Missing toddler reward expires with no takers

The offer of a $30,000 reward for information leading to Ayla Reynolds expires today, and police said Friday that it appears the money will go unclaimed, with no sign of the missing toddler.

Ayla was reported missing from her home on Dec. 17. Since then, investigators have received 1,200 leads, said state police spokesman Steve McCausland. None of those tips has led authorities to Ayla, who was 20 months old when she disappeared.

“The reward is ending, but the investigation is not,” McCausland said. “The case continues and will not close until we find her.”

The case is also being kept alive by residents, including about 15 people who held a candlelight prayer vigil Thursday night in front of Ayla’s home, where the front lawn remains marked by a growing collection of stuffed toys.

A month ago, police said for the first time that they didn’t believe Ayla was alive.

They also said the $30,000 reward that was donated from area businesses and individuals would be withdrawn as of today. Police appealed for anyone with information leading to Ayla’s whereabouts to contact police.


Police investigate shooting that injures 20-year-old

Police are investigating the shooting of a 20-year-old man on Western Point Road Friday afternoon.

Police said they were called to a house on Western Point Road at about 1:30 p.m., and the caller said a 20-year-old had a gunshot wound to the chest.

The man, who was not identified, was conscious when police arrived, but authorities said they didn’t have an opportunity to interview him.

The man was taken by ambulance to York Hospital and later transferred by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital.


Charter school commission OK’s Good Will-Hinckley plan

An application from the Maine Academy of Natural Science in Hinckley has won the approval of the state’s charter school commission.

The commission’s vote Friday will make the academy the first public charter school in Maine history.

The new charter school will provide education to at-risk but motivated students by combining traditional academic content with agriculture and forestry as primary themes.

The program will take place on the campus of Good Will-Hinckley and continue the school’s century-old tradition of serving underachieving students. In its first year, the academy hopes to servve about 40 students.

On Monday, the charter school commission is expected to make a decision on an application from the Baxter Academy of Technology and Science in Portland.


Local motorcyclist dies day after U-turn crash

The driver of a motorcycle involved in a crash on Johnson Road near the Portland International Jetport on Wednesday has died.

Scott McDonald, 55, of South Portland was riding his white Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Johnson Road toward Portland when a car pulled in front of him to make a U-turn  at 1:20 p.m., police said.

William Lyons, 83, of South Portland was driving a Toyota Avalon, also inbound, when he apparently tried to make a U-turn in front of the motorcycle near City Line Drive, police said.

McDonald, who was thrown from the motorcycle,was not wearing a helmet, police said. He was taken to Maine Medical Center with head injuries. He died Thursday.

The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.


Woman, 45, charged after crash injures two

A Freeport woman faces charges of elevated aggravated assault, drunken driving and drug possession after a serious crash on Durham Road at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Susan Muniak, 45, was arrested after being treated and released from Parkview Hospital in Brunswick.

Muniak was driving a 2002 Mercury Sable north on the road, which is also Route 136, when she crossed the centerline, said Freeport police Sgt. John Perrino.

The car collided with a 1993 Toyota Corolla driven by Wayne Ross, 56, of Cumberland, Perrino said.

Ross was extricated from the wreckage of the car and taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center with injuries to his arms and chest.

The passenger in Ross’ car, Margaret Smith, 53, was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with a head injury, Perrino said. Ross and Smith are in satisfactory condition.
Muniak also was charged with possession of drugs and violating bail conditions.

The crash shut down Durham Road for a time as rescue workers treated the injured and police reconstructed the crash.


Diocese still seeks changes in new health care law

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, Maine’s Roman Catholic leader says the church will continue to press for changes in the health care law.

Portland Diocese Bishop Richard Malone said Thursday that the Catholic Church has been a consistent advocate for comprehensive health care reform. But it opposed passage of the law because it allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions.

The church also objects to other abortion and contraception issues, and says the law doesn’t allow immigrants access to the plan.

Malone says the church will continue to press its case in the courts and in Congress.


Exploding aerosol can injures mother and son

Authorities say a mother and her 11-year-old son suffered severe burns when an aerosol can exploded in a campfire outside a home in this Maine town.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the Fire Marshal’s Office says a man tossed a cardboard box onto the fire without realizing there was an aerosol can inside the box early Friday.

Grimes says Carrie Twitchell, 28, and her son were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment of burns to their faces. The Bangor Daily News said Twitchell was later transferred to another facility. The conditions of Twitchell and her son weren’t known.

The homeowner who tossed the cardboard box on the fire, Larry Shirland, 42, suffered minor burns. Grimes says the investigation is continuing.


Boy, 17, treated for injuries attributed to swift current

A swimmer was rescued Friday after being carried over the Sebec Lake dam and into the Sebec River.

Officials say the 17-year-old boy was swimming in the lake when high water and a strong current carried him over the dam.

The Maine Warden Service said the current was so strong that it stripped him of his clothes and made it impossible for him to swim to safety.

The boy clung to a concrete abutment in the middle of the river until rescuers threw him a life line and pulled him to safety. The boy was treated for minor injuries.