PORTLAND

Jury finds convict guilty of having guns, growing pot

An Eliot man has been convicted in federal court of illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and growing marijuana.

David Widi, 27, was found guilty by a jury in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, according to U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby.

Authorities searched Widi’s home on the Harold Dow Highway on Nov. 28, 2008, and found seven guns, 2,773 rounds of ammunition and 17 marijuana plants. The apartment was upstairs from a day-care center.

According to a court affidavit, informants told police that Widi had a motion sensor and a surveillance camera mounted on the building, and that he was stockpiling weapons and had said he was “ready for war” and “preparing for the end of the world.”

Widi, a 2001 Marshwood High School graduate, was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a conviction for reckless conduct in 2004.

The investigation was part of Maine’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative to reduce gun violence and illegal gun possession, Silsby said in a press release. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Eliot police, state police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

GARDINER

Merrill Lynch to pay state $400,000 to settle claims

Maine securities regulators say Merrill Lynch will pay the state $400,000 to resolve claims that the brokerage allowed some of its associates to sell securities without being properly registered.

A national investigation beginning in 2008 concluded that Merrill Lynch failed to adequately supervise its client associates, who act as sales assistants and administrative support personnel for Merrill Lynch’s financial advisers.

The investigation showed that Merrill Lynch’s supervisory system was not reasonably designed to ensure that its client associates complied with registration requirements.

Nationally, the company will pay $26.5 million in agreements to settle claims of unregistered selling.

LEWISTON

Police: Man robbed 4 storesin Twin Cities in one night

Police have arrested a man who is suspected of robbing four stores in one night.

Three of the robberies occurred at convenience stores in Lewiston.

Police say a surveillance camera captured the final robbery, at a Big Apple store in Auburn, and shows Rodney Morant holding a knife and struggling with a store clerk.

Police arrested Morant a short time later, after chasing him from the store.

MONMOUTH

Theater gets $75,000 grant to help renovation efforts

A new federal grant will move the seasonal Theater at Monmouth closer to a year-round operation, says U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

The $75,000 rural development grant from the Department of Agriculture will help restore a grange hall that’s used as a dining hall and rehearsal space for the resident actors. Because of the high cost to heat it, the building could be used only in the summer.

Renovations that include weatherization and a new foundation mean the building can be kept open all year and used for weddings, receptions and public suppers, said Theater at Monmouth’s producing director, David Greenham.

Greenham said the project also moves forward a plan to establish the theater as a year-round creative center.

FORT KENT

FEMA report examines factors that led to flood

Two years after a flood put Fort Kent under water, planning is under way to mitigate the future flood risk from the St. John River.

This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report that examined factors that led to the flooding in April 2008.

The flood was caused by snowmelt that combined with 3 inches of rain. The earthen levee protecting downtown Fort Kent from the St. John held, but the Fish Fiver spilled its banks at the confluence with the St. John. Six hundred people had to be evacuated from Fort Kent.

John Bannen, director of planning and economic development, told the Bangor Daily News that FEMA’s report is a starting point for further discussions to mitigate flood risks.

BANGOR

Council panel considers allowing pot dispensaries

City officials have held their first discussion on where a marijuana dispensary should operate.

The Bangor Daily News said a City Council committee met Tuesday to consider allowing dispensaries in most zones with certain exceptions, such as keeping them a reasonable distance from schools. Assistant City Solicitor Paul Nicklas said any state restriction would trump city restrictions.

In November, voters approved the law that expands Maine’s medical marijuana law. It allows retail dispensaries where patients can legally buy pot with doctors’ prescriptions.

Some councilors, such as chairman Richard Stone, oppose to the idea and suggested that Bangor consider a six-month moratorium, as other communities have done.