Officials secure city school as police evaluate threat

School officials say Lincoln Middle School administrators used the district’s new protocol for handling threats appropriately Monday by securing the campus on Stevens Avenue and consulting with police.

Administrators prevented people from entering or leaving the campus after a threatening note was found in a bathroom at 8:30 a.m., but they did not impose a full-scale lockdown, said Assistant Superintendent Jill Blackwood.

Police evaluated the threat and determined there was no danger, allowing school officials to resume normal access to and from the school.

Blackwood said securing the campus is distinct from a lockdown because it doesn’t require all classroom doors to be locked, shades to be pulled and students to remain quiet. Those precautions will be used only for intruders and other imminently dangerous situations.

Securing the campus is intended to be less disruptive to classes than a lockdown while allowing authorities to assess the threat.

Police: Two charged after being caught with cocaine

A 27-year-old man was charged with aggravated drug trafficking and being a habitual offender after he was arrested Sunday with what police say was $3,500 worth of crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

Police tried to pull over a black Cadillac Escalade at 2 a.m. The SUV crashed into a parked car at 202 Park Ave., and the driver ran into the apartment building there, police said. Officers chased him and found him in an apartment.

Police arrested Marcel Bitshikila, who is from the Portland area. They also charged Ashton Grant, 30, who was in the apartment. They found him trying to flush down the toilet baggies of cocaine that Bitshikila had thrown to the floor, police said.

Rights group’s regional board, to include former legislator

Former state Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, has been named to the Anti-Defamation League’s New England regional board.

According to a statement from the organization, Strimling will be the first Maine resident to serve on the board. He served in the state Senate for six years and has been CEO of LearningWorks in Portland for 13 years. LearningWorks serves at-risk youths, the immigrant community and low-income families.

Union’s chief economist to give presentation at UNE

Richard Sims, chief economist for the National Education Association, will speak Thursday at the University of New England on the future of education in the United States.

Sims has taught and written widely on taxation, economic growth, regional development and applied public finance.

He will speak at 6 p.m. in the Health Professions Lecture Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will be held at 5 p.m.

Metro fare hikes delayed for public school students

Public school students who ride Metro buses will continue paying 50 cents through the end of this school year, even though fares will rise for other riders on April 1.

The reduced fare applies to students who have special Metro student fare cards. The fare for students who use the card will increase to 75 cents in September.

The cost of the summer youth bus pass will remain $20 this year.

For more information, including where to buy bus passes, visit www.gpmetrobus.com.

Church to lift H1N1 protocols as threat of swine flu fades

Maine’s Catholic Church will soon go back to the traditional ways of passing the peace and sharing Mass, now that the risk of swine flu has faded.

Bishop Richard Malone, after consulting with state officials, will lift the H1N1 flu protocols effective Palm Sunday weekend, March 27-28, the Portland diocese announced Monday.

Parishioners will no longer be encouraged to offer only a verbal greeting instead of a handshake during the sign of peace, and will no longer be encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue. The precautions were put in place in November to reduce the risk of spreading the flu.

Parishioners who are ill are still urged to stay at home or at least refrain from shaking hands or receiving communion from the chalice.


Scarborough team wins state academic competition

Scarborough High School won the 25th State Academic Decathlon on Saturday.

About 200 students from 16 high schools competed at Deering High School in Portland. Four schools earned the right to compete at the national level.

Scarborough’s team will compete in Omaha, Neb., from April 21 to 24.

Online competition slots go to second-place finisher Monmouth Academy, third-place finisher Bangor High School and fourth-place finisher Oak Hill High School. The schools will compete April 22-23.

The top individual scorers in the state competition were: Susan Rundell, Rebecca Mitchell, Seth Albert, Mike Hall and Jacob Waken of Scarborough; Elliott Kahl and Tyler Vandrell of Monmouth High; Jeremy Tripp of Hall-Dale High; and Rebecca Ye of Bangor High.

