Speed likely factor in crash that kills Westbrook man, 21

A Westbrook man died early Sunday in a single-car crash on Warren Avenue.

Police identified the victim as Ryan Dudman, 21, of Westbrook. No one else was in the vehicle when it crashed around 2:30 a.m., police said.

Warren Avenue was closed while Westbrook’s accident reconstruction specialist investigated the crash. The case remains under investigation, but speed is believed to have been a factor in the accident. 


Outside chimney fire causes minimal damage

The Sebago Fire Department quickly extinguished a fire outside a residence at 54 Taylor Road shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, Deputy Fire Chief Alan Greene said.

The fire started at the base of the chimney outside the home where a pile of leaves had built up, Greene said. Two people were home at the time.

“They grabbed a garden hose and knocked the flames down” while waiting for crews, Greene said.

It took crews about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire and douse remaining hot spots. There was no interior damage to the house, but the exterior siding was scorched.


Head-injury researchers get grant for test dummies

Engineering researchers at the University of Maine have received a grant that will let them use crash test dummies to help test products designed to reduce head injuries.

The university has received $533,000 in funding to create a new biomechanical laboratory to help test and evaluate injury-reduction, repair and rehabilitation equipment under development by several small Maine companies.

The testing equipment will include crash test dummies to test headgear that looks like a fashionable cap or headband, but actually serves as a lightweight helmet that people would be more willing to wear.


Sugarloaf open for season, joining Sunday River

Sugarloaf USA opened Sunday morning, launching its 60th ski season.

The mountain is operating the SuperQuad chairlift, servicing three trails. Skiers and riders can enjoy Pinch, Upper Tote Road and Lower Tote Road. Lift tickets are $29.

Rich Wilkinson, Sugarloaf’s vice president of mountain operations, said the resort spent the summer improving the efficiency of the mountain’s snowmaking system.

“We were fortunate to have temps in the teens the last two nights, but the Boyne Low Energy Fan Guns and our other Low-E technology have allowed us to continue making snow around the clock, despite marginal daytime temperatures,” he said.

The resort is the third to open in New England. Sunday River, in Newry, was the first to open, welcoming skiers to the slopes in October.

“It goes to show the magnitude of our snowmaking system and the level of commitment towards making this happen,” said Brent Larson, Sunday River’s vice president of mountain operations.

The Newry resort is currently offering four trails serviced by two lifts.


Community groups support plans for new event venue

A group of civic and business leaders, including representatives of Hollywood Slots, banks and the Bangor Mall, is supporting a new event and convention center in Bangor.

Friends of the Maine Center said Sunday that they want the Bangor City Council to move ahead with the proposed project as soon as possible.

They point to an economic impact study that shows the facility would create more than 400 jobs and return $26 million annually to the local economy. They also announced a website in support of their campaign, www.themainecenter.com.

The group says the present Bangor Auditorium is more than a half-century old, and was obsolete on the day it opened.

The group supporting the center also includes representatives of Eastern Maine Development Corp., Bangor Savings Bank, the Bangor Daily News and Husson University.


Buyers urged to beware extended warranties

With the holiday shopping season drawing near, Maine officials are encouraging consumers to exercise caution when asked to purchase extended warranties for computers, flat-screen TVs, exercise equipment and other big-ticket items.

Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman has issued a statement saying consumers should familiarize themselves with their current insurance coverage and fully understand the costs and benefits of store-offered warranties.

Kofman said it’s important for consumers to understand the differences between insurance, manufacturer warranties and extended warranties that are offered by retail stores.