The coronavirus pandemic may be dominating headlines in Maine — and elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a break from “viral news” we’ve rounded up some other stories from across the state that you may have missed this week. None of them mention the C-word.
— A week after a massive explosion halted paper production at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, mill officials announced Thursday that two paper machines were back up and running. The mill’s digester ― which turns softwood into pulp ― was destroyed in the explosion, but the mill was able to restart production after receiving pulp from other Maine paper mills, putting people back to work.
— A Gray woman was treated with rabies vaccine after she was attacked by a fox and wrestled the animal into a pot meant for scalding chickens. Eliza Ruth Watson, 37, tried to scare the fox away while she was gardening Thursday. The fox bit Watson’s hand, and she grabbed it by the neck to keep it from biting her. After a struggle, she found a pot used to scald birds for plucking, and shoved the fox in and closed the lid. An ambulance took Watson to a hospital, where her cuts were cleaned and she received five rabies vaccine injections. She was released from the hospital later Thursday.
— The Maine Public Utilities Commission is ordering Central Maine Power Co. shareholders to foot the $580,000 bill for an audit that found problems with the way the provider handled customer service issues with its new billing system. Under Maine law, ratepayers typically pay the full cost of a management audit. One exception is if an audit of an investor-owned public utility like CMP results in a commission finding of “imprudence,” which was the case with this audit.
— The parent company of two Maine television news stations has withdrawn an approximately $8.5 billion bid to acquire the owner of two others. Gray Television, which owns WABI-TV in Bangor and WAGM-TV in Presque Isle, has reportedly pulled its offer to buy Tegna Inc., the owner of News Center Maine, according to Reuters. News Center Maine consists of WCSH 6 in Portland and WLBZ 2 in Bangor.
— Betsy Wyeth, the wife and muse of the late artist Andrew Wyeth, died at her home in Pennsylvania this week. She was 98. The Wyeth family is known for producing three generations of artists who captured Maine’s people and landscapes. Betsy Wyeth is credited for much of Andrew Wyeth’s success, including introducing her husband to the Olson family and their farm in Cushing, where he would paint nearly 300 works including the iconic, “Christina’s World.” Those who knew Betsy Wyeth remember her as a generous and bold woman who relished in the freedom that living on Maine’s islands gave her.
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— Fat Boy, the iconic Brunswick burger joint, will reopen under new ownership next week, serving customers in its original drive-in fashion. Fat Boy has been a Brunswick staple for 65 years until 2018 when its owner retired and closed up shop.
— The South Thomaston woman accused of killing an 83-year-old woman in Owls Head last year has pleaded guilty. Sarah Richards, 38, pleaded guilty to murder and theft charges Thursday in Knox County Court. Richards killed Helen Carver on Feb. 21, 2019. Carver suspected that Richards ― who was providing snow removal services ― stole her debit card. Carver, who lived alone, was found dead in her home on Feb. 21, 2019. Richards was arrested and charged in Carver’s death on Feb. 22.
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— On Tuesday, in a rare decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court unanimously overturned the convictions of a Carmel man serving a 27-year sentence on child sexual assault charges because of mistakes his lawyer made. Richard Joseph Watson, 35, was convicted in July 2015 of two counts of gross sexual assault, one count of unlawful sexual contact and one count of visual sexual aggression against a child.
— The Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the conviction of a former state legislator who stole more than $3 million from two elderly widows and failed to pay his income taxes. The former lawmaker, Robert Lindell Jr., 55, of Cloverdale, California, is serving a 10-year sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren. His earliest possible release date is March 9, 2026. Lindell, a Republican, previously lived in Frankfort and served one term in the Maine House between 2004 and 2006.
— Two people are in custody following a standoff in Hermon with Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies on Monday. No one was harmed in the incident. This was the second reported standoff in a week in Penobscot County. On April 14, Maine State Police shot and killed Thomas A. Powell III, 31, of Old Town after a standoff on French Island in Old Town.
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— Two people were arrested following a shooting in Jay on Thursday. Alicia Beck, 35, of Bangor and Arthur Cohen, 35, of Waterbury, Connecticut, were charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and Cohen was also charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Beck and Cohen allegedly fired shots into two different apartments on Otis Street. No one was injured in the shooting.
— Two people died this week following a crash involving a motorcycle last weekend in Bangor. Matthew Marquis, 34, of Bangor died Monday at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center of injuries suffered when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Union Street and Davis Road Saturday. Marquis, who was not wearing a helmet, did not have a Maine motorcycle license. The other motorcyclist, Dillan Springer, 28, of Bangor, was pronounced dead at the scene. Springer was wearing a helmet.