Portland police and federal authorities are investigating the theft of two hand-carved wooden eagle sculptures from the Portland Custom House building. The gold-painted sculptures are believed to be original to the building, completed in the 1860s. Authorities estimate their value at about $50,000 combined. A spokeswoman for the city tells The Portland Press Herald, the eagles were stolen from the building’s lobby last weekend. They had recently been restored and were wrapped in plastic at the time of the theft. Each eagle is about three feet tall. Acting police Chief Vern Malloch says the building has an alarm system, but he was not certain the system was activated at the time of theft. There were no signs of forced entry.
Residents are awaiting the next release of names of accused clients of a woman who police say used her Zumba dance studio as a front for prostitution in the seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine. The town of 10,000 made international headlines when dance instructor Alexis Wright was charged this month with engaging in prostitution. Police said she videotaped many of the encounters without her clients’ knowledge and kept meticulous records suggesting the sex acts generated $150,000 over 18 months. Wright and her business partner have pleaded not guilty. The scandal is unfolding in slow motion, with the first 21 johns’ names released two weeks ago and more being released Friday.
A public hearing on plans for solid waste disposal will delay the sale of a Biddeford trash-to-energy plant but officials say the purchase and eventual closure of the incinerator will still happen The Department of Environmental Protection will be holding a public hearing on the request to amend the license for Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town to allow it to accept in-state municipal solid waste, which currently is disposed of at the Maine Energy Recovery Co. incinerator in Biddeford. No date for the hearing has been scheduled. The Journal Tribune, reports that the hearing will delay the sale of the incinerator from Casella Waste Systems Inc., Maine Energy’s parent company, to the city, which was originally expected in November.
Crews are planning to retrieve a tugboat that sank in the Piscataqua River, forcing two people to quickly escape. The two people on board were able to get onto a nearby barge Wednesday and are safe. The tugboat, called the Benjamin Bailey, is owned by Riverside Marine in Eliot, Maine. The business is a subcontractor to Archer Western, the firm working on the construction of the new Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine. It’s not clear why the tugboat went down. The U.S. Coast Guard is in charge of retrieving the boat. It planned to attempt to raise it Thursday.
A Portland man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for stabbing a bouncer at what was supposed to be an alcohol and drug free party last year. Abdi Awad received a 25-year sentence with seven years suspended on Wednesday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on a charge of elevated aggravated assault. Authorities say Awad stabbed Donald Brown twice in the back at the party in March 2011. Alcohol and drugs were prohibited from the party, which drew a largely Somali crowd. A melee erupted after a bouncer saw alcohol passed among a group that included Awad. Awad stabbed Brown after another security person tried to prevent Awad from intervening. The Portland Press Herald, reports that Awad sobbed and apologized in court.
The Maine medical examiner’s office says more work is required before the cause of death can be determined for a woman whose body was found after a fire in Old Orchard Beach. An autopsy on the remains of 62-year-old Patricia Noel began on Wednesday but there was no conclusion. Her body was found Tuesday after firefighters put out a blaze at her house in Old Orchard Beach. Fire investigators and state police detectives are talking to relatives, friends and neighbors as they continue their investigation.
