Fire destroys cabin, leaves owner in critical condition

One person was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for treatment of burns he suffered in a fire that broke out late Thursday afternoon on Sebago Lake.

Raymond Fire Chief Bruce Tupper said the victim was living in a log cabin home at 81 Musson Road.

The fire was reported around 4 p.m. by a photographer who saw smoke coming from the neighborhood.

Firefighters had to navigate a narrow, gravel camp road near the shore of Sebago Lake to reach the property, which was engulfed in flames by the time they arrived. Tupper said firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to a 26-foot sloop that was on a cradle near the cabin’s driveway.

Tupper said the home was destroyed, and was not insured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Public records said the home belongs to Jeremy Lester, who was listed in critical condition Thursday night at Maine Medical Center.


Man arrested at Occupy site was bailed out of jail Sept. 8

The man charged with criminal threatening at the Occupy Maine encampment Wednesday night had been free on bail on a manslaughter charge from 2010.

Ernest Weidul, 51, was arrested at Lincoln Park at 9:45 p.m. after a confrontation that erupted when he was refused entry into another person’s tent, police said. Weidul displayed a knife during the dispute, they said.

In May 2010, Weidul was charged with assaulting Roger Downs Jr., 46, of Portland. The assault wasn’t reported by Downs until a day later, and Downs died the day after that.

Weidul had been in the Cumberland County Jail since that arrest until he posted $1,500 bail on Sept. 8, less than three months ago. The new charges against Weidul include violating bail conditions, which prohibit new criminal conduct. He is being held without bail at the jail.

Report on mercury in fish precedes new regulations

A Maine environmental group says new federal regulations on mercury emissions should lessen the danger of eating fish from the state’s waterways.

Environment Maine released a report Wednesday as the federal Environmental Protection Agency prepares to finalize new limits on mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants this month.

Environment Maine’s Anika James said the EPA’s proposed mercury standards will make Maine’s waterways cleaner and fish safer to eat. But her group said industry efforts are under way to block the new mercury standard and other rules that limit air pollution.

The group’s new report, “Toxic Waterways: Mercury Pollution in Maine’s Waters,” lists special advisories for pregnant and nursing women, and children. Others should limit their consumption of certain freshwater fish from 18 waterways in Maine.

Tickets go on sale today for Bob Weir solo acoustic show

Former Grateful Dead guitarist and co-vocalist Bob Weir will play a concert in Portland in May.

Weir is scheduled to do a solo acoustic show May 1 at the State Theatre, 609 Congress St. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show will go on sale at noon today and will be available either in person at the Cumberland County Civic Center box office, by phone at (800) 745-3000, or at www.statetheatreportland.com.

Tickets cost $40 in advance and $45 on the day of the show, which is general admission and for all ages.

Weir played Portland in November with the band Furthur, and has played the city several times with his band Ratdog.


New home alarms to protect domestic-violence victims

Police, domestic-violence advocates and a security company announced Thursday that the city will use a new tool to provide security to domestic-violence victims.

Protection 1 has agreed to install temporary panic alarms in the homes of victims of domestic abuse to allow the victims to summon police quickly in emergencies.

The alarms consist of a medallion that can be worn around the neck. When the wearer presses buttons on either side, the medallion acts like a burglar alarm has just gone off, alerting Protection 1, which dispatches police to the location.

“A day doesn’t go by that we don’t have a domestic-violence call,” said South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins, noting that officers responded to 409 such calls last year. “We like to do whatever possible to keep victims safe,” he said.

South Portland is the second city in the state to benefit from the alarms. Westbrook has had them in place since the spring.

Jen LaChance Sibley, outreach service director at the domestic-abuse support organization Family Crisis Services, said the alarms were well-received in Westbrook, with victims calling to sign up for the program.

Timothy Parent, of Protection 1, said the SAVE program – Security Against Violence Effort – can give victims of domestic violence peace of mind. Although police prefer a telephone call so they can gather additional information, the alarms are an emergency backup for when someone doesn’t have quick access to a telephone or is prevented from using one.

For more information, contact South Portland police at 799-5511 or Family Crisis Services at 874-8512.

Event to look at new, future environmental law changes

A symposium on recent changes to Maine’s environmental laws and rules will be held next week, hosted by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday’s event will include an overview of changes, including the new environmental audit law, changes to the procedures of the Board of Environmental Protection, and revised chemical regulations.

The symposium will also include a panel discussion by lawmakers who sit on the Legislature’s Environmental and Natural Resources Committee about possible action in the upcoming legislative session.

Pattie Aho, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, will be the keynote speaker. She is expected to discuss several upcoming DEP initiatives.

The symposium will begin at 8 a.m. at the Texas Instruments plant (formerly National Semiconductor) in South Portland and is scheduled to end at noon. Admission is free.


Deaths of couple in their 80s not suspicious, police say

Police are investigating an unusual case in which an elderly man and woman were found dead together in their home, but detectives don’t consider the deaths suspicious.

Detective Sgt. Jay Munson said a neighbor discovered the bodies in the Eagle Ridge Road home Thursday morning. The husband and wife were both in their 80s. Their names are not being released pending notification of relatives.

Munson said police have ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning and homicide-suicide and don’t consider the deaths suspicious.

He said autopsies will be performed to determine if the couple died of natural causes.


Retired trooper barred from Maine policing after charge

A retired Maine State Police trooper has had his right to be a law enforcement officer in the state revoked because of an allegation that he assaulted his wife, even though the charge in the case was dismissed.

