Lobster boat captain pleads guilty to causing 2 deaths

PORTLAND (AP) — A lobster boat captain charged in the death of a pair of crewmen has pleaded guilty.

Christopher Hutchinson of Cushing agreed to a four-year prison sentence for two counts of seaman’s manslaughter on Tuesday in federal court. Prosecutors have said he had been using alcohol and drugs when he took his boat out in 2014; the boat capsized in rough seas.

Crew members Tomas Hammond and Tyler Sawyer died. Their bodies were never found.

Hutchinson’s attorney said the plea agreement brings the case to an “appropriate resolution.” But the Portland Press Herald reports that the stepmother of one of the crew members objected. She said of the prison sentence “that’s nothing.”

A federal judge still needs to approve the plea agreement and proposed sentence. No sentencing date has been set.

Maine DEP looks to boost composting, recycling

FALMOUTH (AP) — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is awarding a half dozen grants to try to expand composting and recycling programs around the state.

The state wants to use the grants to prevent excess waste from being disposed when it could be reused. The six grants amount to $88,000 and are part of a first-time DEP effort to address waste management in new ways.

One of the grants will go to the town of Falmouth to conduct a pilot project about increasing the convenience of collection drop-off sites for food scraps. The University of Maine at Presque Isle is also getting a grant to establish a composting program on campus.

Other grants are going to farms, a solid waste facility and the Maine Resource Recovery Association.

Colby College drops SAT, ACT requirement

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — Colby College in Maine has announced applicants will not have to submit SAT or ACT scores starting with the Class of 2023.

The Kennebec Journal reports officials said Monday the change will help lower anxiety associated with the admissions process and put more of a focus on an applicant’s overall achievements.

Matt Proto, dean of admissions and financial aid, says the new policy will also help Colby increase its accessibility and diversify of its student body.

The Waterville-based college joins Bates College and Bowdoin College in making test scores optional.

The school received about 12,000 applicants for the Class of 2022 and accepted 13 percent.

Proto says the Class of 2022 had a median SAT score of 1430 and a median ACT score of 32.

School board OKs field trip changes after student drowning

LEWISTON (AP) — The school committee in a Maine city has voted to approve big changes to local policies about field trips in the aftermath of the drowning death of a teenage student.

The new rules are a response to the death of 13-year-old Rayan Issa. The Lewiston Middle School student drowned June 12 during a school trip to a state park.

The Sun Journal reports the Lewiston School Committee approved the first of two readings of the changes on Monday. The new policy bans swimming on field trips, unless it’s supervised and controlled by an authorized organization with water safety experience. The YMCA is an example of such an organization.

There are a host of other rules, such as a ban on boating activities unless supervised by an organization or Maine guide.

Colby honors former Denver Post editor for journalism work

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Colby College will honor the former editor for the Denver Post who published an editorial criticizing the owners of his paper with the 2018 Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism.

Chuck Plunkett resigned from the Denver Post earlier this year and continues to work as an advocate for local journalism in the face of corporate downsizing. The Morning Sentinel reports the Lovejoy Award is named for Colby graduate Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who was killed in 1837 for his anti-slavery editorials.

Colby has recognized courage in journalism with the Lovejoy award since 1952. Last year’s recipient was Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Alec MacGillis of ProPublica.

Plunkett will receive the award, along with an honorary degree from the college, at a ceremony on Oct. 8.


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