Regional News

Morning Fire at Wood Pellet Factory in Strong

Updated 3 years ago

Fire investigators are investigating the cause of a fire at a mill in Strong. Firefighters say they were first called to Geneva Wood Fuels at 30 Norton Hill Road at about 8 a.m. on Thursday. The factory makes wood pellets. First responders say there was fire in the wall on the third floor of the factory. Crews from seven towns fought the fire. No one was injured. The fire happened in a part of the building that’s used for storage so officials say the plant should be able to operate again in about a week. An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office estimates that the plant employs between ten and 15 people. He tells News 8 that those workers shouldn’t miss any work because there is plenty of clean-up work to do until the plant is fully operational again. The fire investigator says it is too early to determine the cause of the fire.

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Two Fishermen Rescued of the Coast of Kennebunkport

Updated 3 years ago

Two fishermen were rescued from their sinking boat off the coast of Kennebunkport.They were onboard the 81-foot “Plan B” and called the Coast Guard Tuesday morning to say it was taking on water and pumps couldn’t keep up with the flooding.They told the Coast Guard they were putting on survival suits.A rescue boat and helicopter were sent.Meanwhile the crew of another fishing boat heard the call and was able to help the two men off the sinking boat.

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Arundel Couple Arrested While Visiting Son In Jail

Updated 3 years ago

An Arundel couple who went to visit their son in jail ended up behind bars themselves when the young man’s mother allegedly passed him drugs.Authorities at the York County Jail say they saw 45-year-old Lisa Croteau pass something to her 20-year-old son, Joshua, during a visit Sunday.A guard investigated and found a balloon containing a marijuana cigarette, prescription painkillers and drug paraphernalia. Mother and son were charged with trafficking in prison contraband.When deputies went to the parking lot to tell 46-year-old Marc Croteau that his wife had been arrested, a deputy found a small amount of marijuana in his vehicle and arrested him for that and violating conditions of release.Lisa Croteau was released after posting $1,000 cash bail. Joshua Croteau is behind bars facing burglary charges.

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Two Charged with Lewiston Robbery Arrested in Windham

Updated 3 years ago

Police worked quickly to nab two suspects in a Lewiston bank robbery, and authorities are now looking into whether the pair is involved in other heists.A branch of the Auburn Savings bank was robbed by somebody who showed a gun at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. No one was hurt. A witness gave police a description of the getaway vehicle, and the car was pulled over about an hour later in Windham.Police arrested 29-year-old Paul Sans and 30-year-old Maria Mattson, both of Westbrook, and charged them with robbery.Windham police are investigating whether Sans and Mattson are connected to a bank robbery in that community last week.Federal authorities are expected to join the investigation.

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Windham Man Charged with Manslaughter in Hunting Death

Updated 3 years ago

A Windham man accused of shooting another hunter to death in November has been charged with manslaughter.Authorities say William Briggs, 61, shot Peter Kolofsky, 46, in the woods. The men were in separate deer hunting parties.Briggs’ lawyer has said his client fired after seeing what he thought were antlers.Authorities say Kolofsky was wearing bright orange.

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Shrimp Season May End Soon

Updated 3 years ago

The end of the New England shrimp fishing season is looming.Regulators are expected to set a closure date for the fishery during a conference call Wednesday to review how much shrimp has been caught since the season began Jan. 2.Fishermen this season are allowed to catch 4.9 million pounds before the season is brought to an end. Regulators estimate the catch limit was probably reached two days ago, meaning the season will be shut down very soon.Fishermen and shrimp processors have protested this year’s limit, which is well under last year’s catch of 13.3 million pounds.Shrimp provide a small but valuable fishery for hundreds of New England fishermen. The fleet this year has comprised 225 boats from Maine and 31 from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

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Three From Augusta Accused of Burglary String in Central Maine

Updated 3 years ago

An Augusta man, his sister and his girlfriend are accused in a string of burglaries in central Maine.93 charges have been filed against 25-year-old John Grotton.22-year-old Emily Allen-Perry of Jefferson faces 46 charges.23-year-old Kiley Grotton is charged with eight crimes.Police say John Grotton stole jewelry and electronics from homes in at least 15 communities, then sold or traded them for drugs.Allen-Perry is accused of being the getaway driver.

