Deaths of 2 people investigated Old Orchard Beach 

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (AP) — Police in a Maine town are investigating two deaths of residents in separate locations. 

The deaths in Old Orchard Beach happened on Oct. 3. Police say the state medical examiner’s officer is conducting toxicology tests stemming from both deaths. The Portland Press Herald reports police Capt. David Hemingway declined to speculate on what caused the deaths. 

The people who died were a 52-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman. Police declined to release the identities of either person. 


Fire chief injured in propane blast leaves hospital 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The fire chief injured in a propane explosion that leveled a building in Farmington, Maine, has been released from the hospital. 

An escort of firetrucks was accompanying Fire Chief Terry Bell as he left Maine Medical Center in Portland and headed home on Tuesday. 

Bell’s brother, Fire Capt. Michael Bell, was killed in the Sept. 16 blast at the LEAP Inc. Building, and eight people were hurt. One firefighter and the building maintenance supervisor remained hospitalized Tuesday in Boston and Portland. 

The building supervisor evacuated the building before the explosion; the blast happened after the supervisor returned with firefighters to investigate. 

Investigators say the entirety of a 400-gallon propane tank had emptied because of a gas line leak, with much of the fuel entering the building’s basement.  


Man pleads guilty in charges stemming from wave of raids 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A man in Maine whose properties were part of a federal raid of more than 20 marijuana sites has pleaded guilty to drug charges. 

The Sun-Journal reports that drug conspiracy charges were among those originally brought against 53-year-old Timothy Veilleux, of Auburn, and his two businesses. 

In exchange for dismissing the conspiracy charges, Veilleux pleaded guilty Monday to maintaining a drug-involved premises on behalf of himself and his businesses. 

The charges came from a federal investigation into a trafficking organization that grew and distributed large quantities of marijuana under the cover of the state’s medical marijuana program. 

Veilleux was one of more than a dozen people indicted by a grand jury in February 2018 as part of the drug bust in Lewiston-Auburn. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 28. 


US Coast Guard is investigating a distress call’s legitimacy 

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the possibility that a distress call about a capsized boat off the coast of southern Maine was a hoax. 

The Coast Guard initiated a 22-hour search on Saturday after a series of short distress calls from a man who claimed he and his three children had capsized 10 nautical miles off the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine. 

In a public statement the Coast Guard suspended the search Sunday after reportedly searching 1,500 square nautical miles. 

The Coast Guard released a recording of the distress call and asked the public to help identify the voice to determine if it was a hoax. 


MPA reconsiders wheelchair athlete in cross-country race 

TURNER, Maine (AP) — The Maine Principals’ Association is reviewing whether there’s a way for a high school athlete to compete with a wheelchair at the state cross-country meet. 

The MPA has softened its position after coming under fire for telling Leavitt High School sophomore Jonathan Schomaker that he can’t compete. The MPA said previously that there are safety concerns with the state championship racecourse — and that the course won’t be altered. 

But Mike Bisson of the MPA said the course in Cumberland was being reviewed Tuesday to see if modifications can be made to accommodate Schomaker. 

Throughout the season, Schomaker has competed alongside runners in a rugged wheelchair. 

He told the Sun Journal that the fight isn’t only for his own chance to race, but for anyone else who comes after him. 


Pest that feasts on broccoli found in Maine for first time 

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Agriculture authorities in Maine say an invasive pest that can damage crops such as cabbage and broccoli has been found in the state for the first time. 

The pest is an insect called the Swede midge. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says Monday the UMaine Cooperative Extension made the discovery and it’s the first confirmed appearance of the midge in Maine. 

The department calls the midge a “serious insect pest” because its larvae feed on the growing tips of plants and disfigure them or prevent their proper growth. It says there have been reports of broccoli damage in some parts of the state stemming from the pest. 

The Swede midge’s native to Europe and Asia and was first found in the U.S. in New York in 2004.