Correction: The dispatch “Veterans bridge contractor receives OSHA safety award” was revised at 1:55 p.m.. June 2, 2011, to state that Reed & Reed is one of three construction companies that have ever received the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


Landlord charged after gas found under tenant’s trailer

A landlord was arrested on felony charges Wednesday after his tenant discovered that a large amount of gasoline had been spread under his mobile home.

The two men have been in a dispute over rent, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office. Gary Keene, 42, owns the mobile home being rented by Robert Mushero at 574 Plains Road in Hollis.

Keene woke Mushero at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday saying there was a hazardous situation, the sheriff’s office said. Outside, Mushero could smell a strong odor of gasoline coming from under the mobile home.

Mushero called the Hollis Fire Department, which confirmed the high gas vapor readings and opened up the area beneath the mobile home to air it out.

Keene returned to the mobile home and made statements suggesting he had poured the gas under the mobile home, the sheriff’s office said. He was trying to force Mushero to move out of the mobile home, the sheriff’s office said. He was charged with reckless conduct, a felony.


Brunswick Landing sign up day after base closes

It didn’t take long for the old Brunswick Naval Air Station sign to come down and a new Brunswick Landing sign to go up at the main entrance to the former base in Brunswick.

The air station held a closing ceremony on Tuesday marking the end of its 68-year history and leaving its future in the hands of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which is working to fill the space with private-sector companies.

Wednesday morning, the familiar Brunswick Naval Air Station sign at the main entrance on Route 24 was taken down. A short time later, it was replaced by one reading Brunswick Landing, the name the base is now going by.


LePage names deputy to act as insurance superintendent

Gov. Paul LePage has named a deputy insurance regulator as Maine’s acting insurance superintendent.

Eric Cioppa replaces superintendent Mila Kofman, who recently resigned.

Cioppa serves as deputy superintendent of the Bureau of Insurance, which ensures insurance companies are financially solvent and are able to pay claims.

Cioppa joined the Bureau of Insurance in 1988.


School board expects to see air quality results on June 14

Results from a final air quality test at Biddeford High School are expected to be presented to the School Committee at its next meeting.

Superintendent Sarah-Jane Poli said Turner Building Science & Design LLC of Harrison tested air quality last week. It will take the company the next two weeks to analyze the results and create a report.

Air quality issues were raised in November after two students were hospitalized with allergic reactions. Concerned parents pointed to the ongoing $34 million building renovation as a cause for increased dust in the building.

Air Quality Management was the first company hired by the School Committee for testing. Its results were reviewed by the Maine Bureau of General Services. Unsatisfied, parents and students independently hired a specialist who further reviewed the results and suggested additional testing.

In March, the School Committee approved spending as much as $39,000 for additional testing that focused on contamination concerns related to the renovation, the building’s ventilation system, mold and moisture management and cleaning practices.

The School Committee will meet at 7 p.m. June 14 in council chambers.


Elementary PTO festival will bid two schools farewell

The Falmouth Elementary PTO will host a farewell festival Friday and Saturday to help the community say goodbye to the Plummer-Motz and Lunt elementary schools.

The schools will close at the end of the school year in preparation for the opening next fall of a new elementary school that has been built near the town’s middle and high schools.

The June 14 municipal ballot includes a proposal to reuse the schools as a public library and community center.

The festival will start Friday with a free community picnic from 5 to 8 p.m. on the schools’ playground. Food has been donated by Pineland Farms and European Bakery. Participants are asked to bring a pie to share.

On Saturday, a Spirit of Falmouth Parade will start at Village Park at 9 a.m., follow Hat Trick Drive and Lunt Road to the schools, and conclude around 10 a.m.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the festival will kick into high gear with a carnival and cookout, sponsored in part by Shaw’s Supermarket.

Attractions will include musical performances, two “bouncy houses,” an obstacle course, a rock-climbing wall and a “Minute to Win It” tent. Admission is $3 per person and includes lunch.


Duck sitting on seven eggs in Home Depot garden area

A mallard duck is sitting on seven eggs in a nest in the lawn and garden section of a Home Depot store.

The duck is surrounded by hostas, impatiens and potting mix. The nest is protected by yellow tape and a sign that tells customers “Please do not disturb the duck.” Home Depot’s Brenda Hatch, who works in the lawn and garden section, feeds and waters the duck every day.

