Governor LePage has turned down a deal offered by the state’s wholesale liquor distributor.Maine Beverage would pay the state $320 million over ten years if the state would extend the contract without a bidding process.That company has held the wholesale liquor contract for the past decade, a contract that runs out next year.The governor believes the state can make more money putting the contract out to competitive bids.
The lawyer for a woman accused of using her dance studio in kennebunk as a front for prostitution is joining a supreme court fight over privacy violations.A judge threw out firty-six invasion of privacy counts against Mark Strong, Senior of Thomaston who’s accused of being a business partner of Alexis Wright who ran the dance studio.Prosecutors have asked the high court to re-instate those charges.Wright faces the same forty-six charges, and sixty others.Wright and Strong are accused of videotaping prostitution clients without their knowledge.The judge who dismissed the counts against Strong ruled that people engaged in criminal conduct don’t have the same privacy rights as others.
Police arrested an Augusta woman Thursday afternoon they say was involved in a pharmacy robbery in the city last week.Stephanie McCormick, 22, is charged with aiding and abetting the robbery at the CVS on Stone Street on January 22nd. Authorities said McCormick wrote part of a note which read, “Quickly and calmly put all oxycodone in bag. If not, I have a gun and will start shooting. No scene!” If convicted, she faces a 30 year prison sentence and fines up to $250,000.Anthony Post, 19, of Auburn, was arrested last week.The investigation continues.
A Maine firefighter who said she was attacked by two men who tried to abduct her is now facing charges because police say she made the whole thing up. Rachael Welsh of Gorham has been charged with filing a false report. The 22-year-old Welsh, a firefighter in Westbrook, told police two men in a pickup truck assaulted her on Dec. 23. She was even taken to the hospital to be treated for a cut and bruising. Police searched for the men based on her descriptions of them but became suspicious because of inconsistencies in her story. She was charged a few days after making her report. Police did not disclose a possible motive. She has been placed on paid administrative leave. She could not be reached for comment.
A monthlong series of forums seeking public opinion about the Maine lobster industry is drawing to a close. The 16th and final forum organized by the Department of Marine Resources is taking place Thursday in York. Throughout January, lobstermen and others with an interest in the state’s signature seafood have packed into meetings held in coastal towns along the Maine coast. Commissioner Patrick Keliher and DMR staff attended the meetings in search of ideas about the harvest, prices, marketing, Maine’s relationship with Canada and the lobster licensing system. DMR officials will analyze the information they received before deciding how to proceed. Maine’s lobster industry was thrown into turmoil last summer when a lobster glut caused prices to plunge. Preliminary numbers show last year’s harvest totaled a record 123 million pounds.
A Connecticut man has been convicted in Maine of wire fraud for a real estate scheme. Federal prosecutors say 65-year-old Peter DiRosa of Manchester, Conn., and an associate solicited $600,000 from an elderly retiree in Kennebunk and said the money would be used as collateral for a loan to buy land in Hungary. Court records say after the money was sent to Hungary, $225,000 was transferred to bank account under DiRosa’s control. The U.S. Attorney’s office says DiRosa and his associate also lied about individuals allegedly affiliated with the real estate venture and about its projected financial success. DiRosa was convicted on Wednesday after a three day trial. He faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 as well as paying back the money.
A new report shows how many people in our state are suffering economically.The corporation of Enterprise Development reports 14.6% of Mainers live in poverty.46.4% have less than three months of savings to fall back on, and 23% are asset poor, meaning the assets they do have, such as a car or home, are overwhelmed by debt.
The city of Portland will count the number of its homeless residents. With the help of local, state and federal partners, Maine’s largest city will be searched Wednesday evening to determine how many men, women and children are homeless. Point-in-Time surveys of those people will help identify who is homeless, what factors led to becoming homeless, and what can the city and state do to prevent homelessness. Teams will conduct the surveys at one of the seven shelters within the city and search a number of outdoor locations to try and locate individuals living on the streets. The Point in Time Survey is a federal Housing and Urban Development requirement for certain funding. Portland receives $3.1 million from HUD for employment assistance, job training, supportive housing development and emergency shelters.
Two U.S. companies have submitted bids to operate ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to the Canadian province’s government, which is willing to provide as much as $21 million in subsidies. Neither Quest Navigation Inc. of Maine and Maritime Applied Physics Corp. of Baltimore currently offer ferry service. Nova Scotia’s government is expected to take a month to review the bids. The Portland Press Herald, says Bay Ferries Ltd., which operated a high-speed catamaran on the route from 2006 to 2009, did not submit a proposal. Maritime Applied Physics Corp. is an engineering and manufacturing firm with an office in Brunswick, Maine. The newspaper says little is known about Quest Navigation. The company is owned by a Maine man who couldn’t immediately be located for comment.
