Suit blames federal agency for disruption of alewife run

The Environmental Protection Agency has been put on notice that it will be sued over the disruption of Maine’s native run of alewives on the St. Croix River.

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and two individuals blame the EPA for failing to strike down a 2008 state law that eliminated access to spawning habitat.

The law was intended to end a dispute over plans to reintroduce alewives to the upper portions of the St. Croix River in eastern Maine. It opened only the Woodland dam on the lower part of the river. The original plan called for opening that and the Grand Falls dam farther upstream.

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay says the decision prevents alewives from being restored because the fish cannot reach their natural spawning area.


Boat’s voyage terminated; lack of lifejackets alleged

The Coast Guard has terminated the voyage of a Maine-based commercial fishing vessel that allegedly had no lifejackets on board.

The Coast Guard said a boarding team conducted a routine at-sea inspection of the Corea, Maine-based, 38-foot fishing vessel Calypso on Monday and found several safety violations.

There were allegedly no personal flotation devices, no visual distress signals and no life rings aboard. All are all required by law.

The Coast Guard terminated the crew’s voyage around 12:30 p.m., and escorted the vessel back to Port Corea.

Coast Guard Lt. Adam Schmid said that lifejackets can keep the crew alive during an emergency while rescuers conduct a search.


Former student charged with trying to set CMCC fire

A former Central Maine Community College student and basketball player has been indicted on charges of trying to cause an explosion and fire at the school.

Alonzo James of West Bath was indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury on misdemeanor counts of attempted use of criminal use of explosives and terrorizing.

Police said they responded to the school in February where a security officer reported that James, 20, had talked about wanting to burn down the school.

James’ roommates told police they found three Snapple bottles taped together that contained batteries and had homemade wicks. Two other students told police James had asked them for gasoline.

The Sun Journal reported that police found the device in a Dumpster outside the dorm.

James is free on $500 bail.


Governor lauds updates to official state website

Gov. Paul LePage says the state is taking its official website,, to the next level.

LePage said Monday that the newly revamped website has a fresh look, more speed and a powerful new search engine.

Enhancements include a more responsive design, a faster search engine and improved speed even on mobile devices. And more online services are now available for mobile devices. Social media options include Twitter, Facebook and a Flickr photo-sharing feature.

LePage said that tablets and smartphones are changing the way people consume information, and is ready for the transformation. He says the improvements also provide government transparency and efficiency.

Meanwhile, a major project is under way to increase accessibility to state data such as payroll information.

Lawmakers override veto of higher fire marshal fees

Maine lawmakers opened the concluding portion of this year’s session by overriding Gov. Paul LePage’s veto on one bill, but sustaining his veto of another.

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday morning to let stand a bill that revamps the fee structure for the state Fire Marshal’s Office in its work inspecting amusement rides. The governor objected to the bill because it increases fees.

Supporters of the bill said the bill was submitted at the request of the Fire Marshal’s Office, and that the old fees didn’t cover the cost of inspections. The Senate must now decide whether to let the bill stand.

The House, however, sustained LePage’s veto of a bill that would increase filing fees at county registrar of deeds offices by $6 to $13, killing it.


Shortfall to delay payments to lawyers for needy clients

A budget shortfall for the state commission that provides legal services to the poor is resulting in delays in payment to lawyers representing needy clients in criminal, juvenile and child-protection cases.

Vouchers submitted by lawyers Tuesday or later will not be paid until the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to Ron Schneider, chairman of the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services.

He said the commission estimates it will run out of money for payments around the last week of May.

Schneider said the commission has been dealing with shortfalls that roll over from year to year. He estimates this fiscal year will end with a shortfall of about $640,000.


Ex-fire, ambulance chief indicted on sex charges

The former chief of the Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department has been indicted on several sex charges.

Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins said Monday he cannot divulge much information about the charges against Roy Woods, 67, but said there are two alleged victims.

Woods was indicted last week on three counts of unlawful sexual contact, one count of unlawful sexual touching and three counts of assault. He was not arrested, and an arraignment has been scheduled for July.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the alleged crimes all occurred in Caribou.

Woods resigned in January after 44 years with the Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department, including 21 years as chief. In his resignation letter, he cited medical reasons for stepping down. He could not be reached for comment.


Third man offers guilty plea in Halloween home invasion

A third man authorities say was involved in a Halloween night home invasion and robbery in Farmington has pleaded guilty.

According to documents filed at Franklin County Superior Court, Michael Kidd Jr., 21, of Chesterville admitted under a plea agreement to robbery and kidnapping. Two others had previously admitted to similar charges.

Police said three masked men held a couple in their 60s at gunpoint inside their home, and forced the husband to drive two of them to an ATM and withdraw $700 while the other stayed with his wife. The victims opened the door to the robbers because they thought they were trick-or-treaters.

Sentencing for all three suspects is expected in June. They face up to 20 years in prison.