News from January 3, 2014

January 4

Don Everly receives 'special spiritual message' Several photos included in this story

Don says he had a special moment with his late brother while listening to a song Phil had written.

January 3

Ted Cruz remains a Canadian citizen

The Texas Republican vowed to renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of last year, but he is still a dual citizen.

January 4

Secretive spy court renews NSA’s phone-records collection program

Meanwhile, government lawyers seek to block last month’s ruling against the program.

January 4

U.S. evacuating South Sudan embassy workers

The drawdown suggests that diplomats are deeply concerned about fighting between rival groups.

January 4

Schools win battle against lunch portion limits

The Agriculture Department removes the meat and grain limits for good.

January 3

Soldier foils arsonist at crowded Seattle bar

An Army staff sergeant grabs a fire extinguisher after someone poured gasoline on a carpeted stairway and set it ablaze.

January 3

Lawsuit alleges Facebook scans private messages

The company says there is no merit to the claims that the social network profits by profiling users’ Web activity and sharing the data with marketers.

January 6

Flashback: City Hall's lost neighbors

A photo from the Portland Press Herald's archives shows two small buildings that occupied a corner lot behind Merrill Auditorium. They were sold to the city for $5,000 and demolished.

January 3

Al-Qaida militants under seige by Iraqi troops

Militants have held Fallujah and Ramadi since Wednesday, and try to tout themselves as champions of the Sunni minority.

January 4

Owner of $324 million lottery ticket woke up rich

Steve Tran says he forgot about buying lottery tickets until the realization spurred him from sleep.

January 4

LePage: Let’s tighten up work rules for TANF

LePage says he will submit a bill to eliminate ‘good cause’ exemptions from the work requirement.

January 3

Car in Paul Walker crash may have been speeding at 100 mph

A coroner’s report also says no alcohol or drugs were detected in the system of the ‘Fast & Furious’ star or the driver of the vehicle.

January 3

New Texas library serves only e-bookworms

The first of its kind in the country, BiblioTech has plenty of iMacs and iPads, but no paper volumes, in an area where most families don’t have Wi-Fi.

January 3

Obama proposes firearm background check changes

The proposals would limit firearm access for some mental-health patients.

January 4

York County hospitals complete merger

Southern Maine Medical Center and Goodall Hospital will now be known as Southern Maine Health Care.

January 3

Interior Department disbands federal ‘Blueways’ program

The watershed conservation program was voluntary and didn’t include any new regulations, but it drew opposition from some landowners and Republican politicians.

January 3

Maine-NH bridge being put to the test in the cold

The new bridge had to be closed for about an hour Thursday night as the bridge lift was being lowered.

January 3

Peyton Manning is only unanimous All-Pro choice

The New England Patriots had no first-team All-Pro selections this year.

January 3

Train derails from unplowed track section in Saco

No injuries are reported in the derailment that blocked traffic at a railroad crossing.

January 3

USDA opens door to new herbicide-resistant seeds

Some corn and soybean farmers have eagerly anticipated a new generation of resistant seeds as weeds immune to Monsanto’s Roundup become more common.

January 3

Yarmouth Town Hall closes after losing heat

The building saw only minor damage after a frozen heating unit triggered a leak that shut down the building’s boiler.

January 4

Type of oil involved in recent rail explosions may be riskier, regulator says Several photos included in this story

The agency’s findings may expedite the rail industry’s push for stronger tank cars for moving crude and other hazardous materials.

January 3

Preservationists note 10 sites saved, lost in 2013

Notable ‘saves’ include Wrigley Field and New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre.

January 3

Parishioners mourn death of slain Calif. priest

The man suspected of killing him exhibited erratic behavior and underwent a psychiatric evaluation before the slaying.

January 3

Hebron school closes to test for possible contamination

About 1,800 gallons of oil spilled when a gauge on the school’s oil tank malfunctioned.

January 4

Storm departs, but big chill lingers in Maine Several photos included in this story

No major storms are on the horizon beyond some rain or freezing rain that could arrive Sunday and last into Monday.

January 3

At least 15 deaths linked to storm Several photos included in this story

The fluffy snow proves easy to move, but frigid temperatures bring warnings for those heading outdoors.

January 3

Illegal immigrant granted law license

It’s the latest in a string of legal victories for people who are in this country without permission.

January 3

Local & Regional Dispatches

Dentist pleads not guilty in death of wife / Maine man stands accused of stealing lottery tickets / Senator wants new rules when trains strike an object ... and more news from around the region.

January 3

Deep freeze good news for Maine smelt fishing camps

Ice on rivers comes sooner than it has for quite a few years, allowing commercial operations to get the season started.

January 3

Working outdoors in this? Mainers have ways to outwit the cold Video clip included

Clothing choices are key, as are warming breaks and common sense. Plus a personal mini-heater helps.

January 3

Fairfield fire likely started at chimney

Officials say the fire is typical of those that happen during extreme weather and power outages.

January 3

Maine tow truck driver a popular guy in bad weather Video clip included

AAA Northern New England received calls for roadside assistance at the rate of 200 every 30 minutes.

January 3

Portland mayor to head trip to Japan

Mayor Michael Brennan will lead a delegation for the 30th anniversary of Portland’s first sister-city partnership.

January 3

Barbara Bush still receiving hospital care

The former first lady gets messages of encouragement as she is treated for respiratory illness.

January 3

Medicaid needs $10 million more, Maine panel says

A state commission also proposes studying challenges facing long-term care in the state.

January 3

Press Herald Toy Fund receives letter of thanks

The fund aimed to provide toys for up to 7,000 children.

January 3

Ecomaine’s big surplus means municipalities may get windfall

The trash-burning plant’s board may end a $2.5 million annual charge, but a critic says it also could return money to member communities.

January 3

Poll finds Americans with pessimistic outlook

The survey shows Americans have little confidence that the federal government can make real progress.