Regional News

Stonyfield Farm Co-Founder to Speak at Bates College

Updated 2 years ago

Bates Colleges says the co-founder and chairman of the Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt company will deliver the school’s commencement address at next month’s graduation ceremonies. The Lewiston college says Gary Hirshberg also will receive an honorary degree at the May 26 event. Hirshberg co-founded New Hampshire-based Stonyfield Farm in 1983, helping grow it from a seven-cow operation into a $400 million company. Bates also is conferring honorary degrees on scholar William Cronon, former Bates College president Elaine Tuttle Hansen and prominent physician Dr. Vivian Pinn.

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Man Deported to Italy after Illegally Entering US

Updated 2 years ago

A man who entered Maine illegally over the weekend has pleaded guilty and will be deported to Italy.Leandro Bettiol, 26, has dual citizenship from Brazil and Italy.Authorities say he was arrested after he walked around the Coburn Gore border crossing to enter Maine.On Monday, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served.

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Former CEO Accused of Misappropriating Funds

Updated 2 years ago

The parent company of the Portland Press Herald and two other Maine newspapers are accusing its former CEO of misappropriating more than $500,000 of company money.In a letter to employees Wednesday, MaineToday Media publisher Lisa DeSisto said the company had received a $488,000 check from its insurance company under its employee theft policy for funds that former CEO Richard Connor allegedly took for personal use from June 2009 to October 2011.DeSisto said the unauthorized spending totaled $538,000, including $287,000 in salary increases and bonuses, $90,000 in personal expenses charged to company credit cards, and $36,000 for a vehicle.Connor, who’s now CEO of Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, N.H. , told the Portland Press Herald the allegations are wrong and that most of the expenses were legitimate.

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Sarah Long Bridge Replacement Cost Less Than Initial Estimate

Updated 2 years ago

The Maine Department of Transportation says the estimated cost of replacing the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire has been reduced to $160 million.Officials say the original estimate was for $172 million. The department said Wednesday that a team working on the replacement of the bridge has found $12 million in savings.The new figure includes the cost of the design, engineering, property acquisition and construction of the new bridge.The bridge across the Piscataqua River between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., is scheduled to be replaced in 2014. It’s currently closed for repairs after an oil tanker hit it. And a new Memorial Bridge is scheduled to open this summer.The only bridge open between the two communities is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95.

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Lawmakers Look to Restore Millions in Head Start Funding

Updated 2 years ago

A group of lawmakers in Augusta want to restore millions of dollars in funding cuts to Maine’s Head Start program.The group including state and local officials and Head Start providers held a rally urging all lawmakers to support the measure.Last session more than $2-million was cut from Head Start, cuts these folks say are having a devastating impact on Maine’s kids.”The state funding that is provided is combined with federal funding in order to serve additional children,” said Executive Director of Child and Family Oppurtunities, Doug Orville. “I would like to point out as well, the funding we receive doesn’t come anywhere close to serving all of the children who are eligible for Head Start services.”According to Head Start providers at Tuesday’s rally, more than 4,000 children in Maine, at or below the poverty line, are eligible for Head Start. Right now, roughly half of them are being served by the program.

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Communications Factory to Shut Down in June

Updated 2 years ago

A factory that makes antennas is shutting down in southern Maine.SPX Communications Technologies, formerly known as Dielectric Communications, will close at the end of June.The plant opened in Raymond nearly sixty years ago.Fifty-five people will lose their jobs.

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Students to Remember Classmate at New Hampshire High School

Updated 2 years ago

High school seniors in one New Hampshire town will be attending school on an upcoming Sunday. The Plaistow students will be participating in a Day of Compassion on May 5 to honor Evan Dube, a 2011 graduate of Timberlane Regional High School. He died in Scotland last year. The Eagle-Tribune reports, teachers, students and community members will speak on the theme of compassion. John Dube, Evan’s father and a history teacher at Timberlane, will be the keynote speaker. Dube was attending Bates College and was in Scotland as part of a study-abroad program. He was at a beach cookout near Lerwick in the Shetland Island when he went for a swim last May. He collapsed after returning from the water and later died.

