USM student faces charges of arson at Gorham dorm

A University of Southern Maine student has been charged with setting fires in his dormitory in Gorham early Monday.

Jordan D. Maroon, 20, a junior from Winslow, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with three counts of arson, according to the state Fire Marshal’s Office. He was held in the Cumberland County Jail.

The fires were reported to USM police about 4:30 a.m. Maroon is accused of starting a fire in a first-floor trash can near the main entrance of Philipi Hall and setting fire to two posters inside the building. No one was injured. The dorm houses about 200 students.


Judge to limit testimony from psychiatrist at trial

A judge has ruled to limit a psychiatrist’s testimony on whether a Massachusetts man who is charged with killing an elderly Farmington woman was under the influence of drugs at the time of the slaying.

Juan Contreras of Waltham, Mass., has pleaded not guilty to the stabbing death of 81-year-old Grace Burton in June 2011.

A judge last week ruled on the state’s motion to exclude the testimony Dr. William Brennan because it improperly refers to the defendant’s character, is irrelevant unless the defendant testifies, and because Brennan lacks the qualifications to say whether Contreras ingested the drug “bath salts.”

The Sun Journal reported that the court ruled that if the defense uses Brennan as a witness at November’s trial, he would be allowed to testify only about the use of bath salts.


Fire that destroyed church blamed on old wiring

Fire has destroyed an historic church in eastern Maine.

The fire was reported at the First Baptist Church in Pembroke shortly before noon Monday.

Town Clerk Janice Scanlon told the Bangor Daily News that the church built in 1865 was destroyed.

Pastor Gary Kinney has led the congregation for 27 years. He said no one was hurt in the fire, which was believed to have been caused by old wiring. He said the building was insured and he hopes the congregation will rebuild.


Green Day singer’s rehab leads to show cancellations

Members of Green Day announced Monday that a rehab stint by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong is prompting them to cancel a club tour this year and postpone several concerts early next year, including a show scheduled for Jan. 25 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

Officials at the civic center said they have not gotten any information about the postponement yet. Tickets for the show at the civic center are selling for $59.50, general admission.

Armstrong entered a substance abuse rehab program in September. In a news release Monday, Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt said that while Armstrong is doing well, the band felt it would be better for him if the slate of shows was canceled and future shows – more than two dozen scheduled for January and February – were postponed.

“Obviously, the timing for this isn’t ideal, but Billie Joe’s well-being is our main concern,” Dirnt said in a statement.


Rally after mock elections canceled due to hurricane

A rally to be held after student mock elections in Maine has been canceled because of Hurricane Sandy.

Students in 240 elementary, middle and high school students across the state had planned to cast mock ballots Tuesday for president, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and vote on five statewide referendum questions.

After the vote, a “Rally and Tally” event was to be held Tuesday afternoon and evening at the Augusta State Armory.

But the governor’s office said the rally has been canceled.

Schools may hold their mock elections and submit their results to the secretary of state’s office, which will post them on its website early next week.

Steelworkers union backs Angus King for U.S. Senate

A union representing 4,000 paper and pulp mill workers in Maine is throwing its support behind former Gov. Angus King in his run for the U.S. Senate.

The Maine Labor Council of the United Steelworkers District 4 is endorsing King, who is running as an independent against Republican Charlie Summers, Democrat Cynthia Dill and three other independent candidates.

Patrick Carleton, president of the local union representing workers at the Sappi paper mill in Skowhegan, said union members are dismayed with the direction of Republican candidates for Congress.

He said union members are encouraged by King’s longtime identity with Democrats and his defense of working families.


Connecticut men charged with plotting to rob home

Four men from Connecticut who allegedly planned to rob a home where they thought marijuana was being grown have been arrested in Maine.

They were arrested Sunday morning after someone reported suspicious activity in Norridgewock.

Two suspects were arrested on foot and two were arrested in a car. They are all charged with criminal conspiracy to commit burglary.

A spokesman for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation found that the men had traveled from Connecticut to Maine specifically to rob a home. Tools that can be used for a burglary were found in their vehicle.

They were identified as Jeremiah Samela, 23, of Bristol, Conn., and Michael Damato, 20, Anthony Niklewski, 21, and Kenneth Niklewski, 24, from Torrington, Conn.


UNE medical school names Dr. Douglas Wood as dean

Maine’s only medical school has a new dean.

The University of New England said Dr. Douglas Wood will take over as dean of its College of Osteopathic Medicine on Friday.

Wood most recently served as senior vice president of academic affairs at A.T. Still University in Arizona, where he was dean of the School of Osteopathic Medicine from 2005 to 2010.

He served as president of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine from 1995 to 2005, and earlier served as dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University.

Wood replaces Marc Hahn, who left UNE to assume the provost position at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

– From staff and news services


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