Ex-Lyman Moore principal returns for interim duty

Portland has chosen a familiar face to take the helm at Lyman Moore Middle School, selecting Stephen Rogers for a one-year appointment as interim principal.

Rogers, assistant principal at Portland High School for the past five years, had been principal at Lyman Moore for nine years.

Rogers said he will focus on improving achievement scores, especially in math and literacy, make community connections to keep schoolwork relevant, and work to improve learning for students of different linguistic backgrounds.

Rogers started his career as a math teacher in South Portland, taught in Portland high schools, coached several sports and the math team and was principal of Gorham High School in the 1990s when it was named one of the top schools nationally for innovative practices. 

Part of Clean Election law found unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that one provision of Maine’s Clean Election Act is unconstitutional based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in an Arizona case.

Under the state law, which allows public financing for political campaigns, a publicly funded candidate receives more money if the candidate’s opponent spends more privately raised funds.

An Arizona law that included that provision was deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled 5-4 on June 27 that the law violated a privately funded candidate’s free speech rights because triggering matching funds for an opponent would have a chilling affect on the privately funded candidate’s speech.

Maine Rep. Andre E. Cushing III, R-Hampden, the Respect Maine PAC and Harold Clough sued in U.S. District Court in Portland, challenging the Maine law.

U.S. District Judge George Singal issued an order Wednesday that the parties to the lawsuit agree that the matching-funds provision is unconstitutional. The decision was not unexpected, because of the Supreme Court’s decision. 

Passer-by reports smoke, flames at Lawn Ave. home

Firefighters were called to 73 Lawn Ave. on Wednesday night after a passer-by reported seeing smoke and flames.

Firefighters responded to the two-story, two-family house in a neighborhood off Stevens Avenue at about 9 p.m.

Witnesses said firefighters worked to vent the roof and pull shingles off the walls, while others brought hoses inside the building to attack any flames there.

There were no reports of injuries and witnesses said a family dog was removed safely. 

Martin’s Point Health Care unveils new facility today

Martin’s Point Health Care will unveil a new health education center at an open house for patients today from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

The new center is in the old Marine Hospital building next to the Portland Health Care Center at 331 Veranda St.

The open house will include healthy-cooking demonstrations by dietitians in the new kitchen, tours of the center, prizes, information about classes and support groups, and an opportunity to visit an on-site farmers market.

The center is intended to help patients manage chronic diseases and live healthier lifestyles. It offers classes on managing blood pressure, smoking cessation, living with diabetes and other topics.

Martin’s Point is a nonprofit health care organization that operates nine centers in Maine and New Hampshire. 

Condition of man injured in hit and run improves

A man who was the victim of a hit and run crash on Munjoy Hill after the July 4 fireworks has had his condition upgraded, but he remains unconscious at Maine Medical Center with serious injuries.

Steve Makris, 39, is now listed in satisfactory condition, after being brought there in critical condition. However, he remains badly hurt, with a massive head injury and severe injuries elsewhere on his body, said family friend Melissa Marvin.

Makris had just moved to Maine for work and was visiting a friend the night of the fireworks when a Dodge Durango backed into his Honda Accord. After the Durango pushed the car back several feet, Makris confronted the driver, Jason Beaudoin, 34, of Portland.

Beaudoin drove off with Makris at first hanging onto the Durango, then falling to the ground. Marvin said the number and severity of the injuries — including a deep indentation on Makris’ skull — suggests the Durango hit and possibly ran him over.

Makris’ condition was upgraded because he was able to breathe on his own without a ventilator, she said. His family has been unable to talk to him. His 3-year-old son is staying with family members.

Police located Beaudoin when he returned home the morning after the crash. The case has been referred to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to determine what charges to bring.


Pilot unhurt after crosswinds cause small plane to crash

Unusually strong crosswinds likely caused a small plane to crash at noon Wednesday at Eastern Slopes Regional Airport, according to Police Chief Philip Weymouth.

Laurence Ketner of Norway was attempting to land his Husky bush plane when winds coming from different directions lifted the aircraft and dropped it in a nearby grassy area, Weymouth said.

“It was his second attempt and he decided to go ahead with it,” Weymouth said. “He was over the landing strip. The wind picked him up and spun him around and drove the front end into a ditch.”

Ketner was flying alone and reported no injuries.

“The only thing hurt was his pride,” Weymouth said.

The crash damaged the two-seater plane’s nose, propeller, undercarriage, wheels and wings.

Weymouth notified the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate further.


Three teens charged with throwing rocks at cars

Three Clinton teens are facing multiple felony charges after allegedly throwing rocks at passing motorists on Interstate 95.

