Car chase ends after suspect drives over police spike mat

A police pursuit of a driver that began in Saco on Thursday night ended in South Portland after police spiked the tires of the suspect’s vehicle.

Saco police said that when an officer tried to pull over the vehicle for an alleged speed violation, the driver took off.

Several state police troopers joined the pursuit, which began near the Saco-Scarborough line about 9:20 p.m.

As the vehicle continued along Route 1, Scarborough police laid down a spike mat near the entrance to the Hannaford shopping plaza.

The mat proved to be effective and the chase ended about 10 p.m. on Thirlmere Avenue in South Portland, near the Wok-Inn restaurant.

Two suspects were taken into custody. Their names were not available late Thursday night. No injuries were reported.


Art museum trustees divide $3 million gift three ways

The Portland Museum of Art has decided how to divvy up a $3 million gift from the family of a trustee and longtime supporter who died in March.

Museum board President John Isacke said the gift from the family of Emily Eaton Moore “will benefit the museum and the communities that it serves for generations to come.”

Museum trustees agreed Wednesday that $1 million will be used for a fund to buy and maintain works of art; $1 million will go to an investment fund to support general operations; and the remaining $1 million will go to the Winslow Homer Studio campaign.

Sheryl Crow promoters offer two free tickets to concert

Promoters of tonight’s Sheryl Crow concert at the Cumberland County Civic Center will give away two free passes to the show.

To enter the ticket contest, people should e-mail [email protected] with their name and contact information. The winner will be notified by noon today, and will be put on a guest list for the show.

Crow is touring to promote her latest album, “100 Miles from Memphis.” She is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. with special guest Brandi Carlile.

Pair facing drug charges after Danforth Street arrest

A Connecticut man and a Portland woman appeared in District Court on Thursday to face drug charges after their arrest at 240 Danforth St. earlier this week.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Portland police arrested Joseph Ortiz, 19, of New London, Conn., and Lucia Lombardi, 22, of Portland on Tuesday at an apartment where neighbors had complained about many people coming and going day and night, police said.

The apartment is within 1,000 feet of Reiche Elementary School.

Ortiz is charged with aggravated trafficking in cocaine. Lombardi is charged with possessing heroin and the prescription drugs Suboxone and Clonazepam.

Police say they seized 7 grams of crack cocaine, some heroin, the two prescription drugs and $895.

Portland to receive $160,000 for child anti-violence project

Portland is one of eight cities chosen nationwide for a demonstration project on reducing children’s exposure to violence.

The selection, announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice, includes $160,000 to develop community-based strategies to prevent and reduce the impact of children’s exposure to violence at home, in school and in the community.

The grant was awarded to the Portland Safe Kids Project: Working Together to Help Children Exposed to Violence (PSKids), a coalition of child-serving agencies.

Portland’s project will emphasize refugee and immigrant children and children under age 5 who are at risk of being exposed to violence.

The grants are part of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Defending Childhood initiative.

Proposal would save Mainers $745 a year on gas, study says

New fuel-efficiency and global-warming standards for cars and light trucks would save Maine residents $427 million at the gas pump and cut oil use in the state by 179 million gallons per year in 2030, according to an analysis by a group advocating for passage of the standards.

The study by Environment Maine, released Thursday, said each Maine household would save $745 a year on gasoline in 2030 under the proposed standards.

The group backs an Obama administration proposal that cars and light trucks get an average of 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

“This should be a given,” said Lee Auto Malls Chairman Adam Lee in a news release from Environment Maine. “A Prius can go over 50 miles per gallon, and we have electric cars that go over 200 miles on a single charge.”

Fifteen Maine schools to share grant for teacher pay system

Fifteen schools in Maine will share a $27.1 million federal grant to help the schools implement and sustain a performance-based pay system for teachers.

The 15 schools are sharing the five-year award with eight schools in Richmond, Va.

The money for the 23 schools is among 62 grants the U.S. Department of Education awarded to states, school districts and other organizations on Thursday, totaling $442 million. The grant applications all propose pilot projects for pay systems that reward instructors for boosting their students’ academic achievement, a key education reform initiative of the Obama administration.

The 15 Maine schools are in Whitefield-based Regional School Unit 12, Ellsworth-based RSU 24, Dover-Foxcroft-based RSU 68, and Westbrook, said Anna Davis, executive director for government relations at the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Tom’s of Maine awarding nonprofits $20,000 each

Natural products company Tom’s of Maine is awarding nonprofits in five states $20,000 each to advance and draw attention to their work.

The company tallied nearly 100,000 online votes for programs across the country as part of its annual “50 States for Good” initiative.

This year’s winning nonprofits include an Alabama group that trains college students to provide vision screenings for low-income preschool children; a free spay-neuter pet surgery program in Philadelphia; and a publicly owned, volunteer-maintained orchard in Indiana.


State finds serious problems at mental health agency

State officials say they have found serious deficiencies at a mental health agency in Auburn, including the hiring of friends and family members without training and the failure to perform background checks.

Officials say other problems at Possibilities Counseling include unpaid therapists and clients’ files being left out in the open.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services conducted a surprise inspection at the agency on Aug. 26. The Lewiston Sun Journal reported that officials found 16 of 18 staffers at the office had quit two days earlier.

The agency has 550 affiliate therapists and case managers serving 10,000 patients across Maine. It works as a referral agency, sending clients to affiliates and billing insurance, Medicaid and MaineCare.

Health officials have given the agency a one-year conditional license requiring it to share monthly financial reports.


Tip leads to man’s arrest on child pornography charge

A Lebanon man has been charged with possession of child pornography in connection with an investigation by Illinois authorities.

Robin Olsen, 60, was arrested Monday on a charge of possession of sexually explicit material of a child younger than 12, the York County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The Maine State Police computer crimes unit and the sheriff’s office investigated after being tipped off by Wheaton, Ill., police that someone at Olsen’s home was exchanging child pornography with someone in their town.

Investigators found hundreds of child pornography images on Olsen’s computer, the sheriff’s office said.


Senate Democrats detail new health care provisions

New provisions from the federal Affordable Care Act took effect Thursday, providing health care consumers with new rights and protections.

Maine Senate Democrats said the new provisions include prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, stopping insurers from putting a lifetime limit on benefits, allowing young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance, and requiring providers to offer cost-free preventive services.

All new protections from the new federal health care law must be phased in by 2014.

Officials warn homeowners about door-to-door scams

Business regulation officials are warning homeowners to be wary of door-to-door sales activities.

The warning from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation follows reports to police departments by residents in several southern Maine communities of door-to-door salespeople being too aggressive and arriving late in the evening.

Commissioner Anne Head said that while many legitimate companies exist, home repair and door-to-door selling scams continue.

Consumers are advised to check the license status of any door-to-door seller of products or services, and to report concerns or possible violations of law to police. Door-to-door sellers are typically required to be licensed through the state.


Linneus driver dies after car strikes bull moose in road

Officials say a 22-year-old man died after his car crashed into a moose in northern Maine.

Nathaniel Cady of Linneus died Wednesday at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Police told the Bangor Daily News that Cady suffered head injuries Sunday night when his car hit a large bull moose on Route 2 in New Limerick, moments after the animal had been hit by another vehicle. Cady was flown to the Bangor hospital, where he died.

Cady’s two young children, who were in his car at the time of the accident, were not injured.