Regional News

Lawyer Fighting Names Release in Kennebunk Prostitution Case

Updated 2 years ago

A lawyer isn’t giving up on trying to stop the release of names of men accused of giving business to a fitness instructor charged with running a prostitution operation out of her Zumba studio in Kennebunk, Maine. A state judge declined to stop the release of names but a lawyer was filing an appeal Friday. Kennebunk Police Lt. Anthony Burpee said law enforcement officials were awaiting word from the courts. Alexis Wright has pleaded not guilty to prostitution, invasion of privacy and other charges for allegedly accepting money for sex and secretly videotaping her encounters. Her business partner also has pleaded not guilty. Kennebunk police have been issuing summons to Wright’s johns and originally planned to release the first names of suspected clients on Friday. Lawyer Stephen Schwartz is appealing and is also asking permission to take the case to superior court.

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Jay Police Investigate Copper Theft

Updated 2 years ago

Jay police are investigating the theft of about $5,000 in used and new copper from the North Jay Water District building. Cpl. Jeffrey Fournier told the Sun Journal, on Thursday that the burglary is believed to have occurred Monday night or early Tuesday. The copper was reported missing Wednesday morning. New rolled copper and an assortment of fittings and some used copper were among the items taken. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone who has information on the break-in is asked to call Jay police.

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Lawyer Files Motion to Block Release of Names in Kennebunk Prostitution Case

Updated 2 years ago

A lawyer for two alleged clients of a Maine woman accused of running a prostitution business out of her Zumba dance studio in Kennebunk has filed a motion to block the release of names of the men suspected as her clients. Stephen Schwartz told The Associated Press he filed the motion in court Thursday, a day before police were expected to release the first batch of names. Alexis Wright, 29, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 106 counts of prostitution, violation of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly providing sex for money at her fitness studio and a nearby office. The man police say was her business partner, 57-year-old Mark Strong Sr., pleaded not guilty to 59 counts of promotion of prostitution and violation of privacy. Schwartz tells the AP that the release of the names has the potential to ruin people’s reputations, families and businesses and to prejudice any potential jury. The Portland Press Herald first reported the filing of the motion.

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Republican Caucus to be Held to Select Replacement Candidate for District 59 House Race

Updated 2 years ago

Republicans in the Gardiner-Randolph area will select a Maine House of Representatives candidate to replace Daniel Bates, who has died. Party officials will hold a caucus Friday evening. Bates, who was 61, was to have faced Gay Grant, the Democratic candidate in the District 59 race. Bates died Sept. 29 of an apparent heart attack. The House seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Stephen Hanley of Gardiner, who can’t seek re-election because of term limits. The Kennebec Journal in Augusta, says Friday’s caucus will be held in Gardiner City Council Chambers.

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Maine’s Senate Candidates to Debate Foreign Policy

Updated 2 years ago

Maine’s US Senate Candidates will debate foreign policy Thursday night.The Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations is sponsoring the debate.All three major candidates are scheduled to attend.It begins at six at the Camden Opera House.There’s no admission fee.Doors open at five.

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New Hampshire Fisherman Guilty of Assaulting USCG Officer

Updated 2 years ago

A New Hampshire fisherman has been convicted of assaulting a Coast Guardsman who had boarded his vessel after he was found operating in a restricted area off Maine’s coast. Federal prosecutors say 53-year-old Scott Jellison of Derry, N.H. was convicted by a jury Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. Authorities say Jellison’s vessel was operating in an area closed to civilians in November 2010 because of a U.S. Navy SEALs training exercise. Coast Guard officers boarded Jellison’s boat. Jellison said his navigation equipment was broken, but the Coast Guard checked and found it worked. Coast Guard officers concluded Jellison was intoxicated. Authorities say Jellison assaulted a Coast Guard officer and resisted attempts to subdue him. Jellison faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine at sentencing.

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Drivers in Portland Warned of Zombie Danger

Updated 2 years ago

Drivers may have gotten a chuckle out of an electronic message board in Maine warning of zombies, but city officials were not amused. The sign at a Portland road construction site was changed by a hacker to read “Warning Zombies Ahead!” on Wednesday morning. It originally read “Night work 8 pm-6 am. Expect delays.” City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg says the signs are a safety precaution and changing it could have led to driver distraction. She tells The Portland Press Herald, tampering with a safety device is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She says it’s not clear who changed the sign, but it’s not the first time it has happened.

