March 11, 2010

DispatchesSTEPPING UP FOR LOCAL TV

— GREENVILLE

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Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer... Monday, March 23, 2009...Portland mayor Jill Duson (left) along with some members of the public danced the Electric Slide at noon Monday in the cities Lobsterman's Park. The dance was part of a week long fundraising effort for the Community Television Network Channels 2 and 4.

Bodies of 2 snowmobilers recovered from Moosehead

Wardens on Monday recovered the bodies of a Pennsylvania couple who disappeared four days ago and apparently fell into icy water while snowmobiling in the Moosehead Lake area.

The bodies of Clifford Achenbach, 41, and his 42-year-old wife, Denise, of Pen Argyl were spotted by helicopter shortly before 1 p.m., frozen in the ice on the lake's East Outlet, the Maine Warden Service said.

The couple apparently hit open water after dark Thursday night while riding their snowmobiles on the lake, Lt. Pat Dorian said. Wardens using an air boat were able to recover the bodies a few hours later.

The Achenbachs failed to return that night to their hotel in Moosehead Junction Township, near Greenville. Dorian said a missing persons report Monday triggered an air and ground search involving 15 wardens.

The deaths raise the number of snowmobile fatalities in Maine for the season to eight.

BRIDGTON

Trail of loot leads local police to suspects in store burglary

Police have arrested a second man in connection with the robbery of a convenience store last week.

Police Saturday night arrested Ryan Staley, 24, of Main Street in Bridgton on charges of burglary and theft in connection with a break-in at Little Mountain Store in West Bridgton, in which beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets were stolen, said Chief David Lyons.

Police had earlier charged Zachary Jackson, 20, of Bel Air Estates in Bridgton in connection with the burglary.

Police were able to track the suspects by following a trail of unopened beer cans, lighters, lottery tickets and cigarette packs that had been dropped along the escape route, Lyons said. As well, a passer-by reported seeing one of the men walking along the road at 4:30 a.m. using his jacket as a basket to carry a large number of items, Lyons said.

BERWICK

Firefighters contain damage to duplex in Monday blaze

Firefighters saved a duplex at 12 First St. after an electrical short started a fire at 6 a.m. Monday.

Berwick firefighters were called to the wooden building for a report of smoke in the building. They were able to keep the fire damage confined to the first floor.

The occupants have been able to return to the building and will not be displaced, said Fire Chief Dennis Plante.

PORTLAND

Pair charged with trafficking after allegedly buying cocaine

Two Hampden brothers face charges of trafficking in cocaine after allegedly buying 6 ounces of the drug in Portland.

Police arrested Christopher Fillion, 25, and his brother Michael Fillion, 24, on Friday night on charges of aggravated trafficking in cocaine. They appeared in Bangor District Court on Monday.

The pair had driven to Portland early Friday to purchase the cocaine, according to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and were arrested when their car was stopped on March Street in Bangor at 11:45 p.m.

The cocaine, with a street value of $17,200, was found in the console of the car and in the trunk, said MDEA Supervisor Garry Higgins.

Police are investigating to determine from whom the drugs were purchased in Portland.

Michael Fillion was also charged with possessing OxyContin after five pills allegedly were found in his socks as he was being admitted to the Penobscot County Jail.

City Hall lights to go dark this weekend for Earth Hour

It'll be lights out this weekend at Portland City Hall.

The city announced Monday it will turn off the lights this weekend as part of Earth Hour, a global event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club to raise awareness of energy use and global warming.

Earth Hour is 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. More than 2,000 communities in 82 countries have pledged to turn off lights for that one hour. Portland officials actually plan to darken City Hall for the entire weekend.

''I am proud of the fact that Portland will be turning off its lights along with Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne and other major cities around the globe,'' Portland Mayor Jill Duson said in a statement.

Most of Maine's electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Scientists say the gases are increasing the earth's temperature, which is expected to lead to rising sea levels, drought, severe storms and other changes.

Maine restaurants tapped for top culinary world honors

Maine has once again made a good showing in nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the culinary equivalent of the Oscars.

Fore Street, the Portland restaurant owned by Victor Leon, Dana Street and chef Sam Hayward, has been nominated for best restaurant.

Other nominees in that category are Babbo and Jean Georges, both in New York City; Boulevard, in San Francisco; and Highlands Bar & Grill, in Birmingham, Ala.

Chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit are once again nominated for best chef in the Northeast, along with Rob Evans of Hugo's.

The winners will be announced May 4 in New York.

