Tess Gerritsen, David Mallett to receive honorary degrees
Two artists with long histories in the arts in Maine will receive honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Maine during commencement exercises this spring.
Best-selling author Tess Gerritsen and songwriter David Mallett will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees May 10 at Alfond Sports Arena. Both will address students, as well. Mallett will speak at commencement exercises at 10 a.m., and Gerritsen will address the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.
Gerritsen, who lives in Camden, has published numerous suspense novels and is a best-selling author. Her series featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles,” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Her books have been published in 40 countries, and she has sold more than 25 million copies.
Mallett lives in Sebec and has a music career spanning four decades. His songs have been recorded by more than 150 artists, including Pete Seeger, Alison Krauss, John Denver, Emmylou Harris and the Muppets. His “Garden Song” has become an American folk classic.
State police investigating break-ins at two stores
Maine State Police are seeking information about weekend break-ins at stores in Buckfield and Bethel.
Surveillance video captured what appears to be a silver Kia Soul outside the Buckfield Mall convenience store at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday.
The suspect is described as a white man, about 5-foot-10, with a stocky build.
Police say about two hours before the break-in, a similar vehicle was involved in a break-in at a Big Apple convenience store in Bethel.
Liquor and cigarettes were taken from the Bethel store, while clothing, goggles, sunglasses and the cash register were taken from the Buckfield store.
The cash register was later found without its contents in Buckfield.
Legislator-farmer says he won’t run for a third term
Rep. Aaron Libby, R-Waterboro, has announced that he will not seek a third term representing Waterboro and Lyman in the Legislature because he must devote more time to his farm.
Libby, 31, said the legislative schedule makes it difficult for him to work on his family’s farm in Limerick, Libby & Son U-Picks.
Democrat Elaine Plourde of Lyman and Dwayne Prescott, a Republican from Waterboro, are running to represent the district, which includes Waterboro and part of Lyman.
“I am extremely grateful to the people of Waterboro and Lyman for putting their confidence in me to represent them in Augusta over the past four years,” Libby said in a prepared statement. “I have done my best to serve the people of my community and now I must focus my attention on my family and our business.”
During his time in the Legislature, Libby sponsored a bill to reduce litigation in agri-tourism and make it easier for farmers to open their farms to visitors. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage in 2012. Libby also sponsored a bill to allow Mainers to carry concealed weapons without permits. That bill came within one vote of being enacted last year.
Libby said he has not ruled out running for office in the future.
Augusta House overrides veto of solar panel rebate bill
Maine’s House of Representatives has voted to overturn Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill restoring a rebate program for solar panels.
The Democratic-led House voted 105-41 to override the Republican governor’s veto of the bill that would provide $1 million for the program, which would last more than two years. It now goes to the Senate.
It was amended to allow the funds to also be used to help low-income residents buy heat pumps. The rebates would be paid for by adding roughly 60 cents a year to Mainers’ utility bills.
LePage said he opposes the bill because it raises utility rates. He says it’s a “particularly painful time to impose an additional tax on electricity” as rates have already increased for many residents this year.
Web page has information on jobs, disabled Mainers
State agencies have announced a new Web page that provides information on Mainers struggling with disabilities and unemployment.
The Web page on the Center for Workforce Research and Information site displays data such as the age, education, gender and statewide distribution of Mainers with impairments.
Disabilities range from poor vision and hearing to cognitive disorders. The Web page updates information provided in state publications about employment status and services for people with disabilities.
The Maine Department of Labor says it was developed in response to concerns there is not enough state-specific information. Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement that all Mainers, including those with disabilities, deserve access to employment.
Two suspects will be tried together for three killings
A judge has ruled that two men charged in the shooting of three Maine residents whose bodies were found in a burning car in Bangor will be tried together.
A judge ruled last week that Randall Daluz of Brockton, Mass., and Nicholas Sexton, of Warwick, R.I., will be tried together before one jury, WABI-TV reported.
Jury selection is scheduled to start April 28.
Their lawyers had argued for separate trials, saying evidence against one man could unfairly prejudice the jury against the other. The prosecution argued against separate trials.
The suspects have pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel Borders of Hermon, Nicolle Lugdon of Eddington and Lucas Tuscano of Bradford in August 2012.
Police say Sexton and Daluz killed the victims in a drug dispute.