June 26, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)

Besides the windjammers, the festival features an antique boat parade, a street parade, concerts, arts and crafts, boat excursions, food and more.

AUGUSTA

Wildlife officials seek help studying lethal bat fungus

Wildlife officials are seeking volunteers to help determine the effect of a lethal fungus on Maine's bat population.

White nose syndrome has wiped out entire bat-hibernating colonies in the Northeast and in Maine.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Maine Audubon are asking volunteers to identify bat colonies across Maine to establish a baseline for breeding bats. Colonies are typically found in attics, barns, abandoned buildings, garages and other structures. Peak bat activity takes place through the end of July.

Because of white nose, many bat colonies in Maine didn't even have roosting bats last year. Maine Audubon says of the 45 colonies identified by volunteers last year, only 12 had bats that were roosting -- and none of them raised any pups.

Learn more at: www.maineaudubon.org/bats

Police targeting trespassers at former mental hospital

Capitol Police are seeking a couple spotted on security cameras in tunnels under the old Augusta Mental Health Institute main building.

The two young adults triggered an alarm Saturday afternoon in the vacant former state mental health hospital on Hospital Street but were gone before police arrived.

An investigation is being conducted and the two – a man and a woman – may face trespassing charges and more, according to Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin.

Gauvin said police take people entering the historic Stone Building and the tunnels below it seriously.
“People are not welcome in there. It’s not safe,” he said.

A system of tunnels runs under the old AMHI buildings at what is now a state office complex, next to Riverview Psychiatric Center, on the east side of the Kennebec River.

Gauvin said the tunnels are maintained to provide access to underground utilities and contain asbestos and other hazards and are not safe for the public to enter.

He said the former AMHI buildings are popular targets for “ghost hunters” and the state occasionally gets requests – which it rejects – from people who want to enter the buildings.

He said the couple had a tripod and camera with them, and it did not appear they had entered the tunnel with the intent of stealing anything.

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