OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Police arrest man sought for assault in Westbrook

A man wanted by Westbrook police for an alleged assault was arrested here Friday night.

Westbrook police said they wanted Rickey Walker, 26, in connection with an assault in an apartment building parking lot in the northwest part of the city early Thursday.

Police said in a press release that a Facebook update about Walker led to several tips on his whereabouts and resulted in the arrest.

Police allege that Walker beat a 42-year-old man in the apartment building parking lot and inflicted serious head and face injuries. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to a local hospital.

Police provided no updates on the victim’s condition.

The beating, police said, appeared to be unprovoked.

Old Orchard Beach police arrested Walker on Friday night and took him to the Cumberland County Jail, where he was being held on a charge of aggravated assault.

Officials at the jail said Walker is being held in lieu of $5,000 cash bail. 

BRUNSWICK

Bowdoin awards degrees at 205th commencement

Bowdoin College awarded 454 degrees Saturday at its 205th commencement.

The speakers included U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District.

Of the 454 graduates, 50 are from Maine. In all, students come from 40 states and 16 foreign countries.

Honorary doctorates were awarded to educator Joan Countryman; financier J. Taylor Crandall; economist Michael McPherson; and neuroscientist Eve Marder.

AUGUSTA

Baldacci urges Maine voters to support tax reform law

Gov. John Baldacci is voicing his support for Maine’s new tax reform law that Mainers will vote on in an upcoming referendum.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, the governor said the tax change has been called the “Maine Miracle.”

The law, which has not gone into effect, lowers Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent. But it also broadens the existing sales tax to dozens of items that are now exempt and raises the meals and lodging tax.

Mainers will vote June 8 on a question asking if they want to keep or do away with the law. A “yes” vote favors repealing the law, while a “no” vote favors retaining it.

Baldacci said a “no” vote will result in lower taxes for Maine residents.

BARNSTABLE, Mass.

Dire red tide predictions well off the mark — so far

Dire predictions of widespread red tide outbreaks this spring have so far proven wrong.

State and federal officials warned in February that massive blooms of the toxic algae could close shellfish beds from Maine to Cape Cod this spring and summer.

But Massachusetts’ top shellfish biologist told the Cape Cod Times there’s “nothing going on.” Michael Hickey says coastal monitoring and research cruises in the Gulf of Maine and Massachusetts Bay are showing only low levels of red tide.

Officials were concerned after fall surveys showed high levels of the red tide algae cysts that seed the next year’s bloom. But a big problem hasn’t materialized.

Hickey said there’s a chance of big blooms later this year. But he said he always feels better if Memorial Day weekend passes without major problems.

DURHAM, N.H.

Northeast apparently avoids influx of tree-eating bugs

A search for tree-eating insects in more than 200 vacation homes and campgrounds in the Northeast hasn’t detected any spread of the bugs, which usually stow away in firewood carried out of state.

But forestry officials say that doesn’t mean the danger of the Asian longhorned beetle or the Emerald Ash Borer has passed. The beetle has devastated trees in Worcester, Mass., and surrounding communities.

The Emerald Ash Borer has destroyed millions of ash trees in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic region.

New Hampshire forest entomologist Kyle Lombard says the best way to ensure no insects are moved is to leave firewood at home and buy local firewood at recreational destinations.

Eighteen federal and state forestry agencies from Maine to Pennsylvania participated in the project.

For more information go online to www.dontmovefirewood.org.