University of Southern Maine faculty members are circulating a petition aimed at forcing a no-confidence referendum vote for President Selma Botman.William Steele from the university’s theater department says many faculty members believe Botman’s campus-wide reorganization was misguided. He also says faculty think Botman isn’t doing enough to stem declining enrollment and has cut classroom spending by $3.5 million.Botman told the Bangor Daily News that she understands that faculty members are frustrated.The petition follows the revelation that USM spent $242,000 for discretionary pay raises last year while the university is facing more than $5 million in budget cuts and union faculty members have gone since 2009 without a cost-of-living pay increase.
The Vermont Senate has passed a bill that would change the grading system for maple syrup.Supporters of the bill say it would unify the classification system across the U.S. and Canada.The Vermont House still needs to vote on it.Similar bills are pending in New York, New Hampshire and here in Maine.
Pay raises have been cancelled for two top administrators at the University of Southern Maine.The school’s president rescinded the pay hikes given to her chief of staff, and the school’s public affairs director.Both got raises of about 20% to bump their annual pay to $106,000.They were among dozens of employees who got pay hikes while most workers’ wages were frozen and with the school facing $5 million in budget cuts.
A man who grew up in Jackman was shot and killed in Florida.Police say Dana Mulhall, 52, was killed by his neighbor, Paul Miller, 65.Police say Miller admitted to firing several shots at Mulhall. Miller is charged with second degree murder.Detectives say Mulhall complained to Miller about his barking dog just minutes before the shooting.Police say Miller fired three shots, then when Mulhall turned to run, he shot him twice in the back.
A jury has ruled that a Lewiston landlord was not responsible for a child tenant’s lead poisoning.The jury determined after three and a half hours of deliberation that Double Eagle Properties LLC shouldn’t be held liable for the elevated blood-lead levels of the now 7-year-old boy, who according to his parents’ lawyer, has behavioral problems, a lowered IQ and learning disabilities.A lawyer for the boy’s parents argued that the building’s owners should have replaced windows in the apartment that created dust that contained lead paint. They were asking for $11 million.The Sun Journal, reports that the lawyer called the verdict “really unfortunate.”A lawyer for the defendants say the owners complied with all local, state and federal legal requirements regarding lead paint.
Maine school children won’t be getting any “pink slime” in their lunches. The State Education Department tells the Bangor Daily News it won’t serve any beef that includes the filler starting next year. The so-called pink slime meets safety standards, but is made from fatty bits of leftover meat.
The new chancellor of the University of Maine System has suspended all future discretionary salary increases pending a review of the program following a report that 44 University of Southern Maine employees had received raises at a time of financial constraints.James Page, who started Tuesday, says he plans to assess all compensation policies as part of a comprehensive review of system operations as requested by trustees.Page took action in response to a story in The Portland Press Herald. The paper reported that USM gave out raises totaling $242,000 for the budget year that started last July as the university faces $5.1 million in projected budget cuts.Page says he was `troubled” by the report.USM officials say the raises were necessary to keep the school competitive.
The University of Southern Maine faces more than $5-million in budget cuts in the coming year.Yet the school is giving raises as high as 41% to more than forty employees.USM’s president says the raises are needed to keep the university competitive.
A Houlton woman who tried to smuggle drugs into jail, will spend more time the for her crime.Dyan Reeves, 35, pleaded guilty to trafficking in prison contraband and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.Prosecutors say she was serving time on another drug charge when a guard found forty doses of medication on her.
Two toddlers from Rumford survived a fall out of a second-story window.It happened Monday afternoon at a home on Cumberland Street.Rumford Police Chief Stacy Carter says a neighbor noticed the children, a 2-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, had fallen.They landed on frozen ground and suffered minor injuries.Chief Carter says the window didn’t have a screen.Police say the children’s parents thought the children were sleeping when the accident happened.The investigation continues.
An update on a Beals Island man reported missing last week.The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says Henry Atcherson Sr. has been found in Georgia.He was taken to a VA hospital.No word on his condition.
White powder sent in an envelope to the Fort Kent Elementary School earlier this week has been deemed not a threat.The substance has been tested and Fort Kent Police Chief Kenneth Michaud says it was just a common household product, flour.Envelopes containing a suspicious white powder were also sent to schools in other parts of the country.
