Fire early Tuesday morning kills two people at house

The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office said two people were killed in an early-morning fire in northern Maine.

A spokesman for the state Public Safety Department said the bodies were discovered in a home in the town of Easton early Tuesday morning.

The blaze was reported about 5 a.m.

No names or other details were released.

Easton is in Aroostook County, about five miles east of Presque Isle along the Canadian border.


High carbon monoxide level sends one tenant to hospital

Fire officials say at least one person was taken to a hospital after suffering from the apparent effects of high levels of carbon monoxide.

The Berwick Fire Department said it was called about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to an apartment complex in town, where a high level of carbon monoxide was found in one apartment.

Officials told WMTW-TV that one tenant was removed from the apartment and taken to a hospital.


Male teenager dies at home; police say it’s not suspicious

Police are investigating the death of a male teenager but don’t consider the death to be suspicious.

Officers found the teenager unresponsive and not breathing when they were called to a home at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officials said family members were being notified, and that police were meeting with school officials to ensure that counselors are prepared for students on Wednesday.

Police released no other details.


Gray man on probation faces heroin trafficking charges

A Gray man who was released from prison recently after attacking a man with a baseball bat is back behind bars after his arrest in Rangeley on heroin trafficking charges.

Police charged Tyler McFarland, 31, of Gray, Jami Driscoll, 23, of Auburn and Michael Chandler, 33, of Philadelphia in the trafficking case.

Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency searched a home and a motel room Monday morning and seized 157 bags of heroin, 20 grams of crack cocaine and $8,200 in cash, as well oxycodone and amphetamine capsules, police said.

Agents had been investigating a crack cocaine and heroin distribution ring in the Rangeley area for several months and say they learned during the weekend that Chandler was bringing a shipment to the area from Philadelphia.

The three are scheduled to appear in Franklin County Superior Court on Wednesday.

McFarland was sentenced in 2009 for attacking a man in Gray with a baseball bat and stealing drugs. He was sentenced to four years in prison and released recently. He is on probation.


Teacher due in court March 19 to face sex assault charges

A teacher at the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, who is on administrative leave from his job, is free on $5,000 bail and isn’t scheduled to appear in court until March 19 to face charges of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact.

Derek Hanscom, 32, of Gorham was charged Monday with incidents involving a junvenile that occurred over the past two weeks. Police have not said whether the alleged victim was a student.

Hanscom has been on administrative leave with pay since Thursday from his job as an instructor in the school’s automotive program, said Westbrook Superintendent Marc Gousse. The leave will continue indefinitely pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Gousse said.

Gousse would not elaborate on the case or say whether the charges involve a student. Hanscom has been a teacher at the vocational center since January 2011.

Hanscom’s bail was entered as $10,000 in property or $500 cash Monday but a jail official said that may have been a clerical error because it was later revised to $10,000 in property or $5,000 cash. The bail commissioner who set bail for Hanscom could not be reached for comment.


MPBN wins approval to air legislative proceedings on TV

Legislative leaders have voted to allow the Maine Public Broadcasting Network to provide expanded State House coverage that could resemble the national C-SPAN.

The new venture was unanimously approved Tuesday by House and Senate leaders. The free over-the-air MPBN State House TV channel is devoted exclusively to coverage of the Legislature and government affairs. Airing could begin as early as Monday.

The plan is to transmit House and Senate proceedings and budget hearings live. Coverage of news conferences and other State House events is also planned.

Veteran State House reporter Mal Leary will oversee operations of MPBN’s new State House channel. The programming comes at no public cost and will be carried by state cable services and over the air.


Bears to get fancy collars; researchers to get new data

Unity College is undertaking a study with the state game department of black bears in Maine.

The central Maine college says the multi-year study will involve both faculty and students and include the trapping, tracking, and in at least one case, attachment of a video camera to a Maine black bear.

Unity Associate Professor George Matula said state biologists have been studying Maine black bears since 1975. He said one purpose of the new study is to collect data in an area that is different than where the state is collecting.

Trapping of bears will begin in May around the Dixmont, Troy and Benton areas. GPS-satellite collars will be placed on up to five adult female bears with one of the collars equipped with a video camera.


Insurance bureau helped recover $3 million in 2012

Maine insurance regulators say they helped consumers in the state to recover more than $3 million owed to them during the past year.

Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says nearly $2.2 million was recovered by the Bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division, and almost $950,000 was recovered by the Property and Casualty Division.

Cioppa said most insurers operating in Maine pay claims properly and quickly. But when individuals or business owners contact the state because of a dispute with an insurance company or agent, the state can often provide assistance.

Cioppa said the Insurance Bureau fielded almost 9,000 inquiries and more than 900 complaints in 2012.