Portland votes ‘no’ on guaranteed paid sick leave

The decision affects over 19,000 employees in the city.
View image on Twitter

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland’s City Council voted ‘no’ on Monday to guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers.

Cameron O’Brien

@cameronobrienTV

BREAKING: Portland earned paid sick time ordinance FAILS.

The May 6 decision affects over 19,000 employees in the city. The 5-4 vote comes after a debate that has been ongoing in the City Council for a year and a half.

In February, the Portland City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee voted to adopt the measure, which then went to the full City Council for consideration.

Those in favor of the bill were upset by Monday night’s decision.

“We have fought incredibly, incredibly hard for the Portland community,” said Drew Christopher Joy of the Southern Maine Workers Center. “We will not stop fighting for working class people and for people of color and for women and for trans and queer folks in this city.”

RELATED: Portland votes to support paid sick days for workers

RELATED: New push for paid sick leave statewide

The proposal would have allowed most workers in Portland one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 40 hours, or five days of sick time.

It would have applied to all workers, including part-time, seasonal, and per-diem employees.

Opponents of the ordinance, including small business owners, were worried about cost, saying it may have affected already-existing benefit packages.

This vote comes after Gov. Janet Mills amended a state paid sick leave bill to block local municipalities from creating their own sick leave laws.

That bill has undergone several amendments and is expected to be voted on within the next couple of days.

Maine: ‘Some of this is great science, some of it pure luck’: The surprising twist that helped solve the murder of Margarita Fisenko Scott

When Portland police found the frozen body of a woman, it took a team of investigators to help solve the crime. But without the department’s evidence technicians and what they were able to find, a victim and her family may never have gotten justice.
Margarita Fisenko Scott

WIFE GOES MISSING

Margarita Fisenko Scott was 13 years old when she left Kazakhstan in 1997 to come to the United States. She met her future husband Cary Scott in Florida.

In 2007, the couple moved to Westbrook to be closer to Mararita’s family. Things were going well.

Margarita Fisenko Scott was 29-years-old when she was shot in the neck and her body was stuffed in the backseat of her car only to sit there for months.
Portland Police

But in the summer of 2012 things started to deteriorate. Margarita, or Rita, as she was called, had developed a drug problem. In November 2012 Margarita went missing.

Her husband, Cary was upset and told Westbrook police he thought his wife was staying with drugs dealers in Portland. When he tried to report their red Chevy Trailblazer missing, police told Cary there was nothing they could do because the vehicle was marital property.

Cary continued to call Margarita’s cell phone but she never answered.

As the days and months passed, Cary and her family grew increasingly concerned. It had now been months since anyone had heard from her. Not even during the holidays.

Then, the following January, a clue surfaced.

On Jan. 17, 2013, a friend of Cary’s was crossing the Motel 6 parking lot in Portland when he spotted a Red Chevy Trailblazer he thought might be Cary’s.

Cary showed up with his own key. He got in, started it up and then cleared the snow off the windshield. That’s when he noticed one of the tires was flat. Cary opened a rear door to get a car jack and made a gruesome discovery.

Margarita’s frozen, partially decomposed body was crumpled behind the driver’s seat. She had been shot, once, in the neck.

Margarita Fisenko Scott car where she was found dead
Margarita Fisenko Scott’s body was found by her estranged husband in their car. It had been parked at the Motel 6 in Portland for almost two months.
Portland Police

POLICE HAVE A HOMICIDE

Victor Cote, an evidence technician (ET), was one of the first people called to the scene.

“You have to anticipate where a case will go,” said Cote, a 22-year veteran of the police department. “On all these cases our main job is documentation. First and foremost, document whatever’s there,” he said, whether what they find can be potentially linked to the crime or not.

The car had clearly been in the parking lot for a while, plowed in during a couple of snowstorms.

“So did the assailant or whoever drove the vehicle drop anything getting out of the vehicle?” Cote remembers thinking.

Cote and the other ETs made the decision to collect the snow around the car. They shoveled it into a department pick-up truck and drove it back to police headquarters. The SUV was towed there as well.

“(We left it in) the heated basement, just allowed it (the snow) to melt overnight. Anything in there would be left on the tarp,” Cote recollects.

Margarita Fisenko Scott

What did they find?

