PORTLAND

Nurse will take a sabbatical to develop school handbook

Amanda Rowe, nurse supervisor in the city’s public schools, will take a half-year, half-paid sabbatical next spring to develop a comprehensive handbook for school health procedures.

The handbook will be available on the district’s Web site and will be designed to be easily updated, said Superintendent Jim Morse.

The School Committee unanimously approved Rowe’s sabbatical, along with similar proposals for the coming school year from Peg Richards, an art teacher at Casco Bay High School, and Paul Clifford, a social studies teacher at King Middle School.
Morse said Rowe proposed the handbook project.

Rowe is eligible for sabbatical because she’s a member of the teachers’ union, though she is the first nurse to take such a leave in recent memory, said Human Resources Director Joline Hart.

Rowe will receive full benefits and half of her usual salary for the six-month spring semester, or $17,877, according to the 2010-11 budget proposal. Her annual salary is $71,507.

Rowe is married to Steven Rowe, who is running for governor this year.

According to the teachers’ contract, up to 2 percent of teachers may be granted sabbatical leave at one time for study or travel related to their field, “or for other reasons of value to the school system.”
 
Two women from New York charged with dealing heroin

Two women from New York have been charged with dealing heroin in the neighborhood around Oxford and Alder streets.

Octavia Gordon, 19, of New York City and Tanasia Ephriam, 24, of Brooklyn were charged with aggravated trafficking in heroin, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The women, arrested Thursday by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Portland police, carried 40 bags of heroin, with an estimated street value of $800, police said.

Gordon was being held in the Cumberland County Jail on $25,000 cash bail Monday night. Ephriam has been released since her arrest, according to workers at the jail.

The arrests were made after police got complaints from residents about drug use and distribution in the neighborhood.

State seeks public comment on future land management

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is seeking public comment on the future management of the Pineland Public Land Unit in Gray, North Yarmouth and New Gloucester, and Bradbury State Park in Pownal, as well as trails that link the properties.

Comments will be taken from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Pownal Elementary School.

The comments will be used by the department to develop a management plan for the properties.

More information about the planning process is available from Rex Turner, outdoor recreation planner, at 623-4514 or by e-mail at [email protected]

AUGUSTA

Bill to ban guns in Acadia faces final legislative votes

A bill to ban guns in Acadia National Park is closer to final passage.

The Maine House on Monday went along with the Senate and approved a bill that continues the current policy of outlawing guns in the coastal park. The bill would allow exceptions for police, retired police and those who have concealed weapons permits.

The legislative action follows passage of a federal law that allows guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.The law says states may override the federal policy and impose bans in national parks within their borders.

The Maine bill faces final House and Senate votes.

New law creates registry for saltwater fishermen

Gov. John Baldacci has signed into law a bill creating a saltwater recreational fishing registry, ending a four-year debate over the issue.

The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2011, meets a federal mandate for states to set up their own registries this year or face having a federal registry with fees next year.

Under the bill Baldacci signed today, the registry is free with the purchase of a freshwater fishing license. Striped bass endorsements will cost $5 for residents who do not have freshwater licenses, and $15 for all nonresidents. Fees for commercial operator’s licenses, including charters and smelt camps, are $50.

The sponsor, Rep. Leila Percy, D-Phippsburg, said lawmakers tried to fashion a bill that minimizes the impact on Mainers. The bill is expected to generate $1.7 million.

House OKs bill to tighten ballot initiative process

Concerns about the integrity of Maine’s ballot initiative process have prompted action on a bill to tighten the requirements for organizations behind petition campaigns.

The House agreed with the Senate on Monday and approved a measure requiring businesses that receive compensation for circulating petitions to register with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Supporters say the bill would improve Maine’s century-old citizen initiative process by giving the public better knowledge of groups that pay millions of dollars to push for changes to state law through petition efforts.

A separate bill, also intended to improve the initiative process, was rejected by the House on Monday. It sought a constitutional amendment requiring initiative supporters to show how much their plan would cost and how it would be funded.

Senate kills bill to create drug take-back programs

A bill to create a prescription drug take-back program in Maine has been killed.

The bill would have required drug manufacturers to set up and operate programs to collect, transport, manage and dispose of unwanted drugs from residences.

The House approved the measure earlier this month, but the Senate on Friday voted it dead for the session.

The bill came up after minute amounts of discarded drugs were found in water at Maine landfills, confirming suspicions that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash are ending up in water that drains through waste.

Maine was one of more than a dozen states with bills this year addressing pharmaceutical collection or disposal.

Eight Iraqi women observe women in government

Eight Iraqi women were greeted at the State House on Monday as they examined the role of women in government.

The women, including public officials and a university professor, met with Gov. John Baldacci and were recognized during visits to the Senate and House. The presiding officers of both chambers are women: Senate President Libby Mitchell and House Speaker Hannah Pingree.

The Iraqi women are visiting Maine through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. They are all in the United States for the first time.

MEXICO

Police seek man in robbery of One Stop at gunpoint

Police are seeking a suspect who used a gun to rob a convenience store.

Police Chief James Theriault says the clerk at the Mexico One Stop was all alone when the robbery occurred at about 6:20 a.m. Sunday.

Theriault says the suspect demanded money and told the clerk he didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Police say the suspect made off on foot with about $200 cash.

A police dog was called in, but it lost the suspect’s scent after a short pursuit.

The store had a video surveillance system, but the suspect’s face was covered with a bandana.

BRUNSWICK

Public invited to see lambs during open house April 11

More than 120 lambs were born this year at Crystal Spring Farm, and the public is invited to see some of them during an open house.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which operates the farm on Pleasant Hill Road, will hold the annual New Lamb Open Barn Day from 1 to 3 p.m. April 11.