The Portland Press Herald Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:31:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Boys’ basketball: Portland rallies past Cheverus Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:24:24 +0000 The defending Class AA boys’ basketball state champions showed Friday night why they’re a threat to win another title this season.

After falling behind by three points through three quarters, Portland held Cheverus to four points in the final eight minutes to record a 47-43 victory.

Trey Ballew of Portland runs into tight defense as he tries to make a move toward the basket. Portland, the defending Class AA state champion, survived a Cheverus upset bid and improved to 11-1.

Trey Ballew of Portland runs into tight defense as he tries to make a move toward the basket. Portland, the defending Class AA state champion, survived a Cheverus upset bid and improved to 11-1.

Portland (11-1) deflected balls, got in passing lanes and took offensive fouls to stymie the Stags (8-3).

Emmanuel Yugu, who scored all nine of his points from the free-throw line, connected on three foul shots in the final 37 seconds to ice the victory.

“We struggled from the line a bit to start, but at the end when it counted the guys stepped up and made them,” said Portland Coach Joe Russo.

“It was nice to see Manny hit them because he often is the guy with the ball at the end of games for us.”

Yugu said his work in practice helped him when the game was on the line.

“At the beginning of the season, our free-throw shooting was rough,” he said. “But we (work on it) a lot at practice. It’s all routine and muscle memory. And they went in for me.”

Cheverus tied its largest lead of the game with 6:40 to go when Jack Casale (20 points) converted a layup after his first shot was blocked, putting the Stags ahead 41-38.

Cheverus' Jack Casale goes up for a shot with Portland' Trey Ballew defending.

Cheverus’ Jack Casale goes up for a shot with Portland’ Trey Ballew defending. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Portland then outscored the home team 9-2 down the stretch, taking the lead for good at 44-43 with 2:25 remaining when Terion Moss (eight points, six assists) converted a twisting drive.

On the next three Cheverus possessions, Charles Lyall and Yugu recorded steals and Lyall drew an offensive foul.

Yugu was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass and made one free throw for a 45-43 lead with 37 second left.

After a Casale miss, Yugu was fouled again and hit two free throws for a four-point lead with 9.6 second remaining.

Despite the outcome, Cheverus Coach Ryan Soucie was pleased with his team’s effort against the defending state champions.

“It was a tough game; we knew it was going to be a battle,” Soucie said. “Defensively, we only gave up 47 points to a team averaging 60-something points.

“I’m not a huge moral victory guy. I want to win every time we step on the court. But two weeks ago we lost by 20 points to Deering, and now we only lost by four points to the defending champs.”

Matthews joined Casale in double figures for the Stags, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds.

]]> 0's Emmanuel Yugu looks for an opening during a Class AA North basketball game Friday night at Cheverus. Yugu's free throws in the final minute helped the Bulldogs secure a 47-43 win.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:31:01 +0000
Inaugural speech called ‘pure Trump, a declaration of war’ Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:20:27 +0000 Donald Trump began his presidency with blunt, searing talk about a crippled nation in dire need of bold, immediate action. Breaking with more than two centuries of inaugural-address history, the new president made clear, in case anyone had not yet gotten it, that his will be a very different presidency.

Trump spurned the poetry and grandeur of most inaugural speeches and instead delivered a rallying cry, reminiscent of his stream-of-consciousness campaign talks, brimming with brash bravado about his intention to bring massive change: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

“This was pure Trump, just a declaration of war against the Washington establishment and President Barack Obama,” said Craig Shirley, author of books on Ronald Reagan and a Republican political consultant. “It was not the usual call for togetherness; it was Trumpism, the speech of a businessman – problems and solutions, very utilitarian.”

Trump had promised for nearly a year that when the time came, he would pivot to a style he called “presidential.” But his speech made plain that he intends to govern as he campaigned, in direct communion with his followers, bypassing the usual niceties and channels of power.

After a quick nod to his predecessors, Trump launched into a fiery recitation of the ills of a country that he has long described in apocalyptic terms – a hollowed nation that he intends to restore to greatness by “giving it back to you, the American people.”

Seconds after taking the oath of office, Trump tore into the people who have run the country.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said. “Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”

“This was a campaign speech,” said Elvin Lim, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore who has written extensively on inaugural addresses. “This is a big break from the inaugural tradition: Where others have emphasized continuity, he stressed that this is a sharp break with everything that has come before.”

The president’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, the nationalist polemicist who had a hand in crafting Trump’s speech, called the address “an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of his populist and kind of nationalist movement.”

Bannon compared the speech to the populist appeal of the 19th-century president who famously invited the unwashed masses into the White House: “I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House. But you could see it was very Jacksonian. It’s got a deep, deep root of patriotism there.”

Whether Trumpism comes to be defined as a vibrant patriotism or a virulent nationalism will play out over the coming years, but the first president to be elected without government or military experience put down his marker as a man who will govern by the strength of his personality and the power of his blunt, sometimes lurid language.

Never before had an American president used words such as “carnage,” “depletion,” “disrepair” and “sad” to describe his own country in an inaugural address.

]]> 0 Donald Trump pumps his fists in the air after his speech during the 58th presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Friday.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:20:27 +0000
Friday’s girls’ roundup: Gorham rolls past Deering in basketball Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:16:34 +0000 Emily Esposito and Mackenzie Holmes combined for 24 points in the first half Friday night as Gorham took early command and rolled to a 50-23 victory against Deering in an SMAA girls’ basketball game at Deering High.

Esposito finished with a game-high 20 points for Gorham (12-0), which opened a 28-9 halftime lead. Holmes added 19.

Abby Ramirez led Deering (8-4) with nine points.

SCARBOROUGH 64, NOBLE 18: Sophie Glidden scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the third quarter as the Red Storm (10-1) used a 25-0 run to break open the game and defeat the Knights (0-12) at Scarborough.

Brooke Malone had 14 points, including 9 of 9 from the line for Scarborough, and Kayley Emma added three 3-pointers for nine points.

Kerri Fleming, Kendra Silvers and Raegan Kelly each chipped in four points for Noble.

MARSHWOOD 53, WESTBROOK 34: Natalie Herbold scored 12 points and Kara Anderson added 10 as the Hawks (11-1) downed the Blue Blazes (3-9) at South Berwick.

Courtney Thim added seven points, five rebounds and five assists for Marshwood, which led 27-18 at halftime. Mikayla VanZandt scored a game-high 15 points for the Blue Blazes.

WAYNFLETE 32, FALMOUTH 29: Annika Brooks scored 12 points to lead the Flyers (7-5) over the Yachtsmen (6-7) at Portland.

Lydia Giguere added seven points for Waynflete.

Adelaide Cooke scored 18 points to lead Falmouth.

SOUTH PORTLAND 58, THORNTON ACADEMY 40: Margaret Whitmore scored 17 points to lead four double-digit scorers as the Red Riots (9-2) cruised past the Trojans (6-6) at South Portland.

Sarah Boles added 12 points, hitting four 3-pointers, Eva Mazur had 11 points and Meghan Graff scored 10 for the Red Riots, who outscored Thornton 22-14 in the third quarter to open a 45-30 lead. Boles hit two 3-pointers in the quarter.

Alisha Aube scored a game-high 21 points for the Trojans.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 55, TRAIP ACADEMY 26: Isabelle Detroy and Grace Kariotis each scored 13 points and the Patriots (12-0) opened on a 16-6 run to get by the Rangers (3-9) at Gray.

Alicia Dumont and Jordan Grant each added eight points for the Patriots, who held a 33-8 halftime lead. Marina Casey led Traip with 12 points.

LINCOLN ACADEMY 49, WINSLOW 39: Gabrielle Wajer and Kaitlin Feltis each scored 15 points as the Eagles (8-4) beat the Raiders (9-2) at Winslow.

Wajer added 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals, and Kortney McKenna had six points for the Eagles, who led 33-26 after three quarters. Heather Kervin scored 12 points to lead Winslow.

MAINE GIRLS’ ACADEMY 47, PORTLAND 41: Freshmen Serena Mower scored 14 points, including seven free throws, to lead the visiting Lions (5-7) over the Bulldogs (0-12) at Portland.

Catherine Reid posted 10 points for Maine Girls’ Academy, eight in the second half as the Lions rallied from a 22-17 halftime deficit.

Shayla Eubanks and Taylor Sargent combined for 23 points for Portland. Nettie Walsh added eight rebounds and five points.

