The state Department of Environmental Protection has reissued a construction permit to the Oxford Casino, six months after a Kennebec County Superior Court found that the state had violated its own permitting rules in granting a permit in 2011. The Androscoggin River Alliance and several abutters argued that the state was required to consider all three phases of the proposed casino project when issuing the permit, but only considered Phase I – the 65,000-square-foot casino and parking lot. The court agreed. The Sun Journal reports that the newly reviewed land use and construction permit was signed by DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho on Tuesday. Casino developers want to expand the gambling facility, and add parking, restaurants, a spa, a pool, a conference center, an RV Park and a skating rink.
The Portland Police Department is warning the public about a bicycle-riding purse snatcher. Police say at least five times in the past month a bicyclist who appears to be out of control comes into contact with the victim, grabs her purse, and then pedals away. The two latest thefts occurred Monday night. Several attempts were unsuccessful with the rider yelling “sorry” in what investigators think is an attempt to make the contact appear accidental. In every incident, the suspect was described as a white man, with an average build and shoulder length brown hair, wearing dark clothing, and riding a dark-colored bicycle. All the thefts have occurred in the same general area and all between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Federal prosecutors say a Bath man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. Authorities say 61-year-old Joseph Finocchiaro pleaded guilty Wednesday. Prosecutors say in October investigators executed a search warrant at Finocchiaro’s home and seized several collages made from printed photographs of child pornography. Finocchiaro printed the images from an internet photo-sharing website and assembled them into the collages. Finocchiaro faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing was not immediately scheduled.
A school in Portland, Maine, has formed a relationship with a school in China. Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, Maine’s third public charter school, has established ties and will begin a long-term cooperative learning agreement with Lanxi No.1 High School in the Province of Zhejiang, China. The relationship aims to promote program development focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, while enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two institutions. Baxter Academy Executive Director John Jaques says the relationship will allow the academy to diversify its science-technology focused curriculum while strengthening intercultural exchange between students, school communities and teachers. Classes at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science are scheduled to begin Sept. 3.
Central Maine Power Company began work this week on a new electric transmission line between Portland and Westbrook. The $3 million project will replace an existing 3 Â½-mile line between substations near Morrill’s Corner in Portland and near Prides Corner in Westbrook. The work is part of CMP’s plan to spend nearly $400 million in 2013 to expand and modernize its system. CMP’s John Carroll says some of the equipment being replaced dates back to the 1920s. He says the new line will ensure continued reliability. The new line will be put up in the existing corridor, using slightly taller wood poles and higher capacity conductors. The line will continue to operate at 34,500 volts, but it’s designed to operate at higher voltage if more capacity is needed later.
A rare 148-year-old baseball card discovered at a rural Maine yard sale has been auctioned for $92,000. The card depicting the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club drew plenty of interest Wednesday night, starting with an opening bid of $10,000 and quickly rising to $92,000, which included an 18-percent premium. The name of the buyer was not released by Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford. The card isn’t the same as a modern-day baseball card, which became common in the 1880s. Rather, it’s an original photograph from 1865 mounted on a card, showing nine players and a manager. The Library of Congress said last month it was aware of only two copies of the photo. The other is in the institution’s collection.
Investigators are looking to interview a man they say may have information that could help determine the cause of an apartment fire in Augusta last week.Sgt. Ken Grimes with the Fire Marshal’s office says a man left the building on Penobscot Street and got into a green Subaru five to ten minutes before the fire was reported.Anyone with information is asked to call the state Fire Marshal’s office at 626-3870.
Home heating oil went up a couple cents a gallon this past week.The governor’s energy office says the average price in Maine is now $3.76 a gallon.Kerosene jumped a dime a gallon to $4.24. Propane prices fell a penny from last week to $2.71.
The parent company of Hannaford and five other supermarket chains is laying off 350 corporate employees in Maine and two other states.Delhaize America says it’s cutting jobs to cut costs.Delhaize has more than 1,500 grocery stores.A company spokesman says most of the layoffs are at corporate offices in Scarborough and Salisbury, North Carolina.
Police have arrested an Auburn man who led officers on a car chase through two counties that ended in a crash. Police say 27-year-old Kenneth Dunn was driving west on Route 121 at 5:40 a.m. Tuesday when he was clocked going 65 miles per hour in a 35 zone in Minot. When police caught up to Dunn’s car, instead of pulling over, he sped up. The Sun Journal, reports that Dunn was later spotted in Oxford driving 70 miles per hour. Officers eventually caught up to Dunn after he crashed into a stone wall. He was unharmed. He was charged with eluding a police officer and criminal speed. He was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail where he was held on $1,000 cash bail.
