August 15, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTLAND

All residents get out safely as fire damages third floor

A two-alarm fire heavily damaged the top story of a three-story apartment building on Grant Street Wednesday afternoon.

Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria said all residents of the 19-unit building at 129 Grant St. got out of the building unharmed when the fire started shortly after 3 p.m.

He said it started either on the top floor or in a small attic space above the third story. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The fire spread smoke over a large area of the densely populated Parkside neighborhood.

Flames were still visible coming through the roof about a half-hour after it started, but firefighters had it knocked down by 4 p.m.

Dan Hoffman, the owner of the building and two adjacent buildings, said 40 tenants lived at 129 Grant St.

Both Hoffman and LaMoria said the building's smoke detectors appeared to work and several tenants said they heard alarms going off.

Red Cross officials would help tenants find housing, LaMoria said. 

Michaud staff confirms he'll announce for governor

Democratic U.S. Rep Mike Michaud ended speculation about his run for governor Wednesday when his campaign confirmed that he's entering the campaign with a formal announcement Thursday in Lewiston.

The five-term congressman, who has said he wants to restore civility to the Maine State House, has been raising money to challenge Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who's seeking re-election. Also in the race is independent Eliot Cutler, who lost a close race to LePage in 2010.

Michaud had no comment Wednesday, saving his remarks for a noon rally Thursday at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, a Democratic stronghold.

The formal announcement sets up a three-way race between Cutler, LePage and a Democrat, the same scenario that propelled LePage to victory in the last election.

Michaud faces a primary challenge from Steve Woods, a Democratic businessman and Town Council chairman in Yarmouth. 

Faulty indicator suspected in plane's emergency landing

A commercial airplane carrying 62 passengers landed without incident Wednesday at the Portland International Jetport after the pilot radioed ahead with concerns about the plane's nose gear.

Airport Director Paul Bradbury says the airport received a call at 11:14 a.m. from the pilot of United Airlines flight 4898 from Newark, N.J.

He says airport emergency response vehicles were ready when the plane landed at 11:18 a.m., but that there weren't any problems. Nobody was injured.

Bradbury says United Airways will inspect the plane, and that it's possible the plane might have had a faulty indicator.

Meeting to give information on new insurance exchanges

The Maine Bureau of Insurance will hold an informational session Thursday to explain how the new exchanges, where individuals can buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, will work.

The exchanges will offer subsidized health plans for sale to individuals and families.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Talbot lecture hall, on the first floor of Luther Bonney Hall, at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

SOUTH PORTLAND

Pedestrian hit by vehicle while crossing Cottage Road

A 53-year-old woman was hit by a Jeep Liberty while crossing Cottage Road on foot Wednesday evening.

South Portland police Lt. Tom Simonds said Iman Pigg of Cape Elizabeth was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Police are looking into the possibility thatthe Jeep’s driver, 55-year-old Owen Harney of Cape Elizabeth, was blind by the sun, Simonds said. He said there was no indication that he saw Pigg.

Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the accident, which occurred at 6:47 p.m. near DiPietro’s market, Simonds said.

Pigg was lying in the road when rescue personnel arrived. She was conscious and talking, Simonds said.

He didn’t have any details about her injuries.

FALMOUTH

Police say no crime occurred in harassment complaint

Police say they've determined that no crime occurred after investigating a complaint that a woman was harassed and chased by two young men while walking on a trail on Falmouth's Mackworth Island.

The 100-acre island is linked to the mainland and is the home to the Baxter School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as a popular mile-long hiking trail.

Falmouth police told WMTW-TV that the woman felt unsafe after encountering the men on a trail and hurt herself when she tripped while trying to distance herself from them.

Lt. John Kilbride says he tracked down and talked to the men and determined that no crime took place.

WARREN

Maine State Prison says it has 20 jobs openings to fill

Corrections officials are looking to fill 20 jobs at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

The Department of Corrections says it wants to fill the correction officer openings by Aug. 26. The jobs pay an average of $34,000 a year with benefits.

