Woman burned at house was trying to put out fire

Investigators say a woman who suffered life-threatening burns in a house fire Sunday apparently tried to put the fire out herself.

Julia Ball, 56, was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to a hospital in Boston with burns on 75 percent to 80 percent of her body, fire officials said. Her condition was not immediately available.

Sgt. Joel Davis, of the state Fire Marshal’s Office, said the fire may have been caused by smoking materials that ignited a living room couch.

Ball, who owns the house at 250 Burnside Ave., may have fallen asleep while smoking or left the room after ashes fell into the couch, he said. Investigators have not been able to interview her.

Ball called her sister to say the house was on fire just before noon, Davis said. Her sister had someone else call the Fire Department while she responded. She found Ball outside the apartment on fire and extinguished it, Davis said.

He said extinguishers at the house had not been discharged and investigators do not know how Ball was trying to put out the fire.

The living room was extensively damaged but the Fire Department saved the house, Davis said.


Marine business negotiates for lease at Maine State Pier

Another marine business is looking to lease space at the Maine State Pier.

Portland Economic Development Director Greg Mitchell could not provide details about the business or lease, because it is subject to ongoing negotiations.

“It’s a new business to Portland,” Mitchell said.

He said the business wants to lease 10,000 square feet of space, with an option to expand. The business would not affect Ready Seafood Co., which now leases space on the city-owned pier.

The City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee will meet Wednesday in closed session to discuss the proposal.


Man who fled police during storm found dead in woods

Police say a man who fled after officers were called to investigate a domestic disturbance was found dead the next day in snowy woods in Waldoboro.

A police officer who wanted to question Frank Leathers tried to follow tracks left in the snow, but stopped because of the heavy snowfall Saturday evening. More police and the fire chief continued the search, but called it off after midnight.

Searchers assisted by a game warden found Leathers dead the following morning after the snow had stopped and skies had cleared. WLBZ-TV reported that police believe the death is not suspicious.


Man sent to prison for lying to receive federal benefits

A Maine man is going to prison for lying to the Social Security Administration so he could fraudulently receive benefits.

Anthony Dinsmore, 51, of Columbia Falls was found guilty in March of theft of Supplemental Security Income benefits. U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II announced Monday that federal Judge John Woodcock sentenced Dinsmore to two years, three months in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $20,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said Dinsmore lied to the Social Security Administration by falsely claiming he was living alone when in fact he was living with his wife, who was receiving income that would have made him ineligible for Supplemental Security income.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said evidence showed that Dinsmore stole more than $90,000 from the federal government over a period of 15 years.


Blaine House kitchen funds are often spent on visitors

Gov. Paul LePage is taking exception with the portrayal of Blaine House kitchen spending in a newspaper story noting that taxpayers footed the bill for $32,000 worth of food last year.

Responding to an article last week in the Portland Press Herald, Lynn Harvey, director of the Blaine House, wants people to know the governor isn’t living large.

Harvey said LePage hosts dinners for military families, potential state investors and others. Last week, 70 to 80 people who help military families attended a Blaine House tea. Private groups are sometimes asked to help defray the cost.

She said LePage views the Blaine House not as the governor’s mansion but as the “people’s house,” with more than 6,000 people coming through last year.

There’s no love lost between LePage and newspaper reporters. He has repeatedly attacked newspaper coverage of his administration as biased.


Oxford Casino looks to hire cards and table game staff

The Oxford Casino is looking for people who are interested in becoming blackjack dealers and running roulette, craps and other casino table games.

The casino is holding a recruitment event at Lewiston’s Career Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday in hopes of getting a large number of applicants interested in becoming card dealers and table game operators.

Casino officials said they’re hoping to attract 75 people to attend the casino’s six-week training classes in anticipation of a busy summer season. The casino said it will consider people interested in working either full time or part time.


Two communities to get sustainable growth help

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says two communities in Maine will receive technical assistance to pursue sustainable growth that encourages local economic development while safeguarding people’s health and the environment.

Portland and Brunswick are among 43 communities in 27 states across the country chosen to receive the assistance through the EPA’s Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

EPA staff and national experts will conduct one- or two-day workshops focusing on the specific sustainability goal each community chose in their initial application to EPA.

Some of the tools offered this year include projects called a Green Building Toolkit, Land Use Strategies to Protect Water Quality, and Using Smart Growth to Produce Economic and Fiscal Health.