February 26, 2010

Dispatches

— PORTLAND

click image to enlarge

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer: Joe Curran, right, stops the puck from going past the boot goal as fellow USM student Stephen Coppins looks on during a pick up game of hockey with college friends on Mill Creek Park Pond in South Portland on January 29, 2010.

Tim Greenway

click image to enlarge

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer: Joe Curran, right, stops the puck from going past the boot goal as fellow USM student Stephen Coppins looks on during a pick up game of hockey with college friends on Mill Creek Park Pond in South Portland on January 29, 2010.

Tim Greenway

CMP laying off 40 as part of cutbacks in Northeast

Central Maine Power is laying off 40 nonunion workers as part of the parent company's elimination of 140 jobs in the Northeast.

Clayton Ellis, a spokesman for Iberdrola USA, said the employees were released Friday to better align the company's operations with current business needs. He said the decision was difficult but it's ''an essential step given today's economic conditions.''

He said the layoffs touch all of Iberdrola's U.S. utilities except Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, where work force levels are being considered through a separate process.

Iberdrola's other U.S. operations are New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, Berkshire Gas and alternative energy supplier Energetix.

Free H1N1 flu clinics offered today in Saco and Portland

Free clinics for H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines will be held today at University Health Care in Saco and Portland. The community-based health care provider will offer clinics from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with no appointment necessary.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to encourage people to get vaccinated against H1N1, which is expected to surge again.

University Health Care will offer injectable and flumist vaccines for H1N1 and flumist for the seasonal flu. The clinics are at 295 Forest Ave. in Portland and 655 Main St. in Saco. For more information, call the Portland branch at 772-5437 or the Saco branch at 283-1407.

Vacancy for assistant police chief draws 26 applicants

Portland has received 26 application from around the country for the position of assistant police chief, a position was left vacant by the retirement for Joseph Loughlin at the end of last year.

Police Chief James Craig said his second in command will be responsible for implementing many of the department's community outreach initiatives and for managing the department's statistical analysis of crime called CompStat.

The applicants include three internal candidates, he said.

The department will review resumes and experience to pare the list down. Officers as well as community members will participate in interviews and Craig hopes to have a candidate hired by the end of March.

The position pays between $60,000 and $80,000.

ALFRED

Kennebunk man arraigned, subject of first Amber Alert

The man who prompted Maine's first Amber Alert was arraigned in York County Superior Court Friday on charges that he broke into his ex-girlfriend's house, sexually assaulted her and then took their daughter.

Gary Traynham Jr. of Kennebunk was indicted on charges of gross sexual assault, aggravated assault, burglary and criminal restraint in November's incident.

Police say Traynham broke into the Sanford home of his ex-girlfriend, assaulted her and took their 2-year-old daughter.

That prompted the state's first Amber Alert, in which information about the incident and descriptions of those involved were broadcast throughout the state.

Traynham and the girl were found the next day in New Hampshire by a hunter.

WESTBROOK

Listen Up call center closes abruptly, 100 left jobless

A call center has shut its doors and put 100 people out of work.

Listen Up LLC gave no warning to its employees when it shut down Thursday night.

Company President Tony Ricardi told WCSH-TV that the poor economy and lack of business left him no choice. He said all workers will be paid in full for every hour they worked.

Listen Up moved to from Scarborough to Westbrook two years ago.

LEWISTON

Registration for Dempsey fundraiser starts today

Registration for the second annual Dempsey Challenge begin at 9 a.m. today. The event, which has been expanded to two days, will be held Oct. 2 and 3. Registrations will be taken at www.dempseychallenge.org.

The non-competitive event is the primary fundraiser for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center, which provides free support, education and wellness services to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

The first day's events include a 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer run/walk, with a participant cap of 4,000. The next day will feature cycling distances of 10, 15, 50 and 100 kilometers, with a cap of 3,500 riders.

All events will begin and end at Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park. Entry fees are $35 for run/walk events and $75 for cycling, with a required fundraising minimum of $150.

''The outpouring of support for this event has been incredible,'' said Patrick Dempsey, film and television actor and founder of the Dempsey Center. ''It shows that anything is possible when people unite for a cause.''

Lecture by North Pole skier moved to bigger venue

Because of high demand for seats, Bates College officials have changed the location for a talk by an alumnus who skied across the North Pole.

Tyler Fish, who with a friend completed a 500-mile Nordic ski journey across the North Pole in April, will speak at 7 tonight in the college's Chase Hall Lounge, at 56 Campus Ave. Fish and his friend John Huston became he first Americans to complete a human-powered, unassisted Nordic ski journey across the North Pole. Fish will tell his story as part of the 90th anniversary celebration of the Bates Outing Club.

