PORTLAND

City Clerk Linda Cohen to step down next month

City Clerk Linda Cohen will resign in a little more than a month.

Cohen said she will step down on Jan. 7 to pursue other career opportunities.

Mayor Nick Mavodones said Cohen restructured the clerk’s office, improved the administration of elections and brought a customer service mentality to the office.

“For nearly a decade, Linda has been the person behind the curtain, making sure that the clerk’s office was an open and welcoming place for the public,” he said.

Four years ago, Cohen became only the second clerk in Maine to earn master municipal clerk status from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. She was named Maine Clerk of the Year by the Maine Town and City Clerk’s Association in 1999.

New England shrimp season starts, runs through April 15

Fishermen have begun New England’s annual shrimp season.

The northern shrimp season runs from Dec. 1 through April 15. The 136-day season is down from 180 days last year.

Fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts last year netted more than 12 million pounds of shrimp, the best season since 1997. Regulators shut the season down early last year because the catch exceeded the maximum harvest recommended by scientists.

Regulators have capped the harvest at 8.8 million pounds this season.

Northern shrimp provide a small but valuable fishery to the New England fleet. Last year 230 boats took part, 209 of them coming from Maine.

L.L. Bean donates $12,000 to schools to ease transitions

L.L. Bean has donated $12,000 to Portland schools for projects that help students make the transition from elementary school to middle school and from middle school to high school.

The projects include a glee club at East End Community School that will collaborate with middle school choruses, and a peer mentoring program that will pair students from Portland High School and King Middle School to work on a community service project.

It also will support an expanded Step-Across Day at Lyman Moore Middle School that will bring together high school teachers, guidance counselors, high school students and eighth-graders to talk about social and academic expectations in high school.

YORK COUNTY

Man charged in police chase being sent to Massachusetts

The man who is accused of fleeing from Kittery police last week and then crashing into a family’s car on the Maine Turnpike will be sent to Massachusetts to face charges of violating probation.

Timothy Williams, 39, of South Portland was charged Friday with eluding police after leading them on a high-speed chase, police said.

On Monday, a prosecutor and Williams’ lawyer, Amy Fairfield, agreed that Williams’ $5,000 bail should be lowered to $250, a decision that drew criticism.

The lawyers who reached the agreement – approved by District Court Judge Michael Cantara – lacked information on Williams’ criminal record in Massachusetts, which includes assault, carrying a dangerous weapon, and driving with a revoked license.

That information was not readily available for Williams’ court appearance Monday morning, a technological deficiency in the criminal justice system, said York County District Attorney Mark Lawrence.

Fairfield also said there is no evidence to suggest that Williams was driving drunk, as police asserted.

Williams is on probation in Massachusetts and will be transferred there to face probation violation charges after his arraignment in York County Superior Court, Lawrence said.

Task force looks at costs of Kittery’s three bridges

Officials who are developing a report on the future of three bridges between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., say the long-term costs of construction, rehabilitation and maintenance could reach $620 million over 30 years.

Some of those costs could be offset with tolls collected in both states. The Bi-State Funding Task Force met Tuesday in Portland.

The task force has until mid-December to come up with a final report, which will be presented to the governors of both states. The current plans call for rehabilitation, rather than replacement, of the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.

The Memorial Bridge would be replaced.

The Portsmouth Herald says the task force also talked about finding ways to reduce costs with savings in personnel and technology.

SCARBOROUGH

Firefighters pull surfer from Scarborough River

A surfer was rescued from the Scarborough River on Wednesday after he grew tired and ended up clinging to a buoy.

Firefighters in a 21-foot Boston Whaler reached the surfer within minutes after his friend notified authorities, around 11 a.m., that the man was in trouble, said Deputy Fire Chief Wes Merritt.

The two men had been surfing for about two hours off Ferry Beach, near the Prouts Neck Yacht Club, when one of them – his name was not available – couldn’t make it back to shore.

Merritt said it was windy and the waves were large. The man was checked out by emergency medical technicians and apparently was fine.

NEW GLOUCESTER

Suspicious vehicle fireunder investigation

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a suspicious motor vehicle fire at a business on Route 100 Tuesday night, said Fire Chief Gary Sacco.

No one was injured in the fire in Portland Insulation’s parking area at 162 Lewiston Road. A pickup truck was destroyed, and a parking structure and a nearby vehicle were damaged, Sacco said.

The fire was reported about 9:30 p.m. as a structure fire. Firefighters found the pickup in flames and fire spreading to the roof that covered several commercial vehicles.

Except for the loss of the pickup, the fire did minimal damage, Sacco said.

Sacco would not discuss the cause of the fire other than to say it is suspicious and being investigated.

COBURN GORE

Man arrested with pot after GPS sends him into Maine

A Canadian man found himself in a Maine jail after his GPS directed him to a remote U.S. border crossing, where agents found a pound of marijuana in his car.

Officials say Darrell Fudge, 54, was driving from British Columbia back to his home in Newfoundland on Sunday and didn’t intend to enter the United States, but his GPS gave him the shortest route – through northern Maine.

Federal authorities found the marijuana in a cooler. They turned the case over to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Fudge appeared in court Monday in Lewiston. His attorney says Fudge wants to settle the case.