Nicholas McCrea


Nick McCrea covers statewide K-12 and higher education from the downtown Bangor office.
Students at the Miles Lane School participate in the Smarter Balanced field test in this April 2014 file photo.

Department of Education warns students who opt out of testing may not graduate

By Nick McCrea on May 22, 2015, at 1:08 p.m.
BANGOR | As debate over standardized testing ramped up in the Legislature, the Maine Department of Education again cautioned parents and school administrators this week about the possible fallout from opting out of statewide assessments. Among the potential repercussions — a school could withhold a student’s diploma. “No one …
Harvey Kesselman speaks to USM staff members in Portland on Feb. 11. Kesselman has worked at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey since 1979, holding a wide variety of jobs that touched on nearly every aspect of higher education.

Incoming USM president drops out, Cummings named as replacement

By Nick McCrea on May 20, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.
PORTLAND | The man slated to take the helm of the beleaguered University of Southern Maine has dropped out after turmoil erupted at the New Jersey school where he has served for 35 years, according to a Wednesday morning statement from the University of Maine System. “While I eagerly …

Panel votes to dump Smarter Balanced school test after debut year

By Nick McCrea on May 18, 2015, at 6:53 p.m.
AUGUSTA | After its debut year, Maine appears to be on the path to dumping its brand new statewide test meant to measure what students have learned. That means whatever state assessment comes next would be the third that Maine schools have seen in as many years. On Monday, …
Rebecca Wyke

UMaine System passes $518 million budget, prepares for structure, oversight changes

By Nick McCrea on May 18, 2015, at 2:54 p.m.
BANGOR | University of Maine System trustees approved a nearly $518 million budget on Monday morning, but had to balance it by dipping into reserves to the tune of $7 million in spite of recent cuts across the system. The budget also holds in-state tuition steady for the fourth …
Eliot Cutler (left) and University of Maine System Chancellor James Page meet in April.

Eliot Cutler touts graduate center progress, UMA eyes name change

By Nick McCrea on May 17, 2015, at 7:52 p.m.
BANGOR | The former gubernatorial candidate leading the University of Maine System’s push to start a joint graduate business and law center told the system’s board on Sunday that he’s already sitting down with deans and faculty to figure out what programs the center might offer. “This is an …
Luke Shorty, executive director of the Maine School and Science and Mathematics, is surrounded by students and staff at the Limestone magnet school in a recent photo. Officials at MSSM announced earlier this week that U.S. News & World Report ranked the establishment as the 38th best high school in the nation. The ranking, which includes nearly 22,000 schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia, measures how well schools prepare students for college and how well they serve disadvantaged students. The publication also ranked MSSM the nation's ninth best magnet school, the second best magnet school in New England and Maine’'s top high school.

US News & World Report rankings used inaccurate data for Maine schools

By Nick McCrea on May 14, 2015, at 6:15 p.m.
BANGOR | Some Maine education administrators are perplexed by this year’s ranking of high schools by U.S. News & World Report after they learned some of the data used to create the list appear to be inaccurate or missing. The national media company on Tuesday released its list of …
David Flanagan, the retired CEO of Central Maine Power Co. and a former University of Maine System trustee, was named the interim president at the University of Southern Maine in Portland in this July 23, 2014, file photo.

National faculty group issues report critical of USM

By Nick McCrea on May 13, 2015, at 7:24 p.m.
BANGOR | A national university faculty advocacy group argues the University of Southern Maine overreacted and overreached in its recent cuts to programs and faculty and denies serious financial problems exist at the University of Maine System. The American Association of University Professors on Wednesday released a report claiming …
A 48-unit passive housing project is in the works at the former State Street School site in Brewer.

Brewer’s ‘passive housing’ project largest of its kind in US

By Nick McCrea on May 13, 2015, at 3:14 p.m.
Construction began Wednesday on what’s expected to be one of the largest passive housing projects in the United States. Village Centre Apartments, a 48-unit affordable housing complex, is being built at the former State Street School site. Crews have been doing abatement work there since last year …
Brewer High School is seen in this October 2014 file photo.

U.S. News & World Report lists 17 Maine high schools among nation’s best

By Nick McCrea on May 12, 2015, at 2:19 p.m.
BANGOR | Seventeen Maine schools appear on the 2015 U.S. News and World Report’s list of best high schools in the country, five of which didn’t make the list last year. Brewer High School, which didn’t make the 2014 list, jumped to 669 in the national rankings and No. …
Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport

Testing opt-out movement, Common Core pushback hit Maine Legislature

By Nick McCrea on May 11, 2015, at 7:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Students, teachers and Common Core opponents on Monday lashed out against the state’s new standardized tests, and they called on lawmakers to eliminate the tests, the standards or both and start fresh. During a lengthy series of public hearings, the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee heard …
Maine's acting commissioner of education, Tom Desjardin

State names top educators in Maine’s 16 counties

By Nick McCrea on May 07, 2015, at 5:25 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Department of Education has named the top teachers in each of Maine’s 16 counties in preparation for the competition that will crown the state’s top K-12 educator. The winners, selected from a field of more than 300 nominees, were announced by first lady Ann LePage …
Clara Swan (left), a 103-year-old Maine women's sports pioneer, participates in a ground-breaking event for Swan Village, an apartment complex named in her honor. The 16-unit complex is being built at 521 Kenduskeag Ave. in Bangor. Also pictured is the developer, local real estate broker Emily Ellis (right), and Swan's great-niece, Cammie Sheehan (center).

