May 3, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

SACO

Police arrest second suspect on Cascade Brook trails

Two days after the arrest of a man who allegedly was running naked through the Cascade Brook trail system, police arrested another man there on a charge of unlawful sexual contact.

An undercover officer who was walking on the trails Thursday, in response to complaints about "suspicious activity and illicit behavior" in the park, encountered Allen Hahn, 64, of Old Orchard Beach, just before 1:30 p.m.

After a brief conversation, Hahn stepped toward the officer, grabbed the officer's genitals through his clothing and said, "Are we doing this?" police said.

Hahn was charged with unlawful sexual contact and assault, police said. He was released on $500 bail and is scheduled to appear in Biddeford District Court on July 10.

On Tuesday, police charged a Yarmouth man with indecent conduct after he was seen walking naked on one of the trails by Chief Brad Paul. The man ran but was apprehended when he stopped to put on his pants, police said.

Deputy Chief Jeff Holland said the park has become popular with residents and visitors because of the recently improved trail system and scenic waterfalls, but police have received complaints that it has become a meeting place for men. 

Former fire station entered in Register of Historic Places

The former Saco Central Fire Station has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation indicates the property has been documented, evaluated and considered worth preservation and protection as part of the nation's cultural heritage, said Earle Shettleworth Jr., director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

The fire station was built with federal Public Works Administration funding in 1938. It was included on the national register because it represents efforts by the city government to provide modern and efficient fire protection services.

The fire department moved to a new station on North Street in 2011.

The city agreed last year to sell the old fire station for $100,000 to Cynthia Taylor of the nonprofit Housing Initiatives of New England. She plans to invest $1.2 million in the building to convert it to senior housing units and commercial space.

Before the City Council agreed to the sale, the building on Thornton Avenue was placed on Maine Preservation's annual list of most endangered historic resources because of its uncertain fate. Residents rallied against a plan to demolish the building to make way for a parking lot.

AUGUSTA

Hearings scheduled May 16 on 3 abortion-related bills

Legislative hearings are scheduled May 16 on three abortion-related bills, which are already drawing opposition in the State House.

A coalition of female legislators and abortion-rights activists held a news conference Thursday to condemn the bills as anti-choice.

The first bill bolsters Maine's law requiring informed consent about information, the second allows a wrongful death cause of action for the death of an unborn child, and the final proposal strengthens the consent laws for abortions performed on minors and incapacitated people. The Judiciary Committee has scheduled the hearing.

Committee Senate Chair Linda Valentino of Saco says she's confident the panel will reject the bills.

The Maine Right to Life Committee supports the bills and considers them women's issues. 

LePage signs transfer order for funds to pay lawyers

Gov. Paul LePage signed an order Thursday to transfer $462,000 to replenish an account to pay lawyers appointed by state courts to represent people who are too poor to hire attorneys.

The Commission on Indigent Legal Services, which runs the program, officially ran out of money Thursday after paying the latest bills submitted by attorneys for work they had already done, said lawyer Steven Carey, a commission member.

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