March 11, 2010

Dispatches

Midday Monday

— PORTLAND

Prize-winning journalist to speak at USM ceremony

Boston Globe columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman will be the featured speaker at the University of Southern Maine's 129th commencement.

Graduation ceremonies will be held May 16, at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

Goodman, who has been a longtime summer resident of Chebeague Island, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony.

Goodman is perhaps best known for her syndicated Boston Globe column that appears in more than 300 newspapers. She won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1980. She has also written two books.

Woman to serve two years in fraud, identity theft case

A federal judge in Maine has sentenced a Massachusetts woman to two years in prison for using a false identity and another person's Social Security number that enabled her to obtain a driver's license in her home state.

Deniz Novo, 36, of Malden was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Novo had pleaded guilty Dec. 2 to Social Security fraud and was found guilty at a jury trial two weeks later of aggravated identity theft.

Evidence at trial showed that in 2006, Novo used a false name and Social Security number to get a Maine identity card from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and, later, a Massachusetts license.

She faces two years' probation after she gets of prison.

Police arrest, charge man in alleged purse snatching

A 35-year-old man faces robbery charges stemming from an alleged purse snatching early Saturday.

Police arrested Cesar Pinon in connection with the theft of a woman's purse just after midnight on Silver Street.

The woman called police and notified her parents, who checked for card activity and determined the card had been declined at the Big Apple at 2 Park Ave. shortly after the robbery.

The woman was driving home a little later when she said she spotted the suspect at Shepley and Oak streets and alerted police, who arrested Pinon.

Police are investigating whether Pinon is responsible for a pair of purse snatchings in the West End last Wednesday.

AUBURN

Investigators: Stabbing report found to be hoax

Police say a woman who reported being stabbed by an assailant Friday actually stabbed herself.

About 10 p.m. Friday, Auburn police went to Whitman Spring Road for a reported stabbing and robbery.

A 23-year-old woman there told police she had been robbed and stabbed and that the man who did it had driven off in a black truck. The victim was treated at and released from a hospital for minor stab wounds.

Police began searching for the subject but now believe, after a follow-up investigation by Officer Bernice Mowatt, that the stab wounds were self-inflicted.

The woman, police say, admitted her report was a hoax. The Auburn Police Department has closed its investigation into the matter. The woman's name was not released.

Man found not responsible in attack, taken to hospital

An Auburn man has been taken to the state-run Riverview Psychiatric Center after being found not criminally responsible for attacking his former boss with a machete last summer.

Justice Thomas Delahanty II last week ruled that 36-year-old Neil Donovan was not guilty of attempted murder by reason of mental disease or mental defect.

Donovan was arrested last summer after confronting his one-time manager at a building supply company and allegedly striking his arm, back and neck with the machete after telling him he would cut his head off.

Donovan reportedly told police later that he was Jesus Christ and was ''sick of his old boss harassing him.''

WESTBROOK

Motorist faces OUI, other charges after car hits porch

Police say a car crashed into a porch at 26 Longfellow St. around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, trapping four people inside.

The car crashed into the house, then rolled a number of times.

Emergency workers took the injured from the car to Maine Medical Center with injuries ranging from minor to very serious.

The driver was 18-year-old Shaun Geisinger, and the four passengers were juveniles. Geisinger ran from the scene after the accident, but officers found him in the area a few hours later.

Geisinger, who had injuries from the accident, was charged with felony operating under the influence, felony leaving the scene and operating after suspension.

After being treated at Maine Medical Center, Geisinger was sent to the Cumberland County Jail.

AUGUSTA

Panel rejects proposed cuts in school administrators

A legislative panel has unanimously rejected a bill that would change the state's school aid formula to provide funding for fewer principals and other administrators.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Brian Bolduc of Auburn, had touted it as a way to direct more resources to the classroom.

Bolduc sought to have the state fund one administrator for every 500 students.

The current formula provides for one administrator for every 305 elementary school students and for every 315 high school students.

The Kennebec Journal reported that the Education Committee on Monday gave a unanimous ''ought not to pass'' report to the bill, essentially killing it.

State seeking applicants for lifeguard positions

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is looking for lifeguards.

Candidates must have a current lifeguard certificate and be certified in first aid and CPR.

They also must do a 500-meter swim in less than 10 minutes and run 1 mile in less than 12 minutes.

The seasonal job, at 40 hours a week, pays $10.43 an hour and will start in early June.

More than 2.2 million people annually visit Maine's 47 state parks and historic sites. Twenty parks allow swimming, though not all of them have lifeguards.

The Bureau of Parks and Lands regularly has 40 lifeguards staffing 11 state parks.

CARIBOU

Up to 7.5 inches of snow falls in far northern Maine

An early spring storm brought snow to far northern Maine.

The National Weather Service said snow was falling in northern areas Monday, while the rest of the state was reporting cloudy conditions or light rain.

By midday Monday, 7.5 inches had been reported in Grand Isle, 6 inches in Madawaska and 5 inches in Fort Kent.

-- From staff and news services

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