PORTLAND

Victim says he thinks Taser was used on him in attack

Police are investigating an attack in the West End on Thursday night that may have involved a Taser.

A man reported that he was walking at Pine and West streets when he was attacked from behind. The man said he heard what sounded like an electric stun gun and felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck, police said.

The man turned and was punched in the face. As he ran away east on Pine Street, he heard what sounded like a gunshot, police said.

Police are looking for three white men, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall, in their early 20s. All were wearing white T-shirts.

A fourth suspect was described as a black man in his early 20s, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 165 pounds, wearing jeans and a blue shirt, police said.

Police ask that anyone who has information call 874-8596.

Chairman to resign, spelling the end of Peaks Island council

Michael Richards, chairman of the Peaks Island Council, has announced that he will resign as of Nov. 1. His decision means the council will effectively dissolve, because four of its seven members have announced that they will quit as of Nov. 1. Three others have decided not to run for re-election.

Even if three people run for the three open seats, the council will not have enough members for a quorum.

Members say they are frustrated that they have been unable to persuade Portland officials to provide adequate public safety on the island and lower the cost of ferry transportation and parking.

Created three years ago after the island’s failed attempt to secede from Portland, the advisory board was seen as way to give islanders a stronger voice in city government.

Richards announced his decision in his “View from the Chair” column in the August issue of the Island Times. He said the council has been a strong advocate for the island but the city has refused to make any meaningful changes to make the island more affordable. He said Peaks Islanders must try something else, such as creating a village corporation or making another attempt to secede from Portland.

Island residents will receive parking subsidy from city

Portland announced Friday that it is offering its island residents a $20 monthly parking subsidy at the Ocean Gateway garage.

As many as 100 year-round island residents will be eligible for the program, which will begin Sept. 1 and run until June 30. The idea came from the Peaks Island Council, in response to the need for more mainland parking for islanders.

To be eligible, an island resident will have to present a copy of his or her driver’s license, showing an island address, to the parking garage’s manager at 167 Fore St. If the address is a post office box, a voter registration will be required.

Island residents who already park in the garage are eligible for the subsidy and must present the same identification.

To continue after June 30, the program will have to go through the city’s budget process.

For more information, call the city’s parking division at 874-8444.

Block party will shut down portion of Baxter Boulevard

Part of Baxter Boulevard will be closed to traffic Sunday for a block party hosted by the Back Cove Neighborhood Association.

The boulevard will be closed from Vannah Avenue to Payson Park to allow people at the event to enjoy the stretch of street without cars whizzing by.

Residents are invited to bring picnics for themselves and bring food to share with their neighbors. The party will begin at noon and end at 3 p.m.

Woman’s body discovered in city’s Harbor View Park

Police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found Friday morning in Harbor View Park, near the base of the Casco Bay Bridge, on the land side of Commercial Street.

Police said they do not suspect anything criminal. They declined to identify the woman, pending the notification of her family members.

Sheriff’s department IDs man found dead in jail cell

The inmate who was found dead in his cell at the Cumberland County Jail on Thursday has been identified as Richard Wiltshire.

The cause of Wiltshire’s death was still unknown Friday but there was no sign of trauma. The state medical examiner says that blood tests are necessary to determine how he died.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said Wiltshire was a 45-year-old transient who was serving a five-day sentence for drinking in public. His body was found at 7:20 a.m. Thursday by corrections officers.

Police withheld the man’s identification until they could notify family members.

GRAY

After standoff, police charge man with burglary, theft

A man from Gray was charged with burglary and theft Friday after a couple woke up before dawn and found a man with a flashlight in their bedroom.

The residents of the home on Northern Oaks Drive discovered the man at 2:46 a.m. Friday. The man ran to a nearby car and drove off, but the couple gave police a description of his small dark sedan. They also found many of their belongings stacked near the front door.

Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies found the car nearby and tried to interview the owner, but he barricaded himself and his girlfriend in his home on Lyons Point Road in Gray.

After a standoff that lasted several hours, Ryan Fogg, 23, surrendered to police. His girlfriend had left the house a short time earlier.

Police charged Fogg with burglary and theft and arrested him on an outstanding burglary warrant stemming from an incident in Portland.

WESTBROOK

Pair of traffic stops yield four drug-related arrests

Westbrook police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested four people on drug charges during two traffic stops Thursday.

Derek Garthe, 22, of Westbrook and Carrie Smith, 20, of Wells were charged with trafficking in scheduled drugs after officers made a traffic stop on Main Street at 8:19 p.m. Police say they found several bags of marijuana, needles and evidence of other drug use in the vehicle.

Garthe and Smith were taken to the Cumberland County Jail, where they were held on $250 cash bail.

During an unrelated traffic stop at 9:43 p.m. on the Westbrook Arterial, police and MDEA officers say they found about 17 grams of crack cocaine on a passenger.

