Animal control officer makes progress in puppy cases

Buxton’s animal control officer has solved one puppy mystery and is making progress on another.

Authorities are trying to learn more about a litter of 4-week-old puppies that were left in a bag on the side of the road Friday near the intersection of routes 202 and 4A. Police are investigating charges of animal cruelty because the puppies were abandoned, said Adam Ricci, animal control officer. They also want to find the people who took in the five to seven puppies, because the dogs are so young they need special medical attention.

One of the puppies was brought to the police station and is now in foster care with a veterinary technician at the Westbrook Animal Hospital.

Ricci has had success identifying some of the people who were involved in recovering the abandoned puppies, he said, and the investigation is making progress.


Man accused of threatening faces new federal charges

A Portland man who is accused of sending threatening letters to Gov. Paul LePage and other government officials has been indicted on new charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Michael R. Thomas, 51, Wednesday on charges of interstate stalking and making a terrorist hoax. He is accused of sending threatening and harassing letters to a person in Massachusetts over the course of almost five years, and of sending a letter containing white powder to a Massachusetts address.

The grand jury also indicted Thomas on two counts of threatening a member of Congress, four counts of mailing threatening communications, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Thomas had been indicted on those charges in April.

Thomas is accused of sending threatening letters to LePage, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Rep.

Steve King, R-Iowa, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Burglary suspect jailed after being arrested in Portland

A burglary suspect who was a high priority for police is in jail on multiple charges after his arrest in Portland on Wednesday.

James Emerton, 46, was wanted on charges of burglary and theft. He allegedly walked into a back office at Becky’s Diner and stole cash on two occasions, police said. He also was wanted by South

Portland police on charges of breaking into cars in August.

Police asked for the public’s help in finding Emerton because his extensive criminal history and the charges against him raised concerns that he would steal from others, police said.

The police Crime Reduction Unit learned that he was staying at 485 Cumberland Ave., where he was arrested Wednesday. He also was charged with possession of crack cocaine. Emerton is being held without bail in the Cumberland County Jail.

City ambulance towed after front-end ‘fender-bender’

A city ambulance was towed Thursday after it was involved in a front-end collision on Forest Avenue around 5:30 p.m.

Deputy Fire Chief Bill Flynn said Medcu 3 was taking a female patient to Maine Medical Center when a car turning from Ocean Avenue onto Forest Avenue hit the ambulance’s front bumper.

Flynn said the ambulance had its lights and siren on. He described the collision as a “fender bender,” and said no one was injured.


More Maine National Guard airmen headed overseas

More Maine National Guard airmen are heading overseas.

Gov. Paul LePage and Maj. Gen. John Libby gave a send-off Wednesday at the Air National Guard station in South Portland to six airmen from the 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron who were heading to the Middle East nation of Qatar.

Air Guard Col. Eric Lind said seven more airmen will depart for Qatar on Tuesday. An additional 28 will leave in early November, bound for Afghanistan, where they will work with the Army.

Lind said squadron members will install engineering equipment for communications and computer systems during their six-month deployments.

It was 10 years ago this month when the 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron was first deployed to the Middle East.


Police chief wants to restrict where sex offenders can live

The police chief has asked the Town Council to adopt provisions of a state law to restrict where convicted child-sex offenders can live.

The 2009 legislation applies to anyone convicted of sexual offenses against children younger than 14, Chief Edward Tolan told the council Wednesday night.

If adopted by the council, the law will allow the town to prevent sex offenders from living within 750 feet of public or private schools and other municipal properties frequented by children, such as playing fields and public parks. Tolan said no registered child-sex offenders now live in areas that would be restricted.

The council will consider adopting the law as a local ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

Two-lane causeway to close to pedestrian traffic Monday

The two-lane causeway that connects the mainland to state-owned Mackworth Island will be closed to pedestrian traffic as of Monday while repairs are done to the causeway’s bridge.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said drivers will still be able to use the causeway but travel will be restricted to one lane during the construction period. Poore said he is not sure how long the repairs will take.

Poore said he believes the state will fund repairs to the bridge. It is not a town project.

The work will affect pedestrians who live on nearby Andrews Avenue and adjacent neighborhoods, as well as the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. There is a popular walking trail around the island, which is home to the school for the deaf.


Woman impaled by branch dies at hospital in Bangor

A Dover-Foxcroft woman who was impaled by a tree branch during a summer thunderstorm has died.

