Bridge closing delayed day to accommodate shipment

The nighttime closure of the Veterans Memorial Bridge has been delayed by one day.

Jeraldine Chow-Herrera, spokeswoman for the $63 million bridge replacement project, said the existing bridge will now be closed from Monday through Oct. 28.

The original closure date would have been Sunday night. The bridge will be closed each night from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Chow-Herrera said the dates were changed to accommodate a shipment of 40,000 tons of road salt, which is scheduled to arrive at the Sprague Terminal in Portland on Friday.

Terminal crews plan to work around the clock transporting the road salt to the Sprague Terminal in South Portland, a trip that will require that trucks be allowed to use the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Peter Frye, manager of the Sprague Terminal, said drivers can expect to see as many as 25 trucks an hour on the bridge this weekend.

The closure is necessary so that crews can install an underground communication conduit. That conduit, which runs under the existing bridge, must be encased in concrete and extended to the new bridge.

The new bridge is scheduled to open during the summer of 2012. The old bridge will be removed in December 2012.


Water main break disrupts campus service for 12 hours

A water main break on Bedford Street, which cuts through the heart of the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus, disrupted water service to the campus for nearly 12 hours Wednesday.

The Portland Water District said the break might not be repaired until midnight. It occurred around 11:30 a.m.

Robert Caswell, USM’s spokesman, said the water main break cut off water to the Wishcamper Center and the Woodbury Campus Center, which house the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Muskie School of Public Service and a cafeteria. Caswell said the cafeteria, in the Woodbury Center, was closed at 1 p.m.

Classes did not have to be cancelled. Caswell said students and faculty members were able to use bathrooms at the Abromson Community Education Center and the Glickman Family Library, which did not lose water service.

Caswell estimated that more than 3,000 students were affected by the water main break, which at one point forced police to reduce traffic on Bedford Street to one lane.

UMaine law school professor honored for advocacy work

A professor at the University of Maine School of Law is being honored for her advocacy work.

Deirdre Smith is the recipient of the Advocate for Justice award, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court announced Wednesday.

Smith is also director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and serves on the court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence.

Saufley praised Smith for expanding the law school’s clinical education program, expanding the program to provide assistance to juveniles and helping students become professional and articulate advocates.


Journal Tribune endorses passage of ballot Question 1

The daily newspaper in York County is endorsing passage of Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot, which would repeal a new law requiring voter registration at least two business days before an election in order to cast a ballot.

Passage would restore Maine’s law allowing registration up to and including Election Day, an alternative the Journal Tribune said is preferable.

Wednesday’s editorial says eliminating same-day registration and voter registration in the few days before elections limits access to the democratic process and keeps people who may have otherwise cast a ballot from doing so.

Earlier this week, the town council in Orono approved a resolution in support of a vote in favor of same-day registration.


OSHA seeking $13,600 fine in excavation worker’s death

A contractor has been cited for alleged violations of workplace safety standards in connection with the death of a worker at a construction site in Bangor.

Danny Dodge, 23, an employee of Bowdoin Excavation of North Yarmouth, was killed when a backhoe rolled down an embankment and landed on top of him.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking fines totaling $13,600 against the company.

OSHA is citing Bowdoin Excavation with four alleged violations of workplace safety, but also said the infractions were not willful.

The firm said it does not intend to contest the citations, the first issued against the company since it was formed in 2004.


Voters OK ban on fireworks, pass uniform building code

Town meeting voters on Tuesday approved the adoption of a fireworks ban and the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code.

Thirty-one voters gathered at the Town Office, said Marie Lausier, assistant town clerk.

They approved an ordinance that bans the sale, use and display of fireworks in town — activities that are now allowed under state law.

They also agreed to replace the town’s building and residential codes with a uniform code adopted a year ago by the state’s Building Codes and Standards Board.


Firefighters blame blaze on smoking materials

Firefighters said a fire that started Wednesday in a third-floor apartment above Shaw’s Hardware, at 901 Main St., was likely caused by improper disposal of smoking materials.

Capt. Gary Cushing said firefighters found evidence of discarded smoking materials in an exit doorway leading to a fire escape in the building.

Cushing said the fire was mostly out — it was still smoldering — by the time crews arrived around 5 p.m. He said it was fortunate the fire was contained to the doorway. If it had moved into the attic area the fire could have posed a challenge to firefighters who would not have had enough space to fight the fire, he said.


School Board approves staff computer-use policies

The School Board unanimously approved revised computer-use policies for staff members on Tuesday night that ban using the district’s email system for political or religious purposes, among other things.

The board updated the nine-year-old policies after Karen Boffa and John Flaherty, principals of Falmouth Elementary School, sent emails endorsing “school-friendly” candidates in recent local elections.

The board also unanimously approved a revised policy for public participation in board meetings. All school policies are posted on the district’s website,


Land-use attorney named Maine DEP policy director

Heather Parent, a land-use attorney for Eaton Peabody, has been named policy director of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Commissioner Patricia Aho announced Wednesday.

Parent will also oversee the agency’s enforcement efforts.

According to a statement from the DEP, she will work to ensure that the agency enforces the law in a manner that is “timely, fair and firm” and will not allow businesses that violate the law have a competitive advantage over those that undertake environmental stewardship.

At Eaton Peabody, Parent’s practice focused on helping businesses and municipalities with wetlands permitting, brownfields redevelopment, groundwater contamination issues and state and federal hazardous substance laws.

Parent, of Brewer, will replace Jim Dusch, who has been transferred to head the agency’s Southern Maine Regional Office.


Bills aim to help businesses affected by bridge’s closure

Maine legislators are working on bills aimed to help local businesses affected by the shutdown of the Memorial Bridge, which connected the state to New Hampshire.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported that one bill would allow signs along Interstate 95 for businesses in Kittery. The signs are expected to provide directions to locations that are no longer accessible by the bridge, which connected Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H.

The other bill would allow shuttles from New Hampshire to Maine using the COAST bus system out of New Hampshire.

The 88-year-old bridge closed permanently to traffic on July 27 after an inspection revealed it was no longer safe.

A new bridge is not expected to be open until 2014.