Tainted kerosene poses explosion risk, state says

Kerosene sold at a convenience store within the past two days was mistakenly contaminated with gasoline, a mixture the state Fire Marshal’s Office says could cause an explosion.

Fire Marshal John Dean is urging anyone who bought kerosene from the Little Mart at the intersection of routes 202 and 237 to stop using it immediately.

Dean said a delivery of gasoline was mistakenly pumped into the store’s kerosene tank on Tuesday. About 400 gallons of the mixture was purchased over 48 hours before the mistake was discovered Thursday afternoon.

Any heating devices fueled by the mixture should be removed from living spaces immediately, Dean said.

Anyone who bought the contaminated kerosene can return it to the Little Mart for a full refund. The store’s phone number is 892-4153.

Gorham Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre used the town’s reverse 911 calling system to notify residents about the situation.


Founder of Wilco to play at State Theatre in March

Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of the band Wilco, will play a solo show March 26 at the State Theatre.

Reserved tickets will go on sale for $35 at 10 a.m. Feb. 4 at the Cumberland County Civic Center box office, by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.statetheatre portland.com.

Tweedy is the founding member and leader of Wilco, and co-founder of the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. While maintaining a full schedule with Wilco, he also tours frequently as a solo artist.

Matinicus weather station once again providing data

It will be easier for mariners in Penobscot Bay to know the weather at sea.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has restored a weather station on Matinicus Rock, which can provide weather information to sailors in the area.

The Coastal Marine Automated Network station posts real-time weather and wind data online, a resource that can be used by fishermen, ferry captains and island communities.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, had urged officials to repair the station, which hadn’t provided data for two years. Pingree said the loss of the station made it dangerous for boats to operate in Penobscot Bay.

She said knowledge of changing conditions is critical to Maine’s coastal economy.


Land trust raises $970,000 to buy undeveloped acreage

The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust has completed its campaign to raise $970,000 to buy two parcels, totaling 87 acres, stretching from Harpswell Neck Road to Curtis Cove and Basin Cove.

The land includes diverse freshwater, marine and upland habitats and almost 2,000 feet of waterfront. The property is the largest remaining undeveloped area at the south end of Harpswell Neck. The acquisition will preserve the land and guarantee permanent public access.

Charlie Johnson, president of the land trust, said support from the Davis Foundation, the Alfred M. Senter Fund, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, along with federal and state grants, made the acquisition possible.

Johnson said the trust expects to close on the purchase in late spring.


Senate approves safety chief, delays vote on DEP nominee

The state Senate gave unanimous approval Thursday to John Morris of West Gardiner as commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

The Senate voted 34-0, with one member absent. Earlier this week, Morris earned a unanimous endorsement from the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Morris, a former police chief in Waterville and Richmond, spent 30 years in the Navy. He most recently was chief of staff for the campaign of Gov. Paul LePage.

The Senate delayed action Thursday on Darryl Brown of Livermore Falls, LePage’s nominee to lead the Department of Environmental Protection. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 9-4 Tuesday in favor of his nomination.

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on the nomination.

Brown is the owner of Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls.

Democrats who oppose Brown say they worry about an appearance of conflict of interest when his company seeks permits from the DEP for clients. The company is now helping Black Bear Entertainment build a casino in Oxford.

Brown said he plans to sell his company, although it may take some time. In the meantime, he plans to step down as the company’s president and recuse himself from any decisions the DEP makes involving the company.

Activists say LePage proposal would weaken law on toxics

Environmental activists are upset by Gov. Paul LePage’s proposals to revise dozens of laws protecting the air, water and land.

At a news conference at the State House on Thursday, speakers said they are especially outraged by a proposal that would weaken protections from toxic substances in consumer products.

They referred to a 2008 law aimed at keeping the chemical Bisphenol-A out of babies’ drinking cups and other consumer items.

Matt Prindiville of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said toxic chemicals cause at least $380 million in health-related costs in Maine each year.

LePage issued a statement saying he’s not passing judgment on BPA or any other chemical with his proposed rule change. He said federal agencies have better resources than the state to effectively establish standards for such chemicals.

Chevy working with state to insulate 5,500 homes

General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet division is working with the Maine State Housing Authority to insulate 5,500 homes of low-income residents.

The program is Chevrolet’s first investment from a $40 million, multi-year commitment to prevent 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released.

The homes will be weatherized with blown-in recycled-content insulation, tight-fitting attic hatches, sealed chimneys and furnace tuneups.

Maine was recommended for help by Clean Air-Cool Planet, a regional nonprofit with offices in Portsmouth, N.H.


Police using online surveys to get feedback from town

Police are asking residents, property owners and businesses to participate in two online surveys.

Deputy Police Chief Keith Babin said the department mailed surveys in years past, and now is trying to use online technology to receive community feedback.

The surveys include residents’ opinions of the police service and a satisfaction review. The department will review survey responses on an ongoing basis to assess and address the concerns of the community, Babin said.

“We have an active crime-watch group in the community,” he said. “We can use this to focus some of our enforcement and education in those areas (of concern).”

Surveys can be found on the city’s website. Visit www.oobmaine.com, follow links to “Town Departments” and then “Police Department” to access the surveys.


Medical examiner analyzing remains from Cobscook Bay

The Maine medical examiner is working to identify two sets of human remains that were pulled from Cobscook Bay.

Maine Marine Patrol Lt. Dale Sprowl said one set of remains was pulled from the bay last month, the other last week.

Five fishermen have been lost in the bay since March 2009. One body was never recovered, and parts of two other bodies are missing.

Maine Medical Examiner Dr. David King told the Bangor Daily News that the families of the lost fishermen have provided DNA samples for testing, but some do not want to know if the remains belong to their loved ones.

King said it’s possible that the remains are not those of the lost fishermen.


Colleagues reappoint Collins to four Senate committees

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she’s pleased with her reappointment to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Republican is ranking member of that committee. Collins said Thursday that she will also retain her seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.

In addition, Republican senators agreed to Collins’ request for a special waiver allowing her to continue to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Four charged in connection with pharmacy robberies

Police say four people have been charged in connection with robberies in Sanford and Rochester, N.H. The robberies in Sanford are part of a recent surge of pharmacy holdups in southern Maine.

Police said pharmacy robberies in each community on Sunday may have been committed by the same suspects. The suspects stole prescription drugs.

Seth Gagne, 25, and Kerri Guay, 24, were arrested late Wednesday in East Rochester. Early Thursday, police in Dover, N.H., arrested Scott Sanborn, 25, described as a transient, and Jolene Leo, 22, on the Rochester warrants.