News from December 17, 2013

December 18, 2013

Voters give Freeport impetus to leave school district

55 percent of Freeport voters said ‘yes’ to exploring breaking away.

December 18, 2013

Lottery fever has Americans dreaming the nearly impossible dream

Despite the astronomical odds against winning, optimists everywhere have joined the buying frenzy.

December 18, 2013

Tech firms, president discuss NSA snooping

The meeting comes as the White House considers changes in surveillance programs.

December 17, 2013

Author hired to write sequel to ‘Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy

Another writer will pick up where Stieg Larsson, who died in 2004, left off with the beloved best-sellers about a hacker and a journalist.

December 17, 2013

Deal ends final suit against airlines in 9/11 attacks

Airport security questions will go unanswered after a firm that lost 658 workers settles for $135 million.

December 17, 2013

Spacewalks planned to fix space station cooling system

The system is critical for dispelling heat generated by on-board equipment.

December 17, 2013

Gunman kills himself, 1 other at Reno hospital

The lone shooter’s motive isn’t immediately known.

December 17, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Faces of the cold



December 17, 2013

Colo. sheriff: School gunman planned much larger attack Several photos included in this story

Five locations of Arapahoe High School were written in indelible marker on Karl Pierson’s arm when he entered the school.

December 17, 2013

Gray man sentenced to six years in marijuana smuggling case

The DEA says James Sweeney and others of transported hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Arizona to Maine.

December 17, 2013

LePage renews effort to target Maine welfare fraud

He plans to introduce bills that would require able-bodied people to show they’ve applied for three jobs before getting assistance.

December 18, 2013

Biddeford man gets 3 years in drug ring case

Neal Laverriere conspired with a podiatrist to obtain oxycodone fraudulently and distribute the pills.

December 17, 2013

Former Microsoft exec takes over effort to fix Obamacare website

Kurt DelBene, who most recently served as president of the Microsoft Office Division, will take over from Jeffrey Zeints.

December 18, 2013

Maine elver fishermen to hunt prey on ‘Animal Planet’

Three teams will battle for supremacy in the lucrative pursuit of the tiny Maine delicacy.

December 17, 2013

Portland council approves purchase of former Goodwill building

The building will be used to house the central office, multicultural center and West programs.

December 17, 2013

As food labels get closer look, ingredients vanish

Food and beverage companies understand that ingredients can become a liability once they fall out of favor with the public. Case in point: high-fructose corn syrup.

December 17, 2013

Survey: Income gap holding back U.S. economy

Gains are flowing mostly to the rich, who spend less of their money than do low- and middle-income consumers, whose pay is barely rising.

December 18, 2013

Maine lawsuit accuses vacation broker of false promises

The attorney general’s office says more than 1,000 Mainers are victims of unfair and deceptive actions.

December 17, 2013

Warm November set month’s heat record for planet

It was also the 345th straight month with above-average temperatures.

December 17, 2013

Utah training center hones Olympic skiers, snowboarders Several photos included in this story

High-tech treadmills, a super trampoline and special diet plans are among the ways the United States tries to give an edge to its athletes.

December 17, 2013

Popular notions about children's learning questioned

The belief that studying music improves intelligence may be a myth, and being in a classroom full of ‘the best and brightest’ may not help marginal students after all.

December 18, 2013

Ex-Portland Pirates coach to lead Canadian Olympic hockey team

Kevin Dineen, who coached Portland for six seasons, will lead Canada’s women’s hockey team to Sochi.

December 17, 2013

At $636 million, lottery jackpot is second-largest in history

About 70 percent of the possible number combinations are purchased for Tuesday night's drawing, meaning there will likely be a winner.

December 17, 2013

Plan to move Maine DHHS office draws protests, possible lawsuit Several photos included in this story

The new site near the Portland Jetport in South Portland would make services inaccessible to many, demonstrators say.

December 17, 2013

Heroin dealer sentenced to more than 12 years in Maine prison

The New York man is described by authorities as a ‘career offender,’ making him subject to stiffer federal sentencing guidelines.

December 17, 2013

Opponents swallow bitter pill, move budget bill toward final Senate passage

Top Senate Republicans oppose the measure because it cuts military retirement benefits, but haven’t tried to engineer its defeat.

December 17, 2013

Facebook testing video advertisements

Videos automatically start playing without sound when they appear. Users can click on a video to view it with sound, or scroll past it if they’re not interested.

December 17, 2013

Maine man who hid forklift from IRS sentenced to prison

A man who owed the IRS $37,000 refused to turn the machine over for auction.

December 17, 2013

Google’s top searches for 2013 peer into society’s mindset

Three of the world’s four fastest-rising search requests on Google were triggered by the deaths of famous men.

