News from January 31, 2014

January 31

Maine students put their technical skills to the test

They compete in plumbing, cooking, designing and other areas for a chance to go to a SkillsUSA national competition.

January 31

Prosecutors say Aaron Hernandez spoke in code

They want access to recordings of jailhouse phone calls made by the former New England Patriot.

February 1

Bombing suspect’s life may be safer in Boston trial

Even marathon victims are conflicted over the death penalty sought for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

January 31

Sex abuse often covered up in schools, new report says

Many schools settle claims of child sex abuse within school districts, according to the report.

January 31

Obama hints at being open to compromise on immigration

A House proposal would allow 11 million immigrants to stay in the United States.

January 31

Coast Guardsman guilty of indecent act with child in Maine

Benjamin L. Sylvester is sentenced to serve three years in the brig and to be dishonorably discharged.

January 31

U.S. cattle herd shrinking, pushing up price of beef

Extreme drought leads to scarce food for the animals, so farmers are selling them.

February 1

NFL likely to expand playoffs to 14 teams

Commissioner Roger Goodell said 'there's a lot of benefits' to adding two extra teams to the postseason.

March 12

Susan Collins ended 2013 with $3 million in re-election fund

For the final quarter, however, her Democratic challenger raised more money than Maine’s Republican senator.

January 31

Maine still in, Vermont out as possible missile launch site

The Department of Defense is looking for an East Coast base for anti-ballistic missiles.

January 31

Two Celtics to play with Maine Red Claws

Vitor Faverani and Vander Blue will play this weekend at the Portland Expo.

January 31

Mainer among trio attending 48th straight Super Bowl

Don Crisman of Kennebunkport got free tickets for the first three Super Bowls, when prices ranged from $6 to $12.

January 31

Bruno Mars ‘ain’t scared!’ to perform at Super Bowl halftime

At 28, he’ll be one of the youngest performers to take the stage, but has connected with fans of all ages.

January 31

Saco chooses its leader for new school department

He will serve as interim superintendent as the city finalizes its withdrawal from RSU 23.

January 31

Old Maine law prohibits bars from listing beers' alcohol content

Heather Steeves' story at MaineToday.com recounts how Three Tides brewpub in Belfast ran afoul of the law by letting customers know what they were drinking.

January 31

Sochi Olympics lure first-ever participants from tiny Dominica

The American-born cross-country skiing couple make up the Caribbean nation’s team – the whole team.

February 1

Keystone XL oil pipeline clears major hurdle

A State Department report gives Obama political cover if he chooses to endorse the pipeline in spite of opposition from some Democrats and environmental groups.

February 1

Conn. inmate wins $12,000 verdict over ‘putrid’ mattress

Harold Bell, who is serving a 12-year sentence, suffered joint pain, headaches and chronic sleep deprivation because of the mattress.

February 1

Maine rail bankruptcy likely to spawn more lawsuits

A trustee expects a fund for victims of the Quebec train disaster to total in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

February 1

Kennebunk student’s iPhone catches fire in pocket

The girl is treated for second-degree burns at a Biddeford hospital.

January 31

Maine one of most affordable states for home, auto insurance

The state has the third-lowest average auto insurance premium, according to a new report.

January 31

Quebec train victim settlement expected to be ‘nine-figures’

A court trustee says wrongful death cases, property damage and envionmental claims would draw from the same fund.

January 31

Suspicious powder near Super Bowl sites appears harmless

A federal law enforcement official says one of the mailings contained baking soda.

February 1

Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy sold to farmer cooperative Several photos included in this story

The 93-year-old company says it plans no layoffs of its 200 employees.

January 31

Labrador retrievers raise the bar for dog popularity

They lead the pack – for 23 years in a row – of breeds that Americans own, while the French bulldog is nipping on the heels of the top 10.

January 31

Montana Catholic diocese files for bankruptcy protection over sex abuse

Under a proposed settlement, a bankruptcy court would handle disbursement of $15 million to compensate the 362 victims identified in two lawsuits.

