Medical examiner says clergyman killed himself

The state medical examiner says the death of a minister under investigation for child sexual abuse was a suicide.

The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the cause of death Tuesday, two days after the Rev. Robert Carlson’s body was retrieved from the Penobscot River. At the time, Maine State Police were investigating after the Katahdin Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America received a letter alleging abuse.

A week before his death, Carlson and his wife received the Katahdin Area Boy Scouts’ distinguished citizens award for community service.

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland said an investigation was launched Thursday. Early Sunday, someone found Carlson’s empty truck on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, and his body was recovered hours later. A memorial service is planned for Friday. Carlson was 68.


Civil action may test strength of local food ordinances

A showdown is looming in Maine over several communities’ adoption of local food ordinances aimed at making small-scale farmers exempt from state and federal regulations if they sell foods they process directly to consumers.

Last week, the owner of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill received a civil notice for selling food and milk without state licenses. Supporters of Dan Brown say he was doing nothing wrong because Blue Hill is one of five towns that have adopted the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.

A demonstration is planned Friday outside the Blue Hill Town Hall. Brown’s supporters want the town to stand up to the state Department of Agriculture.


Councilors approve entry fee for buses and trolleys at park

Tour buses and trolleys will be charged fees to enter Fort Williams Park next year.

The Town Council voted 5-2 Monday to start charging a $40 entrance fee for tour buses and an annual $1,500 fee for trolleys to take visitors through the 90-acre park, which is home to historic Portland Head Light.

Estimates indicate the fees could annually generate about $36,000, which would be used for park maintenance.

Councilors David Sherman and Anne Swift-Kayatta voted against charging fees.

Also on Monday, the council voted unanimously to ban sales and use of fireworks in Cape Elizabeth.

A new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, legalizes sales, use and possession of fireworks in Maine, but allows towns and cities to impose their own restrictions.


Cameras taped break-in at Washington Avenue market

Portland police are trying to find the man who broke into the Mitpheap Market on Washington Avenue on Veterans Day.

Police were notified at 1:20 a.m. Friday that someone had broken one of the glass doors of the business at 63 Washington Ave., a popular market for the city’s various immigrant communities.

Security video showed a man loading a plastic bag with thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes, phone cards and jewelry and he also took a cash register. The man appeared to be on a cellphone, which could indicate he was in communication with a lookout outside the store, police said.

Police said the business did not have a burglar alarm but did have good-quality security cameras and police are using the images to try to identify the burglar.


Massachusetts man gets 10 years in trafficking case

A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Maine for bringing almost 500 oxycodone pills into the state.

Angel Acevedo of New Bedford, Mass., was sentenced recently after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs and one count of unlawful trafficking of scheduled drugs.

Authorities said Acevedo, 20, and another New Bedford man brought the pills, cocaine and heroin to Rockland in April with the intent to sell them with the help of a local man.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant at the hotel where they were staying and found the drugs.

The other suspect is scheduled to appear in court later this week.


Suspect in home break-in shifts blame for odd behavior

Maine State Police say a man arrested for allegedly breaking into an Andover home told them his dog and Jesus made him do it.

Police said the man was squatting at a home in the western Maine community last week while the homeowner was on vacation.

Authorities told WGME-TV that the suspect told the investigating trooper that his dog and Jesus told him to break into the home because he was supposed to meet country singer Taylor Swift there and marry her in the backyard.

The suspect’s name was not released.

He’s charged with theft and criminal trespassing.


Border bridge replacements will be focus of session

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is holding a public informational meeting to discuss the planned replacement of the Route 1 bridges between the state and Maine.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Eileen Dondero Foley Council Chambers in the Portsmouth Municipal Complex.

Included in the discussion will be the Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River jointly owned by New Hampshire and Maine; the Scott Avenue Bridge owned by Portsmouth; and the Kittery Approach Bridge over the Piscataqua River owned by Maine.

The Route 1 reconstruction begins about 400 feet west of the river crossing in Portsmouth near Memorial Park, and extends east over the bridges to about 150 feet onto the approach on Badger Island in Kittery, Maine.


Maine Botanical Gardens names executive director

William Cullina has been named new executive director at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

]Cullina, the garden’s director of horticulture and plant curator, had been acting executive director since August when Maureen Heffernan left that post to take a job at a garden in Oklahoma.

The Boothbay garden’s board of directors unanimously appointed Cullina as executive director last Thursday. Board President Susan Russell said that Cullina had impressed board members and staff with his “vision, presence, management skill, business head, and calm-yet-fun demeanor.”

Cullina is the author of five books on horticulture, and has appeared on radio and TV as a horticulture expert. He has been with Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens since 2008.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, which opened in 2007, is a 250-acre waterfront garden, and Maine’s first and only botanical garden.


Crash that killed motorist may have been intentional

Police say the crash that killed a man in South Berwick may have been intentional.

Police said Ralph Gustavsen, 44, of Cape Neddick died. The car crashed into a pine tree Monday.

Police Chief Dana Lajoie of Berwick said there was no indication that Gustavsen used brakes on the car. He was the only one inside the vehicle.


Fire rips through farmhouse, kills elderly woman and son

A fire that swept through a farmhouse has killed an elderly woman and her son in the eastern Maine town of Robbinston.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office said 92-year-old Virginia Carlow and her 71-year-old son, Robert Carlow, were killed in Monday night’s fire on Ridge Road. The fire was reported about 6 p.m.

Fire investigators are trying to determine how the fire started.

Robbinston is a small town of about 500 people just south of Calais.