WINDHAM

Police seeking information on armed robbery at store

Police are investigating an armed robbery Sunday at The Cigarette Shopper here.

A man wearing an orange ski mask, a bulky winter coat and baggy jeans entered the store at 778 Roosevelt Trail at 10:39 a.m., told the clerk he had a weapon and demanded that the safe be opened, said Sgt. David Thomas of the Windham Police Department.

The clerk had no key and could not open the safe, so the robber ordered the clerk to lie on the floor of a back storeroom and fled with an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register, Thomas said.

Witnesses reported seeing the man enter a blue minivan and drive into the parking lot of the neighboring Walmart store. Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Windham police at 892-2525.

AUGUSTA

LePage: Environmental proposals will create jobs

Gov. Paul LePage is defending his environmental proposals as the beginnings of a reform agenda needed to turn Maine’s economy around and create jobs.

In his weekly radio address, the Republican governor said most of the proposals come directly from businesspeople who have attended Red Tape Workshops held across the state. LePage said part of his plan is to conform to federal regulations when it makes sense.

He said it’s time to start defending the interests of those who want to work in Maine with the same vigor that tree frogs and Canadian lynx are defended.

In the Democratic response, Rep. Bob Duchesne of Hudson said more than half of LePage’s environmental proposals rolled back protections to the health, safety and welfare of Maine citizens.

Committees to review picks to lead DHHS, farm agency

Two more of Gov. Paul LePage’s Cabinet nominees are facing legislative hearings this week.

On Tuesday, the Health and Human Services Committee takes up the nomination of Mary Mayhew of South China as commissioner of the state department that administers welfare, MaineCare, food stamps and other social services. Mayhew is a former Maine Hospital Association executive.

LePage’s pick for agriculture commissioner, Waldo dairy farmer Walter Whitcomb, is scheduled for a hearing before the Agriculture Committee on Thursday.

After committee reviews, the candidates will face Senate confirmation votes.

Moose lottery applications available on IF&W website

Applications for this year’s moose hunting lottery are now available online.

The deadline for online applications is 11:59 p.m. on May 13. Thousands of hunters complete their applications to win a permit through the lottery on the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website, www.mefishwildlife.com.

The state no longer prints or mails paper applications for the moose lottery. Hunters unable to apply online can get a paper application in The Maine Sportsman or Northwoods Sporting Journal.

The 2011 permit lottery will be held in mid-June at Cabela’s in Scarborough.

Fuel aid program officials keeping eye on oil dealers

Administrators who oversee Maine’s fuel assistance program are keeping a close watch on the troubles that some oil companies are experiencing this winter.

The program, known as LIHEAP, usually pre-pays for deliveries to its clients. Administrators said they are now trying to recoup taxpayer dollars that were paid for oil that was not delivered.

For example, Thibeault Energy in Brunswick supplied oil to about 40 LIHEAP clients. The company recently closed, leaving an apology message on the answering machine. WCSH-TV reported that the agency is now trying to determine how much oil was actually delivered and how much pre-paid money needs to be returned.

Administrators said that last year, LIHEAP paid $366,000 to six companies that later ran into trouble.

Efforts to preserve theater gaining councilors’ support

Supporters of saving an old theater in Augusta say they’ve paid the city $3,000 in overdue taxes and obtained nonprofit status.

Tina Charest, secretary for the Augusta Colonial Theater, said volunteers have boarded up windows to prevent vermin and people from getting in; developed a positive relationship with downtown neighbors; and cleared litter from the property and raised funds.

The Kennebec Journal reported that City Council members seemed pleased with the latest developments. The council had warned that the building could be torn down if improvements were not made.

BOWDOIN

Family loses home in fire; cause under investigation

A local family lost everything Sunday when a fire swept through their mobile home at 107 Roberts Road.

Bowdoin Fire Chief Tom Garrepy said a mother and her son escaped after they smelled smoke, but the fire destroyed their home and belongings. Their names were not available Sunday evening.

When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out the windows of the mobile home, the fire chief said. Two fighters had to be treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.

Garrepy said the victims were expected to spend the night with relatives. The cause of the fire, which was reported at 2:53 p.m., remains under investigation.

KITTERY

Shipyard to get $16 million for facility improvements

The Navy plans to invest $16 million in construction and modernization work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. The work will be done on one of three docks used for submarine engineering overhauls.

In a November letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget, Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen had expressed concerns about supporting efficient shipyard operations and promoting employee safety.

A Government Accountability Office report last year found that the backlog of facility improvements at the yard is $513 million.