USM closing dorm at the end of school year

The University of Southern Maine will close Dickey Wood Hall on the Gorham campus as a cost-cutting measure.

USM spokesman Robert Caswell said Sunday that the dormitory closure when the school year ends this month also reflects reduced demand for on-campus housing.

Dickey Wood Hall, which was built in 1970, can hold up to 400 students, but only 40 lived there this semester, Caswell said. The closure will save USM about $250,000, mostly in utility expenses.

The campus has six other residential dormitories.

Dickey Wood Hall is distinguished by its twin eight-story towers. Caswell said the university must decide whether to sell or demolish the residential building, which is aging and needs to be modernized.


Cape Neddick man rescued after canoe capsizes in storm

A Cape Neddick man was rescued from the Saco River after his canoe capsized during a hailstorm Sunday.

Acting Police Chief Joshua Potvin said the 50-year-old man, whose name is not being released, told responders that he and 13 other men were consuming alcohol and paddling on the river when the hailstorm started around 3 p.m.

After his canoe flipped, the man began swimming to shore. He got there safely, but not before he became extremely fatigued and cold, swallowed a lot of water and “almost drowned,” he told police.

Fryeburg police, fire and rescue workers launched a rescue boat from Lovewell Pond Landing. The boat had to travel upriver against strong currents to locate the man onshore. He was treated for hypothermia, but declined to be transported to a local hospital.

“This is our first water-rescue call of the season and this canoeist is extremely fortunate that he was not seriously injured,” Potvin said in a statement.


Early morning fire damages auto dealership

A two-alarm fire early Sunday caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to an Augusta auto dealership.

Fire department Battalion Chief Jason Farris said the fire, reported just before 4 a.m., started in a service garage bay at Darling’s Chrysler Dodge on Western Avenue. Firefighters saw “very heavy smoke with moderate fire” in a rear corner of the bay when they made a forced entry through a garage door, Farris said. He said firefighters had the blaze under control by 4:30 a.m.

The fire destroyed or damaged new engine casings and other auto parts, tools, walls and garage doors, but no vehicles, Farris said. He said the cause is under investigation, but it appears to be accidental and electrical in nature.

Farris said there was some smoke damage in a few other bays of the garage, but the showroom was unaffected. The burned bay will likely be out of commission for some time, he said.


Land trust director leaving for job at Schoodic Institute

The executive director of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust is leaving to become president of the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park.

The land trust announced that Mark Berry will leave June 6 after eight years at its helm. In that time, the Grand Lake Stream-based organization has preserved thousands of acres of land in eastern Maine.

Berry said in a statement that the land trust’s work helps make the areas around eastern Maine’s lakes an exceptionally attractive area in which to live. The land trust said its search for a new executive director is underway.

The trust is dedicated to protecting fish and wildlife habitats and providing recreation opportunities.

– From staff and news services