News from February 20, 2014

February 21

Two Maine outdoor concert venues proposed. Only one may be approved.

The first waterfront stage built in South Portland or Westbrook will be the only one, an official predicts.

February 20

Arizona bill on religious protection moves ahead

Opponents call the bill ‘state-sanctioned discrimination’ against gays.

February 20

Endangered whale freed from fishing gear

A right whale was entangled in 280 feet of fishing line off of the coast of Georgia.

February 20

Railroad seeks safer tank cars to haul oil and ethanol

Multiple major accidents have highlighted the need for safer transportation of hazardous materials.

February 21

Wealth gap widest in six affluent U.S. cities

A study finds urban areas with high-paying industries often have the biggest economic divides.

February 20

Radiation leak confirmed at New Mexico nuclear dump

Officials stress the radiation poses no public health threat.

February 21

Feature Obituary: Mark Hough, 54, former Yarmouth town councilor, contractor, active in community

Mr. Hough died Saturday at age 54.

February 20

Maine Legislature vote results for 'religious freedom' bill: VoteTrac

The bill would enable a person to sue the government if they believe it has taken an action that abridges their freedom of religion.

February 21

Cold case squad would fight for Maine families seeking answers Several photos included in this story

Family members of loved ones who have been killed testify in favor of a bill to create a new investigative unit, but cost remains a barrier.

February 21

Bath firefighters rescue man, 4-year-old boy from burning building Video clip included

The two are being treated at a hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

February 20

Sen. Angus King sees Syrian civil war’s impact in Lebanon

The Maine senator recounts being in Beirut when a pair of suicide bombers killed eight people downtown.

February 20

Ferry operator seeks Nova Scotia’s help with financial backing

Nova Star Cruises, set to start Maine service May 1, must show it has adequate resources before it can start booking reservations.

February 20

GOP drafting bill to ease flood insurance hikes

Projections of premium increases in the current law have panicked coastal residents.

February 20

Number of U.S. farms declines, and farmers are getting older

However, there is a small rise in the number of younger farmers, a government census finds.

February 20

Skiing state championships: Falmouth, Merriconeag sweep titles

Falmouth’s boys and girls win again in Class A, and Merriconeag repeats in Class C.

March 4

Americans signing up for Obamacare insurance are avoiding cheapest plans

Most are choosing the mid-level ‘silver’ plans which have two subsidies available.

February 20

Olympic sponsors look for different kind of win

Advertisers who succeed harness the feel-good nature of the games and convey a message about their products.

February 20

NY village appeals ban on fracking water sales

Illegal in NY, towns try to cash in on fracking needs, such as water, in Pennsylvania

February 20

Four Sanford businesses accused of selling liquor to minors

Police say nine other businesses passed the alcohol compliance checks.

February 21

Scientist: State knew for years about mercury-contaminated lobster at mouth of Maine river

He says a panel’s reports in 2008 and 2009 included mercury data from the Penobscot River. But a state scientist says the findings were based on a small sample and contradicted other test results.

February 21

Maine boy, 14, to be charged in two Walmart bomb threats Several photos included in this story

Police in Skowhegan say the tech-savvy Augusta teenager used an online service to try to avoid detection.

February 20

7-year-old girl in N.H. crash dies at Maine Med

Authorities say slick road conditions likely played a role.

February 20

Census: Number of farms in Maine growing

The data shows Maine leads New England for total number of farms.

February 21

Maine House follows Senate in rejecting ‘religious freedom’ bill

The bill sought to affirm constitutional protection for the right to worship, but opponents say it was unneeded and would open the door to legal discrimination.

February 20

Canada wins in OT to take another Olympic women’s hockey gold Several photos included in this story

The Americans held a 2-0 lead in the third period before losing at 8:10 of the extra period.

February 20

Petitions turned in urging Maine to expand Medicaid

More than 70,000 signatures were collected by the Maine People’s Alliance and two national organizations.

February 21

Trove of Marin paintings, drawings going to Arkansas museum Several photos included in this story

The gift includes nearly 300 works by the modernist painter, who spent much of his life and career in Maine.

February 20

Maine prisoner who walked away is back in custody

Officials say 46-year-old John Phillip Michaud disappeared from the Machiasport minimum-security facility on Wednesday.

February 20

Human trafficking bill receives support in Maine Legislature Several photos included in this story

The bill would give courts power to vacate prostitution convictions for those who were forced into the sex trade.

February 21

Biddeford police warn of traffic pattern change at Five Points

A traffic light has been added at the city’s busiest intersection because of the high accident rate.

February 20

Stolen ‘57 Chevy returned to Calif. owner after 30 years

The owner says the car has had a lot of work done on it since it disappeared from his home in 1984.

February 20

Navy says man found dead on ship off Africa was ex-SEAL

Police say Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Reynolds, 44, were found dead on the ship made famous in a 2009 hijacking dramatized in the movie ‘Captain Phillips.’

February 20

Maine woman arrested on heroin, bath salt charges

Police executing a search warrant at a home in Brewer arrest 41-year-old Victoria Ragonesi.

February 20

View Maine's top 10 ports by value of lobsters landed



February 20

Bitcoin ATM arrives at Boston’s South Station

Bitcoin is an open-source currency affiliated with no country or bank, which can be bought and sold anonymously.

