Maine Public Broadcasting Network hires new CEO

The former CEO of Vermont Public Radio has been hired to lead the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

The board of directors announced Tuesday that it selected Mark Vogelzang to serve as president and CEO of MPBN, replacing Jim Dowe, who is retiring at year’s end.

Vogelzang was program director and radio manager at WHYY in Philadelphia, helping Terry Gross with the national launch of “Fresh Air,” before serving as president of Vermont Public Radio for 16 years and serving on the National Public Radio board. He served most recently as manager at the public radio station in Buffalo, N.Y., where he helped with a merger of two stations.

MPBN Board Chairman Henry “Hank” Schmelzer says Vogelzang has the right experience to lead MPBN’s network of TV and radio stations.


Fund is established to help family that lost home to fire

A fund has been set up for donations to aid the Calkins family, whose home on Osborne Street was destroyed by fire Friday.

Mark and Denise Calkins have long been active in local community theater and school and church musical programs. They have two sons, Max, 10, and Sam Lennon, 16.

“Denise and Mark are both unusual people in their generosity and kindness,” said Nancy Vanites, president of the Tri City Community Chorus. “I’ve known Denise for nine years and she’s one of those people who exude a joy and a calm.”

Despite the fire, Mark Calkins will play the lead role in a musical adaptation of “The Gift of the Magi,” set to open Friday night at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Kennebunk.

Ticket sales from that performance and the Saturday night show at the Dunaway Community Center in Ogunquit will go toward provisions for Christmas Day for the family.

Anyone interested in donating to The Calkins Family Relief Fund may do so at any branch of the Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution. The mailing address is 50 Industrial Park Road, Saco 04072-1840.

Checks should be made out to The Calkins Family Relief Fund.


Police, state officials will talk today about stabbing incident

Portland police plan to meet today with representatives from the Attorney General’s Office to discuss evidence in the stabbing death of Carlos Ramos.

Ramos, 47, died at Maine Medical Center after being stabbed Monday night at his apartment at 991 Forest Ave.

Police have interviewed people who were at the apartment when Ramos was stabbed but have not charged anyone. Police say they are still trying to determine precisely what happened before deciding how to proceed.

Police were called to Ramos’ apartment at 7:15 p.m. Monday and found him with a single knife wound in the chest.

Neighbors say Ramos was living in the apartment with his girlfriend, with whom he often fought.

Decline in fisheries prompts official call for disaster relief

Maine’s congressional delegation is supporting Gov. Paul LePage’s request for a federal fisheries disaster declaration to provide aid to Maine’s groundfishing fleet.

LePage on Tuesday said he sent a letter to Commerce Secretary John Bryson calling for a federal fisheries disaster declaration for Maine’s fleet. His request followed a recent report documenting a sharp decline in Maine’s fishing fleet due to changes in federal fishery management plans.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, have written a letter of their own asking Bryson to declare a disaster.

They say between 2009 and 2010, there was a 33 percent decline in the number of Maine-based boats that made money from fishing for haddock, cod, flounder and other so-called groundfish.

Annual contest recognizes excellence in broadcasting

WGME-TV and WGAN-AM have won top honors in the annual Maine Associated Press Broadcasters Association contest.

WGME-TV collected eight first-place awards, including weathercast, public affairs, feature, enterprise and writing, while WMTW-TV collected first place for newscast, spot news and continuous coverage. WABI-TV took first-place for sportscast and videography.

The contest covered the 2010 calendar year.

In the radio division, WGAN-AM won in the newscast, spot news, feature and public affairs categories. Maine Public Broadcasting took first place in enterprise, election, medical and continuous coverage.


Discovery of marijuana leads to trafficking charge

A Falmouth woman was charged with trafficking in marijuana after police seized 11 pounds — worth about $40,000 — from her subsidized apartment on Depot Road.

KellyJean Kelley, 47, is free on bail after her arrest Tuesday, said Falmouth police Lt. John Kilbride. Police say she had specialized lights and vents as part of a marijuana growing operation.

Police were called to the Blackstone apartments after maintenance workers said they found a marijuana plant in Kelley’s apartment. The workers were inspecting the apartment as part of an effort to evict her. Police did not know why she was being evicted.

After responding officers saw marijuana in the apartment, they obtained a search warrant and later in the day seized bags of marijuana, scales and growing apparatus, Kilbride said. There was no large sum of cash or guns.

Police anticipate the felony case will be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

Blackstone apartments are predominantly an elderly, low-income housing development.


24-year police veteran named as Kittery chief

A 24-year veteran of the police department in Rochester, N.H., has been named police chief in Kittery.

Capt. Paul Callaghan, 47, will start his new job on Jan. 3.

He has been captain since 2004 and has put an emphasis on community policing.

Callaghan will replace longtime Kittery Police Chief Ed Strong, who will retire at the end of the year.


Bradford man indicted in beating death of contractor

A grand jury has indicted a Bradford man for murder in connection with the Nov. 12 beating death of a general contractor.

Peter Robinson, 48, was indicted today by the Penobscot County grand jury in the death of David Trask, 71, of Hudson.

Police say Trask and Robinson knew each other and that a dispute between them erupted into a confrontation. The state Medical Examiner’s Office says Trask died from head injuries.

Trask owned David P. Trask & Son Inc. in Hudson.

Robinson, who owns an automotive garage, was arrested five days after Trask’s body was found on property near Robinson’s home. 

Man sentenced for robbing bank while on prison release

A Bangor man is going to prison for eight years for robbing a bank while he was on supervised release for a pair of bank robberies five years ago.