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UPDATE: South Portland Police Search for Bank Robber

Updated 2 years ago

Police have charged Joseph Morrill, 23, of South Portland with robbery for allegedly robbing a bank. Morrill was arrested late Monday and charged with robbery. He’s being held on $150,000 bail. Police say Morrill was wearing a mask and armed with a handgun when he robbed the TD Bank branch on Market Street at about 5:30 p.m. Monday. He was given what authorities described as a small amount of cash and left.

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NH Governor Asks for Through Review on Pipeline Issue

Updated 2 years ago

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has asked Secretary of State John Kerry for a thorough environmental and permitting process before allowing any existing pipelines in the state to transport tar sands oil. Two conventional crude oil pipelines owned by the Portland Pipe Line Corporation travel through five New Hampshire towns and end in Montreal. Portland Pipeline has considered changing the contents of those pipelines to tar sands oil. Critics say tar sands oil poses greater environmental and safety risks than conventional crude, but oil industry representatives disagree. Under federal law, the Secretary of State has the authority to issue permits for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance of pipelines at the borders of the United States with Canada.

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Newtown Police to Attend Emergency Preparedness Conference

Updated 2 years ago

Police from Newtown, Connecticut will be at Maine’s annual Emergency Preparedness Conference this year. They’ll talk about their reaction to the deadly attack at Sandy Hook elementary school. The two-day conference at the Augusta Civic Center is Tuesday and Wednesday.More than 500 people are expected to be there.

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Many Big Ticket Bills Still Pending in Maine Legislature

Updated 2 years ago

The current legislative session is more than half way complete with some of the biggest bills still pending.Lawmakers still need to pass a state budget, and they have to resolve a $484-million state debt to Maine’s hospitals.More than fifty bills have been sent to Govenor LePage.He’s signed a little more than half of them and let the rest become law without his signature.Legislators are scheduled to go on summer recess in mid-June.

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Portland’s Oxford Street Homeless Shelter Eases Overcrowding

Updated 2 years ago

Officials have alleviated crowding problems at Portland’s Oxford Street homeless shelter by tightening the rules that previously allowed people to stay indefinitely. Director Josh O’Brien says residents can no longer stay indefinitely unless they also agree to work on a plan to find permanent housing. He tells The Portland Press Herald, the new policy is already a success, with 54 people placed in permanent housing in March, a 30 percent increase over the previous month. At times, the shelter was so crowded that people were sleeping in conference room chairs in the city’s Refugee Services office. The new policy also applies to the Florence House, an emergency shelter for women. Some homeless people think the plan might backfire, just putting more homeless people on the streets.

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Georgetown Man Killed in Single Vehicle Accident

Updated 2 years ago

Alcohol is being blamed as a contributing factor in a single-vehicle accident that killed a 24-year-old Maine man. The Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Department says Henry Gilliam III, of Georgetown, was killed when his pickup truck veered off a road in Georgetown and struck several trees Saturday night. Sheriff Joel Merry said in a press release that the crash was discovered by a passing motorist who saw headlights down an embankment. Police were called shortly before 10 p.m., but it’s unclear exactly when the accident occurred.

