University of Maine ranked 19th on party-school list

The University of Maine, which uses the Maine Stein Song as its school song, has cracked the top 20 for party schools for the first time.

The annual ranking by The Princeton Review put West Virginia University on top as the nation’s No. 1 party school.

Down on the list, at No. 19, was the University of Maine, just ahead of the University of Tennessee.

The Princeton Review ranks 62 categories from food to dorms to general happiness.

When it comes to food, Bowdoin College in Brunswick has no peers. The college, which starts the year with a lobster bake for students, came in first place for best campus food as well as “quality of life.”


Victims were at gathering, left in white car, friends say

Relatives and friends of three Maine residents who were found dead in a burning car last week say the victims had attended a small gathering and left in a white Pontiac with Rhode Island plates before their deaths, a newspaper reported.

The burning car was discovered early on Aug. 13 in a parking lot. A person was seen walking away from the car in video surveillance images recorded at a nearby business, but it’s unclear if that person was the driver.

Authorities identified the victims as Daniel Thomas Borders, 26, of Hermon; Nicolle Ashley Lugdon, 24, of Eddington; and Lucas Alan Tuscano, 28, of Bradford. Their deaths have been ruled homicides, though the exact cause has not been made public.

The Bangor Daily News reported that according to friends and relatives, the three were at a house gathering before getting in the car driven by someone else.


Loss of Nextel tower won’t affect MERC buy, city says

A Nextel cellphone tower will be removed from the smokestack of the Maine Energy Recovery Co.’s incinerator, but city officials say the lost revenue isn’t likely to affect the city’s purchase of the plant.

The City Council voted last month to buy MERC for $6.65 million over the next 20 years. Revenue from cellphone towers on the stack and a tax-increment financing district at Biddeford Crossing will cover most of the purchase cost. The rest will be paid with small tax increases, beginning with an additional 1.8 cents on the property tax rate in 2012-13.

City Manager John Bubier said the Nextel lease generates about $25,000 a year. Once the sale is closed, the city will be able to look for a vendor to replace Nextel, he said.

Sprint, which bought Nextel in 2005, will remove the tower from the MERC stack by the end of September. The company plans to cease service on the iDEN Nextel National Network by June, said Sprint spokesman Randy Spolter. Sprint has taken 9,600 Nextel sites off air to date.


Drunken driving charged after rollover on bridge

A Massachusetts man was charged with drunken driving after he rolled his car early Saturday morning on Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Daniel Thomas, 22, of Shrewsbury, Mass., was arrested by South Portland police after the rollover was reported.

When police arrived, Thomas, the driver and only occupant, was outside of the upside down 2002 Dodge van, according to Lt. Frank Clark.

The crash remains under investigation, but police say speed and alcohol were likely contributing factors. 

Liv Tyler in Times mag: Maine can be ‘too good’

Actress Liv Tyler, who stars in the new film “Robot and Frank” and spent much of her youth in Portland, praises her home state in the Aug. 19 New York Times Magazine.

Telling the Times her summer drives to and from the Pine Tree State allow her to observe the shifting manners along the way, Tyler said, “When you leave Maine, everyone’s going a little under the speed limit. And when you go through the toll they’re like, ‘Hi, how are you today?’“

Once she crosses into New York, the attitude changes. Tyler said; “They just glance at you, but I’m always excited to get there, because the Maine part can be too good.”

Tyler attended Waynflete School in Portland until sixth grade. She is the daughter of Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, and model and singer Bebe Buell. Her film credits include “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Her maternal grandmother, Dorothea Johnson, who lives in Falmouth, is the etiquette expert for the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Johnson is writing her latest book, “Modern Manners,” with a foreword written by Tyler. The book is due to be released in May.


Xerox hiring for up to 55 new jobs at call center

Xerox Corp. will add as many as 55 call center jobs in the Lewiston area in the next several weeks, building on its existing work force in the state of about 350 people.

The new positions will be for full-time customer care representatives. Xerox has already started hiring for the jobs and will continue through Sept. 7.


Couple hoping for word of runaway granddaughter

The grandparents of a teenager who apparently ran away from home are asking the girl to return.

Sanborn Quimby says his 15-year-old granddaughter, Harley McGinnis, left the family’s home in Palmyra early Thursday morning.

Quimby and his wife are the legal guardians of Harley and her siblings.

The Quimbys told the Bangor Daily News that although she had threatened to run away they are still concerned for Harley’s safety.

The disappearance has been reported to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.

Anyone who may have seen Harley is asked to contact the sheriff’s department.


Charter school will hold lottery for its 60 slots

Officials with a newly approved charter school in Maine say they have received more applications than there are slots available in the school.

Executive Director Justin Belanger says the board of the Cornville Regional Charter School will conduct a lottery to select which students will be eligible to attend classes when the school opens Oct. 1.

Belanger said the K-6 school can have a maximum of 60 students, and has 95 applications.

The lottery will be held Sept. 5 at the American Legion hall in Skowhegan.

Belanger said children of school founders and staff will be allotted 10 percent of the openings.

Charter schools are public schools that operate independently of the local school district.


Panel studying election conduct to hold hearing

A hearing on the conduct of elections in Maine, stemming from allegations of improprieties last year, is scheduled for this week.

The Commission to Study the Conduct of Elections in Maine will hold its hearing Thursday at the University of Maine in Augusta.

The commission was formed after allegations were made last year that ineligible voters had cast ballots in past elections.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers says the commission will look at voter participation, the system governing voter registration and the conduct of elections. It may also recommend legislation.

State seeks final input on school accountability

Maine’s Department of Education is inviting the public to weigh in one last time on its plan for holding schools accountable and helping them improve.

The public comments will be considered for the department’s formal request for flexibility to the U.S. Department of Education. That will be filed by Sept. 6.

Since last fall, the department has surveyed more than 1,500 people, held several public forums, launched a website and held working groups with stakeholders’ participation.

The final forums are scheduled for Tuesday at Westbrook Middle School and Thursday at Brewer Community School.

The Department’s Accountability and Improvement System web page is www.maine.gov/doe/accountability. A public survey is on the same page.