PORTLAND

Ice cream tasting on July 4 will benefit youth charities

The Great American Ice Cream Fest will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. during the third annual Stars and Stripes Spectacular on Portland’s Eastern Promenade.

This charity event, an ice cream tasting, will be a first for the city’s July 4 celebration.

The proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength, which fights childhood hunger in Maine, and Mercy Hospital’s “Best Shot for Youth program, which underwrites free sports physicals for youth and supports projects such as the rehabilitation of outdoor community basketball courts.

The fest will be held on Cutter Street, and only 2,000 tickets will be sold. Ticket holders will sample ice cream from businesses such as Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, Shain’s of Maine, Gelato Fiasco, Shaker Pond, Hood’s, Gifford’s, Friendly’s and more, then vote on their favorites. The winner, “Maine’s Favorite Flavor,” will be announced during the Patriotic Pops Concert before the fireworks.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets may be purchased through the marketing department at Mercy Hospital, 148 State St.; at the Maine Red Claws offices, 413 Congress St.; and at Quirk Chevrolet, 1000 Brighton Ave.

Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate on the day of the event.

For more information, go to july4thportland.org or great americanicecreamfest.com or call 879-3605.

Police giving bike helmets to kids at Wednesday event

The Portland Police Department will give away bike helmets for children on Wednesday.

The department will also offer bike registrations, hold a bike rodeo, provide bike safety lessons and other children’s activities — including a dunk tank, with proceeds going to the Police Activities League.

A limited number of helmets is available.

The event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Preble Street extension parking lot across from the Hannaford supermarket.

For more information, call 780-0495 or 756-8135.

BOWTOWN TOWNSHIP

Appalachian Trail hiker, 20, drowns in rural Maine pond

The Maine Warden Service said a 20-year-old Appalachian Trail through-hiker drowned while swimming in a rural western Maine pond.

Witnesses said the man had hiked nearly 20 miles earlier in the day and tried to swim across a small cove near the outlet of Pierce Pond in Bowtown Township in Somerset County.

The man went under about 35 yards from shore. Rescuers later located his body in nearly 15 feet of water but couldn’t retrieve him.

Wardens said the victim’s name would not be released until his family is notified.

FAIRFIELD

Suspect in pharmacy heists arrested after police chase

A man wanted in connection with three pharmacy robberies was arrested following a police chase through central Maine.

Police told the Morning Sentinel in Waterville that 26-year-old Shawn Michael Merrill, a transient, was arrested in Chelsea by state police on Friday afternoon.

Merrill is a suspect in a robbery that occurred earlier in the day at the Rite Aid in Fairfield. He is also a suspect in robberies Tuesday at the Walmart pharmacy in Waterville and Goggins IGA in Randolph.

Several police departments began a manhunt Friday afternoon after a man approached a pharmacy clerk in Fairfield with a note demanding drugs. He displayed a handgun and left with 150 oxycodone pills.

Merrill was arrested in Chelsea after ditching a motorcycle and running away. He was taken to the Kennebec County Jail, where he was booked on several warrants for bail violations. He is being held without bail.

According to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, the Rite Aid robbery was the 22nd pharmacy robbery in Maine this year. There were 24 in 2011.

SCARBOROUGH

Portland man, 20, arrested in robbery of Bad Dog Deli

Police arrested a 20-year-old man from Portland shortly after he allegedly robbed the Bad Dog Deli on Route 1.

Police said they were called to the deli shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. Workers said a man came into the deli, displayed a knife and demanded money. He took an undisclosed amount of cash, and witnesses saw him get into a pickup truck outside the deli.

Police spotted a pickup matching the description a short distance away and arrested Anthony Lapio, one of two people in the truck, in connection with the armed robbery.

BRUNSWICK

Officer injured when cruiser strikes, kills moose on I-295

A Brunswick police officer received minor injuries when her cruiser struck a moose while driving southbound on Interstate 295 on Saturday morning.

Police Lt. Lynne Doucette was checking for a reported moose wandering on the highway near Mile 28. As she neared Mile 24 at 3:26 a.m., she prepared to pull over to check a vehicle in the breakdown lane when she hit the moose.

