Two-hour police standoff, evacuation ends peacefully

A police standoff ended peacefully about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Redbank neighborhood.

Police received a call at 9:45 a.m. from a man who said his friend was suicidal and might have guns. Police evacuated houses near 108 Macarthur Circle West, saying residents might be hurt if gunfire broke out. They were directed to the community center about a block away.

Police surrounded the house and a police negotiator persuaded the 54-year-old man to come out peacefully after about two hours. Police did not recover any guns though the man did have a knife, which he left inside when he emerged.

Police took the man to Maine Medical Center for evaluation. Nobody was injured and there were no arrests.


Man requires eye operation after acquaintance’s attack

A Portland man could lose his sight after being attacked outside his apartment building early Tuesday morning.

Edgar Stockdale, 57, was outside 100 State St., an elderly housing complex, smoking a cigarette when a man he knew, Richard Gregory, 61, walked up to him and started rambling about war and al Qaida, police said.

Stockdale gave Gregory cigarettes and prepared to go inside when Gregory pushed him down then got on top of him and started punching him, police said. Gregory then pressed his thumbs into Stockdale’s eye sockets, police said.

A witness called police and officers found Gregory standing over his victim, police said. Stockdale was blind in one eye before the attack. He’s scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday to try to save the sight in his other eye, police said.

Gregory is being held on $5,000 bail at the Cumberland County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault and is under observation for mental health problems.

Man sentenced for his role in oxycodone distribution

A Gray man has been sentenced to two years and eight months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that shipped oxycodone from Florida to Maine through the mail.

Steven Granger was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland after pleading guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Prosecutors say Granger, 47, and two other men took part in the scheme in which oxycodone pills were shipped to Maine and sold by Granger for $25 per pill.

The men’s illegal activities were uncovered during routine inspections of Express Mail by a U.S. Postal Service inspector.

Granger’s attorney told the Bangor Daily News that his client got a light sentence because of “extraordinary rehabilitation efforts, his family background (and) his lack of a record.”

Suspected purse-snatcher caught with aid of witness

Police say they arrested a purse-snatcher Monday after a witness followed the man and led police to him.

Sebastian Agrell, 19, of 11 Anderson St. accosted a 72-year-old woman who had just visited a bank on Commercial Street, shoved her and grabbed her purse, police said. She screamed and there were several witnesses to the incident, which happened just before 2 p.m. in front of 123 Commercial St.

One of the witnesses followed the man as he ran up Pearl Street and into an alley between 36 and 38 Market St.

Officers were directed to the spot where they found Agrell and the stolen purse along with its contents, police said.

He faces charges of robbery and theft and is being held in Cumberland County Jail on $50,000 bail.


Man sentenced for stealing from food stamp program

A Lewiston man has been sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay restitution for stealing $3,600 from the state’s food stamp program.

Christopher Frazer, 44, pleaded guilty Monday to theft by deception, misuse of identification and drug possession charges.

Attorney General William Schneider said Frazer bought three electronic benefits transfer cards from food stamp recipients for cash. The EBT cards operate like ATM cards, with holders swiping them and entering their PIN numbers at store checkouts.

Lewiston police discovered the cards while questioning Frazer on an unrelated matter. Besides the EBT cards, police found prescription drugs in Frazer’s apartment that he had bought from a friend.

Ex-volunteer firefighter who set blaze avoids jail

A former volunteer firefighter who pleaded guilty to setting a blaze that caused $30,000 in damage to a Mechanic Falls restaurant has avoided jail time.

Joshua Michaud was sentenced Monday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to six years in jail, with the entire sentence suspended for four years of probation. He was also ordered to continue residential rehabilitation treatment, where his progress was described by prosecutors as “glowing,” and to pay $16,000 in restitution.

The Sun Journal reported that Michaud, 20, apologized to the owners of the Loose Caboose Restaurant and Lounge for setting the fire in July 2010, when he was 18 and a volunteer junior firefighter in Minot.

Authorities say Michaud started the fire, and was one of 50 firefighters who responded. No one was hurt.


Two people, dog rescued after sailboat capsizes

Two people and a dog were pulled out of the water after their sailboat capsized on Sebago Lake on Tuesday.

Standish Fire Chief Brent Libby said conditions on Sebago Lake were windy and rough. Libby said Standish, Raymond and the Portland Water District sent boats around 4 p.m. after getting reports that a sailboat had capsized between Standish, the Two Mile Limit and Frye Island.

