Firefighters’ pink T-shirts support cancer battle

Real firefighters wear pink.

That was the message from the Portland Fire Department and the International Association of Fire Fighters on Friday at a news conference at the Munjoy Hill fire station.

Local 740 unveiled pink T-shirts in support of women battling cancer. Firefighters will wear the pink shirts on duty Oct. 13-16, and pink ribbons will adorn the city’s fire engines.

The shirts, emblazoned with the slogan “Real Firefighters Wear Pink,” will be sold for $10 each to raise money for the Maine Breast Cancer Coalition and the Maine Cancer Coalition.


Fallen firefighters saluted in Sunday memorial service

Active and retired firefighters from Portland and South Portland will gather Sunday to honor fallen firefighters at their annual memorial service.

The memorial, held on the first Sunday of October, was first held in 1892.

The names of 20 Portland firefighters and two South Portland firefighters who died in the line of duty will be read while a bell tolls at the Portland Veteran Firemen’s Monument in Forest City Cemetery.

A bagpipe procession will start the ceremony at noon.


Police search for woman who robbed Rite Aid

Police searched Friday for the woman who was barefoot when she robbed the Rite Aid on Saco Avenue on Thursday night.

The woman entered the store at 6:15 p.m., walked to the counter and demanded OxyContin. The woman kept her hand in a pocket as if she had a weapon, police said. The clerk gave the woman some Percocet and the woman fled, police said.

Police believe she escaped in a car with a man who appeared to have accompanied her in the store.

The woman is described as 5 feet 2 inches and 160 pounds, with brown hair and a pasty complexion, police said. She was wearing a dirty white sweat shirt, plaid shorts and no shoes.

The man is described as 5 feet 8 inches, with a slim build, short black hair and possibly a goatee.

The two may have left in a black Saab or Volkswagen Jetta, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call Old Orchard Beach police at 934-4911.


Flags at half staff to honor private killed in Afghanistan

In honor of Pfc. Clinton E. Springer II, Gov. John Baldacci has directed that U.S. and Maine flags be flown at half staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday.

Springer died Sept. 28 while serving in Afghanistan. He was with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. His father lives in Sanford.

The funeral for Pfc. Springer is planned for Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Church in Falmouth, Mass.


State to receive $382,521 from Novartis settlement

Attorney General Janet Mills said Friday that the state will get $382,521 in a settlement with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Mills said Maine joined with other states and the federal government to reach an agreement in principle with Novartis to settle allegations that it improperly promoted Trileptal, an anti-epileptic medicine, and engaged in unlawful kickback schemes to induce physicians to prescribe it and other drugs.

Novartis agreed to plead guilty to distribution of a misbranded drug, a misdemeanor, and pay $185 million. The agreement also called on Novartis to pay $237 million to resolve civil liabilities over the kickbacks and the off-label marketing of Trileptal.


FAME to receive $1.5 million to promote education

The Finance Authority of Maine will receive $1.5 million in federal funding to promote access to higher education, the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday.

The money will be used to provide financial aid and other services for low-income students. It also will support professional development for high school guidance counselors and college admissions workers to better serve students and parents.

The federal government awarded a total of $141 million from the College Access Challenge Grant Program.


Jackson Lab scientist to get $2.7 million for research

Jackson Laboratory says one of its scientists will receive $2.7 million over five years for cancer research.

Chengkai Dai is a recipient of this year’s National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award. The program is designed to support the research ideas of unusually creative investigators early in their careers.

Dai joined Jackson Laboratory at the end of 2008. He studies proteins, called heat shock proteins, that normally protect healthy cells from environmental stress. In cancer, however, the proteins change allegiance and help to protect cancer cells, allowing them to grow and divide very rapidly.


Man convicted of killing woman in waterfront shack

A jury has convicted a Bangor man in the slashing death of a 19-year-old Old Town woman.

After deliberating Friday afternoon, the jury found Colin Koehler, 35, guilty of intentional or knowing murder. Koehler was convicted of stabbing Holly Boutilier on Aug. 8, 2009, in a waterfront shack.

The Bangor Daily News reported that a prosecutor told the jury that the “mountain of evidence” against Koehler was “overwhelming.”

But defense attorney Richard Hartley said Koehler’s friend or someone else could have killed Boutilier.

Justin Ptaszynski, 27, of Bangor was convicted last year of hindering apprehension or prosecution in connection with Boutilier’s death.


Unionized nurses to hold informational march Oct. 11

Unionized nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor are planning informational pickets to draw attention to their negotiations for a new contract.

The three-year-contract between the 850 nurses and the medical center expired at midnight Thursday.

The Bangor Daily News said the provisions of the contract remain in effect.

Vanessa Sylvester of the Maine State Nurses Association says a strike is not being discussed, but picketing is planned for Oct. 11 to raise awareness.

The union wants mandated staffing levels. The hospital has rejected the idea of such requirements.

Last week the hospital made its “last, best offer,” but more negotiations are planned.


Husson president sworn in after nine months on job

Husson University’s new president has been on the job since January, but he hadn’t been sworn into office until Friday.

The ceremony for Robert A. Clark in Newman Gymnasium helped to kick off the weekend’s homecoming festivities at Husson. Participants included trustees, members of the community and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

Clark, a native of Albion, came to Husson from the University of Evansville in Indiana, where he was a vice president and professor of finance and international business at Evansville’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration.


Hong Kong-based group buys pulp mill, saves jobs

Domtar has sold its pulp mill in Baileyville to a Hong Kong-based investor group, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Friday.

Collins said she received assurances from Domtar CEO John Williams that the sale will protect the jobs of the mill’s 300 workers.

She said Canada-based Domtar sold the mill to International Grand Investment so it could focus on softwood pulp manufacturing. The mill focused on hardwood pulp.

The state says it’s good for both sides, since the investor group focuses on pulp and Domtar focuses on paper making.