Maine Turnpike traffic falls after toll increases
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Traffic on the Maine Turnpike fell by 4% in the first six months after tolls went up, but toll revenues increased by 16% during the same period.
From November 2012 when the toll hikes went into place through April, the turnpike took in $51.7 million, or $7.2 million more than the same period the previous year.
Maine Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills says enough money is now being collected - but not much more - to pay the turnpike's operating budget, maintenance and long-term debt service.
The Maine Sunday Telegram reported that traffic numbers suggest drivers are staying clear of certain parts of the turnpike to avoid paying fee increases at toll plazas. But turnpike officials say they expect those traffic drop-offs to be temporary.
York man killed in single-vehicle accident
YORK, Maine (AP) - Police are investigating a single-vehicle fatal accident in York.
Officials say 48-year-old Timothy Gerald of York died Saturday afternoon after his pickup truck veered off Route 91 and crashed into a tree.
Gerald was pronounced dead at the scene. His dog, which was riding in the passenger seat, was taken to a local veterinarian hospital.
Maine fugitive with loose lips arrested in Conn.
WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) - A Maine man wanted by police after leading officers on a high-speed chase is in custody in Connecticut.
Authorities say an FBI agent arrested 31-year-old Ernest Almeida on Friday after overhearing him bragging aboard an Amtrak train about being wanted in Maine.
He's due in court Monday in Connecticut.
In Maine, Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey says Almeida was driving with a suspended license when he led police on a chase Thursday evening. He ultimately abandoned his Jeep, and fled into some woods before reappearing in Connecticut.
Almeida, who couldn't be reached Saturday, is charged in Maine with eluding an officer, operating after suspension as a habitual offender and driving to endanger.
BODY IN RUBBLE
Maine man's body found after standoff, fire
SACO, Maine (AP) - The body of a 58-year-old Maine man has been found in the rubble of his home following a fire that he's believed to have started during a standoff with police.
The state fire marshal's office says the body of Charles Scontras was found late Saturday night inside his Saco home.
Scontras' estranged wife and a police officer went to the home around 2 p.m. Saturday so she could retrieve belongings. They retreated when they saw smoke coming from the house and heard at least one gunshot.
Officials say Scontras kept police at bay and refused to come out. About 6 p.m., more smoke and flames came out of the house, which was destroyed by the fire.
Scontras' body was taken to the medical examiner's officer to determine how he died.
COMIC BOOKS FESTIVAL
Maine comic festival features writers, artists
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Comic books are being celebrated in Maine's largest city.
More than 100 comic book writers, artists, publishers and cartoonists will be on hand at the fifth annual Maine Comics Arts Festival. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Ocean Gateway on the Portland waterfront.
The festival was started in 2009 to promote comic books and give the public an opportunity to meet the creative talent behind them. Many of the artists will have their original work on display and available for sale.
This year's featured guest is Jeff Smith, the writer and artist for the "Bone" comic book series.
Admission is $5, and children 12 and under are let in for free. More information is available at www.mainecomicsfestival.com.
MANCHESTER FATAL SHOOTING
NH police investigate fatal shooting in Manchester
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Police in New Hampshire are investigating a late-night fatal shooting in a residential neighborhood in Manchester.
Officials say police responded to a report of a shooting at about 11 p.m. Saturday in the vicinity of Pine and Prospect streets, where they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. The man was treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster and Manchester Police Chief David Mara said in a press release that an autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine the cause and manner of death. The victim's identity has is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Police are seeking help from anyone who has information about the shooting. No arrests have been made.
Diocese of Manchester pays $2K to settle lawsuit
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester is paying $2,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing a priest of making inappropriate comments to a 14-year-old boy during confession.
The Rev. George Desjardins of Concord was accused of talking about pornography and rape during a December 2012 confession.
Diocese spokesman Kevin Donovan said the settlement is not an admission of guilt and described the payment as "a means to an end, so the community can move on."
Peter Hutchins, lawyer for the Pembroke family, told the Concord Monitor that the comments were unacceptable.
The lawsuit said the priest asked whether the boy masturbated or watched porn, suggested he should wear a "rubber" and warned that girls may "yell 'rape'" during sex. The parents' names were withheld to avoid identifying the boy.
HEALTH OVERHAUL-INSURANCE AGENTS
NH health insurance agents keeping options open
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - In a recent survey, more than half of New Hampshire insurance agents said they will sign up to sell plans through the new marketplaces required under the federal health overhaul law. But how many actually follow through will depend on whether it's worth their while financially.
The new insurance markets will offer individuals and families a choice of private health plans resembling what workers at major companies already get. Enrollment starts Oct. 1, with coverage taking effect Jan. 1.
