Riptides snag swimmers, two dozen rescued in 1 day

Lifeguards at Old Orchard Beach have been busy, with two-dozen rescues in a single day.

Officials say riptides caused problems for swimmers. They told WCSH-TV that they had to close part of the beach near the famous pier on Wednesday.

Similar problems were reported elsewhere.

At Scarborough Beach, which is popular with surfers, manager Greg Wilfert said the three- to five-foot surf and riptides caused problems there as well. He said four swimmers had to be rescued.


Police seek clues to injuries suffered by homeless man

Police are trying to determine what injured a homeless man who was hospitalized over the weekend.

Police say Jess Mackinnon, 46, was found in the alley near Hub Furniture bleeding and unconscious at 1:15 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to Maine Medical Center and while his condition has improved, police have not been able to interview him.

Investigators cannot say for certain whether Mackinnon was assaulted or fell, injuring himself on rocks and other debris in the alley. Police said Mackinnon was known to spend time in the alley.

Anyone who has information is asked to call 874-8539.

Turnpike asking motorists to fill out survey on driving

The Maine Turnpike Authority is soliciting information from motorists about their driving patterns to help in planning future highway projects.

Temporary stop signs were put up yesterday at toll plazas where turnpike workers began handing out survey cards to drivers. The surveys ask a variety of questions, including where motorists got on and off the turnpike, how many people were in the vehicle, toll plazas used and if they use E-ZPass.

Drivers are being asked to complete the surveys and mail them back to the turnpike authority.

About 60,000 surveys will be distributed. The survey will end Aug. 15.


Rash of burglaries reported, suspect chased by resident

Freeport and Brunswick police are investigating daytime burglaries on Monday that resulted in tens of thousands of dollars worth of property stolen from homes.

Residents reported two burglaries in the Flying Point area of Freeport and another on South Freeport Road on Monday afternoon. That same day, Brunswick police received a call from a resident on Church Road who said somebody tried to break down his door, but he was home and chased them away.

One of the would-be burglars was described as a thin, 6-foot, dark-haired young man with a crew cut. Witnesses also reported seeing a silver sedan in the area, police said.

Police also are investigating reports of burglaries on Aug. 27 at homes on Route 1 North and on Route 125 in Freeport.

The burglars have stolen televisions, computers, cash and pieces of jewelry – some of them family heirlooms – while leaving behind other valuables, police said.


Labor Day crackdown on impaired driving planned

Police plan a concentrated end-of-summer enforcement effort to catch anyone in town who is driving impaired.

The department is joining with other agencies for a Labor Day crackdown known as: Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

“All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life,” said Chief Douglas P. Bracy.

SAD 35

Marshwood school chief offered position in Georgia

Marshwood School District Superintendent Jeffrey Bearden has been offered the superintendent’s job at the Fayette County Public Schools system in Fayetteville, Ga.

If negotiations work out, Bearden will be moving from a district with five schools and 2,500 students to a district with 30 schools and 21,000 students about 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Bearden would take the post in January. The Marshwood district, SAD 35, includes South Berwick and Eliot.

He has been with the Marshwood School District since 2007.


Lobster cookout aims to raise funds for land conservation

The Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust is hosting a Beach Party and Lobster Cookout from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Rose’s Point Beach on Chebeague Island.

There will be swimming, live music, lobsters and grilled food, beer, wine and soft drinks, salads and dessert. 

Proceeds will benefit land conservation efforts in Cumberland and on Chebeague.

To make a reservation, please call 699-2989 or visit www.ccltmaine.org. Lobster dinners are $45 per adult, grilled dinners $30 per adult and children’s meal $8.


Death of floatplane pilot attributed to drowning

The state Medical Examiner’s Office has attributed the death of a pilot whose plane crashed into Moosehead Lake on Sunday to accidental drowning.

An office spokeswoman released the cause of death of Telford M. Allen Jr., 64, on Tuesday morning.

Allen was founder of Telford Aviation Services. He died around 11:30 a.m. Sunday when he tried to land his floatplane on the water near his home in Rockwood, officials said.

A passenger, Natalie Holmes-Moody, 61, was admitted and then released from Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Allen, described by authorities as an experienced pilot, had been flying a Cessna 185 registered to Point Group LLC of Bangor. Maine State Police said Allen discovered “at the last moment” that the wheels had been down from the float mechanism, causing the plane to flip.


Woman, 80, says young man stole wallet off her walker

An 80-year-old woman says a young thief walked into the Lewiston housing complex where she lives and stole her wallet, which was on her walker.

Edith Ryder told police she was in the hallway of the Oak Street housing complex for the elderly on Tuesday when a man in his 20s approached, asked how she was doing and then took the wallet from the shelf on her walker. The Lewiston Sun Journal says the wallet contained $40 in cash, an ATM card and other papers.

Police are trying to determine how the thief got into the secured building.

Ryder says it’s the second time she’s been robbed. The last time was about 10 years ago when she was pushed to the sidewalk and someone stole her purse.


Lack of funding kills system to transport prisoners

Penobscot County is suspending a regional prisoner transportation system designed to save money because there’s not enough money to fund the program.

The decision by the county commissioners came after officials determined the funding source for the program lost $280,000 last year.

The Hub Transportation System serves more than half of Maine’s counties, Sheriff Glenn Ross told the Bangor Daily News.

The prisoner transportation system uses Penobscot County Jail resources to transport prisoners for several counties, including Aroostook, Hancock, Washington, Piscataquis, Waldo, Knox and Somerset.

Ross says the system has saved the state tens of thousands of dollars.


Economic development program seeking applicants

A new federal program designed to encourage economic development in four states along the U.S.-Canadian border has begun accepting applications for $1.3 million in grants, Vermont’s congressional delegation announced Wednesday.

The Northern Border Regional Commission is taking applications from Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The commission was designed to spur development in 36 low-income counties along the northern borders of the four states.

Municipalities and nonprofits can apply for funds for projects related to transportation, telecommunications, conservation, renewable energy and other areas. In awarding the grants, priority will be given to counties with higher unemployment and poverty rates.


Kayaker breaks arm, rescued by group of teenage girls

A backcountry paddler from Vermont who has been making solo kayaking trips for more than 15 years has some girls to thank for rescuing him from a jam.

Mike Backman of Quechee was setting up his camp on an island in Lake Umbagog on the Maine-New Hampshire border when he tripped and shattered a bone in his arm on Saturday.

The Valley News said he fashioned a sling and spent the night on the island before being alerted to his rescuers’ arrival by the sounds of giggles as an all-girls group paddled to the island.

Anna Williams, 19, a group leader, decided Backman needed help, so the girls paddled him three miles to shore. She called it a “Good Samaritan lesson.”


State employees group sues to get back pay they lost

The Maine State Employees Association is suing the state in an effort to get its members reimbursed for longevity pay they lost last year.

Legislators eliminated longevity pay during the 2010 fiscal year in a budget-balancing move, but it was restored as of July 1.

The federal lawsuit claims the state’s denial of the pay is a case of age discrimination and employment discrimination.

Attorney General Janet Mills, who is defending the state, told the Kennebec Journal that the workers can’t legally get back any lost pay.