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School remains out in Windham amid email threats investigation

An "unspecified threat" was emailed to the RSU No. 14 Windham Raymond school district Monday morning, prompting a lockdown and evacuation, officials said. Schools will remain closed Tuesday as police continue to investigate the incident, school officials reported.
Police were involved immediately and began conducting an investigation Monday morning, said Cindy Kennie, executive assistant to the superintendent.12-16-14-prince-sanford-Windham
An alert was issued, which read, "We have received an unspecified threat and are dismissing school. There is an on-going investigation by the police. We are dismissing High School and Windham Middle School Students and Jordan Small Middle School at: 9:15 a.m. Raymond Elementary School will be dismissed at 10:15 a.m. Windham Primary School and Manchester School and will be dismissed at: 10:45 a.m. A decision will be made later on the status of after school activities, sports and Adult Education."
The threat did not indicate which school was targeted and students were already on site, so the district officials authorized a lockdown and then evacuation, Kennie said.
"We will certainly be updating our parents through our notification system," she said, which includes text messages, email and telephone calls.
Sanford Prince, superintendent,wrote to parents on Monday afternoon, "After reviewing the situation with law enforcement, we have mutually decided to allow more
time for the investigation to proceed; thus all schools will be closed tomorrow, December 16, 2014."
Police continue investigating the incident, with help from state computer crimes experts.
Two different RSU 14 school officials opened their work email and found emails, sent from different sources and of different wording, that were "of a threatening nature towards the school system," wrote Lt. Jim Boudreau with the Windham Police Department. The Windham Police with the help of the Maine Computer Crimes Force launched an investigation, which is ongoing, Boudreau reported Monday.
Prince issued a letter to parents, which reported that school staff, upon learning of the emails, "immediately notified the Windham Police Department. District Officials and Law Enforcement quickly enacted a plan and placed the schools in lockout. Several Windham Police Officers and the Cumberland County Sheriff's department were at the schools within minutes."

Prince wrote, "Please know that we take each threat seriously and our schools have emergency plans that are updated and practiced routinely."

For updates, visit http://www.windham.k12.me.us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:37

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Coffee By Design adds aerial coffee cup to its East Bayside roastery

Coffee By Design at One Diamond St., Portland, gave East Bayside a unique touch of aerial artwork with the installation Monday of a huge sculptural coffee cup on the roastery's roof.
The sculpture depicts a bright red coffee cup, 15 feet tall with the stand and the coffee cherries, Coffee By Design explained in a press release. A crane company and construction crew installed the art, a spinning coffee cup sculpture created by Jac Ouellette of South Portland's Anvil Jac Studio.12-16-14-coffee-by-design-1
Weighing more than 700 lbs. and produced by Ouellette and Betsy Dawkins, the sculpture is fashioned from aluminum and steel.
Coffee By Design opened its East Bayside coffee shop and roastery in March, bringing the company's total number of coffeehouses to five. Owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear — who were named Maine SBA Small Business Persons of the Year for 2014 — emphasize "running a sustainable business dedicated to the arts, the environment, and the community," according to the company's website.
"Well over a year ago, Ouellette listened to Lindemann and Spear's ideas and
used simple line drawings to start the design process," the company's press release noted. "After viewing the designs, she was given approval to create miniature sculpture versions and study the kinetic nature of the piece. After many rounds, Ouelette was given approval to fabricate the full size sculpture."
For more information, go to www.coffeebydesign.com.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:39

