Couple with child in hospital attacked, robbed on street

A couple whose child is being treated at Maine Medical Center were attacked and robbed Monday night by a man and woman, Portland police said.

The male victim, who is described as being in his late 20s, was stabbed. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, police said, but his condition was unknown at press time. His wife was not injured.

Lt. James Sweatt said the couple, who are from out of state, were walking from Maine Med to the Rite Aid on Congress Street to get cash from an ATM when a man and woman confronted them at Congress and Mellen streets at about 7:50 p.m.

The female suspect struck the woman and stole her purse. Her male companion stabbed the woman’s husband, police said.
The attackers fled on foot. Sweatt said police are checking surveillance tapes, interviewing witnesses and canvassing the neighborhood in hopes of apprehending the suspects.

The female suspect is described as being thin, about 5-foot 7-inches tall, and wearing large, silver hoop earrings. The male suspect has short brown hair and was wearing a tan jacket and backpack.

“It appears to be a random attack,” Sweatt said.

Sweatt declined to identify the victims, only saying they had been staying with relatives in York County while their child receives treatment.

Portland man faces charge in Congress Street fire

Police have charged a Portland man with arson in the fire that damaged a building on Congress Street being converted into artists’ studios.

Joshua G. Welch, 31, who has no fixed address, was arrested at 49 Pine St. Sunday night. He is accused of setting fire to the vacant building at 660 Congress St. on Jan. 14.

Firefighters found flames coming from the first-floor windows but contained it so it didn’t spread or damage the building’s structure.

Roxanne Quimby, a philanthropist and preservationist, plans a $1.3 million conversion of the building into artists’ studios.



Police use dog to track suspect who fled accident

Police used their dog, Harley, to apprehend a suspect who ran away after being involved in an accident near the Maine Mall on Monday night.

Lt. Christopher Cook said the suspect’s vehicle hit another car around 9 p.m. on Running Hill Road, injuring someone in that vehicle.

The suspect, a male in his late teens or early 20s, took off on foot. Officer Scott Corbett and Harley tracked the suspect to the Holiday Inn Express on Sable Oaks Drive, where he was apprehended.

The suspect’s name was unavailable, but Cook said he is likely to be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.



High school locked down after student brings gun

Boothbay Region High School was locked down Monday because a student brought a gun to school, police said.

Police Chief Bob Hasche said two students alerted teachers after discovering that a boy had carried a gun to school. Principal Dan Welch called 911 and ordered the school to be locked down at 11:15 a.m.

Police arrived and immediately took the student with the gun into custody, according to a notice sent to parents.

Police took the boy to a local hospital. There, the boy told police that he intended to hurt himself with the gun and nobody else. A note found in his belongings supported that assertion, the notice said. Police have not brought charges.

The police chief and the principal will be available to meet with parents at 4 p.m. today in the high school auditorium.


Teenager dies at hospital after jumping from bridge

A 14-year-old boy died at Maine Medical Center on Monday after jumping from the Sagadahoc Bridge in Bath.

Bath Police Chief Michael Field said the boy, a student at Bath Middle School, jumped from the bridge in an apparent suicide attempt around 6:30 a.m. He landed on Commercial Street.

Police and Bath’s emergency medical services squad administered first aid before the boy was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Portland.

Bath Middle School officials met with students Monday to discuss the incident. The school provided counseling to students who requested it. The name of the student will not be released.


East Machias man dies of injuries from chain saw

Police confirmed Monday that an East Machias man died Thursday or Friday from injuries he suffered while working in the woods with a chain saw.

Brian Whitney, 63, of East Machias apparently bled to death after a chain saw he was using kicked back and cut his right leg twice, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

McCausland said the man had been cutting wood alone off Spring Hill Drive in Whiting. He had apparently felled a tree and was cutting off the limbs when the accident occurred.


Authority considers name for Brunswick naval base

The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is expected to consider renaming the Brunswick Naval Air Station property at its monthly meeting today.

Executive Director Steve Levesque is scheduled to make a “Name the Base” presentation at 4 p.m., during the board’s meeting at Maine Street Station.

The authority has asked the public to suggest a new name for the former military base that encompasses the spirit of the reuse plan. The authority is responsible for overseeing redevelopment of the air station once it officially closes in 2011.



College president selected to head Fort Kent campus

The president emeritus of the College of the Marshall Islands has been named the next president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude selected Wilson G. Hess of Freedom from among three finalists, and trustees approved the recommendation Monday.

Hess previously was executive director of the Audubon Expedition Institute and president of Unity College in Maine. He will succeed Richard Cost, who announced his retirement in August. Cost has been the school’s president since 2002.


Police investigate scheme against central Maine couple

Police are investigating a scam that duped a central Maine couple out of $240,000.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said Monday that a Bank of America branch contacted his office about a husband and wife from Randolph who had made some large withdrawals.

Liberty said the couple, who are 67 and 70 years old, told detectives they had been contacted by mail and phone by a man who said they had won a $5.5 million contest, but would need to pay processing fees.

Believing they had won the prize, the couple withdrew retirement funds, emptied their savings and maxed out nine credit cards in making 22 payments.

Liberty said money was mailed to addresses in Florida, New York, Georgia and Iowa, then transferred to Jamaica.


Maine woman faces prison for burning mother’s house

A Maine woman faces as much as 42 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges she destroyed her mother’s home, which had been seized as part of a drug case.

Cecelia Nicole Sanborn, 26, entered the plea in federal court in Bangor last week.

The Sorrento home was destroyed by fire on June 8, 2006, two days after her mother was found guilty of aggravated drug trafficking in a large-scale marijuana operation in the house.

Hancock County Sheriff William Clark told the Bangor Daily News that Sanborn could also be ordered to pay restitution for the value of the home before it burned. Documents say the house was worth $135,000.

Sanborn is due to be sentenced later this year.


Distance education director hired by UMaine System

The distance education director at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has been hired by the University of Maine System for a similar position.

UMaine-Augusta President Allyson Hughes Handley announced Monday that Curt Madison will be director of distance education for the University of Maine System. He will work from the Augusta campus for the system, which transmits classes to remote locations across the state.

Madison was selected after a national search. He has led distance education efforts at Alaska-Fairbanks since 2002. Madison has also worked as a river barge pilot, a filmmaker and an oral historian.


Governor off to early start on Maine Maple Sunday

Gov. John Baldacci has tapped a maple tree on the Blaine House property to promote the state’s maple syrup industry.

Baldacci used Monday’s event to mark Maine Maple Sunday on March 28, when 75 sugarhouses across the state will be open to visitors.

Baldacci said maple syrup production is gaining in importance. Maine produced 400,000 gallons of syrup last year, a 65 percent increase over the previous year.

Maine is the country’s No. 2 maple syrup producer, behind Vermont. Sales totaled $8,8 million in 2008.




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