The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram » News Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:14:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 26 killed in Aleppo as U.N. meets over Syria Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:08:32 +0000 BEIRUT — At least 26 civilians were killed in fresh government airstrikes on the contested city of Aleppo, Syrian activists said Sunday, as the United Nations Security Council convened an emergency meeting on the spiraling violence in Syria but failed to take any action because of deep divisions between Russia and the Western powers.

The United States, Britain and France, who called the emergency meeting, heaped blame on Moscow for supporting the Syrian offensive which U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura called one of the worst of the 51/2-year war.

When Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari was called to speak in the council, the ambassadors of the three Western powers walked out in protest.

They had demanded a halt to the Aleppo offensive and immediate council action, and their walkout demonstrated anger and frustration not only at Damascus but at Russia for backing close ally Bashar Assad’s military campaign while talking about reviving a cessation of hostilities.

“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter-terrorism, it’s barbarism,” said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power. “It’s apocalyptic what is being done in eastern Aleppo.”

As the government offensive entered its fourth day on Sunday, medical workers and local officials reported airstrikes on neighborhoods throughout Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern districts.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 26 civilians had been killed by 7:30 p.m. and said it expects the toll to rise. Ibrahim Alhaj of the Syrian Civil Defense search and rescue outfit gave a higher toll, saying hospitals and rescuers had documented the deaths of 43 people so far on Sunday.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of contacts inside Syria, said earlier in the day that 213 civilians had been killed by airstrikes and shelling on opposition areas in and around Aleppo since the U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire collapsed Monday evening.

Hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties and medical workers are expecting many of the wounded to die from a lack of treatment, according to Mohammad Zein Khandaqani, a member of the Medical Council, which oversees medical affairs in the city’s opposition quarters.

“I’ve never seen so many people dying in once place,” he said. “It’s terrifying today. In less than one hour the Russian planes have killed more than 50 people and injured more than 200.”

Conflicting casualty estimates are common in the aftermath of clashes and attacks in Syria.

At the start of the Security Council meeting, U.N. envoy de Mistura said the offensive against eastern Aleppo followed the U.S.-led coalition’s bombing of Syrian troops, which Washington called a tragic mistake, and a deadly attack on a U.N. convoy carrying humanitarian aid.

“But no incident, irrespective of whether it can be attributed or not, does justify what is going on in front of our own eyes: the unraveling of the cessation of hostilities and the simultaneous unleashing of unprecedented military violence affecting innocent civilians as well,” he said.

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Franklin County’s ‘safe zone’ ensures secure meeting spot Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:50:18 +0000 FARMINGTON — If someone is meeting up with an unknown person to exchange an online purchase, or if a contentiously separated couple is meeting to exchange belongings, legal documents or even children, they could be walking into a potentially unsafe situation.

But for residents of Franklin County who need to partake in these situations for whatever reason, the recent establishment of a “safe zone” outside of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Farmington ensures that individuals have a secure place equipped with surveillance to meet.

The area between the Sheriff’s Office building and the Franklin County Communication center on County Way was established as the safe zone earlier this month.

Sheriff Scott Nichols said he feels that designating the area, which is already monitored by surveillance cameras, will be an easy way the department can offer protection to residents of Franklin County.

“You never know. You can’t trust anyone these days, it seems like,” he said. “So let’s provide something or a place or some sort of means that doesn’t cost anyone a penny, and just give them a little bit more security when they’re doing their exchanges.”

Nichols said he has heard of other departments establishing safe zones for the exchange end of internet sales, but given the prevalence of domestic violence within Franklin County, he thought the idea of a safe zone would translate well into situations where a relationship has broken down but contact still needs to be made.

The Augusta Police Department enacted a similar safe zone in March 2015 when they designated their lobby as an exchange zone. The department had already been used by parents as a meeting place to exchange children, but the lobby was officially established as an exchange zone in response to the increase in online sales.

Augusta Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills said the establishment of the zone has been well received, though the police do not track the exact rate at which the area is used because they feel the area will operate better if it is just offered and not supervised by officers per se.

Mills said the zone is an attempt to not only provide a safe area for individuals meeting with people they do not know, but to deter the chances that an instance of fraud or assault will occur in an exchange scenario.

“The logic behind it is who is going to commit a crime in the lobby of a police department,” Mills said.

The Franklin safe zone, however, is not to be used by people who have protection orders or court orders prohibiting contact with the person they are meeting.

Nichols said while he does not feel that domestic violence within the county is on the rise, he said it is a large and constant problem his deputies handle frequently. However, in many cases, whether it is the exchange of property, legal paperwork or children, contact must still be made even if there is a risk that an interaction could escalate.

“If they’re freshly separated, it’s property (being exchanged), and then once their divorce is complete, it’s usually an exchange of children. We’ve had occasions where people do this exchange in person, and the next thing you know the estranged spouses start a verbal or domestic tiff,” he said.

Typically, these exchanges take place in large parking lots that the public has access to, Nichols said. But meeting in a public place doesn’t always mean the meeting is conducted in safety. With over a half dozen cameras videotaping every angle of the sheriff office’s safe zone, any interaction that occurs within the area will be documented.

In the instance that an exchange takes a threatening or violent turn, the individual must let the department know so the footage can be retrieved and used if necessary for prosecution.

“This keeps everyone on their best behavior. No one is going to want to come out here and get flippy with someone, especially if they are on camera being watched,” Nichols said.

For individuals using the safe zone for the exchange of internet purchases, Nichols said the area being located at a law enforcement department also has its perks. If another party feels uncomfortable meeting at the sheriff’s department, an individual should view that as a red flag that the person may have questionable intentions, he said.

Franklin County residents will be able to use the safe zone 24/7 and do not have to make an appointment to use the area. Nichols asks that safe zone users alert the sheriff’s department as soon as possible if an exchange escalates because the surveillance cameras recycle footage after two or three weeks.


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Protests in Charlotte continue at NFL game Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:51:00 +0000 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nightly protests have shaken the city of Charlotte since the shooting death of a black man by police last week, but Sunday’s NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Minnesota Vikings was played without interruption.

A group of around 100 demonstrators gathered across the street from Bank of America Stadium to keep up the pressure in the aftermath of the death of Keith Lamont Scott. The 43-year-old man was shot and killed Tuesday after a confrontation with Charlotte police. Six nights of protests have followed, the first two of them violent.

On Sunday, protesters led by a man with a bullhorn across the street from Bank of America Stadium were surrounded by at least two dozen police officers on bicycles. Their message competed with the noise of fans streaming toward the stadium and an impromptu jazz band playing tunes less than a block away.

When the national anthem was played, the protesters all dropped to one knee as many NFL players have been doing for weeks to call attention to issues, including police shootings. Inside the stadium, Carolina safety Marcus Ball raised his fist during the anthem.

Later Sunday, protesters clambered onto Interstate 277 through the city’s downtown and began to block traffic until police arrived. The protesters ran, but one fell in front of an all-terrain vehicle operated by a Greensboro police officer helping the Charlotte force, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. The protester, 26-year-old Donnell Jones of Missouri, was not hurt and was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, police said.

Video footage police released Saturday of the Scott shooting incident hasn’t settled questions about whether he threatened authorities with a gun before he was felled by a black officer. Police Chief Kerr Putney said Saturday that Scott was “absolutely in possession of a handgun,” adding that, while officers didn’t break the law, the State Bureau of Investigation continues to pursue the case.

While police say Scott had a gun, residents contend he was unarmed. It’s not apparent in the video if he’s holding anything shortly before he was shot.

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Entanglement likely killed 43-foot-long right whale found off Maine Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:32:31 +0000 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating how an endangered right whale found floating off the Maine coast Friday became entangled in fishing gear that probably caused its death.

Jennifer Goebel, a spokeswoman for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Region in Gloucester, Massachusetts, confirmed Sunday evening that fishing gear ropes were the most likely cause of the North Atlantic right whale’s demise.

Goebel said NOAA will try to identify the gear’s owner, but she was uncertain whether punitive action would be taken. If the owner can be identified, NOAA could use the incident to raise public awareness and develop strategies for preventing future occurrences.

“We feel like the entanglement played a pretty significant role in the whale’s death,” Goebel said. “It was severe. There was gear wrapped around the whale’s head (and mouth), its flippers and its tail.” Fishing gear ropes can restrict a whale’s movement over time and lead to its death, she said.

Goebel said there are an estimated 500 right whales still living in the North Atlantic, and one of the greatest threats to the population is fishing gear entanglement.

“It has become a huge problem for the right whale,” she said.

According to NOAA, North Atlantic right whales have been listed as an endangered species since 1970. They can weigh up to 79 tons, reach lengths of 50 feet and have a lifespan of at least 70 years.

Right whales feed by opening their mouths and swimming through large patches of zooplankton, their primary food source. Females are usually larger than males. Distinguishing features include a stocky body, black coloration, no dorsal fin and a large head that’s about one-quarter of the whale’s body length.

The deceased right whale, spotted Friday by people on a whale-watching boat off the coast of Boothbay Harbor, was an adult female that weighed about 45 tons and was 43 feet long.

After the whale sighting was reported, a boat crew from the Maine Marine Patrol towed the animal from Boothbay Harbor to Cape Small, off the coast of Phippsburg, where a 47-foot Coast Guard boat met them Saturday afternoon.

Petty Officer Joshua Ponz said it took his six-man crew about five hours to tow the whale by its tail to Portland Harbor, where the carcass was off-loaded Saturday evening onto a tractor-trailer truck at Portland Yacht Services on Commercial Street.

“It was very slow going,” Ponz said. “It was very sad to see.”

Smith Trucking and Excavation of Gorham provided a truck flatbed normally used to haul large loads of lumber for transporting the whale down Congress Street in Portland to Benson Farm in Gorham.

“I’ve never hauled a whale before, but I’ve moved some pretty big houses,” said owner Paul Smith. “When I took this job I didn’t realize how big the whale was going to be. The tail was so long it hung over the end of the trailer.”

Smith said he purposely transported the whale during the early morning hours – between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Sunday – to avoid traffic. He was escorted by a police cruiser.

“We just went easy,” said Smith, 64.

Ed Benson, owner of Benson Farm, said the whale’s journey from Portland’s waterfront to his farm on Plummer Road proved to be quite the spectacle.

“We were surrounded by cab drivers on Congress Street. They were trying to take the whale’s picture,” Benson said.

Later Sunday, a team of scientists and researchers from around the country spent the day performing a necropsy at the farm. Goebel said the researchers came from NOAA, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in New York, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, Marine Mammals of Maine, the Seacoast Science Center of New Hampshire and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

The remains of the whale will be composted and its bones turned over to federal officials, said Benson, whose farm is licensed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.


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Heroin overdose rescue efforts spur growing U.S. backlash Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:12:43 +0000 CINCINNATI — First responders in U.S. communities reeling from waves of heroin and other opioid overdoses say some people tell them they should just say “no” to expending so many resources on drug abusers.

Authorities say people have expressed frustration about rescuing addicts who often immediately resume using the potentially deadly drug. There also are concerns voiced about the wide-ranging social and government budget costs involved, including for naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, which quickly counteracts the potentially deadly effects of an opioid overdose.

Some signs of opioid overdose backlash:

An effort by authorities in Ohio’s Hamilton County to get a dangerous heroin batch off the streets by offering immunity for people who turn in drugs drew a rebuke from Sheriff Richard Jones in neighboring Butler County, who argued it only enables dealers and users and gives them an excuse if they are caught.

A police photo of a grandmother and her boyfriend unconscious after overdosing with a 4-year-old boy in their car went viral this month after the police department in Ohio’s East Liverpool posted it on Facebook, drawing thousands of comments, including from people decrying lenience toward users who endanger children or steal to support their habits.

In hard-hit Maine, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed legislation this year to expand access to naloxone, saying that making the antidote available does not address the “root causes of the problem,” that allowing addicts to keep naloxone on hand “serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction,” and that when people are receiving a dozen or more doses, they should start having to pay for them.

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote in his veto letter.

The Maine Legislature overrode the veto, by votes of 132-14 in the House and 29-5 in the Senate. “I was so pleased to see the Senate reject Gov. LePage’s belief that these Mainers are out of reach,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, said afterward. “Naloxone saves lives, and making it more broadly available means more of our fellow citizens will have a second chance to get on the road to recovery.”

In Ohio, a retired attorney wrote an op-ed column in The Cincinnati Enquirer examining the costs of treating heroin addiction, the strain on public resources and the rise in “drugged driving” accidents as he urged aggressive punishment. “What social policy is advanced by subsidizing recklessness?” John M. Kunst Jr., of suburban Cincinnati, wrote earlier this year. “Why do we excuse and enable addiction?”

“I understand the frustration,” said Police Chief Thomas Synan Jr. of Newtown, Ohio, who heads a Cincinnati-area heroin coalition task force. “I understand the feeling that someone is doing something to themselves, so why do the rest of us have to pay? But our job is to save lives, period.”

Synan started hearing more of the frustration amid an overdose spike in the Cincinnati area that saw 174 reported overdoses within six days last month. And the outbreaks continue, with seven overdose deaths Saturday in the Cleveland area.

Synan said that unlike with repeat heroin overdosers, he has never had members of the public say he shouldn’t try to save a habitual drunk driver after an auto accident or someone who has repeatedly attempted suicide.

Marion, Ohio, Fire Capt. Wade Ralph said heroin has an “extremely expensive” toll on his department, struggling to keep up while being understaffed and relying on donations from health organizations for naloxone to revive those who overdose.

“There’s a human factor to that that some people, I think, just forget about or maybe they ignore it and say, ‘Hey screw it, let them die.’ I’m like, you can’t do that. We have people here, we have guys at the firehouse, whose kids have been hooked on stuff like that,” said Ralph, whose city of 37,000 people was hit last year by 30 overdose hospitalizations and two deaths in a 12-day stretch.

In Maine, there were 189 drug overdose deaths through June of this year, a 50 percent increase over the same period in 2015, and if the pace continues there would be 378 overdose deaths this year, up from 272 in 2015. Heroin or illicit opioids, such as fentanyl, were contributing factors in 60 percent of this year’s deaths and prescription opioids were found in 64 percent of the overdose victims.

In the Cincinnati area, first responders have held the death toll to what appears to be low double digits, pending lab results. The spreading practice of mixing heroin with the powerful painkiller fentanyl or with carfentanil, so strong it’s used to tranquilize elephants, has resulted in frequent needs for multiple doses of naloxone.

“If they weren’t doing their job, they’d all be dead,” said Christel Brooks, a recovering addict in Cincinnati who said she’s been clean for 12 years now. She said the problem is lack of treatment facilities and other resources for intervention before rescued addicts resume drug use.

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fire Chief Jay Delaney wrote this year to federal and state lawmakers to request funding for naloxone, expecting to administer doses this year worth about $10,000 to $11,000 at $40 each.

“Whether a firefighter is saving one from a burning building or administering naloxone, you’re still saving that human being’s life, so that’s a big deal to us,” said Delaney, whose department has received grant money this year but needs a steady funding answer. “We never thought … that we would have so many that we would have to deal with so it became a funding crisis.”

Last week, police in Lawrence, Massachusetts, released cellphone video of an overdosed mother lying in a store aisle while her toddler daughter tried to revive her before paramedics arrived and did so.

Family Dollar clerk Nicaurys Anziani, who called 911, told The Eagle-Tribune newspaper she felt terrible for the little girl, who “was just crying and crying and crying.”

Police said they hoped sharing the video will alert people to the consequences of drug use that they see on the front lines, as East Liverpool police explained about their photo of the overdosed couple with a child.

Ron Calhoun, an anti-drug activist in northern Kentucky, disputes suggestions he hears often that reviving people with naloxone is enabling heroin use.

“The only thing naloxone enables is breathing,” he responds. “We just want to keep them alive and get them into treatment.”

He said one young woman he knows had been revived 15 times with naloxone.

“And today, she’s in rehab,” Calhoun said. “Corpses don’t do well in rehab.”

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Golf legend Arnold Palmer dies Mon, 26 Sep 2016 01:01:47 +0000 Arnold Palmer, a Pennsylvania greenskeeper’s son who became one of golf’s most charismatic champions and made millions of dollars by turning his popular “everyman” image into one of the most lucrative sports brands in the world, died Sunday at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to his longtime assistant Doc Griffin. Palmer was hospitalized in preparation for heart surgery, but Griffin said he did not know the exact cause of death. He was 87.

Mr. Palmer rose from a blue-collar background to become part of the sport’s royalty — he was colloquially known on the PGA tour as “The King” — and frequent playing partner of U.S. presidents. He left an indelible mark on the world of golf in the form of nearly 300 signature-designed courses, and Arnold Palmer Enterprises, which handled his endorsements and other ventures, helped make Mr. Palmer the first golfer to make his name a worldwide franchise.

Many credit Mr. Palmer with inventing golf as a televised sport, becoming the game’s first well-known star by helping to put a name and face to the game. Mr. Palmer’s vitality and boyishly handsome looks helped attract many new fans to the sport who watched on television. “I’ve got sex written all over my face,” Mr. Palmer once said.

Emerging as a superstar athlete in the 1950s, Mr. Palmer did not play golf courses; he attacked them. Armed with a brutish swing that more resembled a hockey slap shot than a daisy cutter, Mr. Palmer brought energy and zest to the staid game that men before him such as Bobby Jones and Sam Snead played wearing tweed coats and knickers.

Standing 6-feet-2, with broad shoulders, beefy arms and massive hands, Mr. Palmer was known for bombing drives off the tee and then stalking his ball down the fairway, striding long bounds while dangling a thin cigarette between his fingers.

Frequently, though, Mr. Palmer’s heavy swing would lead him to find his ball beached in sand traps and buried in thick rough. When his options were either to play it safe by taking a stroke and punching out for a cleaner shot, or zinging it between trees and through bushes for the narrow chance to save for par, Mr. Palmer knew what to do.

“There always were conservative players, fairways-and-greens types,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “The spectators get a kick out of seeing a player take a shot, take a risk.”

Surrounded by the gallery, Mr. Palmer would flick his cigarette, hitch up his pants, and then blast his ball for often mesmerizing results.

Between 1958 and 1964, he won seven major titles, including the Masters four times, the U.S. Open once, and the British Open twice, two years in a row. Throughout a career spanning five decades, Mr. Palmer won 62 tournaments on the U.S. tour, and accrued nearly $7 million in prize money. He was the first golfer earn $1 million in purses.

Perhaps Mr. Palmer’s most memorable tournament, and one of the greatest golf showdowns of all time, occurred at the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver.

On the final day of the event, Mr. Palmer was seven shots behind the leader — an otherwise insurmountable lead.

“What’ll happen if I shoot 65?” Mr. Palmer asked a friend before he teed off for the final round.

“Nothing,” said Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Drum, “You blew your chance.”

“Like hell I did,” Mr. Palmer replied. “A 65 gives me 280 and 280 wins the Open.”

That day, Mr. Palmer drove the green on the 346-yard first hole. He birdied six of the seven opening holes. He shot a 65 — edging out an amateur prodigy by two shots named Jack Nicklaus — to win his only Open title.


Mr. Palmer was already an established champion on the tour when Nicklaus rose from obscurity to become golf’s golden boy. In nearly every tournament they entered, Mr. Palmer and Nicklaus battled in what is known as one of golf’s fiercest rivalries.

At the 1962 U.S. Open, Nicklaus won his first major championship by beating Mr. Palmer in a playoff. In 1964, Mr. Palmer finished first at the Masters, while Nicklaus was second. The next year, the order was reversed. In 1967, Nicklaus won the U.S. Open again, this time with a score of 5 under par. The only other player in the top 10 who played below par was Mr. Palmer, who finished second, four shots behind Nicklaus.

Their rivalry extended off the course to the business world. Mr. Palmer was known to call Nicklaus’s marketing symbol — a golden bear — a “golden pig,” reflecting Nicklaus’s pudgy physique.

In their later years, however, Mr. Palmer and Nicklaus became great friends. In 2010, Mr. Palmer and Nicklaus were the ceremonial starters of the Masters golf tournament and both hit an honorary first drive.

“In terms of fan recognition, he lifted the game to another level,” Nicklaus told USA Today in 2004. “He grabbed the imagination of the public. From 1958 to 1964 it would be hard to find a golfer who played better.”

Of Mr. Palmer’s mass appeal, golf writer Dan Jenkins once noted, “Arnold Palmer did not play golf, we thought. He nailed up beams, reupholstered sofas, repaired air conditioning units. He was the most immeasurable of all golf champions.”

His fans made themselves known one year at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., parading behind him and holding up signs that read “Arnie’s Army.” Many of them were soldiers from nearby Fort Gordon who had come to the tournament just to watch Mr. Palmer.

In all of his tournament appearances, Mr. Palmer was followed by throngs of fans who would stack themselves 15 rows deep. They’d climb trees, stand on shoulders, and even employ cardboard periscopes – anything to catch a glimpse of “The King.”


Mr. Palmer capitalized on his popularity to wide success as a businessman, notably in 1961 when he started Arnold Palmer Enterprises with the marketing symbol of a colored golf umbrella.

Much of his success behind the scenes was credited to his business partner, Mark McCormack, whom Mr. Palmer had played against in college. McCormack, who died in 2004, founded IMG, an athlete management business, in 1960 and signed Mr. Palmer as his first client. Their deal, which was sealed with a handshake, immediately proved fruitful. In the first two years, Mr. Palmer’s endorsements soared from $6,000 a year to more than $500,000.

Throughout his career, Mr. Palmer maintained contracts with a wide variety of companies, including Rayovac batteries, Rolex watches, Starkey hearing aids, Pennzoil engine fluids, Ketel One vodka, Cadillac luxury cars, Callaway golfing products and E-Z-Go golf carts.

Mr. Palmer is also credited with creating a blended drink, an iced tea splashed with lemonade.

