PORTLAND

Task force arrests 4 suspects as part of prostitution sting

A Greater Portland task force of police and prosecutors fighting human sex trafficking in southern Maine arrested four people as part of an investigation into an alleged prostitution operation.

Police in Portland and Westbrook on Friday charged three men with engaging a prostitute. A fourth suspect was not charged with any prostitution offense but with eluding police and reckless conduct.

Loyall F. Sewall, 49, of Westbrook was arrested on Larrabee Road in Westbrook; James Conrad Begin, 35, of Lewiston was arrested at 1230 Congress St., Portland; and Bao T. Loc, 20, of South Portland was arrested at the Super 8 motel in Westbrook. All were charged with engaging a prostitute.

Police said that when officers approached Chandler G. Marsh, 24, of Hyde Park, Mass., in a parking lot on Larrabee Road, he sped off in his car. He was heading out William Clark Drive when an officer put down a spike mat, which deflated the tires on Marsh’s car.

Partcipating in the Greater Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking and Exploitation are police from Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Scarborough, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Maine Pretrial Services, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

SACO

Three people left homeless after fire destroys house

Three people were left homeless after a fire swept through their single-family home Monday.

Fire Chief John Duross said the fire, which started on the front porch of a home at 70 Berry Road, was caused by the “careless disposal” of cigarette smoking materials.

Three residents – a mother and her two daughters – saw the fire as it began to enter the home from a porch, and they escaped unharmed.

But two Saco firefighters were taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford. One was treated for a knee injury and the other for overexertion. Both were treated and released.

The occupants declined help from the American Red Cross and were able to find other accommodations.

Duross said there was no water source to fight the fire – the home is located in a rural area – and several neighboring fire departments had to truck water to the scene.

Biddeford, Goodwins Mills, Hollis, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach and Arundel firefighters responded to the fire, which started around 12:30 p.m. Firefighters and an investigator from the state Fire Marshal’s Office left the scene around 5 p.m. The home was destroyed.

WINDHAM

Standish woman charged with assault using knife

Police charged a Standish woman with assault with a dangerous weapon and aggravated criminal trespass in connection with a stabbing Monday at 18 Jacques Lane.

Two people were injured in the 10:45 a.m. assault by the woman, who then fled in a white van driven by another person, police said. Officers found Dustin Richardson, 19, with multiple wounds, at least one of them caused by a knife. Another victim, Stephanie Majeroni, 20, was also assaulted, although it was not clear whether her wounds were from a knife. The wounds were not serious.

Warden Peter Herring of the Maine Warden Service tracked the van to the parking lot of the local Walmart. Windham police arrested Rossana Natalini, 43, in connection with the stabbing, said Sgt. Jim Boudreau. She was being held at the Cumberland County Jail.

The knife allegedly used to attack Richardson was recovered at the scene. The driver of the van was not charged.

FORT KENT

Canadian musher finishes first in Maine sled dog race

A Canadian musher Monday raced to his fifth victory in a grueling, 250-mile sled dog race across the northern Maine wilderness, becoming the record-holder for most victories in the Can-Am Crown.

Martin Masicotte of St. Tite, Quebec, crossed the finish line at 5:15 a.m., just 1 minute, 5 seconds ahead of another Canadian musher, Andre Longchamps of Pont-Rouge, Quebec. The winner of the last two Can-Am Crown races, American Ryan Anderson of Ray, Minn., was third.

Having three competitors finish within 20 minutes of one another created one of the most exciting endings in the race’s history, said Can-Am President Beurmond Banville.

The mushers left Saturday morning from Fort Kent for a race billed as the longest and highest-caliber race in the eastern U.S. It serves as a qualifier for Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

With the win, Masicotte surpassed the achievement of his friend Andre Nadeau, another Quebec musher who had won four times, including the inaugural race in 1993. Masicotte finished with a time of 28 hours, 21 minutes, 16 seconds, followed by Longchamps at 28:22:21 and Anderson at 28:41:06.

Trail conditions were optimal thanks to the cold weather. The temperature was about minus 22 degrees when Masicotte finished.

“This was the kind of weather that the dogs needed,” Banville said. “It was probably a little cold for the mushers, but the dogs are in heaven with this kind of weather.”

Over the years, the weather has ranged from a minus 32 reading during the inaugural Can-Am Crown in 1993 to a freakish 60 degrees a year later.

WESTBROOK

Middle school principal named best in Maine

The principal of Westbrook Middle School was recognized Monday as the best in the state at what he does.

The Maine Principals’ Association named Matt Nelson the 2014 Middle Level Principal of the Year.

The principals’ association called Nelson “a tireless advocate for the students and staff” who “has focused the attention of the school on student achievement, using data effectively to impact growth.”

Nelson was surprised with the recognition Monday morning at a schoolwide assembly. “We are very proud of Matt and this well-deserved honor,” said Superintendent Marc Gousse.

Nelson, who has a bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College and a master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, has been the middle school principal since 2010. Before that, he was an assistant principal at Westbrook High School.

ELLSWORTH

Blaze heavily damages Ellsworth bird sanctuary

A fire caused significant damage Sunday to an Ellsworth bird sanctuary, but no animals are believed harmed, authorities said.

The fire in a museum building at the Birdsacre-Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary was reported about 6 p.m.

No birds are kept in the building and no people were inside at the time. The cause remains under investigation.

Officials told WLBZ-TV that firefighters were able to salvage some antiques from the museum. There was no immediate estimate of damage.

According to its website, the 200-acre sanctuary, which includes nature trails, is named for early 20th century ornithologist, photographer and writer Cordelia Stanwood.

FARMINGDALE

Motorists to face delays during next several nights

Traffic will be periodically stopped on part of Interstate 95 over the next few nights so Central Maine Power Co. can install new transmission lines across the highway in Farmingdale.

The utility said the work will be done between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. through Thursday. Work was to begin Monday night. The project will affect traffic near mile 105 in both directions.

Traffic will be stopped for 20-minute intervals. Message boards will alert approaching drivers, and state troopers will be on site.

The work is part of the utility’s Maine Power Reliability Program, which includes the construction of five new substations.