One lane of turnpike closed to take man from median

One lane of the Maine Turnpike was closed Thursday afternoon after a man walked onto the median waving his shirt and disturbing traffic, according to the Maine Turnpike Authority. State police removed him from the highway.

A turnpike employee reported around 3:30 p.m. that a man who seemed agitated was in the median near the Kennebunk Service Plaza at Exit 25, waving his shirt at passing cars, said Dan Morin, spokesman for the turnpike authority. Morin said the disturbance caused traffic delays because drivers slow down “when you see something that is out of place” on the highway.

The right lane of the southbound side of the highway was closed for about 15 minutes while troopers “safely escorted him from the travel lane,” Morin said. He said he didn’t know whether the man came from the service plaza or walked onto the highway from the nearby town. Maine State Police didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information about the incident.


Medical examiner concludes inmate died of head injuries

An autopsy by the state Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that an inmate killed Tuesday at the Maine State Prison in Warren died of head injuries.

The death of Alan Powell Jr., 57, has been ruled a homicide, a state police spokesman said Thursday.

Police had already said they believe Powell was killed by fellow inmate Guy Hunnewell, 42, as the two were in an outdoor exercise yard at the state’s high-security prison in Warren. Prosecutors said Wednesday that they plan to seek charges against Hunnewell when a Knox County grand jury meets in July. Police said they would not release any other details.

Hunnewell is serving 40 years for killing his girlfriend. Powell was serving a life sentence for raping, stabbing and strangling a Waterville woman in 1989.

Powell had served about 22 years of a life sentence for murder.


Phippsburg woman injured in early-morning car crash

A 60-year-old Phippsburg woman is recovering at Maine Medical Center after a car crash early Thursday.

Marvis Coombs was driving a 2003 Toyota Highlander south on Route 1 about 4:30 a.m. when she lost control and hit the cable barrier alongside the passing lane. The Highlander then crossed into the northbound lane, coming to rest on the embankment alongside the breakdown lane, police said.

Coombs was in stable condition, according to the hospital. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


Wave of vandalism causes town to rethink security

Repeated vandalism in public places has the town of Norridgewock considering investing in better lighting and security cameras.

The Morning Sentinel reported that the most recent incident was a break-in and theft at the library. A few weeks ago, someone in an all-terrain vehicle drove through the gates of a local park and pushed a portable toilet into the Kennebec River.

The library and park don’t have surveillance or security systems.

Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said there have also been petty crimes, such as broken signs and trash cans.

Flewelling said officials have been looking at setting up cameras around town that would broadcast footage on the town website and in the town office.

She said cost estimates begin at about $20,000.


Local Board of Selectmen fires Town Manager Byron

The community of Litchfield has fired its town manager.

Town Manager Michael Byron, who is also a city councilor in Augusta, was fired by the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

Board chair Rayna Leibowitz told the Kennebec Journal that it was in the best interest of the town to fire Byron, but she wouldn’t specify the reasons for his dismissal.

She said only that some residents had “expressed displeasure with him.”

Byron, 76, was hired in Litchfield in January 2008. He said he’ll miss the people he worked with.

Byron said selectmen told him they were dissatisfied with what he called “very minor things,” including that he hadn’t finished redrafting the personnel policy or evaluated the front office staff.


LePage signs bill to help veterans get work sooner

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill designed to make it easier for veterans and their spouses to get back into civilian work after military service.

Under the new law, boards, commissions or agencies affiliated with the state’s professional and financial regulations department will develop a process to expedite professional licenses for veterans and their spouses. Those groups will be able to allow veterans to use a license they got in a different state until they get a new one in Maine.

Democratic Rep. Anne Graham of North Yarmouth, the bill’s sponsor, said electricians, plumbers and nurses often wait a long time for their licenses to be transferred and that this will help them get back to work sooner.

– From staff and news services