Specialty license plate urged for enterprising youth

A Portland-based nonprofit is starting a campaign to create a Maine specialty license plate to promote youth entrepreneurial programs.

Build A Biz must collect at least 2,000 signatures and raise $50,000 and then gain legislative approval to guarantee that the plates will be produced.

The proposed license plate would have the group’s acorn logo on the side. The bottom of the plate would read, “Support Entrepreneurship. Start Small. Accomplish Big.”

Build A Biz Director Kate Gooding hopes to have the plates available to the public in August 2014. Proceeds would go to support entrepreneurial programs aimed at children ages 5 to 15.

More information is available on the group’s website, www.buildabiz.me


No criminal charges filed from fatal propane blast

The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office says no charges will be filed in a home explosion that killed a woman on Feb. 12.

A leak in a propane line caused the explosion in Bath.

WMTW-TV reported that the Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that the case is closed.

Fire investigators say the gas leak was in the wall of the unit next to the one where the body of Dale Ann Fussell, 64, was found. Investigators believe that fumes seeped into a crawl space before being ignited from an unknown source.

Four other people were taken to the hospital.

The blast flattened the building, awakened neighbors and scattered debris as far as a quarter mile away.


Reward offered for facts about Hannaford burglary

The FBI is offering an undisclosed reward for help in identifying two men who were involved in the burglary of a Hannaford pharmacy in December.

Yarmouth Detective Paul Martin said he believes the burglar had an accomplice who helped watch the store before the crime. Police believe that man walks with a limp and wears a brace on his left leg, Martin said.

The burglary suspect, whose image was captured on surveillance video at the Route 1 store Dec. 19, was dressed in black, wore gloves and a mask, and stole narcotics, Martin said.

On Dec. 24, a man walked into the Rite Aid on Route 1 and demanded narcotics. Martin said he does not think the incidents are related.


Proposed law would exempt Maine elders from jury duty

Mainers who are 70 and older will be allowed to opt out of jury duty if a bill before the Legislature is

The sponsor, Rep. Windol Weaver, told the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that health issues make it difficult for many older people to serve. The Republican from York says there’s no need to add stress to their lives by requiring them to serve on juries.

Weaver, whose bill faced no opposition at Tuesday’s hearing, says 28 other states allow jury duty exemptions based on age.

A representative of the Maine court system spoke neither for nor against the bill. Mary Ann Lynch said it would reduce the pool of jurors who are chosen from the state driver’s license list, but she didn’t know by how much.


No children injured in crash between school bus, car

State police say no children were injured in a school bus crash Tuesday in Lebanon.

Steve McCausland of the state Department of Public Safety said the bus collided with a car on Route 202 on Tuesday morning. The two drivers suffered minor injuries.

Trooper Matthew Williams said seven children, ages 6 to 11, were on the bus at the time.

Williams said the bus driver, John Chanley, 47, of Berwick, drove the bus onto Route 202 from Creamery Hill Road and into the path of the oncoming car. That driver was Kim Scott, 46, of Lebanon.

The bus is owned by the school district serving Berwick and Lebanon.


Man dead, woman injured in collision on Route 117

A man was killed and a woman was seriously injured in a head-on crash in Norway.

Police say Kevin Haines, 63, of Norway died in the crash on Route 117 about 6:45 p.m. Monday.

The Sun Journal reports that the driver of the other vehicle, Heather Ward, 42, of Harrison, suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Rescue personnel had to cut open the car Haines was driving because he was trapped in the wreckage.

The cause remains under investigation.


Federal funds to be allocated for local harbor dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allocate $3.5 million in federal funding to complete the full dredging of Wells Harbor, Sen. Susan Collins announced Tuesday.

Wells Harbor was eligible for funding through the Supplemental Appropriations Act because of damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy. The Army Corps is now developing plans and specifications for the project, which is expected to be completed this fall or next winter.

Hurricane Sandy and other winter storms created a large shoal at the entrance to the jetty of Wells Harbor, filling the navigation channel and settling basins. During astronomical high tides, many slips in the harbor are no longer accessible, according to town officials.


Trooper airlifted to hospital following Route 1 accident

A Maine state trooper was flown to a Bangor hospital after his cruiser collided with another vehicle in Presque Isle.

Police say Trooper Shawn Whalen sustained a hip injury in the crash on Route 1 about 4:20 p.m. Monday.

Whalen was driving south when he tried to turn around in the road to reverse direction.

Police say his cruiser was struck by a car driven by Eric Rosten, 49, of Presque Isle. Rosten suffered a minor hand injury but did not go to a hospital.

Whalen’s police dog was in his cruiser but was unhurt.

Both vehicles were total losses. The crash remains under investigation.


Injured Sabattus motorist gets $1.5 million in damages

A jury has awarded $1.5 million in damages to a Sabattus man who was seriously injured when his car collided with a tractor-trailer.

Gregory Hall sued after suffering severe leg injuries in the 2011 accident. Hall, 43, underwent several surgeries, continues to have pain in his right leg and is no longer able to engage in activities such as roller skating and dancing.

The Sun Journal reported that Hall claimed permanent impairment and more than five months of lost wages from his job at Time Warner Inc. in Portland.

Police determined that the driver of the tractor-trailer, Brian Cannon of Middleborough, Mass., “failed to yield the right of way” and turned into the path of Hall’s car. He was driving for Hooksett, N.H.-based J.P. Noonan Transportation Inc.


Economic benefits cited from Acadia National Park

A new report says Acadia National Park is crucial to the region’s economy.

The National Park Service announced Tuesday that the 47,000-acre park drew 2.4 million visitors in 2011, who created $186 million in economic benefits for the surrounding communities and helped support 3,000 jobs.

The information is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service.

Superintendent Sheridan Steele says Acadia attracts visitors with its “unparalleled scenery and extraordinary recreational opportunities.”

Most visitor spending, about 63 percent, supports jobs in lodging and food service, while 17 percent is spent on recreation and entertainment.


Many UMaine students plan a meaningful spring break

Dozens of University of Maine students will spend their upcoming spring break doing volunteer work rather than lounging on a beach.

The university says many students will build houses, deliver health care services, help out in rural schools, and do other volunteer work in the U.S. and Central America during their break from March 4-15.

Engineering students will work on a new sewer system in Honduras that they designed, while nursing students will provide medical assistance in rural clinics in Belize.

Others will help children victimized by domestic abuse in Virginia, work on improving housing in coal mining communities in West Virginia, help at an animal rescue facility in Pennsylvania, rebuild homes in New Orleans and provide respite in Florida for families of children with terminal illnesses.


Skiing firefighters to raise funds for cancer research

Firefighters from all over northern New England will hit the slopes at Shawnee Peak Saturday for the 10th annual Mary’s Firemen for a Cure ski race.

The contest features races among fire departments, with five-member teams racing down a slalom course in full turnout gear while carrying a 50-foot length of hose.

Proceeds raised during the annual breast cancer awareness event directly benefit the Maine affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Over the past 10 years, the event has raised nearly $100,000 for breast cancer research.

Registration for the event will begin at 8:30 a.m. The race will begin at 10. Entry fee is $125 per team, which includes five lift tickets at Shawnee Peak for the day of the race and a chili lunch. Lift tickets cost $25 for family members of competitors, and ski rentals cost $15.

To register, email [email protected] or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarysFiremanforaCure where donations are also accepted.