Fish, a 1996 Bates graduate, credits his experience in the Bates Outing Club for fostering his adventurous spirit.

Preschool programs to share $2.2 million in U.S. funding

Two Maine Head Start programs for preschoolers will share $2.2 million in federal funding.

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins announced the grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday.

The funding will go to the Androscoggin Head Start and Child Care in Lewiston and York County Community Action Corp. in Sanford.

BELFAST

Officials unable to pinpoint cause of chicken-barn fire

Fire officials say they probably will never know the cause of a fire that killed 72,000 chickens in a barn early Thursday morning. The fire destroyed a three-story, 500-foot poultry barn.

Owner Merle Grass told the Bangor Daily News that he probably won't rebuild because the cost would be much more than his insurance coverage. He said he has two other chicken barns with a total of 142,000 birds.

Fire Chief Jim Richards said the barn was engulfed when firefighters arrived and it will be impossible to pinpoint the cause.

BANGOR

Man, 18, arrested in fatal shooting after large fight

Police have arrested an 18-year-old Bangor man in a fatal shooting.

The Bangor Daily News said Zachary Carr faces one charge of intentional or knowing murder in the shooting death of John ''Bobby'' Surles.

Police are investigating the shooting, which occurred at 6 p.m. Wednesday in front of a house on Cumberland Street. Surles died at the hospital.

Investigators say the shooting appears to have been prompted by an argument or fight involving up to a dozen teenagers and young adults. Police say Surles was a former Bangor resident who was most recently considered transient.

BATH

Underwater turbine headed for use at Eastport station

Ocean Renewable Power Co. has introduced a composite underwater turbine unit that will be used to power the Coast Guard station in Eastport.

The unit, designed by Ocean Renewable and fabricated at U.S. Windblade in Bath, is capable of producing 60 kilowatts, enough electricity for about 20 homes.

Ocean Renewable spokeswoman Susy Kist said the underwater unit will be installed in Cobscook Bay.

Officials previously said the underwater turbine will likely be used to light the Coast Guard pier and heat rescue boats so they're ready to respond at a moment's notice.

Ocean Renewable hopes to produce the unit commercially. It also plans to create larger underwater turbines for the Western Passage in Passamaquoddy Bay.

One dead, one injured in head-on crash on Route 9

One person was been killed and another was flown to a Bangor hospital with serious injuries from a crash on Route 9 in Hancock County.

The head-on collision occurred at 8:30 a.m. east of Aurora on the busy east-east highway connecting Hancock and Washington counties. The road was shut down while police investigated, said state police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

WALDOBORO

Police seek 2 who allegedly assaulted, robbed man, 63

Police are trying to identify the two men who are believed to have assaulted and robbed a 63-year-old Nobleboro man at a grocery store this month.

Witnesses told police that at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, the three were arguing because the attackers' pickup truck was parked illegally in a handicapped spot in front of the store.

The two men, believed to be in their 20s, got out of the truck, knocked the man unconscious and stole a 30-pack of beer from his groceries before driving off.

The man was taken to the hospital by his family.

Police Chief Bill Labombarde asked that anyone with information contact the police at 832-4500 or at policechief@waldoboromaine.org.

DEA capture of prescription drugs doubled in 2009

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency detectives seized twice as much prescription medication in 2009 as they did in 2008, according to the Department of Public Safety.

MDEA Director Roy McKinney said that last year his agents confiscated 21,661 doses of prescription medication, compared with 10,889 in 2008.

Prescription drugs were involved in most of the arrests made in 2009, he said, though the people arrested may have been charged with possession or trafficking of other drugs.

MDEA agents arrested 925 people last year, a 25 percent increase over the 739 arrested in 2008.

HALLOWELL

Third Coast Guard cutter to join in breaking river ice

U.S. Coast Guard vessels continued to break ice in the Kennebec River to help reduce the chances of winter flooding.

Two Coast Guard cutters, the Tackle and the Bridle, worked their way up the river Friday to as far as the Route 197 swing bridge in Richmond. The Coast Guard said the cutters will be joined by a third vessel, the Morro Bay, today.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency said the immediate flooding threat had been lowered. An ice jam about a mile long and 10 to 15 feet high remains downstream from Hallowell.

BRUNSWICK

BNAS continues actions to close all runway operations

Brunswick Naval Air Station marked another milestone in its process of shutting down with the dimming of the runway lights Friday night. That means no control tower or radar, either.

The Navy will now put large yellow X's on the runways and stop plowing them.

--From staff and news service reports

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