“A guy came up to the bar and he ordered an Arnold Palmer, and the barman knew what that drink was,” said Irishman Padraig Harrington, a three-time majors champion. “That’s in a league of your own.”

Always the businessman, in 2002 Mr. Palmer had his company license “Arnold Palmer Tee,” a bottled version of the drink, to the AriZona Beverage Co.

Mr. Palmer was also one of the first professionals to design golf courses and make millions of dollars doing it. Nearly 300 golf courses around the globe bear his name, including two that Mr. Palmer owned: the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, home to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a PGA tour event, and the Latrobe Country Club in Pennsylvania, the course where his father maintained the greens.

In 1994, Forbes estimated Mr. Palmer’s personal fortune to be worth more than $175 million. In Asia alone, the Arnold Palmer brand sells more than $100 million in products that range from car air fresheners to bed linens.

Mr. Palmer owned an exclusive magazine that catered to clubs where he had designed a golf course. He named the signature publication, which is distributed worldwide, “Kingdom.”


Arnold Daniel Palmer was born Sept. 10, 1929, in Youngstown, Pa., and raised in nearby Latrobe. He learned the game of golf from his father, Milfred Jerome “Deke” Palmer, a strict taskmaster who worked every day on the grounds of the Latrobe Country Club.

Mr. Palmer recalled in his book, “A Golfer’s Life” (1999), that he was 3 years old when his father placed a cut-down women’s golf club in his hands and instructed him simply to “hit it hard, boy.”

The rest Mr. Palmer did himself. He grew up to become a prodigious player and in high school lost only four matches.

During a junior tournament one summer, he met Marvin “Bud” Worsham, a golfer from the Washington area who would change Mr. Palmer’s life.

Worsham, who was also known as Bubby, was the youngest brother to the 1947 U.S. Open champion Lew Worsham. Bud Worsham became Mr. Palmer’s best friend, and the two became roommates at what is now Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where they both played golf on scholarship.

One night in Mr. Palmer’s senior year, Worsham was in a car that caromed off a road and slammed into a tree. Mr. Palmer, who was supposed to have been in the vehicle that night with Worsham, drove to the coroner the following morning to identify his best friend’s body.

The most prestigious junior tournament played in Washington, the Bubby Worsham Memorial, was renamed in his honor.

Shortly after the accident, Mr. Palmer left school and served three years in the Coast Guard. In 1954, seven months out of Coast Guard service and long out of the elite level of golf, Mr. Palmer as entered the U.S. Amateur tournament, then one of the premier events for golf talent.

Mr. Palmer, who was a long shot to begin with, won the tournament by a shot over Robert Sweeny. He often said he considered the win one of his greatest victories and the turning point in his career. Days later Mr. Palmer became a professional golfer by signing a sponsorship deal with Wilson Sporting Goods.

In his later years, Mr. Palmer took on the role of golf’s godfather, dispensing advice to fellow players on anything from business, their swing, to their private lives. In 2010, Mr. Palmer was outspoken during the aftermath of the news that Tiger Woods had been an unfaithful husband, and said Woods could have handled the controversy better by being more open with the public.

Among his many charitable donations, Mr. Palmer endowed a scholarship at Wake Forest in honor of Bud Worsham. In 2006, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies opened in Orlando, largely funded by Mr. Palmer, which he named in memory of his wife of 45 years, the former Winnie Walzer, who died in 1999.

Survivors include his second wife, the former Kathleen Gawthrop, whom he married in 2005.

In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded Mr. Palmer the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Over the years, Mr. Palmer played golf with a number of presidents, and was frequent a partner of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Mr. Palmer often told a story about the first Masters he played in as a professional in 1955.

He and his wife, Winnie, drove up Magnolia Lane, the storied entrance to the grand white clubhouse of Augusta National, in a coral pink Ford towing a cramped 19-foot trailer they would live out of for the week of the event.

He came in 10th that year and won the considerable sum of $695.83, “and we never pulled the trailer again.”

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Slain Islamic propagandist keeps inspiring acts of terror Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:23:19 +0000 NEW YORK — Five years after Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by an American drone strike, he keeps inspiring acts of terror.

Investigators say a bomb that rocked New York a week ago, injuring more than two dozen people, was the latest in a long line of incidents in which the attackers were inspired by al-Awlaki, an American imam who became an al-Qaida propagandist.

Federal terrorism charges against the bombing suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, say a bloodstained notebook – found on him after he engaged in a shootout with police and was arrested in New Jersey – included passages praising al-Awlaki. And Rahami’s father has said he went to the FBI two years ago in part because he was concerned about his son’s admiration for al-Awlaki and the time he spent watching his videos advocating jihad, or holy war.

Terror experts say al-Awlaki remains a dangerous inciter of homegrown terror. He spoke American English, and his sermons are widely available online. And since he was killed in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, martyred in the eyes of followers, those materials take on an almost mythic quality. His primary message: Muslims are under attack and have a duty to carry out attacks on non-believers at home.

Among the attackers who investigators and terror experts say were inspired by al-Awlaki and his videos: the couple who carried out the San Bernardino, California, shootings, which left 14 people dead in December, and the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others in April 2013.

Zachary Goldman, co-founder of the New York University Center for Cyber Security, said al-Awlaki was particularly effective because of “his ideas and pernicious way of offering comfort to those in need of it at the same time as he poisons them.”

Presidential nominees Donald Trump, a Republican, and Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, have called for curtailing the ability of terrorists to promote their views on the internet. Trump has suggested shutting down the Web in war-ravaged nations overrun by Islamic extremists. Clinton has suggested appealing to social media companies to take radical speech offline.

The director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, Karen Greenberg, said a lively discussion is underway among public officials and those in the private sector to “find a way to take searches for jihadist propaganda and deflect it toward a counter-narrative.”

She noted her center’s study of the first 101 Islamic State cases in federal courts, updated through June, showed more than 25 percent of the cases’ court records contained references to al-Awlaki’s influence.

References to Osama bin Laden, founder of the terror organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, barely topped 10 percent.

Authorities have said al-Awlaki knew two of the Sept. 11 hijackers when he was the imam of a Falls Church, Virginia, mosque but didn’t seem a threat, even scoring an invite to lunch at the Pentagon as part of a moderate Muslim outreach program after the 2001 attacks.

But al-Awlaki’s essays and speeches went from providing encouragement to would-be militant fighters to playing an operational role for al-Qaida, prompting the Obama administration to add him to the government’s list of wanted terror suspects.

By 2007, an informant at a New Jersey trial testified, one of five foreign-born Muslims said he was ready to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey, after watching a video of an al-Awlaki lecture he considered a religious decree to attack American soldiers.

Al-Awlaki was emailing Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, before his 2009 shooting attack at Fort Hood, Texas, which killed 13 people.

Authorities said al-Awlaki also worked with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a recruit to al-Qaida’s Yemen branch, who tried unsuccessfully to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with explosives in his underwear.

]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:39:16 +0000
In first debate, stakes – and interest – are high Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:21:34 +0000 A roller coaster of a campaign 18 months in the making arrives Monday at a huge moment for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: a 90-minute debate, with much of the nation expected to tune in amid great uncertainty about what they’ll see.

Virtually tied in recent polls, both Clinton and Trump enter the debate as the two most deeply unpopular presidential candidates in modern history. Both hope to discredit the other, and both hope to emerge from the debate having burnished the public’s view that they are better qualified.

A roiling disagreement over the role of the debate moderator flared up Sunday, with Democrats arguing that a more activist “fact-checker” role is needed to rein in Trump’s well-established pattern of factual misstatements.

But Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, seemed to side with the Republican nominee, saying in an interview that “it’s not a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopaedia Britannica.” She added, however, that ultimately it will be up to Monday’s moderator, Lester Holt of NBC News, to do the job as he sees fit.

Underscoring the unique nature of the combatants, Clinton’s debate preparations included a focus on Trump’s personality as well as the substance of what will be discussed onstage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, according to several Democrats with knowledge of her campaign’s approach.

Clinton’s team convened a meeting last month at which longtime aide Philippe Reines, the stand-in for Trump in her mock sessions, deeply studied Trump’s personality to be able to parry with her as Trump might.

The meeting was one of several during which Clinton aides conferred with outsiders who had been asked to offer advice about Trump’s temperament, according to people familiar with the gathering. The objective was to understand how a man who has spent most of his life in the business world and prides himself on being a dealmaker might behave in a debate setting.

The stakes Monday could hardly be higher for both candidates. A Washington Post poll released Sunday shows likely voters split nationally 46 percent for Clinton and 44 percent for Trump.

With barely six weeks remaining until Election Day, Clinton’s camp – after a prolonged focus on trashing Trump – sees the debate as a chance for her to present what she actually hopes to accomplish as president and to ease voters’ concerns about her likability and trustworthiness.

For Trump, his first one-on-one presidential debate offers an opportunity to demonstrate a command of the issues and to persuade voters clamoring for change that he is a credible alternative, his advisers say.

One of the biggest unknowns remains which Donald Trump will show up. While Clinton has a lengthy record of meticulous preparation and formidable performances, Trump has been more unpredictable. Sometimes, he is a freewheeling showman prone to controversial utterances; other times, he is a more sober and scripted candidate.

The first of three scheduled debates between Clinton and Trump is likely to have a full agenda. It comes amid heightened fears of terrorism, unrest over police shootings of African-American men and a slew of long-standing issues that sharply divide the major-party candidates, including immigration, trade, tax policy and foreign affairs.

Supporters of Clinton and Trump fanned out across the Sunday television shows to put their spin on the tasks ahead.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, seemingly acknowledged on CNN’s “State of the Union” that her candidate was trying “to get into the head of Hillary Clinton” when he suggested Saturday on Twitter on that he had invited Gennifer Flowers, who has claimed to have conducted a long-running affair with Bill Clinton, to attend the debate.

Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, later said categorically on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Flowers would not be there.

In their TV appearances, Clinton partisans said she has multiple goals Monday. Those include reminding voters of her long record of championing the interests of children and families and touting her agenda for helping the middle class – but also holding Trump accountable for assertions that independent fact-checkers have labeled false.

“She has a challenge because Donald Trump inveterately says things that aren’t true,” Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “She’s got to be able to make that positive case but also not let Donald Trump get away with what he’s likely to do, which is to make stuff up.”

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, Clinton’s running mate, said he expects the format to explore the truthfulness of both candidates’ claims.

“There’s a real opportunity to hear somebody say something and then get into whether is that actually true or not,” Kaine said on “Face the Nation.”

Trump’s team continued to press its case Sunday that fact-checking shouldn’t be the responsibility of the moderator, however.

“I really don’t appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding,” Conway said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

She also disputed the notion that Trump makes more frequent misstatements, saying Clinton’s “casual relationship with the truth is well-known to Americans.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, said he believes the moderators should remain a “modest” presence in the debates.

“They’re not running for president,” Gingrich said on “Fox and Friends Sunday.” “It’s pretty stupid to think we’re going to have this third candidate called the moderator, and that they’re going to double-team Donald Trump.”

Brown, the head of the independent debate commission, did not issue a verdict on the controversy during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” but said that in the past, the role of the moderator has been to keep things moving and allow the candidates to call one another out for misstatements.

Clinton’s camp also continued efforts of recent days to argue that the press and public shouldn’t hold her to a higher standard than Trump because of Clinton’s longer record in public service and more-detailed policy proposals as a candidate.

“I’m very concerned that Donald Trump will be graded on a curve,” Clinton’s campaign manger, Robby Mook, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Just because he doesn’t fly off the handle in the middle of this debate does not mean that he is prepared to be president of the United States. … He needs to roll out specific plans about how’s going to make life better for Americans.”

Aides to Trump, whose preparations by all accounts have been less meticulous than those of Clinton, are hopeful that the debate will help close what polls have shown to be a credibility gap with Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady.

As part of an effort to appear more disciplined in recent weeks, Trump has put an emphasis on new policy proposals, which were sparse during the primary season, and on reining in his freewheeling style at campaign rallies. It remains to be seen whether those efforts will be maintained throughout Monday’s 90 minutes on stage.

“A victory for Donald Trump tomorrow night is answering the questions and showing America that he’s ready to be president and commander in chief on Day One,” Conway said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump surrogates also sought to raise expectations for Clinton’s performance, talking at length Sunday about her public service while repeatedly stating that Trump has never participated in a one-on-one debate.

“The expectations on Hillary are very, very high,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, on “Fox News Sunday.” “She’s been doing this for 30 years. I think people expect her to know every detail. … He’s never run before, let alone been in a presidential debate.”

Trump’s biggest challenge might be staying on message, as the episode over Flowers’s possible appearance at the debate demonstrated. Heading into the debate, Trump’s tweet on the subject not only risked distracting from the candidate’s message but could further alienate women voters, with whom Trump has struggled.

On Sunday, Pence said that the real estate developer was just joking.

“Gennifer Flowers will not be attending the debate tomorrow night,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Conway, speaking on CNN, said that Trump has no plans to bring up Bill Clinton’s marital indiscretions during the debate, saying viewers deserve and expect these candidates to be talking about the issues.”

But, she added: “I’m not going to reveal what we have been doing in our debate conversations. But the fact is that he has every right to be defend himself.”

Clinton aides, meanwhile, argued that the episode was a telling one about Trump.

“You saw his reaction, which is to do his favorite sport, which is to dive in the sewer and go for a swim,” Podesta said on NBC. “He’s kind of predictable: When you poke him a little bit, and he comes back and attacks whoever is doing it.”

]]> 6, 25 Sep 2016 23:59:35 +0000
Britain’s royal couple continue Canada tour Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:20:29 +0000 VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Prince George and Princess Charlotte stayed behind with their nanny as Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, continued their tour of British Columbia on Sunday, a day after George left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hanging on a high-five.

The 3-year-old George made headlines in the United Kingdom when George declined to high-five and then shake the hand of Trudeau during the arrival ceremony Saturday at the airport in Victoria, B.C. The prime minister was among several dignitaries waiting on the tarmac to greet the royals when they emerged from their flight. Videos and photos of the interaction were shared widely by British media.

The Mirror wrote: “Superstar politician Mr. Trudeau might have endeared himself to millions online through his outspoken feminism, support for diversity and willingness to embrace internet memes, but it seems to take more than that to impress Will and Kate’s eldest.”

The Daily Mail shared a story with the headline: “Sorry, one doesn’t high-five with commoners.”

The kids are remaining in Victoria as their parents visit other parts of British Columbia and Western Canada until Oct. 1 on their first official overseas trip as a family of four. On the second day of their trip the British royal couple flew to Vancouver, where they were greeted at the waterfront by several hundred fans who gave them a raucous welcome.

Both spent time talking with people and appeared to be trying to shake hands with everyone they could.

The couple then stopped at an outreach center for women with drug and alcohol addictions who are pregnant or parenting.

Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, later met the royal couple outside the Immigrant Services Society’s new Welcome House.

Syrian refugees who met the royal couple said they wish more world leaders were as attentive to their country’s plight. Canada has welcomed more than 30,000 refugees since Trudeau became prime minister.

]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:46:52 +0000
Volunteers work around the clock at Common Ground Country Fair Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:18:09 +0000 UNITY — As dusk fell on the Common Ground Country Fair and most visitors were leaving Saturday, Devon Salisbury’s work was just getting started.

“How are we doing on food?” the 37-year-old asked, popping her head into the outdoor Common Kitchen, where more than 860 meals were served to volunteers Saturday night.

“These people are like my family,” said Salisbury, who is an event planner for a winery in her day job and takes a week off each year to volunteer at the fair. “They don’t have to be told what to do. Everyone just knows instinctively.”

This year’s 40th Common Ground Country Fair was Salisbury’s 17th year as a volunteer, where she works as a kitchen coordinator at the Common Kitchen, a round-the-clock operation that turns tons of donated produce and groceries into meals for the roughly 1,200 volunteers that staff the fair.

Many volunteers, especially those who work in the kitchen, say the party is truly the heart of the fair, but it’s also just a small part of what takes place in the world of volunteers and vendors whose lives at the fair are just as active before and after the gates open to the public as they are when visitors are walking through.

“This is the fair to me,” said volunteer Ken Webster, as he prepared a squash and shiitake mushroom pizza for Saturday’s volunteer dinner. “Mostly it’s the same core group of people and it’s a party. The camaraderie, the cooking, it’s the best thing.”

The fair attracts about 60,000 people each year for three days and since 1998 has been held on more than 250 acres of farmland and forest owned by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. With no amusement park rides and a menu from vendors made up primarily of locally-sourced and organic ingredients, its main draw is events focused on sustainability and rural living. Lectures this year included “Backyard grain growing,” and “How to do a home funeral.”

Attendance on Saturday reached about 27,000 – just a few hundred short of last year’s record attendance day – said executive director April Boucher. With just two full-time employees and one part-time employee, the role of volunteers is a critical one, Boucher said.

“We wouldn’t be able to have the fair if not for the effort, dedication and passion you see on behalf of the volunteers,” she said. “There are some areas that are really vibrant, and that’s because the leaders in those areas put in extra effort.”

Fair organizers plan for more than 2,000 volunteer shifts each year. For the most part they get filled, but there is always a need for more, Boucher said. By late Saturday afternoon, about 70 percent of the shifts had been filled, with many volunteers taking on more than one four-hour shift.

In exchange for their four hours of work, volunteers get a T-shirt, free admission to the fair, a meal and a camping spot.


As fairgoers left Saturday night with their bags full of produce, herbs and flowers, the line for the Common Kitchen wrapped around the fair office. Saturday night’s dinner is the biggest meal of the fair for volunteers and usually sees the largest crowds. “This is the beauty of the Common Ground Fair,” said Salisbury, the kitchen coordinator. “You have volunteers preparing meals for other volunteers with food that has all been donated. It’s kind of an organic process.”

For many, the meal is a break from the work they have been doing all day and will continue through the night.

Elizabeth Damon, a University of Maine student and first-time volunteer, was eating a dessert of blueberry bread pudding after finishing up a shift she described as “sort of all over the place.”

She cut a lot of vegetables and was then tasked with making brownies, but there were no chocolate chips. So she improvised, incorporating applesauce and squash into the chocolate dessert.

“We have to work with the ingredients we have, so the recipes are kind of made on the spot,” said Damon, 21. “I loved it. It was a really fun adventure.”

After gathering their food, the volunteers sat at picnic tables or on the lawn, many huddled under blankets and adding layers of clothing as the temperature started to drop for the evening.

Roberta Manter of Fayette has exhibited horses at the fair for years and was joined this year by her daughter, Elizabeth Collard, and her family. Both live off the grid and were camping at the fair for the weekend.

“The fair would be perfect if they could find a way to turn up the heat,” said Collard, of Bridgton.

“Waiting in line is worth it for the food,” added her daughter, 9-year-old Esther Collard, as she skipped off to get some hot tea.

As the meal wrapped up, many volunteers crowded the floor of a large tent for contradancing, some of them in bare feet. They could also enjoy a movie in the main building or wander through the exhibition hall, which remained open with displays of the fair’s best tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables.

The kitchen stays open for stragglers, like the safety crew which was also working around the clock. For many volunteers, the fair is a reunion, a way to get together with friends or visit with family.


Around 9 p.m., a small group of safety crew workers clad in orange vests filled a table in the mostly empty kitchen area and finished up their dinner. All were thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail in 2013 and selected the fair as a way to reunite. The midnight to 7 a.m. safety shift, which the group covered Friday night, is the best shift, according to Nick Parsons, 23, who said he likes riding around the fairgrounds in a golf cart late at night.

Last year, the group shuttled a first-time volunteer with hypothermia to warmth and brought her some coffee.

Mostly they stay up late talking and hanging out, reminiscing about how awful it was when the norovirus struck some hikers on the AT in 2013.

“It’s pretty wonderful,” said Parsons, of Harpswell. “We’ve stayed awake the whole weekend, all but two hours. It’s hard to get everyone to all meet in one location, so here we can get together and hang out. Mostly we’re joking about old jokes.”

Volunteers aren’t the only ones who camp out at the fair. Many of the livestock exhibitors and vendors do as well, though they tend to get to bed earlier so they can get up for chores and setup.

Sam Cheeney, who sells organic seed garlic from his Salty Dog Farm, usually sleeps between his baskets of garlic in his vendor stall. He said his kids, ages 3 and 5, look forward to camping at the fair every year.

“They love it. They do one night here, and then they go with their grandparents to a hotel,” he said. “Me, I don’t want to be driving in the morning, so I sleep right here.”

“It’s funny, but I often think this is one of the most urban things I do,” said Dan Huisjen, a volunteer of 14 years who was cleaning out a cast-iron skillet after breakfast in the volunteer campground Sunday morning and noting the close proximity of the dozens of tents surrounding him.

This year, Huisjen volunteered for fair setup and got his shift out of the way a week ahead of time. “You get it out of the way, and usually they’re in need of more volunteers before and after the fair,” he said.

As the fair woke up for its last day of activity Sunday, many of the volunteers trekked down a short wooded trail lined with composting toilets, making their way from the tent city to the Common Kitchen, where others were finishing up shifts that started at 4 a.m.

The early morning crew was done. Their work was done and the fair was just starting.


]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:30:43 +0000
Augusta teen honors late grandmother with breast cancer fundraising race Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:18:01 +0000 AUGUSTA — Seeing his late grandmother Lois Lajoie suffer from the effects of breast cancer, Casey Gallant wanted to do something to help make her feel better.

So the 14-year-old ran in her honor, racking up more than 150 miles by August in running races across the state. Hearing about her grandson’s exploits did indeed bring joy to Lajoie, even during some of the toughest days of her long battle with the disease, before her death, Sept. 10 at the age of 67.

“It made her happy, she was very excited about it, very grateful,” Casey’s dad, Ryan, said. “Hearing about what he was doing, it was one of the few things that still made her smile, toward the end.”

