High court supports bar’s appeal of liquor license loss

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled in favor of the Cactus Club in its appeal of the City Council’s decision not to renew the bar’s liquor license.

The council voted on Feb. 18, 2009, not to renew the license, citing public safety issues and state liquor law violations.

The bar’s lawyer, David Turesky, argued that the license should be reinstated because the city took too long to inform the owner of its decision not to renew the license. State law says a municipality must act on renewing a license within 120 days of the application or the license is renewed automatically.

The city did not inform the Cactus Club of the decision within 120 days.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed that the license was automatically renewed.

The popular bar at 416 Fore St., which is owned by Thomas Manning, has continued to operate throughout the dispute.


Police: Body discovered in harbor that of transient man

Police said they’ve tentatively identified the man whose body was found in Portland Harbor on Tuesday morning as a 60-year-old transient man.

Police said they are not releasing the man’s identity until family members have been notified. An autopsy is scheduled today by the state medical examiner.

The body was discovered at 5:47 a.m. near the Ocean Gateway Terminal.

The death does not appear suspicious, police said.


Brunswick resident on trial for alleged bank, mail fraud

A trial is under way in federal court for a Brunswick man who is accused of bank fraud and mail fraud.

Charles Stergios allegedly carried out a scheme in which he floated nonexistent cash among accounts that he set up at nine financial institutions. He is accused of using fraudulent checks, wire transfers and empty deposit envelopes to get cash and merchandise in July and August 2009.

The trial opened Monday with Judge George Singal presiding in U.S. District Court. It is expected to conclude Thursday.

Stergios has prior convictions for bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. He gained notoriety in 2005 for hurling a water pitcher at the prosecutor during his sentencing hearing.

Stergios was released from prison in June of last year, and was on home confinement during the time of the latest allegations against him.


Robbery suspects charged with endangering child

A 35-year-old Portland man and a 22-year-old woman, charged in two armed robberies in Westbrook, also face child endangerment charges because the woman’s 4-year-old son was in the getaway car, police said.

A security camera image taken Monday night at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Westbrook shows the robbery suspect wielding a knife and demanding money.

Westbrook police arrested Heather Carroll on Monday night after the robbery at Dunkin’ Donuts on Bridgton Road.

Portland and Westbrook police arrested John L. Libby III at 537 Cumberland Ave. in Portland on Tuesday morning.

Police say Libby threatened clerks with a knife and demanded money. Carroll drove him away, police said. Police say Carroll’s son was in the car during both robberies.


Authorities probe robbery of cash from credit union

Biddeford police are investigating a robbery that occurred Tuesday morning at the Peoples Choice Credit Union on Bradbury Street.

Police and the credit union said a white man wearing a white hooded jacket entered the credit union at 9:30 a.m. and handed the teller a note requesting money. He was not armed.

He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of money, officials said. Nobody was injured.


Judge: Suspect’s statement allowed at his murder trial

A judge has ruled that a Monmouth man’s statement after his mother’s killing will be admissible in his murder trial.

Kenneth McDonald, 44, is charged in the death of his mother in August 2009. Police say Janice McDonald, 80, died of multiple sharp force trauma.

The Kennebec Journal said McDonald, who has pleaded not guilty, told his sister, “I screwed up bad this time” when she asked him about the slaying of their mother.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy ruled last week that the statement was voluntary and is admissible at McDonald’s trial, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 30.


State board wraps up voting on $79M county jail budgets

A $79 million budget for Maine’s county jails has been approved for the fiscal year that started July 1. The $79 million represents a 1.2 percent growth rate.

The state Board of Corrections voted Monday on the last of 16 county correctional services budgets.

Board Chairman Neale Duffett said months of effort by many county officials have saved taxpayers money without compromising correctional services.

Somerset County’s was the last of the county budgets to be approved by the board. Its budget totaled $6.3 million.

The Somerset County Jail houses inmates from several Maine counties and some from the state Department of Corrections.


Firefighter faces arson count in blaze at local restaurant

A volunteer firefighter faces a charge of arson in a restaurant fire.

Joshua Michaud, 18, of Mechanic Falls was charged Monday after four state Fire Marshal’s Office investigators investigated the fire at the Loose Caboose Restaurant in town.

The Sun Journal said more than 50 firefighters from eight towns fought the fire, which started at the rear wall of the restaurant next to railroad tracks. The building sustained about $30,000 in damage. No one was hurt.


Gardeners urged to look out for late tomato, potato blight

Late blight has been detected in three tomato plantings and two potato fields in the Waldoboro area.

The Pest Management Office of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service issued an alert after the plant disease was confirmed late last week and Tuesday. “We don’t know if it is going to be a problem, but people need to be vigilant,” said Jim Dill, a plant specialist at the extension office in Orono.

Last year, late blight caused significant crop losses. Dill said cool, wet conditions last summer probably triggered the outbreak. He said that if this summer’s hot, dry conditions continue, the disease may not be as widespread.

He advised gardeners to look for typical symptoms: water-soaked grease spots on foliage with a fine white mycelium on the underside of the leaflet. The stalk infections usually look almost black.

He said gardeners should contact their extension service to arrange for testing if they suspect an infection.

More information is available by calling 760-9476. For photos and information on late blight, go to www.gotpests.org.


Poor weather forecast spurs cancellation of band concert

The Bob Charest Band’s concert at Mill Creek Park, scheduled for 6:30 tonight, has been postponed because of a poor weather forecast.

The free concert will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Call the weather cancellation line at 767-7650 for more information.