July 4, 2013

Local Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)

LePage said Tuesday he made the donation to the Open Door Recovery Center, which provides treatment for clients and their families in Hancock, Washington and Penobscot counties.

Open Door provides treatment regardless of the clients' ability to pay.

LePage met last month with Barbara Royal, executive director, and two graduates of the program. Royal said the goal is to get additional donations to match the governor's contribution.


Wildlife officials doing count of gull, cormorant populations

Wildlife officials are surveying gull and cormorant populations on Maine's coastal islands.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is monitoring population and breeding distribution changes of great black-backed gulls, herring gulls and double-crested cormorants. They're also surveying common eiders on selected islands.

The survey is using a combination of aerial photographs, aerial counting and ground surveys in which crews walk the islands and count the number of nests that contain eggs.

Officials said that from 1996 to 2008, the number of nesting black-backed gulls declined 42 percent, nesting herring gulls declined by 30 percent and nesting cormorants dropped 45 percent. Biologists believe the decline is due to fewer fish to feed on and increased predation from a growing eagle population.


Police charge three men with trafficking in cocaine

A Maine man and two New York City residents were arrested on drug charges this week at an apartment in Augusta.

Matthew Jepsen, 29, of Augusta, and Kenneth Floyd, 21, and Robert Lonnie Dixon, 34, of Bronx, N.Y., were all charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Authorities said Dixon and Floyd were being held in Kennebec County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, and Jepsen on $25,000 bail. It was not clear if they had lawyers.

Agents seized about 17 grams of crack cocaine, valued at $1,700, and almost $8,200 in cash alleged to be proceeds from the sale of crack.

Police said two children were in the apartment at the time of the search.


College signs gas deal saves $1 million in heating costs

The University of Maine at Augusta has signed a five-year contract to heat the campus with natural gas, a deal expected to save the school up to $1 million.

The deal with Brunswick-based Maine Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, was announced Tuesday. The campus will begin receiving natural gas on Oct. 1. The gas will replace No. 2 heating oil.

The University of Maine System solicited bids in December for cost-saving forms of fuel for campuses in Augusta, Farmington, Machias and Presque Isle. The Augusta project is the only one to move forward so far.


Pan Am says nothing spilled when four tank cars derailed

Pan Am Railways says four tanker cars went off the tracks near the Penobscot River in central Maine, but nobody was hurt and nothing spilled.

Executive Vice President Cynthia Scarano said three cars carrying liquid carbon dioxide and an empty tanker derailed about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday near the Veazie-Bangor town line.

Scarano said the 92-car train was going from Mattawamkeag to Waterville, carrying wallboard, wood products, sand, scrap metal and other products.

Scarano said the locomotive and the cars that were in front of the derailed cars continued on to Waterville.


Two popular trails reopen after falcons unable to nest

Two popular trails at Acadia National Park have reopened after being closed in the spring to protect nesting peregrine falcons.

Park officials said sections of the Flying Mountain and Jordan trails at Valley Cove and Jordan cliffs reopened Wednesday. They had been expected to reopen in August, but the falcons failed in their nesting attempts.

The popular Precipice Trail remains closed to protect nesting there.

The peregrine falcon is listed as an endangered species in Maine. In the past 20 years, more than 100 chicks have fledged on Mount Desert Island.


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