Homeless assistance worth $1 million coming to Maine

More than $1 million in federal grants will be distributed to homeless assistance programs in Maine, including programs in Portland, Saco and Brunswick.

U.S. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, announced Thursday that eight Maine-based programs designed to serve the homeless will receive $1.2 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program.

The funds will be used to support permanent and transitional housing renewal projects throughout the state, including $939,176 for Preble Street’s residential support program in Portland; $68,247 for Counseling Services Inc. in Saco; $47,827 for the Opportunity Alliance rapid re-housing program in Portland; $32,697 for the York County Shelter Programs; and $16,283 for Tedford Housing’s Everett Street Apartments in Brunswick.

“Support organizations across the state work tirelessly to address the needs of Maine’s homeless population and these funds will play a vital role in supporting their mission to help transition more and more people out of homelessness,” Collins and King said in a joint statement.


Greenbush man pleads guilty to bath salts charges

A Greenbush man has pleaded guilty to charges connected to his role in the distribution of the synthetic drug known as bath salts.

Federal prosecutors say Ryan Ellis pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court of Bangor to the possession and intent to distribute the chemical compound MDPV.

Prosecutors say Ellis was part of a drug ring that illegally distributed large quantities of bath salts in Penobscot, Aroostook and Knox counties in 2011. Ellis obtained bath salts from others, then processed, repacked and distributed it for resale.

In 2011, officials found Ellis in possession of two handguns, one shotgun and almost 400 grams of the drug.

Ellis faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing, to be held at a later date.


Clinton man, 21, hurt after crash on Bellsqueeze Road

A Clinton man is in critical condition after he lost control of the car he was driving and crashed into trees on Bellsqueeze Road on Thursday morning, police said.

Peter Speropolous, 21, was heading south on the road at around 10:15 a.m. when he lost control, drove across both lanes and crashed into trees, said Trooper Aaron Turcotte of the Maine State Police.

Speed and the use of a temporary spare tire on the rear of the car are believed to be factors in the accident, which is still under investigation, Turcotte said.

Speropolous was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.


Noted Maine poet to read for World Refugee Day

The Maine poet who read his poem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration will speak Friday in Portland at a free public event to celebrate World Refugee Day.

The annual event is intended to honor the courage and struggles of the more than 15 million people worldwide displaced by war and persecution. Since 2000, Maine has resettled 2,283 refugees from 24 countries, including most recently Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan.

Poet Richard Blanco will deliver an address at the event, which begins at 4 p.m. at Congress Square Park. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and Eklas Ahmed, the state representative to the U.S. National Refugee Congress, also will speak at the event.

Born into a Cuban family living in exile, Blanco is known for weaving stories of immigration and community into his poetry. He read a poem at Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

Following Friday’s event, Salt Institute will host a reception featuring a photography collection, “In the Shadows: Urban Refugee Children in Africa,” by National Geographic photographer and Salt alumnus Amy Toensing. Toensing will talk about her work and refugee students from The Telling Room will share short stories about their journeys.

The Salt reception will begin at 6 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.


Man involved in June 1 police standoff is arrested

Police say an Ellsworth man who was shot by police during a standoff earlier this month is now at Hancock County Jail following his arrest.

WABI-TV reported Jeffrey Barnard was about to be discharged from Eastern Maine Medical Center on Wednesday when he was presented with several warrants related to the June 1 standoff. Police say the standoff took place after a dispute between the property owner and Barnard.

Maine police said at the time that the 50-year-old Barnard was shot by a state trooper at about 6:30 a.m. June 1 after an 18-hour standoff with police.

He was taken to the hospital for surgery.

Barnard faces charges of assault and theft. Jail officials say they don’t know if Barnard has been assigned an attorney.


Recount upholds election win by Tuttle over Boland

A recount of ballots cast in the June 10 primary has confirmed state Sen. John Tuttle’s victory over Rep. Andrea Boland in the Senate District 33 Democratic primary.

After the votes were counted electronically on election night, Tuttle led Boland by 20 votes, 841 to 821. After the recount, Tuttle had won by 22 votes, 844 to 822.

During the recount, which is done by hand, marks that could not be read by the electronic tabulating machines used on election day were included in the final tally.

District 33 includes the York County communities of Sanford, Cornish, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro.

The recount was conducted at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Augusta under the supervision of the Secretary of State’s Office.

From staff and news services