Churches decrie LePage stance on Syrians

AUGUSTA (AP) — The Maine Council of Churches is decrying Gov. Paul LePage’s opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the state.

The council – representing nine denominations and more than 600 churches – told the governor in a letter that the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut were frightening. But its board said, “We cannot allow fear to become so powerful that it clouds our judgment and hardens our hearts against innocent, frightened people.”

The board said in its letter that it’s important that the U.S. carefully screens refugees, but said rejecting all Syrian refugees would compound the recent tragedies.

Executive Director Jane Field said the board voted to send the letter Friday, four days after the governor announced he will “adamantly oppose” any attempts to place Syrian refugees in Maine.


AUGUSTA (AP) — The Maine Charter Commission has approved two more charter schools that could begin serving students next fall.

The panel voted this week to approve Acadia Academy, which plans to serve 112 students from pre-school to second grade in the Lewiston-Auburn area, and Snow Pond Arts Academy, which plans to start serving as many as 124 students from the Central Maine area.

The votes authorize the independent commission to enter into contract negotiations.

In 2011, Gov. Paul LePage signed legislation making Maine the 41st state to allow public charter schools and establishing the seven-member commission to authorize up to 10 charter schools. Currently, there are seven charter schools serving approximately 1,500 Maine students.

Couple reunited with children

BATH (AP) — A Bath husband and his wife have regained custody of their children more than a year after the father was accused of abusing his infant son.

Brandon Ross contends the infant has a medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that makes him susceptible to fractures.

A judge dismissed the child protection case on Thursday. Ross says, “We feel whole again – like a family.”

In April 2014, Ross was charged with child abuse for fractures. Since then, doctors in Boston, Ohio and Illinois have diagnosed Ryder with a genetic metabolic bone disease.

The case played out in the courts after the state refused to accept the results. The criminal case ended with a plea deal in which Ross pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in September.

Sugarloaf to open for skiing

CARRABASSETT VALLEY (AP) — Sugarloaf is ready to open for skiing.

Spokeswoman Noelle Tuttle says the resort will open Saturday with two runs.

She says the plan is to operate through the weekend, then dial back to mornings during the week.

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