Husband charged with arson after wife departs

A Lisbon man whose wife had left home with many of her belongings set fire to the rest of them and the blaze quickly spread throughout the house, police said Monday.

Michael D. Hersom, 41, was charged with arson in connection with the house fire Sunday morning. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The fire heavily damaged his home at 12 Huston St. in Lisbon Falls, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Hersom was released from jail last month after serving time for aggravated drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and drunken driving with two prior convictions.


He and his wife got into an argument Sunday, police said.

After she left, he set fire to the remainder of her belongings in the bedroom, police said.


Driver in double-fatality had suspended license

Maine State Police said the wrong-way driver who caused the fatal crash on Interstate 95 in Hampden on Sunday night was driving with a suspended license.

Richard Holden, 55, of Carmel, had lived in recent years in Baltimore and his driver’s licenses were suspended in both states, likely for convictions in Maryland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said.


The crash killed Holden and James Curtis, 39, of Knox.

As required by law, police are conducting blood-alcohol tests as they continue to investigate why Holden turned around his sport utility vehicle in the southbound lane about 7 p.m., and then traveled about a mile in the wrong direction before colliding with a pickup truck driven by Curtis. The crash took place outside of Bangor near the Hampden-Newburgh town line.


Noted N.Y. author to speak on local preservation

Morrison H. Heckscher, chairman of the American Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be in Portland on Wednesday to talk about the preservation movement in New York and its similarities to the movement in Portland.

His talk, titled “The Preservation Movement in New York City: Parallels with Portland, Maine,” will help Greater Portland Landmarks celebrate its 50th anniversary. Heckscher will compare the plans of the two cities, including their Olmsted parks, and focus on the 1960s and the beginnings of preservation.


The talk begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at First Parish Portland, Unitarian Universalist, 425 Congress St. Tickets cost $15, or $5 for students. A reception will follow, and tickets for the reception are available in advance at or by calling 774-5561.

The author of “Creating Central Park” and an alumnus of Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, Heckscher has ties to Maine and a broad perspective on regional attitudes toward preservation.


Poet, son paying homage to their late literary heroes

A Maine poet and filmmaker is headed west with a goal of visiting more than 80 poets’ graves over the next two months.

Walter Skold, a 53-year-old former middle school computer teacher, left over the weekend with his son on a trip that will bring them to grave sites in 11 western states and lift his total number of graves visited to 400. The pair began the campaign Sunday with a reading at a cemetery in Beverly, Mass., where poet Martin Jack Rosenblum is buried.


Skold’s ultimate goal is to document 500 dead poets’ graves in all corners of the country. He will travel as far as California in a Dodge Sprinter he calls “the Poemobile.” D.H. Lawrence, Denise Levertov and Charles Bukowski are among the bigger names on the tour.

AugustaLawmakers endorse plan to evaluate teachers

Maine lawmakers have endorsed proposed guidelines for local school districts to create teacher evaluation systems.

They were written in response to a state law passed in 2012 that requires school districts to develop and implement teacher evaluation systems based on such criteria as student growth.

The Democratic-led House voted 118-20 on Monday in support of the rules developed by the Department of Education. The Senate backed the rules last week.

Among other things, the rules state that multiple measures of student growth must be used to evaluate teachers, not only standardized tests.


The department introduced the rules last year, but they failed to get two-thirds support of lawmakers and were reintroduced this session.

The bill faces final votes in both chambers.

Senate rejects LePage’s welfare-reduction idea

Maine lawmakers have rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to reduce the amount of money the state refunds some cities to run their welfare programs.

The Senate voted 22-12 on Monday to kill the bill introduced by the Republican governor. It failed in the House last week.

The bill would have standardized the reimbursement rate at 50 percent across all cities for general assistance, the all-purpose welfare program run by cities and towns. Some cities, like Portland and Bangor, currently get reimbursed for 90 percent of the costs if they reach a certain threshold.


The LePage administration says the amount the state pays municipalities is unsustainable. The administration estimated that the measure could save Maine $3.7 million. But critics said it would merely have shifted that cost onto property taxpayers.


Man charged with multiple sex crimes against boys

A former Chesterville man is charged with sexually assaulting four Franklin County children on multiple occasions in recent years.

Police said Jonathan Clark, 28, of Lovell in Oxford County, confessed last week to police to sexually assaulting four boys multiple times over the past two years, including assaulting one of the victims “approximately 20 or 30 times,” according to Franklin County court documents.

The victims were between 5 and 14 years old, according to an affidavit by Det. Herbert Leighton of the state police.

The documents detailed grooming behavior in which Clark reportedly gave one victim a laptop and “would often spend money on the children by taking them out” over the course of the abuse.

Clark is charged with six counts of Class A gross sexual assault, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. He is also charged with one count of Class C sexual abuse of a minor, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

His next scheduled court appearance is 8:30 a.m., May 7. Clark couldn’t make bail, which was set Monday by Judge Susan Oram at $200,000 with the restriction that no third party post bail on his behalf.

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