LePage signs redistricting, bath salts penalty bills

Gov. Paul LePage has signed bills regarding congressional redistricting and the drug known as bath salts that were sent to him after the Legislature passed them on Tuesday.

LePage said Wednesday that he appreciates the Legislature’s quick action to increase penalties for possession and trafficking of bath salts. He said Tuesday’s action will help to stem an “epidemic” of the drug’s use.

Police and emergency rooms across the state have seen increasing evidence of the use of bath salts, which can cause aggressive and violent behavior.

LePage also signed a bill to update the boundaries of Maine’s two congressional districts to reflect population changes and ensure equal representation of citizens in the U.S. House.

The bill leaves most of the current districts intact.


Quimby buys 11,291 acres near proposed park site

Roxanne Quimby has purchased 11,291 acres of forestland east of Baxter State Park, near the land she wants to turn into a national park.

The land east of the Penobscot River’s East Branch includes forestland, a flood plain with significant wetlands, the Seboeis River, and Peaked Mountain.

Traditional uses such as snowmobiling and hunting will continue for one year.

Elliotsville Plantation Inc., Quimby’s foundation, said the long-term plan is to allow motorized recreation, hunting and logging on the land to offset Quimby’s proposal to donate more than 70,000 acres for a national park, where hunting and snowmobiling would be off-limits.

Quimby also envisions setting aside another 30,000 acres of woodlands north of Dover-Foxcroft to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed.


Former music teacher sentenced for sexual abuse

A former music teacher will serve three years in prison for sexually abusing a child.

William Wiley was sentenced Tuesday in Waldo County Superior Court to 15 years in prison, with 12 years suspended. A jury in April found him guilty of 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl in 2004.

The girl and her mother were living in Wiley’s house at the time.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Justice Ann Murray allowed Wiley to be released on bail until the appeal of his conviction is resolved. Wiley says he is innocent.

Wiley was a music teacher at Searsport Elementary School. He was not accused of molesting any of his students.


Telecommunications firm invests in security company

An established telecommunications company will invest $5 million in a startup data security firm to speed up the build-out of the firm’s data center at the former Brunswick Naval Station, now called Brunswick Landing.

Oxford Networks of Lewiston is investing the money in Resilient Tier V. Resilient is at the former air base and employs 33 people.

Oxford Networks CEO Craig Gunderson said the investment allows his company to begin offering data management and cyber security services to customers.

Resilient Tier V President Charles Largay said the investment makes Oxford Networks his company’s second-largest shareholder.

He said his company plans to grow to 124 employees within a year.


Fire, recreation volunteer faces sexual assault charge

A volunteer with the town’s fire and recreation departments was arrested Monday on charges of gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual touching.

The charges against Charles M. Robbins, 43, stem from an incident in Bridgton in August, according to a news release from Bridgton Police Chief Kevin Schofield.

Robbins has been suspended from events and activities affiliated with the fire and recreation departments, according to a news release from Georgiann Fleck, the town’s public information officer.

Recreation Director Thomas Tash said Robbins was the president of the department’s baseball and softball committee and coached many teams on which Robbins’ children played.

Fire Chief Glen Garland could not be reached Wednesday afternoon, and no one at the Town Office could say in what capacity Robbins volunteered with the fire department.

Police said an investigation continues and asked that anyone with relevant information call the department’s investigator for the case, Brad Gaumont, at 647-8814.


Work to seal cracks in roads likely to cause traffic delays

Traffic delays are likely for the next few weeks as road crews work to seal cracks on dozens of streets in the city.

The work began Wednesday and is likely to continue through October, city officials said. The plan is for work on residential streets to be done during the day, and for the major arterials to be worked on at night.

City officials say a rubberized petroleum-based material will be applied to cracks. Sealing the cracks prevents debris and water from seeping in, averting damage from frost and settling and extending the life span of the street.

Turner man gets 10 years for his role in cocaine ring

A Turner man will go to prison for 10 years for his role in a cocaine distribution ring.

