The 25 most-read stories of 2011

Posted Dec. 29, 2011, at 12:14 p.m.
25. Maine Warden pilot crashes in Piscataquis County
Daryl Gordon, a 25-year veteran of the Maine Warden Service, died in March when his plane crashed in a remote section of Piscataquis County. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the incident, said debris was scattered across 350 feet and that there was extensive damage to the main cabin.
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

25. Maine Warden pilot crashes in Piscataquis County

Daryl Gordon, a 25-year veteran of the Maine Warden Service, died in March when his plane crashed in a remote section of Piscataquis County. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the incident, said debris was scattered across 350 feet and that there was extensive damage to the main cabin.
24. Chinese buffets in Maine linked to money laundering, illegal aliens
Federal agents raided Chinese restaurants in Brewer, Lewiston, Waterville and the Portland area in November as part of an investigation into money laundering and illegal immigration. Police said illegal immigrants who worked at the Twin Super Buffet lived in tight quarters at a safehouse in Brewer.

24. Chinese buffets in Maine linked to money laundering, illegal aliens

Federal agents raided Chinese restaurants in Brewer, Lewiston, Waterville and the Portland area in November as part of an investigation into money laundering and illegal immigration. Police said illegal immigrants who worked at the Twin Super Buffet lived in tight quarters at a safehouse in Brewer.
23. Berg Sportswear under investigation for illegal use of logos, money laundering, tax evasion
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit searched a Corinna business in January but refused to say what they were looking for. The circumstances around the search remained sealed until August, when it was revealed that Berg Sportswear was under investigation for money laundering, tax evasion and illegally using logos on merchandise.

23. Berg Sportswear under investigation for illegal use of logos, money laundering, tax evasion

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit searched a Corinna business in January but refused to say what they were looking for. The circumstances around the search remained sealed until August, when it was revealed that Berg Sportswear was under investigation for money laundering, tax evasion and illegally using logos on merchandise.
22. Former pastor’s son sets fire to Winterport church, himself
Firefighters initially believed that a man whose body was found outside the burned Calvary Apostolic Church in Winterport in May had tried to escape from the building. But investigators later revealed that the son of the pastor had doused the building and himself with a flammable liquid and started the blaze.

22. Former pastor’s son sets fire to Winterport church, himself

Firefighters initially believed that a man whose body was found outside the burned Calvary Apostolic Church in Winterport in May had tried to escape from the building. But investigators later revealed that the son of the pastor had doused the building and himself with a flammable liquid and started the blaze.
21. Bangor woman records food stamp scam
A Bangor woman documented a common food stamp scam on her iPhone in August. Store employees say it’s common for people to use food stamps to buy bottles of water, dump out the contents and return the bottles for cash. The BDN first documented the practice in 2010.

21. Bangor woman records food stamp scam

A Bangor woman documented a common food stamp scam on her iPhone in August. Store employees say it’s common for people to use food stamps to buy bottles of water, dump out the contents and return the bottles for cash. The BDN first documented the practice in 2010.
20. Clinton woman to be Playboy Playmate
A 27-year-old woman from Clinton became the first woman from Maine to be featured as a Playboy Playmate. Shortly before the June centerfold was published, Mei-Ling Lam told a BDN columnist that she was more uncomfortable letting someone else carry her luggage than she was posing nude for hours.

20. Clinton woman to be Playboy Playmate

A 27-year-old woman from Clinton became the first woman from Maine to be featured as a Playboy Playmate. Shortly before the June centerfold was published, Mei-Ling Lam told a BDN columnist that she was more uncomfortable letting someone else carry her luggage than she was posing nude for hours.
19. Sanford orders caterer to take sex parties off menu
The town of Sanford accused a local caterer in October of violating its license by holding monthly sex parties in a banquet hall. The caterer was issued new liquor and business licenses after the owner apologized for hosting the parties at the former Knights of Columbus hall.
Tammy Wells | The Journal-Tribune

19. Sanford orders caterer to take sex parties off menu

The town of Sanford accused a local caterer in October of violating its license by holding monthly sex parties in a banquet hall. The caterer was issued new liquor and business licenses after the owner apologized for hosting the parties at the former Knights of Columbus hall.
18. Police charge man with murder of Lewiston woman but can’t find body
The family of a Lewiston woman was seriously worried after they hadn’t heard from her for almost two months. Her mother said it was unlike her to not respond to emails and phone messages. Police arrested Buddy Robinson in October in connection with the death of Christiana Fesmire. Police said Fesmire’s listing as an escort on a website helped crack the case but that her work had little to do with her death. Her body has not yet been recovered.
backpage.com

