Police say vandals nabbed in middle school incident

Police say they have identified the vandals who scrawled profanity, phallic imagery and swastikas on the back of the Greely Middle School and neighboring buildings.

The names and ages of the two students were not released.

Cumberland police officer Kirk Mazuzan said he plans to charge the pair with aggravated criminal mischief because the damage to the school and nearby condominium buildings surpassed $2,000.

Mazuzan said the school is also taking disciplinary action against the pair.

In a statement, Greely Middle School Principal Kimberly Brandt lauded the police.

“Good people sometimes make bad choices,” Brandt told students in a schoolwide address, according to a copy of her remarks emailed to parents.

The vandalism, which police believe was written sometime Dec. 2 or Dec. 3, was quickly removed.


City seeking feedback for new website design

The city is asking people who live or work in Portland to weigh in on what they like – and don’t like – about its website,

Website users are being asked to fill out an 11-question online survey at

“Providing up-to-date information on an easy-to-navigate website is a priority for the city, and public feedback will help the city as the redesign process begins,” City Hall Spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said in a press release.

Clegg said the survey will be open through January and the new website is expected to be launched next fall.


Mayor in hot water again for ‘offensive’ comments

The mayor of Lewiston is under fire again, this time for suggesting the city’s schools are overcrowded because families from Massachusetts and New York move to Maine to take advantage of the state’s generous welfare system.

Mayor Robert Macdonald said Wednesday at meeting with parents and school officials to discuss redistricting that there ought to be laws putting limits on how long families can collect welfare benefits.

He says there are 1,000 children of welfare seekers in city schools “who could care less about going to school” because “they don’t feel like they’re going to work anyway.”

The Sun Journal reports that School Committee member Sonia Taylor called the mayor’s comments “offensive.”

Macdonald was criticized in October for suggesting that the city’s large Somali refugee population should abandon their culture.


Rite Aid adding security to halt spate of robberies

With more than one drug store robbery per week occurring in Maine, a drugstore chain is posting security guards at its Bangor-area stores.

The Bangor Daily News said Friday that security guards are working a revolving schedule at Rite Aid pharmacies in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Bucksport.

Bangor’s most recent pharmacy robbery was Dec. 4 at a Walgreens, but four of the six pharmacy robberies in the city this year have occurred at Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said while security guards are on patrol, the company is working with police on ways to deter robbers in search of drugs.

Maine’s had 54 pharmacy robberies so far this year. The total is 30 more than occurred all of last year.

Judge sets bail at $50,000 in 20-year-old rape case

A Nebraska man who was wanted in Maine for nearly 20 years on charges of gross sexual assault is being held on $50,000 bail.

Clarence Cote, 63, of Nehama, Neb., pleaded not guilty to the charges in Penobscot County court in Bangor on Friday. He was arrested in mid-September after being indicted by a grand jury.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the victim, who is now 30, reported the abuse to police in 1994. Prosecutors say Cote left the state when he learned that he was being investigated.


Guard at county jail resigns before hearing

A Washington County Jail guard who said he was assaulted behind the facility in October has resigned before a scheduled termination hearing in front of the county commissioners.

Troy Lyons of Lubec resigned Thursday. He had worked at the jail in Machias for 12 years.
Sheriff Donnie Smith suspended Lyons after an internal investigation concluded that the multiple injuries for which Lyons was treated the night of Oct. 29 were self-inflicted.

Smith told the Bangor Daily News he concluded the assault was a hoax because of “improprieties and inconsistencies” in Lyons’ story. For example, Smith said Lyons claimed he fell to the ground after being struck, but was not wet or muddy even though it was raining that night.

Lyons denied making up the assault.


New bridge on Route 35 opens to two-way traffic

The new Bonny Eagle Bridge spanning the Saco River between Hollis and Standish on Route 35 is now open to two-way traffic.

Crews will start demolishing the old bridge, said the Maine Department of Transportation.

The $2.1 million project was done by Wyman & Simpson Inc. of Richmond.

One-way traffic near the bridge is expected in the next couple weeks as crews remove equipment and prepare to start the demolition.

Crews will return in the spring to install guardrails and do landscaping, according to the Department of Transportation.


Man from Maine convicted of California drug killings

A California jury has convicted a former Maine resident of two counts of murder in a drug-related case.

The Lake County jury Thursday convicted Robby Alan Beasley, 32, formerly of Augusta, of first-degree murder in the slayings three years ago of Frank Maddox, and his wife Yvette, who had also gone to California from Augusta.

Prosecutors said Beasley, who was living in Clearlake, Calif., shot the Maddoxes in a rural road turnout and left their bodies unburied at the bottom of an embankment on Jan. 22, 2010. The couple’s decomposing remains were found six weeks later.

Prosecutors said Beasley killed the Maddoxes after suspecting they stole marijuana from his apartment.

Beasley faces life in prison without parole and will be sentenced next month.


Change in district lines leads Michaud to close office

Because of congressional redistricting, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s office in Waterville has been closed.

A redistricting plan passed last year by the Maine Legislature moved Winslow and Waterville into the 1st Congressional District. The towns of Mount Vernon, Gardiner, West Gardiner, Unity, Sidney, Belgrade, Rome, Vienna, Albion, Monmouth, and Randolph were moved into the 2nd District.

Michaud, a Democrat, represents the 2nd District. Rep. Chellie Pingree, also a Democrat, represents the 1st District.

Michaud’s Waterville office closed on Thursday.

— From staff and news services