The duck showed up last year, too, and employees put her in a box and relocated her and her eggs. But she returned about three weeks ago.

The Bangor Daily News said the duck flies off every day, but returns within an hour.
Experts said the eggs should be about ready to hatch.


School’s going-away party to start at 10 a.m. Saturday

People in Farmington are throwing a going-away party for an 80-year-old school building that’s going to be razed to make way for a new school.

Over the decades more than 30,000 students have attended the W.G. Mallett School, named after Wilbert G. Mallett, a longtime principal at the nearby Normal School, now the University of Maine at Farmington.

Principal Tracy Williams said the Saturday event, which begins at 10 a.m., is for the thousands of students, teachers and community members with ties to the school.

The new $15 million building will keep the Mallett School name.

The party will feature family activities, food and live music.


Veterans bridge contractor receives OSHA safety award

The general contractor for the Veterans Memorial Bridge project is being honored for an outstanding safety record.

Reed & Reed is one of three construction companies that have ever received the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Woolwich-based company is being recognized for its safety record at the Veterans Memorial Bridge site. The new $63 million bridge adjacent to Interstate 295 that connects Portland and South Portland is expected to be finished by the summer of 2012. More than 200 employees have been working at the site.

Employees, state officials and Sen. Susan Collins planned to celebrate the award today at the work site.

“We are very proud of our record. Not a day goes by where our focus isn’t on the safety and well-being of our most valuable asset: our people,”  Bob Burdick, the company’s occupational health and safety director, said in a statement.

Reed & Reed has been the recipient of the SHARP award twice before.

Kennebunk man sentenced to seven years for child porn

A man from Kennebunk is going to prison for seven years for possessing child pornography.
Norman Robinson was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

According to court documents, the 47-year-old ordered two videos of child pornography from an undercover agent posing as a pornography supplier with whom Robinson had dealt with previously.

When police searched Robinson’s home, they found DVDs with more than 2,800 still images and 928 videos of child pornography.

AcademicMerit wins award for its assessment products

AcademicMerit, a developer of online learning, instruction and assessment tools, won recognition last week at the annual Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco.

The Portland company received a 2011 CODiE Award in the category of Best Student Assessment Solution for its products, Assessments21 and Literary Companion.

Headed by Ogden Morse III, the company received the award during a reception and dinner hosted by the Software & Information Industry Association.


Student project will turn food waste into butanol

A student at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor is planning to turn food waste into fuel.

Nick Harris, who was to demonstrate his project Wednesday to a federal agriculture and college officials, calls the project Gourmet Butanol.

Harris plans to collect food waste from the college and local restaurants and hotels and transform it into butanol. That clean fuel will power the college’s vehicles and eventually heat most buildings in the college that are not already heated by wood pellets.

Later, Harris plans to market the service to area businesses.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has given a $73,501 grant to the college’s Sustainable Business Program. It helps students like Harris develop their own business ventures.


Lightning blamed for blaze at home of local firefighter

A local firefighter’s home was damaged Wednesday after being struck by lightning.

Deputy Chief Chris Burnham said the firefighter and his wife were at home around 4:15 p.m. when a nearby tree was struck by a bolt of lightning.

The electrical charge traveled underground and caused the basement of the home at 41 Brandyview Terrace to catch fire.

The firefighter, whose name is not being released, fled the two-story home with his wife, but the family cat named Spike was trapped inside.

Burnham went inside the house and found the unconscious cat under a wood stove.

Burnham took Spike outside the home where Animal Control Officer Bobby Silcott used a pet oxygen mask to successfully revive the animal. The mask is relatively new, the result of a fundraising effort by Silcott and a local animal shelter.

Firefighters contained the damage to the basement.


Lightning strikes property, has ‘incredible spider effect’

A home at 117 Mountain Road was hit by lightning during a wild thunderstorm Wednesday evening.

Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Tupper said the homeowner, whose name was unavailable, was inside the structure when a bolt of lightning hit a tree about 75 feet away.

The lightning split a boulder near the tree before traveling underground through the property owner’s septic system. The electrical charge then dislodged a corner of the foundation before traveling through the basement and hitting a well on the other side of the house.

The homeowner was not hurt, but Tupper said the kitchen microwave was hot and cabinet doors were steaming.

“It was an incredible spider effect that this had,” Tupper said. “He (the homeowner) was very lucky.”

The lightning strike was reported at 5:09 p.m.