PROP receives high marks for weatherization project

The People’s Regional Opportunity Program has finished weatherizing 786 homes in York and Cumberland counties under a Department of Energy weatherization assistance program created in 2009 with federal stimulus funds.

PROP, which serves as Cumberland County’s Community Action Program agency, achieved several benchmarks during the project.

It completed more homes than planned – six more than the 780 goal.

It finished the work a year earlier than the three-year program allows.

It spent an average of $4,821 on each unit, which is 25 percent less than anticipated.

It spent only $4.2 million of the budgeted $5.8 million.

It received a 95 percent satisfaction rating in a Maine State Housing Authority survey of 714 participating homeowners.

The project also received high marks from the federal Energy Department, which visited 40 units and said the quality of PROP’s work was superior to what was done in many other states.

YUMA, Ariz.

U.S. Marine from Standish committed suicide, police say

Authorities say a U.S. Marine from Standish found dead in a southwest Arizona irrigation canal two months ago committed suicide.

Yuma police say Cpl. Joshua Barron, 22, had a gunshot wound to the head and their investigation determined it was self-inflicted.

Barron’s civilian-clothed body was discovered March 21. He was reporting missing five days earlier when he failed to show up for work.

Barron was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, where he was a Harrier jet mechanic and lived off base.


Council backs plan to allow residents to own chickens

City councilors gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposal to allow domestic chickens in residential areas.

The proposed change in the city’s ordinance stems from requests by residents to set up chicken coops on their property and raise chickens, City Manager John Bubier said.

Residents would be required to obtain permits from the code enforcement office to own chickens. They would also be responsible for the construction of a henhouse or pen.

The proposal would allow residents to own up to six hens per lot, but would prohibit egg sales, breeding or slaughtering.

Bubier said a final decision will be made after a second reading of the ordinance.


Nonprofit group honors family-owned businesses

Winners of the 2011 Maine Family Business Awards were announced this week by the Institute for Family-Owned Business.

The awards were handed out Tuesday during the Portland-based organization’s 12th annual celebration at the South Portland Marriott.

LTs Inc. of Portland, a silk-screen, embroidery and promotional products company, received the Maddy Corson Award, which is given to companies with fewer than 25 employees.

Allied Cook Construction of Westbrook received the Leon Gorman Award for companies with more than 25 employees.

Receiving an honorable mention award was Days Jewelers of Waterville. Halcyon Yarn of Bath received the Shep Lee Award for community service.

The institute supports and tries to strengthen family-owned businesses in Maine.


Town plans literary festival for Maine’s King of horror

The town where horror writer Stephen King once lived wants to hold a festival to celebrate his literary exploits.

Alan Manoian, Bridgton’s economic development director, says he’s calling it a literary heritage festival.

Manoian says that when he arrived in Bridgton in 2008, he realized Maine culture is woven into many of King’s works.

The Lewiston Sun Journal says highlights of the festival could include guided tours to locations featured in some of King’s books, including the Food City grocery store featured in King’s book “The Mist.”

The first meeting on the idea is scheduled for June 1 at the town office.

King lives in Bangor.


House passes bill to improve state’s regulatory process

The Maine House has given its final approval to a bill to improve Maine’s regulatory climate.
Representatives voted 147-3 on Wednesday in favor of the bill, which awaits final Senate approval pending a fiscal review.

Originally proposed by Gov. Paul LePage, the bill underwent significant changes after seven public hearings across the state.

The version that passed Wednesday establishes an environmental self-audit program, strengthens the business assistance office in the Department of Economic and Community Development, streamlines permitting, and trims the size of the Board of Environmental Protection from 10 members to seven.

It also creates a position within the Secretary of State’s Office to advocate on behalf of certain businesses.

LePage’s Capitol for a Day coming to Lincoln County

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine’s next Capitol for a Day will be held throughout Lincoln County.
The event, the governor’s fourth, will be held Friday.

LePage will first travel to Edgecomb for a tour of the Center for Teaching and Learning, a K-8 independent school founded in 1990. He will also visit Washburn & Doughty Associates Inc. of East Boothbay, which specializes in the construction of steel and aluminum commercial vessels.

Also on the agenda are the Maine Department of Marine Resources laboratory in Boothbay, the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard and Lincoln Academy in Newcastle.


Navy awards $30 millionfor BIW’s Zumwalt project

The U.S. Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a nearly $30 million contract modification for additional work on the DDG-1001 Zumwalt-class destroyer.

The money will allow the shipyard to continue purchasing construction materials and help fund engineering and support services for the ships, said the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

The office of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe said the contract “confirms the Navy’s commitment to Bath Iron Works and the DDG-1000 program. . . . This contract will allow the talented work force at Bath Iron Works to continue their critical work on the DDG-1001 destroyer.”

The Zumwalt features composite materials, electric-drive propulsion and an unconventional wave-piercing hull.


Blimp bound for Florida grounded by ailing truck

A blimp on its maiden voyage has made an unscheduled stop in northern Maine.

Lincoln Regional Airport manager David Lloyd said the Hangar 1 Vodka blimp had to land Wednesday afternoon after one of the three pickup trucks that were following it on the ground broke down.

He said the blimp wasn’t experiencing any problems and was in transit from Canada, where it was made, to Orlando, Fla.

Lloyd said the blimp is about 150 feet long and 50 to 60 feet high. He said the airport has to shut down for three days while the blimp is kept on the runway.

Lloyd said he was told the blimp is scheduled to make a coast-to-coast tour this summer.