Veterans Memorial Bridge project begins new phase

Construction of the new Veterans Memorial Bridge is entering a new phase with the delivery of the first of 361 large, precast bridge segments this morning.

The segments range from 40 to 46 feet in length and 8 to 10 feet wide. The Maine Department of Transportation said the shipments should have minimal impact on traffic.

There may be up to four deliveries a day through October but DOT officials expect little impact on traffic. Shipments will be spread apart to give workers time to offload the segments at the construction site. Officials say motorists in northbound lanes of the Maine Turnpike and Interstate 295 south of Portland may experience some delays during delivery periods.

Construction on the bridge, which will connect Portland’s West End to South Portland over the Fore River, began in July 2010.

Crews are expected to work longer hours in the warmer months to install the precast segments before temperatures fall below freezing. This phase of construction is expected to be completed by November.

The entire project is expected to be completed by the summer 2012.

For online travel information, go to VeteransMemorialBridge.org.


Group starts campaign to redevelop school campus

A group of residents launched a Yes on 1 campaign Monday to support a proposal to redevelop the Lunt/Plummer-Motz school campus as a community center, expanded town library and public park.

Question 1 on the June 14 town ballot asks voters to approve the $5.65 million proposal and spend up to $1.5 million in surplus town funds on the project, according to Marna Miller, campaign co-chair.

The plan won’t require a tax increase or borrowing, Miller said. Additional funding would come from other sources, such as the sale of some land at the site and private fundraising by library trustees.

“On June 14, we will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve these buildings for public use and improve services for residents of all ages without raising taxes,” Miller said in a news release. “It’s the smart move for Falmouth.”

The Town Council and Falmouth Memorial Library Board of Trustees have voted to support the project.

For more information about the Yes on 1 campaign, visit online at SmartMoveForFalmouth.com.


Auction today for assets of defunct oil delivery firm

The delivery trucks and other assets of a Brunswick heating oil company that went out of business this winter are being auctioned today.

The auction will be held at the former site of the Thibeault Energy Corp. fuel depot in Brunswick. The company shut its doors in January after 84 years in business, stranding hundreds of customers who had pre-paid for oil.

The 36 items to be auctioned include eight oil delivery trucks, a liquid propane delivery truck, tank trailers, utility trucks and assorted other vehicles.


Youth theater project will host benefit for fire victims

The Theater Project’s Young Company has organized a benefit for the victims of a recent fire at 45 Maine St.

At 7 p.m. Friday, teens from Brunswick and Topsham will perform at The Theater Project, 14 School St., Brunswick. Tickets cost $5 and will be available at the door. All proceeds will be donated.

The early-morning fire on April 17 destroyed the building and displaced residents of 11 apartments.


Fire on Whitney Pines Drive contained by firefighters

Firefighters made quick work of a chimney fire Monday afternoon.

The fire at a house at 8 Whitney Pines Drive was reported shortly before noon. By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had spread to the roof.

The town’s public dispatch center says it appears that no one was inside the building. A sign at the property indicated it was for sale and under contract.


Apartment fire blamed on children with matches

An apartment building fire in Lewiston was started by children playing with matches or a cigarette lighter, a fire official said.

Fire Lt. Tim Myers said the Bartlett Street fire was reported at 1:22 p.m. Sunday.

Two children apparently lit a mattress on fire, he said. There were no injuries.

Myers says about 35 firefighters from Lewiston and Auburn battled the fire in the first-floor front apartment.

The Sun Journal newspaper in Lewiston reported that damage was mostly limited to the first-floor apartment.

The only other occupied apartment in the eight-unit building suffered minimal smoke damage.


Bill would require drug tests for MaineCare recipients

Lawmakers are considering a bill to require random drug testing for MaineCare recipients.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Thomas Saviello of Wilton, would suspend benefits for Maine-Care recipients who test positive for scheduled drugs.

The bill was reviewed today by the Health and Human Services Committee, which also took up several other bills relating to Maine-Care, Maine’s Medicaid program.

Saviello’s bill is opposed by the American Association of Social Workers’ Maine chapter. Its executive director, Susan Lamb, says people with serious mental illness have a high rate of substance abuse, and without treatment for their addictions, many will spiral downhill.


Canadian snowboarder rescued from mountain

A Canadian snowboarder has been rescued after spending the night lost on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington.

Authorities say 32-year-old Jean-Francois Maggicette of St. Boniface, Quebec, was cold and tired but not hurt when ground searchers reached him Monday afternoon.

Maggicette had hiked to Tuckerman Ravine with his brother-in-law to go snowboarding Sunday but took a wrong turn after they split up.

A New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter had been following tracks in the deep snow from the air for at least six miles when ground searchers met up with the man.

New Hampshire Fish and Game, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the U.S. Forest Service helped with the search.