Unfortunately, Cote said, “an unrelated receipt, but you still have to try. You don’t want to walk away and leave evidence out there.”

The ETs then examined the SUV. They took photographs, swabbed for DNA, processed the car for fingerprints, even documented seat positions. They were meticulous.

“You only get one shot at it,” Cote says.

Once everything was documented, Margarita’s body was removed and taken to the medical examiner’s office in Augusta for an autopsy. Meanwhile, a lack of visible blood in the SUV shed another clue — Margarita was not killed inside the vehicle.

“So, you have to start thinking about where is the scene, where did this occur?” Cote remembers.

Their biggest obstacle was time. So much time had passed since Margarita had died and when she was found. Cote never found any paperwork or receipts in the car dated later than Nov. 9. It was now Jan. 17.

The evidence technicians searched Cary’s Westbrook apartment and ruled out that location as the possible scene of the crime.

BREAK IN THE CASE 

A tip led police to an apartment on West Concord Street in Portland, just two miles from the Motel 6 parking lot.

Margarita had been staying at the apartment with her boyfriend Anthony Pratt, a drug dealer from New York. Pratt came to Maine to help Christopher Jennings, also from New York, sell drugs.

Jennings, his wife Tunile, and their two very young children lived in the apartment as well. When Portland Police detectives arrived at the apartment to interview Pratt and the Jennings they were greeted by a surprise.

Not only had Pratt and the Jennings moved out, but the building had been bought and was in the process of being renovated. Police immediately halted the renovation and the ETs were still called in to search.

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2F3_eBHgBdMME%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D3_eBHgBdMME&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F3_eBHgBdMME%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=0350728de3d54ab7950f978fc80d4a70&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

“The place was under full construction, full renovation. Floors had been taken out, walls had been taken out, ceilings had been taken out, there was demo debris dust everywhere.”

Cote thought, “the likelihood of me finding anything here at this point is probably pretty slim. But you still have to go through the process”

In the basement, Cote spotted a dark stain on the concrete.

“It was immediately evident to me, from 15 feet away, that that was a significant blood pool. We’re able to look up and see saturation coming through the floorboards that brings us back into the living room area.”

Cote was confident they found where Margarita had been shot but their crime scene was in shambles. Four evidence technicians spent close to four days in the apartment, methodically uncovering more pieces to the puzzle.

“We can see blood on the protected side of the door and significant dried blood where the baseboard had been,” Cote remembers.

They combed through debris which was piled in the dining room and there they found a baseboard with blood on it and worked to recreate the living room by putting back the baseboard, trim and rehanging some of the paneling.

Margarita Fisenko Scott crime scene

Using Luminol, a chemical that glows blue when in contact with blood, the ETs made another discovery. “The (blood) stain had indication of wiping through it, which is indicative of someone cleaning up,” Cote says.

Then there was a hole in one section of drywall that caught their eye.

“One stood out, fairly apparent it was a bullet hole.”

So, the technicians searched the debris pile, looking for the piece of paneling that was on that section of wall.

“That gotcha moment, if you will — I turn the paneling around and see a big green bump protruding from it, readily apparent it was chewing gum.”

Chewing gum that was pushed into the bullet hole into the paneling and covered up with a piece of paper.

Margarita Fisenko Scott gum that cracked the case

“So, my next thought is, who puts chewing gum in the hole where the bullet just went? Most likely the shooter.”

And the likelihood of DNA being on chewing gum is fairly high.

“It was going to take a while for the DNA to come back, but at least we have a path to continue to move forward.”

DNA later confirmed that the DNA on the gum and the paper led to just one man, Anthony Pratt.

“Some of this is great science and some of this is pure luck.”

And timing, all of that debris from the apartment was set to be tossed in a dumpster the next day and would have been hauled away.

“It’s just amazing that some of these things came into line that allowed this case to progress”.

Then, behind where the paneling was – behind that section of drywall – technicians found what they were looking for: the bullet that killed Margarita lodged in a wooden stud.

THE SUSPECTS

Detectives were able to locate the previous tenants, the Jennings, at their new apartment on Berkshire Road in Portland.

The Jennings told police the last time they saw Margarita was on Nov. 10, 2012, when she had dropped them off in the Old Port at 11 p.m. to celebrate Christopher’s birthday.

