American Indians urge Sanford to change mascot

A group of American Indians is urging officials in Sanford to change the local high school’s nickname, which they call offensive.

The Maine Indian Tribal State Commission and representatives of Maine tribes met with residents Wednesday to tell them the name “Redskins” has negative connotations.

They said it was used as a derogatory term when bounties were offered for killing Indians.

The Journal Tribune reports that some of the 50 residents at the meeting said the name is a term of respect.

Commission Chairwoman Jamie Bissonette Lewey said she believes those people, but added it means something different to American Indians.

The school committee is scheduled to vote May 7 on whether to retire the nickname.

Sanford is the last Maine high school called the Redskins.


Domestic violence charge stands to be dismissed

A domestic violence assault charge against a pastor from Falmouth will be dismissed after a year as long as he avoids additional accusations of criminal conduct.

The resolution of Kendall Libby’s case was reached Friday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court. Libby is a pastor at Grace Church, a nondenominational congregation that meets at Windham High School. Libby and his wife, Julie, started the church with a group of friends in 2009, according to its website.

Libby released a statement that said the outcome of his case shows justice and truth can still win even when the legal system is abused.

“In life, we do our part, always give our best, stay in faith and accept what we can’t control. Then we move on with dignity and grace,” Libby said in the statement.

Police charged Libby at his Gray Road home on Feb. 12 after receiving a report of a fight. Police said there was probable cause to arrest Libby for assault on his wife, who did not require medical attention.

Libby’s attorney, J.P. DeGrinney, said that the arrest was made based on a statement by Libby’s wife. “The filing is as close to an ‘unarrest’ as possible,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Kate Tierney, could not be reached for comment.


Jury convicts state trooper of sex crimes against child

A veteran Maine state trooper has been convicted of sex crimes against a girl younger than 14.

A jury Friday found Gregory Vrooman, 46, of Nobleboro guilty of 12 of 13 counts related to unlawful sexual contact with a minor.

The Bangor Daily News said the verdict was read in a courtroom in Bath on Friday. Vrooman was assaulted in court Thursday morning in Wiscasset as the jury was about to deliver its verdict.

Vrooman has been on unpaid administrative leave from the state police since he was arrested in November of 2010.


School board chair presents budget to council April 23

Portland school board Chair Kate Snyder will present the board’s proposed $94.9 million school budget to the City Council on April 23.

The budget would double enrollment in the district’s pre-kindergarten program, add Spanish instruction to the fifth-grade curriculum and provide a major technology upgrade.

The budget would require a 3.68 percent increase in property taxes, or an increase of $85.85 for a home assessed at $250,000.

The budget also includes a $2 million lease-purchase of technology equipment, to be paid for over four years.

The school board approved the budget on April 10, but the City Council has the final say.

During the past five years, the School Board has cut staffing by more than 100 positions. The proposed budget would eliminate eight positions in the current budget and add eight other positions, resulting in no net change in staffing.

The City Council’s Finance Committee will vote on the budget on April 25. The City Council will hold a public hearing April 30 at 7 p.m. and is expected to vote on the budget May 7.


Olympic medalist to return to Dempsey Challenge event

Dempsey Challenge organizers say Olympic bronze medalist and nine-time Tour de France competitor Levi Leipheimer will appear at the Lewiston event in October.

Leipheimer, of Santa Rosa, Calif., said he will attend the non-competitive run, walk and cycling event benefiting the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center. The event will be held Oct. 13 and 14.

Leipheimer, 38, rides for Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step and has supported the Dempsey Challenge since his first visit in 2010. He’s expected to ride alongside Dempsey on the 50-mile route capped with a traditional Maine lobster dinner.

Participants are encouraged to create or join teams through the Dempsey Challenge website,


Budget passed by House, heads for Senate approval

The Maine House has given its approval to a state budget rewrite, sending it to the Maine Senate for final approval.

The House vote Friday was 105-30 on the two-year supplemental budget for the period ending in mid-2013.

The budget would cut the state reimbursement to municipalities for General Assistance from the current maximum of 90 percent to 85 percent. The governor wanted deeper cuts but stopped short of a threatened veto.

Final approval is one of the last acts before the Legislature takes a break.

Lawmakers are expected to return in May to complete budget work for the next two-year budget cycle and to close the session.

LePage signs bill that sets standards for state teachers

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill setting standards for teacher effectiveness and evaluation that he says will help improve Maine schools.

The bill, signed into law Friday, requires school districts to adopt teacher and principal evaluation systems, as well as support professional growth. It also establishes a panel to come up with statewide standards for teacher and principal evaluation systems.

