Inmate caught in manhunt waives preliminary hearing

An inmate who escaped from jail in New Hampshire and eluded a manhunt before his capture six days later has waived a preliminary hearing.

The request to waive the hearing Monday was filed by a lawyer for 34-year-old David Hobson. John Clothier said Hobson decided it was the proper decision for him to make, given the facts of the case. Waiving the hearing means Hobson agrees that probable cause exists for him to stand trial.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported that Hobson’s bail remains at $500,000 as his case moves to Carroll County Superior Court.

Hobson, originally from Alfred, Maine, was awaiting trial on burglary charges when he escaped from the Carroll County Jail on Dec. 1 by climbing to the roof and vaulting over razor wire.


Salmonella cases reach 16 in outbreak linked to beef

More salmonella infections have been reported in an outbreak linked to ground beef sold at Hannaford Supermarkets.

In total, 16 people from seven states, including four from Maine, have reported becoming ill in the period from Oct. 8 to Dec. 3 and tested positive for a rare strain of salmonella, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of those people, 10 said they ate ground beef from Hannaford stores and seven were hospitalized.

Fourteen cases were initially linked to the outbreak, but state epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears said he believes that a case in Ohio is no longer considered connected. The cases most recently linked to the outbreak were reported in New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Scarborough-based Hannaford issued a recall last week of ground beef with sell-by dates of Dec. 17 or earlier. It is offering full refunds for the meat, regardless of whether it’s still in its package.


Bail revoked for suspect arrested at Lincoln Park

A manslaughter suspect who is charged with criminal threatening in Lincoln Park last month will be held without bail until his trial.

Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler revoked bail for Ernest Weidul on Tuesday, saying she found probable cause that he engaged in criminal threatening and was under the influence of alcohol during the incident.

Weidul, 51, is accused of fatally beating Roger Downs Jr. of Portland in May 2010. Weidul allegedly crashed his truck into a fence by Downs’ apartment on Forest Avenue, asked to use the telephone and then drank coffee brandy with Downs, according to court documents.

Downs told police he could not open his eyes the next morning, fell back asleep and called 911 after awaking in the afternoon. Police said his eyes were bruised and swollen shut, his lips were cut and his nose apparently was broken.

Downs died two days after the alleged attack. The state Medical Examiner’s Office determined the death was a homicide.

In late November, Weidul was charged in the incident in Lincoln Park. Weidul, who initially was charged with aggravated assault, was free on $1,500 bail at the time.

Jury selection for the manslaughter trial is scheduled Jan. 27.


Coffee By Design called one of coolest U.S. shops

Portland’s Coffee By Design has been named one of the 10 “coolest” coffee shops in the country.

The declaration was made by Zagat, the restaurant rating company. An article posted on Zagat.com Tuesday listed Coffee By Design as one of the “10 coolest independent coffee shops across the U.S.”

The article calls Coffee by Design – which has several locations around the area – “homey and popular.”

Most of the other shops listed were in large cities, including New York, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco.


Paper executive leaves job after favorable park remarks

A Great Northern Paper Co. executive who said Roxanne Quimby’s proposal for a national park doesn’t pose a threat to his industry has left the company.

Company officials said Tuesday that Great Northern President Peter Hanson is no longer with the company. A prepared statement gave no indication why he left.

Hanson’s departure came a week after he told 75 members of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce that a national park and his industry could coexist. The Bangor Daily News first reported Hanson’s remarks. The company said two days later that it opposes a national park.

Quimby’s proposal has been a hot issue. Her plan calls for donating nearly 70,000 acres next to Baxter State Park to the National Park Service.


Brothers get prison time for growing marijuana

Two brothers have been sentenced to federal prison for growing marijuana on their adjacent properties in Orneville Township.

Federal prosecutors say Bradley Stone, 47, was sentenced Monday to nearly two years in prison while Michael Stone, 50, was sentenced to a year.

The brothers were also ordered to serve three years of probation upon completion of their sentences.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Michael Stone pleaded guilty in April and Bradley Stone pleaded guilty in August to manufacturing marijuana. Authorities say the brothers were arrested Sept. 21 and investigators found about 30 marijuana plants growing in the woods behind their homes.


N.H. sexual abuse suspect arrested in Glenburn

A New Hampshire man who is suspected of sexually abusing a child has been captured in Maine.

Patrick Eschenbrenner, 50, was captured last week in Glenburn on a fugitive-from-justice charge, said a spokesman for the Penobscot County sheriff.

Authorities say Eschenbrenner is wanted by police in Raymond, N.H., on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault-incest.

Raymond police say the assaults occurred when the child was 7 to 11 years old.

Eschenbrenner appeared in court on Monday and was held on $10,000 cash bail. The Bangor Daily News reported that his next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 17, when a judge is expected to decide when he will be extradited to New Hampshire.


New Medicaid system gains federal stamp of approval

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services says the state’s Medicaid claims management system has received federal certification.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says it’s an important milestone because the state’s previous system had well-documented problems.

The Maine Integrated Health Management Solution was designed and implemented by Molina Medicaid Solutions, a subsidiary of Molina Healthcare.

Since September 2010, the new system has been processing about a million claims a month and paying nearly 3,000 providers each week.