The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department was notified by the Medical Examiner’s Office that Rory Schmand, 47, died Wednesday at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

The Bangor Daily News said Schmand was critically injured July 6 when a tree branch crashed through the windshield of her vehicle and impaled her between the eyes. She was airlifted to the

Bangor hospital, where she remained until her death.


Suspect pleads not guilty to murder of another prisoner

A Maine State Prison inmate who is serving time for murder has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering another prisoner last spring.

The Bangor Daily News said Franklin Higgins, 49, entered a not guilty plea Thursday during his initial court appearance in Knox County Superior Court. Higgins was charged last week in the beating death of Lloyd Millett, 51, at the prison in Warren.

Higgins is serving a 45-year sentence in the 1999 stabbing death of a woman in her apartment in Kenduskeag.

Millett was serving a life sentence for strangling two women during a weekend in 1995 while he was working as a farmhand in Turner.


Second tree-cutting swindle investigated by authorities

Police are investigating a tree-cutting scam that may be connected to a similar scam in South Bristol last month.

An elderly man in the area of Lower Flying Point Road was approached by five young men who said they were cutting trees in the area and offered to take down some trees for him, said Officer Matt Moorhouse.

The men, who had large equipment like a wood chipper as well as business cards, spent about four hours on the property last week but cut only about two dozen tree limbs, “something you would have paid your 15-year-old nephew to do,” Moorhouse said.

They then demanded about $5,000 from the homeowner, a check they immediately cashed,

Moorhouse said. The incident happened Oct. 3.

Moorhouse said he is working to identify a suspect and believes the group that bilked a 99-year-old South Bristol man out of $2,700 may be involved. That case was reported to police at the end of September. On Oct. 5, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office released a photograph of a suspect cashing the $2,700 check.


Downeast prison targeted for possible closure by state

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is targeting the Downeast Correctional Facility, which employs 68 people, for possible closure to save money.

The proposal is one of many going to a committee that’s looking for $25 million in savings to balance the state budget. Washington County legislators say they vigorously oppose the plan and will meet with the governor to discuss it.

They call the prison, in the former Bucks Harbor Air Force Station in Machiasport, an important employer in the region. The medium- and minimum-security facility houses 148 prisoners.

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said the closing is just one proposal and there will be plenty more. Closing the facility would save $4 million a year.


Bowdoin College installs new rooftop for plant

Bowdoin College says it has a cool new rooftop for its heating plant.

The college said planting materials for the campus’s first living, or “green” roof arrived Tuesday. They were hoisted to the top of the building that houses the college’s high-efficiency, low-emissions boiler.

The roof, covered with a variety of flowering plants, will reduce the urban “heat island” effect, extend the life of the roof and absorb rain water.

Bowdoin has a mission statement to be mindful of its impact on the environment of coastal Maine.


Airline returns to the air after grounding its fleet

A small airline is back in the air after grounding its fleet because of a crash that killed one of its pilots on Matinicus Island.

Penobscot Island Air owner Kevin Waters said people are still coping with the crash on Matinicus Island’s dirt runway Oct. 5 that killed Donald Campbell, 57, a longtime pilot who was alone at the time.

Waters told WCSH-TV that islanders need air service, so he got the planes back in the air after getting the go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Penobscot Island Air flies out of the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, serving Matinicus, Vinalhaven, North Haven and other islands.


Man hit by Downeaster train dies after arrival at hospital

A 50-year-old New Hampshire man who was hit by an Amtrak Downeaster train has died.

Dover police Lt. Brant Dolleman said the southbound train’s crew tried to stop but couldn’t before striking the man just north of the Washington Street overpass at 2 p.m. Thursday. He said the Dover man died minutes after arriving at a hospital.

Dolleman says it’s dangerous but not uncommon for pedestrians to use the tracks as a shortcut.

Police and Amtrak officials are investigating the man’s death.

The train makes five trips daily between Portland, Maine, and Boston.


Former school bus driver now faces federal charges

A former school bus driver who faced charges of sexually assaulting a child in Maine and possession of child pornography in New Hampshire is now facing federal indictments.

Prosecutors say John Allen Wright, 45, who worked for Provider Enterprises Inc. transporting disabled children, was arraigned Wednesday in federal court in Concord on charges of possessing child pornography and five counts of sexual exploitation of children. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Authorities in Maine have alleged just one victim, but federal authorities say there may be three.

The Milton man was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation at the request of his lawyer.

Federal prosecutors say at least two alleged victims were in Wright’s care, and explicit videos were made.