UMaine System trustees sign off on renovations

University of Maine System trustees have signed off on renovations to the UMaine Field House and Memorial Gym at the state’s flagship university.

Trustees agreed Monday to issue revenue bonds to refinance $30 million of debt due and to provide $7 million for renovations at the gym and field house. Total renovations with a cost of $14 million will focus on improving access for the disabled and mechanical ventilation and hazardous materials remediation.

Portland police investigate series of late night fires

Portland police are investigating a series of late night fires, including two that occurred at apartment buildings where people were sleeping.

Firefighters were initially called to 1121 Forest Ave. at 8:27 p.m. Sunday, where a fire burning between a garage and an apartment building was put out.

Firefighters were called to 55 Grant St. at 1:44 a.m. Monday for burning debris in the hallways of the second and third floors, said Lt. Gary Rogers of the Portland police detectives division. The third fire scene was at 12 Boynton St., where a fire burned an exterior wooden fence.


Police search for suspect who mugged man near CVS

Augusta police are searching for the suspect in a robbery outside a city pharmacy over the weekend.

Police said a 64-year-old man was mugged in the parking lot of the CVS on Capital Street about 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The victim told officers that he had just left the store when someone approached him from behind as he opened his car door and struck him on the head. The thief made off with the victim’s wallet and car keys.

The robber was described as a white man, about 6 feet tall and weighing between 165 and 190 pounds. He was wearing jeans, a navy style pea coat and a black watch cap.

The victim was treated at the hospital for a cut on his head.

Farmers eligible for loans for covering flood losses

Farms in Oxford and York counties are eligible for low-interest loans to cover losses from flooding, hail and heavy rains, including Tropical Storm Irene, that started on May 1.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also designated eight counties in New Hampshire and five in Vermont as natural disaster areas last Wednesday.

The designation means the qualified farmers in those counties are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.

The areas covered are Belknap, Coos, Hillsborough, Strafford, Carroll, Grafton, Rockingham and Sullivan counties in New Hampshire and Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Windham and Windsor counties in Vermont.


Incoming mayor first heads to Middle East next month

Before next month’s inauguration as Auburn mayor, Jonathan LaBonte is learning a bit of Arabic.

In December, the 31-year-old Auburn native is joining a delegation of young leaders for a State Department-sponsored trip to Egypt and Jordan. He is scheduled to return Dec. 18, three days before he takes office.

“To me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said LaBonte, who was nominated for the trip by leaders of the National Association of Counties.

Though he doesn’t yet know the exact details of the trip, he expects to meet local education, government and business leaders in both countries.

The trip will be LaBonte’s first outside of North America. He said he didn’t even have a passport until the association nominated him.


Youngster critically injured when truck hits his stroller

Police say a 3-year-old boy was critically injured when a truck hit his stroller and a 13-year-old baby sitter who was pushing it.

Police said the two were knocked into a ditch after being hit by the truck driven by 48-year-old Elton Bowler of Augusta. The boy, who was not identified, remained in critical but stable condition Monday at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

The accident happened Friday. Police told WMTW-TV that the baby sitter was treated and released but may need facial reconstructive surgery.

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department did not identify the sitter or the boy. Investigators say speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors.


Grand jury indicts suspect for fatal crash in February

A Sanford man has been indicted on charges of manslaughter and driving drunk with death resulting after a Waterboro crash in February.

A York County grand jury indicted Devin Brennan, 21, in connection with the death of Cale Boston, 26, of North Berwick.

Brennan was driving Boston’s car Feb. 8 on Route 202 at Railroad Avenue. Boston was ejected from the car and died later. Brennan suffered minor injuries. Police said alcohol and speed contributed to the crash.

Investigators initially said they were not sure who was driving, although they later concluded it was Brennan.


LURC Reform Commission holds meeting this week

A panel studying reforms to Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission will meet this week in Greenville.

The LURC Reform Commission will hold a work session Thursday at the American Legion Hall in Greenville.

The 13-member study panel was established by the Maine Legislature this year following proposals to abolish or reform LURC, which regulates development in Maine’s unorganized territory.

The meeting is a work session for the committee members, but the public is welcome to attend. A future meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1 in Bangor.


Authorities seeking tips about pair of robberies

Investigators are working on tips posted on the Police Department’s website to solve two bank robberies they think were committed by the same man.

Detectives also are using a list of green Subarus registered with the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles to whittle down possible suspects, Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said Monday.

The Waterville Savings Bank of Maine on Upper Main Street was robbed last Wednesday by a masked man armed with a large knife. Witnesses said they saw the man leaving in a green, older model Subaru hatchback. The HealthFirst Federal Credit Union on Quarry Road was robbed in a similar fashion in September.

Rumsey said anyone can give an anonymous tip at 680-4700 or www.watervillepolice.org.


— From staff and news services