County budget would raise spending and taxes in 2012

Cumberland County introduced the first draft of its 2012 budget Monday, proposing to raise taxes on its municipalities by 1.67 percent.

The $33 million budget projects a $274,000 increase in expenditures from 2011. County Manager Peter Crichton attributed much of the increase to a 10 percent rise in health insurance claims by county workers.

The county will soon begin studying those claims to determine the cause of the increase, Crichton said. It will then design a wellness program to target problem areas and limit health care claims in the future.

The county’s revenue is projected to decrease by about $103,000, according to the budget. Crichton attributed a large chunk of that to changes by the Legislature.

The county has charged $1.50 per copy for any documents from the Registry of Deeds. But new state laws will allow the county to charge only $1 for in-person copies, and 50 cents for online copies. That will cost the county $300,000.

The budget also calls for a $1 million contribution to the renovation of the Cumberland County Civic Center, if voters approve a bond for the Civic Center on Nov. 8.

The county’s money has gone in the past to paying off debt for construction of the county jail. That debt will be retired by the end of 2011.

The budget will go to the county’s finance committee for analysis before the commissioners vote on it in November or early December.


Stabbing at a party leads to indictment of Woolwich man

A Woolwich man has been indicted in a stabbing this summer.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Chuck Schooley, 18, on charges of elevated aggravated assault and aggravated assault.

Police said Schooley was involved in a fight at a party at Bay Bridges Estates during the early morning of July 18. He is accused of stabbing another man with a kitchen knife. Police said alcohol was involved.

Police charge patient after $10,000 machine damaged

A Portland man who allegedly damaged $10,000 worth of medical equipment at Mercy Hospital in Portland was charged Monday with aggravated criminal mischief.

Hospital workers called police around 5 a.m. to report that a patient had become angry and thrown an $10,000 EKG machine onto the floor, breaking it.

Police charged Michael McCann, 29, but they could not say what made him so agitated.

Woman accused of robbery in pickpocketing of wallet

A woman accused of being a pickpocket was charged with robbery after an alleged victim confronted her.

A man walking through Longfellow Square, searching for the Local 188 restaurant just after midnight Sunday, stopped to ask a woman for directions, police said. The woman touched the man’s back and as he walked away, he realized his wallet was gone, police said.

The man confronted the woman and they started to struggle over the wallet. The man’s two female friends intervened and wrestled the woman’s pocketbook from her, holding it until police arrived.

Police charged Melissa Savage, 37, with robbery. None of the people involved was seriously injured.


Two teens drink antifreeze by mistake, sent to hospital

Police say two teenage boys who were poisoned during the weekend mistakenly drank antifreeze from a liquor bottle they had taken from a neighbor’s garage.

South Berwick Police Chief Dana Lajoie said the 16-year-old boy and his 15-year-old friend thought they were drinking alcohol. The parents of the 16-year-old called police Sunday morning because the boys seemed extremely intoxicated.

Police thought the boys had been poisoned, so they were taken to a hospital in New Hampshire before being transferred to a hospital in Boston.

Police said Monday that one of the boys was recovering to the point that he could be questioned. Lajoie said it appears the poisoning was accidental, but the investigation is continuing.


Man indicted in shootings of friend, mother of his kids

A New Gloucester man accused of killing the mother of his children and a Massachusetts man who was his friend has been indicted on two murder charges.

Joel Hayden, 29, of New Gloucester was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury in the slayings of Renee Sandora, 27, and Trevor Mills, 29, of New Bedford. Authorities say Hayden shot them July 25 in front of Sandora’s home on Bennett Road in New Gloucester.

Hayden was arrested soon after the shooting as he tried to flee in a car. He crashed the car in Lyman after a police chase and suffered a serious back injury.

The couple’s eldest child, 7, told police that Hayden and Sandora had been arguing and that Hayden was holding Sandora’s car keys away from her, according to a police affidavit. It says the child saw Hayden push Mills through a door and then shoot Mills and Sandora. The other three children — the youngest was 3 months — were in Sandora’s car.

Hayden is being held without bail in the Cumberland County Jail.


City receives $3,000 grant to do fire safety planning

The Westbrook Fire Department has been awarded a $3,000 grant to do fire safety planning for community buildings. The grant is provided by FM Global, a commercial property insurer.

“At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program, said in a news release. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be.”

The department will use the grant to collect and track data about community buildings, Public Safety Chief Michael Pardue said in the release.


Motorcyclist in fair condition after crash on way to toy run

An injured woman was recovering Monday, a day after crashing her motorcycle in Manchester while taking part in an annual toy run.

Kathy Jesiolowski, 53, of Poland was in fair condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, said a hospital spokeswoman.

Jesiolowski suffered what was believed to be a serious head injury when she crashed just before noon Sunday. She and about 50 other motorcyclists, including her husband, were going east on Western Avenue to join thousands of other toy run riders at the Augusta Civic Center when they entered a construction zone.

