March 17, 2013

Dispatches

NEW GLOUCESTER

Motorists could face delays at New Gloucester toll plaza

Motorists passing through the New Gloucester toll plaza on the Maine Turnpike could face delays Monday through Thursday.

Maine State Police will stop traffic intermittently for up to 20 minutes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. to allow the placement of overhead signs for the new highway-speed electronic toll plaza, scheduled to open April 1.

On Monday, the delays will take place at mile marker 65 in the northbound lane.

On Tuesday, the delays will take place at mile marker 65 in the northbound lane and at mile 69 southbound.

On Wednesday, delays will take place at mile 69 southbound.

Temporary barricades and signs will be erected to guide motorists through the work area.

JAY

Three families left homeless by apartment building fire

Three families lost their home to a fire Saturday that destroyed a three-story apartment building.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Booker said the fire had reached most of the building at 31 Church St. and was coming through the roof by the time firefighters arrived. "You could see it for miles," he said.

Booker said they received a 911 call at 12:29 p.m. and arrived soon afterward.

Eight people were in the building at the time, but they all made it out without injuries before firefighters arrived. Nine residents -- six adults and three children -- lived in the apartments.

Booker said about 60 firefighters responded to the fire. The Livermore, Livermore Falls, Wilton, East Dixfield and Farmington fire departments assisted the Jay Fire Department. Booker said the state Fire Marshal's Office is investigating to determine the fire's cause.

AUGUSTA

LePage uses radio address to say his plan is better

Democrats and Republican Gov. Paul LePage moved closer last week toward an agreement on paying Maine's $484 million Medicaid debt to hospitals.

But in his weekly radio address, LePage insisted that his plan is better, because it's simpler. The governor said the Democrats' plan is difficult to understand, full of legal jargon, budget gimmicks and empty promises.

He would use a revenue bond of $186 million and federal matching funds of $298 million to pay off the debt. The bond would be paid with liquor revenue.

In the Democratic response, Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland said the issue is not just about debt, it's also about high health care costs. Alfond said the state should accept the federal money provided by the Affordable Care Act for Medicaid expansion.

State officials urge Mainers to consider flood insurance

State officials are urging Mainers to consider buying flood insurance if their home or business is located close to a body of water.

According to the Maine Floodplain Management Program, standard homeowners' and business owners' insurance policies do not cover flood-related damages. A separate flood insurance policy can be purchased through local insurance agents.

Consumers are urged to act quickly, because there's often a 30-day waiting period before new policies take effect.

March and April are historically the months when flooding occurs in Maine, but heavy rains can cause flooding any time of the year. It's estimated that up to 75 percent of homes and businesses in floodplains in Maine are not covered by flood insurance.

OLD TOWN

State game wardens find body of Old Town man

The Maine Warden Service says game wardens have found the body of a 41-year-old Old Town man who had been missing since Wednesday.

Authorities said that a vehicle belonging to Troy Crawford was found Friday near Nicatous Lake in Hancock County, and rescuers began concentrating their efforts there.

A piece of his clothing was discovered near the car, and police dogs found Crawford's body about 300 yards from his vehicle. His death remains under investigation.

-- From staff and news services

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