PORTLAND

Craig survives first cut as Cincinnati seeks police chief

Police Chief James Craig is among 10 applicants being interviewed for the job of Cincinnati police chief.

A search committee narrowed the field from a pool of 41 applicants. The city will continue to accept applications until the position is filled.

The 10 candidates are being interviewed by the search committee over the phone. The committee will conduct in-person interviews with four to six candidates. City Manager Milton Dohoney will then interview the top two or three candidates, and after that will either make a candidate an offer, revisit the pool of applicants or restart the search.

Craig said Tuesday that he went through a very structured and lengthy telephone interview. He said it was exciting to be among the top 10 candidates for a police chief position in a major city.

“If I’m not selected, I’m going to continue to work hard to continue to move this department forward,” he said.

Craig said he’s been able to work with some of the finest people in the profession during the two years he’s been chief in Portland. He also praised the commitment of the community.

Craig had retired as a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department before coming to Portland. He started his law enforcement career in his hometown of Detroit.

Police collect more evidence in Portland woman’s death

Police collected additional evidence Monday from a wooded area in Northport as they continued to investigate the disappearance and death of a Portland woman.

The partial remains of 24-year-old Elena Lozada were discovered in the area earlier this month. Members of the Portland Police Department, Maine State Police, the Maine Warden Service and the state Medical Examiner’s Office spent much of Monday in the Waldo County town.

The case is still being investigated as an unattended death with suspicous circumstances.

Lt. Gary Rogers, head of Portland’s police detectives, would provide no additional details about evidence found at the site off Route 52. The privately owned property is south of Back Belmont Road. Rogers said he believes authorities have completed their work at the site.

The property owner is not a person of interest in the investigation, and neither are the owner’s family members, Rogers said.

He would not say how authorities were led to the site.

Lozada was reported missing in July by her mother, Carrie Cronkite of Westfield, after she had been out of touch for an unusual length of time. Cronkite has said that Lozada had recently been discharged from a hospital drug rehabilitation program but refused to enter a residential program.

Forum looks at challenges for gays, others in schools

The University of Southern Maine will host a panel discussion Thursday evening on the challenges that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths face in Maine schools.

“A Matter of Survival” was organized and will be moderated by Emily Paine, a senior majoring in women and gender studies and sociology. She’s also the university’s 2010-11 Maine Policy Scholar.

Panel members will include Thom Harnett, assistant attorney general; Penny Sargent, program coordinator of Outright Lewiston-Auburn; and Betsy Parsons, teacher and co-chairwoman of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network-Southern Maine.

The discussion will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Room 113 of Masterson Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Public asked to help guide search for new principals

School officials are seeking public input in their search for principals of Portland High School and Riverton Elementary School.

Parents, students and other community members are invited to fill out a survey, posted on the school district’s website, portlandschools.org, that asks about the skills and qualities to be sought in candidates for the positions.

Portland High Principal Mike Johnson will head Portland Arts and Technology High School next fall. Nancy Kopack has resigned from the Riverton position, effective at the end of June.

Online responses will be accepted through May 6. The positions are being advertised nationally. A search committee, including parents and staff members, will be appointed for each position.

AMITY

Defendant in triple slaying wants statements supressed

Attorneys for a young man charged with murdering two men and a 10-year-old boy in a tiny northern Maine town have filed documents seeking to suppress statements he made to police.

Thayne Ormsby is charged with killing 55-year-old Jeffrey Ryan, Ryan’s son and 30-year-old Jason Dehahn at Ryan’s home in Amity on June 22, 2010. Ormsby, who was 20 at the time of the slayings, is being held without bail in the Aroostook County Jail.

Ormsby’s attorneys say his statements to police should be suppressed because he wasn’t advised of his rights when police interviewed him, Deputy Attorney General William Stokes told the Bangor Daily News. Stokes denies the claim, saying police properly advised Ormsby of his rights.

Stokes said Ormsby’s trial is expected to start this fall.

PRESQUE ISLE

Woman was smoking while on oxygen before fatal fire

The state Fire Marshal’s Office says an elderly Presque Isle woman who died in an apartment fire was smoking while taking oxygen.

Fire investigators say the body of 78-year-old Eleanor Gould was found after firefighters extinguished the fire, which was reported about 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Officials say Gould was found by a caregiver who had stopped to see her.

Presque Isle firefighters said Gould’s apartment was destroyed, another was moderately damaged and two others were less seriously damaged.

College graduates will hold wind-power tech degrees

Northern Maine Community College says its graduating class includes the first associate degree wind-power technology students trained in New England.

Because of the number of graduates — a record 274 students — the May 14 commencement ceremony will be held off campus, at the Forum in Presque Isle, for the first time in more than a generation.

Fourteen students will earn associate degrees in wind power technology. Program instructor Wayne Kilcollins said companies involved in wind and other alternative energy industries have been recruiting the wind power graduates.

FALMOUTH

Town earns high ranking as place to ‘live and learn’

Falmouth is among the “Top Cities to Live and Learn” in the United States, according to the second-annual national ranking released Tuesday by Forbes Magazine and GreatSchools.

Falmouth was the only community with a perfect score of 100 for educational quality and was No. 1 in the overall rankings among communities where the median home value is $200,000 to $399,000. Falmouth’s median home value is $351,550, according to the ranking. The Portland suburb has a population of 10,669.

“Falmouth’s got serious education chops, consistently outperforming state and national averages in achievement and earning the only perfect score on the educational quality index,” according to GreatSchools.

The ranking cited Falmouth schools’ focus on early intervention; teacher quality, professional development and collaboration; high expectations for all; use of data to guide instruction; full school and community involvement in creating regular improvement plans; and a K-12 commitment to service learning.

“Falmouth Schools are proud to be recognized for their commitment to educational excellence and citizenship efforts on behalf of all of their students,” Superintendent Barbara Powers said in a news release.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Three Maine companies up for defense support award

The U.S. Department of Defense has selected three Maine employers as national semifinalists for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The award is the department’s highest recognition given to employers for their exceptional support of workers who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

Among the national semifinalists are the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, Delta Ambulance in Waterville and Bank of America in Belfast.

A national review board will narrow the field of 148 semifinalists to 15 award recipients. The winners will be announced in May.

AUGUSTA

Bills to tighten eligibility for welfare hit opposition

The LePage administration says it understands the intent behind bills to bolster residency requirements for welfare programs, but the proposals violate federal regulations.

The bills reviewed Tuesday by the Health and Human Services Committee also generated opposition from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, which called them unconstitutional, and religious organizations, which said they could push the poor into a deeper spiral of poverty.

The bills surfaced as welfare reform looms as a big issue this session and amid anecdotal reports of people migrating to Maine to enroll in welfare. Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, said Maine has one of the most lenient welfare systems in the country, attracting illegal immigrants who qualify for welfare benefits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted at least two cases in recent years in which people with no ties to Maine were transporting illegal immigrants to the state to get driver’s licenses, which open doors to government services.

BUCKFIELD

Death of man shot in head called suspicious by police

A 51-year-old man found dead in his Buckfield home last week was killed by a gunshot wound to the head, the state Medical Examiner’s Office says.

Maine State Police called Gregg Belanger’s death suspicious after he was found dead in his house last Wednesday night by his ex-wife.

The Medical Examiner’s Office has not released whether Belanger’s death was a suicide or the result of somebody shooting him, according to the Sun Journal of Lewiston.