GREENVILLE JUNCTION

First-time bear hunter bags record 699-pounder

Maine officials say a hunter has shot a record large bear in Greenville Junction.

The 699-pound bear broke a nearly 20-year record.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says the bear was shot by Matt Knox, of Waynesboro, Pa., who visited the state last week for his first bear hunt.

The previous record-holder was a 680-pound bear taken in 1993.

State biologists have predicted a strong season for bear hunters. Officials now say this year’s dryness and lack of berry and nut crops might mean that bigger bears will be searching of food.

BRIDGTON

Lake Region High senior identified as crash victim

Authorities have identified the Lake Region High School student who died in a single car crash last week on Kansas Road in Bridgton.

Austin J. Sloat, a senior at the school, was killed in the Sept. 5 crash.

Kathleen Beecher, superintendent of schools for School Administrative District 61, said high school students held a moment of silence last Friday for the 17-year-old.

Beecher said a celebration of Sloat’s life was held Tuesday at the Crooked River School in Casco. Beecher said family and friends have erected a memorial cross at the crash site.

Bridgton Police Chief Kevin Schofield could not be reached but Schofield told the Bridgton News that the investigation into the crash is not complete.

Schofield told the newspaper that a second vehicle has been impounded by police. The chief would not elaborate.

A press release issued by Bridgton police said that excessive speed contributed to the accident, which took place at 2:15 p.m.

WINDHAM

Businessman, NASCAR fan humanitarian award finalist

The owner of Windham Automotive is a finalist for a humanitarian award from the NASCAR Foundation for his work raising money for Camp Sunshine in Casco.

Ronald Eby, 53, of Windham was one of four finalists selected for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award for NASCAR fans who help children through charity work in their communities.

For being a finalist, he received $25,000 for his chosen charity, Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

Eby, whose daughter contracted meningitis when she was 2 years old and recovered, started raising money for Camp Sunshine by selling Mexican food off a flatbed truck at Windham’s Summerfest.

He since has inspired others to raise money for the charity.

The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 2 at a banquet in Las Vegas and will receive $100,000 for a charity.

To learn more about the finalists and vote for a winner, visit nascar.com/award.

BANGOR

Accused in hit-run fatality pleads not guilty to charges

A Brewer woman has pleaded not guilty to striking and killing a pedestrian with her car in Bangor, then driving away from the scene.

Patricia Giles remains free on $10,000 bail after entering her plea Wednesday to charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and falsifying evidence.

Police say Giles, 51, struck and killed Joshua Constantine, 37, of Bangor as he was crossing Main Street about 10:30 p.m. June 2. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Giles then allegedly drove away before turning herself into police about a week later.

Her lawyer says she was shaken up by the incident. Prosecutors say there is no evidence she was driving impaired and no evidence of negligence. 

Maine hospitals to feel impact of Medicare cuts

Maine’s hospitals could lose hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs if proposed federal cuts are made.

The Maine Hospital Association said Wednesday that Medicare cuts called for under the federal deficit reduction plan would cost Maine $21 million and nearly 3,000 jobs in 2013. The cuts are scheduled to continue until 2021.

The jobs estimate came from a report prepared by Pittsburgh consulting firm Tripp Umbach for the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.

Association President Steve Michaud says the cuts will negatively affect “access, quality and the local economy.”

The Bangor Daily News reported that the association says at least seven hospitals have announced layoffs of more than 125 employees already this year. 

Chelsea man pleads guilty to falsifying VA claims

A Maine man has pleaded guilty in federal court to submitting more than 150 fraudulent claims for travel expenses to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The claims seek reimbursement for expenses incurred by individuals who travel to receive services.

Court records say Stephen Longstaff, 54, of Chelsea submitted the claims between 2009 and 2012 by overstating the distance he was driving between the Togus V.A. Medical Center and locations in Washington and Hancock counties, where he said he lived.

An investigator said Longstaff actually lived close to the medical center and not more than 350 miles away, as he claimed recently.

Authorities say Longstaff, who pleaded guilty Wednesday, was paid more than $17,000 in travel benefits.

FALMOUTH

Fines could reach $12,000 for letting minors drink

Indictments against a Falmouth couple accused of hosting an end of year party for high school students allege that six minors who were drinking there were under 18 and one of them was 15.

The significance of the age is that the law prohibiting adults from furnishing a place for minors to drink requires a mandatory $1,000 fine for each conviction.

That means Barry and Paula Spencer would face a combined $12,000 in mandatory fines if convicted, much higher than the typical fine imposed for a misdemeanor.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Barry Spencer, 53, and Paula Spencer, 52, on nine counts each of allowing a minor to possess or consume alcohol.

The indictments allege the Spencers allowed three 18-year-olds, four 17-year-olds, one 16 year-old and one 15-year-old to drink alcohol at a place under their control.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie has had the cases joined so they can be handled as a single prosecution.

PORTLAND

Man guilty in infant’s death asks court to negate verdict

A 20-year-old Limestone man convicted of manslaughter in the death of his 3-month-old daughter has gone before Maine’s highest court to appeal his conviction.

Lawyers for Nicklas Jones told the Supreme Judicial Court Wednesday that their client was not properly read his rights by investigators prior to being questioned about the death of the girl.

They also said Jones’ age wasn’t taken into consideration. He was 17 at the time of the girl’s death in April 2009.

Prosecutors countered that Jones was interviewed voluntarily by police. The court did not immediately rule.

Authorities have said Jones became frustrated with the baby’s crying and threw her toward her crib, causing an injury. She died of blunt-force trauma to the head a few days later. He received a six-year sentence.