Police are investigating the attempted abduction of a worker at Range Ponds State Park in Poland, Maine. The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department says a woman was working the booth at the main gate when she said a motorist attempted to pull her into his van before driving away. The employee described the van as a rust-colored 1980s van with square headlights and no rear license plate. Police say the event was reported Saturday afternoon.
A judicial appointment for a top aide to Gov. Paul LePage is among more than 70 nominations by the governor that lawmakers are set to take up this week. Daniel Billings is a longtime Republican activist and chief legal counsel to LePage. He faces a review by the Judiciary Committee and a confirmation vote by the Senate to be a District Court judge. Committees will review 72 nominees for judicial appointments and reappointments and other state boards, commissions and executive posts on Tuesday and Wednesday before making recommendations to the Senate, which will hold confirmation votes Thursday. Also among the nominees are Col. James Campbell as defense, veterans and emergency management commissioner, and former Conservation Commissioner William Beardsley to the Board of Education.
Ski resort operators in northern New England are looking past their zip lines and water parks to the winter ahead and like what they see: The pent-up demand for skiing after last year’s snow drought is producing brisk sales of early-bird season passes. New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain reports sales up 20 percent over last year. Maine’s Sunday River reports season pass sales are up 10 percent from last year. Vermont’s Magic Mountain in the month of April sold half of last year’s total season pass sales. But winter revenues are no longer the make-it-or-break-it barometer for New England resorts, which pioneered summer attractions like zip lines, water parks and mountain coasters. Moose tours at Maine ski areas are in the mix as well.
A former GOP state committeewoman who was rebuked for challenging the election of Maine’s Ron Paul delegates says Paul’s supporters have no interest in hearing her side of the story. The state committee met Saturday in Waterville to approve several resolutions attacking Jan Staples, a long-time GOP activist and member of the national and state rules committees. Jonathan Pfaff, who helped draft the resolutions, said the votes put the committee on record as saying the state convention elections were run fairly. But Staples told The Associated Press on Sunday that there were multiple problems at the state convention and that she was obligated to point them out. She said Paul supporters in Maine are fired up but that there’s “a lot of passion and not a lot of wisdom.”
Police say a Rhode Island man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and felony drunken driving following a crash that claimed the life of his passenger in Biddeford, Maine. Biddeford police say 20-year-old Anthony Ciccone of Pepperell, Mass., was killed when the Ford Explorer crashed into a utility pole early Sunday. Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk says the driver, 20-year-old Christopher M. Bennett of Johnston, R.I., was booked into the York County Jail on $300,000 bailafter being treated at a hospital. Police say the episode unfolded when two men suspected of being intoxicated tried to force their way into a dorm room at the University of New England and then drove away, at one point hitting 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. Fisk says Bennett and Ciccone were visiting friends at UNE.
It’s news that has shocked Mainers. A 10 year-old girl charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a three month-old baby from Clinton.Authorities say she is the youngest person to be charged with manslaughter in Maine in at least the past 25 years.Police say the mother of Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway left her baby in the care of friend and co-worker, 30 year-old Amanda Huard of Fairfield, July 7th.Huard called 911 later that night to report the child was not breathing and unresponsive.Brooklyn later died at a local hospital.For now, the case is proceeding against the ten year old, but the baby’s mother wants more done.”She neglected my daughter. She allowed abuse to my daughter. She never went and checked on her. I was told that she had been crying quite a bit which was unusual, but still never went to check on her. Those are the biggest questions are why? Why would any person not check on a 3 month old if they’re crying?” “Obviously I’m not going to speculate about who exactly will be charged in connection with the case, but, I can tell you my office is reviewing all the evidence in the case to determine if any other charges are appropriate.”Greenaway says the 10 year-old is Amanda Huard’s daughter, and authorities told her Brooklyn had been suffocated, had bruises on her body and had ingested medication used to treat Attention-Deficit Disorder.Police are not releasing the name the 10-year-old — she’s in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.She’s expected to appear in juvenile court in October.In Maine, the juvenile justice system is geared toward rehabilitation. The maximum punishment for a child is incarceration until age 21.
