August 2, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

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The collision with the Toyota Sienna caused the 24-foot-long moving van to hit the center guardrail and spin sideways before sliding backward in the northbound lanes, where it was hit by a car carrying five people, said state Trooper Anthony Heim.

Heim said it was amazing that no one was injured, but the crash snarled traffic for about 45 minutes.

Heim said he decided not to charge the driver of the Toyota van, Junyi Zhou, 42, of Fresh Meadows, N.Y.

The crash was reported at 4:50 p.m.


Police search for suspect in attempted abduction

Police have released a composite sketch of a suspect in Friday night's apparent attempted abduction of an 18-year-old woman. Police also have distributed a flier seeking information.

Police Chief Thomas Connolly said the woman, who lives in Sanford, was walking on Eastern Avenue near Brooks Street shortly before 9 p.m. when a man attempted to force her into a maroon Kia Soul. The woman wrestled with the man before freeing herself, and the man took off in his vehicle, Connolly said.

The woman received minor injuries and reported the incident to police as soon as she found a phone, Connolly said. She told police the man was between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall.

"I'm fairly confident we're going to close this soon," Connolly said. "This is a top-priority case. Whenever someone tries to snatch a woman off the street that's very serious."

Police are looking for a witness to the alleged abduction attempt.


Sanctuary offers refuge to escaped Guinea Hog

A Guinea Hog that escaped slaughter and is on the lam in the woods of northern Maine is being offered sanctuary -- if it can be found.

Peace Ridge Sanctuary on Thursday offered to let the escapee live out its remaining days at the Penobcot facility that's home to more than 100 animals.

The sanctuary issued a statement saying the pigs are intelligent and social creatures and that this one "deserves to be kept safe from impending harm."

The 140-pound black Guinea Hog was headed to the butcher in the town of Woodland when it escaped several weeks ago. The Bangor Daily News first reported the hog's escape, proclaiming that "This is one northern Maine piggy who most definitely did not want to go to market."


Former Chelsea official faces another trial next month

A former town official from Chelsea who was convicted last week of filing false income tax returns and making false statements to get federal workers' compensation faces another trial next month.

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock on Wednesday set a Sept. 4 trial date for Carole Swan on extortion charges. The Kennebec Journal reports the judge rejected a request to postpone the trial until October.

Swan is charged with extorting money from a man who had plowing and salting contracts with Chelsea.

Prosecutors in her previous trial said she misstated income she received through Marshall Swan Construction, a company Swan owns with her estranged husband, and did not properly report income she received through a harness racing business managed by her brother in Ohio.

She was acquitted of three fraud charges.


Grant will help develop wave, wind power system

The University of Maine, Maine Maritime Academy and two partner organizations are sharing a federal grant to develop a system that could help capture renewable energy from the motion of ocean waves and offshore winds.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The senators said the funding would help create a multidirectional wind-wave generating system. Researchers hope the system, known as W2, will simulate wave and wind conditions found in ocean environments like the Gulf of Maine.

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