2011-11-22 / Maine

BRIEFS

4 rural post offices spared from cuts

BELFAST ( AP) — Four rural post offices in Maine won’t become victims of the postal service’s financial woes.

A U.S. Postal Service official said Monday that the branches in West Forks, Stoneham, Topsfield and Matinicus have been taken off the agency’s possible closure list after a review indicated that customers in those communities wouldn’t have “regular and effective” service if they were shut.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that 30 primarily rural post offices in Maine still face the ax.

The postal service announced in the summer it would study closing about 3,700 branches across the country in response to a multibillion dollar deficit.

Eva Murray, a year-round resident of Matinicus Island, tells the Bangor Daily News that the local post office is a critical component of life.

SUV search: drugs, 3-month-old baby

BANGOR (AP) — Police in Maine say a 3-month-old baby was strapped into a children’s car seat in the back of a vehicle when they turned up an ounce of heroin and 229 oxycodone pills during a traffic stop in Bangor.

Bangor police and Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agents seized $21,000 worth of illicit drugs when they stopped a Lincoln Navigator on Friday. Four suspects who were suspected of selling the drugs from Bangor motel rooms are being held in the Penobscot County Jail on drug trafficking charges.

Officials tell the Bangor Daily News that the Department of Health and Human Services was called in after the baby was discovered in the vehicle.

Off-campus Orono fire caused by hair dryer

ORONO (AP) — Investigators say a fire that forced 23 University of Maine students out of their off-campus apartments was caused by a hair dryer.

Lt. Tim York of the state fire marshal’s office said Monday a malfunctioning hair dryer in a first-floor bedroom caused the Saturday night blaze at Stillwater Village apartments.

No one was injured. Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

He says the first has been ruled an accident.

A university spokesman tells the Bangor Daily News that all the displaced students have found new housing, either on campus or with family and friends.

The university is working to replace students’ school supplies, such as text books and computers, and will offer meal plans to feed them during their transition.

Boy hailed for helping dad after ATV crash

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) — Family members are calling a 9-year-old Winslow boy a hero for remaining calm and calling for help after his father was knocked unconscious in an ATV accident.

Brennan Dunton’s aunt says the boy was riding an allterrain vehicle with his father, Brian, in Farmington on Saturday when a front wheel caught a dip and sent the ATV careening into a tree.

The aunt, Amy Smith, tells the Morning Sentinel that Brennan, riding on the rear seat, had cuts and bruises. But his father collapsed unconscious with broken bones.

The boy dug his dad’s cellphone from a pocket and called his mother, who told her son to call 911.

Brian Dunton was taken to a hospital but is expected to be OK.

Both were wearing helmets.

Police seek driver in Lebanon hit and run

LEBANON (AP) — Police in York County are searching for the driver of a van that struck a woman walking along a Lebanon street and then left the scene.

Police say 42 year old Michelle Rainaud of Lebanon was struck from behind by a green commercial van at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

She was taken to a hospital but is expected to recover.

Authorities say the van that left the scene had some kind of writing or advertising along the side.

Police are appealing to the public for help in identifying the van and finding the driver.

Realtors say Maine homes sales up

SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) — The Maine Association of Realtors see a bright spot in sales of single-family homes in the state.

A review of properties reported sold in the multi-listing service shows 945 homes were sold in the state in October, nearly 7 percent over the number sold in October 2010.

During the same period, the median sales price dropped by just less than 1 percent to $165,000.

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