Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2006
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2006 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Sharon Kiley Mack


Penalties Higher For Possessing, Selling Illegal Paraphernalia In 
Certain Sections

NEWPORT - A decade ago, Maine's schools and grounds  were designated 
drug-free zones, areas where drug  dealers would face significantly 
higher punishments if  caught and convicted.

The idea has been so successful, said police Chief  Leonard Macdaid, 
that Newport is expanding those safe  zones to include town parks, 
athletic fields, and other  areas where children gather.

"The idea is to make the punishment more severe and  deter this type 
of drug activity from these areas,"  Macdaid told selectmen on Wednesday night.

Town Manager James Ricker explained that if a person is  caught 
outside a safe zone with illegal pills, for  example, the charge may 
be a Class D misdemeanor. But  caught in a school zone or safety 
zone, the charge is  elevated to a Class C felony.

The board wholeheartedly agreed and set five safe zones.

They include the Grove Street playground and ball  field, the 
Sebasticook Valley Community Center, the  Sebasticook Lake public 
beachfront, the public boat  launch and the gazebo in the Main Street Park.

Entrepreneur Greg Lovley also has requested that his  Newport 
Entertainment Center and encompassing parking  area be included, and 
Ricker said he is checking into  the legality of adding private 
property to the safe  zone list.

In other business, the board approved a new lease  agreement for $1 a 
year to provide public parking on  Main Street at the former Key Bank 
block. The new  agreement was necessary because the block has been 
sold  by Goodwin Gilman to Joshua Tardy.

Ricker also notified the selectmen that Code  Enforcement Officer 
Fred Hickey has served notice to 15  property owners for land use 
violations. Ricker said  these notices involve unsafe and unsightly properties.

"He is working with five of the owners and two have  already started 
cleanup," Ricker said.

The board also was informed that Penquis CAP, which has  been leasing 
the town's former recreation center  building on West Street, has 
relocated its Head Start  program to Newport Elementary School.

"After June, the fate of that property will be up to  you," Ricker said.

Ricker is currently researching conditions of the  property's 
donation, which he believes specify that its  use must benefit 
children, and said if the land and  building is sold, the profit 
could be used to fund  playground equipment or benefit the Newport 
Cultural Center.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman