Country music concert gets conditional approval

A New Hampshire-based promoter is a step closer to holding a country-western music concert at Scarborough Downs this summer.

The Town Council on Wednesday conditionally approved a mass gathering permit for Good Music Productions. Town Manager Tom Hall said permit terms require the company to satisfy requirements set by the fire and police chiefs.

Good Music Productions hopes to put on as many as five shows at Scarborough Downs next year. The company has not yet disclosed the performers it wants to line up. The events would have a maximum audience capacity of 15,000. Reserved-seat tickets would be sold in advance.

Hall said the Town Council will likely consider the next four mass gathering permits in a bundle, possibly next month.  


Schools’ business manager taking Yarmouth school post

Herb Hopkins, business manager of the city’s public schools since February 2008, has resigned to take a job as finance director of Yarmouth schools.

Monday was his last day on the job and Friday will be his last paid day off.

Hopkins, who held similar positions in Scarborough and Brunswick, came to Maine’s largest district after its former business manager and superintendent resigned in 2007 during a budget crisis.

Hopkins is one of several top administrators to leave Portland schools in recent months following an administrative overhaul carried out by Superintendent Jim Morse at the direction of the School Committee.

Morse, who was hired in July 2009, has restructured central office staff to include a chief academic officer, a chief operations officer and a chief finance officer.

Last summer, Morse hired Michael Wilson, a lawyer and certified public accountant from Falmouth, to fill the CFO position for about $140,000 in annual salary and benefits.

Hopkins, who lives in North Yarmouth, said he chose to move on.

Morse said he plans to fill the vacancy left by Hopkins’ departure with another accountant for significantly less than the estimated $125,000 that Hopkins received in annual salary and benefits.

Man sought after attempt to rob Dollar Store register

Police are searching for a man who tried to rob the Dollar Store on St. John Street on Wednesday.

A clerk told police that around 9:30 p.m. a man went through the checkout line as if he was buying a soda, but when the clerk opened the register, the man reached over and tried to grab cash.

The clerk screamed and tried to slam the drawer shut. The robber responded by hitting her in the face, then fled, police said. She did not require medical attention.

The suspect is described as white, 5 feet 8 inches and about 200 pounds, in his late 20s or early 30s and wearing a gray sweat shirt with the hood covering his head.


Two officials to leave state Gambling Control Board

Changes are in the works at Maine’s Gambling Control Board, the agency that oversees casino gambling in the state.

Robert Welch, the first and only executive director of the board, announced Wednesday that he is leaving next month after six years to take a job with the University of Maine’s police department. Welch was hired as executive director in 2004 after the board was created following a referendum vote that allowed slot machines in Bangor.

The board’s chairman, George McHale, is also leaving. He’s been on the five-member board since its inception.

The changes come a few weeks after voters approved a plan to build a casino with slot machines and table games in the western Maine town of Oxford.


Harbor seal pup completes rehab, to be released today

The University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center plans to release Garland, a harbor seal pup, at 10 a.m. today off Granite Point in Biddeford.

Garland arrived at the center in August after being stranded on Cape Neddick. The harbor seal was injured and had respiratory problems when she was taken in.

Twenty rehabilitated harbor seals have been released from the center.

Garland has been adopted through the center’s “Friends of MARC” program by Risa Sanders. Sanders requested the seal adoption as her “big present” for her seventh birthday and is expected to attend Friday’s release.

For more information about seals in the center and past releases, visit


Search on Moosehead Lake hampered by winds, waves

Game wardens’ search Thursday on Moosehead Lake for a missing man was hampered by strong winds and large waves.

The Maine Warden Service said James Russell, 51, of Rockwood was last seen Sunday working on a carpentry project in Rockwood. When a friend went to pick Russell up Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t be found and his kayak and backpack were missing.

The Warden Service was notified Wednesday and began a search on the water and along the shore.

Officials say a Rockwood man reported Wednesday afternoon that he found a kayak and a backpack that are believed to be Russell’s floating along the shore.


Russian firm shows interest in technology from UMaine

A Russian company wants to know more about the University of Maine’s “bridge-in-a-backpack” technology as it prepares for increased traffic during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The inflatable composite-concrete arch bridge technology is used on six bridges in Maine, with more planned across the country.

UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and the private company Advanced Infrastructure Technologies LLC are talking with the Russian company, Noviy Proekt, which is coordinating the $1.5 billion construction effort at the Olympic sites.

The Russian company is also considering the technology for use in railroad bridges and other public infrastructure construction in Russia and neighboring countries.

The three parties are scheduled to meet today to discuss a potential deal.


Sugarloaf starts to make snow as temperatures drop

Snowmaking has begun at Maine’s tallest ski mountain as it prepares to open for the season.

After nearly two weeks of above-normal temperatures, Sugarloaf workers turned on the snowmaking guns Thursday as temperatures fell into the 20s.

If the temperatures remain favorable, Sugarloaf officials say they expect to open for the season on Sunday.