Kayaker who died identified as New Gloucester man, 51

The kayaker who was found in the water Saturday evening off Higgins Beach in Scarborough has died.

Police identified the victim as Steven Langlais, 51, of New Gloucester.

Langlais had left Scarborough Marsh and was intending to kayak to Bluff’s Island. He was reported missing by a concerned friend Saturday afternoon, said Coast Guard Command Duty Officer James Childress.

After a search of several hours, Langlais was spotted by Coast Guard searchers in a helicopter. A Coast Guard rescue boat and a Scarborough Marine Unit were directed to his location, where he was found face-up in the water, wearing a wetsuit and life jacket. He was taken aboard the boat around 7 p.m.

A Scarborough paramedic on the boat tried to resuscitate Langlais, but he did not appear to respond. He was transferred to an ambulance at Pine Point and later pronounced dead at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Childress said Langlais was an experienced kayaker who had made the Bluff’s Island trip before. Officials haven’t determined what might have caused the accident, he said.


Veterans Bridge on-ramp to be closed for construction

The Route 1 ramp that leads onto the existing Veterans Memorial Bridge will be closed today until May 4.

The Maine Department of Transportation said the closing will allow construction crews to work on the southern approach to the new Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The Interstate 295 northbound Exit 4 off-ramp, which also leads to the Veterans Memorial Bridge, will also be closed intermittently during off-peak hours,  from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The department said construction of the new bridge is on schedule and the bridge is expected to open to traffic this summer. The old bridge is due to be removed by the end of the year.


New traffic pattern begins for Falmouth Spur travelers

The Maine Turnpike Authority will institute a new construction-related traffic pattern today for travelers on the Falmouth Spur.

The new traffic pattern is needed to ensure motorist and worker safety during the two-year reconstruction of the Presumpscot River bridges.

Traffic will be restricted to single lanes in both directions. Westbound motorists will be directed to cross over onto the eastbound bridge while crews reconstruct the westbound bridge.

This first phase of construction should wrap up late this year, and be followed by further construction that will require additional traffic pattern changes. All schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change.


Sparks from passing train blamed for outbuilding fire

Sparks from a passing train ignited a brush fire Sunday that later gutted the second floor of a nearby outbuilding.

Chief Duane Bickford said a southbound train was rolling through a densely populated downtown neighborhood about 1:45 p.m. when the fire started in the backyard of 239 Main St. and spread to the neighboring property at 237 Main St.

The fire entered an apparently abandoned two-story outbuilding at 239 Main St., partially burned a dead tree and consumed a wooden fence.

Bickford said trains are responsible for several brush fires every year, but this is the first the department has dealt with this season.


Paving plant that angered Augusta neighbors moves

A paving plant that angered its neighbors in Augusta and was exiled by city officials has relocated to Windsor.

The R.C. & Sons Paving plant, which operated out of a pit owned by McGee Construction of West River Road in Augusta, is now in a gravel pit owned by Pete Kelly off Route 105.

Mike Cloutier, a vice president of the family-run business, said their goal is to have the Windsor plant up and running by the end of April. The business also has a plant in Lewiston.

He said moving the plant cost the company about $100,000.

Staying at its previous location was not an option. Last year, Augusta city councilors approved a zoning change that banned asphalt plants in pits in that area after nearly three years of complaints from residents of the nearby Grandview neighborhood.


Masked man robs woman’s prescription drugs at home

A woman was robbed of prescription drugs by a masked gunman Friday in her trailer.

Sgt. Joseph Shepherd said the 39-year-old woman, whom he wouldn’t name, was alone in her Nicole Drive mobile home about 7:30 p.m. and heard a noise coming from her front door. When she investigated, she discovered a man in her living room holding a handgun and wearing a bandana over his face.

“He pointed the gun at her and demanded prescription medications,” Shepherd said. The woman complied and handed over several different medications. “Then he told her to turn around, and he left the home and ran down the street,” Shepherd said.

The robbery lasted about three minutes, and no one was injured.  Shepherd wouldn’t disclose the types or amounts of drugs that were stolen.

The case is still under investigation, but the robbery is believed to be an isolated event, he said.


Downtown fire put out; transient suspected of arson

Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire at Capitol Computers in downtown Augusta Saturday night, and police are holding a 23-year-old transient who is suspected of setting the fire.

Tyler Uehling is being held on a probation violation at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility, said State Fire Marshal Sgt. Ken Grimes. He allegedly used a lighter to set a door on fire in an alley that faces the Colonial Theater.

Firefighters got a call at 11:43 p.m., and when they arrived, smoke was visible, Augusta Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Guimond said.

Capitol Computers CEO Thomas Johnson said his wife, Karen, an accountant, was in the store finishing tax returns for clients when she smelled smoke and called the fire department.

Firefighters quickly put out the fire, which caused minor damage, and then heard Uehling calling for help, Grimes said. Uehling had several cuts from a broken window, but was not burned in the fire, he said.

– From staff and news services