BONNY EAGLE 71, BIDDEFORD 30: Lindsay Frazier and Mackenzie Emery each had 10 points to lead a balanced offense for the Scots (5-7), who took a 34-9 halftime lead and downed the Tigers (1-11) at Standish.

Emma Abbott had nine points and Taylor Johnson chipped in eight for Bonny Eagle, which had all 13 players score.

Grace Martin led Biddeford with 11 points, going 7 of 8 from the foul line.

KENNEBUNK 40, CAPE ELIZABETH 24: Gabby Fogg scored eight of her game-high 19 points in the second quarter as the Rams (7-6) pulled away from the Capers (0-11) at Kennebunk.

Kennebunk led 16-12 after the first quarter and outscored Cape Elizabeth 12-2 in the second to take a 28-14 halftime lead.

Sierra Tarte added 12 points to go with six assists, five rebounds and five steals for the Rams. Allison Ingalls scored eight points to lead Cape Elizabeth.

GREELY 58, YORK 54: Anna DeWolfe scored a game-high 30 points with four 3-pointers for the Rangers (11-1), who took a 26-21 halftime lead and held off the Wildcats (9-4) at Cumberland.

Isabel Porter had 13 points for Greely.

Nina Howe led York with 18 points and Maddie Cogger added 14, including three 3-pointers.

TEMPLE 51, GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN 11: Kiara Carr scored 15 points to lead the Bereans (9-2) over the Lions (2-8) at Waterville.

Veronica Rossignol scored 10 points and Deleyni Carr added eight for Temple, which led 17-0 after the first quarter.

MASSABESIC 37, SANFORD 32: McKenzy Ouellette scored 12 points for the Mustangs, who used a 9-3 run in the second quarter to take the lead for good against the Spartans (5-7) at Sanford.

Skylar Renaud added 11 points for Massabesic.

Summer Camire led Sanford with 11 points.

WATERVILLE 51, OCEANSIDE 45: Makenzie St. Pierre had 14 points and Jordan Jabar added 10 as the Panthers (8-4) defeated the Mariners (4-7) at Rockland.

Gabby Simmons had 14 points and Alexis Mazurek finished with 13 for the Mariners.

LEAVITT 41, MT. ARARAT 35: Becca Fogg and Alexandra Belaire combined for 25 points, including four 3-pointers by Belaire, to lead the Hornets (6-7) over the Eagles (2-10) at Topsham.

Mt. Ararat led 25-23 through three quarters before Leavitt closed with an 18-10 run.

Nicole Bradstreet led the Eagles with 20 points, including six 3-pointers and four steals.

FREEPORT 52, FRYEBURG ACADEMY 40: Lindsay Routhier scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Falcons (9-3) over the Raiders (6-6) at Freeport.

Jessical Driscoll added 11 points and Taylor Rinaldi scored 10 for the Falcons, who outscored the Raiders 14-8 in the third quarter to open a 38-26 lead.

Mackenzie Buzzell scored 13 points to pace Fryeburg Academy.

CHEVERUS 50, WINDHAM 35: The Stags (8-2) nailed 10 3-pointers and defeated the Eagles (4-8) at Portland.

Cheverus connected on its first five 3-point attempts in the first half and opened the second half with three more from long range. Abby Cavallaro scored 19 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Kaylin Malmquist and Emme Poulin each added 13 points.

Mya Mannette led Windham with 15 points.

MESSALONSKEE 56, HAMPDEN ACADEMY 41: Gabrielle Wener had 21 points, including five 3-pointers, to go with eight rebounds as the Eagles (11-0) edged the Broncos (8-4) at Hampden.

Sophie Holmes finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals for the Eagles.

YARMOUTH 48 POLAND 40: Sara D’Appolonia and Johanna Hattan each had 13 points as the Clippers (8-4) topped the Knights (8-4) at Poland.

Katelyn Dufour had 11 points for the Knights.

]]> 0, 20 Jan 2017 23:26:43 +0000
Obama departs with words of hope Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:16:33 +0000 WASHINGTON — Closing out a barrier-breaking chapter in history, former President Obama left the White House on Friday much the way he entered it eight years ago: insisting Americans have reason for optimism despite the national sense of unease.

He was gracious to President Donald Trump to the end, warmly welcoming his successor to the home where he raised his daughters. Yet to those fearful about Trump’s presidency, Obama suggested it would be a mere blip.

“This is just a little pit stop,” Obama told supporters just before departing Washington. “This is not a period, this is a comma in the continuing story of building America.”

Obama leaves the national stage as a widely popular figure, with his poll numbers approaching 60 percent. He’s being replaced by the least popular president in four decades, polls show – a reality on display in Trump’s low-key inauguration. On the National Mall, far fewer showed up than the throng that attended Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and some protesters downtown hurled bricks and broke windows in a show of defiance. Many others demonstrated peacefully.


Left unspoken in Obama’s final hours was the unpleasant reality that his successor has pledged to reverse much, if not most, of what he accomplished. That has raised the prospect that Obama’s major lasting legacy may be as a cultural icon: the first black president, who ushered the country into a new era in which gays can marry, marijuana is legal in more places than ever and white people will soon be a minority.

Yet inside the White House, the Obama imprint that once appeared indelible suddenly seemed more fleeting. Photos of him and his family were taken down, leaving big, white voids that seemed to beckon the new president to make “the people’s house” his own.

Obama’s staffers left one reminder on the wall near a West Wing entrance: a collection of newspaper front pages from Obama’s proudest moments, including the day he signed the Affordable Care Act and the day the Senate confirmed his nomination of the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

Speaking to his former aides at Joint Base Andrews after Trump’s swearing-in, Obama sought to reassure those who toiled on his behalf that it was all worth it, no matter what Trump might do. He said his supporters had defied the skeptics who “didn’t think we could pull it off,” invoking themes from his campaign.


“You proved the power of hope,” Obama said.

If there were hard feelings toward Trump, Obama didn’t let on. He sat stoically as Trump, in his inaugural address, offered a bleak assessment of the state of the country after eight years of Obama’s leadership.

And at the White House, he and Mrs. Obama tried to gently coach Trump and his wife on the mechanics of presidential pageantry. When Melania Trump presented Mrs. Obama with a gift just as they were expected to pose for photos, Mrs. Obama looked left, then right, for someone to hand it to before Obama himself eventually walked it to a nearby aide.

On his last day in office, Obama left a letter to Trump in the Oval Office, in keeping with presidential tradition. He signed one last bill, codifying a government fellowship program he’d created, and was given a gift by the residential staff: a pair of flags that flew above the White House on the first and last days of his presidency.

When Obama took office, nearly 49 million Americans had no health insurance, a number that’s fallen to 28 million. Unemployment, now 4.7 percent, was nearly 8 percent. The national debt was about $10.6 trillion, and has jumped under Obama to just under $20 trillion.

His presidency started with a burst of legislative activity, but partisan resistance to him quickly hardened and remained throughout much of his time.

But Obama tried to stay optimistic until the very end, even as former staffers hoisted their children on their shoulders to see him off.

“Michelle and I, we’ve just been your front-men and women,” Obama said. “We have been the face, sometimes the voice, out front on the TV screen in front of a microphone, but this has never been about us. It has always been about you.”

]]> 0 President Obama and his wife, Michelle, board an Air Force jet as they depart Andrews Air Force base on Friday.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:16:33 +0000
Men’s hockey: BU breaks through in the third to beat Maine Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:16:32 +0000 BOSTON — Maine Coach Red Gendron didn’t mince words when analyzing No. 3 Boston University’s 4-1 victory over the Black Bears on Friday night in a Hockey East game at Agganis Arena.

“Our game plan is to follow our own and play our game,” Gendron said with an edge in his voice.

“Our job is not to take penalties and we gave them seven power plays. That’s a big reason why we didn’t succeed.

“It’s not just the two (power-play) goals they scored but it’s how you cook players on your team, especially your ‘D.’ We used a lot of different forwards killing penalties but even they get cooked.”

Gendron also was not happy that BU outshot Maine 41-14.

“We’re going to have to shoot the puck,” Gendron said in reference to one area in which Maine will have to improve when it hosts BU on Saturday night. “You can’t pass up opportunities to shoot the puck and we did that tonight. We had three 2-on-1s and a breakaway. You might want to score on some of those.

“It’s between the ears. The game’s the same. You play it on ice no matter where. You have fans. We have fans. Go play. It’s hockey.”

The Black Bears (8-12-3, 2-8-1), who have struggled all season on the power play (they had converted only 16.5 percent of their opportunities entering the game) carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a well-executed, power-play goal off the stick of Blaine Byron.

