The Maine fire marshal’s office says no charges will be filed in a home explosion that killed a woman.A leak in a propane line caused the explosion in Bath.the fire marshal’s office said Tuesday that the case is not closed.Fire investigators say the leak was in the wall of the unit next to one where 64-year old Dale Ann Fussell’s body was found. Investigators believe fumes seeped into a crawl space before being ignited from an unknown source.Four other people were taken to the hospital.The blast flattened the building, awakened neighbors and scattered debris as far as a quarter mile away.
Blood donors are needed. The American Red Cross is encouraging anyone who can donate, to stop by a blood bank. Winter storms have cut back on the amount of blood drives throughout Maine, putting extra strain on the blood supply.For more information, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Wardens plan to resume their search for three snowmobilers who disappeared late last year on Rangeley Lake on Wednesday.Underwater vehicles will be used, with divers standing by in case the men’s bodies are found.It’s believed the victims accidentally rode their snowmobiles into open water in the lake on December 30th.The search was suspended early last month because of weather.
A jury in Maine has awarded $1.5 million in damages to a Sabattus man who was seriously injured when his car collided with a tractor-trailer. Gregory Hall sued after suffering severe leg injuries in the 2011 accident. The 43-year-old Hall underwent several surgeries, continues to have pain in his right leg and is no longer able to engage in activities such as roller skating and dancing. The Sun Journal, reports that Hall claimed permanent impairment and more than five months of lost wages from his job at Time Warner Inc. in Portland. Police determined that the driver of the tractor-trailer, Brian Cannon of Middleborough, Mass., “failed to yield the right of way” and turned into the path of Hall’s car. He was driving for Hooksett, N.H.-based J.P. Noonan Transportation Inc.
Police say one man has been killed and a woman seriously injured in a head-on crash in Norway. Police say 63-year-old Kevin Haines of Norway died in the crash on Route 117 at about 6:45 p.m. Monday. The Sun Journal, reports that the driver of the other vehicle, 42-year-old Heather Ward of Harrison, suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. Rescue personnel had to cut open the car Haines was driving because he was trapped in the wreckage. The cause remains under investigation.
A New Hampshire man has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in the 2011 disappearance and death of a Maine woman whose toddler daughter was found abandoned in her car. Michael Petelis of Ossipee is scheduled for a plea-and-sentencing hearing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in Carroll County Superior Court. Petelis was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in the case of Krista Dittmeyer, of Portland, Maine. She was found in a snowmaking pond at Cranmore Mountain in Conway. The discovery came four days after her car was found idling in the ski area’s parking lot with her 14-month-old daughter unharmed inside. Anthony Papile was sentenced to 50 years in prison for Dittmeyer’s death. Trevor Ferguson was sentenced to at least seven years in prison for conspiring to rob her.
Owners of plug-in electric vehicles would get tax breaks in Maine if a bill up for review this week passes.Bangor senator Geoffrey Gratwick’s bill would create an income tax credit for the purchase of qualified plug-in electric vehicles. The break would be equal to the excise tax paid, up to one thousand dollars.Maine wouldn’t be the first state to pass such a tax credit.Colorado offers a tax credit of 85% for electric hybrid conversions completed between January 2010 and January 2012.The tax credit proposed in maine would expire January 1, 2017.
Colby College is celebrating its 200th anniversary.In 1813 the school started out as the Maine Literary and Theological Institution when James Madison was America’s president.The official birthday celebration will be held on campus Wednesday.Colby is the 12th oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation.
A computer expert says a Thomaston man charged with promoting prostitution deleted his e-mail a day after police raided a fitness instructor’s dance studio, office and home in February of last year.Frederick Williams of the Saco Police Department told jurors on Monday he found spreadsheets, tax documents and snapshots from video chats on defendant Mark Strong’s computer.Jurors were not told the computer contained sexually explicit pictures of his lover Alexis Wright who’s accused of running a prostitution business out of her Zumba studio in Kennebunk. The judge did not rule on whether the photos can be shown to jurors.Strong’s trial continues.Wright will be tried separately.
The Maine labor mural, whose sudden removal triggered protests and litigation two years ago, is the subject of a new play. On Friday, Deering High School students in Portland plan to present a play based on the mural. The play, titled “Tribute,” goes on stage Friday in the school’s auditorium. Deering drama teacher Kathleen Harris wrote the play, which focuses on characters in Judy Taylor’s mural. “Tribute” has 11 scenes, one for each panel of the mural, covering such topics as Rosie the Riveter and paper mill strike in Jay. Taylor’s mural drew widespread attention after it was ordered removed from the Maine Labor Department in 2011.The courts ruled that Gov. Paul LePage had the right to remove the art. The mural now hangs at the Maine State Museum.
