Police suspect excessive speed contributed to fatal accident

Police are investigating a fatal crash that occurred Wednesday afternoon on Kansas Road.

Police Chief Kevin Scholfield said the crash, around 2:15 p.m., involved a single motor vehicle and a lone occupant. Scholfield would not release the person’s identity until relatives had been notified.

Police said it appears that excessive speed contributed to the crash, which is being investigated by a reconstruction specialist from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.


Vehicle hits lawn tractor, killing 76-year-old operator

A 76-year-old apple orchard owner from Mount Vernon was killed when the lawn tractor he was riding was hit from behind by a car.

Police said Manley Damren was riding the small tractor along the side of the road near Mount Nebo Orchard just after 5 p.m. Tuesday when he was struck.

The impact threw Damren off the tractor, and he hit the car and ended up on the side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The mower was pushed into the woods.

Police said it was raining lightly at the time and there is a slight curve in the road. The man driving the car, Charles Morse, 60, was not injured.

Police said the crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.


Maine National Guard colonel wins unanimous endorsement

A legislative panel has voted unanimously to endorse Maine National Guard Col. James Campbell to serve as the state guard’s adjutant general and commissioner of the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

That and dozens of other nominations by Gov. Paul LePage face final confirmation votes Thursday by the Senate. But committee approvals are rarely overturned.

In his testimony before the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee’s 12-0 vote Wednesday, Campbell acknowledged that the roles and functions of the National Guard “have evolved tremendously over the past 20 years.”

Campbell joined the Maine Army National Guard in 1995 after nine years of active duty service. He has held a number of positions in the Guard, including assistant professor of military science in the University of Maine Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Award will recognize senator’s Freedom of Information work

A state senator from Bucksport is to receive the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition’s annual Sunshine Award for his efforts to keep government information open and accessible to the public.

Sen. Richard Rosen is being recognized for his efforts in his role as Senate chairman of the budget-reviewing Appropriations Committee. Rosen, a Republican, was instrumental in securing funding for an ombudsman’s position in the state Attorney General’s Office to handle complaints about implementation of Maine’s open access law.

Rosen also sponsored legislation to clarify procedures for public information requests and to require each government agency to appoint and train an employee to be its “public access officer.”

Rosen is to receive the coalition’s 2012 Sunshine Award at a news conference Thursday at the State House.

Man, 28, faces felony charge of assaulting 4-year-old girl

An Augusta man has been charged with striking a 4-year-old girl he was supposed to be caring for and holding a blanket to her throat so tightly that it left marks.

Brent Ryan Lavallee was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail at a hearing Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court on a charge of felony assault.

Police said Lavallee, 28, was taking care of the girl Aug. 30 when he struck her and gave her a black eye, and left marks on her neck.

He was arrested Friday after the girl’s grandfather noticed the injuries and alerted police.

Police think Lavallee was angry because the girl would not go to sleep.

Guilty of using explosives, man gets 9 months in prison

An Augusta man who forced the evacuation of neighbors when explosives were found in his home has been sentenced to nine months in prison.

Jeremy Upp pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to criminal use of explosives. He received a three-year sentence, with all but nine months suspended. He also received two years of probation.

Upp, 36, was arrested May 17 when investigators with a warrant searched his apartment after getting reports of explosions at the rear of the property. Authorities described the explosives found as triacetone triperoxide.

Acting state Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas said there was no indication that Upp planned any harm. Upp’s attorney said his client was simply curious and making firecrackers.


Man accused of molesting two infants pleads not guilty

A Fryeburg man has pleaded not guilty to molesting two infants and possessing child pornography.

Luke Edmunds, 22, was arraigned Tuesday in Oxford County Superior Court on charges of possession of sexually explicit materials and unlawful sexual contact.

The Sun Journal reported that a Maine State Police investigator said Edmunds was living in Fryeburg with a family member when police traced an Internet address sharing child pornography on file-sharing networks. Police subpoenaed FairPoint Communications and found the Internet account registered to Edmunds’ grandfather.

That man didn’t know how to use the Internet. But police said Edmunds admitted to sharing the files. Police said they were later told by two people that Edmunds had sexually touched two infants. He is being held at Cumberland County Jail in Portland on $500 cash bail.


Man handed a 10-year term for savagely beating father

A Bangor man is going to prison for 10 years for savagely beating his father and stealing his debit card while high on bath salts.

Frederick Ward was sentenced Wednesday at the Penobscot County Judicial Center in Bangor. He pleaded guilty in April to burglary and robbery charges.

Prosecutors said Ward went to his 72-year-old father’s house in November, assaulted him and demanded his ATM card. When police arrived, the father’s eyes were bruised and swollen shut and he had blood coming from his mouth. He was hospitalized for 22 days.

Prosecutors said Ward was high at the time on the synthetic drug known as bath salts, which can make users delusional and violent.

Ward apologized to his father in court Wednesday.


Police release sketch of man linked to abduction attempt

Police continue to investigate the attempted abduction of a worker at Range Ponds State Park.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department said a woman was working the booth at the main gate when she said a motorist attempted to pull her into his van before driving away Saturday afternoon. She described the vehicle as a rust-colored 1980s van with square headlights and no rear license plate.

Police released a sketch of the suspect Wednesday. He’s described as a white male, about 38 to 42 years old, weighing 175 to 190 pounds, with short, dark curly hair and a receding hairline. Anyone who sees the van or the suspect is asked to contact the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department.


Federal grant provides funds to expand transit to shipyard

The nation’s top transit official has announced funding for the expansion of commuter bus service at Maine’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and New Hampshire’s Pease International Tradeport aimed at making it easier for civilian and military personnel to get to work.

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff joined U.S. Navy and local officials Wednesday in Maine to announce more than $3.5 million in federal funds for improvements in the Greater Seacoast area, including a $324,000 grant to the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation to improve access online and by phone to transportation services for veterans and military families.

The improvements also include a new commuter bus service and increased frequency of service on regional bus routes.


Nine entities interested in being lighthouse stewards

They are far from the mainland and hard to get to, but two historic Maine lighthouses have attracted attention from several prospective stewards.

Patrick J. Sclafani, spokesman for the U.S. General Services Administration in Boston, said Wednesday that nine entities — their identities won’t be made public yet — met the July 16 filing deadline.

Each organization or individual will now be given an opportunity to visit Halfway Rock Light Station or Boon Island Light Station before deciding whether to submit a formal proposal that would lay out their plans for preserving the lighthouses and making them accessible to the public.

Halfway Rock Light is about 10 miles east of Portland Head Light. Boon Island Light is six miles off the coast of York.