Drawbridge raised to allow ship traffic to go upriver

A drawbridge crossing the Piscataqua River was raised Saturday evening, allowing ship traffic to move up the river for the first time since the bridge became stuck last Wednesday.

Transportation officials said they opened the 73-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge at 6:40 p.m. Saturday, the first time they were able to get the span to move since it became stuck during a routine test.

The bridge will remain open until 2 p.m. Sunday, officials said, allowing ships carrying heating oil and other supplies to resume travel up the river for deliveries.

On Sunday, they will try to lower the bridge, make repairs and close the span so that vehicle traffic can pass Monday morning.


Four men charged with trafficking in cocaine

Four men were arrested Thursday and charged with selling cocaine, after a yearlong investigation of cocaine trafficking in the Mexico and Rumford area.

Arrested were Wayne Sinclair, 53, and Darren Joudrey, 51, both of Mexico, on two Class B counts apiece of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs; Daniel Allen, 53, also of Mexico, on three Class A counts of the same crime; and Dana Lee Richardson, 54, of Carthage, on one Class A count.

Undercover Maine Drug Enforcement agents bought cocaine from all four men at Tommy Guns Pit Stop, a bar in Mexico, and other locations in the area, said Steve McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The men were taken to Oxford County Jail in South Paris. Allen’s bail was set at $7,000, Richardson’s at $5,000 and Joudrey’s and Sinclair’s at $3,000.


Suspect back from Seattle to face charge of murder

A homeless man from Seattle is back in Maine to face a murder charge in the 1976 stabbing death of a 70-year-old woman.

Gary Raub, 64, arrived Friday at the Kennebec County Jail.

Raub was arrested in Seattle in October in the death of Blanche Kimball in her Augusta home. Raub at one time rented a room from Kimball but denied involvement in her death at the time.

Detectives last year developed a DNA profile from blood found in Kimball’s kitchen. They then obtained Raub’s DNA in July by asking him to participate in a chewing gum survey in Seattle.

Governor defends cutbacks to state revenue sharing

Gov. Paul LePage is defending his proposed two-year budget, including revenue-sharing cuts that have already created a furor among cities and towns.

In his weekly radio address, the governor said he’d like to share more money with towns and cities, but the state simply does not have it. LePage also took issue with opponents of his plan to temporarily suspend revenue sharing, saying their estimate of $284 million in overall losses is overblown.

The governor asserted that revenue sharing has not been fully funded for years, dating back to his predecessor, Democrat John Baldacci.


City, co-sponsors kick off 13th annual Winter Festival

Skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are among the activities planned as the city of Auburn and its co-sponsors hold the city’s 13th annual Winter Festival.

The event began Friday and continues through Feb. 3. Co-sponsors said it’s a community event where there’s something for everyone.

Most activities are free of charge, unless otherwise noted. Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, skating and ice-carving demonstrations are some of the activities that will be available.

For complete schedule information, visit www.auburnmaine.gov.


EPA seeking nominations for environmental awards

The New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking nominations for its environmental merit awards.

The awards have been handed out annually since 1970 to recognize environmental achievements in the previous year.

There are award categories for individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and other organizations, including nonprofits. There is also a lifetime achievement category. The deadline for nominations is March 1.

— From staff and news services