November 1, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Pot initiative wins support of four state representatives

Several state representatives and a local business owner are expected to throw their support behind an initiative that would legalize possession of marijuana by adults in Portland.

Reps. Benjamin Chipman, Matthew Moonen, Diane Russell and Peter Stuckey are supporting Question 1, the initiative to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group is supporting the Portland referendum and trying to legalize marijuana in 10 states in the coming years.

The proposal will be Question 1 on the city ballot Tuesday.

The representatives are expected to announce their support at a news conference Friday in front of East End Cupcakes on Fore Street, where owner Alysia Zoidkis also is expected endorse passage of Question 1.

The initiative would not legalize the sale or purchase of marijuana, but would allow anyone 21 or older to “engage in activities for the purposes of ascertaining the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.” It would prohibit recreational use of marijuana in public spaces, on school grounds and in transportation infrastructure, and would let landlords prohibit tenants from using marijuana on their property.

There has been no organized opposition to the initiative, which is being led by the Portland Green-Independent Committee.


Tours of U.S. Custom House will be offered on Nov. 7, 14

Greater Portland Landmarks will offer two tours in November of the newly restored U.S. Custom House.

The Custom House has been closed to the public for security reasons since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Earlier this year the federal government completed a $2 million renovation.

When its doors first opened in 1872, the Custom House became the gateway to one of the nation’s busiest ports and a symbol of the federal government’s role in promoting commerce.

The building at 312 Fore St. was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Tours will take place at 12:45 p.m. Nov. 7 and 14. For more information, go to or call 358-7064.


Girl, 3, shot in the neck accidentally, police say

Police say a 3-year-old child is hospitalized with a life-threatening injury after an apparent accidental shooting in the family’s apartment.

Authorities say they received a 911 call shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday reporting a shooting at a Bald Mountain Drive apartment house. Officials say the child, whose name is not being released, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Sgt. Catherine Rumsey said Thursday that police are continuing to investigate.

Neighbor Sandra Smith told WABI-TV the girl’s father was distraught when he came running out of the apartment, and that the girl was breathing and had her eyes open when she was taken to the hospital.


First two charter schools pass state scrutiny so far

Maine’s first two charter schools have received passing grades from the state.

Reports from the Maine Charter School Commission said the Cornville Regional Charter School and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Fairfield both lived up to their mission statements during the first year of operation. The commission added that there was room for improvement by both schools.

The schools opened in the fall of 2012, one year after a state law was approved allowing up to 10 charter schools through 2022.

Three additional charter schools opened in September.

“It’s always great to see good news about students and their schools, but the success of charter schools should not come at the expense of our public schools,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham. “We’ve got to make sure we are serving all Maine students – not siphoning resources from our local community schools and the local taxpayers who support them.”

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