18. Police charge man with murder of Lewiston woman but can’t find body

The family of a Lewiston woman was seriously worried after they hadn’t heard from her for almost two months. Her mother said it was unlike her to not respond to emails and phone messages. Police arrested Buddy Robinson in October in connection with the death of Christiana Fesmire. Police said Fesmire’s listing as an escort on a website helped crack the case but that her work had little to do with her death. Her body has not yet been recovered.
17. LePage on BPA: ‘Worst case is some women may have little beards’
Gov. LePage made headlines in February when he dismissed concerns over the chemical bisphenol-A, saying, “The worst case is some women may have little beards.” The LePage administration said banning the chemical was an example of needless regulation, while others said BPA can be harmful to children. Maine’s Legislature passed a law banning BPA, which went into effect without LePage’s signature.

17. LePage on BPA: ‘Worst case is some women may have little beards’

Gov. LePage made headlines in February when he dismissed concerns over the chemical bisphenol-A, saying, “The worst case is some women may have little beards.” The LePage administration said banning the chemical was an example of needless regulation, while others said BPA can be harmful to children. Maine’s Legislature passed a law banning BPA, which went into effect without LePage’s signature.
16. Postal Service considers closing as many as 34 offices in Maine
In light of serious financial problems, the U.S. Postal Service announced in July that it is considering closing 3,700 branches across the country, including 34 in Maine. Residents in many small towns — and Maine’s congressional delegation — have rallied around their local offices, and in November the Postal Service took four Maine branches off its possible closure list.

16. Postal Service considers closing as many as 34 offices in Maine

In light of serious financial problems, the U.S. Postal Service announced in July that it is considering closing 3,700 branches across the country, including 34 in Maine. Residents in many small towns — and Maine’s congressional delegation — have rallied around their local offices, and in November the Postal Service took four Maine branches off its possible closure list.
15. Toddler mauled to death by family’s Rottweiler
A 7-month-old girl from Frankfort was mauled to death in April by her family’s dog. Police arrested the mother in connection with the death, charging that she was drunk and high during the incident.

15. Toddler mauled to death by family’s Rottweiler

A 7-month-old girl from Frankfort was mauled to death in April by her family’s dog. Police arrested the mother in connection with the death, charging that she was drunk and high during the incident.
14. Two die and five injured after man falls asleep at the wheel
Two women died and five people were injured in September in a crash in Eddington. Police say a Canadian man fell asleep at the wheel and crashed head-on into a minivan. Relatives of the women killed since have filed a wrongful death suit against the man.

14. Two die and five injured after man falls asleep at the wheel

Two women died and five people were injured in September in a crash in Eddington. Police say a Canadian man fell asleep at the wheel and crashed head-on into a minivan. Relatives of the women killed since have filed a wrongful death suit against the man.
13. Four tornadoes touch down in Maine
Maine saw an unusual number of tornadoes in June — four in just two weeks. The tornadoes in Embden and Aroostook County uprooted trees and caused power outages but didn’t leave the deadly destruction seen in Joplin, Mo.
Maine Forest Service

13. Four tornadoes touch down in Maine

Maine saw an unusual number of tornadoes in June — four in just two weeks. The tornadoes in Embden and Aroostook County uprooted trees and caused power outages but didn’t leave the deadly destruction seen in Joplin, Mo.
12. LePage to NAACP: ‘Kiss my butt’
Less than two weeks after being sworn in as governor, Paul LePage riled the NAACP after he invited critics to “kiss my butt” over his decision not to attend ceremonies on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The comments were made lightheartedly, but the NAACP took offense and the remark was a popular topic at MLK Day breakfasts, including at the Waterville event LePage ended up attending. The comments attracted national attention, including from late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.
Joel Page | AP

12. LePage to NAACP: ‘Kiss my butt’

Less than two weeks after being sworn in as governor, Paul LePage riled the NAACP after he invited critics to “kiss my butt” over his decision not to attend ceremonies on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The comments were made lightheartedly, but the NAACP took offense and the remark was a popular topic at MLK Day breakfasts, including at the Waterville event LePage ended up attending. The comments attracted national attention, including from late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.
11. Cindy Blodgett fired by UMaine
Controversial University of Maine women’s basketball coach Cindy Blodgett was ousted in March after her team finished 4-25. Blodgett, a star player in Maine high school and college basketball, had recently received a two-year contract extension and was paid one year’s salary — $109,772 — out of the university’s discretionary fund as part of her severance. Blodgett has since been hired at the University of Rhode Island as an assistant coach.

