State buys back property it had sold to prison warden

The state has bought back five acres of coastal property that it sold to the state prison warden in June.

On Sept. 21, the state paid $177,000 for three houses and land that it bought from Warden Patricia Barnhart and her partner. Barnhart had bought the properties for $175,000, well below the property’s taxable value.

The Bangor Daily News said the $2,000 difference reimburses Barnhart for closing costs from the sale.

The state initially put the property up for sale to raise money to help balance the budget.


Police raid Mainely Stoves after customer complaints

Saco police raided Mainely Stoves at 660 Main St. on Friday after receiving numerous complaints from customers of the stove retailer, police said in a press release.

Officers also searched the home of the company’s owners, John Michael Grover, 59, and Lori Morin, 45, at 11 Goosefare Drive.

The officers seized “boxes and boxes” of business records, computers and computer drives.

The release said the raid followed a string of complaints by customers who said the company failed to deliver merchandise for which they had paid. Customers also said the company failed to return their money, and has been unresponsive.

The release said reviewing business records will take time. Police have consulted with the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the York County district attorney.


Electrical problems delay departure of cruise ship

If it seems like the cruise ship Aurora was docked at Ocean Gateway’s megaberth for an unusually long time, that’s because it was.

The cruise ship arrived at 9 a.m. Thursday and was scheduled to leave at 6 p.m. Thursday. But electrical problems kept it at its berth, according to passengers and city officials.
The ship didn’t leave Ocean Gateway Pier II until 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Harbormaster Jeff Liick confirmed that electrical issues caused the delay, but said he didn’t have further details about the problem. Aurora officials didn’t immediately respond to a message for comment.

Aurora, part of P&O Cruises’ midsized fleet, holds as many as 1,950 passengers, according to the company’s website. Nicole Clegg, the city’s director of information, said the ship didn’t block other ships from using the pier.

Eight immigrant workers will face criminal charges

Eight Mexican and Guatemalan citizens who were arrested during raids of three Mexican restaurants Sept. 21 face criminal charges, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The immigrants worked for the Fajita Grill in Westbrook and Cancun Mexican restaurants in Waterville and Biddeford.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II announced Friday that six of the workers were charged with possession of false lawful permanent resident and Social Security cards: Santos Herasmo Elias-Lopez, Esteban Lopez-Cruz, Salvador Carmona-Ramirez, Enrique Ruiz-De La Cruz, Ernesto Bravo-Rodriguez and Arturo Serrato-Rodriguez.

Two workers, Zaqueo Nectali Elias-Lopez and Catalino Lopez-Gomez, were charged with possession of false documents and unlawful presence in the United States after having been removed.

The maximum penalty for possession of false documents is 10 years in prison. Unlawful presence in the United States carries a maximum prison sentence of two years. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000.

Also arrested in the raids were the restaurants’ owners, Guillermo and Hector Fuentes, who are charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens and employment of illegal aliens.

The restaurants closed after the raids, but the Fajita Grill and Cancun in Waterville have since reopened. No one answered the telephone at Cancun in Biddeford on Friday afternoon.


Head-on crash injures two, remains under investigation

State police are investigating a crash that injured two Cumberland residents Thursday night.

Matthew Wallace and his passenger Freja Folce suffered multiple injuries when their car was hit head-on by a van around 6:30 p.m. on Route 26, said state police Trooper Michael Smith. The two were taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland in serious condition, said state police. Folce’s daughter Zoe Folce, 9, who was also in the car, sustained minor injuries.

Corey Hill of Saugus, Mass., was driving the van that hit Wallace’s car. He was not injured.

Hill lost control of the van on wet pavement as he passed another vehicle, Smith said. Authorities don’t believe alcohol was a factor in the accident.


Five candidates for council to attend forum Wednesday

Five candidates for two seats on the Town Council will be featured in a forum next week.
Michael Coleman, Dana Furtado, Eriq Manson and Maria Pastulovic are running, along with incumbent Sharri MacDonald. The Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce plans the forum as an opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves and answer questions from residents.

The forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall. The chamber is soliciting questions in advance, which can be sent to [email protected] or called in to 934-2500, by noon on Tuesday.

Also on the town’s Nov. 8 ballot, Gary Curtis is running for re-election to represent Old Orchard Beach on the Regional School Unit 23 Board of Directors.


YMCA plans to help raise funds to build new facility

The Auburn YMCA plans a campaign to help raise much of the $15 million cost of building a new facility along the Androscoggin River.

The organization’s board envisions an eight-lane swimming pool, a skate park, day care and space for basketball, baseball and football. A full-sized ice rink is a possibility. It would replace the a facility that was completed in 1922.

The Sun Journal said about 70 percent of the cost is expected to come from grants and gifts. The goal is to break ground in 2015.

Executive Director Brian DuBois calls it “an aggressive goal” that will “require an all-hands-on-deck mentality.”