Large searches end for missing toddler
WATERVILLE (AP) — After a nearly two-week search for a 20-month-old girl who disappeared from her home, Maine wardens on Wednesday wrapped up work that involved combing woods, fields, private properties and waterways from the ground and air, Waterville police said.
Police chief Joseph Massey said searches of many of those areas for Ayla Reynolds, especially near Ayla’s home in a residential neighborhood, were repeated “to make sure that no evidence of Ayla’s disappearance would be missed.” The wardens have conducted the searches with help from firefighters and civilian search groups.
Massey said in a statement that wardens also have performed many targeted searches based on various tips, as well as direction from investigators. He said authorities have received about 370 tips from the public, many coming after a $30,000 privately funded reward was offered Monday for information leading to Ayla’s safe return.
Massey said the Maine Warden Service will continue to be available if necessary for future searches.
High winds blamed for kerosene spill
NORTH BERWICK (AP) — State environmental officials say winds that gusted to between 45 and 54 mph toppled a shed and caused an external fuel tank to fall over, spilling about 200 gallons of kerosene.
Crews from the Department of Environmental Protection began excavating the contaminated soil around a privately owned shed on Wednesday. It is believed the spill happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the DEP told the Portland Press Herald that there is no threat to public drinking water, surface water or wetlands.
Collins extends her voting streak
PORTLAND ( AP) — Sen. Susan Collins has completed another year without missing a vote.
The Maine Republican extended her perfect voting record with a consecutive voting streak that extended to 4,825 roll call votes in 2011.
Collins said she takes her responsibilities seriously, and that includes voting.
Reward offered in Farmington burglaries
FARMINGTON ( AP) — Police say a $1,000 reward is being offered for help bringing burglars in Farmington to justice.
WCSH-TV says seven downtown stores were burglarized when they were closed for Christmas.
Police say those downtown businesses were broken into Sunday night. They were all vandalized, and cash was stolen from three of them.
Wildlife Division director is named
AUGUSTA ( AP) — The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says acting Wildlife Division Director James Connolly will take the job permanently.
Connolly says the division manages wildlife populations and habitat to ensure “that Maine’s outdoor traditions continue to thrive.” He had been serving as the acting Wildlife Division director since September. Before that, he served for 11 years as a regional biologist.
Trooper writes email to colleagues
PORTLAND (AP) — A veteran Maine State Police sergeant facing drunken driving charges has written an email to colleagues asking them not to be angry at the fellow troopers who arrested him.
Sgt. Robin Parker wrote in the email “I have no resentment toward these men and I ask that you don’t either.”
He says in the email obtained by the Portland Press Herald that he wrote it after hearing that some troopers were upset that he was not “ treated differently” when pulled over on the Maine Turnpike in Gray on Dec. 18.
Thorndike church destroyed by fire
THORNDIKE ( AP) — Trustees of a Thorndike church destroyed in a fire say they will rebuild.
Trustee Clyde Rumney says damage caused by the blaze at the century- old Thorndike Congregational Church early Wednesday morning is so bad that what’s left has to come down.
No one was hurt.
He tells the Kennebec Journal the church is insured.
Four people arrested in drug crackdown
RUMFORD ( AP) — The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has arrested four Rumford area residents during a crackdown on prescription drug trafficking.
Authorities say 28-year-old Melinda Blodgett and 25-yearold Gregg Gibbons of Mexico were arrested on Wednesday on drug trafficking charges.
Arrested Tuesday were 32- year-old Chanda Sanfratello of Rumford and 46-year-old John Bernard of Mexico.
Sex offender facing abuse charges
BANGOR (AP) — A registered sex offender has been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury on 10 counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Carey Gonyer of Charleston, who spent more than two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, was indicted Wednesday.
Authorities say the charges involve one male victim who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.