Average price of heating oil falls 3 cents in a week
Maine energy officials say the average cash price for No. 2 heating oil in the state is $3.64 per gallon, down 3 cents from last week’s price survey.
The Governor’s Energy Office says several factors may be driving the drop. Citing reports in Bloomberg News, state officials say weak economic growth in Europe, and the impending “fiscal cliff” in the United States may be decreasing demand in the short term, thereby reducing prices.
Officials also point to increased domestic oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Maine energy officials say the average price for propane, in quantities used for heating, is unchanged from last week. Propane prices remain lower than they were at this time a year ago.
Unexplained death of man not considered suspicious
Police are investigating the death of a 41-year-old man who was found alongside the Androscoggin River.
Police say the body of Jeremy Perry of Lewiston was found on some rocks by the river around 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Investigators have classified the death as non-suspicious and say that alcohol may have played a role. Police say it could take weeks for toxicology tests to be processed to confirm the cause of death.
Sex offender in jail on drug trafficking charge
A sex offender was charged Monday with selling his own prescription medication.
Michael J. McKeown, 49, of 111 May St. was arrested by Maine Drug Enforcement agents and charged with aggravated trafficking of a scheduled drug.
The charge was increased to aggravated drug trafficking because McKeown lives across from an athletic field designated as a safe zone by the city.
McKeown allegedly sold drugs to an undercover agent and resisted arrest when agents and Biddeford police arrived at his home at 5 p.m. Monday, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
McKeown is on the Maine Sex Offender Registry and is prohibited from having contact with teenagers. Biddeford police are investigating reports that he allowed teenage boys to smoke marijuana at his house, McCausland said.
McKeown was taken to York County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail. He is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
Officials identify body as murdered Lewiston woman
The Maine medical examiner says a body found in a wooded area in Lisbon last week is that of a Lewiston woman who was reported missing during the summer of 2011. The medical examiner’s office says DNA has confirmed the body was that of 22-year-old Christiana Fesmire.
Spokesman Mark Belserene told the Sun Journal that the cause and manner of death were “homicidal violence” with facial fractures.
The body was found just weeks after 31-year-old Buddy Robinson of Lewiston was convicted of murder in her death, even though her body had not been found at the time of the trial.
Robinson and Fesmire lived in different units of the same apartment house when she disappeared in July 2011. Robinson awaits sentencing.
Fire destroys condominium, shuts down Route 302
Fire destroyed a Westbrook condominium Tuesday and sent one firefighter to the hospital with a broken ankle.
The fire broke out at 10:25 a.m. in Unit 13 of the La Bella Villa condominiums on Villa Road. Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Jones, who was driving past the area when the call was received, quickly requested help from Portland, Gorham and Falmouth, said Public Safety Chief Michael Pardue.
Busy Route 302 was shut down until about 1:30 p.m. because of the number of fire trucks at the scene, Pardue said.
Nobody was home at the time, though adjacent units had to be evacuated. No civilians or pets were injured, Pardue said. Authorities do not believe the fire is suspicious but called in State Fire Marshal investigators to help determine the cause, in part because a firefighter was injured, he said.
Police charge trio following car burglaries
Police are trying to find the owners of a number of items recovered after three people were charged with breaking into cars in the area around Deering High School.
Police arrested three people Sunday morning in connection with a series of car burglaries in the area of Ludlow Street and Candlewick Terrace. Police recovered clothing, GPS units, iPods and credit cards.
Police spotted Joshua Walker, 37, in the area at 7:20 a.m. Sunday and charged him with two counts of burglary to a motor vehicle and carrying a concealed knife.
Police then went to Motel 6 where they charged Jeremy Day, 33, and Kristina Walker, 43, who is Joshua Walker’s wife. They were charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and possession of cocaine.
Police ask that anyone who has had items stolen but have not reported it to police to do so to help them identify the owners of recovered items. That can be done online at the city’s website by clicking on the “police” link then the “submit an online police report” link.
Supreme Court upholds conviction in Bangor killing
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the murder conviction of a 21-year-old man who’s serving a 35-year sentence for fatally shooting a rival on a street in Bangor.
In Tuesday’s unanimous decision, justices rejected arguments by Zachary Carr, who was convicted in the death of John “Bobby” Surles, 19, in January 2010. According to the opinion, Carr shot Surles in the chest while he was lying unarmed on the ground after a confrontation between two groups of young people.