A former Democratic candidate for governor of Maine who sued her stepfather over the alleged mismanagement of low-income housing developments the family company owns is now facing a countersuit.Rosa Scarcelli’s mother and stepfather said in their countersuit that Scarcelli improperly used money from low-income housing projects to fund her unsuccessful 2010 campaign. Pamela Gleichman and her husband, Karl Norberg, filed the suit this week.Scarcelli’s lawyer tells the Bangor Daily News that allegations in the suit about his client’s misuse of funds were initially threatened to dissuade her from filing her initial lawsuit and are now being aired “in an attempt to embarrass” her.Scarcelli’s suit alleged that Gleichman neglected to adequately maintain the projects under her watch, and they are now under threat of federal takeover.
Authorities say a Bethel mom whose 8-year-old son died as a result of injuries suffered in a car crash while she was behind the wheel will not face charges.Prosecutors say there is insufficient evidence of criminal activity in the case to charge 28-year-old Jessica Thurston.Police say her son, Matthew, was injured on Aug. 12 when the car she was driving struck a utility pole in Oxford, continued several hundred feet, at times airborne, and split a tree before bursting into flames. Thurston said she fell asleep at the wheel.Matthew Thurston spent more than two months at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland before succumbing to his injuries Oct. 24.Police tell the Sun Journal the investigation was completed just recently.
A robbery at a Portland pharmacy followed by a brief standoff at a South Portland home has resulted in the arrest of three men.Police say a CVS store in Portland was robbed just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday by people wearing Halloween masks and claiming to be armed with knives.The suspects fled but were traced to a home in South Portland based on a description of the thieves’ getaway vehicle. Police did not say if they made off with money or drugs or both.Police surrounded the home and after a brief standoff, the suspects were taken into custody.Authorities say 29-year-old Ivan Papkee: 32-year-old Gustave Papkee: and 24-year-old Ryan Best all face robbery charges.
The trial of a Windham man charged withsexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl has started. Nicholas Gladu’s trial on 68 charges including unlawful sexualcontact and sexual exploitation of a minor started Monday inCumberland County Superior Court in Portland. The prosecutors said in opening statements that the 27-year-oldGladu sexually assaulted the girl between August and October of2010 and that photographic evidence found on a digital camera cardwill be shown to the jury. Gladu’s lawyer said the defendant has a history of mental illness and mental problems that affected his ability to determine right from wrong. Gladu has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
A man is going to spend three days in jail and pay a $10,000 fine for redeeming New Hampshire bottles and cans in Maine to collect the 5 cent deposit.The Maine attorney general’s office says Dennis Reed, 67, pleaded guilty to a variety of charges in York County Superior Court. He was sentenced Monday in Alfred.Reed owns a Derry, N.H., sports complex called SportsZone. Officials say that between April 2008 and February 2010 Reed obtained over $4,400 by redeeming New Hampshire containers, for which no deposit was paid, in MaineMaine officials say that Reed ordered his employees in New Hampshire to separate all containers carrying the Maine refund label that were taken to Green Bee Redemption in Kittery.
Maine Turnpike Authority officials say they don’t expect any major traffic problems when repaving on the stretch of highway between West Gardiner and Litchfield begins. The work is expected to take place in April and cost about $3.2 million.Studies done by the agency indicate that the work can take place between 7 p.m. Sunday and noon Friday without having a negative impact on traffic.Spokesman Dan Morin tells the Kennebec Journal that the project falls within a planned program of pavement rehabilitation that involves repaving a section of highway every 12 to 15 years.He says a pre-bid conference last week for eligible contractors attracted representatives from seven firms and bids for road work have been coming in lower than the estimates.
A LaGrange man pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing oxycodone. Tony Woodard had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge.Court records say he distributed a mixture containing the drug in 2010. He has not been sentenced yet.
The first New England-wide lottery game will hold its initial drawing next month.The top prize winners in the “Lucky for Life” game will receive $1,000 a day for the rest of their lives.The $2 tickets will be sold at lottery outlets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Drawings will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, with the first drawing scheduled for March 15.Massachusetts Lottery Director Paul Sternberg said Tuesday that it was the first time all six New England states have collaborated on a game.A similar version of “Lucky for Life” has been played in Connecticut for the past few years, with top prize winners receiving $2,000 a week for life.In Massachusetts, the game replaces “Cash WinFall,” which is ending after about seven years.