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Pastor Charged with Domestic Assault

Updated 3 years ago

The pastor of a non-denominational Christian church in Windham has been arrested on domestic violence charges.Police say they were called to the Falmouth home of Kendall Libby, 57, at about 11:00 p.m. Sunday for a fight and determined probable cause to charge him with domestic assault on his wife.She did not require medical treatment.Libby was booked at the Cumberland County Jail and released on$150 cash bail.Libby started the Grace Church congregation in 2009. It meets at Windham High School.An associate pastor at the church declined comment on Libby’s arrest.

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Augusta Man Accused of Robbery Indicted by Grand Jury

Updated 3 years ago

A man accused of robbing a pair of convenience stores in Augusta has been indicted by the Kennebec County Grand Jury.Ricky Lane, 25, was arrested in September.Police say he robbed a Big Apple Store in August and a Mobil On the Run store in September.Lane’s also accused of breaking into the home of an elderly couple in Manchester and robbing them.He’s being held on a half-million dollars bail.

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Bath Man Faces More Child Abuse Charges

Updated 3 years ago

A Bath man already facing several counts of sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly molesting an underage girl he met on a social media website is now facing additional charges.Authorities say 21-year-old Andrew Mank was arrested last week by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and charged with four additional counts of sexual abuse of minors.The new charges stem from the investigation launched by Sagadahoc County detectives. That probe determined that Mank allegedly used Facebook and other social networks to meet underage girls.The new charges involve two victims both younger than 15. Mank knew both alleged victims.Police tell The Times Record that Mank had used social media and Internet sites, including Facebook, to meet the girls.Mank is free on bail.

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Maine Company Makes Record Bridge Beam

Updated 3 years ago

A Maine company says it’s made a record-setting bridge beam that will go to Missouri.Harbor Technologies LLC of Brunswick says the 105 foot, 7 inch beam is the world’s largest vehicular composite bridge beam. It’s 6 feet wide and 5 inches deep.The so-called hybrid composite beam will be part of a Missouri Transportation Department project which is repairing and replacing 802 bridges over five years. The Maine-made beam is one of three Harbor Technologies is providing for the project.The contractor for the bridge work says the Fiberglass-coated composite beams, which also are made of Styrofoam and some steel and concrete, have advantages over standard steel or concrete beam forms. They’re much lighter, just as strong and are corrosion resistant.

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Large Donation to Northern Maine Community College

Updated 3 years ago

A former Presque Isle woman has given Northern Maine Community College a $5-million dollar gift.Mary Barton Akeley Smith now lives in California.Her donation will proved most of the $6-million dollars needed to renovate two buildings on the Presque Isle Campus.School officials say what’s now the dining commons will be transformed into a fitness center, and the college gymnasium will be turned into a student center.Last year Smith gave the college $1.2-million dollars to advance its alternative energy program. She also gave a million dollars to expand the Presque Isle Public library.

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Former Head of Maine Turnpike Enters Guilty Plea

Updated 3 years ago

The former head of the Maine Turnpike pleaded guilty to theft charges Thursday afternoon in a Portland courtroom. Paul Violette appeared in court around 3 p.m. He is charged with unauthorized use of turnpike gift cards and using turnpike authority credit cards for personal travel, meals and other expenses. Violette’s attorney said his client agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a prison sentence not to exceed five years. Violette resigned last March after 23 years as executive director amid allegations of lavish spending and misappropriation of turnpike funds.

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Lewiston Man Going to Jail After Pleading Guilty to Multiple Charges

Updated 3 years ago

A Lewiston man is going to jail for two years after pleading guilty Wednesday to assault, criminal threatening and violating a protection order.Robert Vicino’s sentence was part of a plea deal.Last June, a woman reported Vicino grabbed her, choked her, dragged her into the living room and threatened her with a knife.