But Casey decided he wanted to do more. So, on his own, he researched how to put on a 5K running race, and put together an entire race to honor his late “Nannie,” Miles Across Maine for Breast Cancer Awareness, which, he said, will be annual event and, as it did this year, raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.

Casey Gallant of Augusta said he thinks about his grandmother while he runs.

“She has always motivated me, even when she was sick,” Casey said Saturday before the 5K race and 1-mile walk that together drew more than 100 participants Saturday. “She was so kind to us.”

Between registration fees and money raised in a raffle of numerous items donated by local businesses and residents, the event raised $4,500, which will be donated to the MaineGeneral Health Walk for Hope.

Between Saturday’s event and Casey’s previous fundraising to fight cancer, he raised a total of about $7,000, according to his aunt, Stacy Kennard, of Augusta.

“He’s got a heart of gold,” Kennard said of Casey, who attends St. Michael School. “He’s such a sweet boy. He never left his Nannie without giving her a big hug and telling her he loved her.”

She said she thought it was amazing a 14-year-old could, and would, organize a race on his own.

On Saturday, though, Casey was far from alone. Ryan Gallant said about 20 other family members were participating in the event. Most, if not all, of them were clad in pink “Miles Across Maine,” T-shirts. Casey wore a t-shirt that said “Tough Guys Wear Pink.”

Casey ran in the race himself, coming in third, but not before also serving as the race’s starter, blowing an air horn to signal the start of the race, then dropping it and taking off running across a field and into the woods outside the University of Maine at Augusta.

Other races he’s competed in this year included the Beach to Beacon, and Tough Mountain Challenge, in which competitors race 5 kilometers up and down a mountain, and over obstacles, at Sunday River. Casey came in first in his age group in that challenge, and 10th overall. He also competed Friday, the day before his own race, in the Kennebec Valley YMCA’s Rise ‘n Shine 5K Road Race, coming in seventh overall, out of more than 150 competitors, and first in his age class.

Most racers and walkers at Saturday’s Miles Across Maine for Breast Cancer Awareness wore Mickey Mouse ears, in recognition of Lajoie’s love for Disney.

Ryan Gallant said the last couple of months have been tough, but Miles Across Maine has given the family something to focus on, together, as they mourn the loss of Lajoie.


]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:53:58 +0000
Outspoken Jordanian shot dead Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:12:39 +0000 AMMAN, Jordan — A prominent and outspoken Jordanian writer on Sunday was shot dead in front of the courthouse where he had been on trial for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam on social media.

A Jordanian security official said the shooter was a former imam, or prayer leader, at a local mosque, and said the man had been motivated by his anger over the cartoon posted to Facebook by writer Nahed Hattar. The shooting was the latest in a string of deadly security lapses in Jordan. Witnesses and police said Hattar, 56, was preparing to enter the courthouse for a hearing when the gunman shot him at close range.

“He was standing at a short distance of about (1 yard) in front of Nahed on the stairs of the Supreme Court,” a witness told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions. The official Petra News Agency said Hattar was shot three times.

The witness said the shooter, who was immediately arrested, was wearing a long grey robe and long beard characteristic of conservative Muslims.

Jordanian media, citing anonymous officials, identified the shooter as Riad Abdullah, 49, a former imam in northern Hashmi, a poor neighborhood in Amman. The reports said Abdullah had recently returned from a trip abroad, but gave no further details.

]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:12:39 +0000
Washington mall shooting suspect had run-ins with law Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:57:35 +0000 OAK HARBOR, Wash. — The 20-year-old man suspected of killing five people with a rifle at a Macy’s makeup counter had a string of run-ins with the law in recent years, including charges he assaulted his stepfather, and was described by a neighbor as so “creepy, rude and obnoxious” that she kept a Taser by her front door.

As investigators tried to piece together information on Arcan Cetin, who was arrested Saturday evening after a nearly 24-hour manhunt, a picture emerged of a troubled young man. Court records show more than a half-dozen criminal cases in Island County alone since 2013.

Authorities said the gunman in the attack at the Cascade Mall in Burlington opened fire in the department store’s cosmetics department Friday night, killing a man and four females ranging from a teenager to a senior citizen. The killer then fled.

Cetin said nothing and appeared “zombie-like” when he was taken into custody on a sidewalk outside his apartment complex some 30 miles away in Oak Harbor by a sheriff’s officer who recognized him as the suspect in the rampage, authorities said.

Cetin immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey and is a legal permanent resident, officials said.

As the surrounding area absorbed news of the arrest, critical questions remained, including the gunman’s motive. The FBI said early Saturday that there was no indication the shooting was terrorism, but local authorities said later in the day that they were ruling nothing out.

On Sept. 17, a 20-year-old man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. Authorities said they are investigating the attack by Dahir Ahmed Adan as a possible act of terrorism.

On Sunday, investigators searched Cetin’s vehicle and the apartment complex and were seen carrying boxes from a rear, upstairs unit. The four-unit building was surrounded with yellow police tape. Detectives would not say what they found.

Amber Cathey, 21, lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months and said she was so frightened by him that she complained to apartment management and kept a stun gun handy. Cathey said she blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch.

“He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious,” Cathey said. She said she would try to avoid him by walking the long way around to her apartment if she saw his car in the parking lot. The two were in high school together as well, and Cathey said he acted the same way then.

]]> 3, 25 Sep 2016 20:06:23 +0000
Donating baby’s body for research leads Washington mother to write book Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:35:55 +0000 WASHINGTON — An ultrasound showed one of Sarah Gray’s unborn twins was missing part of his brain, a fatal birth defect. His brother was born healthy but Thomas lived just six days. Latching onto hope for something positive to come from heartache, Gray donated some of Thomas’ tissue for scientific research – his eyes, his liver, his umbilical cord blood.

Only no one could tell the Washington mother if that precious donation really made a difference. So Gray embarked on an unusual journey to find out, revealing a side of science laymen seldom glimpse.

“Infant eyes are like gold,” a Harvard scientist told her.

“I don’t think people understand how valuable these donations are,” said Gray, who hadn’t either until her yearslong quest brought her face-to-face with startled scientists. They had never met a relative of the donors so crucial to their work either.

Families often find comfort in learning how many lives were saved if they donated a loved one’s organs for transplant. But donating a body for research gets less attention – there are no headline-making “saves.” Yet critical medical research in labs around the country depends on scientists’ ability to work with human cells and organs, so they can study both normal development and how disease does its dirty work.

“A lot of people, if the tissue doesn’t get used for transplant, they think it’s kind of second-rate tissue or something. I’d like them to know that people who do research with human tissue are doing worthwhile things that are going to, hopefully, lead to cures for all kinds of diseases,” said Dr. James Zieske, a corneal specialist at Harvard and the Schepens Eye Research Institute, whose description of treasured infant eyes spurred Gray’s hunt.

Now, hoping to help other families facing decisions about donation, Gray has written a book, “A Life Everlasting, The Extraordinary Story of One Boy’s Gift to Medical Science.” Gray and two of the scientists she met in her quest spoke with The Associated Press about donation for research.


Gray’s obstetrician didn’t think donation was an option for a baby with this birth defect, called anencephaly. Only when Gray persisted late in pregnancy did she learn, from the Washington area’s organ procurement agency, that her baby’s organs probably would be too small for transplant but that donation for research was an option.

Statistics from the United Network for Organ Sharing show that organs from a dozen newborns were donated last year for transplant.

On the research front, Dr. Arupa Ganguly of the University of Pennsylvania studies retinoblastoma, eye cancer that attacks young children. Before receiving Thomas’ tissue, she had waited six years for donation of a healthy young retina to compare with diseased ones.

Cells taken from younger tissue typically grow much better than an adult’s, said Zieske, who could recall receiving infant corneas only two or three times in his career. Thomas’ corneas were ordered to study how to repair blindness-inducing corneal damage.

In recovering tissue from deceased donors, hospitals consult a national registry of researchers’ current needs.

On that day in 2010, Thomas died at home in his father’s arms. The organ agency retrieved his body, and recovered his eyes and liver. Blood from the umbilical cords of both Thomas and his healthy identical twin Callum already had been shipped to Duke University researchers studying what causes anencephaly.


Two years later, all Gray knew was where Thomas’ tissue had been shipped. So during a business trip to Boston, she called the Harvard-affiliated eye lab, identified herself as a donor mom, and asked for a tour – a first for the lab, and one that changed the scientists’ perspective.

“I still think more about, when we get a donated cornea, who that came from,” said Zieske.

Eventually Gray visited each lab that procured and handled Thomas’ tissue.

Gray changed careers to work for the nonprofit American Association of Tissue Banks. That brought her to a meeting where scientists debated if it was ethical to test a new technology to fight inherited diseases. “If you have the skills and the knowledge to fix these diseases then freaking do it,” she told the group, recounting how Thomas had suffered seizures each day of his brief life.

And when Gray recently had a new baby, she donated the placenta for wound-healing therapy. She’d like to visit that lab, too.

]]> 0, 25 Sep 2016 20:00:49 +0000
ATVs on New Hampshire roads challenge conservation officers Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:02:48 +0000 CONCORD, N.H. — More all-terrain vehicle riders are being seen on New Hampshire trails – and now, on some local and state roads – and the Fish and Game Department’s 42 conservation officers are feeling a bit stretched.

For many years, it was illegal for the vehicles to be on the roads, but that’s changed in recent years. Towns in Coos, Grafton, Sullivan counties and elsewhere have been allowed to open up their road systems to the off-road recreational vehicles, beyond the state’s 1,200 miles of riding trails.

Riding is allowed on state roads in communities such as Gorham and Berlin. Police are in charge of handling reckless driving and speed complaints. But conservation officers, who enforce regulations primarily on trails, also have responded to the roads as they juggle with non-ATV-related issues like searches and rescues, hunting and wildlife issues.

“We’ll help wherever we can, but we can’t possibly take on all the additional road enforcement that goes along with the expansion of these road networks,” said Maj. John Wimsatt, the department’s assistant chief of law enforcement.

Wimsatt said the department, which oversees ATV registrations and safety classes, is also getting calls from families regarding utility-terrain vehicles – which seat up to six people – asking about helmets, seat belts, and child car seats, questions they’re not used to tackling.

Off-road vehicle registration is on the rise. A decade ago, there were over 26,000 residents and non-residents registered in the state for ATVs, UTVs and trail bikes. That number dipped when the recession hit and was down about 5,000 by 2012. Registrations now is over 30,600 for the fiscal year ending June 30, the highest number so far.

They include an increase in 10-day temporary registrations, reflecting participants in an annual summer ATV festival at the Jericho Mountain State Park in Berlin. The park also just hosted a Polaris Camp RZR event by the recreational vehicle manufacturer, drawing thousands of riders. Conservation officers assisted at both events.

A state commission was formed this year to make recommendations to the Legislature to address jurisdictional responsibilities and safety for ATVs. Members include representatives of the Fish and Game and other departments, law enforcement groups, off-road recreational vehicles and municipal associations and more.

]]> 0 Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:20:28 +0000
Cumberland County Fair gets their goats Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:18:02 +0000 CUMBERLAND — On opening day of the Cumberland County Fair, Gael and Gayleen were two unhappy Nubian goats.

The 5-month-old pair, with their trademark woebegone drooping ears, emitted mournful bleats Sunday as they stood tethered outside the arena while inside, their owner, Phil Cassette of Saco, showed off a potential champion before the judges.

Suddenly Gael made a break for it, snapping her collar and running free while Gayleen, still tethered, sobbed even louder.

Someone shouted, “Goat on the loose,” while a bystander grabbed Gael by the leg just as she was about to disappear around the corner. Soon the two were back on their tethers being cradled by Debby Orff of Waldoboro, who quickly calmed the two kids.

“That’s Nubians. They tend to be dramatic,” said Bethany Parker, who raises LaMancha dairy goats with her father, Cliff Parker, at their farm in New Ipswich, New Hampshire.

The near-escape was just one of the behind-the-scenes dramas that played out Sunday at the fair, which runs through Saturday. The 145th version of the fair features daily agricultural demonstrations and exhibits, animal competitions, craft displays, food, rides and live entertainment. Tickets are $10. Admission is free for children 12 and under.

While the fair gives attendees a chance to get close to cows or sheep, it is also a chance for agricultural families to talk shop with other farmers. Goat keepers are no exception.

“This is kind of a social event. We are an open and friendly group. We help each other out,” Parker said.

The goat show circuit shifts into high gear in the fall, when enthusiasts, like the Parkers, travel every weekend to compete at fairs across New England.

The Parkers got started with goats 20 years ago when they were living in Bangor and Susan Parker, Cliff’s wife, wanted a source of goat milk for making cheese, yogurt and soap. Their two home-schooled daughters expressed an interest in goats and started raising the animals as part of a 4-H project. Soon, their father, a chemical engineer, got drawn in.

“You have anatomy, genetics, disease prevention, physiology and economics” all rolled into one hobby, Cliff Parker said.

Today he is a director of the American Dairy Goat Association and he and Bethany, now 27, keep a herd of 20 or so LaManchas that includes five grand champions.

The Parkers say showing their goats gives them valuable input from the judges and a chance to socialize with other goat enthusiasts.

“It’s a way to find people as crazy as you are. It’s a community,” said Bethany Parker, a biochemist.

Goat keepers can talk for hours about goats and the particulars of their favorite breeds.

LaManchas – which are virtually earless because they lack cartilage in their ears – are known for their sunny, pleasant personalities.

“They hear just fine but they don’t always listen,” Bethany Parker said.

Nigerian Dwarfs tend to be trainable but naughty. Alpines are bossy. And Nubians, as seen earlier, are quick to turn on the theatrics.

Goats are not great grazers. Unlike cows, which lower their heads to munch grass, goats prefer to browse with their heads up, feeding on shrubs and other eye-level vegetation.

Abby Schofield, 33, has been tending goats since 1995. She said her herd of 32 Nigerian Dwarf goats plays a major role in her life.

“They have the personality of a dog. They come when they are called and give you milk,” Schofield said.

Her goats even caused a breakup with a boyfriend.

“My boyfriend didn’t want to be a goat herder,” she said.

So she and her herd moved to her own Valley’s Edge Farm in Strong, where she is almost able to eke out a living with her goats. Recently, she managed to trim down her full-time job as a veterinarian technician to just 10 hours a week.

“I bought a house with these goats,” Schofield said.

Cassette, the owner of Gael and Gayleen, has been raising Alpine and Nubian goats with his father, Bob Cassette, for more than 45 years at their Chateau Briant Farm. “This is our 46th year at the Cumberland fair,” Cassette said as he gently stroked a now-subdued Gael and Gayleen.

He said the pair were making their first rounds at the show arena Sunday and were understandably nervous.

“This is the first time they have been out of the barn and their first instinct is to flee,” Cassette said.

More goats will be on display at the 4-H Goat Show at 9 a.m. Monday at the fair.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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Woman arrested in Lisbon stabbing Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:01:46 +0000 Lisbon police have arrested a 38-year-old Lisbon woman on charges of aggravated assault in connection with a stabbing that took place at the Farwell Mill Apartment’s parking lot early Sunday morning.

Lisbon’s Chief of Police Marc Hagan identified the suspect as Lindsay Knight of 244 Lisbon St. Knight was charged around 10 a.m. Sunday and released on $500 cash bail. Police say they have recovered the weapon.

According to police, the stabbing at the Farwell Mill Apartments on Lisbon Street took place at 1:58 a.m. Sunday. Police said they received a report of two women and a man fighting in the apartment building’s parking lot.

Police located two of the people involved but not the third, a woman, who fled the scene after being stabbed at least twice, on the arm and neck.

A search dog followed a path of blood from the parking lot to a nearby apartment, where a 32-year-old woman with stab wounds declined treatment, police said.

Lisbon police are continuing to investigate and ask anyone who witnessed the incident to call Sgt. Harry Moore at 353-2500.

]]> 1, 25 Sep 2016 19:22:48 +0000
Seven overdose deaths in 1 day reported in Cleveland area Sun, 25 Sep 2016 16:32:44 +0000 Another outbreak of drug overdose deaths in Ohio – this time officials say seven people died in one day in the Cleveland area.

Tests were being conducted to figure out which drugs were involved in the Saturday deaths, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said. Officials believe the drugs involved were either heroin or fentanyl.

“This cluster of deaths is deeply concerning,” Gilson said in a statement. “Although there is no clear link between the individuals, this number clearly raises the possibility of a very deadly drug in our community.”

He issued a warning to take extreme caution while also advising people not to use illicit drugs.

The deaths were reported across the county – in both Cleveland and its suburbs – and weren’t limited to one area, Chris Harris, a spokesman for the medical examiner, said Sunday.

The outbreak comes after 52 people died from heroin or fentanyl during August in the Cleveland area. The opioid deaths last month were the most in the county’s history, the medical examiner’s office said.

Cuyahoga County, which has about 1.2 million residents, is on pace to record more than 500 overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl this year, reported.

The wave of deaths around Cleveland follows outbreaks of overdoses in Akron and Cincinnati involving the animal sedative carfentanil.

Hospitals in the Cincinnati area have seen more than a dozen overdoses a day since the powerful drug used to sedate elephants was found in the area’s heroin supply about two months ago.

In one six-day span last month, there were 174 overdoses reported in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

]]> 2, 25 Sep 2016 17:55:04 +0000
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, dies in boat crash Sun, 25 Sep 2016 13:32:51 +0000 MIAMI – Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball’s brightest stars, was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.

He and two other people died when their 32-foot vessel slammed into a jetty off Miami Beach, authorities said.

“We are devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández,” the Marlins said in a statement.

Reaction quickly poured in from around the game. Major League Baseball released a statement saying it was “stunned and devastated.”

“He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”

The Marlins’ game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been canceled. The Braves, along with several other teams, quickly shared their condolences with the Marlins.

“Hands down one of my favorite guys to watch pitch! He brought nothing but intensity and passion,” Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price said on Twitter early Sunday.

Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a “severe impact” with a jetty, said FWC’s Lorenzo Veloz. The overturned boat remained in the water Sunday morning, its engine partially submerged as its nose pointed skyward, as debris from the crash was scattered over some of the large jagged rocks.

Fernandez’s death immediately brought memories of past baseball tragedies, such as the deaths of Thurman Munson and Roberto Clemente – stars who died in plane crashes in the 1970s.

Cleveland teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed in a boating accident in Florida in 1993, and the game also reeled from the sudden deaths of major leaguers Darryl Kile, Lyman Bostock and Cory Lidle in recent years.

“Jose was a remarkable young man and a tremendously gifted athlete, who, at just 24, established himself as one of the game’s biggest and brightest stars,” said Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jose’s family, friends, teammates, Miami Marlins organization and legions of fans in the United States and Latin America.”

The Miami Dolphins said they would have a moment of silence before their game in nearby Miami Gardens on Sunday afternoon to remember Fernandez.

City of Miami Fire-Rescue workers were seen carrying bodies, draped and on stretchers, at the Coast Guard station after sunrise Sunday. Officials later said they were taken to the medical examiner’s office. Two bodies were found under the vessel and a third was found on the jetty, said Capt. Leonel Reyes of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Marine Services Bureau.

The names of the other two individuals are being withheld pending notification of relatives, the Coast Guard said.

“It does appear that speed was involved due to the impact and the severity of it,” said Veloz, the FWC spokesman. “It does appear to be that they were coming at full speed when they encountered the jetty, and the accident happened.”

Veloz said there was no immediate indication that alcohol or drugs were a cause in the crash. He also said none of the three victims wore a life jacket, and that the boat was owned by a friend of Fernandez’s.

“It does pertain to a friend of Jose who is very well connected with several Marlins players and I have stopped that boat before for safety inspections with other Marlins players on board,” Veloz said. “We know that this boat knows the area. We just can’t answer why this happened.”

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL’s Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year and was enormously popular in Miami.

He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times – landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries – before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.

“I’m still in shock,” former Marlins player Gaby Sanchez said on Twitter. “The world has lost a remarkable person. You will be missed and my heart goes out to the Fernandez family.”

Video boards at Marlins Park on Sunday morning showed a large “16” – Fernandez’s jersey number – over his name. A few fans milled about, even though the game was canceled.

Fernandez posted a photo of his girlfriend sporting a “baby bump” on his Instagram page last week, announcing that the couple were expecting their first child.

“I’m so glad you came into my life,” Fernandez wrote in that post. “I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together.”


]]> 3, 25 Sep 2016 17:21:37 +0000
Pingree holds strong lead in 1st District congressional race Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:00:00 +0000 U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree has a commanding lead over Republican challenger Mark Holbrook headed into the November election, according to the latest polling for Maine’s 1st District.

Pingree, a Democrat seeking a fifth term in Congress, had the support of 64 percent of likely voters versus 22 percent favoring Holbrook in a Portland Press Herald poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Twelve percent of respondents remained undecided in the race, while 2 percent said they were supporting another candidate. The poll of 266 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 15 and 20, with a margin of error of 6 percent.

A self-described progressive, Pingree was the pick for nearly all of the Democrats surveyed and roughly one-half of the independents. Just 19 percent of Republicans said they would vote for the North Haven Democrat, compared to 59 percent who said they planned to support Holbrook.

But poll questions about whether respondents viewed the candidates in a positive light suggested that Holbrook – a clinical psychologist residing in Brunswick – is still relatively unknown in Maine’s southern congressional district.

When asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Holbrook, 74 percent of poll participants said they didn’t know enough about the Republican to say either way. Among those with an opinion, 10 percent regarded Holbrook favorably, 7 percent had an unfavorable view and 9 percent said they were neutral on the candidate.

Pingree was viewed favorably by 50 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 22 percent, while 9 percent had neutral views of the congresswoman. Nineteen percent of respondents said they did not know enough about Pingree to have an opinion.

