Two students win praise in ‘Auto Skills’ competition

Stumped by a broken horn, Greater Portland’s automotive whiz kids came up short in the national Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition in Dearborn, Mich., but impressed the judges with their work.

Anthony Perron of Scarborough and Joshua Beeler of Raymond, students at Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, were flown to Michigan to participate in the national competition after winning the Maine competition last month.

Teams from all 50 states competed by trying to find and repair “bugs” that were placed in a 2011 Ford F150 pickup truck.

The all-expenses-paid competition ran from Sunday through today. Perron and Beeler didn’t win, though the final standings haven’t been posted.

“They had a perfect score on workmanship. They should be so proud of everything they accomplished!” said Daniel Wood, Ford Motor Co. judge, in a statement released by the company Tuesday.

Beeler said they struggled with one malfunctioning component.

“As part of the competition they disabled the horn and we just couldn’t figure it out,” he said in the statement. “It was fun anyway – it was kind of like a mini-vacation in addition to the competition.”


Police asking for help after hit-and-run on Payne Road

Police are asking the public for help locating the operator of a light gray sedan that was involved in a hit and run accident Tuesday morning on Payne Road.

Police said Amy Thomas of Falmouth had pulled over near the farmstand at Flaherty’s Farm and was outside her vehicle checking for a possible mechanical problem when she was hit by the sedan.

Thomas, who suffered bruises and swelling, was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.

The driver of the gray sedan, a woman, was last seen heading toward the Dunstan Corner intersection. The incident took place around 8 a.m. Anyone with information is being asked to contact Scarborough police at 883-6361.


Season’s first cruise ship to dock this weekend

Portland’s cruise ship season kicks off this weekend with the arrival of a ship carrying more than 2,200 passengers.

Nicole Clegg, a spokesperson for the city of Portland, said the Enchantment of the Seas will berth at the Maine State Pier on Saturday morning. It is the first large cruise ship to arrive this year, with a crew of 870 and 2,250 passengers.

Enchantment, which is a Royal Caribbean International vessel, will head north for Bar Harbor Saturday night.

Another ship, the Independence, which calls Portland its home port, will depart Saturday from the Ocean Gateway terminal with 98 passengers on its Maine coast tour. The cruise ship will visit Boothbay Harbor, Bar Harbor, Camden, Belfast, Castine and Rockland.

Clegg said 59 ships carrying a record-setting 86,099 passengers are expected to berth in Portland from June to October.


Man, 35, sought after accusation of sex assaults

Police are searching for a Boothbay man accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls.

Kenneth Dobson, 35, is wanted on charges of gross sexual assault and violating conditions of release, said Lt. Michael Murphy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

The charges stem from an incident involving two teenage girls, Murphy said.

Dobson is believed to be staying in the Boothbay-East Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor region and may be staying in unoccupied buildings or wooded areas. He is described as a white man, 6 feet tall, 220 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information concerning Dobson or anyone who may have seen him is asked to call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 882-7332.


State prison lays off six, including deputy warden

Department of Corrections officials say six workers have been laid off at the Maine State Prison.

Associate Commissioner Jody Breton said a deputy warden, four captains and a staff development specialist were let go last Friday from the state’s maximum-security prison in Warren.

She told the Bangor Daily News the job cuts were part of the department’s efforts to keep staffing levels consistent across all Corrections Department facilities.


College of the Atlantic picks 1992 graduate as president

College of the Atlantic has named a 1992 graduate to be its next president.

The Bar Harbor school says Darron Collins, 41, will be the first alumnus to be president when he assumes the position July 15. He replaces David Hales, who stepped down in December after five years as president.

Collins for the past decade has been working at the World Wildlife Fund.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 with a focus on human ecology.


Local ice cream shop named to national list

Food & Wine magazine has named Mount Desert Island Ice Cream in Bar Harbor one of the top 25 ice cream spots in the country.

The magazine named Jack Daniels ice cream as the company’s signature flavor, and noted that President Obama tried the coconut on his visit to Bar Harbor last year.

MDI’s Bar Harbor location at 7 Firefly Lane opened in 2006. Owner Linda Parker opened a second store at 51 Exchange St. in Portland last year.

Annabelle’s ice cream in Portsmouth, N.H., also made the top 25 list.

Other ice cream shops on the list include Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver, which is run completely by wind power and sells baklava ice cream as its signature flavor, and the Creole Creamery in New Orleans, known for its Creole Cream Cheese ice cream made with a curdled cream cheese local to the Big Easy.


State warns of scam linked to North Lake Equity Group

Regulators are warning consumers about a scam involving a company that’s offering consumer loans by phone and over the Internet.

The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection says a company using the name North Lake Equity Group has been telephoning consumers in several states offering personal loans if the customers make several payments in advance.

Bureau officials say the company representative claims the business is located on Sanford Road in Wells, but that a check revealed the address is fictitious. Officials say the company is not registered with the state or with local offices in Wells.

Consumers from Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee have called Maine officials, with one person paying $887 to the fake company and another providing bank account numbers and other information.