Nicholas McCrea

Reporter

Nick McCrea covers statewide K-12 and higher education from the downtown Bangor office.
 
Arby's restaurant, near the Bangor Mall, is seen on Wednesday in Bangor. It will close Friday, July 31, when its owner retires after 45 years in the restaurant business.

Bangor Arby’s closing as longtime owner retires

By Nick McCrea on July 29, 2015, at 5:58 p.m.
The Arby’s Bangor location will close its doors after 32 years when its longtime owner retires on Friday. Robert Smith owns the fast-food franchise, one of nearly 2,500 nationally. Arby’s, which specializes in meat sandwiches, owns another 950 restaurants as a company. Smith, 77, of Brewer said …
Teacher Joel Hills leads an Advanced Placement history class at Hampden Academy in this 2011 file photo.

Maine gets more funding to help low-income students pay for AP tests

By Nick McCrea on July 29, 2015, at 3:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Department of Education will receive an additional $60,000 in federal funds to help Maine high schoolers from low-income families afford Advanced Placement tests. Advanced Placement exams give students college credits before they enter a higher education institution, provided the student performs well on the test. …
Vic Firth inspects a drumstick as it comes out of a sorting machine at his Newport drumstick-making factory in this October 2008 file photo.

Musician, drumstick maker Vic Firth dead at 85

By Nick McCrea on July 27, 2015, at 5:08 p.m.
NEWPORT | Renowned musician and drumstick maker Everett “Vic” Firth is dead at age 85, according to a statement on his website. “Vic was an inspiration to all of us. He was a visionary, a mentor, a leader and a friend,” reads the memorial on www.vicfirth.com. “He always said …
John Piotti, president and CEO of the Maine Farmland Trust,  speaks in Augusta in this January 2014 file photo.

Maine food producers call on universities to think local when feeding students

By Nick McCrea on July 27, 2015, at 4:20 p.m.
BANGOR | A coalition of Maine food producers and organizations Monday called on the University of Maine System to look to the state’s own farms and fields when deciding how to feed its students and staff during the next decade. The group, calling itself Maine Food for the UMaine …
POLL QUESTION
Chinese international student Chen “Vanessa” Li is a senior at Thornton Academy in Saco. An aspiring designer, Li excels in visual art, receiving three awards in the 2015 Maine Regional Affiliate Scholastics Art Awards Competition.

Maine public schools look to woo students from overseas

By Nick McCrea on July 26, 2015, at 5:41 a.m.
In Maine, several private schools and academies have sizable international programs with admissions departments to lead efforts to spread the school’s reach overseas. Smaller public programs often are one-person shops, perhaps the principal or a guidance counselor, who occasionally take recruiting trips overseas. They attend conventions where they court kids …
VIDEO
Co-owner and brewer Stephen Genthner recently opened Blank Canvas Brewery in Brewer. Genthner is currently serving three different beers on tap: a coconut red, a Sidamo brown and a Rhubarb kolsch.

Blank Canvas Brewing opens in Brewer

By Nick McCrea on July 25, 2015, at 11:18 a.m.
To say Blank Canvas Brewery is starting small would be an understatement. The new brewery, fueled by a half-barrel home-brewing system the owners acquired from Friars’ Brewhouse in Bucksport, opened its doors to its first customers Friday afternoon in Brewer. A half-barrel is 15.5 gallons, or enough …
"Hotel Impossible" host Anthony Melchiorri (center) gestures during the filming of an episode at the Charles Inn in Bangor.

Owner: Reality TV show led to demise of Big Easy Lounge

By Nick McCrea on July 24, 2015, at 3:25 p.m.
BANGOR | Expect plenty of drama when reality television show “Hotel Impossible” eventually broadcasts what happened inside The Charles Inn during filming and renovations at the historic downtown hotel this week. As a result of the reality TV show’s presence, the Big Easy Lounge — a bar owned by …
POLL QUESTION
Tianyu Zhou (from left), Chen Li and Gan Xiong of China are three of about 155 international students who attended Thornton Academy in Saco this past school year. Half the international students were from China.

Visa imbalance: Why Maine’s public schools struggle to draw foreign students

By Nick McCrea on July 24, 2015, at 2:50 p.m.
First of two parts SACO | In Maine, the state with the oldest population in the nation, some public schools struggling with declining enrollment, increasing costs and tight budgets are now pursuing solutions far from their communities, across faraway oceans. Maine state universities, private colleges, and private high schools …

Foreign students thrive, but how many are there in Maine?

