Youngster killed when fire rips through camper trailer

Maine officials say a 7-year-old boy who’d stayed home from school died when fire swept through his camper trailer.

Fire marshal investigators said the body of Christian Rand was found in the burned-out camper shortly after the fire was reported at 9:30 a.m. in Corinth. They said the boy’s parents, Amanda and Nicholas Rand, were away at the time of the fire.

A team of fire marshal investigators is trying to pinpoint the cause. The camper was on a relative’s property along Main Street.


Driver of pickup truck dies after crashing into trees

Authorities say the driver of a pickup truck has died in a crash in Bristol.

Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies said it appears the truck left the road about 8 p.m. Thursday, crashed into several trees, and ejected the driver.

The man was declared dead at the scene. His name has not been made public. No one else was in the vehicle.

The crash remains under investigation but officials told WMTW-TV that speed appears to be a factor.


Three Gardiner firefighters disciplined for conduct

A captain and a union president are among three Gardiner firefighters disciplined by the city last month because they engaged in inappropriate conduct against another city employee.

According to city documents released Thursday, all three received a one-year suspended termination, meaning they can be fired immediately if they violate city policy again. Discipline also included demotion and unpaid suspensions.

Capt. Richard Sieberg, Andrew Santheson and union president Dustin Barry were back on the job as of Jan. 10.

City Manager Scott Morelli told the Kennebec Journal that he cannot disclose the exact nature of their actions, but they were not criminal in nature. The firefighters could not be reached for comment.


Federal judge rules lawsuit over dam can move forward

A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought against the operators of a dam on the Kennebec River in an effort to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon can move forward.

The judge ruled Thursday that the case deserves to be heard on its merits.

The lawsuit, brought by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and Environment Maine, claims the Hydro Kennebec dam violates federal endangered species laws because it kills fish and blocks access to salmon habitat.

The defendants, Brookfield Power U.S. Asset Management LLC and an affiliate, Hydro Kennebec LLC, sought to have the case dismissed or put on hold to allow federal agencies to deal with the issue.

The companies argued the case is too complex for a federal judge to decide, and that no violation of the law is occurring.


Forest service’s chief ranger retires after 30 years on job

The Maine Forest Service’s chief ranger has retired after more than 30 years on the job.

An agency spokeswoman said Bill Williams submitted a letter of retirement Wednesday and Commissioner Bill Beardsley accepted it.

His retirement went into effect immediately.

Williams told the Bangor Daily News that he actually retired a year ago, but was asked to stay on.

He began his career in 1977, working summers as a campsite ranger at Moosehead Lake, working his way up the ranks to unit ranger, district ranger and ultimately chief forest ranger, a position he’s held for the past 10 years.

A successor has yet to be named.


More demolition scheduled at Memorial Bridge site

The center span of the Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine may be gone — but there’s more demolition scheduled for next week.

Keith Cota of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation said a 750-ton crane barge will arrive to dismantle the two towers once used to raise and lower the center span. Pullies at the top of the towers will have to be removed first, followed by 250-ton counterweights, then truss sections of the towers.

Cota told the Portsmouth Herald after the towers are removed, the fixed spans will be the next to go.

A new bridge is expected to open next year.


Madison logging company agrees to $35,000 fine

The Maine Forest Service says a Madison logging company has agreed to pay a $35,000 fine for violating the state’s clear-cutting laws.

The forest service said T.R. Dillon Logging Inc. violated state forest management laws when cutting land in the towns of Industry and Peru.

State officials said the violations were not intentional, but that the company didn’t have harvest plans prepared by a licensed forester


Pilot killed when plane crashes near N.H. airport

The Federal Aviation Administration says a single-engine plane has crashed near a New Hampshire airport, killing the pilot.

FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the pilot was the only person aboard the Cessna 172 when it crashed Thursday in Lebanon, a city on the Connecticut River.

The pilot’s wife identified him as Paul Schlieben of Peterborough. She told WMUR-TV that he flew to Lebanon from Keene earlier in the day to have some work done on the Cessna.

Salac said the plane took off from Lebanon Airport and then turned around to return to the airport but crashed 500 feet from a runway. She said it’s unclear why the plane turned back.

Salac initially said the plane was registered to a business in Ogden, Utah, based on incorrect tail numbers she was given from someone at the scene.


Animal rescuers herd dolphins out of harbor

Animal rescuers say they have successfully herded more than 50 common dolphins out of Wellfleet Harbor on Cape Cod to avoid strandings.

But the International Fund for Animal Welfare said Friday three more stranded dolphins died Thursday night on the Barnstable harbor side of Sandy Neck. Two found stranded in that area were rescued and released off Town Neck Beach in Sandwich.

The organization said it’s keeping an eye out for more dolphins in the Barnstable and Wellfleet areas.

The IFAW said 160 dolphins have stranded on Cape Cod since Jan. 12. Of those, 120 have died and 40 have been rescued.

That’s far more than the yearly average of 37 common dolphin strandings over the last 12 years. Scientists say geography, weather changes or behavior of the dolphins’ prey may explain the increase.

— From staff and news services

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