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.
The Maine Department of Transportation is preparing to install cameras on a stretch of Interstate 295 around the Forest Avenue ramps during construction.An agency spokesman says drivers will be able to view the cameras on the department’s website to determine whether there is traffic congestion and if they need to seek alternate routes.The Portland Press Herald reports the cameras will also be used by the work crews to monitor traffic and determine when equipment can be moved around. They will also watch out for emergency vehicles so they can make it easier for them to pass through.The work includes bridge and overpass repair and maintenance. The cameras will not go online until a couple of weeks before work gets under way, expected to be mid-April.
Police say a Turner woman crashed the same vehicle twice on the same road over the weekend.The second crash, which occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, landed the woman in the hospital.Police say 54-year-old Maria Alleano drove her SUV into a snow bank on Route 117 in Buckfield just before 2 p.m. Sunday. She was apparently unhurt, because about 45 minutes later she fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line and crashed into a tree in Paris.Police tell the Sun Journal that Alleano was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital after the second crash.Police are still investigating, but believe her medication played a factor. Police say she told them she had no memory of striking the tree.
Fire investigators are investigating the cause of a fire at a mill in Strong. Firefighters say they were first called to Geneva Wood Fuels at 30 Norton Hill Road at about 8 a.m. on Thursday. The factory makes wood pellets. First responders say there was fire in the wall on the third floor of the factory. Crews from seven towns fought the fire. No one was injured. The fire happened in a part of the building that’s used for storage so officials say the plant should be able to operate again in about a week. An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office estimates that the plant employs between ten and 15 people. He tells News 8 that those workers shouldn’t miss any work because there is plenty of clean-up work to do until the plant is fully operational again. The fire investigator says it is too early to determine the cause of the fire.
Two fishermen were rescued from their sinking boat off the coast of Kennebunkport.They were onboard the 81-foot “Plan B” and called the Coast Guard Tuesday morning to say it was taking on water and pumps couldn’t keep up with the flooding.They told the Coast Guard they were putting on survival suits.A rescue boat and helicopter were sent.Meanwhile the crew of another fishing boat heard the call and was able to help the two men off the sinking boat.
An Arundel couple who went to visit their son in jail ended up behind bars themselves when the young man’s mother allegedly passed him drugs.Authorities at the York County Jail say they saw 45-year-old Lisa Croteau pass something to her 20-year-old son, Joshua, during a visit Sunday.A guard investigated and found a balloon containing a marijuana cigarette, prescription painkillers and drug paraphernalia. Mother and son were charged with trafficking in prison contraband.When deputies went to the parking lot to tell 46-year-old Marc Croteau that his wife had been arrested, a deputy found a small amount of marijuana in his vehicle and arrested him for that and violating conditions of release.Lisa Croteau was released after posting $1,000 cash bail. Joshua Croteau is behind bars facing burglary charges.