Officials say besides having a strong work ethic, applicants need to have good communication and interpersonal skills.

The Maine State Prison has more than 400 employees and a capacity for more than 900 inmates.

SKOWHEGAN

Three women arrested in home invasion, beating

Three women who police say burst into a Skowhegan apartment where they beat a woman with their fists and threatened her boyfriend with a baseball bat have been arrested.

Deputy Chief Dan Summers says the suspects went to an apartment in town just before midnight Monday, apparently angered about a related theft.

Summers said they banged on the door with a bat and rushed in when the woman opened it.

He told the Morning Sentinel they grabbed the woman by her throat and threw her against the wall. Two started punching her while a third watched. Summers said it's unusual for women to be involved in a home invasion.

Arrested were 33-year-old Stacey Lynn Robinson; 28-year-old Kristina Santamore; and 34-year-old Brandy St. Pierre.

GUILFORD

Police say divers locate gun used in street brawl shooting

Police say a dive team has located the gun that was used in a shooting in a central Maine town during a street fight involving more than a dozen people.

The gunshot victim and three other people were hospitalized Monday night following a street brawl in Guilford involving a Rottweiler and people armed with baseball bats, knives and a gun.

During the fight, one of two men attacked by the dog fired a gun toward the animal, but the bullet struck the dog's owner.

Piscataquis County Chief Deputy Robert Young told WZON-AM that a state police dive team recovered the gun Tuesday from the Piscataquis River in Guilford.

Three of the four people who were hospitalized have been released. An investigation is ongoing.

RICHMOND

Man, 18, faces sex charges over images sent to girl, 13

Police say an 18-year-old Richmond man is facing charges for allegedly sending sexually inappropriate images to a 13-year-old girl over the Internet.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department says Daniel Reusch Jr. is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 25 to answer to a charge of visual sexual aggression against a child for allegedly sending images of his genitals to the Wiscasset girl.

Reusch, who was arrested Aug. 8, is out on bail and under orders to have no contact with girls under 16.

Police confiscated Reusch's computer and other electronic material as part of the investigation.

Police told The Times Record they think the suspect may have sent inappropriate images to others and asked those people to come forward.

BELFAST

Two men found guilty of illegally fishing for baby eels

A Maine judge has found two men guilty of illegally fishing for lucrative baby eels.

A Belfast District Court judge on Tuesday found 41-year-old Ralph Fowler Jr. of Franklin and 49-year-old George Trundy of Hancock guilty of fishing for the eels, known as elvers, without a license on Goose River in Belfast. The men claimed they were fishing for smelts.

Fowler and Trundy were arrested in April on the same day that fishing for elvers without a license became a criminal offense in Maine.

WABI-TV reports that the men were fined $4,250 each but weren't given any jail time.

Poaching has been a problem in Maine the past two years after elver prices skyrocketed to $2,000 a pound.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Old bridge plaques restored for new bridge for $300,000

Three plaques, a monument and eagle statue once part of the original Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine have been restored at a cost of about $300,000.

For now, the iron plaques are being shown at the Portsmouth Historical Society. They will end up near the new Memorial Bridge, which was officially opened on Aug. 8.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the smallest plaque from the 1920s recognizes the American Bridge Co. and original bridge designer J.A.L. Waddell. The medium-sized plaque recognizes local dignitaries and engineers

The largest plaque features the many politicians and engineers who helped to make the bridge a reality.

WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass.

Former Brownfield resident, struck and killed by car

A 69-year-old man who had recently moved from Maine has been struck and killed by a car while walking across a West Brookfield street.

Police say Robert Herrie Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck while crossing Route 9 at about 6:45 p.m. Monday.

Police say he was from Brownfield, Maine, but neighbors tell The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester that he had recently moved into a nearby apartment complex because his son lived in town.

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