A University of Maine at Machias professor receives a boost for shellfish research. Doctor Brian Beal has received a $100,000 grant from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. The money will let researchers examine the production potential for blue mussels and arctic surfclams using current methods and testing new ones. Beal says it could create new economic opportunities for the shellfishing industry in downeast Maine.
What was expected to be a poor shrimping season has turned out to be even worse than anticipated.The catch has been tiny, resulting in short supply and higher prices for consumers.In the first seven weeks, shrimpers had caught less than 600,000 pounds, putting the season on course for the smallest shrimp harvest in more than thirty years.Just two years ago, fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts caught 13 million pounds.
The president of the University of Southern Maine says the school must trim $5 million from its budget, which could mean staff cuts.The president set prelimary cuts of $3.2 million from academic affairs and $1.8 millon from adminstration, and she’s asked deans and department heads to offer recommendations.
A bill to let bars open early Sunday for Saint Patrick’s Day is stalled in the Maine House.It won’t go into effect in time unless it can get two-thirds of the House, and the governor, to support it by Thursday, and the governor has threatened to stop any bill until a hospital repayment bill is passed.Usually bars and restaurants can sell alcohol starting at 9:00 Sunday mornings.Saint Patrick’s Day is a huge day for such establishments, and it happens to fall on a Sunday this year.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A Portland man charged with taking part in the kidnapping and gang rape of a woman last summer has been denied lower bail by a judge. An attorney for 23-year-old Mohammed Abdi told a judge in asking for bail to be lowered from $200,000 to $10,000 on Tuesday that the sexual encounter was consensual. Abdi’s attorney said the woman’s account of the alleged assault is contradicted by the evidence. Abdi was tied to the woman through DNA. The Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/ZlHcJE) reports that the prosecutor argued against the bail reduction, saying Abdi has a history of failing to show up for court dates. Authorities say the 32-year-old woman met her alleged assailants during a night out at a Portland club and several men raped her at gunpoint. ___ Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Prosecutors and the defense are gathering for settlement discussions in the case of a Zumba fitness instructor charged with prostitution and tax and welfare violations. The closed-door settlement conference focusing on Alexis Wright is taking place Wednesday in Cumberland County Superior Court. Any discussions are likely to stay private unless a formal plea agreement is reached. The 30-year-old Wright is accused of conspiring with insurance agent Mark Strong Sr. to run a sophisticated prostitution business in Kennebunk in which she kept detailed financial records and recorded the sex acts via hidden camera. A similar settlement conference failed to avert a trial for Strong, who was convicted last week and will be sentenced later this month.
A spike in gun sales has created a bit of a problem.The industry is running out of ammo.Ammuniton seems to be flying off store shelves because so many people are buying guns right now.”A lot of stores, us included, can’t supply that kind of quantity of ammunition to every customer that comes in the door,” said manager of Maine Military Supply, Ryan Nyer. “You have a few people: they buy a lot more than they need. They hold on to it. They don’t shoot it, and then it creates that demand and there’s a lack of it on the shelves now.”It seems gun sales went up last year after the December school shooting in Connecticut and the presidential election.Ryan says that this has happened a number of times in the past.He says just to be patient, and historically, the lack of ammo issue will resolve itself in time.
A moratorium that temporarily shields the private information of concealed firearm permit holders expires next month.On Tuesday in Augusta, the public got to weigh in on a bill that would make the information permanently private.A request by the Bangor Daily News for the names, addresses and birthdays of all concealed firearm permit holders in Maine sparked a public outrage. Tuesday, a large crowd packed the State House committee room, most of them to support Augusta Republican Corey Wilson’s proposal to keep that information private.”Well, the whole point of having concealed carry is so no one knows I have a gun right?” Waldoboro resident Duncan Morrell says he doesn’t want his private information to be part of a shopping list for potential thieves. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine was among the large contingent here supporting the measure.”Really for us this is a public safety issue,” said Executive Director of the alliance, David Trahan. “A lot of people have their permits to protect themselves. Some have been assaulted. In my case, I had my concealed permit because I had death threats made against me.”While most of those who turned out here are in favor of the bill, there are those who say shielding information is a bad idea.”This really isn’t a gun control or a gun rights bill,” said Shenna Bellows of ACLU of Maine. “It’s a government secrecy bill. Secrecy breeds mistrust.”Opponents have argued the bill sets a dangerous precedent of secrecy, but the bill’s sponsor points out this bill is far from the first exemption to the Freedom of Access Act.”We’ve exempted a number of documents,” said Republican Representative Corey Wilson. “483 documents currently are exempted from FOAA in the state of Maine. This is no different than any of those other exemptions except that we have a sincere public safety interest here.”Wilson says the measure protects victims of domestic abuse who get a concealed firearms permit for protection, but opponents of the bill say that protection is a two-way street.”There may be certain circumstances where it makes perfect sense to conceal some of the permit information, for example if a woman has a protection of abuse order, but when you make those records confidential it means she can’t find out if her abuser has a concealed weapons permit so it slices both ways,” said Suzanne Goucher of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.The committee will decide next week whether to pass the measure out of committee. If they do it faces further votes in the House and the Senate.
Workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are bracing for pay cuts as the Department of Defense works to trim its budget. In order to meet required budget cuts, the Department of Defense is telling civilian workers they must take 22 furlough days over the next six months. Paul O’Connor of the Shipyard Metal Trades Council tells WMUR-TV the cuts have meant a surge in applications for retirement. He said a month less of productivity means a costly backup of overhaul work on nuclear submarines. Administrators are working with unions to figure out how to schedule the furlough time. More than 5,000 people worked at the Kittery, Maine, shipyard last year. Nearly 2,000 of them live in New Hampshire.
