Archive for the ‘Windham Maine Road’ Category

Gun maker’s plant in Maine to close, 70 lose jobs

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

WINDHAM, Maine (AP) — The Maine gun plant that produced the semiautomatic rifle used by the Beltway snipers will close, putting about 70 people out of work.

North Carolina-based Freedom Group announced Friday it’s closing the Bushmaster Firearms plant in Windham. The company said production will be moved to other plants owned by Freedom Group, which is the parent company of Remington, Marlin Firearms and Dakota Arms, along with Bushmaster.

The Windham plant will close on March 31.

Bushmaster is one of the largest producers of the civilian version of the M-16 rifle. A Bushmaster XM-15 was used by John Allen Muhammad and his teenage accomplice in a three-week spree in 2002 across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Mohammad was executed in November 2009.

Murder charge issued in Windham shooting

Friday, September 24th, 2010

WINDHAM, Maine – A Windham man was arrested Tuesday evening in connection with the death of a man whose body was found on his property last week.

Joseph Green, 44, faces a murder charge in the death of David Harmon, 40, who died from a gunshot wound, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

Harmon was reported missing on Sept. 1 by his wife, who said she had dropped him off to scout hunting sites. A release from the Maine State Police said that Harmon intended to steal marijuana that was growing on Green’s property.

State police said Green and Harmon knew each other and that Green has been cooperating in the investigation. A handgun that police believe was used in the shooting has been found.

Green was arrested around 7 p.m. Tuesday at his mother’s house in Casco, according to the state police. He is being held at Cumberland County Jail in Portland and will appear in Portland Superior Court on Wednesday or Thursday.

An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office showed that Harmon died from a “through-and-through wound consistent with a gunshot,” said police spokesman Steve McCausland. His death has been ruled a homicide.

A handgun believed used in the shooting, along with some marijuana, have been recovered, he said.

Harmon’s wife was aware that her husband was searching for marijuana plants, but no charges have been filed against her, McCausland said.

Green was being held in the Cumberland County Jail and was expected to make a court appearance either Wednesday or Thursday.

USM Students Moving Into Dorms Ahead Of Classes

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

GORHAM, Maine (AP) ― Incoming students at the University of Southern Maine are moving into their dorms.

USM officials say nearly 500 freshmen and transfer students are moving into residence halls on Saturday at the university’s campus in Gorham. University President Selma Bottman plans to be there to greet them and their families.

Upperclassmen are moving in on Sunday morning.

In all, USM this year is expecting about 925 freshmen and an equal number of transfer students this fall.

Classes begin on Monday at USM, which has campuses in Gorham and Portland.

Windham’s Jack Mallis Wins 39th Fitzpatrick Trophy

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Windham, Maine — Windham’s Jack Mallis became the school’s first-ever Fitzpatrick Award winner on Sunday.

Mallis, who along with finalists Lonnie Hackett of Bangor and Nic Crutchfield of Dirigo, was up for the award annually given to Maine’s most outstanding high school senior football student-athlete.

Catch an interview with Jack Sunday night on NEWS 8 at 6 and 11, as well as later on WMTW.COM.

Windham buys 10.3-acre parcel to help alleviate traffic snarl

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

By John Balentine | 0 comments

To alleviate traffic woes in North Windham, the Windham Town Council voted last week to purchase 10.3 acres in North Windham for $455,500.

The land, situated at the intersection of Anglers Road and Route 302, will primarily allow for the reconstruction of what town planners have long considered a dangerous intersection.

“This project is multi-purposed. It’ll provide access to fix the intersection, and the secondary benefit is economic development,” said Tom Bartell, Windham’s economic development director, who approached the owner of the property, Windham resident Tony Vance, four months ago.

With last week’s go-ahead from the council, Bartell said the town was scheduled to close on the property Wednesday. Vance, who bought the property in chunks over the past five years, attended the council meeting last week.

“We were going to do something, but when the market tanked like it did, we backed off on that,” Vance said.

Vance said “this is good for the town” because it’ll give the town access to Chaffin Pond, which borders the rear of the 10-acre parcel, and allow for a realignment of Anglers Road. “I’ve heard horror stories, people running red lights, accidents,” Vance said.

Windham Police Lt. David DeGruchy said the intersection is a hazard and that an accident, especially west of the intersection, can cause traffic headaches that reverberate along the length of Route 302.

