Immigrants to learn English under a grant from Walmart

LearningWorks has received a $100,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support English language instruction for immigrants in southern Maine, the social service agency announced Monday.

LearningWorks helps immigrants become proficient in English so they can find jobs, access services, participate in their children’s schooling and contribute to the community. The grant will help provide one-on-one and classroom-based language and cultural literacy instruction to more than 200 immigrants.


Peaks Island panel to elect members, discuss secession

The Peaks Island Independence Committee will elect members and update islanders this weekend on secession efforts.

The committee said the main purpose of Sunday’s meeting will be to elect officers and at-large members. The update will center on the status of a bill to allow independence efforts to go forward. The bill will be considered by a legislative committee this winter.

Several Independence Committee subcommittees will present reports Sunday. The meeting is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Doug MacVane Community Center.


City gets more recognition for its cornucopia of foods

Portland has been recognized again for its robust food scene. CNBC.com, in conjunction with Sperlings Best Places, has released a list of the nation’s 10 Top Foodie Cities, putting Portland at No. 4.

To come up with the list, Sperlings used the metro area population (513,373 for Portland and its suburbs) and looked at the ratio of local restaurants to chain restaurants; the number of Whole Foods Markets, cooking stores, wine shops, wine bars, craft breweries and brew pubs; and the number of community-supported agriculture farms and farmers markets.

It calculated that the Portland metro area has 81.9 percent locally owned restaurants, 19 breweries and 15 farmers markets. The Rabelais bookstore and Emilitsa, the Back Bay Grill and Standard Baking Co. all earned mentions.

Santa Rosa, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Burlington, Vt., were first, second and third on the list, respectively.


Waynflete students praised for work at mock U.N. event

Four Waynflete School students were recognized for outstanding participation in the Harvard Model United Nations held Thursday through Sunday at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Honored students were Sam Hansen of Falmouth, Mohamed Mohamud and Nellie Semmes of South Portland, and Addison St. Onge-May of Portland. Erika Joyce and Pravina Truong of Portland also participated.

All Waynflete students represented Estonia in mock exercises that provided experience in international relations.


Unwelcome party at home leads to 13 trespass charges

Police charged eight men, a woman and four teenage girls with criminal trespass after they were found partying at an apartment on High Street this weekend.

Police said the renter called police after returning to his apartment at 2 a.m. Saturday and finding the unwanted party there.

Officers found several containers of alcohol, including vodka, and charged two 19-year-old Bath men with criminal trespass and possession of alcohol by a minor. Police also issued court summonses to two girls, ages 14 and 15, charging them with criminal trespass and possession of alcohol by a minor.

In addition, police charged three 22-year-old men, three 18-year-old men and one 18-year-old woman – all from Bath – with criminal trespass and issued criminal trespass summonses to two other girls, ages 14 and 16.


Culinary arts students get new place to test their skills

Culinary arts students at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center are now serving lunch to the public in their own restaurant, from noon to 1 p.m. each Wednesday.

The Culinary Cafe, in the school at 800 High St., serves a three-course meal with a beverage for $6 per person. Students plan the menu, cook and serve the food, and do all of the cleanup. Operating the cafe is part of the center’s diversified food trades course.

To make a reservation, call 443-8257.


Ghost hunters to explore Fort Knox for TV program

A crew from the SyFy network’s “Ghost Hunters” program will film an episode at the Fort Knox State Historic Site in February.

Officials with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Land said they were contacted by the show, asking permission to spend six days at the fort looking for “ectoplasmic apparitions” — ghosts. The fort is closed to the public during winter.

In “Ghost Hunters,” two paranormal investigators from Rhode Island travel the country seeking proof of hauntings in various places. Fort Knox, built mostly underground and with lots of dark tunnels, has long been considered a spooky place. The fort dates from the 1840s.

SyFy did not say when the Fort Knox episode would air. The series airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.


UMaine to heat buildings using methane for steam

The University of Maine plans to make steam from trash.

The university and Casella Waste Systems Inc. have signed a 20-year-deal that will have the university making steam with methane from the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.

Casella will have to build a 5- to 6-mile pipeline to get the landfill gas from Juniper Ridge to the steam plant, where it will be used as fuel to provide UMaine with heat and hot water. It’s hoped the pipeline can be ready for the 2012 heating season.

UMaine Vice President Janet Waldron told the Bangor Daily News that the contract will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the university $11 million to $20 million over 20 years.


Store owner’s death blamed on fall while climbing stairs

Law enforcement officials are calling the death of the Whiting Store’s owner, who fell down a flight of stairs, a “tragic accident.”

Officials say the body of Judy Stevens, 55, was found Friday morning by a store employee.

Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said it is believed that Stevens fell and died instantly sometime after 9 p.m. Thursday.

Smith said it appeared that Stevens was going up the stairs when she slipped and fell.