Thief steals tree adorned with needy kids’ name tags

Someone took the giving tree at the Limerick Supermarket on Route 11 on Friday night.

Assistant store manager Esther Weymouth said the theft was captured on film by a surveillance camera at about 11:30 p.m., when a young man backed up to the tree in a light-colored late-model SUV that had a missing tail light and carried a passenger.

“He threw it up on his car and drove off,” said Weymouth.

The giving tree is a tradition at the store. The staff places a fir decorated with names and gift requests from needy children in Limerick, Newfield and Parsonfield. Donors take a name tag and buy the gift, which is distributed to the child.

“If you needed a tree fine, but we need the tags so we can fill the wishes of those kids,” Weymouth said. The York County Sheriff’s department is investigating.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the store at 793-4335.


Fisherman plans to donate lobster that has four claws

A Wells lobsterman has caught a four-clawed lobster, but this one’s not going into a pot of boiling water.

Zach Donnell told WMTW-TV that he’s keeping the lobster and feeding it. He said he will probably donate the unusual creature to the Maine Department of Marine Resources in Boothbay.

However, the office is closed for the season, so he’s still working on contacting state officials about his find.


MaineGeneral sells hospital, expects to net healthy profit

MaineGeneral Medical Center has sold its downtown Augusta hospital for $2.5 million while work on a replacement hospital continues.

The Kennebec Journal in Augusta said Augusta East Redevelopment Corp., a subsidiary of Mattson Development, signed the purchase deal with MaineGeneral on Friday. The closing is expected to take place in February.

Developer Kevin Mattson said the hospital site will be converted into offices and won’t be a medical facility.

MaineGeneral’s new $312 million, 192-bed regional hospital is being built near Interstate 95 and is expected to open in a year.

MaineGeneral is expected to net $1.5 million from the deal, an unanticipated bonus.

State averages more than 1 pharmacy robbery per week

State police say Maine is now averaging more than one pharmacy robbery per week.

A robbery at a Walgreen’s drug store in Bangor on Tuesday was Maine’s 54th of the year — 30 more than all of last year.

Police arrested the holdup man in Bangor 22 minutes after it occurred.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said at least 41 of this year’s robberies so far have resulted in arrests.

Two sentences were handed down during the past week in court for pharmacy robbers.

One got three years in jail and the other received a two-year sentence.


Outgoing governor urges state to bet against casinos

New Hampshire’s outgoing governor, John Lynch, is hoping the state will avoid a proliferation of casinos, and that the Legislature will devote more resources to the University of New Hampshire and act on health care reform after he leaves office.

Lynch, who will soon leave office after eight years, also told the Portsmouth Herald that he plans to have “a very, very low political profile.”

Lynch said he’s proud that he could put partisan politics aside and focus on solving problems. He said his love of New Hampshire prompts him to urge the state not to bet on gambling, and that he’s concerned about the impact on the state’s brand.


Journalists to honor O’Neill on centennial of his birth

A group of well-known journalists will pay tribute to the late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill during a forum at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Journalists Al Hunt, Cokie Roberts, Mike Barnicle and Chris Matthews will share their memories of O’Neill with former “ABC World News” host Charlie Gibson on Sunday, the centennial of O’Neill’s birth.

O’Neill, a Democrat from Massachusetts, served as speaker from 1977 to 1987.

He represented his Boston-area district from 1953 to 1987.

He died in 1994.

– From staff and news services