(Ellsworth) – It may be a while, if ever, before authorities determine how Tuesday night’s fire at the former Hilltop House restaurant in Ellsworth started. Chief Richard Tupper tells Star 97-7 they’ve turned the investigation over to the State Fire Marshal’s Office and insurance investigator. About 4-dozen firefighters spent the overnight trying to get the huge blaze out. The restaurant was undergoing renovation and had planned to re-open as the new China Hill in a few weeks. The owner says they plan to rebuild from scratch.
(Ellsworth) – A bankruptcy filing by Payless Shoes means the store in Ellsworth and 3-other Maine cities will close soon. The company lists Ellsworth, Bangor, Presque Isle and Biddeford among the 400-underperforming stores that will shut down. Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week. The closures will leave the chain with 4,000-stores open worldwide.
(Southwest Harbor) – A search committee has recommended a Southwest Harbor native to be the next principal at Pemetic Elementary School. The full school board meets next Wednesday and will vote on whether to confirm Rhonda Fortin as principal. Fortin grew up in Southwest Harbor and graduated from MDI High School. The Mt. Desert Islander reports Fortin, who is currently working in Cumberland Center, had wanted to return to MDI after her children got through with college.
Barn Maker Fire
(Etna) – Fire destroyed one building and damaged a couple others at an Etna business that makes mini-barns. WABI-TV reports the owners think someone set the fire at Hill View Mini Barns on Monday night. The blaze broke out at about 11:30 at night. The State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating.
(Ellsworth) The city of Ellsworth invites community members to an informative talk about the upcoming growth and development in area business. City manager David Cole will be the guest speaker during a breakfast on Wednesday the 12th starting at 7:30 at the Moore Community Center. The latest economic, demographic, and housing data indicates Ellsworth is on the rise as a desirable community to live, work, and do business in. For more information or to RSVP, contact Micki Sumpter at Ellsworth City Hall.
No Easter Animals
(Local) Animal welfare groups urge people not to buy pet rabbits as Easter gifts for children. Peace Ridge Sanctuary director Daniella Tessier says a recent experience with a poorly run bunny breeding set up is a good example of why parents shouldn’t buy into the holiday hype. Tessier says contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not make good pets for children because bunnies are fragile and they’re also not meant to live outside in hutches. Tessier says consider adopting a bunny from a rescue organization.
(Mt. Desert) – A mess yesterday for a while in Northeast Harbor as a utility pole came down across Peabody Drive. Emera Maine says more than 500-customers went without power until they could replace the pole and get it re-wired. The incident shut down the road between Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor, and cut power to parts of Mt. Desert, Sutton Island, Islesford and Cranberry Island.
(Augusta) Two bills would allow Maine doctors to prescribe medication that a patient may self-administer to hasten death. The Legislature’s health and human services committee on Wednesday held public hearings on bills sponsored by Republican Sen. Roger Katz and Democratic Rep. Jennifer Parker. Katz unsuccessfully tried to pass a similar bill two years ago. Opponents say the bills would spur elder abuse and exploitation.
Forgery & Theft
(Waldoboro) A Waldoboro couple faces theft and forgery charges for allegedly stealing checks from a local man and cashing them. Waldoboro police tell the Bangor Daily News they arrested 34-year-old Shawn Sabin and 26-year-old Norma Carter last week. A Waldoboro man called police to report the stolen checks were forged for more than 84-hundred-dollars. The man was familiar with Carter and Sabin and told police he believed they were responsible. Police then got a call from the First National Bank saying a man was at the bank trying to cash more checks from the account in question. Carter and Sabin were taken to the jail in Wiscasset. Sabin faces an additional charge of violating a protection-from-abuse order.
(Ellsworth) An Ellsworth police officer who’s spent the past 14 years working with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is back at City Hall with a promotion as second-in-command. The Ellsworth American reports 27-year EPD veteran Troy Bires has been tapped as Captain, only the second officer to hold that position after Glenn Moshier received the honor last year. Moshier was bumped up to Chief earlier this year, leaving the Captain’s post vacant. Moshier says he and Bires’ compliment each other well because of their different job experience and share a similar vision for the department.
Minimum Wage Law
(Augusta) Lawmakers are considering making changes to a voter-approved minimum wage law that would require employers to pay tipped workers the minimum wage, regardless of how much they make in tips. Restaurant owners and workers supporting and opposing the law testified at the Statehouse on Wednesday.
• Boston Red Sox 3 Pittsburgh Pirates 0 (12 innings, Sandy Leon with a walk-off 3 run homer)
• Eduardo Rodriguez starts against the Pirates this afternoon.
• Cleveland Cavaliers 114 Boston Celtics 91
• Bruins host Ottawa tonight
• The Sea Dogs open their season at Hadlock Field today, weather permitting.
• U-Maine names Amy Vachon to continue as Interim Head Women’s Basketball Coach while coach Richard Barron battles a neurological disorder.