11. Cindy Blodgett fired by UMaine

Controversial University of Maine women’s basketball coach Cindy Blodgett was ousted in March after her team finished 4-25. Blodgett, a star player in Maine high school and college basketball, had recently received a two-year contract extension and was paid one year’s salary — $109,772 — out of the university’s discretionary fund as part of her severance. Blodgett has since been hired at the University of Rhode Island as an assistant coach.
10. Charging of cellphone leads to misdemeanor charges
A transient was arrested in Bangor in June after police found him charging two cellphones in an outside electric outlet. Shaun Fawster was charged with theft of services. The story attracted the attention of news aggregator The Drudge Report. The charges have since been dropped.
No photo available

10. Charging of cellphone leads to misdemeanor charges

A transient was arrested in Bangor in June after police found him charging two cellphones in an outside electric outlet. Shaun Fawster was charged with theft of services. The story attracted the attention of news aggregator The Drudge Report. The charges have since been dropped.
9. Two shot dead in Dover-Foxcroft
Michael Curtis, a dispatcher for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office, walked into a nursing home in Dover-Foxcroft in November, asked for worker Udo Schneider by name and fatally shot him, according to witnesses. Police surrounded Curtis at the county fairgrounds and shot him in a standoff. Circumstances are still unclear as to what led to the shooting.

9. Two shot dead in Dover-Foxcroft

Michael Curtis, a dispatcher for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office, walked into a nursing home in Dover-Foxcroft in November, asked for worker Udo Schneider by name and fatally shot him, according to witnesses. Police surrounded Curtis at the county fairgrounds and shot him in a standoff. Circumstances are still unclear as to what led to the shooting.
8. Irene glances Maine
Hurricane Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm when it blew through the state in August and wasn’t as destructive as some had feared, but it still knocked out power for almost 300,000 Mainers and destroyed crops.

8. Irene glances Maine

Hurricane Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm when it blew through the state in August and wasn’t as destructive as some had feared, but it still knocked out power for almost 300,000 Mainers and destroyed crops.
7. Body of woman found missing since 1983 found in Lewiston storage unit
Relatives of a recently deceased Lewiston man were cleaning out his storage locker in October when they found a woman’s body in an unplugged freezer. Police used DNA testing to confirm that the remains were of Kitty Wardwell, who disappeared from Holden in 1983 when she was 29.
Photo of Frank Julian via the Sun Journal

7. Body of woman found missing since 1983 found in Lewiston storage unit

Relatives of a recently deceased Lewiston man were cleaning out his storage locker in October when they found a woman’s body in an unplugged freezer. Police used DNA testing to confirm that the remains were of Kitty Wardwell, who disappeared from Holden in 1983 when she was 29.
6. Portland mother found in NH pond 
Police were immediately suspicious after a car was found in April with a child in it, its engine running and its hazard lights blinking in New Hampshire. The body of Krista Dittmeyer of Portland was found by divers days later in a pond about a quarter-mile from her car. Three men are accused of hitting her on the head with a rubber club in a plot to steal drugs and money.

6. Portland mother found in NH pond

Police were immediately suspicious after a car was found in April with a child in it, its engine running and its hazard lights blinking in New Hampshire. The body of Krista Dittmeyer of Portland was found by divers days later in a pond about a quarter-mile from her car. Three men are accused of hitting her on the head with a rubber club in a plot to steal drugs and money.
5. LePage orders labor mural removed
Gov. Paul LePage attracted national attention multiple times in 2011. In March the governor ordered the removal of a mural in the Maine Department of Labor office that depicted the history of the state’s labor movement. LePage said initially that the mural was one-sided and that he was acting in response to an anonymous letter that called the painting propaganda. Speaking later to NBC’s Brian Williams, he said that the mural was funded with money from the unemployment insurance fund, which he objected to. The decision sparked a lawsuit, was editorialized against by The New York Times and was mocked by liberal talk show hosts including Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow.