Jessica L. Irish, 19, of Fitchburg, Mass., was charged with trafficking in scheduled drugs. Darrell Nelson, 22, also of Fitchburg, was charged with driving without a license and trafficking in scheduled drugs.

Both were taken to the county jail, where Nelson was held on $50,000 cash bail and Irish’s bail was pending.

BOOTHBAY

Extensive search ends after boy, 9, is discovered safe

A 9-year-old boy was found safe after an all-night search in Boothbay, authorities say.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department says Bradley Clayton was reported missing around 9 p.m. Thursday. He was found Friday morning, not far from where he was last seen.

Officials said Bradley’s family is from Ohio. They have been on vacation in Boothbay and are not familiar with the area.

The Maine Warden Service, the Maine Marine Patrol, the Coast Guard, dogs from the sheriff’s department and others helped search for the boy.

CRANBERRY ISLES

Two hurt in crash as woman drives golf cart off dock

Driver error is to blame for a crash in which two people were injured when they went off the side of a dock in a golf cart, said an official from Little Cranberry Island.

Fire Warden Edgar Blank told the Bangor Daily News that the woman driving the cart stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake just before noon Thursday, sending the cart off the dock and down 15 to 18 feet.

Blank didn’t identify the couple, who are summer residents of the island.

The two were taken by boat to the mainland, then to Mount Desert Hospital in Bar Harbor, where they were reported to be in good condition Friday.

CAPE ELIZABETH

Nomination papers ready for vacancies on town panels

Nomination papers are available for residents who want to run for the Town Council or the School Board.

The seats held by Councilors Frank Governali and Penny Jordan will be open in November, as will the seats held by School Board members Linda Winker and Rebecca Millett. Each of the seats is for a three-year term.

A five-year term on the Portland Water District Board of Trustees is also open. John Brady now holds the seat.

Nomination papers are available at the Town Clerk’s Office. The deadline for returning papers is Sept. 3.

AUGUSTA

Cigarettes sales rise in Maine, decrease in New Hampshire

Cigarette sales are rising in Maine for the first time in more than 20 years, and New Hampshire’s higher cigarette taxes may be one reason why.

According to Maine Revenue Services, the number of cigarette tax stamps sold in Maine during the first six months of 2010 is up about 5 percent over a year ago.

Officials say there are a number of factors – a crackdown on illegal Internet sales, a rise in youth smoking rates and last year’s increase in New Hampshire’s cigarette tax to $1.78 a pack, only 22 cents a pack less than Maine. With New Hampshire no longer the land of cheap cigarettes, more Mainers may be buying their smokes at home rather than going across the border.

New Hampshire officials say cigarettes sales have fallen since the tax hike.

Homeowners, landlords get incentives for weatherizing

Efficiency Maine has offered a $1,000 “bonus” for Maine homeowners who weatherize their homes.

Maine homeowners may now qualify for as much as $5,500 in combined cash incentives and federal tax credits. Homeowners and landlords of all income levels are eligible.

An energy audit is the first step toward installing insulation, air sealing and heating system upgrades and receiving a package of rebates and tax credits.

The bonus was initially announced in June. Homeowners had to complete the work by Aug. 31. With the newly announced extension, customers must sign up online at http://efficiencymaine.com by Aug. 31, complete an energy audit by Sept. 30 and complete the work by Dec. 31 to be eligible for the $1,000.

The program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Governor honors students for academic achievements

Gov. John Baldacci recognized several Maine students at the State House on Thursday for their achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Among those honored were Caroline Suresh of Bridgton and Katherine Spring of Wells, who were Maine’s delegates to the National Youth Science Camp near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, W.Va.

The governor also honored the Falmouth Aeronautical Aviators team, which represented Maine at the national Real World Design Challenge Competition. Team members were Sarah Abramson, Jacob Merson, Eric Tierney, Sam Walker, Zoe Kitchel and Jordan Stanhope.

BANGOR

New Brunswick man pleads guilty to marijuana charge

A Canadian man faces 10 years to life in prison for smuggling more than a ton of marijuana into Maine.

Andre Picard, 49, of Riceville, New Brunswick, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

The Bangor Daily News said Picard admitted to bringing marijuana across the border in a hidden compartment in his tractor trailer from 2005 to 2007. According to court documents, other people then distributed the pot to states as far away as North Carolina.

Picard has been held without bail since his arrest April 1 in Madawaska. A sentencing date has not been set.

Presidential adviser on trade meets with workers, leaders

The president’s top adviser on trade issues wrapped up his two-day visit to Maine on Friday with a tour of a paper mill and a discussion with business and agricultural leaders and state and municipal officials on how trade policy can be improved to help Maine.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk was joined by U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud when he met with workers at the Verso Paper mill in Bucksport before holding a roundtable forum in Bangor.

Michaud said Maine leaders told Kirk that they appreciate President Obama’s focus on increasing exports, but that more must be done to level the international playing field to allow Maine businesses and workers to truly get ahead.