Margarita was also supposed to pick them up, but the Jennings called and spoke to her at 1 a.m. to tell her she didn’t need to pick them up. They were taking a cab to PT’s Showclub.

Anthony Pratt
Anthony Pratt was only 19 when he shot and killed his girlfriend Margarita Fisenko Scott of Westbrook.

The Jennings say they came home around 4 a.m. and found Pratt sleeping on the couch with their infant daughter. Margarita was not there, but her purse was.

The next morning, the Jennings said Pratt asked them for a ride to the bus station. He told them he had to go back to New York to take care of his sick grandfather.

DOMESTIC ASSAULT CLUE

On Feb. 7, 2013, Portland police received another clue, this one from the Westbrook Police Department. Margarita was still married to Cary and often returned to their Westbrook home.

She did just that on Nov. 9 and Pratt was not happy about it.

On Nov. 10, Pratt took a cab to her apartment and pounded on the door. When Margarita answered Pratt beat her, pulling her hair and dragging her down a flight of stairs. A neighbor called police.

When Westbrook police arrived Margarita hid Pratt in a closet. Rita had minor injuries, but she refused medical attention and refused to tell police who assaulted her. Westbrook police took pictures of her and left.

Margarita Fisenko Scott clothes

“That’s when we’re able to look at photographs of her that day and she is literally wearing all of the same clothing she was found in. Ultimately, we determine that it was later that night she was killed,” Cote says.

THE SMOKING GUN

Meanwhile, a man comes forward with information about a gun being sold to Anthony Pratt and Christopher Jennings. The man said Pratt wore gloves when handling the gun. It was determined the gun had been stolen from a house in Benton, Maine.

Police identified and contacted the victim of the burglary. He showed police two posts in his backyard he used to for target practice.

Police brought the posts back to the police department and evidence technician Victor Cote extracted four bullets from the posts.

Ballistic experts were able to determine that all of those bullets in the fence post had been fired from the same gun as the bullet found in the wooden stud in the living wall at the West Concord Street apartment.

On March 3, 2013, detectives interviewed Christopher and Tunile Jennings, separately.

The Jennings were told that Margarita has been murdered in their apartment, while their children were in the home. When Christopher Jennings was confronted with the fact that his DNA was found on Margarita’s genitals during the autopsy.

Jennings admitted he had sex with Margarita in the days before his birthday and that Tunile Jennings told Margarita she would kill her if she ever found out she was sleeping with her husband.

Police asked Christopher Jennings if he would make a recorded phone call to Pratt. Jennings agreed and during the call, Jennings told Pratt that Margarita was killed in their apartment. Pratt told Jennings, “I don’t know what to do. What do you want me to do, Chris?”

While detectives are interviewing the Jennings, a search warrant was being executed at their new apartment on Berkshire Road. Evidence technicians found what appeared to be a blood stain on an entertainment center, furniture that used to be in the West Concord Street apartment.

A tactical officer who was clearing the house found an attic entryway in a closet in a child’s bedroom in the new apartment.

Margarita Fisenko Scott

“They used a mirror to basically peak in the attic because you don’t want to poke your head up there if someone is up there. By doing so they could see a handgun sitting just inside the attic hatch, up on some insulation. It was wrapped in what appeared to be a tank top.”

The tank top had discoloration, similar to a bleach stain, where it had been in contact with the gun. The gun, a .40 caliber High Point pistol, was examined. It was determined the bullet found in the stud in the wall at the West Concord Street apartment had been fired from that gun. Swabs taken from the gun came back with DNA from both the Jennings, but not Pratt.

“It’s not necessarily surprising to us. That doesn’t say they were the suspects. It was wrapped in [Tunile’s] shirt and [Christopher] moved it from their house. And Pratt was known to wear rubber gloves when handling guns.

Christopher Jennings later told police he didn’t tell them about the gun because he’s a felon and didn’t want to get in trouble. He told detectives he took the gun to their new apartment when they moved.

POLICE CLOSE IN ON PRATT

On April 4, 2013, detectives went to New York to interview Anthony Pratt. Pratt said the last time he saw Margarita was at 11 p.m. on Nov. 10, when she dropped the Jennings off in the Old Port. He also told police that Christopher Jennings had the cell phone with him that night.

