September 27, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Source of UFO materializes into restaurant's spotlight

A spotlight to mark the reopening of a Mexican restaurant Wednesday was briefly mistaken for a visitor from outer space.

Augusta and state police responded to a report of a UFO hovering over Augusta around 8:30 p.m., said Deputy Chief Jared Mills of the Augusta police.

Augusta police got two complaints. Two people also reported the sighting to the Kennebec Journal. One of the callers was near the Kennebec River and another near the Shaw's Plaza on Western Avenue.

Mills said the source of the UFO turned out to be a spotlight being used by Margaritas Mexican Restaurant to celebrate its reopening.

"I was at Margaritas eating dinner with my family and can verify it was a light and not a UFO," said Augusta police dispatcher Aaron Farrell.

The restaurant recently completed renovations and was shut down for about two weeks, said Rob Michaud, the kitchen manager.

Police asked the restaurant to shut off the light due to the complaints, Mills said. But Michaud said the restaurant may use the light in the future.

"The police officer just told us we had a complaint," he said. "He didn't say we had to shut it off."


Conservation group grades lawmakers based on votes

A Maine conservation group has graded state lawmakers based on their votes on key environmental bills this session.

Maine Conservation Voters released their 27th annual scorecard on Thursday.

Lawmakers were graded on seven issues including wind power, paint recycling and genetically modified food labeling.

Sixty-nine representatives and 13 senators received a perfect score from the group with seven pro-environment votes. No lawmakers voted against conservation on all seven issues.

Lawmakers are also given a lifetime rating and the group said that several Republican lawmakers improved their overall scores this year.

Maine Conservation Voters is sending the report card to more than 13,000 Maine homes so residents can see how their representatives voted this session.


Officials warning of scams as Obamacare takes effect

Maine officials are warning residents about possible scams in the coming months as the federal health care law goes into effect.

Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa and Republican Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement Wednesday that several incidents have been reported nationwide of scammers trying to take advantage of consumers.

Officials said that scammers will pose as insurance agents or government representatives and ask for bank account and Social Security numbers or try to sell fraudulent insurance policies.

LePage is encouraging residents to call the insurance bureau if they get calls or messages from people selling insurance policies or claiming to be government officials.


Foliage reaching its peak in northern, western Maine

Conservation officials say the fall foliage colors are approaching their peak in northern and western Maine.

In its weekly fall foliage report, the Maine Forest Service said rangers are reporting color change of 50 percent to 75 percent toward peak in much of the northern and western areas of the state.

The rest of the state has had low to moderate color change so far.

Foliage reports are updated weekly through mid-October on


Old Port, downtown to get more parking pay stations

Portland will install 36 more parking pay stations in the Old Port and downtown next month as it moves to replace single-space parking meters.

The new solar-powered pay stations allow motorists to pay for parking within a larger area, rather than having a meter for each spot. Motorists park their vehicles, walk to the nearest pay stations, insert money and get a receipt, which they place on the front dashboard to show that they have paid for a certain period of time.

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