State senate rejects bill proposing longer school year

The Maine Senate has rejected a bill calling for a longer school year.

Senators voted 22-12 Tuesday against the bill, which would extend the school year from a minimum of 180 to 185 days a year.

Supporters, including Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland, said Maine has a very short school year compared to the rest of the nation and extending it would put Maine among the states with longer academic years.

Opponents pointed to the cost of adding five school days, about $56 million a year in state and local funds.


Replicas of ships Nina, Pinta to dock for a week at marina

Replicas of two of the three ships that discovered America more than 500 years ago are going to be visiting Maine.

Replicas of Christopher Columbus’s ships the Nina and the Pinta are scheduled to dock in Kittery on June 13 and spend a week at the Badgers Island Marina.

The Nina replica was built by hand without the use of power tools. The Pinta was built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on its travels, according to Foster’s Daily Democrat.

Both ships tour as part of a sailing museum designed to educate the public about the caravel, a type of Portuguese ship used by Columbus and other early explorers to the New World.


Body identified as that of man missing since the fall

Police say an autopsy confirmed that a body discovered last week in Saco was that of a man reported missing in November.

The body of Christopher Noonan, 26, was found a half-mile from the home where he was reported missing, police said. The body was discovered Friday.

Saco police said Noonan ran out of the home and into some nearby woods after an argument in November.

Police and game wardens with search dogs and a plane searched hundreds of acres but failed to find him. A property owner discovered the body while plowing fields.


New York man rescued after raft capsizes in Kennebec

Rescuers say a man from Troy, N.Y., survived a harrowing ordeal after becoming separated from friends when their rafts capsized Sunday on the Kennebec River.

Officials say Jon Cousins, 30, spent five hours hunkered down in a small crevice on the side of a rock cliff before rescuers found him. They say he was wearing a dry suit, which protected him from hypothermia.

Maine Warden Cpl. Aaron Cross said 15 friends came to Maine for a private whitewater rafting trip.

Both rafts capsized a half-hour into the trip and the group eventually realized Cousins was missing. Six wardens, six rafting guides and a warden service plane joined the search three hours later. Rafting guides eventually located Cousins.


Time Warner experiences disruptions in phone service

Time Warner Cable is trying to figure out what caused three interruptions Tuesday in its digital phone service.

Time Warner spokesman Andrew Russell didn’t know how many customers were affected by the outages. He said the first occurred Tuesday morning and lasted an hour, the second was in late morning and lasted 25 minutes, and a third lasted 10 minutes around 1 p.m.

“It affected commercial and residential customers across our footprint,” Russell said. He added that 911 calls weren’t affected.

Some businesses, including Longfellow Books in Portland, reported that their credit card machines were down due to the interruptions.

Chris Bowe, a co-owner of the bookstore, said he used a portable credit card machine during the outage.

Although customers were still able to pay with credit cards, Bowe said, no one could call in orders.
Russell said those affected should contact Time Warner’s customer care center.

Bowe said he hopes to get reimbursed by the cable company in some way for the time he was without phone service.


Fire destroys house, barn, but occupant gets out OK

Firefighters say nine fire departments were called to fight a fire that destroyed a house and barn in Casco.

The call for the fire on Tenney Hill Road came in around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

One person was home when the fire started, but that person escaped uninjured, according to WMTW-TV.

The house and barn were attached.

An investigator from the state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.


Governor honors companies for their business excellence

The 21st annual Governor’s Awards for Business Excellence were presented to six companies Tuesday in the Hall of Flags at the State House.

Gov. Paul LePage presented the awards to Maine companies that demonstrate a high level of commitment to the community, their employees and manufacturing excellence.

The recipients were Duratherm Window Corp. of Vassalboro, Hardwood Products Co. LP of Guilford, JSI Store Fixtures Inc. of Milo, Mid-State Machine Products of Winslow and Waterville, Snowman Printing & Presort Express of Hermon and Treworgy Family Orchards of Levant.


LearningWorks program to get $1 million federal grant

LearningWorks will receive a grant of more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The announcement will be made today by Chief Executive Officer Ethan Strimling during a ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. at LearningWorks’ offices at 181 Brackett St.

The grant is funded through YouthBuild, an alternative education program that offers people age 16-24 training and experience for in-demand industry careers.

LearningWorks provides learning opportunities for at-risk youths, the immigrant community and low-income families.