Trustees approve proposal to close emergency room

A plan to close the emergency room at St. Andrews Hospital in Boothbay Harbor has been approved.

The plan was approved Thursday by the board of trustees of the small hospital’s parent company.

James Donovan, president and CEO of Lincoln County Healthcare, said the hospital isn’t treating enough patients to warrant keeping the emergency room open. The hospital averages about 11 patients a day in the emergency room.

The emergency room will be replaced by a daytime urgent care center. The change will take effect in April and eliminate 50 jobs.

Residents who need emergency care are expected to go about 20 miles away to Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta.

A spokesman for the Maine Hospital Association said the issues at St. Andrews affect other rural hospitals in the state.


First of five cruise ships visits easternmost U.S. city

Eastport got its first visit from a cruise ship on Friday.

The visit by Blount Small Ship Adventure Line ship was the first of five scheduled visits in Eastport through the fall.

Maine’s economic development office said the visits to Eastport are likely to bolster the $35 million economic impact of the cruise ship industry on the state.

America’s easternmost city was so excited about Friday’s visit that it trained local volunteer “ambassadors” to greet the dozens of passengers and crew members as they stepped off the ship. Many local businesses offered special tours, discounts and presentations.

Two more cruise ships are scheduled to arrive, on Aug. 15 and 26; and two other maiden voyages will arrive in Eastport, in September and October.


Bay State man arrested for fake $20 bills, drugs

A Massachusetts man who is suspected of passing counterfeit $20 bills faces felony forgery charges as well as drug charges.

Old Orchard Beach police arrested Fernando Paniss III, 41, of Milford, Mass., on Thursday after a clerk suspected he had tried to use three fake $20 bills at Palace Playland.

Police found Paniss nearby, based on a description given by the clerk, said Deputy Police Chief Keith Babin. Paniss had four counterfeit $20s, as well as white powder that turned out to be cocaine, and seven Percocet pills that were not prescribed for him.

Paniss is charged with aggravated forgery and two counts of drug possession. He was held in the York County Jail after he failed to make $5,000 bail.


Startup of second machine to restore 37 paper mill jobs

Great Northern Paper Co. plans to start up a second paper machine at its mill in East Millinocket, restoring 37 jobs there.

Company President and CEO Richard Cyr told the Bangor Daily News that the goal is to go into production by the first week of September. Cyr said the company already is advertising for experienced pulp and paper workers.

When the mill reopened in October, 215 employees were put back to work. Since then, Great Northern Paper has hired an additional 20 workers. It will nearly match that increase in the coming weeks.

In nearby Millinocket’s Great Northern mill, which closed in 2008, Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Industries LLC subsidiary is planning a wood pellet production facility. The company wants to produce about 110,000 tons a year for sale in Europe.


State police seek local man to question in fatal shooting

Maine State Police are seeking a man from the western town of Mexico for questioning in a fatal shooting.

Thomas Joudrey, 30, was shot in the head early on July 24 at a trailer in Mexico’s Riverside Park and died two days later, after being removed from life support.

The Sun Journal said a manhunt that morning failed to locate Robert Terrill, 28, who lived at the home. Terrill is now described by law enforcement authorities as a “person of interest.”

A third man who was in the home that night has been questioned by authorities.


Maine oil company facing hefty EPA fine for spill

The federal government says a Maine company that provides motor vehicle services and fuel oil sales faces a fine of as much as $177,500 for violations of the Clean Water Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint against the J&S Oil Co. Inc. of Manchester, saying it failed to maintain and fully implement an oil spill prevention plan, which contributed to the release of about 1,500 gallons of used motor oil from a tanker truck at the facility.

The oil release in March prompted an emergency response from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA. The company also hired a company to contain spilled oil and dispose of contaminated soils.

J&S President John Babb said that the company plans to contest the fine, and that it complies with federal regulations.


CMP getting good feedback about its electric vehicles

Central Maine Power Co. says an evaluation of electric vehicles in its fleet is turning up some positive results.

CMP said its evaluation of plug-in electric vehicles is the first of three electric-vehicle pilot programs it plans under an agreement with the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

CMP President Sara Burns said the time is right for CMP to get firsthand experience with some of the electric vehicles. Burns said employees from CMP field locations and corporate offices are using the vehicles daily and providing valuable feedback on their experiences.

CMP added four plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to its fleet: two bucket trucks and two Chevrolet Volt passenger cars, along with a fifth vehicle, a plug-in all-electric Ford Transit Connect minivan.


Two New Yorkers charged after woman reports threat

A visit to someone in a Maine jail landed two New York residents behind bars after they allegedly threatened a woman with a gun.

Police said they responded to Court Street in Augusta on Wednesday after a woman called to say she had been threatened after asking the driver of a car with New York plates to move because the vehicle was blocking her driveway.

The occupants said they were there to see a friend in a nearby jail.

A search of the vehicle yielded two loaded handguns.

One person was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. Another was charged with criminal threatening. A third occupant of the car was not charged.


Discovery of meth lab leads police to arrest three people

Three people have been charged in connection with what police are calling the discovery of a methamphetamine lab on a property in Fort Fairfield.

Police said Thursday that Devin Delisle, 26, was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine after agents went to his home and found evidence of manufacturing of the highly addictive drug hidden on the property. Bail was set at $5,000.

Delisle’s uncle Arthur Wilcox, 51, and Delisle’s girlfriend, Norma Skidgel, 26, of Caribou, allegedly took some of the evidence from the home and hid it in the nearby woods when agents arrived. Both are charged with falsifying physical evidence.


Police arrest Kittery man in burglary, sexual extortion

Police say what started as a home burglary turned into a case of extortion.

Police said a laptop computer and underwear were taken from a woman’s apartment in April. The woman received emails in July of personal photographs that were on her laptop’s hard drive.

She told police that the email writer demanded she send him sexually explicit photos of herself or he would publish ones he already had of her on the Internet and distribute them in Dover.

Investigators said some of the emails were traced to a computer tied to the Navy. They arrested John Villegas, 21, of Kittery, Maine, on Thursday on charges of extortion and burglary. They said he is an acquaintance of the woman.



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