Police offer a reward for tips leading to arrest in robberies

The Gorham Police Department is offering a $500 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who has robbed three stores in Gorham since Thursday night.

Police believe the individual is watching the stores before entering. Each robbery has taken place between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. when there are no customers present.

The suspect has made off with small amounts of cash from U.S Cellular, Olympia Sports and Dominos Pizza, which are all on Main Street.

Police said the suspect is a white male, about 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 11 inches tall, 170 to 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He has been changing his attire, but has worn a tan- or mustard-colored hooded sweatshirt, tan Carthart coveralls, a dark knit hat and either a camouflage mask or light-blue scarf.

Anyone with information on the robberies is urged to contact Gorham police at 222-1660.


Protester camped searched after bomb threat reported

Police are investigating a bomb threat targeting Occupy Maine protesters in Lincoln Park.

Portland police said they got a report Monday morning that a Westbrook man claimed to have placed a bomb near Lincoln Park. The man did not indicate where he had placed the bomb, how big it was or when it would detonate, police said. They searched the area with dogs trained to detect bombs, but did not find anything suspicious.

Police asked members of Occupy Maine to leave their tents, which were searched by the canine teams. The interiors of nearby vehicles and the exteriors of the nearby courthouses and Central Fire Station also were searched. Neither the park nor the buildings were evacuated.

Police said they have identified a suspect and are continuing their investigation with help from police in Westbrook and Bath.


Reporting of certain crimes can now be done on website

Portland police have launched a new online crime tip service.

People who want to report vehicle burglaries, thefts, vandalism, phone harassment or identity theft can now visit the department’s website and complete the report online. Thefts of prescription drugs or firearms cannot be reported online.

The service is not for reporting crimes in progress. If there are witnesses to a crime or any evidence present, an officer will still respond.

The link is at www.ci.portland.me.us, the city of Portland’s website, or http://police.portlandmaine.gov, the Police Department’s page.


Court delays Dolloff’s appeal for beating with baseball bat

A hearing before Maine’s highest court on the appeal of a Standish woman who got 16 years in prison for beating her husband with a baseball bat has been postponed.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court was scheduled to hear Linda Dolloff’s appeal Monday. A new date hasn’t been set.

Dolloff was sentenced in January after being convicted on several charges, including attempted murder. Authorities say she beat her husband in April 2009 while he slept, then shot herself in the stomach to make it look like they were victims of a home invasion.

Prosecutors say Dolloff was angry because her husband planned to bring another woman to the home they shared. The Dolloffs were going through a divorce.


Jury clears former jail guard of charges in inmate beating

A former York County Jail guard who was accused of assaulting an inmate last spring has been cleared of the charge.

A York County Superior Court jury recently found Roger Souliere of Kennebunk not guilty of assault, criminal threatening and reckless conduct. Charges against three other guards have been dismissed.

Prosecutors originally alleged that Souliere, 30, and the other guards assaulted the inmate in April while he was being removed from his cell. The inmate claimed he was dropped on his face three times and his head was stepped on.

Souliere’s lawyer told Biddeford’s Journal Tribune that the inmate had no evidence of injury and his client is “very happy” with the verdict.

Souliere has resigned from his job at the jail.


Don McLean concert planned as part of April film festival

Don McLean, a longtime Camden resident known around the world for his 1971 hit song “American Pie,” will play at the opening reception of the second annual Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival in April.

Festival organizers announced Monday that McLean’s one-hour concert is planned for the end of the festival’s opening night, April 13, at the Franco-American Heritage Center. Tickets will range in price from $50 to $60 and will go on sale Thursday at www.la-mag.com.

Ticket prices for the films and other festival events start at $18. The festival will run for three days, with independent films made locally and out of state being shown at a range of venues in downtown Lewiston-Auburn. The festival is taking submissions through Jan. 15.

For more information, go to www.lafilmfestival.org.


Four quakes in central Maine were indetectable to humans

Four minor earthquakes were detected in central Maine in recent days.

A magnitude 1.0 quake hit just south of Millinocket at 4:42 p.m. Sunday, followed by a 1.4-magnitude quake about seven hours later, said Justin Starr, a research assistant at Boston College’s Weston Observatory.

Two more quakes were detected at 6:15 p.m. Sunday and 12:25 a.m. Monday, but they were too small to register an exact strength or location. None of the earthquakes was large enough to be felt by people.


College program to include training for gambling jobs

Eastern Maine Community College is starting a program to give students the skills to fill jobs – including poker and blackjack dealers – in Maine’s hospitality industry.

The Maine Hospitality Institute will train students in specific hospitality fields.

As part of the initiative, Hollywood Slots is partnering with the college on a program to provide training for jobs such as blackjack and poker dealers, pit bosses and other positions related to the addition of table games at Hollywood Slots.

Hollywood Slots will add 14 poker, blackjack and other table games in the spring, following a countywide referendum in November that gave approval to table games.


Stabbing of woman leads to charge of attempted murder

A Lewiston man has been charged with attempted murder in a stabbing that sent a woman to the hospital.

Police say Cleveland O’Neal Cruthirds was arrested at 2:35 a.m. Sunday after the stabbing Saturday night in an apartment on Blake Street. Cruthirds, 25, was being held on $20,000 bail on charges of attempted murder and violating a condition of release.

Police said the victim was stabbed in the head and shoulder. Her name has not been released. The attack appeared to be a case of domestic violence, police said.


Funeral planned for woman after body found in freezer

A funeral is planned Friday for the woman whose body was found in a storage unit in Lewiston that was rented by her former boyfriend for nearly 20 years.

The remains of Kitty Wardell were found in October in a freezer in the Lewiston storage unit. The unit was rented by Wardwell’s former boyfriend Frank Julian, who died Oct. 1 at the age of 80. Wardwell had been missing for 28 years.


Foundation awards grants to improve health care system

The Maine Health Access Foundation has awarded nearly $600,000 in two-year grants to support efforts to improve health care and reduce costs.

HealthInfoNet will receive $198,659 to expand its statewide health information exchange, which now includes about 900,000 patients and 32 hospitals. Access to the data will help providers and health systems manage payment reform efforts.

The Maine Primary Care Association will receive $200,000 to help develop a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan to be offered as a qualified health plan through the state’s insurance exchange by the end of 2013. The CO-OP is targeted toward Maine’s small group and individual market to control health care costs.

MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, will receive $200,000 to develop a “Medicaid Health Homes” program, intended to improve care and lower costs through enhanced primary care, links with Community Care Teams and payment reforms to compensate providers who participate in the MaineCare Accountable Communities program.

At $6,540, Maine’s annual health care spending per person is about $1,250 higher than the national average, according to the foundation. Maine’s annual health care costs increased 7.8 percent a year from 1991 to 2004, compared with 5.5 percent a year nationwide during the same period, it says.

The foundation was established in 2000 as a result of the sale of the nonprofit Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Maine to the for-profit Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Maine. It provides about $4 million in grants each year, as well as program funding, to improve access to quality health care.