Maine is getting 2.7 million dollars as part of a nationwide settlement with the drug company Johnson & Johnson.Maine and 33 other states claim Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, improperly marketed certain anti-psychotic drugs.The drug company is paying out 181 million dollars. It’s believed to be the largest multi-state consumer protection settlement ever.
If you are on Mainecare, the state’s version of Medicaid, and you want to quit smoking, it’s going to cost you.A new law took effect Thursday that eliminates all funding for prescription drugs that help people quit smoking.The only exception is for pregnant women.The Maine chapter of the “American Lung Association” says this move is counter-productive and will cost more in medical costs down the road.the “Maine Department of Health and Human Services” says – they cut the duplication and there are still programs out there to help smokers quit.Jim Keithley reports.The struggle to quit smoking just got more difficult for those Mainers on Medicaid.430 thousand dollars was slashed from the smoking cessation program during the last legislative session.It allowed Mainecare recipients to get reimbursed if they chose to go on anti-smoking medications – such as Chantix.”You’re taking one of the most cost-effective services in the Medicaid program, smoking cessation, and you’re eliminating that benefit. It is penny wise and pound foolish.”Ed Miller is with the American Lung Association here in Maine and says the state’s record of helping Mainers quit is outstanding.He says the anti-smoking medications can help avert astronomical medical cost down the road when patients get sick due to smoking-related illnesses.”We’ve got to make some tough decisions and this unfortunately was one of them.”Stefanie Nadeau is the Director of Mainecare Services at the DHHS. She says the 15 thousand people taking part in this program will not be left out in the cold. “There are services available through the Maine Center for Disease Control. There is a quit help line. There is some funding available for nicotine replacement therapy. So there are funds available when individuals do make the decision that they are ready to quit, there are funds still available.” Ed Miller says nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch, inhalers and gum – don’t work to the extent that prescription drugs do.”Really what we should be doing here is making it easier for people to quit smoking if they’re on the Medicaid program if we really want to save money, not make it harder, not put more barriers and not eliminate funding for something as critical as the medications which we know work.”Critics say this decision to cut the smoking cessation program will distinguish Maine as “the only state in the nation” to eliminate Medicaid coverage for prescription drugs that help smokers quit, while proponents say others states will likely follow.
The energy services and technology program at Kennebec Valley Community College just got a big boost.KVCC was awarded a grant for more than $700,000.The program trains students to work on high-efficiency plumbing, heating, ventilation, and cooling systems in buildings.KVCC will use the money to expand the curriculum, as well as form partnerships with career and technical high schools and the University of Maine.
A legislative representative of the Houlton band of Maliseet Indians in Maine is seeking recognition of another band of Maliseets in the Moosehead Lake region.Tribal Representative David Slagger wants state and federal recognition for the Kineo band, also known as the Moosehead Lake Indians, but he’s not likely to get big support from other tribes. Several representatives of federally recognized tribes have expressed concerns that federal resources could be spread thin.
Saco is taking care of a feral cat problem in town once and for all. Officials say animal control officials will be removing feral cats from the Camp Ellis area of the city over the next week. Police Chief Bradley Paul says complaints of feral cats in the area go back at least a decade and the issue has even sparked lawsuits. In the past two years, the feline population has been reduced under a trap, spay-neuter release program led by volunteers from Friends of Feral Felines. But some cats still remain. Paul is urging owners of domesticated cats that go outdoors to make sure they are wearing collars with their name and owner’s address. The trapped feral cats will be taken to a shelter until they can be adopted.
A Scarborough firefighter has been charged with aggravated assault after he was found hiding near a woman lying beaten and unconscious on a Portland street. Eric Gwaro was released on $10,000 bail following his arrest at about 3 a.m. Thursday. Police responding to reports of a fight were directed by witnesses to where Gwaro was hiding. He fled but was caught. Police say he told them he had been chasing the man who committed the assault. The 28-year-old Gwaro tells The Portland Press Herald, that he did not assault the woman, who was hospitalized but is expected to survive. Gwaro has worked as a call firefighter in Scarborough since May. He is also a bartender with a wife and two children.
