February 8, 2013

Dispatches

PORTLAND

Days for shrimping doubled because of slow early catch

Regulators have doubled the number of days for shrimp harvesting because of a weak catch since the start of the season.

Fishermen will be allowed to trawl for shrimp on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays -- up from only Mondays and Wednesdays. The extra days, for fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, will begin Monday.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section voted unanimously Thursday to double the days because of a low catch in the season, which began Jan. 23 for trawlers. Trap fishing began Feb. 5.

In December, Maine's shrimp season was curtailed by nearly 75 percent after scientists warned that the shrimp population was at risk from overfishing and high water temperatures, which are unfavorable for shrimp.

In the first two weeks of the trawling season, the only period for which the commission had data available, the total shrimp catch was about 163,000 pounds, the commission said.

The catch limit for the season is 1.38 million pounds, down from 5.3 million pounds caught last year. In 2011, a total of 13.3 million pounds of shrimp were harvested.

Last year, Maine accounted for about 90 percent of the shrimp landings in the Gulf of Maine. This season has started differently, the commission said, with more shrimp being caught in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Prosecutors say Bath man admits child porn charges

Federal prosecutors say a Bath man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Authorities say Joseph Finocchiaro, 61, pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Prosecutors said that in October, investigators executed a search warrant at Finocchiaro's home and seized several collages made from printed photographs of child pornography. Finocchiaro printed the images from an internet photo-sharing website and assembled them into the collages.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing was not immediately scheduled.

New charter school partners with a high school in China

A charter school that plans to open in Portland in September has formed a relationship with a school in China.

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, Maine's third public charter school, has established ties and will begin a long-term cooperative learning agreement with Lanxi No.1 High School in the Province of Zhejiang, China.

The relationship aims to promote program development focused on science, technology, engineering and math, while enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two institutions.

Baxter Academy Executive Director John Jaques says the relationship will allow the academy to diversify its science-and-technology-focused curriculum while strengthening intercultural exchange between students, school communities and teachers.

Classes at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science are scheduled to begin Sept. 3.

HOLLIS

Fire razes house, kills cats, leaves couple homeless

A couple were left homeless Thursday by a fire that destroyed their home at 24 Mason Drive.

Fire Chief Jason Johnson said Carolyn and Winston Empey were at their home with their grandson when the boy saw flames on an outdoor porch. All three escaped safely, but Johnson said the fire spread quickly to the kitchen area.

By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had leveled the two-story home and melted a plastic shed. Two cats died in the fire, which was reported just after 1 p.m. The Empeys spent Thursday night at a neighbor's house.

Johnson said the cause of the fire is being investigated by the state Fire Marshal's Office.

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