December 19, 2012

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news service reports

BELFAST

Mother pleads no contest in dog mauling of daughter

The mother of a baby who was mauled to death by the family's dog has pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of a child.

Katrina Mitchell, 31, of Frankfurt changed her plea to the misdemeanor charge Tuesday. She had been scheduled to go on trial in January.

Police say she got drunk and passed out on the day of the attack. Her 7-month-old daughter, Annabelle Mitchell, was fatally mauled by the family's Rottweiler in the living room while the mother slept on a sofa.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the plea agreement calls for one year in jail with all but three months suspended. A prosecutor also has recommended psychological counseling for Mitchell and a ban to prevent her from possessing or using alcohol or illegal drugs.

WESTBROOK

Police investigate false alarm activation at school

A false fire alarm at the Canal School on Tuesday morning caused an evacuation that sent students out into the rain, leaving them cold and wet.

Elementary school students were allowed to go home early, said police Capt. Tom Roth. School officials said other students stayed at school and classes resumed as normal.

Roth said police are looking into why the alarm was activated just before 9 a.m. Tuesday. There was no fire.

In light of last week's school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Roth said, he issued a press release about the incident in case anyone was concerned to see police officers and firefighters at the school on Glenwood Avenue.

Police and firefighters provided blankets and towels to children while they waited for school buses that were called to give them a place to stay out of the rain. 

Police setting up sobriety checkpoints during holiday

Police will be watching for drunk drivers this holiday season.

Westbrook police will use a $10,000 grant from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety to set up sobriety checkpoints and put officers on duty -- in marked and unmarked cars -- with the sole purpose of seeking out drunk drivers, according to a press release from the department.

The dedicated patrols will continue through the holidays into the new year.

CASCO

Three injured when pickup spins into oncoming truck

A Naples woman was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a crash Tuesday morning on Poland Spring Road that also injured a Naples man.

Shawn Trottier, 29, lost control of the 2011 Chevrolet pickup truck he was driving around 8:14 a.m. on the wet, icy road, spun into the oncoming, northbound lane and collided with a 2008 Freightliner box truck, said the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office in a press release.

Trottier and his passenger, Sabrina Cloutier, 33, were extricated from the pickup truck by fire personnel, according to the press release.

Both were taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. Cloutier's injuries were considered life-threatening. Trottier's injuries were listed as possible broken bones, the sheriff's office said.

The driver of the box truck, Max Walton, 46, of Livermore Falls, was taken to Bridgton Hospital for what authorities considered minor injuries.

Poland Spring Road, part of Route 11, was closed to traffic from Route 85 to Route 121 while the accident was investigated.

The sheriff's office said all three people who were hurt in the crash were wearing seat belts.

PORTLAND

Council OKs street program for pedestrians, cyclists

The City Council has approved a street planning program that will help make roads, sidewalks and thoroughfares easier for cyclists, pedestrians and others to navigate.

The Complete Streets policy is meant to balance the needs of drivers, transit riders, cyclists, commercial drivers and emergency responders with neighborhoods' concerns.

A year in the making, the policy will take years to implement as construction and street revamping projects arise.

"The city has taken an important step to assure that each dollar spent on roadways and walkways is done so that all users will benefit now and into the future," said Mayor Michael Brennan, in a prepared statement.

First up to incorporate the policy will be projects on Franklin Street, Forest Avenue and outer Congress Street. 

Share-the-road signs put up while bridge replaced

Transportation planners have posted signs on the Martin's Point Bridge directing drivers to share the road during the year-long-plus project to replace the bridge.

The project, including removal of the more than 60-year-old bridge, is expected to be finished in early 2014, but the new bridge is likely to open earlier.

The new road will have ample shoulders and sidewalks for all forms of non-automotive transportation, said Paul Niehoff, senior transportation planner for the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, a regional planning organization. 

Casco Bay nonprofit names two new board members

Lori Thayer of Portland and Tay Veitch, an entrepreneur from Yarmouth, have been elected to the 21-member board of directors of Friends of Casco Bay/Casco Baykeeper.

The nonprofit organization, based in South Portland, was established in 1989 to protect the environmental health of Casco Bay through advocacy, research, education and collaborative partnerships with other nonprofits and agencies. It now has 1,200 members.

Thayer, a medical and environmental anthropologist originally from Farmington, is a research associate at the University of New England's Center for Community and Public Health in Biddeford.

Veitch describes himself as a "recovering attorney" -- a refreshing perspective for the board, which already has five lawyers, said Mary Cerullo, associate director.

Veitch now operates a manufacturing company that designs and fabricates machinery and assembles automated and non-automated equipment.

Each board member can serve as many as three three-year terms.

LEEDS

Police seeking hit-and-run driver who hit girl, mailbox

Authorities are searching for a hit-and-run driver whose car injured a 13-year-old girl who was shoveling snow away from her family's mailbox.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department said in a statement released early Tuesday that the girl suffered non-life threatening injuries Monday afternoon.

Investigators are seeking help from the public in finding the driver and the vehicle involved in the crash.

They describe the car as a blue car that was last seen going west on Church Hill road toward Turner. The car should have some noticeable damage on the passenger side after hitting the girl and the mailbox.

INDIAN ISLAND

Tribal officials, state name five to probe child abuse

Tribal representatives and the state have named five people to lead an investigation into past abuses by child welfare agents who systematically removed tribal children from their households, breaking up families and exposing some to abuse in foster care.

The naming of the commissioners on Tuesday was a milestone in the "truth and reconciliation" process aimed at exploring tribal experiences with the child welfare system.

Interim director Carolyn Morrison says the goal is to uncover the truth, promote healing and change the system so that the harm is not repeated.

The panel will consist of the secretary of state, a university professor, a former state Board of Education chairwoman and two Native Americans with ties to tribes in South Dakota and Massachusetts.

 

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