Byron unloaded a slap shot that beat a screened Jake Oettinger (13 saves) at 18:49.

The Black Bears almost skated into the second intermission with that 1-0 lead, but the Terriers’ Clayton Keller tied it with 1:32 left in the second period.

Brandon Hickey’s shot from the left circle hit a Maine defenseman and before Maine goalie Rob McGovern (37 saves) could react, Keller batted the puck into the net.

“It seemed like they took the wind out of our sails a little bit there,” Maine defenseman Rob Michel said. “One thing we really have to work on is responding after giving up a goal.

“We really need to push back and find a way to score a goal.”

The Terriers (15-5-2, 8-2-2) were on a power play early in the third when the Black Bears’ Brendan Robbins scooped up a loose puck and skated in alone on a clean breakaway. But his short-handed bid sailed wide of the net.

Bobo Carpenter broke the tie with a power-play goal at 12:10 of the third.

Dante Fabbro scaled a cross-ice pass to Carpenter in the left circle and the BU winger unloaded a slap.

Nolan Vesey was serving a double minor when Jordan Greenway notched a power-play goal at 14:00. Greenway’s wrist shot beat McGovern to the upper-left corner.

Nikolas Olsson extended the lead at 15:08, scoring on a back-hander from in front of the crease.

The Black Bears fell to 0-8-3 on the road.

“I think it’s just trying to find energy when we don’t have fans behind us,” Michel said. “One of our problems is (not) coming out strong. I think tonight we did a little better in the first and the second. But we didn’t play a full 60 minutes and they capitalized in the last 10 minutes.”

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:16:32 +0000
NBA roundup: Warriors breeze past Rockets Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:06:26 +0000 HOUSTON — Kevin Durant scored 32 points Friday night and the Golden State Warriors used a big third quarter to build a huge lead and coast to their sixth straight victory, 125-108 against the Houston Rockets.

Houston, which entered the game leading the NBA with 667 3-pointers, was 7 of 35 behind the arc.

James Harden went 0 of 5 and Eric Gordon, who entered the game leading the NBA with 160 3s, missed all seven attempts.

Clint Capela had 22 points, and Harden added 17 points with 11 assists for the Rockets, who are third in the West behind Golden State and San Antonio.

The Warriors were up by five at halftime, and used a 12-4 run to open the second half and stretch their lead to 74-61 with about nine minutes left in the quarter. Golden State got six points from Durant in that span, including a dunk and a nifty reverse layup.

HORNETS 113, RAPTORS 78: Kemba Walker scored 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting, and Charlotte won at home.

Walker scored 16 in the pivotal third quarter, including a four-point play.

MAGIC 112, BUCKS 96: Elfrid Payton scored 20 points, Jeff Green added 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and Orlando won at home to snap a three-game losing streak.

76ERS 93, TRAIL BLAZERS 92: Robert Covington scored 22 points and made two 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds to lead Philadelphia to a come-from-behind victory at home.

NETS 143, PELICANS 114: Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points apiece and Brooklyn won at New Orleans to end an 11-game losing streak.

HAWKS 102, BULLS 93: Dennis Schroder scored 23 points, Paul Millsap added 14 and Atlanta held back a late scare at home.


MAGIC: The team inducted Penny Hardaway into its Hall of Fame.

SPURS: Center Pau Gasol underwent surgery to repair a fractured left ring finger.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:15:02 +0000
Friday’s boys’ roundup: Westbrook wins again in basketball Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:04:21 +0000 WESTBROOK — Zac Manoogian scored 39 points Friday night, including 30 in the first half, as Westbrook rolled to a 62-39 victory against Marshwood in an SMAA boys’ basketball game at Warren Gym.

Manoogian hit seven 3-pointers as the Blue Blazes (10-3) won their eighth straight.

Cole McDaniel had 14 points to lead Marshwood (5-7), including three 3-pointers. Ben Beers tossed in seven points.

A.R. GOULD 57, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 51: Tyrese Collins scored 21 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Bears (8-2) over the Seagulls (5-7) at Old Orchard Beach.

Gage Barton and Issak Aliyow combined for 28 for A.R. Gould.

Ian Regan scored a game-high 29 points with five 3-pointers for the Seagulls, who rallied after trailing 31-18 at halftime.

SANFORD 69, BIDDEFORD 62: Ethan Belanger scored 10 of his 20 points in the second half, including four free throws in overtime, as the Spartans (5-7) defeated the Tigers (5-7) at Biddeford.

Frank Veino paced Sanford with a game-high 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Matt Romano added 10 points.

Kyle Norton led Biddeford with 19 points, going 5 of 5 from the foul line. Caleb Ball contributed 12 points and Coby Saucier chipped in with nine.

FALMOUTH 45, WAYNFLETE 32: Sean Walsh scored 13 points as the Yachtsmen (11-2) defeated the Flyers (8-4) at Falmouth.

Brock Welch added eight points and nine rebounds for Falmouth, which led 24-17 at halftime. Colin Coyne had 11 points, nailing three 3-pointers.

Asker Hussein made three 3-pointers and scored 14 points for Waynflete.

YARMOUTH 64, POLAND 28: Aleksander Medenica led the Clippers (10-2) with 16 points against the Knights (3-9) at Yarmouth.

Gibson Harnett, who finished with 11 points, and Medenica combined for 23 points as the Clippers built a 39-14 halftime lead.

Nathanial Chouinard scored 13 points for Poland.

TEMPLE ACADEMY 52, GREATER PORTLAND CHRISTIAN 34: Bradley Smith scored 25 points for the Bereans (7-4), who used an 18-5 run in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Lions (1-11) at Waterville.

Xu Yanquin added 13 points for Temple.

Ethan Spaulding had three 3-pointers and finished with a team-leading 13 points for Greater Portland Christian. Mason Jones tossed in nine points.

LINCOLN ACADEMY 71, WINSLOW 61: Cody Tozier scored 29 points, including 15 free throws, for the Eagles (5-7), who pulled away in the second half and defeated the Black Raiders (8-3) at Newcastle.

Keydan Leeman added 24 points for Lincoln Academy, which broke away from a 27-27 halftime tie.

Spencer Miranda led Winslow with 26 points, making four 3-pointers. Keanu Earle added 14 points.

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER 72, TRAIP ACADEMY 54: John Martin and Hunter Colby combined for 55 points to lead the Patriots (7-5) over the Rangers (4-8) at Kittery.

Colby shot 6 of 7 from the foul line and finished with 30 points. Martin scored 25 points with seven 3-pointers, including three in the fourth quarter.

Angelo Succi led Traip with 10 points. Joe Cavanagh had eight.

WELLS 61, LAKE REGION 50: Matt Sherbourne scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Warriors (8-4) used a 23-10 run to open a 36-24 halftime lead and defeated the Lakers (5-8) at Naples.

Owen Berry paced Wells with 18 points, Deandre Woods tossed in 12 and Sherbourne finished with 11.

Tristen Chaine led Lake Region with 14 points, True Meyers added 12, and Tyler Walker and Mark Mayo each contributed 10.

CAPE ELIZABETH 57, KENNEBUNK 47: Marshall Peterson scored 22 points with 12 rebounds and Jacob Allen had nine of his 11 points in the third quarter as the Capers (9-3) beat the Rams (4-9) at Cape Elizabeth.

Quinn Hewitt added 12 points and seven rebounds for Cape, which used a 15-8 run to open a 35-26 lead after leading just 20-18 at the half.

Zackary Sullivan scored a game-high 25 points for Kennebunk with six 3-pointers.

BONNY EAGLE 56, GORHAM 42: Zachary Maturo scored a game-high 22 points and Connor Sirois added 17 as the Scots (4-8) beat the Rams (3-9) at Standish.

William Hendrix added 11 points for Bonny Eagle, which used a 16-6 run in the second quarter to take a 30-17 halftime lead. Jackson Fotter scored 16 points to lead Gorham.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY 42, FREEPORT 39: Cody Gullikson scored nine points to lead the Raiders (8-4) over the Falcons (3-8) at Fryeburg.

Oscar Saunders and Scott Parker added eight points apiece for the Raiders, who led 15-6 after the first quarter.

Toby Holt and Connor Dostie combined for 24 points for the Falcons.

DEERING 79, MASSABESIC 50: Ben Onek scored 18 points and the Rams (9-3) led 48-14 at the half against the Mustangs (1-11) at Waterboro.

