Bath Iron Works will cut up to 250 jobs on June 24

Bath Iron Works has notified one of its unions that it plans to cut up to 250 jobs as design work slows down on the next-generation Zumwalt destroyer.

The shipyard on Friday notified the Bath Marine Draftsmen’s Association of the layoffs to be effective on June 24. It follows the layoffs of 130 designers in January and 130 workers engaged in construction the following month.

Spokesman Jim DeMartini said the shipyard has to balance its work force with the available workload in a period in which the Navy is buying fewer ships.

Sen. Olympia Snowe said the Navy needs to build up its fleet. She said that as of May 31, the Navy claimed a force of just 285 ships, far below the 313-ship minimum established by the Navy.


Jackson Lab ends second try to open facility in Florida

The Jackson Laboratory has ended a second attempt to create a research center in Florida, ending for now any further expansion plans outside Maine.

Citing Florida’s budget difficulties, Jackson Laboratory officials said Friday it had withdrawn a request for $100 million in startup money for 120,000-square-foot research center to be opened in partnership with the University of South Florida in Sarasota County.

The Jackson Lab and the university pulled the plug in January on a similar plan for Collier County.

The Jackson Lab specializes in mouse genetics to prevent and treat human diseases. Charles E. Hewett, Jackson’s executive vice president, thanked Florida’s governor and Legislature for giving consideration to the proposal.


Construction worker killed in 10-foot fall off scaffolding

Police said a construction worker using a jackhammer to remove bricks from a building has died following a 10-foot fall off scaffolding.

The worker, whose name has not been released, fell about 2 p.m. Friday. Police said he was working at the former Webster School in Auburn, which is being converted into residential housing.

The worker was employed by Hascall & Hascall of Portland.

Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are assisting police.


Vessel at Ocean Gateway kicks off cruise ship season

The Independence, a small ship operated by American Cruise Line, is at the Ocean Gateway terminal, kicking off the cruise ship season.

The Independence, which carries 89 passengers, will homeport in Portland this summer, along with another ACL ship, the American Glory. The independence departs Sunday for Boothbay Harbor.

The city expects fewer cruise ships than last year, but a record number of passengers this year. More than 86,00 passengers are expected to be aboard 59 ships that are scheduled to stop in Portland through October.

The Enchantment, with 2,250 passengers, will be the first large cruise ship to call in Portland, on June 18. Maiden visits to Portland are scheduled this summer for Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, the Caribbean Princess and the Norwegian Jewel.

City officials said they expect the new deep-water pier at Ocean Gateway to be complete in early August, with the Enchantment scheduled to be the first ship to berth there on Aug. 13. The pier will allow larger ships to tie up and permit the city to handle more than one large cruise ship at a time.

Bishop extends deadline for school ruling to Monday

A group of parents who want Cathedral School to stay open has until Monday to provide additional information about their funding plan.

The group met with Bishop Richard Malone on Wednesday to outline their proposal and a new way to finance the parochial school. The group had asked Malone to issue a decision by Friday.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland issued a statement late Friday afternoon saying that the bishop was awaiting additional information.

“Because the decision is so important to everyone involved, the bishop has extended the deadline until noon on Monday and the parents group is in agreement,” the statement said.

The diocese announced in April that the 147-year-old school would close after the last day of classes on June 16.


Woman accused of killing son moved to different jail

The Texas woman who is accused of killing her 6-year-old son in New Hampshire and leaving his body on a remote Maine road has been moved to a different jail.

Julianne McCrery of Irving, Texas, has been moved to the Strafford County Jail.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reported Friday that the 42-year-old woman was transferred last weekend because the Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood has limited space for female detainees.

Strafford County Administrator Ray Bower said the jail in Dover has the capacity to handle 60 to 100 women.

McCrery is being held without bail on a murder charge in the death of her son Camden Hughes last month. Authorities say she killed the boy in New Hampshire and disposed of the body in Maine. She was arrested in Massachusetts.


Gov. LePage swears in two members of Cabinet

Gov. Paul LePage swore in Robert Winglass on Friday as Maine’s new labor commissioner and George Gervais as the new head of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

A 35-year veteran of the Marine Corps, Winglass retired as a three-star lieutenant general in 1992. A former state legislator, Winglass served on the transportation committee and health and human services committees. He later worked for IBM as director of the strategic business relationships team in the software division.

Gervais had worked in the department as assistant commissioner, development program manager and business development specialist. He had been acting commissioner since April. Gervais worked in the private sector as a senior loan officer at two mortgage companies and helped start two companies.

The Senate endorsed Winglass on Friday by a vote of 32-1. Gervais was confirmed by a vote of 33-0.

Gervais was nominated to replace LePage’s first economic development commissioner, Philip Congdon, who resigned in April after being criticized for comments he made in Aroostook County.