The Maine Warden Service announced this afternoon that Major Gregory Sanborn, the second in command of the Maine Warden Service, passed away after a long battle with a rare form of cancer.Sanborn, a native of Fryeburg, was 47-years-old.He had been with the Warden service for 23 years.
AARP is offering free help with tax returns.This is the 46th year for the group’s tax-aide program for low to moderate income taxpayers.For more information call 1-888-AARP-NOW, or log on to the AARP website.
The Maine Supreme Court has upheld a 45-year prison sentence for a man who admitted to shooting two men to death in Rumford.Eric Hamel, 22, challenged the sentence, saying he shouldn’t have received a sentence that’s longer than that of his co-conspirators. Maine’s highest court rejected his appeal on Tuesday, saying the differences among the three sentences reflect the differences in conduct.Prosecutors say Hamel shot and killed Victor Reed Sheldon and Roger Leroy Day Junior in August 2009. Richard Moulton was sentenced to 40 years after pleading guilty to two counts of murder for his role in the killings. Moulton’s girlfriend was sentenced to 15 years for helping to plan the killings.
A judge has sentenced a man convicted of murdering the mother of his children and a longtime friend in New Gloucester nearly two years ago.Joel Hayden of New Bedford, Mass. was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday. He shot Renee Sandora and Trevor Mills in the head in July 2011 at Sandora’s home in New Gloucester.During his trial, prosecutors said Hayden thought Mills and Sandora were having a relationship and killed them out of jealousy.Hayden and Sandora’s 7-year-old son witnessed the murders and testified against his father.The prosecution is asking for life in prison. The defense is asking for 50 years.Several family members of Sandora and Mills spoke at the sentencing, calling Hayden a coward and a monster.
The Portland City Council has voted unanimously to ban smoking public parks and city-owned open spaces. The ban takes effect on March 6. City Councilor Edward Suslovic says the ban approved 7-0 on Monday is aimed at protecting the health of nonsmokers and is not to punish smokers. Smoking is already prohibited within 20 feet of playgrounds, beaches and athletic fields. The ban does not apply to sidewalks and streets. A first offense will bring a warning, but violating the rules a second time can result in a $50 fine. Several people spoke out against the ban, saying the city should put more effort and money into smoking cessation programs.
A Livermore Falls woman prosecutors say offered $4,000 to burn down her convenience store so she could collect the insurance money has pleaded guilty. Erica Poland-Rolfe was sentenced Monday to serve 90 days of a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated criminal mischief. Prosecutors say she offered money to burn down the JP Corner Store in Livermore Falls in July 2011 so she could collect the insurance money and open a day care center. The Sun Journal, reports that Nicole Hennessy of Wilton also pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated criminal mischief. Prosecutors say she supplied the gasoline and acted as a lookout for a man who unsuccessfully tried to burn the store. Sentencing is scheduled for March. The man who tried to burn the building has been convicted.
The assistant coach of the women’s ice hockey team at Bowdoin College is out on bail after crashing her car into a campus building and being charged with drunken driving. Police charged 24-year-old Holly Lorms after her sport utility vehicle left the road, hit a utility pole and crashed into Stanley Druckenmiller Hall on Sunday evening. Brunswick Police Chief Richard Rizzo said there was minor damage to the building but that the impact was enough to deploy air bags. Lorms, who was released Monday on bail, didn’t immediately respond to a message. A Bowdoin College spokesman declined to comment, saying it was a personnel matter. Lorms joined the Bowdoin staff in August. The 2011 Boston University graduate was captain of her team, which finished second in the NCAA Division I.
For those of you who want to know more about the inner workings of Maine’s state government, MPBN has your answer.Maine Capitol Connection is a new free TV channel, kind of like C-Span, that will show House and Senate coverage, hearings, news conferences and State House events.It hits the airwaves Tuesday morning on the sub-stations of Maine Public Broadcasting.The station will also air on Time Warner and they hope to have other cable systems joining in.
The annual Maine Manufactured Housing Show was held at the Augusta Civic Center through the weekend.More than 30 vendors took part in this year’s event.Many of them say, after a tough couple of years, business is bouncing back.Their products are particularly popular with young families and retirees, looking to downsize.”They want comfort, they want convenience, they certainly want energy efficiency and rather than try to streamline an old home, often times its easier to come here, make a choice of a home that will satisfy their needs,” said Bob Cole of America’s Best Show.Organizers expected more than 5,000 people to attend the three-day event.
Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are co-sponsoring a bill intended to create more businesses.They want to expand historically underutilized business zones, known as hubzones.They’re located on former US military bases.