reports there have been no instances of West Nile or the more dangerous mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis infecting humans in Maine this summer. Sears urged residents to prevent mosquito bites by avoiding the outdoors from dusk until dawn, if possible: wear loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants: and use insect repellants. People infected with West Nile often experience flu-like symptoms.
Some southern Maine commuters might see a lot of activity involving emergency vehicles for the next couple of days. On Friday and Saturday, a hazardous materials drill will be conducted at Monson Chemical Co. on Runway Road in South Portland. Officials say the drill will run from 8 a.m. until about 2 p.m. each day. A lot of equipment and personnel will be on the scene each day. Many mutual aid companies from other towns will be there as well as part of the drill.
A federal appeals court has rejected Maine’s lawsuit demanding swift action from the federal government on the state’s request to wipe out Medicaid for more than 20 thousand residents.The court today ruled the lawsuit premature because the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid has until November 1st to consider Maine’s request.Maine lawmakers voted to cut coverage to parents with incomes between 100 and 133 percent of the federal poverty level, 19 and 20 year-olds, and seniors and disabled people in the Medicare savings program.
There’s a measure in congress that, if passed, would ensure Maine gets as much federal home heating help as it got last year.US Senator Olympia Snowe says a resolution to fund the federal government for six months includes language that would give states low income home enrgy assistance, or li-heap, funding at last year’s levels.Last year, Maine received 38.6 million dollars in li-heap money.The resolution is expected to be voted on by the house and senate over the next several days.
The US Commerce Department has declared a national fishery disaster in New England.That opens the door for a hundred million dollars in federal relief funds for fishermen and their industry.Senator John Kerry says the industry has been devastated by federal regulations.He says fishermen have followed rules designed to stop overfishing but have been dealing with ruinous catch limits.
With Electon Day less than two months out, candidates are stepping up efforts to be seen and heard.It includes campaign ads which involve big money, as well as big monsters.”See this guy?” Starts a new Angus King ad. “He’s supposed to be scary… and over the next couple of months some folks from away are spending big money trying to convince you that this is me.”Angus King’s response to ads attacking him, begins running Friday, and so does part of a huge ad blitz by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”I don’t mind running against Charlie Summers or Cynthia Dill,” King commented. “It’s difficult to run against these dark clouds that are somewhere else in the country that don’t care about Maine and make stuff up.”More than a million dollars in outside ad money has come into Maine in attempts to influence the race to replace Olympia Snowem, most of it an effort to move the needle for republican Charlie Summers.”What some outside group does, that’s beyond my control,” remarked Summers. “I can’t get distracted by that. I have to focus on my campaign and focus on the issues that I think are critical to this country.””it’s difficult to tell,” Summers continued, when asked if he believed the ads were helping him, “I just don’t know.”As Summers and King squared off in their first debate on Thursday, the state GOP took a jab at King over his first TV ad.State Party Chair Charlie Webster filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission saying the ad doesn’t include the right disclaimer.”If Charlie Webster is confused, we’re going to change it so he will no longer be confused at least on this issue,” King said.”Is that an acknowledgement that it was incorrect to begin with?””No, I just don’t want Charlie confused.”Absent from today’s debate was Democrat Cynthia Dill, who was teaching a class instead.”It was a private debate, not open to the public and my responsibilities were with my students at the community college.”The National Republican Senatorial Committee ad went public on-line Wednesday night. It’s an attack ad targetting both King and Dill.
Energy and the environment were among topics discussed in the first debate between the top three candidates for US Senate from Maine.Democrat Cynthia Dill, Republican Charlie Summers and Independent Angus King squared off today at the university of Southern Maine in Portland.Summers said the potential for nuclear energy shouldn’t be dismissed while Dill and King agreed that disposal of high-level nuclear waste remains an unanswered question.Summers says a central waste repository makes sense.The three candidates will debate again Monday. That one will be held at the Franco-American Center in Lewiston.
Actress Sally Struthers was arrested for drunk driving in southern Maine early Wednesday morning.Police say she was pulled over on Route One in Ogunquit at 12:40 AM and charged with criminal OUI.Struthers was freed on $160 bail.She’s been performing at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the musical “Nine to Five.”
On Tuesday, Embassy attacks in Libya killed U.S Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, along with many others.On Thursday, A libyan state-run news agency reports authorities have made arrests in connection to the attack.It is still unclear what role the suspects allegedly played in the killing. The U.S. is tightening security at embassies worldwide.Congressman Mike Michaud was in norridgewock on Thursdays, where he share his condolences for the lives lost in libya. “My thoughts and prayers are with the family members. The President has beefed up security at our embassy’s overseas, which is extremely important.”SenatorO lympia Snowe also issued a statement on the events, saying “I condemn in the strongest terms the violent attacks on our diplomatic posts in Libya and Egypt, where dedicated foreign service officers and their families are serving heroically on the front lines each and every day on behalf of our nation.”The U.S. is sending two warships toward Libya in case they’re needed, as the government tries to figure out if the attack was planned.United States intelligence officials believes it is very unlikely it was core al qaeda behind the attack.
A Falmouth couple has been charged with allowing high school students celebrating state championships in two sports to drink alcohol at their home A Cumberland County grand jury this week indicted 53-year-old Barry Spencer and 52-year-old Paula Spencer on nine misdemeanor counts each of allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol. The charge includes a $1,000 fine if the minor is under 18. The charges stem from a June 16 party, the same day Falmouth High won state championships in baseball and lacrosse. Police say members of both teams were at the party attended by 75 to 100 teenagers. The couple’s lawyers say what was supposed to be a small gathering spiraled out of control and their clients will plead not guilty. Their arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 4.
If you’ve seen the gas prices today, you’re probably considering getting a bicycle.The average price in Maine is now up to four bucks. A week ago it was 3.90, a year ago, 3.73.The national average is 3.86 a gallon.Viewers have told us they are paying as much as 4.19 a gallon in Calais and Gouldsboro.The highest recorded state-wide average for a gallon of gas in Maine was 4.14 in July 2008.