July 20, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

AUGUSTA

Bennett has wide support to lead state Republicans

The majority of voting members of Maine's Republican State Committee is supporting former-Senate President Rick Bennett as the next state party chairman.

Thirty-nine committee members announced their support for Bennett in an email obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

The 77-member committee is expected to vote in Augusta on Saturday.

The election follows the resignation of former chairman Richard Cebra earlier this month. The party said Cebra stepped down because of personal reasons.

Bennett is currently chairman at Portland-based research firm GMI Ratings.

The group said Bennett is a "successful job-creating businessman" who has "fought against out-of-control and wasteful government borrowing and spending."

Maine's libertarian-leaning Liberty Caucus also said in a statement Friday that it's backing Bennett. 

Kennebunk awarded grant to fund water line project

Kennebunk will receive a $300,000 economic development award to help fund a water line project on Route 1.

Kennebunk and St. John Plantation were awarded a combined $375,000 in Community Development Block Grant Economic Development Program Awards from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

The federal program provides gap funding for communities to assist businesses in the creation and retention of new jobs. The awards will result in the creation of 13 new jobs, according to a news release from the department.

St. John Plantation will use its $75,000 award to defray the purchase cost of concrete forms. The money also will allow for upgrades to a crane carrier and building operated by Charette Foundations, a concrete foundation business.

In Kennebunk, the $600,000 project, expected to be done later this year, will allow Northeast Coating Technologies to expand operations and hire 10 extra employees.

PARIS

Town has 49 applications from men for police chief

A lot of people want to be police chief in Paris.

Officials in the town of about 5,000 say they have received 49 applications, including one from a current member of the department.

Interim Chief Jerry Hinton said all the applicants are men and come from as far away as California and Florida. He told the Sun Journal newspaper he's disappointed no women applied, but not surprised.

A search panel hopes to whittle the applicants down to six to 10 for interviews.

The goal is to have the new chief on the job by October.

AUBURN

Teen charged with arson won't be tried as an adult

Prosecutors have decided that a 13-year-old boy charged with setting a fire that burned down three downtown Lewiston buildings and left 75 people homeless won't be tried as an adult.

District Attorney Norman Croteau said Thursday that he and Androscoggin County's juvenile prosecutor reviewed the fire investigator's report and a psychological evaluation before reaching the decision.

The boy faces arson charges in connection with the April 29 fire.

It was one of three large blazes in the city in a week. Another 13-year-old boy and two men face charges in the other fires.

PORTLAND

Excavator accident closes stretch of I-295 for 5 hours

An excavator being used to work on Interstate 295 in Portland was headed south in the northbound breakdown lane when its boom snagged utility lines at Washburn Street, snapped a pole and shut down the state's busiest stretch of highway for five hours early Friday morning.

The lines were fiber optic cables, not power lines, but Maine State Police determined that motorists' safety required that the highway be shut down as the wires draped on the excavator. The incident occurred at 1 a.m. and the road did not fully reopen until 6:21 a.m., said Sgt. Robert Burke, a state police supervisor.

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