These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

Testifying under oath, an aide to Gov. Paul LePage denied conveying an explicit threat to withhold funding for a charter school because of the hiring of a political foe. Senior policy adviser Aaron Chadbourne told the Government Oversight Committee that LePage wanted school leaders to know he believed House Speaker Mark Eves was unqualified to lead the institution. Chadbourne, interim education deputy chief Tom Desjardin and the governor's top lawyer spoke after the committee required witnesses to testify under oath. Desjardin acknowledged Thursday that he withheld the school's first-quarter payment, but said he didn't do so on the governor's orders. Good Will-Hinckley Chairman Jack Moore previously told the panel that a threat by the governor to withhold money led the board to rescind a job offer for Eves. (AP)

The lawyer for a man charged with killing a 92-year-old Waterville man says the presence of the defendant's DNA doesn't mean he's the man who inflicted more than a dozen stab wounds. Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber told jurors that Ronald Cummings' DNA was found in the out-turned pockets of several of the victim's pants and that "common sense" pointed to him as the killer. Defense lawyer Darrick Banda said DNA evidence suggests only that Cummings is a thief, not a killer. The trial got underway Thursday for Cummings, a handyman who'd done some work for Aurele Fecteau.  Police say Fecteau was killed in a robbery. The victim's son told jurors that his father's bedroom appeared to have been ransacked when he found the body. (AP)

The father of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds has been arrested for drunken driving this month. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says Justin DiPietro of Waterville was arrested on Nov. 6 after a traffic stop on U.S. 1. Twenty-month-old Ayla was in DiPietro's care when he reported her missing on Dec. 17, 2011. Investigators who found blood inside the home concluded the child was a victim of foul play, but no one has been charged. This isn't DiPietro's first brush with the law since his daughter disappeared. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to violating conditions of release because he had alcohol in his vehicle. Police also charged him with assaulting his girlfriend that year but charges were dropped. (AP)

The Somerset County Sheriff's Department says a Maine man fired a shotgun from his pickup truck after getting into a dispute with someone at a convenience store in Norrridgewock.  20-year-old Alex James Brickett of Canaan fired three times out the driver's side window into the woods as he was being followed by another vehicle after the altercation.A woman and a 3-year-old child were in Brickett's vehicle and that incident was captured on a cellphone video by occupants of the other vehicle. Brickett has been charged with reckless conduct with a firearm and may face other charges. (AP)

Augusta city councilors expressed support for the concept of a proposed new Property Maintenance Ordinance that would require building and land owners to prevent their properties from falling into disrepair but they suggested the proposal goes too far. According to the KJ, the ordinance was written in large part in response to residents’ complaints about properties being allowed to deteriorate or accumulate trash and other debris, with little recourse available. Councilors favored such an ordinance but expressed concern about the proposal, which as written would make it a violation to have a house with peeling paint, an inoperable car kept outside, and weeds taller than 10 inches, or windows that are meant to open but no longer do so. Councilors, after some debate, agreed to suspend their discussion of the issue until a future meeting.(

Officials say a U.S. drone strike in Syria targeted a vehicle in which the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" was believed to be traveling. But officials say they're not sure if the British man named Mohammed Emwazi was killed in Thursday's strike in Raqqa. Emwazi has been in several videos showing the beheadings of Western hostages. (AP)

President Barack Obama says Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to deport millions of people in the U.S. illegally is unrealistic and would cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars. In an interview Thursday with ABC News, Obama says dragging parents away from their children, put in detention centers and deported is not "who we are as Americans." Trump has said the U.S. can successfully and humanely deport the estimated 11 million people. (AP)