Route 1 bridge between two states gets stuck open

Engineers were dispatched Tuesday to the Route 1 Bypass bridge between Maine and New Hampshire after it got stuck in the open position about 1:40 p.m.

Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, said crews were assessing the damage to the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, where wheels on one side of the lift mechanism came off their track about a foot above the road surface.

He said repair work would begin early Thursday morning with the goal of getting the bridge reopened within a day or two.

The bridge got stuck as operators opened it to make sure the cold weather had not affected its operation, Boynton said. The bridge, built in the 1940s, is the state’s top priority for major bridge work.

Memorial Bridge, carrying Route 1 traffic between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., is being replaced so all traffic crossing the Piscataqua River in that area is being rerouted to the Interstate 95 bridge.


Ex-Senate candidate Dill hired by Portland law firm

Cynthia Dill of Cape Elizabeth, the 2012 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, has a new job.

Dill announced Wednesday that she has joined the Troubh Heisler law firm in Portland.

Dill served in the Maine House and Senate before running for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe. She won the Democratic primary but came in a distant third in the general election, behind independent Angus King and Republican Charlie Summers.

Dill, who was a self-employed civil rights lawyer, said she will concentrate her practice on commercial and civil litigation; federal employment law and representing veterans; government relations for individuals and businesses; and assisting Internet-based companies and startup organizations.


State of the City address by mayor set for Monday

Mayor Michael Brennan will deliver the city’s first State of the City address Monday, the city said in a news release.

The address will cover Brennan’s first year in office and a vision for the future, including “Growing Portland: The Education, Research and Business Collaborative” — a work force development effort led by the city and businesses.

In a citywide election in 2011, Brennan became Portland’s first popularly elected mayor in nearly 90 years. Before that, a ceremonial mayor was chosen by city councilors.

The State of the City is one of the responsibilities outlined in the city charter for the elected mayor. Other duties include appointing committees, assisting with the budget and being a spokesman for the city.

The address will begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.


Bill requiring helmets for motorcyclists under review

A bill to require all motorcyclists to wear helmets in Maine has been referred to a legislative committee.

Lawmakers on Tuesday sent Rep. Paulette Beaudoin’s bill to the Transportation Committee. The Biddeford Democrat introduced a similar bill in 2009, but it was rejected.

Current Maine law requires motorcyclists younger than 18 to wear a helmet when driving or riding as a passenger. The law also applies to motorcyclists operating under a learner’s permit or within one year of completing a driving test.

Beaudoin’s bill requires all operators and passengers of motorcycles to wear protective helmets, restoring a law that was repealed in the late 1970s.

Lawmakers also referred to committee Beaudoin’s bill to prohibit the use of a handheld mobile telephone while driving. 


Two more cod stocks reports hold bad news for fishermen

The news continues to be terrible for New England fishermen hoping to avoid a huge reduction in their catch limits in 2013.

Reports from two separate December assessments of cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank are providing more evidence of their poor condition.

In a media statement Tuesday, the New England Fishery Management Council said the assessments showed cod in the Gulf of Maine at among its lowest recent abundance. And it said the last above-average year for Georges Bank cod reproduction was 1991.

The council said possible cuts in catch limits include 61 percent for Georges Bank cod and 81 percent for Gulf of Maine cod.

Regulators are meeting later this month to decide on the cuts. Fishermen have said the reductions being considered will cause industry collapse.


Snowmobile rider dies after crash, frigid night on trail

New Hampshire authorities say a man has died after he crashed his snowmobile and spent the night injured and alone on the trail in frigid temperatures.

The fish and game department said 29-year-old John Arsenault of Shelburne went out for a ride around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night and later crashed while going over a hill at high speed.

When he didn’t show up for work Wednesday morning, his friends went looking for him, and found him unconscious on the trail around 10:45 a.m.

Arsenault later died at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin. Authorities said speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash.