July 26, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTLAND

Missing toddler's father late for court in a separate case

The father of Ayla Reynolds, the toddler whose disappearance generated national attention, pleaded not guilty to an unrelated assault charge after arriving late for court Thursday.

Justin DiPietro, 26, was initially absent from court, leading to the threat of an arrest warrant. Reporters had left by the time he arrived later to enter his plea.

DiPietro was arrested July 6 and accused of assaulting a former girlfriend in Portland. Police said he grabbed and pushed Courtney Roberts while the two were arguing. DiPietro was released on $300 bail.

The disappearance of Ayla Reynolds remains unsolved. DiPietro reported her missing Dec. 17, 2011, from his mother's home in Waterville.

Ayla was 20 months old, and police say she's presumed to be dead. Police have called the case one of the biggest criminal investigations in Maine history.

 

Panel suggests second vote on school budget be Sept. 3

Members of the City Council's Finance Committee voted 3-1 Thursday night to recommend that the city hold a supplemental school budget validation referendum in September.

If the full council agrees at its Aug. 5 meeting, then voters will be asked on Sept. 3 to approve a revised school budget that includes an additional $1.9 million in expenditures.

School officials said the Legislature increased Portland's subsidy by $1.9 million before its session ended. Those funds can be spent in the coming school year, but not without approval from voters.

Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said the school department plans to use $1.3 million to pay for teacher retirement costs that were shifted from the state to the district, $20,336 to pay for two additional students to attend the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science charter school -- there are nine students total -- and $523,483 to restore eight staff positions that were cut from the budget.

Caulk said he wants to hire an assistant elementary school principal; literacy specialists for each middle school; high school teachers to support technology, world language and visual arts programs; and four educational technicians.

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec

Maine-based railway's office raided in derailment probe

Police raided the Canadian office of a U.S. railway company to collect evidence in a criminal investigation related to an oil train derailment this month that devastated a Quebec town and killed 47 people.

Quebec provincial police inspector Michel Forget said Thursday that officers are searching the Canadian offices of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway, based in Hermon, Maine, to collect undisclosed evidence.

The company owned the train that was carrying crude oil when it derailed and exploded in downtown Lac-Megantic on July 6.

The company's director of administration, Sara Osborne, says she is aware of the police operation but isn't offering details.

BANGOR

Police resuscitate fallen man, then charge him with crimes

Bangor police helped revive a man -- then arrested him.

Officials said Officer Jeremy Brock provided CPR to a motionless man Wednesday before paramedics arrived to fully revive the man in the Mansfield Stadium parking lot. Police later visited the man at a hospital emergency room after the discovery of pills and a switchblade knife.

Police said Michael Kashey, 34, of Dedham, faces charges of possession of heroin, trafficking drugs and trafficking knives, in addition to outstanding warrants.

Police said the man's girlfriend told them that he injected heroin before losing consciousness.

FREEPORT

Council enacts quiet zones at eight railroad crossings

The Downeaster passenger train soon will become a lot quieter for people living along the tracks in Freeport.

The Freeport Town Council has voted to enact a quiet zone for the town's eight railroad crossings beginning Aug. 9. That means the Amtrak train will no longer sound its whistles and horns as it passes through town.

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