A judge has rejected a request for a new trial for a man who’s serving a 38-year prison sentence for strangling his former fiancee in her Maine home and burying her body in northern New Hampshire. The lawyer for Jason Twardus of Rochester, N.H., contended prosecutors delayed interviews with an alternate suspect until after the trial. The man, who was the victim’s landlord, died last year. The Portland Press Herald, says Judge G. Arthur Brennan rejected the request on Thursday in York County Superior Court. It was the second time Twardus had requested a new trial. Nursing student Kelly Gorham was living in Alfred, Maine, when she disappeared in August 2007. Her body was found a month later. Prosecutors said Twardus was upset over their broken engagement.
The New Hampshire Board of Education has given the town of Rollinsford permission to move forward with a plan that could result in the town’s older students going to school in the state of Maine. The board’s unanimous vote last week approved Rollinsford’s request to opt out of an agreement that sends the town’s students in grades 7-12 to schools in Somersworth. If Rollinsford voters approve the change in March, the town would begin sending students to Marshwood High School in 2015. But it would be three years before students in grades 7-12 are attending the Maine school. Sarah Browning, of the Department of Education, tells Fosters Daily Democrat, Rollinsford voters want to make the change because they were unhappy that some of their proposals were overruled by Somersworth.
Police say they have arrested a Lewiston woman who led them on a 20-mile car chase through several communities that reached speeds of 80 miles per hour. Authorities say 21-year-old Heather Kullson was finally apprehended in Auburn at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. The chase began at about 6 p.m. when Kullson allegedly fled a traffic stop in Lewiston. The chase went through New Gloucester and Poland and state police entered the chase when she drove onto the Maine Turnpike. Kullson was charged with two counts of eluding police, two counts of arson and one count of aggravated domestic violence assault. Police did not elaborate on the charges saying the incident is still under investigation. No one was hurt, but several law enforcement vehicles suffered minor damage.
A Dresden woman has been charged in connection with a string of burglaries this summer in Kennebec County. State police say 23-year-old Sabrina Marino is charged with three counts of burglary and one count of theft by receiving stolen property stemming from break-ins in Augusta, Manchester and Wayne. Police say about $5,000 worth of property was taken during the home burglaries, and none of it has been recovered. Police tell the Kennebec Journal, that Marino was apprehended Nov. 20, when she was a passenger in a car stopped by Kennebec County sheriff’s deputies and Gardiner police. Marino’s boyfriend is also facing charges.
A Lewiston man police say lured a 63-year-old meat salesman to an abandoned building with a text message, then shot and tried to rob him, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Steve Anctil pleaded guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Tuesday to robbery for the May 23 shooting that left Kristopher Klimek of Naples with a bullet wound to his abdomen. The 26-year-old Anctil was sentenced to 25 years in prison with nine years suspended. The Sun Journal, reports that Anctil’s lawyer says his client accepted the plea deal from the state, in part, because he was facing federal gun sentences that might have lasted just as long. Prosecutors say Anctil planned to rob Klimek, but ran away empty handed after shooting him.
A nominee for president of Kennebec Valley Community College has been chosen and will be announced to the college system’s trustees. The board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. During the meeting, the board is to vote on college system President John Fitzsimmons’ nominee for president of Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield. Three candidates were considered. The trustees will also take up other business including acceptance of several gifts to the colleges, amendments to a number of system-wide policies and changes to the academic inventory.
The Maine Education Association says a teacher let herself be scratched, bitten and thrown against a wall rather than use force on a student to avoid violating new rules on restraint.MEA President Lois Kilby-Chesley says there have been dozens of such incidents across Maine and that teachers are fearful that if they do so much as touch a child’s arm to keep them from throwing a book, they’ll lose their jobs.She says she’s written to Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen to express concerns about what she describes at inadequate training for teachers.
Two border patrol agents involved in a deadly shooting in Jackman in June were justified in using deadly force.That conclusion by the Attorney General’s office which investigated the shooting of 75-year-old Charles Robinson.The agents entered his home and returned fire after Robinson fired a shotgun blast that injured one of the agents.The agents thought a woman was still inside the home and in danger, when she had actually already left the building.Police say Robinson had threatened the woman after she called them to say Robinson was drunk and had hurt himself in a fall.
Changes are coming for the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal in Portland.It’s the first signigicant upgrade to the facility since it opened nearly twenty-five years ago.”If you can imagine at night with all the lights on, all the glass,” General Manager Hank Berg points to the spot the new waiting room will be located. “The view will be great.”Beyond simply the great view however, Berg says the ferry lines has outgrown its current configuration, a building which opened back to 1988.25-years ago, the ferries carried about 500 thousand passengers a year, now it’s more than one million.”In the summer when it’s jam packed full of people it gets very crowded in the current waiting room.”The “new” waiting room will double in size from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet. The picture windows allowing passengers to know exactly when their boat has arrived.”Much better,” says Denise Feeney, a resident of Little Diamond Island, “especially when you have friends and family coming down for a visit, it’ll be easier for them too. When they’re not sure what docks to go to or where their boat is, it’ll be a lot more visible to them.”Phase one of the project also includes upgrading the pier’s infastructure, shoring up docks and pilings underneath the terminal, and though Berg admits it will be a challenge, the construction will not interfere with the ferry schedule.Regular passengers, like Mary Lavendier-Myers of Peaks Island, say they’re just anxious to see a more modern facility. “I always called this the Dog Kennel, because of the way it looked. Shepherding dogs in between fencing like that.”
