Regional News

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,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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Sebago Park Reservations Open Wednesday

Updated 3 years ago

Reservations for one of Maine’s most popular campgrounds, Sebago Lake State Park, are being accepted.State park officials say the reservation system will be open for Sebago only on Wednesday, and for all state park campgrounds next Monday. The opening dates for online reservations are being split to reduce wait times for campers.There will be no fee increase for sites at the state park campgrounds. Fees do vary from campground to campground, with the highest fees for non-residents who want sites with water and electricity hookups.Campers can make reservations at Maine state campgrounds online at They can also call state offices, mail in reservations or drop them off.

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Hollis Girl Comes Home After Life-Saving Operation

Updated 3 years ago

A 9-year-old Hollis girl is heading home after a groundbreaking multiple organ transplant at Children’s Hospital Boston.Alannah Shevenell of Hollis underwent 14 hours of surgery in October to remove an aggressive tumor and to undergo a transplant of her stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, small bowel and esophagus.Hospital officials say it was the first known esophageal transplant in the world and the largest number of organs transplanted into a person at one time in New England.Alannah was diagnosed with a rare former of cancer when she was 4. The tumor snaked and twisted itself around her internal organs, choking the life out of them. The tumor didn’t respond to chemotherapy or surgery to get rid of it. Even the transplant was risky.Alannah is scheduled to come home Wednesday.

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Treasure Hunter Takes Aim At $3B Sunken Bounty

Updated 3 years ago

A treasure hunter from Maine says he has located and will soon start salvaging what he’s calling the most valuable sunken treasure ever found.Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research says a wreck 50 miles east of Cape Cod, Mass., is that of the Port Nicholson, a British merchant ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1942. He says the ship was carrying 71 tons of platinum now worth about $3 billion. He says he identified the ship’s hull number using an underwater camera.Brooks says he first located the wreck in 2008 and was granted salvage rights by a federal court judge.He plans to begin salvaging the platinum this winter by hauling up crates he says are filled with the platinum bars.

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Biddeford Man Shot By Marshals Appears In Court

Updated 3 years ago

A Biddeford man wounded during an exchange of gunfire with U.S. marshals last week has made his first court appearance.Arien L’Italien waived his right to a probable cause hearing and consented to federal detention after the hearing Monday where he faced charges of attempted murder of a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the shootout on Friday in Portland. He did not enter a plea.Authorities say L’Italien fired at marshals after they tried to detain him. Officers fired back, striking him in the leg. Biddeford police say L’Italien is on probation for felony theft and is a suspect in a New Year’s Day stabbing.The Portland Press Herald reports that neither prosecutors nor his defense attorney commented.

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Maine Human Rights Commission Rules Harassment Involved with Waldoboro Gay Couple

Updated 3 years ago

The Maine Human Rights Commission has ruled that a real estate management company did little to stop the harassment of a gay couple living in a Waldoboro apartment complex.In January 2009, the couple Joseph Bonnadio II and William Paquet told Realty Resources Management that they were verbally bullied by other residents.Realty Resources sent a short note to tenants informing them of the claims.Human Rights Commissioners say the company didn’t do enough to prevent discrimination on its property.

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Presidential Candidate Ron Paul to Speak at USM

Updated 3 years ago

Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul will be in Maine this weekend.He’ll speak at the University of Southern Maine, Gorham campus, at 11am Saturday morning.The President of USM’s student body helped organize Paul’s appearance.Maine’s Presidential Caucuses will be held in February.

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Caribou Fire Chief Resigns

Updated 3 years ago

Accused of acting unprofessionally and unacceptably toward city workers, Caribou’s fire chief has resigned.Roy Woods worked for the city for forty-three years.In his letter of resignation, he cited medical issues as his reason.Caribou has not yet named a new fire chief.

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Southwest Replaces AirTran At Portland International

Updated 3 years ago

The arrival of Southwest Airlines in Portland, Maine, is expected to give a boost to the number of travelers using the Portland International Jetport.Paul Bradbury, airport director, said the terminal expansion was designed with a passenger increase in mind, and he believes Southwest will mean more passengers.The sale of Airtran to Southwest was completed in May, and Southwest announced Friday it was eliminating Airtran service from Portland and 14 other cities.In Portland, the service is being replaced by Southwest. Bradbury tells the Portland Press Herald that Southwest passengers are extremely loyal, and now they can fly from Portland instead of traveling to Boston or Manchester, N.H.

