Dumbasses At Maine’s Department Of Health And Human Services Had Out $4.8 Million In Extra Food Stamp Benefits, Wants Their Money Back, But Feds And Lawmakers Tell State It Must Take Responsibility For Its Own Stupidity

September 28, 2012

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Gov. Paul LePage’s administration says it will “aggressively” appeal a decision by federal officials barring the state from recouping food-supplement benefits from people who weren’t eligible.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says the decision by the Food and Nutrition Service shifts financial responsibility for $4.8 million in overpayments from food supplement recipients to Maine taxpayers.

In March, Maine was directed by the government to recover funds from those who received benefits to which they were not entitled. But now, Mayhew says the federal agency seems to have disregarded its previous directive.

Maine legislative Democratic leaders blame the state for the error. House Democratic Leader Emily Cain of Orono says the administration must take responsibility for the $4.8 million debt.

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Crime Of The Century: Orono Maine Police Go All Out In Search For Two Girls Who Stole Three Cans Of Beer

September 8, 2012

ORONO, MAINE — Orono police are looking for two unidentified women who stole beer from the back storage cooler of the Thriftway store on Park Street Sunday night.

The two women, who are shown clearly on store security camera footage, asked to use the employee restroom out back shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday night. While back there, one or both of them broke into a case of beer and removed three cans, according to Sgt. Scott Lajoie.

The images show two women, one with dark hair and wearing what appears to be a black shirt with the word “Diamonds” and a logo on it. The other woman has blonde hair and was wearing a gray Cleveland Browns football team sweatshirt.

If anyone believes they know the identity of either or both of the women, they are asked to call Officer Stephen Marko or Detective Derek Dinsmore at 866-4000. Anyone preferring to make an anonymous tip can do so through Orono’s public safety website using the “Crime Watch” link, which is

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Clinton Maine Police Officer Derek Levasseur Arrested And Charged With Simple Assault And Domestic Violence Assault

August 31, 2012

CLINTON, MAINE — A reserve officer for the town police department was arrested recently on six charges, but few details are available.

Derek Levasseur was charged earlier this month with five counts of simple assault and one count of domestic violence assault, according to Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky. He is now on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation.

Maine State Police is handling the case, but Lt. Donald Pomelow said a report of the incident hasn’t been completed by Trooper Joe Chretien. Pomelow said he won’t be able to provide a time, date or place of the incident or arrest until Thursday morning.

“The report doesn’t give me enough information at this point,” he said.

Pomelow said he believes the incident occurred more than a week ago, and it wasn’t reported to police until the next day. Originally, Levasseur was going to be summoned for simple assault, but additional information led to his arrest on a charge of domestic violence assault.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland is on vacation this week and could not be reached. McCausland’s assistant Donna Hall referred all questions to Pomelow.

District Attorney Alan Kelley did not respond to messages left with his secretary.

An intake worker at Kennebec County jail, who wouldn’t disclose her name, said jail workers were notified of Levasseur’s arrest and expected to receive him shortly afterward, but later discovered Levasseur had posted bail at the police station where he was arrested and was released. The intake worker did not recall the date of arrest, where it occurred or where he posted bail. She said jail policy prevents her from releasing her name to the media.

Clinton Police Chief Craig Johnson said he couldn’t comment on the case because it’s being handled by state police. Levasseur, as a reserve officer, worked on a per diem basis. He was hired by the town in February and worked fewer than 20 days since then, Johnson estimated.

Chrostowsky also couldn’t comment on the case, but said the town would hold an internal investigation.

“We’re taking the matter seriously,” he said.

Levasseur could not be reached by phone Wednesday.

Levasseur also served for less than a year as a deputy for Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, according Capt. Dan Davies. The sheriff’s office hired Levasseur in March 2010.

In August 2010, Levasseur attended a basic law enforcement training program at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and graduated four months later in December.

Levasseur resigned before completing his first year of employment. Davies said he couldn’t discuss anything else about Levasseur’s tenure because personnel matters are confidential.

