Two arrested, charged with selling prescription drugs

Westbrook police arrested two South Portland residents Friday afternoon on charges of trafficking in prescription drugs. 

Charles M. Vassie, 30, and Barbara J. Dow, 42, were arrested around 3 p.m. after officers pulled their car over on the Westbrook Arterial (Route 25). Police said the arrest was the result of a joint investigation conducted by Westbrook police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Officers who searched Vassie and Dow’s car found several prescription drugs, including suboxone, oxycodone, and clonazepam. Both Vassie and Dow were charged with trafficking in Schedule W drugs. Both were taken into custody and brought to the Cumberland County Jail.


Former USM criminolgy student killed in line of duty

A veteran California  police officer who had majored in criminology at the University of Southern Maine was killed in the line of duty this week.

Christopher Wilson, 50, was shot from a nearby apartment as he tried to arrest an assault suspect in San Diego, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Police later found the male shooting suspect and a woman dead inside the apartment.

As of Friday evening, San Diego police had not identified the man pending examination by a medical examiner.

The newspaper said Wilson had worked for 17 years in a San Diego neighborhood known for gang activity and gun violence.

Wilson had grown up in several states and gone to high school in Vermont before attending the University of Southern Maine to study criminology, according to the newspaper. He is survived by his children, Kaylee, 20, and Conner, 17.


Chief to be in Parkside to update on anti-drug efforts

Portland Police Chief James Craig will be in the city’s Parkside neighborhood Monday morning to update residents on recent efforts to stop drug activity in the area.

Craig will speak on the sidewalk near 100 Grant St. around 11 a.m., according to a police press release. He is scheduled to talk about efforts by Portland police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency to investigate drug trafficking and drug-related violence in the area during the past two months.

So far, the investigation has resulted in 18 arrests and the confiscation of two weapons, 42 grams of crack-cocaine, 10 grams of cocaine and 30 bags of heroin, according to police.

METRO’s free Lunch Hop runs will be discontinued

Beginning Monday, Greater Portland Transit District METRO will no longer offer its free Lunch Hop service in Portland.

METRO’s Lunch Hop service has been providing free bus rides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Congress Street, between Longfellow Square and Exchange Street.

METRO’s board of directors voted to eliminate this service at its Oct. 27 meeting, following a public hearing. METRO said it has carefully reviewed financial alternatives to balancing its operating budget while minimizing impact on bus riders and the community.

“The decision to discontinue this free service was based on the need to collect fares and increase revenue,” said METRO’s general manager, David Redlefsen.

METRO averages 1.4 million riders annually in Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth and the Maine Mall area of South Portland.

Court upholds ruling barring man’s name from ballot

Maine’s highest court has upheld a decision that is keeping a Bangor man’s name off the gubernatorial ballot.

The state’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the secretary of state’s action rejecting electronic copies of petition signatures Alex Hammer had collected to qualify as an independent candidate for governor.

Hammer had filed a complaint claiming state law does not specifically prohibit electronic copies of petitions from being submitted to town clerks to verify signatures. A Superior Court justice in September ruled the law doesn’t allow for electronic copies.

Hammer said today his arguments and legal precedent “have been virtually ignored” and he plans to take the case to federal court.


Moody gets endorsements from education officials

Several prominent Maine educators have endorsed independent candidate Shawn Moody for governor, Moody’s campaign announced Friday.

The educators include: Mark Eastman, retired superintendent in the Oxford Hills school district and a former Maine Superintendent of the Year; Gary Moore, principal of Windham Middle School, president of the Cumberland County Superintendent’s Association and a member of the Maine Commission for Educational Reform; Kris Wescott, a teacher at the Lime School in Limerick and the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year 2009; and Bob Crowley, retired physics teacher from Gorham High School, and the winner of the “Survivor: Gabon” television show.

Moody’s educational priorities include reducing the number of high school dropouts, training students for emerging job markets and lowering the cost of higher education.

Moody believes there should be a greater push in high schools to identify which freshmen and sophomores are ‘“work-bound’” and “college-bound,” and direct them to appropriate programs.

Moody, 50, is the owner of Moody’s Collision Centers.


Firefighter charged in crash that destroyed town truck

A volunteer captain with the Shapleigh Fire Department has been charged with driving to endanger stemming from an Aug. 8 crash that destroyed a town firetruck.

Natasha Kinney, 30, of Lebanon was issued a citation Wednesday by the investigator, Maine State Police Trooper Dan Worcester.

Kinney, who had been with the Shapleigh Fire Department for five years prior to the crash, was driving a 2005 tanker-pumper truck carrying about 1,800 gallons of water. She left the scene of a dryer fire on Ross Corner Road at 5 p.m. on Aug. 8, and was headed to refuel at the station. Kinney was rounding a bend on Newfield Road when she lost control of the vehicle. The truck rolled and came to rest upside down. Kinney suffered minor injuries.

The truck narrowly missed four motorcyclists who were riding in formation on Honda Goldwings. One of the riders ditched his motorcycle in the soft shoulder in order to avoid the truck. The riders credited their own safety training, and Kinney’s attempts to maintain control of the firetruck, with saving their lives.


Summer tourism outpaced  2009’s, state office reports

Tourism is up this summer over last year in Maine, the state Tourism Office is reporting.

An estimated 13.7 million day travelers and an additional estimated 9.5 million overnight travelers visited the state this summer, according to traveler data collected by Davidson-Peterson Associates, a travel and tourism research firm in Kennebunk that represents the office.

The total marks an increase in day visits of 8 percent over the summer of 2009, with overnight visits up 14 percent over a year ago.

The data also shows that many travelers came for outdoor recreation or shopping opportunities.
Tourism generates about $8 billion in sales of goods and services and contributes more than $400 million in state and local tax revenue.