Holbrook defeated opponent Ande Smith by just 57 votes during the Republican primary in June. The race was so close that Smith requested a recount from the Maine Secretary of State’s office; however, the outcome did not change.

The 1st District race has, to date, been overshadowed by the more competitive race just to the north between Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-District 2, and Democratic challenger Emily Cain. While the national parties and political organizations are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the 2nd District race, the contest between Pingree and Holbrook has been low-key to date because of Pingree’s perceived advantage in the district and her enormous fundraising advantage.

A former police officer who has also worked as an instructor and a lobsterman, Holbrook currently works with law enforcement officers, veterans and other clients at his psychology practice. He has accused Pingree of failing to represent the interests of Maine’s 1st District and pledged to bring a more conservative approach to Washington.

In an interview, Holbrook said he is attending meet-and-greet events and political forums as well as meeting with groups as he tries to build his support and name recognition. The candidates have also agreed to two televised debates so far.

“We can’t outspend Chellie Pingree but we can outwork her,” Holbrook said. “I’ve been working on this for 20 months. It’s been a long job interview … and we’re working hard meeting people.”

Pingree was first elected to Congress in 2008 and has been handily re-elected since. In 2014, Pingree won 60 percent of the vote in a three-way race. She did not face a Democratic challenger in this year’s primary.

According to the most recent campaign finance documents, Pingree completed the fiscal quarter that ended June 30 with more than $485,000 in her campaign account. Holbrook ended the same period with just over $1,400 following his primary competition with Smith. Holbrook had raised nearly $40,000 through June 30.


]]> 9, 25 Sep 2016 15:20:01 +0000
Rep. Poliquin extends his lead over Cain in District 2 Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is widening a lead over Democratic challenger Emily Cain in the race to represent Maine’s 2nd District, according to a new poll by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

Poliquin is now leading Cain by 10 percentage points among likely voters in the 2nd District, although the number of undecided voters has also increased slightly since June, according to the poll, which was conducted in September by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The poll surveyed 231 likely voters in the 2nd District and has a margin of error of about 6 percent for the congressional race.

A poll in June by the Telegram showed the race to be virtually tied, with just a 1 percent gap between the candidates, while a poll by the Boston Globe and Colby College earlier this month showed a 5 percent gap.

At least one political observer said the widening gap in the House race could be linked to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which is also pulling away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the more conservative-leaning 2nd District, according to the poll.

Overall, the new Telegram poll shows Poliquin leading Cain 45 percent to 35 percent, with 15 percent undecided and 5 percent supporting other candidates.

Poliquin’s lead seems fueled in part by him having stronger support among independent voters and those who are unenrolled with either major party, where he also edges Cain by 10 percentage points, according to the poll.


Maine is one of just two states nationwide in which the winner of the general election does not automatically take all of the electoral votes, which means Trump could walk away with at least one of Maine’s four electoral votes.

“The 2nd District seems to be increasingly partisan and conservative Republican, which could be driven by the national presidential race and specifically the Trump campaign,” said Ronald Schmidt Jr., associate professor of political science at the University of Southern Maine. “Basically, it’s driving voters to pay more attention and emphasizing partisan connections.”

Trump has made two recent campaign stops in Maine – one in Bangor and one in Portland – and also hired Gov. Paul LePage’s daughter, Lauren LePage, in August to help run his campaign in the state.

He currently leads Clinton by 15 percentage points in the 2nd District, according to the poll, sharply widening his 1 percent lead over the Democratic nominee in June. In the new Telegram poll, 14 percent of voters backing Poliquin said they’re Clinton supporters, while just 5 percent of those backing Cain are Trump supporters.

Gun rights emerges as factor

Another factor favoring Poliquin could be interest in Question 3, which would require background checks on private gun sales in Maine and has drawn intense opposition from gun-rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association. The poll showed more than 60 percent of respondents in the 2nd District are gun owners.

Cain, who supports Question 3, has the backing of just 31 percent of gun owners. Poliquin, who refused to publicly take a stance on the question but has received endorsements from the NRA and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, has 53 percent of gun owners behind him, according to the poll.

In addition, while the new poll showed Question 3 winning statewide support, 61 percent to 33 percent, it’s a tighter margin in the 2nd District, where it wins just 52 percent to 42 percent.

Schmidt said another explanation for the shifting poll numbers is the timing, with less than two months until the Nov. 8 election.

“A lot of people aren’t really paying attention to elections in June, so this could just be the result of more voters paying closer attention and concentrating on the party they support,” Schmidt said.

It’s also rare for incumbent members of Congress running for re-election to not win because of advantages in name recognition and fundraising, although Cain did out-raise Poliquin in the latest quarterly campaign finance report.


Mike Blier, a Democrat and small-business owner in Fort Fairfield who was a respondent in the new Telegram poll, said rural Maine desperately needs a minimum wage increase. He plans to vote for Emily Cain, who also supports a minimum wage increase, but said in general he feels disillusioned with the Democratic Party and isn’t motivated to head to the ballot booth.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Blier, 56. “I’ve been registered as a Democrat since I turned 18 and this is the first time since that day that I really am just discouraged enough that I don’t know if I will participate in the election process this year.”

LePage’s efforts at cutting welfare spending are also not helping, according to Blier, who said a minimum wage increase would go further toward increasing business in the 2nd District.

But Patricia McCauley, a Republican from Detroit who was also a respondent in the new Telegram poll, said she sees a lot of welfare recipients in the emergency room where she works as a nurse and the state needs to cut back. A Trump supporter, McCauley cited waning support for Clinton and questions about her health as contributing factors to the rise of Trump’s popularity in the 2nd District.

She said Poliquin is better suited to working with LePage, and possibly Trump, during the next two years. And while the poll showed that 80 percent of voters in the 2nd District said it makes little difference in their vote whether Poliquin endorses Trump or not – Poliquin has refused multiple times to explicitly say so – McCauley said she thinks it could help.

“It would be better if he would make a statement,” she said. “It would help voters decide and could help him get votes.”

]]> 34, 25 Sep 2016 15:24:07 +0000
For the first time, it looks like Maine’s electoral votes will be split Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:00:00 +0000 For the first time in Maine history, voters are poised to split the state’s four Electoral College votes between the top two candidates running for the White House.

Republican Donald Trump has a commanding 15-point lead in the state’s northern and more rural 2nd District, while his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has an even bigger 21-point lead in the state’s more urban and southern 1st District, according to a new Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram poll.

Clinton leads Trump statewide by four points, with 40 percent of those surveyed saying they will vote for her while 36 percent said they favor Trump. Another 12 percent said they will vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and 3 percent favor the Green Party’s Jill Stein. The remainder said they will vote for someone else or are undecided.

With only seven weeks remaining before the election, only 59 percent of voters said they definitely know who they’ll vote for, up only eight points from the newspaper’s poll in June, when 51 percent of voters said they had made up their minds.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducted the poll, said voter indecision is high for mid-September, when about 70 percent of voters normally say they’ve made up their minds. Smith said the low commitment level reflects the unpopularity of both of the top candidates.

The poll found that only 37 percent of likely voters view Clinton favorably, compared to 36 percent in June, while only 32 percent view Trump favorably, compared to 28 percent in June.

“You’ve got two very unpopular candidates and people are voting against candidates rather than supporting people,” Smith said. “Voters truly are unsure about who they are going to support.”


Comparing the two major parties, 77 percent of registered Democrats said they had made their decision, while only 61 percent of the state’s registered Republicans have, the poll found.

The newspaper data showed that in June, Clinton had a slightly larger lead over Trump, with 42 percent supporting her compared to Trump’s 35 percent – statewide.

Some poll respondents, such as Peggy Coolong of Houlton, say they are so dissatisfied with their choices for president that they will leave that part of the ballot blank in November.

“I just can’t vote for them,” said Coolong, a 76-year-old widow who calls herself “a pure independent.”

“I do not think that Hillary is trustworthy and I feel very strongly that Mr. Trump probably is going to lose his temper, understandably, but at the wrong time and get us into trouble,” Coolong said.

She said the entire presidential campaign cycle has been so disappointing to her that she’s tuned it out entirely.

“I just got fed up and stopped watching, it’s just too frustrating,” Coolong said. “The political climate is so polluted it’s like a tsunami going across the United States and it’s inhabited by a clown puffer fish and a piranha who are followed around by meatheads – half-conscious people who can’t stop talking about it.”

If the results of the poll, which included both landline and cellphones and surveyed 513 likely voters statewide, hold up, Clinton would win the state overall with just over 40 percent of the vote. However, Trump would win the 2nd District and with it one of the state’s four Electoral College votes. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent statewide and about 6 percent for each of the two congressional districts, because of smaller sample sizes.

The poll also suggests that Clinton is doing better on both ends of the economic spectrum, with support from 47 percent of respondents from households earning less than $30,000 a year, and 52 percent of respondents in households earning over $200,000 a year. But she and Trump are in a dead heat with middle-income Mainers, each winning the support of 38 percent of households earning between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.

The candidates also tie with 35 percent of households earning between $60,000 and $100,000.

Clinton fares better with women, with 47 percent saying they support her over Trump’s 28 percent, while Trump fares better with men, 44 percent to Clinton’s 32 percent.

When it comes to voter age, Clinton captures 49 percent of those over 65, compared to Trump’s 34 percent. Voters aged 35 to 49 also favor Clinton by about 8 points, and voters aged 18 to 34 favor Clinton slightly, giving her a 3-point lead. But 25 percent of that younger age group say they will vote for the Libertarian, Johnson.

The largest age group surveyed, those 50 to 65, are more evenly split, with 40 percent saying they will vote for Trump and 38 percent saying they will vote for Clinton.


Maine and Nebraska are the only states that don’t award Electoral College votes on a winner-take-all basis. Maine instead awards two votes for the statewide winner and one vote for the winner of each congressional district.

The state has never split its Electoral College votes before, and the possibility adds intrigue to Maine’s overall relevance in a race that appears to be tightening at the national level. Still, political scientists in Maine seem to agree it is unlikely the state will become a deciding factor in the national race.

Michael Franz, an associate professor of government and chair of the government and legal studies department at Bowdoin College, said how Clinton and Trump perform in the first presidential debate Monday could influence how much attention Maine gets from the candidates or their surrogates in the last few weeks before the election.

He said a strong debate performance for Trump would be a wild card that could tilt things more in his favor, especially among voters who are still undecided. “What she has in substance she misses in style, which is sort of the reverse for him,” Franz said. “He doesn’t have to be polished on policy – he just has to get the zingers in and do it well.”

The Maine polling data generally reflect other state and national polls showing a close race, with either Clinton or Trump holding narrow leads. Other polls in Maine also suggest that Trump is running ahead of Clinton in Maine’s 2nd District.


Brian Duff, a political scientist at the University of New England in Biddeford, said Trump’s lead in Maine’s 2nd District is likely real, given that the trend is being replicated in multiple polls.

Duff said the poll results show Trump, like blunt-speaking Maine Gov. Paul LePage – a Trump supporter – has struck a chord with voters living in economically downtrodden parts of rural America, a lot like the towns of Maine’s 2nd District.

“These are the people who are the heart and soul of LePage’s support,” Duff said. “He is one of the most unusual governors in the nation and now it seems they are going to really change their habits in voting in the presidential election and it tells you something is happening in politics that is really resonating up there. It’s reflecting what we’ve noticed elsewhere, which is that white people without a college education, especially men, are really having a positive reaction to the Trump campaign.”

Smith, the polling center director at UNH, said anti-establishment sentiment is resonating with voters much as it did in 1980, when Republican Ronald Reagan, a political outsider at the time, took the presidency from incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter.

“It’s there because people look at the establishment right now in national politics, and we’ve got the economy still not really doing well, especially for people who don’t have college degrees,” Smith said. “The U.S. military’s prestige – the country’s prestige – in the rest of the world is declining, our influence is declining, we’ve got terrorism going on, we’ve got riots in the streets in a number of places so people are uneasy,”

“And the people in the political establishments are having a difficult time to say they have the answers,” he said. “Because then (the question is), ‘Why haven’t you fixed it?'”

It’s a sentiment that rings true with voters like Matt Chateauvert, 32, of Kennebunk. Chateauvert is a locked-in Trump voter – even though he thinks Trump is likely to lose in a landslide.

“He’s is completely different than anything I have ever seen before,” Chateauvert said. “Hillary is the epitome of the system, or, ‘the Man,’ so to speak. We’ve had her and her ilk running the show for the last 30 years.”

But other poll respondents said they see Trump as reckless and even less trustworthy than Clinton.

Paula Jenne of Harpswell said she will vote for Clinton “by default.” Jenne, 67, said she’s long followed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ political career and was an ardent supporter of his, but when it became apparent he would not be the Democratic nominee she made up her mind she would vote for Clinton.

Jenne said she associates Trump with “the politics of hate and I don’t agree with any of his stances on anything including his characterization of the United States.” But Jenne said she didn’t view her vote for Clinton simply as a vote against Trump. “It’s just she best represents what I would like to see in the next president,” Jenne said.

In Winslow, Clinton voter Brittany Parent, 26, said she hears a lot from Trump supporters in her work as a cosmetologist but she’s sticking with Clinton. Parent said she would definitely vote but she is less than enthusiastic about Clinton.

“I’m an independent, so I would vote for a Republican, but Donald Trump is not it,” Parent said. She said Clinton was qualified to be president and has the experience to lead the United States and that was the biggest reason she was supporting the Democrat.

She said other Clinton supporters she knows are also less than enthusiastic. “They definitely will vote for Hillary, but nobody is happy about it,” Parent said. “You know this could be the first female president and it just doesn’t feel good.”


Ann Morris of Rockland said she’s been a strong supporter of Clinton, and while she liked Sanders, too, she believes Clinton has the experience and demeanor to work with Congress and represent the United States on the global stage effectively. Morris, 72, said she feared Trump would be a disastrous president. “I just cannot imagine him being polite to a foreign dignitary – he’s not polite.”

Morris said she would have considered voting for a Republican had Ohio Gov. John Kasich won his party’s nomination. “Just because he’s a good guy – but there is no way ever that I would consider voting for Donald Trump,” Morris said.

That’s not the case for Freeport voter Andrew Arsenault, who described himself as undecided except on one point.

“I decided I’m not going to vote for Hillary, let’s put it that way,” he said. Arsenault said he voted for Trump in Maine’s Republican primary but was unsure if he would support him in November.

“It will be between Trump and the Libertarian, I’ve narrowed it down to those two,” Arsenault said, adding that he wouldn’t commit to a candidate until about a week before the voting on Nov. 8.

“Something could go wacky,” he said. “I like to leave my options open.”

In other findings, the newspaper’s poll shows that Maine’s senior U.S. Sen. Susan Collins remains broadly popular and is viewed in a favorable light by 64 percent, a decline of 9 points from her 73 percent approval rating in June. The reduction may be a result of an Aug. 8 column in The Washington Post, in which Collins announced that she would not support either Trump or Clinton and offered a blistering critique of Trump’s conduct as a candidate.

Maine’s junior U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent and former two-term governor, also remains popular among Maine voters, although his favorability rating also dipped from 69 percent in June to 63 percent in September.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage saw a slight improvement in his favorability ratings from June with 40 percent of those surveyed saying they saw LePage in a favorable light, compared to 36 percent in June. Fifty-two percent said they disapproved of LePage’s job performance, which is also an improvement from June when 59 percent said they disapproved of it.

]]> 88, 25 Sep 2016 17:49:35 +0000
Meet Arianna, the little girl who lived in Portland’s woods Sun, 25 Sep 2016 08:00:00 +0000 A balloon floats over the parking lot at the Pine Tree Shopping Center. Lowe’s is bustling with customers leaving with home-improvement supplies in their pickup trucks and SUVs.

Just beyond the garden center’s shrink-wrapped pallets of mulch and landscaping stone, a narrow dirt pathway borders a field of overgrown weeds and winds around a large boulder, into a stand of trees.

This has been 5-year-old Arianna’s home for the past month.

Her mother, Chrissy Chavez, and Chavez’s boyfriend, Troy Jethro, moved Arianna to Portland from Florida with the promise of jobs and a new start. Instead, they said, a series of setbacks left them broke and homeless. The jobs fell through. The apartment they’d just moved into was sold, and they were evicted.

They first took Arianna to the city’s crowded homeless shelter, while they waited for their housing voucher to be processed.

Portland is the only community in Maine or New Hampshire with a policy of not turning anyone away from its shelters. But the chronic overcrowding has meant that people who didn’t get a floor mat at the primary shelter had to go to a nearby office building, where they’d sit in chairs all night.

The family was sent to the office one night. Troy was upset that Arianna could not lie down. He made a video in the shelter, violating rules intended to protect privacy. He was caught, and he refused to delete the video. He was issued a criminal trespass order, so he couldn’t return to the shelter.

The family was told about a homeless encampment that had existed for years near the Westbrook line.

Some call it Pine Tree Camp. Others call it Tent City.

They call it home.

Troy talks on the phone with a Department of Health and Human Services social worker who has been trying to help them find a place to live while Chrissy and Arianna eat lunch. The family moved to Portland from Florida at the beginning of July for a fresh start and to get Troy away from the temptation to relapse into drug abuse. Once they arrived in Maine, the job he thought he had fell through, the apartment they thought they had was sold, and they wound up on the street.

Troy talks on the phone with a Department of Health and Human Services social worker who has been trying to help them find a place to live while Chrissy and Arianna eat lunch. The family moved to Portland from Florida at the beginning of July for a fresh start and to get Troy away from the temptation to relapse into drug abuse. Once they arrived in Maine, the job he thought he had fell through, the apartment they thought they had was sold, and they wound up on the street. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


The balloon floats farther from Lowe’s as the family emerges from the woods behind the store.

Arianna stands on top of the boulder, behind her 38-year-old mother. The child has blond hair, chubby cheeks and blue-green eyes. Below a purple dress, her tanned feet are cushioned by a pink flip-flops, soiled by their summer “adventure,” as Chrissy calls it.

Troy, whom Arianna calls “Daddy,” even though she has known him only for a year and a half, hangs back. The 34-year-old man is shirtless. “Hundred Percent Cracker” is scrawled across his chest, one of multiple tattoos. He says he got it in the Sunshine State while he was serving a prison sentence there on felony drug charges.

Arianna follows her parents up the trail.

Their campsite sits apart from the dozens of others scattered through the woods. It’s on the crest of a hill, overlooking a field that empties into an industrial area with single-story warehouses. The rush of Maine Turnpike traffic can be heard in the distance.

Arianna runs to the family’s three-person tent. It’s wrapped in a blue tarp large enough to form a virtual porch. Salvaged boards support the makeshift shelter.

She sits down and begins fiddling with an unopened tube of body wash. It serves little purpose here in the woods, where water is scarce.

A torn blanket hangs off a limb of a pine tree to shield their “bathroom” from the rest of the woods. Occasionally the odor of urine wafts through the campsite on the humid breeze.

They apologize for the mess. They don’t usually live this way, they say. They just happen to have fallen on hard times.

At the same time, they can’t stay here much longer. The police had been getting complaints about the encampment, which is on private property, and set a deadline for its occupants to leave.

Troy reaches for the toothpaste to prevent Arianna from trying to open it with her teeth. Arianna thinks of Troy as a father and he sees her as his daughter. Troy often reminds Arianna, "Even though you are living in the woods that doesn't mean you have to act like it."

Troy reaches for the toothpaste to prevent Arianna from trying to open it with her teeth. Arianna thinks of Troy as a father and he sees her as his daughter. Troy often reminds Arianna, “Even though you are living in the woods that doesn’t mean you have to act like it.” Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Arianna runs up to Troy with a toothbrush.

“Daddy, can I brush my teeth?” she asks.

“We don’t have any water,” Troy explains. “We need water to rinse your teeth.”

Still, living in the woods is an adventure the 5-year-old girl often seems to enjoy.

“We’re trying to make it fun for her,” Chrissy says.

Chrissy says her greatest fear is having her child taken from her.

The family says news coverage of the police department’s move to evict the occupants of Tent City included images of Arianna and prompted more than a hundred complaints to the state asking that the child be taken from the family.

But the coverage also produced some benefits. They got an impressive donation from a tall, burly, tattoo-covered man with long hair.

They called him “Armageddon Guy,” because he had convinced himself that the world was going to end. He stocked up on survival items. Iodine tablets to treat water. Solar-powered headlamps and radios. A North Face tent. Sleeping bags. A generator. Gas burners. Knives, and more.

They say Armageddon Guy had used a lot of drugs. When he sobered up, his delusion dissipated. He saw the news stories about the homeless family camping behind Lowe’s. He found them and gave them his stuff, they say.

The mayor visited the campsite. So did a state social worker, who helped them navigate the state’s welfare labyrinth.

As the deadline to clear Tent City approaches, the family is close to getting an apartment, although not in Portland. The apartment is in Auburn, which has more housing available for low-income families.

Chrissy and Troy often just wait for the family’s phone to ring. Their Android has a broken screen and the battery frequently runs out. They charge it in a nearby laundromat.

Soon after the tour of their camp, Chrissy gets a call from the property manager of the apartment they hope to rent. She rolls her eyes.

“They need one more reference,” she says in a tired, raspy voice.


The family huddles around a small fire with a neighbor, a man who has been living behind Lowe’s for five years in a camp with a vegetable garden and a pet cat. The neighbor pitches a ball to Arianna, who hits the ball with a stick, more than she misses.

Troy stares into the fire, smoking a cigarette. He talks about his past and admits it’s “pretty ugly.”

Arianna grabs Troy's hand to get his attention while they wait for news outside of the property management company's office in Lewiston.