Adalberto Sepulveda-Ruiz was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. He pleaded guilty in April.

According to court documents, Sepulveda-Ruiz and two other men from Turner went from Maine to North Carolina in 2009 to pick up a load of cocaine and brought it back to Maine.

When the men were stopped in North Carolina, law enforcement officers found more than 15 pounds of cocaine hidden in a door panel in their vehicle.

The other two men, Noe Rodriguez and Reymundo Rodriguez, were sentenced in June.


Drunken driving postponed; defendant intoxicated

Authorities say a man who faced a drunken driving charge in New Hampshire showed up for his court hearing intoxicated.

Police say Robert Will, 53, of Kittery arrived at court in Portsmouth on Tuesday to answer to charges including driving while intoxicated and driving with an open container of alcohol. He was given a portable breath test. Based on his blood alcohol concentration, the probable cause hearing was rescheduled.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that Will’s lawyer said Will needs to be sober.

Will was pulled over on June 10. Police say he did not have a valid license and had an open container of alcohol.

He was freed on $1,000 bail and ordered by a judge to refrain from drinking and driving.


Public trail to provide access to Beaver Dam Heath

The town will soon have its first public trail on Grants Meadow.

The trail will provide access to Beaver Dam Heath on land recently purchased by Great Works Regional Land Trust.

“Time and again, folks have stated a need in Berwick for places to walk without the worry of road traffic. Great Works Regional Land Trust and Eagle Scout candidates from Troop 313 are proceeding with planning the trail development,” said trust board member Michael Wright.

“We look forward to having Berwick’s first public access trail open to the public next spring,” he said.

The 28-acre site, formerly owned by Bill and Carol Bryan, was purchased through a combination of funding sources, including $10,000 from the town, $75,000 from National Fish and Wildlife Service-North American Wetland Conservation Act Funds and $10,000 from Piscataway Regional Estuaries Partnership, in addition to private donations.

The Bryans previously donated 113 acres in Beaver Dam Heath to the land trust, and the town owns an additional four acres.

The land is known as a critical habitat for the spotted turtle, Blanding’s turtle and Atlantic white cedars, as well as ideal habitat for wood ducks and American bittern.

Those interested in volunteering for trail development can contact Wright at 698-7627 or [email protected]


Sweetser donates tool for emergency extrication

Sweetser has donated an emergency extrication cutting tool to the Saco Fire Department.

“The service that the men and women of the Saco Fire Department provide is invaluable to our community, and we have benefited from that, most notably on our residential campus on Moody Street,” said Sweetser CEO Carl Pendleton. “We are fortunate to be in a position to make this donation to the Saco Fire Department.”

Sweetser worked with the department to determine what equipment was most needed. The extrication cutting tool is specifically designed to cut through newer generation vehicles with stronger metals. It is also compatible with their current extrication equipment, as well as equipment used by neighboring fire departments.

Deputy Fire Chief Robert Martin said new technology intended to keep drivers safer during a crash becomes a challenge at a rescue scene.


Seventh-day Adventists buy Warren Memorial Library

The Warren Memorial Library, which closed in 2009 because of a dwindling endowment, has been sold to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for $900,000.

The Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, now based on Allen Avenue in Portland, hopes to move its office and build a new heritage center at the former library on Main Street for a grand opening in the spring, said Randee Reynolds, the conference’s treasurer.

Reynolds said the Seventh-day Adventist Church started in Portland and Gorham in 1863, and the heritage center will celebrate that history through artifacts and displays.

The former library went up for sale last spring — about a year after its closure spurred an outcry from its patrons.

The library was established in 1876 by Samuel D. Warren for employees of his paper mill and their families. It was opened to the public in 1930, after the establishment of the nonprofit Warren Memorial Fund, which paid for its operation.

The city-run Walker Memorial Library, across Main Street from the Warren building, is now Westbrook’s only library.

— From staff and news services