Police identify local man who jumped in river, died

Search crews have recovered the body of a man who disappeared after jumping into the Saco River.

Police on Friday identified him as Darrell Hoerl, 39, of Biddeford. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Witnesses reported that the man jumped off a railroad bridge that crosses the river between Biddeford and Saco about 8:45 p.m. Thursday, surfaced momentarily and then disappeared.

Authorities said rescue crews and a dive team searched the river, and that body was recovered at about 11:30 p.m.

Emergency response officials said the river in that spot poses many dangers with debris and strong currents.


Art festival rescheduled for Sunday due to rain

Organizers of Art in the Park, scheduled for Saturday, have postponed the festival until Sunday because of a forecast for rain. The 33rd annual show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The show features close to 185 artists and artisans who will exhibit and sell their work in Mill Creek Park. The event also features a children’s art area, a food court and a display of students’ art.

For more information, call 767-7605.


Barn razed, home damaged in fire started by lightning

A lightning strike touched off a fire that destroyed a barn and heavily damaged a house early Friday morning, fire officials said.

The lightning hit a barn at 101 Town Farm Road at around 2:30 a.m., said Harrison Fire Chief Dana Laplante.

By the time fire crews arrived, the barn was destroyed and a lack of water initially prevented crews from keeping the fire from spreading to the attached house, Laplante said. Once full crews arrived and water was provided, they were able to keep the fire from spreading beyond the second floor of the home, he said.

Crews didn’t leave the scene until 9:30 a.m., he said.

The family members who lived in the house were staying with relatives, he said. The insurance company has been contacted, but Laplante didn’t have an immediate estimate of damage.

No one was hurt.


Tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis on the rise

Maine is seeing a rise in cases of a tick-borne disease known as anaplasmosis.

The Bangor Daily News reported that 38 cases of the bacterial infection have been reported to state health officials so far this year. Twenty-six cases were reported in all of 2011.

Anaplasmosis can cause body aches, fever and headache. Symptoms typically appear within two weeks of a tick bite. The disease is carried by the same kind of tick as the better-known Lyme disease.

State epidemiologist Stephen Sears said most cases of anaplasmosis appear in the late summer and fall.

Health officials say people can avoid ticks by using repellent and wearing long sleeves, pants and socks when in wooded or grassy areas. People should check themselves for ticks after hikes or other outdoor activities.

Man sentenced to prison for 2.5 pounds of bath salts

A judge has sentenced a Thomaston man to more than five years in prison for having 2,400 doses of a synthetic drug with an estimated street value of $170,000.

Travis Griffin, 27, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. He pleaded guilty in April to a drug distribution charge.

Police said Griffin was charged after drug agents found more than 2.5 pounds of bath salts in his Thomaston home and a car in which he had been a passenger.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Judge John Woodcock told Griffin he had a “horrific amount” of bath salts that would have caused “untold sorrow and mischief” in Maine. The judge then sentenced him to five years and three months in prison.


Official identifies remains as homeless woman, 31

The state medical examiner has identified the skeletal remains that were found last weekend as a 31-year-old homeless woman.

Police are not releasing the woman’s name until relatives have been notified, they said.

A man who was picking wild blueberries discovered the bones on Aug. 4 about 60 yards off a trail that runs from Hutchins Drive. There was no identification with the remains but investigators were able to discern a medical condition as well as other items found with the remains that helped confirm the identity.

An autopsy this week uncovered no signs of a crime, but police and the Medical Examiner’s Office continue to research the case to determine how the woman got to that area, police said.

The medical examiner did not determine a cause of death.


Brunswick man could face 25 years for bank robbery

A Brunswick man faces a federal bank robbery charge in connection with the December robbery of University Credit Union on Forest Avenue.

Duane Toothaker faces a charge of bank robbery and aiding and abetting such conduct. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Toothaker is accused of driving two juvenile males to the credit union on Dec. 21.

One of the juveniles told authorities that a man he knew as “D” convinced them to rob a bank, provided them with the robbery note and shared the money with them, according to an FBI affidavit released today.

A total of $2,731 was taken from the credit union.