Arianna grabs Troy’s hand to get his attention while they wait for news outside of the property management company’s office in Lewiston. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

He grew up in Brevard County, Florida, started taking pills when he was 15. He progressed to crack and cocaine. In 2010 police raided his apartment. He was found guilty of cocaine-related charges, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating probation. A year later he was found guilty of robbery without a weapon, reckless driving and resisting arrest.

He spent three years in prison. His mother died two months into his sentence. He tattooed a memorial to her on his arm.

Troy thinks everything happens for a reason. “It was time for her to go home and time for me to grow up,” he says.

He met Chrissy through a mutual friend, and he bonded with Arianna. “If it weren’t for that little girl, Chrissy and I wouldn’t probably be together.”

Troy says he quit the hard drugs, toughing out the sickness of withdrawal. Chrissy says he used marijuana to help with the nausea. They occasionally use it still. They left Florida to increase Troy’s chances of staying clean.

Back by the fire, Troy shows off his pet, a regal jumping spider, which he keeps in a plastic container. “I seen spider fights go for $1,000 in the canteen in prison,” he says.

Arianna, who has been coloring on a piece of lined white paper, shows off her drawing, on which she has written her own name.

Arianna hugs Chrissy for warmth on a chilly morning at the Portland campsite known as Tent City.

Arianna hugs Chrissy for warmth on a chilly morning at the Portland campsite known as Tent City. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


Arianna emerges from the tent in colorful, mismatched pajamas. Groggy, she wraps her arms around herself to keep warm and darts over to give her mother a hug.

The couple needs coffee. Chrissy and Arianna walk out of the woods and along a strip mall to get to Brighton Avenue, where morning commuters stream to work.

Arianna waves at a school bus. She should be starting kindergarten with the other kids.

She skips along, chatting to herself. The sound of the traffic overpowers her soft voice.

She knows to take the path behind Motel 6 and across the parking lot to get to the gas station. Chrissy pours two coffees and grabs two muffins. Customers glance suspiciously. Arianna wants a coffee, too, but gets only a pastry. Donated money pays for the modest spread.

On the walk back, Chrissy opens up about her past.

Born and raised in Michigan, she had two kids with her high school sweetheart by the age of 23. He was killed during a robbery when the children were toddlers. “Wrong time, wrong place,” she said.

She moved to Brevard County, Florida, looking for a new start. She says she lost her job there after it was outsourced to China. She hopes to go back to school to become a social worker.

Her 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter went to live with her mother when she was struggling. They’re still in Florida, and they don’t know about Chrissy’s troubles in Maine.

She got married in Florida, but then she met another man and got pregnant with Arianna. While pregnant, she got into a fight with Arianna’s father and was arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Troy brushes Arianna's hair to put it up in a bun at their campsite. Troy says that Arianna likes when he does her hair because he doesn't pull on it as much as her mom.

Troy brushes Arianna’s hair to put it up in a bun at their campsite. Troy says that Arianna likes when he does her hair because he doesn’t pull on it as much as her mom. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


A state social worker visits the campsite. It’s a day before police plan to clear the illegal encampment.

The social worker gives the family more details and contact information about the apartment in Auburn, which he found through a personal contact.

The couple brightens with hope. Troy had worked on-and-off in Portland through an employment agency. He is eager to get back to work and hopes that his experience in building maintenance will come in handy to his new landlord.

The social worker has spent the better part of a week working to qualify them for a housing voucher and find them a place to live. He says he believes the girl is being well cared for, under the circumstances. A state caseworker would have to decide that Arianna’s safety is at risk before any attempt is made to break up the family.

Their housing voucher is intended for people with psychiatric disabilities. Chrissy says she suffers from depression and anxiety, and has been off her medication for more than a week because her medical records had been sent to a Lewiston clinic. Now she struggles to keep her emotions in check.

The next few days will be pivotal for the family, but their social worker – their most effective advocate – is scheduled to go on vacation. They will now work directly with the landlord.

“We’re crossing our fingers and crossing our toes,” the social worker says, before walking back down the narrow dirt pathway to the Lowe’s parking lot.

Arianna is reminded of her toothbrush when she spies a large jug of water the family had gotten the previous night. She applies toothpaste and brushes her teeth.

She delivers a hairbrush and scrunchy to Troy. He brushes her long hair and twists it into an impeccable bun.

“Now, how about you go get some clothes that match?” he says.

Matt Coffey, who has lived at the Portland encampment known as Tent City for five years, pats Arianna on the head as he walks by her. Many of the other people living at the encampment grew fond of the bubbly little girl.

Matt Coffey, who has lived at the Portland encampment known as Tent City for five years, pats Arianna on the head as he walks by her. Many of the other people living at the encampment grew fond of the bubbly little girl. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


The couple’s optimism fades as hours pass without hearing from the landlord. With the police deadline looming, they begin packing up their few belongings: bags of clothes, blankets, sleeping bags and the stuff Armageddon Guy had given them.

Waiting is a source of tension.

As the family eats lunch, Chrissy apologizes to a reporter for the mess and says they try not to eat at the campsite, because it’s dirty and there’s no place to wash their hands.

Arianna smiles when she recognizes the cartoon on her Happy Meal. “Talking Tom!”

Chrissy apologizes for Arianna’s appearance. Her hands are dirty. Her feet are black. Smudges of dirt dot her cheeks.

Troy gets frustrated. “Stop apologizing, Chris. We’re out in the middle of the woods. We’re not trying to impress anyone. She’s a kid. We’re not doing nothing wrong.”

Troy finally reaches the property manager by phone. They still need another reference. He’s crestfallen.

“At this rate, we’re definitely going to be out here tomorrow,” he says.

“I really didn’t want to be here for the eviction,” Chrissy says.

From left, Arianna, Roger Goodoak, Chrissy and Troy bring the family's belongings out of the woods and into the Lowe's parking lot to load into Goodoak's van for their move up to the Lewiston/Auburn area. Goodoak runs a small nonprofit that helps homeless people. He has been helping Troy, Chrissy and Arianna since he saw Troy panhandling near Lowe's. Troy got a call the night before from a state social worker who said he'd found a landlord in Lewiston who would accept their housing voucher and that they could move into an apartment.

From left, Arianna, Roger Goodoak, Chrissy and Troy bring the family’s belongings out of the woods and into the Lowe’s parking lot to load into Goodoak’s van for their move up to the Lewiston-Auburn area. Goodoak runs a small nonprofit that helps homeless people. He has been helping Troy, Chrissy and Arianna since he saw Troy panhandling near Lowe’s. Troy got a call the night before from a state social worker who said he’d found a landlord in Lewiston who would accept their housing voucher and that they could move into an apartment. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


The family has been up for an hour packing their belongings.

They had a restless night. With everyone under a police order to leave and gathering up what they could take, the family could hear arguments, threats and fights.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Arianna says, rubbing her eyes.

The family is still packing when Roger Goodoak meanders up the trail.

Arianna perks up. “Roger’s here!”

Goodoak, 61, heads a tiny nonprofit that helps homeless people. He has been helping this family since he saw Troy panhandling near the Lowe’s entrance a month ago. Today he’s here to help the family move.

It doesn’t take long for them to move their stuff to the parking lot, where Roger’s van awaits. Arianna picks up a kite and waves it back and forth through the air.

A homeless man who calls himself as “Uncle Nate” emerges from the woods to talk to the family. Arianna seems sad.

“We’ll come get Nate,” Troy tells her. “He can fly that kite with you.”

Moments later two Portland police cruisers pull up to Roger’s van. Four officers are about to make a sweep through the woods to remind campers to leave or they’ll be issued summonses or arrested. Arianna hides behind her mother.

Another camper emerges. She too wants to say goodbye to Arianna.

“We’ll see you around,” she says to the little girl. “We can still hang out.”

Arianna holds up her tiny pinkie. She wants a promise.

“I can’t make a promise,” she tells Arianna. “I don’t know if I can keep it.”

Before they leave, Chrissy reaches the property manager on the cellphone. They’re still not approved. Chrissy explains that police are clearing out Tent City.

“It’s me, my husband and my daughter with all of our stuff, and we have nowhere to go.” She is on the verge of crying.

Chrissy hangs up the phone and says they have to get to Lewiston.

“Please take care of our stuff while you’re driving!” Arianna shouts to the driver from the back seat.

Troy and Chrissy wait in Kennedy Park in Lewiston to hear from the property management company or the landlord. Upon arriving in Lewiston, they found out they had not been approved for an apartment in Auburn and that they might need more references. With the encampment in the woods in Portland no longer an option they had nowhere else to go.

Troy and Chrissy wait in Kennedy Park in Lewiston to hear from the property management company or the landlord. Upon arriving in Lewiston, they found out they had not been approved for an apartment in Auburn and that they might need more references. With the encampment in the woods in Portland no longer an option they had nowhere else to go. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


Troy looks stern as he walks out of the property manager’s office in Lewiston. He grabs a pouch of tobacco and rolls a cigarette.

“So now we’re not approved,” he says, taking a drag. “This is getting really aggravating.”

“Where are we going, Daddy?” Arianna asks.

“I don’t know yet,” he replies.

“I’m about to Google the family shelter,” he says. “I guess we’re gonna go there.”

About 30 minutes later, the property owner arrives.

It’s Joe Dunne, an older man with graying hair and a reddish mustache. He owns hundreds of units in the Lewiston-Auburn area, mostly occupied by people on housing subsidies. He has been criticized by some tenant advocates as having substandard units and intimidating low-income tenants.

To this family, he’s their only hope.

A muscular maintenance man, standing at least 6 feet 6 inches tall, stands over Joe’s left shoulder as Joe speaks to the family.

“I’m not saying ‘No’ to you,” Joe says. “I need to check you out first.”

It’s hot and humid. The mood is tense.

Joe is concerned about the news reports coming out of Tent City, including one about a stabbing.

Chrissy sinks down and begins to cry after Joe Dunne, a landlord, broke the news to them that they had not yet been approved for an apartment and that he was concerned about renting to people from the Portland camp because of news coverage about a stabbing there. After speaking with Troy and Chrissy for awhile and meeting Arianna he decides to give them a chance and rent an apartment in Auburn to them.

Chrissy sinks down and begins to cry after Joe Dunne, a landlord, broke the news to them that they had not yet been approved for an apartment and that he was concerned about renting to people from the Portland camp because of news coverage about a stabbing there. After speaking with Troy and Chrissy for awhile and meeting Arianna he decides to give them a chance and rent an apartment in Auburn to them. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Chrissy crouches to the ground, throws her head into her hands and begins to weep.

As her mother cries, Arianna wears an expression of concern. She begins picking apart a Styrofoam coffee cup, letting the pieces fall to the ground. It takes a while for her distraught parents to realize what she’s doing.

“Don’t make a mess on this man’s property,” Troy says.

Still crouching, Chrissy drops to her knees and begins picking up the pieces. Joe assures them it’s not a problem. He looks admiringly at the little girl.

“Is this your daughter?” Joe asks, flashing a subtle smile. “I’m not judging your character at all. But we have a process.”

Troy tells Joe that he is eager to work. A few minutes later, Joe says he’s getting more comfortable with the family. The apartment still needs to be inspected, though.

“I’m not saying it won’t be today,” he says. “If it’s not 100 percent inspected today, I’ll put you up.”

The family is relieved. Joe suggests the family get lunch while he makes some calls.

“Are you broke?” Joe asks.

Chrissy says they won’t get their monthly welfare benefits until Thursday. Joe gives Troy a $20 bill.


The family is still in limbo when Arianna spots a park.

“Did you know there’s a playground out there?” Arianna asks. “I want to go to the playground.” No one responds. “Please? Pretty please?”

Arianna plays for hours at Kennedy Park in Lewiston while her mother and Troy wait to hear if they will be able to move into the apartment in Auburn.

Arianna plays for hours at Kennedy Park in Lewiston while her mother and Troy wait to hear if they will be able to move into the apartment in Auburn. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Chrissy takes Arianna to the swing sets, while Troy charges his cellphone and waits for the next call.

“Look how high I’m going!” Arianna shrieks. She needs help slowing down. Her legs are not long enough to reach the ground.

She runs to the monkey bars, then to the climbing blocks.

She plays for nearly three hours as her parents grow more anxious.

“It’s getting late,” Troy says. “I need to know what I’m doing with my family. I have a kid who needs a bath.”

Joe finally calls. It will take another day for crews to change the carpet so the unit can pass inspection. He has gotten the family a room at the Motel 6, a few miles away.

Arianna turns on the TV in a Motel 6 in Lewiston where Joe Dunne, their landlord, put up the family for a night because the apartment wasn't ready to move into.

Arianna turns on the TV in a Motel 6 in Lewiston where Joe Dunne, their landlord, put up the family for a night because the apartment wasn’t ready to move into. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

When Arianna walks in the motel room and sees the two large beds, her eyes widen. She climbs up and begins jumping up and down. After a few minutes, she lies down and rolls around on the clean blankets. She giggles. She’s excited to sleep in a real bed for the first time in over a month.

So are her parents.

“Civilization!” Troy says. “Much better than a tent.”


The family returns to the property manager’s office to sign a lease.

As they wait for the paperwork and carpeting to be finished, Joe emerges from a hair salon next to the office.

“She’ll give her a trim for school,” Joe says with a smile.

Arianna has never had a haircut before. Her blond hair reaches her lower back.

She’s nervous, but the stylist shows her an apron decorated with teddy bears and unicorns. The little girl smiles. Soon her hair is washed, conditioned and trimmed.

“It’s like a princess,” says stylist Sarah Bunnitt, as she reaches for a blow-dryer. “Let’s make it extra pretty now.”

Arianna picks two barrettes out of a gift basket. She grabs one with Winnie the Pooh and another with a fish. She also snags a teddy bear finger puppet and a piece of ring candy.

“She’s so cute,” Sarah says.

“I’m not cute,” says Arianna. She feigns a frown and then sticks out her tongue.


Arianna grows restless. Chrissy takes her to a nearby playground.

Minutes later, Troy has a set of apartment keys in his hands. He clenches them tightly and pumps his fist in celebration.

Arianna and Chrissy face off after Arianna was acting up outside of their new apartment. Arianna wanted to go play in the park, but Chrissy and Troy needed to talk to the landlord.

Arianna and Chrissy face off after Arianna was acting up outside of their new apartment. Arianna wanted to go play in the park, but Chrissy and Troy needed to talk to the landlord. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Arianna wants to stay at the playground. She cries.

“It’s a happy day, not a sad day,” Chrissy says to the weeping child.

It doesn’t take long to move the family’s few belongings into the apartment – two camping chairs, backpacks, two tents, air mattresses, a pile of blankets and a box of old pots and pans.

The common areas of the apartment building have an acrid odor, but their apartment is clean. It smells like a new rug and a fresh coat of paint. Their unit has a small kitchen with no window. It opens up into a large living room and two bedrooms.

“You got front of the house, baby,” Troy says, pointing toward Arianna’s bedroom.

“Yay!” says Arianna, carrying her pink backpack into her room. She pulls out a doll and brushes its hair.

 Arianna unpacks her toys in her new bedroom.

Arianna unpacks her toys in her new bedroom. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Chrissy stands quietly in the middle of the room.

“Wow,” she says softly. “It finally happened.”

Troy stows several items in a closet.

“Bye-bye, tents,” he says.


The family prepares for Arianna’s first day of school.

Chrissy cooks pancakes in the kitchen. Troy sits in a camping chair in the middle of the room.

Arianna sits on the floor, playing with a toy train. She’s wearing a leopard-print shirt with a gold heart, black pants and a new pair of pink bunny sneakers with a fuzzy tail on each heel.

Chrissy brings Arianna a plate with a pancake, lathered in syrup, and sets it on the floor.

“I’m not hungry,” Arianna says.

“Just have a bite,” Chrissy pleads. “It’s your first day.”

Arianna takes a couple bites, then runs into her bedroom and jumps back into bed.

“You don’t want to be late on your first day do you?” Chrissy asks.

“Yes, I do,” Arianna insists.

Chrissy brushes Arianna's hair in preparation for her first day of kindergarten. School had started the week before, when they were in the process of moving to Auburn.

Chrissy brushes Arianna’s hair in preparation for her first day of kindergarten. School had started the week before, when they were in the process of moving to Auburn. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

After getting her hair put into a ponytail, Arianna grabs a backpack bearing “Frozen” characters that the family got at Goodwill. She takes inventory: a notebook, a small pink stapler, pencils, erasers, markers and scissors. She zips up the pink and blue bag and hoists it onto her tiny back.

On the 10-minute walk to school, Arianna runs ahead of her parents. She stops, letting them catch up, before turning and running again.

“I’m faster than you,” she brags.

Her eyes widen when she sees the school playground. Her nerves take over as the family rounds the corner and she sees a group of parents and children lined up, waiting for the school doors to open.

Troy and Chrissy take turns with their broken cellphone snapping photos of Arianna. She makes a grumpy face to the camera.

Arianna eyes the growing number of children. She buries her face in her mother’s stomach and gives her a hug.

Chrissy crouches down, pulling Arianna closer. Her daughter softly confesses: “I’m really nervous.”

“It’s going to be OK. You’re going to make a lot of friends,” Chrissy says, as the door opens and kids begin filing into the school.

“Mommy, look!” She points toward the open door.

Chrissy holds the little girl’s hand and walks her to the door.

Arianna walks to school for her first day of kindergarten.

Arianna walks to school for her first day of kindergarten. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

]]> 19, 25 Sep 2016 15:02:39 +0000
Washington state mall shooting suspect in custody Sun, 25 Sep 2016 02:51:56 +0000 BURLINGTON, Wash. — Authorities say the suspect in a deadly shooting at a Washington state mall shooting is in custody.

The Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said via Twitter Saturday evening that the suspect had been captured. No other details were immediately available. A news conference was set for Saturday night.

A gunman opened fire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, Friday night, killing four females and a male before fleeing. Law enforcement staged a massive search over more than 20 hours for the suspect, initially described by witnesses as a young Hispanic male wearing black.

Authorities had said that a rifle had been found at the scene.

The motive was unknown for the shooting about 60 miles north of Seattle. The FBI was assisting local authorities, but it said there was no evidence to point to terrorism.

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By a landslide, poll shows health care tops concerns of angry electorate Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:34:19 +0000 WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans say they’re frustrated, angry – or both – with the presidential election. That’s according to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that finds most Americans want more focus on issues.

Eighty-six percent of Americans are paying at least some attention to the race.

The issues Americans care most about? Health care ranks first, with 81 percent listing that as very or extremely important. Others include Social Security, education, terrorism and homeland security. Crime and economic growth rank higher than immigration.

– Associated Press

]]> 3 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:39:24 +0000
First impressions can be everything in presidential debates Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:12:47 +0000 The first presidential debate of the general election is often the most treacherous – especially for the candidate who steps on stage with the presumed advantage.

Which is why Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the one in that position this time around, knows not to take anything for granted.

Monday’s 90-minute faceoff at Hofstra University on Long Island is projected to have the biggest audience ever for politics’ equivalent of the National Basketball Association playoffs, with estimates that upward of 100 million people will be watching.

“You can’t really win an election in a debate, but you can lose one,” said Brett O’Donnell, a communications consultant with long experience coaching Republican presidential candidates. “The first debate is the most important of all the debates, and it definitely has the most potential to harm.”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Both U.S. presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have pledged to institute policy changes that would help combat ever-widening income inequality. On Monday, the two meet for the first of three debates.

Examples of first-debate stumbles are many. And they have almost always hurt the candidate for whom the expectations were higher.

The biggest pitfall is a blunder that confirms the misgivings that voters may already be harboring.

A confused Ronald Reagan rambled in 1984, opening doubts about whether he had become too old to do the most important job in the world. In 2000, Al Gore sighed and exaggerated. George W. Bush casually draped himself over the lectern in 2004 and peevishly quibbled on minor points. Four years ago, an aloof Barack Obama seemed to phone it in.

As two 2016 candidates prepare to meet on Monday, Clinton is seen as the nominee best equipped to present herself as the more credible and appealing potential president.

A CNN/ORC poll this month found that 53 percent of respondents think the former senator and secretary of state will do a better job in the debate, while 43 percent said that of Republican nominee Donald Trump, the real estate developer and reality TV celebrity.


That has Clinton’s team arguing that Trump should not be graded on a curve.

The Republican nominee “should be held to the same standard on knowledge – what kind of plans you have, your ability to explain your plans, skills, expertise you have,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director.

The biggest unknown for Clinton and her strategists is which version of Trump will show up on Monday.

It will be the first time he has appeared on a debate stage with only one other candidate, which means the spotlight will be harsher and more intense. Monday also represents a test of how well he can pitch his message to an electorate broader than Republican primary voters.

Trump has indicated that he will approach the debate as he has pretty much everything else in his campaign – reactively, and by trusting his own instincts and impulses.

“People ask me that question, ‘Oh, you’re going to go out there and do this and that.’ I really don’t know that,” Trump told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. “You’re going to have to feel it out when you’re out there. She’s got to treat me with respect. I’m going to treat her with respect. I’d like to start off by saying that, because that would be my intention.”

Will Trump be the aggressive, name-calling combatant who dominated the crowded Republican field, or will he take a more measured, statesmanlike posture?

Trump is capable of doing the latter, as he showed during the primary season. His best moment might have come when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attacked Trump’s “New York values,” and the real estate developer responded with a moving account of the character that his city showed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“It came from the heart. It was a good attack, and it wasn’t over the top,” O’Donnell said. “If that Donald Trump shows up, Hillary Clinton is in trouble.”

Figuring out Trump’s moves is “hard to game out,” Palmieri said. So Clinton may be better served by focusing on what she can control, which is fashioning her own argument.

Indeed, modern history shows that candidates – especially in the first debate – are often most hurt by the damage they do to themselves.

When Reagan appeared confused and muddled in his first outing against Walter Mondale in 1984, it reminded voters that, at 73, Reagan was the oldest commander in chief in the nation’s history.

