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Mainer returns after swimming English Channel

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine's own Pat Gallant-Charette, the oldest American woman to swim the English Channel, returned home Tuesday night. Her friends and family surprised her by meeting her at the bus station in Portland with flowers late this afternoon.

Gallant-Charette, who is 60 years old, completed the 21-mile swim a week ago Monday. It was Gallant-Charette's third attempt at swimming the channel. She had just 2 miles left in 2008 when she had to stop because the current was just too strong. In 2009, she couldn't even make her scheduled attempt because of bad weather.

Gallant-Charette says she was determined that no matter the current, she would make it this time. And she says the support she received from Maine means the world to her.

Drive for Safety: the dangers of aggressive driving

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After a stressful day at work some drivers vent out their daily annoyances on the road.  That's when aggressive driving can happen.

Aggressive driving includes the most obvious ones like tailgating, speeding, and giving inappropriate hand gestures.  But it also includes exiting and entering the highway incorrectly, improper passing, and unnecessarily using your horn, highbeams, and breaks.

Road rage is taking aggressive driving to the next level in an intentionally physical way. It can sometimes be a criminal offense when a driver decides to retaliate with violence.  This could range from a physical confrontation to assault.  With nearly 7 million crashes happening a year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Maine State Police are urging people to take a deep breath and drive in a more calmly manner.

Tens of thousands of Mainers remain without power

WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As of Tuesday morning, Central Maine Power reports 92,935 customers without power. 

"This storm is a very serious storm and this is sort of among the larger storms that we've ever seen," stated CMP spokesperson John Carroll.  "This is a major storm.  It is going to take us days, certainly days and days, to put this all back together."

Carroll says approximately 280,000 customers lost power during tropical storm Irene - nearly half of the homes and businesses CMP delivers power to.  

The company has over a thousand employees working working in the field and in service centers on the restoration effort.

Amtrak's Downeaster resumes service

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority says Amtrak's Downeaster is resuming service.

Executive Director Patricia Quinn says an inspection of the tracks cleared the way for service to resume Monday afternoon between Portland and Boston.

She says there are a few power outages along the route that could cause delays of up to 30 minutes.

Quinn says the train must stop at intersections if crossing gates aren't working. She says power should be restored at all crossings along the line later Monday.

Surfers catch waves before Irene arrives

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Before Irene arrived in Maine, some surfers at Higgins Beach were able to catch some good waves.

They had been monitoring the storm and made sure winds weren't too intense before they took advantage of the waves.  Surfers at Higgins Beach said they made sure they got an early start so they could cut out early, long before Irene started coming in at full force.  A couple of dozen surfers were spotted in the open waters, but were taking Irene's approach pretty seriously.

"Me and my buddy, we woke up and like saw that it was nothing over 15 mph, so we were like, let's go check it out," Nick Norris, a local surfer, said. "Got some fun ones this morning, and everything was good."

The days surfers are really looking forward to are Monday and Tuesday.  They anticipate they'll catch some of the best waves of the season.

No one's going anywhere

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- If you were planning on traveling basically any mode of transportation today in Maine, you were out of luck.

Concord Coach Trailways and Amtrak cancelled all of its bus and train services today.  The Greyhound bus station in Portland was also all boarded up and not taking anyone anywhere.  All flights at Jetport were cancelled, and because airports in major cities on the east coast cancelled its flights also, there are a lot of lot of logistical issues that need to get back to normal before anyone gets on a flight. 

"And this is not the nationwide system," Paul Bradbury, Jetport Director, said. "When you affect markets like Washington D.C. and New York, those impacts - I mean, many of us know through the winter storms we have here in Portland and throughout the east coast, it takes 24 hours to get those out of the system."

Carroll expects all flights to resume tomorrow.