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Former Auburn Music Teacher Sex Conviction Appeal Rejected

Updated 2 years ago

A federal appeals court has rejected the appeal of a former Auburn music teacher convicted of inappropriately touching a young girl. James Raymond Jr. was convicted in 2010 of two felony counts of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity and sentenced to 12 years on prison. Authorities say he drove the 11-year-old girl and her 9-year-old sister to a New Hampshire amusement park in 2007 and touched the older girl for sexual gratification. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Thursday rejected his appeal. The 31-year-old Raymond’s lawyer said in the appeal that, among other things, the trial judge improperly admitted evidence and didn’t allow proper cross-examination of a police investigator. The Sun Journal, reports that the appeals court rejected those arguments.

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Man Injured in Potato Conveyor Accident in Mapleton

Updated 2 years ago

Maine State Police say a 22-year-old Mars Hill man is in the hospital with injuries from an accident involving a machine that moves potatoes into storage bins. Police say Gregory Cousins was working at County Farms LLC potato house in Mapleton Wednesday morning when his clothing became caught in a bin piler, a machine that moves potatoes from a truck to storage bins. The accident caused asphyxiation around Cousins’ neck. Cousins was taken to Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, where he remained Wednesday evening. Police credit quick actions of Cousins’ co-workers for getting him cut loose from the machine.

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Boat Involved in Fatal Collision off Little John Island Seized

Updated 2 years ago

The Maine Marine Patrol has seized a 39-foot cabin cruiser as part of a criminal probe into a fatal boat collision. The seizure was based in part on statements from witnesses who said the boat appeared to speed up and change course just before the collision with a small aluminum skiff off Littlejohn Island in Yarmouth on Sept. 21. The Portland Press Herald, reports that according to court documents, a witness said it appeared the larger vessel tried to overtake the skiff. The skiff’s operator, 63-year-old Charles Whetham, died. The larger boat was being operated by its owner, who has addresses in Scarborough and Foxborough, Mass. The Marine Patrol filed a search warrant in Cumberland County Court indicating that it had seized the cabin cruiser and its contents.

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Former NFL Comissioner Supports Same-Sex Marriage in Maine

Updated 2 years ago

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his family are giving 50-thousand dollars in support of the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine.The family spends summers near Boothbay Harbor.Tagliabue says his son and his son’s partner have been together for twenty years.He served as NFL Commissioner for seventeen years, retiring in 2006.

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Arrest Made in Connection with Gunfire at Lewiston Apartment Complex

Updated 2 years ago

Police have made in arrest in connection with gunfire at a Lewiston apartment complex last week. Police and federal agents arrested 27-year-old Tyone Jones, originally of Brooklyn, N.Y., in Turner on Tuesday and charged him with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. No one was hurt as a result of the gunfire last Friday at the River Valley Village apartments, but residents say they were rattled. Witnesses tell the Sun Journal, it appeared bullets hit the side of an apartment building and struck a nearby trash bin. The motive for the shooting is under investigation, and police say there may be more arrests.. Jones was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail.

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State Trooper Recognized for Stopping Man Driving the Wrong Way

Updated 2 years ago

A Maine state trooper is being recognized for his quick thinking when he stopped an elderly man who was driving the wrong way on a Portland interstate highway at the beginning of rush hour. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is presenting a “congressional statement” Wednesday to Trooper Douglas Cropper. Officials say Cropper used his cruiser to stop an elderly driver who was heading north in the southbound lane of Interstate 295 on June 29. Cropper raced ahead of the wrong-way driver and pulled in front of him so his car crashed into the cruiser and came to a stop before he could crash into oncoming motorists. In her statement to Congress, Pingree said Cropper put his life on the line to prevent what could have been a terrible tragedy.

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Auburn Residents Urge to Boil Tap Water Before Using

Updated 2 years ago

Some residents of Auburn are being urged to boil their tap water before using it for cooking or drinking after a water main break sent millions of gallons gushing into the street. The break Monday afternoon was caused by a construction crew that hit the 16-inch water pipe while preparing for the upcoming installation of a gas main. Water District Superintendent John Storer said the break on Court Street occurred near Russell Avenue drained about three million gallons in an hour. Residents witnessed a geyser for part of that time. As of Monday evening, about 30 area homes were still without water and residents were urged to boil their water until further notice.