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Operation Hot Spots: Massive Local, State, And Federal Police Sweep In Lewiston Maine Results In Arrest Of A Prostitute, Man Drinking Under “No Drinking” Sign, And One Random Dude With A Gun Who Was Probaly Minding His Own Business

August 3, 2012

LEWISTON, MAINE — Three people were charged in an ongoing police sweep Thursday, including a man officials say was walking on Pine Street with a loaded handgun.

Police also charged a suspected prostitute accused of turning a trick downtown and a man caught sipping liquor beneath a sign that warned: “No drinking.”

Local, state and federal agents were back on the streets throughout the day as part of the ongoing effort known as “Operation Hot Spots.”

At about 3:30 p.m., undercover agents moved in on Anthony Foster, 33, of Lewiston, who was suspected of carrying a gun as he walked up Pine Street.

Officers surrounded Foster and when they searched him, they found a loaded handgun, police said. He was taken to jail on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The arrest on Pine Street drew a crowd of nearly 100 people and led to some early confusion. Several people called 911 to report that one man was robbing another near the intersection of Pine and Bartlett streets. Police said onlookers may have been confused because the arrest was made by undercover agents.

Foster was taken to the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn where he remained Thursday night.

His criminal record in the area is extensive and dates back to the 1990s. In February, he was found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. Previously, he was in and out of jail on a variety of charges, including disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and driving violations.

In 1998, Foster was arrested in a high-profile case in which he was accused of siccing his pit bull on a police officer near Kennedy Park. Foster was arrested in that incident on charges of aggravated assault and assault on a police officer.

Lewiston police and agents from the Maine Drug Enfordcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been maintaining a heavy presence in downtown Lewiston. The summertime effort was prompted by a spate of violence that included several reports of gunfire in the spring.

People who live in the downtown have been complaining about a variety of things, among them prostitution and public drinking.

On Thursday, police focused on both. Arrested for engaging in prostitution was Jessie Judd, 26, of Lewiston.

On Walnut Street, in the area of Poirier’s Market, which has been identified as a trouble zone, police arrested Roderick Holmes, 39, and charged him with drinking in public.

Police said Holmes was drinking alcohol beneath a sign that specifically warned against that behavior.

Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere said Operation Hot Spots will continue as summer winds down. His team on Thursday, he said, was able to zero in on suspects engaging in the kinds of activities police have been trying to combat.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Bussiere said.

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BROKE: 16 States Now Rationing Prescription Drugs For Medicaid Patients

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seven of those states, according to Kaiser Health News, have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

Medicaid is a federal program that is carried out in partnership with state governments. It forms an important element of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–AKA Obamcare–a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug, and HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.

Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.

Speaking on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.”

“Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand,” Galewitz said.

“It only hurts a limited number of patients, ‘cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It’s another place to cut. It doesn’t hurt everybody, but it could hurt some,” he added.

Galewitz said the move also puts doctors and patients in a “difficult position.”

“Some doctors I talked to would work with patients with asthma and diabetes, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the right drugs and the right dosage to figure out how to control some of this disease, and just when they get it right, now the state is telling them that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get all this coverage. You may have to switch to a generic or find another way,’” he said.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.

“Some people say it’s a matter of you know states are throwing things up against the wall to see what might work, so states have tried, they’ve also tried formularies where they’ll pick certain brand name drugs over other drugs. So states try a whole lot of different things. They’re trying different ways of paying providers to try to maybe slow the costs down,” Galewitz said.

“So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

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Lowiston Maine Police Officer Arrested For Violating Bail Conditions – Arrested After Brutal Attack On His Girlfriend In May – Quit After Being Suspended – Now Charged After Returning To His Victim’s Home

July 24, 2012

LEWISTON, MAINE — A former police officer was arrested early Thursday and charged with violating bail stemming from an alleged assault on his girlfriend in the spring.

Timothy Darnell, 47, was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on Roland Avenue, charged with violating conditions of release, violating bail and criminal trespass.

