Pingree advocates keeping Cliff Island post office open

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, is urging the postmaster general to keep the post office on Cliff Island open.

In a letter to Patrick Donahoe, Pingree says islanders rely on post offices to reach the mainland. Pingree, who lives on North Haven island, off Maine’s midcoast, says Cliff Island is one of the state’s last remaining year-round island communities.

The Cliff Island post office is one of 30 in Maine that the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service is proposing to close to save money. Thirty-four Maine post offices were initially proposed for closure, but the Postal Service last week took four of them off the list.

Cliff Island, part of Portland, is about 10 miles from the mainland.


Police seek burglary suspect who escaped from N.H. jail

Police say they believe that a suspected burglar who escaped from a county jail in Ossipee may have stolen a vehicle in New Hampshire or Maine.

Police said two cars were stolen in areas where police were searching for David Glenn Hobson, 33, who is from Alfred, Maine.

He was reported missing just after 2 p.m. Thursday from the Carroll County House of Corrections.

Authorities were looking Friday for a blue 2004 Honda Accord with Maine license plate number 1355MV, which was stolen in Sanford, Maine. A second vehicle was stolen in Wakefield, N.H. Police believe Hobson may be responsible for one of the thefts.

After they searched Alfred, Sanford and elsewhere in York County on Friday, police said there have been no confirmed sightings of Hobson.

Police said Hobson used his 30-minute recreation time at the jail to climb the razor-wire fence to escape. He is believed to have cut himself during the escape.

Hobson was being held on burglary charges and had been transferred to New Hampshire from the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. He is considered dangerous.

Hobson is described as 5-foot-6, weighing about 135 pounds, with a shaved head and a goatee. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Maine State Police in Gray at 657-3030.


Brunswick woman dies after being struck by pickup truck

Maine State Police say a Brunswick woman died after being hit by a pickup truck while crossing a street in Bowdoinham.

Authorities said Helen Koulouris, 58, was struck about 6:15 p.m. Thursday. Police said she was looking for a home and parked her vehicle on the side of Fisher Road. She was walking across the street when she was hit.

Koulouris was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where she died.

Police identified the driver of the truck that hit Koulouris as Lisa Green, 42, of Bowdoinham. Green said she did not see Koulouris, who was wearing dark clothing. She said she stopped immediately after feeling the impact. She has not been charged.


Occupy Bangor group asked to vacate library property

The public library where Occupy Bangor established an encampment has asked the group to leave.

Library Director Barbara McDade said the board came to its decision after being warned that the encampment isn’t covered by the library’s liability insurance. She asked the group to remove its tents and other items by 8 a.m. Monday.

Occupy Bangor activist Lawrence Reichard said the matter would be taken up at the demonstrators’ general assembly Friday night. But he said it “seems pretty clear” that the group will have to leave.

Reichard said four to nine people have been staying overnight at the site, with larger numbers of demonstrators present during the day. McDade said the library recognizes Occupy Bangor’s First Amendment rights but the board had to protect the library from legal liability.

Man who shot rival on street gets 35-year prison sentence

A man who was convicted of killing a rival on a Bangor street received a 35-year prison sentence Friday in a court hearing that featured heavy security.

Prosecutor Andrew Benson called Zachary Carr, 22, a “gang-banger wannabe” as the sentence was imposed in Penobscot County Superior Court.

Afterward, police were summoned outside after a friend of the victim, John “Bobby” Surles, 19, reported that one of Carr’s friends had made a threat. Michel Morin-Smith told WZON that the man lifted his shirt to display a gun holster.

Police seized a handgun from a vehicle.

Surles died on Jan. 28, 2010, the day after he was shot. Carr’s attorney said the death stemmed from a street fight that had nothing to do with gangs.

Suspect charged in beating enters plea of not guilty

A man from Bradford who is charged in the beating death of a construction company owner has pleaded not guilty and his probable cause hearing will continue at a later date.

The attorney for Peter Robinson, 48, told a judge Friday that there might be enough evidence to support a manslaughter charge, but not a murder charge.

The judge will take up the hearing later.

Robinson is charged with murder in the beating death of David Trask, 71, of Hudson on Nov. 12. He has been held without bail since his arrest on Nov. 17.

Robinson told police that he hit Trask with a crowbar after Trask came at him with the metal bar. Robinson and Trask had a history of disputes stemming from issues of access to Robinson’s land.

Probate judge sanctioned for not expediting cases

A Washington County probate judge has been sanctioned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for not dealing with cases fast enough.

Judge Lyman L. Holmes was ordered by the justices Thursday to provide a list of cases taken under advisement for more than 30 days to the executive director of the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability every month until August.

Probate judges are elected. They handle adoptions, wills, guardianships, estates and name changes. Holmes has been the probate judge in Washington County for 22 years.

The Bangor Daily News said the sanction order says some people had to wait years for Holmes to make decisions in cases that should have taken months.


Limington woman arrested in robbery of Rite-Aid store

Police say they have arrested a Limington woman in the robbery of a Rite-Aid store on Thanksgiving Day.

Tanya Hart, 41, was charged with robbery Friday. She was held on $10,000 bail.

Hart is accused of entering the drugstore on Thanksgiving morning, threatening an employee and making off with prescription drugs.


Holden man faces charge after Silly String dispute

A Holden man has been charged with pulling a gun on another man in a dispute that began over Silly String.

Police said Michael Bragdon, 21, was arrested Wednesday as he drove out of a supermarket parking lot in Brewer shortly after the confrontation. He was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.

Police told the Bangor Daily News that the other man accused Bragdon of spraying the stringy substance from a can over his car that day. The two agreed to meet in the supermarket parking lot to discuss the incident, and that’s when Bragdon allegedly pulled the 9 mm handgun.

Bragdon denied being the Silly String culprit.


Wind power ordinance approved by town voters

Frankfort has become the latest Maine town to approve a local wind power ordinance.

Thursday’s vote was held in response to residents’ concerns about a four- to six-turbine wind farm that Eolian Renewable Energy has proposed building on a privately owned parcel on top of Mount Waldo.

Residents voted 244-222 in favor of the ordinance, which creates setback restrictions and strict limits on allowable noise levels.

The Bangor Daily News said the ordinance proposal created tension between opponents and supporters in the weeks leading up to the election.

Officials of New Hampshire-based Eolian Renewable have said the ordinance essentially bans wind power projects from the town.

Travis Bullard, the company’s senior development director, told the newspaper Thursday that the company will evaluate its options in the coming week.


N.H. man sentenced after beating wife to death

A New Hampshire man was sentenced Friday to 15 to 30 years in prison for beating his mentally ill wife to death with a flashlight after he came home to find she had strangled their 4-year-old son with a ribbon and tried to kill their 7-year-old daughter.

Christopher Smeltzer, 39, pleaded guilty to killing Mara Pappalardo, who was hospitalized several times for mental illness. Prosecutors say she was paranoid, obsessed with death and convinced her husband and mother-in-law were plotting to take her children away.

Smeltzer initially was charged with second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors at his plea hearing in October changed the charge to manslaughter by provocation in deference to the horrific scene that triggered his actions.

Judge Tina Nadeau questioned whether the outcome would have been the same had Smeltzer not used drugs that night, but she acknowledged that he must have had an extreme emotional reaction to what greeted him when he came home. She said nothing she could do or say would lessen the grief for the families.

— From staff and news services