February 11, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Woman burned at house was trying to put out fire

Investigators say a woman who suffered life-threatening burns in a house fire Sunday apparently tried to put the fire out herself.

Julia Ball, 56, was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to a hospital in Boston with burns on 75 percent to 80 percent of her body, fire officials said. Her condition was not immediately available.

Sgt. Joel Davis, of the state Fire Marshal's Office, said the fire may have been caused by smoking materials that ignited a living room couch.

Ball, who owns the house at 250 Burnside Ave., may have fallen asleep while smoking or left the room after ashes fell into the couch, he said. Investigators have not been able to interview her.

Ball called her sister to say the house was on fire just before noon, Davis said. Her sister had someone else call the Fire Department while she responded. She found Ball outside the apartment on fire and extinguished it, Davis said.

He said extinguishers at the house had not been discharged and investigators do not know how Ball was trying to put out the fire.

The living room was extensively damaged but the Fire Department saved the house, Davis said.


Marine business negotiates for lease at Maine State Pier

Another marine business is looking to lease space at the Maine State Pier.

Portland Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell could not provide details about the business or lease, because it is subject to ongoing negotiations.

"It's a new business to Portland," Mitchell said.

He said the business wants to lease 10,000 square feet of space, with an option to expand. The business would not affect Ready Seafood Co., which now leases space on the city-owned pier.

The City Council's Housing and Community Development Committee will meet Wednesday in closed session to discuss the proposal.


Man who fled police during storm found dead in woods

Police say a man who fled after officers were called to investigate a domestic disturbance was found dead the next day in snowy woods in Waldoboro.

A police officer who wanted to question Frank Leathers tried to follow tracks left in the snow, but stopped because of the heavy snowfall Saturday evening. More police and the fire chief continued the search, but called it off after midnight.

Searchers assisted by a game warden found Leathers dead the following morning after the snow had stopped and skies had cleared. WLBZ-TV reported that police believe the death is not suspicious.


Man sent to prison for lying to receive federal benefits

A Maine man is going to prison for lying to the Social Security Administration so he could fraudulently receive benefits.

Anthony Dinsmore, 51, of Columbia Falls was found guilty in March of theft of Supplemental Security Income benefits. U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II announced Monday that federal Judge John Woodcock sentenced Dinsmore to two years, three months in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $20,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said Dinsmore lied to the Social Security Administration by falsely claiming he was living alone when in fact he was living with his wife, who was receiving income that would have made him ineligible for Supplemental Security income.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said evidence showed that Dinsmore stole more than $90,000 from the federal government over a period of 15 years.


Blaine House kitchen funds are often spent on visitors

Gov. Paul LePage is taking exception with the portrayal of Blaine House kitchen spending in a newspaper story noting that taxpayers footed the bill for $32,000 worth of food last year.

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