Archive for January, 2016

Sullivan man arrested on assault charge

January 26th, 2016

ELLSWORTH — The Maine State Police arrested a Sullivan resident Saturday after an assault that resulted in the victim requiring surgery.

Troopers arrested Dean Barrett, 30, on a charge of aggravated assault. Barrett has since been released on bail.

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Lt. Rod Charette said the victim, who is a Cherryfield man, had to undergo “facial trauma surgery.”

The Cherryfield man was initially taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital but later transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the Ellsworth Police Department assisted.

Drug arrest

Trooper Recruit Travis Chapman arrested James Thompson, 36, of Trenton on a charge of unlawful drug possession after a traffic stop on the Austin Road in Hancock Saturday. Chapman allegedly had oxycodone and hydrocodone, police said. Cpl. Chris Smith assisted.


Trooper Caleb McGary summoned Samuel Milliken, 24, of Blue Hill on charges of possession of a usable amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia Jan. 18 in Blue Hill.

Trooper Recruit Owen Reed summoned Kristen Fairchild,

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Warehouse shortage fueled by nontraditional uses

January 26th, 2016

Beer brewers, coffee roasters and medical marijuana companies are taking over more warehouse space in Portland, driving demand and the price per square foot, a speaker at the MEREDA conference said on Jan. 21.

Justin Lamontagne, a commercial broker at NAI The Dunham Group who specializes in industrial space, made his remarks in an early session at the Maine Real Estate Development Association’s 2016 Annual Real Estate Forecast Conference, which was attended by 800 people at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

Lamontagne said warehouse space was already at a premium in Portland, with many traditional warehouse users looking to other markets for space. Lamontagne echoed a phrase he has used in the past, citing the city’s “stunning lack of inventory.”

“We are full. We haven’t added supply. We have had no new construction,” he said. Even if a larger out-of-state producer was interested in moving into the market, there would not be enough industrial space to accommodate it, he added.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that some fast-growing companies — including Rising Tide Brewing (one of Maine’s fastest growing companies), Foundation Brewing Co. and Bissell Brothers — are creating additional demand for the space. Add to that coffee roasters and rapidly expanding medical marijuana concerns, and the demand for small- to mid-sized spaces is growing.

The price per square foot of warehouse space is going up, but Lamontagne is also seeing bidding wars.

Echoing Gordon Gecko, he added: “Cash flow is king.”

In at least one case, Class A space traded

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Maine medical marijuana industry seeking to cash in on the heroin epidemic

January 23rd, 2016

It has been heartening to see all of the efforts and initiatives start up across Maine to address the heroin crisis.  Police departments and sheriff’s departments are looking to start up referral and diversion programs to get people suffering into treatment.  Public health coalitions are setting up forums to put together plans to implement in their communities.  Just this month I was appointed co chair of the Prevention and Harm Reduction Task Force of the Maine Opiate Collaborative launched by U.S. Attorney Thomas Delehanty.  The work that is being done amongst the three task forces is impressive and I am confident will result in effective strategies that will get measurable results.  In short, there are a lot of great people on the ground putting plans into action.

Then there is the marijuana industry in Maine. It is clear some are seeing the heroin epidemic as an opportunity to grow their business. In a post to the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine Facebook page, one King Bishop announces that Senator Eric Brakey was providing an opportunity for the medical marijuana industry to write language to insert into one of the heroin emergency bills to have opiate addiction added as an allowable condition for medical marijuana.  (More on why that would be a really bad idea later in this article) Fortunately, LD 1537 passed before such language was able to be offered.

That brings us to an op-ed that appears in today’s Press Herald authored by Wellness Connection

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Maine Voices: Bill to address opiate crisis in Maine is a step in the right direction

January 23rd, 2016

Maine, like most of America, is struggling with how best to deal with a growing population of people addicted to opiates, at a time when resources to course-correct are being closed, slashed or cut altogether.

This week, our state’s top politicians did the right thing by passing L.D. 1537, An Act to Combat Drug Addiction through Enforcement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. The Maine House and Senate each passed the bill unanimously; Gov. LePage signed it into law less than an hour after the final vote.


Becky DeKeuster is co-founder of and director of education for Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates medical marijuana dispensaries in Brewer, Gardiner, Portland and Thomaston.


