City looking to maximize benefits of health law

Local and federal officials met Monday with several community groups to discuss the best ways to sign up hard-to-reach populations for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and Department of Health and Human Services civil rights chief Leon Rodriguez hosted a meeting at the Portland Public Library with several groups, including the NAACP, the Root Cellar and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project.

Rodriguez said the federal agency wanted to make sure community groups provide accurate information and reach out to some populations who might not otherwise sign up for coverage. Those populations include people who have language barriers and people with disabilities.

Brennan said the health care coverage also is available for people who have mental health and substance abuse problems, who may have been denied coverage in the past because of pre-existing conditions. Brennan said providing free care has become a major cost for the city’s largest employer, Maine Medical Center, which recently announced layoffs.


Academy renames vessel for woman harbor pilot

Maine Maritime Academy has renamed one of its navigation training vessels in honor of one of the school’s most famous alumnae.

The 70-foot vessel was dedicated over the weekend in honor of Susan J. Clark, valedictorian of the Castine school’s class of 1985.

Clark was as Portland Harbor’s first woman harbor pilot and was the first woman to join the Portland Marine Society.

She died of cancer a year ago at the age of 48.

Friends and family joined to take the maiden voyage of the renamed vessel.

Her good friend Capt. David Gelinas told WLBZ-TV that Clark was humble and unassuming, but one of the smartest people he knew.

Clark piloted more than 1,000 ships into Portland Harbor through Portland Pilots Inc., where she’d worked since 2001.


Mainer arrested in assault of man, woman, their dog

Police have arrested a Maine man on charges of breaking into a home and assaulting two people and their dog.

Police said Terrence Hartley, 47, of Clinton, Maine, was arrested Sunday. Police were called to the home about 1:30 a.m. and were told a man struck a dog with a club or pipe, in addition to assaulting a man and woman there. The couple were treated and released from a hospital.

Hartley also was charged with cocaine possession. He was held on $125,000 bail and was scheduled to be arraigned in Portsmouth District Court on Monday.


Officials warn of thefts from cars in park’s lot

State park officials are warning visitors to Range Pond in Poland about a series of car break-ins in the parking lot.

Gary Best, state parks assistant regional manager, said officials know of five smash-and-grab thefts in the past few months.

Best said the incidents were similar. Visitors returned to their cars to find their belongings missing. In some cases, car windows were smashed.

He told the Sun Journal that park officials are putting up signs next week urging park visitors to be careful with what they leave in their cars.

The state has increased its ranger presence in the area and is working with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department to get additional patrols through the area.


Moose hunting season kicks off in parts of state

Moose hunting season began Monday in eastern and northern Maine.

Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said about 950 hunters have permits for the hunting season’s first week.

The department said more Mainers have moose hunting permits this year than ever before. But it says the number of permits has increased in the north where moose are more prevalent and decreased in other parts of the state where moose are less common.

The moose population is estimated to be 70,000.

The season is divided into four segments, the first of which runs until Saturday. The second segment is in next month and the two final segments are in November.


Residents invited to give food, tour Blaine House

Gov. Paul LePage will invite Maine residents to the Blaine House next month off to drop off food donations and receive a tour of the governor’s mansion.

The Republican governor and first lady Ann LePage will host the third annual food drive on three consecutive Saturdays in October, starting on the 12th. People will be able to drop off food between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and receive a tour of the mansion from the governor.

The governor’s office said the donations will be sent to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, which will distribute them.


Two accused of growing pot plants worth $500

Two men were arrested near the Hunter Road athletic fields Sunday and charged with cultivating marijuana plants worth $500, according to police.

An officer on patrol about 8:35 p.m. found Michael Gammon, 34, of Richmond and Charles Leonard, 27, of Brunswick in the athletic fields parking lot. Near their vehicle was an open trash bag containing six recently harvested, mature marijuana plants, said Freeport Police Chief Gerald Schofield.

Gammon was also charged with violating the conditions of his release.

Both men denied involvement with or possession of the plants, Schofield said. They are scheduled to be arraigned in West Bath District Court on the Class D misdemeanor charges Nov. 19.


Voters will decide races for council, school board

Races for two Town Council seats and two school board seats will be decided Nov. 5.

There are three open town council seats, but Roy Moore is running uncontested to represent the north district, a seat now held by Peter Anania.

Anania, instead, will run for an at-large seat on the council against Robert Muir.

That seat is now held by Scott Hayman, who is not running for re-election.

Kevin Call, who represents the south district, will be challenged by Donna Chapman, a former councilor.

Three candidates will compete for two seats representing Windham on the Regional School Unit 14 Board. They are Eric Colby, Jennifer Fleck and Pete Heanssler. None of them is a current member of the board.