News from January 30, 2014

January 31

School throws away meals of students short on lunch money

The kids saw their food thrown out because of outstanding balances on their lunch accounts.

January 30

Maine teacher fired after calling students stupid

She was a substitute who taught art to fourth-grade students at Vickery School in Pittsfield.

January 30

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie damaged in N.H. primary poll

Christie was hurt by a political-retribution scandal earlier this month.

January 30

Revived Canadiens cool down Bruins

Peter Budaj stopped 34 shots and the Montreal Canadiens ended Boston’s recent scoring binge with a 4-1 win.

January 31

Hit by D.C. bus, snowy owl lives to hoot

The rare birds are moving south from the Arctic and being seen from Maine to Florida as they seek food.

January 30

New York’s mayor initiates stop-and-frisk reforms

A monitor will be appointed to oversee changes in a police-tactics policy that led to discrimination.

January 30

Agriculture committee tables bill to fund Maine food hubs

The nearly $400,000 cost this fiscal year to fund feasibility studies leaves some with a bitter taste.

January 30

Worker smuggling ring linked to Maine Chinese restaurants Several photos included in this story

Texas employment agencies were allegedly recruiting illegal Hispanic immigrants to work in Maine and at least six other states.

January 30

Vermont woman returning medal to Maine family

Frank E. Conroy was wounded fighting in France in World War I, and his Purple Heart had disappeared.

January 30

Senate votes to delay higher flood insurance premiums

Both of Maine’s senators support the bill as coastal property owners face dramatic increases.

January 30

Cause of Jan. 19 Portland house fire can’t be determined

The fire left 84 Irving St. unsafe to enter, even for investigators.

January 30

Portland school board member to step down in June

Elizabeth Brooks says she is resigning to return to her native England.

February 10

Match Maine's Westminster dogs to their humans: Interactive quiz

The 2014 Westminster Dog Show will bring hundreds of canines and their owners to New York City Feb. 10-11. Take our quiz and match 10 of the dogs heading to the competition to their owners or breeders.

January 30

When the cold is biting, restaurant customers are not

Deep-freeze hibernation also slows business at hair salons and coffee shops and reduces workers’ incomes.

January 30

Police seize $21.6 million in counterfeit Super Bowl souvenirs

Investigators conduct an eight-month operation and seize 202,000 game-related items, many of them made in China.

January 30

VoteTrac: Legislative vote results on Maine 'dental therapists' bill

The bill would create a new dental health position in the state. Proponents say the bill is an attempt to increase access to dental care, especially in rural areas.

January 31

Nation’s jails make changes to keep transgender inmates safe

Housing is the most difficult issue, and conflicts between state and federal laws must be resolved.

January 30

Cousin of ex-Patriot Hernandez out on bail

Prosecutors allege Tanya Singleton helped Hernandez’s ‘right-hand man’ Ernest Wallace travel to Florida after the killing.

January 31

Amanda Knox's murder conviction reinstated in Italy Several photos included in this story

The American woman, sentenced to 28 years, remains in Seattle, and experts say it could be a year before Italy seeks her extradition.

January 30

U.S. to seek death penalty for marathon bombing suspect

Seventeen of 30 charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev carry the possibility of death, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill.

January 31

Longtime Mexican restaurant in Portland closes after repeated citations Several photos included in this story

Mesa Verde failed two of its last three inspections but was not told to shut down, city records show.

January 30

VoteTrac: House results on Maine's early-voting constitutional amendment

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Shaw, D-Standish, proposes to change the Maine Constitution to give cities and towns the option of allowing in-person voting before Election Day.

January 30

Toyota halts some sales because of possible flammable seats

No fires or injuries have been reported, but the company stops sales while it swaps out the fabric on some models.

January 31

Maine’s highest court: Transgender student’s rights were violated

Nicole Maines’ school was wrong to require the fifth-grader to use a unisex bathroom, justices rule in a historic gender-identity decision that could be a model for other states.

January 30

Justin Bieber charged with assault on limo driver in Canada

Police allege Bieber was one of six people who were picked up by the limo from a nightclub and there was an altercation while en route to a hotel.

