Voter registration database breached through malware

Maine’s top election official says the state’s voter registration database has been compromised.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers said Wednesday the database was breached through a remote computer that was infected with malware and was being used by a town clerk who was accessing information in the database.

Summers said his office is trying to determine if any information was compromised, and whether the database was damaged by the software.

Summers declined to identify the town where the infected computer was located. 

Ex-teacher no longer facing child pornography charges

A former middle school teacher is no longer facing child pornography charges, but prosecutors say they could still present the case to a grand jury if they receive more evidence.

Christopher Brown, 55, of Monmouth appeared Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court. After the judge determined no complaint had been filed, she vacated his bail and Brown left the court.

District Attorney Evert Fowle said the lack of a complaint Tuesday has no bearing on whether charges will be filed in the future.

But Brown’s attorney, Michael Whipple, told the Kennebec Journal that the lack of a complaint reflects his position that there was no criminal conduct.

Brown was arrested in June after a school official reported that students found photos on a classroom computer of girls on the school playground.


Police identify women killed in head-on crash on Route 27

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has identified the people involved in a head-on crash Tuesday afternoon that killed two women.

Mechelle Spencer, 66, of Southport Island was driving a 2009 Dodge Durango south on Route 27 when she crossed over the center line and collided with a northbound vehicle, a 2009 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Sherrill Mansir, 61, of Pittston.

Witnesses told police that Spencer was driving erratically just before the 4:30 p.m. crash and briefly went off the road moments before the collision.

Spencer was killed, as was Elaine Robinson, 66, of Sidney, a passenger in the car driven by Mansir. Mansir was extricated from the wreckage and taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious injuries.

Lt. Rand Maker of the sheriff’s office said there was no evidence that excessive speed or alcohol were involved in the crash. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the office at 882-7332.


Federal grant to help state monitor Atlantic salmon

The Maine Department of Marine Resources will be getting help monitoring efforts to revive the population of endangered Atlantic salmon in the state.

A $1.1 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be used by scientists to count adult and juvenile salmon, as well as study how successfully they are reproducing and the quality of salmon habitat in Maine.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said the long-term goal is to get Atlantic salmon off the Endangered Species List so anglers will once again be able to fish for the species.


Town decides yellow ribbons can fly on trees in square

After last week’s heated debate on whether yellow ribbons in the village square should stay or go, selectmen have decided the ribbons can stay.

Susan Babb-McKinney has hung yellow ribbons in the square since 2005 in honor of active-duty soldiers like her son, Sgt. 1st Class Joel Babb, 32, who has been in the Army for 13 years and was deployed to Afghanistan in April.

The town removed the ribbons three weeks ago, saying they were in poor condition. The town also said it had received complaints about the ribbons.

During an Aug. 16 selectmen meeting, Babb-McKinney presented a petition with 124 signatures in support of the yellow ribbons. When she learned of the board’s decision Tuesday night allowing her to tie nine ribbons to nine trees in the square, she said she “couldn’t be happier.”

The decision comes with some stipulations, Babb-McKinney said. There can only be one ribbon per tree, and the ribbons must be changed quarterly or as soon as they become tattered.


No one injured in house fire that likely started in garage

Police said there were no injuries in an early morning house fire Wednesday on Route 302.

It’s not clear how many people were in the house near the intersection of Route 302 and Hemlock Bridge Road and Denmark Road, police said.

The fire was reported at about 3 a.m.

Police Chief Phil Weymouth told WMWV-FM radio that the fire apparently started in a garage. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it’s not considered suspicious.

More than a dozen emergency vehicles from Maine and New Hampshire responded.


Driver cites thick fog as factor after truck crashes into store

The driver of a logging truck that crashed into a store early Tuesday morning says thick fog kept him from seeing the intersection where the building is located.

John Watson, 51, of Solon told Somerset County sheriff’s deputies that when he did see the intersection of Routes 150 and 152, he couldn’t stop in time.

The truck, loaded with logs, flipped onto its side and slid into the Cambridge General Store, crushing a vehicle in the yard.

The Bangor Daily News said members of the family that owns the store were inside when the 4 a.m. crash occurred. No one inside the store was hurt. Watson suffered minor injuries.

The investigation into the crash is continuing.


Anonymous donor gives Unity College $10 million

Unity College has received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor.

School officials said the endowment is unprecedented in the school’s 45-year history.

President Stephen Mulkey said the gift will create about $500,000 a year in additional operating revenue, representing about 4 percent of the college’s overall budget.

Unity is a small private college with an emphasis on the environment and natural resources.

– From staff and news services