Articles by Daniel Hartill

Eric Samson, center, talks with his brother Mark Sampson, left, and Chris Fletcher at Gipper's Sports Grill in Auburn on Tuesday. Samson was elected Androscoggin County Sheriff.

Androscoggin County elects Eric Samson as sheriff

By Daniel Hartill on Nov. 05, 2014, at 5 a.m.
AUBURN | Eric Samson, a longtime Androscoggin County worker who served as a corrections officer and patrol deputy, will likely serve as sheriff. Late Tuesday, 96 percent of the county’s votes were counted. Only Durham numbers were unavailable. Samson, 43, of Auburn, won 44 percent of the vote in …
Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins

Maine sheriffs aim to keep inmates from collecting unemployment benefits

By Daniel Hartill on Sept. 07, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
AUBURN | Serving jail time for a drunken-driving arrest or sitting in a cell awaiting trial for drug-dealing, robbery or murder ought to prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits. That was what Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins figured when he saw a newspaper story about a Georgetown man, Joshua …
Ann LePage, Maine's first lady, announced she will skydive Aug. 9 to raise money for the Northern Maine Veterans Museum & Community Center. She will jump alongside veteran Travis Mills, who will make his second jump since his 2012 injuries in Afghanistan that took both arms and both legs.

Maine’s first lady to skydive with disabled veteran

By Daniel Hartill on July 15, 2014, at 2:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Ann LePage, the wife of Maine Gov. Paul LePage, has plans to jump out of a plane next month for her favorite cause: veterans. She will be skydiving with members of an all-veteran parachute team, as well as with veteran Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee who will …

Parents, kids and booze: Mom and dad liable when teens party at home

By Daniel Hartill on April 27, 2014, at 6:29 a.m.
Until she spoiled her own secret — igniting a late-night police search and a long list of court summonses — an unidentified 15-year-old girl’s partying might never have been discovered. The Turner girl lied to her family, telling them she was going to a nearby friend’s home. Instead, she went …
Rep. Mark Dion

Sheriffs and lawmakers worry about veto of county jail fix

By Daniel Hartill on April 03, 2014, at 8:15 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The creators of a bill meant to restructure Maine’s system of county jails — which is days from a vote in the Maine Legislature — say they’re worried the bill might fail on the governor’s desk. “I do worry about a veto,” Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, co-chairman …
Patrick Dempsey's mother, Amanda Dempsey, died on March 24.

Patrick Dempsey’s mother remembered for her strength at Auburn memorial

By Daniel Hartill on March 30, 2014, at 6:42 a.m.
More than 300 mourners gathered Saturday to remember Amanda Dempsey, who inspired the creation of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing with her 17-year battle with cancer and her indefatigable passion for living. “Celebrate your best memories of her,” son Patrick Dempsey asked friends …
Commissioner Joseph Ponte (left) and Gov. Paul LePage (center, seated) were among the state officials attending an open house at the Maine State Prison in this Feb. 14, 2014 photo.

LePage asks Legislature to fund jails, despite earlier call against new spending

By Daniel Hartill on Feb. 25, 2014, at 6:29 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage wants Maine’s jails to get the money they need. In a one-page letter to legislative leaders and members of the Appropriations Committee, the governor expressed his wish that money be set aside to keep all 15 county jails operating. “The financial issues facing the …

State could change property tax cap to increase jail funding

By Daniel Hartill on Feb. 25, 2014, at 6:01 a.m.
AUGUSTA | A six-year-old cap on property taxpayers’ share of county jail costs may be cracking as lawmakers search for more money. Members of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee put counties on notice Monday that the cap, which froze county spending on jails at 2008 levels and passed on …
Mark Westrum, administrator of Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset

Jails ask Legislature for $2.5 million bailout

By Daniel Hartill on Feb. 13, 2014, at 8:12 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Officials from Maine’s jail system asked legislators Wednesday for a $2.5 million bailout, saying the money would help jails make it to the end of June. But more will be needed next year, they said. This year’s flat-funded budgets weren’t enough to operate the system’s 15 jails, …
Maine Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte, left, discusses the Maine State Prison in this April 9, 2013 photo.

Corrections chief calls for state takeover of county jails

By Daniel Hartill on Feb. 13, 2014, at 7:49 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The state corrections commissioner is calling for a state takeover of Maine’s 15 county jails, saying the system is “on the verge of collapsing.” In a three-page letter distributed Wednesday to the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee, Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte said the state corrections system is “well-positioned …
Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick.