December 17, 2013

Obama meets with tech CEOs amid NSA concerns

The White House says the meeting was focused on efforts to repair the Obama administration’s HealthCare.gov website.

December 17, 2013

Frigid temps test AAA's roadside crews

The travel agency that provides roadside assistance is seeing about twice as many calls as is normal for this time of year.

December 17, 2013

One driver dead, another severely injured in Topsham crash

The head-on collision happened at 8:30 p.m. Monday on Route 196 in Topsham.

December 18, 2013

Speed seen as cause of Maine car crash that injures five

The car went off the road, rolled several times and came to rest on its roof. None of the passengers were wearing seat belts.

December 17, 2013

Knox in email to Italian court: ‘I didn’t kill Meredith’

She explained her absence from the trial was out of fear that she would be wrongly convicted.

December 17, 2013

Snowden to Brazil: Give me asylum, I’ll help with NSA

In a lengthy ‘open letter to the people of Brazil,’ the American fugitive commends the Brazilian government for its strong stand against U.S. spying.

December 17, 2013

‘Whitey’ Bulger transferred to prison in Oklahoma

A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons would not say where Bulger is ultimately headed.

December 17, 2013

NH couple accused of sexually assaulting children

Kevin Blood and his wife, Ashley, both 25, are accused of assaulting two young children at their apartment sometime in November.

December 17, 2013

Harvard student charged in Monday’s bomb hoax

Prosecutors say the hoax was meant to delay final exams.

December 17, 2013

Snow gives an encore in Maine as deep freeze lingers Several photos included in this story

An intense snow band hits southern Maine, reducing visibility to near-zero.

December 17, 2013

South Portland passes moratorium on tar sands oil

 The moratorium buys time for city officials to develop a permanent ordinance that would prevent Portland Pipe Line from reversing the flow in its underground pipe.

December 17, 2013

In Focus: Are shoplifters being shaken down?

Some cry foul over the detentions and fines lawfully employed by a New York City department store to counter a costly crime. Now, some customers are fighting back in court.

December 17, 2013

Fate of bankrupt Maine railway hinges on buyer

The sole bidder so far may see more value in ending service in Maine and selling the assets in pieces, experts say.

December 17, 2013

Cumberland County delays appointments of civic center trustees

Some had sought to fill the slots with newcomers soon in a bid to revive lease negotiations with the Portland Pirates.

December 17, 2013

Mittens made in China for U.S. Olympic Committee

The panel is selling them for $14 a pair to raise funds for U.S. athletes in the Winter Olympics.

December 17, 2013

Study finds more magma in Yellowstone’s supervolcano

The area could erupt with a force 2,000 times greater than Mount St. Helens’ famous blast.

December 17, 2013

Environmental group sues over gases at Rhode Island landfill

The lawsuit alleges the operators of the Johnston facility violated provisions of the Clean Air Act.

December 17, 2013

Reports urge action to mitigate severe Vermont weather

Using lessons from the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene, experts urge several new protections.

December 17, 2013

Routine multivitamin use disappoints, studies show

Two new studies conclude that popping multivitamins neither protects aging men’s brains nor helps heart attack survivors.

December 17, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

Firefighters called after plow truck hits propane tank / Elderly man dies from smoke inhalation, burns / Students competing in robotics competition ... and more news from around the state.

December 17, 2013

Commission supports Maine worker’s claim of discrimination

A human rights panel also finds reasonable grounds that the school clerk was a victim of illegal retaliation.

December 17, 2013

Court master orders Augusta group homes to reopen Several photos included in this story

The DHHS must open the buildings on Riverview Psychiatric Center’s property or find a new plan.

December 17, 2013

Neighbor: Maine woman admitted attacking husband

Roxanne Jeskey is accused of using pliers, a box cutter and a plastic baseball bat to kill her husband in Bangor.

December 17, 2013

Budget gets Republican support in Senate

Some conservatives are balking but it appears the legislation will pick up enough votes to pass by the end of the week.

December 17, 2013

Tensions mount between U.S., China

On a visit to Vietnam, Secretary of State John Kerry has harsh words for the Chinese and offers new maritime security assistance to Southeast Asia.

December 17, 2013

Press Herald Toy Fund: Maine parents seek help while catching up

The Press Herald Toy Fund aims to provide toys for 7,000 children in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties.

December 17, 2013

Republican turmoil: Harsh words portend a split?

Leaders and the hard right trade new accusations in a battle that could play out in congressional elections.

December 18, 2013

Thousands of Mainers face loss of jobless aid

Extended benefits have been a lifeline for those looking for work during the slow recovery from recession, but Congress is about to let them expire.