Reagan tried to reprise a line that he had used to great effect in his only 1980 debate against Jimmy Carter – “there you go again” – only to have Mondale throw it back at him with a reminder that Reagan had tried to cut Medicare after saying he would not.

The president later blamed his performance on the fact that his advisers had attempted to compensate for another perceived deficiency, a lack of policy depth, by cramming his mind with minutiae during debate prep.

His wife, Nancy, later wrote: “It was the worst night of Ronnie’s political career.”


Mondale’s own internal polling showed that his favorability went up 23 points that night, said strategist Tad Devine, who was working for the Democratic nominee’s campaign.

But Reagan put the age issue to rest with a single quip in the second debate, when moderator Henry Trewhitt of the Baltimore Sun asked bluntly whether the septuagenarian had any doubt that he would be “able to function” in a national security crisis.

“Not at all, Mr. Trewhitt, and I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan replied. “I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Reagan swept 49 states in November.

In the pre-Twitter era of the 2000 election, Gore’s strategists thought that the vice president had won the debate against Texas Gov. George W. Bush – as evidenced in an instant poll by Gallup – until the reviews and the fact-checkers caught up with him the next day.

Gore had been such a stickler for debate preparation that he was known for insisting that the thermostats in his rehearsal room be set to the exact temperature as those in the debate hall, with an adjustment for the body heat of the crowd.

But those were not the atmospherics he should have worried about. When the real event happened in Boston, the microphones caught Gore emitting a heavy sigh when Bush chastised him for “fuzzy math.” Gore also embellished some details in his accounts of school overcrowding and the role he had played in disaster relief.

It reinforced doubts about Gore’s personality and honesty.

“Part of our problem as the staff was we didn’t recognize it as a big error,” said Devine, who was a top adviser to the campaign. “As it turned out, it fed into a story line that was very bad for him.”

To impress upon Gore how badly he had done, and how deeply the impression had seeped into popular culture, his staff had him watch a lampoon of his performance on “Saturday Night Live.”


Gore never fully recovered in the subsequent debates. The final one included a peculiar moment when the vice president strolled over to Bush to demand his position on a piece of health-care legislation – getting a glare and contemptuous nod in return.

Four years later, however, it was Bush who was put on the defensive, on the subject of foreign policy, which was thought to be his strength. Democratic nominee John Kerry attacked him for failing to enlist a broad coalition of allies before going into Iraq – ticking off only Great Britain and Australia. Bush shot back: “Actually, you forgot Poland.”

That rebuttal became a running joke with his detractors.

Because sitting presidents rarely face serious competition in their party primaries, they often arrive at their first debate out of practice, overconfident and impatient.

That was the case with Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2012.

Obama “looked like someone had slipped him an Ambien,” Politico’s Roger Simon wrote. “It’s not that Romney’s performance was perfect or polished – it wasn’t – it’s just that Obama’s was so mediocre.”

But Obama found his footing again in their next encounter.

Monday, however, will be a different dynamic – given that the two contenders have higher negatives in the polls than any major-party contenders.

So in addition to facing each other, Clinton and Trump will be trying to allay the doubts that voters have about them.

Clinton’s center on her character, and whether a fixture of the establishment can deliver the change that a restive country is demanding. Trump’s are about his temperament, and whether he has the policy depth to be a credible president.

“I think this debate is even more important, because there are so many basic unanswered questions about these candidates that, by now, we normally have answers to,” said O’Donnell, the Republican strategist. “There’s some fundamental things that people will be interested in that will make these the most-watched debates – especially the first one.”

]]> 3, 24 Sep 2016 21:32:20 +0000
How about them apples? Fairgoers seek expert’s eye for esoteric varieties Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:02:35 +0000 UNITY — Ben Cottrell has been wondering what kind of apples grow on the trees outside his old farmhouse in Winterport, so Saturday he brought a handful to the Common Ground Country Fair.

That’s where he found John Bunker, an expert in apple identification whose knowledge kept a steady stream of people stopping by his tent.

Bunker, 66, of Palermo, took one look at the gnarly red and green samples Cottrell showed him and knew instantly.

“They’re not in very good shape, but those are Northern Spy,” Bunker said.

“Yes!” exclaimed Todd Little-Siebold, a history professor at College of the Atlantic who also studies apple identification.

John Bunker speaks during an apple tasting event at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity on Saturday. Bunker writes the Fedco Tree catalog and is an expert in apple identification. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

John Bunker speaks during an apple tasting event at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity on Saturday. Bunker writes the Fedco Tree catalog and is an expert in apple identification. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Little-Siebold said there are more than 1,500 types of apples in Maine. But experts like Bunker and Little-Siebold said many have not been tracked and preserved. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is currently working to build up its heritage apple farm outside its headquarters where the fair is located, Little-Siebold said.

The fair, which concludes Sunday, draws about 60,000 people over three days, and is one of the main ways that new apple varieties are collected and added to the heritage tree farm. But first comes the process of identification.

Bunker, who also authors the Fedco tree catalog and has worked for the company for 35 years, has been identifying apples at the fair for over 20 years.

He started learning to identify apples at a young age by stopping at people’s houses and asking if he could pick the fruit, while growing up in Massachusetts and California. Most times the residents would come out and start talking to him, and he learned identification.

As he got older, he would take a new apple, write the name on it with a marker, and place it in the cup holder of his truck. At stop lights or during construction stops, he would study it.

“After a while you look at an apple and you just know,” he said. “It leaves an impression on your brain.”

Knowing the parts of an apple and the subtleties between different colors also helped Bunker learn to identify an apple.

He said he’s “pretty good,” but at the fair there may be an apple about every half hour or so that he doesn’t know.

When that happens, he asks the apple owner to put it in a paper bag and write their name and phone number. During the year, Bunker will visit hundreds of farms, orchards and individual trees across the state.

So far there are about 300 types of apples in the Maine Heritage Apple Orchard, with plans to grow to 600 or 700 varieties over the next four years, Little-Siebold said.

“It’s not just about nostalgia,” Bunker said. “It’s a connection to the past, but you also can’t buy a good pie apple in the store anymore. There are several dozen out there, we just need to find them. So it’s about preserving them and passing them on to the future.”

Jared Kane, of Milton Mills, N.H., one fairgoer who brought apples to Bunker on Saturday, said that as an aspiring producer of hard cider, he is searching for a good apple. “John has the knowledge that nobody else has,” said Kane, 36. “He really takes his time and researches it, that’s for sure.”


]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 23:58:13 +0000
Hallowell to review expansive plan for Stevens School property Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:12:58 +0000 HALLOWELL — The proposed re-use of the Stevens School complex – a multi-million dollar, multi-year project – is now in the hands of city planners.

The master plan for the Stevens School property at the top of Winthrop Street in Hallowell lays out a proposal that if completed, would be the biggest redevelopment project in city history.

Owner and developer Matt Morrill submitted his vision for the campus, which is now known as Stevens Commons, to the city Sept. 16. The code enforcement officer, Planning Board and City Council will now review the plan, and it’s a process that could extend well into next year.

“I think there’s an energy, and there are a lot of people in the city that are excited,” Mayor Mark Walker said. “We need to keep the momentum going and this is the next step.”

Morrill, of Grand View Log and Timber Frames in Winthrop, acquired the property from the state in April for $215,000. His plan for the property, which was originally a boarding school for girls in the late 1800s, is for a mixed-use development featuring affordable senior housing, commercial and residential space and small, clustered subdivisions.

“We’re excited and relieved that (the plan) is submitted, because it was a long process,” Morrill said. “We had 12 different engineers and architects involved, along with other consultants. Now we begin the review process.”

If all goes according to schedule, the Planning Board will take up the master plan at its meeting Oct. 19 before it goes to City Council.

]]> 1, 24 Sep 2016 19:12:58 +0000
With flood predicted, Iowans scurry to fill sandbags Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:12:37 +0000 CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa —Volunteers filled sandbags and homeowners began moving things out of their basements on Saturday, and one small town evacuated about 100 homes in preparation for flooding along the Cedar River in Iowa.

The river is expected to crest Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second largest city with a population of about 130,000. But with more rain expected Saturday night, officials there warned people to evacuate downtown areas of the city near the river by 8 p.m. Sunday.

“We have emergency personnel that can help you if needed,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said Saturday. “They’ll risk their lives for you. But we don’t want them to risk their lives.”

At the Cedar Valley Montessori School in downtown Cedar Rapids on Friday, about 100 volunteers from area high schools helped move the school equipment above the ground floor.

Stacy Cataldo, head of the Montessori school, told television station KCRG that many remember how flooding damaged the school in 2008 and don’t want that to happen again.

Upriver in the town of Palo, about 100 homes in low-lying areas were evacuated Saturday.

City Clerk Trisca Dix said the mandatory evacuation in the town of about 1,000 took place Saturday afternoon before the river was expected to crest Sunday night at 24.5 feet.

Mayor Tom Yock told the Des Moines Register that volunteers and work crews scrambled Saturday to protect as much as possible of the town, which was devastated by record flooding in 2008.

]]> 0 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:53:16 +0000
Car fire causes backup on Maine Turnpike in Biddeford Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:02:01 +0000 Traffic on the Maine Turnpike southbound backed up about three miles late Saturday afternoon after a car caught fire in Biddeford.

Maine State Police Trooper Adam Kelley said the car caught fire about 4:25 p.m. just south of the bridge over the Saco River. He said the driver noticed smoke coming through the vents into the interior of the car, pulled over into the median and saw flames when he lifted the hood.

The fire was quickly put out by a fire crew from Kennebunk that was on the turnpike returning from a training exercise and another crew from Saco, Kelley said.

He said traffic was flowing freely again shortly after the car was removed around 5:30 p.m.

]]> 0 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:02:01 +0000
Renowned band leader Buckwheat Zydeco dies Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:47:26 +0000 NEW ORLEANS — Musician Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his namesake band Buckwheat Zydeco, has died. He was 68.

His longtime manager Ted Fox told The Associated Press that Dural died early Saturday morning from lung cancer.

Fox said the musician and accordionist died in Lafayette, Louisiana. He gained fame by introducing zydeco music of southwest Louisiana to the world.

“This is one of the world’s true genius musicians. A completely natural musician who could just fit in in any scenario,” Fox said.

Zydeco music was well known across southwest Louisiana where people would often drive for miles to small dance halls where zydeco bands featuring an accordion and a washboard would rock the crowds for hours.

But Dural took zydeco music mainstream, launching a major-label album – the Grammy-nominated “On a Night Like This” – with Island Records in 1987. He went on to jam with musical greats like Eric Clapton, play at former President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and perform at the 1996 Olympics closing ceremony in Atlanta.

He jammed with Jimmy Fallon on the final episode of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Fallon played the guitar backed up by The Roots while Buckwheat Zydeco rocked the accordion.

Dural earned his nickname because he had braided hair when he was younger that resembled Buckwheat from The Little Rascals television show. Born Nov. 14, 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dural was one of 13 children. His father played the accordion but the younger Dural preferred playing rhythm & blues and learned to play the organ.

By the late 1950s he was backing up musicians and eventually formed his own band. It wasn’t until 1978 though that he took up the accordion so closely associated with zydeco music and later formed his own band called Buckwheat Zydeco.

It was the 1987 Island Records deal that eventually brought Dural to a wider audience, and he went on to tour with Clapton, record with artists such as Ry Cooper, Paul Simon, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson.

Fox called him an “old-fashioned showbiz professional” who was always focused on giving the audience – regardless of either they were eight or 80,000-strong – a good time.

“He had this charisma. He had this incredible charisma both onstage and personally,” he said.

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 22:38:13 +0000
Baby lobsters may not survive ocean warming, scientists say Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:37:46 +0000 Baby lobsters might not be able to survive in the ocean’s waters if the ocean continues to warm at the expected rate.

That is the key finding of a study performed by scientists in Maine, the state most closely associated with lobster. The scientists, who are affiliated with the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, said the discovery could mean bad news for the future of one of America’s most beloved seafood treats, as well as the industry lobsters support.

The scientists found that lobster larvae struggled to survive when they were reared in water 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the temperatures that are currently typical of the western Gulf of Maine, a key lobster fishing area off of New England. Five degrees is how much the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects the Gulf of Maine’s temperature to warm by the year 2100.

The paper appears this month in the scientific journal ICES Journal of Marine Science. It could serve as a wake-up call that the lobster fishery faces a looming climate crisis that is already visible in southern New England, said Jesica Waller, one of the study’s authors.

“There has been a near total collapse in Rhode Island, the southern end of the fishery, and we know our waters are getting warmer,” Waller said. “We are hoping this research can be a jumping off point for more research into how lobsters might do over the next century.”

Right now, the country’s lobster catch is strong, prices are high and steady and the industry is opening up new markets in Asia, where a growing middle class is hungry for one of America’s seafood status symbols.

U.S. fishermen have topped 100 million pounds of lobster for seven years in a row after having never previously reached that mark, and their catch topped a half billion dollars in value at the docks for the first time in 2014.

But signs of the toll warming waters can do to the fishery are noticeable in its southern reaches, where scientists have said rising temperatures are contributing to the lobsters’ decline. The lobster catch south of Cape Cod fell to about 3.3 million pounds in 2013, 16 years have it peaked at about 22 million in 1997.

The study’s authors found higher temperatures caused baby lobsters to develop faster – something that could help them avoid predators in the wild – but few survived. They performed the work by raising more than 3,000 baby lobsters from the moment they hatched.

The authors said the study is the first of its kind to focus on how American lobsters will be impacted by warming waters and the increasing acidification of the ocean in tandem. The study found that acidification had almost no effect on young lobsters’ survival, Waller said.

Michael Tlusty, an ocean scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center at the New England Aquarium, said the study is especially important because it considered both warming and changing ocean chemistry.

“This is the type of work that really needs to be done,” said Tlusty, who was not affiliated with the study. “The oceans are not changing one parameter at a time.”

]]> 4, 25 Sep 2016 20:11:14 +0000
Syrian troops tighten siege on Aleppo insurgents Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:05:37 +0000 BEIRUT — Syrian troops captured a rebel-held area on the edge of Aleppo on Saturday, tightening their siege on opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city after what residents described as the heaviest air bombardment of the 51/2-year civil war.

The U.N. meanwhile said that nearly 2 million people in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and onetime commercial center, are without running water following the escalation in fighting over the past few days.

Government forces captured the rebel-held Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat as airstrikes pounded rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, killing 52 people, including 11 children and six women, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Local Coordination Committees, another monitoring group, said 49 were killed on Saturday alone.

The Observatory said the death toll in Aleppo is expected to rise since many people are in critical condition and rescue workers are still digging through the rubble.


Residents say the latest bombardment is the worst they’ve seen since rebels captured parts of the city in 2012. Activists reported dozens of airstrikes on Friday alone.

“Since the beginning of the crisis, Aleppo has not been subjected to such a vicious campaign,” said Mohammed Abu Jaafar, a forensics expert based in the city. “Aleppo is being wiped out.”

For days, videos and photographs from eastern Aleppo have shown flattened buildings and paramedics pulling bodies from the rubble. Wounded people have flooded into clinics, where many are being treated on the floor.

“People in Aleppo already suffocating under the effects of the siege, have yet again come under horrific attack,” said Carlos Francisco of Doctors Without Borders. “No aid, including urgent medical supplies, is allowed to enter.

“We are deeply worried by the high numbers of wounded reported by the hospitals we support, and also know that in many areas the wounded and sick have nowhere to go at all – they are simply left to die.”

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the “chilling” escalation in Aleppo, which he said marked the “most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at Tufts University in Boston, said what was happening in Aleppo was “beyond the pale.”

“If people are serious about wanting a peaceful outcome to this war, then they should cease and desist bombing innocent women and children, cease cutting off water and laying siege in medieval terms to an entire community,” he said.

In the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al-Qasr, cluster bombs killed 13 people and wounded 150, according to Ibrahim Alhaj, a member of the Syrian Civil Defense, volunteer first responders.


Syrian state TV said insurgents shelled the government-held neighborhood of Salhiyeh, killing five people. The Observatory said insurgents shelled the government stronghold of Masyaf, home to a large number of Alawites, members of President Bashar Assad’s sect, which until now had largely been spared from violence.

An unnamed Syrian military official was quoted by state media on Friday as saying that airstrikes and shelling in Aleppo would continue for an extended period and “include a ground offensive” into rebel-held areas.

The fall of Handarat to Syrian troops allied with pro-government Palestinian fighters pushed insurgents further away from the government-controlled Castello Road, a main artery leading to rebel-held parts of the city.

The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, one of Syria’s main opposition groups, condemned the attacks on Aleppo, calling it “a crazy crime led by the Assad regime and Russian occupation.” It said “the criminal campaign aims to settle international accounts at the expense of Syrians’ blood.”

The escalation comes as diplomats in New York have failed to salvage a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire that lasted nearly a week. Moscow is a key ally of Assad’s government, while Washington supports the opposition.

Aleppo has been an epicenter of fighting in recent months. It is the last major urban area held by the opposition, and the rebels’ defeat there would mark a turning point in the conflict, which has killed more than 300,000 people and driven half of Syria’s population from their homes.

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 18:48:53 +0000
Brits propose recommissioning royal yacht Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:59:30 +0000 LONDON — The U.K. may be sailing into an uncertain future outside the European Union, but if campaigners have their way, Britannia will rule the waves again.

A Conservative lawmaker and the Daily Telegraph newspaper are proposing to recommission the royal yacht Britannia, former berth of Queen Elizabeth II, and send it around the world as a floating trade mission.

The yacht was retired in 1997, and is now a tourist attraction moored in Edinburgh.

Legislator Jake Berry says it should either be brought back into service or a new yacht should be built as “a small floating embassy” for Britain.

“I think it would be a huge beacon of hope for our country,” Berry said Wednesday.

Berry says the vessel could help bring in “billions of pounds’ worth of trade deals.” Anticipating that some will label his idea a vanity project, he says it should be funded by donations.

Former Foreign Secretary William Hague has backed Berry’s proposal, saying that when he was in government he found that no one, however wealthy or powerful, could resist an invitation onto the royal yacht.

“Leaving the EU means we need to communicate the advantages and attractions of our country more than ever,” Hague wrote in the Telegraph. “That will take a lot more than a yacht, but we need all the reach and profile that we can get.”

Launched in 1953, Britannia was the last in three centuries of royal yachts, a floating monument to a nation that built an empire on naval power.

]]> 3, 24 Sep 2016 17:59:30 +0000
Chinese space lab could enter free fall Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:49:40 +0000 Tiangong 1, China’s first space laboratory, will come to a fiery end in late 2017. The average decommissioned satellite either burns up over a specific ocean region, or is ejected to a far-off orbital graveyard. But Tiangong 1’s demise is shaping up to be something different.

Chinese officials appeared to admit that they had lost control of the station during a Sept. 14 news conference in Jiuquan.

“Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling,” said Wu Ping, a director at China’s space engineering office, during the conference. A day later China launched Tiangong 2, the lab’s successor, aboard a Long March 7 rocket.

Wu added that China is monitoring the space station for collisions with other objects. And Xinhua, China’s government-run news agency, reported that the Chinese space agency may need to release an international forecast for where Tiangong will land at a later date – an uncertainty that seems to indicate the descent is uncontrolled.

For the moment Tiangong 1 remains whole, currently orbiting the planet more than 200 miles above Earth’s surface. China launched Tiangong 1, which translates to “Heavenly Palace,” in 2011. It served as China’s base of space experiments for roughly 41/2 years, two years longer than originally anticipated. The last crewed mission was in 2013, though the station continued to autonomously operate until it was decommissioned in March 2016.

Soon after, rumors surfaced that China no longer had control of the spacecraft. In June, amateur satellite tracker Thomas Dorman, from El Paso, warned that the 8-ton space lab was out of control.

Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell agreed that China’s announcement indicated the spacecraft will fall where it may.

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 18:28:20 +0000
CIA: Pinochet personally ordered killing of Chilean dissident Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:32:04 +0000 The CIA concluded that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet personally ordered the 1976 murder of a top dissident, according to newly released government documents that show U.S. confidence about a key ally’s responsibility for a shocking attack in Washington, D.C.

The latest revelations about the Cold War-era case come on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a leading opponent of the Pinochet regime and one-time Chilean foreign minister, and his think tank colleague, Ronni Moffitt, in a car bomb on Washington’s Embassy Row.

The case set off a complex international investigation that concluded with the conviction of several key suspects but did not touch the most senior level of Chile’s U.S.-backed government.

The CIA assessment released on Friday is part of a suite of documents presented to President Ronald Reagan in 1987 by his national security adviser, Frank Carlucci, regarding U.S. government policy on Chile.

In the document, the CIA states that “a review of our files on the Letelier assassination has provided what we regard as convincing evidence that President Pinochet personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder.”

Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Chile Documentation Project at George Washington University’s National Security Archive, said the newly released documents support the CIA’s conclusion by showing attempts by Pinochet’s former intelligence chief to blackmail Pinochet over the case, and by highlighting the lengths to which Pinochet went to stymie efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

]]> 3 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 17:48:41 +0000
Like Trump, Maine’s congressional delegation says ‘no’ to releasing tax returns Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:22:16 +0000 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s reluctance to release copies of his income tax returns has transparency advocates calling for Congress to make tax form disclosure a legal requirement for presidential candidates. But when asked to release their tax documents, only one of the four Maine candidates for U.S. House of Representatives agreed.

Top: Maine's U.S. Sens. Angus King, an independent, and Susan Collins, a Republican. Bottom: Maine's U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

Top: Maine’s U.S. Sens. Angus King, an independent, and Susan Collins, a Republican. Bottom: Maine’s U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

All four members of the congressional delegation – U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, who are not up for re-election, and U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, who are running for re-election in November – declined to release copies of their 2015 tax records. They issued a joint statement with links to federally required financial disclosures that are posted online.