When police told Pratt they had evidence that Margarita received a call from that phone at 1 a.m., Pratt had no explanation. Pratt denied assaulting Margarita at her apartment on Nov. 9, but did admit he “grabbed her up a little bit.”

Detectives showed Pratt a picture of the piece of paneling with the piece of gum in it; gum that had his DNA on it. Pratt told police he did not kill Margarita and he did not know how his gum got into the hole.

Finally, police asked Pratt, why he never tried to call Margarita, who Pratt had apparently proposed to in late October. They asked him why he never came back to Maine when she went missing.

At the end of the interview, Pratt was arrested and later charged with murder.

STATE VS. ANTHONY PRATT

Lisa Marchese, Maine’s deputy attorney general, has prosecuted more than 100 murder cases over the course of her career. The Margarita Scott case was one of them.

“There were several unique things about this case,” Marchese says.

There were multiple crime scenes, there was a period of time between when Margarita was killed and when her body was found, which presented and challenge. And there were good alternate suspects.

“The Portland Police Department did a great job looking at everything and trying to rule them out,” Marchese says.

Marchese says cell phones played an important role in this case.

Anthony Pratt

Detectives were able to put the Jennings in the Old Port at 1 a.m. The Jennings had borrowed a woman’s phone to call Margarita, and at PT’s Showclub, a dancer gave Christopher Jennings her phone. She wanted him to call his phone so she would have his number in her recent calls.

Cell phone activity came into play again.

“When you look at the Jennings cell phone, you saw they were trying to call Rita after she disappeared, you look at Cary’s cell phone, he was trying to contact Rita after she went missing but you never saw the defendant trying to contact her and that’s because he knew she was dead.”

Marchese says the work the evidence technicians did made the case that much more compelling. “They were tenacious. They didn’t take any short cuts. They were meticulous, they were thorough.”

And in the end, it made all the difference. It took a jury eight hours to find Anthony Pratt guilty of murder.

“It proved beyond all doubt that it was Anthony Pratt who was responsible for this crime,” says Marchese.

A brutal crime that took a team to solve.

Margarita Fisenko Scott

“It’s why we come to work, essentially, to try to serve and protect in our field via the evidence, the officers on the front lines, detectives are doing interviews with people. It’s all for the common goal. Hopefully, you bring justice to victims.”

Anthony Pratt is serving a 42-year prison sentence.

the

Maine: One found dead at scene of Portland fire

The fire happened at 609 Ocean Ave., which is located near Lunts Corner, and was extinguished sometime before 5:30 p.m.

Portland police, fire and the state fire marshal were on scene investigating.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the person’s death was caused by the fire.

(Hmm..)

Opinion: On the Electoral Collage / retro-report: National Woman’s Day in Portland Maine, 2012

Jacqui Voltaire and Peggy Hill hand out flowers on National Woman’s Day, 2012

On the Electoral College and being a Green

It is all part of a corrupt electoral system. That is why I am a Green. After Jill Stein ran she on her own went to 3 states to put law suits against the corrupt system and has just won 2 of them changing how elections will happen in those states. So we are working on it! Power to the People!

Love, jacqui

vlcsnap-2019-01-22-23h01m45s508.png

by Jacqui Voltaire, the Maine Resistance

download-17-2.jpg

Maine’s top stories of 2018!

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on the past year and start to look forward to the year coming up. We take a minute to look at the NEWS CENTER Maine stories that resonated with you over the past year.

1: Police call I-95 tanker crash involving mother, toddler a suicide

2: ‘I cannot understand this tragedy’: Husband of Heidi McGovern on losing wife, injuring son

3: Missing 16-year-old Turner boy found safe

4: Manhunt for N.H. fugitive wanted in wife’s murder ends in apparent suicide, police say

5: REMEMBERING MARISSA: The tragic story of a 10-year-old’s death

6: Body found in woods behind farmhouse less than a mile from Kristin Westra’s home

7: Maine Deputy Murder: Suspected killer being held without bail

8: North Yarmouth body identified, Kristin Westra’s death ruled suicide

9: Man dies after baseball game hit-and-run, woman charged with manslaughter

10: Bar Harbor man charged in murder of 19-year-old

11: Great white shark confirmed off Maine coast just in time for Shark Week

12: ‘I don’t care what people think’: Missing North Yarmouth woman’s husband speaks to NBC News

