Teen center receives gifts and a van from Idexx

The My Place Teen Center holiday party had an unexpected guest Monday.

In a surprise announcement, Idexx Laboratories presented the teen center in Westbrook with a van full of gifts – and the keys to it.

The 2005 Chevrolet G350 is a hand-me-down from Westbrook-based Idexx, which was getting ready to retire it from its fleet. Instead, the van got new parts and systems and was given to the teen center. It will be repainted with the My Place Teen Center logo, said a press release from Idexx.

The company also donated a 30,000-mile maintenance package.

The donation qualifies the teen center for a $20,000 grant from the Cornelia Warren Foundation to buy fuel.

Donna Dwyer, director of the teen center, thanked Idexx at the party, which more than 100 teenagers attended, according to the press release. “The goodness in our community is overwhelming,” she said.


Firefighters called after plow truck hits propane tank

Firefighters were called to 141 Preble St. on Monday after a plow truck driver reported that he had hit a propane tank with his plow. No injuries were reported.

The tank was knocked off its pedestal and a purge valve broke off, allowing liquid propane to leak from the tank.

The fire department’s hazardous material technicians immediately installed a plug, significantly slowing the leak, officials said.

“Initially 141 Preble St. was evacuated, but once our hazardous materials technician plugged the leak, and confirmed the gas had dissipated, we allowed the occupants to return inside and get out of the cold,” said Deputy Fire Chief Scott Thomes.

Suburban Propane used a heavy lifting boom truck to position the tank so only a small amount of propane gas vented out and safely dissipated in fresh air, Thomes said.

The tank was then moved to Suburban Propane’s facility on Thompson’s Point in Portland.


Donation of 43-acre parcel helps shore up lake property

The Baxter Park Authority accepted a conservation easement described by park Director Jensen Bissell as “the final piece of protection needed on Katahdin Lake.”

The 43-acre parcel owned by the heirs of the late James Sewall includes more than 500 feet of shorefront property and offers views of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain. More than 4,500 acres surrounding Katahdin Lake was gifted to Baxter State Park in 2006.

Bissell says the land donation and the new easement ensure that Katahdin Lake “will forever remain the pristine and beautiful Maine lake envisioned by Percival Baxter.” The park was established by donations of land from Baxter, a former governor. It now covers more than 200,000 acres


Man charged with selling police methamphetamine

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says a Frenchville man is charged with selling methamphetamine during a police undercover operation.

Police say Michael Fongemie, 20, has been the subject of an investigation involving the sale of methamphetamine tablets.

After Fongemie was arrested on Friday, a search revealed about 200 tablets containing methamphetamine and a loaded .32-caliber revolver. The drugs, believed to have come from out of state, had an estimated street value of $5,000.

The investigation is continuing and more arrests are possible.

Police say Fongemie is free on $20,000 bail.


Elderly man dies from smoke inhalation, burns

A 93-year-old man from the Washington County town of Perry died Saturday from a combination of smoke inhalation and burns, a public safety official said Monday.

The fire destroyed the two-story house of Chris Probert, whose body was found in the driveway. Fire investigators said Probert escaped the burning house but collapsed in the driveway.

When firefighters arrived at the late-afternoon fire, the building was engulfed in flames, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The fire was discovered by Probert’s wife, Antoinette Probert, who lives in a mobile home next to the house. The extent of the fire makes determining the cause impossible, he said.


Lobsterman rescued after boat takes on water

The Coast Guard rescued a lobster boat captain after his boat became disabled and started taking on water east of Jonesport.

WMTW-TV reported that the 33-foot vessel Just In Time got into trouble Sunday morning about a mile off the coast.

The captain was the only person on board and told the Coast Guard that he thought he hit a mooring ball.

He put on a survival suit before rescuers arrived, and was taken off the boat without any injuries.

The vessel was still afloat and was left there, while the captain planned to get it Monday.


Memorial Bridge closures to last until Friday morning

The Memorial Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire will be closed for the next three nights for machinery and guide rail adjustments. The bridge will be closed to all traffic – vehicle, bike and pedestrian – from midnight to 5 a.m. through Friday morning. From 7 p.m. to midnight on those nights, traffic will be restricted to one alternating lane in each direction.

The new bridge connecting Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine, opened in August, replacing the original built in 1923.

The final phase of illuminating the bridge is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2014.


Students competing in robotics competition

Dozens of Maine high school students are competing this week in a robotics competition.

Students will use design and build remote-controlled robots with wheels, claws and shovels. Students will aim to use the robots to move foam balls to their opponents’ side of the playing field.

Whoever gets the most balls to the other side of the field during the two-minute match is the winner.

Tuesday’s event is being held at the Maine Advanced Technology and Engineering Center in Brunswick.

The event for Portland High School, Kennebunk High School and Lewiston Regional Tech Center is aimed at spurring students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

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