Man, 35, indicted in case of teens getting tattoos
A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a Scarborough man who allegedly tattooed two 14-year-old girls earlier this year at a motel in Scarborough. It is illegal to tattoo anyone younger than 18 in Maine.
Joshua Grant, 35, was indicted Friday on 19 counts that include furnishing illegal drugs, unlawful sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, furnishing liquor to a minor, tattooing a minor, tattooing without a license and possession of sexually explicit materials.
When he was charged in March, Scarborough police said Grant invited the girls to The Downeaster Motel on Route 1, where he was renting a room.
Police said they learned that the girls had been tattooed at the motel after being notified by a guidance counselor at Westbrook Middle School. Police did not identify the girls.
Grant was on federal probation at the time of the incident for a conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Burglaries target sheds, car; police recover most items
Police are investigating burglaries of sheds and a car in the area of Ryefield and Foxwell drives.
A resident of Foxwell Drive called police at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday to report she saw a man trying to break into her shed.
Officers found two other sheds in the Ryefield Drive and Foxwell Drive area that had been broken into. The owner of a shed on Ryefield Drive reported a chain saw, leaf blower and weed whacker were stolen. The items are valued at $400.
The owner of a shed on Foxwell Drive that was broken into reported a saw and weed trimmer, valued at $60, were missing. A car on the same street was broken into and a $90 GPS system stolen, according to police.
During the K-9 track, police officers found all of the stolen items except the chain saw, hidden under bushes.
The man seen trying to break into the shed was described by a witness as a white man, about 6 feet tall, wearing black shorts and a gray hooded sweatshirt, said Detective Sgt. Rick Rouse.
Anyone who saw something suspicious in the area is asked to call the detective bureau at 883-6361.
Car goes airborne for 100 feet after swerving to avoid deer
State police are investigating a crash in which a Ford Taurus went airborne after the driver swerved to avoid a deer on the Carl Broggi Highway.
Lebanon’s Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole said he saw the crash, at 4:42 p.m. Wednesday.
Cole said the driver of the Ford Taurus, a 33-year-old man from Rochester, N.H., and his passenger, a 1-year-old boy, were injured when their vehicle went off the road, hit a culvert and went through the air for about 100 feet.
The car came to rest after striking a tree head-on, Cole said. Several motorists stopped to help him remove the man and child from the vehicle.
They were taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H. with non-life threatening injuries.
Two indicted on arson charges in downtown fires
The two Lewiston men who are accused of setting fires that destroyed two apartment buildings and damaged a third building in downtown Lewiston earlier this year were indicted Wednesday on arson charges by an Androscoggin County grand jury.
Brian A. Morin, 30, of 35 Jefferson St. and Bryan Wood, 23, of 131 Bartlett St. were indicted on three counts of arson each. The men, who knew each other, were arrested May 10. They are being held in the Androscoggin County Jail.
The fires they allegedly started destroyed two vacant buildings on Bartlett Street and damaged an apartment building on Horton Street. It was the third major fire in the city’s downtown in 12 days.
Two 12-year-old boys were charged separately with arson in the other apartment building fires. In all, about 200 people were displaced by the three fires.
Poliquin won’t be seeking Republican chairmanship
Former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin says he won’t be seeking the chairmanship of the Maine Republican Party.
Poliquin made the statement Wednesday to WGAN-AM in Portland. He didn’t refer to any other future plans, including the possibility of running for the 2nd Congressional District now that Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud is likely going to challenge Gov. Paul LePage in next year’s gubernatorial election.
Last week, Maine Republican Party Chairman Richard Cebra resigned after six months on the job.
Poliquin said at the time that others had approached him about taking the job, and that he was considering it.
Democrats name Jackson as majority leader in Senate
The lawmaker from northern Maine who came under attack last month by Gov. Paul LePage is now the top Democrat in the state Senate.
Maine Democrats announced Wednesday that Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash will serve as majority leader following the resignation of former Senate Democratic leader Seth Goodall of Richmond, who has been tapped to serve as New England Regional administrator of the Small Business Administration.
The Republican governor targeted Jackson with a sexually vulgar phrase and said he had a “black heart” after Jackson criticized LePage’s proposal to put in place a short-term budget.
Jackson previously served as assistant Senate Democratic leader, a spot that will be filled by Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland. Democrats say the senators were unchallenged and unanimously elected by their party caucus.
Lawmakers fail to agree in battle over bonds for roads
Maine lawmakers have finished their work for the session, but a partisan battle over bonds for the state’s roads and bridges remains heated.
The Democratic-led Legislature adjourned early Wednesday morning after a long day of attempting to override vetoes by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. In the session’s final hours, LePage and the GOP minority called on Democrats to take up a $100 million borrowing package for things like highway construction.
Democratic leaders rejected the effort and pledged to return this fall to take up a larger bond package that will also include funding for research and development and education, among others.
But Republicans say that by failing to pass the transportation bond before adjourning, Democrats have now put important construction projects at risk.
Livermore Falls gets closer to joining Franklin County
Efforts by the town of Livermore Falls to leave Androscoggin County and join Franklin County have taken a step forward.
The Sun Journal reported that in a late vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, lawmakers agreed to allow residents to vote on the issue. If the measure passes, it will then go to voters in both counties.
Supporters say a move makes financial sense. Livermore Falls is on the border between the counties and closer to the Franklin County seat than to the Androscoggin County seat. The town would save money transporting criminal defendants to and from jails and courts.
Opponents, including Lewiston Democratic state Rep. Mike Carey, say Livermore Falls leaving Androscoggin County would hurt the county’s tax base and add to Franklin County’s costs.
Nonprofit agrees to pay $99,100 for improper billing
Bridges of Maine, a private, nonprofit organization that provides services to children and adults with mental disabilities and autism, agreed Wednesday to pay $99,100 to settle claims that it improperly billed MaineCare for services provided by an excluded service provider.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland had filed a complaint against Bridges of Maine, alleging that the organization violated the federal False Claims Act from June 12, 2007 to July 17, 2008 when it billed MaineCare for services provided by a former licensed social worker who had already been excluded from participating in federal health care programs. The civil suit sought damages in the amount of the false claims, as well as penalties.
Bridges of Maine has offices in Gray and South Berwick, according to its website.
Officials say missing man took his own life in river
Michael Allen, a missing Portland musician whose body was recovered from the Presumpscot River in Westbrook on Monday afternoon, took his own life, according to the state Medical Examiner’s Office.
The office confirmed Wednesday that the body was that of Allen, who had been reported missing by family members Monday. The official cause of Allen’s death was drowning and the manner was determined to be suicide, the examiner’s office said.
Allen, 37, was a lobsterman from Portland who played guitar in the local band Doubting Gravity.
He was last heard from on Friday, when he posted a message on his Facebook page, friends said Monday. Allen’s personal items, his money and his two vehicles were left at his home on Forest Avenue.
Teen, 16, in accident during test for driver’s license
A teenager had more than the usual trouble with a road test for his driver’s license Wednesday.
The 16-year-old boy was crossing Route 236 at its intersection with Academy Street around 11:20 a.m. when his car was hit on the passenger side by a southbound sport utility vehicle, said South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie.
Lajoie said Michael LaFrance, 57, of Old Orchard Beach, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles examiner who was giving the road test, had to be extracted from the car.
LaFrance and the boy were taken to York Hospital after complaining of pain, but their injuries were not considered serious. The driver of the Ford Explorer, Tyler Viera, 22, of Rollinsford, N.H., was not injured.
Lajoie said it appears that the teenager failed to yield, but no charges were filed Wednesday.
He said it’s unlikely that the teenager got his driver’s license.