Libby said another sailor arrived before the rescue crews and got the people and their dog on board.

The capsized boat and its occupants were eventually towed back to Frye Island. They did not suffer any injuries.


Ex-manager of Milo admits stealing $45,000 from club

The former town manager of Milo faces sentencing after admitting to stealing $45,000 from a Kiwanis club where he was treasurer.

Jeff Gahagan pleaded guilty to theft Tuesday in Piscataquis County Superior Court. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts said Gahagan stole the money from 2007 until spring of this year. He said Gahagan spent much of the money on family purchases, but also spent $16,000 at the Hollywood Slots casino in Bangor.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Gahagan has repaid the money and that his sentence will be capped at nine months.

Gahagan resigned as town manager in April during the investigation into the missing funds.


Police looking for suspects in vandalism of cemetery

Authorities are looking for the vandals who knocked over dozens of headstones in a Livermore Falls cemetery.

Police say the damage occurred sometime between 1:30 a.m. Monday, when a cruiser patrolled through Pleasant View Cemetery, and 5 a.m., when the vandalism was first noticed.

Vandals broke lights, flags, statues and knocked over the stones.

Erica Poland told the Sun Journal it looked as if a tornado had gone through the cemetery, although her infant son’s grave was untouched.

A dispatcher with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office said a tracking dog from the department was called in to assist at the scene Monday morning but there were no reports of arrests.


Construction on first phase of Riverwalk under way

Construction began Monday on Riverwalk, a new 1.25-mile pedestrian and bicycle path that will offer visitors a scenic walk through the woods and close-up views of the Androscoggin River from Topsham and Brunswick.

Nancy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the committee that is heading the project, said the first phase of Riverwalk, a $1 million project, should be finished in three weeks.

Harry C. Crooker and Sons Inc. has been awarded the contract to build the first link of the trail at a cost of $120,000.

That link will begin at the Swinging Bridge Park in Topsham and end at Summer Street in Topsham’s Lower Village.

The completed path will connect downtown Brunswick with Topsham’s Lower Village and will feature a walk across the historic Swinging Bridge.

Randolph said funding for the rest of the project is expected to come from an $897,000 Maine Department of Transportation grant.


Man dies in fall from tree at his 21st birthday party

Police say a Maine man fell to his death after climbing a tree during his birthday celebration.

Police in Industry said Jacob Chick, 21, climbed the tree and fell about 60 feet during a gathering at his home on Saturday. Police said he died from the fall.

The Sun Journal reported that police said the death was determined to be an accident. They could not say whether alcohol was involved or why Chick climbed the tree.


Public invited to attend ‘Route 1 Recovery Kick-Off’

Town officials will launch a months-long public process Wednesday to develop new planning regulations and building codes designed to revitalize the Route 1 corridor, according to Vanessa Farr, Yarmouth’s planning director.

Citizens are invited to attend the “Route 1 Recovery Kick-Off” at Rowe School, starting with a reception and refreshments at 5:30 p.m., followed by a Route 1 bus tour at 6 and a presentation and discussion at 7.

“Route 1 Planapalooza” will be held Sept. 13-17, including a pizza party and design workshop Sept. 13 at Yarmouth High School; a chocolate reception, presentation and discussion Sept. 15 at the Log Cabin; and a soup dinner and closing presentation Sept. 17 at Rowe School. All Planapalooza events start at 6 p.m.

Farr said decisions made during Planapalooza will reshape the Route 1 corridor for years to come, influencing economic development, housing, town character and the environment.

The town’s consultant in the process is Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative in Gardiner.

The town is holding a similar public planning initiative for the Hillside Street neighborhood, with public forums at 7 p.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Sept. 14, both at the Town Hall community room.


College gets $1.25 million to fund new faculty chair

College of the Atlantic has received a $1.25 million gift that will pay for a faculty head of the school’s literature and women’s studies program.

The Bar Harbor school said the gift comes from the Stewart family, longtime seasonal residents of Northeast Harbor, and will create what’s being called The Lisa Stewart Chair in Literature and Women’s Studies.

The chair is named in honor of Lisa Stewart, who died of cancer in 2010 at the age of 52.

This gift is part of a $32 million fundraising initiative to add new disciplines, create more scholarship funding and build information technology capacity at the school.

College of the Atlantic, founded in 1969, has only one major, human ecology.