Central Maine News: January 29, 2016
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) -- The Governor's Energy Office says the average statewide cash price for heating oil in Maine is down another 3 cents from a week ago. The statewide average is $1.74 per gallon. Kerosene was also down 5 cents to $2.33 per gallon and propane fell 3 cents to $2.19 per gallon. The highest average price for heating oil in Maine was $1.88 per gallon in northern Maine. The lowest average price was $1.68 per gallon in western Maine. The highest heating oil price found in Maine was $2 per gallon in the central part of the state. The average price for kerosene topped out at $2.46 per gallon in southwestern Maine while the average propane price rose as high as $2.36 in northern Maine.
(AP) -- A 40-year-old man has been found not guilty of throwing his 3-month-old son down a flight of stairs inside his Wayne home. William Lord was cleared Wednesday by a Kennebec County jury on charges of aggravated assault and domestic violence assault on a child less than 6 years old. Lord's attorney, Robert Ruffner, successfully argued that the jury couldn't believe the testimony of the child's mother because she was out to hurt his client. The jury agreed with Ruffner's assessment that the physical evidence contradicted Ericka Melanson's side of the story. The boy was hospitalized with a skull fracture on Oct. 19, 2014. Ruffner contended that the child would've suffered "more significant injuries" if he was actually thrown down the stairs.
(KJ) -- Three suspected drug dealers are in jail, nearly $32,000 in cash is seized and a 2-year-old child is placed in state custody after police late Wednesday searched an apartment at 24 Elm St., a building known as “the beehive.” Police suspected drugs were being sold from apartment and detectives had been watching it for several weeks. According to the KJ, detectives had bought cocaine and crystal methamphetamine from the apartment’s occupants and police had obtained a search warrant for the address. Authorities had not executed the warrant when police were sent there around 11 p.m. Wednesday to deal with a report of a possible drug overdose. Officials do expect more arrests.
(AP) -- The union president at Madison Paper Industries says the mill has cut back on production two days per week in a move that will mean less money for workers. The mill has operated 24 hours per day, seven days per week, but is now in its second week of operating on a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. The the move is expected to be temporary but it could last for months. Madison Paper president Russ Drechsel has declined to comment. The news comes as Verso Paper Corp. has filed for bankruptcy after citing declining demand for paper.
(WGME) – Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is looking for the person seen in a video abandoning a dog and taking off. Surveillance cameras from the shelter captured the driver opening up the back of the van and the dog jumping out. According to WGME the driver then gets back in the van and drives off with the dog trying to chase it down. Volunteers say they saw the dog as they were leaving that night, but it ran off. They looked all week, but when they found the dog, it was too late. The dog was hit by a car and died. If the dog had been surrounded in a proper way and odds are it would have found a new home. Whoever abandoned the dog could face animal abandonment charges. Any one with information is asked to call the Lewiston Police Department @ 513-3111 .
(KJ) -- A pair of war plaques honoring Cony High School students that were unveiled last month are now on display. The job was done by students at the Capital Area Technical Center. The large plaques, honoring Cony students who died in World Wars I and II, were hung Tuesday in the high school’s food court after students in the technical center’s machine and welding program crafted brackets to hold them. The plaques, which had been on display at the old Cony’s old building had been stored in a closet since the school moved into the new building.
(AP) — "When you're treated badly, you have to stick up for your rights." That's what Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told the crowd at a Thursday night rally in Iowa. Trump boycotted the last GOP presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses because of a feud with debate host Fox News. Trump told students and veterans who gathered in an auditorium at Drake University that he would have preferred to be at the debate but felt he had little choice. Trump's absence from Thursday night's debate put the spotlight on rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who needs a strong showing in Iowa in order to stay in the top tier of candidates.
(AP) — The Obama administration is expanding a data collection program aimed at ferreting out abuses of equal pay laws. The new proposal will cover all businesses with 100 or more employees, regardless of whether they contract with the government. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will collect the data.
(AP) — Last weekend's blizzard is officially the fourth most powerful snowstorm to hit the Northeast in more than 60 years. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which announced the storm's ranking on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. The scale calculates inches of snowfall, geographic reach and population affected to see how each snowstorm measures up. NOAA spokeswoman Maureen O'Leary says this storm affected 102.8 million people and covered about 434,000 square miles in 26 states. National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Kocin says almost 24 million people saw more than 20 inches of snow as flakes fell from Louisiana to Maine. Top honors still go to the so-called Storm of the Century in 1993. That storm dropped more than 30 inches in places from Mississippi to Maine.