Gray suspect charged with burning down mobile home

The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office has arrested a Gray man who investigators allege burned down a mobile home he was evicted from last month.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said 50-year-old Paul Michael Barry was charged Thursday with arson and burglary.

Barry is accused of setting fire to the home on Route 26 in Gray about 2 a.m. Thursday. Barry returned to the scene of the fire later that morning smelling of gasoline. He was arrested after being interviewed by investigators.

Barry had been evicted from the home on Dec. 1 and had been living elsewhere in Gray with a friend. The mobile home was owned by a former friend of Barry’s. Barry is being held at Cumberland County Jail in Portland without bail.



Lawmakers vote to override LePage veto of smoking bill

Maine lawmakers have voted to override Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill aimed at helping Mainers get treatment to quit smoking.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 131-10 in support of the bill that provides coverage of costs for tobacco-cessation treatment for Medicaid clients.

In his veto letter, LePage said the bill eliminates cost sharing and co-pays for Medicaid, or MaineCare, members, which he says are an “essential component of maintaining fiscal responsibility” in the program.

Supporters say more than 40 percent of people in the Medicaid program smoke and that the bill will save taxpayer dollars as fewer people will need treatment for tobacco-related illnesses. The Senate will now consider the measure.


Letters from jail inmate bring nine-month sentence

The 16 letters from the inmate were addressed to his 1-year-old daughter. However, the message was for her mom: Don’t talk to the district attorney and don’t provide a contact phone number. If the district attorney can’t find you, charges against me will be dismissed.

Those letters cost Robert Vincent Johnson, 30, of the Madison/Skowhegan area, nine months in jail, which he will serve following a nine-month sentence for violating probation.

Johnson on Tuesday pleaded guilty in Waterville District Court to a charge of tampering with a victim and violating conditions of release as well as a charge of domestic violence assault stemming from an incident May 15.

Assistant District Attorney Kate Marshall argued that Johnson’s letters, sent from jail May 16 through July 17, 2013, were attempts to get the victim to withhold information, according to documents filed in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Lisa Whittier, Johnson’s attorney, said Wednesday that Johnson told the judge Tuesday he was remorseful and would learn from his experience. “He said he was very ashamed of the way he behaved as a man and a father,” Whittier said.


Johnson has been held in Kennebec County jail since May 15.


Summertime air show canceled for this year

Organizers of a summer air show in Portsmouth, N.H., say the show is off for this year because organizers experienced difficulty getting a major jet demonstration team to headline it. The Service Credit Union-Boston Portsmouth Air Show was to be held at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.

Last year, U.S. military officials announced all remaining air shows in 2013 involving military demonstration teams had been canceled because of federal budget cuts. That affected the Navy’s Blue Angels, the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Army’s parachute team. Ron Snow, air show associate director, said the demonstration teams are essentially spending this year catching up on shows missed in 2013.



Maine Marine Patrol gets new replacement vessel

The Maine Marine Patrol has a new boat.

The law enforcement agency christened the Dirigo II on Wednesday. Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said the 38-foot boat will be one of the Marine Patrol’s “major tools” to enforce boating and commercial fishing rules and regulations.

The $400,000 Dirigo II replaces a vessel that was struck by lightning last summer while unoccupied.


Police Lt. Roberts named winner of Ganley Award


Police Lt. Janine Roberts has been named the winner of the city’s 2013 Robert B. Ganley Award.

Roberts was chosen because of her 28 years on the police force and efforts on community-based initiatives, partnerships and collaborations, the city said. She has been a training officer, evidence technician, crisis negotiator and Homeland Security coordinator, as well as working with more than a dozen charitable organizations and events. She has more than 120 letters of appreciation in her file and was named the Maine American Legion’s Officer of the Year in 2009.

The award is given to a city employee who “best exemplifies the dedication, knowledge, and passion for municipal public service” which characterized Ganley’s life. Ganley served for 14 years as Portland’s city manager and died in 2000. Roberts will be presented with the award at a ceremony on Jan. 30.


Rollinsford to send students to Marshwood schools

Some children in a New Hampshire town will soon start attending school in Maine.

Officials in Rollinsford, N.H., have reached an agreement to send students to Marshwood middle and high schools, which serve the Maine towns of Eliot and South Berwick, next year.

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