Maine Arts Commission selects its new director

The CEO of the West Valley Arts Council in Phoenix has been chosen to serve as the new director of the Maine Arts Commission.

Charles Stanhope, chairman of the Maine Arts Commission, said Julie Richard will further a commitment to “Maine’s artists, arts organizations and arts educators.”

Richard said she looks forward to being part of a “vibrant and well-respected organization.”

Richard, who will begin her duties on Sept. 4, spent eight years in Arizona and before that held similar posts in South Carolina and Oklahoma. She also was director of the Syracuse Opera in New York.

The Maine Arts Commission assists artists and arts organizations as it works to promote interest and participation in the state’s arts and cultural heritage.


Mainer given probation for theft at Yellowstone

A Maine woman has been sentenced to one year of probation for stealing more than $7,000 while working for the National Park Service at Yellowstone National Park.

Danel Nickerson of Kittery was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Nickerson, 45, pleaded guilty in May to stealing $7,429 while she worked in the Wyoming park’s cash-counting office in the summer of 2007.

The judge also ordered Nickerson to pay restitution and a $1,200 fine.

Prosecutors said Nickerson has already paid back the money.


Snowe, Collins announce NOAA grant to help fishery

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins say the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $127,649 to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

NOAA said the money will be used to assess a new technology to record what’s scooped up by midwater trawl fishery, opening the door to a method to better manage the herring population, which is critical to lobstermen because the fish is used as bait.

NOAA said the grant will allow the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to test the effectiveness of a camera system placed inside a fishing trawl to quantify and record the so-called “bycatch.”

Snowe and Collins said it’s critical at a time of record low lobster prices to develop long-term solutions “to ensure a vibrant lobster industry for years to come.”


Portland jetport wins environmental award

The Portland International Jetport is one of four airports to win prestigious environmental awards.

Airports Council International-North America gave the jetport its award in the environmental management category. Winners in other categories were Northeast Florida Regional Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and JFK International Airport in New York.

The new terminal that opened this year in Portland was designed to be friendly to the environment with savings of $150,000 a year in fuel costs, thanks to installation of the state’s largest geothermal system.

The system features 120 wells, each 500 feet deep. Official said it will produce carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emission reductions that are the equivalent of taking 180 cars off the road each year.


Man who fatally shot friend convicted of recklessness

A 20-year-old man has been convicted of criminal recklessness in the fatal shooting of his best friend.

After more than five hours of deliberations, a jury on Friday found Luke Bryant guilty in the shooting of Tyler Seaney, in Knox last year.

Bryant initially told police he picked up the .12-gauge shotgun to clean it but later said he dry-fired it to scare his friend as he emerged from the bathroom. His girlfriend told investigators she’d seen them play the game before.

The Bangor Daily News reported that a prosecutor said Seaney’s family is very satisfied with the verdict.

The defense attorney said he was disappointed with the outcome and may consider an appeal.

Bryant is being held without bail. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3.


Local teenager charged with torching vacant home

A 17-year-old boy from Fayette has charged with arson in a fire that destroyed a vacant home in Mount Vernon last month.

The boy, who was not identified because of his age, was released to his mother, according to a news release from Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

Fire marshals said they were led to the teenager by a witness who saw a male flee the area moments before the fire was noticed.

The set fire at 1173 Pond Road was reported at 5:13 a.m. on July 20. It was a single-family house that had been vacant for about a decade, according to Grimes.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, which had engulfed the two-story home by the time firefighters arrived. About 30 firefighters from Readfield, Fayette, Wayne, Manchester, Vienna and Belgrade helped Mount Vernon firefighters battle the blaze.

Mount Vernon Fire Chief Dana Dunn said it took about an hour to get the fire under control.

The teenager is scheduled to make an initial court appearance in Waterville District Court on Oct. 9.


Collins’ show at Jonathan’s rescheduled for Nov. 24

Judy Collins’ concert at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit, scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed.

The singer is “under the weather and has temporarily lost her voice,” according to a notice of the postponement released by Jonathan’s.

The show has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 24.

All tickets and dinner reservations have been automatically transferred to the new show date.

If ticket holders cannot attend the show, they should call Jonathan’s for a refund at 646-4777 or send an email to [email protected]