Yarmouth man sentenced for possessing child porn

A Yarmouth man convicted of possession of child pornography was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland to serve 30 months in prison.

Ronald Grant Thurston III, 25, of Yarmouth pleaded guilty to the charge at his initial court appearance before Judge George Singal on July 15.

The charge stems from a search warrant police executed at Thurston’s home on Jan. 18 when authorities seized a computer and cellphone. Investigators later found that the devices contained images of two minor girls whom Thurston had induced to send pornographic pictures of themselves to him as text messages, according to court records.

The judge also sentenced Thurston to five years of supervised release to be completed after his prison term.


Man dies in collision with car parked in private driveway

A man was killed Wednesday night after his car went off a road in Bath’s South End neighborhood and crashed into a parked car in a private driveway, police say.

Lt. Robert Savary said police were called around 6:09 p.m. to investigate the report of a car crash at 462 High St. Cpl. Jason Aucoin and Officer Shaun Cavanaugh responded and discovered the body of an adult male in the driver’s seat of one of the vehicles.

The man’s identity was not immediately released. Police didn’t say what caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Savary said the man had been driving south on High Street when his car veered off the road, continued up a small grade and collided with the parked car.


U.S. Cellular gives $62,757 to fund classroom projects

U.S. Cellular donated almost $63,000 to fund 110 classroom projects throughout the state, part of a nationwide campaign to donate $500,000 toward creative projects submitted by public school teachers.

The Maine donation of $62,757 will benefit more than 5,300 students in the state.

“Teachers work very hard to make every student’s learning experience meaningful and fun, and U.S. Cellular is proud to support teachers’ efforts,” said Matt Kasper, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in New England.

In Cumberland County, about $18,000 will go to teachers at the following schools: Coffin Elementary School in Brunswick; Mast Landing Elementary School in Freeport; Memorial Elementary School in New Gloucester; Casco Bay High School, Longfellow Elementary School, Lyseth Elementary School, Portland High School, Presumpscot Elementary School and Riverton Elementary School in Portland; Westbrook Middle School and Cumberland Oxford Canal School in Westbrook.

The funds will pay for things such as iPads, projectors, easels, books and other items related to the specific projects.

LePage: Food drive collects 1,728 pounds to help needy

Gov. Paul LePage says that Maine residents have donated 1,728 pounds of food for the annual food drive held at the governor’s home.

The food will help needy families during the holidays.

During the three-week drive at the Blaine House, LePage and first lady Ann LePage also offered tours of the governor’s mansion.

The food is being donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. The governor’s office said the food bank will decide which communities are the most in need when distributing the food.

The food bank said the donations will help it reach its goal of providing high-quality food items to 36,000 Maine residents every week.

City’s first mosque wins planners’ unanimous OK

The Augusta Planning Board has unanimously approved construction of the city’s first mosque.

The Islamic Society of Greater Augusta, a nonprofit group founded in 2009, won approval from the board on Tuesday to build a 1,230 square-foot mosque, with seating for 70 people and parking for 21 cars, on a dead-end street on the city’s east side.

More than 60 people attended the meeting.

No one spoke against the measure, which won support from the city’s Roman Catholic, Unitarian and Jewish clerics.

Islamic Society treasurer Jeremy Wadleigh said the active Muslim community in the area includes about 15 families. Most are citizens and longtime residents of the area who have been meeting in homes and other places for prayers.

Governors’ address focuses on babies affected by drugs

Gov. Paul LePage says the state is projecting that there will be more than 800 drug-affected or dependent babies born in Maine by the end of the year.

The Republican governor used his weekly radio address on Wednesday to shine a light on the growing number of drug-affected babies in Maine.

LePage says that about 770 drug-affected or dependent babies have been born in Maine so far this year.

According to figures from the state’s health department, that’s more than four times as many drug-affected Maine babies born in 2005, when the state began collecting data.

LePage said the state needs to reverse the trend and that he’s working with health officials to address the problem, including looking at how other states are addressing drug-dependent newborns.

Grants aim to help elderly, ill get care in their homes

Maine organizations are getting $320,000 in grants to support programs aimed at helping elderly and sick people stay in their homes and receive health care.

The Maine Health Access Foundation grants are going to eight Maine organizations including the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging and the Penobscot Community Health Center.

The goal of the “Thriving in Place” grants is to create programs that allow people with chronic health conditions to receive care at home to avoid being hospitalized.

The ideas being developed vary but some include promoting prevention and wellness programs while others focus on home technology.

Health officials say older and disabled Mainers increasingly want to remain in their homes but don’t have the resources available to do so.