News from February 6, 2014

February 7

Feature obituary: Kurt Hoffman, had huge impact on Portland's recovery community

Mr. Hoffman, who died Monday at age 46, is remembered for helping others even as he struggled with his own challenges.

February 7

Maine judge: Cellphone company erred in turning over text messages

A supreme court justice finds that U.S. Cellular violated privacy laws by releasing the data.

February 7

Jay Leno bids farewell to ‘Tonight’ show

The comedian got a little choked up Thursday night as he handed over the show he has hosted for 22 years; Jimmy Fallon takes over on Feb. 17.

February 6

Mystery of stolen Stradivarius violin solved in Milwaukee

The violin is valued at $5 million.

February 6

Colleagues expel Massachusetts lawmaker facing jail time

Rep. Carlos Henriquez said he wouldn’t resign because despite his conviction for assault, he is ‘an innocent man.’

February 7

Maine game wardens charge 8 in poaching sweep

The individuals, all from northern Maine, are accused of illegally hunting deer and moose in Allagash.

February 6

Southern New England ski areas vulnerable, says climate change expert

In years with little snow, those states see a big drop-off in skier visits, but even northern New England states like Maine feel the pain.

February 6

Maine mother accused of burning son retains custody

The family recently moved to Maine, so officials say there are no close family or friends with whom to place her three children while she is tried.

February 7

Grant to help protect N.H. water sources

The grant is part of $30 million intended to improve and protect forests and waterways.

February 7

Deal moves N.H. toward Medicaid expansion

If approved by lawmakers, about 49,000 poor adults will start getting insurance funded with federal dollars.

February 6

Extension of unemployment benefits stalls anew in Senate

Republicans – not including Maine’s Susan Collins – block a three-month renewal of federal benefits for those who have been out of work a long time.

February 7

DA: No evidence to prosecute driver in Port Clyde fatal crash

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau releases a report explaining his decision not to charge Cheryl Torgerson, 61, of New York City.

February 7

Biddeford readies downtown snow hill for WinterFest Several photos included in this story

The festival begins at 6 p.m. Friday with the Big Air and Rail Jam, in which riders compete for $2,000 in cash prizes.

February 6

VoteTrac: see how your legislators voted on the municipal aid budget proposal

LD 1762 would take $40 million from two state accounts, including the rainy day fund, to balance the state budget and forestall a proposal to take the $40 million from state aid to cities and towns.

February 6

House vote results on the proposal to restore municipal revenue-sharing: VoteTrac

L.D. 1762 would take $40 million from two state accounts, including the rainy day fund, to balance the state budget and forestall a proposal to take the $40 million from state aid to cities and towns. Additional votes will be required by both chamber of the Legislature before the bill passes.

February 7

Maine men, boy survive ATV plunge into China Lake

The driver, Lucas Cole, 25, of Benton, says he was in the water for about five minutes, and suffered hypothermia and frostbite.

February 6

App invites all to run the 2014 Boston Marathon

Users can set individual goals, group target mileage or run their own 26.2-mile course on Marathon Monday.

February 6

A year adrift on the Pacific? A medical Q and A

The author of the book ‘The Biology of Human Survival’ talks about what is physically possible and his view on the tale of Jose Salvador Alvarenga.

February 6

Sea survivor appears weaker in second appearance

Looking like ‘someone who has run two or three marathons,’ he likely will take three or four days to be fit enough to travel back to El Salvador.

February 6

LePage appoints new Maine emergency management head

Brian Fitzgerald has been serving as acting director of MEMA.

February 6

Companies push voluntary labels on genetically modified food

Maine is one of two states that has passed GMO labeling legislation.

February 6

Boehner: Immigration legislation tough to pass Congress

The House speaker acknowledges his Republican colleagues’ reluctance, but blames President Obama.

February 6

PETA member wants roadside memorial for chickens

If approved, a memorial would be placed at a Georgia site where a truck hauling live chickens overturned Jan. 27.

