March 13, 2010

Dispatches

— WESTBROOK

Burglary arrests lead police to recovery of stolen items

Westbrook police were called to a burglary in progress at about 1 a.m. Thursday morning and ended up arresting two men in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars of construction tools and other items.

Police charged Joshua Greenwood, 26, and Travis Greenwood, 21, with burglary and theft.

Officers investigating burglaries reported in the Maple and Middle street areas ended up chasing the Greenwoods and arresting them, police said. The men live in the Brackett and Prospect street areas of the city.

Police executed a search warrant at Unit 152 in Westbrook Gardens, leading to the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of items from other burglaries.

A second search warrant, at 84 Brackett St., turned up more stolen items, police said.

Police are seeking three more suspects in connection with the case.

FRYEBURG

South Portland man faces burglary, theft charges

A South Portland man faces charges after jumping out of a second-floor window of a Fryeburg home, where he was suspected of stealing antiques.

Police say 43-year-old David Duquette was charged with burglary and theft after being confronted Wednesday afternoon by an officer and the homeowner, who fired a gun during the incident.

Police Chief Philip Weymouth said when he entered the home, he heard breaking glass, a crash and a shot fired.

When Weymouth went outside, he found Duquette lying on the ground and homeowner Elbridge Russell holding a semiautomatic pistol.

Duquette is being held in the Oxford County Jail. No charges are expected against Russell.

CUMBERLAND

Turnpike plaza evacuated to clear air of toxic fumes

A Maine Turnpike service plaza closed for several hours Thursday morning because of a chemical spill.

Fire officials said emergency crews evacuated the plaza building in Cumberland and used fans to clear the air after two employees accidentally mixed bleach and cleaning solution shortly after midnight.

The employees complained of dizziness and were treated at the scene.

The plaza was reopened later in the morning.

BIDDEFORD

Free legal advice offered to low-income clients

Low-income clients can get some free legal help every Friday afternoon at Biddeford District Courthouse.

The program, launching today, is run by the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The lawyers participating can help people fill out family law paperwork and answer basic questions from 1 to 4 p.m. Lawyers are available for up to 30 minutes to consult on divorce or parental rights matters.

The lawyers cannot give advice on appeals.

For more information, call the Volunteer Lawyers Project at 774-4348.

PORTLAND

Maine getting $80 million in heating aid, up 72 percent

President Bush has directed that more than $5 billion be released nationally for heating assistance with nearly $80 million of it coming to Maine.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins announced Thursday that that the Secretary of Health and Human Services will release the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP.

Maine's share is a 72 percent increase over the $46 million it received last year.

Of the total, about $49.5 million is in base funding with $29.7 million in contingency funding.

Far fewer plovers manage to raise more chicks this year

The Maine Audubon Society said the piping plover surprised everyone this summer by raising 42 chicks, five more than last year.

This was unexpected because only 22 pairs of piping plovers returned to Maine this year to nest -- the fewest in nearly 20 years.

Piping plovers that did return to Maine, though, nearly doubled last year's productivity rate, when 35 pairs of birds fledged only 37 chicks.

Of 30 nests laid this season, none were lost to storms (compared to nearly a third last year) and only a few were abandoned or lost to predators.

Despite these challenges, the birds managed to raise their young on eight beaches this year. Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport led the way with 15 chicks.

Turnpike authority votes to increase tolls 23 percent

The Maine Turnpike Authority voted unanimously Thursday to have its staff develop a plan to increase tolls 23 percent next year.

The authority voted 7-0 at its Portland headquarters to approve a resolution recognizing that sharp increases in expenses and a drop in turnpike use requires a toll increase a year ahead of schedule.

The staff will now develop a series of scenarios about how that increase will be apportioned among the different classes of users.

The authority next month will consider how much of the increase should be borne by passenger cars, E-Z Pass users, and commercial vehicles.

Woman convicted in failing to pay $183,000 in taxes

A 55-year-old Jefferson woman faces sentencing after being convicted of failing to pay $183,000 in federal income taxes.

Shirley St. Pierre was convicted by a federal court jury in Portland of tax evasion and impeding the enforcement of tax laws.

According to prosecutors, St. Pierre failed to report about $460,000 of income she earned through her business, the Staab Agency, on her 2002 income tax return, resulting in the underpayment in taxes.

She was acquitted of two additional counts of tax evasion relating to her 2000 and 2001 returns.

-- From staff and wire reports

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