Planners envision modern designs for new bridge

Planners are envisioning a sleeker, taller structure to replace the aging Sarah Mildred Long Bridge between New Hampshire and Maine.

The Portsmouth Herald reports stakeholders want to keep the current name for the $160 million project. They met Thursday to discuss plans, including three different proposed designs for the four bridge towers to give the structure a more modern look.

Work is expected to begin on the new bridge by fall 2014, and be finished in 2017.

The 73-year-old bridge connecting Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine, was shut down for a few days earlier this year after its center span got stuck during a routine test. It was shut down for several weeks after it was struck by an oil tanker.


GOP Firearm Training Day postponed until fall

A Maine Republican Party firearm fundraiser this weekend has been postponed.

The Maine Republican Party planned to use firearm instruction and target practice at a gun range on Saturday as a fundraiser, pitching the “Maine GOP Firearm Training Day” and charging up to $185.

The idea was to offer training for people interested in applying for a concealed weapons permit.

Barry Sturk, a licensed gun dealer and instructor, said Saturday’s event is postponed in part because of a problem with a distributor that was supposed to supply ammunition for the event.

He said organizers plan to reschedule the event for September. He described the training as a good opportunity to educate people about guns and gun safety and to raise money for the GOP at the same time.


Park’s Hardware closing after 120 years in business

An Orono hardware store is shutting down after more than 120 years in business.

Owner Lin White Jr. says he’s closing down Park’s Hardware because there’s just not much call for small neighborhood hardware stores anymore. He’s marking everything down 20 percent before shutting his doors at the end of August.

The business was founded in 1892 by Fred Park. White has owned the store for the last 23 years.
Loyal customers lamented the decision.

Robert Allen told WABI-TV that Park’s stocks just about everything, and if they don’t have it, they can get it.

Other customers said they love the helpful and friendly staff.

White said he plans to renovate the building into space for four retail businesses.

UMaine, Penobscots get grant for new dictionary

The University of Maine and the Penobscot Indian Nation have received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to create the first comprehensive printed and searchable online dictionary of the Native American language.

The $339,411 grant will fund a three-year project building on a 494-page manuscript of about 17,000 entries that was produced by pathologist and linguist Frank Siebert during his work with native speakers from 1935 to 1993, according to a news release.

Researchers hope to add 30,000 to 45,000 words, phrases, sentences and usage examples from field notes and other archived materials.

The principal investigators will be Pauleena MacDougall, Ph.D., an anthropologist who heads the Maine Folklife Center at UMaine, and linguist Conor Quinn, Ph.D. Both worked with Siebert and have extensive experience with the Penobscot language.

“It is important for the university to reach out to communities, aiding their cultural efforts, particularly the Penobscots, who are our neighbors,” MacDougall said.

The Penobscot Nation, which has been working to preserve its language for years, will cover the cost of and oversee publishing the dictionary.

Penobscot Indians started speaking English to their children in the late 1800s. By 1935, Siebert found only 98 speakers of the language.

Now, the language is taught largely through adult education classes.


Two charged with bilking woman out of $2,500

Two Saco men face felony theft charges after they allegedly bilked an elderly Kennebunk woman out of thousands of dollars.

Kennebunk police on Wednesday charged Sebastian Rose, 22, of Saco, with two counts of theft by deception and Matthew Mills, 22, with one count each of theft by deception and violating bail conditions, according to a department press release.

The men are accused of posing as door-to-door home repair workers Tuesday and pressuring the woman into writing a $2,600 check they then cashed at a local bank.

Family members reported the incident to police.

When an officer arrived to check on the woman, he learned the men had just been there minutes before demanding a check for $3,500.

Police found the two men at a nearby convenience store and arrested them.

Police warned that con men will sometimes target elderly people, intimidating them, and then return for more money if they have successfully victimized a person.

Police asked that residents call them if they suspect someone going door-to-door is not legitimate or if they have been the victim of such a scam.


Man’s suicide closesparts of Bates Street

Portland police responded to a suicide Thursday morning in woods near Baxter Boulevard at Tukey’s Bridge.

Police were called to the area at 9:39 a.m. by passers-by who discovered the body of a 45-year-old Portland man.

Officers blocked the outbound path from Bates Street to the boulevard to preserve the integrity of the scene until it was determined there was no foul play and to limit passers-by from witnessing the disturbing scene, police said.

The man was last seen Sunday and was reported missing Tuesday, police said.

The incident was made complex because of the difficult access in dense woods close to the water.

The Fire Department was called in to help and city workers cleared debris to help gain access to the site, police said.


Stuck mower causes traffic delays on I-295

A state-hired grass cutter that got stuck in the median of Interstate 295 caused a major traffic tie-up on the highway Friday.

The large tractor-pulled mower got stuck just north of mile 10, near the Falmouth-Cumberland line, at about 9:30 a.m. Workers summoned a tow truck to remove it, which took some time, authorities said.

The resulting congestion backed up northbound traffic, swollen with tourists coming into the state on a Friday. The delays backed up traffic into Portland, witnesses said.

After the mower was cleared, traffic was still slow-moving, which may have contributed to two subsequent crashes on the interstate.

– From staff and news services

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