2011-12-12 / Maine

MAINE BRIEFS

Noam Chomsky to discuss Arab Spring

PORTLAND (AP) — Noam Chomsky, who’s known as the father of modern linguistics, will speak in Portland about the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East.

The University of New England’s Center for Global Humanities is sponsoring today’s presentation by Chomsky, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who speaks frequently on geopolitical issues. The event at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, titled “Arab Spring, American Winter,” Chomsky will contrast the hopes and aspirations of people of the Middle East with those of recession-weary Americans. The talk will be held at 6 p.m. at Westbrook Performing Arts Center, Westbrook Middle School.

Maine ranks second for student debt load

AUGUSTA (AP) — A Maine congressman says his state ranks second in the highest average amount of debt — nearly $30,000 — carried by each graduating student.

Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud says the $ 29,983 average debt in Maine is topped only by New Hampshire, at $ 31,048. Vermont graduates are also among those with the biggest average debt loads, at $28,391.

The figures are from a report called Student Debt and the Class of 2010, an initiative of the independent, nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success.

In response, Michaud introduced a bill called the Student Loan Default Prevention Act, which would allow the Finance Authority of Maine to provide guidance to more than 20,000 Maine students annually on their federal loan portfolio. State-based agencies like FAME are precluded from working with students on new federal loans.

Candidate dies, but mayoral runoff still on

LEWISTON (AP) — Voters in Maine’s second-largest city will pick their new mayor in a two- way runoff this week, even though one of the candidates has died.

Robert Macdonald and Mark Paradis are on Tuesday’s mayoral ballot, but Paradis died of complications from pneumonia on Friday two days after announcing he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Paradis and Macdonald were the top vote-getters in November’s five-way general election, but a runoff was required since no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote.

Lewiston’s city clerk says Tuesday’s election will go on as scheduled. If Macdonald gets the most votes, he’ll become mayor. But if Paradis wins, the seat will be declared vacant and a special election will be held open to all candidates.

3rd Gorham business robbed within days

GORHAM (AP) — Gorham police say a robbery at a pizza shop appears to be connected to two previous robberies in the community in the past few days.

Police say a man entered a Domino’s Pizza store on Main Street just before 8 p.m. on Sunday night and demanded cash from the register. He made off with a small amount of money.

Sunday night’s theft comes on the heels of a robbery at an Olympia Sports store last Thursday and another at a cellphone store on Saturday.

The suspect displayed a gun in the first robbery and implied he had a weapon in the other two. No one has been hurt.

The man in the pizza shop robbery is described as white, about 5- foot- 9, with brown eyes and brown hair.

OccupyMaine plans to sue city of Portland

PORTLAND (AP) — Occupy- Maine protesters have authorized their attorney to sue the city of Portland, claiming their constitutional free speech rights have been violated.

The group on Sunday also directed attorney John Branson to seek a temporary court injunction that would block the city from evicting the protesters living in about three dozen tents in Lincoln Park.

Branson tells The Portland Press Herald the suit would be filed most likely by the end of the week.

The city has given Occupy- Maine until Thursday to respond to the city’s denial of a permit to continue camping in the park. City Manager Mark Rees says the city would give the protesters 48 hours’ notice of any order to dismantle the encampment.

OccupyMaine set up camp to protest economic disparity.

Lewiston man accused of stabbing

LEWISTON ( AP) — A Lewiston man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly sending a city woman to the hospital with stab wounds.

Police say Cleveland O’Neal Cruthirds was arrested at 2:35 a.m. on Sunday following the stabbing Saturday night in a Blake Street apartment.

The 25-year-old Cruthirds was held on $20,000 bail on charges of attempted murder, criminal attempt and violating a condition of release.

Police say the victim was stabbed in the head and shoulder. Her name has not been released but authorities say she knew her assailant.

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