Fire destroys house, garage; no one injured

A house and attached garage at 17 Sandville Road were destroyed by fire Friday night. No one was hurt.

Limington Fire Chief Michael Hartford said the cause of the blaze, which is not suspicious, is still being investigated.

The fire broke out shortly after 8 p.m. The owner, Bruce Betty, and his son were at home. The home’s smoke detectors were activated.

Hartford said the family is receiving help in relocating by the American Red Cross.

About 12,000 gallons of water and 20 gallons of foam were used to extinguish the blaze. It took an hour and 15 minutes to contain, Hartford said.

Help in battling the blaze was provided by departments from Standish, Hollis, Limerick, Cornish and Kezar Falls.

Firefighters left the scene at 3 a.m. Saturday.


Deadline nears for Mainers to file for foreclosure claim

The deadline is approaching for Mainers who lost their homes to foreclosure from 2008 through 2011 to file claim forms for benefits from a national mortgage settlement.

Maine was one of 49 states involved in a joint state-federal settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage lenders to settle allegations of widespread “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices.

Attorney General William Schneider said that $1.9 million has been set aside in Maine for payouts to borrowers. As of Dec. 20, the state had mailed 2,538 notices to eligible borrowers in Maine, but only 1,056 claims had been filed.

The deadline for filing claims is Jan. 18.

King says constituent offices to be open five days a week

U.S. Sen. Angus King says his six constituent offices around Maine previously run by Olympia Snowe will be open at least five days a week.

The newly sworn-in independent senator said the offices are in Biddeford, Presque Isle, Auburn, Portland, Augusta and Bangor. They were previously used by Snowe, the former Republican senator, to serve constituents.

King’s state director, Edie Smith, said King’s staff worked hard to make sure the offices opened as he assumed his new job so there would be a seamless transition in constituent services.

Each office will be open at a minimum Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But Smith encourages constituents to call the office first before visiting.

LePage says fiscal cliff deal will wind up costing Mainers

Gov. Paul LePage says the deal in Congress to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” will end up costing Mainers more money.

In his weekly radio address, LePage said that an average family will lose about $1,000 from its paycheck in 2013 because of the payroll tax change. He said that will likely make it difficult for Mainers to pay their bills.

However, LePage said, the tax cuts passed by the Maine Legislature last session will save a family of four with an income of $48,000 a little more than $300 annually.

In the Democratic response, Sen. Dawn Hill of York said that Maine, unlike Congress, has a strong history of collaboration and reaching across the political aisle to get things done. Hill said that will be critical as Maine faces its own fiscal challenges.

– From staff and news services