April 25, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


New York suspect arrives to face murder charge

Anthony Pratt, who is charged with murdering Margarita Fisenko Scott of Westbrook, arrived at the Cumberland County Jail on Wednesday from New York, where he had been held since his arrest on April 2.

Pratt, 19, of Queens, N.Y., is scheduled to appear in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Friday morning for his initial appearance on the murder charge.

Scott, 29, was found dead on Jan. 17 by her estranged husband in the back of her SUV, which he found in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Riverside Street in Portland. Court records indicate that Scott was killed on Nov. 11.

Police say Scott was killed by a single gunshot in a first-floor apartment at 266 West Concord St. in Portland. Neither she nor Pratt, whom she was dating, was a tenant of the apartment.

Police believe the SUV with Scott's body was in the motel parking lot for an "extended time" before it was found.


State announces reduction in cost of replacing bridge

The Maine Department of Transportation has lowered the estimated cost of replacing the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire from $172 million to $160 million.

The department said Wednesday that a team working on the replacement of the bridge has found $12 million in savings.

The new figure includes the cost of the design, engineering, property acquisition and construction of the new bridge.

The bridge across the Piscataqua River between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., is scheduled to be replaced in 2014. It's now closed for repairs because an oil tanker hit it.

A new Memorial Bridge is scheduled to open this summer.

The only bridge open between the two communities is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95.


Store owner recounts subduing armed robber

A Millinocket man was jailed after a Bar Harbor store owner wrestled him to the ground and held him for police after he allegedly tried to rob the store.

Richard Simis said he was in the Town Hill Market at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday when a man came in carrying a gun and a roll of duct tape and demanded money.

Rather than give up the cash, Simis told WZON-AM, he lunged at the man and wrestled him to the floor. He said the gun went off a couple of times before he could disarm the man.

A passer-by called 911, and Simis held the man down until police arrived.

Chris Stevens, 39, is facing multiple charges.


Fee for registering vehicle due to rise if bill passes

Maine motorists could pay higher vehicle registration fees if a bill that has final House approval becomes law.

The House voted 89-57 Tuesday to allow an increase in the motor vehicle licensing and registration service fees collected and retained by municipalities. The renewal of a license or registration would increase from $3 to $5, and the allowable service fee for a new license or registration would increase from $4 to $6. The bill, L.D. 405, awaits final Senate action.

Republicans blame majority Democrats for the proposed increases and say they are "raiding the pockets of hardworking Mainers to the tune of $3 million."


Plan to tax PAC donations raises free-speech concerns

A Democratic lawmaker has a new idea for raising state revenue: Tax PACs.

Rep. Terry Hayes' bill, L.D. 815, would impose a tax on 5 percent of the amount contributed to political action committees.

Hayes, of Buckfield, told the Taxation Committee on Tuesday that if there had been such a tax last year revenues would have been around $382,000, money that could be used to cover expenses to regulate PACs. Hayes' research shows no other state has such a tax.

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