The public is being invited to speak at a hearing before a panel that’s looking at how Maine’s election process can be improved. The Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine is holding a public hearing at the Portland Public Library on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The five-member panel was appointed in May to study voter participation, the voter registration system and the conduct of elections in Maine. The public hearings are being held so the commission can better understand how Mainers view the state’s voting process and how they think it can be improved. The commission’s first hearing was held last week in Augusta. Additional hearings are planned for Bangor, Farmington, Lewiston, Wells, Presque Isle and Machias. The commission will report to the Legislature by February.
Police have charged two 16-year-old boys in connection with a vandalism spree at a Livermore Falls cemetery. The teens were arrested at about 6 p.m. Tuesday and charged with aggravated criminal mischief in connection with the vandalism at Pleasant View Cemetery early Monday morning. Police say the charge is a felony because damage is estimated at more than $2,000. WMTW-TV, reports that one boy is from Livermore Falls and the other is from Wilton. Their names were not released because of their age. They were released into the custody of their parents. Vandals knocked over headstones, broke lights, flags, and statues. Police do not think anyone else was involved.
A Standish grandmother has been sentenced to four years in jail for setting a string of fires in York and Cumberland counties. Carol Field was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty last week to six counts of arson. Prosecutors say the 66-year-old Field admitted to setting 18 fires in York and Cumberland counties, including at Raymond Hill Baptist Church, at Randall Orchards in Standish, in an abandoned house in Limerick, and at a garage in Limington. No injuries were reported. Prosecutors say when they asked her why she did it she said it was because “nobody cared about her or paid attention to her.” The Portland Press Herald, reports that Field apologized in court. Field was also sentenced to eight years of probation and was ordered to undergo psychological counseling.
A new community health center for Maine’s York County that will serve 6,000 patients a year is scheduled to open in January. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine spoke Monday at the site of the health center in Springvale. Pingree had worked with local officials to secure a $600,000 grant under the Affordable Care Act to help fund the new health center. The facility, located in a three-story building used by the now-defunct Nasson College, will create 21 new fulltime staff jobs. York County Community Action Executive Director Barbara Crider said the new health center will triple the number of people the current health center sees.
Organizers say 40,000-plus people attended the Great State of Maine Air Show over the weekend at Brunswick Executive Airport. Steve Levesque from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority says attendance tracked closely with expectations for the second show since the closing of Brunswick Naval Air Station. Last year, about 25,000 people attended the first post-Navy air show, which was cut short by Hurricane Irene. Levesque says the goal is to showcase the facility and to keep alive the air show tradition started by the Navy, not to make money for the redevelopment effort. He says paid attendance was enough to cover the $800,000 cost of the air show and to provide money to charity. A third air show is already on tap for next year.
It’s been a family tradition since 1888.Photojournalist Mike Cole shares some of the sights and sounds of the Windsor Fair.Parking for the fair is free, and children under the age of 16 also get in for free.Sunday is Children’s Day. Kids get maps of the fairground at 10:00 AM and children with completed maps get goodie bags.For more information, log on to www.windsorfair.com.
Four million dollars in federal money is coming to Maine to improve transportation around Acadia National Park and upgrade ferry service to Isleboro. About three million will be invested in the Acadia Gateway Welcome Center and passenger facility in Trenton.Another million will help fund the design of a ferry to replace the Margaret Chase Smith, which runs between Isleboro and Lincolnville.
A Maine man has been sentenced to two years and eight months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that shipped oxycodone from Florida to Maine through the mail. Steven Granger of Gray was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland after pleading guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Prosecutors say the 47-year-old Granger and two other men took part in the scheme in which oxycodone pills were shipped to Maine and sold by Granger for $25 per pill. The men’s illegal activities were uncovered during routine inspections of Express Mail by a U.S. Postal Service inspector. Granger’s attorney tells the Bangor Daily News, his client got a light sentence because of “extraordinary rehabilitation efforts, his family background (and) his lack of a record.”