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Woman Sexually Assaulted After Car Gets Stuck

Updated 3 years ago

Police in Maine are looking for a man driving a truck with New Hampshire license plates who they said sexually assaulted a woman after her vehicle became stuck on ice.The 41-year-old woman told police her car was stuck in Sebago when a passing motorist stopped to offer help. But the Cumberland County sheriff’s office says when she got out of the car, the man attacked and sexually assaulted her.The sheriff’s office said the man stole money from the woman and drove off.Police say the man was driving a gray or dark colored GMC full-size pickup with a “Ski-Doo” sticker on the right lower corner of the back window. The truck was towing a snowmobile trailer with one red and one yellow snowmobile.

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Maine Embezzler Sentenced

Updated 3 years ago

A Maine credit union employee accused of embezzling more than a half million dollars is going to federal prison.U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II says Marsha Richard, 42, of Topsham was sentenced Monday to 33 months in prison for theft by a credit union employee.Prosecutors say Richard stole the money from Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union in Brunswick by manipulating accounting entries for checks that credit union members had deposited but that had been returned for insufficient funds. She pleaded guilty in September.The credit union, not the individual members, suffered the loss from Richard’s theft. Brunswick police and the FBI led the investigation.

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Number of U.S. Homes Heating with Wood on the Increase

Updated 3 years ago

U.S. Census figures show the number of households using wood as a primary heating source nearly doubled in Maine from 2000 to 2010. Nationwide, the use of wood grew by a third over the decade.Dan Stevens of Gardiner, Maine, says he got rid of his oil furnace and turned to wood in 2008 after heating oil prices spiked to over $4 a gallon.He’s been spending about $2,500 a year on cord wood, wood pellets and propane that he uses as a backup, which is about half what his heating oil costs used to be. He also likes using a renewable, local fuel source.Nationwide, nearly 2.4 million homes used wood as their primary heat source in 2010, up from 1.8 million households a decade earlier.

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Regulators Change Amount of Shrimp Allowed to be Caught in Maine

Updated 3 years ago

Regulators have upped the amount of shrimp that can be caught in the Gulf of Maine, but some say the higher catch limit won’t make much difference.More than 150 fishermen and processors packed into a meeting room Thursday morning in South Portland, where a committee voted to raise the catch limit to 4.9 million pounds. It was 4.4 million.Shrimpers say a catch between 6 million and 10 million pounds is needed to sustain their industry.”People have families, they’ve got have payments, they have light bills every body’s got bills and we have to survive and we don’t want to be on welfare, these people want to work they’re hard working people,” said Eugene Carter.Regulators say the limit set is the highest it can go without putting the shrimp population at risk.

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Lewiston Man Wants Police to End Investigation of Former Syracuse Coach

Updated 3 years ago

A Syracuse newspaper is reporting a man from Maine who accused fired Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine of molesting him wants police to end the investigation.In a text message to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Zachary Tomaselli, 23, says he wants police to drop the case because he’s sick of it. Tomaselli insists he told the truth about Fine molesting him when he was 13.Two former Syracuse ballboys also accused Fine of molesting them. Fine denies the accusations.Only Tomaselli’s case falls within the statute of limitations.Tomaselli is expected to be sentenced to prison next month for molesting a boy in Maine.

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Medical Examiner Says Sugarloaf Skier Died of Chest Injuries

Updated 3 years ago

The Maine medical examinersays a 41-year-old Canadian man who died on the way to the hospitalafter hitting a tree at the Sugarloaf ski resort succumbed to chestinjuries. The medical examiner released David Morse’s cause of death onWednesday. The Nova Scotia man was skiing with his wife and two children onJan. 12 on an easier trail when he struck the tree. He died in an ambulance en route to Franklin Memorial Hospitalin Farmington. The hospital, which owns the ambulance service, launched aninternal investigation after Morse’s wife complained about thetreatment he received from the ambulance crew. A spokeswoman tells the Morning Sentinel the hospital is expected to release a statement Friday.

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Former Maine Turpike Authority Chief to Plead Guilty

Updated 3 years ago

It looks like former Maine Turnpike Chief Paul Violette will go to prison for five years.The Maine Attorney General’s office accuses him of stealing gift cards and money to pay for personal travel, meals and other expenses.Violette was Executive Director of the Turnpike Authority for 23 years before resigning under pressure in March.Violette’s lawyer says his client will plead guilty to getting unauthorized control over the Turnpike Authority’s property.It’s a plea deal that calls for no more than five years in prison.Violette had already agreed to pay the authority $155,000 to settle a civil lawsuit.

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