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Mills said a foot peg of a motorcycle in front of Jesiolowski hit one of the orange marker barrels and knocked it into her path. The impact knocked Jesiolowski’s motorcycle to the pavement.

Police arrest two Maine men after elderly pair terrorized

Two men are in custody and facing burglary and other charges after police said they broke into a home in Manchester where two elderly residents were sleeping.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said his office got a call on Sept. 5 from a 91-year-old man, who reported that his 67-year-old live-in companion had been woken up by a man standing over her with a 4-inch knife, demanding money. An investigation showed that two suspects had cut their way through a screen and then unlocked the door.

On Friday, detectives arrested Michael Jo Ruth, 36, of Gardiner and Ricky Allen Lane, 24, of Augusta. They were apprehended after one suspect used a credit card belonging to one of the victims and police reviewed surveillance video of the attempted transaction.

Besides burglary, they were charged with robbery, terrorizing, criminal mischief and theft, police said.


Agents seize drugs, shotgun, cash in raid on mobile home

Several people face drug charges after a raid on a mobile home in which drug agents found the homeowner hiding under a pile of clothes.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Brunswick police raided the home at 28 Tufton Road on Friday after a month-long investigation. Police say they seized 18 rocks of crack cocaine, 77 oxycodone pills and 16 Suboxone pills, as well as $5,800, a shotgun and a rifle.

Police charged three people from the Bronx, N.Y., with trafficking in crack cocaine and other drug charges: Errol Holden, 31, Lavar Cord, 28, and Kristin Adams, 26.

Police issued court summons to Raymond Bourgion, 44, of Brunswick and Megan Lausier, 24, of Brunswick on charges of possession of cocaine.

When police searched the house, they found Bourgion hiding under a pile of clothing.


Avid readers exchange vows in Auburn Public Library

A book-loving Lewiston couple are starting a new chapter in their lives after getting married in the Auburn Public Library.

The nuptials for Alicia Proulx and Jared Fiori were the first in the Auburn library’s 107-year history.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston said the two have been avid readers since they were teenagers. They had been dating for three years.

On Saturday night, tables were cleared from the grand reading room and replaced with eight rows of black chairs. After a 10-minute ceremony, the spectators broke into applause.

Proulx, 29, is an aspiring novelist and Fiori, who’s 33, wants to be a comic book artist.


Hunting license sales agent admits failing to turn in fees

Maine’s attorney general says a woman who sold hunting and fishing licenses for the state will serve 30 days in jail for misappropriating more than $16,000 in license fees.

Authorities said Lynn C. Taylor, 64, of Portage Lake pleaded guilty on Friday.

Officials said Taylor, the owner of Coffin’s General Store, signed an agreement to become a license and registration agent for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in 2006. Authorities say the contract required that the money collected from sales of licenses, permits and registrations be turned over to the state.

As part of the plea deal, Taylor must pay back over $16,000 in fees within six months. If she fails to pay restitution, she will face as much as five years in prison.

Discount phone rates offered to low-income state residents

Utility regulators are joining a national effort this week to remind low-income residents that they can get discount rates for basic telephone service.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission says a nationally organized “Lifeline Awareness Week” runs through Friday to draw attention to two programs. Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance offer discounted phone service so low-income people can have access to local emergency services and community resources.

Under Maine’s Lifeline program, phone customers who participate in certain public assistance programs can receive basic telephone service discounts of up to $13.50 per month.

Link-Up provides 50 percent reductions in phone service installation charges, to a maximum of $30, for qualifying households that lack service. The SafeLink program helps Mainers for whom cellphones make more sense than landlines.

Confirmation hearings, votes set for numerous nominees

The list of legislative confirmation hearings is growing for Gov. Paul LePage’s nominees to boards, commissions and councils in advance of a special session later this month.

Lawmakers will convene Sept. 27 to vote on a congressional reapportionment plan. Several proposals have been developed by Democrats and Republicans, and a Democratic-backed plan was narrowly endorsed by a bipartisan commission Aug. 30.

Leading up to the special session, committees have scheduled hearings for dozens of nominees who will face final confirmation votes. Among the appointments are seats on the Land Use Regulation Commission and on the Maine Maritime Academy, Maine Community College System and Gambling Control boards.

In addition, nominees for commissioner of environmental protection and marine resources and several judicial appointees will face hearings and Senate confirmation votes during the special session.


State police charge man with having 107 marijuana plants

Maine State Police say a Waldo County man has been charged with growing marijuana after authorities found 107 plants on his property.

Police say Adam Lynn, 31, of Monroe was arrested Thursday after federal drug enforcement agents saw him watering his crop behind his house. Police say the plants were ready for harvest and worth about $128,000.

Authorities say they also seized mushrooms, hashish and processed marijuana from Lynch.