James Sinclair added 14 points for Deering.

Isaac DesVergnes and Tyler Stinson each scored 12 points for Massabesic.

GREELY 61, YORK 42: Jordan Bagshaw scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half and Matt McDevitt finished with 15 for the Rangers (12-0) against the Wildcats (7-6) at York.

Greely took a 17-5 lead after the first quarter and led 34-17 at halftime.

Trevor LaBonte led York with 14 points.

MEDOMAK VALLEY 60, ERSKINE ACADEMY 47: Cameron Allaire scored a game-high 27 points with 11 rebounds to lift the Panthers (12-0) over Erskine Academy (6-6) at South China.

Jack Jowett led Erskine with 13 points. Braden Soule had nine.

SCARBOROUGH 59, NOBLE 54: The Red Storm (2-11) completed a second-half rally and defeated the Knights (0-13) at North Berwick.

Scarborough outscored Noble 43-25 in the second half after trailing 29-16 at halftime. Morgan Pratt scored 14 points for the Red Storm, 12 in the second half. Nick Discatio added seven points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Zach Desroches led Noble with 12 points. Brandon Davis, James Hashem and Connor Paradis scored 10 each.

CONY 71, MT. BLUE 54: Nate Parlin led the Rams (5-7) with 16 points against the Cougars (1-11) at Augusta. Austin Parlin and Jordan Roddy each scored 12 points for Cony.

VALLEY 76, RANGELEY 30: Austin Cates scored 17 points to lead the Cavaliers (9-3) over Rangeley (3-9) at Bingham.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:04:21 +0000
China’s economic growth sinks to three-decade low Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:02:32 +0000 BEIJING — China’s economic growth sank to a three-decade low in 2016 as its struggling exporters brace for a possible trade battle with President Trump.

Growth in the quarter ending in December ticked up to 6.8 percent over 2015, supported by government spending and a real estate boom, a gain from the previous quarter’s 6.7 percent, government data showed Friday. Still, for the full year, growth came in at a lackluster 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in 2015 and the weakest since 1990’s 3.9 percent.

That temporary upturn is unlikely to last, economists said.

“We expect clearer signs of a renewed slowdown to emerge during the next couple of quarters,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report.

Trump’s promise to raise tariffs on Chinese goods after taking office Friday has fueled tension with Chinese leaders who are trying to keep growth on track while they overhaul a state-dominated economy.

Beijing wants to nurture more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption but trade still supports millions of jobs. Exports fell 7.7 percent last year and more losses could lead to a politically dangerous spike in layoffs.

In a rebuke to Trump, President Xi Jinping warned in a speech this week that a “trade war” would harm everyone involved. The American Chamber of Commerce in China said Beijing is preparing to retaliate if Trump acts.

“I am hopeful that after his election, President Trump will consider the issue from the angle of mutual benefit and win-win and will develop the long-term, cooperative ‘big country’ relations that have been formed between China and the United States,” a member of the Cabinet’s planning commission, Ning Jizhe, told a news conference.

Asked about the potential impact of action by Trump, Ning said China should maintain “medium to high-speed growth.”

Chinese leaders already face warnings that their reliance on infusions of credit to shore up growth since the 2008 global crisis has driven debt to dangerously high levels that might drag on the economy.

Beijing has warned the economic outlook is “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn ends, growth is unlikely to rebound.

Also weighing on growth, Chinese leaders are in the midst of a multi-year effort to reduce excess production capacity in steel, coal and other industries in which supply exceeds demand. The glut of low-cost Chinese exports of steel and aluminum have fueled trade tensions with Washington and Europe, which say they are threatening thousands of jobs.

Auto sales also are forecast to weaken. Sales in the world’s biggest auto market rose 15 percent last year but that was supported by a tax cut that expired Dec. 31. Analysts expect this year’s growth to slow to mid-single digits.

Looking at quarter-on-quarter growth, the way other major economies report data, the economy cooled steadily over the course of the year despite the headline figure showing steady expansion. Growth fell to 1.7 percent in the last quarter, down from 1.8 percent in July-September and 1.9 percent in the previous quarter.

Chinese leaders say they will make the economy more productive by giving private companies a bigger role, but last year’s performance still relied on spending by the government and state-owned industry.

Investment by government companies in factories and other fixed assets rose 18.7 percent last year over 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Investment by private companies was far weaker, growing 3.2 percent.

Real estate sales are booming, which has pushed up growth figures. But regulators are taking steps to cool surging housing prices and bank lending.

Retail sales growth decelerated to 9.6 percent from 10.6 percent in 2015. E-commerce, one of the brightest spots in the struggling economy, soared 26.2 percent over 2015, but that was down from the previous year’s 33.3 percent expansion.

Real estate sales that soared 22 percent in 2016 by volume also are forecast to cool. Growth of investment in real estate might slow to 1 percent from last year’s 6.6 percent, said Haibin Zhu of JP Morgan in a report.

Total debt has risen by the equivalent of 130 percentage points of annual economic output since the 2008 global crisis, “a pace that has alarmed policy makers and many investors,” UBS economists said in a report.

Still, action on debt is unlikely until after the ruling Communist Party wraps up a twice-a-decade change of senior officials late this year, Tom Rafferty of the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report.

“It will probably not be until 2018, when politics are more favorably aligned, that we begin to see a more radical approach in this area,” he said.

]]> 0 a rebuke to Trump, President Xi Jinping warned in a speech this week that a "trade war" would harm everyone involved. The American Chamber of Commerce in China said Beijing is preparing to retaliate if Trump acts.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:02:32 +0000
Friday’s golf roundup: Swafford halfway toward ending his title drought Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:56:43 +0000 LA QUINTA, Calif. — Hudson Swafford shot his second straight 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge, finishing as an afternoon storm hit the desert layouts.

Winless in his four-year PGA Tour career, Swafford had a bogey-free round on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West after opening Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

Dominic Bozzelli (64) and Danny Lee (67) were tied for second.

Phil Mickelson got to use all of his rain gear, playing the final six holes in intermittent showers. The tournament ambassador followed an opening 68 at La Quinta with a 66 to reach 10 under in his return from two sports hernia surgeries.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Martin Kaymer of Germany moved into position for a fourth victory at his regular year-opening tournament, shooting a second straight 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain after the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSB Champions.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Bernhard Langer closed with back-to-back birdies to shoot a 7-under 65 for a 15-under-129 total and a one-shot lead over Fred Couples after the second round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:03:32 +0000
Friday’s Maine college roundup: UMaine AD gets 4-year extension Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:55:18 +0000 The University of Maine announced Friday that Kartlon Creech has signed a four-year contract to remain as athletic director.

Creech has been at Maine since 2014. Under the terms of his new contract, which takes effect Feb. 10, he will make $208,855, including a $25,000 stipend from private donations.


MAINE: Coach Joe Harasymiak announced that the Black Bears have added three transfers: quarterback Max Staver, tight end Brendan O’Neil and offensive lineman Quadrick Barnes.

Staver, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder from Brentwood, Tennessee, has one year of eligibility. He played the last two seasons at Houston Baptist, a Football Championship Subdivision program.

O’Neil, a 6-4, 230-pounder from Burlington, Massachusetts, spent two years at Wake Forest without seeing any action. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Barnes, a 6-1 and 320 pounds, was a second-team Junior College All-American at Lackawanna College in Philadelphia and as three years of eligibility left.


AMHERST 66, BOWDOIN 64: Johnny McCarthy knocked down a 3-pointer with two seconds left to lift Amherst (11-4, 2-2 NESCAC) to a win over the Polar Bears (9-7, 1-3) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Amherst finished the game on a 19-4 run.

Jack Simonds had 20 points for the Polar Bears.

Jayde Dawson paced Amherst with 27 points.

TRINITY 65, COLBY 56: The Bantams (11-6, 3-1 NESCAC) led 40-19 at halftime and held off the Mules (7-8, 0-4) in Hartford, Connecticut.

Ethan Schlager led Colby with 16 points.

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 73, BATES 58: Tyler Rowe scored 19 points for the Camels (11-5, 2-3 NESCAC) in a win over the Bobcats (12-5, 3-2) in Lewiston.

Malcolm Delpeche had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Bates. Thomas Coyne contributed 10 points off the bench.


COLBY 59, TRINITY 39: Ainsley Burns scored 19 points as the Mules (8-7, 2-2 NESCAC) upended the Bantams (11-4, 2-2) in Waterville.

Colby held Trinity to 25.6 percent shooting. The Mules got 13 points from Haley Driscoll and nine points and four assists from Katie McCrum.

