February 13, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Man charged after police seize 8 pounds of cocaine

A traffic stop on Tuesday led to one of the state's largest seizures of cocaine in recent memory, the Maine Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday.

Adam White, 26, of Falmouth was charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking of cocaine after police seized 8 pounds of cocaine in Portland and Falmouth.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Roy McKinney said the street value of the cocaine is $160,000 to $200,000. Also seized from White was $13,730 in cash, two handguns and three-quarters of a pound of marijuana, McKinney said.

White was driving a Cadillac on Stevens Avenue in Portland on Tuesday afternoon when police pulled him over for an undisclosed reason. Officers found cocaine and a handgun in the car, the department said.

Police obtained a search warrant for White's home on Rockaway Drive in Falmouth, where investigators found more cocaine, the money and the marijuana. They also found packaging materials, a money counter and scales, the department said.


Sappi donating $100,000 to STEM program at USM

A paper company is giving $100,000 to a University of Southern Maine science and tech program for Maine's top high school graduates.

Sappi Fine Paper North America pledged the money, over four years, to support the USM Pioneers Program, which was established in 2011 for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Each Pioneer gets a full, four-year scholarship, a computer, special on-campus housing, faculty mentors, paid internships and opportunities to work directly with USM faculty on research projects. The Sappi donation will be used for scholarships and off-campus trips.

State, education and business leaders have forged new partnerships and dedicated resources to support STEM education in recent years, as the skills gap in Maine widens. The state does not have enough college graduates in the STEM fields to fill the demand by Maine companies, officials say.

"We anticipate having nearly 30 percent of our work force retire in the next five years and so there is a huge demand for STEM-related jobs," said Donna Cassese, managing director of Sappi's Westbrook Mill.


Bath painting contractor charged with felony theft

A midcoast painting contractor who allegedly stole thousands of dollars in jewelry and cash from his clients was charged with felony theft Tuesday after turning himself in to authorities.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said Matthew Atwood, 35, of Bath turned himself in at the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, where he was charged with one count of felony theft. He was later released on $5,000 cash bail.

Merry said the theft charge stems from work that Atwood, who owns Atwood Painting Co., did last month at a home in Georgetown.

Investigators allege that Atwood stole an estimated $11,000 in cash and jewelry from the home's owner. Some of the jewelry, valued at $7,000, has been recovered at a local pawn shop.

Merry said police suspect that Atwood may have stolen jewelry or cash from other homes he worked in during the past year and are asking local pawn shop owners or members of the public to come forward with information.

If anyone has recently hired Atwood and found items missing, they are encouraged to call Cpl. Aaron Skolfield at 443-9711.


Former DEP worker admits destroying public records

A former hazardous-materials cleanup specialist for Maine's Department of Environmental Protection has pleaded guilty to destroying records of projects he was involved in for the final three years of his career.

Jon Andrews, 58, of Augusta entered a plea under the Alford doctrine to a charge of tampering with public records, which means he acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict. Under the plea, the case is continued for five months and will be dismissed if Andrews meets certain conditions, including a $3,500 donation to Maine's Coastal & Inland Surface Oil Cleanup Fund.

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