Budget plan would raise taxes, cut 32.75 positions

The $77.9 million city budget proposed for 2010-11 calls for 2.5 percent less spending than this fiscal year but would require a 1.3 percent increase in the property tax rate.

Under the proposal submitted by City Manager James Gailey, the property tax rate is projected to increase 19 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, to $14.89.

The budget presented to the City Council last week includes municipal and school spending for the year starting July 1, as well as taxes for Cumberland County.

A total of $67.1 million would be supported by property taxes. Schools account for the largest portion, $37.9 million. Taxes needed for municipal services would total $27.1 million, and the taxes for Cumberland County total $2.1 million.

The municipal portion of the budget calls for the elimination of 7.75 vacant positions. The school budget would cut 25 jobs, two of which are vacant.

The City Council will take up the proposal April 5.

Man charged with invading woman’s bathroom privacy

Police charged a South Portland man with invasion of privacy after he was allegedly caught in a ladies’ bathroom peering over a stall at a woman.

Police arrested Andrew Goupil, 30, on Sunday afternoon after getting a call from the Hannaford supermarket on Cottage Road.

They were told that Goupil had been in the bathroom and was caught looking over the stall partition at an employee who was using the bathroom.

An officer found Goupil and charged him with invasion of privacy and violating conditions of his release from a previous arrest.

Wardens help moose break path through ice to shore

Game wardens say a moose was saved by some human help after it broke through the ice on Moose Pond.

Wardens say the bull moose was seen about 1,000 feet from shore on Sunday, after it had broken through the ice.

WCSH-TV said the moose tried to break the ice as it swam toward shore, but was getting tired by the time wardens arrived with an airboat.

Wardens put a rope around the neck of the moose and broke it a path through the ice to shore. After reaching shore, the moose ran off into the woods.

Schools will get $500,000 for child obesity prevention

The city’s public schools will receive more than $500,000 in federal stimulus money for a three-pronged effort to prevent childhood obesity.

The two-year grant is part of $1.8 million received by Healthy Portland, a program of the city’s Health and Human Services Department. Maine received $4.3 million overall for obesity prevention programs.

The schools will use the money to improve the school lunch program, increase nutrition education and promote physical activity.

The district plans to install more salad bars, serve more locally produced foods and provide nutrition information about school menu items in pamphlets and on its Web site,

Classes will create short video podcasts showing how to do exercises, dance routines and other physical activities, which also will be posted on the Web site.

The school initiatives will dovetail with projects by grant partners including Portland Trails, WinterKids, Let’s Go! and the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Buy Local kicks off today with festivities at Landing

Buy Local Scarborough is planning an inaugural celebration.

The event, beginning at 5 p.m. today at The Landing at Pine Point, is a celebration of the group’s membership and a way to encourage other small businesses to join.

A cash bar, appetizers and music will be part of the festivities. There will be a discussion of the upcoming consumer card program and the group’s goals.

Head-on collision sends two people to hospital

A head-on crash Monday morning sent two people to the hospital, one by LifeFlight helicopter.

Lisa Amabile, 46, was driving west on Route 202 and cresting Shaker Hill when she collided with a car being driven east by Joshua Lund, 18, said the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Lund’s car had crossed the centerline at the crest of hill, said Sheriff Maurice Ouellette.

Firefighters used an extrication tool to remove Amabile from her car. She was taken to the hospital by helicopter.

Ouellette, who was on his way to work on Route 202 around 8:30 a.m., was among the first on the scene of the crash. He said he helped get Lund out of his wrecked car and comforted Amabile until rescue workers arrived to remove her from the vehicle.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Audubon seeks volunteers to document state’s frogs

Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers to survey the state’s frog population.

The group’s Maine Amphibian Monitoring Project is in its 14th year. It is seeking “citizen scientists” to do two-hour roadside surveys three times this spring and summer to document the sounds and locations of the nine kinds of frogs that live in Maine.

The surveys are done in early spring for spring peepers and wood frogs, in late spring for American toads and northern leopard and pickerel frogs, and in early summer for bullfrogs and gray tree, green and mink frogs.

Volunteers are needed for routes in northern, western and central Maine.

Workers find man’s body wedged up against dam

Investigators are trying to identify a body that was found wedged up against a dam on the Penobscot River.
The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said a man’s body was found about 9 a.m. Monday by workers who were tending to Howland Dam.

Chief Deputy Troy Morton said there are few clues, but the man was wearing a distinctive belt and buckle. He said his office is being assisted by state police and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

New map has 6,000 miles of ATV trails through Maine

The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands has issued a new Maine All-Terrain Vehicle Trail Map for the 2010 riding season. But officials say the trails will remain closed until the land dries out.

The new map features 6,000 miles of ATV trails throughout the state that can be used during three seasons.

Maine ATV Program Coordinator Brian Bronson said Maine’s 2,300 miles of interconnected ATV trails is the largest network in the country.

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