BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont man is facing federal charges he possessed a number of tractors and trucks that were stolen over a 12-year period from Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and Maine.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 49-year-old James Moorcroft of Brookfield pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Moorcroft orchestrated the theft of six trucks and two farm tractors that he brought to the Brookfield farm where he lives and then used them after removing the vehicle identification numbers.

BANGOR, Maine — A judge in Bangor is rejecting a plea deal from an Orono man who faces more than 100 charges of sex crimes against children.

WZON-AM reports the state's case against Wyatt Higgins-Tripp will instead go to trial at an unspecified date. Prosecutors offered a plea agreement of 25 years with all but 10 years suspended. Justice William Anderson rejected that agreement on the grounds that it was not harsh enough.

MACHIAS, Maine — University of Maine officials say the president of the system's Machias campus will resign at the end of December.

President Cynthia Huggins became the university's president in 2005 after joining the faculty as an assistant English professor eight years prior. University officials say she announced her intent to retire during a "Welcome Back" breakfast event for university employees on Thursday.

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — The restored chief of the Market Basket supermarket chain told workers at company headquarters in Massachusetts that he loved them and appreciated their efforts in helping him regain control of the company.

In a speech Thursday morning that sometimes resembled a political victory speech, and often took on the tones of a rock concert, Arthur T. Demoulas told several hundred cheering workers in Tewksbury that "It's great to be back together again."

PORTLAND, Maine — FairPoint Communications says talks remain deadlocked after weeks of negotiating with unions representing more than 1,700 workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and is implementing its final proposals, which it says is permitted under federal law.

Thursday's announcement comes a day after the unions delivered another contract proposal, which they said aimed to reduce operation costs while meeting union members' needs.

PORTLAND, Maine — A New Hampshire woman charged with stealing $750,000 from her Maine-based employer has appeared in federal court in Portland.

Janis Woods of Conway, New Hampshire, a former bookkeeper at a drilling business in the town of Norway, was in court Wednesday to face a bank fraud charge. She did not enter a plea.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation has paid a Portland businessman $7.2 million for 18 acres of industrial waterfront land it seized from him this spring as part of a seaport terminal expansion project.

The price was more than double what the businessman paid for the same land just two years ago, according to tax records and information obtained by the Portland Press Herald through a Freedom of Access request.

CAMDEN, Maine — Maine officials say the hemlock woolly adelgid appears to be expanding its territory in Knox County.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says a tourist recently found the pest on two trees in Camden. The agency says the insect was found in forested areas of Friendship and Owls Head during detection surveys earlier this year.

It can be found from Kittery to Owls Head in Maine.

BINGHAM, Maine — A proposal to build what would be Maine's largest energy-generating wind farm has received preliminary approval from state environmental regulators.

The Department of Environmental Protection's draft decision, issued Wednesday by Commissioner Patricia Aho, means the department could issue a final decision as early as Sept. 5. The deadline is Sept. 8.

PORTLAND, Maine — Scientists are set to begin reviewing an assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod population that says the species is spawning at an all-time low.

A spokeswoman for the New England Fisheries Management Council says the scientists will review the assessment Thursday and Friday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The management council will consider the scientists' report in late September and early October. The spokeswoman says the council might use the report to make an emergency action or to craft new regulations for the fishery.

VINALHAVEN, Maine (AP) _ Maine-based pop artist Robert Indiana will participate in International HOPE Day, a celebration of his art in countries across the world.
The artist is best known for his "LOVE'' image, in which the L and O sit atop the V and E. His HOPE image follows a similar theme. The image will be a part of installations and events in Munich, Caracas, Miami, New York City and Vinalhaven, Maine on Indiana's Sept. 13 birthday. He will turn 86 that day.

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) _ Unions representing more than 1,700 FairPoint Communications workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have delivered another contract proposal to the company in hopes of ending a stalemate.

Pete McLaughlin from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Maine said the proposal submitted Wednesday aimed to reduce operation costs while meeting union members' needs.

The previous proposal submitted on Aug. 14 was rejected by the company.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A Maine government survey says the average price of heating oil in the state has dropped 6 cents from a month ago to $3.39 per gallon.

STRATTON, Maine (AP) _ The Franklin County Sheriff's Department says a Maine mom burned her 4-year-old daughter with a wood-engraving tool as punishment.

Detectives charged 39-year-old Jessica LaPlante of Stratton with assault after an investigation that started when the girl's father filed a complaint with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Investigators said the girl told her father her mother burned her for "being bad.''

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Independent candidate Eliot Cutler's multi-part plan for overhauling Maine's welfare system includes requiring some former recipients with jobs to pay back a part of their income to support early childhood care.

Cutler said that people who received benefits for more than 18 months and make at least three times the poverty level would for a few years have to pay a percentage of their taxable income back to the state.

Among other ideas is creating a tiered system so benefits are lowered over time when someone gets a job, instead of immediately cut off.