Baxter Boulevard on-ramp to I-295 closes this evening

Commuters heading north from Portland who linger at work this evening may find themselves forced to take a different way home.

That’s because the on-ramp from Baxter Boulevard to Interstate 295 northbound will close sometime after 7 p.m. and not reopen until construction is completed in the fall.

Crews are working to rehabilitate Tukey’s Bridge and the four overpass bridges that carry I-295 over Washington Avenue, Sherwood Street, the Canadian National Railroad and Kensington Street.

Also today, crews will begin striping on the four overpasses. On Tuesday, crews will place barriers to narrow traffic lanes and allow room for repair work to begin.

Two lanes will remain open at all times, but those lanes will be narrow, so motorists should proceed with caution.

Backups are likely during the evening commute, so drivers should consider carpooling, alternative transportation such as a bus or bicycle, and adjusting afternoon work schedules to reduce traffic congestion between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The detour for motorists from Baxter Boulevard seeking to travel north on I-295 involves turning left on Bates Street and continuing on Veranda, which joins Route 1 north. In Falmouth, turn left on Bucknam Road and follow signs to I-295 north.

Maine wildlife biologists monitor peregrine falcons

Maine wildlife biologists are monitoring a pair of peregrine falcons and their chicks, who have made their home on a bridge in Portland.

Staff with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, along with associates from the Biodiversity Research Institute and the state Department of Transportation, have banded three peregrine falcon chicks in the nest where they hatched this spring.

This is the fourth year that biologists have visited the nesting site, which is considered unusual for how close it is to human activity. The Biodiversity Research Institute has a live webcam on the nest allowing viewers to observe it through their computers at www.briloon.com.

Peregrine falcons are listed as endangered in Maine, with fewer than 30 pairs of nesting adults in the state.

Researchers from Maine assess spill effect on whales

Researchers from Maine are going back to the Gulf of Mexico to further assess the impacts of the BP oil spill on whale populations in the gulf.

John Wise Sr., an environmental toxicologist at the University of Southern Maine, is leading a three-month scientific expedition with students aboard a 93-foot laboratory-equipped sailboat.

The team left Portland on Saturday in cars bound for Key West, Fla., and they will set sail Wednesday.

The team’s primary mission is to collect and analyze skin and blubber samples from whales. They’ll also collect other marine specimens such as fish, seaweed and crabs, as well as air, water and sediment samples.


Police investigate accident that left passenger injured

Police continue to investigate Sunday’s early morning crash that left one person injured and forced the closure of a section of Route 202.

A male passenger, whom police did not identify pending notification of family, was taken by a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with what Winthrop Police Lt. Ryan Frost described as “significant injuries.”

The driver of a 1997 GMC pickup, Richard L. Harrison, 42, of Manchester was located at his Western Avenue home several hours after the crash. Harrison, who was injured but declined medical attention, is cooperating with the investigation, Frost said.

The rollover crash near the intersection of Pine Knoll Road was reported around 5 a.m. Sunday, he said. After emergency personnel arrived, the fire department had to extricate the passenger from the truck.

Frost said investigators believe the crash occurred around 1 a.m. Sunday, but a passing motorist didn’t discover it until shortly after sunrise. Route 202 was closed for about seven hours as police investigated.


Police seeking information about suspect in robbery

Police are investigating a strong-arm robbery that occurred Sunday afternoon in Pepperell Square.

Deputy Chief Jeffrey C. Holland said a 23-year-old Arundel woman, who was getting out of her car near Common and Front streets, was accosted by a man shortly after 12:20 p.m.

The suspect grabbed her purse and fled onto railroad tracks, with the woman in pursuit. When she caught up to the man, he turned and threatened to assault her. She let him go.

The victim spoke with two men who witnessed the robbery, but they had left by the time police arrived.

The purse snatcher is described as in his late 20s, about 5-foot-8, with short black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a red baseball-style hat with a blue bill, a dark-blue hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black sneakers.

Anyone with information concerning the suspect should contact police at 284-4535.


Fire destroys mobile home, closes down Main Street

A fast-moving fire destroyed an elderly couple’s mobile home Sunday afternoon.

Lt. Richard Bond said the couple, whose names were unavailable, were not at home when the Sanford firefighters received a report around 12:45 p.m.

When crews arrived at 214 Main St., they encountered flames shooting out the front door.

Bond said the fire destroyed the home. The American Red Cross was called in to assist the couple with shelter and clothing.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Main Street had to be shut down for more than two hours while firefighters cleaned up debris. Several neighboring towns provided assistance to Sanford firefighters.


Overheated lawn mower blamed for garage fire

An overheated riding lawn mower is suspected of starting a fire that destroyed a garage Sunday afternoon on Wiscasset Road.

Fire Chief Richard Spofford said the homeowner, Frank Redman, had just finished mowing his lawn and had placed the mower inside the garage when the fire started around 4 p.m. The garage and the items inside, including a 20-foot powerboat and three kayaks, were destroyed.

Spofford said the fire spread to a wooded area behind the garage, but firefighters were able to prevent the fire from penetrating far into the woods. Redman’s home was not damaged.


Maine woman named to command post

A Maine woman has been named commander of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann became the first woman to fill the command position at a ceremony Saturday at the Pease Air National Guard base. She will also serve as New Hampshire’s deputy adjutant general under Adjutant Gen. William Reddell.

The 55-year-old Protzmann is a New Hampshire native who lives in South Berwick.


Artist residency program focuses on national forest

Artists interested in spending three weeks in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest have until today to apply for a residency program inspired by a law that created national forests in the eastern United States.

The White Mountain National Forest is partnering with the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire for the artist-in-residence program, which has been created to mark the 100th anniversary of the Weeks Act.

The chosen applicants will be encouraged to use creative expression to explore the ways in which people relate to forests.