Whole Foods Market recalls Rolf’s gingerbread houses

Whole Foods Market is recalling Ginger Bread Houses sold in Maine and 21 other states because of the risk of food poisoning.

The gingerbread houses were made by Rolf’s Patisserie of Lincolnwood, Ill., and may have been assembled, decorated and packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with a Whole Foods Market scale label; some scale labels also may list “Rolf’s Patisserie” as part of the description.

Rolf’s Patisserie products have been linked to several outbreaks of Staphylococcus aureus food poisoning. All products that were made after Nov. 1 were recalled. No illnesses have been reported from consumers eating the Whole Foods Market gingerbread houses.

S. aureus, the bacterium responsible for producing toxins in foods, can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. The illness usually lasts for one to two days, although severe cases may last as long as three days. Certain people, such as the elderly or very young, may require medical treatment for dehydration.

Signs are posted in Whole Foods Market stores to notify customers of the recall.

Customers who have bought any of the listed products from Whole Foods Market may return them to the store for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Whole Foods Market at (512) 542-0878 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Town Council plans to meet privately with town clerk

The Town Council plans to meet privately today to discuss Town Clerk Christina Silberman.

The council has scheduled an executive session with Silberman at 4 p.m. at the municipal office.

Silberman said she did not know why the council asked to meet with her. Town Manager David Cole and council chairman Matthew Robinson did not return phone calls or respond to e-mail questions about the matter.

Vice chairwoman Brenda Caldwell said the session involves an evaluation of Silberman, but she declined further comment.

Silberman said this is not her regularly scheduled annual evaluation.

SAD 51

Search committee forming for Greely High principal

The Cumberland and North Yarmouth school district is forming a search committee for the next principal of Greely High School.

The board of School Administrative District 51 expects the committee will begin its work in mid-January and finish by April. The committee will gather input from stakeholders, review the job description, supervise the advertising and other efforts to identify candidates, review and interview candidates and make a recommendation to the superintendent.

The committee will likely include a Cumberland resident, a North Yarmouth resident, a Greely faculty member, a representative of the district’s administration, one or two school board members, a Greely junior and a Greely senior.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Jan 7. Candidates should apply to board chairman Jim Bailinson by submitting a statement of no more than 250 words describing the reasons they want to serve and what they would bring to the search process. Applications can be sent to Susan Conley in the superintendent’s office in person, or by e-mail to [email protected]


Details released for grants to restore coastal wetlands

Officials have announced details of the $2.3 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will be used to restore and protect coastal wetlands in Maine.

The money was awarded to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for three projects in Harpswell, the Pleasant River estuary in Washington County and Maquoit Bay in Brunswick.

The Harpswell project will permanently protect two parcels totaling 86.9 acres and 1,883 feet of shoreline in Basin and Curtis coves. The federal grant of $603,000 must be matched by $283,000 from state, local or private sources. The coves provide significant habitat for birds and shellfish. Both parcels are for sale and could be developed for homes.

The Pleasant River project will protect 170 acres and 6,200 feet of shoreline around Long and Seal coves. The federal grant will cover $962,000 of the $1.4 million project.

The Maquoit Bay project will preserve 237 acres and 1,507 feet of shoreline on the Henshaw parcel in Brunswick, adding to 440 adjacent acres already in conservation. The area is home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons, piping plovers, roseate terns and red knots.


Federal board clears path for state to buy railroad line

The federal Surface Transportation Board has approved the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway’s request to abandon 233 miles of rail in northern Maine, clearing the way for the state to buy the line and find a new operator.

For more than a century, the railroad has carried products in and out of northern Maine. That nearly came to an end when the rail line asked last year to abandon the line from Madawaska to Millinocket because it was losing millions of dollars.

The state ultimately agreed to pay $20.1 million for the rail line for lumber, paper products, logs and wood chips.

Board chairman Daniel R. Elliott III said the panel is “pleased to play a role in keeping the trains rolling in northern Maine.”


Laboratory awarded grant to expand toxic database

The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory has been awarded a $1.3 million grant that will go toward expanding its database on toxics in the environment.

The research institution said the grant will enable it to add information to its Comparative Toxicogenomics Database on how chemicals in the environment affect humans’ health. The five-year grant comes from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The database was started at the laboratory in 2005. It is a free online resource.


Novelist Pelletier selected to be professor of writing

Award-winning Maine novelist Cathie Pelletier is returning to the classroom at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, as a professor.

The university has selected Pelletier as its first Waneta Blake Visiting Professor of Writing. Pelletier will teach a writing course and conduct a writing workshop during the spring semester from mid-January into May.

Born and raised in Allagash, Pelletier graduated from the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 1976. She has written nine novels, most of which are set in Maine, under her name and the pseudonym K.C. McKinnon.


— From staff and news services