State collects record amount of unused and expired drugs

Maine set a new record Saturday for the amount of unused and expired medications turned in for safe disposal.

Mainers dropped off 14,410 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs at collection sites around the state, according to Michael Wardrop, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Portland who coordinated the take-back event in Maine. The pills and other drugs were taken in two box trucks to an incinerator in Massachusetts, where they were destroyed Monday.

The previous collection produced 11,920 pounds in Maine, the most drugs per capita collected in any state.

“I’m pretty confident that again we will be number one per capita,” Wardrop said. “If we saved one life, we did our due diligence.”

The DEA sponsors the national drug take-back days to get unneeded opiate painkillers and other drugs out of medicine cabinets where they are available to teens and potential abusers. The collections also reduce the amount of drugs being flushed down toilets into waterways.

A recent series of articles published by MaineToday Media reported that prescription drug abuse, overdose deaths and drug-related crime are at historic high levels in Maine.

Same-day voting supporters outspending rivals by 3-to-1

Campaign finance reports show that forces seeking to repeal Maine’s new voter registration law are outspending their opponents by a 3-to-1 margin.

The latest reports show supporters of Question 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot have spent more than $660,000. Their opponents had spent nearly $200,000 as of Monday.

The “yes” campaign’s biggest political action committee is Protect Maine Votes, whose major contributors include financier Donald Sussman and labor unions. The Maine Republican Party, some county GOP organizations and the Maine Heritage Policy Center have donated to the opposing campaign.

A “yes” vote would repeal a new state law that requires voters to register at least two business days before an election. It would reinstate a law that allows registration up to and including Election Day.

Caylee Anthony case spurs missing-child bill in Maine

The case of Caylee Anthony, the 2-year-old girl whose 2008 disappearance in Florida drew national attention, has sparked legislation in Maine that will be considered next year.

Legislative leaders on Monday voted to admit a bill that would make failure to report a missing child within 24 hours a felony. The sponsor, Democratic Rep. Anna Blodgett, said she received at least 50 emails from her Augusta constituents asking her to introduce the bill.

The acquittal in July of Anthony’s mother, Casey Anthony, shocked and enraged many people around the country. Casey Anthony did not report her daughter’s disappearance for a month and was arrested after lying to police about the case.

The Legislative Council considered nearly 300 requests to submit bills on a range of issues, but fewer than half were allowed in.


Occupy Maine protesters pitch tents next to library

The number of around-the-clock Occupy demonstrations in Maine has grown to three, with tents popping up at a new site last weekend in Bangor.

Bangor police threatened to arrest demonstrators if they camped overnight in local parks, so protesters pitched tents next to the public library. The site is just yards from Peirce Memorial Park.

Media team coordinator Lawrence Reichard said there were 13 tents on Saturday night. On Monday, six tents remained, and he said the group is staying put.

Occupy Maine in Portland has been at Monument Square and Lincoln Park since Sept. 30, and Occupy Augusta has been encamped in Capitol Park since Oct. 15. The groups are aligned with Occupy Wall Street, which decries wealth inequality and corporate influence in government.


Eleven vie for Town Council, School Board, sewer board

Town voters will go to the polls next Tuesday to fill three seats on the Town Council, two seats on the School Board and two seats on the sewer district board.

Katherine Arno and incumbent Eric Pandora are running for District 2 councilor. Kristina Jane Egan and incumbent Joseph Migliaccio are running for District 3 councilor. Incumbent Richard DeGrandpre and Marie Gunning are running for councilor-at-large.

Gurdarshan Gill and incumbents Nelson Larkins and Beth Parker are running for the School Board. Michael Ashby and Timothy Whitacre, both incumbents, are running for the sewer district board.
Voting will take place in the gymnasium at Freeport High School on Holbrook Street, which is off Main Street across from Town Hall.


State colleagues name Godin Superintendent of the Year

Superintendent Suzanne Godin has been named Maine’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year for her focus on student achievement and her ability to generate community support for the city’s schools.
Godin was selected by a committee of colleagues and received the award last week during the Maine School Superintendents Association’s annual meeting in Augusta.

Godin, who lives in North Yarmouth, has been superintendent since 2007. Before that, she served as assistant superintendent and was a principal in MSAD 51, which includes Cumberland and North Yarmouth.

School Board member Karen Callaghan nominated Godin for the award, calling her an “absolute dynamo.”

“I have never known anyone so knowledgeable about all aspects of education,” Callaghan said.

She praised Godin for engaging board members, school employees and the community in school improvement, especially the 2010 campaign to get voter support for the planned renovation and expansion of South Portland High School.

The district will hold a reception honoring Godin at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the high school.


Examiner says man’s death caused by multiple gunshots

The state Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that a former Skowhegan man died of multiple gunshot wounds Oct. 20 in the York County town of Lebanon, police said Monday.

Aaron Jones, 38, was found dead at a home he shared with Joseph and Sarah Turner.

“There were only three people inside the home at the time of the shooting: Jones and the husband and wife who lived at the home. Those are the only three that were involved in this incident,” said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

State police detectives said the shooting occurred about 11:30 p.m. at 213 Oak Hill Road.

No one has been charged in the case and the investigation is expected to last several weeks. Police have sent forensic evidence to the state criminal lab and are working with the Attorney General’s Office, McCausland said.

Information on the firearm used or if the Turners were injured during the incident was not being released.

Jones, a 1991 graduate of Skowhegan Area High School, was a 260-pound bodybuilder and weightlifter.

Jones pleaded guilty and paid a $1,000 fine in 2001 for assaulting a police officer in Winslow that year, according to a Morning Sentinel story.


High school custodian faces drug trafficking charges

A custodian at Ellsworth High School is facing drug trafficking charges for activity that authorities say involved students.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said 53-year-old Frank Trundy was arrested at the school last week on two counts of felony aggravated drug trafficking. Police say he was dealing two kinds of prescription painkillers, some of which were prescribed to him and others he allegedly purchased from a student.

Trundy’s bail was set at $5,000 cash and he has been told to stay away from school property. He is due in court in January.

Police say an undercover officer posing as a new custodian bought codeine tablets from Trundy.
Two students are also facing charges.

Superintendent Suzanne Lukas told the Bangor Daily News that the school has zero tolerance for drug activity.

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