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Romney Plans To Visit Maine

Updated 3 years ago

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will pay his first campaign visit to Maine.Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster says the former Massachusetts governor is expected to speak Friday evening at a rally at Portland Yacht Services, a day before caucus results are announced on Saturday.The only other candidate to visit Maine was Ron Paul late last month.State party officials have encouraged Republicans to hold caucuses between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11. Results of the nonbinding straw poll are to be released Saturday night.Both Paul and Romney have strong organizations in Maine that are left over from their campaigns four years ago when Romney won the caucus and Paul came in third.

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Portland Man’s Appeal Denied in 2009 Murder Conviction

Updated 3 years ago

Maine’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a Portland man who is serving 60 years in prison for strangling his girlfriend and cutting off her head.The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday rejected Chad Gurney’s appeal of his conviction for killing 18-year-old Zoe Sarnacki on May 25, 2009, in his apartment and setting fire to her body to cover up the crime.In the appeal, Gurney’s attorney told justices that Gurney wasn’t criminally responsible because he was suffering mental problems and having a psychotic episode that made him delusional.In a unanimous decision, the supreme court agreed with prosecutors that Gurney knew what he was doing at the time of the crime and knew it was wrong.

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Oxford Casino Searches Out of State for Employees

Updated 3 years ago

A casino scheduled to open later this yearin western Maine is coming under fire for going out of state in itssearch for workers. The Oxford Casino posted 22 openings on casinocareers.com,including security officers, dealers, a human resources clerk andmanagement positions. Dennis Bailey of CasinosNO says it’s evidence of whatanti-casino activists have been saying since before the 2010referendum that approved the Oxford Casino – that jobs will largelygo to people from out of state. Casino management counters that it is only looking outside ofMaine for people who already have extensive casino experience andstill plans to train Maine residents to staff the facility. Theytell the Sun Journal it’s also an opportunity for Maine natives to return home.

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Memorial Bridge Update: Demolition Begins

Updated 3 years ago

A barge called the Cape Cod moved into position Tuesday underneath the Memorial Bridge, that links Maine and New Hampshire, to begin the demolition process. Crews will then disconnect the 2-million-pound bridge span from its supporting cable and lower it onto a barge Tuesday night. The barge has four, 300 ton hydraulic jacks that will be used in the process. Four tug boats will be used to move the barge and the bridge span out of the way. A Chicago-based contracting firm Archer Western won the bid to take down the bridge and build the new one. Officials said the contractor hopes to have the new bridge open by July 2013.

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Occupy Maine Gets More Time To Remove Tents

Updated 3 years ago

The city of Portland has granted a four-day extension to allow Occupy Maine demonstrators more time to remove their belongings from Lincoln Park.City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg says an attorney for the demonstrators made the request and the city agreed to extend its eviction order until 8 a.m. Friday.Demonstrators removed several communal structures over the weekend but 16 tents remained in the park on Monday, when the original deadline arrived.OccupyMaine has an office and plans to continue the discussion it started about corporate excesses and economic inequality. One of the campers, Heather Curtis, said Monday that “just because the occupation is changing form doesn’t mean it’s going away.”

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7 Face Charges in 5-State Burglary Investigation

Updated 3 years ago

Police in Vermont say seven people are facing charges in connection with about 100 burglaries in five states.Most of the burglaries – 60 of them – happened in Vermont. Another 30 were in New Hampshire, plus four in Maine, four in Massachusetts and one in Virginia.State and local police said Monday that four suspects have been arrested: two others are in custody in New Hampshire on unrelated charges: and authorities are looking for the seventh – 21-year-old Logan Critchfield of Walpole.Police say the thieves would target small businesses without alarm systems the early morning hours and take cash and other items.The investigation was launched after law enforcement in southern Vermont noticed a pattern of similar burglaries this past summer along the Connecticut River Valley.

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