AUGUSTA (AP) – Replacement candidates have been found in three dozen Maine House of Representatives seats where previous candidates dropped out, and one of the new Republican candidates has a familiar name: Caspar Weinberger Jr.

Legislative officials said Weinberger, of Mount Desert, is replacing Merle Cousins Jr. of Southwest Harbor in House District 35.

Weinberger is the son of Caspar Weinberger, the U.S. defense secretary from 1981 to 1987 under President Ronald Reagan. The younger Weinberger will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Theodore Koffman of Bar Harbor in November’s election.

Weinberger and his wife Mavis Hodgson own Windswept House Publishers on Mount Desert Island. They moved seven years ago to Maine, where the former defense secretary also has a home.

Caspar Weinberger Jr., a Harvard graduate, worked for the Bank of America and was appointed by Reagan to what is now known as the U.S. Information Agency, where he helped to establish government television service World Net.

Legislative candidates had until July 12 to withdraw. Replacements can be nominated until this Saturday.

Weinberger was nominated by the Hancock County Republican Committee on Tuesday.

Maine joins 31 states in agreement with wireless companies

AUGUSTA (AP) – Wireless phone customers will get at least two weeks to halt service contracts without incurring termination penalties, according to an agreement between 32 states, including Maine, and three major carriers.

Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe said Wednesday that the agreements with Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS and Cingular Wireless are the result of months of negotiations by the carriers and states, which accused the companies of misrepresenting discount rates, offers and coverage areas.

Under the settlement, the carriers must provide consumers with coverage maps that are as accurate as possible under current technology. The companies must be clearer in disclosing information about wireless plan rates, terms and coverage areas in advertising and contract materials.

Consumers will get at least two weeks to terminate service contracts without incurring termination penalties.

In addition to paying the costs of the states’ investigation, the carriers must make a $5 million cash payment to the states. Maine’s share is $106,667.

State wants to talk to builders of Waldo-Hancock bridge

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Wanted: workers who helped build Maine’s Waldo-Hancock Bridge in the early 1930s.

The state Transportation Department wants to interview people who were involved in the construction of the bridge between Prospect and Verona. Their memories of the project are important to officials who are documenting information about the bridge in eastern Maine.

At 2,040 feet, the central span was 2.5 times the length of any highway bridge in the United States at the time. It was built in record time, for $1.2 million and opened on Nov. 16, 1931.

A replacement bridge, budgeted at $75 million, is under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006.

Anyone interested in sharing stories may contact either Carol Morris (207) 772-3119 x21 or Carly Dinwiddie (207) 469-0532.

AP-ES-07-21-04 1617EDT

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