July 7, 2011

State/Local Dispatches


Boy, 15, drowns in pool at apartment complex

A 15-year-old boy drowned in the swimming pool of an apartment complex off Forest Avenue on Tuesday night.

Rescue workers were called to the Princeton Pines apartment complex at 7 p.m., after other youths who were getting ready to swim found the boy.

Rescue workers tried to revive the boy. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:50 p.m., police said.

The drowning appeared accidental. The boy, who lived in one of the apartments, was in the pool alone.

His name was not released.

MDOT wants public input on plan to replace bridge

The Maine Department of Transportation wants the public’s feedback on its plan to replace the Martin’s Point Bridge, a section of Route 1 that spans the Presumpscot River between Portland and Falmouth.

An informational meeting on the project, which will cost about $30 million, will be held at 6 p.m. July 13, in the Green Room of Merrill Auditorium.

Transportation engineers say they are interested in identifying concerns and issues, including how replacing the 67-year-old bridge might affect local resources.

The state is considering options that may include shutting the bridge down, building a temporary bridge, building a bridge in phases, or building a new bridge that would run parallel to the old one.

The bridge carries more than 15,000 vehicles daily. Mark Latti, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said construction is not likely to start until 2012.

Proposal would make pot lowest priority for police

Marijuana possession would be the Portland Police Department’s lowest enforcement priority under a proposed ordinance that a citizens group hopes to get on November’s city ballot.

Sensible Portland turned in 2,100 signatures to the city clerk’s office Tuesday aiming to let voters decide whether Portland should have an ordinance directing police to “refrain from arresting or fining” anybody 21 or older for possessing small amounts of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia unless the person is committing a “violent criminal offense” or has prior convictions for violent offenses.

If the clerk’s office verifies at least 1,500 of the signatures, the City Council will take up the issue. The council would have the option of adopting the ordinance, putting it on the ballot or putting it on the ballot with a competing alternative.

Supporters say law enforcement resources can be spent better than by arresting people over small amounts of pot.

USM names new director of notable Cutler Institute

The University of Southern Maine has named a new director of the Cutler Institute of Health and Social Policy.

Richard Birkel has worked around the country as a psychologist, public health activist and researcher and is considered an expert on long-term care. He will take over leadership of the Cutler Institute, part of the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.

Birkel most recently was chief executive of the Rosalynn Carter Institute, which established an international program that supports caregivers of individuals with disability, chronic illness and challenges of aging, according to USM.

The Cutler Institute of Health and Social Policy supports more than $26 million in applied research, technical assistance and training programs in all 50 states and every Maine county. It has a staff of more than 220 in Portland and Augusta.


Police: LePage’s son totaled his car in construction zone

Maine State Police said Gov. Paul LePage’s oldest son wasn’t hurt in a crash in a construction zone on Interstate 295 in Freeport.

Trooper Matt Williams said Paul LePage II, 22, lost control of his car on uneven pavement the evening of June 30 near the Brunswick line. The car hit the guardrail twice, crunching the front and back of the car. The 2009 Toyota was totaled.

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