AUGUSTA

King announces seven regional representatives

Two former state senators and a former legislative aide are among those selected to serve on the state staff of U.S. Sen.-elect Angus King, it was announced Saturday.

The Maine independent’s office said the regional representatives will be key to staying in touch with constituents of the newly elected senator, who will be sworn in on Jan. 3. They’ll work under the guidance of state director Edie Smith, the field director for King’s 2012 campaign.

Among the seven new regional representatives are former Republican Sen. Christopher Rector of Thomaston, a businessman in retail art and picture framing, ice cream and real estate management; former Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Schneider of Orono, who has worked in business development and has been a member of numerous nonprofit boards; and Travis Kennedy, former chief of staff in the Maine House Democratic office.

The other new staffers are Bonita Pothier, former Biddeford mayor and former teacher; businessman Ben Tucker III, who worked on King’s campaign; Gail Kezer, who served on Brunswick’s School Board, and Sharon Campbell of Presque Isle, a longtime staffer for U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

LePage, in holiday message, urges troops be remembered

Gov. Paul LePage sent Christmas holiday and New Year’s greetings to Mainers Saturday, saying this is a time for the family but also to remember troops serving around the world.

In his weekly radio address, LePage recalled visiting Arlington National Cemetery recently, an experience he called “humbling.”

He said the holidays are especially difficult for families with deployed loved ones, and he thanked them for their service.

FREEDOM

Belfast businesswoman dies in single-vehicle accident

Maine State Police say a well-known Belfast businesswoman has been killed in a one-vehicle accident off Route 137 in Freedom.

Police say 64-year-old Ruth Holmes was dead at the scene of the Saturday morning accident. Her pickup truck slid off the ice-covered highway onto its side and struck a tree. Holmes’ granddaughter escaped the crash with minor injuries.

The granddaughter, 11-year-old Cassie Jackson of Searsport, sustained bumps and bruises and was treated at the hospital in Belfast. Both were wearing seat belts.

Holmes and her family have operated Holmes Greenhouse and Florist Shop in Belfast for years.

Her husband, Allen, recently retired as the Belfast High School field hockey coach.

MINOT

Man arrested after six-hour standoff involving shooting

Maine State Police say a six-hour standoff during which dozens of shots were fired has ended with the arrest of a 44-year-old man. No one was injured

Police and the Maine Attorney General’s Office are investigating the standoff overnight in which the homeowner, Michael Callahan, allegedly fired shots before he was arrested. He’s charged with reckless conduct with a firearm and domestic violence criminal threatening.

Among the guns seized was an assault weapon. Police say it’s not immediately clear what the shooter’s intended target was or how many guns were used.

One member of the tactical team returned fire around 5 a.m. Saturday and Callahan surrendered to state police a short time later.

Troopers were called to Callahan’s Verrill Road home around 10:30 Friday night after another family member fled the house .

PORTLAND

Catholic churches holding collections for storm victims

Catholic churches are holding special collections in Maine to help victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says collections are being held during all Masses on Saturday and Sunday.

The proceeds are supporting the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA in providing food, water and shelter for residents in the areas affected by Sandy.

Animal protection group gives Maine high marks

An animal protection group is giving Maine high marks for its laws against cruelty.

A report put out by the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranks states on their animal cruelty laws based on how comprehensive they are, and the severity of their penalties for people who are convicted of cruelty.

Maine was ranked No. 2, behind Illinois and ahead of California, Michigan and Oregon.

Kentucky was judged to have the least-protective animal cruelty laws, behind North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota and New Mexico.

The California-based group has been putting out annual reports ranking states on animal cruelty laws for seven years.

CONCORD, N.H.

Snowmobilers get weekend to try other states’ trails

Registered snowmobilers in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine can venture into one another’s states next month during a reciprocal weekend for the three northern New England states.

Any snowmobile legally registered in one of the participating states will be allowed on trails in all three during the weekend of Jan. 25-27.

All other host state regulations will apply, including speed limits, youth laws and Vermont’s mandatory liability insurance.

New Hampshire and Vermont have held an annual weekend opening up their trails to the other since 2010.

Maine joined last year after a law was passed in 2011 including it in the weekend.

Participating states plan to hold the snowmobile weekend each year on the fourth weekend in January.

– From staff and news reports