Ayla Reynolds’ mother continues to call attention to her daughter’s disappearance.Trista Reynolds say she wants to do whatever she can to keep Ayla’s face and story in the public eye. She’s still in touch with police but the last contact she had with Ayla’s father, Justin Dipietro, was a text message from August. Trista hopes by sharing Ayla’s story, someone will offer police information that will lead them to her.She knows it’s unlikely her daughter will be found alive, but she still prays for a miracle. “No matter what, I always have to keep that little bit of faith and that little bit of hope that Ayla’s out there and that she is alive, but it’s really hard when you still don’t have any news.”Trista says she still sees Ayla every day in her son, Raymond, Alya’s half-brother, who looks just like her.She also says she’s frustrated with state police because she feels like the investigation into Ayla’s disappearance has become less of a priority as time passes, even though police say the case is still an open and active one.
Six more Maine communities have received the state’s business friendly seal of approval.Lewiston-Auburn, Ellsworth, Fairfield, Kennebunk, and Topsham all recevied the distinction at a state house ceremony this afternoon.The award is presented to communities that make things easier and more attractive to business owners.”The process they go through to apply for this certification opens their eyes to whether or not they are business friendly,” said George Gervais of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “It either puts a stamp of approval on where they’ve been headed anyway, or it makes them realize there are changes that they need to make.”Each town receives a road sign designating it as business friendly and a certificate.So far, eighteen Maine towns have made the grade.
Tens of thousands of volunteers laid wreaths at veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia Saturday. About 110-thousand wreaths were placed throughout the cemetery as part of the 21st Annual Wreaths Across America. The event honors fallen men and women from the US military during the holiday season.
A 1-year-old boy is hospitalized with severe facial injuries and his mother is also recovering from injuries after authorities in Livermore Falls say they were attacked over the weekend by the family’s dog. The Lewiston Sun Journal, reports the town’s animal control officer ordered the dog, a pit bull-wolf hybrid mix, quarantined in a room at family’s home on Friday. But on Saturday, police Lt. Thomas Gould said the dog was able to grab the child by the head and maul the boy. When his parents rushed to his aid, the boy’s mother was also attacked by the animal. The child was rushed to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, where he underwent surgery on Sunday for facial injuries. The boy’s mother was treated for injuries to her arm. The dog was euthanized.
A candlelight vigil in Portland brought expressions of sympathy and support for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., along with calls for stricter gun control laws. More than 100 people attended the Sunday night vigil in Portland’s Monument Square, which was organized by the Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence. Bill Harwood, a founding member of the group, called on the state to do more regulate gun sales and keep weapons away from people who may be mentally ill. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan also said the Connecticut tragedy shows the need for tougher laws. He said people do not need to own assault rifles to hunt or protect themselves. School superintendent Emmanuel Caulk told the gathering that Portland schools have taken steps to make students are safe.
Maine public safety spokesman Steve Mccausland had this reaction to what happened in Connecticut:”All of the school shootings that have happened around the country have been far away. This is New England. It’s a horrible tragedy and our hearts go out to everyone affected down there.”Mccausland says Maine state police are thoroughly trained for this kind of situation, including sixty new officers who graduated from the police academy today.
Watch CBS coverage here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2nNEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) – Police say 27 people were killed in the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, including the gunman, and one person died at another scene. The dead at the school include 20 children. The gunman opened fire Friday morning inside a school where his mother worked. He blasted his way through the building as young students cowered helplessly in classrooms while their teachers and classmates were shot. The gunman killed himself. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says someone who lived with him also died. Young students crying and looking frightened were escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line after the shots rang out in Newtown, 60 miles northeast of New York City. The attack comes less than two weeks before Christmas and appears to be the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
The mayor of Lewiston is under fire again, this time for suggesting the city’s schools are overcrowded because families from Massachusetts and New York move to Maine to take advantage of the state’s generous welfare system. Mayor Robert Macdonald said Wednesday at meeting with parents and school officials to discuss redistricting that there ought to be laws putting limits on how long families can collect welfare benefits. He says there are 1,000 children of welfare seekers in city schools “who could care less about going to school” because “they don’t feel like they’re going to work anyway.” The Sun Journal reports that School Committee member Sonia Taylor called the mayor’s comments “offensive.” Macdonald was criticized in October for suggesting that the city’s large Somali refugee population should abandon their culture.
A Massachusetts supermarket chain has announced its first expansion into Maine. Biddeford city officials say Tewksbury, Mass.-based Market Basket is scheduled to open a store next fall. Economic Development Director Daniel Stevenson tells The Journal Tribune the family-owned company plans to invest $11 million to redevelop the former Lowe’s store at The Shops at Biddeford Crossing. The building has been empty since Lowe’s closed in 2011. Stevenson says the store will bring up to 150 full-time jobs and hundreds of part time positions. Market Basket has 69 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Sally Struthers has entered a not guilty plea on charges she drove drunk in Maine, where she was performing in a musical.The Portland Press Herald reports the 65-year-old Struthers did not appear in York District Court on Thursday, and entered the plea through her lawyer.Police arrested Struthers on Sept. 12 on U.S. Route 1 in the resort town Ogunquit (oh-GUHNG’-kwit). She was charged with criminal operating under the influence.Struthers is best known for her role as Gloria Stivic in the 1970s TV sitcom “All in the Family.” She had been performing at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the musical “9 to 5.”Struthers is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 13 for a bench trial.