In his appeal, Carr contended that the trial court judge should have granted him a new trial because prosecutors failed to disclose a recorded interview with a key witness. He also challenged whether there was sufficient evidence to convict him and how various factors were determined in calculating his sentence.
Maine gains in ranking of nation’s healthiest states
Maine moved up a spot to become the ninth healthiest state in the 2012 America’s Health Rankings, the United Health Foundation announced Tuesday.
Vermont ranks as the healthiest state for the sixth year in a row, while Mississippi and Louisiana tied as the least healthy, the foundation said in a news release.
Compared to all other states, Maine has less violent crime, a smaller uninsured population and fewer low-weight births, according to the foundation, an arm of UnitedHealthcare insurance company.
Maine’s health challenges include high rates of smoking and cancer deaths and a moderate obesity rate, the annual study found.
The healthiest states include Hawaii at No. 2, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota. All six New England states are in the top 10, with Connecticut at No. 6 and Rhode Island at No. 10.
The five least healthy states include South Carolina (46), West Virginia (47) and Arkansas (48).
The foundation reported that Americans are living longer due to several medical advances, but unhealthy behavior and preventable illness threaten quality of life.
Nationwide, nearly 28 percent of the population is obese and more than 26 percent get no exercise, resulting in an increasing prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Premature, cardiovascular and cancer deaths have declined since 1990, by 18 percent, 34.6 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. However, American adults are experiencing troubling levels of obesity (27.8 percent), diabetes (9.5 percent), high blood pressure (30.8 percent) and sedentary behavior (26.2 percent).
The ranking is published jointly by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.
The ranking is based on data from recognized outside sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association, FBI, Dartmouth Atlas Project, U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH
Police arrest 12 people named in warrants
Police are cracking down on people wanted on arrest warrants.
Police said Tuesday that they arrested 12 people in the sweep, with charges ranging from trafficking in heroin and crack cocaine to warrants for unpaid fines and charges of violating bail conditions.
The department and its special enforcement team worked as part of a group of 22 officers, including State Police troopers, York County Sheriff’s deputies, probation officers, drug agents and members of the Southern Maine Violent Crimes Task Force.
Teams of officers were assigned lists drawn from the 337 Old Orchard Beach residents with active warrants outstanding and the 162 people listed as having bail conditions. The officers continue to work through the list, the department said.
Turner man pleads guilty to dozen hunting violations
A man has from Turner pleaded guilty to a dozen hunting violations and a felony drug charge.
Everett T. Leonard entered his pleas Tuesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court in a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Leonard was one of four people arrested in January 2011 in a case in which police seized hundreds of pounds of deer meat, guns and other hunting-related equipment from their homes.
The Sun Journal reported that the charges followed a four-month investigation by the Maine Warden Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Game Commission for crimes in Maine and Pennsylvania.
Leonard’s father, Everett H. Leonard, previously pleaded guilty to drug and illegal hunting offenses in a plea deal. A judge suspended his sentence because of his health problems.
Region’s homeless shelter closes without warning
The only homeless shelter along Maine’s midcoast has shut down without notice.
The Mid-Coast Hospitality House in Rockport closed in the past few weeks, but the exact date and circumstances of the closing haven’t been revealed.
Samantha Mank, who had run the shelter with her husband since 1999, told the Bangor Daily News she had no comment.
Former Hospitality House board member Kathie Carrigan of Camden said she learned of the closing from recent phone calls from volunteers who had brought cooked meals to the shelter and found it closed. There are no signs posted at the shelter announcing that it has closed.
The nearest shelters to Rockport are more than an hour away, in Waterville, Bangor and Brunswick.
Three teenagers charged in theft of cash and jewelry
Three teenagers have been charged in connection with the burglary of $20,000 worth of jewelry and cash from a Bowdoin home.
The burglary was reported Dec. 1.
The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department has issued summonses for Eric Napoleon, 19, of Bowdoin, and two 17-year-old boys, one from Bowdoin and one from Bowdoinham.
Chief Deputy Brett Strout told The Times Record that nearly $10,000 in cash and about $10,000 in jewelry were taken from the home, including a safe the money and jewelry was in. The cash was removed and the safe thrown in the Androscoggin River in Topsham.
Strout says most of the money of and jewelry has been recovered.
All three suspects face February court dates.