Brush fire threatens home, disrupts railroad service

A brush fire along railroad tracks near Field Road threatened at least one home and halted passenger and freight service for about two hours Tuesday.

The fire was reported shortly before 2:30 p.m., said Fire Chief Howard Rice Jr.

Twenty-two firefighters responded with three engines and a water-tank truck, dousing the fire and hot spots that spread over more than a half-acre, Rice said in a news release.

At one point, the fire spread up a hill toward a home on Field Road, but a crew hauled a hose to the property and stopped the flames 300 feet from the home.

The fire was extinguished and train service resumed at 4:20 p.m. No one was injured.


Teacher pleads not guilty for remark about shooting

A Freeport Middle School teacher who made a remark in class about shooting students has entered a plea of not guilty to misdemeanor terrorizing.

David Mason entered his plea through a letter submitted by his attorney.

Mason is accused of talking about using a gun in front of his seventh-grade class in February. One parent told The Portland Press Herald that Mason, 58, was frustrated with the class and made a comment about taking them to the roof and shooting them.

Although it was meant as a joke, some parents thought it was inappropriate.

Mason’s lawyer, John Richardson, called the remark “tongue-in-cheek” and said it was blown out of proportion.


Brunswick man charged in crash that injured four

A Brunswick man accused of causing an accident that resulted in four people being hospitalized has been charged with aggravated drunken driving.

Bath Police Lt. Stan Cielinski said an investigation revealed that Joseph Boyington, 22, was under the influence of alcohol and was speeding at the time of the March 19 crash.

Boyington’s vehicle crashed into a sport utility vehicle in Bath, causing severe injuries to his passenger, who police said remained hospitalized. Boyington also suffered serious injuries but was later released from the hospital. The two occupants of the SUV were treated and released.

The Times Record said Boyington, who surrendered to police on Friday, was released on $500 cash bail. 


Authorities quiet on identity of person killed by train

Authorities have not released the identity of the person who was killed by an Amtrak Downeaster train Monday.

Cliff Cole, an Amtrak spokesman, said that no additional information was available about the incident, which occurred about 3 p.m. near Main, Cutts and State streets.

The person hit by the passenger train while walking on the right of way was not carrying identification.

Cole would not say whether authorities had identified the victim and were trying to find relatives, or whether they were still trying to determine the person’s identity.

No one else was hurt in the incident, which involved a train headed to Boston from Portland.

Amtrak, Pan Am Railways and Biddeford police are investigating. The inquiry is expected to include evidence from the scene as well as video from a camera on the front of the train.


LePage vetoes two bills, cites tax and fee increases

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed two bills sent to him by the Legislature, saying they involve tax or fee increases.

In a message to lawmakers made public Tuesday, LePage said he was rejecting a bill that was supposed to ease burdens on the state Fire Marshal’s Office, which inspects amusement rides. Instead, the governor said, the bill was completely rewritten to increase fees for inspections, and he cannot support that.

The other bill seeks to update the state’s emergency services communications laws. LePage said it increases the E-911 monthly surcharge, which he called a tax increase. LePage said that in his next budget, he will propose ways to improve E-911 services without raising taxes.

The vetoes are separate from the line-item vetoes on the budget that LePage issued last weekend.

Five named as semifinalists for Maine Teacher of the Year

Five educators have been named semifinalists for the Teacher of the Year honor, the Maine Department of Education said.

The five were selected from eight teachers who were nominated for the award in February. The nominees put together presentations that were on display in the State House last week.

The five semifinalists, picked by a panel of teachers, principals, business leaders and community members, are Katherine Bousquet, Central School, South Berwick; Richard Lent, Leavitt Area High School, Turner; Elizabeth Marass, Sanford High School; Shannon Shanning, Whittier Middle School, Poland; and Beth Switzer, Coastal Ridge Elementary School, York.

The field will be narrowed to three finalists, then a winner will be selected in August or early September. The winner is usually notified at a surprise assembly at his or her school in September.

Alana Margeson, a 10th-grade English teacher at Caribou High School, won the award last year.

Gambling Control Board OKs license for Oxford Casino

The Maine Gambling Control Board has approved a license for western Maine’s Oxford Casino, which is due to open in two months.

The board’s 4-0 vote on Tuesday removed one of the final obstacles to the casino.

Casino spokesman Scott Smith said operators are now focusing on hiring and training more than 350 full-time workers to ensure a smooth opening in early June.

The casino already has taken delivery of 500 slot machines, and they’re being installed. The casino also plans to have 12 table games – craps, roulette, blackjack and poker – when it opens.

Jewish group sues dairy over use of dietary symbol

A Jewish organization has sued a Maine-based organic dairy for alleged unauthorized use of the group’s symbol that certifies its milk is kosher.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America is asking a judge to order Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co. to stop using the symbol and is seeking monetary damages.

The Orthodox Union claims the dairy has infringed on its trademark – the letter “U’’ in a circle – that signifies a food has been prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary rules.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Massachusetts.

William Eldridge, executive director for the dairy, told the Bangor Daily News he hopes to resolve the issue out of court. He acknowledges the Augusta-based dairy uses the symbol without paying annual fees.


AG: Deadly force reasonable after officer rammed by car

Attorney General William Schneider says a Lewiston police officer and a sheriff’s deputy met requirements under Maine law for using deadly force when they fired into a car that rammed another officer.

Schneider said Tuesday it was reasonable for the two officers to fear imminent harm and to have believed deadly force was necessary to protect themselves and others.

The shooting happened early on Nov. 8 at the conclusion of an hour-long car chase.

Authorities say the driver fled on foot before Kyle Corey got into the driver’s seat and drove into an officer. Corey was shot in the shoulder after the injured officer and a deputy opened fire.

It’s unknown which of the officers’ gunfire hit Corey. Corey, who is from Portland, pleaded not guilty.


New destroyer to be named USS Lyndon B. Johnson

A U.S. Navy destroyer being built at Bath Iron Works will be named after President Lyndon B. Johnson.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the name was appropriate because Johnson led the nation during a time of great tragedy while at the same time fighting for racial equality and economic justice.

Pingree said construction of the ship began earlier this month and it is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2018.

The USS Lyndon B. Johnson is the third in the Zumwalt class of destroyers.


Def Leppard to headline summer ‘hair band’ show

Fans of 1980s rock music can expect some of their favorite performers at a summer concert in Bangor.

Waterfront Concerts is adding an Aug. 22 show to its 2012 schedule for the Rock of Ages tour featuring Def Leppard, Poison and Lita Ford.

Waterfront Concerts promoter Alex Gray told the Bangor Daily News that although he gets a lot of requests, it’s hard to book an ’80s heavy metal “hair band.”

Tickets go on sale Friday.