A Madison man charged with driving drunk with two children in his car is headed to court. Authorities say 26-year-old James Labonte is expected to be arraigned Monday on several charges in connection with his weekend arrest, including operating under the influence and endangering the life of a child. Police say they originally tried to stop Labonte for a traffic violation on Saturday afternoon, but he refused to pull over. Instead, police tell the Morning Sentinel, he continued driving another mile and a half, then jumped out of his still moving vehicle and fled on foot. The vehicle hit a building. Police say Labonte did not have a driver’s license. Police did not say how old the children were.
Influenza is reaching epidemic proportions in Maine and there’s no sign it’s hit its peak.That’s according to state epidemiologist Doctor Stephen Sears.He says it’s not too late to get a flu shot, and the vaccine supply is holding up.Sears urges people not to visit friends in hospitals or go to work if they’re sick.Officially, they’re been 70 reported cases of the flu and one young girl died from it.
Mount Abram is the first ski area in America to join a new group called “The Mountain Riders Alliance.”The goal is to help it remain a place that’s family-friendly, and wallet friendly.At $49, Mount Abram’s lift ticket is one of the least expensive in Maine.Jamie Schectman is here to help keep it that way.”I’m a 25 year ski bum, and I’ve grown dissatisfied with the direction the ski industry has taken.”So, Schectman founded Mountain Rider’s Alliance, hoping within five years to create a partnership between five or six medium sized ski areas around the country, areas touting an emphaisis on community and the environment.”We can do best shared practices: we can market in between the different areas,” said Kevin Rosenberg, general manager of the mountain.”It’ll help by giving skiers and riders possibly some more benefits at other mountains, as well as helping the industry out as a whole by sharing costs and working together as a team.”Now, the first amenity any skier will notice here, next spring an acre’s worth of solar panals will be installed here so Mt. Abram can make more power than it uses.”Energy and electricity is your number two expense in the ski industry after payroll, so if you’re creating your own energy you’ve just eliminated that expense.” And with fewer expenses, Mount Abram says it can continue offering cheaper lift tickets. The very reason so many skiers come here in the first place.(robert oddo/mt. abram skier)”I think it’s very important: I’ve been many places,” Robet Oddo commented, a skier of Mt. Abram’s. “This is a nice place. It has a lot to offer. It’s a really good value.”Schectman says he’ll look to the core skiing community here for input, creating what he envisions as a value-based, environementally friendly “mountain playground,” which he says points Mount Abram in the right direction..
A man who was tasered by police at a school in Fairfield Wednesday morning is now accused of assaulting workers at the Waterville Hospital where police took him.48-year-old Ronald Brousseau was taken to Maine General’s Thayer campus in Waterville after his arrest at Lawrence High School.Police say he assaulted two hospital workers Wednesday night.Police say he had been subdued by hospital staff by the time they arrived. He was charged with criminal tresspass and resisting arrest for the high school incident.He’ll be charged with assault when released from the hospital.
An undercover prostitution sting in Kittery results in the arrests of two women from Maine and one from New Hampshire.Police say they set up meetings with the women at a Kittery hotel.34-year-old Mary Boutin of Biddeford, 30-year-old Nedra Levasseur of South Portland and 26-year-old Ryanne McCann of New Hampshire are charged with engaging in prostitution.Boutin and Levasseur are also accused of having drugs.
A Lewiston woman accused of running over her ex-boyfriend’s foot with her car, then throwing a molotov cocktail out the window and leading police on a chase has been indicted.21-year-old Heather Kullson is charged with two counts of criminal use of explosives, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, arson, driving to endanger and eluding police.She’s scheduled for court in late March.
