Critics of pot dispensary moratorium plan city rally

Opponents of a proposed six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland plan to hold a rally and march tonight to protest the ban.

The Portland Green Party announced Sunday night it will host a rally for people who support medical marijuana patients’ rights starting at 6 p.m. at Congress Square — near the Eastland Park Hotel.

The announcement said Green Party members believe it is wrong to prevent caregivers from providing medicine to patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.

City Councilor Dave Marshall, who opposes the moratorium, will offer an amendment at tonight’s City Council meeting that would allow dispensaries in downtown Portland. The ban has been proposed by City Attorney Gary Wood.

After the rally, protesters will march down Congress Street sidewalks to City Hall. The council meeting is set to start at 7 p.m.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion, Ben Chipman of the Medical Marijuana Campaign and John Eder of the Portland Green Party are expected to participate.


Input sought on new name for 12-acre ‘Military Triangle’

The town is soliciting suggestions from the public on a new name for a portion of the Topsham Annex, a property that is a much smaller part of the Naval Air Station in Brunswick.

Rich Roedner, Topsham’s planning director, said the town must rename the 12-acre “Military Triangle” before it can be marketed for office or commercial use.

The Topsham Annex off Route 201 encompasses 74 acres of housing and recreational fields. The Military Triangle includes a supermarket, or military commissary, an Army recruiting office and Marine barracks.

Suggestions are due by July 15 and can be e-mailed to John Shattuck, economic and community development director, at [email protected] topshammaine.com. Shattuck can also be contacted at 373-5097.

The Brunswick Naval Air Station, which earlier this year was renamed “Brunswick Landing, Maine’s Center for Innovation,” is set to close in 2011.


Video of Blaine House launches Realtors’ series

Maine’s governor’s mansion is the first home to be featured in a new series of videos that feature notable Maine properties.

The Maine Association of Realtors said it is promoting the videos to introduce the public to features and histories of homes throughout the state from the perspective of the current occupant.

For the first video, Maine first lady Karen Baldacci shares her favorite details of the Blaine House and its gardens.

The videos can also be found online.

State’s top lobster chef tapped for national contest

Maine’s reigning lobster chef of the year is going to Louisiana for a national seafood cooking competition.

Mackenzie Arrington has been appointed by Gov. John Baldacci to represent Maine in the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans on Aug. 7. The event has been called the Super Bowl of seafood competitions.

Arrington in October won the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition.

For the New Orleans event, Arrington will be assisted by his mother, Margaret Salt McLellan, herself a former state lobster chef of the year who represented Maine in the 2008 and 2009 Great American Seafood Cook-offs.


Worms, beetles afflicting some blueberry barrens

Wild blueberry growers are checking their crops following the discovery of span worms and flea beetles in some fields in eastern Maine.

David Yarborough of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension says he saw extensive damage on some barrens in Washington County. The worms and beetles chew on new bush growth and can gnaw bushes to the ground.

But Yarborough told the Bangor Daily News that the outbreak is not widespread and appears to be limited to some fields in Centerville Township. He said the outbreak is part of a natural cycle and that growers shouldn’t be alarmed.