December 16, 2012

Dispatches

PORTLAND

Diocese: Claim against former Maine priest is true

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland says a claim of sexual abuse of a minor against a former director of religious education in Madawaska has been substantiated.

A diocesan investigation resulted in the finding against Brother Paul Gauvin, former director of religious education at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

Earlier this year, a Maine man contacted Sacred Heart Parish in Bloomfield, Conn., and told an administrator that Gauvin, 73, director of liturgy at the parish, sexually abused him in the early 1970s while Gauvin was in Madawaska. The victim was between the ages of 11 and 12 when the abuse occurred.

Gauvin has been removed from his position at Sacred Heart Parish, and he will have no contact with minors. Gauvin is under the supervision of a regional religious superior for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

Event helps Sandy victims in honor of Ayla Reynolds

The mother of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds is continuing to call attention to the child's disappearance a year ago from her father's home in Waterville.

Trista Reynolds and LostNMissing sponsored a "Shining Hope for Ayla Event" on Saturday at the Riverton Community Center in Portland.

Ayla was 20 months old when she was reported missing the morning of Dec. 17. Police have called it a crime, but there have been no arrests.

Saturday's event featured refreshments, a silent action and raffles. Attendees were asked to bring an unwrapped child's gift, which will be donated in Ayla's honor to children whose families lost their homes and belongings due to superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey.

NEWARK, N.J.

Man accused of smuggling whale tusks through Calais

A New Jersey man has been charged with the alleged smuggling and attempted sale of illegally imported whale tusks.

Officials with the federal Environment and Natural Resources Division said that Andrew L. Zarauskas was arrested Friday at his home in Union, N.J.

He faces conspiracy and money laundering charges related to the purchase and attempted sale of tusks from narwhals, a medium-sized whale with an extremely long tusk that is sought by collectors.

An indictment by a federal grand jury in Maine names Zarauskas and alleged co-conspirator Jay G. Conrad of Lakeland, Tenn.

Prosecutors said the two men allegedly engaged in the illegal import of the tusks from Canada to the United States through Calais, and conspired to launder money to conceal the proceeds.

It is not clear if the men have retained attorneys.

FALMOUTH

Thirty groups counting birds in Audubon event

Bird enthusiasts are fanning out across Maine to record their bird sightings as part of the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count.

The event, now in its 113th year, kicked off nationally Friday. Bird-watching groups with Maine Audubon began their bird-counting excursions in Maine on Saturday.

In all, more than 30 groups will take to the field between Saturday and Jan. 1 to record their observations in Maine. The results are sent to the National Audubon Society to track the migratory patterns of birds.

About 63,000 volunteers participated last year in all 50 states, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific islands. Maine birders counted nearly 13,000 birds.

AUGUSTA

Domestic violence gets top billing in LePage address

The killing of Kasandra Perkins by pro football player Jovan Belcher prompted Maine Gov. Paul LePage to speak out against domestic violence in his weekly radio address. Belcher, a former University of Maine player who went on to the Kansas City Chiefs, shot Perkins multiple times before killing himself Dec. 1. Before Thanksgiving in Alton, Maine, another domestic violence tragedy occurred when 39-year-old Danielle Reed was killed in an apparent murder-suicide.

LePage said that each year, between 50 percent and 60 percent of homicides in Maine are domestic violence-related. He encouraged family members to discuss domestic violence.

In the Democratic response, Rep. Mark Dion of Portland talked about energy costs. Dion said the cost of heating homes and businesses must be addressed, and energy efficiency programs are one solution.

SEATTLE

Two salmon products recalled over possible Listeria taint

Ocean Beauty Seafoods has announced a precautionary recall of two cold-smoked salmon products because of possible Listeria contamination. The products were distributed in 12 states.

The products are the 3-ounce Nathan's Brand Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon and the 4-ounce Lascco Cold Smoked Nova Atlantic Salmon. The products were distributed to retailers and distribution centers in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York.

The Lascco salmon has a universal product code, or UPC, of 0 72840 01751 7. The Nathan's salmon has a UPC of 0 73030 80368 2. The products are vacuum-packed in a plastic pouch on a foil board. The pack code 285 is printed on the back panel.

No illnesses have been reported. Listeria can lead to severe illness for women who are pregnant or people who have a weakened immune system.

NASHUA, N.H.

Rare autograph collection expected to fetch $1 million

A collection of rare Revolutionary War-era autographs is going on the auction block in New Hampshire.

The complete set of signatures of all 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence is expected to fetch more than $1 million at an auction at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nashua on Saturday afternoon.

Amherst-based auction house RR Auction said only 40 complete collections of Declaration signers are known to exist. Most of the signatures in the collection for sale, it said, are part of historically significant letters written by the Founding Fathers.

-- From news service reports

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