Man who leaped off bridge presumed to have drowned

The search for the body of a man who jumped off the Sagadahoc Bridge into the Kennebec River Wednesday night has been called off.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said authorities are fairly certain that they know who the man is based on the contents of a backpack that was retrieved from the river.

Merry described the man as being indigent and in his early 30s. Merry declined to identify the man.

The Maine Marine Patrol, the Coast Guard, a team of search and rescue dogs, and a Maine State Police dive team spent Thursday morning searching the river without success. The search was called off at noon.

“It’s pretty remote that he survived,” said Merry, noting the powerful river currents and cold water temperatures.


Three male suspects arrested in Oct. 24 theft

Three people are in police custody after being arrested Thursday for their alleged role in a burglary Oct. 24 at the Whistle Stop Store on Pequawket Trail in Baldwin.

Charged with burglary and theft were Matthew M. Cogswell, 19, of Raymond; Aaron L. Lusk, 21, of New Gloucester; and a 17-year-old juvenile from Raymond.

Capt. Don Goulet of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department said a number of items were stolen, including two snowmobiles, cigarettes and scratch lottery tickets. A number of winning lottery tickets were cashed at local convenience stores the day after the burglary.

Goulet said the items, and a third snowmobile that was stolen from a home in Gray, were valued at more than $25,000.

Cogswell and Lusk are being held at the Cumberland County Jail where their bail has been set at $5,000 cash each.

The juvenile has been released to the custody of his parents.


High court rejects appeal of manslaughter sentence

Maine’s highest court has rejected a York man’s appeal of his 20-year sentence for the 2008 stabbing death of a longtime friend after a night of partying.

Richard Dalli, 52, pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year in the death of John Wheeler, 39, at Dalli’s house on Sept. 2, 2008. A judge sentenced Dalli to 30 years, with 10 years suspended.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Dalli’s sentence, ruling that a lower court judge acted appropriately in imposing it. 

Computers for new school stolen from building site

Police are investigating the theft of about $60,000 worth of computers from the the school on Ocean Avenue that is under construction.

The theft was discovered Thursday morning, police said. Scores of computers were being stored at the site in preparation for outfitting the school, police said.

The $14.2 million school is scheduled to open in January.

The thieves stole 33 Apple iMacs and 45 Apple Mac Books, which were still in the boxes. 

Witness scares off suspect who hit man with a brick

Police are searching for a suspect who attacked a man with a brick near Portland Street on Wednesday afternoon.

Police say a 46-year-old Gray man was hit in the head with a brick at 4 p.m. behind 45 Portland St. The suspect went through the victim’s pockets but stole nothing, police said. A witness saw the attack, called 911 and yelled, frightening off the suspect.

The suspect is described as 5-foot-11, white, thin, in his late 20s or early 30s, with short hair or a shaved head. He was wearing wire-rimmed glasses, police said.

The victim was taken to Maine Medical Center where he was treated for injuries that were not serious, police said.


Hearing set in Nader case involving the 2004 election

A hearing is scheduled today in Machias to weigh evidence in Ralph Nader’s lawsuit accusing Democrats of conspiring to keep him off the ballot in the 2004 presidential race.

More than 250 pieces of evidence have been submitted to support Nader’s claims in his 2009 lawsuit.

The lawsuit contends Democratic leaders conspired to use the courts to sabotage Nader and his 2004 running mate, the late Peter Camejo. Defendants include John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Maine Democratic Party.

Nader and Camejo, running as independents, appeared on the 2004 presidential ballot in 34 states.


Busiest cruise-ship port experiences a record year

Bar Harbor officials say a record number of cruise ships visited this year.

Harbormaster Charlie Phippen told the Bangor Daily News that Bar Harbor had 107 cruise ship port calls from May through last Friday, when the final ship of the season paid a visit. That breaks the previous record of 97 cruise ship visits.

Phippen said 85 port calls have already been booked for 2011.

Bar Harbor is Maine’s busiest cruise ship port. The second busiest port, Portland, had 71 cruise ship visits this year. 

Lab to host special mice used in research for ALS

Jackson Lab is preparing to spend $700,000 to create a repository for specialized mice used in research into ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Tow Foundation is providing a $350,000 challenge grant that will provide half the funding for a repository for mice to be utilized by scientists researching the fatal neurological disorder. The balance will come from the ALS Association and the ALS Therapy Alliance.

ALS afflicts 30,000 Americans, with 15 new cases diagnosed each day.

Creation and rapid distribution of mouse models of ALS is crucial to finding treatments. The Jackson Lab’s ALS repository will reduce the logistical barriers to scientists’ donating valuable new models.


Illegal hunter tries to bag deer feeding at preserve

Police say a man who jumped at the chance to shoot a deer feeding in a field faces multiple charges, including hunting in a game preserve, hunting with a bogus license and possession of a gun by a felon.

Old Town Police arrested Bernard A. Saunders, 64, of Milo on Tuesday after he allegedly stopped his vehicle, went into a field and fired at a deer in the preserve.

Police charged him with reckless conduct with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. Wardens cited him for shooting too close to a residential building, fraudulently obtaining a hunting license and hunting on a game preserve.

Police say it could have been worse: Saunders fired in the direction of a jogging path.


Local man charged in flag-burning incidents

A Rockland man is charged with burning several American flags that did not belong to him.

Christopher Hodgkins, 22, appeared in court Wednesday where he was ordered held for lack of $1,000 bail.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the Rockland Fire Department was called several times in late October after businesses found their American flags burned.

He was arrested on Halloween after a witness allegedly saw him take a flag from the wall of a bank and then light it on fire. He was charged with aggravated criminal mischief.

Hodgkins later told police about his discontent with the American government.


White House among those calling governor-elect

Maine Gov.-elect Paul LePage is getting phone calls congratulating him on his election and one was from the White House.

LePage’s spokesman says Valery Jarrett, an adviser to President Obama, called to extend congratulations and invite LePage to a White House reception for new governors on Dec. 2. LePage is considering the invitation but did not commit to attend.

The Republican governor-elect also heard from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Gov. John Baldacci. The Democratic governor offered his congratulations and also extended his assistance to LePage and his transition team as they work to set up a new administration.