Teacher faces pot charge after lot searched at school

A Falmouth High School teacher was charged with marijuana possession this week after a random drug search in the high school parking lot.

Mark Melnicove, 58, of Dresden is due in Portland District Court on Dec. 16. He is charged with possessing 2.4 grams of marijuana.

At the request of the Falmouth School District, police search the high school parking lot with drug-sniffing dogs. Lt. John Kilbride said two dogs alerted their handlers Monday to marijuana that was found in a container in Melnicove’s vehicle.

Police issued a summons on the civil violation, which carries a minimum fine of $200 but no jail time.
Superintendent Barbara Powers said the school is doing its own investigation. She declined to say whether Melnicove is still teaching.

“We take this very seriously, and we are dealing with it as professionally as possible,” she said.


Jury indicts Standish man on three counts of robbery

A Cumberland County grand jury has indicted a Standish man who allegedly was doused with hot coffee while trying to steal a cash register from a McDonald’s in Portland.

Paul Schlosser, 25, was indicted Thursday on three counts of robbery stemming from what Portland police said was an early-morning series of crimes on Aug. 26.

He is accused of a knifepoint robbery at the Cumberland Farms on Pine Street, a robbery attempt at the Circle K on Commercial Street and, finally, an attempt at the McDonald’s on St. John Street, where a clerk doused him with hot coffee. He was arrested moments later.

Police said Schlosser had been arrested 30 times since 2005, on charges including burglary and theft.

Attempted-murder charge brought in stabbing, beating

A man who is accused of stabbing a Brunswick resident in the chest and hitting him with a chair so hard that it broke his jaw and shoulder has been indicted on charges including attempted murder.

A Cumberland County grand jury indicted Manessah Massaline, 40, of Brunswick on charges of attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, criminal threatening with a weapon and aggravated criminal trespass. Police say Massaline was trying to collect a debt.

Massaline was arrested in September, five days after the attack, after several police agencies joined to track him down.

Massaline was charged in 2009 with kidnapping, robbery and terrorizing after police said he and an accomplice took a couple hostage. The couple escaped after they said they heard their captors discussing where to dump the bodies.

Parish hall, City Hall to host flu shot clinics for adults

The city will offer two walk-in flu clinics next week for anyone 18 or older.

The clinics will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at St. Pius X Parish Hall, at 492 Ocean Ave., and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday in the State of Maine Room at City Hall. Vaccines will be given for $10, or free for people with Medicare Part B cards. All types of insurance, including MaineCare, will be accepted.

Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines will also be available, for $45 or free for people with MaineCare.
For more information and other dates for Portland Public Health’s flu clinics, contact the city’s flu hotline at 874-8946.

Maine, N.H. weighing toll to fund new, fixed spans

Officials from Maine and New Hampshire, seeking ways to pay for new bridges across the Piscataqua River between the two states, are considering a toll or another dedicated funding source.

The Bi-State Bridge Funding Task Force met Thursday in Portland to look for ways to pay to replace or rehabilitate the Memorial and Sara Mildred Long bridges between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H.

The task force has until Dec. 15 to find a way to replace the Memorial Bridge and either replace or rehabilitate the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge.

The Portsmouth Herald said the task force is also looking for a maintenance plan for those bridges and the Piscataqua River Bridge, which carries Interstate 95.


Invasive insect makes first appearance in natural setting

The Maine Forest Service has found a new insect invader.

Forest service entomologists say they have found a population of elongate hemlock scale at Kittery Point. The discovery marks the first time the pest has been found in a natural setting of hemlocks. Previously, it has been found only in an ornamental landscape setting.

Another invader, the hemlock woolly adelgid, has been found in Maine, spreading up the coast from South Portland to Bristol.

Maine Forest Service entomologist Dave Struble said one of the invaders is bad enough. He said the two of them together is a “recipe to accelerate tree decline and mortality.”

Retirements leave vacancies among force of state troopers

The Maine Department of Public Safety is scrambling to fill state police vacancies as a wave of troopers becomes eligible for retirement.

Col. Patrick Fleming, the state police chief, said there are 27 openings, and 40 troopers are expected to retire in the coming year. He said the state is working to recruit new troopers, but a shortage will continue because it takes time to train them.

The state police force is authorized for 326 members; the current number is 299.

Fleming said the force is managing vacations and time off, and using overtime, to ensure that adequate numbers of troopers are on the road.


Free event to inform vets of job, health, other resources

A free Resources Fair for military service members, veterans and their families will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Nasson Community Center, 457 Main St., Springvale.

More than 30 vendors will attend, including educational experts, employers and health care and financial assistance providers. The guest speaker will be Bill Nemitz, columnist for The Portland Press Herald /Maine Sunday Telegram.

Go to www.mainemcn.org for more information.


Backpack holding $23,000 finds way back to Mainer

A New Jersey man found and returned a Maine woman’s backpack containing $23,000 in cash and family heirlooms.

Rebecca Knox was helping her parents move in New Jersey and was playing a treasure hunt game that relies on GPS technology when she left the pack at Ramapo State Forest on Halloween.

Joseph Monto was surprised when he looked inside the pack and found cash, jewels, notebooks filled with geographic coordinates and medical records for Knox’s parents.

An emergency number led Monto to Knox’s brother, who called his sister.

Knox said the cash was a down payment on her parents’ retirement home.

Knox gave Monto a $1,000 reward. She told The Record newspaper that he should contact her any time he wants a character reference.


Nurses plan one-day strike after rejecting hospital’s offer

Unionized nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center say they will go on strike for one day after rejecting the “last, best and final” contract offer from the hospital.

No date has been set for the strike.

The three-year contract between the 850 nurses and the hospital expired at midnight Sept. 30. Union President Judy Brown said the decision was made after two days of voting showed that 86 percent of nurses rejected the hospital’s offer.

The Bangor Daily News said the key sticking points in the current contract talks are nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, health insurance and protection from layoffs and transfers.