ELLSWORTH

Cross-country bike ride sets out from Bar Harbor

More than a dozen bicyclists are riding across Maine at the start of a cross-country trek to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis.

The bicyclists left Bar Harbor on Tuesday for a 69-day journey that will cover 4,295 miles and end in Seattle as part of the annual Bike the US for MS fundraiser.

Linda Huyck of Denver told WLBZ-TV that she was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago and is riding to inspire others who suffer from the chronic disease of the central nervous system.

The northern tier route is one of several that are part of the fundraising program. Several bicyclists will ride the entire Bar Harbor-to-Seattle route, while others will ride shorter distances along the way.

LEWISTON

Hospital plans to build parking lot on church site

The oldest Roman Catholic church in Lewiston has been sold to a hospital, which plans to tear it down and turn it into a parking lot.

Central Maine Healthcare bought the long-vacant St. Joseph’s church for $125,000.

Hospital spokesman Chuck Gill says the church is in such poor condition that it’s not worth renovating. Gill tells the Sun Journal the hospital group plans to be respectful of the church’s history, probably installing a historical marker on the site.

He says it will be turned into parking for 50 to 60 vehicles to accommodate the hospital’s expanding staff.

The 156-year-old church has been unused since October 2009 when it was closed because it had become too costly to operate. The building has been deconsecrated.

AUGUSTA

Federal money will help Maine’s homeless veterans

Maine will receive $140,000 from the federal government for housing assistance for homeless veterans, according to the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs.

The money is part of a $60 million national effort by HUD to provide permanent housing for veterans.

The measure will provide rental assistance and other services to help about 20 homeless Maine veterans, many of whom are disabled, according to a news release issued by the agencies Wednesday.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR

Windjammer Days draws 11 tall ships to participate

Organizers of Boothbay Harbor’s annual Windjammer Days Festival say 11 tall ships are participating in this year’s event.

The 51st annual Windjammer Days is being held June 25 and 26. The festival is an annual celebration of the region’s rich maritime history.

The Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce says this year’s windjammers include American Eagle, Alert, Bowdoin, Nathaniel Bowditch, Eastwind, Lazy Jack, Lewis R. French, Timberwind, Heritage, Sherman Zwicker and Windfield Lash.

Besides the historic windjammers, the festival features an antique boat parade, a street parade, fireworks over the harbor, boat excursions, concerts, arts and crafts, food and more.