Panel OKs bill to change Turnpike Authority’s ways

A bill that would overhaul the administrative and financial procedures of the quasi-governmental agency that oversees the Maine Turnpike has received unanimous endorsement from the Legislature’s Transportation Committee.

The Maine Turnpike Authority has come under scrutiny amid questions about lavish and unexplained expenses, which came to light through an audit by the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability. The authority’s longtime executive director, Paul Violette, resigned in March.

Legislators shoot down bill aimed at new Dechaine trial

A legislative committee has rejected a bill that could have given convicted killer Dennis Dechaine a shot at a new trial.

Judiciary Committee members voted unanimously Friday to reject the bill, which would have allowed the consideration of DNA evidence collected after Dechaine’s conviction in the 1988 murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoin.

Dechaine, who’s serving a life sentence, says he is innocent.

According to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Rep. Paul Waterhouse of Bridgton said the bill was problematic and he considered it “trial by Legislature.”

The committee’s vote followed emotional testimony earlier this week from Sarah Cherry’s family and an appeal from Maine’s attorney general not to pass the bill.

LePage makes Winglass official choice for Labor chief

Gov. Paul LePage has nominated a retired Marine general to serve as commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor.

LePage made formal on Friday his selection of retired Lt. Gen. Robert J. Winglass of Bath. He had announced his intention to do so a month earlier.

Winglass retired from the Marines in 1992 and served four years in the Maine House before joining IBM Corp.

His nomination requires review of the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee and approval of the entire Senate.

Plan would raise speed limit on northern stretch of I-95

Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on a remote section of Interstate 95 between Old Town and Houlton.

On Thursday, a legislative committee voted unanimously to endorse a plan to raise the speed limit, while allowing officials the discretion to keep the 65 mph limit in certain areas.

Republican Rep. Alexander Willette of Mapleton says many motorists already drive faster than 65 mph on that stretch of the interstate, which has few exits and little traffic.


Police await ID of body found off Flag Pond Road

A body that was found off Flag Pond Road has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy and identification.

A man called police after finding the body at the rear of his property while plowing fields Friday morning.

Police investigated the scene and arranged for the body’s removal to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Police would not say whether the man was Christopher Noonan, 27, whose family reported him missing in November. However, police said a search for Noonan scheduled for next week will be delayed until identification of the body is made.

After Noonan was reported missing, police conducted several searches of the area with the assistance of the Maine Warden Service. Noonan was reported missing from a home about a half-mile from where the body was found.


Man sought in Bay State shooting arrested in Maine

Law enforcement officials say a Massachusetts man who was wanted in a fatal shooting at an MBTA train station has been apprehended in Maine.

U.S. Marshal Noel March said Nhu Anh Nguyen, 19, of Boston was arrested without incident Thursday night in Portland. He’s charged as a fugitive from justice and is at the Cumberland County Jail pending extradition to Massachusetts.

Nguyen was wanted for the shooting of Derek Matulina, 19, on May 7 at the Savin Hill MBTA train station in the Dorchester section of Boston.

Officials had been searching for him for 48 hours, following reports that he was in the Portland area.

He was arrested in an apartment by the Maine Violent Offender Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Boston Police Department Fugitive Apprehension Unit.

Portland police honoring fallen comrades this week

A group of police officers from Portland are in Washington to honor fallen comrades from across the country, including one of their own.

The Portland officers are taking part in National Police Week, which is held every year to recognize and pay tribute to officers who died in the line of duty.

WMTW-TV says more than 300 names of fallen law enforcement officers were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year alone.

One of the names added this year is that of Portland police Sgt. Rick Betters, who died of a heart attack on Jan. 14, 2009.

During police week, Portland officers in full dress uniform will stand guard in front of the memorial, where Betters’ name is engraved.


Trial date reported for man whose injury led to charges

An alleged bomb maker whose activities were uncovered when he blew part of a finger off is due to stand trial next month in federal court.

Robert Infante dialed 911 last June from his home in Alfred to say he had been injured by a propane tank explosion. He ended up driving himself to the hospital, but firefighters still went to Infante’s home.

There they found about 12 pipe bombs and a marijuana-growing operation.

More pipe bombs were found in the trunk of his car at Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.

The Journal Tribune newspaper says he’s due to stand trial June 6 on charges of possession of a destructive device and various drug and firearms offenses. Infante was convicted of similar offenses in Vermont in 1988.


Former police officer faces charges involving minor girl

A former police officer is facing 10 felony charges that he had sexual contact with a Franklin County girl younger than 12.

Steve Goozey, 39, of Coplin Plantation was indicted Thursday on the charges that stem from the alleged contact with the girl that occurred between June of 2006, and May of last year.

Goozey worked for the Carrabassett Valley Police Department for about three months in 2010. Chief Scott Nichols told the Sun Journal of Lewiston that Goozey was let go due to unrelated circumstances.

Goozey was first arrested in March.


Bill includes millions for shipyard improvements

Maine’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard could get up to $10 million in infrastructure improvements as part of a bill passed by a committee of the U.S. House.

The money was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, approved by the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday night.

Maine Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree says the money would be used to fund the rebuilding of the yard’s structural shops.


City workers tackled suspect in ring theft, police say

New Hampshire police say two employees of the city of Dover helped catch a Maine man who had allegedly stolen engagement rings from a local jeweler.

Dover police say all of the jewelry was recovered after the workers tackled the man as he tried to run off with the rings he had taken at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday from the Market Square Jewelers on Central Street.

Police say 23-year-old Sean Fallon of South Berwick went into the store and asked a clerk to see engagement rings. The clerk brought out 17 rings, which Fallon allegedly grabbed. He then ran out of the store.

Dover employees Eric Poitras and Mark Colonna, heard the store proprietor call for help. They tackled Fallon and held him for police.


Helicopter crew spots long, narrow oil sheen off coast

The Coast Guard responded Friday to a large oil sheen that was spotted off Jonesport’s coast.

Petty Officer Monika Gogola told the Bangor Daily News the sheen was seen by a Coast Guard helicopter crew on routine patrol. Gogola said it appeared to be about a mile long and only 25 yards wide. Crews of Coast Guard vessels were sent to investigate.

Officials said no boats were reported in the area and that there were no signs of debris around the sheen.