February 3

Maine House OKs early-voting measure

If finally approved, cities and towns could allow in-person voting and ballot counting before Election Day.

January 31

Maine's Mitchell may negotiate for some Quebec rail disaster victims

Court documents show former Sen. George Mitchell would serve as the group’s fiduciary during the railroad’s bankruptcy proceedings.

January 31

Senate backs new job to help fill gaps in Maine dental care Several photos included in this story

A ‘dental therapist’ trained to do more procedures could especially benefit rural areas, but opponents say there’s no problem to fix.

January 30

Falmouth police charge Portland man with counterfeiting

A search of Jonathan McDonald’s home uncovers what police call a ‘counterfeit plant.’

January 31

First two Maine virtual schools get initial approval

The schools, whose previous proposals were rejected, will take the next step forward, as will a school operated by followers of a Turkish imam. A Montessori school is rejected.

January 30

Where’s my car? Storm cleanup under way in Atlanta

The National Guard is helping drivers recover their abandoned vehicles and provide them with fuel if necessary.

January 30

Portland Pirates not likely to move AHL franchise to Glens Falls, N.Y.

Officials in upstate New York say they’re negotiating with a different AHL franchise.

January 30

U.S. economic growth solid in fourth quarter

The economy gets a boost from the biggest increase in consumer spending in three years.

January 30

Going through airport security with legal marijuana

It is against federal law to travel on a plane with weed, even if it is legal where you are.

January 30

N.H. dad to go to jail, write apology for accosting coach

The judge also orders 46-year-old David Tracy to complete 75 hours of community service.

January 30

Lewiston police seek suspect in credit union robbery

A dozen officers and a police dog arrived at the scene within minutes but were unable to locate the robber.

January 30

Merchant admits smuggling 39,000 piranhas into NYC

Prosecutors say Joel Rakower imported the piranhas in 2011 and 2012 and resold them to fish retailers in several states.

January 30

Terror suspect challenges NSA surveillance program

The Justice Department has said it intends to use information gleaned from a warrantless surveillance program against Jamshid Muhtorov.

January 30

Teen charged in Mass. teacher killing appears in court

Authorities allege that the 15-year-old raped and killed Colleen Ritzer after she asked him to stay after school for extra help.

January 30

Maine House reconsiders early-voting bill

The bill failed to get two-thirds support in the House last session, but was held over for reconsideration in this session.

January 30

Ukrainian president takes sick leave amid crisis

There is no indication of how long he might be on leave or whether he will be able to do any work.

January 30

Cold-night homeless count in Portland finds few out in the cold

The annual Point-in-Time survey tries to count the homeless living in and outside the shelter system.

January 30

Maine's lax follow-up policy penalizes some day care sites, critics say

Is progress made at child care facilities given conditional licenses? With no formal updates, it’s hard to say. An advocate calls it ‘a pretty big hole.'

January 30

Flu vaccination proposal tramples rights, R.I. told

The ACLU says a school requirement would erode families’ ability to make health care decisions.

January 30

Scientists find your inner Neanderthal

In DNA related to skin, the genetic instructions can be as much as 70 percent Neanderthal.

January 30

Local & State Dispatches

Man charged with 15 counts of possessing child porn / Body of missing Bangor man found in woods / Police identify woman killed in crash ... and more news from around the state.

January 30

Growing hemp nears legality in Maine, but just for research

The U.S. farm bill heading for final passage would allow it in Maine, but since industrial crops are still illegal, little study of it is expected.

January 30

Negotiations continue in case of Winslow wrestling club’s missing money

The club’s former treasurer was arrested in September and pleaded not guilty in November.

January 30

Verdict expected today in Amanda Knox trial

The American student remains in Seattle as her third murder trial in Italy plays out in global media.

January 30

Verso Paper warns it may not complete NewPage merger

A weak response to a debt exchange offer could kill the deal affecting three Maine paper mills.

January 30

Senate likely to delay flood insurance rate hikes

But the bill to delay a big rate increase faces House opponents who say it unravels needed reforms.

January 30

What does buyer see in small, bankrupt Maine railway?

The MM&A railroad’s customers are few and far between, but it’s the only line connecting Montreal and Saint John, Canada.