September 13, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

2nd District

Kevin Raye makes run for U.S. Congress official

Former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye formalized his candidacy Thursday for Maine's 2nd Congressional District seat.

The former staffer for retired U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe has made two previous bids for the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor.

Raye, considered a moderate in his party, has taken heat from the far right. In his press statement, he said it is important for the party to nominate a Republican with "broad appeal" who can win in the general election.

Former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has already announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. Blaine Richardson of Belfast also has declared his candidacy, and former state Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport has said he will announce his candidacy this fall.

Raye's candidacy filing with the Federal Election Commission doesn't identify him as a Republican. However, his wife, Karen Raye, said the omission was simply a clerical error. Kevin Raye also made it clear in his press statement that he's running for the Republican nomination.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Emily Cain of Orono, Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash and Alden Smith of Sangerville have announced their candidacies.


Man hurt in MERC incident awarded $489,755 by jury

A York County Superior Court jury this week awarded nearly half a million dollars to a Maine man who was injured while working at Maine Energy Recovery Co. in Biddeford.

Joseph Bordeau, 48, of Mexico was awarded $489,755 by the jury on Wednesday, according to his attorney, Peter Clifford. Bordeau contended the accident was caused by MERC's failure to follow OSHA regulations and the company's own policies related to hoisting and rigging.

Bordeau, a welder, suffered serious back injuries when he was pinned to an I-beam while he was working on an 8-foot ladder. A heavy metal debris pan being hoisted nearby was improperly attached and swung loose into Bordeau's ladder, Clifford said.

Bordeau was pinned for several minutes before employees could control the debris pan.

Clifford said his client's injuries are permanent and he cannot work for more than four hours a day.


Chemical smell prompts evacuation of UNE building

The science building at the University of New England was evacuated after a professor smelled a strong chemical odor when he opened a storage cabinet.

The Morgane Science Building on the Biddeford campus was closed to classes Thursday while emergency officials searched for the source of the leak and assessed the exposure risks. It was scheduled to reopen as normal on Friday.

The chemistry professor was preparing for class when he detected the odor at 11:30 a.m. After alerting public safety officials, he was taken to Southern Maine Medical Center for observation, the school said. He was released from the hospital in the afternoon and returned to campus.

The Biddeford Fire Department, York County Emergency Management Agency and Maine Department of Environmental Protection responded.

Kathleen Taggersell, a spokeswoman for the university, said the storage cabinet is located in a segregated room and contains small canisters of chemicals used in the school's labs.


Panel: Tobacco firms can't reclaim state's $49 million

An arbitration panel of retired federal judges has rejected efforts by tobacco companies to reclaim nearly $50 million owed to the state under a landmark 1998 settlement.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, signed in 1998, awarded Maine and 47 other states perpetual annual cash payments from tobacco companies in exchange for the state dropping lawsuits.

Five years later, in 2003, tobacco companies started to withhold portions of payments to Maine and other states on the basis that the states were complying with the settlement.

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