Anti-bias advocates meet with Greely staff, students

Anti-bias advocates met with school officials and students from Greely High School on Wednesday in response to an incident involving students using anti-Semitic imagery and language.

The meeting focused on how to teach students ways to prevent biased language in the schools, said Emily Chaleff, executive director of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine.

Chaleff, with representatives from the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, joined school leaders and two students to discuss program options.

Chaleff said she hopes new curriculum will be ready for the start of the 2013-14 school year. The additions could include a program that relies on students working with each other to address biased language and attitudes, she said.

The meeting followed an incident involving Greely High School girls’ basketball team members who were photographed giving the Nazi salute on Facebook, and calling a team member “Hitler.”


Diocese names new head of its investigative office

The Catholic Diocese of Maine has hired Michael Magalski as its director of the Office of Professional Responsibility. He replaces John Brennan, who is retiring after serving as the director since 2002.

The Office of Professional Responsibility investigates complaints that have been filed against members of the clergy, employees and volunteers of the diocese.

Magalski was previously the resident agent in charge for Maine for the U.S. Secret Service. He retired from that job in January after 17 years. During his time with the Secret Service, he handled investigations including fraud, high-tech computer crime and missing and exploited children.

Brennan was ordained as a deacon in 1998 and was previously the Portland Police Department’s deputy police chief.


Police arrest three people, seize heroin worth $11,000

State police say three people have been arrested on charges of selling heroin in the Bath-Brunswick area.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agents arrested two men and a woman on Tuesday night and seized about $11,000 worth of heroin.

The investigation started about a month ago after authorities noticed an influx of the drug into Sagadahoc County.

Police said Derek Elliot, 21, of Brunswick, Joshua Neisius, 25, of West Bath and Dwan Russell, 25, of Topsham had been selling heroin independently of each other.

The two men were arrested in two different vehicles in the same parking lot in West Bath. Russell was arrested in her vehicle in another parking lot in Bath.


East-west highway ‘going to happen,’ executive says

A top executive for the construction company that’s proposing a 220-mile east-west highway across Maine says the road is inevitable.

Darryl Brown, project manager for Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp., said it may take another 10 years, but it’s “going to happen,” he told the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Supporters say the privately built, toll-funded $2.1 billion highway from Calais to Coburn Gore would allow the transportation of shipping containers from Eastport to Canada and the Midwest.

They say it would be a huge boost to the state economy.

Some environmental groups oppose the idea.

The Sun Journal reported that Brown said the highway would be open to all vehicles, not just trucks.


ACLU will join proponents of marijuana law reforms

Advocates will hold a news conference Thursday at the State House to announce their support for a bill to regulate and tax marijuana in a manner similar alcoholic beverages.

The ACLU of Maine will join members of the Legislature, the Marijuana Policy Project and other advocates of “sensible drug law reform” at noon at the State House Welcome Center, according to the ACLU.

“Arrests for small amounts of marijuana funnel people into the criminal justice system unnecessarily, fill our jails and prisons with nonviolent people and tear Maine families apart for no good reason,” said Shenna Belllows, the ACLU’s executive director.

“There are far more important things to focus our limited resources on than locking up people who pose no threat to society.”


Snowe will become fellow of Bipartisan Policy Center

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe is joining a national organization that highlights the adverse effects of America’s political divide and suggests ways to promote unity, the organization announced Wednesday.

Snowe, a Republican, is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior fellow.

She will co-chair its new Commission on Political Reform, the center said.

The commission’s diverse group of 30 leaders will conduct a series of “National Conversations on American Unity” to discuss the effects of political polarization and to develop recommendations to help Americans achieve shared national goals.

The Bipartisan Policy Center was founded in 2007 by former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

It is the only Washington-based think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship.

Snowe, long known as a moderate who bucked the Republican line on some issues, surprised Maine’s political establishment in February 2012 when she announced she would not seek a fourth Senate term.

She has been critical of polarization and partisanship that she says have made it harder for Congress to make decisions on important issues.

Her departure led to crowded primaries and finally the election of her independent successor, Angus King, whose campaign theme was restoring a cooperative spirit in Washington.

Bipartisan Policy Commission President Jason Grumet said the organization welcomes Snowe’s “independent voice, passionate ideals, collaborative instinct and wise counsel.”

Voting-rights supporters back Maine amendment

Civil libertarians, the League of Women Voters and other voting-rights advocates are supporting a bill to establish a statewide system of early voting.

The bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mike Shaw of Standish proposes to amend the Maine Constitution to require the Legislature to authorize a process allowing a qualified voter to vote at a polling place in or outside of the city, town or plantation where that voter’s residence has been established during a period immediately preceding an election.

It also would allow for voting by absentee ballot by citizens for reasons deemed sufficient without requiring in the Constitution that the voter be absent or physically incapacitated.


Man shooting targets puts bullet holes in nearby home

Police are investigating after a Hampden family returned home to find two bullet holes in the walls.

Chief Joe Rogers said the homeowner’s son pointed out the bullet holes high on a living room wall on Tuesday afternoon, then the family heard gunfire outside.

It turns out a man was target shooting at a nearby golf course and a stray bullet had struck the home.

WABI-TV reported that the man told police he had permission from the golf course owner and he thought he’d taken all the proper precautions before firing the weapon.

The man’s gun was confiscated but his name was not released because he was not charged.

No one was injured and the incident remains under investigation.


Police blame fatal accident on white-out conditions

Police say a four-vehicle crash that killed one man and seriously injured another was likely caused by white-out conditions during a period of high winds and snow.

It started when a pickup truck and a city-owned snow plow collided head-on late Monday morning.

An SUV pulled up behind the plow and was struck from behind by a logging truck.

Police told WABI-TV that a passenger in the SUV, identified as Roman Yoder, 22, of Fort Fairfield, was pronounced dead.

The driver of the SUV was hospitalized with critical injuries. No one else was hurt.

The crash remains under investigation.


Public Service Co. donating $40,000 to help light span

New Hampshire’s largest utility is contributing $40,000 to help light up the new Memorial Bridge.

Public Service Co. of New Hampshire announced the contribution Tuesday.

More than $100,000 had been raised toward the $200,000 goal of installing energy-efficient lighting on towers and along the deck of the new bridge, which will connect Portsmouth and Kittery.

The bridge is under construction. It is replacing a nearly 90-year-old span and is expected to open to traffic this summer.