However, those disclosures provide only a limited picture of a member’s income and do not include tax payments or deductions, charitable contributions and other financial data.

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival, has released copies of her tax records, as has every presidential candidate, both Republican and Democrat, for the last 40 years. But Trump’s resistance to releasing his tax records has elevated the public debate about how much information voters should have when it comes to those running for public office.

In their joint statement responding to the request to share their tax returns, the delegation said:

“As members of Congress, we believe that transparency is a vital component of a healthy, functioning democracy. In that spirit, and in accordance with the law, each of us files an annual financial disclosure report that is supplemented by additional monthly transaction reports.

“These documents – which detail our sources of income and that of our spouses as well as properties we own, investments held, mortgages and additional liabilities, and, among other things, financial transactions – paint a thorough, detailed, and well-rounded picture of our financial assets and backgrounds for the people of Maine. We support this practice of transparency and will continue to fully comply with it.”


Scott Ogden, a spokesman for King, noted that the independent senator released his federal tax return when he ran for Senate in 2012, and said King would do so again when he runs for re-election in 2018. Collins, a Republican who is up for re-election in 2020, did not offer any further comments.

Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine’s 1st District, declined to make additional comment. Poliquin, a 2nd District Republican, said the federal disclosures he is required to file provide for the transparency voters need to decide if he has conflicts of interest in Washington. “It’s very complete, up to date and very thorough,” he said.

Only Poliquin’s challenger, former state Sen. Emily Cain, an Orono Democrat, released her 2015 tax returns to the newspaper. She did so on condition that copies of the actual tax documents not be posted on the internet.

Cain’s Form 1040 tax return, filed jointly with her husband, Daniel Williams, shows the couple together earned just over $125,000 and paid $16,620 in federal income taxes, or a tax rate of just over 13 percent. The return also shows Cain received $10,000 in payments as a consultant but also had expenses for that work that left her with a net profit of just over $6,000. The couple also donated $2,210 to charity.

“Like many Mainers, Emily and Danny are private people and don’t want their personal information online,” Cain’s campaign spokesman, Daniel Gleick, said in a prepared statement. “However, Emily is also deeply committed to a transparent and ethical government, which is why she worked with Gov. LePage to pass groundbreaking ethics reforms and is now the only federal candidate or elected official in Maine willing to share her taxes.”

Pingree’s challenger, Mark Holbrook, a Republican from Brunswick, failed to respond to repeated requests for his tax return.

The disclosure forms referred to by the delegation show details of lawmakers’ investments and properties, as well as those held by their spouses. But they do not give a precise picture of how much each elected official makes from outside sources of income, as the forms report a range of income values and do not disclose a specific amount.


Unlike a federal tax return, the disclosures reveal nothing about how much each elected official pays in taxes or their tax rate, nor do they show how much they donate to charity.

For example, on King’s fiscal year 2015 disclosure he lists income from a number of sources, including a mutual fund that paid between $100,000 and $1 million in dividends from the investment in 2015. King’s disclosure also shows which stock he owns and the stock owned by his wife, Mary Herman. In the disclosures, members list all assets worth more than $1,000 as well as any accounts with balances greater than $5,000, and any source of income that’s more than $200.

Collins’ disclosure also shows her stocks and bonds, as well as the stocks and bonds owned by her husband, Thomas Daffron. Again, the disclosure gives a range of values rather than specifics. Properties owned by federal lawmakers are listed on the disclosures, but not with specific values.

Poliquin’s disclosure, for example, shows that he owns seven properties, including one at the Popham Beach Club that is valued between $1 million and $5 million. Poliquin lists a Bank of America checking account with between $1,000 and $15,000. Likewise, Pingree’s disclosure forms show that she owns Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant on North Haven, valued between $1 million and $5 million.

Richard Skinner, a policy analyst at the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that advocates for government transparency, said the organization is urging Congress make it a legal requirement for presidential candidates to disclose their federal income tax returns.

He said that while lawmakers in Congress are required to provide limited financial data in their monthly and annual financial disclosures, those reports are far more useful when combined with a tax return.

But Congress has not required its own members to disclose tax returns.

“It is not at all normal practice and maybe it should be,” Skinner said. “It would give people a lot more information and certainly people would be able to do a better job at judging conflicts of interest, people would be able to do a better job at seeing how people are complying or not complying with tax law.”


Skinner said arguments against candidates and elected officials being forced to disclose their tax filing information include the idea that people in public life “are already sacrificing an awful lot of their privacy.”

Tax return disclosure requirements could prompt some people not to run for office, “not because there is anything sinister in their tax returns, but because they would rather not have it all spelled out in front of the public,” Skinner said.

He said when a candidate such as Trump refuses to release tax information, it raises questions.

“I think there is inevitably going to be speculation about why is somebody going through such lengths, taking a pretty significant political hit to avoid doing something everyone else has done,” Skinner said of Trump. “A certain majority of the tax returns don’t always paint a terribly flattering picture.”

Skinner said that was likely the case for Clinton, who did release her tax returns, which showed that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are multimillionaires and have been paid exceptionally large sums for giving speeches. The returns also showed the Clintons donate large sums to charity.

Joe Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project, prepared by the nonpartisan Tax Analyst group, said he knows of no members of Congress who regularly disclose their tax returns. He said he would have been surprised if Maine’s congressional delegation agreed to share their returns with the public.

“It is definitely the exception and not the rule when it happens – the same could be said of governors,” Thorndike said. “I’m not at all surprised that they all said ‘no,’ because they are in good company when they do that.”

The Tax History Project archives online all the tax returns that have been released by presidential candidates, going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 tax return.

Thorndike, like Skinner with the Sunlight Foundation, agreed that tax returns coupled with the federal disclosure forms would give voters a more complete picture of their elected officials’ finances.

Convincing Congress to require its own members to make their tax returns public would be a major political challenge, but Thorndike said there may be enough support to require the disclosure for presidential candidates.

“I would welcome a change to the law that would require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns and then we could see how it would play out,” Thorndike said. “But in general terms, I think more disclosure from our elected officials is better than less disclosure.”


]]> 19, 24 Sep 2016 19:47:55 +0000
Lewiston-Auburn museum sells hundreds of items to rein in a scattered collection Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:14:44 +0000 LEWISTON — Museum L-A: The Story of Work and Community in Lewiston-Auburn is trying to trim down.

With a burgeoning accumulation of items and a looming loss of storage space, the museum decided to organize a sale to get rid of items that are not central to its mission of chronicling the community’s economic, social and technological history.

“We needed everything when we started but now we need the space,” said Rachel Desgrosseilliers, museum executive director.

Liette Morin of Lewiston looks through dolls from the collection of Bertha Chasse during a sale at Museum L-A. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Liette Morin of Lewiston looks through dolls from the collection of Bertha Chasse during a sale at Museum L-A. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Founded in 1996, the museum spent its first decade salvaging and preserving industrial artifacts from closing businesses, many of them in former mills. The result was a massive accumulation of objects, some of which had nothing to do with its focus. So on Saturday, the museum put hundreds of them on sale. Proceeds will go back to the museum, now housed at the Bates Mill Complex.

Desgrosseilliers said with the complex under development, it is only a matter of time before the museum will have to find new space, at least 5,000 square feet of it but ideally 10,000 square feet. Currently, its collection is stored all over the place, some of it not ideal for preservation, Desgrosseilliers said.

Business was brisk at Saturday’s sale.

“We have been moving a lot of stuff, from old furniture to prints of local scenes,” Desgrosseilliers said.

The coat hooks from the former St. Peter’s Elementary School, which no longer exists, flew out the door.

“It is nostalgia,” Desgrosseilliers said.

Joan Vermette of Hollis looks through photographs from a past exhibit titled "The Power of Music" during a sale at Museum L-A on Saturday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Joan Vermette of Hollis looks through photographs from a past exhibit titled “The Power of Music” during a sale at Museum L-A on Saturday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Among other gems up for sale: a booklet on how to build a family fallout shelter, a box of Christmas decorations, a lava lamp and an assortment of slubbers, tall cylindrical objects used in textile manufacturing which could do double duty as a wastebasket. A box of nine votive candles and a bag of 100 percent wool were both priced at $10.

Genevieve Lysen of Lewiston picked out one of the thousands of cloth dolls donated to the museum by the late Bertha Chasse. Lysen said at $2 the doll was a bargain.

“It reminds me of the dolls we used to make at the Waldorf school in Freeport,” Lysen said.

Joan Vermette of Hollis was out of luck in her mission to acquire some point papers, which were used to translate a textile designer’ patterns onto looms. Vermette said her work as a digital designer breaking down images to the pixel level is similar to the textile designer’s. She is also descended from Franco-Americans who worked in Maine textile mills, she said. But there were no point papers for sale at the museum.

“It sounds like they are very rare,” Vermette said.


]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 22:56:31 +0000
Charlotte police videos do not show shooting victim holding a gun Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:52:34 +0000 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Videos released Saturday do not show Keith Lamont Scott raising a weapon toward officers nor a gun in his hand.

The videos, from a police dashboard camera and a body camera, captures the confrontation Tuesday in which an officer repeatedly orders Scott to drop his gun.

Scott drew the attention of officers who were trying to serve an arrest warrant on an unrelated suspect at the Village at College Downs apartment complex in University City because he had marijuana in his vehicle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said Saturday.

Officers were going to continue on their original mission until an officer spotted a weapon in the vehicle, Putney said.

“It was not lawful for him to possess a firearm,” Putney said. “There was a crime he committed and the gun exacerbated the situation.”

Officer Brentley Vinson, who fired four shots at Scott, was not wearing a body cam so his visual perspective was not part of the footage. Putney said that body cameras are being introduced across the department and not all tactical officers have them yet.

Putney said the videos support the larger fabric of evidence in the case that includes accounts from officers at the scene, forensics and interviews with witnesses.

He said he has found nothing to indicate that Vinson acted inappropriately given the totality of the circumstances, and he does not think his officers broke the law that day.

They were, he said, reacting to what appeared to be an imminent threat.

“At every encounter, people can make a decision to follow loud, clear verbal commands,” he said.

Widespread calls were heard for release of police video footage from civic and political quarters – and even street protesters who chanted “Release the Tapes!” repeatedly outside police headquarters.

On Friday, attorneys for Scott’s family released a cellphone video taken by Rakeyia Scott during her husband’s shooting.

In it, she can be heard pleading with officers not to shoot as they barked commands at Scott to drop his gun.

Putney said the appearance of that video had no effect on his decision to release the police videos.

He said he decided to release them in the interest of transparency and because the State Bureau of Investigation, which is leading the inquiry in the case, had completed key interviews with witnesses and assured him the release would not harm the integrity of their investigation.

“Doing so before this would have had a negative impact on the investigation,” he said.

After Scott’s death, Charlotte was roiled by several nights of protests. After street violence on Tuesday and Wednesday night, dozens of arrests and the death of one man, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency.


]]> 44, 24 Sep 2016 22:35:52 +0000
Five-star pig pens: In China, a novel strategy in the war against superbugs Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:48:07 +0000 On Shen Jian-Ping’s antibiotic-free pig farm outside of Shanghai, biosecurity is something of an obsession. Vehicles entering the property are disinfected with a chlorine tire bath and alcohol spray, animals drink sterilized water and the closest visitors will get to seeing a live hog is via a TV in the visitors’ center.

The wiry 46-year-old has spent the Chinese equivalent of $700,000 giving roomier, better-ventilated digs to his swine, with three full-time veterinarians to help keep the 465-sow herd healthy. “It’s like the piglets are now living in a villa that’s clean and comfortable,” Shen said as he sipped green tea on the patio outside his office. “And it smells much better.”

Shen is in the vanguard of a new approach to livestock management in a country that consumes half the planet’s pork-and half its infection-fighting medicines. China’s over-reliance on antibiotics in food production places the nation at heightened risk of spawning superbugs, genetically-evolved bacterial strains resistant to current medicines that experts fear could trigger a global health crisis.

Antibiotics have been routinely fed to livestock to prevent disease and spur growth in dozens of industrialized countries for decades. But in China, pig feed typically contains multiple types of bacteria-killing drugs that are used in far greater volumes, said Ying Guang-Guo, professor of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Screens display video footage from cameras monitoring pig pens at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm in Tongxiang, China, on Sept. 15, 2016. (MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Qilai Shen)

Screens display video footage from cameras monitoring pig pens at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm in Tongxiang, China. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Chinese pigs consume about 19,600 metric tons of antibiotics annually through their feed, scientists estimated in a 2013 study. The average growing pig in China excretes 175 milligrams of antibiotics per day in its urine and feces, according to Ying’s research. He extrapolated that across the nation’s entire pig population to estimate that 2,460 tons of drugs are released annually. Those chemicals may then leach into water wells and streams, or contaminate manure used to fertilize vegetable fields. Traces have even been found in Shanghai drinking water and school kids.

This epic outpouring of antibiotic residue in China is a golden opportunity for bacteria, and the genes that the microbes accumulate, to fine-tune their defenses and create new superbugs that can evade modern medicines. “It’s gene pollution,” said Zhu Yong-Guan, who runs the Institute of Urban Environment within the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “The danger is that these genes can be very mobile. They can be carried by bacteria and the bacteria can travel globally by air travelers, and through the movement of water or commodities.”


Hog farmer Shen knows his pig feed. Before starting his piggery five years ago, Shen made and supplied fodder to swine farms near his home town of Tongxiang, 80 miles from Shanghai.

He worries most about excessive use of colistin. Developed for humans in the 1950s, doctors quickly stopped using it because it damages the kidneys. That didn’t prevent its application in poultry and pig farms in Europe, China, Brazil and India.

Mud-splattered pigs in a pen at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm in Tongxiang, China, on Sept. 15, 2016. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Mud-splattered pigs in a pen at the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Now, faced with patients with superbug infections, doctors consider the drug a treatment of last resort. Last November, scientists reported a colistin-resistance gene in China known as mcr-1, which can fortify a dozen or more types of bacteria and has been found in patients, food and environmental samples in at least 20 countries. Four patients have been infected with it in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month.

About 11,942 tons of colistin, worth $187.2 million, was used worldwide in 2014, according to Beijing-based QYResearch Medical Research Center. Of the 10-largest producers of colistin, one is Indian, one is Danish and eight are Chinese, it said in a report last year.

Pig farmers are largely unaware of the drug’s importance or the need to restrict it, Shen said. “Most of them only wish to grow pigs faster,” he said.

That rankled with Shen, who traveled to Belgium and the Netherlands in 2011 to study how farmers there were raising hogs without antibiotics so he could try to replicate their methods back home.

His initial attempt failed. Sixty percent, or more than 1,000, of his swine died in the first winter. “We didn’t know how complicated it would be,” said Shen, who said he obtained a distance-learning degree in poultry production from China Agricultural University.

Marc Huon, a pig-management specialist in Belgium, was hired to redesign Shen’s pigsty. The first priority, Huon said, was to give more space and better ventilation and to remove stress on the animals caused by temperature fluctuations. He also recommended a higher-protein diet based on a broader range of nutrients and the addition of supplements, including prebiotics to promote helpful intestinal bacteria.

Water piped into the temperature-controlled barn has been filtered and purified with charcoal, and heated and irradiated to remove pathogens. “The water our pigs drink is better than the tap water in Shanghai-much better,” Shen said. These days, mortality is 5-to-6 percent-much less than the 15 percent to 16 percent average on neighboring piggeries, he said.

A mist containing disinfectant and deodorizing solution sprays outward as fans ventilate a building housing pig pens at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm in Tongxiang, China. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

A mist containing disinfectant and deodorizing solution sprays outward as fans ventilate a building housing pig pens at the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

It takes Shen’s pigs about eight months to reach the 250-300 pound (115-to-135 kilogram) target weight for slaughter. That’s four to five weeks longer than pigs fed antibiotics and other growth promoters, according to Huon. The Belgian’s nutrition plan emphasizes meat quality over weight gain. “It’s just a copy and paste of what we are doing here,” Huon said over the telephone from Belgium.


The Netherlands and Belgium have been reducing the use of antimicrobial drugs on farms for years, following Denmark’s lead in banning the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in pigs in 1999.

The antibiotic-free status of Shen’s meat is validated by an independent auditor. Shen said he’s thought about going organic but it’s too difficult to source fully organic fodder. As it is, antibiotics are used only to treat sick pigs, with the meat from those animals sold separately to local butchers. A QR code on the pack of every antibiotic-free product Shen sells enables shoppers to view real-time images of his piggery using their smartphones.

“I explained to Shen four years ago that this would be a good solution for him to distinguish himself from the others,” Huon said. “Today, the biggest problem is that farmers only think about money.”

That said, there’s is a growing public awareness of food production safety, said Ying, the researcher in Guangzhou, who’s published more than 100 papers on antibiotic emissions and environmental contamination in China. “Ordinary people are very worried nowadays because of the media reports,” he said. “There is big pressure to do something.”

Farmers, too, have reason to be alarmed. A study published this month based on rectal swabs from pigs in the eastern province of Shandong and farm workers raising them found that more than half of the swine carried a particular super-resistant E. coli known as ESBL that was also present in a fifth of the farm workers. Some of the germs were genetically identical, indicating pigs were the likely source.

When the rotting carcasses of more than 16,000 pigs-some of which were reportedly diseased-were found in early 2013 in the tributaries of the main river running through Shanghai, threatening the region’s water supply, authorities acted quickly. Millions of small piggeries were closed in a nationwide rationalization program aimed at shifting pork production to larger, more efficient farms. It resulted in one of the largest culls in history-a reduction in hog numbers equivalent to the disappearance of the U.S., Canadian and Mexican pork industries from global supply in less than two years, according to Rabobank Groep.


Around Tongxiang, where Shen lives, there were about 3,000 piggeries, mostly raising fewer than 100 pigs, before the closures. He counts about 50 now.

Drug-resistant infections will lead to 1 million premature deaths annually in China alone by 2050 and crimp $20 trillion from the country’s potential output without preventive action, according to research on antimicrobial resistance prepared by a team led by Jim O’Neill, the British economist who coined the acronym BRIC for Brazil, Russia, India and China.

An automatic feeder and a drinking bowl in a new pen at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

An automatic feeder and a drinking bowl in a new pen at the Jia Hua antibiotic-free pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The World Bank on Monday said antimicrobial resistance would cause annual global gross domestic product to fall 1.1-to-3.8 percent by 2050, raise annual health-care costs by as much as $1 trillion, and lead to a 2.6-to-7.5 percent a year decline in livestock production.

Leaders of the Group of 20, who met this month in Hangzhou, China, pledged to promote prudent use of antibiotics, and affirmed the need to fight resistance, including through supporting drug research. At the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, world leaders will discuss a global response, including tackling the irrational human- and veterinary-use of antibiotics and how to support efforts in developing countries.

“The problem is extensive and it may be speeding upwards quickly, but it’s also clear that we now have a level of attention that we have never had before,” said Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization’s special representative on antimicrobial resistance, in a telephone interview from Geneva. “We have to push that and use that as much as possible.”

In Shanghai and urban areas of surrounding Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, a study of urine samples from more than 1,000 primary school-age children found four out of five specimens harbored one or more antibiotics. Twenty-one different antibiotics were detected, including among children who hadn’t been treated with the medicines for several years.

Authors of the study, published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, blamed antibiotic contamination of food and the environment caused by the misuse of the drugs, which they said may be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, childhood asthma, obesity and tumors. “Therefore, the elimination of water pollutants is one of the hotspots of scientific research,” the study’s 13 authors wrote.

An employee checks a pen at the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

An employee checks a pen at the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s government released a national action plan in August to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Among goals for the next five years is to phase out the use on farms of important antibiotics as growth promoters and to strengthen the oversight and control of their sale in veterinary medicine.

“Antimicrobial resistance is not only a problem that exists in our country, but also a major challenge facing the global public health field,” said Ma Xiaowei, deputy head of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. His comments were posted on the commission’s website in April from a meeting where 12 government departments discussed the action plan. Mitigating the risk “is a necessary requirement to protect the health rights of the people” and help China reach its goal of being a prosperous society while showing that it’s a responsible major power, he said.

The health ministry in June released dietary guidelines that recommend citizens reduce meat consumption by half.


The prospect of a decline in meat consumption isn’t deterring Shen, who plans to increase his annual output by 50 percent to 15,000 head this year and 50,000 in three years. He is scouting for land around Beijing and in the southern province of Guangdong to establish other antibiotic-free piggeries. “Chinese people want safe and reliable food, but they can’t often find it,” he said.

Shen’s antibiotic-free pork is sold through retail outlets locally in Jiaxing City and via e-commerce sites, including Alibaba, under the “Tongxiang” label. Priced at about $4.77/pound, it’s almost twice as expensive as regular pork, which sells for about 40 yuan/kg. Shen’s pig livers command 10 times the going rate.

“In the past, nobody would buy such expensive pork,” Shen said. “Now, kids are more likely to get sick and people are increasingly aware of the impact of antibiotics.”

Researcher Zhu believes that one promising approach in controlling the spread of antibiotic resistance genes involves removing them from animal excrement while preserving the manure’s nutrient content so that it can be safely used as fertilizer. He has worked with Shen to filter bacteria and other unwanted residues from animal waste using membrane technology, then ultra-heat-treating the solids to produce bio-char, which Shen sells in bags from the visitor center on his farm.

“We are developing technologies for sustainable intensive animal farming,” Zhu said. If you sterilize the pig manure to remove the bacteria, you can reduce the risk dramatically.”

Farmer Shen, meanwhile, thinks it’s crucial to educate kindergarten children about the effects of antibiotics in the food system. His farm hosts two or three tours a week and invites students to make dumplings from his pork and watch a demonstration of how differently his pig livers look after cooking compared with those from swine raised on antibiotics.