Winglass is LePage’s first labor commissioner. A previous nominee withdrew her name in February.

LePage signs bill to expand protection-from-abuse law

Maine’s protection-from-abuse law for people who are 60 and older is being broadened.

Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday signed a bill, L.D. 1374, allowing adults who are 60 or older, and adults who are incapacitated or dependent, to seek a protection-from-abuse order if that adult is a victim of abuse by an extended family member or an unpaid care provider.

Under present law, an adult can only get relief under the protection-from-abuse laws if the abuse is perpetrated by a family or household member or a dating partner. That definition does not include spouses of adult children, grandchildren, other relatives and caregivers.

New law requires landlords to disclose smoking policies

Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that requires Maine landlords to disclose smoking policies to tenants.

The bill, L.D. 1067, which was signed Thursday, requires the notices as part of lease agreements or through separate written notices to tenants or potential tenants. Notices must state whether smoking is prohibited on the premises, allowed on the entire premises or allowed in limited areas.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, was scaled back to remove a penalty provision, and make clear it does not apply to purchasers of condominiums.

Senate approves resolution for Congress about ethanol

The Legislature is sending the Obama administration a message urging an exemption from federal ethanol requirements for gasoline.

A joint resolve introduced by Rep. Beth O’Connor of Berwick won final Senate approval on Wednesday after winning House approval last week. Connor characterized corn ethanol as “a colossal waste” that’s subsidized by billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers.

Her criticisms include damage it can cause to small engines and its inflationary impact on food prices. She said it takes nearly twice as much energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the ethanol itself yields.

The resolution asks Congress to acknowledge the problems and to consider exempting some grades of gas from provisions of the Clean Air Act that require a blend of 10 percent ethanol.

Rangers seize firewood from beetle infestation area

A firewood exchange run by the state prevented some potentially dangerous wood from Massachusetts from reaching Maine’s forests, according to the Maine Forest Service.

Forest service rangers seized a load of wood from Worcester, Mass. — an area known to suffer from heavy infestation of the invasive Asian longhorned beetle.

The seizure took place during a two-day exchange last week. Forest rangers made 250 contacts with visitors and 27 seizures.

The wood from Worcester was tagged, bagged, dissected and then burned. Its transportation was a breach of the federal quarantine. It did not show signs of the Asian longhorned beetle, which has not yet been found in Maine.

The Legislature banned out-of-state firewood last year. Since then the forest service has conducted three exchanges to swap Maine wood for out-of-state firewood.

In addition to the Asian longhorned beetle, the exchange aimed to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer.

The two invasive insects have destroyed millions of acres of trees in other areas. The Asian longhorned beetle was recently discovered in Boston. The emerald ash borer has been found in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Quebec and Ontario.


Emergency agency’s chief on paid leave during probe

A sheriff’s department is investigating the director of the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency for the possible misuse of information from the enhanced 911 emergency phone system.

The Sun Journal said Scott Parker was placed on paid administrative leave May 26. Details of what is being investigated are unclear.

Sheriff Wayne Gallant said no charges have been filed. When his department completes its investigation, the case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office.

County Administrator Scott Cole said Parker will remain on leave until the sheriff’s investigation is complete and until the county conducts its own investigation.

Parker could not be reached Friday at his home.


Foxcroft Academy teachers, students getting iPads in fall

Maine’s Foxcroft Academy is the latest school in the state with plans to provide iPad computers for students and teachers.

The program will begin in the fall.

The decision at the private school that serves local communities in the Dover-Foxcroft area, follows a pilot program that provided iPads that were shared among students and staff.

Foxcroft Academy is believed to be the first high school in Maine to use iPads. The Auburn School District plans to supply its kindergarten pupils with iPads, and the Cape Elizabeth school system is planning a pilot program for its high school.

The Bangor Daily News said Foxcroft Academy officials like iPads because they are durable, have no moving parts, can be used to download textbooks and are about half the cost of laptops.


Film shot locally in 2009 set for premiere, DVD release

A low-budget movie shot in Maine two years ago is getting a better run than writer-director Allen Cognata had expected.

“The Putt Putt Syndrome,” which was shot in a Lewiston supermarket and Winthrop during 18 mostly rain-soaked days in June 2009, was set to premiere Friday night in Los Angeles. Then, in September, the dark comedy is to be released on DVD.

The film is about a man who watches a friend’s marriage dissolve.

Cognata told the Sun Journal of Lewiston that the movie’s planned run exceeds his expectations, which he said were “realistic.” Cognata also wrote the small-but-acclaimed 2002 feature “Ghetto Dog.”

Cognata said he and his partners have signed a deal with Cinema Epoch, which releases low-budget art house and genre movies.