Maine hermit's court appearance postponed
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A scheduled court appearance for a man who lived as a hermit in the woods of central Maine for nearly three decades has been postponed pending completion of a mental health evaluation.
Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was scheduled for an appearance in Kennebec County Superior Court next Wednesday to face burglary and theft charges.
District Attorney Maeghan Maloney and Knight's attorney tell the Kennebec Journal they agreed to the postponement until after the judge-ordered evaluation, which has yet to be scheduled.
The 47-year-old Knight was arrested in April while allegedly breaking into a camp to steal food. He is being held on $25,000 bail.
Authorities say he may be responsible for 1,000 burglaries in the 27 years he lived in alone in the Rome woods.
Portland mayor meets with immigrant businessmen
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Portland's mayor is meeting with immigrant business owners to discuss the role that immigrants play in the city's economy.
Michael Brennan and Portland's economic development director are visiting businesses on Thursday, two days after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved a far-reaching bill to remake the nation's immigration system.
The Maine People's Alliance says Brennan's tour will begin with a ride in a taxi owned by a Burundi man to a grocery store/export business owned by men from Sudan and Nigeria. The tour ends at a restaurant owned by brothers from Iraq.
Brennan will listen to the business owners and others give their thoughts on immigration reform and other issues.
Maine education commissioner visits Belfast school
BELFAST, Maine (AP) - Maine's education commissioner is visiting Belfast as part of his ongoing tour to observe innovative school programs across the state.
Stephen Bowen is visiting Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast on Thursday, where he will sit in on social studies, science and performing arts classes before participating in small-group conversations with teachers and eighth-graders.
A film crew is accompanying the commissioner for two videos that are being produced showcasing student-centered, proficiency-based approaches in Maine schools.
The Belfast visit is part of Bowen's Promising Practices tour. He visited Biddeford Middle School earlier this week.
Lisbon man gets 4 years for identity fraud
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A Lisbon man who used his own child's Social Security number in a scheme to illegally receive welfare benefits has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Mark Judd was also ordered Wednesday to pay more than $29,000 in restitution.
Judd pleaded guilty in January to Social Security fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and aggravated identity theft.
Authorities say from 2010 to 2102, Judd used his child's Social Security number on job applications, then failed to report wages earned under that number to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to illegally receive welfare and housing benefits.
Judd also used Social Security numbers not assigned to him to open lines of credit at several financial institutions.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY SENTENCE
Maine man gets 35 years on child porn charges
BANGOR, Maine (AP) - A Charleston man has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for producing and possessing child pornography.
Federal prosecutors say 44-year-old Carey Gonyer was also sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor to a lifetime of probation upon release.
Gonyer had been convicted last year of 3 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.
Prosecutors say the victim was 16-year-old boy with whom he worked. Authorities say Gonyer sexually assaulted the boy for months in 2011 before asking for sexually explicit cellphone pictures of the victim.
Gonyer was already a convicted sex offender at the time.
Winslow company accused of labor violations
WINSLOW, Maine (AP) - Labor groups have accused a Winslow-based aluminum trailer manufacturer of illegally firing employees for trying to unionize.
Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, says five employees at Alcom Inc. have been fired this month in connection with efforts to form a union to negotiate better pay, benefits and working conditions.
Schlobohm said the firings violate the federal National Labor Relations Act, under which it is illegal to retaliate against employees seeking to unionize.
Alcom President Trapper Clark denies the accusations. He tells the Kennebec Journal he supports the right of workers to unionize and no one has been fired for exercising that right. He called the allegations "false" and "extremely unfortunate." He says the company just improved health insurance options.
The company has 185 workers in Maine.
Signs to alert Maine motorists to turtle crossings
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Signs are being put up to ask motorists in southern York County to be aware of rare turtles crossing area roads.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy are marking the turtle crossing areas in Wells, South Berwick and York with hopes of reducing highway deaths of 2 of the state's rarest species, Blanding's and spotted turtles.
Motorists encountering the roadside turtle signs should reduce their speed and be on the lookout for jaywalking turtles. Drivers who see a turtle crossing the road and want to help are asked to safely pull over to the side of the road and, only if it is safe to do so, move the turtle to the side of the road in the direction it was headed.
NH Senate considering legalizing medical marijuana
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The Senate is voting whether New Hampshire should join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing seriously ill people to use marijuana to treat their conditions.
The Senate votes Thursday on a House bill that would legalize marijuana use and possession by patients with conditions such as Crohn's disease and cancer. A Senate committee is recommending making changes to the House version that include eliminating the option for patients to grow the drug at home as well as obtain it at a dispensary.
The Senate proposal also removes PTSD from the list of approved conditions and decreasing the number of dispensaries sanctioned from five to four.
NH woman convicted of child porn to be sentenced
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman convicted earlier this year of sexually exploiting her teenage daughter to produce child pornography faces up to 100 years in prison at her sentencing in federal court.
The woman - a 43-year-old Manchester lawyer - was convicted in January of transporting her daughter across state lines to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation to produce child pornography.
Sentencing briefs filed by both her lawyer and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas are sealed.
The Associated Press doesn't typically identify victims of sexual assault and is not naming the mother to avoid identifying her daughter.
A jury convicted the woman after a 2-day trial that featured a series of sexually explicit videos she made of her 14-year-old daughter.
Former NH worker accused of stealing $600,000
CLAREMONT, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire company has sued a former employee, alleging she stole at least $600,000 from the business over several years.
Bonnie Johnson, former business manager of North County Smokehouse in Claremont, was sued by owner Mike Satzow. She has not been charged with any crimes.
A Sullivan County judge ordered seized from her home jewelry, motorcycles, snowmobiles and a Mercedes SUV.
