Officer injured in Afghanistan faces long recovery, sister says

The sister of a Maine woman severely injured in a suicide attack while serving as a military police officer in Afghanistan says her sibling is recovering but still has a long way to go.

U.S. Army police Sgt. Helaina Lake was injured on June 21 and is recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Kathrynn Lake told the Sun Journal that her sister has undergone several surgeries on a shattered leg and is being treated for other injuries.

Lake, 23, is from Livermore Falls and a 2007 graduate of Livermore Falls High School.

Her family and friends plan a benefit car wash on Friday at Labonville’s in Farmington.


Four suspects arrested in string of home burglaries

Four suspects have been arrested in connection with a string of home burglaries that took place over a period of months in the towns of Gray, New Gloucester and Pownal.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department said jewelry, valuable personal items, electronics, sporting equipment and alcohol were stolen. Some of those items have been recovered.

Juanita Small, 40, of 174 Sabbathday Road in New Gloucester, has been charged with attempted burglary and theft. She is being held at the Cumberland County Jail.

Three minor boys ranging from 15 to 17 have also been charged in connection with the burglaries, according to Capt. Craig Smith.

The suspects were taken into custody June 28 as they were robbing a home in New Gloucester, police said.


Police: Many tipsters in Ayla case claim to be psychics

Law enforcement officials say about one-third of the 1,200 tips they’ve received while investigating the disappearance of a Waterville toddler have come from people claiming to be psychics.

Ayla Reynolds was 20 months old when she was reported missing from her father’s home on Dec. 17.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland and Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey told the Bangor Daily News that tips from psychics are not ignored even though they are treated differently from tips from people with specific information.

They say they have never known a psychic tip to lead to a major break in an investigation.

Police have ruled out the possibility that Ayla was abducted and have said they don’t expect to find her alive.

No one has been charged in her disappearance.


Advocates push for policies that will boost plug-in cars

An environmental group says that with the right government policies in place, plug-in vehicles could reduce oil dependence in Maine by more than 542,000 gallons per year.

Environment Maine released a report Tuesday that says 2,300 drivers in Maine might purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years. Overall, those vehicles would reduce Maine’s carbon pollution by nearly 3,500 metric tons per year — more if plug-in vehicles are powered by clean-power sources.

Environment Maine says manufacturers are prompted to produce more electric vehicles by policies adopted in states and the federal government.

Maine has adopted goals to reduce its oil dependence by 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.


LePage urges businesses to complete 2012 survey

Gov. Paul LePage is encouraging businesses to respond to the 2012 Maine Business Survey, which is available online and poses about 40 questions.

Responses received over the next several weeks will help drive future economic policy decisions by the administration.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais says the survey gives businesses a unique opportunity to influence Maine’s future business climate and their very own profitability.

The survey asks businesses to rate everyday challenges from attracting and retaining employees to overall infrastructure needs. It also digs deeper into specific policy areas such as work force development, regulation, access to capital and incentives, workers compensation and marketing.


Homeowners encouraged to review flood insurance

With hurricane season approaching, Maine officials are encouraging homeowners to check their flood insurance policies to make sure they’re adequately protected.

Maine has already had a damaging storm this season. On June 24, localized thunderstorms created heavy rains resulting in flood damage and one death in Piscataquis County.

State Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa advises Maine residents to take steps to protect themselves and their property. Cioppa says most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage and relying solely on a standard policy may be risky.

However, Congress has extended the National Flood Insurance Program for an additional five years. Consumers can obtain more information about flood insurance through the NFIP website,, or by calling (800) 427-2419.


Bull Moose plans 11th store, at former Blockbuster site

Retailer Bull Moose, which sells new and used music, movies, video games and books, said it plans to open a store in South Portland this fall, its 11th location.

The store will be located in the former Blockbuster video location in South Portland’s Mill Creek neighborhood. Bull Moose plans to expand the building by about 50 percent to 11,000 square feet. The renovations will create 60-75 construction jobs, and the store will have 15 permanent retail jobs once it opens in the fall, the company said.

Blue Green Crossing, a holding company that owns Bull Moose, bought the former Blockbuster store for $1.12 million in March, according to city tax records.

Bull Moose had tried to open in South Portland last year at the former Border’s Books & Music location at the Maine Mall, but the store was bought by Books-A-Million.

Bull Moose was started in 1989 in Brunswick by Bowdoin College student Brett Wickard. The company now has more than 100 employees. Bull Moose operates eight stores in Maine and two in New Hampshire.