Hits: 256

Wicked Joe Coffee celebrates new Topsham facility

TOPSHAM — Guests on Saturday filed into what looked like a sprawling cafe and coffee house, in a building adorned with solar panels and a charging station for electric cars.
But on Saturday, when Wicked Joe Coffee Roasting Co. held a grand opening at its new roasting warehouse in Topsham, the sights had to compete with the smells.
Bill Guddeck, lead roaster, gave demonstrations while staff from sister company Bard Coffee in Portland provided drink samples.12-16-14-wicked-joe-1
The new Topsham facility features a cupping lab for evaluating coffees, the café for training and the roasting warehouse. This facility is not open to the public, however.
"It's just for us to have fun, to experiment and to train," said Bob Garver, owner with his wife, Carmen, of Bard Coffee in Portland and of Wicked Joe Coffee Roasting Co., now based in Topsham.
Wicked Joe Coffee moved this summer to Topsham from Brunswick, after a decade on Brunswick's Water Street. An extensive renovation to a 25,000-square-foot building, formerly a Navy commissary (store for equipment and provisions), in Topsham culminated Saturday with the open house.
As the public sampled coffee drinks and listened to roasting demonstrations, Fred Horch, founder of Spark Applied Efficiency of South Portland, provided literature regarding energy efficiency upgrades. Horch, with Pat Coon, acted as "energy advisors" to the roasting company.
Wicked Joe Coffee Roasting Co. invested in a multitude of improvements, including two different kinds of solar energy collectors — a solar hot-air system helps with the heating, and a solar photovoltaic system on the roof provides electricity. Also, an electric-car charging station will keep a company vehicle charged — Wicked Joe's website reported, "We're able to make daily round trips between our roasting warehouse in Topsham and our retail location, Bard Coffee, in Portland without burning a single drop of petroleum."12-16-14-wicked-joe-2
A "super-efficient roaster" and other enhancements, including long-lasting LED lights and new lighting technology with automated controls, make Wicked Joe's facility "a showcase really for what other businesses can do," said Horch.
When it's all boiled down, the company's focus remains on coffee.
Garver said the roasting warehouse and the Portland coffee shops are two sides of the same coin.
"Here we roast coffee and we wholesale it; Bard, that's where we get the pleasure and the joy of actually serving it," Garver said.
Bard Coffee is located at 185 Middle St., and is open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
"Look for changes at Bard," Garver added, "we're about to do some changes in that space as well."
Garver underscored a separation between Bard Coffee and Wicked Joe.
"Bard's doing great, that's a separate business, it's a completely separate business," Garver said.
"We use our equipment here," he added, referring to the roasting warehouse, "and we train here, we have a fairly state-of-the-art facility here for training, so we're able to use our resources here to support Bard, but Bard is a really a different company, and all the coffees are sourced separately," he said.
But having said that, Garver added that Bard is enjoying success in Portland.
"It's going great, there are a lot of great players in Portland coffee, just like there are amazing restaurants in Portland. ... There are some great coffee players in Portland right now, the coffee scene. We were proud that Bard has been part of building some of what's happening right now," Garver said.
Brittany Feltovic, manager of Bard coffee shop in Portland, agreed.
"It's been doing really well, especially this past summer, it's probably the biggest bump-up that we've seen so far," she said.
Asked about the abundance of coffee choices in Portland, Feltovic said, "It's almost one of those things where the rising tide floats all boats, where all the of the new coffee shops are really high quality coffee shops so I think that just boosts everybody's awareness about what's out there."

For more information about Bard Coffee, visit http://www.bardcoffee.com. For more about Wicked Joe, visit http://www.wickedjoe.com.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:38

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'Ask This Old House' brings feel of Jamaica to Portland family

