August 13, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news service reports


State's earliest EEE samples detected in local mosquitoes

Mosquitoes collected in Alfred have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the earliest in the season the virus has been identified in Maine, according to state officials.

One mosquito pool -- up to 50 bugs -- tested positive Aug. 9 at the state's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory. The mosquitoes were collected on July 16.

The previous earliest detection of EEE in Maine was in early August.

Last year, Maine identified EEE in a flock of pheasants. Seven mosquito pools tested positive last year for West Nile Virus.

So far this year, Massachusetts has identified EEE in horses and mosquitoes and Vermont has seen positive tests in mosquitoes.


Voters asked to apply state funds to teacher retirements

Residents will vote Tuesday on changes to the education budget.

Voters will be asked to consider an amendment to the $38.8 million budget approved during a June 11 referendum. If approved, the amendment would also allow Scarborough to use a portion of additional state subsidy funds to offset a shift in teacher retirement costs.

According to school officials, $520,283 in teacher retirements costs was shifted from the state to the town. An additional state subsidy of $788,038 allocated to the town will offset the new retirement expense.

If the amendment is approved, officials plan to use the remaining balance of $267,755 for tax relief.

"There have been some significant concerns regarding the rapid increase in property taxes, so we felt the best compromise would be for the school board to cover the expenditures we had, then (as the town council to) apply the remainder to property tax relief," said Chris Caiazzo, a school board member and chairman of the finance committee.


Race team member dies after fall from pickup truck

A 47-year-old Standish man died after the last race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday night when his foot slipped off the bumper of a pickup he was riding on and he fell in the path of the trailer it was towing.

Gregory Rowe was catching a ride on the back of the Sally Gherardi racing team's pickup from the pit area when the accident occurred at about 11:30 p.m., said Scarborough Detective Sgt. Rick Rouse. The Ford F-150 pickup, driven by Timothy Hatch, 32, of Standish, was going no more than 15 mph when Rowe fell, Rouse said.

Rowe apparently had one foot on the bumper and the other may have been on the tongue of the trailer, Rouse said.

"Beech Ridge has been open since the '50s ... that's probably the first time that's ever happened," Rouse said. "It's a tragic accident."

A speedway statement read: "We at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to one of our race teams and its families following an unfortunate loss late Saturday night. We know the entire Beech Ridge community shares in your grieving process and will continue to hold you in its thoughts and prayers."


Drive-ins compete for prize to assist with upgrades

Two Maine drive-in theaters are competing in a national contest to win digital projectors needed to continue showing new release movies past the end of the year.

The Saco Drive-In and Prides Corner Drive-In in Westbrook are both part of Project Drive-In, a national contest sponsored by Honda to bring attention to the costly upgrades facing small theaters across the country.

Voting continues for the next 27 days. People can vote once each day via text message and once daily on Honda's Project Drive-In website.


Teen boy fatally entangled by rope while dirt biking

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