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 87, BATES 69: Kylie Caouette scored 22 points and Mairead Hynes added 18 points and nine rebounds as the Camels (11-5, 2-3 NESCAC) beat the Bobcats (5-11, 2-3) in New London, Connecticut.

Bates senior forward Allie Coppola recorded a career-high in points for the second straight game, finishing with 28. Bernadette Connors contributed 16 points.


COLBY 4, MIDDLEBURY 3: Phil Klitirinos had a goal and two assists for the Mules (7-4-3, 6-3-2 NESCAC), who built a 4-0 lead and survived a third-period rally by the Panthers (0-13-2, 0-9) in Middlebury, Vermont.

Jack Burton scored a power-play goal in the first period, and Colby got second-period goals from Geoff Sullivan, Klitirinos and Michael Rudolf. Devin Albert assisted on all four goals.

WILLIAMS 5, BOWDOIN 4: Christian Capello, Spencer Antunez, Matt Sullivan and Thomas Dunleavy scored for Bowdoin (7-9, 4-7 NESCAC), which couldn’t complete a comeback from a 4-1 first-period deficit against the Ephs (8-5-2, 5-2-2) in Williamstown, Massachusetts.


NEW HAMPSHIRE 4, MAINE 1: Devan Taylor recorded a goal and two assists for the Wildcats (10-13-1, 8-7-1 Hockey East) in a win over the Black Bears (8-15-1, 4-11-1) at Durham, New Hampshire.

Kara Washer scored a third-period goal for Maine.

HOLY CROSS 3, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 2: Emily Corrales and Gabby Crugnale each tallied a power-play goal and Sydney Helmbrecht made 42 saves for UNE (6-8-2, 3-4-1 NEHC) in a loss to the Crusaders (15-2, 8-1) in Worcester, Massachusetts.

PLYMOUTH STATE 1, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Shannon Hickey 4:25 into overtime as the Panthers (6-9-1, 3-6 NEHC) edged the Huskies (4-11, 2-6) in Gorham.

MIDDLEBURY 2, BOWDOIN 1: Lizzie Sheline scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period as the Panthers (9-2-2, 5-1-1 NESCAC) edged the Polar Bears (8-6-2, 3-4-1) in Brunswick.

AMHERST 5, COLBY 0: Five players scored for Amherst (8-4-2, 4-3-2 NESCAC) in a win over Colby (0-12-3, 0-8-1) in Waterville.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:02:18 +0000
Report flunks Obama on school program Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:44:10 +0000 The School Improvement Grants program spent billions but still failed to achieve meaningful results.

WASHINGTON — One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program – the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools – than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”

The School Improvement Grants program has been around since the administration of President George W. Bush, but it received an enormous boost under Obama. The administration funneled $7 billion into the program between 2010 and 2015 – far exceeding the $4 billion it spent on Race to the Top grants.

The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools – those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.

The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose.

Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. “We could really move the needle, lift the bottom and change the lives of tens of millions of underserved children,” Duncan said in 2009.

Duncan often said that the administration’s school improvement efforts did not get the attention they deserved, overshadowed by more controversial efforts to encourage states to adopt new standards and teacher evaluations tied to tests.

The school turnaround effort, he said days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

He and other administration officials sought to highlight individual schools that made dramatic improvements after receiving the money. But the new study released this week shows that, as a large-scale effort, School Improvement Grants failed. Just a tiny fraction of schools chose the most dramatic measures, according to the new study. Three percent became charter schools, and 1 percent closed. Half the schools chose transformation, arguably the least intrusive option available to them.

Some education experts say the administration closed its eyes to mounting evidence about the program’s problems in its own interim evaluations.

]]> 0 Secretary Arne Duncan responds to a question during a news conference in 2015.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:44:10 +0000
Big oil could finally get to drill in the Arctic Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:32:09 +0000 Far above the Arctic Circle, one of the longest-running controversies in U.S. oil drilling is about to reignite.

Bouyed by Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are pushing to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the frigid wilderness in northern Alaska that’s been a political battleground for drillers and conservationists for decades. The prospects for industry look better than they have in years, with Republicans in control of Congress and Trump vowing to boost U.S. energy production.

There’s just one catch. No one really knows how much oil actually lies beneath the refuge, or how much producers like ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips care about it in a world awash in cheap oil, from Texas shale to offshore Africa. While the government estimates the area could hold 12 billion barrels of crude, making it one of the biggest untapped reserves in the U.S., no one’s sunk a well there since the 1980s.

“Its value is hard to gauge because it’s always been a bit theoretical,” said Andrew Slaughter, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions in Houston. “No administration has really wanted to take on the challenge of going for ANWR.”

That may be about to change. The aging Trans Alaska Pipeline, once the symbol of energy independence for an oil-strapped nation, is now on the verge of obsolescence. The 800-mile system links northern Alaska to the rest of the world, but its output has been falling as fields outside the refuge fade out and supplies from shale oil in the lower states grow.

While it may take a decade for ANWR to start producing oil, the new supply would go a long way toward ensuring the survival of the pipeline and the jobs that go with it, according to U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The two Alaska Republicans introduced legislation this month to allow development of as many as 2,000 acres in the refuge.

“For nearly 40 years, Alaskans have proven that we can responsibly develop our natural resources while protecting the environment,” Murkowski said in a Jan. 5 statement. State residents, moreover, “overwhelmingly support responsible development” of the refuge.

Created by Congress in 1980, the refuge provides a critical habitat and breeding ground for polar bears, wolves, migratory birds and caribou, among other species. It covers 19 million acres in northeastern Alaska, stretching from the mountains of the Brooks Range and boreal forests to a vast, snowy coastal plain that slides into the Arctic Ocean.

Yet from the moment it was created, ANWR has been coveted for its untapped oil. The refuge was set aside even as the U.S. ramped up production in the North Slope, in response to the shock of oil embargoes in the 1970s.

Just how rich the prize is remains to be seen. A 2005 review by the U.S. Geological Survey, based on decades-old data, said ANWR may hold as many as 11.8 billion barrels of crude. If that were proven true, it would rival the mammoth Prudhoe Bay field that sparked the Alaskan oil rush 40 years ago, the kind of elephant-sized find that would generate income for decades. That could appeal to companies looking to balance the short lifespans of shale fields and the risks of operating in more politically fraught parts of the globe.

]]> 0 grizzly bear prowls the tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1986. The far-north refuge has been a hot topic for decades even though its output potential has not been accurately measured.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:32:09 +0000
Maggie Hassan gets tough on nominees Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:31:48 +0000 CONCORD, N.H. — In her first weeks in Washington, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan has emerged as a fierce questioner of President Trump’s nominees to lead the federal education and health departments.

The New Hampshire Democrat used her experiences as a mother of a son with cerebral palsy and as a former governor to pose questions this week to Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education nominee, and to Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price, the nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. While Hassan is highly critical of both, she said she will support some of Trump’s nominees, including Gen. James Mattis as Defense secretary, Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Chao as Transportation secretary.

Her exchange with DeVos over the federal law that requires that students with disabilities have equal access to education in particular is drawing notice. Hassan referenced her son Ben, who graduated from public high school in Exeter, when she asked about DeVos’ commitment to making sure voucher schools don’t skirt that federal law. DeVos never gave a clear answer.

“I don’t think it was a hard question at all,” Hassan said on Friday. “I was absolutely appalled that she had such little familiarity with a critical and major civil rights law that protects millions of children.”

The exchange grew sharp when DeVos said she would be “very sensitive” to the needs of special needs students.

Hassan responded: “With all due respect, it’s not about sensitivity, although that helps. It’s about being willing to enforce the law to make sure that my child and every child has the same access to public education, high-quality public education.”

DeVos’ team is defending her commitment to students with disabilities, pointing to her support for school choice programs that allow parents to choose where their children go. Tera Myers, an Ohio mom to a son with Down syndrome who attended the hearing, said the existing federal law has flaws.

“(It) covers all students with special needs, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the law is serving all students,” she said in a quote provided by a DeVos spokeswoman.

Later in the week, Hassan brought up New Hampshire’s ongoing opioid abuse crisis while questioning Price. Price is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act. New Hampshire accepted federal dollars under the law to expand Medicaid to roughly 50,000 people, which includes coverage of substance abuse treatment.

“I’m concerned about your unwillingness to commit to making sure that insurance companies cover these essential benefits,” she said.

