1. At least 247 people were killed after a 6.2-magnitutde earthquake struck central Italy at 3:36 a.m. on Wednesday. The death toll is expected to rise even higher as rescue teams work through the rubble. (CNN)
2. President Obama designated more than 87,600 acres of forestland in Maine’s North Woods as a national monument Wednesday. Supporters hope the monument designation will lure additional jobs and economic development while highlighting the region’s natural beauty and history. Obama’s executive action infuriated opponents who don’t trust the federal government or who fear the designation will scare away potential industrial-based opportunities, leaving only seasonal tourism jobs. (PH)
3. The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation have decided to permanently close the Sarah Long Bridge to vehicular traffic. The 76-year-old bridge connects Kittery to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Detours are in place for motorists to use alternative routes between Portsmouth and Kittery via the I-95 Bridge and the Memorial Bridge. A new bridge is set to open in September of next year. (WMTW)
4. Warner Bros. TV and Plan B have teamed with writer Jason Richman to develop a drama series for Amazon inspired by Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Oscar-winner “The Departed.” The new spin on “Departed” revolves around a young cop who infiltrates a Latino gang in Chicago and battles the gang’s own plant in the police department. Like “Departed,” the series adaptation is also inspired by the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller “Infernal Affairs.” (Variety)
5. A fisherman in the Philippines made the catch of a lifetime when he found the world’s largest pearl 10 years ago, now valued at $100 million. The pearl weighs in at almost 75 pounds and measures 1 foot wide by 2.2 feet long. (Complex)
Made Hot in Maine by Neil’s Motors on Rt. 111 in Biddeford.