Neighbors file suit to block proposed Amtrak facility

Neighbors of a proposed Amtrak train depot in Brunswick have filed a lawsuit to block a train layover and maintenance facility from being built.

In a complaint in Cumberland County Superior Court, a group of 14 neighbors is asking a judge to overturn a zoning variance allowing a 40,000-square-foot facility in a zone with a 20,000-square-foot maximum.

The group says a train layover and maintenance facility would increase noise, hurt air quality and reduce the market value of their homes.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn tells The Times Record her agency intends to work with neighbors and has hired a firm to determine the impacts of the facility.

Amtrak’s Downeaster track extension from Portland to Brunswick is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.


Middle school bomb threat is the second this week

Another bomb threat prompted a second evacuation of Bonny Eagle Middle School this week.

A threat was discovered in a restroom at the end of the day Tuesday — a day after the school was evacuated because of its first threat of the school year.

In a letter emailed to parents Wednesday afternoon, Principal Ansel E. Stevens Jr. wrote that the building was cleared at the regular dismissal time. State Police checked the school with bomb detection dogs while a small number of students and staff waited outside.

The building was reopened around 3:30 p.m.

The threat Tuesday was the fourth this year for School Administrative District 6. Bonny Eagle High School in Standish was evacuated in April, and officials canceled classes for a whole school day in May.


Inmate dies two weeks after beating; no charges filed

A Maine State Prison inmate serving a life sentence for killing two women in 1995 has died two weeks after being severely beaten in prison.

The Department of Corrections said 51-year-old Lloyd Franklin Millett died at about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Maine State Police are investigating.

Millett was taken to the Bangor hospital in critical condition after being beaten by another inmate on May 24, but nobody has been charged.

Millett pleaded guilty to strangling two women over a weekend in 1995 while he was working as a farmhand in Turner. Police found one of the victim’s bodies in a closet in his trailer and the other in a field near a Lewiston hotel.


Mother gets year in jail in welfare fraud case

A 31-year-old mother is going to jail for a year after being convicted of welfare fraud in a case a judge called a calculating and scheming effort to steal money from the state of Maine.

Kathleen Schidzig was taken to jail Tuesday to serve the sentence on a conviction of theft by deception.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy told Schidzig her behavior strengthened arguments made by some that government shouldn’t spend money on struggling parents.

Prosecutors say Schidzig claimed her boyfriend and father to three of her children didn’t live with her when he did and that she was reimbursed for car repairs when she doesn’t have a driver’s license.

The Sun Journal said Schidzig was ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution.


Unum, Sea Dogs will honor teachers before game Friday

Unum and the Portland Sea Dogs will honor nine Maine teachers before the 7 p.m. start of Friday’s home game against the Bowie Baysox.

The Starting 9 will be introduced during the seventh annual Maine Teachers’ Hall of Fame recognition ceremony at Hadlock Field.

The 2011 Starting 9 are: Jane Jameson, Riverton Elementary School, Portland; Cathy Dodge, Park Avenue Elementary School, Auburn; Gail Martin, Saccarappa Elementary School, Westbrook; Debbie Gray, Wiscasset Middle School; Kristen Hobbs, Noble Middle School/Knowlton School, Berwick; Lynn Ouellette, Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Frenchville; Jennifer Major, South Portland High School; Gerry St. Denis, Region Ten Technical High School, Brunswick; and Robyn Fink, South Portland High School.

The program also will honor the 2011 Maine Teacher of the Year, Shelly Moody of Williams Elementary School in Oakland

Unum invited school principals across Maine to nominate teachers who have increased student achievement. A committee selected the winners based on their creativity and innovation in the classroom.

Each honoree will receive eight tickets to the game, a $500 personal check and the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.

RSU 23

Voters OK school budget, window wall project

More than 1,100 voters in Saco, Dayton and Old Orchard Beach approved two referendum issues related to Regional School Unit 23 on Tuesday.

The district approved a $43.6 million education budget, which includes $846,715 in federal funds for the upcoming year starting July 1. This is an increase of about 2.7 percent over the current budget.

The budget will increase taxes for Dayton residents by $43.70 per $100,000 of value and decrease taxes in Old Orchard Beach by $61.80 and in Saco by $10.10.

Voters also approved borrowing up to about $368,000 for a window wall replacement project at Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach.


Village center shops may now display ‘open’ signs

Most shops and businesses in the village center may now display “open” flags to entice customers.

The Town Council unanimously approved the change in the sign ordinance on Tuesday night. The flags were already allowed in all other districts.

“Open” flags are still prohibited along Main Street, however, where town officials worry they would create sign clutter and safety hazards on busy sidewalks.

The flags must be the standard red-white-and-blue variety, are limited to 12 square feet in size and can be displayed only when a business is open.


Unhealthy air expected to spread up coast today

Environmental officials are expecting unhealthy air quality conditions to continue today along the southern Maine coast.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection predicted elevated ozone concentrations for Wednesday afternoon and evening between Kittery and Georgetown, saying the unhealthy conditions were expected to spread up the coast today, possibly as far east as Mount Desert Island or even to the Canadian border.

People in the affected areas are encouraged to reduce strenuous outdoor activities, close windows and circulate indoor air with a fan or air conditioner.