During her two terms as governor, Hassan had to work with Republican legislators to accomplish her goals. She said Friday that she’s had good conversations with some GOP colleagues and hopes to find common ground on some issues.

Hassan edged out Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte in November to take her seat in the U.S. Senate. She is the second woman in American history to serve as a governor and senator; the first was Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, also from New Hampshire.

“I do think having been governor is helping me focus certain questions in this work,” she said. “Because I really am trying to drill down every day on how what we do here in Washington will impact the lives of my constituents.”

]]> 0 Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos talks to Joe Lieberman at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Freshman Sen. Maggie Hassan of N.H. tossed her some tough questions.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:31:48 +0000
Sports Digest: Defending ice dance champs in position again at U.S. figure skating championships Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:27:42 +0000 FIGURE SKATING

Defending ice dance champs in position again

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani never missed a beat in an elegant routine that earned them a record score of 82.42 points and an early lead in the short ice dance competition at the U.S. figure skating championships Friday at Kansas City, Missouri.

The Shibutanis were the clear front-runners, especially after their bronze medal at the Grand Prix final. They won the gold medal at the U.S. championships last season and could go back-to-back with another sensational effort Sunday.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the 2015 champs who took silver a year ago, tore it up in a routine that used the bluesy “Bad to the Bone” and “Uptown Funk” as their soundtrack. With a funky set that had the crowd seem like they were peeking inside a nightclub, Chock and Bates scored 79.96 points and are in second place.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, three-time bronze medalists, were third with 79.72 points.


MAJOR LEAGUES: Free agent right-hander Neftali Feliz agreed to a one-year, $5.35 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, who are looking for a closer.

Feliz spent last season with Pittsburgh, going 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 62 games, mainly as a setup man.

The 28-year-old was a closer for the Rangers early in his career, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2010.

 Relief pitcher Santiago Casilla is crossing the bay again, re-joining the Oakland Athletics with a two-year contract after seven seasons with San Francisco.

The right-hander lost his job as closer last season for the Giants, but could be in the mix for saves with the A’s.

Casilla has spent his entire major league career between the two Bay Area teams; his initial six seasons were with Oakland.

 Right-hander Trevor Cahill and the San Diego Padres finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract.

Cahill, who went to high school in suburban Vista, went 4-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 50 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2016.


MONTE CARLO RALLY: A spectator was killed after being hit by a car Thursday night during the first stage of the rally in Monaco, race organizers said.

Organizers said the spectator was struck by a car driven by New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon and died after being transported to a hospital in Nice, France.

Stage 1 of the race was cancelled, although stage 2 was held later Thursday night.

Belgian driver Thierry Neuville held a 45-second lead over defending world rally champion Sebastien Ogier following Friday’s stages.

NASCAR: Rick Hendrick, owner of the most successful organization in NASCAR, was introduced by Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon at the NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremony Friday night, and inducted by his wife, Linda.

Also inducted were Mark Martin, car owners Richard Childress and Raymond Parks, and the late Benny Parsons.


WORLD CUP: Matthias Mayer gave host Austria a winning start to the traditional Hahnenkamm races by taking a super-G at Kitzbuehel.

Under crisp blue skies, the Olympic downhill champion beat Christof Innerhofer of Italy by 0.09 seconds. Beat Feuz of Switzerland was 0.44 behind in third.

The win is Mayer’s fourth, but his first since he broke two vertebrae in a downhill crash in Italy 13 months ago.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:39:26 +0000
New twist in spilled Skittles case probed Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:20:25 +0000 NEW YORK — A mysterious Skittles spill on a rural highway in Wisconsin is taking another twist, with Mars Inc. saying it doesn’t know why the discarded candy might have been headed to become cattle feed.

The case began when a Wisconsin sheriff posted on Facebook this week that “hundreds of thousands of Skittles” had been found spilled on a highway. Later, he updated the post to say the candy had fallen off a truck on its way to be cattle feed.

Only red Skittles had spilled out, and Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt joked in the post that it would be difficult to “Taste the Rainbow” in its entirety. The incident gained attention after CNN wrote about it, citing a report from a local affiliate.

A variety of food byproducts are commonly used for animal feed, and Mars says it has procedures for discarding foods for that purpose. However, the company says the Skittles in question came from a factory that doesn’t sell unused products for feed.

“We don’t know how it ended up as it did and we are investigating,” Mars said.

Schmidt said one of his deputies came across the spill and sent him photos, which he posted on Facebook. He said the Skittles spilled from a box that started to disintegrate in the rain, and about half of them got out. The Skittles on the ground did not have the standard letter “S” on them, he said.

The sheriff said he spoke with the farmer, but declined to immediately give the farmer’s name and did not respond when asked by email how the office connected the Skittles with the farmer.

Mars spokeswoman Denise Young said the Skittles were supposed to be destroyed because a power outage prevented the signature “S” from being placed on the candies. She said Mars planned to contact the sheriff’s office and the farmer to find out more.

Linda Kurtz, a corporate environmental manager at Mars, said the company sells unused candies and ingredients to processors that incorporate them with other materials to make animal feed. She said Mars does not sell directly to farmers, and its procedures follow Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Kurtz said Mars determined the spilled Skittles came from its plant in Yorkville, Illinois, which does not sell products for animal feed. The other U.S. plant that makes Skittles, in Waco, Texas, sells to a local processor that melts them down into syrup.

Josh Cribbs, a cattle nutritionist and director of commercial development for the American Maine-Anjou Association, which promotes a particular cattle breed, said specific byproducts would be mixed with other ingredients.”You might think, ‘Oh my gosh, they might be eating a Skittle.’ In reality, that piece of candy is being broken down,” he said.

]]> 0, 20 Jan 2017 22:20:25 +0000
Pittston voters may ban pot businesses Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:17:11 +0000 Pittston officials have postponed a special town meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday to consider a proposed moratorium on marijuana-related businesses in town.

Instead, a public hearing now is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 to consider an outright ban of those businesses, and a special town meeting to vote on that is now scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8.

Both the ban and the temporary ban will appear on the warrant, as well as proposals to discontinue maintenance on two roads.

The proposed new ordinance would expressly ban shops, cultivation facilities and facilities that make marijuana products; retail testing facilities; and social clubs.

“We were thinking we would give ourselves some time to figure out what to do,” said Jean Ambrose, a member of the Pittston Board of Selectmen, explaining the request for a six-month moratorium.

But at last week’s public hearing, residents appeared to be leaning toward a complete ban.

Last Saturday, a three-question poll went up on the town’s website. The questions are:

n Do you think that recreational marijuana retail operations should be completely banned in Pittston?

n If not completely banned, do you think that recreational marijuana retail operations should exist in Pittston with certain allowances and limitations?

n Are you a resident of Pittston?

Peter Coughlan, who manages the website for Pittston, said that as of Thursday, 94 people had voted and the vast majority of them were town residents. Of those, 52 percent voted for a ban, 45 percent voted against, and 3 percent had no opinion. Fifty-three percent of those who participated voted “yes” when asked if they favored regulating marijuana enterprises, 39 percent voted “no” and 8 percent had no opinion.

Coughlan said he saw a strong uptick in votes in the last few days.

In November, Mainers narrowly voted to legalize personal use and possession of limited quantities of marijuana by voting yes on Question 1.

With that vote came the option to allow retail shops and social clubs.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

Twitter: JLowellKJ

]]> 0 town officials are considering an ordinance to ban marijuana-related shops, cultivation facilities, production facilities, retail testing facilities and social clubs.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:17:11 +0000
Hallowell takes wait-and-see approach on retail pot sales Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:03:58 +0000 HALLOWELL — Derek Wilson opened a medical marijuana retail shop on Water Street this month and says he’s well positioned to expand his business once the rules and regulations for selling recreational marijuana are announced.

Wilson, who has been a licensed caregiver since 2012, pulled back a black curtain Jan. 5 at 184 Water St. He said having a retail location is important because of market saturation.

“I tried to go to Augusta, but I got shut down because they said I had to be in the city’s medical district near the hospital. But I wanted to be near where I grow (my plants),” Wilson said.

By law, caregivers can have five patients under their care and can grow six cannabis plants per patient; caregivers can be their own sixth patient, meaning they can grow 36 marijuana plants. Wilson has four regular patients he sells to and uses his fifth slot on a rotating basis.

Hallowell Mayor Mark Walker appointed a marijuana task force, which met Tuesday, to look at how other states and cities handle recreational marijuana and to recommend whether Hallowell should enact a moratorium. Last month, the Augusta City Council approved a six-month moratorium on the establishment of any recreational marijuana stores and social clubs within city limits.