“We let them taste pork from us and from others,” he said. “The health of Chinese kids will see a big problem if nothing changes.”

An employee selects a cut of pork for a customer at a retail store operated by the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

An employee selects a cut of pork for a customer at a retail store operated by the Jia Hua pig farm. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 18:10:27 +0000
Ivory traffickers flourish despite international outcry Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:44:36 +0000 JOHANNESBURG — Poaching syndicates shipped large amounts of African elephant ivory last year despite global calls to dismantle the trafficking networks that often collude with corrupt officials, conservationists said as an international wildlife conference opened Saturday in South Africa.

The illegal ivory trade “has remained fairly constant at unacceptably high levels” since 2010, and in 2015 there was a “continuing upward trend” in the seizure of larger shipments of more than 220 pounds, according to a document released by organizers. The transfer of big amounts of ivory indicates the key role of organized crime in poaching, the document said.

The plight of elephants dominated the discussion on the first day of the 12-day Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, conference. Rhinos, sharks, pangolins, helmeted hornbills and other threatened species are also on the agenda at the meeting, which aims to regulates trade in wild animals and plants to ensure their survival.

Last held in Bangkok in 2013, this year’s CITES conference ends Oct. 5. The U.N. group has 183 member countries and can recommend suspending trade in wildlife with countries that don’t enforce its guidelines.

Wildlife trafficking is estimated to generate billions of dollars a year globally. Interpol is among the delegations at the conference and will discuss crime, corruption and the illegal financial flows of poaching.

Many delegates at the conference in Johannesburg are likely to push to tighten the international ban on the ivory trade, as well as close domestic ivory markets. Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, however, favor the sale of their ivory stockpiles, saying the money can be funneled back into conservation operations.

The world’s main ivory consumer, China, has said it plans to close its domestic ivory market. The United States has announced a near-total ban on the domestic sale of African elephant ivory.

Ivory has been used for centuries to make carvings, jewelry, furniture, piano keys and other items.

Many conservationists say criminal syndicates launder illegal supplies through legal markets that permit the sale of antique ivory pieces or ivory exempted from a 1989 international trade ban.

The number of Africa’s savanna elephants dropped by about 30 percent from 2007 to 2014, to 352,000, because of poaching, according to a recent study. Elephant populations in Tanzania and Mozambique were among the hardest hit.

Tom Milliken, a co-author of the document released at the CITES meeting, said there are about 50 ivory seizures of more than half a ton, and sometimes as many as four tons, every year. Such big shipments indicate the involvement of organized criminal groups, said Milliken, an expert with the TRAFFIC conservation organization.

“Nobody is really uncovering their identities and making arrests and prosecuting the people who are really behind this,” he said, adding that poaching syndicates view occasional ivory seizures as a form of “taxation” on their lucrative activity.

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 18:46:49 +0000
Most of Puerto Rico has electricity restored Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:43:37 +0000 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Electricity was restored to most of Puerto Rico by Saturday following a rare, islandwide blackout caused by a power plant fire, the territory’s power utility said.

Fewer than 20,000 clients remained without power in some parts of San Juan and other urban areas.

“We have been operating under normal conditions since 2:30 a.m.,” said Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Executive Director Javier Quintana, noting that 60 hours had passed since power was knocked out for most of the island’s 1.5 million homes and businesses, affecting the majority of the island’s 3.5 million residents.

Officials said about 50,000 clients, mostly in the island’s northeast area, remained without water service, which was interrupted for some people because many filtration plants and pumping stations need electricity to run and don’t have generators for emergencies.

Authorities hoped to dramatically lower the number of people without water on Saturday.

The blackout occurred as Puerto Rico’s troubled power company seeks to restructure $9 billion in debt and find the money needed to update the island’s aging electrical grid.

In the wake of the outage, Puerto Rico’s Energy Commission said late Friday it was rejecting a 20-year development plan proposed by the utility and impose its own version, one it said would better deal with the grid’s infrastructure problems.

Utility officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Such development plans are typically used by electricity companies to describe the steps they will take to operate and adhere to government regulations.

At least one person died from carbon monoxide after setting up a personal generator.

]]> 0 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:03:45 +0000
Syrian army winning terror war, envoy says Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:36:27 +0000 UNITED NATIONS — Syria’s top diplomat told the world’s nations Saturday that his country’s belief in military victory is greater now because the army “is making great strides in its war against terrorism” with support from Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Syria is more determined than ever to eliminate “terrorism” from the country. The Syrian government refers to all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad as “terrorists,” including Western-backed opposition groups.

Al-Moallem addressed the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting after frantic but unsuccessful efforts by the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers to revive a cease-fire that came into effect on Sept. 12 but collapsed after a week following attacks by both sides.

– Associated Press

]]> 0 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:49:10 +0000
France to close migrants’ camp Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:27:19 +0000 PARIS — French President Francois Hollande on Saturday confirmed plans to close the squalid Calais migrant camp known as “the Jungle,” saying he hopes authorities can relocate as many as 9,000 migrants to reception centers across France in the coming weeks.

Hollande, visiting one of France’s 164 migrant reception centers in the central city of Tours, said conditions in the Calais camp are “not acceptable” and “extremely difficult,” especially for those who fled war to get there.

The camp has become a symbol of his government’s failure to tackle Europe’s migrant crisis, and a target of criticism from conservative and far-right rivals seeking to unseat him in France’s presidential election next year.

Hollande, who is to visit Calais itself on Monday, insisted that “we cannot have such camps in France.” He said his country must show it is “capable of being dignified, humane and responsible.”

The reception centers will hold 40-50 people for up to four months while authorities study their cases, he said. Migrants who don’t seek asylum will be deported.

Half of the Calais camp was dismantled in March but its population has since doubled. Hollande’s government has promised to dismantle the Calais camp by the end of the year but has not given a firm timeline.

The plan to relocate the migrants to towns across France has prompted vehement protests from many local conservative and far-right politicians, saying they fear the consequences of having migrants in their towns.

Hollande indirectly criticized that resistance and called for more solidarity, noting that neighboring Germany has taken in 1 million migrants compared to the only 9,000 being relocated from Calais.

]]> 0, 24 Sep 2016 18:19:02 +0000
How Maine’s members of Congress voted Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:18:20 +0000 WASHINGTON — Along with roll call votes this past week, the House also passed the GAO Mandates Revision Act (H.R. 5687), to eliminate or modify certain mandates of the Government Accountability Office; passed the Stability and Democracy for Ukraine Act (H.R. 5094), to deter Russian aggression in Ukraine and assist Ukraine’s democratic transition; passed the Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act (H.R. 5064), to allow small business development centers to assist and advise small businesses on cyber security matters; and agreed to the Senate amendment to the Global Anti-Poaching Act (H.R. 2494), to support global anti-poaching efforts, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, and designate major wildlife trafficking countries.

The Senate also passed the Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act (S. 3076), to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish caskets and urns for burial in state and tribal cemeteries of veterans without next of kin or sufficient resources to provide for caskets or urns; passed the Advancing Hope Act (S. 1878), to extend the pediatric priority review voucher program; and passed the Federal Aviation Administration Veteran Transition Improvement Act (S. 2683), to include disabled veteran leave in the Federal Aviation Administration’s personnel management system.


House Vote 1

MEDICAID SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS: The House has passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R. 670), sponsored by Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa. The bill would extend an exemption from a federal government rule requiring disabled people to have a special needs Medicaid trust provided for them by a parent or other party, allowing the disabled to have their own trusts. Thompson said allowing the disabled to have their own special needs trusts would help them manage their savings and secure their future financial stability. The vote, on Sept. 20, was 383 yeas to 22 nays.

YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District; Bruce Poliquin R-2nd District

House Vote 2

INVESTIGATING GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: The House has passed the GAO Access and Oversight Act (H.R. 5690), sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga. The bill would authorize the Government Accountability Office to take legal action to require federal agencies to provide records that the GAO needs to perform its duties of auditing and investigating agency activities. Carter said that with the authority, the GAO would better investigate fraud and improper payments made by federal agencies, helping it protect against wrongful government spending. The vote, on Sept. 20, was unanimous with 404 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 3

EXPENSING COSTS FOR REPLANTING CITRUS TREES: The House has passed the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act (H.R. 3957), sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. The bill would allow citrus farmers to temporarily expense on their tax returns some of their costs for replanting diseased citrus trees. Buchanan said citrus farmers in Florida and other southern states have lost many trees to citrus greening, a bacterial disease infecting many groves in recent years, and allowing the deduction will help them replace those trees and keep the citrus industry healthy. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 400 yeas to 20 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 4

REVIEWING COSTLY FEDERAL REGULATIONS: The House has passed the Require Evaluation before Implementing Executive Wishlists Act (H.R. 3438), sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa. The bill would require federal agencies to wait until 60 days after publishing in the Federal Register a proposed regulation that would have a $1 billion or greater annual cost before implementing the regulation. Marino said the 60-day period, by allowing those impacted by expensive regulations time to appeal the regulations in court, would be “proper and responsible regulatory reform” to rein in a surge of expensive regulations in recent years. A bill opponent, Rep. Hank Johnson Jr., D-Ga., called it “yet another reckless measure designed to delay the implementation of the most important rules protecting the health, safety, and financial well-being of everyday people.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 244 yeas to 180 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 5

DISCLOSING IRANIAN OFFICIALS’ ASSETS: The House has passed the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act (H.R. 5461), sponsored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine. The bill would require the Treasury Department to provide Congress and the general public with estimates of the assets that senior Iranian politicians and military officials control. Poliquin said given the tremendous amount of personal wealth obtained by corrupt Iranian leaders, disclosing information about those leaders’ assets would help put pressure on them to change their ways. A bill opponent, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Iran would view the asset estimates as a bad faith move by the U.S. to interfere with Iran’s recent nuclear weapons accord, likely pushing Iran toward withdrawing from the accord. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 282 yeas to 143 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 6

FUNDING COUNTERTERRORISM TRAINING: The House has passed the Community Counterterrorism Preparedness Act (H.R. 5859), sponsored by Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas. The bill would authorize a $39 million Homeland Security grant program for providing funds for emergency response providers in major metropolitan areas to prepare for potential terrorist attacks. McCaul said the recent spate of active shooter terrorist attacks in U.S and foreign cities showed the need to continuously train first responders so they are ready to counter emerging threats to public safety. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 395 yeas to 30 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 7

DIAPER CHANGING AND GOVERNMENT BATHROOMS: The House has passed the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act (H.R. 5147), sponsored by Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I. The bill would require all bathrooms in federal government buildings to be equipped with facilities for changing babies’ diapers. Cicilline said “access to baby changing stations in restrooms in federal buildings will help in protecting the health and safety of children and will encourage a family-friendly environment.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 389 yeas to 34 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 8

PRIVATE COMPANY STOCK OPTIONS: The House has passed the Empowering Employees through Stock Ownership Act (H.R. 5719), sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn. The bill would allow private companies to defer for income tax purposes income resulting from equity grants in company stock given to employees. Paulsen said the changed tax treatment, by making it easier for companies to issue stock options to talented employees, would help those companies develop “new, creative environments that could lead to the next breakthrough innovation” in biotechnology, information technology, and other growing industries. A bill opponent, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., said it was fiscally irresponsible because it would increase the federal deficit by $1 billion or more in the next 10 years. The vote, on Sept. 22, was 287 yeas to 124 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 9

DISCLOSING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS: The House has passed the Social Security Must Avert Identity Loss Act (H.R. 5320), sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas. The bill would require the Social Security Administration to avoid including Social Security numbers on mailed documents unless the numbers must be on the documents. Johnson said removing the numbers from tens of millions of mailings will improve the security of personal identities. The vote, on Sept. 22, was unanimous with 414 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 10

IRS SEIZURES OF CASH BANK DEPOSITS: The House has passed the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools Act (H.R. 5523), sponsored by Rep. Peter J. Roskam, R-Ill. The bill would bar the Internal Revenue Service from seizing property the IRS suspects has been structured to avoid bank reporting requirements unless the IRS believes the property was illegally obtained or otherwise part of a criminal action. Roskam said that in many cases, the IRS has seized cash deposits at banks only because the depositors did not know that it was illegal to arrange their deposits to be below the $10,000 threshold for reporting deposits to the government. Therefore, Roskam said, the bill was needed to protect innocent depositors from having their money taken by the IRS. The vote, on Sept. 22, was unanimous with 415 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 11

JUVENILE OFFENDER PROGRAMS: The House has passed the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act (H.R. 5963), sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. The bill would reauthorize various programs involving juvenile offenders and efforts to prevent juvenile delinquency, and adopt measures aimed at improving oversight and effectiveness of the programs. Curbelo said it “will help state and local leaders better serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders” and give vulnerable juveniles a better “opportunity to work toward a brighter future.” The vote, on Sept. 22, was 382 yeas to 29 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 12

RANSOM PAYMENTS FOR HOSTAGES: The House has passed the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act (H.R. 5931), sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif. The bill would declare a policy of the federal government not making ransom payments for the release of Americans taken hostage abroad, and bar cash payments to Iran’s government. Royce cited cash payments made to Iran in January as Iran was releasing four U.S citizens it held, and said the bill’s ban was needed to discourage Iran and other countries from detaining other U.S. citizens in hope of extracting ransom payments from the U.S. An opponent, Rep Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., said the January payments were not ransoms, and said the bill was misguided in focusing solely on cash payments. The vote, on Sept. 22, was 254 yeas to 163 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin


Senate Vote 1

SELLING MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO SAUDI ARABIA: The Senate has tabled a motion to discharge from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a resolution (S.J. Res. 39) sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., of disapproval of the proposed U.S. sale to Saudi Arabia of $1 billion worth of Abrams tanks and other military equipment. Paul said stopping the sale of the equipment would send a message to Saudi Arabia’s government disapproving of its persecution of Christians and other non-Muslims, and its other violations of human rights. A resolution opponent, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., cited benefits to the U.S. economy of selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, and said blocking the sale would result in bolstering Iran’s position in the Middle East to the detriment of longtime ally Saudi Arabia. The vote to table the motion, on Sept. 21, was 71-27.

YEAS: Susan Collins R-Maine; Angus King I-Maine

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James Madison rallies past Maine in fourth quarter, 31-20 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:14:09 +0000 ORONO — Close, yet again.

The University of Maine football team again displayed spunk, spirit and flashes of brilliance. The Black Bears also lost. Again.

Nationally-ranked James Madison used a powerful running game and three second-half interceptions Saturday to rally past Maine 31-20 at Alfond Stadium. Two of the interceptions led to long touchdown runs by the Dukes, who ran for 221 of their 293 yards in the second half.

“We’re a team that’s struggling to make plays in the second half,” said Joe Harasymiak, Maine’s first-year coach. “It is what it is. We’ve got to continue to put ourselves there. I don’t know if there’s a special formula for that. We’ve just got to keep grinding away.

“I know the guys will. We’ve just got to continue to try to execute in critical situations.”

The loss dropped Maine to 0-3 overall, 0-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association and was its seventh straight loss. Maine also held a fourth-quarter lead in a season-opening 24-21 loss at Connecticut.

James Madison, ranked in the top 11 in all three national polls, improved to 3-1, 1-0.

Mike Houston, the Dukes’ first-year coach, said the interceptions “were probably the difference in the game.” The Black Bears had been slowing James Madison’s offense and moving the ball consistently themselves.

“Everyone knows in this conference there are no easy wins, especially on the road,” said Houston. “So to come in here and get the win is a significant achievement for our team. I expected the game to be the way it was. We talked about it, the type of team Maine has.

“I think they played really hard and had a great scheme defensively against us today. We really had a lot of adversity there all the way through the first half and maybe started to get the momentum to swing our way in the second half with the pick and the touchdown.”

Maine led 13-10 at the half, its defense stifling the Dukes’ high-powered offense throughout, and appeared ready to increase the lead after DeAndre Scott returned the second-half kick-off 61 yards to the James Madison 38.

But on first down, Dan Collins threw an interception to Jordan Brown at the 8. Three plays later, Khalid Abdullah – who rushed for a career-high 172 yards – broke loose and was untouched on an 85-yard touchdown run.

The Black Bears, as they did in the first half after James Madison scored on its opening drive, regrouped and took a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter after Darian Davis-Ray scored on a 3-yard run. Then the Dukes took control.

On the fourth play of the fourth quarter, James Madison took advantage of miscommunication in the Maine secondary to go ahead 24-20 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Schor to John Miller, who ran a slant pattern from the right and was uncovered.

With 9:53 left, Raven Greene made James Madison’s third interception of the half, a leaping one-handed snag of a long pass to Jared Osumah down the right sideline.

On the next play, Cardon Johnson ran 52 yards untouched up the middle for a touchdown that made it 31-20 with 9:44 left. Johnson ran for 110 yards.

“I think every time we get on the field we want to try to outdo ourselves and outdo what we did the week before,” said Abdullah. “There’s always a competition between us and that’s what pushes us to excel and be great at what we do, which is running the ball.”

Maine had one last chance, driving to the James Madison 34. But an illegal motion penalty, a 2-yard loss on a run and three consecutive sacks for a total of 21 yards ended it.

Collins completed 8 of 11 passes in the first half but only 5 of 11 for 61 yards in the second.

“We’ve got to have a short memory,” he said. “I’m tired of losing. We’ve got to go out and get a win.”

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Serbian man, 23, killed in Kittery car crash Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:38:38 +0000 A 23-year-old man from Serbia was killed in a car crash in Kittery on Saturday.

Kittery police said the man, Erol Hodzic, crashed a sedan into a tree on Dennett Road shortly after 1 a.m..

Kittery police said Hodzic was in the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which allows students to live and work in America for a short period, usually four months or less. Authorities said Hodzic had been working in local restaurants and may have recently moved to Eliot from the Durham, New Hampshire, area.

Police said Hodzic’s family in Serbia was notified Saturday after noon. They said they don’t know what town in Serbia Hodzic is from.

Police said several passers-by stopped to help after the crash. Emergency workers from American Ambulance, the Kittery Fire Department and Kittery Police were able to get Hodzic out of the car and he was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland with a severe head injury. He died at the hospital at 5 a.m., police said.

Kittery police are trying to determine the cause of the crash with the help of York police and Maine State Police.

Police said it is unclear if Hodzic was wearing a seat belt.

]]> 0 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:00:42 +0000
Far out! Museum celebrates ‘Freaks, Radicals & Hippies’ Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:37:07 +0000 BARRE, Vt. — Black-and-white photos and video footage, vintage posters and oral histories of 1970s hippies are the heart of an exhibit at the Vermont History Center in Barre dedicated to the decade that brought tens of thousands of outsiders to the state, changing the politics and culture forever.

“Freaks, Radicals & Hippies” opened Saturday after two years of research.

The yearlong exhibit on one room of the building includes oral histories from people of the time talking about social justice, food access and their memories of the counterculture. Additional recordings are also online.

Ginny Callan, who opened the Horn of the Moon vegetarian restaurant in 1977 in Montpelier, recalls closing it for a day or two whenever there was an important demonstration to attend.

“Enough people that worked at the restaurant were involved and wanted to go that it seemed more important that everybody be able to go and not sell tofu for a day or two,” she said.

The restaurant was also part of the beginnings of the local food movement. They bought and used local greens and other produce in the summer from two area farmers and yogurt from Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont.

“So we were early on kind of doing that local stuff because it was just starting to spark,” she said.

Communes also sprouted up around the state in the late 1960s and ’70s, according to an exhibit map detailing the various collectives such as Earthworks or the Franklin Commune in Franklin made up of back-to-the-landers and political activists.

The state’s population increased around this time, jumping 14 percent during the ’60s and 15 percent in the ’70s. More and more of the newcomers eventually became part of the community, town and federal government and the PTA, said curator Jackie Calder.

The Franklin Commune grew to up to 40 people in the summer months but was rocked by turmoil as members experimented with switching partners who disagreed about child rearing, the exhibit said. In November of 1971, a fire destroyed the farmhouse and firewood and the commune eventually folded in 1972.

Ellen David Friedman, who became a political activist and union organizer, remembers living in an inflatable house one summer built by a group of what she called anti-architects in Plainfield.

“They got kind of industrial strength rubber and vinyl materials. And they would inflate them with industrial strength fans for people to live in,” she said.

She lived with a group in one that looked like a giant inflatable octopus, she said. “So it had a big central domed area, it was white vinyl, all welded together, with six sleeping pods that were arms. …It was hysterical. So that’s what I did in the summer of 1970.”

The exhibit runs until September 2017.

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Brothers arrested for fight involving gun and hatchet, Kittery police say Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:28:18 +0000 Two Kittery brothers were arrested Friday for a fight that involved a handgun and a hatchet, police say.

Daniel Dugas, 33, and Michael Dugas, 30, were arrested at about 4 p.m. after a caller reported that someone had fired a gun during a fight, Kittery police reported on Facebook.

Officers separated the two men. Kittery police say they interviewed a number of witnesses and collected three handguns, several rounds of ammunition and a hatchet allegedly “used in a threatening manner” during the incident.

Daniel Dugas was charged with domestic violence and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. Michael Dugas was charged with domestic violence and reckless conduct with a firearm. The are being held without bail at the York County Jail until their first appearance in court on Monday.

Kittery police requested anyone with information about the incident to call them at 439-1638 or the Seacoast Crimestoppers at 439-1199.

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New York Times endorses Clinton for president Sat, 24 Sep 2016 17:57:34 +0000 WASHINGTON — The New York Times has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, saying the Democrat’s “record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas” represent the best choice to tackle the challenges the U.S. faces.

“Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump,” the newspaper said in an editorial that it posted on its website Saturday and will run in Sunday’s newspaper.

Clinton’s “occasional missteps” have distorted perceptions of her character and her status as “one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation,” the newspaper said of the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.

In contrast, the Times said, Republican nominee Trump “discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway.”

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