A nearly quarter-century old snowmobile festival will go on as planned in Rangeley despite the presumed deaths of three sledders who apparently rode into open water on Rangeley Lake last month. The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club, organizer of the annual Snodeo, decided to carry on with the festival scheduled for Jan. 24 through 26 after meeting with the Maine Warden Service and town officials. The Warden Service has been leading recovery efforts. A woman riding separately died when her snowmobile fell into the lake at about the time the men went missing. Snodeo Chairwoman Sandi Dumont tells the Sun Journal, the loss of the men is “unfortunate,” but many people plan vacations around the event, which provides an economic boost to town. From 3,000 to 6,000 people are expected to attend.
Two women from Maine and one from New Hampshire have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in Kittery. Police say officers working undercover contacted the women online and arranged meetings at a Kittery hotel. The three agreed to meet with an undercover police officer and allegedly solicited sex. All three were charged with engaging in prostitution. They were identified as 34-year-old Amy Boutin of Biddeford: 30-year-old Nedra Levasseur of South Portland: and 26-year-old Ryanne McCann of Rollingsford, N.H. The two Maine women are also facing drug charges for allegedly being in possession of prescription drugs. Interim Police Chief Ted Short says the sting was meant to send a message that prostitution will not be tolerated in town.
An unfinished, 8,000-square-foot addition to the Poland Fire and Rescue building has been knocked down by high winds. Fire Chief Mark Bosse says the structure fell at about 4 a.m. Thursday. No one was hurt. He tells the Sun Journal, the collapse caused thousands of dollars in damage and likely will delay the project by about two weeks. The collapse occurred just as firefighters were returning from responding to a car crash. Bosse says they heard a loud noise and thought it was snow sliding off the metal roof. The $2.3 million expansion was being built for storage space, offices, a locker room and a bunk room.
The warden of the Maine State Prison has been fired.That’s according to Jim Mackie, a Union official representing corrections officers.Patricia Barnhart became warden of the state’s largest prison three years ago.Mackie says Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte went to Barnhart’s office Thursday morning, and fired her on the spot.Representative Mark Dion co-chairs the criminal justice and public safety committee. He says Ponte told committee members last week he was planning to make a change, but didn’t say why.
A small Maine fuel company is getting a big boost from the federal government.Congress has approved a tax credit for the makers of biodiesel.Maine Standard Bio Fuels is the only biodiesel producer in Maine.”Well, it’ll run just the same as diesel fuel.” Though, chances are, this diesel fuel once filled a “fry-o-lator.”It’s all recycled cooking grease that Maine Standard reformulates and touts as a cheaper, more environmentally friendly form of fuel.”It’s a cleaner fuel. It’s locally made fuel made here in Maine, and you’re taking advantage of recycling from that used cooking oil from restaurants,” says founder of Maine Standard, Mark Mays.The company collects from 500 restaurants all across northern New England, producing some 300 thousand gallons of bio diesel a year. Still, that’s just a fraction of the potential business it could be doing, but, these days, the grease market is tough.(00-21-37)(matt pemberton/cheif operating officer)”It’s pretty cut throat,” commented Matt Pemberton, Chief Operating Officer. “Our competition is primarily Commodity Brokers. They collect the oil and resell it on the commodities market.”Maine Standard collects its own oil, and hope that because the government reinstated a 2-year, 1-dollar a gallon tax incentive for bio diesel producers as part of the fiscal cliff deal, it’ll help this company expand faster, enabling it to better compete with those brokers.(00-18-00)(jarmin kaltsas/founder, maine standard biofuels)”I can look at maybe purchasing a new truck, or another truck for collection or bio-heat delivery. It allows us to increase our process a bit, as well as hiring more employees to grow,” said Jarmin Kaltsas, another founder of Maine Standard. In five years the company has already grown from 3 to 11 employees. Its owners convinced as more Mainers realize its benefits, the demand for bio diesel, essentially used cooking grease, will continue to grow as well.”It’s great for the environment: it’s lower emissions: you don’t have to make any modifications to your furnace, car or truck,” Mays added. The company’s biodiesel gas sells for about four dollars a gallon. Its biodiesel home heating fuel goes for about $3.40 a gallon.