“It’s awkward as all get-out. With that (Anglers Road) offset, it’s obviously not set up for safety, especially with two lanes pinching off into one. That can cause a lot of road rage, so any updates can only help the situation up there,” Degruchy said.

The plan, according to Bartell, is to work with the Maine Department of Transportation to rebuild the intersection so Anglers Road intersects with Route 302 directly across from where Whites Bridge Road enters Route 302. Bartell said having a cross-shaped intersection will allow for shorter wait times for Route 302 traffic, thereby allowing for better traffic flow through busy North Windham especially during peak summer use.

At last week’s Town Council meeting, where the measure passed 5-1 (Donna Chapman opposed), several councilors requested Bartell speak with the Department of Transportation about extending the two-lane section of Route 302 further north to mitigate the bottleneck in front of Allied Real Estate. Bartell said the state’s preliminary redesign allows for a turning lane at Anglers Road and extends the two lanes to an area closer to Seacoast Fun Park.

Once the intersection is reconstructed, the town hopes to sell off remaining lots to commercial interests. In this manner, Bartell said the town would recoup some of the $455,000 it has spent on the land. If land values go up, any excess revenue from the sale of the parcels “would be used for further economic development,” Bartell said.

Bartell said the town used money from two tax increment financing districts – $273,300 from the Pipeline Development fund and $182,200 from the Windham Development District North fund – to purchase the 10.3- acre parcel from Vance. The purchase price was determined by the assessed value of the property as set by the tax assessor, which Bartell said was $20,000 less than the current appraised value.

The price tag and fact that Vance wasn’t able to sell off lots at the site worried Councilor Chapman, who voted against the purchase.

“That property has been up for sale for a very long time, and that concerns me. It concerns me that we’re going to take TIF funding and purchase that to try to realign the roads, which in my opinion won’t help our bottleneck.”

Bartell admitted there is risk inherent in the project, but even if the town is unable to sell off the property, the benefit to traffic flow is worth the risk.

“We really do believe that once this roadway and the right-of-way is put in that we will be able to come up with parcels that are valued at least equal to the cost of the mortgage. That is our intention. That’s our hope,” Bartell said.

Naples Crash Victim Identified

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

NAPLES, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man killed in Tuesday afternoon’s fatal accident in Naples.

Forty-four-year-old Shannon Ronan was operating a UPS truck travelling westbound on Route 302 (Roosevelt Trail). Investigators say Ronan was stopped in traffic, waiting to make a left hand turn.

A Time Warner Cable bucket truck, driven by Michael Hanrahan, 42, apparently failed to stop and rear-ended the UPS truck, pushing it into the oncoming lane where it was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer carrying bulk propane.

The tractor-trailer, which was owned by Pickard Transportation was driven by Dewight Pickard, 55.

Ronan, who was from Gray, died in the crash.

Investigators say at this time, no charges will be filed in connection with the accident. The Sheriff’s Office says the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement and an Accident Re-constructionist from the Windham Police Department continue to investigate the accident.

Family bike trips in Standish and Windham Maine

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

maine TransportationEven after a few of years of biking with my kids, who are now 11 and 13 years old, I am still not a fan of road riding, even when there are wide shoulders. Since I would like to enjoy myself and not stress about cars whizzing by, I have been motivated to find trails that keep my family off the motorized roadways. Luckily, we live in Maine, where there are several off-road (not to be confused with mountain biking) trails for my family to enjoy a stress-free day on two wheels.

A formerly packed gravel trail, the 5.7 miles of the Mountain Division Trail from Standish to Windham is now paved, and offers a smooth easy ride. The 0.9-mile Jeep trail in Standish connecting the Johnson Field trail head to the Mountain Division Trail is still packed gravel, but the trail heads in Gorham and Windham have paved trail spurs. There is one big hill near Otter Pond (on the Jeep trail in Standish) that younger bikers may choose to walk their bikes up (or down) because it’s a bit steep. But once at the pavement by the rails, it’s a fairly level trail.

There are four road crossings from Standish to Windham, and all but one are quiet roads (one road may take a couple of minutes to cross because of fast-moving cars). There are a lot of benches at various points along the trail for water breaks and picnic lunches.

Very often, we share the trail with horses (near the Johnson Field trail head), and my kids think that makes this trail extra special. For mountain bikers, the trail continues over Route 202 in Windham to Bridge Street in Westbrook on a rough gravel surface.

