Bangor native hired as city spokesperson
Portland has hired a new spokeswoman, the city announced Friday.
Jessica Shumaker Grondin will serve as the city’s director of communications and report to City Manager Mark Rees. She replaces Nicole Clegg, who left the city in September to work for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Grondin is now the marketing manager for Pierce Atwood LLP, a Portland law firm. Before that, she served as a spokeswoman for former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as the director of media and public relations for the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development. She also worked as deputy director for media and public relations for the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Grondin, a native of Bangor, has a communications and political science degree from Regis College in Weston, Mass.
“I believe that Jessica’s public sector knowledge and commitment to customer service, as well as her proficiency in social media applications and website content management will make her a great asset to the City of Portland team,” Rees said in a news release announcing the hire.
Grondin’s salary will be $68,000. She will begin work for the city on March 5.
Couple facing drug charges after police seize bath salts
A couple from the Aroostook County town of Woodland have been charged with trafficking in the bath salts after agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency seized more than 3 pounds of the synthetic hallucinogen worth $308,000.
Agents from the Aroostook County Task Force, along with Aroostook County sheriff’s deputies, searched the home of Lance and Kathryn Ellison on Thursday following a months-long investigation, Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said.
Police also seized Suboxone and fentanyl, both of which are opioids.
In addition to the drugs, agents seized a shotgun, a loaded 9 mm handgun and $6,760 in cash, McCausland said.
Lance Ellison, 44, has a lengthy criminal history that includes an armed robbery in 1990, heroin trafficking in 2003 and possession of a firearm by a felon in 2013.
The Ellisons made initial court appearances on Friday. An official at the Aroostook County Jail said Kathryn Ellison, 41, was being held on $30,000 bail while Lance Ellison was held on $100,000.
Biddeford man charged after police get drug tip
Saco police charged a Biddeford man with trafficking in heroin after a tip led police to pull over his car.
Saco police learned at 5:22 p.m. Thursday that a man driving a beige 2000 Buick LeSabre was likely headed into town and that he had heroin with him.
Police pulled over Steven Bergeron, 52, after he was seen allegedly speeding and crossing over the centerline on Tasker Street.
Ranger, a police dog, detected contraband in Bergeron’s jacket pocket, police said, and an officer found heroin as well as packaging material.
In all, police seized 4.6 grams of heroin.
Bergeron is charged with a Class B felony and was taken to York County Jail in Alfred. He is being held on $500 bail.
Overnight drug raids lead to four arrests
Four people were arrested during overnight raids in Bangor and Dedham as part of a crackdown on drugs coming into the state from New York, a Maine State Police spokesman said Friday.
Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Homeland Security and Bangor police seized heroin, oxycodone tablets and more than $13,000 in cash, said Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Police searched an apartment on Langley Street in Bangor after learning that the residents were allegedly selling oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin. Police seized eight oxycodone tablets and $500 and arrested Robert Wood Jr., 46, and Nicole Kelley, 34, on charges of possessing and trafficking in drugs. Both were taken to the Penobscot County Jail.
Police searched a lakefront home on Granite Road in Dedham early Friday and seized 15 grams of heroin, 144 oxycodone tablets, $13,000 and two handguns, McCausland said. The oxycodone tablets are worth about $7,200 and the heroin about $4,000, he said.
Police charged Jonathan Baez, 29, of the Bronx, N.Y., and Jerald Hiland, 34, of Old Town with aggravated trafficking in drugs. Both were taken to the Hancock County Jail and were due in court Friday.
Man serves three months for peppering dog with BBs
A Maine man who shot a Labrador retriever as many as 100 times with a BB gun has made a plea deal.
Aaron Armstrong was charged with animal cruelty after police said he shot the dog multiple times while drunk last summer. An X-ray showed the dog had BBs embedded in its muzzle, head, body and legs.
WGME-TV reported Friday that Armstrong’s plea deal sentenced him to time served – more than three months – and two years of probation. Terms of probation prevent him from having a pet.
Maine man, 23, facing armed robbery charge
Vermont State Police say a Maine man is facing charges in an armed robbery of a gas station in Barton last month.
Police say 23-year-old Daniel Dunn of Oxford is expected to be arraigned on a charge of assault and robbery on March 11.
Dunn is accused of holding up the Circle K gas station on Jan. 23 with a knife and fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Work continuing Saturday on cleanup of diesel spill
Crews planned to remove a barge from the rocks Saturday morning and continue cleaning up diesel fuel that spilled after the vessel broke free from the dock Friday at an aquaculture facility on the Damariscotta River.
The 30-foot barge spilled about 100 gallons near Mook Sea Farm in Walpole, a village in South Bristol. The spill was reported at about 8:40 a.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent multiple crews to the scene.
The barge listed after getting hung up on rocks, enabling water to enter a diesel tank vent and diesel to leak out, said Jessamine Logan, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP plugged the vents and placed absorbent booms to contain the spill, she said.
Mook Sea Farm raises oysters. It was not immediately clear whether the spill had any impact on the operation.
Man selling motorcycle charged with fraud
A Windham man has been charged with felony insurance fraud after he allegedly tried to sell to undercover sheriff’s deputies a motorcycle he reported stolen four years ago.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that Daniel McCracken, 41, was selling a 2008 KTM 505 dirt bike – one he reported stolen in 2009 – on an Internet site.
Deputies posed as potential buyers of the motorcycle. They confirmed it was the same motorcycle that McCracken said was stolen out of the back of his pickup at the Route 114 boat ramp in Naples and for which he had filed a $5,000 insurance claim.
McCracken was arrested at 7 p.m. Tuesday at a house on Helen Allen Lane in Casco where he was showing deputies the motorcycle.
Man evades capture after robbing bank
A Bangor Savings Bank branch in Pittsfield was robbed Friday afternoon by a man wearing a dark ski mask and holding a sign demanding money.
The robbery occurred at 2:45 p.m. when a man about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and wearing gloves showed a sign to a teller that said he had a gun and wanted money, according to Pittsfield Police Chief Steven Emery.
He said the robber did not show a gun to anyone in the bank, at Somerset Plaza.
“They (bank employees) gave him the money and he walked out the door and around a big snowbank in the parking lot and disappeared,” Emery said.
He said a police dog tracked him to car or truck tracks.
The robbery was the second this week in Somerset County and the third in the last month.