Traffic volume at the York toll plaza declined 4.3 percent compared with the 2010 July 4 weekend, according to a news release Tuesday from the Maine Turnpike Authority.

That decline in volume represents 11,400 fewer vehicles than last year — slightly better than the 5.4 percent decrease the Authority had predicted.

Suggesting high gas prices may have forced Mainers into “staycations,” other areas of the highway saw substantial gains. Traffic increased by 47 percent at the Rand Road interchange and by 14.2 percent at the Falmouth Spur.

Day-to-day traffic figures for the entire Turnpike were strong Friday, with a 2.1 percent gain from last year; Saturday, with a 5.4 percent gain; and Sunday, up 6.4 percent compared with the corresponding weekend in 2010. Monday traffic was down 22.8 percent, with the final net loss of 2.9 percent for the entire weekend, systemwide.

China selectmen

to meet tonight

CHINA — Selectmen rescheduled their first July meeting from the usual Monday to 7 tonight to avoid the Independence Day holiday.

Agenda items tonight include setting the 2011-12 tax rate; review and probable action on bids for tax-acquired properties; more information and discussion about expanding the composting operation at the transfer station; and continued discussion of a proposal for a teen center in the old town house basement.

Country music takes

stage in Litchfield

LITCHFIELD — A country music show will be held Sunday at the Litchfield Sportsman Club, Hallowell-Litchfield Road.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m.; the show starts at noon, with music by The Wildwoods Band, Paul Bright, Aubrey Farrington, Barry Wood and Teresa Seavey. Admission is $5 per person; children younger than 12 are free.

For more information, call 737-0920 or 377-8035.

White pine exhibit

open at state museum

AUGUSTA — Maine’s state tree, the white pine, takes center stage at the Maine State Museum this summer with a special exhibit open through August.

The exhibit, “Off Limits: Pine Trees, Politics, and the King’s Broad Arrow,” looks at the importance of the white pine in the economy, politics and settlement of colonial Maine.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 16, the celebration of the white pine continues with a free day of museum admission and special events. Talks and demonstrations, tree ring readings, and a “Pine Path” through the museum will be featured.

For more information, visit or call 287-2301.

Maine Audubon set to

count loons July 18

FALMOUTH — Maine Audubon will conduct its 28th annual Loon Count on July 18, bringing together hundreds of Mainers to survey lakes and ponds across the state and provide valuable scientific data for lake conservation efforts.

This year’s count takes place between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Counters are given areas to count from shore or by boat, and regional coordinators will compile the results and send them to Maine Audubon for analysis.

2010’s Loon Count enlisted 960 volunteers to survey Maine’s lakes and ponds. Based on their reports, Maine Audubon estimates that 3,220 adult loons are living in Maine south of the 45th parallel, approximately from Calais to Rangeley — the highest number in the 27-year history of the count. For more information, contact Susan Gallo at 781-2330, ext. 216, or email [email protected]

Compiled from staff reports

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