308 sick, 23 dead, those are the numbers from a national meningitis outbreak linked to steroids made at New England Compounding Center, a pharmaceutical factory in Massachusetts.So far, no one in Maine has died from the outbreak, even though more than 30 facilities in Maine received products from the pharmacy, but it has some health care providers in our state taking steps to calm patient fears. “No, the drugs used in the Meningitis outbreak we have not used at EMG,” said CEO Clement Berry, and that’s the message Eyecare Medical Group is wasting no time getting out to its patients. While the company’s CEO confirms it has purchased many types of drugs from New England compounds, none were the ‘steroids’ linked to the outbreak. “The minute the FDA published that there’s a concern about any drugs from New England compounding we actually pulled all of our drugs and quarentined them so they’re not used for any patients.” “…But it’s kept us really busy,” said Brian Marden, Senior Director of Pharmacy at Maine Medical Center. He says since news of the outbreak first hit October 5th, the hospital has received numerous calls from concerned patients. “We only had one patient receive a drug since May 21st that was a product of that compounding center. We’ve been in touch with that patient.” The FDA now recommends that all companies with drugs from New England Compounding contact patients as soon as possible to help alleviate any worries. “Staff here has done a chart review of the patients that we looked at and there’s probably over 1-thousand patients that we looked at,” said Berry, and each of those patients at Eyecare Medical Group will soon receive this letter assuring them none of their medications were connected to the outbreak. Still, as even more Meningitis cases are reported across the country, Maine Med’s top pharmacists suggests people need to be cautious. “Patients with headache, any fever, neck stiffness, those kind of things that are sort of related to potential Meningitis, that’s the biggest concern right now,” Marden commented.Massachusetts state investigators say preliminary findings indicate workers at New England Compounding failed to sterilize products properly.Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the company’s practices.
An unsigned Edward Hopper painting that has hung in a private home for nearly a century is expected to fetch up to $300,000 at auction. The 8-inch-by-10-inch oil on board known as “Tredwell’s Folly” is being offered by Portland-based Barridoff Galleries on Wednesday. It was painted in 1919 and given to Dr. Alonzo Tredwell by Hopper in exchange for medical services, according to Tredwell’s granddaughter, Ruthie Tredwell, who is selling the work. She tells The Portland Press Herald, she is selling the painting that has hung in the family home on Monhegan Island for “personal reasons.” The painting depicts Tredwell’s grandfather and another man discussing the seaworthiness of a dory on the beach. Rob Elowitch of Barridoff Galleries says he confirmed the painting’s authenticity with several Hopper scholars.
A Jay man has pleaded guilty to 10 sex charges against two Franklin County girls who were under the age of 16 at the time of the offenses. Joshua Welch’s trial was scheduled to start Monday, but instead he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact. The state dismissed a charge of gross sexual assault in the plea agreement. Police arrested the 31-year-old Welch in August 2011. He was indicted on one charge of gross sexual assault and 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact in January. The incidents occurred between Jan. 1, 2007, and Aug. 15, 2011. Welch’s sentencing has not been scheduled. The Sun Journal, reports he faces a sentence of up to 10 years on each charge. He is being held without bail pending sentencing.
A Biddeford man has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of possession of child pornography. Paul R. Rouselle entered his plea on Tuesday. He faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 6. Federal prosecutors say Homeland Security investigators in February learned that child pornography was being made available for sharing on the Internet from an IP address in Biddeford. The Portland Press Herald, reports that law enforcement executed a search warrant at the 45-year-old Rouselle’s home in May and seized computers that had hundreds of videos of minors involved in sexually explicit conduct,. Rouselle was arrested in Guam several days later. Investigators say he had bought a one-way ticket from Portland to the Philippines.
The four-day Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival is kicking off in Portland. The festival in the Maine city gets under way Wednesday evening with the Grand Tasting on the Harbor gala, where 20 of the area’s top restaurants prepare tastings of their favorite dishes. This is the fifth year for the festival, which includes food and wine tastings, cooking contests and the annual lobster chef-of-the-year competition. The event is put on by the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland to showcase the area as a food destination. Two new events this year include a cooking competition among teams from culinary college programs and an event showcasing pulled pork, ribs and other barbecue dishes served up with blues music.For more information you can log on to harvestontheharbor.com
Maine supreme court justices are hearing the appeal of a Portland man who’s serving a 38-year sentence in the shooting death of his roommate. Justices are hearing arguments Wednesday in the case of 26-year-old Daudoit Butsitsi, who was convicted of murder last year in the February 2010 death of Serge Mulongo. In his appeal, Butsitsi argues his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination was violated when the trial judge ordered him to answer questions about buying a gun and instructed the jury that his failure to answer those questions could be considered in determining guilt. Wednesday’s appeal will be heard at Brunswick High School. Justices each year hold appeals hearings at high schools to educate and expose students to the workings of the judicial system.
