PORTLAND

Former King staffer hired by Cutler campaign

Sen. Angus King’s former communications director has joined Eliot Cutler’s gubernatorial campaign.

Crystal Canney, a former TV journalist in Portland, will join Cutler as a consultant and lead all campaign communications, including media relations and social media strategy, the campaign announced Monday.

Canney did the same thing for King when the former governor ran for U.S. Senate last year. Canney stepped down as King’s communications director last month.

King and Cutler are independents, and have been political allies.

On Tuesday, a new independent poll put Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the lead of the governor’s race, 11 months before Election Day.

The poll, from Pan Atlantic SMS Group, says Michaud has 37 percent of respondents, to 36 percent for LePage and 18 percent for Cutler.

The telephone interview poll was done in the last week of November. It includes a sample of 400 Maine residents and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Time Warner drops NECN, adds Al-Jazeera America

Time Warner Cable is adding Al-Jazeera America to its lineup and cutting New England Cable News for its Maine customers.

A Time Warner spokesman told WGAN-AM that New England Cable News Network will no longer be part of any cable offering by month’s end and that the decision is not connected to the addition of Al-Jazeera America.

Al-Jazeera America is the English-language counterpart to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network. Al-Jazeera bought out Al Gore’s Current TV network to find a place on the television dial in many markets across the country.

Last week, Time Warner expanded Al-Jazeera America to its lineup nationwide, reaching 55 million homes. In Maine, Al-Jazeera America is part of Time Warner’s Digital Basic Tier package.

BUCKFIELD

Police believe bleachers stolen to be sold as scrap

Police think the aluminum bleachers that are missing from the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School athletic complex were stolen to be sold as scrap.

Jonathan Chalmers, assistant director of buildings and grounds at the school, said a maintenance employee discovered the theft during a check on the fields Friday afternoon.

He told the Sun Journal that two or three 16-foot benches and the seats and foot rests from a three-level set of bleachers were taken. The aluminum slats were detached from the bleachers’ galvanized steel frame.

The complex, which has baseball and soccer fields, is several hundred yards behind the school in a wooded area and cannot be seen from the road running by the school.

Sheriff’s Deputy Nathan Bowie said investigators are pursuing several leads.

ELIOT

Fire causes smoke damage at Green Acre Baha’i School

A fire that broke out Tuesday night at the Green Acre Baha’i School Retreat & Conference Center caused extensive smoke damage but little structural damage to the school’s campus on Main Street.

Fire Chief Jay Muzeroll said the fire started around 7:15 p.m. in a cafeteria of the former Sara Farmer Inn, a section of the complex where construction crews have been doing renovation.

Muzeroll said the building’s sprinkler system was activated and prevented the fire from spreading from a trash disposal area in the cafeteria. He said improper disposal of painting materials probably started the fire.

Smoke from the fire caused more than $50,000 in damage, Muzeroll said. No injuries were reported.

SCARBOROUGH

Man wounded by own gun now in satisfactory condition

A Scarborough man is in satisfactory condition after an accidental discharge of his .22-caliber handgun wounded him in the abdomen.

Everett Boynton, 77, a member of the Scarborough Fish & Game Club, was at the club’s range Saturday when he mishandled his gun and it went off. Boynton was able to call for help and direct rescuers to his location on the sprawling facility.

When they arrived, he was in the rear area of the range where there are tables and which is not used for shooting, said Scarborough police Detective Sgt. Rick Rouse. Boynton was not cleaning his gun but didn’t explain how it went off.

Rouse said Boynton’s ability to summon help and tell rescuers his location was impressive given the nature of his wound.

Boynton underwent surgery at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he is recuperating.