By Nick McCrea on July 24, 2015, at 2:49 p.m.
SACO | Thornton Academy, founded in 1811, looks a lot more like a college campus than it did six years ago. It serves about 1,600 students in Grades 6-12. Gan “Billy” Xiong is an incoming senior at Thornton Academy. Chen “Vanessa” Li and Tianyu “Sam” Zhou are 2015 graduates. …
Martha Harris

Maine State Board of Education selects new leadership

By Nick McCrea on July 23, 2015, at 7:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A longtime Bangor lawyer will lead the state’s top education advisory group, the Maine Department of Education announced Thursday. Martha Harris of Winterport will serve as chairwoman of the Maine State Board of Education. Alan R. Burton will be vice-chairman. The board serves in an advisory role …

Girl testifies against Carmel man in gross sexual assault trial

By Nick McCrea on July 23, 2015, at 2:57 p.m.
BANGOR | A Winterport girl took the witness stand in a Bangor courtroom Thursday and described in graphic detail the sexual assaults she says happened last year at the Carmel home of Richard Watson, 30, of Carmel. Watson, who is related to the victim, faces two counts of gross …
Anne Lichtenwalner (left), the director of the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory, and scientific technician Ann Bryant work in the necropsy room at the University of Maine in Orono in this September 2014 file photo.

University system OKs $9 million for disease, tick lab at UMaine

By Nick McCrea on July 21, 2015, at 5:18 p.m.
ORONO | University of Maine leadership has approved spending up to $9 million on a laboratory that will help scientists study pest management and threats to human and animal health across the state. The University of Maine System board of trustees approved the funding for the future Cooperative Extension …
Rebecca Wyke, UMS vice chancellor for finance and administration

UMaine System projects $16 million operating loss

By Nick McCrea on July 20, 2015, at 6:56 p.m.
BANGOR | The University of Maine System projects a $16 million operating loss for the fiscal year that just ended stemming largely from retirements and severance payments, a system official told trustees Monday. Until the close of fiscal year 2015 on June 30, the UMaine System didn’t know how …

UMS trustees to receive update on academic restructuring

By Nick McCrea on July 17, 2015, at 7:39 p.m.
BANGOR | University of Maine System leaders on Monday will hear their first major update on systemwide academic program restructuring aimed at shoring up the system’s financial struggles and refocusing universities on the programs at which they’re most successful. UMS trustees will hold their regular all-day meeting at the …

By Nick McCrea on July 17, 2015, at 12:55 p.m.
Houlton Regional Hospital has taken “precautionary security measures,” including a lockdown that started at 11:30 a.m., according to Victoria Moody, director of human resources at the hospital.
Three companies, working through a bottle redemption company, have joined forces to raise money in hopes of saving or supporting music education in Maine schools.

Businesses act to boost music in Maine schools

By Nick McCrea on July 16, 2015, at 5:20 p.m.
BANGOR | A concert promoter, a redemption company, a car dealer and a bank have joined forces to help music programs survive and thrive in Maine schools. This is the debut year of the Music Matters program in Maine. By collecting bottles and cans, organizers are working to raise …

Brewer voters to revisit superintendent, board recall changes

By Nick McCrea on July 14, 2015, at 9:48 p.m.
Brewer voters likely will see a couple of familiar charter amendment proposals at the polls in November. The first will ask residents whether they want to eliminate the requirement that the Brewer School District superintendent live in the city. The second will ask whether they want to …
Maine Maritime Academy students aboard the State of Maine wave to family and friends as they depart Castine on their annual training cruise for students in this May 5, 2015, file photo.

Maine Maritime Academy ranked best public college for the money

By Nick McCrea on July 14, 2015, at 5:45 p.m.
CASTINE | Maine Maritime Academy is the best public college for your buck in the nation and the eighth-best school overall, according to a recent MONEY magazine ranking. “We are pleased that the academy ranks so high in educational quality, affordability and positive outcomes for our graduates,” MMA President …

Newport school officials to study cuts after budget rejected

By Nick McCrea on July 13, 2015, at 6:37 p.m.
Officials in Regional School Unit 19 will meet Tuesday to consider what cuts they might make after voters narrowly rejected their proposed budget, by a 264-251 vote, on June 30. The district’s budget and finance committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the central office to discuss …
Larry Burke said the flag he put outside his Brewer gas station came from a man he served with in Vietnam with who was from the South.

Gas station owner reports positive reaction to Confederate flag

By Nick McCrea on July 10, 2015, at 7:04 p.m.
BREWER | The service station owner who displayed a Confederate battle flag in response to the recent controversy surrounding the emblem says he plans to take it down Saturday. Larry Burke, 65, of Orrington raised the flag outside his business on July Fourth, alongside the American flag and POW/MIA …
 
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