Officials: Body recovered was that of missing Bremen man 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine medical examiner’s office has confirmed the identity of a man’s body found in Greenland Cove near Bremen. 

Officials identified the body Wednesday as 63-year-old Glenn Murdoch of Bremen, who was reported missing when his empty skiff was found adrift on Aug. 12. 

The body was found about 2 miles from Round Pond Harbor, where the search had focused. The Maine Marine Patrol says the cause of death has been ruled a drowning. 

The patrol recovered the body on Monday after it was found by a commercial fishing vessel.  

Police: 1 dead in crash in Porter, Maine 

PORTER, Maine (AP) — State police say a driver was killed when his sport utility vehicle crashed into a tree in Porter, Maine. 

Troopers say 28-year-old Dillon St. Pierre, of Parsonsfield, died at the scene Wednesday morning. 

A nearby resident reported the crash to police. 

Troopers who are investigating the crash have not yet been able to determine the cause but believe speed may be a factor. 

 Augusta to boost safety of events like annual biker toy run 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Augusta City Council is considering a safety proposal aimed at reducing the odds of another tragedy like one during the 2017 United Bikers of Maine Toy Run. 

Councilors on Thursday will discuss a requirement for a safety plan from organizers of parades or other events. The Augusta Police Department proposal would adopt “best practices” outlined in the National Transportation Safety Board report on the pileup that killed two riders. 

The NTSB said a motorcycle rider’s unsafe maneuver triggered the chain-reaction crash on Interstate 95 in Augusta. But it also said organizers failed to mitigate the risks of 3,000 motorcycles entering I-95 without “supplemental traffic control or state police oversight.” 

Augusta Police Chief Jared Mills said the proposed ordinance would codify the practices city police are already following. 

NSF funds Maine project focused on coast, environmental DNA 

ORONO, Maine (AP) — Science institutions in Maine say a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help pay for a five-year project aimed at dramatically improving the understanding of coastal ecosystems through studying DNA. 

The University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences are among the groups working on the project. Bigelow describes the effort as the “first large-scale effort to develop a cutting-edge, DNA-based toolset” for the monitoring of coastal aquatic life. 

The laboratory says the project will focus on environmental DNA, which is also called “eDNA.” Environmental DNA is the genetic trace left behind by plants and animals. 

Bigelow president and chief executive officer Deborah Bronk says environmental DNA “can provide powerful new insights into our coastal ecosystems and the amazing diversity of life they support.” 

Rat infestation plagues town for over 6 months 

HARTLAND, Maine (AP) — Officials in a Maine town say they are trying to stop a rat infestation that has plagued their community for more than six months. 

Hartland residents say garbage and manure left at one home attracted dozens of rats. 

Resident Michelle Cole told WGME that rats have bitten her dog three times. The rats have also bitten several neighbors. 

Neighbors voiced their concerns at a town council meeting on Monday. 

WABI reports that the home is located next to Somerset Elementary School, so the town is aiming to solve the problem before the school year begins next Tuesday. 

The town manager and attorney say they are working to find a solution, but they are still not sure if the property has been abandoned. 

Maine says confusing voter mailings aren’t from state 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Secretary of State says some households are receiving a confusing voter registration mailing that’s not from state government. 

Matthew Dunlap says his office has received numerous complaints from relatives of deceased voters who have received mailings. The mailings are from a volunteer organization called Vote Forward based in Alabama. 

The group enlists people to send handwritten letters to potential Democratic voters asking them to register to vote. The letters come with voter registration applications already filled out. 

The Maine Division of Elections say the state didn’t work with the volunteer group on the effort in any way. The division’s address appears on the return mailer, which has caused some confusion among recipients. 

Dunlap says the effort doesn’t break Maine election laws. He asks that mailings addressed to a deceased person be discarded. 

Water officials halt $730,000 lake-wide treatment 

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Water officials at Lake Auburn in Maine have temporarily halted an aluminum sulfate treatment to fight algae as a precaution after trace amounts of aluminum were found in the water. 

The treatment binds with algae-producing phosphorous and sinks to the bottom of the lake. Now, some of the lake’s aluminum is not sinking quickly enough because the upper portion of the water is so warm during the summer. 

Auburn Water District superintendent Sid Hazelton told the Sun Journal the stoppage is a precautionary measure. 

Hazleton says the treatment was halted Aug. 2 to analyze compiled data. The $730,000 project could restart in September and be completed by fall or early spring. 

Hazleton says the lake continues to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standards. 

Maine home sales, prices remained steady in July 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Home sales in Maine were about the same in July as they were during the previous month a year ago, while prices ticked up slightly. 

The news was enough for the Maine Association of Realtors to describe single-family home sales in the state as “stable and positive” on Wednesday. The organization says the homes sold in July had a median sales price of $230,000, which was an increase of more than 2% from July 2018. 

Realtors association president Peter Harrington says the inventory of for-sale homes has increased a bit, but “competition for entry-level homes remains high.” 

The nationwide median sales price increased 4.5% to $284,000. However, sales were down in the Northeastern states, and the median sales price fell 1% to $305,800. 

Vermont immigration advocates biking to New Hampshire 

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A number of Vermont immigration advocates are on their way to Dover, New Hampshire, as part of a call for changes to the nation’s immigration system. 

A handful of people left Montpelier on Wednesday on bicycles as part of region-wide march to the Strafford County Department of Corrections in Dover, New Hampshire, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection holds some people who are awaiting deportation. 

The march culminates Saturday at the Dover jail, where delegations also coming from Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire will walk the last five miles to the detention center where they will call for an end to immigrant detention and deportation until immigration laws are overhauled. 

WCAX-TV reports the Vermont cyclists will ride between 40 and 50 miles a day. 

Portland denies claim of obstructing project that failed 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Officials in Maine’s largest city say they deny obstruction charges in a developer’s lawsuit about a failed project that never came to pass. 

The lawsuit concerns a development called the “Midtown” project that would have brought 450 housing units and almost 100,000 square feet (9,290 square meters) of retail space to a neighborhood just outside Portland’s downtown. Developer Federated Cos. said Monday it’s suing the city and City Manager Jon Jennings with a claim they blocked progress and didn’t fulfill contractual obligations. 

The Portland Press Herald reports the city’s still reviewing the complaint, but a spokesman says Portland “steadfastly denies all of the claims” asserted in it. 

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland and seeks at least $75,000 in damages. The developer’s based in Florida. 

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