Maine officials say they’ve documented four new sightings of Giant Hogweed, a monster plant that can cause severe blistering and skin and eye irritation. State horticulturist Ann Gibbs says the noxious weeds have been newly confirmed in Windham, Sebago, Northport and Lisbon Falls. The giant hogweed can grow up to 14 feet high and have flowers that measure a foot across. They can cause painful irritation, permanent scarring and, in rare cases, blindness. Gibbs told the Portland Press Herald there are now 21 known spots around Maine where hogweed has been documented.
Some big name country acts will be heading to the county at the end of the month to help out the best way they know how.Big and Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Canadian band Neon Highway will perform at the *Feed the County* benefit concert.It’s to promote hunger awareness in northern Maine.The show starts at 5pm Saturday, August 20th.It will take place at the Spud Speedway on Thomspon Road in Caribou.For tickets, visit spud-speedway.com.
An Old Orchard Beach bar and nightclub has been destroyed by a large fire. We’re told the smoke could be seen more than a mile away.It happened before 9am this morning at The Galaxy, a two-story building on East Grand Avenue not far from the Old Orchard Beach Pier.Hundreds of tourists watched as firefighters doused the fire throughout the morning.There were no reported injuries, and no immediate word from fire officials on the cause.
Portland police are searching for a suspect in a fatal shooting that shut down a busy street, snarling rush-hour traffic. Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says people reported hearing gunshots around 4:30 a.m. Monday outside a gas station on outer Congress Street. When officers arrived, they found a man lying on the sidewalk. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Sauschuck said police have not confirmed the victim’s identity and that detectives have interviewed witnesses who heard the shots and saw the victim on the sidewalk. Sauschuck said he’s not speculating on a motive as the investigation moves forward. No arrests have been made. (AP)
A Maine lobster company has taken home the gold from the nation’s largest specialty food show.Hancock Gourmet Lobster won three gold medals at this month’s Fancy Food Show, held in Washington, D.C.The company, which is based in Cundy’s Harbor, won first-place awards for best product line, its oyster stew and its lobster risotto.The company was founded in 2000 and makes dozens of gourmet lobster and seafood products.The Fancy Food Show draws about 25,000 vendors, buyers, trade representatives, store owners and others to peruse thousands of specialty food products. It’s put on by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.(The Associated Press)
A Massachusetts man accused of two murders in Maine is being held without bail after being in court Thursday in Portland.29-year-old Joel Hayden of New Bedford did not enter a plea. He’s charged in the killings of 27-year-old Renee Sandora of New Gloucester and 28-year-old Trevor Mills of New Bedford.They were shot Monday night outside Sandora’s home and died Tuesday.Police say Sandora and Hayden had four children together and that Mills was a longtime friend of Hayden. Court records say Sandora’s parents told police she recently kicked Hayden out of their home, and she said Hayden had accused her of having a relationship with Mills.
Maine’s delegation is weighing in on President Obama’s speech on the debt ceiling crisis, in which he called for achieving lower deficits though spending cuts and new tax revenues.Republican Senator Olympia Snowe says we should spend less time on speeches and more time producing results.Fellow Republican Senator Susan Collins says Obama hasn’t developed his own detailed plan, but she’s hopeful that the president and Congress can agree on a responsible solution that includes real spending limits.From the Democratic representatives, Mike Michaud says time for seeking political advantage is over and it’s critical to find common ground. Representative Chellie Pingree says the president was right in pointing out the risk of playing with the economy and people’s lives for political reasons.
A Massachusetts man is in custody in connection with a double shooting in New Gloucester Monday night.State police say a man and woman were shot outside a home on Bennett Road.It happened around 6:30 in the evening.The two victims were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.Four young children were at the home at the time of the shooting.They are now staying with a neighbor.Police said 29-year-old Joel Hayden of New Bedford, Mass., was taken into custody following a chase that ended 50 miles away.No word yet what led up to the shooting.
A local serviceman is being honored at a ceremony in Washington.Gannett Government Media Corparation announced five distinguished honorees today, one from each branch of the armed forces.Capt David CotÃ© of Bangor was nominated as marine of the year.All five honorees are nominated by their peers for embodying the finest qualities of honor, community service, professional performance and dedication representative of the servicemen and women.The other nominees include Soldier of the Year 1SG Monekia Y. Denkins, Airman of the Year SSgt Lindsay W. Bell, Sailor of the Year SSgt Lindsay W. Bell and Coast Guardsman of the Year SSgt Lindsay W. Bell.
