Walmart set to begin Route 1 store expansion this summer

Walmart is expected to break ground this summer on a 32,000-square-foot expansion of its Route 1 store, said Town Manager Nathan Poore.

The retailer’s consultants are putting the final touches on design plans that the Planning Board approved with conditions last fall, Poore said. No building permit has been issued yet.

The store’s size will increase from 92,000 to 124,000 square feet, adding a grocery section, a garden center and a pharmacy.

The store’s next-door neighbor, the 10-screen Regal Cinemas, closed about a month ago and will be demolished to make way for the expansion.

Also, the weekly Falmouth Farmers Market has moved to Village Park, located to the right rear of the store, Poore said. The market, featuring about 20 growers and crafts vendors, opens for the season today.


Subcommittee votes against new round of base closures

A key Senate subcommittee consisting of senators from Maine and New Hampshire voted Tuesday against recommending another round of military base closures.

Republican Susan Collins of Maine along with Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, both of New Hampshire, all were against the proposal, which has the potential to affect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

The senators are among the 15 members of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.

The Department of Defense recently asked Congress to authorize two additional rounds of base closures in 2013 and 2015.

The subcommittee’s negative recommendation will now be considered by the full committee, according to a press release issued by Collins’ office.

“Another proposed round of BRAC closures now doesn’t make sense for our national defense or for taxpayers. It is clear that the 2005 BRAC process did not result in the savings that the Pentagon projected,” Collins said.


Longtime on-air personality leaves job at WHOM radio

Tim Moore, a veteran of two decades on local radio and a well-known on-air personality at WHOM (94.9 FM), left his position at Portland’s Cumulus stations this week.

Moore declined to discuss his departure. Mike Sambrook, market manager for Cumulus in Portland, did not respond to requests for comment.

Moore had been an on-air host for light rock station WHOM, including a recent stint working mornings. He had also been program director for both WHOM and pop station WJBQ (97.9 FM), another Cumulus station. He’s a native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Ohio State University.

Charitable foundation plans grants totaling $1.4 million

A Portland-based charitable foundation will give $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations throughout Maine.

Tony Cipollone, president and chief executive officer of the John T. Gorman Foundation, said 63 nonprofits have qualified to receive funds from its Critical Support Grants Program.

The effort is designed to help agencies address the needs of disadvantaged residents with housing, food, transportation, education, and health and mental health services.

Established by John T. “Tom” Gorman Jr. in 1995, the foundation aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged and underserved Maine residents, including those suffering from mental illness and cancer.


Residents warned: Steer clear of giant hogweed plants

Officials in Northport are warning residents to be on the lookout for a noxious plant that can cause painful blisters or even blindness if it comes into contact with skin or eyes.

Last summer, Northport identified and eliminated two giant hogweeds that set down roots. Now residents are on alert for the giant plant with small white flowers.

Native to Asia, the weed can grow to 14 feet tall and the sap causes blisters and the potential for blindness.


Authorities dredging harbor, moving sand nearer to shore

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge 20,000 cubic yards of sand from Wells Harbor to make it safer for boaters.

WLBZ-TV reported that the dredging boat Currituck will move the sand from an entrance channel to a federal waterway and deposit it near the shore of Wells Beach. The dredging should be finished by Thursday.

The sand is apparently creating shoaling hazards for boats entering and exiting the harbor.


Biddeford teenager pleads not guilty in traffic death

A Biddeford man has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and drunken-driving charges in connection with a crash that took the life of his friend.

Patrick Beatson was released on $1,000 bail at his arraignment Monday.

Authorities said the 19-year-old Beatson was behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a residential garage in January. His passenger, Chaz Dorais, 19, died of injuries suffered in the crash.

Dorais’ family members said they are frustrated by the low bail.

But Beatson’s attorney told WCSH-TV (Channel 6) that while he understands the family’s pain, bail is not meant to be punitive and his client has complied with all court conditions.

Beatson is also barred from driving, drinking alcohol and having contact with potential witnesses in the case.


Police investigate homicide after man dies in stabbing

Maine police say the death of a Bangor man has been ruled a homicide. Police say Andy D. Smith, 38, died of stab wounds.

Police got a call about a fight and responded to First Street between Cedar and Davis streets at about 1:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Smith was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy has determined that the death was a homicide. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Bangor police or to leave an anonymous message on the department’s tip line.

Ten people in central Maine charged with drug trafficking

Ten people have been arrested on drug-dealing charges in central Maine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that the 10 are charged with conspiracy to distribute and distributing cocaine and the prescription drug oxycodone.

Six of the people are from Waterville. The other four are from Skowhegan, Winslow, Augusta and Albion. They were indicted last week by a federal grand jury.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as Maine law enforcement agencies.