Police search for woman who walked off with dog

Police are trying to find a woman who appears to have stolen the dog of a man who until recently was homeless.

Stephen Osborne said he was shooting a game of pool on Sunday at Matthew’s on Free Street while his 10-month-old black labrador-pit bull mix was tied to a post outside. When he came out at 6:05 p.m., Maverick was missing.

He called police and they examined security video that showed a middle-aged woman untying the dog and walking off with him.

Osborne said he is devoted to his dog. The pair were homeless when he came to Portland earlier this year looking for work, but he has since found a place to live, he said, and losing the dog has been devastating.

Police ask that anyone with information call 874-8533.

Police use spike mats, Taser to catch men after chase

Police used spike mats and a Taser to take two suspects into custody after a high-speed chase through several communities Monday night.

Gorham police arrested Eric Laudermilk, 30, of Windham and Jordan Perkins, 26, of Bucksport as they ran through the woods near the Gorham Bypass.

Laudermilk, the driver, is charged with eluding police, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, driving with a revoked license, criminal speeding and violating bail conditions, police said.

Perkins is charged with violating bail conditions and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The men were in a 1996 Toyota Tercel shortly before 10 p.m. when they were seen by Portland police. Laudermilk was wanted on several warrants. When police tried to pull the car over, it sped off, heading west on Route 25 through Westbrook and into Gorham.

The car swerved and missed one spike mat at a roadblock, but its front tires were deflated when it crossed another spike mat on the bypass, Gorham police said.

The men got out of the car and ran into the woods, but officers caught up with them. Officers finally used a Taser to disable Laudermilk, police said.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Shotgun fired at local store; building’s siding damaged

Police are trying to learn who fired shots at a local market Monday.

Police were called to Sleeper’s Market on Lebanon Street at 6:30 p.m. for a report of shots being fired. A store employee said that some people inside a small green truck fired a shotgun loaded with bird shot at the store.

The projectiles damaged a corner of the window and siding on the building. A lone clerk was in the store, and there were no customers.
Nobody was injured.

Police say they have no information about a possible motive in the incident, and there is nothing to indicate the store was targeted, said Deputy Police Chief Craig Sanford.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sanford police at 324-3644.

Union threatens unfair labor charges in fishery law case

The union for federal attorneys who prosecute fishery law violators is threatening to file an unfair labor practice charge after a report accused attorneys in the Northeast of abusive behavior.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization today warned federal regulators to back off changes announced last week by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, including revisiting some judgments against fishermen.

Locke’s announcement came in response to a report by his agency’s inspector general on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s law enforcement agency.

Union attorney Marguerite Matera said any changes must, by law, be negotiated.

She also called the inspector general’s allegations “spurious” and suggested his report was driven by worried politicians trying to win favor with constituents during an election year. She said that “desperation” is no excuse for violating federal labor law.

Bus carrying soccer teams strikes moose on I-95

A college official is crediting the driver of a chartered bus for keeping control of the vehicle after it hit a bull moose on Interstate 95 while carrying two soccer teams back to Fort Kent.

University of Maine Fort Kent Athletic Director Bill Ashby told the Bangor Daily News that no one on the bus was hurt in the 2:15 a.m. crash Sunday just north of Orono. The moose, estimated to weigh 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, was killed.

Ashby said the bus was carrying the men’s and women’s soccer teams back to Fort Kent after games in New York state. The crash delayed the bus for several hours, but it continued the trip to Fort Kent.

Regulators approve merger of state electric companies

Regulators have approved the merger of the second- and third-biggest electric companies in the state.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement agreement Tuesday in which Maine Public Service Co. will be acquired by the Canadian utility operator Emera Inc., parent of Bangor Hydro Electric Co. Commissioners unanimously agreed that the merger is in the best interest of ratepayers.

Bangor Hydro serves 117,000 customers in five counties. Maine Public Service has 36,000 customers in Aroostook County.

Part of the agreement protects ratepayers in northern Maine from costs associated with any future transmission infrastructure construction.

Nonprofits at risk of losing their tax-exempt status

The Internal Revenue Service says that as many as 1,700 small community-based nonprofits in Maine are in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status, which would affect charitable work and their donors’ potential tax deductions.

Among the organizations at risk are sports associations and community support groups, volunteer fire and ambulance associations and their auxiliaries, social clubs, educational societies, veterans groups, church-affiliated groups and groups that assist people who have special needs.

The organizations are at risk because they failed to file the required returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to IRS records.

The requirement to file is the result of a tax law change made in 2006. Complying with the new law may be as simple as completing a 10-minute form online. The organizations must file by Oct. 15, the IRS said in a news release.

A list of the organizations at risk as of the end of July is posted at IRS.gov, along with instructions on how to comply with the new law.

Grants to address shortage of primary health workers

Maine has been awarded nearly $1.9 million in federal aid to help reduce a shortage of primary health care workers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a total of $320 million in grants under the Affordable Care Act to strengthen the country’s health care work force through various programs, including by training low-income workers for health care careers.

Maine and other states need more primary care physicians, physician assistants and nurses to meet the demands of an aging population and expanded health insurance access due to federal reforms passed early this year.