Former Portland fire chief nominated to state position

Acting state Fire Marshal Joe Thomas has been nominated to take the job full time by Public Safety Commissioner John Morris.

Thomas would replace former Fire Marshal John Dean, who resigned from the post at the beginning of the year.

“I have been impressed with his council and management of the Fire Marshal’s Office, and am pleased he has accepted this challenge,” Morris said.

Thomas joined the Fire Marshal’s Office in 2000 after a 28-year career with the Portland Fire Department, including eight as chief.

Thomas must be confirmed by the state Senate.


Fire that started on stovetop burns Hawthorn Road home

Fire destroyed a home at 14 Hawthorn Road in Naples on Thursday.

The fire, accidentally ignited by something left on a hot stove, was burning through the roof of the single-story home when the first fire company arrived at 9:45 a.m., said Chief Chris Pond.

Firefighters from Sebago, Baldwin, Casco and Harrison helped fight the fire, which was brought under control in an hour, though firefighters remained on scene for about four hours making sure it was out, Pond said.

Nobody was home at the time and nobody was injured fighting the fire, he said.


Crew of fishing boat rescued after one injured by fire

One mariner was taken to the hospital with burns Thursday after a fishing boat caught fire and its three-person crew abandoned ship into a life raft.

The Promise Land, a 48-foot fishing boat from Eastern Harbor, had left port Thursday morning with two men and a boy aboard. At 11 a.m., the Maine State Police got a cellphone call that the boat was on fire and the crew had to abandon ship.

The Coast Guard dispatched two rescue boats from Jonesport, as well as Falcon and Jayhawk helicopters from Cape Cod. It also dispatched the Cutter Moray from Jonesport.

The search was hampered initially because the crew was unable to provide a precise location and the location provided by the cellphone company was not accurate, the Coast Guard said.

Also complicating the search was heavy fog that lowered visibility.

Other boats were able to see a column of smoke and helped direct the Coast Guard to the area 15 miles southeast of Jonesport.

The boat was still burning Thursday afternoon and the Coast Guard expected it would be a total loss.

The crew was brought back to Jonesport and the injured fisherman was taken to a hospital with moderate burns, the Coast Guard said.

The fire started in the forward part of the boat but the Coast Guard had not identified the cause Thursday.


Entangled sea turtle gets Coast Guard assist

The Coast Guard came to the aid of an entangled sea turtle Thursday south of Great Duck Island.

Crew members aboard the cutter Moray noticed a lobster buoy moving erratically in the water near the boat while conducting a routine boarding of a fishing vessel.

The crew pulled alongside the buoy Wednesday and noticed the turtle entangled in the line and unable to swim away or dive.

They helped out the turtle and watched it swim off.

The Moray is an 87-foot patrol boat based in Jonesport.


Former Lewiston officer escapes jail time for assault

A former Lewiston police officer accused of assaulting his girlfriend has pleaded no contest to two domestic violence misdemeanors, but avoided jail time.

A judge in Portland on Wednesday sentenced Timothy Darnell, 48, to a pair of concurrent year-long jail terms, but suspended the entire sentence.

Darnell was also ordered to have no contact with his ex-girlfriend and complete counseling and a batterer’s treatment program.

Darnell was initially arrested and charged in May with assaulting his girlfriend in Portland. He was arrested again the next morning for allegedly returning to the victim’s home.

The 16-year veteran resigned shortly after his arrest.

According to court documents, the victim told investigators Darnell grabbed her by the throat and pushed her head into a window, the Sun Journal reported.


Effort to avoid traffic stop leads to multiple charges

A South Portland man who police say crashed his car into a guardrail while trying to escape a traffic stop faces multiple charges.

Jonathan Hines, 48, was driving inbound on Brighton Avenue at 3:20 a.m. Thursday when Portland police attempted to pull him over for speeding. Hines didn’t stop and tried to drive down Bedford Street but lost control and hit a guardrail near the University of Southern Maine.

A female passenger was taken to Maine Medical Center with injuries sustained in the crash.

