City’s assistant manager resigns to take Camden post

Assistant City Manager Patricia Finnigan has announced her resignation.

After four years of working for the city, Finnigan said she is leaving to take the position of town manager in Camden. Her last day will be Sept. 30.

Finnigan most recently served as acting city manager after Joseph Gray retired earlier this year. During that time, she proposed and implemented a budget that for the first time in four years maintained core services and the city’s work force. She was one of three finalists for the top position, which was ultimately awarded to Mark Rees.

“Pat’s breadth of experience has been a real asset for Portland, and Camden will undoubtedly benefit from her commitment to public service and local government,” Rees said.

Finnigan came to Portland in 2007 after working for the city of Auburn for 16 years, including 13 as city manager. Working for Portland, Finnigan has served as a liaison with state and federal governments and secured funds for the nearly completed deepwater pier at the Ocean Gateway Marine Terminal. She also coordinated the city’s efforts to seek funding through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Pat has represented Portland with professionalism and sophistication and has always kept the focus on how to best serve the city,” Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said. 

Police seek man who robbed Riverside Street pharmacy

Police are searching for a man who robbed the Hannaford pharmacy on Riverside Street Wednesday morning.

Police were called to the store at 787 Riverside St. at 8:30 a.m. A man had demanded drugs at the pharmacy counter and then fled on foot, police said.

Nobody was injured.

Police tried to track the man with a dog but were unsuccessful. Police plan to review surveillance video and hope to generate a picture to distribute through the media in an effort to identify the man.


York County judges tapped for Superior Court positions

Gov. Paul LePage has nominated two York County judges to positions on the Superior Court.

LePage nominated District Court Judge John H. O’Neil of Kennebunk, a former York County prosecutor, to serve as a Superior Court justice. O’Neil was originally nominated to the District Court bench by former Gov. John Baldacci.

LePage also nominated current Superior Court Justice G. Arthur Brennan to serve as active retired justice on the Superior Court. Brennan, a York resident, was first nominated to the bench by Gov. Joseph Brennan and has served four terms on the Superior Court bench, being renominated by Govs. John McKernan, Angus King and Baldacci.

“I am pleased to nominate two individuals with distinguished records on the bench,” said LePage. “In choosing judges, my focus is on the qualifications, demeanor, and integrity of the candidates, not politics. These nominees reflect those priorities.”

The nominees will be reviewed by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee and need confirmation by the full Senate. That is expected to occur during a special session Sept. 27.


Victim of Wednesday fire identified as local man, 63

Authorities have identified the man who was killed in an early morning fire Wednesday as Gerald A. Demers, 63, of Westbrook.

Firefighters were called to 9 Tramway Lane at 4 a.m. The small apartment building is near the Main Street fire station.

When firefighters arrived they found a man engulfed in flames, said Michael Pardue, the city’s public safety chief. The man, who relied on an oxygen tank to help him breathe, apparently had gone out on the porch to smoke, Pardue said.

Family members who discovered him turned off the oxygen canister to prevent a more serious fire, Pardue said. The fire did not spread to the building.


Town offers reward in effort to smoke out tree’s destroyer

The town is offering $500 for information about who cut down an ornamental maple shade tree on Route 302 early this week.

The tree, worth $2,500, was planted about 10 years ago as part of Raymond’s Route 302 corridor improvement project, said Town Manager Don Willard.

Willard said the town will pay $500 to anyone who has information that leads to the successful prosecution of the person or people who cut down the tree.

He said principle motivated him to offer the town’s money.

“You should not be able to destroy public property,” he said Wednesday.

The tree was found on the ground near the end of County Road on Tuesday morning. Willard said he believes it was cut down Monday night or early Tuesday morning and that the culprit was trying to use Tropical Storm Irene as cover for the crime.

Willard said he’s not willing to tolerate the alternative to seeking out the responsible person.

Anyone with information about the tree can call Willard at 650-9001 or the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department tip line at (800) 266-1444, extension 2208.


High court to hear case of banned Maine jogger

The case of the Maine jogger banned from Portsmouth for his behavior is being heard by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that the state’s highest court has agreed to hear the appeal of Craig O’Brien, 48, of Eliot, who was banned from Portsmouth by a judge following one of his several arrests for disorderly conduct while jogging on city streets.

Police said he frequently yelled profanities at officers and random civilians while jogging.

In September 2009, while under a court order to stay out of Portsmouth, O’Brien was accused of taunting officers.

He claims his banishment from Portsmouth is unconstitutional. No date for his hearing before the Supreme Court has been scheduled.


Call center planning to add 200 jobs at Lewiston site

A company that offers call-in support for a number of national corporations is planning to add 200 jobs at its center in Lewiston.

Affiliated Computer Services already employs 417 people at its Lewiston facility.

The call center provides support primarily for the retail and health care industries.

Chip Morrison of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce called it “great news.”

The Sun Journal of Lewiston said there are several call centers in the Lewiston area, which makes it easier for companies to establish or expand other call centers. 

Northeast Bancorp sells its insurance group division

Lewiston-based Northeast Bancorp has sold its Northeast Bank Insurance Group division to two buyers, in two transactions, for $9.7 million, according to a news release.

The sale takes effect today.

Bangor-based Varney Agency purchased nine of the group’s insurance offices in southern, central and western Maine. With the additions, Varney will have 22 branches.

Brad Scott, a senior Northeast Bank Insurance Group executive, has purchased the group’s Spence and Mathews Insurance division, which has an office in Berwick and customers in southern Maine and coastal New Hamshire.

“This is a very good transaction for our customers, employees and for our company” Rick Wayne, president and CEO of Northeast Bancorp, said in a release.

— From staff and news services