An appeals panel of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy concluded this week that Mark Sawyer likely assaulted his wife at their Oakland home in March 2009. A charge of domestic assault was dismissed by the district attorney after his wife recanted.

The Kennebec Journal reported that an assistant attorney general who represented the academy trustees argued that Michelle Sawyer told the truth when she reported the assault, but lied later to protect her husband.

Michelle Sawyer told the panel she was not assaulted.

Sawyer, a 23-year veteran, retired after he was charged.

Suspect asks judge to dismiss topless shop arson charges

A lawyer for the Maine man accused of burning down a coffee shop that employed topless servers has asked a judge to dismiss the charges.

Raymond Bellavance’s attorney argued Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court that arson charges should be thrown out because prosecutors had not disclosed all the evidence gathered about the June 2009 fire at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro. The evidence includes interviews with inmates in the jail where Bellavance is being held pending trial.

The Kennebec Journal reported that Bellavance’s lawyer says the inmates were offered favorable treatment.

Bellavance, 50, of Winthrop is scheduled to go on trial Dec. 14.

Seven people, including two infants, were in the building at the time of the fire, but all escaped unharmed.


Murder suspect says victim attacked him with crowbar

Investigators say a Bradford man charged with murder told police that he clubbed a construction company owner with a crowbar, but only after the victim came at him with the metal bar.

An affidavit made public Thursday says Peter Robinson, 48, told a dispatcher that David Trask, 71, of Hudson came at him with a crowbar after he confronted Trask on Nov. 12 about an unlocked gate on his land. Robinson said he took the crowbar out of Trask’s hands and struck him over the head with it.

The Bangor Daily News said the affidavit also describes a history of disputes between Robinson and Trask over alleged trespassing and a right-of-way issue on Robinson’s land.

A bail hearing for Robinson is scheduled for today.

Man indicted after police say he savagely beat father, 72

A Penobscot County grand jury has indicted a Maine man accused of savagely beating and robbing his 72-year-old father, then keeping him from seeking help.

Fred Ward of Levant faces charges of burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping, police said. He remains behind bars on $100,000 bail.

Authorities said the 31-year-old Ward was arrested Nov. 4 when Bangor police went to check on the older man, who had called the previous day to say his son had kicked in the door of his home.

The Bangor Daily News reported that police found the older man with injuries to his head and face, including eyes that were bruised and swollen shut and blood coming from his mouth.

Prosecutors described the beating as “savage.”

Brewer man indicted in crash that left girlfriend paralyzed

A Brewer man who police say was drunk when he crashed his car into a utility pole, leaving his girlfriend paralyzed, has been indicted.

Gordon C. Cameron faces charges of elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants in the March 30 accident, police said.

Prosecutors said the 18-year-old woman was left paralyzed from the chest down.

If convicted, Cameron faces as many as 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on the most serious charge of elevated aggravated assault.


Woman charged with arson after apartment set on fire

Police charged a Lewiston woman with arson after her apartment was set on fire.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office said Wendy Bryce, 41, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after the fire, which started on a porch. Damage was confined to the outside of the duplex home, and there was smoke and water damage inside the building. No one was injured.

Bryce was being held at the Androscoggin County Jail on $20,000 bail. Lewiston police and fire officials assisted in the investigation.


Escort testifies boss claimed brother confessed to killing

A woman who worked as an escort in Lewiston says her boss told her that the boss’ brother killed a fellow escort.

Alanda Godbout testified Wednesday at a bail hearing in Androscoggin County Superior Court for Buddy Robinson. Robinson, 30, is charged with murdering Christiana Fesmire, who was last seen in July and whose body has not been found. Investigators say Robinson drowned Fesmire in a bathtub.

An affidavit says Fesmire was part of an online prostitution ring led by Robinson’s sister, Brandi Robinson, who told police her brother confessed to the killing.

The Sun Journal reported Godbout testified Wednesday that Brandi Robinson told her Buddy Robinson killed Fesmire, saying he “must have snapped.”

The bail hearing is expected to resume next week.


Canadian couple punished after $70,000 in drugs seized

A Canadian couple has pleaded guilty to drug charges after $70,000 worth of drugs were found in their car at a remote border crossing in western Maine, police said.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said Jason White, 40, and Amber Baird, 21, of Stephensville, Newfoundland, were arrested at the border station in Coburn Gore on Monday. Police said they found more than a 1 pound of cocaine and nearly 1,900 Ecstasy pills in the couple’s BMW.

The pair came upon the border crossing while following directions on a GPS that showed going through Maine was the quickest route to Newfoundland, police said.

Baird was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $5,000 after pleading guilty Wednesday to drug trafficking. White was fined $500 and forfeited his car after pleading guilty to drug possession.


L.L. Bean CEO agrees to remove fence and wall

The CEO of L.L. Bean will comply with a court order to take down a stone wall and a cedar stockade fence on his waterfront property in Cumberland, his lawyer said Thursday.

The state supreme court sided with Chris McCormick’s neighbors last month in a three-year dispute and ordered him to take down the wall and fence within 30 days.

Neighbors claimed that the wall and the fence that run along an easement that’s used to access the water made it impossible to maneuver vehicles.

The court ruled that relocation of the easement would have to provide “equally as convenient and beneficial” access to the ocean as existed previously.

McCormick’s lawyer, Peter Brann, said McCormick will comply with the ruling but may need guidance on exactly where the path needs to be.

– From staff and news services