Congressman Mike Michaud is touring Maine’s pulp and paper industry.During the five day tour he will visit seven of the state’s mills.Michaud is hearing firsthand from mill administrators, forest managers, and suppliers about the challenges they face to stay competitive in the marketplace.On Tuesday he toured the Old Town Fuel and Fiber Mill.The congressman is using the visits as an opportunity to highlight the importance that US trade partners live up to their obligations.Michaud is trying to draw attention to illegal foreign subsidies that damage the industry here in the US. “It definitely is because its about jobs and the economy, and when you look at the paper industry here in Maine, and all across the country, they’re good paying jobs by and large with good healthcare benefits but it’s the rippling effects that it has on the community,” Michaud said.Congressman Michaud’s next stop is Wednesday at the Lincoln Paper and Tissue Mill.
Dog owners have until Thursday to get their pets licensed or face a $25 penalty. The state requires all dogs to be registered, every year, by December 31st. Owners are given a one-month grace period. That time runs out Thursday. After that you’ll have to pay a 25-dollar late fee, on top of 6-dollars for a spayed or neutered dog or 11-dollars for one that’s not. Contact your local city or town office to find out how to register your pet.
Some high praise from the Navy for Senator Susan Collins.The Secretary of the Navy is presenting her with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award.It’s the Navy’s highest public service honor. It goes to civilians for service that benefits the Navy and Marine Corps.
A large fire broke out early Tuesday morning at a building in West Paris that houses a fireworks business.The report came in around 1:30 a.m.We’re told the blaze is on penley avenue, also known as route 219.The building is an old mill that was being used to house a fireworks business.It took several hours for crews to get the fire under control.The fire marshal’s office will be investigating a cause.
Whole Foods Market says it is voluntarily recalling some 4-ounce Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, cold-smoked and sliced, after a sample tested positive for listeria. The lot code for the recalled smoked salmon is 7425A2298B. The UPC code is 0 99482 40880 0. Whole Foods says the recalled items were sold in stores in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Utah. Colorado health officials say no illnesses had been reported as of Monday.
An instructor at a vocational school in Westbrook is charged with gross sexual assault.32-year old Derek Hanscom was arrested Monday. Westbrook’s school superintendent confirmed the Gorham man is an automotive instructor at the westbrook regional vocational center and is still employed there. In addition to gross sexual assault, Hanscom is also charged with three counts of unlawful sexual touching. Police say the arrest was the result of an investigation into incidents that happened in the past two weeks. The victim is a juvenile. No other details have been released.
Zumba teachers in Kennebunk say the now infamous prostistution scandal has given their business a bad name.This weekend they wanted to show the community what Zumba is all about.They led more than two hours of classes to raise money for the Center for Grieving Children.About fifty people took part in the event.Zumba instructors say the prostitution case has attached a negative stigma to their exercise program.”Kind of in the fall, we saw some students dropping off. People that were going to try it, were afraid to try it. So, a lot of the negative thing. Even walking in town, I had my sign on Main Street, so people would stop and talk about it. So, it took a little dip, so we’re hoping that this is just a positive good environment,” said Zumba instructor, Judy Stark.Local businesses also donated to the fundraiser.
A judge will hold a hearing Tuesday to determine whether to move forward with remaining charges in the trial of a key figure in a prostitution scandal in Kennebunk. Friday, a judge dismissed 46 of 59 counts against Mark Strong Sr. He’s accused of being in business with Alexis Wright who’s charged with running a prostitution business out of her dance studio.The dismissed counts deal with violation of privacy of prostitution clients videotaped without their knowledge.
The future of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in South Portland remains up in the air after a weekend meeting of parishioners. The church’s finance committee has recommended that the church be closed by June 30. The problem is a lack of cash. The church’s annual income of $180,000 doesn’t cover the $200,000 in annual expenses. The 60-year-old boilers are on their last legs. Church property requires other expensive repairs. At the same time, the congregation is small and shrinking. Most parishioners agree that the church should be closed, but on Sunday wanted some questions answered before making a final decision. Among those questions are whether the sale of some church property could help the parish stay open. The final decision rests with the bishop.
The trial of a key figure in a prostitution scandal at a Zumba studio in Maine has gone through four days without a jury being selected. And it’s unclear if the process will resume Monday. A pair of appeals to the state supreme court delayed the trial of Mark Strong Sr. in Superior Court in Alfred. The defense is worried that the lengthy delays could cause potential jurors to turn against Strong even before jury selection is completed and the trial begins in earnest with opening statements and testimony. Jury expert Valerie Hans from Cornell University Law School says surveys show jurors hate delays. But she says there’s no research showing that they’d punish a defendant.
A New Hampshire transportation spokesman says a lift bridge that’s been out of commission for days to motor vehicle traffic over the Piscataqua River has been reopened. The 73-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge connecting Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine, was shut down on Wednesday after its center span got stuck during a routine test. The closing blocked shipping lanes until the bridge was lifted Saturday to allow boats to pass, but cars and trucks could not use the bridge. The ships carry heating oil and other supplies on the river. Bill Boynton of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation said the bridge was lowered and tested Sunday and was back to normal operations by the evening for both ships and motor vehicles.