Maine’s highest court has upheld the conviction of a Maine yoga instructor who’s serving a 16-year sentence for beating her husband with a softball bat and staging it to look like a home invasion.The Maine Supreme Judicial Court rejected the apeal of 51-year-old Linda Dolloff on Tuesday.She claimed the prosecutor misrepresented facts and expressed personal opinions, and the judge made mistakes allowing certain evidence at her trial two years ago.She was convicted of attempted murder for attacking her husband while he slept at their home in Standish then shooting herself to make it look like she had also been attacked. The couple was going through a divorce at the time.
A Maine State Police sergeant accused of showing up to work in her department cruiser while drunk has avoided jail time. Sgt. Julie Bergan on Monday lost her license for 90 days, was fined $500 and was ordered to take part in a first offender OUI alternative sentencing program. Prosecutors had asked for a seven-day jail sentence. The Bangor Daily News, reports that several of the 24-year department veteran’s colleagues testified on Monday that she showed up for work on June 28 acting erratically and out of character. A breath test showed her blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit to drive. Bergan said in court that she did not know she was intoxicated that morning when she woke up and has not had a drink since.
The Victoria Mansion in Portland is decked out for the holidays. This year’s theme is the Gilded Age.It celebrates the late 19th century period, when big fortunes were made and the dÃ©cor was lavish.Each year, local designers decorate rooms in the house. “They come in and they bring in their own decorations and they’re free to be inspired by the rooms and to interpret the theme however they wish so you always see something a little bit different. This year because the theme changes to a certain degree the designers change as well.”It’s the mansion’s major fundraiser.
Top lobster scientists are meeting in Maine this week to look at things that have affected lobsters in recent years.The Maine Sea Grant Program is hosting a conference in Portland focusing on things such as warming oceans, the changing food web and seafood economics. Scientists from the US, Canada and Europe are among those involved.UMaine research professor Rick Wahle says the lobster industry has reached a critical point, with the Maine harvest huge but the fishery virtually collapsed in southern New England.
Authorities say two people needed treatment at the hospital after dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide were found in their Kennebunk home. The homeowners called 911 at about 10 a.m. on Sunday to report that their carbon monoxide detector was going off in the Old Port Road home. Firefighters responded and tested the air in the home, finding high levels of the deadly gas. Both residents were taken to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford for evaluation. Firefighters say says the basement furnace is the likely cause. Authorities say carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so a detector is essential. Exposure to the gas can cause headaches, nausea and blurred vision.
Police are investigating multiple thefts from unlocked vehicles at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington. Investigators are focusing on three men seen in a hospital security camera photo at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. Sgt. Edward Hastings says the department is asking the public for help identifying the three men. He tells the Sun Journal cash, cigarettes and electronic devices valued at more than $500 were taken from the vehicles. All vehicles were left unlocked at the time of the thefts. No damage to property has been reported.
A forester hired by Livermore has determined that about 1,250 trees were illegally cut from the town’s Memorial Forest. Town officials say they intend on recouping the value of the trees. Town administrative assistant Kurt Schaub tells the Sun Journal, that the forester is in the process of calculating the total value of the cut, based upon the size of each stump. Ninety-nine percent of the trees were hardwoods. Schaub says about 10 acres of town property was cut by a logger who cut over the property line. A letter was sent in September to the logger responsible for the cutting, informing him of the town’s intention to recoup the value of the trees, the cost of the survey and the cost of the timber valuation.
Black Friday is bringing numerous shoppers to Maine retail outlets, and a greater possibility of thefts. In Kittery, Police Chief Paul Callaghan says the two most common targets for thieves at the Kittery Outlets are clothing and electronics. He tells Foster’s Daily Democrat, the outlets typically have two types of thieves: casual opportunists who may steal an item or two at random and organized groups that are much more advanced. Callaghan said they distract store employees and line shopping bags with materials to eliminate sensors. Three people from New York were arrested in Kittery recently for allegedly taking about $8,000 worth of clothing from stores. Earlier in the month, four Massachusetts women were accused of taking $4,000 worth of merchandise.
While shopping for toys, be on the look out for toys that are too small or too loud.That advice from a public interest advocacy group known as “PIRG.”Using a Portland child care center as a back-drop, they talked about its 27th annual “Trouble in Toyland” survey.The group says even though some toys pass national standards, they still may be hazardous to the your child.The owner of this “child care center” says it’s a scary sight to see a child choking.She said any parent can use the “toilet roll test” to check and see if a toy is a potential choking danger for children.For a complete list of toys the group says could be dangerous, go to www.uspirg.org.
In some parts of New England, Hurricane Sandy is still affecting travelers. Those who haven’t rented a car for their Thanksgiving travel yet could be out of luck, because the storm created a shortage.Sandy damaged thousands of cars in the Northeast, rental cars included. So while the demand for rental cars is higher than usual, there are fewer available.We’re told this shortage shouldn’t affect travelers in the Bangor area.”We’ve checked with our car rental agencies here. They’re able to manage all the reservations that they have in their systems today. We heard that same report, but right at this point, no effect to folks here in Bangor,” said Tony Caruso, Airport Director at Bangor International Airport.In those areas seriously affected by Sandy, most existing car reservations are being honored, but the few cars still available to rent carry a hefty premium.
A group of New Hampshire and Maine residents has started a $60,000 campaign to put aesthetic lighting on the new Memorial Bridge. Committee member Ben Porter tells the Portsmouth Herald, that current plans are to install LED lights to illuminate the bridge’s towers, piers and a memorial plaque. He said there may be the ability to change the color of the lights, as well. The group has contracted with John Powell, owner of Light Time in Space in Allston, Mass., for design work. Powell handled lights for Moakley Bridge near the Boston Children’s Museum and other Charles River bridges. The new bridge connecting the states is under construction and is expected to be completed by July 2013. The old Memorial Bridge connected the two communities for nearly 90 years.