LePage said every student deserves an excellent teacher and “every teacher and principal deserves clear expectations, and a fair evaluation process.”

Motorists warned to watch for moose on the highways

Maine officials say it’s time for motorists to be on the lookout for moose.

The departments of transportation and inland fisheries and wildlife say moose will be especially active along roads over the next two months. Officials say moose are attracted to roads for two reasons: Roadsides provide tender green plants that moose like to eat, as well as salt that moose crave.

Lee Kantar, state moose biologist, says another problem is that yearlings are being left on their own for the first time, and those young moose are more likely to venture onto roads.

Moose-vehicle collisions are rare, but they’re especially dangerous because moose are so big that they bring a high likelihood of serious injury for motorists.


Suspect is ruled competent to face court sentencing

A Bangor man who asked to be publicly flogged rather than serve prison time on a firearms conviction has been found mentally competent.

A federal judge Thursday ruled that Domingos Nobrega, 34, “rationally understands” why he’s in court.

A psychiatric evaluation was requested by Nobrega’s attorney after he asked for two lashes for every year he would have been sentenced to prison. He was convicted last May of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A judge denied the flogging request.

Police went to Nobrega’s home in October 2010 to deal “with a despondent, suicidal male.”

During a six-hour standoff, police saw Nobrega holding a gun. He was barred from having a firearm because of two prior felony convictions.

He will face as much as 10 years in prison at sentencing.

Maine woman is awarded $1.9 million in lawsuit

A Maine woman who sued a doctor for malpractice because she said he overprescribed her methadone has been awarded $1.9 million by a jury.

Charlene Whalen, 59, of Corinth sued Dr. Steven Weisberger, alleging the dosage of the prescription he gave her to manage pain was too high, causing her to stop breathing in her sleep and suffer brain damage from oxygen deprivation.

A nine-member jury Thursday returned a unanimous verdict against the Jonesport doctor.

Whalen’s attorney tells the Bangor Daily News he hopes the verdict makes doctors more careful and patients safer.

Neither Weisberger nor his attorney commented. At trial, Wesiberger’s attorney said Whalen never told her pharmacist at the time she filled the prescription that she already had breathing problems and suffered from sleep apnea.


Man sentenced to 18 years for sexually assaulting child

A Brunswick man has been sentenced to serve 18 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child under the age of 13.

Lester Ambrose Jr. was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison, with 18 to serve and the remainder under supervised probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life upon release and barred from any contact with anyone younger than 18.

Police arrested Ambrose , 41, in September and charged him with gross sexual assault for incidents that took place from October 2006 to December 2010.

Ambrose originally pleaded not guilty to the charges, but on March 21 he changed his plea to guilty.

The Times Record reports that Ambrose apologized in court.

Two Maine educators win Guggenheim fellowships

Two Maine educators have won Guggenheim fellowships, joining an elite group of 181 scholars, artists and scientists from North America.

Kristen R. Ghodsee, a gender and women’s studies professor from Bowdoin College, and Catherine Besteman, a professor of anthropology at Colby College, received word of their fellowships this week.

According to the foundation, nearly 3,000 people applied. Fellowships are awarded based on prior achievement and “exceptional promise,” according to a Guggenheim news release.

Besterman will study “An unexpected life: Somalis, Mainers, and the new global normal.”

Ghodsee will study “State socialist women’s organizations reconsidered: The committee of the Bulgarian women’s movement and African feminisms, 1965-1990.”


Debt collection call center closes without warning

A debt collection call center in Oxford has closed its doors, putting more than 60 people out of work.

CCS Global Holdings closed the office on Route 26 on Wednesday without warning and workers spent Thursday clearing office equipment out of the building.

A human resources manager at the Newton, Mass.-based company called the closure “a business decision” and refused to elaborate.

He tells the Sun Journal that the company’s other locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts are not affected.

The Maine location employed 64 people who made collection calls for credit card companies. It opened in 2003.

A spokesman for the state Department of Labor said the agency would contact employees who lost their jobs at CCS to answer questions about unemployment and other benefits.


UMaine System chancellor picks Presque Isle nominee

The University of Maine System chancellor is recommending an administrator at Fort Lewis College in Colorado to serve as president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Chancellor James Page said Friday that Linda Schott’s experience in leading change and community engagement make her an excellent choice. His recommendation will be considered by trustees before month’s end.

Schott serves as dean of the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. Before that, she served in several administrative posts at Eastern Michigan University and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

UMPI President Donald Zillman is stepping down to return to his position as professor at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.

— From staff and news services