Preservation group hopes to buy Goodall Mansion

A group of Sanford residents is optimistic that it will be able to buy the Goodall Mansion, which was bought by a bank Thursday during a foreclosure auction.

Joe Doiron, who formed the Goodall Mansion Society to preserve its namesake building, attended the auction at a law firm’s South Portland office and said Deutsche Bank bought the mansion for about $280,000.

Doiron said his group plans to submit a bid to the bank next week. It has not yet decided how much to offer for the building and surrounding property, which are assessed by the city at $577,100.

The 18-room Goodall Mansion, built in 1871 by Thomas Goodall, the industrialist and philanthropist who founded Sanford’s mills, has been called the “Jewel of Sanford.”

The Goodall Mansion Society wants to transform it into a preservation workshop and cultural center. Doiron estimates it will take $120,000 to stabilize the building and $500,000 to restore it enough to open it to the public.

While the Goodall Mansion Society has the money to put a deposit on the building if its offer is accepted, it would start fundraising to complete the purchase and restore the building.


Section of Baxter Boulevard to close for eight months

A 1.4-mile section of Baxter Boulevard will close for at least eight months starting Jan. 30.

Electronic billboards were erected on Baxter Boulevard this week, warning motorists and users of the Back Cove Trail that the road will be shut down. The closure will affect the section of Baxter Boulevard between Vannah Avenue and Bates Street.

Nicole Clegg, the city’s spokeswoman, said the walking trail will remain open during the $10 million project.

Clegg said the city must close the road so that it can install two 1,700-foot-long underground concrete boxes, each with the capacity to store one million gallons of sewage and storm water.

The boxes will capture storm water before it can enter Back Cove. The polluted water will eventually be transferred to the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility.

During heavy rains, water now flows into the city’s sewer system, and the overflow is discharged untreated into Back Cove.

The city hoped to begin the project in November but Clegg said it took longer than anticipated to obtain permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The project will be funded entirely with sewer user fees, she said.


‘Downton Abbey’ vs. Patriots: MPBN has plan for viewers

Households all over Maine are gearing up for a daunting TV viewing choice on Sunday. They can watch the AFC championship game featuring the New England Patriots in its entirety, or they can watch the PBS period drama and pop culture phenomenon “Downton Abbey.”

There is help, in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Downton Abbey” Football Conflict Support Line.

MPBN, which airs “Downtown Abbey,” put out a press release Thursday to announce the effort. The release says MPBN officials realize the Patriots game — which starts at 6:30 p.m. — might not be over in time for the 9 p.m. start of “Downton Abbey.”

So people in conflict can call an automated phone line — 330-4549 — and be directed to alternate viewing times of “Downton Abbey.”

A recorded voice on the “conflict line” tells callers that MPBN will post Sunday’s episode of “Downton Abbey” on the free Video On Demand service on MPBN.Net on Monday.

The voice also tells viewers “in crisis mode” that MPBN will rebroadcast the episode at 8 p.m. on Jan. 27, to be followed by the airing of that week’s episode at 9 p.m.


Man, 19, facing charge of unlawful sexual contact

A Phippsburg man has been arrested and charged with having unlawful sexual contact with a girl from Bowdoinham.

Brett Strout, chief deputy for the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, said the 13-year-old girl contacted police on Sunday, alleging that she had been sexually abused in her home the previous night.

Cpl. Aaron Skolfield investigated her complaint, and on Wednesday police arrested Cody Ayer, 19, of Heron Cove Road in Phippsburg. Ayer was taken into custody at a home on Hill Road in West Bath.

Ayer was charged with one count of unlawful sexual contact, a felony, and held on $5,000 cash bail in the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. His court date has been set for March 12.


Report: Jail employees used funds targeted for inmates

A report shows that an account at the Washington County jail meant to benefit inmates was used to buy women’s undergarments and other personal items for employees.

According to a report prepared by a lawyer hired by Sheriff Donnie Smith, more than $7,000 from the Inmate Benefit Account was also used in 2012 to buy computer equipment, books, clothing, and more.

The account is meant to be used for purchases that benefit inmates, including telephone time and items from the commissary.

WABI-TV reports that one employee justified the purchases by saying she needed to dress properly for work, and her work benefited the inmates.

The county commissioners are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the report.

Sheriff Smith says two employees have been suspended.


Man, 27, dies after Jeep crashes into tractor-trailer

State police say a man has died of injuries he suffered in a crash in Palermo.

Police say Dean Camacho, 27, of Waterville died during the night at Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was taken after Wednesday’s accident.

Camacho was a passenger in a Jeep driven by Christian Arsenault, 23, of China. Arsenault lost control of his vehicle on a curve, causing it to slam into an oncoming tractor-trailer early Wednesday morning. Arsenault remains in critical condition at the Portland hospital.

Troopers say speed was the cause of the crash and the snowy weather played no role.


Fatal stabbing in December ruled as case of self-defense

A fatal stabbing last month has been ruled a case of self-defense, and prosecutors have decided not to press charges.

Police say Jeffrey Leblanc, 34, was stabbed once in the abdomen at a home in the early-morning hours of Dec. 29. He was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Police say Leblanc was a guest in the home and assaulted a resident, causing facial injuries. The resident tried to fend off Leblanc, who continued assaulting the person. Finally, the resident stabbed Leblanc.

The case is closed.

Police say Leblanc had been at the hospital just hours before the stabbing, after being seen covered in blood in the street trying to enter homes and moving vehicles. Leblanc left the hospital after refusing treatment.


Court denies appeal of man’s 2002 murder conviction

Maine’s highest court has rejected an appeal from a construction worker who’s serving a 47-year sentence for the 2002 bludgeoning death of a Brunswick teenager.

Olland Reese of Bowdoin was convicted of murder for killing Cody Green, 16, with the blunt end of a hatchet.

The teenage girl was buried behind Reese’s mother’s home, and her body was wrapped in a futon sheet from Reese’s bed.

Reese, 29, sought a new trial based on new DNA evidence.

Reese’s attorney argued that a lower court judge erred by denying his post-conviction motion for a new trial.

On Thursday, the supreme court ruled unanimously that Reese failed to show that the DNA evidence, when included with other evidence, would likely have led a jury to a different conclusion.


Residents donate parcel for conservation area

Residents have donated property to the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust for a trail connecting to the Robinson Woods conservation area.

The easement given by residents Kirk and Nancy St. John Pond “provides a critical link” within a 7.5-mile cross-town trail, the land trust said in a press release.

The new portion of trail will be adjacent to Robinson Woods II, a 64-acre parcel off Shore Road acquired by the land trust in November.

The trail is expected to open in the summer for jogging, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, bicycling and dog-walking.


Man faces charges of having sexually-explicit materials

An Augusta man who spent almost 15 years in prison for gross sexual assault is now facing charges of possessing sexually explicit materials of young children.

Jeffrey Smith pleaded not guilty this week at his arraignment in Kennebec County Superior Court on a charge of possession of sexually explicit materials.

According to the indictment, Smith was in possession of material depicting a child younger than 12 engaging in sexual conduct.

The Kennebec Journal reports that Smith, 46, was ordered held on $1,000 cash bail.

He’s also barred from using a computer and from accessing the Internet.

Smith was convicted in 1994 of gross sexual assault in Androscoggin County Superior Court.