Rundell received the Ron Moody Award for the overall high scorer.


GOP delegates to be chosen at local caucus on Saturday

Westbrook Republicans will caucus Saturday to elect delegates and alternates to the state convention on May 7 and 8 in Portland.

Registered Republicans will meet at 10 a.m. at Westbrook Middle School on Stroudwater Street to elect members to the Cumberland County Republican Committee, and members and officers to the Westbrook Republican City Committee.

For more information, call 619-2875.


FBI arrests man in Maryland in death of Bangor child

The FBI has arrested a man in connection with the death of a 15-month-old Bangor boy.

The FBI said Edgard Anziani, 27, was arrested in Bladensburg, Md., shortly after 1 p.m. Monday, two days after the FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Anziani is a suspect in the death of Damien Lynn, who was pronounced dead at Eastern Maine Medical Center after police were called to a home in Bangor on Feb. 23. An autopsy listed the cause of death as nonaccidental trauma.

The FBI said Anziani is a citizen of the Dominican Republic and a permanent U.S. resident whose last known address was in Lawrence, Mass. Bangor police said Anziani was the boyfriend of Damien’s mother.


Brian McCarthy selected as city’s officer of the year

South Portland police Officer Brian McCarthy has been selected as the city’s officer of the year for 2009.

Chief Edward Googins announced the selection Monday. Chosen by the lieutenants and sergeants from among the officers of the month for 2009, McCarthy was praised for his enthusiasm on the night shift, his command presence and excellent communications skills.

He will receive two days off with pay as well as a plaque and a pin.


Colorectal cancer screening, follow-up offered at no cost

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is providing free screening and follow-up for colorectal cancer for eligible Mainers age 50 or older.

Maine recently received a five-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pay for the new service and public education. Participants must be underinsured or uninsured and earn less than 250 percent of federal income guidelines.

Maine’s CDC is working with the American Cancer Society as well as hospitals and health organizations across the state to implement the program. For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for these services, call the Colorectal Screening Hotline at (877) 320-6800.


New NOAA fisheries official to address lobstermen

Maine fishermen are gearing up for the 35th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Samoset Resort.

It is the largest event of its kind in New England, bringing together fishermen, fishery managers, scientists, politicians, seafood dealers and others with an interest in commercial fishing.

Fishermen will hear this year from Eric Schwab, the new assistant administrator for fisheries in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They’ll also have a chance to meet with lobstermen from New Zealand, Australia and Canada, who will share their outlooks on the industry in their countries.


Private school headmaster to step down at year’s end

North Yarmouth Academy Headmaster Peter Mertz will step down at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Mertz has been headmaster at the private school for a decade and overseen the renovation and construction of facilities on the school’s campus. The trustees plan to begin a search for a new headmaster soon.


Navy frigate plans visit during Old Home Week

The Navy will send the USS De Wert to eastern Maine this summer.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said the ship will be in Eastport for the city’s Old Home Week over the Fourth of July. The 453-foot vessel is one of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates and the first ship in the U.S. to bear the name.

The De Wert was built at Bath Iron Works and commissioned in 1983. Its home port is now in Florida.


Student writers invited to summer UMF workshop

The University of Maine at Farmington plans a weeklong workshop for young writers this summer. The Longfellow Mountains Creative Writing Workshop, July 18-24, will give high school juniors and seniors a chance to work with UMF faculty members and published authors.

The program will consist of small intensive workshops where students will write poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction in a collegial, supportive environment.

Students will hear from professional authors and poets, see the inner workings of a successful small poetry press, and share their work with fellow writers.

Applications can be found on the UMF Web site and must be postmarked by May 1. A limited number of full and partial merit-based scholarships to the workshop are available. To be considered for a scholarship, a five-page writing sample must be submitted with a completed program application and be postmarked by April 1.

All applications should be mailed to: Jeffrey Thomson, director, Longfellow Mountains Young Writers Workshop, 115 South St., UMF, Farmington, ME 04938.

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