Maine highway deaths show decline from previous year   

Highway safety officials say traffic deaths are down in Maine.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety says 42 people have died on Maine roads this year. There were 53 deaths at this time last year.

But officials caution that July and August are the busiest months on Maine roads, and the deadliest as well.

There were 164 traffic fatalities in Maine last year, which was up from 136 highway deaths in 2011 but below the 10-year average of 176.


Nubble Light in the dark after power line damage

One of Maine’s best-known lighthouses has gone dark.

Nubble Light is located a few hundred yards off York and is one of the most-photographed lighthouses in the state. But the power lines that bring electricity from the mainland to the lighthouse gave way after a harsh winter. The Coast Guard told WCSH-TV that it wants to put in a solar-powered system to save money and add new technology.

York Parks and Recreation Director Mike Sullivan said he’s confident power can be restored for the town’s July 28 lighting of the Nubble and Christmas in July event. But he said a permanent solution is needed for the annual Lighting of the Nubble, where the buildings on the island are adorned with Christmas lights starting in late November.  


York County Jail considers ending in-person visits  

The York County Jail is looking to end in-person visits between inmates and their families and friends to cut down on the amount of drugs, tobacco and other contraband being smuggled in.  

Jail Administrator Michael Vitiello said if the state Corrections Department approves his application, he’ll expand the jail’s video visitation program to allow more visits for inmates by video.   

But Vitiello’s plan has its critics.   

Attorney Zachary Heiden of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine told the Journal Tribune that video visitation can be a valid supplement to in-person visits, but that eliminating them for all inmates is too drastic. He said there are consequences for people breaking the law, and that Vitiello’s proposal punishes all inmates – even those who haven’t broken any rules.   


Graduate gets message from former first lady   

A Kennebunk High School graduate received a send-off from former first lady Barbara Bush in Maine. John Burns, who graduated Sunday, received a surprise congratulations from Mrs. Bush, who videotaped a message for him that appeared at the end of a video created for his graduation party.    The York County Coast Star reported the video ended with Mrs. Bush appearing on the video screen and proclaiming, “I just want to congratulate John Burns on graduating high school. What a great job you’ve done and how proud your family are. God bless you all.”

Blake Baldwin, president of Video Creations, where Burns’ mother works, said he was already filming Mrs. Bush for an upcoming United Way event, so he decided to ask her for a “shout-out” for Burns.    Mrs. Bush was game but asked, “What’s a shout-out?” he said.

“It’s a tribute to Mrs. Bush and how gracious she is that she just said, ‘Absolutely,”’ Baldwin said.   

Last summer, Burns visited Walker’s Point in neighboring Kennebunkport, where Barbara Bush and former President George H.W. Bush spend their summers. As part of the “You’ve been rammed” fundraiser, a bunch of rams – the school’s mascot – began popping up on lawns of homes and businesses throughout town.   

“Not only do I have a picture of me with President (George H.W.) Bush, but I have a personalized message from the first lady,” John Burns said.


Former state police chief named ‘legendary trooper’   

A former chief of the Maine State Police and longtime trooper has been named a “legendary trooper,” the highest honor for a state police retiree.   

Retired Col. Malcolm Dow is being formally presented with the honor Tuesday at the annual State Police Awards ceremony at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.   

Dow served 23 years in the state police and retired in 1999, being named trooper of the year in 1980. He was promoted to deputy chief in 1993 and later served in the top job for two years. Dow now works as security director for Irving Oil, splitting his time between Portsmouth, N.H., and Saint John, New Brunswick.retired in 1999, being named trooper of the year in 1980.

— From wire service reports