Keeping state park closed ‘defies logic,’ LePage says

The LePage administration says a federal agency’s refusal to allow Cobscook Bay State Park to reopen despite the government’s shutdown “defies logic and common sense” and is punitive.

The Down East state park is operated with state money under an agreement between Maine and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But even though the park is run and paid for by the state, it’s on land in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and the Fish and Wildlife Service said refuge land will stay closed.

The Obama administration said this week that states could reopen national parks if they paid for operations, but that ruling apparently doesn’t apply to refuge land and on Friday an official with the service told the state it can’t reopen Cobscook Bay State Park.

Other state parks are unaffected by the decision and remain open, state officials said.

“This is the type of punitive, arbitrary decision that defies logic and common sense,” LePage said in a release Friday night.

Walt Whitcomb, the commissioner of agriculture, conservation and forestry, said the decision was made for political reasons, although his statement didn’t spell out what those political reasons are.


Autopsy says woman was pregnant, fatally stabbed

The Maine state Medical Examiner’s Office says the autopsy of an Old Town woman shows she died of multiple stab wounds and confirms that she was pregnant.

Police said 35-year-old April Haskell was fatally stabbed by her boyfriend on Wednesday night. A state trooper responded to the couple’s apartment and shot and killed the boyfriend, identified as 28-year-old Christopher Ouellette.

An autopsy Thursday determined that Ouellette died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

The couple had children ages 2 and 4. They were in the apartment, but unharmed.

Police say the couple had been together about six years and Haskell was a housekeeper at a Bangor hotel.

The trooper who shot Ouellette, 15-year veteran Barry Meserve, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.


Police investigating death of tot found in father’s bed

Maine State Police are investigating the death of a baby boy in Fairfield.

State police spokesman Steve McCausland said 51/2-month-old Liam Clifton was found dead in his father’s bed Friday morning.

Police said officers were called to the Fairfield home where the baby lived with his parents, Kayla Clifton and Eric Bacheller, around 10:30 a.m.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to perform an autopsy this weekend. It is protocol for police to investigate the deaths of children under the age of 3.


Hampden sergeant’s use of deadly force justified

A police sergeant was legally justified in using deadly force to protect himself during an armed confrontation that left a Hampden man dead, the state’s attorney general said Friday.

Attorney General Janet Mills said in a report that Hampden Police Department Sgt. Christian Bailey reasonably believed that deadly force was being threatened against him at the home of Cameron Arrigoni in June.

Bailey and another officer entered Arrigoni’s home after responding to a 911 call from his girlfriend, Mills’ report said.

Bailey yelled “Police!” and entered the home’s second-floor bedroom, and Arrigoni pointed a handgun at him, Mills said. That’s when Bailey shot Arrigoni, who later was pronounced dead at a Bangor hospital.

An autopsy determined that Arrigoni, 21, died from gunshot wounds to his head and upper torso.

Per protocol, Bailey was placed on administrative leave after the shooting pending the investigation by the attorney general’s office.


Superintendent will retire after 34 years in education

Falmouth Superintendent Barbara Powers will retire June 30, the district said Friday. Falmouth School Board Chair Andrew Kinley lauded the work of the longtime educator, who served the district for 16 years, including six as principal of the Plummer-Motz School, five as assistant superintendent and five as superintendent.

Powers said after nearly 34 years in education spent largely in administration, she is looking forward to a break from her career’s whirlwind pace. “I feel like I’ve been going about 150 miles per hour since about 1980,” said Powers, 63, in an interview. “I could see maybe down the road some part-time work, some consulting, some volunteer work. I’d like to have some options that I don’t have now.”

Powers said she looks forward to spending some time with her husband and grandchildren.

Kinley said he would direct the school board to initiate a search for a new superintendent, setting a March 2014 deadline to find her replacement. Board member Analiese Larson will lead the search, and through a public process determine the district’s goals and criteria for Powers’ successor.

Four Maine teachers join finalists for national honor

Teachers from Westbrook and Windham high schools are among four state finalists for a national education award in math and science.

Amy Troiano, a biology teacher and science department chair in Westbrook, and Lisa McLellan, a chemistry and physics teacher in Windham, are up for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science, according to a news release from the Maine Department of Education.

The other state finalists are Robin Kennedy, a science teacher at Sebasticook Valley Middle School in Newport, and William O’Brien, a math teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School.

Two teachers from each state will receive the award, given by the National Science Foundation, along with $10,000.

The winners will be recognized in the spring in Washington, D.C.

Cheese makers will open doors to public Sunday

Artisanal cheese makers around Maine are opening their doors to the public.

The Maine Cheese Guild’s annual Open Creamery Day takes place Sunday, giving people a chance to talk with cheese makers, meet their animals and learn the stories behind the 150 artisanal cheeses that are made in Maine. In all, a dozen or more cheese makers are participating.

Jeff Roberts of the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese said the number of artisanal cheese makers in Maine has grown from about 25 to 75 since 2006, making it the fastest-growing artisanal cheese-making state. He said only New York has more artisanal cheese makers.

For more information on Open Creamery Day, go to

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