WWII veteran finally gets medals for wartime service

A World War II veteran from Thomaston who participated in the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach has received long-delayed medals for his wartime service.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine awarded the medals Thursday to 93-year-old Ben Harding. They included the WWII Victory, American Campaign, Pacific Campaign and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medals.

As a member of the Naval Reserves, Harding served overseas from 1943 to 1946. Harding also served in the Mediterranean and the Pacific.

Pingree said her office worked with the military to recover the medals.


Man charged after police seize drugs, several guns

A Portland man was charged with drug trafficking after police seized heroin, cocaine, prescription painkillers and several guns from an apartment off Presumpscot Street.

Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and officers from Portland’s Crime Reduction Unit searched the apartment Wednesday evening. Police seized assault-style rifles, long rifles and a pistol as well as drugs, including 360 oxycodone pills hidden in a container of M&Ms, police said.

Nicholas Cruz, 26, is being held in the Cumberland County Jail without bail pending a court appearance, according to jail records. He also is charged with violating bail conditions from a previous drug arrest.

Authorities also will be notifying the Department of Health and Human Services about a young girl, about 4 years old, who was in the apartment at the time.

Maine CDC investigating isolated case of swine flu

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a new type of swine flu that sickened a child in Cumberland County.

The agency has not provided any more details about who was affected or where, but said it is an isolated event in Maine and has not been detected in people who had contact with the child. The child was hospitalized and is recovering, it said.

The child got sick earlier this month after “exposure to swine including time spent in a closed setting at an agricultural fair,” according to the CDC alert.

This virus is genetically similar to four previous cases identified in the U.S. this year, three in Pennsylvania and one in Indiana, all of which had exposure to swine, it says.

The strain is considered new, but it also has a component of the pandemic H1N1 virus.

The CDC is advising doctors to be on the lookout for cases of the flu and is emphasizing seasonal flu precautions, including vaccinations.


Father, son admit hunting illegally in Pennsylvania

A father and son from Turner who face hunting and drug charges in Maine have pleaded guilty to deer hunting violations in northern Pennsylvania.

Sixty-year-old Everett H. Leonard and his son, 31-year-old Everett T. Leonard, face fines and possible prison time when they’re sentenced in December.

The Sun Journal reported that the younger Leonard pleaded guilty earlier this month to 11 illegal killings and 14 other game offenses. His father pleaded guilty to five illegal killings and a dozen other violations in October and December of 2010.

In May, the father and son pleaded not guilty in a Maine court to a total of 35 charges of illegal hunting, drug trafficking, criminal trespass and indecent conduct.


Pawn shop owner charged with failing to record sales

The owner of a pawn shop has been charged with failing to lawfully record sales of merchandise, a ploy that police say he used to avoid detection for receiving stolen goods.

Daniel Sylvester, 23, of Dayton was summonsed this week to appear in Biddeford District Court on Dec. 14, said Maj. William King Jr., spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Department.

A significant increase in home burglaries in Biddeford, Arundel, Lyman and Dayton led police investigators to Sylvester’s business — Biddeford Pawn & Loan, at 193 Main St.

Sheriff’s deputies and Biddeford police discovered that Sylvester was not properly identifying individuals or recording sales of merchandise that included jewelry.

King said police allege that Biddeford Pawn & Loan was known to burglars as a place where they could sell stolen property.


Regulators vote to write denial order to wind farm

State regulators are moving toward denial of the Bowers Mountain Wind Power Project in eastern Maine.

Meeting in Lincoln, the Land Use Regulation Commission on Wednesday voted to instruct its staff attorneys to write a denial order for the project, which would straddle Penobscot and Washington counties.

Champlain Wind LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind, is proposing the 27-turbine Bowers wind farm. The commission is to take up the proposal again in December and decide whether to deny a permit.

The 69-megawatt project would be built on Bowers Mountain, and an unnamed ridge in Carroll Plantation and Dill Hill in Kossuth Township.


Man arrested for cultivating 88 marijuana plants in home

Authorities have seized 88 marijuana plants, valued at more than $100,000, that were being grown inside a home.

Lt. Michael Murphy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said 51-year-old Daniel Colby Sr., of Bradford Road was arrested Tuesday and charged with possession of Schedule Z drugs and cultivating marijuana.

Investigators from the sheriff’s office, the Wiscasset Police Department and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency say they searched the home, which they discovered had a hidden entrance. That entrance led to what police are calling a large marijuana growing operation hidden in the walls of the home.

About 88 plants in various stages of growth were seized. Colby was booked at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.


Police investigating crash that killed teen, injured 3

Police are investigating a crash in Greenwood that killed one teenager and injured three others.

Authorities said Jordan Cole was driving a 1990 Jeep Wrangler that went off the road while rounding a curve, tumbled into a ravine and rolled over. Cole was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The accident happened on Tuesday night as Cole and his friends were returning home after going for a pizza.

The other teens were treated in the hospital’s emergency room and at least two of them were later released.

Cole graduated earlier this year from Telstar High School in Bethel.


Woman swerves to miss car and hits series of mailboxes

A Sanford woman was taken to the hospital Thursday morning after the car she was driving crashed in Lyman as she swerved to avoid an oncoming car.

Christine I. Byrd, 37, was driving west on Route 111 toward Sanford when she lost control of her car at 7:45 a.m. It left the road, hit a series of mailboxes and ended up on an embankment, the York County Sheriff’s Office said.

She had swerved to miss a car driven by Donna Dresser, 62, of Alfred, who was headed east toward Biddeford when she crossed the road’s center line. Dresser lost control of her car on the slippery road as she slowed for traffic in front of her, the sheriff’s office said. The two cars did not collide.

Byrd was taken to Southern Maine Medical Center with what appeared to be minor injuries, the sheriff’s office said.