A new terminal is being celebrated at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport. The airport is holding a grand opening celebration Thursday of the terminal. The building opened to the public earlier this year, but work on it was only recently completed. The terminal’s features include an upgraded passenger lounge, a conference room, a business meeting area, a pilot lounge, a planning area, a renovated restaurant, a new gate and office space for airport administration. The airport averages about 175 takeoffs and landings per day. The new terminal is 7,000 square feet, which is about double the size of the previous terminal, built in 1958.
A judge has reaffirmed separate trials for two people charged in a prostitution scandal in Kennebunk, Maine, but is waiting to rule on a request to ban key evidence. Twenty-nine-year-old dance instructor Alexis Wright has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts including prostitution, invasion of privacy, tax evasion and other charges. Her accused business partner, Mark Strong of Thomaston, also has pleaded not guilty. On Wednesday, Strong’s attorney told the judge that evidence seized from Wright’s Zumba studio should not be allowed at trial because the search warrant was obtained based on rumors rather than factual evidence. Police used evidence from the studio to search Strong’s property. Lilley also contends prosecutors have been slow to turn over evidence. Justice Nancy Mills didn’t immediately rule on Lilley’s evidentiary motion.
A Buckfield man has been charged with multiple counts of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and domestic violence assault for alleged illegal contact with two young girls. The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department says 42-year-old Gary C. Noyes was arrested this week. According to an affidavit by a Maine State Police detective, one of the alleged victims reported in November that Noyes had sexually assaulted her and another girl between 2007 and 2011 when both were juveniles. The Sun Journal, reports that Noyes is being held at the Oxford County Jail in Paris and is expected to be arraigned in a Paris court Wednesday. If released, Noyes is barred from contacting the girls.
Police says three people are dead, including the gunman, after a shooting at a shopping mall in the Portland, Ore., area. Clackamas County sheriff’s Lt. James Rhodes says the gunman fatally shot two people, and another person was wounded, in the Tuesday afternoon shooting at the Clackamas Town Center. Rhodes says the gunman died of a self inflicted gunshot wound. Hundreds of holiday shoppers and store employees evacuated the mall after the shots rang out around 3:30 p.m. Many others hid in stores, and Rhodes says deputies are going through the mall to get them out.
Governor LePage got into the spirit of the holidays today, taking part in a Hanukkah tradition.He helped with the ceremonial lighting of the Menorah at the State House.A Portland rabbi and new Senate President Justin Alfond were there to share the honors.”I wish Maine’s Jewish community the best during Haunukkah. And our best wishes go out to all the people of Israel and all the Jewish communities around the world,” said the Governor.At the conclusion of the ceremony the governor was given an honorary menorah.
Byer of Maine is the largest supplier of emergency cots and folding furniture in the US, but following Hurricane Sandy, their inventory is gone.The outdoor living company had 10 thounsand emergency cots on hand when the storm hit the New York/New Jersey coast.Its 24-hour emergency response team distributed every single one of them the weekend the storm struck.Retailers like L.L. Bean and Cabellas will have to go without their products while they make more.Byer says the stores have been very understanding and are willing to wait considering the circumstances. “We are pleased to be a part of the emergency response system and our entire crew was here through the evening and late hours Saturday into Sunday, and late hours and so forth,” said Gerry Couture, Vice President of Byer of Maine.Byer says it will take between three and four months to replenish the retail stock, but the company says it’s happy it could help during the disaster.
A new shelter for homeless teenagers is scheduled to open in Portland next month. The $3 million, 24-bed Preble Street Resource Center’s Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter replaces the cramped, outdated and musty smelling Lighthouse Teen Shelter that had just 16 uncomfortable and pest-plagued beds. Chris Bicknell, Preble Street’s teen services coordinator, says teen homelessness is an increasing problem in Maine, spurred by abuse or addiction. The Portland Press Herald, reports that the new shelter is twice the size of the old shelter. It has a flexible floor plan with more common space as well as private space for studying and counseling. It also has twice the staff. Bicknell says the goal of the new shelter is either to get kids to return home or find them other permanent housing.
Three teenagers have been charged in connection with the burglary of $20,000 worth of jewelry and cash from a Bowdoin home. The burglary was reported Dec. 1. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department has issued summonses for 19-year-old Eric Napoleon of Bowdoin, and two 17-year-old boys, one from Bowdoin and one from Bowdoinham. Chief Deputy Brett Strout tells The Times Record, that nearly $10,000 in cash and approximately $10,000 in jewelry was taken from the home, including a safe the money and jewelry was in. The cash was removed and the safe thrown in the Androscoggin River in Topsham. Strout says most of the money of and jewelry has been recovered. All three suspects face February court dates.
Kittery’s police chief and town manager have both resigned, citing town politics. Police Chief Paul Callaghan and Town Manager Robert Markel both resigned on Monday night. Callaghan’s resignation comes after less than a year on the job. In his letter of resignation, he cites a vote of no confidence in him taken by officers in the fall, and what he calls a department culture “not in step with modern police standards.” The Portsmouth Herald, reports that Markel’s letter says he resigned because of three town councilors “who have interfered with personnel administration and acted in direct violation of the town charter.” He said some councilors have relatives on, or close business relationships with, the police department. The council voted 4-3 to accept Markel’s resignation.
A woman who acted as the getaway driver for a series of robberies in Maine has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. Maria Mattson of Westbrook was also sentenced Monday in federal court to three years of probation. The 31-year-old Mattson pleaded guilty in August to charges of aiding and abetting bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery and aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery. Prosecutors say Mattson acted as the getaway driver for robberies of a convenience store and two credit unions in Portland, a credit union in Windham and a bank in Lewiston last January and February. Mattson’s co-defendant, 30-year-old Paul Sans of Westbrook, pleaded guilty in October to several counts of bank robbery and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.