Reward goes up to $60,000 in sawmill owner’s killing

The reward has been increased to $60,000 for information leading to the killer of a northern Maine sawmill owner who was shot to death during an apparent robbery four years ago.

Fifty-six-year-old Darrel Smith was killed Feb. 4, 2008, inside his sawmill adjacent to his home in Woodland, a town of 1,400 people next to Caribou. Police said Smith’s wallet and a safe were taken.

Smith’s family first offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killer. The reward was later boosted to $40,000.

Maine State Police Detective Sgt. John Cote told the Bangor Daily News that donations keep coming in to the reward fund, allowing the reward money to be upped to $60,000. Police say it’s a record reward for any state police case.

“We have new and updated information that comes into this case almost weekly,” Cote said. “And we have a detective who reviews it. I think that all that it will take is just that one little piece of information to lead us to the killer or killers. This is an active case.”

Smith owned and operated Smith’s Sawmill and Logging in Aroostook County. Since he had no signs advertising the establishment and word of mouth was used to secure business, police believe that his killer or killers had to be familiar with the sawmill, according to the Daily News.

Police believe the perpetrator or perpetrators also knew he was running a cash-only business and would have money on hand because he did not accept credit or debit cards.


Firefighters from five towns extinguish blaze at house

A house was destroyed in a fire Friday night but no one was hurt.

Limington Fire Chief Michael Hartford said flames were shooting through the roof of the single-family home at 12 Sanville Road when firefighters arrived about 9 p.m.

It took firefighters from Limington and four surrounding communities six hours to extinguish the blaze.


Supporters step up efforts for specialty license plate

Backers of an effort to create the state’s first specialty license plate for motorcycles are stepping up efforts to collect the necessary signatures to make the plate a reality.

Supporters need commitments and $25 payments from a least 500 motorcycle owners by the time the Legislature adjourns in mid-April to ensure the creation of a pink-ribbon, breast cancer specialty plate for motorcycles.

Cancer survivor and state Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess said more than 15,000 of the plates have been issued for passenger vehicles since they went on sale in 2008, raising more than $400,000 for breast cancer research.

On-line registration for the motorcycle plates can be made at www.mainecancer.org/motorcycle

Maine sailor from Belfast rescued off South America

A 69-year-old Maine man whose sailboat began taking on water is safe after being rescued off the coast of South America with some help from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said the Belfast man’s 34-foot sailboat began taking on water Thursday about 10 miles off Cartagena, Colombia.

Officials say the man called his daughter, who then called the Coast Guard’s district headquarters in Boston. From there, the Coast Guard contact Colombian officials, who located the boat and towed it to shore for repairs.

The sailor, whose name was not released, was unharmed.