UNITY TOWNSHIP

Woman, 59, fatally injured in collision with pickup truck

A 59-year-old woman was killed Monday afternoon in a head-on collision with a pickup truck on Route 139, also called Waterville Road, in Unity Township, according to the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Frank Hatch of the sheriff’s office said at the scene that none of the names of the people involved in the crash would be released until the families are notified.

Hatch said the woman and the 29-year-old driver of the pickup truck, a 1995 Ford Ranger, both lived locally. Both vehicles were destroyed.

Two female passengers in the woman’s 2005 Chevy Cavalier were taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, as was the driver of the pickup truck.

Hatch said the driver of the pickup, who was traveling eastbound, may have been distracted by a dog he had with him about 2:30 p.m. and crossed the centerline, striking the oncoming, westbound car head-on.

Early reports indicated possible entrapment. The truck rolled over and both vehicles ended up in woods at the roadside.

NASHVILLE PLANTATION

Logging truck, train collide at crossing, but no one hurt

Maine State Police say there were no injuries Monday in a collision between a logging truck and a train in Nashville Plantation.

Police said that at about 10:45 a.m., the logging truck, driven by 48-year-old Wayne Pelletier, failed to stop at the stop sign at a rail crossing on Little Machias Road.

The truck and a train of the Eastern Maine Railway operated by 37-year-old Christopher Labonte, out of St. John, New Brunswick, collided.

The train and three rail cars were knocked off the tracks. The truck rolled onto its side.

Police said there was extensive damage to the truck and the train, but there were no injuries.

AUGUSTA

Man puts toilets in his yard to protest zoning decision

An Augusta man is pooh-poohing the city’s decision to nix a Dunkin’ Donuts by putting toilets in his yard.

David Labbe says a developer wanted to buy his house for top dollar and tear it down to make room for a Dunkin’ Donuts. But the deal was scuttled when the Planning Board, backed by neighbors, refused to change the zoning.

To show his contempt, Labbe put five toilets in his yard, which have yellow and pink flowers growing in them. He’s now put up a sign saying he wants 60 to 70 more commodes to fully show how he feels.

He told the Kennebec Journal that his neighbors angered him by opposing the zoning change, so he’s doing the same to them.

Neighbors call Labbe’s behavior childish.

LEWISTON

Dempsey Challenge raises $1.1 million for cancer center

Patrick Dempsey’s bicycling, running and walking fundraiser in western Maine to raise money for his cancer center has netted more than $1 million.

Nearly 4,000 participants took part in the fifth annual Dempsey Challenge on Saturday and Sunday, raising $1.1 million for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. The final tally is expected to grow to more than $1.2 million.

More than 1,100 cyclists rode routes ranging from 10 to 100 miles on Sunday, with the actor making an appearance during the event’s closing ceremony.

Dempsey, a native of Buckfield, plays Dr. Derek Shepherd on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” He launched the Dempsey Challenge after his mother’s experience with cancer. He founded the Dempsey Center in 2008.

FARMINGTON

First homeless shelter in Franklin County to open

Franklin County’s first homeless shelter is expected to open Nov. 1, but for some people, it can’t open soon enough.

The Western Maine Homeless Outreach shelter at the Living Waters Assembly of God church in Farmington could even open before that target date.

The Rev. Steve Bracy says he already has a list of people who have called for help.

Bracy told the Sun Journal that volunteers have already finished the carpentry and plumbing work. They are waiting on an electrician, and 20-plus volunteers still need to be trained to staff the shelter. About 30 mattresses, including some for children, have yet to be bought, and beds will need to be assembled.

The shelter will also serve meals.

PORTLAND

Residents group opposes ‘midtown’ project in Bayside

A group of Portland residents has formed an organization to oppose development projects that members consider out of scale and out of character for Portland.

The group, Keep Portland Livable, opposes the “midtown” project proposed for the city’s Bayside neighborhood. The project could include 675 market-rate apartments in four towers of about 15 stories each, two parking garages and 93,000 square feet of retail space.

The group’s founders, Tim Paradis and Peter Monro, said in a statement Monday that the group hopes to stir greater interest and activism in the broader development plans for Portland. Group members also want to maintain the city’s unique qualities.

“We should be creating lively, livable communities like Portland’s other neighborhoods,” said Monro, a landscape architect whose office is in Bayside. “The midtown project is a concrete canyon that will destroy our uniqueness.”

Ridership increases 3.5% on Amtrak’s Downeaster

Amtrak says ridership was up in two of its three northern New England routes in the last fiscal year.

Amtrak said Monday that ridership increased 3.5 percent on the Downeaster, which travels from Boston to Maine and includes stops in New Hampshire. Ticket revenue grew 6 percent during the year.

The Vermonter service from St. Albans to Washington, D.C., also saw an increase in ridership and sales, with ridership going up 2.5 percent and sales going up just under 6 percent.