PORTLAND

Telephone interviews held with semifinalists for chief

City officials are doing telephone interviews this week with 11 semifinalists for the job of police chief, including two internal candidates.

A panel of city staff members winnowed the field of applicants from 82 to 11 by reviewing resumes and comparing candidates’ experience with the goals of the city.

Acting Chief Michael Sauschuck and Cmdr. Vern Malloch are among the semifinalists.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a very talented and qualified candidate pool,” said Nicole Clegg, the city’s communications director and a member of the screening panel.

The panel also includes Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne, police department Attorney Beth Anne Poliquin, Multicultural Affairs Coordinator Rachel Talbot Ross and Human Resources Director Mike Miles.

The city is seeking a replacement for James Craig, who left in August to become police chief in Cincinnati.

The panel will use its telephone interviews to narrow the field to a smaller group of finalists. That group will be invited to meet with interview panels formed by City Manager Mark Rees, which will include local residents, city staffers and members of the police unions.

Rees has said that he doesn’t plan to make the names of applicants public because some might not want their current employers to know they are seeking a new job.

Rees will conduct final interviews and select one candidate.

MONMOUTH

Former teacher denies child pornography count

A former Monmouth Middle School fifth grade teacher denied a charge Tuesday that he had school laptops loaded with photos of nude children in sexually explicit positions.

Christopher B. Brown, 55, of Monmouth entered his not guilty plea in Kennebec County Superior Court to the charge of possession of sexually explicit materials of children under age 12.

Brown was indicted by a grand jury last month on the felony charge, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

After Brown was arrested and charged June 8, the school department placed him on administrative leave. His lawyer, Michael B. Whipple, said Brown later retired.

Brown remains free on $3,000 bail.

AUGUSTA

Ex-lawmaker says he didn’t threaten man at gunpoint

A former legislator formally entered not guilty pleas Tuesday to an indictment accusing him of holding a man at gunpoint May 21.

Frederick L. Wintle, 59, of Garland was arraigned in Kennebec County Superior Court on charges of criminal threatening, reckless conduct and having a concealed weapon.

At the time, Wintle was a Republican legislator representing District 24, Athens, Charleston, Dexter, Garland, Harmony and Ripley. He resigned his post in September.

The criminal threatening and reckless conduct charges are felonies, each carrying a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, Justice Michaela Murphy told him Tuesday.

Wintle allegedly pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Michael Seamans of Sidney in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts in Waterville.

Wintle didn’t know Seamans, said Waterville police who investigated the incident, adding that Seamans did nothing to provoke the attack as he stopped for coffee.

Wintle’s colleagues reported his behavior had been out of character several months before his May 21 arrest in Waterville. Capitol Police said he was accosting office staff.

Wintle spent some time in jail and has undergone psychological treatment since his arrest.
He is free on bail.

As benefits expire, more job-search events planned

State labor officials are planning additional job-search workshops for unemployed Mainers in anticipation of federally funded unemployment programs expiring at the end of the year.

Commissioner Robert Winglass said more than 17,000 jobless Mainers are expected to lose benefits in the coming months as the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs come to an end.

Winglass said unless Congress reauthorizes the programs, jobless people can expect far fewer weeks of unemployment benefits in 2012.

In anticipation of an influx of additional job seekers, the department plans to double the number of job search seminars and resume workshops at its 12 career centers.

LePage: Task force found $25 million in savings

Gov. Paul LePage is commending a bipartisan state task force for finding $25 million in savings to balance Maine’s state budget.

LePage said the Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force, which completed its work Monday, identified ways to maximize efficiency in state spending. The 12-member task force will present its recommendations to the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs by Dec. 15.

The savings cut across a range of programs and services. But the task force unanimously rejected a recommendation to close the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport.

BANGOR

Two men get probation for stealing from baggage

Two Brewer men have been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $600 in restitution for stealing electronics from baggage they were handling at Bangor International Airport.

Jarred Sproul and Timothy Mullen, both 25, were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The men pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit theft from interstate shipments.

In 2006, the pair stole electronic items from luggage they handled while employed by Piedmont Airlines and sold the items on eBay, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Prosecutors said Sproul and Mullen stole more than $5,000 worth of goods, but many of the stolen items were returned to their owners.

Magazine recognizes work of stained-glass conservator

The magazine Design New England has recognized Maine stained-glass conservator Robin Neely as one of the top five design luminaries in New England.

Neely, known for her conservation work in museums, churches and colleges, was featured in the article “5 Luminaries: New England in the Design Limelight” in the magazine’s current issue.

The article also featured MIT professor Daniel Nocera, artist Janet Echelman, Eric DeLong of Tremont Nail Co., and Dan Farrenkopf of Lunaform.