April 12, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Runaway oil tanker that hit bridge allowed to leave port

The oil tanker that hit a bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine has been given clearance to leave port.

The 473-foot tanker MV Harbour Feature was expected to leave Thursday.

The tanker struck the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge on April 1 after breaking away from a pier. The bridge was damaged and is closed for repair work.

Bill Boynton of the New Hampshire Transportation Department told the Portsmouth Herald that preliminary design work on the repair job is under way and workers should arrive in the next couple of days.

He said Cianbro, of Pittsfield, Maine, will do the repairs.

With the bridge closed and the new Memorial Bridge under construction, the only bridge open to vehicular traffic between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95.

PORTLAND

Greek port captain’s widow settles wrongful-death suit

The widow of a Greek port captain who was injured in an accident at the Sprague Energy Corp. dock more than four years ago has settled her lawsuit against the port operator and a shipping firm.

Eirini Zagklaras sued Sprague Energy and Leopard Shipping Co. for wrongful death in the aftermath of the accident on Oct. 6, 2008. Her husband, Ioannis Zagklaras, was injured when he got pinned between the ship and a cable reel on the dock while helping to unload salt from the ship.

Ioannis Zagklaras underwent 22 surgeries after the accident and died on March 13, 2009, while being operated on at Maine Medical Center.

The trial began this week in U.S. District Court, but was halted Wednesday after lawyers told the judge they had reached a settlement.

According to court documents, the parties have 30 days to finalize the terms.

Eirini Zagklaras had sought slightly more than $1.2 million to cover medical expenses, $202,000 in lost wages and $16,000 to pay for her husband’s funeral. She also asked for unspecified punitive damages.

STANDISH

Resident escapes as fire destroys cottage on lake

A predawn fire destroyed a small cottage Thursday on Sebago Lake.

The owner of the wood-framed structure was awakened by smoke and flames and fled the home to a neighbor’s house, where he called for help.

Fire crews from five surrounding communities responded to 5 Bog Alley about 3:50 a.m.

Firefighters pumped water from the lake to extinguish the fire. No one was injured, although the home was deemed a total loss.

According to Standish property records, the cottage was valued at $58,500.

AUGUSTA

Predator beetles unleashed to control tree-killing insect

Conservation officials are releasing tiny, predator lady beetles – 5,700 of them – at Maine state parks to stem the spread of an invasive insect.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s entomology staff were set to release the beetles Thursday at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport and Ferry Beach State Park in Saco.

More beetles will be released next Thursday at Vaughan Woods State Park in South Berwick and at Ferry Beach State Park.

Officials said the beetles will reduce the numbers of hemlock woolly adelgids, an invasive species that defoliates hemlock trees and can kill them.

OAKFIELD

Police say woman produced drugs, endangered her child

Maine drug agents say a 29-year-old woman was arrested after officers discovered a methamphetamine manufacturing lab in a camper in the northern Maine town of Oakfield.

In addition to drug trafficking charges, police said Crystal Hitchcock is facing child endangerment charges because a toddler was also found in the camper when agents raided it late Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said agents seized pre-cursor drugs, chemicals and other materials used to make methamphetamine from the camper.

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