Town offers reward for help in solving string of arsons

The town is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to help solve a string of arsons.

The Town Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to offer the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fires.

“I’m not aware of the town offering a reward before. I’m not aware of having a similar situation before, either,” said Town Manager David Cole, who has worked for Gorham since 1994.

A series of six suspicous fires began on March 27. The most recent arson targeted an unoccupied house on Route 237 early Wednesday. Five of the six fires have been confirmed as arson and the remaining one appears to be as well, but investigators are awaiting lab results to confirm.


Attorney says Nader wants Maine jury to hear lawsuit

An attorney for former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader says the consumer advocate wants a Maine jury to hear his lawsuit from the 2004 election now that it’s been reinstated by the state’s high court.

Lawyer Oliver Hall said Thursday that Nader will continue to pursue his claims that Democrats and others conspired to try to keep him off the ballot in Maine and more than a dozen other states.

Nader sued in Maine after the statute of limitations expired on his federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C. His Maine lawsuit was initially tossed out, but was reinstated Thursday.

Nader claims the Democratic Party and several allies orchestrated a nationwide effort against him. Many Democrats blame Nader for siphoning away votes in an election won by Republican George W. Bush.

Medical supply firm owner gets prison term for fraud

The owner of a medical equipment supply company in Kittery has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for health care fraud and for lying on an application for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Peter Enzinger was also sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution.

A federal judge also fined Enzinger’s now defunct company, Seacoast Sleep Solutions, $50,000 and ordered the company to pay $220,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said Enzinger, 44, defrauded insurance carriers from 2005 to 2010 by billing them for products not delivered to patients and for more expensive products than those actually delivered.

The Bangor Daily News reported that his attorney said inexperience as a businessman led to cash flow problems, which prompted the fraud.


Investigation continues into crash that killed student

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate an accident that killed a Saint Joseph’s College student over the weekend.

Clark Noonan, 20, was killed when the car he was riding in veered off Chadbourne Road, rolled and landed in a chain-link fence. The driver, Tyler Hall, 19, was driving at high speed when he lost control of the Mazda 626, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators are waiting for results of blood tests and the accident reconstruction, said Capt. Shawn O’Leary. Representatives of the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office will meet after that information is available, which could take a week or so.

The students in the Mazda were traveling with other students in cars, but it’s not clear how many vehicles were traveling together, O’Leary said.

The Mazda and another vehicle were playing “leap frog” — with the cars taking turns passing one another — on Route 114, but stopped before turning left onto Chadbourne Road, O’Leary said.

“We’re pretty certain it was not a direct factor to the crash,” he said.

O’Leary said the Mazda was the first in the line of student-driven cars when it crashed.


Oakland man pleads guilty to three counts of forgery

An Oakland man has pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery related to absentee ballots.

Byron Wrigley Jr., 50, admitted signing the name of two other voters on an application for an absentee ballot and two absentee ballot return envelopes. A judge sentenced Wrigley on Wednesday to 10 days to be served in an alternative sentencing program.

His scheme came to light after election officials realized two votes were cast in his son’s name: One was cast via absentee ballot while the son also voted in person in Orono, where he’s a student at the University of Maine.

Attorney General William Schneider said the state will “vigilantly safeguard the integrity of the voting process and deter others who may be tempted to engage in similar conduct.”

Gov. LePage signs measure to help expand dental care

Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that could expand dental care in underserved parts of Maine.

The new law allows independent-practice dental hygienists to take X-rays and own radiograph equipment. Under the law, the X-rays must be read by a dentist within 21 days.

Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough, who co-sponsored LePage’s bill, says Maine has a shortage of dental care. Sirocki, a registered dental hygienist, said the primary reason for visits to emergency departments is dental pain, costing millions of dollars every year.

Sirocki said the pilot project authorized by the new law will expand more affordable dental care to underserved parts of Maine, often in rural areas. Maine has about 40 independent practice dental hygienists and another 10 or so who have certifications pending.

Maine public advocate joins New England Power Pool

Maine’s public advocate is joining the New England Power Pool as part of ongoing efforts to lower the cost of electricity for homes and businesses.

Membership gives the public advocate greater involvement in the decisions made by ISO-New England, the operator of the New England power grid.

Richard Davies, Maine’s public advocate, says he’ll seek to build alliances to work on behalf of Maine consumers.

The New England Power Pool is a voluntary association of 450 entities, including utilities, energy producers, power marketers and consumer advocates, which serves as an advisory body to ISO-New England.


Regulators to restrict fishing to protect harbor porpoises

Federal fisheries regulators will restrict fishing in some waters near shore this fall to protect harbor porpoises in the Gulf of Maine.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said Thursday that gillnet fishing will be banned in October and November in coastal waters from Maine to Cape Ann, Mass. Last year, 36 groundfishing boats made 721 fishing trips in the closure area during that two-month period. Other fishing boats also used the area.

Spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus says the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires rules to protect porpoises when mortality rates become too high. She said 792 porpoises died in nets in 2009 from Maine to the Middle Atlantic.

She said fishing boat operators can ease the economic impact by fishing elsewhere, fishing at other times of the year, or leasing their allocations to others.


Drug agents investigating suspected meth laboratory

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency is investigating a suspected methamphetamine lab in Presque Isle after a 35-year-old man was hospitalized with suspicious burns.

MDEA division commander Darrell Crandall said Wednesday that agents executed a search warrant at an apartment on Blake Street after the man was badly burned Tuesday and taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Crandall said officials believe the burns were caused by an accidental fire created during the process of making methamphetamine by what is commonly referred to as the “one pot” method.

Crandall told the Bangor Daily News that agents already have found evidence of methamphetamine manufacturing as well as several loaded handguns. Agents have interviewed the injured man but no charges have been filed.


Teenagers admit vandalism at Kents Hill School campus

Police said two teenagers who were chased off Kents Hill School grounds for skateboarding returned a few days later and caused several thousand dollars in damage to three school buses.

Authorities said Thomas Martha, 18, and Christopher Pelletier, 19, were issued summonses charging each with aggravated criminal mischief. They are scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on June 26.

A sheriff’s deputy was called to the private school Monday and found the three buses vandalized. They had slashed tires, smashed windows and broken lights. Damage was estimated at $7,000.

School officials told police about two skateboarders who had been escorted from the property a few days before.

Police told the Kennebec Journal that the suspects were tracked down and admitted to what they had done.


Maine woman files lawsuit over misleading job offer

A Maine woman has sued a Nevada-based health care company for what she says was a misleading job offer.

Cynthia Littlefield of Warren says in the suit filed this week in Maine that she was recruited for a job in California by Tenet Healthcare Corp. of Reno, Nev.

The registered nurse says in the suit she accepted the position of wound and ostomy coordinator at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Calif., in April 2011.

Upon beginning the job, Littlefield says she realized there was no new wound care and ostomy care program at the hospital. She is suing for $49,000 in costs she says she incurred in moving.

— From staff and news services