Hancock County ranks first in annual health assessment

A new study says that Hancock County, in eastern Maine, is the healthiest county in the state while Oxford, in western Maine, is the least healthy.

The annual County Health Rankings to be released today by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation look at a variety of measures, such as the rate of people dying before they turn 75, high school graduation rates, access to healthier foods, air pollution levels, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teenagers giving birth.

After Hancock, the four healthiest counties are Franklin, Cumberland, Sagadahoc and Lincoln. They are followed, in order, by York, Knox, Waldo, Kennebec, Piscataquis, Penobscot and Androscoggin.

The least healthy counties are Aroostook, Somerset, Washington and, finally, Oxford.


Four people face charges in drug smuggling scheme

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says four people face charges in a drug smuggling operation at the Piscataquis County Jail.

MDEA Cmdr. Darrell Crandall Jr. said the investigation is continuing, but it’s unlikely that others will be charged. The suspects were arrested last weekend.

Gretchen Gordon, 18, of Anson, who allegedly tried to smuggle the prescription drug Suboxone in the waistband of her pants to an inmate, is charged with trafficking in prison contraband and possession of two grams of cocaine.

Samantha Jennings, 20, of Dexter is charged with furnishing the Suboxone to Gordon, trafficking in prison contraband and violating conditions of release.

Jail inmates Douglas Stebbins, 27, of Norridgewock and Michael Drake Jr., 19, of Orneville are charged with trafficking in prison contraband.


Diesel spill at fish hatchery to take weeks to dissipate

An official with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection says it could be weeks before a diesel fuel spill at a fish hatchery dissipates.

Officials say at least 1,000 gallons of off-road diesel fuel leaked from a truck Monday night, sending fuel into the Middle and Pleasant rivers and through vital smelt spawning beds.

Robert Shannon of the DEP called it “kind of like a perfect storm” because the diesel flowed into the three waterways before it ended up at a fish hatchery and smelt spawning grounds.

Dwayne Shaw, director of the Pleasant River Hatchery, told the Bangor Daily News that he doesn’t know what will happen to 135,000 hatching salmon eggs.