Inmate charged over note threatening Gov. LePage

A Piscataquis County Jail inmate has been charged with terrorizing because of a note in which he threatened Gov. Paul LePage.

Guy Dow, a sheriff’s department investigator, said the inmate indicated that he hates the governor and described in graphic detail how he planned to kill him.

Dow told the Bangor Daily News that Leroy Dunn, 29, of Bangor slipped the note under his cell door, which is protocol for mailing letters. But he said Dunn didn’t put it in an envelope.

The governor’s security detail was alerted.

Dunn, who’s in jail on a drug charge, is expected to make his initial court appearance on the terrorizing charge on Feb. 28 in Dover-Foxcroft District Court.


Gas leak forces closure of part of Congress Street

A gas leak on Congress Street in downtown Portland forced the closure of the westbound lane of traffic around 5 p.m. Thursday.

Late Thursday night, police were still directing traffic around the scene of the gas leak, near the intersection of Preble Street.

Nicole Clegg, spokeswoman for the city, said no evacuations were planned, but the gas company, Unitil, had to close the street while it located and repaired the leak.

Preble Street also was closed, from Cumberland Avenue to Congress Street. 

Streak of above-average temperatures has ended

The National Weather Service says Portland’s 14-month streak of above-average monthly temperatures has ended.

Weather officials say Portland’s average temperature in January was 21.4 degrees, 0.3 degrees below normal.

It was the first time since October 2009 that Portland had below-normal monthly temperatures.

While Portland was colder than usual last month, northern Maine had above-normal temperatures. For the month, Caribou’s average monthly temperature was 14 degrees, 4.5 degrees above normal.

Two men charged with vandalizing 20 cars

Two Windham men are charged vandalizing 20 cars that were parked in the Fitzpatrick Stadium parking lot Wednesday because of Portland’s snowstorm parking ban.

Police say they discovered Keegan Burke, 19, and Thomas Patrick, 20, walking through the lot at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday carrying windshield wipers that had been broken off parked cars. After a short foot chase, officers caught the men and charged them with aggravated criminal mischief, a felony.

Police said the pair also broke into two cars and were charged with two counts of motor vehicle burglary to a car. Police also charged Burke with possession of burglary tools.


Man ordered to stay away from students after threats

A Biddeford man has been ordered to avoid contact with two middle school students he allegedly threatened and called names because of the girl’s skin color.

The decision was announced Thursday by Attorney General William Schneider. The Attorney General’s Office brought the civil rights case against Michael Ryan, 31, after he confronted a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy while they were walking to school on Sept. 20.

Prosecutors say Ryan called the girl, who is biracial, epithets and blamed people of her race for problems in the schools and the welfare system.

Ryan threatened the girl with assault if she did not get away from his house and said if she walked by there again, there would be people on the porch to beat her up, the complaint says.

The boy, who is white, also was intimidated by Ryan, the complaint says.

“No student should be afraid to walk to school because of the color of their skin,” Schneider said. “My office is committed to enforcing the Maine Civil Rights Act to ensure that our schools and streets are safe from violence and harassment based on race or color.”

Ryan was ordered to have no contact with the two children and barred from assaulting any person based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Violating the order is a crime punishable by as much year in jail.


Student chorus invited to National Cathedral in D.C.

The Scarborough High School Chorus has been invited to perform at the Washington National Cathedral.

The chorus was chosen after submitting a recording of two sacred pieces performed a capella. The chorus will sing a 25-minute program of sacred a capella music before vespers service on April 10. The performance will be the chorus’ second at the Washington National Cathedral. The first time was in April 2007.

Each chorus member will have to raise $650 for the trip.

The biggest fundraiser will be a benefit concert Feb. 18. The event in the Winslow Homer Auditorium at Scarborough High School will feature Coos Canyon, a Maine folk, rock and blues trio. Tickets are available through Bull Moose stores, Starbird Music Shoppe on Forest Avenue in Portland and the school’s Choral Arts Department at 730-5125.


Nonprofit groups seek share of federal grant

Nonprofit agencies and organizations will present their proposed public service programs next week in hopes of winning shares of federal funding available through the city.

The city’s Community Development Block Grant Program and Community Development Advisory Committee plan a public hearing Feb. 12. The hearing will run from 9 a.m. to noon in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

Grant applicants include programs that assist children, victims of domestic abuse and the elderly, as well as programs that provide free bus passes, recreation scholarships and residential weatherization assistance.

About $103,000 in public service grant funding is available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. So far, total funding requests are $213,326.

The Community Development Advisory Committee will review the applications and make its recommendations to the City Council.


Plow driver unhurt after truck burst into flames

A plow truck driver whose truck burst into flames while he was plowing snow Thursday afternoon escaped without injury.

The Cumberland County dispatch center said the fire was reported around 2 p.m. at 143 Sebago Haven Road in Casco.

The truck was destroyed. No other information was available Thursday night.