December 14, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

SOUTH PORTLAND

Councilors to vote Monday on waterfront development moratorium

The South Portland City Council will vote Monday night on whether to enact a six-month moratorium on any waterfront development that would involve the loading of petroleum products onto ships in South Portland.

The moratorium was proposed a day after a controversial ballot initiative designed to block the flow of Canadian oil sands, also known as tar sands, through South Portland failed in November.

The proposal rejected by voters was a pre-emptive effort to stop the Portland Pipe Line Corp. from reversing the 236-mile underground pipe that currently pumps crude oil from Maine to Montreal. Local activists feared the pipeline would be reversed as a way for Canada to export tar sands oil.

The pipeline corporation and other oil companies with operations in South Portland denounced the previous proposal, and along with help from national petroleum lobbyists, mounted a successful campaign to defeat it, saying the ordinance was unnecessary and would have unintended consequences for all waterfront businesses.

If passed, the moratorium would buy the City Council until May 6 to create a committee of interested parties to explore issues surrounding the potential flow of tar sands to South Portland.

WESTBROOK

Collision on Route 302 leaves three people injured

Three people were hospitalized after a head-on crash on Route 302 on Friday evening.

Their injuries were not life-threatening, said police Sgt. Timothy Morrell, who did not release the names of the people in the crash or say what injuries they suffered.

The collision occurred around 6:10 p.m. near 136 Bridgton Road, also called Route 302. A silver Ford traveling west collided with a blue Subaru going east.

A man and a woman in the Ford were taken to the hospital after being extricated from the vehicle by Westbrook fire and rescue workers. The driver of the Suburu was also taken to the hospital.

Police said neither alcohol nor speed appeared to be factors in the crash, which is still under investigation. The road was closed after the crash and reopened at 7:40 p.m.

CALAIS

Attorney general: Officers justified in Calais shooting

Maine’s attorney general says it was reasonable for two police officers to believe they had to use deadly force in a domestic violence-related shooting last summer in Calais.

Police shot Daniel Pinney, 26, shortly after arriving at his home on July 3. They said Pinney had shot Megan Sherrard, 21, and their 6-week-old son, Luca. The woman was fleeing with her son.

Pinney later died; an autopsy showed he was struck twice in the chest and once in the arm by bullets fired from one of the officers, but that he actually killed himself, firing a gun at his head.

Sherrard and the baby recovered from their wounds.

Attorney General Janet Mills concluded Friday that the officers reasonably believed Pinney was using unlawful deadly force against them, Sherrard and the baby.

PORTLAND

Game wardens halt search for missing Quebec man

Game wardens are suspending their search for a 67-year-old Quebec man missing for more than two weeks in a remote area of northern Maine’s Piscataquis County.

The Maine Warden Service said searchers found no trace Friday of Renald Poulin, who entered the United States from Quebec on Nov. 26. He was due to return home the next day. The search began Nov. 30.

The search will be suspended until temperatures rise and the snow has melted.

Searchers have looked in the area of Umbazooksus Lake and nearby small bogs and wet areas, but the search was hampered by the cold and snow.

LEWISTON

Officials say everyone safe after apartment house fire

Fire officials say it appears that everyone escaped safely from a three-alarm apartment building fire Friday morning in Lewiston.

The fire in the Oxford Street building was reported about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

Fire Chief Paul Leclaire told WMTW-TV the sub-freezing temperatures made battling the blaze difficult, but the most important thing is that there were no reported injuries.

Crews from a number of area departments responded. The cause remains under investigation. 

AUGUSTA

LePage signs proclamation to expedite fuel deliveries

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a proclamation aimed at ensuring residents get timely heating fuel deliveries as Maine’s weather remains bitterly cold.

The limited emergency proclamation signed by the governor Friday allows Maine fuel transport and delivery trucks to drive additional hours for the next two weeks by waiving some U.S. Department of Transportation rules.

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