FALMOUTH

Cumberland woman dies in car accident on Gray Road

Police are investigating a crash on Gray Road early Friday morning in which a Cumberland woman was killed.

Casey Green, 22, was killed when the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt she had purchased within the past month left the northbound lane of Gray Road and hit a tree at 2:48 a.m., said Police Chief Ed Tolan.

The other occupant of the car, Matthew Blanchard, 24, of South Portland was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Police say there were no skid marks before the car left the road. There were no signs of drinking or excessive speed in the 50-mph zone, though police will do blood tests and reconstruct the crash. There is a slight curve in the road where the crash happened, a mile past Mountain Road, and the car went straight, Tolan said.

The occupants were wearing seat belts and the car’s airbags deployed, Tolan said.

Police said they cannot be certain who was driving and have made that part of their investigation. Blanchard was outside the car when they arrived and Green was partially outside.

WEST GARDINER

Contractor electrocuted while clearing utility lines

A man died Friday when he was electrocuted by a utility wire, authorities say.

Ronald Hickey, 53, was working as an independent contractor for Central Maine Power to clear utility lines when the incident occurred, according to Deputy Aaron Moody of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

Hickey also owns a tree service business.

West Gardiner Fire Chief Chris McLaughlin confirmed the death and said responding firefighters extinguished a fire that resulted from the incident.

The accident appeared to be linked to a power outage that Central Maine Power said affected several hundred customers in Richmond and southern Kennebec County on Friday afternoon.

CMP spokesman John Carroll said earlier that approximately 6,900 customers lost power around 2:15 p.m. today. He said power was restored to all but 400 by 2:45 p.m.

ELLSWORTH

Drug agents charge two after viewing pill exchange

Police say the president of a construction company was one of two people arrested by Maine drug agents during a prescription pill exchange in town.

Authorities say Patrick Jordan, 43, and Julie Edwards, 47, were arrested Thursday on a charge of unlawful trafficking in oxycodone.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says agents set up surveillance in a motel parking lot and saw Jordan and Edwards meet there just before 3 p.m. Thursday. After the pair separated, police stopped and searched Jordan’s truck.

Police told the Bangor Daily News that inside they found 87 oxycodone tablets worth $3,500. Police said they also seized $4,495 in cash from Jordan’s truck.

Jordan is president of R.F. Jordan, a construction company with about 60 employees. He could not be reached for comment.

AUBURN

Jail ‘skunky’ as it awaits fix for broken cooling device

Add air quality to the list of reasons not to get sent to the Androscoggin County jail.

One of two cooling compressors on the roof of the three-story county jail in Auburn broke down two weeks ago, leading to a humid, stagnant, rancid atmosphere inside that the administrator describes as “skunky.”

Jail officials have closed nonessential rooms and lightened the guards’ dress code.

Officials said things may get worse before they improve.

Though repairs are planned, a new compressor will likely take at least two weeks to arrive and be installed.

The state Board of Corrections has cleared the jail to make the needed $100,000 fix, which includes shipping the part from Dayton, Ohio.

NEWCASTLE

Driver dies when dump truck leaves road, hits anchor wire

A dump truck driver died in a single-vehicle crash in Newcastle.

Police say the truck driven by Malcolm Giles, 72, of Edgecomb was traveling south on Thursday afternoon when it veered onto the road’s shoulder. The truck continued until it hit a utility pole anchor wire and embankment, coming to rest against a group of trees. Giles was declared dead at the scene.

Police say there is no indication that alcohol was involved.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was called in after some diesel fuel from the truck spilled.

AUGUSTA

Wardens beef up efforts to catch drunken boaters

Maine wardens are cracking down on impaired boaters this weekend as part of a national campaign called “Operation Dry Water.”

In Maine, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

The Warden Service is increasing boating patrols around the state through Sunday.

Warden Service Lt. Adam Gormely says boaters face prospects of being checked. Those who are drinking will be tested, and those who are impaired will be arrested.

A similar initiative last year across the country resulted in 325 arrests, 4,370 citations and 8,763 warnings.

ROCHESTER, N.H.

CEO of new plant backs up report on UNH contributions

Three hours after the CEO of Albany Engineering Composites told a state official he was considering building a new plant in Rochester, he got a call from the president of the University of New Hampshire. Six hours later, the governor was on the phone.

Both promised to work with the company to ensure its work force needs would be met, and two years later, construction is under way on a plant that is expected to employ 400 people and will manufacture light-weight airplane engine blades that will ultimately end up in about half of all aircraft.

The company has developed a unique process to reinforce plastic with woven carbon fibers. CEO Joe Morone argues that kind of technology edge is the only way U.S. companies can add jobs in a sustainable way.

“If it’s not unique, it will migrate offshore,” he said Friday. “You have to have a technology advantage, and to have a technology advantage, you have to have a talent advantage. To have a talent advantage, you have to have a strong university system.”

Morone’s company, where a fifth of the current 250 salaried employees are University of New Hampshire graduates, was the backdrop for the release of a new report concluding that the university contributed about $1.4 billion to the state’s economy during the 2010-2011 academic year. That was just a bit higher than the estimate included in an earlier economic impact study in 2008, but UNH President Mark Huddleston said just maintaining the same impact was an achievement in this economy.

— From staff and news services