Runaway oil tanker that hit bridge allowed to leave port

The oil tanker that hit a bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine has been given clearance to leave port.

The 473-foot tanker MV Harbour Feature was expected to leave Thursday.

The tanker struck the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge on April 1 after breaking away from a pier. The bridge was damaged and is closed for repair work.

Bill Boynton of the New Hampshire Transportation Department told the Portsmouth Herald that preliminary design work on the repair job is under way and workers should arrive in the next couple of days.

He said Cianbro, of Pittsfield, Maine, will do the repairs.

With the bridge closed and the new Memorial Bridge under construction, the only bridge open to vehicular traffic between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95.


Greek port captain’s widow settles wrongful-death suit

The widow of a Greek port captain who was injured in an accident at the Sprague Energy Corp. dock more than four years ago has settled her lawsuit against the port operator and a shipping firm.

Eirini Zagklaras sued Sprague Energy and Leopard Shipping Co. for wrongful death in the aftermath of the accident on Oct. 6, 2008. Her husband, Ioannis Zagklaras, was injured when he got pinned between the ship and a cable reel on the dock while helping to unload salt from the ship.

Ioannis Zagklaras underwent 22 surgeries after the accident and died on March 13, 2009, while being operated on at Maine Medical Center.

The trial began this week in U.S. District Court, but was halted Wednesday after lawyers told the judge they had reached a settlement.

According to court documents, the parties have 30 days to finalize the terms.

Eirini Zagklaras had sought slightly more than $1.2 million to cover medical expenses, $202,000 in lost wages and $16,000 to pay for her husband’s funeral. She also asked for unspecified punitive damages.


Resident escapes as fire destroys cottage on lake

A predawn fire destroyed a small cottage Thursday on Sebago Lake.

The owner of the wood-framed structure was awakened by smoke and flames and fled the home to a neighbor’s house, where he called for help.

Fire crews from five surrounding communities responded to 5 Bog Alley about 3:50 a.m.

Firefighters pumped water from the lake to extinguish the fire. No one was injured, although the home was deemed a total loss.

According to Standish property records, the cottage was valued at $58,500.


Predator beetles unleashed to control tree-killing insect

Conservation officials are releasing tiny, predator lady beetles – 5,700 of them – at Maine state parks to stem the spread of an invasive insect.

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s entomology staff were set to release the beetles Thursday at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport and Ferry Beach State Park in Saco.

More beetles will be released next Thursday at Vaughan Woods State Park in South Berwick and at Ferry Beach State Park.

Officials said the beetles will reduce the numbers of hemlock woolly adelgids, an invasive species that defoliates hemlock trees and can kill them.


Police say woman produced drugs, endangered her child

Maine drug agents say a 29-year-old woman was arrested after officers discovered a methamphetamine manufacturing lab in a camper in the northern Maine town of Oakfield.

In addition to drug trafficking charges, police said Crystal Hitchcock is facing child endangerment charges because a toddler was also found in the camper when agents raided it late Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said agents seized pre-cursor drugs, chemicals and other materials used to make methamphetamine from the camper.

State child welfare officials were called in to take custody of the child. Hitchcock is in the Aroostook County jail.


Bowdoin professor receives a Guggenheim Fellowship

Michael Kolster, associate professor of art at Bowdoin College, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to support his photographic project “Take Me to the River,” a collection of unique glass-plate photographs that depict American rivers as amalgams of human and natural forces.

Kolster showed some of the work recently at Space Gallery in Portland.

The project began five years ago when Kolster began photographing the Androscoggin River in collaboration with associate professor of history and environmental studies Matthew Klingle.

Kolster later expanded the project to the James River in Virginia and the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania.

With funding from the Guggenheim Foundation, he now plans to bring the project west, to the Teton River in Idaho and the Los Angeles River in southern California.

Collins glad Postal Service staying with 6-day delivery

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is applauding the Postal Service’s decision to delay implementing a five-day-a-week delivery schedule.

The Postal Service announced Wednesday that it would not scale back to five-day delivery in August as originally scheduled after Congress failed to include language allowing it to do so in spending legislation passed last month.

Collins said cutting mail delivery will only drive away customers, which will cause revenues to further decline and push the Postal Service into a “financial death spiral.”

She said it would also cause hardships for families and businesses that rely on six-day delivery for everyday needs.