March 13, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


School budget proposal up $3.2 million over this year

School Superintendent Suzanne Godin presented her 2014 operating budget to the South Portland Board of Education Monday night.

The $43.2 million school spending proposal does not call for any significant reductions or additions in staff or programs. The budget represents an increase in spending of $3.2 million over the current annual budget.

Godin’s budget, which will be examined in more detail by the Board of Education during three workshops, does propose making a part-time bus driver and bus aide position permanent and also calls for hiring a full-time person for communications and grant writing.

The budget would eliminate a kindergarten teacher position at Small School by not replacing a retiring teacher. It also proposes that a vacant technology support specialist job not be filled and eliminates a half-time English teacher position at the high school.

The superintendent’s budget includes $991,000 to cover the cost of salary increases for school department employees.

The Board of Education will hold budget workshops on March 21, 26 and 28, with a final vote on adopting the budget set for April 1. The school department will present its budget to the City Council on April 3.

Pock wins special election for vacant council seat

Michael R. Pock was chosen during a special Tuesday election to fill out the remainder of a term on the South Portland City Council.

City Clerk Susan Mooney reported that Pock received 180 votes, just two more votes than his closest opponent, Richard L. Carter.

The other candidates were Robert A. Foster III, who received 139 votes and W. Rob Schreiber, who got 111 votes.

The open seat, which represents District 1, became vacant when former city councilor Tom Coward took office in January as a Cumberland County commissioner.

Pock’s term on the City Council will expire in December 2014. Pock, 66, owns Pock Carpentry. He has no prior political experience.


New Yorker gets two years for passing phony bills

A New York man has been sentenced to two years in prison for passing counterfeit money at stores in Maine and New Hampshire.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Jamal Bradberry, 36, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court. He was also ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Bradberry and Brittany Wildes of Westbrook passed bogus $100 bills when making purchases from October 2011 to January 2012. On several occasions, they returned the merchandise and received real money from the stores in exchange.

Wildes was sentenced in February to 1-1/2 years in prison for her role in the scheme.

Bradberry pleaded guilty in September. 

Museum tours of Homer studio to start next month

The Portland Museum of Art says it will begin giving tours of its Winslow Homer studio in Scarborough next month.

The museum said its spring tour season runs from April 2 through June 14.

The museum bought the building in 2006 and opened it to the public last September following a multimillion-dollar renovation. The studio overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is where Homer lived from 1883 until his death in 1910 and where he produced some of this most notable work.

The museum is offering three tours of the studio a day in the spring and the fall. Tickets cost $55 per person, $30 for museum members. 

Oriental Table to be closed at month's end, owner says

A longtime Portland restaurant will close at the end of this month, and its future is uncertain.

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