May 24, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Summer festival back on thanks to new volunteers

Windham’s summer festival is back on, thanks to quick work by a new group of organizers.

The town announced in March that Summerfest was canceled because of a lack of volunteers.

That news, however, motivated other residents to step up, said Kelly Mank, who was among them.
“There was an uproar,” she said. “This was the town’s one big event.”

Mank said about a handful of residents have done a year’s worth of fundraising and organizing over the past two months, and the tradition will be revived June 22.

A parade will kick off the festival at noon, then music and entertainment will go until dusk, when there will be a fireworks display.

“How do we let something like this walk away?” Mank said. “This is for our kids, this is for our families, this is for our businesses.”

Music teacher nominated for new kind of Grammy

A Windham High School music teacher is up for a new award from the Grammy Foundation.

Rick Nickerson, who is also the director of the school’s chamber singers, is a quarterfinalist for the Grammy’s first-ever music educator award.

The award’s 217 quarterfinalists are from 195 cities in 45 states, according to a news release from the Grammy Foundation.

Music teachers from public and private schools, from kindergarten to college, were eligible for the award, which recognizes teachers “who have made a significant contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools,” the release said.

The winner, selected from 10 finalists, will attend the Grammy Awards and receive $10,000. The other finalists will receive $1,000, as will their schools.

Semifinalists will be named in August.


Lisbon man gets four years for Social Security fraud

A Lisbon man who used his own child’s Social Security number in a scheme to illegally receive welfare benefits has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Federal prosecutors said Mark Judd, 34, was also ordered Wednesday to pay more than $29,000 in restitution.

Judd pleaded guilty in January to Social Security fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities said from 2010 to 2102, Judd used his child’s Social Security number on job applications, then failed to report wages earned under that number to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to illegally receive welfare and housing benefits.

Judd also used Social Security numbers not assigned to him to open lines of credit at several financial institutions.


Company accused of firing workers for union efforts

Labor groups have accused a Winslow-based aluminum trailer manufacturer of illegally firing employees for trying to unionize.

Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, said five employees at Alcom Inc. have been fired this month in connection with efforts to form a union to negotiate better pay, benefits and working conditions.

Schlobohm said the firings violate the federal National Labor Relations Act, under which it is illegal to retaliate against employees seeking to unionize.

Alcom President Trapper Clark denied the accusations. He told the Kennebec Journal he supports the right of workers to unionize and no one has been fired for exercising that right. He called the allegations “false” and “extremely unfortunate.” He said the company just improved health insurance options. The company has 185 workers in Maine.

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