A Swedish medical device maker is moving into space at the old Brunswick Naval Air Station, bringing about 50 jobs with the potential for more. Molnlycke Health Care is locating a manufacturing facility in a 79,000 square foot building to make what essentially are high-tech bandages for wound care. Company officials said Monday they chose Brunswick over spots in Europe and Asia because it already owns a smaller, more specialized plant in nearby Wiscasset. The company plans to spend $50 million to make over a former military warehouse. A company official tells WMTW-TV (http://bit.ly/15JKmdW ) if the company continues to grow, the Brunswick facility could eventually employ even more people. With the addition of Molnlycke, Brunswick Landing now leases space to 22 businesses that employ about 175 people.
BYRON, Maine (AP) – Residents of a small western Maine town have rejected a proposal that would have required a gun in every home. About 50 registered voters in Byron on Monday voted against an article that read: “Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunitions to protect the citizens?” Even Anne Simmons-Edmunds, head of the select board, who initially said she supported the measure, voted it down. The measure was proposed by her father, Bruce Simmons. He voted it down too, saying the wording was wrong. He said it should have said “recommend’ rather than “require.” Some of the town’s roughly 140 residents said the proposal made the town a laughingstock. Randy Richards said he’s a gun owner, but resented the proposal because it was government overreach.
Maine gets a D from a nonpartisan, nonproft group on how the state makes legislative information available.The Sunlight Foundation rated legislative websites on factors like completeness of information on bills, votes and events and how quickly the information was updated.New Hampshire received an A. Massachusetts and Rhode Island both got F’s.
Gas prices in Maine are down nearly two cents per gallon. Www.mainegasprices.com shows gas is averaging $3.80 a gallon in our state.The national average is $3.66.
Federal prosecutors want a former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a nuclear submarine to be given the maximum sentence for the crime.Casey Fury struck a deal with prosecutors and admitted last year to setting the fire that caused more than $400 million in damage to the USS Miami. 19-and-a-half years is the maximum jail time he can get. He’ll be sentenced Friday.
A week full of activities celebrating all things Irish is kicking off in Bath. The fifth annual Bath Blarney Days begins Monday and runs through Sunday. During the week, events include music, poetry and film, an Irish soda bread baking contest, a tug-of-war competition, a 5K race and a celebration of the city’s pubs and restaurants. On Saturday, the city will host what’s billed as the state’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. For more information, log onto wwww.visitbath.comYour text to link…
HARRISON, Maine (AP) – A Harrison home has been destroyed by fire, but no one was inside at the time and there were no reported injuries. The blaze at the home on Front Street was reported by a passer-by who noticed smoke just before 7 p.m. Sunday. The residents had just left to go shopping. Deputy Chief Nate Sessions says when crews arrived there was already extensive fire throughout the two-story building and the kitchen was fully involved. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but Sessions thinks it started in the kitchen. Firefighters from four surrounding communities helped battle the blaze, which knocked out power to about 1,000 customers for a short time.
F. Lee Bailey has gone before Maine’s highest court in effort to get a license to practice law in the state. The celebrity lawyer, whose high-profile clients have included O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst, asked a Supreme Judicial Court judge Thursday to overturn the state Board of Bar Examiners decision denying him a license. The 79-year-old Bailey passed the Maine bar last winter. He was previously licensed in Massachusetts and Florida but was disbarred in those states for mishandling $6 million worth of stock for a client. Bailey, who has lived in Yarmouth since 2010, says he was disillusioned about the profession until he moved to Maine. He says he has plenty to offer and is in good physical and mental shape. The judge did not immediately rule.
A Windham man authorities say set fire to an apartment building he owns and claimed it was the work of organized crime is facing criminal charges. Police and the state Fire Marshal’s office on Thursday arrested 67-year-old Donato Corsetti and charged him with two counts of arson in connection with the Dec. 7 fire. Investigators say Corsetti, who also owns a market next door, told investigators he was showing an apartment to two men who jumped him, tied him up and set the fire. Corsetti told police the mob from Rhode Island was trying to scare him and asked police not to investigate. Authorities tell The Portland Press Herald, the building had been foreclosed on and was insured. Corsetti was held on $50,000 bail.
The chancellor of the University of Maine System says education must be affordable, and the first step is to “break the back of year-to-year tuition increases.”Chancellor James Page is addressing a joint convention of the Legislature on Thursday. Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons and Maine Maritime academy President William Brennan are also presenting reports to the House-Senate convention.In a text of his speech, Page says the UMaine system faces challenges much like those of the state as a whole – slipping median incomes, an aging population and young people leaving the state.Fitzsimmons says community colleges can’t accommodate all the students who qualify for admission, and that prevents the schools from filling the so-called skills gap. He fears a “great divide of educational haves and have-nots.”
The north span of the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine is in place. Work is now expected to start on the center lift span of the bridge connecting Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine. The north span on the Kittery side was successfully moved into place early Wednesday. The south span was put into place in January. Denis Switzer of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation says the goal is to complete the project by July 6. He tells the Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/WWllwe) the center span is the most difficult part of the job because it is a moving part. Operating the span includes hooking up counterweight cables and installing electrical wiring.