Winslow man sentenced for possessing child porn

A Winslow man who collected and shared child pornography over the Internet was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to serve nine years in prison.

Jerry Blair III, 60, pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to possession of child pornography and remained free on bail before sentencing.

Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security raided Blair’s former home in Camden on July 19. They said he had been sharing video files, using software that allows others to download from his computer, that showed children engaged in sexual activity. Agents seized a computer and disks containing child pornography from Blair’s bedroom, which was separate from his wife’s bedroom, according to court papers.

In addition to the prison term, Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced Blair to serve 10 years of supervised release, register as a sex offender and pay $5,250 to cover therapy costs for one girl depicted in the images, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Republican Liberty Caucus will convene here in 2015

A conservative Republican organization says its 2015 national convention will be held in Maine.

The Republican Liberty Caucus said the convention will be held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

Caucus officials said Gov. Paul LePage wrote a letter in December encouraging the organization to award the convention to Portland. In all, four cities expressed interest in hosting the event, which is held every other year.

Previous RLC conventions have been held in the Washington, D.C., area; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Las Vegas; Atlanta; Fresno, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; and Jacksonville, Fla. The 2013 convention is set for Austin, Texas.

The caucus describes itself as a volunteer grassroots wing of the Republican party that favors small government and individual liberties.


Crews installing LED bulbs along Maine’s interstates

Transportation crews are installing new energy-efficient light bulbs along Maine’s interstate highways.

Department of Transportation crews are replacing 350 light bulbs in 105 light towers in the coming weeks in Kittery, Saco, Portland, Falmouth, Waterville and Bangor, as well as at the Medway rest areas.

The new LED bulbs will save the department $135,000 a year in electric costs. It now costs about $200 a month to power three bulbs in a light tower, but that will drop to $65 a month with the new bulbs.

The savings also will allow the lights to stay on all night, rather than being turned off at 11 p.m. as they now are.

Each 290-watt bulb weighs 55 pounds.


Bay State educator named principal of middle school

An educator from Massachusetts has been appointed principal of Cape Elizabeth Middle School.

Michael Tracy, the current principal at Newbury Elementary School in Newbury, Mass., will start his new job July 1. He will replace Steven Connolly, who resigned in November to become superintendent of School Administrative District 60 in North Berwick.

Tracy’s nomination was unanimously confirmed by the school board last week. A committee of middle school faculty, administrators and parents had been reviewing applications and interviewing candidates since January.

Tracy has been principal at Newbury Elementary since July 2010, and before that served as principal and assistant principal at Ralph B. O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester, Mass.

Tracy is a 1993 Colby College graduate. He earned a master’s degree from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., and a doctorate in educational administration from Boston College in 2005.

Assistant Principal Doug Perley has been serving as interim principal since Connolly’s resignation.


LifeFlight chopper grounded for mechanical inspection

A LifeFlight helicopter that made a forced landing on a field in Cumberland after an engine warning light came on Tuesday night won’t be flown again until investigators are certain it is safe to fly.

Melissa Arndt, spokeswoman for the LifeFlight Foundation in Camden, said Wednesday that the helicopter will remain on the field between Winn Road and Cross Road for at least another day or two while mechanics inspect it.

It may be cleared for takeoff or it may have to be loaded onto a trailer and moved by land, Arndt said.

Arndt said Federal Aviation Administration representatives and Era Helicopters, which operates and maintains the helicopters for LifeFlight, have been unable to identify any mechanical failures.

The helicopter pilot was forced to land in a field around 5:30 p.m. after alerting the air-traffic control tower at the Portland International Jetport that the master caution light had been activated.

The helicopter, which had just dropped a patient off at Maine Medical Center in Portland, landed safely and none of the three people on board was injured.


New director will lead panel studying Indians’ treatment

A panel that’s looking to document past treatment of Wabanaki Indians and their families in Maine has hired an executive director.

Heather Martin, a College of the Atlantic graduate whose background includes grassroots organizing and civil justice work, began work Monday.

The Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission is seeking to uncover and acknowledge how the Maine Child Welfare system affected the lives of Wabanaki children and families through past policies.

In Maine, Indian children were taken from their families and placed in white foster homes at a higher rate than most other states as a result of federal policies of the 1950s. In 1978, the federal Indian Child Welfare Act gave Indian children more protection and recognized the importance of a child’s tribal citizenship.