February 6

Tesla breaks into top 5 in Consumer Reports study

Toyota widens its lead in the survey to place ahead of Ford. Honda slips from second to third.

February 7

Two St. Joseph’s students charged with throwing acid bombs from dorm window

Victor Santos, 18, of Framingham, Mass., and Brandon Ward, 19, of Houlton, are charged with criminal use of explosives after allegedly throwing three acid bombs.

February 6

The morning after: Photos

Bright sun and dazzling snow scenes as Mainers dig out and return to normal routines.

February 8

Maine House votes to avoid cut in state aid to localities

Legislators back retaining $40 million for revenue sharing and taking money from other funds in an early vote on a politically sensitive bill opposed by some Republicans.

February 6

Airport control tower lightning strike prompts inspections

In the wake of an incident this fall, the FAA will inspect towers.

February 6

No jail for Texas teen in so-called ‘affluenza’ case Video clip included

Ethan Couch was 16 and drunk when he lost control of his truck and plowed into a group of people, killing four.

February 6

Calif. town’s water shortage stokes fear of future Several photos included in this story Video clip included

The town of Willits, which usually sees 50 inches of rain a year, is in one of 17 rural areas that are dangerously low on water, and officials expect that number to grow.

February 6

Broadway mourns Hoffman as 3 face drug charges Video clip included

At least one of those arrested had the actor’s cellphone number, law enforcement officials say.

February 6

Old soldiers just fade away – except GI Joe Several photos included in this story

Whether it’s the original ‘movable fighting man’ or today’s version, he remains a popular brand 50 years after his introduction.

February 6

CMP sending crews to Pa. to help restore power Video clip included

Ice buildup on Wednesday downed tree limbs and power lines, putting 750,000 customers in the dark.

February 6

MaineGeneral Health’s new Narcan program aims to stop overdose deaths Several photos included in this story

The health care group plans to distribute 500 emergency opiate overdose kits to at-risk patients starting in March.

March 11

LePage used speech for defining campaign

Pushing divisive plans that have no chance of passage shows a lack of leadership, his political opponents say.

February 6

DOE says it will release possible routes for Northern Pass

Details about the electrical transmission project will likely be made available by the end of the year.

February 6

Maine’s highest court rejects woman’s bid to keep koi

Georgette Curran says the fish should be legalized as an aquarium trade fish, but the state considers it an invasive species.

February 6

New artificial hand has sense of touch

A bulky prosthetic prototype with electrodes attached to nerves gives the user an ability to grasp by feel.

February 6

Extreme weather plan involves seven U.S. ‘climate hubs’

Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack warns changes already are having a devastating effect.

February 6

CVS follows Maine chain’s lead by dropping tobacco

Downeast Pharmacy stopped selling the products in 1993, a bold move then, and Bow Street Market has done the same.

February 6

Local & State Dispatches

Man pleads guilty to five store, pizza shop robberies / Police want to know if home invasion suspect acted alone / Police charge man in two Lewiston bank robberies ... and more news from around the state.

February 6

Maine man who left gun in store pleads guilty to several charges

The Norridgewock man says the claims of threatening were all a misunderstanding.

February 6

Powerful airborne surveillance cameras focus on stopping crime

Cameras aboard planes can track robberies in progress and provide a wealth of data for tracking criminals.

February 6

Big money, big dreams for Portland seafood company

With an infusion of investment funds, Bristol Seafood expects to open a second facility to help it compete for business nationwide.

February 6

Road-clearing budgets nearly plowed under in Maine

A spate of ice-producing storms forces many municipalities to use extra salt and sand, straining finances with the winter only half over.

February 6

How to solve Maine's green crab problem? Sell them, eat them, CEO says Video clip included

All efforts to make the invader a marketable product have failed, but a Canadian man now wants to change that in Maine.

March 12

With drug crackdown, LePage favoring enforcement over treatment

The governor wants more drug officers, judges and prosecutors but remains silent on prevention and treatment in his State of the State speech.