The moose, which landed on the windshield, was killed. The cruiser was totaled.

Doucette was taken to Midcoast Hospital in Brunswick with muscle pains, according to Lt. Thomas Garrepy.

NAPLES

Two hurt when car hits pole in alleged flight from police

Two men were injured Saturday when their car crashed into a telephone pole as they were allegedly trying to flee police.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began about 2:30 p.m. when a deputy attempted to stop a car that was being driven erratically. As the car turned onto Lake Shore Drive from Roosevelt Trail, the car slowed as if the driver were going to stop, but then quickly speeded up to about 80 mph.

Less than a mile away, the driver lost control of the car and it crashed into a telephone pole, according to the sheriff’s office.

The driver, John T. Allen, 31, of Bridgton, was taken to Central Maine Medical Center for his injuries, which the sheriff’s office said were not life-threatening. The passenger, Jeremy McLeod, 31, of Harrison, was taken to Bridgton Memorial Hospital for a foot and ankle injury.

The sheriff’s office said an investigation of the accident is continuing, but charges are expected to be filed against Allen.

OWLS HEAD

Museum’s annual car show, plane show continue today

A Maine museum is celebrating America’s passion for cool cars with a show that focuses on hot rods, muscle cars and other hip automobiles.

The Owls Head Transportation Museum is holdings its annual Hot Rods, Customs, Muscle Cars and Antique Aeroplane Show through today.

Museum Director Charles Chiarchiaro said the show features an assortment of vehicles from 1930s hot rods to 1970s muscle cars, plus many custom creations.

As part of the activities, the museum will give demonstrations of its automobiles from the turn of the 20th century and free rides in its Ford Model T’s. There also will be an antique airplane show today at 9:30 a.m. Admission is $12 for adults, and free for children under 18.

AUGUSTA

Warden service’s chief pilot on paid leave after his arrest

The chief pilot for the Maine Warden Service is on administrative leave following his arrest on domestic violence charges.

Charles F. Later, 54, of Shirley was arrested at his home June 1 on an initial charge of domestic violence assault, Piscataquis County District Attorney Chris Almy said last week.

Almy said additional charges of obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief were added once the case had been reviewed.

Later was released on bail.

The charges are all Class D misdemeanors punishable upon conviction by up to 364 days in jail.

Later is scheduled to make his first appearance in court in Dover-Foxcroft June 25.

Warden service public information officer Cpl. John MacDonald said Later was put on leave, with pay, until the case is settled in court.

The warden service is also conducting an internal investigation into the allegations.

MacDonald said Later, who joined the warden service in 1999, is stationed at Central Division headquarters in Greenville, which covers all of central Maine.

LePage: Battle beginning for winners of primaries

Gov. Paul LePage said the primaries are over but it’s just the beginning of another battle for the winning candidates.

In his weekly radio address, Le- Page said public service isn’t always pretty, and politics can be downright dirty. But he said voters have the power to elect people who will keep their promises.

LePage, who doesn’t face re-election until 2014, said the next legislative session may be six months away, but the discussion has started on what needs to be done to make Maine more prosperous.

In the Democratic response, Rep. Mike Carey of Lewiston said Maine’s economy slid backward last year. He said “an extreme tea-party agenda” in Augusta is thwarting job growth and getting the economy moving again.

EXETER, N.H.

Hospital hepatitis outbreak prompts public meeting

Several Exeter Hospital patients expressed worry and frustration during a special meeting prompted by a hepatitis C outbreak at the New Hampshire facility.

The public meeting was the held by the state at Exeter High School on Friday. The Portsmouth Herald said hospital patients complained about having to be retested for hepatitis C because the hospital sent the state expired blood samples.

Nineteen patients connected to the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, and a hospital worker has also tested positive for the disease.

Meanwhile, Kevin Callahan, the president of the Exeter Hospital’s parent company, said the chief concern is caring for those impacted by the outbreak and not the lawsuits it faces. Callahan said the hospital is “deeply disturbed” by the events and “deeply apologetic.”

— From staff and news services