5. LePage orders labor mural removed

Gov. Paul LePage attracted national attention multiple times in 2011. In March the governor ordered the removal of a mural in the Maine Department of Labor office that depicted the history of the state’s labor movement. LePage said initially that the mural was one-sided and that he was acting in response to an anonymous letter that called the painting propaganda. Speaking later to NBC’s Brian Williams, he said that the mural was funded with money from the unemployment insurance fund, which he objected to. The decision sparked a lawsuit, was editorialized against by The New York Times and was mocked by liberal talk show hosts including Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow.
4. Boy’s body found along South Berwick road
A young boy’s body was found on the side of a road in South Berwick in May. Police were initially unable to identify the boy and nobody reported him missing. After nearly a week, police arrested Julianne McCrery of Texas, the boy’s mother, and charged her with killing 6-year-old Camden Hughes and dumping his body.
Page design by Khela Kupiec | BDN

4. Boy’s body found along South Berwick road

A young boy’s body was found on the side of a road in South Berwick in May. Police were initially unable to identify the boy and nobody reported him missing. After nearly a week, police arrested Julianne McCrery of Texas, the boy’s mother, and charged her with killing 6-year-old Camden Hughes and dumping his body.
3. Man shoots wife, 2 children before killing himself
A Harmony man shot and killed his estranged wife and young son and daughter in Dexter before turning the gun on himself in June. Steven Lake previously had held the family hostage in a different home and the mother, Amy, and children, Coty and and Monica, had moved multiple times as the parents finalized their divorce. A “psychological autopsy” of the case detailed systemic failures, including that Steven Lake had violated a protection from abuse order at least five times but spent little time in jail.
Photo from Amy Bagley Lake's facebook page

3. Man shoots wife, 2 children before killing himself

A Harmony man shot and killed his estranged wife and young son and daughter in Dexter before turning the gun on himself in June. Steven Lake previously had held the family hostage in a different home and the mother, Amy, and children, Coty and and Monica, had moved multiple times as the parents finalized their divorce. A “psychological autopsy” of the case detailed systemic failures, including that Steven Lake had violated a protection from abuse order at least five times but spent little time in jail.
2. Roxanne Quimby pushes for North Woods National Park
Roxanne Quimby founded the popular Burt’s Bees product line in Maine and found many detractors when she moved the company’s operations to North Carolina. Quimby made waves in Maine again with a proposal for a national park in the Katahdin region, seeded with land she has purchased personally. She stoked the fire again in October by calling Maine “a welfare state” in an interview on forbes.com. Towns in the region — and businesses — have so far resisted the idea, though a December poll found that 60 percent of Mainers support at least studying whether the park is feasible.

2. Roxanne Quimby pushes for North Woods National Park

Roxanne Quimby founded the popular Burt’s Bees product line in Maine and found many detractors when she moved the company’s operations to North Carolina. Quimby made waves in Maine again with a proposal for a national park in the Katahdin region, seeded with land she has purchased personally. She stoked the fire again in October by calling Maine “a welfare state” in an interview on forbes.com. Towns in the region — and businesses — have so far resisted the idea, though a December poll found that 60 percent of Mainers support at least studying whether the park is feasible.
1. The Rev. Robert Carlson found dead in Penobscot River
The death of the Rev. Robert Carlson, whose body was found in the Penobscot River in November, shocked the state. Carlson, a leader in the Greater Bangor area, was under investigation by state police after being accused of child sex abuse. He jumped from the Penobscot Narrows bridge, according to police.

1. The Rev. Robert Carlson found dead in Penobscot River

The death of the Rev. Robert Carlson, whose body was found in the Penobscot River in November, shocked the state. Carlson, a leader in the Greater Bangor area, was under investigation by state police after being accused of child sex abuse. He jumped from the Penobscot Narrows bridge, according to police.

For many communities in Maine, 2011 was a year of tragedy, with death shocking small towns such as Dexter, Frankfort, Winterport and Dover-Foxcroft. Stories involving children, such as the ongoing search for 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds, who disappeared from her father’s residence in Waterville, hit especially close to home for many people.

In 2011, the BDN launched a blogs initiative. The most-read blog post, with more than 100,000 pageviews, was by Heather Bogolyuba, who blogs about motherhood.

Large numbers of pageviews do not always translate into high numbers of comments. Of the five most-commented-on articles of 2011, only one made it into our top 25 stories list. The story with the most comments in 2011 — Gov. Paul LePage proposing drug tests for welfare recipients — was only 212th on our list of most-read articles in 2011.

Here are the 25 most-read stories on the BDN website in 2011. You can leave your thoughts on the year — including stories you think should have made the list — in the comments section below.

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