Hallowell City Councilor Lynn Irish, who is on the committee, said she was surprised that everybody seems to be in favor of taking a wait-and-see approach.

“Everyone on the task force agrees that there is no sense in doing anything until we know what the state’s going to do,” Irish said at her Water Street quilt studio.

“The Maine Municipal Association has been recommending a moratorium, but so far, nobody here has been in favor of it,” she said.

Irish said she in unsure when the task force will meet again. Meanwhile, Hallowell officials will wait for guidance from the state and local agencies regarding potential licensing, background checks and permits for recreational marijuana-related business.

During the meeting, task force members talked about the potential effects marijuana social clubs or retail stores might have on local business, whether Hallowell would need additional police officers to enforce the new law and what the application process would look like.

Hilary Davis, who owns Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, said she doesn’t know enough about the marijuana industry to judge what it might mean to Hallowell, and she isn’t sure other business owners do, either. She said any change to the downtown district is difficult, but she doesn’t feel strongly either way.

“I don’t know if it would bring a new demographic or what it would mean,” she said. “Maybe it would be good for us because of the munchies.”

Medical marijuana was legalized in Maine in 1999, and recreational marijuana will become legal Jan. 30 after voters approved a referendum question in November and a recount request by opponents was withdrawn.

Jason Pafundi can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

Twitter: jasonpafundiKJ

]]> 0 Wilson talks about his new business, The Cannabis Healing Center, on Thursday in Hallowell.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:03:58 +0000
How much are bombing films getting in tax credits? Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:56:50 +0000 BOSTON – Hollywood films about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings shot on location last year to bring the story to the silver screen, but not all the for-profit productions have been forthcoming about the taxpayer-funded benefits they’re seeking or have already received for filming in Massachusetts.

“Patriots Day,” the $40 million film starring Mark Wahlberg that opened nationwide Jan. 13, sought state film tax credits, but production officials declined to provide more details when asked by The Associated Press.

“Other locations would have been less expensive for us to film, but everyone involved in our production felt it was important to make ‘Patriots Day’ in Boston,” spokeswoman Mariellen Burns said in an emailed statement. “This was Boston’s story.”

Representatives for “Stronger,” an upcoming film starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a bombing survivor, declined to comment.

And “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing,” a documentary focused on bombing survivors that aired Nov. 21, did not apply for credits because it didn’t meet program requirements, said HBO Films spokeswoman Lana Iny.

The Massachusetts Film Office provided the AP with emails and other documents exchanged between the productions and the agency as part of a public records request, but nothing that hinted at how much the films sought or received in credits.

The state Department of Revenue, which administers the tax credits, denied the AP’s request, saying it’s not obligated to disclose specific information about the productions at this time because they’re still considered private taxpayer records.

Roger Randall, a department lawyer, said in a letter that Massachusetts law permits disclosure of this “otherwise confidential information” only through an annual report listing tax credits issued during the previous calendar year.

That means the amount of subsidies awarded to “Patriots Day,” “Stronger” or other productions that filmed in 2016 won’t become public until the end of 2017 at the earliest – unless the productions themselves choose to disclose the information sooner.

“In short, you are seeking tax credit information in a form different from or ahead of the time that the legislature has expressly determined it should be disclosed,” Randall wrote.

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, a Democrat who has proposed ways to curtail the program and improve its transparency, said the films have an obligation to be more forthcoming, even if state law doesn’t require it.

“Any film production or company that receives any public subsidy should be discussing that,” he said. “It’s taxpayer dollars. It’s public money.”

Massachusetts and other states included confidentiality provisions in their laws at the industry’s request, said John Bails, executive vice president at Film Production Capital, a Shreveport, Louisiana-based film tax credit consulting firm.

While Massachusetts and others have become somewhat more transparent by adding annual reporting requirements, some states remain stubbornly opaque, he said. Georgia, for example, does not provide information about what specific productions received, only annual totals for the program.

“All of these states are competing against each other for productions, and productions don’t necessarily want people to know sizes of budget or exactly what their stars are getting paid,” Bails said.

But the lack of disclosure is starting to give way as policymakers in a number of the 36 states that currently offer some form of film incentive take a harder look at their costs and benefits, he said. Louisiana, which in 1992 became the first state to create such a benefit, now provides a searchable database of productions seeking or receiving credits.

At least one film production touching on the marathon bombings was willing to address its tax credits.

“Boston,” an upcoming documentary tracing the marathon’s history, received $126,695 in credits in 2015, the latest report from the state, released last month, shows.

Producer Megan Williams said the credits helped offset production expenses, including filming of the April 2014 race – the first running of the marathon following the bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds more.

She declined to speculate on why the other productions were refusing to say how much they sought or received in credits, which are transferable tax discounts worth up to 25 percent of a qualified film’s payroll and production expenses in Massachusetts.

“I can’t really judge,” Williams said. “Ultimately, it will be known information in the public record.”

]]> 0 Mark Wahlberg, center left, dressed as a Boston Police officer, watches runners cross the finish line as he films a scene for his "Patriot's Day" movie at the 120th Boston Marathon in Boston. "This was Boston's story," a spokeswoman said.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:56:50 +0000
Mainers headed to Women’s March on Washington for show of solidarity Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:52:33 +0000 Norita Boynton holds a protest sign near the Portland Transportation Center on Friday night while waiting to board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for Saturday's Women's March. Tara LaFreiere, left, is a volunteer organizer.

Norita Boynton holds a protest sign near the Portland Transportation Center on Friday night while waiting to board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for Saturday’s Women’s March. Tara LaFreiere, left, is a volunteer organizer. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Thirty years ago, Amy Cousins marched in support of women’s reproductive rights in Washington, D.C. At the time, she and other marchers hung wire coat hangers on the fence outside of the White House to highlight the need for safe access to abortion.

On Friday night, the 62-year-old Old Orchard Beach resident was among dozens of women waiting to board a fleet of charter buses to make the 11-hour trip to the nation’s capital to join the Women’s March on Washington, an event aimed at highlighting women’s rights.

“It’s frustrating we’re having to go back and fight this fight,” said Cousins, who is recovering from a hip replacement surgery. She leaned on a crutch and was bringing a wheelchair. “We’ve come so far and there’s so much at stake. We can’t go back.”

Saturday’s march is in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Trump won the presidency despite losing the popular vote by roughly 3 million votes and making rude remarks about women, including a statement about being able to grab their genitalia without their consent.

His vice president, Mike Pence, is considered an enemy of women’s reproductive rights, with a longstanding goal to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit health clinic that provides a range of health care services for women, a small fraction of which include non-federally funded abortions.

The election has prompted women, as well as other groups concerned about a rollback in their rights, to organize.

The Women’s March on Washington was launched by a Hawaiian grandmother on her Facebook page the day after the Nov. 8 election. About 200,000 marchers are expected, according to estimates earlier this week by organizers of the grassroots, peaceful demonstration.

Many of the women waiting to board buses at Thompson’s Point in Portland were wearing Pussyhats, winter hats made out of pink yarn that have become a national symbol of protest against Trump’s comments about women.

Group organizer Judy Gove talks to other protesters as they wait to board a bus Friday night for the Women's March on Washington.

Group organizer Judy Gove talks to other protesters as they wait to board a bus Friday night for the Women’s March on Washington. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

More than 200 women were expected to board a half-dozen buses in Portland, according to Judy Gove, a volunteer organizer.

Norita Boynton, a 28-year-old Portland resident who works two jobs, showed off a sign she made out of a pizza box. It featured a picture of Princess Leia, the Star Wars character played by the late Carrie Fisher who became an feminist icon for leading the rebellion against the empire. The sign contained a message: “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”

Women interviewed in Portland emphasized that the march was not a protest – but rather a show of support and solidarity for basic human rights, such as health care, reproductive rights, immigrant rights or voting rights.

Several women said they didn’t even bother to watch Trump’s inaugural address on Friday.

“Watching it only normalizes and legitimizes what is not a normal or legitimate event or president,” said Anna Walker, a 67-year-old Southwest Harbor resident. “I think he’s frightening.”

Others simply loathe the man.

Group organizer Tara LaFreniere relays information to fellow protesters while waiting to board buses bound for Washington, D.C.

Group organizer Tara LaFreniere relays information to fellow protesters while waiting to board buses bound for Washington, D.C. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“I have a great deal of difficulty with him as a personality and a president,” said Lee Thompson, a 65-year-old retired psychotherapist who lives in South Portland. “If we don’t stand up and make some noise, we’re going to be second-class citizens again.”