Testimony resumes this week in the trial of an insurance businessman charged with promoting prostitution at a Zumba fitness studio in Maine. Prosecutors intend to call more law enforcement officers to testify Monday and Tuesday about the investigation into Mark Strong Sr. and dance instructor Alexis Wright. Both Strong, who’s from Thomaston, and Wright, who ran the Kennebunk studio, have pleaded not guilty. Wright will be tried later. The case attracted international headlines after it was reported that Wright had ledgers indicating she made $150,000 over 18 months and had more than 150 clients.
Lawyers for a man accused of supporting a Kennebunk prostitution operation are attacking the integrity of the lead investigator in the case.Lawyers for Mark Strong Senior say they want to delve into the background of the lead investigator, which includes an extramarital affair that led to a reprimand.Strong’s lawyers claim their client was targeted by police because he was looking into claims of unprofessonal conduct by Kennebunk police officers.An attorney for the town has turned over some personnel records to Strong’s lawyers.Strong is on trial, accused of helping fitness instructor Alexis Wright run a prostution operation out of her dance studio.
A Turner man has been sentenced to nine months in jail and fined $14,000 for what authorities call one of the largest deer poaching operations they have ever uncovered. Everett T. Leonard was sentenced Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court. He pleaded guilty in December to charges including driving deer and night hunting. He also pleaded guilty to a drug offense. He was charged following an investigation by the Maine Warden Service. The Sun Journal, reports that Leonard blamed his behavior on his addiction to painkillers, something he says he has overcome. While the judge commended him for his drug rehabilitation, he said Leonard left “a path of carnage in his wake” with his hunting violations. Leonard’s father, Everett H. Leonard, previously pleaded guilty to illegal hunting charges.
A Sabattus man has been charged with sexually abusing a girl over a four-year period starting when she was 9 years old. Michael Gagnier remained in the Androscoggin County Jail on Thursday on $50,000 cash bail following his arrest earlier in the week on a charge of gross sexual assault. Police tell the Sun Journal, that the girl told a youth worker at a Lewiston church about the alleged abuse, and the worker informed child protection authorities. According to court documents, when confronted by a child protection caseworker and the police, the 33-year-old Gagnier acknowledge the abuse. The father of three blamed it on his addiction to prescription painkillers. He allegedly told police the contact included intercourse and he would often pray with the girl in an effort to stop.
An advocacy group for low-income Mainers is joining two other groups that are suing over Medicaid cuts made by the state. Maine Equal Justice Partners, along with the National Health Law Program and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of five Maine residents whose health care coverage through Medicaid will be terminated. The federal suit seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent the cuts from taking place as scheduled on March 1 and also asks the court to qualify the lawsuit as a class action. The suit says that by cutting eligibility standards, benefits for disabled people and low-income seniors were reduced illegally. Gov. Paul LePage says the state cannot afford all of its Medicaid expenses.
Smithfield Packing Co. is recalling about 38,000 pounds of pork sausage that may contain small pieces of plastic, likely from gloves. The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reports that the Virginia company recalled certain containers of a product called “Gwaltney mild pork sausage roll.” The sausage was produced on Jan. 11 and was distributed in Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The problem was discovered after the company received two consumer complaints. There have been no reports of injury. Consumers with questions about the recall should call 877-933-4625.
Witnesses in the trial of a Thomaston man accused of helping a fitness instructor engage in prostitution say they saw men come and go from her dance studio and rented office in Kennebunk.Also, items discovered after a police executed a search warrant included a bin of used condoms, a massage table and a hidden video camera.Testimony in the trial of Mark Strong Jr., 57, began Thursday.Strong is accused of 13 counts dealing with promotion of prostitution.Both he and the fitness instructor, Alexis Wright, 30, have pleaded not guilty.Wright, who will be tried later, faces charges including engaging in prostitution.Strong’s lawyer says his client had an affair with Wright and helped finance her studio, but knew nothing about prostitution.
Both the Maine House and Senate have given final approval to a supplemental budget that will fill a $153 million shortfall from now through June.It’s been sent to the governor for his signature.Lawmakers will now shift their focus to a $6.3 billion budget proposed for the next two years.
Maine energy officials say the statewide average cash price for No. 2 heating oil is $3.85 per gallon, up 2 cents from last week. The Governor’s Energy Office also says the average kerosene price increased 2 cents, to $4.32 per gallon. Prices for propane price increased 4 cents, to $2.78 a gallon over the week. The government’s Energy Information Administration says a combination of a significant increase in crude oil prices, combined with some unexpected refinery outages in January, have caused the sharp heating oil and gasoline price increases.
Portland police arrested a man after a bank robbery Tuesday.Joseph Blais, 49, of Portland was wearing the clothes described by a teller at the Key Bank that was robbed about ten minutes earlier.According to police when he was searched officers found one thousand dollars wrapped in a bank band along with the other evidence linking him to the bank robberyOfficers arrested Blais and took him to the Cumberland County Jail