Clara Swan, 103, breaks ground on Bangor apartments named for her

By Nick McCrea on May 07, 2015, at 4:58 p.m.
A new apartment complex being built near Husson University is named after a pioneer of Maine women’s basketball who played, taught and coached at the school. Clara Swan, who celebrated her 103rd birthday at the university in April, took part Thursday in the ceremonial groundbreaking at 521 …
Sen. Rebecca Millett

Bill aims to increase Maine teacher pay, expectations

By Nick McCrea on May 06, 2015, at 6:46 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Lawmakers are weighing a bill that would raise the minimum teacher salary by $10,000 per year and would require teachers employed by public schools to obtain a master’s degree. LD 1370, An Act to Improve the Quality of Teachers, proposed by Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cumberland, went up …
Nathan Beckett (left) and Casey Smart examine a dog as part of their coursework in the veterinary technology program at the University of Maine at Augusta in 2007. Beckett went on to become a practicing veterinarian, according to the school.

University of Maine at Augusta to relaunch vet tech program

By Nick McCrea on May 06, 2015, at 4:06 p.m.
BANGOR | The University of Maine at Augusta will revive a veterinary technology program in the fall semester of 2016, this time offering a bachelor’s degree. The former associate’s degree program was put on the chopping block in 2014, scheduled for phased elimination in order to help close a …

‘Major player’ in Bangor bath salts ring sentenced to nearly 6 years

By Nick McCrea on May 04, 2015, at 4:49 p.m.
A “major player” in what a judge called a “catastrophic” Bangor-based drug trafficking and distribution scheme was sentenced Monday to spend the next 70 months in a New Jersey federal prison. Steven Orosco, 25, of Bangor is one of 14 defendants facing charges stemming from a bath …
Adam Morton

Sentencing of man who put toddler in dryer pushed to next week

By Nick McCrea on May 04, 2015, at 12:32 p.m.
BANGOR | The sentencing of a New Hampshire man who admitted to putting his girlfriend’s toddler in the clothes dryer and turning it on has been pushed back to Friday, May 15. The clerk’s office at Penobscot Judicial Center said Monday morning, when the sentencing was originally scheduled, the …
Preston Brown Sr.

Police looking for Woodland man accused of domestic assault

By Nick McCrea on May 03, 2015, at 4:50 p.m.
HOULTON | The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a Woodland man in connection with a domestic violence incident that happened early Sunday, according to Sgt. Matthew Cummings. Preston Brown Sr., 50, was involved in an alleged “altercation” at his home. He fled before deputies arrived, according to …
Ethan Hawes of the Maine Business School was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer, two years ago. He had his last day of class on Friday and awaits graduation from the University of Maine.

UMaine student who battled cancer perseveres, will graduate next weekend

By Nick McCrea on May 03, 2015, at 4:29 p.m.
ORONO | Two years ago, Ethan Hawes started a marathon that he still hasn’t finished. Though, he just passed a major mile marker. “I just took my last class. It didn’t hit me until I just said that,” Hawes said Friday, sitting on a bench under a tree on …
University of Maine students enter Alfond Arena in Orono before attending the 2013 graduation ceremony at UMaine in this May 2013 BDN file photo.

1,687 to receive degrees at UMaine graduation

By Nick McCrea on May 03, 2015, at 11:49 a.m.
ORONO | An estimated 1,687 students are expected to graduate from Maine’s largest university during May 9 commencement ceremonies. The flagship campus of the University of Maine System is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, but this will be its 213th commencement, because in the past the university distributed …
Caleb Swanberg, 26, of Caribou speaks with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins during a ceremony recognizing the 2015 Maine Tracks class. The program, a partnership between Tufts University and Maine Medical Center, aims to increase the number of physicians who want to practice in rural areas, especially in Maine.

Medical students celebrate completion of program aimed at shaping rural doctors

By Nick McCrea on May 02, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.
PORTLAND | A group of 34 medical students with dreams of working in rural communities celebrated the next step in their careers Saturday at the University of Southern Maine. The Maine Track Program was created three years ago through a partnership between Tufts University School of Medicine and Maine …
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