Maine State Police say four people have been charged with burglarizing an American Legion post where eight ceremonial rifles were stolen. Sgt. Brian Harris says three men and a 17-year-old boy were apprehended late Wednesday at a mobile home park in Caribou after being linked to Monday’s break-in at the post in Stockholm. Twenty-year-old Steven Selander, 18-year-old Daniel Ouellette and 21-year-old Daniel Ferranti, all of Caribou, are charged with burglary, theft, theft of firearms and criminal mischief. So is theboy, whose name wasn’t released. Police tell the Bangor Daily News that the rifles have not been recovered, but some of the alcohol was. The building was severely damaged. (AP)
Less homes were sold in maine this year than last.A state study is reporting 288 fewer, to be exact.That’s a decrease of twenty-two percent.The average sale price of houses also droppedm, a little more than one percent.Across the country, home sales are down more than seven percent compared to this time last year.
A carnival ride stopped traffic on I-295 in Yarmouth.A vehicle hauling the ride from Smokey’s Greater Shows jackknifed on the highway around 1pm Tuesday afternoon.Traffic was stopped until the scene was cleared.No one was seriously hurt.
A Lewiston man charged with murder was in court today.Bob Ryder of Lewiston did not enter a plea.He’s accused of killing Danita Brown of New Gloucester.Her body was found in the basement of Ryder’s apartment building on Main Street in Lewiston last week.Court records say Ryder hit Brown over the head with a clock.Police believe Brown may have been dead for several weeks before her body was found.Ryder’s lawyer tells us he expects the case to go before a grand jury for possible further charges against his client.
Family members of the little girl struck by a car in Presque Isle Monday say they hope to have her out of the hospital this weekend.The eleven year old’s grandfather spoke with our media partner, WAGM TV in Presque Isle, saying the girl is in good spirits. Police say she was riding her bike when a man driving a pickup truck struck her while turning into traffic from a parking lot.
The driver of a tractor-trailer who died after colliding with Amtrak’s Downeaster in North Berwick, Maine had a checkered driving record that included two citations for unsafe operation of a commercial vehicle.The New Hampshire Department of Public Safety says 35-year-old Peter Barnum of New Hampshire, also had six speeding tickets and one seatbelt violation in New Hampshire and Massachusetts from 1992 to 2009. Spokesman Jim Van Dongen said Barnum had one accident and no license suspensions. He described Barnum’s driving record as spotty but “not disastrous.”In addition, Maine officials say he was cited twice for speeding.The truck driver was killed in Monday’s fiery collision in North Berwick. Four passengers, along with the Amtrak engineer and an assistant conductor, were injured.A Public Safety Spokesperson says witness accounts and 200 feet of skid marks indicate the driver did try to stop before colliding with the train. Investigators aren’t sure how fast Barnum was going before slamming on his brakes. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Amtrak’s Downeaster train is rolling again between Maine and Boston, a day after a fiery collision left a New Hampshire man dead.On Monday, a Downeaster train hit the tractor trailer truck of 35 year old Peter Barnum of Farmington, New Hampshire at a crossing in North Berwick, Maine, killing Barnum.The locomotive and a tractor-trailer both caught fire.There were 112 people on the train. Four passengers and two crew members suffered minor injuries.Patricia Quinn of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority says the speed through a section of track near the crash site will be 10 mph, so delays are possible.The Downeaster runs between Portland and Boston, serving nearly 1,400 passengers each day.
A truck driver is dead, and several train passengers are injured after a collision in North Berwick Monday.Police say safety lights were flashing and gates were down when a tractor-trailer crossed into the path of an Amtrak train.North Berwick Police Chief Stephen Peasley says one witness said the trucker slammed on the brakes and skidded into the intersection before being hit by the train around 11 Monday morning.Both the truck and train caught fire. The engineer hopped off and separated the burning engine from the passenger cars to keep the flames from spreading.There were 112 people on the train.None suffered life-threatening injuries. Peasley says the truck was taking trash to an incinerator in Biddeford.
Two men charged in connection with the death of a Portland mother are scheduled to be in court Monday. Michael Petelis and Anthony Papile, of Ossipee, N.H., are accused of killing Krista Dittmeyer in April. Court documents said Papile hit Dittmeyer over the head several times in a plot to steal drugs and money from her. Prosecutors said the men put Dittmeyer’s body in the trunk of her car and drove her to Mount Cranmore Ski Resort and threw her body into a pond. The car, along with Dittmeyer’s 14-month-old daughter who was strapped in her car seat, were found at the ski resort the following morning. Papile is charged with first-degree murder and Petelis is charged with second-degree murder.
It’s going to get harder to find a place to light up in South Portland. The city council has voted to ban smoking from public parks, beaches, playgrounds and fields. Violators can be fined $100 for a first offense. Repeat offenders can be fined up to $500.
Veterans care is being expanded in Caribou.Through a Department of Veterans Affairs’ Program called Project ARCH, the VA hospital in Togus will oversee treatment for veterans at Cary Medical Center in Caribou. Congressman Mike Michaud was a driving force behind the program.He says Caribou is one of five pilot sites across the nation for Project ARCH. Senator Susan Collins grew up in Caribou.She says the program will reduce the need for veterans in northern Maine to travel long distances for care.