They had hoped to pick three juries for three separate cases, then begin one of the trials later in the day.

Optimism about getting it all done began to diminish shortly after 8:30 a.m. when the first of two rescue crews were called to the courtroom.

Court officers called 911 the first time for a defendant who was complaining of chest pains. Rescue workers arrived, checked the man and took him away. The jury selection for his trial would have to wait.

About a half-hour later, as a pool of about 100 potential jurors watched a video explaining the jury selection process, a pregnant woman got up from the crowd and approached the clerk’s desk. She was feeling faint.

An emergency medical technician in the courtroom checked her out and decided to play it safe. The court officer was asked to place another call to 911.

Rescue workers arrived, checked the woman and took her away. Her chances of getting on a jury would have to wait.

By the end of the day, only the first case had a jury. But, with one jury picked, one case put on hold and one less potential juror to question, things weren’t looking too bad for Tuesday.

– Lisa Chmelecki
No camping here

Three days after their arrival, the Middlebury College “super-fans” had apparently worn out their welcome in the Bates College parking lot.

On Friday morning, the day a front-page story appeared documenting the group’s trip from Vermont to Lewiston to watch the Men’s Division III National Tennis Championships, Bates College security apparently had had enough of them.

At 7:15, responding to a knock on their door, the four Middlebury students were issued an ultimatum: Get lost or get arrested. They chose the former, and within an hour were on their way to a new home, the parking lot at the Hilton Garden Inn where the team was staying.

Undeterred, the group showed up at the courts and helped cheer their team to victory. Middlebury won the final match 4-3 amid a cascade of applause.

– Justin Pelletier
Moms-to-be take note

OK, so it might help his business, but it just might help pregnant women and their babies, too.

Jim Grimmel, who runs Grimmel’s gasoline and service station on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, says future moms shouldn’t be pumping their own gas.

A change in the formula of gasoline combined with additives put in at the terminals where fuel trucks are loaded has resulted in oil companies sending a caution to retail dealers. It suggests that moms-to-be in particular make sure they wash their hands after filling their tanks. Oh, and keep any fuel away from the mouths, too.

Grimmel said the formula change went into play May 1.

“There are enough full-service stations around Lewiston-Auburn that pregnant women shouldn’t have to pump their own gas,” Grimmel said. “It’s worth it to pay an extra few cents.”

Grimmel’s station is one of those full-service fuel stops. On Wednesday when he was talking about gas prices and other related issues, his pump price was the same as many name-brand self-serve stations in the Twin Cities.

– Doug Fletcher
Good deeds done

And you thought last year’s coin was spiffy. Police are issuing a new commemorative piece to thank citizens who do good deeds.

Last year, Lewiston police started a program to reward citizens for their help in daily police matters. The department bought a number of commemorative coins to be passed out by police officers on their beats.

“It’s a way for us to show our appreciation,” said Chief William Welch.

The coin is half-dollar-sized, made of heavy metal and ringed with a band of silver and gold. The old coin was impressive. The new piece is more colorful, with the Lewiston police symbol minted on the front, the state seal on the back.

Anyone who receives a coin will also receive a personal letter from the chief within days. The police department here joins only a handful of others in this state that use such coins to reward helpful residents. The program is done in conjunction with the Maine Community Policing Institute, which helped pay for the mementos.

The coins do not have a monetary value. Nor, will they get a person out of a speeding ticket or other summons. But they sure are spiffy.

– Mark LaFlamme
Alien economy

Sean O’Keefe, who leads the geniuses at NASA, probably meant to highlight the vast sums the space agency spends in the private sector.

Of course, his comments Thursday to local businessmen could come as a blow to Martian entrepreneurs.

“Every dollar we spend in space exploration is spent here on Earth,” O’Keefe announced at the annual dinner of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council.

So much for free trade.

– Daniel Hartill


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