City Council endorses bond for civic center renovations

The City Council has unanimously endorsed a $33 million bond proposal to renovate the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The council endorsed the bond, which will be voted on countywide Nov. 8, during its meeting Monday night.

In a resolution of support, councilors cited the civic center’s economic impact on the region, the hundreds of jobs it provides, and the need for its renovation. They also noted low interest rates and low construction costs and the likelihood that the bond will have no impact on county tax rates.

The bond that funded construction of the county jail was paid off earlier this year. The money that had been going to pay off that loan will be shifted to paying for the renovation bond if voters approve it.

Justices won’t reconsider fine for lawyer’s court conduct

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court said Tuesday that it will not reconsider a fine it imposed on a former Portland-based lawyer for failing to maintain professionalism in his appellate briefs.

The court fined Ralph Dyer $2,500 in December for “an escalating tirade of unsupported accusations and aspersions” that questioned the independence and competence of a lower court judge. The statements were in briefs that Dyer submitted for a case, over the bankruptcy sale of equipment, that went before Justice John Nivison in the Business and Consumer Court.

The court has warned Dyer about his professional conduct at least twice in the past, according to the ruling.

Dyer did not immediately return a call to his home. The justices wrote in their decision that they believe he is no longer practicing law.

Turnpike’s Exit 48 off-ramps to close for paving tonight

Staggered closures of the off-ramps to Riverside Street at Exit 48 of the Maine Turnpike are planned from 9 tonight to 5 a.m. Thursday.

Beginning at 9 tonight, the northbound off-ramp will be closed for paving. When that is complete, the off-ramp will reopen and the southbound off-ramp will close so it can be paved.

Drivers who want to get to Riverside Street from the north or south can use Exit 47. Roadside electronic message boards will flash notification of the closures during the hours the ramps are shut down.


Former code officer files suit, claims wrongful termination

Falmouth’s former code enforcement officer has sued the town, claiming that he was wrongfully fired nearly a year ago.

Albert Farris Jr., 64, of Brunswick claims that he was fired without just cause or due process. The claim names Town Manager Nathan Poore and Community Development Director Amanda Stearns as defendants.

According to Farris’ complaint, Poore presided over his job termination hearing, during which Poore provided testimony supporting Farris’ firing. Poore then issued a letter on Sept. 28, 2010, saying it was his decision to fire Farris.

Farris’ attorneys filed the complaint on Sept. 6 in Cumberland County Superior Court. The town’s attorneys filed a notice on Sept. 13 to move the case to U.S. District Court in Portland.

Farris is seeking compensation for lost wages, damage to his reputation, emotional distress and other damages.

Car rally, charity poker run set for Saturday morning

Morong Falmouth’s annual Cruise In Car Rally and Charity Poker Run will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the dealership’s service center at 196 Route 1.

Registration for the poker run, a directed community scavenger hunt for a winning hand, will begin at 9 a.m. The run will start at 10 a.m. and end at noon. The entry fee is $20. Prizes will be awarded. All proceeds will benefit the Falmouth Soccer Boosters.

The Cruise In Car Rally will start at 10 a.m. Anyone with a classic, sports or specialty vehicle is invited to participate, free of charge.

The event will include product vendors and food concessions. Raffle tickets will be sold for a variety of items, including a scooter from the Portland Scooter Co.


Neighbors file lawsuit in bid to stop approved subdivision

Several neighbors have appealed the Planning Board’s recent approval of McKearney Village, the town’s largest housing development in 20 years, to Cumberland County Superior Court.

The board voted 6-1 in July to approve the 39-lot, 53-acre subdivision off Hillside Street despite neighbors’ concerns about the density of the project, the lack of a traffic impact study and the way town officials reviewed the proposal.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 25 by Bruce and Suzanne Jones, Mary Dowd, Carroll Dunn, and Greg and Kara Salvadore. Their complaint says the board’s conditional approval failed to address traffic safety and included several zoning waivers that violate state law.

The subdivision, proposed by Mike Albert of Pownal, calls for 38 single-family homes; the 39th lot could be developed into a 32-unit multifamily complex.

The board satisfied some neighbors by allowing only recreational and emergency access to Sycamore Drive, a dead-end lane in the established Applewood Farm neighborhood off West Main Street.


Police say toddler recovering after being bitten by pit bull

Police say a toddler is recovering from injuries after being bitten on the head by the family’s pit bull.

The dog, named Kappa, apparently broke free from his leash and bit the grandson of the resident about 1 p.m. Monday. The boy is 18 months old.

The dog was taken to Lake Region Veterinary Clinic and euthanized, police said. The dog’s brain will be tested for rabies. The family said the dog’s shots were up to date but they could not find the paperwork, police said.


Two teen boys face charges in pizzeria arson, burglary

Two juveniles have been charged with arson and burglary in connection with a fire that destroyed a vacant pizza shop on Route 1.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office investigated and determined that the fire Sunday at Tony’s Pizzeria was set.

Lt. Michael Murphy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation led police to a 13-year-old boy from Wiscasset and a 15-year-old boy from Woolwich.

Firefighters reported seeing two boys running from the area. During an interview, with their parents present, the boys admitted to setting the fire, Murphy said.

The fire destroyed the building, which is being torn down by its owners. The pizza shop closed about two years ago.

The juveniles have been released into the custody of their parents, pending their appearance in juvenile court.


Reopening of paper mill draws 340 job applicants

Hundreds of Mainers hope to go back to work at the paper mill that is being reopened after nearly having its equipment sold off.

An estimated 340 people have applied for jobs at the new Great Northern Paper Co. mill in East Millinocket since applications were first accepted on Thursday.

The deal to revive the mill closed on Friday.

The Bangor Daily News said the mill plans to hire as many as 250 workers and ship its first orders by Oct. 30, but it’s unclear when work will begin.

The mill closed in April, idling 150 workers. The nearby Millinocket mill is expected to reopen later.


Pilot in fatal crash took off to warm plane’s engine oil

Federal investigators say a pilot who was killed in a crash near a small airport here was on a flight to warm the oil in the plane’s engine before it was to be changed.

David Finnegan of Woburn, Mass., was killed Saturday morning shortly after he took off from Greenville Municipal Airport. The single-engine Cessna 172 crashed in a heavily wooded area about a mile and a half from the airport, said Peter Knudson, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Finnegan was the only person aboard.

Knudson said an investigator from Virginia is expected to remain in Greenville until today. A preliminary report on his findings is expected to be finished next week.


Apartment house fire set by juveniles, officials say

Investigators say a fire that destroyed a three-story apartment building Monday night was set.

Sgt. Timothy York of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that the fire was set by two juveniles, but they weren’t identified.

Two tenants were led out of the burning building by neighbors. One neighbor, Beverly Busque, said that before the fire started she saw youths outside her house.

About 40 firefighters from Waterville and Winslow battled the blaze.