Jail officials investigating attempted suicide in cell

Officials are investigating an attempted suicide Thursday morning at the Cumberland County Jail.

Two corrections officers, Deborah DeVou and Christopher Phillips, responded to what the jail calls a “code white” shortly after 7:30 a.m., the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

An inmate, Lawrence Cox, had fashioned a noose from a bed sheet, hung it around his neck and then attached it to the top bunk in his jail cell.

DeVou and Phillips released Cox from the noose once they found him and took him to the jail’s medical unit. The sheriff’s office said Cox was awake and alert and did not suffer serious injuries.

The jail had no documentation that Cox was suicidal and no requests for mental health services had been made, the news release said. Officers checked on Cox only after his cell mate reported that he had been acting strangely, said Sheriff Kevin Joyce.

Cox, 50, of Westbrook, is being held at the jail on theft charges. He was arrested Aug. 19 and has not been able to post bail, Joyce said. He did not have details about the charges.


Restaurateur pleads not guilty to hiring illegal immigrants

The co-owner of Mexican restaurants in Waterville, Westbrook and Biddeford has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of hiring illegal immigrants.

Guillermo Fuentes of Westbrook appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit, harboring undocumented aliens for profit, and aiding and abetting document fraud.

The Bangor Daily News reported that his brother, Hector Fuentes, previously pleaded not guilty to the same charges.

The charges stem from immigration raids at their restaurants last September. Agents allege they found at least eight illegal immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala living in the basement of the Fajita Grill in Westbrook. The Fuentes are also accused of helping workers obtain fake Social Security and permanent resident cards.

Both are free on bail.


Officials predict state will get $5 million less in heating aid

State officials are projecting that Maine will receive about $5 million less in federal heating assistance funds this winter than it did last year.

The Maine State Housing Authority said President Obama’s proposed budget includes a 13 percent cut nationally for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

MSHA spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said if Congress passes the president’s budget as it stands, Maine could expect to get $33.5 million in funding this winter, down from $38.5 million last year.

More than 58,000 Maine households received LIHEAP funds last year, with an average benefit of $484.

If Obama’s budget passes as written, the state is projecting that about 54,000 households will receive an average of $463 each in LIHEAP assistance.


Blind victim fears robbers will escape punishment

A blind Rumford man who uses a wheelchair says he fears that a pair of men who robbed him won’t face prosecution because he won’t be able to identify them.

The 31-year-old victim said he was outside a Lewiston gas station Tuesday night waiting for his brother when the men approached and asked for a cigarette.

He told the Sun Journal that “being a nice guy,” he gave them one. The suspects said he was too close to the gas pumps, so he moved to the side of the store.

They shoved him and grabbed a bag he was holding containing pain medication, a cellphone, a health insurance card and about $200 in cash.

One man has been arrested, but police are still investigating. The victim’s possessions have not been recovered.


Guard gets new helicopters to speed medical evacuations

The Maine Army National Guard has received three updated Blackhawk helicopters like those used in medical evacuations in Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park.

The Guard anticipates receiving three additional HH-60M helicopters in the future. The first of the new aircraft were displayed to the news media Thursday.

The new Blackhawks provide improved evacuation of injured patients and military personnel to medical facilities.

Col. David Smith of the Maine Army National Guard said the HH-60M enhances the medical crew’s capability by providing a dedicated medical litter system and other improvements.


United Way solves case of missing school supplies

A charity says school supplies that went missing before they could be given to poor Maine students weren’t stolen after all.

Joleen Bedard, executive director of the United Way of Androscoggin County, told WCSH-TV that it’s likely a volunteer from the United Way of York County picked up the supplies by mistake. She said Thursday her organization is working to have them returned.

Police had been looking for a man who made off with pencils, notebooks, crayons and other supplies meant to fill backpacks to be given to poor students today before the start of school.

The supplies were donated by shoppers at a Big Lots store in Auburn. The supplies were going to be placed in about 550 backpacks the United Way collected.


Driver pinned under car after early morning crash

A Belgrade man likely fell asleep on his way to work early Thursday morning on Route 17, causing the car he was driving to crash, police said.

Joshua Godleski, 20, was ejected and pinned under his Subaru Legacy station wagon during the accident, which occurred about 5 a.m.

Godleski was treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he was listed in good condition Thursday afternoon.

The westbound vehicle veered off the road to the left, struck a rock and trees, then rolled over at least once before landing on its wheels. Godleski’s legs were protruding from under the car, Maine State Trooper Sean Kinney said.

“Luckily some people stopped by to check,” Kinney said.

After the car was lifted off Godleski, he was taken from the scene by Winthrop Ambulance and then transferred to a LifeFlight helicopter, which took him to the Lewiston hospital.


Moose permit auction raises $40,900 for wildlife group

Hunters bid big bucks for a chance to bag a moose in the New Hampshire Wildlife Heritage Foundation’s annual fundraiser.

The foundation said it reaped $40,900 from the winning bids on five moose permits the group auctioned this year.

Winning bids ranged from $7,250 to $8,750. The permits are good for this year’s moose hunting season, which runs from Oct. 20-28. Each permit entitles the hunter to take either a cow or a bull moose and to hunt in the Wildlife Management Unit of their choice.

Twelve hunters from four states bid on the permits, which come with no guarantees the hunters will actually get that moose they covet.


Possibility of legal action step closer in Schilling case

The board of Rhode Island’s economic development agency is taking a step toward possible legal action in connection with its $75 million loan guarantee to Curt Schilling’s failed video gaming company.

The agenda for the Economic Development Corp. board meeting scheduled for Monday shows members will discuss approving a litigation subcommittee “related to 38 Studios.”

EDC spokeswoman Judy Chong on Thursday called the discussion “part of the next step of looking into possible legal action.”

The EDC has hired an outside attorney to determine whether the state can recover any money from individuals or groups involved in the 2010 loan guarantee that lured 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

Schilling’s company filed for bankruptcy in June.


State police identify driver who killed boy on I-93

New Hampshire State Police have identified the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a 14-year-old boy on Interstate 93 in Londonderry.

Police said Thursday that the driver was 28-year-old Griffin George of Derry. They said he is cooperating with police and that no criminal charges are anticipated at this time.

Police said the boy’s mother pulled over in the breakdown lane on the northbound side of the highway about 4:35 p.m. Wednesday. They said the boy got out of the car and was struck by George’s vehicle.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other injuries.

Police have not released the boy’s identity.