Shark sightings off York confirmed by Coast Guard

The Coast Guard has confirmed sightings of two large — but harmless — sharks off the coast of York. A boat crew based at the Coast Guard station in Portsmouth Harbor took photographs of the sharks on Saturday.

Officials from the New England Aquarium in Boston said the sharks are most likely basking sharks, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeremy Richardson.

Basking sharks, which are among the largest fish in the world, feed off plankton and pose no threat to humans. They have been known to weigh as much as four tons and reach 33 feet in length.


Woman, 22, is missing; last seen June 6 in New York

Police in Scarborough and in Suffolk County, N.Y., are investigating the disappearance of a 22-year-old woman from Scarborough.

Megan Waterman was last seen on the weekend of June 5-6 at the Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, N.Y.

A press release issued by Scarborough police on Monday describes Waterman as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 145 pounds, with brown or bleached blonde hair. She has a birthmark on the inside of her left forearm, a mole on the right side of her face, a tattoo on her back, and a tattoo on her left forearm.

Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts should call Scarborough police at 883-6361, the department’s anonymous crime tip hotline at 730-4200, extension 3093, or the Suffolk County Police Department at 631-854-8400.


Con artists on phone using a scam about jury duty

Officials in Maine’s court system are warning of an identity fraud scam by con artists who claim to work for the courts.

People have reported getting calls saying there’s an arrest warrant for them for failing to report for jury duty, said court spokeswoman Mary Ann Lynch. The caller asks for a Social Security number and date of birth to verify information before canceling the arrest warrant.

In some instances, Lynch said, the caller has asked for credit card numbers.

Lynch said no one from the Maine court system would request personal information over the phone. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts about the fraud.


Scontras kicks off his bid to beat Pingree in 1st District

Republican Dean Scontras is stepping up his campaign to unseat Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree in Maine’s 1st Congressional District.

Scontras was joined by his family and several dozen supporters in kicking off his general election campaign at an event on Portland’s waterfront Monday.

The candidate stood in front of a giant U.S. flag, flanked by lobster traps, as he talked about the need to get the nation’s debt under control. Afterward, the group held a cookout.

Scontras was unopposed in his primary. He says voters are fed up by the economic bailout, expensive health care overhaul and out-of-control spending. Pingree says she isn’t taking the election for granted and will work hard to secure a second term.

Maine coalition pushing to restore Medicaid funding

A coalition of Maine health and community groups is urging Maine’s U.S. senators to restore supplemental Medicaid funding to help the elderly and disabled.

The Disability Rights Center, the staff at Portland’s Barron Center and others have a new ad campaign urging immediate passage of the Senate jobs bill to restore Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage funding that had been allocated to states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The House passed the bill last month without restoring the Medicaid funding.

Failure to restore the funding will cause cuts to vital medical programs and other health services, say the advocacy groups. Maine would lose 3,441 jobs and wind up with an $85 million budget gap that would affect services to the elderly, disabled and mentally ill communities, they say.

The group ran a full-page ad in The Portland Press Herald on Monday. The ad, an open letter to Snowe and Collins, asks the senators to support the jobs bill with restored Medicaid funding.

Officials: Phone disruption unrelated to previous issue

A two-and-a-half hour disruption of telephone service in Greater Portland and other parts of the state Monday morning was unrelated to problems in the same network last week, said OTT Communications.

The disruption began about 9 a.m. and was corrected at 11:30 a.m., said Jon Henderson, vice president of sales and marketing for OTT, the parent company of Mid-Maine and Pine Tree.

Henderson said the company was looking into the cause of the disruption. A backup system activated but customers had difficulty with outgoing calls even though they could receive calls.

“While the network didn’t go down, it did cause some of our processors and core switches to basically get confused,” Henderson said.

Customers served by the OTT network had similar phone problems on June 8. Henderson said that disruption appeared to be caused by a lightning strike that effectively severed a cable. “The situations are unrelated to each other,” he said.

Homeowners can qualify for energy improvements

Efficiency Maine is offering a $1,000 cash bonus for home energy improvements completed this summer — on top of a $3,000 cash incentive that has been in effect since January to homeowners, and up to $1,500 in federal tax credits.

A participating energy auditor must do an audit and implement some of the suggested improvements before Aug. 31.

Eligible improvements include insulation and air sealing, high-efficiency heating systems and water heaters including solar heating systems, and Energy Star windows and doors.

The program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. More information can be found at EfficiencyMaine.com or by calling (866) 376-2463.


Man, 44, found dead after garage is destroyed in fire

A Stonington man was killed in a fire that destroyed a garage.

Police say a body believed to be that of Scott Bartlett, 44, was found Sunday evening in a garage where he had been living. The fire was reported about 4:20 p.m. Sunday.

State police said two of Bartlett’s sons had visited him earlier Sunday and extinguished a small fire on a mattress in the garage. About an hour later, family members saw the garage engulfed in smoke and fire.

Bartlett’s body was taken to Augusta for an autopsy and positive identification. The cause of the fire has not been determined.


Woman, 27, pleads guilty to sexual assault of man, 43

A Bangor woman has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a man and pouring scalding water on his back, severely burning him.

Laura Smith, 27, has been held on $50,000 bail since her arrest in December on charges of elevated aggravated assault and gross sexual assault.

Court documents say the incident happened after a night of heavy drinking. The 43-year-old victim told police that he passed out at a party on Nov. 28 and woke up with severe burns on his back and a perforated bowel. He was hospitalized for more than a month.

— From staff and news services