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Boston Bombing Chronology

Updated 2 years ago

Key moments related to the search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, based on reports from the Massachusetts governor, the Middlesex County district attorney, Massachusetts State Police and Boston police. – At 5:10 p.m. Thursday, investigators of the bombings release photographs and video of two suspects. They ask for the public’s help in identifying the men. – Around 10:20 p.m., shots are fired on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, just outside Boston. – At 10:30 p.m., an MIT campus police officer who was responding to a disturbance is found shot multiple times in his vehicle, apparently in a confrontation with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. He is later pronounced dead. – Shortly afterward, two armed men reportedly carjack a Mercedes SUV in Cambridge. A man who was in the vehicle is held for about a half hour and then released unharmed at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. – Police soon pursue the carjacked vehicle in Watertown, just west of Cambridge. – Some kind of explosive devices are thrown from the vehicle in an apparent attempt to stop police. The carjackers and police exchange gunfire. A transit police officer is seriously injured. One suspect, later identified as Suspect No. 1 in the marathon bombings, is critically injured and later pronounced dead. – Authorities launch a manhunt for the other suspect. – Around 1 a.m. Friday, gunshots and explosions are heard in Watertown. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents converge on a Watertown neighborhood. A helicopter circles overhead. – Around 4:30 a.m., Massachusetts state and Boston police tell people living in that section of eastern Watertown to stay in their homes. They identify the carjackers as the same men suspected in the marathon bombings. Overnight, police also release a photograph of a man believed to be Suspect No. 2 wearing a gray hoodie-style sweatshirt. The image apparently is from surveillance video taken at a gas station. – Around 5:50 a.m. authorities urge residents in Watertown, Newton, Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge, Arlington and the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods of Boston to stay indoors. All mass transit is shut down. – Around 6:35 a.m., The Associated Press reports that the bomb suspects are from a Russian region near Chechnya and lived in the United States for at least a year. – Around 6:45 a.m., The Associated Press identifies the surviving Boston bomb suspect as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who has been living in Cambridge. – Around 8 a.m., Boston’s police commissioner says all of Boston must stay in their homes as the search for the surviving suspect in the bombings continues. – Around 8:40 a.m., a U.S. law enforcement official and the uncle of the suspects confirm that the name of the slain suspect is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother. – Around 10:20 a.m., Connecticut State Police say a car believed to be linked to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been recovered in Boston. They initially call it a Honda CRV, but authorities later say it was a Honda Civic. – Around 10:35 a.m., the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth says it closed its campus and ordered an evacuation after confirming that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is registered there. The school says it closed the campus “out of an abundance of caution” as the search continued. – Around 11:30 a.m., Massachusetts State Police explain that the brothers suspected in the bombings were in the Honda when they carjacked the Mercedes SUV. For a while, each drove one of the two vehicles, but then ditched the Honda and reunited in the Mercedes. – Around 12:35 p.m., state police in Watertown say officers are searching door-to-door but still have not found the bombing suspect. – Around 6:30 p.m., Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Deval announces that mass transit is resuming and the “stay indoors” order is being lifted even though one suspect remains on the lam. State police say that suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, fled on foot and there is indication he has a vehicle. They believe he is still in the state because of his ties to the area. -Around the time the order is lifted, a flurry of gunfire breaks out in the same community that was being searched. Law enforcement officials locate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a boat parked behind a home. -Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is taken into custody by police at approximately 8:45 p.m. Spontaneous applause breaks out among police and onlookers surrounding the scene and residents take to the streets to cheer police.

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Boston Manhunt Comes to an End in Watertown, MA

Updated 2 years ago

The suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was taken into custody Friday night, bringing to an end a massive manhunt that virtually shut down the Massachusetts capital amid warnings the man was possibly armed with explosives.Law enforcement officials say that authorities have confirmed the man in custody is 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who escaped a shootout with police in suburban Watertown that left his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev — the other man wanted in the bombings — dead.The younger Tsarnaev was in need of undisclosed medical care, the officials said.The arrest came less than a week after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shocking the nation and leaving a city on edge.Tsarnaev was cornered late Friday on a boat in a yard of Watertown, a suburb of Boston.Authorities “engaged” Tsarnaev just minutes after authorities indicated a manhunt for the suspect appeared to come up empty.Witnesses heard about two dozen gunshots fired, but it was not clear if the shots were fired by the suspect, authorities or both. A number of small explosions, believed to be stun grenades, also were heard.Authorities, using a bullhorn, called on the suspect to surrender: “Come out with your hands up.”The development came after authorities cast a wide net for the suspect that virtually shut down the Massachusetts capital amid warnings the man was possibly armed with explosives.Gov. Deval Patrick has lifted an order that confined an estimated one million residents to their homes, urging people to “remain vigilant.”

