Pot initiative wins support of four state representatives

Several state representatives and a local business owner are expected to throw their support behind an initiative that would legalize possession of marijuana by adults in Portland.

Reps. Benjamin Chipman, Matthew Moonen, Diane Russell and Peter Stuckey are supporting Question 1, the initiative to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group is supporting the Portland referendum and trying to legalize marijuana in 10 states in the coming years.

The proposal will be Question 1 on the city ballot Tuesday.

The representatives are expected to announce their support at a news conference Friday in front of East End Cupcakes on Fore Street, where owner Alysia Zoidkis also is expected endorse passage of Question 1.

The initiative would not legalize the sale or purchase of marijuana, but would allow anyone 21 or older to “engage in activities for the purposes of ascertaining the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.” It would prohibit recreational use of marijuana in public spaces, on school grounds and in transportation infrastructure, and would let landlords prohibit tenants from using marijuana on their property.

There has been no organized opposition to the initiative, which is being led by the Portland Green-Independent Committee.


Tours of U.S. Custom House will be offered on Nov. 7, 14

Greater Portland Landmarks will offer two tours in November of the newly restored U.S. Custom House.

The Custom House has been closed to the public for security reasons since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Earlier this year the federal government completed a $2 million renovation.

When its doors first opened in 1872, the Custom House became the gateway to one of the nation’s busiest ports and a symbol of the federal government’s role in promoting commerce.

The building at 312 Fore St. was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Tours will take place at 12:45 p.m. Nov. 7 and 14. For more information, go to portlandlandmarks.org/shop/product-category/registrations/ or call 358-7064.


Girl, 3, shot in the neck accidentally, police say

Police say a 3-year-old child is hospitalized with a life-threatening injury after an apparent accidental shooting in the family’s apartment.

Authorities say they received a 911 call shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday reporting a shooting at a Bald Mountain Drive apartment house. Officials say the child, whose name is not being released, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center with a single gunshot wound to the neck.

Sgt. Catherine Rumsey said Thursday that police are continuing to investigate.

Neighbor Sandra Smith told WABI-TV the girl’s father was distraught when he came running out of the apartment, and that the girl was breathing and had her eyes open when she was taken to the hospital.


First two charter schools pass state scrutiny so far

Maine’s first two charter schools have received passing grades from the state.

Reports from the Maine Charter School Commission said the Cornville Regional Charter School and the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences in Fairfield both lived up to their mission statements during the first year of operation. The commission added that there was room for improvement by both schools.

The schools opened in the fall of 2012, one year after a state law was approved allowing up to 10 charter schools through 2022.

Three additional charter schools opened in September.

“It’s always great to see good news about students and their schools, but the success of charter schools should not come at the expense of our public schools,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham. “We’ve got to make sure we are serving all Maine students – not siphoning resources from our local community schools and the local taxpayers who support them.”

Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of local school districts, offering alternative choices for students. They are run by private groups that agree to meet certain standards in exchange for less regulation.


Refurbished plaque, eagle returned to Memorial Bridge

A refurbished veterans memorial plaque and eagle have been brought back to the renovated Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine.

The plaque, honoring those who served in World War I, the eagle and the two rondelles – the seals of the state of New Hampshire and the United States – were all refurbished.

A crane was used on a barge to hoist the frame to which the pieces were attached. Holes were drilled in the bridge and the frame was bolted into place.

The 90-year-old eagle and plaque had been on the Portsmouth side of the first Memorial Bridge. The pieces weigh about 7,500 pounds total.

The new bridge connecting Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, opened in August, replacing one that was built in 1923.


Canadian teen likely to face additional charges in spree

A prosecutor says a 16-year-old Canadian boy is expected to face additional charges after crossing the U.S. border earlier this month and leading Maine police on a high-speed chase in three stolen vehicles.

The boy, who is from Ontario, appeared on Wednesday in Franklin County Court. He already faces three class C felonies in connection with the Oct. 14 incident.

Police said the teen and a 13-year-old girl led authorities on a roughly 20-mile chase after speeding through a Quebec border crossing. They were eventually arrested in Kingsfield after abandoning a stolen pickup and jumping into a river.

Franklin County District Attorney Josh Robbins said any additional charges will be filed before the boy’s next scheduled court appearance Nov. 15.

The teen’s lawyer, Christopher Berryment, wants the boy returned home to Canada for rehabilitation.


L.L. Bean designs boots for Red Sox players, staff

Maine’s best known outdoor sporting goods retailer has developed a unique gift for members of the world champion Boston Red Sox baseball team: Commemorative boots.

L.L. Bean, based in Freeport, announced Thursday on “Trailmix,” a company blog, that it would be giving specially designed L.L. Bean boots to Red Sox players and staff.

The boots, according to the blog, will feature a commemorative logo on the red leather upper portion of the boot that reads, “2013 World Champions Boston Strong.” The only portion of the boot that won’t be red will be the rubber bottoms which will remain tan-colored.

The company says the limited edition boot was designed and sized specifically for the Red Sox team and staff by its “expert boot builders in Brunswick, Maine.”

L.L. Bean also said the boot will “never be sold,” adding that it’s the company’s way of saying thanks to the Red Sox “for all the Fenway memories.”

L.L. Bean was founded in 1912, the year that Fenway Park was built.

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