Ceremony to mark the start of civic center’s renovation

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the renovation of the Cumberland County Civic Center will be held Wednesday.

Neal Pratt, chairman of the civic center board, will lead the event, starting at 11 a.m., accompanied by representatives of the architects and lead contractor for the project.

The ceremony will be held at the Free Street entrance to the arena. Much of the work during the first phase of the renovation will be done in that corner of the building.

Cumberland County voters last fall approved spending up to $33 million to improve the civic center. New seats will be installed, suites will be built, the lobby and concession areas will be improved and back-stage upgrades — such as a new loading dock and more efficient heating and cooling systems — will be made.

Portland school board hires three new administrators

Portland’s school board has appointed three new administrators, including a new elementary school principal.

The board decided Tuesday to appoint Cynthia Remick as principal of Hall Elementary School, Glenda Klein as the district’s human resources director and Sharon Pray as the special education coordinator.

Remick, who was Hall School’s assistant principal last year, previously worked as the No Child Left Behind director, curriculum coordinator and math consultant for the Westbrook School District.

She has 13 years of teaching experience and has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine, a master’s degree in literacy from the University of Southern Maine and a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership from USM.

Klein comes to Portland from Norcross, Ga., where she was human resources manager for the Deutz Corp. for the past four years.

Klein held similar positions in municipal, school and nonprofit organizations. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human resources from Friends University in Kansas.

Pray has worked for the Rochester, N.H., School Department for 14 years. Before that, she was Maine’s program coordinator for detained youth, a special education director for SAD 55 in Hiram and behavioral specialist for the Wells School Department. She has a master’s degree in education from USM.

Rush-hour traffic backs up after minor crash on I-295

A fender-bender during rush hour Thursday night on Interstate 295 caused traffic to back up for miles in both directions.

State Trooper Doug Cropper said the accident took place about 4:45 p.m. near Exit 7 northbound in Portland when a Nissan sports utility vehicle driven by Shauni Morrison, 22, of Lewiston swerved to avoid hitting a van that unexpectedly braked.

Cropper said Morrison swerved into the path of a Toyota Camry operated by Kathleen Cole, 57, of Freeport. No injuries were reported.

The crash caused traffic to back up in both directions for about an hour as southbound drivers “rubbernecked” and northbound drivers had nowhere to get off the highway because of construction at the Forest Avenue overpass, Cropper said.

Grant to help pay for study of how to fund Auburn train

Advocates of passenger rail service between Portland and Auburn say a grant from the National Association of Realtors will give the project a boost.

Tony Donovan, president of the Maine Rail Transit Coalition, said the $15,000 grant is small but represents a “game changer” because it builds momentum. He said the newly funded research will look into methods of funding the 29-mile rail line, including recouping investment into the rail infrastructure by capturing additional tax revenue. The proposal envisions more than a dozen daily runs with up to 100 passengers each.

The state owns the railroad connecting Portland with Auburn. Cost estimates for rehabilitating the rail and establishing the service run in the $60 million to $70 million range.


Tests to ID burned bodies may take until next week

The Maine Attorney General’s Office says DNA tests are being used to confirm the identification of three bodies that were found in a burned-out car in Bangor.

The bodies were discovered in a 2001 white Pontiac sedan early Monday. The car was burning in the parking lot of a business in Bangor. The vehicle with Rhode Island license plates was destroyed by the flames, and the bodies found inside were severely burned.

On Wednesday, the deaths were declared homicides.

The wait for identifications has been frustrating for local residents who believe a relative or friend may be among the victims.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said the DNA testing may not be completed this week.

Man gets prison for tossing Molotov cocktails into home

A man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for making and tossing Molotov cocktails into an Indian Island home.

Alex Glossian also was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $9,000 in restitution for damage caused by the homemade explosives. He apologized in court.

Glossian, 26, pleaded guilty in February to unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device. Prosecutors said he was seen on surveillance video buying 40-ounce beer bottles and gasoline a short time before two devices were thrown through the window of a home in June 2010. Only one exploded.

A Bangor Daily News report said someone who had a grudge against the home’s resident paid Glossian.


Man dies after motorcycle slams into turning camper

Police say a Warren man died after the motorcycle he was riding hit a camper being towed on Route 3.

State police said Paul Galipeau, 62, was driving his Harley-Davidson west about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when he struck the camper being towed by an eastbound van that was turning onto a side road.

Galipeau was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a helmet. Neither the man driving the van nor his wife was hurt.

The camper suffered severe damage and the motorcycle was totaled.

The crash remains under investigation, but police said neither speed not alcohol were factors.


Police plan to cite driver after train rams his car at crossing

A Portland-to-Boston Amtrak train hit a car just outside Boston, but authorities said there were no serious injuries.

The driver of the car was taken to the hospital with what were described as “superficial” injuries after the collision at about 8 a.m. Thursday in Medford. The car sustained heavy damage.

Police said the 69-year-old New Hampshire resident will be cited for driving around the railroad crossing gate. His name was not released.

There were more than 60 passengers and crew on the Downeaster train, but no one on board was hurt.


Truck driver killed in crash identified as a Caribou man

Police have identified the truck driver from Maine who died this week when his rig sailed off an interstate overpass in upstate New York and hit a passenger car on the road below, setting both vehicles ablaze.

State police said the crash happened about noon Sunday in Richmondville, 40 miles west of Albany. The truck had been heading west on an Interstate 88 overpass.

The truck driver, Jeffrey Mueller, 47, of Caribou, Maine, was found dead in the wreckage. He was identified through dental records.

Two people in the smaller vehicle, Crescent Ives, 36, and Kilee Ives, 15, both of Worcester, N.Y., were hospitalized with serious burns. They were still being treated Thursday.

The investigation is continuing.


Wildfires video earns award for Forest Service rangers

Maine Forest Service rangers will receive an award for their video about protecting property from wildfires.

The rangers will receive a Telly Award on Thursday for their video, “Defensible Space: It could save your home from a wildfire.”

Telly Awards honor film and video productions, groundbreaking Web commercials and outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs. The awards are open only to companies or agencies that do not air their videos on major TV networks.

The Maine video features an interview with Chuck Johnston, who lost his 95-year-old northern Maine camp to a wildfire in 2010.

The video can be viewed online at: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/fpd/pages/wui/wui_video.html#wui_video


Husband, wife both charged after violent dispute at home

A domestic dispute at a home on Pleasant Street in Bath turned violent Thursday afternoon, forcing police to arrest a husband and wife.

Lt. Stan Cielinski said 48-year-old Rhonda B. Churchill was charged with aggravated assault after she allegedly stabbed her husband, 47-year-old William W. Churchill, in the thigh.

After being treated at Mid Coast Hospital — Churchill also suffered a cut to his hand — he was arrested on a probation violation and a charge of assaulting his wife’s 24-year-old son. Churchill was being held at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Rhonda Churchill was released on $15,000 bail. She is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Sept. 11.