ALFRED

Former ER nurse charged in hospital drug thefts

A former emergency room nurse has been indicted on 75 counts related to drug thefts from York Hospital.

Michael T. Worrick-Soule, 33, of York faces one count of theft by deception, 48 counts of stealing drugs, 23 counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs and three counts of falsifying records.

A York County grand jury handed up the indictments this week. The crimes allegedly occurred from August 2011 to April 2012.

The removal of narcotics from a computerized dispensing system was discovered in a routine review in April, said Jud Knox, the hospital’s president.

Knox said Worrick-Soule was terminated immediately after the hospital investigated.

Worrick-Soule referred questions to his lawyer, Jon Gale, who said, “Michael’s been charged with very serious crimes but he did nothing with criminal intent. … We are confident that time and the criminal justice system will bear this out.”

Knox said he didn’t know whether the medications were taken for personal use or for sale. He said the names or codes of 250 to 300 patients were used to gain access to the medications.

Those patients were charged for the medications, believed to be worth about $10,000, Knox said. He said the hospital is contacting those patients to refund the charges.

AUGUSTA

Maine to get $34.9 million in home heating assistance

Maine will get $34.9 million in federal heating assistance funds this winter.

Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Thursday that Maine’s allocation represents 90 percent of the state total funding for the previous year.

Snowe and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., secured language in the current continuing resolution that specifies that the administration shall allocate funding at last year’s levels. Last year, Maine received $38 million in aid from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Snowe said the money is “invaluable for our state’s most vulnerable families who will struggle to pay heating bills.”

Last year Congress provided nearly $3.5 billion in LIHEAP funds for low-income households, helping 8.9 million households.

 

Utility using helicopters to inspect power lines

Those choppers that Mainers hear overhead may be power line inspectors.

Central Maine Power Co. is doing its autumn inspections of its transmission lines by helicopter. The flights help spot potential problems with equipment, as well as signs of unauthorized use.

CMP, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, does a visual inspection of all of its transmission rights-of-way from the air each spring and fall.

In addition to inspections of its entire transmission system, CMP flies over more than 600 miles of transmission lines during the summer using a helicopter equipped with infrared thermal imaging equipment to detect “hot spots” that might need attention.

CMP owns nearly 2,200 miles of transmission line.

PORTLAND

Police looking for suspect in Windham man’s stabbing

Police are searching for a Portland man who may have been involved in a stabbing on Front Street on Thursday night.

Police said they are looking for Justin Renna, 21, who was identified by witnesses as a suspect in the stabbing. Renna also is wanted on two unrelated charges of refusing to submit to arrest and violating bail conditions following a domestic violence arrest, police said.

Thursday’s stabbing happened at 7:30 p.m. at 96 Front St. Police found a 37-year-old Windham man lying in the front entryway with a puncture wound in his back, police said. The man was taken to Maine Medical Center for treatment of a non-life threatening stab wound.

Witnesses told police that Renna fled after the stabbing. Police used a dog to search the area but were unsuccessful.

Police said Renna should be considered armed and dangerous. Police ask anyone with information to call 874-8533.

LEWISTON

Death of woman found in closet ruled a homicide

Investigators say the death of a woman whose body was found in a closet in her apartment a year ago in Lewiston has been ruled a homicide.

Samantha Folsom, 26, was found dead inside her third-floor apartment on Oxford Street on Nov. 9, 2011, by her parents, who went to check on her.

WMTW-TV reported Thursday that her death is now considered a homicide. The cause of death has not been released.

Police said Folsom was originally from Greene and was unemployed at the time of her death. From the start, police considered her death suspicious.

WINSLOW

Authorities seize 14 animals, launch neglect, cruelty probe

Authorities are investigating possible neglect and cruelty after seizing 14 animals from a property in town.

Police Sgt. Haley Fleming said no one has been charged, but several charges will likely be filed by the end of the month.

Four cows, three calves, three horses, a pony, a donkey and two dogs were seized Tuesday evening.

Fleming said a search warrant was issued after authorities received reports from callers about things like cows in the road, and another report about a dead cow on the property.

The animals, which appeared to be malnourished, are being evaluated and nursed back to health.

No names were released.

WALDOBORO

Closing of only pharmacy to hit local residents hard

Waldoboro’s only pharmacy is closing, and residents say it’s a major inconvenience.

The independent Waltz Pharmacy announced it will close later this month, meaning that residents of the town of 5,000 will have to drive about 20 minutes to have prescriptions filled in Rockland or Damariscotta. That’s not always easy for low-income and elderly people.

Waltz dispenses about 1,000 prescriptions per week.

Owner Dean Jacobs told WCSH-TV that he’s closing for a couple of reasons. He said Medicaid and insurance companies have been cutting the amount they pay for prescriptions, affecting the pharmacy’s bottom line. He’d also like to focus full-time attention on the company’s growing long-term care pharmacy business in Brunswick.

Town Planning and Development Director Bill Najpauer said he is trying to recruit another pharmacy to fill the space.

PROSPECT

Three-vehicle crash kills one, sends three others to hospital

One man died and two other people were hospitalized after a three-vehicle crash.

The Waldo County Sheriff’s Office told WABI-TV that officers responded to the crash on Route 1A just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Deputies said a witness told them that one car crossed the centerline and crashed head on into a second vehicle. A third driver came up on the scene and could not stop in time.

Deputies told WZON-AM that the driver of the vehicle that apparently crossed the centerline, William Dunham, 79, of Frankfort, died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt.

The driver and a passenger in the second vehicle were hospitalized.

The road was wet at the time.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY

Sugarloaf kicks off season, Sunday River to follow soon

Maine’s ski season is under way with the opening of the state’s two biggest ski mountains.

Sugarloaf began its season Friday, with two trails open — the earliest opening day for the resort since 2007.

Sunday River ski resort starts its season Tuesday with three open trails. The resort in Newry expects to open more trails in the days ahead.

Sunday River and Sugarloaf are Maine’s two biggest ski areas.

Maine’s ski industry is hoping for a rebound after last season’s mild winter.