Serious accident involving four people closes Route 1

The northbound lane of Route 1 between the New Meadows exit in West Bath and downtown Bath was closed for several hours Monday night after a two-car crash that sent four people to the hospital.

Bath Police Chief Mike Field said a 2003 Acura struck a Lincoln on Route 1 in Bath just north of the Congress Avenue overpass. The accident took place around 6:30 p.m.

After pushing the Lincoln several hundred feet, the Acura hit a road sign and rolled over.

The man who was operating the Acura was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, and his passenger was flown to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with what Field described as “serious life-threatening injuries.”

The female driver of the Lincoln and her male passenger were transported to MidCoast Hospital in Brunswick with less serious injuries, Field said.

Brunswick and Maine State Police are reconstructing the crash. The names of the accident victims were not released Monday night.


Augusta attorney wins ACLU civil liberties award

Walt McKee is this year’s winner of the ACLU of Maine Foundation’s Justice Louis Scolnik Award.
McKee, an attorney in Augusta, is chairman of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Legislative Committee. He has testified on numerous significant criminal justice bills. He has tried more than 150 jury trials.

McKee also collaborated with the ACLU of Maine on the successful case of State of Maine v. Ronald LaPlante, about the limits of law enforcement to stop motorists.

Established in 1989, the Scolnik Award honors members of the state’s legal community who have demonstrated commitment to the protection of civil liberties. The award is named for former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Louis Scolnik, a founder and the first president of the ACLU of Maine.
The award will be presented May 3 at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport.

No Maine chefs make finals of James Beard competition

Maine wasn’t exactly starved for semifinalists in the James Beard competition, but the state’s restaurants came up empty Monday when the finalists for the coveted culinary awards were announced in Las Vegas.

Maine had eight semifinalists in four categories. Despite that full plate, not a single Maine chef or restaurant made the finals this year.

The prestigious James Beard Awards are often referred to as the Oscars of the food world. It is an honor to be nominated, and the recognition can greatly affect a restaurant’s “box office,” boosting its bottom line.

Maine has had three Best Chef: Northeast winners in recent years. In 2004, Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland became the first Maine chef to win. Rob Evans of Hugo’s in Portland took the prize in 2009, and Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrows in Ogunquit won in 2010.


Two men charged with series of arson fires

Two men who were found staying in a motel’s storage basement were charged with a series of arson fires, police said Monday.

Police on Saturday arrested Michael Gagne, 19, of Hollis Center and Thomas Tanner, 22, of Old Orchard Beach at the Normandie Oceanfront Motor Inn. The two were staying, probably for a few days, in an unused area of the inn, said Detective Sgt. David Hemingway.

Investigators connected them with the fires based on information provided by the public and interviews, he said. They were arrested on charges of arson and criminal trespass, police said.

The fires were set Feb. 28 at eight locations, including on the porch of the Beach Street Cafe at the Waves Motel, authorities said.

The fires, mostly in the West Grand Avenue and Ocean Park areas of town, also were in several spots of dunegrass along the beach, in a trash can, between two cabins on Beach Street and near a building that’s under construction. None of the damage was extensive.

The two were held in the York County Jail on $30,000 bail.


Jackson Lab considers buying old Lowe’s building

A former Lowe’s home improvement store that has been vacant since last fall may be purchased by The Jackson Laboratory for a future expansion.

Jackson Lab Chief Operating Officer Chuck Hewett said Monday that there are no specific plans for the property. But he said the nonprofit hopes to buy the property because it’s in a good location, with many of the 1,200 Bar Harbor-based employees driving past it every day on their way to work.

The lab has been looking to expand its breeding of strains of mice used in research.


Missing 5-year-old found unharmed near her home

Authorities say a 5-year-old girl who was missing in the woods in the central Maine town of St. Albans was found uninjured.

Maine game wardens and state troopers found Morgan Lawler, who was missing with a family dog, behind the family’s home Monday.

She was not injured but was checked by a Sebasticook Valley Ambulance crew. The dog had returned home on its own.


$40,000 tractor stolenfrom Union sales lot

Maine State Police say they’re looking for a $40,000 tractor that was stolen from a sales lot in Union.
Police say the 2011 Kubota was stolen from Union Farm Equipment on Route 17 about 2 a.m. Monday.

Trooper Jeremiah Wesbrock said a lone male jumped the fence, started the tractor and then used its bucket to ram through the front gate, where it was driven into a ramp truck.