March 8, 2013

Dispatches

From staff and news services

CHAPMAN

Police find man, 81, dead; wife critically hurt at home

State police are investigating the deaths of an elderly couple found in a northern Maine home.

Police say Marcus Sykora, 81, and his wife, Sheila Sykora, 77, moved recently from Missouri to Chapman, near Presque Isle, to stay with their daughter.

When officials responded to a 911 call at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, they found Marcus Sykora dead in the basement and his wife seriously injured. She later died at a Presque Isle hospital.

Police spokesman Steve McCausland said detectives don't suspect anyone outside of the home is involved in the deaths. He said more information would be released Friday after the medical examiner's office examines the bodies.

He wouldn't say who made the 911 call or who was at the home at the time police arrived.

ALFRED

Strong's sentencing date pushed back to March 21

The sentencing date for Mark Strong Sr., who was convicted Wednesday on charges of promotion of prostitution and conspiracy, has been pushed back by two days at the request of his attorney.

Strong, 57, of Thomaston, is now scheduled to appear before Justice Nancy Mills in York County Superior Court on March 21 for sentencing.

A jury found Strong guilty of 12 counts of promotion of prostitution, each punishable by up to a year in prison, and a single count of conspiracy, punishable by up to six months in prison.

Prosecutors said Strong and Alexis Wright worked together to operate a one-woman prostitution business from Wright's Zumba studio in Kennebunk.

Wright is scheduled to stand trial in May on 106 counts, including promotion of prostitution, engaging in prostitution, violation of privacy, conspiracy, tax offenses and receiving welfare benefits when ineligible.

SCARBOROUGH

Town council approves up to $270,000 to preserve farm

The Town Council has voted to spend as much as $270,000 for a conservation easement to preserve a small cattle farm off Beech Ridge Road.

The money will come from a voter-approved land conservation fund, which has well over $1 million set aside for such projects, according to Town Manager Thomas Hall. Councilors voted unanimously Wednesday to support the project.

Comstock Farm, at 22 Berry Road, covers more than 90 acres, with about half of the land wooded and the other half fields. The Comstock family has owned the property since 1965 and uses the fields to raise a small number of cattle for beef.

Now that the Scarborough council has approved the funding, the final easement deal is expected to be completed this summer, Hall said. The town's money will cover the entire cost of the easement, which will be held by the Maine Farmland Trust.

Scarborough's $270,000 will essentially buy most of the development rights to the property. The Comstock family will reserve the right for a couple of homestead lots, but will give up the right to turn the property into a residential subdivision -- a use that could bring an estimated $600,000.

The deal also includes enhanced public access to the land, such as trail links to adjacent open space.

In exchange, the Comstock family will have capital to maintain and expand the family beef farm.

WINDHAM

Summerfest event canceled for this year, official says

The town's on-again off-again summer festival is a no-go this year. After about six years running, Windham Summerfest is once again on hiatus, Town Manager Tony Plante told town councilors in an email Thursday.

"We are having an increasingly hard time finding new volunteers to step up and help organize and run Windham's summer community event," Plante wrote.

Although town officials and volunteers felt they could have put on an event, it would have been a scaled-back version, Plante said.

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