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Border Officials on Heightened Alert During Bomber Search

Updated 2 years ago

Border officials are on heightened alert while authorities search for the second bombing suspect.A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency, says Canadian officials are working closely with their US counterparts, but couldn’t say if people crossing the border would notice the heightened security.A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection referred questions about any heightened border security to the Department of Homeland Security.

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Watertown Residents React to Lockdown

Updated 2 years ago

It’s been a chaotic scene in the Boston suburb of Watertown and the surrounding communities. Imagine being locked in your home while police hunt for a suspected terrorist who’s armed, dangerous and desperate.It began late Thursday night, after authorities released pictures of the two men suspected of carrying out the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier this week. Within a few hours, police had chased the two men, brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, to Watertown, a Boston suburb. Residents we talked to describe how the scene unfolded, including former Bangor resident Merideth Lambert. “I could see cop car lights and hear things going on. I was almost scared to even look because, then we did hear what we weren’t sure were gunshots or explosives, but we heard loud noises and there just a stream of cop cars going by and it was just scary. It was really scary.””This was about 3:00 in the morning and it was completely lit up. Just police cars, news trucks, people just a lot of activity going on but I’ve never seen so many police cars on one street before in my life.”As dawn broke SWAT teams took to the streets in search of the fugitive.”I was standing at the front door and I could see tactical teams what looked from my vantage point approaching a car there was a streetlight there. It was instead teams that were progressively moving closer to us, and going through every backyard, every porch, every garden, every garage. Very methodically moving down and eventually ended up in our backyard.”Residents were told by police to remain locked in their homes like prisoners while a suspected terrorist who’s thought to be armed, dangerous and desperate was loose on the streets of their town.”There’s nothing I can do: we can’t leave. There’s no cars that can enter or leave Watertown, so my only option is to stay in my house. You know if I hear anything or see anything at least I won’t be caught off guard. I think that’s all you can do right now.””To wake up this morning and have this happen in my backyard. I don’t have hate, I don’t hate things, I don’t hate people, but I hate what this has done to how I feel and how I approach things, and how I look at things and I hate these people.”

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The New Memorial Bridge Still on Track to Open this Summer

Updated 2 years ago

The new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine is still on track to open this summer. But the exact date is still to be determined. Transportation officials say when the contractor in charge is satisfied the lift bridge is operating smoothly, maintenance crews will need specialized training to take over operations. Even when the bridge opens, its approaches and other areas will still be under construction into the fall. The bridge is replacing a nearly 90-year-old bridge connecting Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine. With the bridge under construction and Sarah Mildred Long Bridge closed for repairs, the only bridge between the cities open to traffic is the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95.

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Portland Teen Pleads Guilty to Rape

Updated 2 years ago

An 18-year-old Portland man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a 50-year-old woman’s apartment as she slept and raping her. Mohammed Mukhtar had sought to be tried on the charges as a juvenile. But under a plea agreement reached Thursday, the refugee from Somalia will face eight years in prison and could be deported after release. He is being held without bail pending sentencing next Thursday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court. The Portland Press Herald, reports that Mukhtar pleaded guilty to charges including gross sexual assault, burglary and aggravated criminal trespassing. The case went back and forth from juvenile court to adult court because of confusion over Mukhtar’s age. His lawyer said he was 17 at the time of the attack.

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TD Bank Plans to Hire 94 Workers at Auburn Contact Center

Updated 2 years ago

TD Bank plans to hire 94 customer service and sales specialists in the next three months to fill job openings at its Auburn Contact Center. Details of an informational career fair about the jobs are to be released Friday at an event to be attended by Congressman Mike Michaud. The Auburn Contact Center is the site of TD Bank’s 24-hour, 365-days-a-year live customer service, and is one of three U.S. based contact centers that support TD Bank’s customers from Maine to Florida. The Auburn facility is recognized for its green, energy-efficient features.

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