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.

ALFRED

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.

BIDDEFORD

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.

AUGUSTA

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.

The arbitration panel, however, found that Maine and eight other states have been in compliance and will be eligible for full payments. That means retaining $44 million that already has been paid to the state and an additional $5 million that companies withheld.

Six other states failed to comply with the provision.

Maine's tobacco settlement funds go to the Fund for a Healthy Maine, which is used for health care and disease prevention purposes. Since 2000, the state has collected nearly $700 million in settlement funds.

 

Outlook for Maine foliage season: Vibrant colors

Conservation officials are expecting a colorful fall foliage season in Maine.

Bill Ostrofsky of the Maine Forest Service says he's expecting vibrant colors given the vigorous, healthy foliage on the state's maple trees and the moderate summer weather.

In its first weekly foliage report of the season, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry reports that the northernmost part of the state is already experiencing subtle color changes.

But the peak season is still weeks away. The colors typically reach top form from early to mid-October.

Foliage reports can be found at www.MaineFoliage.com.

BRISTOL

Local man accused of using counterfeit bills in midcoast

Authorities say a Bristol man has been charged with using counterfeit U.S. currency in the midcoast.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Damariscotta Police Department and U.S. Secret Service executed a search warrant Wednesday at the home of Tobin Burnham, 32, in the town's Round Pond village.

He is charged with aggravated forgery.

Authorities told The Times Record that counterfeit $20 and $5 bills have been passed in stores in Damariscotta, Newcastle and Waldoboro. An investigation was launched after police fielded complaints from businesses and banks that had received the fake bills.

Burnham was taken to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. It was not clear if he had a lawyer.

SKOWHEGAN

Man charged in dog's death released on $1,000 bail

A Fairfield man charged with causing the death of his dog by dragging it along a road in extreme heat has been released on $1,000 bail.

James Wiggins pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Skowhegan District Court to a charge of animal cruelty.

Wiggins, 43, was arrested July 14 after Fairfield police received multiple reports of a walking man dragging a dog along a road on a hot and humid day. Some witnesses say the man appeared intoxicated.

The dog, a four-year-old mixed breed, was taken to Kennebec Veterinary Service in Oakland, where it later died of hyperthermia and complications related to heat exhaustion.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Fund set up to help widow of firefighter return to Maine

Friends of a pregnant widow whose firefighter husband recently was found dead in a rugged area of northern New Mexico are trying to bring her back to Maine.

A fund has been set up for Hiedi Adams to help her relocate to Rockport, Maine, where she grew up.

Her husband, engine captain Token Adams, 41, disappeared Aug. 30 while checking a report of smoke near Jemez Springs, where he lived with Hiedi and their young son. He had worked with the Santa Fe National Forest for 18 months and knew the area well.

Investigators who found his body Sept. 6 say it appears he crashed his ATV.

Family friend Chuck Whitehouse says family members want to get Hiedi Adams closer to family.

 

Four Maine museums to get grants totaling $710,457

Four museums and cultural institutions in Maine will receive $710,457 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The projects will help the museums engage their communities, create learning experiences, and care for and make accessible museum collections.

The Maine grants are among the 244 awards made in 2013 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services totaling nearly $30 million to museums of all types, including art museums, science centers, aquariums and history museums.

The Maine organizations and their funding include:

• Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay: $150,000, to complete a master plan to manage and schedule development through 2035;

• L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley: $27,994, to collaborate with local teachers to bring science and art education to local schools; and $10,151 to help preserve the museum's ornithology collection;

• Pleasant Point Indian Reservation, Perry: $22,647, to complete an operational plan for the Waponahki Museum and Cultural Resource Center;

• Maine Historical Society, Portland: $499,665: to launch a statewide program to encourage individuals to become participants in the history of their places.

 

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