The Eagle-Times reports Satzow discovered an unauthorized charge on the company credit card in April and took a look the business's finances.
The lawsuit says bank records going back to 2005 showed Johnson had been writing company checks to herself and using a stamp to put Satzow's signature on them.
It wasn't immediately known if Johnson had a lawyer.
Ash borer week in NH
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire forest officials say an invasive beetle that destroys ash trees has been found in about 5% of trees surveyed in central Concord.
Officials discovered the beetle earlier this year in Concord and Bow.
Gov. Maggie Hassan has declared this Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week. The state has put a permanent quarantine in place since the insect was detected. No ash materials can be moved out of Merrimack County and other materials are subject to regulation.
Forest rangers will conduct inspections at various locations on Friday, looking for out-of-state firewood and firewood from Merrimack County.
INTERSTATE CONSTRUCTION WORK
Bridge, deck work planned for I-293 in Manchester
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Transportation Department is going to close the on & off ramps of Exit 4 on Interstate 293 in Manchester for bridge and deck work.
The work is scheduled for Thursday night.
Lane closures will be in place within the Exit 4 interchange area. Southbound and northbound lane closures will go into effect starting at 7 p.m. The ramps will be closed at 10 p.m.
All lane and ramp closures will be removed by 5 a.m. Friday.
State Police and message boards will be used to alert motorists and guide them through the work zone.
METH ARRESTS NEAR COURTHOUSE
3 charged with meth in home near NH courthouse
LACONIA, N.H. (AP) - Three people have been arrested in a home directly across the street from a New Hampshire courthouse, charged with possession and intent to make methamphetamine.
The three were being arraigned Thursday.
Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said a deputy saw some suspicious activity Wednesday morning outside the home, which is across from the Laconia District Court. The observation led to the arrest of a man, who had meth.
Authorities said a search warrant turned up other drugs in the house and equipment to make meth.
Arrested were 42-year-old Joel Paquette, 29-year-old Christy Lynn Jarrell and 40-year-old Donald Doucet.
PATENT TROLLING LAWSUIT
Vt gov signs novel law against false patent claims
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law a novel measure aimed at protecting companies from so-called patent trolling - the practice of making deceptive claims of patent infringement in the hopes of collecting licensing or settlement money.
The new law, believed to be the first in the nation, allows courts to consider if a claim is deceptive, specifies factors that can be considered as evidence, and provides for damages or relief to Vermont companies wrongly pressured into paying licensing fees or a settlement.
Jeffrey Lewis of the American Intellectual Property Law Association said the group knows of no other law like it. Law professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University said that while the law is novel, it's not clear states have the authority to regulate patent activity.
Vt. developer wins hydro power permits
BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) - A developer has received state and federal permits to generate electricity at a 200-year-old dam site on Vermont's Walloomsac River.
Bill Scully and his company, Carbon Zero, bought the old Vermont Tissue Mill in North Bennington in 2008. Vermont Public Radio reports Scully started his quest to revive the dam that once powered the mill soon after that.
Scully hopes to produce electricity for about 220 homes and for his own businesses, which include a couple of restaurants and a store.
Hey says his project will improve water quality by increasing the flow of water in a channel that's now dry for part of the year. He says it also will create new, year-round habitat for migrating fish and other aquatic life.
Vt. house fire being investigated
WHITINGHAM, Vt. (AP) - Firefighters are trying to determine what caused a fire at a house in Whitingham, Vt., that left a family of 5 homeless.
No one was injured in the fire this week, which was complicated at first by a lack of water supply. Firefighters from Readsboro and Wilmington assisted.
Fire marshals are investigating.
Magic Hat sues brewer over logo
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Magic Hat Brewing is suing a Kentucky brewery over its corporate logo, which it says is a trademark infringement.
West Sixth Brewing's logo has a numeral 6 and a star-like symbol. Magic Hat says it's too much like its No. 9 beer label, which has a 9 and a star-like symbol.
Ben Self, co-founder of West Sixth Brewing, says he will stop the brewery's online logo petition calling for a stop to "corporate bullying" if Magic Hat drops its lawsuit.
The Burlington Free Press reports that Magic Hat wants West Sixth's to stop using the logo and is seeking "all profits realized by West Sixth as a result of its use of the 6 Marks."
Police seek suspect in Vt. pharmacy robbery
BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Police in Bennington, Vt., are looking for a suspect following an armed robbery at a CVS pharmacy.
Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said officers responded to a 911 call around 9 p.m. Tuesday. The caller said someone had entered the store, jumped over the pharmacy counter and demanded Percocet while showing a handgun. The male suspect left with some medication.
Police arrived within minutes and locked down the store. A police dog helped track the suspect for a while, but the trail was lost at a nearby gas station. Police tell the Bennington Banner they believe a getaway car was waiting at the gas station.
Surveillance video shows a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a black face mask and gloves. He is holding a black and silver handgun.
REVIVED RECREATION PATH
Vt. rec path revived 2 years after flooding
COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - Two year after Lake Champlain flooding destroyed part of it, the Colchester Causeway recreational path has been restored for bicyclists, runners, walkers and fishermen.
The Colchester Causeway, along with a stretch to the north in South Hero, is a five-mile, unpaved northern portion of Island Line Trail. It connects to the south to Colchester's Airport Park and the 7.5-mile paved Burlington Bike Path.
The Burlington Free Press reports restoration work took place last year from May to October and cost $500,000.
Seventy-five percent of the money to repair the causeway came from FEMA, and 15% came from the state. The remaining 10% came largely from Burlington-based nonprofit Local Motion, and from an anonymous donor
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