Negotiations continue today on CMP’s transmission plan

Central Maine Power Co. and other parties that are negotiating a settlement to CMP’s transmission line proposal before the Public Utilities Commission have extended their talks until today.

CMP and parties to the case that include the state’s public advocate and environmental groups were unable to complete the negotiations as planned on Thursday, and made arrangements to resume work this morning.

The parties are trying to reach a compromise on what is considered the largest transmission project in state history.

Any negotiated settlement will need approval from the PUC, with deliberations expected later this month.


Freeport woman, 24, dies in single-car crash on Route 1

A 24-year-old Freeport woman died Thursday in a single-car crash on Route 1.

Miriam L. Urquhart was driving south in a Subaru Legacy around 8:24 a.m. when she apparently lost control of the car and crashed into trees on the west side of Route 1.

Urquhart was trapped in the car, and was pronounced dead by emergency responders at the scene, according to Freeport police.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash. Route 1 was closed from 8:30 until 11 a.m.


Deering High bass player earns national jazz honor

Dominic Sbrega, a bass player who attends Deering High School, has been named one of the nation’s best high school jazz musicians by Downbeat Magazine.

The magazine came out with its 33rd Annual Student Music Awards in its June edition. Sbrega is one of five young jazz musicians recognized in the category of “high school outstanding performances.” He was recognized for his playing of the acoustic bass.

The magazine is considered one of the leading jazz publications in the country.

On Monday, Sbrega was heard playing on the National Public Radio show “From the Top.” The show, taped in Portland in March, aired on the stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Other Maine performers who were heard on the show were: Will Bristol of Freeport, piano; Josie Davis and Sophie Davis of Waldoboro, violin; Thomas Bennett of Gorham, percussion; and Spencer Kilgour of South Berwick, percussion.

Pingree awarded for efforts to help working waterfront

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has been honored by a national group for her work to preserve working waterfronts. The States Organization for Boating Access gave Pingree the 2010 Congressional Award on Thursday.

The organization cited a bill that Pingree wrote to preserve working waterfronts and access to waterfronts for fishermen and recreational boaters.

The “Keep America’s Waterfront Working Act” would create a federal grant program to acquire working piers and other points of waterfront access. It would also provide funding for waterfront planning.


Town Council approves budget of $70.3 million

A $70.3 million town budget won approval from the Town Council on Wednesday.

The budget, covering schools and municipal services, passed by a vote of 5-2, with Councilors Ronald Ahlquist and Jessica Holbrook opposed.

The town’s property tax rate would increase 3.95 percent, to $12.63 per $1,000 valuation.

The Town Council accepted recommendations from its Finance Committee to give a 2 percent raise to part-time employees and increase funding for outside agencies to $57,000.

Also accepted was Town Manager Tom Hall’s proposal to add $25,000 to the local property tax relief program, for a total of $140,000.

That increase was offset by reductions for natural gas and pubic works costs.

The council cut $668,000 that was budgeted for a high school laptop program. The cut won’t affect the tax rate for the coming fiscal year because the debt payments would not have started until 2011-12.

The $34.9 million school budget still needs approval from voters. The budget validation vote will be held Tuesday.


Vienna driver, 76, killed when car hits utility poles

Officials say a car went off the road and slammed into utility poles in Oakland, killing the driver and knocking out power to 4,500 customers in central Maine.

Police say 76-year-old Beatrice Gagnon of Vienna was killed in the crash off High Street around 11 a.m. Thursday.

Central Maine Power Company spokesman John Carroll says power was not restored until late Thursday afternoon while police investigated the crash.

He said afternoon thunderstorms created 4,100 more outages in nearby Somerset County in the towns of Madison, St. Albans and Pittsfield.


Council approves borrowing $175,000 for former armory

The City Council has authorized borrowing as much as $175,000 to acquire a former armory on Old Brunswick Road.

Councilors voted 7-1 Wednesday night to acquire the state-owned armory. City Manager Bill Giroux said the armory will likely become the home of the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and skatepark.

“It’s their number one choice to relocate to,” he said.

The downtown building that now houses Maine’s largest indoor skatepark needs structural repairs and may have to be demolished. The armory is not downtown, but it is within a few hundred feet of Bath Middle School.

Giroux noted that the council has not made a final decision on whether to move the skatepark to the armory.

He said city officials felt the asking price was reasonable.


Fired jail supervisor loses bid to get his position back

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit that was filed by a former jail supervisor who sought to get his job back.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice Thomas Delahanty ruled this week that Patrick Gorham’s lawsuit wasn’t filed within the required 30-day deadline, the Sun Journal reported.

Gorham was fired for on-the-job pranks at the Androscoggin County Jail that included duct-taping a co-worker to his chair and putting a choke hold on another employee. Gorham claimed that his firing was unlawful and that his constitutional rights were violated.

Delahanty ruled that Gorham had to file the complaint within 30 days after he was fired Nov. 4, but he didn’t do so until Dec. 18.


Voters approve budget for coming school year

Voters approved the city’s school budget for 2010-11 during a special referendum held Thursday.

According to the city’s website, 844 voters approved the $33.7 million school budget proposal. A total of 497 voters opposed it.

Voters also endorsed continuing the school budget validation process for an additional three years.

The state law that established the process in 2007 gave them the option of eliminating it after three years.

There are 18,549 registered voters in South Portland. Only 1,341 voted.

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