We applaud this step to address the opiate crisis here in Maine.

L.D. 1537 effectively offers funding to add new drug enforcement agents, recovery options and resources across Maine. The Appropriations Committee funded this bill in large part by using fees generated by Maine’s medical marijuana program. We as an industry are proud to help create (and fund) the road to recovery for Mainers suffering from addiction.

As we know, Maine’s medical cannabis program is growing. The monies that helped legislators push past the bipartisan divide, bridge the funding gap and move L.D. 1537 forward were sourced in part from a $3 million reserve fund contributed by licensed dispensaries and registered caregivers over the last several years.

While we know this is a very helpful and immediate way for Maine’s medical cannabis

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Violent home invasion shakes small York County town

January 23rd, 2016

Police are not revealing the motive in connection with a violent home invasion in the York County town of Lyman.

Four men are accused of breaking into a home on Mast Road on Jan. 14 and holding a family of five at gunpoint. Police said one of the family members was sexually assaulted.

Mast Road is a rural area and neighbors live far apart.

“That’s a little scary to me because, you know, I’m an old lady and I live by myself, you know, so yeah, it’s a little scary,” resident Patrice Platt said.

Police said the four suspects stole two shotguns, several hundred dollars in cash, medical marijuana, cellphones and computers.

They were arrested in New Hampshire and Massachusetts over the past couple of days. Police said many of the stolen items were found with the suspects.

Neighbors said the incident is disturbing.

“I live very close. I just live around the corner. I think we better do something. It’s getting close to home,” neighbor Lilian Monroe said.

Andrew Thomas, Vincent Casazza and Reynan Mora, all of Massachusetts, are charged with burglary, robbery and theft.

Xavier Watson of New Hampshire also faces charges of aggravated

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Spruce Head man sentenced to nine months in fatal car crash

January 22nd, 2016

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 20-year-old Spruce Head man will serve nine months in jail for his role in a 2014 car crash that killed one woman and left another with life-altering injuries.

Samuel Simmons was sentenced Friday in Knox County Unified Court for one count each of manslaughter and driving to endanger. Justice Daniel Billings sentenced Simmons to 12 years in prison with all but nine months suspended. Simmons will be on probation for four years after his release from jail, and his motor vehicle license has been suspended for two years.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said the fatality was not the result of an accident but the inevitable result of Simmons’ actions.

“Every second he was on Route 1, he posed a risk to everyone,” the prosecutor said.

Simmons was driving north on Route 1 in Warren at 7:30 a.m. March 20, 2014, when his 1997 GMC Sierra pickup truck crossed the centerline near the intersection of Western Road and struck head-on an oncoming 2003 Subaru Forester driven by Alison Low

Low, 38, died at the scene. Her 18-year-old son, Dustin Kimball of Warren, was seriously injured but recovered. Kimball’s girlfriend, Olivia Blachet, was severely injured and spent more than five months at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Simmons admitted to police that he had smoked marijuana the night before. Tests done on Simmons found traces of marijuana and amphetamine his system. A witness reported Simmons’ vehicle weaving on the road for a few miles leading up to where the crash occurred.

Blachet, who

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Office, industrial and retail space all tight, tight, tight in Portland

January 22nd, 2016

Portland’s “no vacancy” problem extends well beyond rental housing.

A frenzy of commercial real estate transactions in 2015 has left very little available space in the city’s industrial, retail and office zones, according to analysts who spoke before a packed house of real estate professionals in Portland Thursday.


Supply is so scarce that businesses seeking prime locations have found nowhere to go, they said, a situation that is likely to persist until new development occurs.

“We are full, and we need more inventory,” said commercial real estate broker Justin Lamontagne of NAI The Dunham Group in Portland, which specializes in the industrial sector.

Available space in Portland-area industrial zones has become increasingly scarce over the past few years, in part because those properties have become desirable spots for breweries, coffee shops, medical marijuana providers and other retail-oriented businesses, Lamontagne told a record crowd of more than 800 at Thursday’s Maine Real Estate Development Association conference at Holiday Inn by the Bay.

The vacancy rate for commercial properties in greater Portland’s industrial zones was an “absurdly low” 3.4 percent at the end of 2015, he said, down from an already tight 4.1 percent a year earlier.