MOST WATCHED VIDEOS

1WATCH: Witness captures video of erratic driver on Sanford baseball field

2ATV crashes during a NEWS CENTER Maine report

3Family of woman hit by truck speaks to NEWS CENTER Maine

4Old fire engines, the blues, and some Allagash White

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2Fku-1rmxJUkE%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dku-1rmxJUkE&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2Fku-1rmxJUkE%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=0350728de3d54ab7950f978fc80d4a70&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

5Jay Westra, husband of missing Maine woman, speaks with NBC

Famous Illuminati Quotes 13 Famous George H.w. Bush Quotes On Freemason, Illuminati, And

Famous Illuminati Quotes 13 Famous George H.w. Bush Quotes On Freemason, Illuminati, And – Great Quotes Collection

Maine: Lawrence High School students make blankets for hospice patients, and the Good Shepherd Food Bank gets $33,000.

Students in Lawrence High School’s JMG program will make more than 35 blankets to be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area

download (1)

This holiday season, Mainers in hospice care will be receiving a gift, but it will be coming from someone they have never met.

The students in the Lawrence High School’s “Jobs for Maine’s Graduates” program, also known as JMG, are making blankets that will be donated to hospice patients in the Waterville area.

“I think this project is great. I think it gives people in the home comfort and just a little something extra for the holidays,” said Rilee Bessey, a junior at Lawrence High School.

Student plan to make more than 35 blankets to be donated. They are also making holiday cards to be distributed to the patients.

“My students are always looking for ways to give back. They really care about others and doing more things in our community to help those in need,” said JMG specialist at Lawrence High School Katherine Wood.

The students in Wood’s JMG class have worked more than 500 hours doing community service in 2018.

“Understand that not everybody has what you may have,” said Lawrence High School junior Bryson Dostie. “Everybody needs to get a little bit of something around the holidays,” Dostie added.

JMG is program across Maine in 131 schools. The organization’s students worked more than 30,000 hours this year doing community service projects.

And…

Maine’s largest hunger relief organization receives final installment of $100,000 promise!
download.jpg
The Good Shepherd Food Bank received a check for $33,000 from the Maine Credit Union League to complete a three-year contribution to the food bank

The largest hunger relief origination in Maine now has in its hands, the final part of a $100,000 promise of support.

The donation comes from the Maine Credit Union League who promised in 2016 to provide the food bank with $100,000. Today the MCUL presented a check for $33,000 at the George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Waterville. The Good Shepherd Food Bank donates goods to the school’s food pantry.

At an assembly Wednesday morning, students in the school shared essays in front of their classmates about what the school’s food pantry means to them.

“To hear from students who are seeing it in their classmates and some of them likely experiencing themselves, I think that really hits home,” said Ethan Minton, the Good Shepherd Major Gift Officer.

The George J. Mitchell school food pantry has received more 60,000 meals worth of food from Good Shepherd since 2013.

“It helps highlight how much of a community effort this is and how aware people are of the hunger problem in the state of Maine and what people can do to help alleviate that problem,” said Tim Brooks, the Vice President of Corporate Marketing for the Maine Credit Union League.

The MCUL’s Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised over $8 million since starting the program in 1990.  In 2017, the credit union raised $740,000 for the cause.

Kassidy Plummer is representing Maine cheerleaders in the annual London, England New Year’s Day parade!

Ringing in the New Year with a cheer

PORTLAND, Maine — A Mainer is going from firing up the crowd in the Deering High School gym to the cheering on streets of London.

Kassidy Plummer will pound the pavement with 1,000 other American cheerleaders in London’s New Year’s Day parade, an event that draws a crowd of 300,000 people and is televised all over the world.

“We have to learn a dance and we’re performing it seven times,” says Plummer. “I’m in the first dance.”

The Deering sophomore has been cheering in Maine for twelve years. This past summer, she was one of three girls at the Portland Area Cheer Camp to be named an All-American, which qualified her for the chance to cheer in London.

Plummer’s been practicing her moves, and she’s ready to show off her skills to the world.

“It’s a really great opportunity because Maine is not really noticed for anything,” says Plummer. “Going over seas and performing for everybody is amazing.”

The London New Year’s Day parade will begin at noon in London, 7 a.m. Eastern Time.