August 1, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and wire reports

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Jed Ian St. Hilaire, 34, pushed an 86-year-old woman as she was getting into her car in the Walmart parking lot and took her purse, then bought cocaine with the $250 cash he found inside it, police said.

Hours later, about 5 p.m., he stole another woman's purse in the Hannaford Bros. supermarket on Cony Street.

Augusta police arrested St. Hilaire after a high-speed chase through northwest Augusta and along Interstate 95, where he eventually abandoned his vehicle and ran into the woods before being captured.

On Tuesday, he was sentenced to eight years in prison, with all but 30 months suspended, and four years of probation.

Conditions of probation ban him from being at the Market Place at Augusta, where Walmart is located, and from any Hannaford Bros. supermarket in Maine.

He was ordered to pay restitution of $320.


State employees union OKs contract through June 2015

Members of Maine's primary state employees union approved a new contract Wednesday, ending a more than two-year period of working without one.

Members of the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 Service Employees International Union overwhelmingly supported ratifying the new contract for executive branch employees in the vote, said Tom Farkas, spokesman for the union.

Earlier this month, union representatives and officials from Gov. Paul LePage's administration agreed to the contract, which includes two wage increases in the next year, pending approval by members.

The contract is in effect from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2015, according to Farkas.

It includes two 1 percent wage increases for state workers taking effect in September and in July 2014.

The union had filed four complaints with the Maine Labor Relations Board against the LePage administration over the bargaining process, including allegations that it wasn't bargaining in good faith. The union agreed to drop the complaints after the contract was ratified, according to Tim Belcher, lead counsel for the Maine State Employees Association.


Ex-pastor pleads not guilty to child pornography charges

A former Maine pastor has pleaded not guilty to child pornography charges.

James Napier entered his plea Wednesday in a York County courtroom in Alfred.

Napier was charged last September after police said they found more than 100 child pornography images on his computer at his home in Alfred. Investigators said none of the children in the images were from Maine.

After his arrest, he resigned as pastor of the New Beginnings Christian Mission in Biddeford, which serves the city's poor and homeless.

The mission's board president tells WMTW-TV that Napier was a founding member.


Federal funds will be used to improve senior housing

Westbrook Housing will buy security cameras and improve outside lighting at two of its senior housing complexes with money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD awarded the housing authority $38,000 on Wednesday for the security upgrades, according to the federal agency's regional office in Boston.

The improvements will be made at Riverview Terrace on Knight Street and Larrabee Woods on Liza Harmon Drive.

Westbrook Housing is one of 15 housing authorities throughout the country receiving a total of $2.9 million from HUD to address emergency, safety and security needs, the news release said.


State official who resisted shredding order resigns post

The Maine Center for Disease Control official who complained that she was ordered to shred public documents resigned Wednesday, saying her job had become intolerable since she refused to destroy the documents.

Sharon Leahy-Lind, director of the CDC's Division of Local Public Health, filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission in April, saying her bosses harassed and assaulted her after she refused to destroy the scoring results related to competitive awards of funding for 27 Healthy Maine Partnerships.

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