Friday, March 7, 2014
From staff and news services
Bill would reverse decision to close office in Houlton
Lawmakers will consider legislation this week that would reverse a decision to close a state office, causing 11 state workers to lose their jobs.
Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson's office said a committee will take up legislation Wednesday to keep open the Maine Revenue Service Office in Houlton. If approved, the Legislature will vote on the bill when it meets Thursday for a special session.
Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Sawin Millett decided earlier this month to close the office and consolidate operations in Augusta to save $900,000 over the two-year budget cycle.
Jackson criticized Republican Gov. Paul LePage in a statement for shuttering the office without public or legislative input. But the department has said LePage was not part of its decision to close the office.
Police seek public's help in finding burglary suspect
Police are seeking the public's help in locating a person of interest in connection with several home burglaries in the city.
David Michael Ferrar, 23, of Portland also is wanted in connection with probation violations. He is described as white, 6 foot 1 , about 180 pounds, with short brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Portland Police Department or their local police department.
Ferrar is possibly traveling on a bicycle through residential areas from downtown Portland to the outer Forest Avenue area, and using railroad rights of way to travel through neighborhoods.
Local police captain faces drunken-driving charge
A Brewer police captain is facing a drunken-driving charge.
Police said a summons was issued to Capt. Chris Martin Saturday night for operating under the influence.
Public Safety Director Perry Antone told WZON-AM that Martin is on administrative leave while the matter is investigated. He said the department takes the allegations seriously.
Martin has been with the force for 19 years. It was unclear if he's hired a lawyer.
Maine libraries collecting donations for Lac-Megantic
Libraries across Maine are collecting donations to help rebuild the library destroyed when a runaway train exploded in Canada earlier this summer.
Farmington Public Library Director Melanie Coombs launched the effort because the Maine community is the sister city of Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The July 6 explosion and fire killed 47 people.
Coombs told the Sun Journal the Canadian community's library lost its entire collection of 60,000 books, except for the few that customers had borrowed. It also lost irreplaceable records and photos documenting the town's history.
Coombs reached out to libraries across Maine, including at schools and colleges, and they agreed to put donation cans at their circulation desks. The cans, which say "Libraries are the heart of the community," will accept donations through mid-September.
Fire displaces 20 residents from three-story building
Authorities say about 20 people were left homeless when a fire tore through a Bucksport apartment building.
All the residents were accounted for and none is believed hurt, but one firefighter suffered a minor injury battling the Main Street blaze on Sunday afternoon.
The three-story building was a total loss.
It took firefighters from several communities about an hour to get the blaze under control, their efforts made more difficult by the tight spaces on Main Street.
They did succeed in preventing the fire in the apartment building from spreading to nearby structures, although the heat did melt the siding on another home.
The cause remains under investigation.
Phippsburg man arrested in burglary of restaurant
A Phippsburg man has been arrested in connection with a burglary Monday morning at a popular downtown restaurant.
Police Chief Michael Field identified the suspect as Joshua Robinson, 27, of Phippsburg. He was charged with burglary and theft.
Police said Robinson broke into the Beale Street Barbecue on Water Street, just a few feet from Bath's police station.
Patrolman Michael Lever saw Robinson around 1:24 a.m. standing near Smith Cleaners at Center and Water streets. Police said several liquor bottles, a power tool, a butcher knife and some wax paper from the restaurant were found on the ground next to him.
Robinson was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Nov. 11.
Fair's giant pumpkin title goes to 962-pound gourd
A pumpkin weighing nearly half a ton has taken top honors at a Maine fair's annual giant pumpkin contest.
Edwin Pieront's entry tipped the scales at 962 pounds in Sunday's contest on the first day of the Windsor Fair. The second-place pumpkin weighed 818 pounds.
Pieront, who's from Jefferson, is no stranger to giant pumpkins. The Kennebec Journal reported that he's the state record-holder, with a 1,471-pound pumpkin that he grew in 2010.
The Windsor Fair is expected to draw about 100,000 people. Now in its 125th year, the fair continues through Labor Day.