For many New Hampshire insurance agents, deciding whether to sell plans through the markets depends on what kind of commission they stand to earn. Insurers also worry about the workload and compressed enrollment period. While the first enrollment period lasts six months, in later years it will be eight weeks.
NH man dies after rolling kayak
DUMMER, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire man has died after his kayak rolled over while kayaking with his wife.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says 58-year-old Keith Whitten of Berlin and his wife were kayaking on the Upper Ammonoosuc River in Dummer when his kayak overturned at about 2 p.m. Saturday.
Officials say Whitten's wife brought him to shore and began CPR, but that he was pronounced dead after police and rescue units arrived.
The department says it's suspected that Whitten suffered a medical emergency before rolling his kayak.
Army investigates 23-year-old paratrooper's death
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - The Army is investigating the death of a 23-year-old paratrooper at Fort Bragg.
Officials say 1st Lt. Paul Demeo of Derry, N.H., died Tuesday at Womack Army Medical Center on base.
Army officials are investigating the circumstances of his death, and aren't releasing any additional information.
Demeo was a platoon leader assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
His commander, Lt. Col. J.C. White, says Demeo was a charismatic leader who cared deeply for his fellow soldiers and left a lasting impression on them.
NH troopers selling "Boston Strong" shirts
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire state troopers are raising money for Boston Marathon victims with their own version of a "Boston Strong" T-shirt.
The front of the T-shirt sports a logo reading "Boston Strong" and the date of the bombings: 4-15-13. The back of the shirt is imprinted with "New Hampshire Troopers Association."
Troopers association officials say they're donating 100% of the proceeds to the One Fund Boston to benefit families of the three victims who died and scores of victims who were injured in the bombings.
The $15 shirts can be purchased online from the troopers association. They will also be sold at the Run to Remember race honoring fallen law enforcement officers May 26 in Boston.
Registration for that race has closed at 3,000 participants.
ART INSTITUTE COMMENCEMENT
NH Institute of Art holds commencement Sunday
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Bestselling author Andre Dubus is the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Institute of Art's commencement ceremony.
Dubus, whose work includes the novel "House of Sand and Fog," is speaking Sunday in Manchester.
Following the ceremony, the school's holding a reception to open an exhibit of work by underclassmen displayed in studios and hallways throughout the campus.
SCHOOL BUS THEFT
Vt. man charged in school bus theft
NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) - Vermont police say a 22-year-old Newport man is in jail on charges of stealing a school bus and two other vehicles.
Adam Page is charged with three counts of operating without owners consent, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a criminally suspended license and burglary.
State police say Page allegedly stole a 2014 model bus Friday night belonging Newport City Elementary School and drove to a 19-year-old woman's home in the nearby town of Morgan, where he broke in and stole her dog.
Police say after crashing the bus, he's accused of then attempting to steal pickup truck from a home without success before successfully stealing another truck in Morgan.
Page was arrested Saturday and is behind held on $7,500 bail. The dog was unharmed.
Passenger killed in northern Vermont accident
LYNDON, Vt. (AP) - A passenger has been killed in a car accident in northern Vermont after the driver lost control while swerving to avoid a small animal that was crossing the road.
Vermont State Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blasczyk of St. Johnsbury was driving on Route 122 in Lyndon at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday when her car traveled up an embankment and flipped over, coming to a rest upside down.
The passenger, who was wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police were withholding the name of the victim pending notification of next of kin.
Vt.'s only pharmacy school to hold 1st graduation
COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont's only pharmacy school is graduating its first class in a ceremony at the Champlain Valley Exposition.
Seventy-four graduates of the Colchester campus of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences are receiving doctor of pharmacy degrees at Sunday's graduation. The graduates include three Vermont residents and come from 21 states and two countries.
The graduation speech is being delivered by Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy.
There are now nearly 270 students enrolled at the Albany College of Pharmacy's Colchester campus. A pharmacy degree requires a minimum of 6 years of study after high school.
Police: Drugs dealt from state-funded motel room
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Police in South Burlington, Vt., say a woman sold heroin out of a motel rented with state vouchers.
Police officers who arrested 41-year-old Julie Herron and her husband, 56-year-old Dwayne Herron, found heroin, crack cocaine and two young children sleeping on the floor next to uncapped needles during Friday's raid.
WCAX-TV says the Herrons, who face charges of possession and sale of drugs, denied the charges in court. It couldn't be determined Saturday if they'd retrained lawyers.
The couple, who'd been evicted, qualified for the voucher program, which allows people to stay up to 28 days in a hotel.
DCF Commissioner David Yacavone said last year the homeless hotel voucher program served 1,952 people. It has been criticized by some for being expensive and subject to abuse.
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