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National Medical Car Sticker Program Coming to Gorham and Westbrook

Updated 2 years ago

A nationwide program that places yellow stickers on the back windows of vehicles to indicate that an occupant has a medical condition is coming to Maine. The Yellow Dot program is being launched in Gorham and Westbrook and organizers say they would eventually like to see it used throughout Cumberland County, and eventually the entire state. The purpose is to help emergency responders treat accident victims who can’t provide information about their medical conditions or the medications they’re taking. The yellow dots indicate that the medical information is in the car’s glove box. Gorham police Officer Ted Hatch became aware of the program last year after USA Today published an article about its growing popularity. He tells The Portland Press Herald, the program could save lives.

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Three Senate Candidates to Debate in Portland

Updated 2 years ago

Three U.S. Senate candidates are squaring off for the first time in three weeks. Republican Charlie Summers, Democrat Cynthia Dill and independent Angus King are appearing at the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly “Eggs and Issues.” Chris Hall, senior vice president for government relations, is moderating Tuesday’s program, which will focus on issues affecting the business community. It’s the first time Dill, King and Summers have faced each other in a debate since Sept. 17 in Lewiston. King has accused Summers of ducking debates, but Summers says there are plenty of debates between now and the election.

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Arraignment Scheduled for Wells Woman Involved in Prostitution Case

Updated 2 years ago

A 29-year-old fitness instructor is being arraigned on charges she ran a prostitution business out of her Kennebunk Zumba studio and secretly filmed her encounters. Alexis Wright of Wells is due in a Portland courtroom on Tuesday on 109 counts including prostitution and tax evasion charges. Mark Strong Sr., a 57-year-old insurance agent and Wright’s alleged business partner, is also being arraigned on 59 counts of promoting prostitution, invasion of privacy and conspiracy. Police say they found video footage of Wright having sex with men who were unaware they were being filmed, and meticulous records suggesting the sex acts could have generated $150,000. Police say they’ll be issuing summonses to Wright’s alleged customers. Strong’s attorney says he’s seen a list of about 150 customers, some of whom are well-known.

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Hit & Run Turns Deadly in Auburn

Updated 2 years ago

Police are asking for witnesses and the public’s help in solving a deadly hit-and-run from late Friday night.Russell Frechette, 31, of Auburn was struck by a newer model tan-colored pickup truck under the train trestle on Turner Street around 10:20 p.m. Friday, investigators said.Police are trying to determine if Frechette fell off of the trestle prior to being struck by the truck.According to a witness, the truck did not stop after striking Frechette. Frechette died from injuries earlier Saturday at Central Maine Medical Center.Police are asking anyone who might have been in the area at the time of the accident or may have information regarding the accident to call the Auburn Police Department at 333-6650.

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Maine Huts and Trails to Open Fourth Overnight Hut

Updated 2 years ago

An organization that’s developing a backcountry network of huts along 180 miles of trails in Maine’s western mountains is opening the fourth of 12 lodges that are planned for the trails. Maine Huts and Trails says the Stratton Brook Hut is opening Dec. 21 in Carrabassett Valley, with views of both the valley and Sugarloaf Mountain. The hut will have 10 rooms and be able to sleep up to 44 people. The planned 180-mile hut-to-hut trail is open for hikers, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Each shelter has a main lodge, rooms with beds, hot showers and home-cooked meals. So far, Maine Huts has developed 50 miles of trails with three huts.

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Crisis Highlights Running Dispute Over US Fish Law

Updated 2 years ago

The law that governs the nation’s fisheries was passed 36 years ago to oust foreign boats from U.S. waters. Today, New England fishermen wonder if it will soon oust them. The fishermen face colossal cuts in their 2013 catch limits, and lawmakers are pushing $100 million in aid to sustain the fleet. Among the causes of the fishermen’s strife are certain controversial mandates of the fishery law. One is a 10-year timeline for rebuilding a species. Critics say it’s unscientific and puts needless pressure on fishermen. But environmentalists say some deadline is essential, or fish recovery will be endlessly delayed. Also, the law now requires an immediate end to overfishing, forcing steep cuts fishermen say they won’t survive. But environmentalists say the practice of phasing in needed cuts wasn’t working.

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