A local hospital is doing their part to help teens in need.Tuesday, the St. Joseph Healthcare Mission Outreach Committee donated nearly 40 boxes of food and personal care items to the Shaw House.It’s an emergency shelter and transitional living facility for homeless youth in Bangor.A variety of assistance programs serve young people at the Shaw House.Donations will help those teens with items they desperately need.”So we decided that we wanted to collect food items for the Shaw House,” said Bonnie Richards, an employee of the hospital, “also some personal care items because we realize how much they need those items, so we’ve been collecting for a month and finally have everything together so they’ll be here today to pick up the items.”The donations came from hundreds of St. Joseph Hospital employees.
Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court has turned down the appeal of a man convicted in a drunk driving hit-and-run that killed a UMaine student.24 year-old Garrett Cheney is serving seven years for running down Jordyn Bakely of Camden on a street in Orono in January 2010.He was convicted of manslaughter.In his appeal, Cheney claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to support the conviction.The high court rejected his argument.
200 Maine children have been taken away from parents who used the synthetic drug bath salts this past year.Human Services officials say the state has transferred a million dollars to the Office of Child and Family Services to help pay room and board for the children.Officials say another 4.2 million dollars is needed to cover expenses for such children over the next two-and-a-half years.
Maine fire investigators say a woman’s body was found after firefighters extinguished a blaze in a house in Old Orchard Beach.The victim has been identified as 62 year-old Patricia Noel.Steve McCausland from the Maine Department of Public Safety says a team of investigators from the Fire Marshal’s office was at the scene this afternoon to determine what caused the fire.
Old Orchard Beach police say a series of drug investigations have led to charges against 46 people and the seizure of drugs worth an estimated $155,000. The results of the investigations announced Monday include 36 felonies, 50 misdemeanors and 15 civil violations. The defendants range in age from 14 to 58 years old. Drugs seized include crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, steroids, methamphetamine and prescription medications. Chief Dana Kelley says after getting complaints from residents, police began the crackdown this spring by reassigning officers from daily patrol shifts to the investigations. Kelley says more investigations are ongoing and he expects more arrests. He says some of the drugs were coming from out of state and being distributed locally.
Southwest Airlines says it will fly to Baltimore-Washington International Airport when it begins service next spring out of Portland. The airline says it will initially offer nonstop flights each day between Portland International Jetport and Baltimore-Washington when it starts flying out of Portland on April 14. There’ll be three flights going each way on weekdays, and two each on weekend days. All flights will be on 143-seat Boeing 737s. The airline’s arrival in Maine has been anticipated since it bought AirTran Airways last year. Southwest has been transitioning its AirTran cities to Southwest and eliminating AirTran service where the two carriers duplicate service.
The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church is coming to Maine for a second time on behalf of the campaign seeking to legalize same-sex marriage. Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire will be discussing gay marriage at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland. Beforehand, he’ll be signing copies of his new, “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk on Marriage.” The event is sponsored by the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination and Integrity Maine, two groups that support the Nov. 6 ballot question asking if gay marriage should be legal. Robinson married his longtime male partner three years ago the day gay marriage became legal in New Hampshire.
Maine Senate President Kevin Raye met with small business owners and employees this afternoon in Bangor.Raye is running against Democrat Incumbent Mike Michaud for Maine’s Second District seat in Congress. He stopped by Maine Aero Services with Senator Olympia Snowe. They toured the facility, talking with workers.Raye says lawmakers on both sides need to work together to help small businesses, “easing back on the regulations that are so harmful to small business, and make it so difficult for small business to prosper.”Raye worked as Senator Snowe’s top aide for seventeen years.