December 15, 2012

Local and State Dispatches

CUMBERLAND

Police say vandals nabbed in middle school incident

Police say they have identified the vandals who scrawled profanity, phallic imagery and swastikas on the back of the Greely Middle School and neighboring buildings.

The names and ages of the two students were not released.

Cumberland police officer Kirk Mazuzan said he plans to charge the pair with aggravated criminal mischief because the damage to the school and nearby condominium buildings surpassed $2,000.

Mazuzan said the school is also taking disciplinary action against the pair.

In a statement, Greely Middle School Principal Kimberly Brandt lauded the police.

“Good people sometimes make bad choices,” Brandt told students in a schoolwide address, according to a copy of her remarks emailed to parents.

The vandalism, which police believe was written sometime Dec. 2 or Dec. 3, was quickly removed.

PORTLAND

City seeking feedback for new website design

The city is asking people who live or work in Portland to weigh in on what they like – and don’t like – about its website, ci.portland.me.us.

Website users are being asked to fill out an 11-question online survey at www.portlandmaine.gov/survey.

“Providing up-to-date information on an easy-to-navigate website is a priority for the city, and public feedback will help the city as the redesign process begins,” City Hall Spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said in a press release.

Clegg said the survey will be open through January and the new website is expected to be launched next fall.

LEWISTON

Mayor in hot water again for ‘offensive’ comments

The mayor of Lewiston is under fire again, this time for suggesting the city’s schools are overcrowded because families from Massachusetts and New York move to Maine to take advantage of the state’s generous welfare system.

Mayor Robert Macdonald said Wednesday at meeting with parents and school officials to discuss redistricting that there ought to be laws putting limits on how long families can collect welfare benefits.

He says there are 1,000 children of welfare seekers in city schools “who could care less about going to school” because “they don’t feel like they’re going to work anyway.”

The Sun Journal reports that School Committee member Sonia Taylor called the mayor’s comments “offensive.”

Macdonald was criticized in October for suggesting that the city’s large Somali refugee population should abandon their culture.

BANGOR

Rite Aid adding security to halt spate of robberies

With more than one drug store robbery per week occurring in Maine, a drugstore chain is posting security guards at its Bangor-area stores.

The Bangor Daily News said Friday that security guards are working a revolving schedule at Rite Aid pharmacies in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Bucksport.

Bangor’s most recent pharmacy robbery was Dec. 4 at a Walgreens, but four of the six pharmacy robberies in the city this year have occurred at Rite Aid stores. Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said while security guards are on patrol, the company is working with police on ways to deter robbers in search of drugs.

Maine’s had 54 pharmacy robberies so far this year. The total is 30 more than occurred all of last year.

Judge sets bail at $50,000 in 20-year-old rape case

A Nebraska man who was wanted in Maine for nearly 20 years on charges of gross sexual assault is being held on $50,000 bail.

Clarence Cote, 63, of Nehama, Neb., pleaded not guilty to the charges in Penobscot County court in Bangor on Friday. He was arrested in mid-September after being indicted by a grand jury.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the victim, who is now 30, reported the abuse to police in 1994. Prosecutors say Cote left the state when he learned that he was being investigated.

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