Singer Don McLean decides to pay speeding fine

“American Pie” singer Don McLean has paid a $400 fine for driving his Chrysler too fast through a school zone in Maine.

McLean, 67, contested the charge in September, saying the warning lights weren’t flashing, and he requested a trial.

During a 40-minute proceeding in Rockland District Court on Thursday, police said the lights were flashing at the time.

Judge Patricia Worth found McLean had been speeding in a school zone in Rockport, but lowered what would be a $515 fine if not contested to $400.

McLean, who lives in nearby Camden, immediately paid up.

McLean exploded into popularity with his 1971 “American Pie” hit about the “day the music died,” a reference to the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.


Emergency medical call leads to drug investigation

State troopers say they found drugs and drug paraphernalia in a home after responding to a medical call Tuesday.

Trooper Aaron Turcotte went to the home after receiving a call around 2 p.m. from one of the occupants who said there was a medical emergency in the small Franklin County plantation 30 miles south of the Canadian border.

After arriving at the home, Turcotte reported seeing drug-related items.

Using a warrant, state troopers later found more than 3 pounds of marijuana, 1 ounce of powdered ecstasy, LSD, materials used for manufacturing LSD and several other prescription medications during a search of the apartment.

Acting Lt. Aaron Hayden said three adult men rent the building. No one was arrested and no charges have been filed yet, he said, and the case is still under investigation.


Man admits stealing 19 guns, gets 27 months in prison

A New Sharon man was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 27 months in prison for possessing 19 stolen firearms.

Roger Briscoe, 34, broke into a home in Jay on Jan. 26, 2012, and made off with the guns, including six semi-automatic rifles, five semi-automatic pistols and numerous shotguns, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor.

Most of the firearms were recovered within 24 hours from Briscoe’s home during the execution of a state search warrant by the Jay Police Department.

Briscoe pleaded guilty to the charge in October. He was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court by Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr.

Briscoe also was ordered to serve three years of supervised release once he is released.


Three residents treated after fire destroys house

The fire chief in Paris says three people suffering from smoke inhalation were taken to the hospital after a house fire in town.

Chief Brad Frost said the blaze on Durgin Road was reported at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

He told WMTW-TV that five people were in home at the time. Three were taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, treated and released.

Frost said it took about an hour for firefighters from several departments to get the blaze under control.

The cause remains under investigation but Frost says the house was destroyed.


State’s businesses warned to be wary of solicitations

Maine’s Secretary of State’s Office is warning corporations to be wary of solicitations urging them to file certain information and send $125 payments.

The state says it has received calls regarding the legitimacy of solicitations mailed to numerous Maine corporations from a company named Corporate Records Service.

The solicitations look real because they cite statutes regarding corporate records and annual meetings. But officials say some of the information being requested is not required by the secretary of state. Any official notice received from the secretary’s office will contain the Maine state seal, the secretary of state’s name, and contact information.


Cutler man pleads guilty for claiming VA benefits

A man from Washington County faces sentencing after pleading guilty to receiving Veterans Affairs disability benefits to which he wasn’t entitled.

Richard Ramsdell Jr., 38, of Cutler entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Prosecutors say Ramsdell obtained more than $200,000 in VA benefits by falsely claiming to be unemployed and unable to work because of his back and mental condition.

Court records show that Ramsdell in fact was working for a wreath manufacturer and as a fisherman and painter.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and full restitution.


Belgrade man charged for passing counterfeit bills

Police have tracked down a Belgrade man who they say spent thousands of dollars of counterfeit cash in the Waterville area in the past few weeks.

Jeremy McCaslin was charged this week with aggravated forgery for allegedly printing and spending phony bills.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey says his department started getting calls Jan. 17 from businesses that had received fake bills. Investigators caught up with the 37-year-old McCaslin on Monday when a cab driver told police that someone had paid a fare with counterfeit money. They later pulled over McCaslin’s car, and found two printers and some sheets of fake money that had not been cut.

Massey said McCaslin told police he was a drug addict who used the fake money to pay his dealers.


False report of distress flare costs ex-Guardsman $5,000

A federal judge has ordered a former U.S. Coast Guardsman to pay nearly $5,000 in restitution for calling in a hoax report of a distress flare being sighted off the Maine coast.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland said Shane Coxon, 24, was sentenced last Friday in federal court in Washington state to the 31/2 months he had already served while also ordering him to pay for the costs of a Coast Guard search following the false report.

Court records show that Coxon was stationed at the Coast Guard base in South Portland in July 2010 when he called the guard’s command center, provided a false name and reported a flare sighting off of Old Orchard Beach. A flare is a universally recognized marine distress signal.


Land trust gets boost from charitable trust

Downeast Lakes Land Trust has received a three-year, $285,000 grant from the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust to expand its education programs.

Downeast owns and manages a 33,708-acre community forest and is raising funds to acquire an adjacent 21,870-acre parcel, said executive director Mark Berry.

“We’re thrilled that the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust is supporting this important work,” he said. The grant will allow the trust to add a professional staff person in communications and media relations to help expand the groups programs.

The land trust’s education programs include a summer youth-focused “Explorations and Adventures” program on Tuesday mornings and a year-round “History and Heritage” series workshops and classes.