March 13, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

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The Oriental Table at 106 Exchange St., which has been open since 1995, has been popular with the Old Port business lunch crowd and patrons of nearby Merrill Auditorium.

Its owner, Yan Lam, said a series of disputes with his landlord is forcing him to shut the restaurant down. He's not sure if he will reopen somewhere else.

"I'd love to, but right now I don't know," he said. "I'll wait until I wrap up here first, and then I'll see what I can do."

Lam is a Vietnamese refugee who became a U.S. citizen in 1985. His landlord, Joe Palacci, who operates an electronics shop next door, said he was perplexed by suggestions of a disagreement and surprised by Lam's decision to leave.

"We've been more than fair to him all along," Palacci said.

Lam said customers are understanding, but sad, about his situation.

"Everybody feels so bad," Lam said. "Other people have given me their name and phone number. If I do reopen, they ask me to contact them." 

Ice Bar event raises $18,000 for three nonprofit groups

The Portland Harbor Hotel's ninth annual Ice Bar, held in late January, raised $18,000 for three nonprofit organizations.

The beneficiaries of the event this year are The Trauma Intervention Program of Portland, the Root Cellar and Share Our Strength of Southern Maine.

The funds raised surpassed last year's event, which raised $15,000 for charity.

Since the hotel started charging admission to the ice bar four years ago, the event has raised a total of $63,000 for Portland-area nonprofits, according to Gerard Kiladjian, the hotel's general manager. 

Short film by Portland man in Tribeca festival lineup

Maine filmmaker Ryan Spindell has had his short film accepted into the lineup of the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.

This year's 12th annual Tribeca Film Festival will take place in New York City from April 17 through April 28. Spindell, from Portland, was co-director of a film called "The Root of the Problem," which will be shown at the festival as part of the short-film lineup.

The film, set in 1950s suburbia, follows a reluctant housewife who suspects the local dentist of hiding a terrible secret.

For more information on the festival, go to


Cape state chess champs for second year in a row

Cape Elizabeth High School has won the state chess championship for the second year in a row.

The school's chess team won all four of its matches in Orono on Saturday, against Erskine Academy, John Bapst High School, Deer Isle-Stonington High School and Bangor High School.

Cape Elizabeth's players were Matthew Fishbein, Brett Parker, Matthew Reale-Hatem, Ben Hansel and Colin Smith.

The team collectively scored 17.5 of a possible 20 points. Fishbein, Reale-Hatem and Smith earned perfect individual scores.

Cape Elizabeth's chess team will represent Maine at the scholastic chess national tournament in Nashville, Tenn., from April 5 to 8.


Man, woman plead guilty to pair of pharmacy robberies

A Maine man and a Canadian woman have pleaded guilty to robbing a pharmacy in Newport twice.

Federal prosecutors say Jonah Masse, 26, of Dixmont pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbing the Rite Aid pharmacy last year on Aug. 16 and Sept. 16. Sydney Duff, 21, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the two robberies.

Court records say Masse robbed the pharmacy of more than $500 in drugs each time by handing the pharmacist a note saying he had a gun and wanted oxycodone and hydromorphone pills. Duff was accused of writing the notes and driving with him to the pharmacy. No gun was used.

They both face as many as 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000 for each robbery.

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