Former lawmaker gets six months for campaign forgery, theft

A former state lawmaker from Alfred is going to jail for six months after pleading guilty to misdemeanor forgery and theft charges in connection with his 2010 election campaign.

Republican David Burns represented House District 138 for little more than a year before resigning his House seat Jan. 31. He pleaded guilty Thursday in York County Superior Court to three counts of theft and three counts of forgery. He also was ordered to pay $2,384 in restitution.

The Journal Tribune says Burns reports to the York County Jail on Monday.

The criminal charges in February came after the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found Burns violated eight campaign finance laws and diverted more than $2,500 from the taxpayer-financed Clean Election fund for personal purposes.


Independent candidate for Senate won’t take donations

One of the four independent candidates in Maine’s U.S. Senate race is shunning campaign contributions.

Danny Dalton of Brunswick said that while collecting signatures to appear on the November ballot from January to May, voters expressed concern over the influence of special interest groups, lobbyists and other campaign donors.

He announced Thursday that he won’t be accepting any campaign donations, so constituents can be assured that he’d be “representing everyone equally.”

Dalton is a former federal worker who wants to cut down on federal waste. He’s also a small business owner.

His announcement came a day after another independent, former Gov. Angus King, asked candidates to work together to limit expenditures by outside organizations — so-called super PACs — on behalf of candidates.

Police: Driver indicted in crash was going 100 mph over limit

A Brunswick man, indicted on several charges of aggravated assault and drunk driving, was going 100 miles per hour over the speed limit when he caused a crash that sent four people to the hospital, police said.

Joseph Boyington, 22, was driving his Acura 135 mph in the passing lane of Route 1 north in Bath — an area where the posted speed limit is 35 mph — when his car crashed into the rear of a sport utility vehicle carrying a mother and her 11-year-old son, Bath Police Chief Mike Field said.

Boyington’s passenger, Michael Mason, was the most seriously injured.

A Sagadahoc County grand jury indicted Boyington Wednesday on charges of elevated aggravated assault, a class A crime, two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated operating under the influence, aggravated driving to endanger, three counts of reckless conduct and criminal speeding. Eight of the charges are felonies.

Boyington is free on bail pending a court appearance.

The crash happened at 6:30 p.m. March 20 near Witch Hill Road.

Boyington, who is free on $500 bail, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance next month.


House incumbent drops re-election bid to run for DA

The Democratic incumbent in House District 57 in Augusta is withdrawing from her re-election bid to devote her energy to running for district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties.

As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Maeghan Maloney shepherded legislation to establish the first Veterans’ Treatment Court in Maine. She says she looks forward to seeing it fully implemented and that she hopes to put her full legal background to work as state prosecutor.

She was unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

Republican Andrew Worcester beat Michael Hein in the GOP primary for House 57.


Crash wedges car between tractor-trailer and guardrail

A morning crash between a tanker truck and a sedan shut down northbound traffic on Interstate 295 Thursday morning.

The car became wedged between the tractor-trailer and a guardrail in an area that is currently under construction near the Congress Street overpass, according to Maine State Police. There were no reports of injuries in the 9:30 a.m. crash.

While emergency crews worked to clear the wreckage, northbound motorists were detoured at Exit 4 in South Portland to Route 1 over the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The highway’s lanes were reopened around noon.

Work on I-295 bridges necessitates closing of ramps

Two heavily used ramps that connect Interstate 295 to downtown Portland are closed for an indefinite period.

The Exit 6B Forest Avenue off-ramp and the eastbound Forest Avenue on-ramp will be subject to closures through September, said Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation.

The ramps will be closed so that construction crews can begin repair work on the I-295 bridges that cross Forest Avenue and Preble Street.

“While highway work is always weather dependent, Maine DOT estimates that the bridge work will be done in September and night paving operations will finish up in October,” the state said Thursday in a press release.

Commuters should seek other routes. The transportation department suggests that drivers use the Franklin Street interchange to exit or enter I-295 northbound.

Drivers should remain alert as they go through the area because traffic patterns and lanes often change in the new construction zone.

List of King backers includes Republicans and Democrats

Former Gov. Angus King released a list of 55 key supporters from around the state, including current and former legislators from both parties.

The list of King for Senate County Chairs includes 25 Democrats, 18 Republicans and 12 independents, according to the campaign. King is running as an independent for U.S. Senate.

State Rep. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, is on the list and joined King and others on the Maine State Pier Thursday in a show of bipartisan support for the independent frontrunner.

Haskell, who worked on King’s staff during one of his terms as governor, publicly announced her support for King even though she is running as a Democrat for the Maine Senate.

“There’s a difference between the Democratic Party and Democratic principles. I haven’t abandoned any of my Democratic principles to support this guy,” Haskell said.

Well-known Republicans on the list include George Smith, the former director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and Mary Black Andrews, a former legislator from York.


Wet spring blamed for rise of damaging pine tree fungi

The U.S. Forest Service says needles on white pine trees in northern New England, New York and eastern Canada are turning yellow and brown.

They say three fungi appear to be causing the problem. The damage started affecting needles in the middle of branches in May. The needles are expected to fall off by early July.

U.S. Forest pathologist Isabel Munck said the service is working with state departments of forestry in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire to assess the impact of damage on tree growth.

The summer of 2010 was the first time in recent years that pines in this area showed so much needle damage. The same group of fungi caused that outbreak. A succession of moist springs caused the fungi to be more prevalent.


Police arrest Brewer woman in fatal hit-and-run crash

Police have made an arrest in a hit-and-run accident that left a 37-year-old man dead.

Police say Patricia Giles, 51, of Brewer was arrested Wednesday night and taken to the Penobscot County Jail. She was released after posting $10,000 unsecured bond.

She is charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death, and misdemeanor falsifying evidence.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 12.

Police say Joshua Constantine was killed about 10:30 p.m. June 2 when he was struck by a car while crossing a street near a supermarket. Officials say the vehicle that hit Constantine sped off without stopping.

Police probe theft of rings from former baseball player

Police are investigating the theft of league championship rings and other items from the home of former major league baseball player Matt Stairs.

Stairs was in his native New Brunswick last weekend for his induction into the province’s sports Hall of Fame when he got a call from his daughter telling him his Bangor home had been robbed.

Stairs tells the Bangor Daily News the thief or thieves took jewelry, including his National League and American League championship rings. The World Series ring he won in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies was spared because he wore it to the induction ceremony.

Police have not made an arrest.

Stairs had a .262 batting average, with 265 home runs and 899 RBIs in a 19-year career with 12 teams.


Third man pleads guilty in robbery of medical marijuana

A third man has pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery of a Lewiston man’s medical marijuana.

Derrick McDuffy pleaded guilty Wednesday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to robbery and burglary in connection with the September theft. The Sun Journal reports he was ordered to serve three years of a 10-year sentence and given three years of probation.

Prosecutors say McDuffy, 22, was one of three men who kicked in a Lewiston couple’s front door and held a gun to a man’s head, threatening to kill him unless he handed over the marijuana he was legally allowed to use for health reasons. The defendants also stole electronics.

Two other men, Ricardo Hairston, 20, and Kevin Stitchel, 22, have already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the robbery.