Report: Maine's crime rate third lowest in United States

New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine have been ranked as the three safest states in an annual analysis of crime statistics.

In a report released Monday, CQ Press announced its annual crime rankings comparing states based on more than 500 crime-related categories.

New Hampshire had the lowest crime rate ranking, followed by Vermont and Maine.

Nevada had the highest crime rating, ahead of Louisiana and South Carolina.

KENNEBUNK

School board seeks feedback in search for superintendent

The Regional School Unit 21 Board of Directors is soliciting community input for its superintendent search.

The district, which will serve Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel, begins operating July 1. The board expects to hire the superintendent in June.

The board will hold three community forums as part of the process. The first will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mildred L. Day School library in Arundel.

The second forum will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Kennebunk Elementary School library. The third will be held at 5 p.m. March 31 in the gym of Consolidated School in Kennebunkport.

The board is also soliciting public input through an online survey (go to www.rsu21.net/).

A community interview team will also participate in the search. Those interested can contact a school board member, a school principal or an administrator or call the school district office at 985-1100.

AUGUSTA

Survey reports decline in adolescents' alcohol use

A survey of Maine students in grades 6 through 12 indicates that a decline in alcohol use among teenagers is continuing.

The state Department of Health and Human Services on Monday based its results on data from nearly 75,000 students in 340 schools. Officials said 25 percent of those surveyed last year said they consumed alcohol in the past month, compared to 38 percent in a 1995 survey and 29 percent in 2006.

As well, binge drinking fell from 20 percent in 1995 to 13 percent last year.

The department's Office of Substance Abuse credits the drop to a statewide prevention plan that's changing expectations about youth drinking and sending the message that such behavior is not OK.

BANGOR

Bangor man faces charges in attack on cafe employee

A 32-year-old Bangor man accused of slashing a pregnant woman on the neck in a random attack at a downtown coffee shop has been indicted on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Jason Dean is scheduled to be arraigned April 17 in Penobscot County Superior Court.

The Bangor Daily News said Dean remains in the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Dean allegedly walked into Java Joe's Cafe on Central Street on March 16, walked behind the counter and cut the neck of the victim, who worked there. Her name was not released, and police said her wounds were not life-threatening.

Two brothers hospitalized after car hits vacant house

Police say two brothers were hospitalized after their car went out of control on a Bangor street, hit a snowbank and flew through the air before crashing into a vacant house.

Police say the car was moving at a high rate of speed on Broadway around 6:30 p.m. Sunday when 20-year-old Samuel Chase of Glenburn lost control. Witnesses said the car went airborne and crashed into the side of an empty wood-frame house, leaving a large hole in the side of the structure before landing on its roof.

Chase and his brother, 18-year-old Leo Chase, were pulled from the crushed car and taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

SANFORD

Police: Mother, son set fire to 4-unit apartment house

A mother and son are facing arson charges for allegedly setting fire to a four-unit apartment house in Sanford next door to where they lived.

Police and fire officials told the Journal Tribune in Biddeford that Janice Fortier and her son, Raymond Fortier, are charged in the Jan. 6 fire that sent 14 people fleeing with just the clothes on their backs.

Officials said the fire started at the rear of the apartment house while the tenants slept. Authorities aren't revealing any motive.

Janice Fortier, 46, was arrested earlier this month at her Sanford home. Her 23-year-old son was arrested by U.S. marshals in Panama City, Fla.

MILO

Police chief placed on leave after alleged assault of wife

Milo's police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with domestic assault involving an altercation with his estranged wife.

The Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department said 53-year-old Michael Poulin was arrested Friday night following the incident at Elaine's Basket Cafe and Gift Shop, which is run by his wife. He was released after posting $300 bail.

Sheriff John Goggin said witnesses said the altercation involved shoving and screaming. He said Poulin's wife was not seriously injured, if at all.

Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said he will discuss the incident with the selectmen before any decisions are made about the chief's status.

PITTSFIELD

About 100 firefighters put out lumber silo blaze

Firefighters from 10 area towns extinguished a blaze early Monday in a wood-shavings silo at the Hancock Lumber mill just off Route 100.

The fire was reported by a mill boiler attendant about 1:15 a.m., said Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams.

He said the fire apparently ignited in the area where wood shavings used for animal bedding are stored and bagged. The mill had bagged and moved most of the shavings Friday, so mostly sawdust remained in the silo, Williams said.

About 100 firefighters responded.

Firefighters were able to remove the metal roof and douse the flames before they could spread to the main structure, which will need some repairs, Williams said.

No one was injured, he said.

-- From staff and news services

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