Donald Lloyd Turner, 40, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Bangor. He pleaded guilty last spring to robbing a Bangor Saving Bank branch in Bangor in March and making off with more than $3,200.

The Bangor Daily News says Turner was sentenced to five years in prison for two bank robberies in the Portland area in 2006.

At today’s hearing, Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced Turner to six years in prison for the March bank robbery and two more for committing it while on supervised release for the other robberies.


Three men arrested as police probe siphoning of oil tank

Police say three men are suspected of siphoning oil from an outdoor oil tank at the vacant home of a woman who recently died.

Police say the three were detained early Monday after attempting to hide in the woods behind the home.

Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham tells the Bangor Daily News the men had several five-gallon containers with them and said they had permission to take the oil.

He said police are investigating that.

However, a search of their car turned up drug paraphernalia, including hypodermic needles and syringes. They were arrested on a charge of refusing to submit to arrest or detention.


Tax agency reorganized to separate policy functions

Maine’s tax agency is being reorganized.

Gov. Paul LePage announced today that the reorganization of Maine Revenue Services calls for a separation of the agency’s policy responsibilities from its operational management. The changes go into effect today.

Under the reorganization, the agency’s current director of research and econometrics will become the associate commissioner for tax policy, a new position that oversees policy guidance, legislative and public relations, and research. Maine’s tax assessor will continue to be responsible for the department’s day-to-day operations.

Other changes include elevating the taxpayer advocate position to report directly to the finance commissioner, consolidating all audit functions into a single audit division to provide businesses a single point of contact during audits and consolidating criminal and civil investigations into a single unit. 

LePage assembles a team to improve state business

Gov. Paul LePage says a new team has been assembled to improve the state’s business climate and help Maine businesses survive and grow.

The governor’s newly formed team of account executives is now up and running in the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Commissioner George Gervais says the team of business experts with diverse backgrounds will serve as a single resource to guide businesses through the maze of state government and help them through the process of opening, expanding or relocating.

He says the account executives will make all the necessary contacts, develop the right teams and bring together the appropriate experts so business owners can focus on running their business. 

FAME approves $1 million loan to assist paper mill

The Finance Authority of Maine says it has done its part to assist in the restart of one of the two paper mills in the Katahdin region.

FAME’s board approved a direct loan of $1 million to assist as operations resume in East Millinocket, where about 215 workers have been recalled. FAME says the loan approved in mid-November will help the company make personal property tax payments due to the towns by the end of 2011.

Richard Cyr, CEO of Great Northern Paper, says the paper company is appreciative of FAME’s “swift and flexible actions.”

The East Millinocket mill recalled workers in October. The startup of the Millinocket mill’s paper-making machine is less certain.


Climate change, overfishing suspected in seabird deaths

Wildlife biologists say a change in diet caused by either climate change or overfishing may be to blame for an unusually high number of baby seabird deaths along the Gulf of Maine.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers say in a typical year, about half the tern chicks born on Maine islands die. This year about two-thirds of the chicks died, many of starvation.

Terns usually give their chicks a herring-rich diet. But observers noted this year that adults were giving the baby birds more butterfish, which are wider and difficult for young birds to swallow. The adults were also feeding their young more insects.

Brian Benedict, the deputy refuge manager of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, tells the Bangor Daily News he suspects warmer waters or overfishing.


Restaurant owner arrested in $52,000 check fraud

Bar Harbor police have arrested a restaurant owner accused of stealing more than $52,000 by writing fraudulent checks.

Authorities say Jennifer Lozano, 41, was arrested on charges of theft by deception and negotiating a worthless instrument.

Lozano is the owner of the Parkside Restaurant and the Best of Bar Harbor store.

Police say Lozano stole the funds late last month by writing several bad checks for several thousand dollars each with one bank account, depositing them in a checking account at a second bank, and then quickly withdrawing the unsupported funds from the second bank.

She has been released on $25,000 cash bail.

Police tell the Bangor Daily News the missing money has not been recovered.


Snowe urges airline be held to minimum requirements

Sen. Olympia Snowe wants to ensure that the operator of federally subsidized passenger air service in northern Maine doesn’t scrimp on the aircraft.

The Republican sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to enforce a minimum requirement of 15-passenger aircraft under the Essential Air Service program.

The department had requested bids from airlines interested in providing service to the Northern Maine Regional Airport after Colgan Air said it planned to end its service.

As it stands, the transportation secretary could waive the requirement and allow smaller aircraft. Snowe says smaller aircraft would require additional stops and delays and make transportation to and from Presque Isle more challenging.


Engineer praises bridge design, but critics disagree

The man who designed the replacement Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine says it honors the legacy of the original designer while using many current innovations — but some community members aren’t impressed.

Chief engineer Ted Zoli addressed a public meeting Tuesday night at Portsmouth City Hall. The bridge connecting the city to Kittery, was closed earlier this year because of safety issues.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Zoli discussed improvements to reduce rust and lauded the work of John Alexander Waddell, who designed the original bridge in 1922.

But some residents felt the new design lacks character. They suggested more lighting and a series of cables along the spans that would be a reminder of the earlier bridge.

The bridge is expected to be completed in 2013.

KODIAK, Alaska

Mainer wins Coast Guard’s Elite Female Athlete award

A Maine native serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in Juneau has earned one of the service’s top honors.

Lt. Nicole Auth is the Coast Guard’s Elite Female Athlete of the Year.

The Lamoine, Maine, native was the acting bosun and top bow woman for the U.S. women’s sailing team, which won the bronze medal at last summer’s Military World Games. She also was honored for her community service while stationed in Hawaii.

She is now assigned to the 17th District prevention division in Juneau.

— From staff and news services