October 12, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news reports

DENNYSVILLE

Keeping state park closed ‘defies logic,’ LePage says

The LePage administration says a federal agency’s refusal to allow Cobscook Bay State Park to reopen despite the government’s shutdown “defies logic and common sense” and is punitive.

The Down East state park is operated with state money under an agreement between Maine and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But even though the park is run and paid for by the state, it’s on land in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and the Fish and Wildlife Service said refuge land will stay closed.

The Obama administration said this week that states could reopen national parks if they paid for operations, but that ruling apparently doesn’t apply to refuge land and on Friday an official with the service told the state it can’t reopen Cobscook Bay State Park.

Other state parks are unaffected by the decision and remain open, state officials said.

“This is the type of punitive, arbitrary decision that defies logic and common sense,” LePage said in a release Friday night.

Walt Whitcomb, the commissioner of agriculture, conservation and forestry, said the decision was made for political reasons, although his statement didn’t spell out what those political reasons are.

OLD TOWN

Autopsy says woman was pregnant, fatally stabbed

The Maine state Medical Examiner’s Office says the autopsy of an Old Town woman shows she died of multiple stab wounds and confirms that she was pregnant.

Police said 35-year-old April Haskell was fatally stabbed by her boyfriend on Wednesday night. A state trooper responded to the couple’s apartment and shot and killed the boyfriend, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Ouellette.

An autopsy Thursday determined that Ouellette died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

The couple had children ages 2 and 4. They were in the apartment, but unharmed.

Police say the couple had been together about six years and Haskell was a housekeeper at a Bangor hotel.

The trooper who shot Ouellette, 15-year veteran Barry Meserve, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

FAIRFIELD

Police investigating death of tot found in father’s bed

Maine State Police are investigating the death of a baby boy in Fairfield.

State police spokesman Steve McCausland said 51/2-month-old Liam Clifton was found dead in his father’s bed Friday morning.

Police said officers were called to the Fairfield home where the baby lived with his parents, Kayla Clifton and Eric Bacheller, around 10:30 a.m.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to perform an autopsy this weekend. It is protocol for police to investigate the deaths of children under the age of 3.

AUGUSTA

Hampden sergeant’s use of deadly force justified

A police sergeant was legally justified in using deadly force to protect himself during an armed confrontation that left a Hampden man dead, the state’s attorney general said Friday.

Attorney General Janet Mills said in a report that Hampden Police Department Sgt. Christian Bailey reasonably believed that deadly force was being threatened against him at the home of Cameron Arrigoni in June.

Bailey and another officer entered Arrigoni’s home after responding to a 911 call from his girlfriend, Mills’ report said.

Bailey yelled “Police!” and entered the home’s second-floor bedroom, and Arrigoni pointed a handgun at him, Mills said. That’s when Bailey shot Arrigoni, who later was pronounced dead at a Bangor hospital.

An autopsy determined that Arrigoni, 21, died from gunshot wounds to his head and upper torso.

Per protocol, Bailey was placed on administrative leave after the shooting pending the investigation by the attorney general’s office.

FALMOUTH

Superintendent will retire after 34 years in education

Falmouth Superintendent Barbara Powers will retire June 30, the district said Friday. Falmouth School Board Chair Andrew Kinley lauded the work of the longtime educator, who served the district for 16 years, including six as principal of the Plummer-Motz School, five as assistant superintendent and five as superintendent.

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