An 18-year veteran of the police force, Darnell remained at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Thursday night. He had resigned from the Lewiston Police Department after his arrest in the spring.

Darnell is accused of violating conditions set after his arrest in May, during which he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend on Free Street in Portland. He was arrested a second time the next morning, accused of returning to the alleged victim’s home.

By that point, he already had surrendered his police badge and gun and had been placed on administrative leave. He resigned a short time later, according to Deputy Police Chief James Minkowsky.

In her complaint, the alleged victim wrote that Darnell “assaulted me the evening of (Saturday, May 5) in Portland.” She accused him of “grabbing me by the throat and shoving my head into a glass window.”

Friends of the couple have described the relationship as tumultuous. Protection orders have been filed prohibiting Darnell from approaching the woman.

Darnell started with the Lewiston Police Department in 1994. He served as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, working with elementary schoolchildren. He was also a school resource officer and a Gang Resistance Education and Training instructor for Lewiston Middle School.

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Mentally Ill US Navy Employee Set $400 Million Kittery Maine Submarine Fire So He Could Go Home Early – 24 Year Old Painter Faces Life In A Federal Prison

July 23, 2012

PORTLAND, MAINE – Navy investigators say a civilian employee working as a painter and sandblaster aboard a submarine at a Maine shipyard has been charged with setting a fire that heavily damaged the vessel in May, and another near it in June.

In a complaint filed Monday in federal court, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service says 24-year-old Casey James Fury has been charged with two counts of arson involving the USS Miami.

At Fury’s initial court appearance Monday, a judge scheduled a combined probable cause and bail hearing for Aug. 3.

The submarine sustained an estimated $400 million in damage while in dry dock for an overhaul at the Kittery shipyard.

An affidavit says Fury admitted setting the fires because he had anxiety and wanted to get out of work early.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A civilian employee set a fire that caused $400 million in damage to a nuclear-powered submarine because he had anxiety and wanted to get out of work early, Navy investigators said in a complaint filed Monday.

Casey James Fury, 24, of Portsmouth, N.H., faces up to life in prison if convicted of two counts of arson in the fire aboard the USS Miami attack submarine while it was in dry dock May 23 and a second blaze outside the sub on June 16.

Fury was taking medications for anxiety and depression and told investigators he set the fires so he could get out of work, according a seven-page affidavit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

If convicted of either charge, Fury could face life imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 and be ordered to pay restitution, officials said. His federal public defender, David Beneman, declined to comment. A court appearance was set for Monday afternoon.

The Miami was in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, for an overhaul when the fire damaged the torpedo room and command area inside the forward compartment. It took more than 12 hours to extinguish.

A second fire was reported June 16 on the dry dock cradle on which the Miami rests, but there was no damage and no injuries.

Fury, who was working on the sub as a painter and sandblaster, initially denied starting the fires but eventually acknowledged his involvement, the affidavit states.

He admitted setting the May 23 fire, which caused an estimated $400 million in damage, while taking a lie-detector test and being told by the examiner he wasn’t being truthful.

Fury told Timothy Bailey, an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, that “his anxiety started getting really bad,” so he grabbed his cigarettes and a lighter, walked up to a bunk room and set fire to some rags on the top bunk.

The Navy originally said the fire started when an industrial vacuum cleaner sucked up a heat source that ignited debris inside.

Fury said he set the second fire after getting anxious over a text-message exchange with an ex-girlfriend about a man she had started seeing, according to the affidavit. He wanted to leave work early, so he took some alcohol wipes and set them on fire outside the submarine.

Fury said he initially lied about setting the fires “because he was scared and because everything was blurry to him and his memory was impacted due to his anxiety and the medication he was taking at the time,” according to the affidavit.

Fury told NCIS agent Jeremy Gauthier that he was taking three medications for anxiety, depression and sleep, and a fourth for allergies. He checked himself into an in-patient mental health facility on June 21 and checked himself out two days later, the affidavit reads.

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