Tractor-trailer full of fries goes up in smoke on I-95

Fire destroyed a tractor-trailer truck hauling french fries Tuesday and slowed traffic on the Maine Turnpike in Kennebunk.

Richard Miller, 46, of Littleton was headed to Harrisburg, Pa., with a load from the McCain potato factory in Easton when he smelled smoke at 10:30 a.m. He pulled over and the truck was almost immediately engulfed in flames, he told police.

The truck, worth about $200,000, was a total loss. Miller was treated briefly by rescue workers at the scene but was not taken to the hospital.


Two boats collide at sea, killing one lobsterman

The Coast Guard says a lobsterman was killed when a pair of boats slammed into each other in the waters off Winter Harbor.

Coast Guard Chief Christopher Wheeler said the Master Simon collided with the Linda Diane, which sank Wednesday afternoon in 85 feet of water off Schoodic Point.

Killed was the Linda Diane’s captain, Frank Jordan, who was knocked overboard. Wheeler said his body was brought ashore by the crew of the Linda Diane.

The collision comes amid ongoing territorial feuds among lobstermen. But Wheeler said there’s nothing to indicate this was anything other than an accident.


Mitchell takes out papers to run against Skolnik

Will Mitchell has taken out nomination papers to run against City Councilor Dan Skolnik to represent District 3 on the Portland City Council.

Mitchell, 39, is a principal of NBT Solutions and president of Mitchell Geographics, both of which are Portland-based geographic information technology consulting firms.

Mitchell lives on Orland Street with his wife, Laurie, and their two children. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and received his master’s degree in geographic and cartographic sciences from George Mason University.

There will be a campaign kickoff event held at Rosemont Market & Bakery at 559 Brighton Ave. at 6:30 p.m. on July 8. The deadline for filing nomination papers is Aug. 23.


Moody stumping for votes with plane pulling banner

The campaign of one of the three independents vying to become Maine’s next governor is taking flight — literally.

A small airplane has been hauling a banner aloft at ball games, beaches, stock car races and other events, urging Mainers to support Shawn Moody. He says people like his old-school approach, and that the plane will be in the air over the Fourth of July weekend.

Moody, 50, is founder of Moody’s Collision Centers.

The other independents in the race are Eliot Cutler and Kevin Scott. They’re facing Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Libby Mitchell on the November ballot.

UNE releases porpoise after four months of rehab

Number 12, a small harbor porpoise rescued after becoming stranded on Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport on Feb. 26, has been returned to the wild.

The porpoise had been cared for at the University of New England Marine Science Center and Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center in Biddeford where she received physical therapy from the swim team.

Keith Matassa, marine rehabilitation coordinator at the center, said a crew of six released her about two miles out.

“She had a moment of hesitation when she hit the water, kind of stopped, then took off like an arrow in 3 feet of water,” said Matassa.

A satellite tag on her dorsal fin showed that she was swimming off Portland Harbor this afternoon. The tag will allow researchers to follow the 2-year-old 52-pound porpoise’s movements for the next six months.

Only about one out of 100 cetaceans that are rescued make it back to the wild.


Man sentenced to 50 years for killing older sister, 70

A 54-year-old Maine man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for beating, strangling and suffocating his older sister.

Michael Toby, who was sentenced Wednesday, was convicted in March of killing 70-year-old Rosalie Shedd at her Dover-Foxcroft apartment in 2008. Prosecutors said Toby beat the woman with a piece of wood, strangled her with a vacuum cleaner cord and put a plastic bag over her head.

Toby used an insanity defense during a jury-waived trial, but Piscataquis County Superior Court Justice William Anderson found that he knew right from wrong.


Baldacci’s two-year plan targets health care, costs

Gov. John Baldacci has released a new two-year plan for improving public health and reducing health care costs in Maine.

Maine law requires a new plan every two years to guide policy and legislative action. The new plan lays out a strategy to contain or reduce health care costs and implement the federal health reform law passed in March, as well as guidelines for investments in technology, new buildings and new services, according to the Governor’s Office.

Baldacci’s plan also documents improvements made during his tenure. Maine is now rated as the ninth healthiest state, up from 16th in 2003, and it ranks sixth best in covering the uninsured, up from 19th in 2002, the plan says.

While it targets rising costs, the plan says growth in premiums for workplace insurance is now lower here than the national average.

The Governor’s Office of Health Policy held public forums in each of Maine’s eight public health districts and with the Tribal District and held two public hearings with the council before completing the final plan.

The plan is available at,