Propane tank explosion sends couple to hospital

A husband and wife were hospitalized with burns when a propane tank explosion that could be felt up to 10 miles away burned their camper at a southern Maine campground.

Lebanon Rescue Assistant Chief Jason Cole said crews were called to the Salmon Falls River Camping Resort in Lebanon shortly after 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

A Missouri woman in her 60s was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious burns. Her husband was taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H.

Cole said a second propane tank exploded while crews were there, and that a second camper was also destroyed.

The identities of the victims were not released, but Cole said they had arrived at the campground Friday.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.


Bike swap set today at USM; helps support bicycle group

Maine bicycling enthusiasts are pushing off for the new riding season with a bike swap in Portland.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Great Portland Bike Swap will be held at the University of Southern Maine’s campus today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Coalition Executive Director Nancy Grant says more than 2,000 people attended last year’s swap. Grant calls the event the year’s biggest bicycle celebration, as it marks the unofficial start of Maine’s cycling season.

Hundreds of bicycles of all types will be for sale, including road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, children’s bikes and classic cruisers. A large test riding area will allow shoppers to try out bicycles.

Admission is $3, but it’s free for students at USM and the University of Maine. A percentage of the sales supports the activities of the Bicycle Coalition.


Man to serve eight-year term for sexually assaulting child

A 50-year-old Dixmont man is going to prison for eight years for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl.

Alfred Seekins was sentenced Friday in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast.

He received an 18-year-sentence, but 10 of those years were suspended as part of a plea agreement that spared the victim from testifying.

Seekins pleaded guilty to two counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and two counts of visual sexual aggression against a child.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Seekins, who had a close relationship with one of the girl’s family members, assaulted the girl in Brooks and in Dixmont.


State drug agents charge man with meth trafficking

Maine drug agents have charged a 34-year-old Presque Isle man with methamphetamine trafficking.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said Carpine was arrested Saturday at a Presque Isle motel.

Officials said agents recovered chemicals and equipment used to make methamphetamine, as well as loaded handguns, from Carpine’s Presque Isle apartment during an April 18 raid.

Carpine was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court in July.


More than 1,600 pre-register for run to honor slain chief

More than 1,600 people are pre-registered for a 5.4-mile run to honor the New Hampshire chief who was shot to death while serving a warrant at the home of a suspected drug dealer in Greenland.

The Chief Maloney Memorial Run kicks off today at the Portsmouth Police Department and ends at the Greenland police station. A Portsmouth police officer who hatched the idea said he wanted to blow off steam and to pay tribute to Greenland Chief Michael Maloney.

The event was rained out last weekend. All proceeds will benefit the Michael Maloney Family Trust.

Maloney was shot while trying to help four drug task officers who were wounded April 12. The home’s occupant, Cullen Mutrie, and a female companion, Brittany Tibbetts, 26, of Berwick, Maine, died in a murder-suicide.


Five rescued sea turtles set to be released today

Five sea turtles that were rescued after stranding on Cape Cod are set to be released in waters off South Carolina.

The New England Aquarium said the animals will be released near Charleston today after five months of rehabilitation.

The endangered turtles were among dozens that were found on the outer Cape suffering from hypothermia in late autumn.

They were rescued by workers at the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay and taken to the New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Center in Quincy.

Several weeks later, they were taken by private jet to the South Carolina Aquarium to finish their rehabilitation.

The waters off South Carolina are near 70 degrees now and warm enough for the animal’s release.