November 9, 2012

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Former ER nurse charged in hospital drug thefts

A former emergency room nurse has been indicted on 75 counts related to drug thefts from York Hospital.

Michael T. Worrick-Soule, 33, of York faces one count of theft by deception, 48 counts of stealing drugs, 23 counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs and three counts of falsifying records.

A York County grand jury handed up the indictments this week. The crimes allegedly occurred from August 2011 to April 2012.

The removal of narcotics from a computerized dispensing system was discovered in a routine review in April, said Jud Knox, the hospital's president.

Knox said Worrick-Soule was terminated immediately after the hospital investigated.

Worrick-Soule referred questions to his lawyer, Jon Gale, who said, "Michael's been charged with very serious crimes but he did nothing with criminal intent. ... We are confident that time and the criminal justice system will bear this out."

Knox said he didn't know whether the medications were taken for personal use or for sale. He said the names or codes of 250 to 300 patients were used to gain access to the medications.

Those patients were charged for the medications, believed to be worth about $10,000, Knox said. He said the hospital is contacting those patients to refund the charges.


Maine to get $34.9 million in home heating assistance

Maine will get $34.9 million in federal heating assistance funds this winter.

Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Thursday that Maine's allocation represents 90 percent of the state total funding for the previous year.

Snowe and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., secured language in the current continuing resolution that specifies that the administration shall allocate funding at last year's levels. Last year, Maine received $38 million in aid from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Snowe said the money is "invaluable for our state's most vulnerable families who will struggle to pay heating bills."

Last year Congress provided nearly $3.5 billion in LIHEAP funds for low-income households, helping 8.9 million households.


Utility using helicopters to inspect power lines

Those choppers that Mainers hear overhead may be power line inspectors.

Central Maine Power Co. is doing its autumn inspections of its transmission lines by helicopter. The flights help spot potential problems with equipment, as well as signs of unauthorized use.

CMP, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, does a visual inspection of all of its transmission rights-of-way from the air each spring and fall.

In addition to inspections of its entire transmission system, CMP flies over more than 600 miles of transmission lines during the summer using a helicopter equipped with infrared thermal imaging equipment to detect "hot spots" that might need attention.

CMP owns nearly 2,200 miles of transmission line.


Police looking for suspect in Windham man's stabbing

Police are searching for a Portland man who may have been involved in a stabbing on Front Street on Thursday night.

Police said they are looking for Justin Renna, 21, who was identified by witnesses as a suspect in the stabbing. Renna also is wanted on two unrelated charges of refusing to submit to arrest and violating bail conditions following a domestic violence arrest, police said.

Thursday's stabbing happened at 7:30 p.m. at 96 Front St. Police found a 37-year-old Windham man lying in the front entryway with a puncture wound in his back, police said. The man was taken to Maine Medical Center for treatment of a non-life threatening stab wound.

Witnesses told police that Renna fled after the stabbing. Police used a dog to search the area but were unsuccessful.

Police said Renna should be considered armed and dangerous. Police ask anyone with information to call 874-8533.

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