TRAIL: Mountain Division Trail
LENGTH: 5.7 miles one way
TOWNS: Standish, Gorham and Windham
TRAIL HEAD: Johnson Field on Route 35 in Standish, Gambo Recreational Center on Gambo Road in Windham and Shaw Park on Route 237 in Gorham.
BATHROOM: Porta-potty at each trail head
DOG-FRIENDLY: Yes, on a leash.
FUN STOP: The Blue Seal store at the end of the trail on Route 202 in Windham usually has a resident animal in the store (depending on the time of year, it could be baby chicks, bunnies, a lamb, dog or cat). There are also some tasty candy caramels at the counter that are worth the sweet indulgence after a fun ride with the family.
13-YEAR-OLD: “I really like the new pavement. It is sooo easy to ride on now. I also like seeing the horses on this trail. It’s pretty easy except for the giant hill before the railroad tracks. I really like this trail.”
11-YEAR-OLD: “This trail used to be a looooong ride but with the pavement it doesn’t feel so long. I like to see the horses and I like to look at the river. I am also happy I can visit the Blue Seal store because they always have animals to visit. And me and my mom and my sister really like the caramels they sell there.”

Public invited to weigh in on railroad plan

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Maine’s 1,100-mile rail system is reaching a crossroads.

Freight carriers, especially to the north, are finding it increasingly hard to stay afloat because of declines in the paper industry and other manufacturing sectors that have traditionally been heavy users of their rail lines.

At the same time, the push is on for more passenger service as a way to cut energy use, emissions and maintenance costs for streets, bridges and highways, and reduce sprawl.

Maine transportation officials are trying to sort out the issues by developing the state’s first comprehensive railroad plan, to assess the trends and come up with an investment plan.

The Department of Transportation is inviting the public to comment on what the state’s priorities should be, at a meeting from 6 to 8 tonight at the University of Southern Maine’s Glickman Library in Portland.

The plan, due out next year, will help Maine in its search for federal money for rail improvements and help the state set priorities for investment, said Nate Moulton, director of the transportation department’s rail program.

“We need to look hard and see what it is going to cost so we can report out what is doable,” said Moulton.

Transportation officials say that a robust freight rail system is important to Maine’s economy and environment.

Trains are less likely to spill hazardous substances than trucks.

A freight train can move a ton of freight an average of 436 miles on a gallon of fuel, according to the American Association of Railroads. A single train takes 280 trucks off Maine roads, easing traffic congestion and saving wear and tear on the roads.

For some manufacturers, freight trains are the cheapest way to move large quantities of heavy products over long distances.

The track mileage in Maine has shrunk more than 50 percent over the past century, from 2,295 miles in 1920. The state now owns 300 miles of track and is under pressure to buy more as railroad companies struggle.

State officials are considering whether to buy the 241 miles of track from Millinocket to Madawaska, now owned by the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. The railway wants to abandon the track, worth about $17 million, because it is too expensive to maintain.

The question is whether the track would be profitable under state ownership and whether buying the track would prompt more abandonment by other rail companies.

Developing a railway plan will give transportation officials an overall strategy for ownership questions in the future, Moulton said.

The state also hopes to prioritize all competing interests for freight and passenger service in various regions.

“There are all kinds of demands. There is the Brunswick-Yarmouth-(Interstate) 295 corridor crowd, and the Mountain Division is beating the drum,” said Moulton.

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, operator of Amtrak’s Downeaster service, is applying for $137 million in federal stimulus money to extend the line from Portland to Brunswick and make track improvements to shave 20 minutes of travel time between Portland and Boston.

Lewiston and Auburn officials are pushing for commuter rail in their region and the state is studying whether freight and passenger service could return to the Mountain Division line, from Westbrook to the New Hampshire border at Fryeburg.

Interest in passenger rail has exploded in recent years. Congress approved $2 billion over the next two years for the development of intercity commuter rail service. The federal government, states and regions are also at work on passenger rail plans.

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and a member of the technical advisory committee that is helping to develop Maine’s plan, said the state needs a plan for maintaining service and ensuring there are enough riders.

The state’s only daily passenger service, the Downeaster, depends on about $1.6 million in state and $6 million in federal money annually to operate five daily round trips between Portland and Boston, which carry 266,000 passengers a year.

Neal Allen, executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments and a member of the advisory committee, said he expects tonight’s meeting to attract a large crowd.

“What is really important, in my view, is to think of the plan in terms of how it might integrate with a New England plan, ” he said.

There will be a second round of public meetings in November, when transportation officials will report their preliminary recommendations. The final plan will be available around Jan. 1.