Hines tried to get away and police grabbed him, then had to use a Taser to disable him so they could take him into custody, police said. He was charged with failure to stop, driving to endanger, driving with a suspended license and refusing to submit to arrest, police said.


Owner of escort service charged with extortion try

The Windham escort service owner accused of trying to extort from a longtime client has been indicted.

Nicholas Enfanto, of Saugus, Mass., was indicted on a federal charge of sending threatening interstate communications with intent to extort for text messages he allegedly sent earlier this year. The grand jury indictment was made public Thursday.

According to an FBI affidavit, Enfanto sent a client identified as “J.D.” text messages accusing him of contacting escorts directly, without going through Enfanto. Enfanto claimed J.D. owed him $100,000 for lost business and allegedly threatened to shoot him if he did not pay.

J.D. agreed to pay $250 a week, but Enfanto later increased the amount to $400. J.D. reported the matter to Falmouth police when the threats intensified, according to the document.

Enfanto, the owner of Enfanto’s Perfect Pleasure Escort Service, was arrested May 4.


Feds moving forward on wind turbine proposal

The federal government is moving forward to determine if there are competing interests following a Norwegian company’s proposal for a deep-water wind turbine pilot project off the coast of Maine. If not, then the government will proceed with an environmental impact study.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wants to know if other parties have an interest in the site 12 miles off Boothbay Harbor that’s sought by Statoil North America.

Statoil’s unsolicited application for a commercial wind energy lease calls for a pilot project with four wind turbines producing 12 megawatts of electricity.

Sen. Olympia Snowe says she’s encouraged by the development. She says offshore wind projects have “the potential to bring jobs, and ultimately clean energy, to Mainers.”


Body pulled from water after being spotted by crew

Authorities say the body of an unidentified man was found floating in the waters off Portsmouth Harbor.

A fishing vessel crew contacted the New Hampshire Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard about 2 p.m. Wednesday. The body was pulled from the ocean about five miles from the Piscataqua River Bridge.

Police said an investigation has been launched to determine the man’s identity. The state medical examiner has been called in to assist in the investigation, The Portsmouth Herald reported.


Woman gets probation for embezzling $7,000

A Kittery woman was sentenced in federal court Thursday to one year of probation for embezzling more than $7,000 from Yellowstone National Park.

Danel Nickerson pleaded guilty in May to embezzlement. U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen on Thursday also ordered Nickerson to pay restitution and a $1,200 fine.

Nickerson was working the cash-counting office in the summer of 2007 when she took a total of $7,429, from the national park in Wyoming, according to a document filed by the government.

The prosecution stated in the document that Nickerson put cash into envelopes — once hiding an envelope among things on her desk and once hiding in it in a trash can — before taking them away.

The prosecution said it could prove Nickerson took the money because there were surveillance cameras in the cash-counting office.


Police cite driver of car in motorcycle accident

A Yarmouth man was hospitalized in fair condition after his motorcycle collided with a car at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Matthew Wasielewski, 49, was riding his 2012 Honda on North Road when an oncoming 2005 Hyundai driven by Everett Eldred, 38, of Gorham, turned left onto Farm Road in front of him, said Police Chief Michael Morrill.

Wasielewski was wearing a helmet. He was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland with serious injuries.

Eldred was cited for failing to yield right of way, Morrill said.


Some items left at BNAS go on the auction block

Navy trucks, industrial generators and other items that went unclaimed after the closing of Brunswick Naval Air Station are now on the auction block.

Steve Levesque, executive director of the civilian agency charged with redevelopment of the property, says an auction for the first round consisting of large items ended Wednesday evening. Auctioned items included a hydraulic man lift.

The Sun Journal said bidding on other items including firetrucks, utility trucks, mowing equipment and wheel-mounted transformers expires later this month. Levesque says smaller items like furniture, filing cabinets, computers will be auctioned later.

The base closed in May 2011. Levesque said the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority kept some airport maintenance and snow removal equipment.