Body of unidentified man found covered with snow

Police are investigating the discovery of the body of an unidentified man off Kennedy Memorial Drive.

At 12:30 p.m. Friday, police responded to a report of body at 295 Kennedy Memorial Drive, said Police Chief Joseph Massey. Police and the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit worked to recover the body, which was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta.

Gerald Mackenzie, owner of a general contracting company in Waterville, was working near the site Friday and said one of his employees discovered the body “out back.” The site, just west of Shaw’s supermarket, has a mix of industrial and office buildings.

Mackenzie said the body was covered in snow, indicating it had been there at least since before the most recent snowfall. Some of the snow had melted from the body, which allowed the employee to spot it, Mackenzie said.

Massey said he doesn’t expect any new information to be released before Monday.


Wreckage confirmed as that of missing fishing vessel

The Coast Guard said it has confirmed the discovery of submerged wreckage of a Gloucester-based fishing vessel that disappeared in December.

Friends and family members identified the fishermen on board as Wally Gray, 26, and Wayne Young, 50, of Deer Isle, Maine.

The Coast Guard said the 45-foot Foxy Lady II was found Friday by its investigators and the Massachusetts Environmental Police in an area between Provincetown and Cape Ann, after reports that fishing trawls were getting entangled. The wreckage was found in an area that was searched earlier.

The Foxy Lady and its two-man crew were reported missing Dec. 17. A few days later, a small, enclosed lifeboat from the boat was found in a marshy area north of Boston, and some fishing gear was found about 30 miles south in Hull.


Two Americans deny role in smuggling narwhal tusks

Two men who are accused of participating in a ring that smuggled narwhal tusks from Canada into Maine have pleaded not guilty.

Andrew Zarauskas of Union, N.J., and Jay Conrad of Lakeland, Tenn., face 29 smuggling and money laundering charges each. They were free on bond Friday after entering their pleas in federal court in Bangor.

Narwhals have ivory tusks that can grow longer than 8 feet. The tusks can sell for thousands of dollars but it’s illegal to import them into the U.S.

Prosecutors say two Canadian men smuggled the tusks across the border in a secret compartment of a trailer. Those men were charged in Canada, while their alleged buyers, Zarauskas and Conrad, were charged in U.S. District Court.

Man gets 8 years in prison for robbing local pharmacy

A man who was convicted of robbing a pharmacy in Bangor has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Kevin Gray, 30, pleaded guilty Friday to robbing the Walgreens pharmacy on Dec. 4.

WABI-TV reported that Gray said that he was heavily involved with drugs at the time.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts noted that Gray was very apologetic to his victims.


AARP issues warning about telephone scam

The AARP is issuing a warning about an apparent phone scam in Maine in which callers are fraudulently identifying themselves as AARP representatives.

The AARP said the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department has been contacted by residents saying callers are asking for personal information including a phone number, address and banking information in order to send them their new AARP cards.

The AARP said it doesn’t ask for personal banking information from its members, and urges residents to be aware of the scam.

Episode of new TV series depicts Maine lobstermen

Maine lobstermen will be the focus of the first episode of a new monthly half-hour series on the cable news network HLN.

The new series is called “American Journey” and will debut with an episode on the struggles and daily lives of Maine lobstermen  at 8 p.m. Saturday. The episode will be repeated at 8 p.m. Sunday

The new monthly series is hosted by Ty Pennington, best known as host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” HLN crews filmed in Down East Maine last summer, in areas near Ellsworth.

Other episodes in coming months will include a story about life on a commune and on Delta blues culture.

HLN can be seen in much of southern Maine on Time Warner Cable Channel 39.


Governor orders flags flown at half-staff for guardsman

Gov. Paul LePage has ordered that U.S. and state flags be flown at half-staff at Maine National Guard facilities in honor of a longtime Army National Guard officer who died without warning this week at the age of 44.

Lt. Col. Michael Backus died Monday while doing regular duties at Camp Keyes in Augusta. The state Medical Examiner’s Office said autopsy results are inconclusive pending further study.

LePage ordered that flags be flown at half-staff from sunrise Friday to sunset Sunday.

Backus’ funeral is scheduled for Sunday at the University of Maine at Farmington.


Snowmobile festival set despite tragedy on lake

A nearly quarter-century-old snowmobile festival will go on as planned despite the presumed deaths of three sledders who apparently rode into open water on Rangeley Lake last month.

The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club, organizer of the annual Snodeo, decided to carry on with the festival scheduled for Jan. 24-26 after meeting with the Maine Warden Service and town officials.

The Warden Service has been leading recovery efforts. A woman riding separately died when her snowmobile fell into the lake at about the time the men went missing.

Snodeo chairwoman Sandi Dumont told the Sun Journal the loss of the men is “unfortunate,” but many people plan vacations around the event, which provides an economic boost to town.

From 3,000 to 6,000 people are expected to attend.


Nonprofit plans to reopen Squaw Mountain ski resort

A ski resort in northern Maine that hasn’t operated in three years is grooming its trails in anticipation of opening again.

A nonprofit group said it hopes to have the Big Squaw Mountain resort outside of Greenville open for the weekend of Jan. 19.

Amy Lane, president of The Friends of Squaw Mountain, said her group is leasing the resort from the owner for $1 a year.

Since launching its plan in December, the group has raised $21,000 in donations, she said. Dozens of volunteers have been working to spiff up the lodge, get the boiler running, fix broken pipes, get the ski lift going and groom the trails.

Local residents said the mountain once employed several hundred people but it has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

– From staff and news services