Man’s gunshot death ruled hunting accident
AUGUSTA — The state medical examiner’s office has ruled that the death of a hunter from New Gloucester on the last day of hunting season was accidental.
Ernest Russell II, 55, was hunting alone in Beaver Cove Township in Piscataquis County, when he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Nov. 29.
A combined investigation was conducted by Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Edward David and the Maine Warden Service.
They believe that Russell’s gun became cocked and then discharged after he slipped on a rock and fell down a hill while walking along a logging trail.
Russell’s wife notified wardens that night when he failed to return home. Russell’s death was the only fatality during last fall’s hunting season.
State computer glitch blamed for false letters
AUGUSTA — A state agency blamed a computer glitch for letters that falsely characterized about 200 recipients of state aid as felons, fugitives or parole violators.
The state Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the letters mistakenly notified recipients that they were no longer eligible for food stamps and rent assistance.
Kelly Ramsey, who has been getting state aid to help raise her 2-year-old son, said she nearly fell to the floor when she read the letter that erroneously said she was a convicted felon, a fugitive from justice or parole violator.
Ramsey said she contacted DHHS and was told that the letters were sent out because of a computer error. The agency apologized for the mistake and said all benefits have been reinstated.
Two shootings in N.B. pose mystery to police
WOODSTOCK, New Brunswick — Royal Canadian Mounted Police have ruled out foul play in the death of a man discovered in a vehicle near Woodstock.
But the RCMP and Woodstock police said they are investigating possible connections between that case and an incident an hour earlier.
The body of a 22-year-old man from Newbridge was found in Lower Brighton early Tuesday, and there was a firearm in the vehicle.
While ruling out foul play, RCMP would not reveal other details.
The discovery was made about an hour after Brandon Owen Clark, 22, wandered into a pub saying he had been shot in the chest by someone driving by.
Clark was in stable condition Wednesday after surgery in Fredericton.
Woodstock is near Houlton, Maine.
Weather postpones water plant opening
KINGFIELD — Wednesday’s snowstorm forced the cancellation of a ribbon cutting that was supposed to mark the start of operations at Poland Spring’s newest plant in Maine.
The water bottler said it already has hired 40 employees and invested $60 million in capital in the Kingfield area.
The company, owned by Swiss food giant Nestle, extracts water from nine locations in Maine and has bottling plants in Poland and Hollis.
In recent years, Poland Spring has run into opposition to its expansion plans by critics concerned about the sustainability of groundwater supplies and increased truck traffic on rural roads.
State to begin taking ’09 park reservations
AUGUSTA — The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands will begin accepting reservations for camping at 12 state park campgrounds for the 2009 season at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2.
This year marks the 21st year that reservations have been taken at Maine’s state campgrounds.
Campers may make reservations in four ways: online at www.CampWithMe.com; by calling (in-state) 800-332-1501 or (out-of-state) 624-9950; by mailing reservations postmarked no earlier than Feb. 2 to Bureau of Parks and Lands, Attn: Reservations, 22 SHS, Augusta 043333; or in person at the Augusta office. Reservations may be made throughout the camping season until Sept. 13, but must be made at least two days before the first night’s stay.
New this year, campers who make walk-in reservations in Augusta are required to drop off their reservation requests with all appropriate forms and payments.
Reservations are available for the following state parks: Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle; Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal; Camden Hills State Park in Camden; Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds Township; Lake St. George State Park in Liberty; Lamoine State Park in Ellsworth; Lily Bay State Park in Greenville; Blue Mountain State Park in Weld; Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft; Rangeley Lake State Park in Rangeley; Sebago Lake State Park; and Warren Island State Park in Penobscot Bay.
Information and site maps for individual parks are available at www.CampWithMe.com. More Information is available by calling 287-2206.
— FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS