Truck driver from North Turner killed in crash on I-95 spur

A North Turner man was killed Friday morning when the tractor-trailer he was driving overturned on the Falmouth exit of the Maine Turnpike, also known as the Falmouth Spur. Marc Moreau, 40, was killed instantly when he was crushed inside the truck cab, state police said.

Troopers said Moreau was talking on his cell phone and may have been driving too fast on the exit when the accident occurred. It took more than four hours for rescue workers to remove his body from the wreckage.

Tons of garbage the truck was carrying spilled across the southbound ramp, closing it to traffic until it was cleaned up, police said.


Three dozen out of work as skylight company is idled

A skylight company has laid off 35 workers and hopes to find an investor to help it ride out the economic downturn.

Adrian Ayotte, president of Architectural Glazing Technologies, said the company was profitable in 2008 and 2009 but is now experiencing cash flow problems. All employees were laid off on March 19, but the situation improved enough that 20 were called back this week.

The company originally focused on skylights but expanded to include the glass and steel used on the outside of high-rise buildings.

Its recent projects include the Kimmell Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Cardinals Stadium in Phoenix and Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

High school student faces assault charge in stabbing

Police say an 18-year-old student has been charged with aggravated assault after a stabbing Thursday at Sanford High School.

Mitchell Farah of Acton was taken to York County Jail after he allegedly attacked a fellow student, Sanford police said. Farah is accused of confronting the other student in a school bathroom and stabbing him with a pocketknife in the chest and back. The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to a local hospital, where he was reported in stable condition.


Judge declines to set bail for teen suspect in slayings

One of the two former honor students accused in a double killing in Rumford will remain jailed while awaiting trial.

A judge on Thursday declined to set bail for 19-year-old Eric Hamel, of the Oxford County town of Mexico. He has been held since his arrest in August.

Hamel and 21-year-old Richard Moulton of Rumford are accused of killing 22-year-old Victor Reed Sheldon and 48-year-old Roger Leroy Day Jr.


Health care provider cuts more jobs to save money

A community health care provider in midcoast Maine is continuing to cut staff as it seeks to save money.

Pen Bay Healthcare has laid off 15 more people and reduced the hours of other employees as part of an effort to offset an expected $3 million revenue drop for its fiscal year, which begins in April, the Bangor Daily News reported.

In February, Pen Bay cut 10 positions and reduced hours for seven employees. The organization employs 1,500.

Pen Bay spokesman Chris Burke says the provider is seeing fewer patients, more patients are asking for free or reduced care and others aren’t paying their bills.


Political newcomer joins race for the Blaine House

Another candidate has taken out papers to run for governor.

According to documents filed with the Ethics Commission on Thursday, Daniel Albert, 55, of Gardiner has entered the race as an unenrolled candidate. He would be the 23rd candidate, counting write-in candidate Donna Dion of Biddeford.

Albert, a human services major at the University of Maine at Augusta, said he has “no appreciation for politics, generally speaking.” He said he decided to run because he wants “to live in a state that makes sense.”

To get on the ballot, he must collect 4,000 signatures by June 1.

Senate kills bill that would add warning to cell phones

A bill that sought to require cancer warnings on cell phones has been killed by the Maine Senate.

The Senate’s action came on Friday, a day after the House took similar action.

The bill sought to require warnings on mobile phones and their packaging that electromagnetic radiation from the devices can cause brain cancer, especially in children. With the industry and Gov. John Baldacci opposed, the bill was scaled back in committee.

The amended version directed state health officials to encourage the wireless telecommunications industry to inform cell phone customers about the current scientific information on potential health effects related to radio frequency emissions by cell phones.

Bill to help Maine loggers headed to governor’s desk

A bill to protect Maine loggers’ jobs has been approved by lawmakers and sent to Gov. John Baldacci.

The bill deters landowners who receive tax benefits under Maine’s Tree Growth law from hiring Canadian workers under the federal bonded labor program. That program allows American employers to hire Canadian loggers if certain conditions, such as a shortage of resident labor, are met.

But supporters of the bill say many landowners find ways to hire cheaper foreign labor even if local workers are available.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, says foreign labor’s been a long-standing issue in northern Maine. Under his bill, the use of bonded labor on tree growth land would result in the loss of benefits under the tax law for the year that bonded labor was hired. 

Legislation to reduce sulfur in heating oil is approved

Lawmakers have sent to Gov. John Baldacci a bill that seeks to reduce haze in Maine’s air by restricting sulfur content in fuel oil.

The measure that received final approval Thursday says the sulfur content of distillate fuel may not be greater than 0.005 percent by weight as of 2016. The percentage drops further in 2018.

The sponsor, Democratic Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond, said high sulfur content in heating fuel reduces visibility at Maine’s celebrated vistas, most notably Acadia National Park. Goodall said the bill has economic and environmental benefits and will improve the health of thousands of people.


Tidal energy project wins federal regulators’ approval

Federal regulators have given Maine Maritime Academy’s Tidal Energy Demonstration and Evaluation Center the green light to begin testing in the Bagaduce River.

Executive Director Rick Armstrong says the order this week allows testing to begin on a low-flow turbine that a local inventor wants to patent. For now, Armstrong said he can’t comment on specifics of the project.

Eventually, Armstrong hopes the research center can become key source for unbiased testing and evaluation of tidal turbine technology. He says the research center also hopes to help the regulatory community understand what types of questions need to be asked.

Along the way, he said, Maine Maritime students will get training and develop skills for a growing renewable industry that holds great potential.


Police say armed custodian was hurt before incident

A School Department custodian summonsed for the threatening display of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon was already injured when he entered school administrative offices this week, according to police.

Andrzej Szpara, 53, of North Sebago, was charged with the misdemeanor offense after the incident Wednesday morning. He was also issued a criminal trespass notice that bars him from school property. Szpara was not arrested.

Szpara had a torso injury that was apparently self-inflicted when he went into the School Department’s Central Office, according to Lt. Frank Clark. Szpara withdrew a folding knife from somewhere on his person before immediately and voluntarily dropping it, Clark said.

Clark said that Szpara did not make any threats and did not display aggressive behavior. Although the charge Szpara faces includes “threatening” in its name, Clark said it was the concealed weapon element that applies in Szpara’s case.

Szpara’s injury was not considered life-threatening, Clark said. A Maine Medical Center spokeswoman said today that Szpara had been treated and released.

Superintendent Suzanne Godin said a personnel investigation is under way but that she could not comment further.

Steve Doherty, vice president of the South Portland Service Employees Association, released a statement describing Szpara as “an excellent worker and a dedicated public employee.”


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