PORTLAND

Museum’s chief curator leaving for job in Vermont

The chief curator at the Portland Museum of Art has accepted a new position as director of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

Thomas Denenberg, who is deputy director, chief curator and William E. and Helen E. Thon Curator of American Art at Portland’s museum, will begin his new job in Shelburne, Vt., on Nov. 1.

Denenberg was hired by the Portland museum in 2006. Since then, he curated the record-breaking exhibit “Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography” and a new Winslow Homer exhibit.

Denenberg also has been organizing “Weatherbeaten: The Late Paintings of Winslow Homer,” which will open in September 2012 in conjunction with the opening of the Winslow Homer Studio.

Firefighters finish venting fumes at treatment plant

Firefighters vented the last of the fumes from an accidental chemical reaction at Portland’s wastewater treatment plant late Tuesday afternoon.

Two chemicals, sodium bisulfite and sodium hypochlorite – about 500 gallons altogether – were mistakenly mixed in a 2,500-gallon plastic tank early Tuesday morning.

The combination created a chemical reaction that gave off heat and could have created explosive pressure, if not for the containment tank’s safety features.

Eleven workers who had been evacuated from the building around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday were allowed back into the building around 4 p.m. to retrieve their belongings  so they could go home.

Westbrook man charged in two drugstore robberies

A man who is charged with robbing a Hannaford pharmacy in South Portland was charged Tuesday with the same crime in Portland.

Zachery Wildman, 36, of Westbrook made his initial appearance in Portland District Court on Tuesday, in which he was charged with two counts of robbery.

Wildman was arrested in connection with the robbery of the Hannaford on Philbrook Road in South Portland at 9 a.m. Monday.

He allegedly handed the pharmacist a note demanding pills.

Wildman was charged with an identical robbery at the Hannaford at 787 Riverside St. in Portland on Wednesday.

AUGUSTA

Decision expected this week on voting rights referendum

State election officials face a deadline this week to decide whether enough voters’ signatures have been turned in to force a people’s veto referendum on voting rights.

Supporters of an effort to preserve Election Day voter registration turned in more than 68,000 signatures Aug. 8, more than enough to force a referendum in November.

That gave the Secretary of State’s Office a month to certify the petitions and declare the referendum on.

The Protect Maine Votes coalition –18 groups that include organized labor, civil libertarians, and consumer and public health advocates – is seeking to repeal a state law that requires registration more than two business days before an election.

State lawmakers ranked on environmental votes

A Maine conservation group is giving out grades to lawmakers for their votes on the top environmental bills from this year’s session.

Maine Conservation Voters graded lawmakers on issues including energy efficiency, clean water, children’s health, wildlife and the North Woods.

In the Senate, 11 members had perfect pro-environment scores. No senators voted against the environment on all five issues, and one, Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, was praised for working across party lines for pro-environmental legislation.

The scorecard was released as a free iPhone app for the first time, making it easier for people to find their legislators’ scores and to contact them directly. Scores also are on the group’s website, www.mainescorecard.org.

LAMOINE

Florida woman found dead in submerged rental car

State police say a Florida woman was found dead in a rental car that was submerged in the ocean.
Police said someone reported the car in the ocean about 6:45 a.m. Sunday.

Investigators believe Joann Boardman, 48, of Palm Coast, Fla., drove off Route 184 and into the ocean after a family wedding reception. Police say she was headed to her hotel but drove in the wrong direction.

WMTW-TV said Boardman was not familiar with the area, where the paved road ends at the ocean’s edge.

AUBURN

LePage declares September state Hunger Action Month

Gov. Paul LePage has declared September Hunger Action Month in Maine.

His proclamation is supported by charities such as the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, which says 200,000 Maine residents live at risk of hunger, including one in every four children.

Rick Small of the food bank said hunger is a serious problem in every community in Maine. Good Shepherd is promoting a “Skip a Meal – Feed a Neighbor” pledge to raise awareness about hunger Sept. 28.