Airport brush fire burns three acres, threatens homes
A large brush fire that broke out at the end of a runway off Route 109 at the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport Monday afternoon burned three acres and threatened nearby homes but was eventually brought under control by firefighters from Sanford and four other departments.
Capt. Gary Cushing of the Sanford Fire Department said the fire, which was reported around 2 p.m. started when a spark from an electrical short circuit on a telephone line set grass on fire. The fire, whipped by strong winds, spread quickly to a residential neighborhood on South Cotswold Street.
Cushing said three homes were threatened by the flames but firefighters were able to protect the homes from being damaged. However, the fire destroyed a backyard utility trailer that had been filled with debris by one of the homeowners.
Cushing said the fire did not affect operations at the airport and injuries were reported.
Man burned in kitchen fire remains in critical condition
A man who suffered burns over most of his body as a result of trying to extinguish a kitchen fire remained in critical condition Monday at a Boston hospital.
West Bath Fire Chief Greg Payson identified the victim as 43-year-old Ed Grant, who had been a guest at the New Meadows River Cottages in West Bath when the fire broke out around 1 a.m. Sunday.
Grant was initially taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland before being transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was listed in critical condition, Payson said.
Payson said that Grant had been cooking food on a stove in his cottage and had left the food unattended when the fire erupted.
Grant used two fire extinguishers in an attempt to put the fire out. Firefighters found him in distress outside the cottage when they arrived.
Payson said that Grant had been a guest at the cottages for about two weeks. His mother lives in Harpswell. The fire caused about $15,000 in damage to the cottage, which overlooks the New Meadows River.
Woman’s car strikes elderly pedestrian outside Starbucks
A woman drove a 2004 Mercedes Benz over a sidewalk Monday afternoon, striking an elderly pedestrian before slamming into the doorway of a Starbucks coffee shop on Auburn Street, police said.
Lt. Gary Hutcheson said the driver, a 69-year-old Portland woman, told police she was trying to park her car when her accelerator became stuck on a floor mat causing her to lose control.
Hutcheson said the car went over a curb and hit a 74-year-old South Portland man before striking the building, which is located at the Northgate Shopping Plaza.
The impact of the collision shattered a window but did not injure any Starbucks’ customers. The woman has not been charged.
Portland police would not release the name of the driver. The pedestrian’s injuries were not life-threatening, Hutcheson said.
The crash was reported at 3:23 p.m.
Residents vote on 3.3 percent increase for school budget
Portland residents will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a proposed $96.3 million budget for the city’s public schools.
The proposed fiscal year 2015 budget would include $76.4 million from property taxes, $16 million from state subsidies and $3.9 million from other revenue sources. The City Council endorsed the school budget last week.
The total school budget of $101.6 million – which includes $5.3 million not subject to voter approval – represents a 3.3 percent increase over the fiscal year 2014 budget.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All polling locations will be open.
Some residents may have new polling locations because of recent redistricting prompted by population changes during the past decade. For a map of voting districts, go to http://me-portland.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/4069.
State troopers association endorses Mike Michaud
The Maine State Troopers Association, which made no endorsement for governor in 2010, is endorsing Democrat Mike Michaud in the three-way race.
Union President Aaron Turcotte said Monday Michaud was selected over incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler because he possesses the core principles of troopers – “integrity, fairness, compassion and excellence.”
LePage’s campaign responded that Michaud, if elected, would be beholden to “big labor union bosses.”
The union has endorsed both Democrats and Republicans over the years, including Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci and Republican Peter Cianchette, who ran for governor in 2002.
Turcotte said the union withheld its endorsement in the 2010 race featuring Cutler, LePage and Democrat Libby Mitchell
Teenager dies after canoe capsizes in Echo Lake
A 19-year-old Presque Isle man has died after the canoe he was in capsized.
The Maine Warden Service says the body of Jacob Caldwell was recovered from Echo Lake late Sunday morning.
Lt. Thomas Ward says Presque Isle police received calls of an overturned canoe in the lake at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Two 25-year-old men from Presque Isle who were also in the canoe swam to shore and are OK.
The Warden Service is reminding boaters that even though the weather is warming, some bodies of water remain cold.
The death remains under investigation.
Training dummy causes spate of emergency calls
The sight of a body dangling from scaffolding at the site of the Bangor waterfront concerts caused a flurry of calls to first-responders Monday. But it turns out the body was just a dummy used for training and an official is apologizing.
Mike Fischer of Production Services of Maine said the idea was to train workers to deal with a rescue in the event someone falls from the scaffolding.
He told WABI-TV that the goal was to train people in “real-world situations” but not to scare commuters who saw the dummy dangling from the scaffolding.
He said he’s sorry for causing a scare.
Bald eagle found on sidewalk taken to avian rescue center
An adult bald eagle found sitting on a Bangor sidewalk has been taken to an avian rescue center in Waldo County.
The Maine Warden Service says numerous residents of the neighborhood called about the bird, which was spotted at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
The eagle did not have any sort of obvious injuries, but experts suspect it is suffering from lead poisoning and possibly poisoning from other toxins.
The eagle is being treated at Avian Haven in Freedom, but it’s too soon to say whether the bird will recover.