Former state corrections chief Allen dies at 74

Donald Allen, who led Maine’s corrections system under three governors, has died.

Allen, who was 74, died Dec. 7 at his home in Casco.

An Army Reserve veteran, Allen graduated from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., in 1959 and earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern Maine.

He was appointed by Gov. James Longley to head Maine’s corrections system, and later served as commissioner under Govs. Joseph Brennan and John McKernan.

A celebration of his life is scheduled for Saturday at the First Parish Congregational Church in Yarmouth.


Maine hikers rescued after wrong turn on mountain

Two hikers from Maine were rescued after taking a wrong turn on a mountain trail in New Hampshire.

Joshua Hayes, 26, and Emily Smith, 27, both of Shapleigh, called 911 for help from Mount Chocorua in Albany on Monday night. They started out that morning on the Piper Trail and reached the mountaintop at 2:30 p.m. On their way down, they ended up on another path and were not able to find the trailhead.

The state Fish and Game Department said that by 4:50 p.m., it had gotten dark and they had no lights with them. A 911 operator got their GPS coordinates from the use of their cellphone.

The couple made a fire and waited until rescuers could reach them. They were not hurt.


Venomous spiders prompt BIW fumigation efforts

Bath Iron Works says it had to fumigate a warehouse and part of a warship because a shipment of parts from California contained about two dozen venomous black widow spiders.

BIW employees discovered the arachnids in a crate containing vertical launch system components. Spokesman Jim DiMartini said Tuesday that the discovery led to the fumigation of several compartments in the USS Michael Murphy, a destroyer that’s under construction. A warehouse in Brunswick also was fumigated.

DeMartini said the spiders were discovered earlier this month. The shipyard is confident that exterminators eliminated any spiders that weren’t stomped.

Black widows are not found in Maine but are common in California, where the shipment originated. The females are known for their distinctive hourglass marking, and their bite can be lethal.


State panel: Exotic dancer fired because of her race

The Maine Human Rights Commission has found that an exotic dancer who was fired last year was fired because of her race, not because she was overweight, as the club where she worked had claimed.

The commission ruled Monday that Cecilia Smith, who worked at PT’s Showclub in Portland, was unlawfully fired in February 2010 because she is black.

A commission investigator found that several other dancers and waitresses at the club were heavier than Smith. It would not have been illegal for the club to fire Smith because of her weight.

The commission members agreed in a 4-0 vote that PT’s discriminated against Smith.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the commission urged the sides to reach a settlement.


Woman to serve 13 months for stealing food stamps

A Brunswick woman has been sentenced to spend more than a year in jail for stealing nearly $60,000 in food stamps and child care reimbursement benefits.

The state Attorney General’s Office said Sarah Fairbanks, 40, was sentenced Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court to five years in jail, with all but 13 months suspended, and three years of probation. She also was ordered to pay almost $60,000 in restitution.

Fairbanks was convicted last month of lying on her applications to obtain food stamps and child care reimbursement from 2005 through 2010. Authorities say she told officials she was separated from her husband and living alone with her children. She also underreported her income by 70 percent.


One stabbed, one arrested after domestic dispute

A Rumford man is recovering from a stab wound and a Connecticut man is under arrest after a domestic altercation.

The mother of Tom Burgess, 21, of Rumford told the Sun Journal of Lewiston that her son was stabbed in the chest while trying to help a woman friend who was being dragged away by her ex-boyfriend in Bangor on Sunday night.

Police responding to reports of a fight arrested Erik Nowak, 20, of Wolcott, Conn.

Nowak was charged with aggravated assault and held in the Penobscot County Jail on $1,500 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 10.


Seven bid on more than 1,500 acres of Air Force land

An online auction of nearly 1,500 acres of Air Force-owned land in Moscow has drawn seven anonymous bidders.

The land and several large buildings in Moscow was once home to the Air Force’s Over-the-Horizon-Backscatter radar system, which once scanned from Greenland to Cuba for approaching Soviet missiles and planes.

The Morning Sentinel reported that the highest bid as of Monday was $500,000. The lowest is $110,000. The U.S. General Services Administration is running the auction on

It’s not clear when bidding will end. Moscow First Selectmen Donald Beane said the auction clock is reset for an additional 24 hours every time a higher bid is placed.


Domestic assault suspect captured on interstate

Maine State Police have captured a man they say is responsible for a violent domestic assault that put a woman in the hospital.

A state trooper pulled over a vehicle Monday on Interstate 95 in Dyer Brook in eastern Maine in which Chad Walton, 30, of Mars Hill was a passenger.

Police say Walton ran into the woods but was caught after a brief chase.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries before being taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton, where he was charged with aggravated assault.

Police say Walton caused severe facial injuries to a woman during a domestic assault Nov. 20 in Mars Hill.