Firefighters, captain hurt when set of stairs collapses

Officials say a fire captain broke a bone in his back and two other firefighters also were injured when stairs collapsed during a rescue call.

Biddeford Fire Chief Joseph Warren said five firefighters were called to a Bacon Street apartment Monday night following a report of an unconscious person.

Warren said the patient had just been carried to ground level when a set of stairs with three firefighters on it pulled free from the landing outside the entry door, falling about 10 feet.

Officials say the porch appeared to be in good shape, but weather had degraded it over time.

Warren would not release the patients’ medical condition.


Planners postpone action on nonmarine development

A proposal to allow more nonmarine development on Portland’s waterfront ran into an unexpected obstacle Tuesday night.

The Planning Board took nearly three hours before approving a proposal from Avesta Oak Street Efficiencies to develop a four-story, 37-apartment building at 72 Oak St.

After that, the issue of waterfront zoning was tabled.

Though waterfront property owners like Dick Ingalls, who waited for three hours, were perturbed that the board took up another issue before waterfront zoning, they asked the board to put off its decision.

“It’s a really important issue, and it’s too late to take this up now,” said board Chairman Bill Hall at 10 p.m. The board scheduled a public hearing and vote on revisions to the waterfront zone for July 13.

The proposed changes would allow as much as half of a building’s ground-floor space to be for non-marine uses, and as much as half of the berthing space to be used for recreational boats.


Maine AFL-CIO endorses Libby Mitchell for governor

The Maine AFL-CIO voted unanimously to endorse Senate President Libby Mitchell for governor, the union announced Tuesday.

Mitchell, a Democrat, won the support of delegates at the union’s convention in Portland. “Libby has consistently championed the interest of Maine’s working families,” union President Don Berry said in a statement.

Mitchell had a 100 percent voting record on issues of interest to the union in the last two years and fell just short of 100 percent on votes taken throughout her public life.

As examples of Mitchell’s efforts to support workers, the union cited her support of a bond package to create jobs, improvements to the unemployment system and a bill she sponsored to require Maine businesses to provide paid sick leave.

The union represents more than 26,000 workers statewide.

Mitchell is one of five candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot. She faces Waterville Mayor Paul LePage, a Republican; and independents Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott.


Mosque proposal appears poised for city approval

A proposal to house a mosque at a former TV repair shop appears poised to receive approval next month by city planners. No significant obstacles to the proposal surfaced Tuesday at a Planning Board workshop review of an application for a conditional use permit. The board scheduled a public hearing and vote for July 27.

The proposal to establish a mosque in the former Dick Waterhouse TV repair shop at 978 Washington Ave. became the subject of a Maine Civil Liberties Union lawsuit last year after the city refused to allow a group of Afghan Muslims to use the building as a mosque.

Soon after the lawsuit was filed, city officials and leaders of the Portland Masjid and Islamic Center agreed to allow members to worship at the site temporarily.

The City Council later created a land-use category called “places of assembly” and established rules based on a building’s size and location. The effect is to make it easier for small places of worship, such as the proposed mosque, to meet city zoning requirements.


BP to test Maine-made boom in spill cleanup

A Maine company says it has shipped 600 feet of oil containment boom to the Gulf of Mexico after BP agreed to test the boom in its oil spill cleanup efforts.

Packgen President John Lapoint III said BP put in a trial order Monday night. He said BP expects to hold test trials next week to determine whether it meets expectations.

Packgen, based in Auburn, has been negotiating with BP for weeks about purchasing the boom to help contain oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from an underwater oil well.


Comp board head recuses himself from hospital case

The chairman of the Maine Workers Compensation Board says he’ll no longer be involved in a case over how much hospitals may charge employers that pay medical bills for injured workers.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston reported that Paul Dionne has decided that further participation in the long-running case could make him appear biased. Dionne is also board chairman of Central Maine Healthcare Corp., the parent company of several Maine hospitals.

Dionne’s decision follows a Bath Iron Works suit claiming he may present a conflict of interest by being involved in the hospital-fee case.

Dionne disagreed but said publicity about the case gives an appearance of a conflict.


Charges dropped against ship accused of oil discharge

The U.S Justice Department has dropped charges against a Cyprus-registered ship and a crew member accused of illegally discharging oil when the vessel was in Eastport.

Last month, Lemissoler Ship Management Ltd. of Cyprus and the crew member were charged with falsifying a logbook for the Margit Gorthon when it was docked in Maine in February, removing a gauge so an alleged discharge of bilge oil waste could not be detected, and ordering two crew members to lie to authorities.

Earlier this month, prosecutors with the Department of Justice in Washington asked a judge to dismiss the charges without providing a reason.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III in Portland granted the motion, the Bangor Daily News reported.


Wanted on drug charges, woman arrested in Florida

An Albion woman sought by police after a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation was found during a raid on her home nine months ago has been arrested.

Elaine P. Rogers, 54, was arrested June 16 in Sebastian, Fla., after local police searched her house there and seized 217 marijuana plants. She has been charged as a felony fugitive from justice and will be extradited to Maine, police said.

In addition to the charge of being a fugitive wanted in Maine, Rogers was charged with cultivating marijuana and trafficking more than 25 pounds of marijuana.

Rogers, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear in a Florida court Aug. 6.