Thursday, February 02, 2006

Two West End Women Stop Assault at CVS Pharmacy
Two women who live in the West End stopped an assault and apprehended the assailant on January 7th at the CVS Pharmacy at the Westgate Shopping Center on Outer Congress Street.
According to Christine McHale, she and her friend Bevinn O’Brien were waiting at the checkout line when a young man came running into the store, grabbed one of the women behind the counter, and started dragging her across the floor. O’Brien grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it behind his back, while McHale charged the man with her shoulder and drove him into a corner, and held him down until police arrived about ten minutes later. Both women are in their fifties.
McHale said that no one else in the store took any action, despite her yelling for someone to call the police, which someone finally did.
Police arrested Moses Bobo, 22, and charged him with assault. The victim was his sister.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Extended into West End
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which has wound through the West End since the 1970’s, will continue the local tradition since organizers of the event agreed to extend the parade past its previously-planned ending at Gorham’s Corners.
The parade route was changed this year so that it will start at India and Commercial Street, go up Commercial Street to Center Street, and end with a rally at Gorham’s Corners.
There will now be a continued procession after the rally which will go along Danforth Street to Tyng Street and down to Harorview Park. There will be another ceremony at Harborview Park, where a flag that was put up on St. Patrick’s morning will be lowered. The parade will be held on Saturday, March 18th. Further details about the parade will be carried in future issues of the West End NEWS.

Bill Would Safeguard Students' Info

Parkside State Representative Herb Adams is a co-sponsor of a bill LD 1876, "An Act to Inform Parents of Students' Privacy Rights," that would make it easier for parents to stop military and college recruiters from getting the names, addresses and home phone numbers of high school students.
Adams said that the bill has nothing to do with recruiting policy, but has to do with privacy policy. The Portland School Committee this school year included an opt-out form on their emergency contact sheet, which goes home to parents at the start of the school year, informing them that they have the right to opt out of a federal requirement that high schools provide names, addresses and phone numbers of all students to the military and colleges as required by the No Child Left Behind Act.
Maine National Guard Colonel Peter Golding told the Morning Sentinel "I urge you to be cautious of the connotations going out if you sign on to this legislation. The alternative to an all-volunteer force is an all-nonvolunteer force."

H.S. Students Urged to “GET ON THE BUS!”
New initiative proposes free METRO passes.
A joint finance committees of the City Council and the Portland School Committee is promoting a plan that calls for high school students in the city to use public transportation rather than yellow buses to get to and from school, starting in September.
Objectives of the initiative include consolidation of municipal services to provide the best public services at the lowest price. The plan calls for providing free bus passes to high school students. The committee estimates that the move could save $400,000 a year.
The committee originally proposed to phase from yellow school buses to city buses beginning in September, and to issue free METRO passes to high school students at the end of this month, but that plan has not yet been initiated.

New Insurance Law Would Help Legal Immigrants
“As incredible as it may seem, it is now impossible for legal immigrants to qualify to buy a health insurance plan in Maine,” said Representative Kevin Glynn, a Republican from South Portland whose bill, LD 1734, makes it possible for legal immigrants to buy health insurance in Maine.
“The problem began 14 years ago, when Maine installed a guaranteed issue mandate on insurance,” says Glynn. “They feared that people would flock here for insurance when they could not get it anywhere else, so they made the requirements very stringent – so stringent that they precluded any immigrant from meeting the qualifications.”
Glynn said that the victimized group consists of legal immigrants who have been streaming to Maine in recent years from Somalia, Uganda and other African countries, as well as from China and elsewhere. Maine is believed to be the only state in the nation to prohibit immigrants from buying health insurance.
LD 1734 amends Maine law to make it easier for immigrants to prove that they live in Maine - and plan to stay in Maine. It expands the criteria for eligibility to purchase health insurance coverage to include a valid passport or visa, a sworn affidavit declaring a person’s intent to reside in this state, and a state identification card, in lieu of a driver’s license.
The IFS Committee was scheduled to take up the bill again at a work session on January 31st. Glynn has attached an emergency preamble to the bill, so it could take effect as soon as it passes, and not in late summer, as would the case with normal legislation.


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