PORTLAND

Three-vehicle crash injures woman, causes traffic jam

A crash involving three vehicles snarled rush-hour traffic Monday evening on Marginal Way and sent a Portland woman to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Portland police said.

Lt. Gary Hutcheson said 23-year-old Jacob Gold of Portland was attempting to turn left into the parking lot of Planet Dog when a pickup truck driven by Christian Girard, 19, of Miami, Fla., crashed into the passenger side of his car. Police said Gold’s passenger, Katcrzyma Williams, 22, was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center.

Hutcheson said the impact of the collision forced Gold’s car to smash into a third car that was attempting to leave Planet Dog.

According to police, Gold made the turn after a second motorist stopped and waved at him to go ahead. Hutcheson said Girard, who was traveling on the inside lane closest to the curb, did not see Gold.

Nobody was cited.

Hutcheson said the crash, which took place around 4:45 p.m., caused traffic to back up near the intersection of Franklin Street and Marginal Way.

That intersection is busy around the evening commute because it provides northbound and southbound access to Interstate 295.

USM will get $1.6 million to improve retention rate

The University of Southern Maine is getting a $1.6 million federal grant aimed at helping students stay in school and complete their degrees.

“This is a game changer,” USM President Theo Kalikow said Monday. “It will help us plug more students into campus life and complement that with experiential and off-campus learning opportunities so they can find their passions and earn a degree.”

USM is one of 33 colleges and universities nationwide and the only one in Maine to receive the grant.

The five-year grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Stengthening Institutions Program will pay for a four-step program focused on increasing the retention rate of first-year students and the four-year graduation rate. Among the new efforts: advising and working closely with first-year students, increasing fieldwork opportunities, creating faculty development programs and expanding online tools to improve academic scheduling and student services.

USM’s first-year, full-time retention rate in the fall of 2012 was 64 percent, which is slightly below similar institutions, according to university spokesman Bob Caswell. The goal is to lift that to the mid-70s, he said. By comparison, the University of Maine in Orono had a retention rate of 78 percent.

The four-year graduation rate at USM was 9.7 percent, while the UMaine rate was 37 percent.

Bankrupt railroad borrows $3 million to pay creditors

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway Inc. closed Friday on a $3 million loan that will keep the bankrupt railroad operating into 2014, the company’s government-appointed trustee said Monday.

The Maine-based railroad filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 7, one month after a 72-car train hauling crude oil derailed and then exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, destroying the downtown area and killing 47 people.

Robert Keach, a Portland attorney appointed as trustee to oversee the bankruptcy process, has said he is working to sell the company out of bankruptcy but needed the loan to pay creditors and legal fees.

With the loan in place, officials said Monday that all Montreal, Maine and Atlantic trains in the U.S. and Canada will be staffed by two-man crews, regardless of cargo, according to The Associated Press.

The Lac-Megantic disaster in July brought attention to the use of one-man crews. The train was left unattended by a solo crew member who was accused by the company of failing to set enough hand brakes.

Keach said Monday that there are 18 potential suitors who have expressed interest in buying the bankrupt railroad, the AP reported.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louis Kornreich earlier this month authorized the railroad to borrow the $3 million from Camden National Bank, to be leveraged against its assets.

The railroad also is facing nearly 20 accident-injury and wrongful-death lawsuits related to the derailment.

PITTSFIELD

Man made up like the Joker charged with OUI after crash

Police didn’t need Batman to help them arrest the Joker in central Maine over the weekend.

A man returning from a Halloween party and wearing makeup like the Joker was charged with drunken driving after crashing his car in Pittsfield early Sunday.

Police said Dennis Lalime, 64, lost control of his car at about 2 a.m., then struck multiple trees and rocks before coming to a rest. Lalime wasn’t injured.

A nearby homeowner heard the crash and called police, who arrested Lalime on an operating under the influence charge.

ELIOT

Police release video image of 2 men who robbed bank

Eliot police on Monday released a video surveillance image of two men who robbed a bank at gunpoint Saturday morning.

Police Chief Theodor Short said he is hopeful that by releasing the image, which shows two men wearing hooded sweatshirts, someone might recognize the suspects.

Both men were wearing white sneakers and blue jeans at the time of the robbery. One of the men can be seen cradling a handgun in his right hand.

The robbers fled from the Kennebunk Savings Bank branch with an undetermined amount of cash.

Short said his department is being assisted by Maine State Police and the FBI.

Anyone with information about the robbery, which took place around 10:45 a.m., should call Eliot police at 439-1179.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Tanker’s owners agree to mediation with states

The owners of a tanker that struck a bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine have agreed to mediation with the states.

The owners have been seeking a $2.4 million refund from the two states for the bond posted to release the vessel, which hit the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge on April 1. The states sued the owners, saying the crew didn’t secure the tanker properly.

The owners of the Portuguese oil tanker MV Harbor Feature had said the two states are guilty of negligence. A trial has been scheduled for next year if the parties can’t reach an agreement.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that the mediation process is expected to conclude by the end of next month.

HERMON

Tribe ups reward to $2,000 in bald eagle’s fatal shooting

The reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a bald eagle in Hermon has been raised to $2,000.

A representative of the Penobscot Nation contacted the Maine Warden Service and offered to increase the reward by $1,000, bringing the total reward to $2,000, the Maine Warden Service said Monday.

The eagle, which is protected by federal and state laws, was found near Hermon Pond and Souadabscook Stream.

It is against state law to hunt species that were previously on the state’s list of threatened or endangered species, which includes the eagle. Violating that law is a Class D misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Officials said the shooting of a bald eagle in the state is rare, happening perhaps once a year.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Operation Game Thief Hotline at (800) ALERT-US.

WALDOBORO

Police seize oxycodone, charge 3 with trafficking

Police have charged three people with drug trafficking after a three-month investigation into an oxycodone trafficking ring.

Police on Saturday arrested James Chamberlain, 39, of Waldoboro and Louis Atkinson, 24, of Greene and a 17-year-old Waldoboro boy while they were parked along Route 1 in Waldoboro, police said.

Police seized a loaded 9 mm handgun, 342 oxycodone pills and $1,500. Police said the 30 mg prescription painkillers sell for almost $50 each on the street, making the value of the seized drugs more than $15,000.

Atkinson and Chamberlain are charged with aggravated drug trafficking and are being held at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, police said. The youth was ordered to appear in court on a charge of drug trafficking.

Police believe Atkinson had been bringing oxycodone pills from New York City to sell.