February 2

10 Super Bowl ads to watch for

Advertisers are in the game to win. The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest showcase, with more than 108 million people expected to watch.

January 31

Old Orchard Beach will expand local hiking trail system

A Project Canopy grant will allow for trail improvements on two town-owned parcels of land.

January 31

Childhood cancer cases up, but deaths down, report says

New diagnoses have been inching up each year, led by some types of blood and lymphatic cancers.

January 31

Amanda Knox: ‘I’m going to fight this to the very end’ Video clip included

She says she has written a letter to the family of her slain British roommate, Meredith Kercher, expressing sympathy for the continuing legal ordeal.

February 1

Maine artist's postal stamp for Shirley Chisholm unveiled

The image of the former congresswoman and presidential candidate is part of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage Series.

January 31

Drone beer delivery to ice fishermen? Grounded.

A Minn. craft brewery’s unusual delivery idea is shot down by FAA.

January 31

Norovirus spreads on second cruise ship, more than 180 passengers sick

The Caribbean Princess was forced to return to port early, citing fog – not the illness – as a reason.

January 31

Berwick woman in critical condition after house fire

Investigators say the fire at the First Street house started in electrical wiring in the basement.

January 31

Conn. company to open design lab in Brunswick

RollEase makes operating systems and accessories for window coverings, such as blinds.

January 31

Dukakis lukewarm on having his name on Boston’s South Station

The former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate says he’s ‘not in favor’ of a bill to rename the rail hub the Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center.

January 31

Helen Mirren ‘twerks’ at Harvard’s Hasty Pudding festivities Video clip included

She said she’s tried to twerk privately in her bedroom and having to do it in public was humiliating.

January 31

Dresden woman gets 3 months in Bath pharmacy robbery

She wrote the note and scouted for her brother-in-law, then called him from her cellphone and told him it was safe to commit the robbery.

January 31

Police find Knox’s co-defendant Sollecito at hotel near Italian border

Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer said his client was in the area of Italy’s northeastern border because that’s where his current girlfriend lives.

January 31

Maine, N.H., Vt. snowmobile weekend begins today

Any snowmobile legally registered in any of the participating states is allowed on trails in all three states.

January 31

Local and State Dispatches

Damage prevents determination of Portland fire’s cause / Portland man charged over counterfeit $20 bills / Lewiston police looking for suspect in credit union robbery ... and more

January 31

Westbrook probe into athlete suspensions leads to no action

Results of the third-party investigation were not immediately released because of concerns about confidential information that was not properly redacted.

January 31

Panel votes to seek study of protections for Maine franchisees

A bill calls for remedies on the grounds that some franchisors’ contracts are unfair, but others disagree.

January 31

At least 92 officers from nuclear ranks accused of cheating

Nearly one-fifth of the nuclear force is taken out of commission.

January 31

Old-age worries least likely in U.S., global study finds

The analysis details some of the benefits of immigration with its influx of a younger population.

January 31

Yarmouth hires new school superintendent

Andrew R. Dolloff will resign as superintendent for RSU 21 and will begin his new job July 1.

January 31

Jelly doughnut-shaped Mars rock has life of its own – in court

A man files papers to demand that NASA do more to investigate the mysterious phenomenon.

January 31

Time Warner, civic center dispute could black out Maine state title games Several photos included in this story

A fee dispute over reinstalling cable in the Portland arena threatens to knock part of the annual basketball tournament off MPBN.

January 31

Agency lays off 23 as it leaves MaineCare rides program

York County Community Action Corp. cites declining revenue in its arrangement with LogistiCare, which says it expects no service disruptions in the York region.

January 31

Maine lawyer: ‘We were shocked’ to learn of robo-signing

Three lawyers with a Portland firm could be disciplined for failing to take ‘reasonable’ actions.

January 31

Maine shipyard puts brakes on summer trolley tour

Bath Iron Works cancels the museum’s program because too much work will be going on.

February 1

Bill Nemitz: Maine's top court stands up for rights of transgender student

What, we can only wonder, does Paul Melanson have to say now?