Body tentatively identified as missing Maine kayaker

Seven months after he disappeared near Moosehead Lake while kayaking, a Maine man’s body has been recovered and tentatively identified.

James Russell’s body was discovered Saturday morning by kayakers, according to the Maine Warden Service. His body was taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta.

Russell, 51, of Rockwood, was tentatively identified by his clothing, which matched the description of what he was wearing at the time of his disappearance Nov. 14.

During the search immediately after he was reported missing, residents found Russell’s kayak and backpack floating near Murray Road in Rockwood. His bicycle also was found.


Thousand runners take part in annual obstacle course

A thousand runners from across the country turned out for the second annual Tough Mountain Challenge in western Maine.

Saturday’s race at Sunday River ski resort in Newry was done in waves of 75 runners, with 20 minutes separating each wave.

The grueling competition quickly separated the athletes who were in shape from those who weren’t when they all were blasted by water from snowmaking guns on the initial Hurricane Alley obstacle hill.

Jay Fletcher of Brunswick, who finished in 153rd place in the men’s race, said the best part of the competition was the last obstacle — the Slip, Slide and Die. It featured a long slide down a canola oil-slicked tarp that emptied racers into Widowmaker Pit, a muddy waterhole under a log.


Barbecue festival winners chosen in several categories

As the Western Maine BBQ Festival continued Sunday at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds, some barbecue gurus had already earned bragging rights.

In the chicken wing category, Insane Swine BBQ took first place, Control Freak Cooking finished second and Acadian Smokehouse came in third. The public had a different opinion though, naming Butt Crack BBQ the People’s Choice winner for chicken wings.

In the savory sausage category, Belted Cow BBQ took first place, Darth Que Dark Side BBQ finished second and Beverage Brothers came in third. Again, the People’s Choice award went to an entirely different team, dubbing I’m A Hog for Que, Baby, the champions of sausage.

Insane Swine BBQ also took first place in the beef ribs category, with Mighty Swine Dining finishing second and Bucks Naked BBQ third.

And barbecuing wouldn’t be complete without dessert. Lo’-N-Slo’ BBQ placed first, Control Freak Cooking placed finished second and Darth Que Dark Side BBQ came in third in the dessert category.

Overall, Saturday’s grand champion was Insane Swine BBQ, and the reserve grand champion was Belted Cow BBQ.


Morning blaze destroys most of two-story home

It took crews about four hours to knock down a fire Sunday at a two-story home here.

Deputy Chief Tom Martelle said the fire at 56 Pleasant Hill Road was reported around 10:30 a.m. He said the people who were home at the time made it out safely before crews from Falmouth, Cumberland and Portland arrived.

At least 80 percent of the home was destroyed by fire and water, Martelle said. The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause, but it is not believed to be suspicious, he said. 


Crews get fire under control quickly at two-unit complex

Crews quickly extinguished a fire in a two-unit apartment building Sunday morning.

The fire at 358 Woodford St. was reported around 8:10 a.m., said Deputy Chief David Jackson. The owner of the building lives in one unit and smelled smoke before calling 911, he said. Everyone evacuated safely.

Jackson said the fire started on the third floor in an empty storage area. Crews had it under control in minutes.

Investigators have not identified the cause of the fire, but it is not believed to be suspicious, he said.

Bishop urges parishioners to join prayer, fasting day

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland said it supports the Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Bishop Joseph Malone is urging parishioners to participate in prayer and fasting on Aug. 6, which has been designated by Gov. Paul Le- Page as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has invited people from every state to come to his state for a giant prayer gathering. The Maine Legislative Prayer Caucus urged Mainers to participate in that event by gathering in communities, houses of worship and homes. They’ve also asked church leaders to help organize regional and local events throughout Maine.

— From staff and news services