Police warn public about dangerously potent heroin

Police say dangerously potent heroin that has hit the streets of Portland has caused numerous overdoses in the past two months, two of them fatal.

Police issued the warning Friday and asked the public to help them determine the source of the exceptionally strong batch of the drug.

Two Portland men have died and 11 people have needed life-saving medical treatment for overdoses since Dec. 1.

Police note that heroin is never safe, but when doses are more potent than people anticipate, it can have deadly consequences.

Police ask that anyone with information call 874-8533 or submit an anonymous tip — text “GOTCHA” plus the message to 274637 (CRIMES) — or submit a tip through the Portland Police Department’s website.

Anyone who suspects that a person has overdosed on heroin should call 911 immediately, police said. 

King uses Skype to meet with Shipyard employees

U.S. Sen. Angus King is trying to meet face-to-face with his Maine constituents, even when he’s not in the state.

King on Thursday used Skype to talk to Shipyard Brewing Co. employees while he was at the U.S. Capitol in Washington and they were gathering for their annual employee meeting in Portland. It was first time King used the video-chat Internet service to meet with constituents since taking office early last month.

During the session, King spoke with Shipyard Brewing president Fred Forsley and sales director Bruce Forsley and congratulated them on the company’s continued growth.

A King spokesman said King plans to meet with students in Maine schools via Skype monthly beginning in March.


Woods files paperwork, officially runs for governor

Democrat Steve Woods, who announced in November that he intends to run for governor in 2014, has filed paperwork with the Maine ethics commission to make it official.

The Town Council chairman and entrepreneur from Yarmouth said he plans to spend a few months traveling the state to listen to people’s concerns during an “exploratory period.”

Woods is returning to the Democratic Party after an independent bid for U.S. Senate. Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said he welcomes Woods’ enthusiasm.

Other Democrats including former Gov. John Baldacci are considering seeking the party nomination. Independent Eliot Cutler also has said he’s running for governor.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has set up a re-election committee but there’s been no official announcement on whether he plans to run for a second term.


Police charge Winthrop man with threat to roommates

Police have arrested a man who allegedly threatened to kill his roommates with a machete.

Winthrop Police Chief Joseph Young said officers responded to a 911 call from people in Nicolas Rolling’s home saying they were being held hostage Friday morning. Young said Rolling allegedly swung the machete at one of his two roommates, whom he accused of stealing his money.

Rolling was charged with terrorizing with a dangerous weapon and criminal restraint with a dangerous weapon. He was being held at the Kennebec County jail.

There was no indication whether he had an attorney.


Police investigate fuel thefts from homes, church tank

Police are investigating three heating fuel thefts in the past few days.

Chief Ernest Steward Jr. said two homes and a church have been hit.

While just five and 10 gallons of oil were stolen from the homes, about 100 gallons of kerosene were siphoned from an outside tank from the church. Kerosene sells for more than $4 per gallon.

The theft was reported by a delivery person who noticed a fuel stain in the snow.

Steward said all three incidents are under investigation. It is unclear whether they are related.

The Sun Journal said no surrounding towns have reported fuel thefts. 

Rockland man’s recipe wins pre-Super Bowl cook-off

A Rockland man’s spicy chicken wing recipe won a pre-Super Bowl cook-off Friday morning on NBC’s “Today” show.

Malcolm Bedell’s Apricot-Shellacked Ghost Chili Chicken Wings were the judge’s favorite in a three-way contest.

Bedell and his wife, Jillian, are self-described foodies who produce a blog, “From Away: Cooking & Eating in Maine.”


College ties curriculum to climate change mitigation

Unity College says it has become the nation’s first college or university to tie every aspect of its curriculum to the mitigation of global climate change.

The college has focused on climate change as an imperative since the arrival of President Stephen Mulkey in 2011.

It says it now integrates “sustainability science” into everything it teaches, so students learn how to mitigate climate change and think about environmental problem-solving no matter which classes they take.

Unity College is a private four-year environmental college in the central Maine town of Unity.


Lewiston woman enters plea to embezzling from club

A Lewiston woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling almost $14,000 from a youth gymnastics organization where she volunteered as treasurer of the boosters club.

Lisa Tanguay was given two years to repay the $13,664.68 she stole from the Andy Valley Gymnastics Parents Association after pleading guilty to felony theft Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

The Sun Journal reported that if she repays the money and complies with other conditions of her plea agreement, including steering clear of the law, she’ll be able to withdraw the felony plea and plead guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge.

Tanguay, 46, told police she took the money with the intention of repaying it because she was experiencing some hard times and feared losing her house.


Second suspect under arrest in local pharmacy robbery

Police have made a second arrest in connection with a pharmacy robbery in Augusta last month.

Local police and FBI agents arrested Stephanie McCormick, 22, on Thursday at her apartment in Augusta.

Police told the Kennebec Journal that McCormick wrote the robbery note and rode in the getaway car after the robbery Jan. 22. She’s charged with interference with commerce by robbery.

Police had already arrested Anthony Post, 19, of Auburn, alleging he passed a note to a CVS pharmacy technician demanding drugs. The note said: “Quickly & Calmly put All oxycodone in bag If not I have a gun & will start shooting No Scene!”

Post was arrested two days later after his mother recognized him in surveillance video. McCormick was held without bail. 

Maine getting $500,000 from mortgage settlement

Maine will receive $500,000 as part of the $121 million multistate settlement in a mortgage robo-signing case.

Attorney General Janet Mills said Thursday that her office reached a settlement against Lender Processing Services Inc. and its subsidiaries, LPS Default Solutions and DocX.

The proposed judgment, which involves 45 states and the District of Columbia, resolves allegations that the Jacksonville-based company “robo-signed” documents and engaged in other improper conduct in mortgage loan default servicing.

Thursday’s judgment, filed in Kennebec County Superior Court, prohibits LPS from using “robo-signers” and improper notarizations. It also requires the company to review and correct all the documents it processed from 2008 to 2010 at the height of the foreclosure crisis.

Funds from the settlement will be used to support housing counselors to help Maine homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

Jury awards Maine woman $525,000 in crash lawsuit

A jury has awarded a northern Maine woman $525,000 in her lawsuit against an insurance company that disputed her claims that she injured her back in a car accident.

Berman and Simmons law firm said a Kennebec County Superior Court jury awarded the money to Lynne Porter, 56, of Patten on Thursday.

Berman and Simmons said Porter was hurt in January 2009 when her pickup truck was rear-ended in Houlton when she stopped suddenly to avoid hitting another car that ran a stop sign and drove into her path.

Porter sued State Farm Insurance Co. after the company disputed that her injuries, which eventually caused her to become permanently disabled from work, were connected to the accident.

State Farm didn’t immediately return a call for comment.