February 20

Old Town pedestrian struck, killed by SUV

Police say the driver called 911 and tried to help, but there was nothing that could be done to save her.

February 20

Ukrainian skier withdraws from Olympics in protest over violence at home

The Alpine skier’s father and coach said he and his daughter are “extremely angry at President Viktor Yanukovych.”

February 20

911 call: Maine farmer confronted neighbor after shooting self in face

Details of the chaotic scene are described in a transcript of an emergency call placed during the Jan. 5 incident involving Edward Domasinsky of Clinton.

February 20

Collision with MDOT snowplow kills driver of car

Police say the car crossed the center line and struck the plow, despite efforts by the plow driver to move out of the way.

February 20

French sweep medals in skicross at Sochi Games

The three Frenchmen quickly bolted ahead only had to stay upright to make history.

February 20

Maine man pleads guilty to two 2012 pharmacy robberies Video clip included

A judge sentences Michael Pierce to five years in jail with all but two years suspended for the robberies of two CVS pharmacies in Augusta.

February 20

Ticket sold in California wins $425 million Powerball jackpot

The convenience store that sold the ticket receives a $1 million check as state officials wait for the jackpot winner to come forward.

February 20

Innovations to be explored at Maine timber industry forum

They include new specialty papers and ultra-efficient generators that produce steam and electricity for industrial applications.

February 20

Medic: 70 protesters killed, 500 wounded in Kiev on Thursday Several photos included in this story Video clip included

In addition, at least three policemen were killed, 28 suffered gunshot wounds and 67 were captured by the protesters and were being held.

February 20

Mercury contamination in Penobscot River lobsters was known for 8 years

But consumers didn’t learn about the ‘hazardous’ levels until a state agency closed the fishing area.

February 24

Closure to affect hundreds of Maine lobster, crab harvesters

Others wonder how the closure of the Penobscot River area will reflect on the Maine lobster brand.

February 20

Couple fined for building on city land in Bath

They are told to pay $31,200 for code violations, but say they have paid taxes on the structures for almost 20 years.

February 20

Stores track shoppers via smartphones

Companies collecting the data say it’s anonymous, but consumer advocates say it’s spying.

February 20

New guidelines say don’t rush the baby

Pregnancy specialists say too many C-sections are done because labor is progressing too slowly.

February 20

Obituaries: Venezuelan singer Simon Diaz / Devo guitarist Bob Casale



February 20

Panel OKs proposal for veterans’ housing

The bill, L.D. 1606, would direct the state to sell four former AMHI group homes to a nonprofit organization.

February 20

In Beirut, Sens. King and Kaine condemn deadly blast

The two are in the Mideast to focus on U.S. humanitarian aid to Lebanon to deal with the influx of refugees from Syria.

February 20

Nebraska judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline

The ruling – a victory for landowners – invalidates the approval of a route through the state.

February 20

N.H. House passes pay equity bill

The bill says employers could not prohibit workers from discussing their pay.

February 20

DHHS considers changing how personal questions are asked on MaineCare online forms

Amid concerns over intrusiveness, more context may be added to queries about where a child was conceived or why a parent left a home.

February 20

Homeland Security does about-face on license plate readers

Saying the contract bid was posted without leadership awareness, the agency cancels the proposal.

February 20

Augusta mental health treatment unit ‘serving a jail need’

The new mental health unit at Riverview, though, only solves a small portion of bed availability problems.

February 20

Archdiocese paying $720 million to abuse victims

Files show that a cardinal had shielded priests and ordered evidence withheld from police.

February 20

Master of short fiction Mavis Gallant dies at 91

The Montreal-born author lived in Paris for decades and published 116 stories in The New Yorker alone.

February 20

Lawyers for Quebec rail crash victims pressured in bankruptcy case

The trustee for the Maine-based company blamed for the Lac-Megantic tragedy says the legal team is not following the court’s rules.

February 20

Portland’s Mac Air Group spreads its wings

Formerly Maine Aviation Corp., the company turns its attention to the luxury aircraft market.

February 20

Democrat wants to ‘right a wrong’ on Maine property taxes

His legislation would increase refunds under the program that replaced the popular ‘circuit breaker’ credit.

February 20

Oil pumps life into sleepy south Texas

Mindful of past booms, residents want to harness the good without getting left with the bad residue.

February 20

Snowblowers hot items for thieves in Portland

Police say people who own them should keep their snowblowers indoors or secured and out of sight.

February 20

Local & State Dispatches

Eight Portland businesses cited for selling alcohol to minors / Boy hurt when snowmobile driven by mother hits trees / State investigating failure of Casco Bay Bridge span to close . . . and more news from around Maine.

February 20

Unleashed dog debate drags on in Scarborough

Councilors agree to accept committee findings but remain at odds over balancing the needs of pets and piping plovers.

February 20

Maine attorney general clears U.S. border agent in shooting

The agent fired at a truck two Canadian teens used to crash through the border gate at Coburn Gore.

February 20

South Sudan school more than a building

Built with aid from immigrants in Portland, the school serves to show that different tribes can build relationships.

February 20

Maine tax ‘game’ allows towns to protect state aid at expense of neighbors

Communities that make TIF agreements with local businesses may see increased value with new buildings but be allowed to shelter that value so state aid checks are not affected.