January 22

Starks spitting case will go to trial

Cindy Brown pleaded not guilty in Skowhegan District Court to spitting on a selectman in an argument over a proposed cell tower.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — The case of a woman charged with assault for allegedly spitting on a selectman over a proposed cellphone tower will go to trial next month.

Cindy E. Brown, 53, of Starks maintained that she is not guilty of the charge in Skowhegan District Court on Wednesday, according to court records. The trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 3, in Somerset County Superior Court.

According to police, Brown allegedly spit on First Selectman Paul Frederic outside a planning board meeting in August at which officials were discussing a proposal to build a cellphone tower near Brown’s property. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

A final decision on whether the planning board’s decision to approve the tower is valid is expected when the appeal board meets Thursday night. Brown and her husband, Harry Brown, have been vocal opponents of the tower since it was first proposed by the Boston company Bay Communications in June.

In September, following the planning board’s approval of the tower, the Browns submitted an appeal citing the visual impact the tower would have on their property, among other things. The appeal has delayed construction of the tower, which was scheduled for completion last fall.

According to the company’s application, the tower would be 195 feet tall and would be built on a property next to the Browns on Abijah Hill Road. It would initially provide cellphone coverage through provider AT&T Wireless, but has the capacity to collect up to five additional carriers.

In August the board of selectmen sent a notice to residents in the town newsletter endorsing the construction of the tower, saying it would be a benefit to most residents and would assist emergency personnel in first response.

The planning board meeting, which is open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Starks Community Center.

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 rohm@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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