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High-speed ferry ends service

PORTLAND, Maine — A high-speed ferry that has run between Maine and Nova Scotia for more than a decade is discontinuing service because the operation is no longer financially viable.

Bay Ferries Ltd. announced Friday that it is ending the seasonal service after being told by Nova Scotia officials this week that government support would not be available for the 2010 season.

CEO Mark MacDonald says the company has been hurting from the weak economy, a strong Canadian dollar and new U.S. passport rules. Passenger counts this year were down 10 percent from 2008.

Bay Ferries operated The Cat from Bar Harbor and Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The ferry operated seasonally from late May to October, coinciding with Maine’s tourist season.

The 320-foot catamaran can travel at speeds up to 40 knots.

CHP: No alcohol in teen crash

SONOMA, Calif. — Authorities say a 19-year-old driver who plowed into a minivan, killing a family of four, did not have alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.

California Highway Patrol officials also said Thursday they had found no evidence that Steven Culbertson had been at a bar prior to the Nov. 29 crash, despite initial reports he had been seen at one.

Authorities say the teen was going 70 mph to 90 mph when his car ran a red light and hit the minivan carrying Johnathan and Susan Maloney and their two young children.

They say there was no indication Mr. Culbertson had tried to brake. He later died at the hospital.

Teacher sentenced for lewd conduct

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — An Idaho middle school teacher who pleaded guilty to two felony counts of lewd conduct with a 14-year-old student has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Kari Jo Atkinson, 28, was sentenced Thursday in 7th District Court and must spend at least two years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

The Post Register reported that the former Sandcreek Middle School teacher asked for probation so she could continue counseling and remain with her family and two daughters, ages 4 and 6.

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