Lawmakers promise fix for county jail system before funds run dry

By Daniel Hartill on Jan. 14, 2014, at 6:48 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Legislators vowed Monday to fix Maine’s ailing county jail system before it runs out of money this spring. “We will work very hard together,” Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, told corrections officials. “Expect to come back. We’re going to go through it again. We’re going to be here …
Lewiston comedian Mark Turcotte said as long as you are confident and prepared, there is no reason to be nervous about stepping on stage.

Lewiston comedian says stand-up ‘is the last bastion of free speech we have’

By Daniel Hartill on Jan. 13, 2014, at 7:17 a.m.
Mark Turcotte felt neither sweaty palms nor wobbly knees. Instead, he waited and he paced. “I felt like a caged animal,” Turcotte said, remembering the moments before he climbed the stage, held the microphone and began his first comedy routine. “I couldn’t wait to get up there,” …

2-car accident on Lisbon Street in Lewiston leaves one dead

By Daniel Hartill on Dec. 19, 2013, at 1:45 p.m.
Lewiston police confirm that one person was killed in a two-car accident on Lisbon Street, Route 196, in front of the South Lewiston Baptist Church. The street is closed from Dyer to South Lisbon Road. Watch for updates. 
An inmate at the Penobscot County Jail shovels the steps of the sherrif's office in Bangor during pre-dawn darkness on Sunday.

Budget squeeze may force layoffs at jails across Maine

By Daniel Hartill on Dec. 19, 2013, at 6:24 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The State Board of Corrections told the operators of Maine’s 15 county jails Tuesday to get by this budget season with a zero increase, potentially forcing layoffs and even closures. The board voted 3-2 to approve an $80.3 million budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, …
Edward Maynard displays his Washington, D.C. Police Department ID during a recent interview at his home in Lewiston. Maynard was a patrol officer in the 1960s, assigned to an honor squadron that protected VIPs in the nation's capital.

Lewiston man, retired DC officer recalls JFK assassination as ‘day I’ll never forget’

By Daniel Hartill on Nov. 17, 2013, at 6:34 a.m.
A static-filled voice on a transistor radio delivered the tragic news to Edward Maynard. “Just like everyone else, I couldn’t believe it,” Maynard said. “Shock. I was just thinking that there’s got to be some mistake. It became a reality when I was called in to work.” He and his …

Lewiston shut down to mourn Kennedy

By Daniel Hartill on Nov. 17, 2013, at 6:10 a.m.
The night John Kennedy came to Lewiston — Nov. 6, 1960 — a crowd of 14,000 people jammed the Lewiston City Park. And he was late. His election was only two days away, and the presidential candidate’s barnstorming final hours delayed him from his scheduled 8 p.m. …
Dr. Maria Dycio, left, and Martha Stevens-David on the edge of Taylor Pond in Auburn on Monday afternoon where Dycio lives with her dog, Sultan.

91-year-old Auburn woman recalls youth in occupied Ukraine

By Daniel Hartill on Oct. 21, 2013, at 9:35 p.m.
When the Nazis arrived at Mary Dycio’s home in western Ukraine in 1941, she was jubilant. A girl of 19, she had endured two years of occupation by the Soviets; the foul, sometimes barefoot soldiers and the plainclothes Communists who would appear to snatch people away. “When …

Truck hits telephone pole, knocks out power in Saturday morning crash in Paris

By Daniel Hartill on Oct. 13, 2013, at 5:51 a.m.
A West Paris man suffered minor injuries early Saturday when he fell asleep while driving and struck a telephone pole. Matthew Ball was on his way to work at about 4:25 a.m. when the crash occurred on Hill Street near the Buckfield Road interchange, said Paris police …
Actor Patrick Dempsey smiles from stage during The Dempsey Challenge opening ceremony in Lewiston on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.

Dempsey Challenge tightens security

By Daniel Hartill on Oct. 11, 2013, at 8:16 a.m.
LEWISTON | Officials plan tighter security for this weekend’s fifth annual Dempsey Challenge — scheduled to include about 3,800 participants and crowds of spectators likely to surpass 3,000 — but don’t expect bomb-sniffing dogs, Jersey barriers or metal detectors. “The phrase we’re using is ‘intelligent vigilance,’” said Aimee Arsenault, …
Franklin County Detention Center Manager Doug Blauvelt, sitting at table, answers questions Tuesday from the state Board of Corrections before the board voted not to reopen the jail to full service in September. Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. listens at right.

Franklin County says state should spend more on jails or give them back to Maine counties

By Daniel Hartill on Oct. 05, 2013, at 6:28 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Franklin County leaders implored a new group of state appointees to either spend more on Maine’s 15 county jails or give up their control. The current network is “a bad idea which continues to grow worse,” Franklin County Commissioner Fred Hardy told the 14-member Commission to Study …