January 28, 2013

Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Drawbridge open again after being stuck for days

The Sarah Long Bridge linking Maine and New Hampshire reopened to vehicular traffic Sunday night.

Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, said tests done on the drawbridge and road earlier in the day demonstrated the bridge was safe to use. It reopened at 7 p.m., earlier than the expected reopening Monday morning.

The 73-year-old bridge was shut down Wednesday after the drawbridge got stuck in the up position during a routine test. Crews worked over the past several days to get the bridge back in alignment so it could be fully lowered.

The bridge carries Route 1 Bypass traffic between Kittery and Portsmouth over the Piscataqua River.

Talbot said the Sarah Long Bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2014. The estimated cost of replacing the bridge is about $170 million.

JONESPORT

Driver killed in collision with truck on Main Street

A Jonesport man died Sunday in a crash on Main Street in the eastern Maine town.

Lt. Travis Willey of the Washington County Sheriff's Department told WABI-TV that 56-year-old Randy Thistlewood was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said Thistlewood was speeding, lost control and began to skid. His car crossed the center line and hit a truck traveling in the other direction.

The driver of the truck had minor injuries and was able to call 911 to report the accident.

FARMINGDALE

Woman sought after armed robbery at store

Sheriff's deputies were searching Sunday night for a woman who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint.

The woman entered the Circle K store at 519 Maine Ave. at about 7:20 p.m. and confronted the cashier with a gun, according to initial reports from the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office.

She left the store with an undisclosed amount of money and headed north on foot.

The woman was described as white and wearing jeans, a dark jacket and something over her face.

ST. FRANCIS

Snowmobiler rescued from river, arrested on warrants

Maine game wardens say a snowmobile went through the ice on the St. John River, and the operator was rescued and treated for hypothermia and a broken rib.

The warden service said a call came in Saturday night that two snowmobiles had gone through the ice.

Volunteers and members of the St. Francis Fire Department helped to pull 28-year-old Travis Albert of St. Francis out of the river as game wardens arrived.

Albert had been riding up the river with his friend, 28-year-old Joshua Jandreau, also from St. Francis, when they drove onto unstable ice near an open channel. Albert didn't make it across and became submerged in the water. Jandreau made it across and called for help.

Albert was later taken into custody for several outstanding arrest warrants.

CAPE ELIZABETH

Chimney fire damages home, but occupants escape safely

A chimney fire damaged a Cape Elizabeth home Sunday night, but its occupants escaped without injury.

Cape Elizabeth Fire Chief Peter Gleeson said there were three people inside the two-story home at 231 Fowler Road when a fire broke out in the area between the fireplace and chimney around 6:30 p.m.

Crews from Cape Elizabeth, along with South Portland and Scarborough, responded and stayed on the scene for more than two hours.

The chimney and adjoining walls sustained damage. Gleeson said the home will need some structural repairs before its owner can live there.

PORTLAND

Mayor Brennan to give first State of the City address

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan will deliver his first State of the City address Monday evening during the City Council's regular meeting.

Brennan's speech is expected to include a summary of the first year of his term and his vision for the future.

Brennan became Portland's first popularly elected mayor in 88 years after winning a race in 2011 that included 15 candidates. Previously, the mayoral post rotated among City Council members.

When outlining the role for Portland's popularly elected mayor, the city's charter commission called for annual State of the City addresses.

Since becoming mayor, Brennan has started a coalition of mayors from Maine's largest cities to collaborate on common issues. Brennan has also been outspoken on issues such as gun control and same sex marriage.

State parks reservations start with Sebago this week

Maine's state park reservation system for the 2013 camping season opens this week.

On Friday, the Division of Parks and Public Lands will accept reservations only for Sebago Lake State Park, and only for a minimum of four nights.

Then on Feb. 4, the reservations system opens at 9 a.m. for all state park campgrounds.

Parks and Public Lands Director Will Harris said the Sebago Lake campground is one of the most popular in the state, and campers tend to stay there longer than at other state parks.

Campers have four ways to make reservations: online at www.CampWithMe.com; by calling in-state at (800) 332-1501; by mail; or by making them in person in Augusta.

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