Area firefighters battle blaze that destroys Standish home

A Standish home was destroyed by fire early Saturday.

The two-and-a-half-story home and attached barn at 1215 Richville Road were in flames when the Standish Fire and Emergency Medical Service responded to the call at 2:43 a.m., said Standish Fire Capt. Abe Newton. Nobody was hurt.

It took firefighters, who were hampered by a lack of water and manpower, about 90 minutes to get the blaze under control.

Help was provided by 11 neighboring towns and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

The state Fire Marshal’s Office has been called to help determine the cause of the blaze.


Lawyer faces two charges in school bomb threats

A lawyer who’s represented high-profile defendants in Maine faces two misdemeanor counts of terrorizing in connection with bomb threats called into two Wilton schools last March.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston said 52-year-old Ron Hoffman, who lives in Sumner and practices law in Rumford, allegedly made the threats to Cushing School and Academy Hill School on March 29, forcing the evacuation of 363 students, many of them between ages 3 and 7.

The incident prompted the schools to adopt a new policy not to accept blocked calls.

Hoffman’s clients have included quadruple murderer Christian Nielsen of Newry in 2007 and Richard Moulton Jr., who pleaded guilty last year to two murders.

A message left at Hoffman’s law office was not immediately returned.


Water quality for beaches reported best since 2008

State officials say the water quality at Maine’s 61 public-access beaches, comprising more than 30 miles of the state’s coastline, is the best it’s been since 2008.

Data show Maine beaches are at their cleanest point since 2008.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection said the good news for beachgoers follows a 2011 season in which more than two-thirds of Maine’s 61 coastal public-access beaches had no water-quality issues that led to an advisory or closure. Beaches were open and safe for swimming 98.2 percent of the time last year.

Beaches are monitored weekly by volunteers, municipal staff and state park employees from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Water samples are analyzed for bacteria that suggest the presence of fecal contamination from humans, animals including dogs, and waterfowl.

Anglers encouraged to take large-mouth bass of all sizes

Maine fisheries officials are encouraging anglers to take large-mouth bass of all sizes from certain Down East waters starting today.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said a new law allows licensed anglers to assist in the taking of illegally introduced invasive species in an effort to protect the resource.

Biologists have identified fish caught in Grand Falls Flowage as large-mouth bass, indicating the illegal introduction of the species to the area and prompting the effort to eliminate them before they can gain a foothold and endanger the small-mouth bass population already there.

Some waters in the St. Croix River drainage included in this effort are Grand Falls Flowage, Lewy Lake, Long Lake, Big Lake including Grand Lake Stream, and parts of the St. Croix River.

Farmingdale man, girlfriend face drug trafficking counts

A Farmingdale man and his girlfriend have been arrested on cocaine trafficking charges.

Juan Maldonado, 37, is charged with aggravated trafficking in cocaine, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Marie Poirier, 27, with trafficking cocaine.

Darrell Crandall, commander of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said agents arrested the pair in Augusta on Thursday.

In a meeting with undercover agents, Maldonado, who also went by the alias Gilberto Pizzaro, and Poirier sold them cocaine, authorities said in a news release.

Agents seized cocaine worth more than $6,000 on the street, plus scales, packaging materials and $2,500 in cash from the couple’s home on Stevens Lane in Farmingdale and their vehicle, Crandall said.

Crandall said the couple was convicted in New Hampshire in 1998 for the distribution of cocaine and in Maine in 2009 for trafficking cocaine.

If convicted of the recent charges, Maldonado faces four to 30 years in prison, while Poirier faces up to 10 years.

Both were being held at the Kennebec County jail in Augusta on Friday – Maldonado without bail on a probation violation and Poirier on $750 cash. They made initial appearances Friday via video in Augusta District Court.


Motorist killed, three injured in head-on crash on Route 3

One motorist died and three others were hospitalized in a crash that tied up an eastern Maine highway for hours.

The Bangor Daily News reported that a car and a truck pulling a camper collided head-on around 5:30 p.m. Friday on Route 3 in Ellsworth. The car’s driver, who was not immediately identified, was killed.

The occupants of the truck – two grandparents and their granddaughter – were taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The accident stalled traffic in both directions on Route 3 and Route 1.