March 28, 2013


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In a public hearing this month, Sanford students and administrators lauded their single-sex classrooms, which ran for three years until 2012 at the Willard School. Sixth-grade classes were in effect for the full three years, while the program expanded to fifth grade in the last year.

Sanford ended those classes after the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine threatened legal action if they weren't shut down, saying they violated the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

The ACLU of Maine said that while the federal government allows certain single-gender classrooms, they're highly regulated.


Bill would address shortage of dentists, lack of oral care

A bill sponsored by House Speaker Mark Eves would address an impending shortage of dentists and lack of dental care in the state.

The bill from the North Berwick Democrat would establish a license for midlevel dental hygiene therapists to provide limited oral care focused on prevention.

Maine has a shortage of dental care in 15 counties, resulting in high-cost emergency room visits. Eves says Maine's dental shortage is a crisis that can't be ignored because it has far-reaching effects for children and adults.

Eves cites studies that show that 55 percent of Maine children lack access to dental care.

A co-sponsor of the bill is Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, a retired dental hygienist.

A public hearing on the bill will be held in the weeks ahead.


Library will celebrate arrival of new Book Mobile Tuesday

The Portland Public Library will celebrate the arrival of its new Book Mobile on Tuesday.

The 24-foot-long vehicle will carry 1,500 books and other library items at any one time and is intended to provide outreach to children and families in neighborhoods that are not served by a branch library. It will be equipped with solar panels, wireless Internet capabilities and sides that open up for additional book and material storage and programming.

A ribbon-cutting and open house will be held at noon Tuesday in Monument Square.

The Book Mobile also will reach people who lack transportation or the time to travel, have health problems, are intimidated by the prospect of going to the library or may not yet be readers.

It also will be in Monument Square during the First Friday Art Walk on April 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. A summer schedule will be available soon at

The Book Mobile was purchased through library funds and a major gift by KeyBank.


Court upholds conviction in redemption-fraud trial

Maine's highest court has upheld a former redemption center operator's conviction for illegally redeeming cans and bottles from out of state.

Thomas Woodard, who ran Green Bee Redemption in Kittery, was convicted in 2011 in the state's first criminal trial over redemption fraud for passing off no-deposit containers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts as if they were purchased in Maine. He was sentenced to 21 days in jail.

In his appeal, Woodard argued there was insufficient evidence for a conviction and that the lower court judge erred in allowing certain evidence at trial and failing to give requested jury instructions. He further said the prosecutor engaged in misconduct by asking the jury to "send a message."

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the conviction stands.


Children's Film Festival will show 28 local movies

Twenty-eight films made by local students have been selected to be shown at this year's Portland Children's Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday.

In all, 49 films produced by 160 Portland-area students were submitted to the festival for consideration. Ten winning films were selected in three age categories, along with 18 honorable mentions. The films will be shown as part of the festival, at the Nickelodeon theater in Portland at 10 a.m. April 7.

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