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Central Maine News: Police Make Arrest in Gardiner Rite-Aid Robbery

Scott Olson, Getty Images

These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

Farming is hip in New England. Across the region, young adults are choosing crops over cubicles, new farms are popping up and the local food movement is spreading. The region’s small size makes it easy for farmers and consumers to connect at farm markets and stands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent census found 95,000 fewer farms nationally in 2012 than in 2007. New England saw a 5 percent increase to nearly 35,000 farms, many less than 50 acres. (AP)

Maine Democrats are calling on the Republican Party to retract campaign mailers that they say falsely blame gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud for the loss of jobs at a paper mill. The mailer says that Michaud’s “anti-jobs law” helped put “hundreds of hardworking people” out of work. The law that Michaud sponsored in 2002 prevented Great Northern Paper mills from shutting down production so that they could sell the electricity generated by the dams. Democrats say the law was necessary at the time to protect jobs. It was approved unanimously without a roll call vote in the state Senate, which included Rick Bennett, now chairman of the Republican Party.(AP)

Tests on private wells around Maine found dangerously high levels of fluoride in 10 towns. Scientific American reported the results on Wednesday. Eight of the 10 towns with dangerously high levels are in Hancock County. That is likely attributable to a high level of granite in the area. Tests were performed for homeowners who voluntarily submitted samples to the state. Low levels of fluoride prevent tooth decay, but unaddressed high levels can cause pitted teeth and brittle bones. (AP)

Police arrested a man they say robbed the Rite-Aid in Gardiner Thursday morning.  According to WGME 31-year-old Jesse Mansir is charged with Robbery. Police say Mansir went into the Rite-Aid on Spring St. and demanded prescription drugs from a pharmacist. No one was injured in the robbery.  Mansir was arrested in a wooded area around 7pm. (WGME)

A Scarborough man has been charged with manslaughter in a November car crash that killed a Winthrop couple.44-year-old Jeffrey Ray was indicted on double manslaughter charges on Wednesday. The couple has been stopped, waiting to make left turn, Ray’s truck hit them from behind. Court documents say that Jeffrey Ray was acting “recklessly or with criminal negligence.” (AP)

A 66-year-old Maine man police say claimed to have a grenade and a gun when he robbed a Hallowell bank in June has pleaded not guilty. John Cecil Slater entered his plea in U.S. District Court and remains in custody. Prosecutors say Slater robbed a Bank of Maine branch on June 23, making off with $15,000. Slater was arrested in New Hampshire on July 9 after several people recognized the suspect’s image from bank surveillance photos. (AP)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says militants in the group Islamic State are capable of bouncing back after losing their footing in Iraq to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Joint Chiefs Chairman says Islamic State can be contained, but it can’t be defeated unless it’s attacked in Syria. He says U.S. bombing and it’s supplying of arms to Iraqi and Kurdish forces have “stalled” the militants’ momentum. (AP)

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