Last month, the production team of "Ask This Old House" brought their film crew to a home on Dirigo Street in Portland to film an episode for later in the current season.
"Ask This Old House," now airing its 13th season nationally, is the spin-off of "This Old House," the popular PBS series that has been renovating homes for 35 years. It was ATOH's first time filming in Maine, the 43rd state covered in the series history. The episode will likely air in April or May of 2015.12-16-14-TG-old-house-Heath-Racela-producer-and-Carrie-Kelly-gardening-consultant-for-Ask-This-Old-House
The show will feature Rohan Henry and Kaela Jenkins, who moved into the neighborhood just this past summer and had contacted ATOH about possible improvement projects. They were thrilled to hear back.
"We travel the country and answer homeowner questions about smaller home repair," said Heath Racela, the show's producer, "weekend projects like gardening, plumbing, electrical or carpentry."
Racela has been with the show nine years, starting out as a production assistant. He became associate producer four years ago and started running the program this past April.
"Rohan, who is originally from Jamaica, was looking for an interesting landscape project. We asked them if they'd be interested in doing tropical plants," he said. "They were excited about the idea."12-16-14-TG-old-house-Rohan-Henry-and-Kaela-Jenkins-homeowners-featured-on-Ask-This-Old-House-next-year
The crew came in for one day only, arriving early to rearrange the living room into a TV set. Roger Cook, the landscape contractor and star of the show, was born in Biddeford. He's been on ATOH since the beginning and has been featured on "This Old House" as well. Cook owns K&R Tree and Landscape Co. Inc. in Burlington, Mass.
"We refer to ourselves as "Krush and Ruin," he said.
Filming in Portland went smoothly, with few retakes, but it doesn't always go so easily.
"When we travel, we often don't see the project until the day beforehand," Racela said. "We're relying on homeowners to email pictures, and we make our best guess. But we never know how it will go until doing the project. We did a story with our builder, Tom Silva, where he was repairing a plaster ceiling. It was late August, really humid, and we didn't factor in the humidity. The plaster wasn't setting up for us. A five- or six-hour project turned into a three-day job."
No matter the surprise challenge, creators of the show say the experience is always worth it.
"For me, it's good to stay on top of new things coming down, trends in the industry," Cook said. "I'm always learning something new. I go to a couple of great trade shows and, with the show, there's always a push on education. I disseminate information, but I often learn it from the regular job and bring it to show. And the homeowners always surprise us. They're so great, the unknown quotient."
For the Portland episode, ATOH was working with Henry and Jenkins to build an indoor array of tropical plants, several of which were the same plants Henry's grandmother had in her yard in Jamaica. Henry remembered first moving to the United States when he was eight years old.
"It was a huge transition. My family moved first and then sent for me a couple of years later. It was tough to get acclimated," Henry said. "In Jamaica, not only is the weather different, but the culture is different. It's more laid back. I love it here, though."
Henry teaches ELL (English language learning) at Portland High School, and Jenkins is a special education teacher at Lyman Moore Middle School. Their children, Ruby, 8, and Ellis, 4, were excited to hear that their house would be on TV, "especially Ruby, who loves gardening," Jenkins said.
ATOH works with Carrie Kelly, who has been with Mahoney's Garden Center in Winchester, Mass. for 36 years and has appeared on the show before. The Portland family welcomed the production crew, and their new leafy guests: a kentia palm, a philodendron, bromeliad, and a phalaenopsis orchid.
"I feel blessed to be here with my wife and kids," Henry said. "I appreciate 'Ask This Old House' coming to bring us a bit of Jamaica. It feels like home."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:39

Hits: 389

Chanukah events scheduled in Maine

Chanukah officially begins at sunset Tuesday evening and commemorates the victory of the Jewish people over their oppressors in 164 BCE. A festival of lights, Chanukah is celebrated by lighting a hanukkah, or menorah, for eight days, eating potato latkes (pancakes), and playing dreidel (spinning top) games.12-16-14-KL-hanukkah
Celebrations with menorah lightings, open to the public, will be taking place over the next week. Look for fresh latkes, donuts and live music in many of the locations listed below:
• Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. with Chabad of Maine at Portland City Hall.
• Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. with Temple Beth El, 400 Deering Ave., Portland.
• Friday, Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. with Congregation Bet Ha'am, 81 Westbrook St., South Portland.
• Friday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. with Beth Israel Congregation, 906 Washington St., Bath.
• Saturday, Dec. 20 after morning services with Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh, 76 Noyes St., Portland.
• Sunday, Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. with Congregation Etz Chaim, 36 Bacon St., Biddeford.


PHOTO: Students from Portland's Temple Beth El religious school, accompanied by guitarist Charlie Miller, enjoyed performing Chanukah songs for residents of The Cedars in Portland on Sunday. (KEN LEVINSKY PHOTO)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 03:40

Hits: 84


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