Police seize rifle, charge man with selling cocaine

The Portland Police Department’s special reaction team and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency raided an apartment on Grant Street on Wednesday morning, seized a rifle and charged a man with selling cocaine.

Police raided the apartment at 142 Grant St. at 2 a.m. As officers approached, people were leaving the apartment, said Lt. Gary Rogers.

Police charged Joseph Cameron, 45, with aggravated trafficking in cocaine. The apartment is in a school zone, Rogers said. Police also seized a small amount of cocaine.

Police also charged Modou Fall, 47, and Mohamed Ahmed, 28, with possessing dangerous knives.

There were no major injuries, but Cameron, who was barefoot, cut the bottom of a foot on broken glass, police said.

Staff presents Sheriff Dion with plaque, dedicates tree

The staff of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office held an appreciation ceremony for Sheriff Mark Dion on Wednesday marking his 12 years with the department.

Dion, who is not running for re-election as sheriff, will enter private practice as an attorney and is running for the Legislature.

The ceremony Wednesday morning included a presentation of a plaque by Maj. Francine Breton, the jail administrator, and the dedication of a Japanese maple on the jail grounds, planted by members of the Community Service Program.


Renew SPHS plans pep rally to support borrowing plan

A pep rally is planned Saturday to support the proposed renovation and reconstruction of South Portland High School.

The rally is being organized by Renew SPHS, a political action committee that is advocating for the project and the $41.5 million borrowing proposal on the November ballot. 

The rally will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Beal Gym at South Portland High School.

Organizers say the event will be an opportunity to discuss the school’s needs and demonstrate community support for the project. Attendees will be able to tour the school, review construction plans and sign up for volunteer activities.

Supporters of the bond proposal cite the school’s warning from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges because of its lack of compliance with life and safety codes, inaccessibility for the disabled, problems with the heating system and ventilation. Supporters also say the school’s condition affects property values in the city.

In 2007, voters rejected a $56 million borrowing plan by a ratio of 3-1.


Inmate’s death in prison attributed to natural causes

The Maine Department of Corrections says a prison inmate who was found dead in his cell died of natural causes.

The body of James Nadeau, 66, of Norway was found in his cell at the Maine State Prison in Warren on Aug. 4. The Bangor Daily News said the Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled that Nadeau died of natural causes.

Nadeau was serving a 27-year sentence for the shooting death of his former girlfriend Barbara Bassett at her home in Sweden in 2002.


Decision upheld to reject hopeful’s electronic copies

A judge has upheld a decision by Maine’s secretary of state that is keeping a Bangor man off November’s gubernatorial ballot.

Alex Hammer filed a complaint claiming that the Secretary of State’s Office was wrong to reject electronic copies of petition signatures he had collected in his bid to qualify as an independent candidate. Hammer said Maine statute does not specifically prohibit electronic copies from being submitted to town clerks.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy ruled Tuesday that the Legislature has always expressly stated exceptions where electronic copies of official forms are permissible. Murphy said there is no exception in the law allowing for electronic copies of petition forms.


Bowhunter bags black bear weighing 600-plus pounds

Wildlife officials say a bowhunter from New Hampshire bagged a black bear with an estimated weight of more than 600 pounds, the second-largest bear taken in Maine.

The owner of Wilderness Escape Outfitters said Dave Rizkallah of Derry, N.H., killed the bear Sept. 7 near Danforth, in far eastern Maine.

Randy Flannery said it took eight people eight hours to get the animal out of the woods.

Flannery said it weighed nearly 500 pounds after being field dressed. He estimates the bear’s live weight would have been 602 to 622 pounds.

State bear biologist Randy Cross told the Bangor Daily News that, unofficially, the biggest bear killed in Maine was 680 pounds. He said the heaviest bear killed with a bow and arrow was 610 pounds.


Lynch, Baldacci will meet Tuesday to discuss bridges

The governors of Maine and New Hampshire plan to meet next week to discuss bridges between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H.

The offices of New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Maine Gov. John Baldacci say the location of Tuesday’s meeting hasn’t been determined.

The states share responsibility for three bridges across the Piscataqua River that link the towns. Two of the three bridges need to be replaced or undergo extensive rehabilitation. The states are trying to arrange funding.


UNE awarded federal grant to train physician assistants

The University of New England has been awarded a $990,000 federal grant to expand its Physician Assistant Program.

The two-year training program, based at UNE’s Westbrook College of Health Professions, is the only one of its kind in Maine. The grant is part of the new Affordable Care Act and part of an effort to train more primary care providers to meet increasing demand due to health care reforms and aging populations.

Physician assistants, who are trained to diagnose and treat patients, work under the supervision of physicians and are playing a greater role in medical practices because of a shortage of primary care doctors.

The grant will provide $22,000 in annual tuition reimbursement to five additional students accepted into the program each year for five years, the length of the grant. The aid will be awarded to students who show a commitment to practice in an area of primary care in Maine.

Selected students will attend UNE’s Portland campus for the first year, then move to Bangor for on-the-job training at the Penobscot Community Health Center and St. Joseph Hospital system.


Students can earn ice cream for their safe driving habits

Good driving habits can save you money, can save your life and — for some Massabesic High School students — earn you a free ice cream.

York County Sheriff’s deputies will be conducting a “Here’s the Scoop” checkpoint as the Waterboro school lets out Friday at 1:30 p.m. The deputies will check to make sure all car occupants are wearing seat belts and will remind them not to text while driving, said Sheriff Maurice Ouellette.

Those who are belted in and agree not to text will receive a coupon good for an ice cream cone at Shaker Pond Ice Cream in Alfred. 


Lab gets $9.1 million more to build new campus

The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has received another $9.1 million for construction of its new campus in East Boothbay.

The grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology comes in addition to $4.45 million from the Maine Technology Asset Fund and $4.9 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Scientists at Center for Ocean Health will research marine microbial ecosystems and their role in maintaining the ocean’s health. The center will include 18,200 square feet of space, a research vessel pier and dock space, and seawater pumping facilities.

When completed, the campus will have more than 70,000 square feet of buildings on its 64-acre campus.

The lab is in West Boothbay Harbor, in buildings rented from the state’s Department of Marine Resources.