The president of Colby College will leave that post next year.William Adams has led the school since 2000.Under his tenure, Colby’s academic programs have grown, especially in environmental studies and visual arts.He also led a 376-million dollar capital campaign that resulted in several new buildings on the Colby campus.
President Barack Obama has chosen a poet from Maine to give a poetry reading at his inauguration. Obama announced Wednesday that Richard Blanco is the 2013 inaugural poet at his Jan. 21 swearing-in ceremony. The son of Cuban exiles, the 44-year-old Blanco lives in Bethel, where he serves on the planning board. In announcing Blanco as his choice, Obama said Blanco’s writing will celebrate “the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity.” Inauguration planners said Blanco will be the youngest-ever inaugural poet and the first Hispanic or gay person to recite a poem at the ceremony. Blanco will be the fifth poet to read at a presidential inauguration, joining a group that includes Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Maine police say three people have been arrested on drug charges after their vehicle was pulled over as it exited the Maine Turnpike in Auburn. Maine Drug Enforcement agents say the trio was stopped Wednesday as they were returning from Connecticut with a shipment of cocaine to be sold in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Police seized 72 grams of crack cocaine with a street value of $7,500. Charged with aggravated trafficking in cocaine were Amanda Beth Rodriguez of Auburn: Margoliz Julie Velazquez of Hartford, Conn.: and Markevin Faucette of Lewiston. The three are being held at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn in lieu of $75,000 bail each. They are likely to make their first court appearance in Auburn on Friday.
Police say they have arrested a woman who is nine months pregnant for allegedly acting as the getaway driver in a Kennebunk burglary that was interrupted by the homeowner. A department spokesman says the victim came home Tuesday afternoon to find an SUV with Florida plates in her driveway, the pregnant woman inside. When she opened her garage door, she saw a pile of electronics and guitars and saw a man run out the back door and jump in the SUV, which then took off. The woman followed the SUV, got the license plate number, and called police. Officers tracked down the vehicle and arrested Michael Gonyer and Ryana Garcia on burglary charges. Both are 21. Police say Garcia was taken to a hospital because she is nine months pregnant.
The Portland Museum of Art has finished 2012 with the second-highest attendance in museum history and the highest visitor count in more than a decade. The museum had nearly 178,000 visitors for the year, a 34 percent jump over 2011. The museum set a one-month attendance record in December, when nearly 26,000 people visited, drawn by a Winslow Homer exhibition. Director Mark Bessire said the museum had a successful year in terms of attendance, membership, store and cafe sales, and fundraising. He said the museum’s national reputation was boosted with the opening of its Winslow Homer art studio in Scarborough and its successful Homer exhibition.
A Maine mental health agency has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant that will provide help to children who have been exposed to violence or some other trauma. Community Counseling Center in Portland said the grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will be used to launch the Maine Children’s Trauma Response Initiative. For the initiative, Community Counseling will work with mental health agencies and community organizations throughout Maine to develop a system that will ensure that any child who has been exposed to violence has access to mental health treatment. Additional efforts include outreach, community education and training for mental health providers and community members.
Some moms in Maine are mad at the governor.It’s all over the chemical BPA.Last week, the Department of Environmental Protection recommended the board reject a proposal to remove BPA from baby and toddler food packaging.Today, a group of moms went to Governor Lepage’s office demanding his administration retract the DEP’s statement.The DEP did recommend BPA be banned in infant formula.
Time is running out for Maine teens to sign up for a contest that involves running a virtual company. All high school students are invited to take part in the Junior Achievement Titan Challenge.Teams of three compete.This year’s challenge is February 13th at several locations throughout Maine.So far, 88 teams from 26 high schools are signed up.The deadline to register is this friday.
Maine has earned a top grade for children’s dental health.The Pew Center awarded an “A” grade to Maine again this year, making our state one of only five to get that grade.States were graded on efforts to give children access to dental sealants, which dentists say are an effective way to prevent tooth decay.