School superintendent takes post leading district in N.H.

Jim Morse, who told the school board in October that he would retire and not seek to have his contract extended beyond June, is taking a job as superintendent of a school district in New Hampshire.

Morse said Friday night that the Oyster River School District offered him the position two weeks ago and he accepted. Morse said he and the district have not yet reached an agreement on a contract.

Morse plans to start his new job July 1. His contract in Portland runs through June 30; he said he will likely take vacation time for his last two weeks on the job.

As for taking the job after announcing his retirement, Morse said, “Sometimes, life throws you some curves.”

Morse, who is in his late 50s, is widely credited with restoring the Portland school district’s focus and footing after he took the job in the midst of a financial crisis in July 2009.

The Oyster River district, which covers the towns of Durham, Lee and Madbury, has about 2,100 students in four schools. Portland has nearly 7,000 students in 15 schools.


Judge orders L.L. Bean to pay wreath-maker

A wreath-making company has won a nearly $1 million judgment in a legal dispute with L.L. Bean over the production of wreaths and other products for the 2008 holiday season.

A Maine Business and Consumer Court judge ordered the outdoors retailer to pay Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington after finding that L.L. Bean ordered more wreaths than it could ultimately sell.

The judge said Worcester had to step up production of wreaths, centerpieces and other items that never sold.

L.L. Bean’s sales fell that year because of the recession.

L.L. Bean said in a statement that Worcester Wreath was seeking more than $20 million and that it tried to resolve the dispute without litigation.

An attorney for Worcester said the judgment allows the company to fulfill its financial obligations.


Federal building closed while police scan package

Police say a suspicious package that prompted the evacuation of a federal building turned out to be a safe electronic device.

The Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building was shut down Friday afternoon after security officers thought a package being delivered by FedEx appeared suspicious.

The building houses offices of Maine’s two U.S. senators and other federal offices.

The police department’s bomb squad team determined the item, which looked suspicious in a scan of the box, was a computer mouse.


Warning issued on scam after woman loses $80,000

Authorities are warning residents to be wary of lottery scams after reporting that an elderly Arundel woman was conned out of $80,000 by callers who said she had won the Jamaican lottery.

The York County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that the 82-year-old woman was skeptical at first, but the con artists gradually won her confidence, isolated her from her family, and told her they would deliver a new car and $2.5 million if she would just pay a processing fee first.

That fee turned out to be several processing fees.

Once investigators became aware of the scam, the perpetrators had drained her life’s savings.

She now may have to sell her land to survive.

Authorities say the suspects are hard to track and are “sly and dangerous.”


Police seize oxycodone, charge man with trafficking

A Richmond man was charged with drug trafficking after agents allegedly turned up illegal prescription drugs and cash at his home.

David Beckwith, 55, was arrested this week and charged with trafficking in oxycodone, said Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Supervisor James Pease in a news release.

Beckwith was released on bail from the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. He is expected to appear in court April 10 in West Bath.

The MDEA and police from Richmond and Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties searched Beckwith’s home on Tuesday and seized 102 morphine tablets, 118 oxycodone 15- and 30- milligram pills and about two grams of cocaine, Pease said.

“The search warrant was a result of a year-long investigation into Beckwith selling oxycodone and morphine to residents of Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties,” Pease said.

Police say the search uncovered other evidence of drug trafficking and about $4,300 in cash.


LePage’s wife targets needs of service members, families

First lady Ann LePage has hosted Col. David Sutherland, special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Blaine House.

While visiting this week, Sutherland addressed both the Bangor Region and Portland Region chamber of commerce members.

Ann LePage has dedicated herself to bringing awareness to the needs of Maine’s military service members and their families.

The first lady joined Sutherland to speak to the business community about the difficulties many service members face when they return home from deployment.

— From staff and news services