Maine State Police Trooper Diane Perkins-Vance said two boys, ages 16 and 17, are each facing 15 counts of criminal mischief, assault and felony charges of reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

A third boy, 15, is facing 12 counts of criminal mischief, assault and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, Perkins-Vance said. Police withheld their names because of their ages.

One motorist was injured when broken glass sprayed into his car and got into his eyes, Perkins-Vance said.

The teens were all arrested following a traffic stop on Wednesday. They are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 11.

Until then the teens have been placed under the supervision of a juvenile case worker and must adhere to specific conditions of release.

A total of five vehicles were struck by the rocks over the past couple of weeks, Perkins-Vance said.

The incidents all occurred in the southbound lanes near the Hill Road overpass, which is between mile markers 138 and 139. All the attacks occurred late at night.

The rocks broke a side window in one of the vehicles, Perkins-Vance said. The other four cars all sustained broken windshields.


Three charged with leaving elderly woman in hot cabin

Three people charged with endangering a dependent person for allegedly leaving an 85-year-old woman in a hot cabin in Edgecomb with little food have been released on bail.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies arrested twins Barbara and Nicholas Davis, 41, and Jonathan Stevens, 20, last week after the elderly woman was found inside a cabin where temperatures were about 100 degrees.

The Davises had apparently befriended the woman in Los Angeles in 2009 and took control of her money, investigators said.

The woman told investigators that the trio had been moving with her from place to place over the past year. They had apparently left her in the cabin alone for several days.

The three are charged with endangering the welfare of a dependent person, a felony. They are free on $10,000 unsecured bond, meaning if they do not show up at Lincoln County Superior Court Sept. 29, they will owe the court that amount.


Train collision investigations could take months to finish

Investigations into the cause of a fiery collision between Amtrak’s Downeaster and a tractor-trailer could take months to complete.

Two investigations are under way. One is being led by the Federal Railroad Administration. The other is being led by the North Berwick Police Department.

Police Chief Stephen Peasley said he didn’t know how long his investigation will take. He said Wednesday he couldn’t release any additional information. The railroad administration said its investigations typically take six to nine months.

The driver of the truck, Peter Barnum, 35, of Farmington, N.H., was killed in the collision on July 11. Investigators say his tractor-trailer left more than 200 feet of skid marks before the impact with the train.


Judge rejects retrial request in killing of nursing student

A judge has rejected a New Hampshire man’s request for a new trial after he was convicted of killing his former fiancee, according to WMTW-TV.

Jason Twardus of Rochester, N.H., was convicted of strangling 30-year-old nursing student Kelly Gorham in 2007 and burying her body on his father’s land in Stewartstown, N.H.

Twardus’ lawyer, Daniel Lilley, said investigators had ignored evidence that would exonerate his client.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes told WMTW-TV that a judge denied Twardus’ bid for a new trial.

No sentencing date has been set.


Suspect in murder case denies probation violation

A Maine man facing a murder charge after a woman’s body was discovered buried in his basement is denying a probation violation.

Shackled and handcuffed during a court appearance Tuesday, 22-year-old Bob W. Ryder denied violating probation in the alleged slaying of Danita Brown, whose remains were found last week under his Lewiston apartment. Police say the 38-year-old woman, who’d been missing for several weeks, was found after Ryder told his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor he’d hit her in the head with a clock and then hid the body in the basement. Two weeks later, the sponsor told police.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that Ryder, who’s awaiting a bail hearing, is being held in the Androscoggin County Jail.


Mainer arrested at motel, charged in bank holdup

Portsmouth police have arrested the man they allege is responsible for a holdup at a city bank.

Police say Thomas Gould, 46, of Berwick, Maine was arrested at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at a motel not far from a Shaw’s Supermarket that houses a Citizens Bank. The bank had been robbed Monday morning.

The robber claimed to have a bomb and left an electronic device inside the bank.

Police say they received several tips that led them to Gould, who was staying in a fourth-floor room. They evacuated some of the other rooms on Gould’s floor and arrested him at gunpoint without incident when he left his room.

He was arraigned Wednesday in Portsmouth District Court on one count of armed robbery and was ordered held on $75,000 cash bail.


Four-day festival celebrates travels of Thoreau, guides

The area of Maine’s North Woods traveled by Henry David Thoreau and his Penobscot Indian guides more than 150 years ago is being celebrated with a four-day festival.

The Thoreau-Wabanaki Festival began Wednesday in Greenville.

The event, now in its fifth year, celebrates Thoreau and the Wabanaki people’s exploration of the Moosehead Lake region. Thoreau made three trips to the North Woods.

The festival includes a hike up Mount Kineo, a cruise on Moosehead Lake, other events and exhibits.

— From staff and news services