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.
A legally blind Rumford man who pleaded guilty to stealing $11,000 worth of items from a neighbor’s home has avoided jail time, upsetting his victim. Charles Hamilton was given a two-year deferred disposition in Oxford County Superior Court on Wednesday. He has to pay $1,200 in restitution and refrain from committing a crime during that period. If he meets the conditions, the case would be dismissed. If he fails, he faces up to five years in prison. The Sun Journal, reports that Jodi McKenna, who identified herself to the judge as the single mother from whom Hamilton stole, said the restitution does not come close to replacing the items stolen, which included everything from jewelry and electronics to pitchforks and blankets. Hamilton claimed he was given permission to take the items.
Police say a 79-year-old Brunswick woman has been killed in a two-vehicle crash in Topsham. Lt. Fred Dunn said it appears a Toyota Camry driven by Sally Lemieux pulled out of a restaurant parking lot at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday and was struck on the driver’s side by a Jeep Wrangler driving south on Topsham Fair Mall Road. Despite rescue efforts, Lemieux died at the scene. Police tell The Times Record of Brunswick, that the Jeep was driven by 25 year old Renne Ettinger of Topsham. Lemieux died at the scene. Ettinger was unhurt. The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.
An autopsy showed that the Harvard University graduate student who fell into Portland Harbor and drowned in May just days before his graduation had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit to drive in Maine. The Portland Press Herald, reports Thursday that 31-year-old Nathan Bihlmaier had no drugs in his system, but a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent. Authorities have previously called his death an accidental drowning. Bihlmaier was celebrating his pending graduation when he was asked to leave a waterfront bar for being visibly intoxicated. His body was recovered two days after he went missing. His wife was expecting their first child. He was a native of Osborne, Kan., and a University of Kansas graduate. Police say criminal charges are unlikely in the case.
Portland’s Christmas tree is due to be delivered. Keely Crane Services and Shaw Brothers Construction have donated staff, crane and transportation services for Thursday’s delivery of the 65-foot tree to Monument Square. Jeff Tarling, city arborist, says the city conducted an exhaustive search for the tree but in the end the tree was close by, on the property of Alan Betters in South Portland. The tree will be adorned with more than 3,000 LED lights donated by Efficiency Maine for the city’s tree-lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving.
Investigative journalist Bob Woodward is speaking in Maine about the successes and failures of U.S. presidents from Nixon to Obama. Woodward is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author who works at The Washington Post. Early in his career, he and fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein covered the Watergate scandal that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Woodward is speaking at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hannaford Lecture Hall at the University of Southern Maine. Tickets are $20 each, and $10 for students, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. The speech is sponsored by South Portland-based Wex Inc., formerly Wright Express On Sunday, he was honored by Colby College in Waterville for his contributions in protecting freedom of the press with the Elijah Parish Lovejoy award.
A Federal Appeals court has reversed some of the convictions against a former top Drug Prosecutor in Maine, who was sentenced to 16 years for child pornography.The appeals court in Boston upheld convictions against James Cameron of Hallowell on seven counts, but vacated convictions on six counts. Cameron was convicted in 2011 of 13 counts of sending, receiving and possessing child pornography. In his appeal, Cameron’s attorney argued certain technical evidence should not have been admitted during Cameron’s trial. The case now goes back to Federal Court in Maine for re-sentencing or for a new trial.
Republican leaders in Augusta elected their floor leaders for the upcoming session Wednesday.Newport Republican Ken Fredette was elected as the house minority leader.Fredette is entering his second term and beat out former Speaker of the House Robert Nutting of Oakland and Representative Paul Davis of Sangerville for the job.Representative Alex Willette of Mapleton has been elected as Assistant House Minority Leader.