March 11, 2010

Dispatches

— PORTLAND

Police investigating theft of Sea Dogs replica jerseys

Police are investigating the theft of seven replica jerseys from Hadlock Field -- all honoring former Portland Sea Dogs who are now with the Boston Red Sox.

The large, rigid representations of jerseys had been hanging on a wall above the press box, police said.

The theft was discovered Thursday afternoon.

The jersey replicas taken bore prominent names: Dustin Pedroia, Mark Kotsay, Manny Delcarmen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson and Brad Penny.

Man cleared in 2006 killing sentenced for threatening

A 51-year-old homeless man who was acquitted last year of manslaughter in the death of a friend in Portland has been sentenced to 1½ years in prison for threatening two people involved with the trial.

Larry Sauve was sentenced Friday in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Sauve was acquitted of killing Peter Vukelich in 2006. Sauve had been accused of bludgeoning his friend on the head with a backpack filled with unopened beer bottles while the two were drinking near railroad tracks. He was later convicted in the threatening case.

Sauve's lawyer said his client was having a mental episode when he made the threats and was not in a normal state of mind.

SACO

Former mayor's lawsuit against MERC dismissed

A Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit against the Maine Energy Recovery Co., which is the target of complaints about odors coming from the Biddeford incinerator.

Justice Paul Fritzsche cited a mix of court decisions and laws in dismissing the suit, which was filed last year by former Saco Mayor Mark Johnston.

The judge said remedies to Johnston's complaints are better addressed through regulation, negotiation, eminent domain or legislation.

Johnston said Fritzsche did not free MERC of responsibility for creating a nuisance. Johnston is not sure whether he'll appeal.

BIDDEFORD

Two Bay State men face cocaine trafficking charges

Two Massachusetts men face cocaine trafficking charges following a monthlong investigation by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Biddeford Police.

Heriberto ''Rico'' Cedeno and Carlos Melendez, both of Dorchester, were arrested Thursday, according to a media release issued Friday by Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Cedeno and Melendez are charged with aggravated unlawful trafficking in crack cocaine. Cedeno is being held on $10,000 bail at the York County Jail. Melendez has been released.

The investigation began when police received information that Cedeno was importing large amounts of crack from greater Boston to York County.

AUGUSTA

DEP issues first ozone alert of season for today, Sunday

State officials have issued the season's first ozone alert, which comes just ahead of Air Quality Awareness Week.

The Department of Environmental Protection says ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reach moderate levels away from the coast today and everywhere but northern Maine on Sunday.

The agency said particle pollution levels can reach unhealthy levels at any time of year, but ozone is of particular concern in Maine between April and September.

Air Quality Awareness Week, which runs from April 27 to May 1, is a cooperative effort of the Environmental Protection Agency, state environmental agencies and the National Weather Service to draw attention to air quality and health issues.

Group transfers 2,434 acres to state for conservation

More than 2,400 acres of prime recreational land between Milo and Millinocket will be protected by Maine's public lands bureau.

Gov. John Baldacci joined legislators and conservation groups at the State House on Friday to announce completion of the Seboeis Lake conservation project. The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation group, transferred 2,434 acres from Bayroot LLC to the state.

The acquisition includes 12 miles of frontage on Seboeis Lake and Northwest Pond and another 4.8 miles of island shoreline. It builds on an earlier acquisition at the south end of Seboeis Lake. With the latest addition, 95 percent of Seboeis Lake's shoreline is permanently protected for public access and closed to private development.

Panel hears bills to tighten rules for pesticide spraying

Maine lawmakers are considering several bills to further regulate pesticide spraying, including one to require notification of residents within a quarter-mile of spray areas. The agriculture committee took up the bills Thursday.

Cary Nash of Camden, who runs a blueberry growing business and is a state licensed pesticide applicator, said the quarter-mile notification proposal sounds unworkable. Nash said he already spends up to two hours a day notifying property owners who live near spray areas.

Heather Spaulding of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardiners Association said notification issues pose problems for organic farmers and others. Spaulding favors a 1,000-foot increase in the zone in which a resident can request information about pesticide applications.

CAMDEN

Town issues permits for 20-seat Dunkin' Donuts

Despite opposition, the town of Camden has issued permits that would allow a 20-seat Dunkin' Donuts to open in what is now a vacant storefront in the downtown area.

Critics who say formula fast-food restaurants are at odds with the character of the seaside tourist town gathered more than 600 petition signatures expressing disapproval of the project.

Town planner and code enforcement officer Jeffrey Nims issued building and change-of-use permits Thursday. Nims told the Bangor Daily News that appeals can only come from those whose property would be affected by the development.

The permit applicant, Michael Ouimet, said he plans a distinctive Dunkin' Donuts that would be sensitive to the historic nature of the downtown district.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR

Navy frigate built at BIW will return for June festival

A Bath-built Navy frigate that was damaged in 1988 by an Iranian mine while operating in the Persian Gulf will return to Maine in June for the 47th annual Windjammer Days Festival.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced Thursday that the Navy agreed to send the USS Samuel B. Roberts for a port visit to Boothbay Harbor during the festivities.

Collins, a Maine Republican who sits on the Armed Services Committee, noted that the Oliver Perry-class frigate was launched in 1984 at Bath Iron Works, a few miles from the festival site. She said the Samuel B. Roberts returned to the Bath yard for 13 months of repairs after striking the mine.

This year's Windjammer Days is set for the week of June 22.

-- From staff and news services

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