Regional News

Jurors to see More Explicit Images During Prostitution Trial

Updated 2 years ago

Weather permitting, jurors in the trial of a Maine man accused of helping a Zumba instructor engage in prostitution will see more sexually explicit images in the high-profile trial. Jurors were to view a couple of videotapes on Thursday, a day after they saw more than two dozen explicit photos and a video that showed the fitness instructor performing a striptease inside her studio. But the court schedule depends on the severity of a winter storm Wednesday night. Mark Strong Sr. faces 13 counts related to promotion of prostitution. Prosecutors said he made screen-grab snapshots from live Skype sessions he had with Alexis Wright while she engaged in sex for money. Both have pleaded not guilty. Wright will be tried later.

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Zumba Prostitution Trial Continues

Updated 2 years ago

Jurors in the Mark Strong Senior prostitution trial viewed sexually explicit photos and video in court on Wednesday.Prosecutors say the images taken during live Skype sessions between Strong and Alexis Wright show money changing hands, and prove Strong knew Wright was involved in prostitution.She’s accused of doing that at her Kennebunk dance studio.Strong’s on trial for promoting prostitution.Strong’s lawyers say he had an affair with Wright and helped her launch her Zumba studio but knew nothing about prostitution taking place.

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Chelsea Man Arrested for Alleged Probation Violations

Updated 2 years ago

A Maine man on the state’s sex offender registry has been arrested for allegedly violating conditions of probation by having prohibited contact with a minor. Bath police say 32-year-old Jeffrey Pope of Chelsea was arrested Monday at a female friend’s apartment. Police tell The Times Record, the friend has two children under the age of 14. Chief Michael Field said there is no evidence of a sex crime, but it was “clear from his probation conditions that he was not allowed to have contact” with anyone under 16. The Maine Sex Offender Registry lists Pope with nine convictions for gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor. Pope is being held without bail at Two Bridges Regional Jail.

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Wilton Police Investigating Battery Thefts

Updated 2 years ago

Wilton police are investigating the thefts of batteries out of vehicles and heavy equipment at two separate sites in town. Chief Heidi Wilcox says batteries were taken from a tractor, a generator and another piece of equipment from the town’s wastewater treatment plant either Monday night or early Tuesday morning. She tells the Sun Journal, that batteries were also taken from two skidders at a logging site the same night. It is unclear whether the thefts are connected, but she says there have been similar thefts recently in Farmington and Jay. Anyone with information about the thefts, or who sees suspicious activity, is asked to contact police.

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Temporary Closure of I-295 Exit in Yarmouth

Updated 2 years ago

Maine motorists will get more details about the planned, temporary closing of an exit ramp along Interstate 295 in southern Maine. The state Department of Transportation on Wednesday will unveil detailed plans for the project on the I-295 Exit 15 in Yarmouth, scheduled to begin in March. Of particular interest to motorists is the temporary closing of the northbound Exit 15, alternative routes, and the installation of temporary traffic lights at the Exit 10 and Exit 17 northbound off-ramps. During a news briefing Wednesday, MaineDOT Project Manager Ernie Martin will also discuss plans for the new I-295 Exit 15 on-ramp and a new park and ride commuter lot in Yarmouth.

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Heating Oil Sheds Two Cents From Last Week

Updated 2 years ago

Home heating oil prices dropped by an average of 2 cents a gallon over the past week.The governor’s energy office says the average price is now $3.83.Kerosene fell a penny a gallon to $4.30.Propane is now averaging $2.82 a gallon, up 4 cents from last week.

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New Bill Could Change Jury Duty Laws for Seniors

Updated 2 years ago

Mainers who are 70 and older could opt out of jury duty if a bill before lawmakers passes.Sponsor representative Windol Weaver says health issues can make it tough for seniors to serve.He says there’s no need to add stress to their lives by requiring them to be on juries. Weaver says twenty-eight other states allow jury duty exemptions based on age.

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Judge Refuses to Throw Out Remaining Charges in Prostitution Scandal

Updated 2 years ago

The judge in a prostitution case being tried in southern Maine has refused a request to throw out the thirteen remaining counts against Mark Strong, Senior of Thomaston.He’s accused of helping Alexis Wright use her dance studio in Kennebunk as a front for prostitution.Strong’s lawyers asked for the case to be dropped, claiming prosecutors have repeatedly missed deadlines for handing over materials, but Justice Nancy Mills refused to do that: so Strong’s trial continues.Wright will be tried later.

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No Charges Filed in Bath Home Explosion

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Red Cross Reaches Out for Blood Donors

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Wardens Prepare to Continue Search for Snowmobilers

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Sabattus Man gets $1.5 Million in Traffic Crash Lawsuit

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Norway Man Killed and a Woman Injured in Head on Crash

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Third Man to be Sentenced in Krista Dittmeyer Case

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Proposed Bill Offers Tax Break to Electric Car Users

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Colby Celebrates 200th Anniversary

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Mark Strong Prostitution Trial Continues

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Deering Students to Perform Play Based on the Labor Mural

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Testimony Resumes in Prostitution Case

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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Mark Strong Lawyers Attack Integrity of Lead Investigator

Updated 2 years ago

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.

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