Lamontagne said 2015 was “the busiest, most vibrant year in the industrial sector that I’ve ever seen in my career.”

Still, the ultra-low vacancy rate did not spur new construction or cause rents to increase much, he said. Lease rates in greater Portland averaged $5.62 per square foot per year plus the

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2 NH men among 4 charged in Maine home invasion

January 22nd, 2016

Two New Hampshire residents are among four men arrested after Maine state police claim they held a family of five at gunpoint in a home last week and robbed them.

According to Maine state police, the four men broke into a home last Friday on Mast Road in Lyman, Maine, held five family members at gunpoint and sexually assaulted an individual before robbing the home.

Police say the victims told them four masked men entered the home with long guns and pistols and ransacked the dwelling, stealing two shotguns, a rifle, money, medical marijuana and several electronic items.

Police say one of the suspects struck a male resident in the head with a firearm and also forced a female to undress and sexually assaulted her. The victims were able to identify the suspects after they removed their masks while still in the home, police said.

On Tuesday, police arrested Xavier Watson, 22, of Exeter on charges of robbery, aggravated assault, unlawful sexual contact, burglary, and theft of firearms.

On Wednesday, police arrested Vincent Casazza, 19, of Newmarket and Andre Thomas, 20, of Lawrence, Mass., on charges of robbery, burglary, and theft of firearms.

On Thursday, police arrested Reynan Mora, 23, of Lowell, Mass., on charges of robbery, burglary, and theft of firearms.

Police said Watson was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Brentwood and is being held at the Rockingham County Jail as a fugitive from justice.

Maine state police and

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4 men arrested in connection with Maine home invasion, sexual assault

January 21st, 2016

Three men were arrested in southern New Hampshire in connection with a home invasion in Maine last week, and Maine state police said that they are still searching for a fourth suspect.

Police said Xavier Watson, 22, of Exeter; Vincent Casazza, 19, of Newmarket; Andre Thomas, 20, of Lawrence, Massachusetts and Reynan Mora, 23, of Lowell, Massachusetts, entered a home in Lyman, Maine, wearing masks and armed with long guns and pistols on Jan. 15.

The suspects held a family of five at gunpoint, and one person was also sexually assaulted, according to Maine State Police.

Victims were able to identify the suspects when they removed their masks while in the home.

Police said several items were stolen during the robbery, including two shotguns and a rifle, several hundred dollars in cash, medical marijuana, four cellphones and two laptop computers.

Maine State police worked with the U.S. Marshal Service’s Violent Offenders Task Force and Nashua police to arrest the men.

Police said Watson was taken into custody Tuesday by the U.S. Marshals Service in Brentwood and is being held at the Rockingham County Jail as a fugitive from justice.

Thomas and Casazza were arrested Wednesday night when Nashua police executed a search warrant at an apartment. Both are being held in New Hampshire as fugitives from justice.

Mora was arrested in Lowell, Massachusetts, by Massachusetts State Police and Lowell police. He is being held in Massachusetts as a fugitive from justice.

Police said the suspects will be extradited

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Breweries, pot growers taking over Portland area’s industrial properties

January 21st, 2016

Available space in Portland-area industrial zones has become increasingly scarce over the past few years, in part because industrial properties have become desirable spots for breweries, medical marijuana providers and other small businesses, according to a real estate analyst speaking at Thursday’s Maine Real Estate Development Association conference in Portland.

Commercial real estate broker Justin Lamontagne of NAI The Dunham Group in Portland said the vacancy rate for commercial properties in greater Portland’s industrial zones was just 3.4 percent at the end of 2015, down from an already tight 4.1 percent a year earlier. December’s vacancy rate was less than half the rate for office properties in the Portland metro area.




Still, the ultra-low vacancy rate did not spur new construction or cause the price of rents to increase, Lamontagne said. Lease rates in greater Portland averaged $5.62 per square foot per year plus property tax, insurance and maintenance costs, less than both the U.S. average of $5.88 and the Northeast regional average of $5.71.

Still, Lamontagne predicted that speculative development will occur in 2016, increasing the availability of industrial space, and that lease rates will climb above $6 per square foot.

This story will be updated.






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