Search of woods fails to find teen missing since Tuesday

Police say they need the public’s help in finding a Mount Ararat High School student who was last seen by his father late Tuesday night.

Sgt. Mark Gilliam said Matthew Plutchak, 16, indicated that he was going to camp out in the woods behind his home on Parliament Circle. When the teenager did not return to his home on Wednesday, Topsham police and state game wardens searched those woods and hiking trails without any success.

Some of those trails are long, extending into the nearby Highland Greens retirement community.

Gilliam said his department continues to follow up on leads and urges anyone with information to call the Topsham Police Department at 725-4337.


Auction of paper machine signals end of era at mill

The sale of a paper machine and other equipment from the Great Northern Paper mill in Millinocket likely signals the end of papermaking at the plant.

WABI-TV reported Wednesday that the No. 11 paper machine is among equipment that is going on the auction block next month.

The auction is set for June 19.

Cate Street Capital bought it, along with the East Millinocket facility, more than two years ago. It says it can’t find a partner to restart the mill, which is the older of the two.

Cate Street says the company still plans to move forward with a $140 million wood pellet plant at the Millinocket site called Thermogen Industries.


Police will look for woman last heard from in 2004

State and local police plan to search the land behind a home in Eastport on Thursday looking for clues into the whereabouts of a local woman, who hasn’t been seen for a decade.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said that Marilyn Lehan, 59, lived in Eastport with her husband, Brian, from 2002 to 2004.

Family members said she may have moved away in 2004. She has not been heard from since then.

McCausland said teams of police dogs will begin searching 14 acres behind her former home on Clark Street. The home is now owned by another family.

Lehan and her husband moved to Eastport in 2002 after buying the home. It was foreclosed on and her husband has since moved to California. Her family has made repeated attempts to find her. They told police it was not uncommon for Lehan to remain out of contact with them for long periods.

Last summer, her family officially reported her missing to Eastport police, who investigated with no success, finally calling on state police for assistance.

Lehan is 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts should call state police Detective Micah Perkins at (800) 432-7381.


Jury fails to reach verdict yet in men’s murder trial

A jury went home Wednesday without a verdict in the case of two men charged in the drug-related killings of three people whose bodies were discovered in a burning car in Bangor in 2012.

Jurors began deliberations in the trial of Randall Daluz of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Sexton of Warwick, Rhode Island, who face three counts of murder and one of arson. They are scheduled to reconvene Thursday.

Both men were tried before the same jury in a trial that opened May 1.

Sexton told jurors Daluz shot the victims. Daluz didn’t testify.

Sexton’s attorney called for a mistrial on Wednesday but was denied.

The victims were Nicolle Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; Daniel Borders, 26, of Hermon; and Lucas Tuscano, 28, of Bradford.


Longtime prison guard named director of security

Longtime Maine prison guard Gary LaPlante is the new director of security for the Maine Department of Corrections.

The department announced LaPlante’s appointment Wednesday.

LaPlante became a guard at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston more than 25 years ago and has served as a sergeant, correctional investigator and correctional captain in the prison system. He has also held administrative positions at the Maine Correctional Center and the corrections department’s central office.

He holds an associate degree in criminal justice from the University of Maine at Augusta.

Maine Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick said in a statement that LaPlante has been “instrumental” in implementing several processes in the corrections department, including K-9 and mapping programs.

Attorney general warns businesses of phone scam

Maine’s attorney general says businesses should be aware that callers claiming to be from the state’s Office of Tourism are likely part of a phone scam.

Attorney General Janet Mills said callers are claiming to sell advertisements in a publication for the office and are seeking a cash payment over the phone. She said the calls are not legitimate.

Mills said consumers should always be leery of calls that pressure them to make an immediate upfront payment. She also said to never give personal or credit card information out over the phone if you didn’t make the call.

In particular, a call asking for a payment via money order or prepaid debit card is likely a sign that it’s a scam.


Man gets probation for theft of mileage reimbursements

A Poland man has been sentenced to three years of probation, six months of which must be served in home confinement, for stealing about $10,000 in mileage reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Steven Chartier was also ordered to pay restitution at sentencing in federal court this week. He pleaded guilty in September.

Federal prosecutors say Chartier, 58, claimed travel benefits for more than 64 trips of 260 miles between Limestone and the Togus VA Medical Center near Augusta for medical treatment. In fact, he lived in Poland, which is about a 40-mile trip.

Chartier was eligible for travel benefits because he was 70 percent disabled by back and leg conditions and used a wheelchair.


Professor given fellowship that will take him to Ecuador

University of Maine at Farmington professor Chris Brinegar has been awarded a Fulbright teaching and research fellowship that will take him to Ecuador in June.

The university announced Wednesday that Brinegar, an adjunct associate professor in the university’s natural sciences division, will be a visiting professor at the Technical University of Loja, a Catholic university in the Andes Mountains of southern Ecuador.

Brinegar will teach conservation genetics. The university said Brinegar will conduct research on the population genetics of two threatened tree species, cinchona and nogal.

Brinegar began teaching ecology, environmental science and biochemistry at the university in 2006. This is his second Fulbright fellowship.