Central Maine's a pretty quiet place. Lots of people own guns — maybe even most people own guns — but they generally use them on deer and moose and birds, not people. Everybody notices everything, and it's hard to keep anything secret (although the things that do stay secret tend to be very bad indeed).
The local newspapers report the contents of area police blotters weekly, and it's always an entertaining read. We do have incidents of domestic violence, and last week's summary included a sexual assault and a couple of drunk-driving offenses — but it also included some things you wouldn't see on police blotters in big cities. I'd love to know more about these items, from last Thursday's Capital Weekly:
1. Hallowell, January 10: A Winthrop Street caller reported she'd been robbed of $50,000. Winthrop Street in Hallowell includes City Hall, a branch of the Savings Bank of Maine, a halfway house, and HallDale Elementary, among other things. This seems like big news, but I didn't see any more about it, and wouldn't we have heard about a bank robbery in Hallowell? Was there a bank robbery in Hallowell? If you know about this, pipe up in the comments section.
2. Gardiner, January 10: On West Hill Road, a person sporting a Dale Earnhardt jacket was reportedly flipping off people and yelling at motorists near New Mills Market. The subject was given a lift to the service plaza. That plaza serves I-95, which makes me wonder whether this was just a modern way of taking undesirables to the town line and sending them on their way. It's only a couple of miles from the New Mills Market to the service plaza, but it's probably not safe to walk it in the dark.
3. Augusta, January 9: At 9:08 a.m., owners of five vehicles parked at the Augusta Civic Center reported that their tires had been punctured in the sidewalls with a sharp object and flattened. Trouble-making kids, or someone with a grudge? Either way, up and busy early on a Saturday morning.
4. Gardiner, January 7: On Gowell Drive, a man reported that a motorist was following him around town, and he wasn't sure why. At dinner Monday night, I heard a story about a serial stalker who used to follow women around in downtown Gardiner, but that man is long gone. Still, I'm always interested in stories like this one. Why would someone follow a stranger, and what's that fantasy? Do stalkers think their prey will turn around and say, "Hello! Won't you come home and have dinner? I've been waiting for you all my life"?
5. Gardiner, January 6: A Summer Street man was reportedly barbecuing raccoon pelts. The man had a hunting license and was allowed to barbecue the pelts. Okay, someone please explain to me why one would barbecue raccoon pelts, how this is done, and what one does with them once they're barbecued. They're not edible, are they? Of course I needed to look up the rules for hunting raccoons, and found this: "Raccoons may be hunted at night during the open season only when the hunter is: a) accompanied by a dog; b) uses an electric flashlight to locate raccoons that are treed, or held at bay, by a dog or dogs, and; c) uses a rifle or handgun of no greater power than one which uses .22 caliber long rifle ammunition; said rifle to be loaded only when being used to dispatch a raccoon that is treed or held at bay by dogs." Raccoon season, if you're interested, runs October 1 through December 31.