Melissa Gilbert of Portland said she watched Trump’s speech, even though she’s disgusted by his comments, which trivialized sexual assault on women. The 51-year-old small business owner didn’t like what she saw and heard during Friday’s inauguration.

“It was as if it was from a movie – it didn’t seem real,” Gilbert said, comparing it to Nazi Germany. “It was all about putting nationalism first. It wasn’t about putting people first.”

There were several younger women headed to Washington, including three students from the Maine Girls Academy in Portland. One of them was Gilbert’s 15-year-old daughter.

“Our president and a good portion of our population apparently think sexual assault is OK and I’m here to show it’s not,” Kelly Gilbert said. Her friend, Liz MacAleney, 16, of Cumberland felt the same way. She said she cried when she learned that Trump won the election. Now, she wants to turn that sadness into something more constructive.

“We can’t be silent,” McAleney said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at:

Twitter: @randybillings

]]> 0, ME - JANUARY 20: Norita Boynton holds a protest sign near the Portland Transportation Center while waiting to board a bus bound for Washington, D.C., for Women's March. Tara LaFreiere, left, is a volunteer organizer. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:29:20 +0000
Providence mayor’s pledge on illegals threatened Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:47:14 +0000 PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A bill introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly could thwart Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s pledge to protect city residents who are in the country illegally from being turned over to federal immigration agents for minor violations.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said the legislation targeting so-called sanctuary cities would impede city police. He plans to work to defeat it.

“We are municipal police officers,” Pare said. “We don’t have the training or technical expertise in immigration law and so we should not be enforcing immigration law.”

The bill was introduced by a group of Democratic lawmakers who represent suburban towns surrounding Providence in the Democrat-controlled legislature. It would create a governmental duty to investigate immigration violations. New civil and criminal penalties could punish officials who don’t cooperate with federal law enforcement.

Elorza, a Democrat, announced in November he would continue a longstanding policy of refusing to hold people charged with civil infractions for federal immigration officials, despite vows by Republican President Donald Trump to withhold potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer money from cities around the country that resist his enforcement crackdown. Elorza’s office referred comments on the state legislation to Pare.

A similar statewide policy instructs Rhode Island State Police not to keep someone detained for federal immigration authorities unless they obtain a deportation order in court. It was enacted in 2014 through an executive order signed by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s office has said there are no plans to rescind it.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors said state and city leaders should take Trump’s threats to cut funding more seriously.

“They can withhold anything they want,” said North Providence Democratic Rep. William O’Brien, noting that he voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “He is the president. It’s not that I like him being president, but I have to respect him.”

O’Brien is a Providence school truancy officer and former math teacher who said he is particularly concerned about a loss of federal education aid that helps school districts with a large number of students from low-income families.

“We’d have to shut down all our school programs, half of our school programs,” O’Brien said. “If you play a game like that, and lose that money, you would have to shut down the schools in Providence.”

Constitutional scholars have debated whether an “anti-commandeering” doctrine would limit Trump’s ability to punish states and cities by withholding funds. But for Pare, the public safety commissioner, the main concern is allowing police to do their job well. About 30 percent of Providence residents are immigrants.

“It has a drastic impact on the relationship we’ve built over the past several decades with our community and we should not, as local police officers, be seen as immigration officers,” he said. “We will always take action on those criminals that are here and immigration has put out a criminal warrant for.”

The bill’s main sponsor, North Providence Democratic Rep. Arthur Corvese, said his bill isn’t specifically aimed at Elorza. Corvese introduced similar legislation last year, but it was held for further study.

Corvese said his goal is for local officials to not “take it upon themselves to act contrary to federal law. I think there’s an order established by these federal laws and that order should be maintained.”

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:47:14 +0000
Blackhawks score a late goal, deal Bruins third straight loss Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:43:27 +0000 BOSTON — Blackhawks backup Scott Darling insists he isn’t trying to take playing time away from No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford.

“I don’t know if you guys know who my goalie partner is,” Darling said with a smile after beating the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Friday night. “He’s one of the best goalies in the world, hands down, no arguments. So I’m just pretty happy to get any games I can.”

Marian Hossa scored with 1:26 left to break a scoreless tie, and Darling stopped 30 shots to post his second shutout of the season. Darling is 12-4 and he brought a 2.34 goals-against average into the game, even better than Crawford’s 2.54.

“He seems huge there; he’s always making key saves,” Hossa said. “It’s unreal just the way he’s always been ready when he hasn’t played for a long time. And when he got the chance, he wasn’t afraid of it.”

A three-time All-Star and two-time Stanley Cup champion, Crawford had started five straight games before taking a night off as the Blackhawks prepare for a six-game trip that will start at the end of the month.

Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t commit to a starter for the Blackhawks’ next game but said of Darling, “He certainly helped himself.”

Tuukka Rask made 21 saves for Boston, which has lost three straight games and four of its last five. The Bruins were shut out at home for the second game in a row.

“The winning goal goes through three of our guys and it’s in our net with a minute and a half left,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said. “We have to stand there, take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute and a half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes.”

It was a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, when Chicago scored twice in the final 76 seconds of the third period in Game 6 to overcome a one-goal deficit and claim the NHL title.

This time, the game was scoreless before the Blackhawks made their final charge.

Vinnie Hinostroza picked up the puck at the red line and skated it in, sliding to his right to avoid traffic as he crossed into the Boston zone. He pushed it up to Tanner Kero on Rask’s left, and he backhanded it across the crease for Hossa.

“The clock starts ticking down and you think, OK, maybe we are going to play some extra hockey,” Darling said. “But, I mean, what a goal.”

NOTES: Bruins forward Matt Beleskey played for the first time since Dec. 3. He missed 23 games with a right knee injury. … There were five penalties in the game, none in the first period. … The Bruins outshot Chicago 17-6 in the first. … Many of the Blackhawks’ fathers were in the stands, wearing their son’s uniform sweaters.

]]> 0's Austin Czarnik tries to cut between Chicago's Dennis Rasmussen, 70, and Brian Campbell in the second period Friday night in Boston.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:07:55 +0000
‘El Chapo’ hauled off to secure U.S. jail Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:39:37 +0000 NEW YORK — In a scene U.S. authorities had dreamed of for decades, Mexican drug lord and escape artist Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was hauled into an American courtroom Friday and then taken away to an ultra-secure jail that has held some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and mobsters.

Holding his unshackled hands behind his back, a dazed-looking Guzman entered a not-guilty plea through his lawyers to drug trafficking and other charges at a Brooklyn courthouse ringed by squad cars, officers with assault rifles and bomb-sniffing dogs.

“He’s a man known for a life of crime, violence, death and destruction, and now he’ll have to answer for that,” Robert Capers, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, said at a news conference.

The court appearance came hours after Guzman’s Thursday night extradition from Mexico, where he had become something of a folk hero for two brazen prison escapes.


Guzman was ordered held without bail and was expected to be kept in a special Manhattan jail unit where other high-risk inmates – including Mafia boss John Gotti and several close associates of Osama bin Laden – spent their time awaiting trial.

“It is difficult to imagine another person with a greater risk of fleeing prosecution,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

Prosecutors described Guzman as the murderous overseer of a three-decade campaign of smuggling, brutality and corruption that made his Sinaloa drug cartel a fortune while fueling an epidemic of cocaine abuse and related violence in the U.S. in the 1980s and ’90s.

Guzman, who’s in his 50s, faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. To get Mexico to hand him over, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. They also are demanding he forfeit $14 billion in assets.

Outside court, Guzman defense attorney Michael Schneider said: “I haven’t seen any evidence that indicates to me that Mr. Guzman’s done anything wrong.” He said he would look into whether his client was extradited properly.

The U.S. had been trying to get custody of Guzman since he was first indicted in California in the early 1990s.

American authorities finally got their wish on the eve of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, though it was unclear if the timing of the extradition was intended as a sign of respect to the Republican or some kind of slap, perhaps an effort to let outgoing Democratic President Obama take the credit.

When Guzman got off a plane in New York, “as you looked into his eyes, you could see the surprise, you could see the shock, and to a certain extent, you could see the fear, as the realization kicked in that he’s about to face American justice,” said Angel Melendez, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

While Guzman faces federal charges in several U.S. states, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn won the jockeying to get the case. The U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn has substantial experience prosecuting international drug cartel cases and was once led by outgoing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.


New York also boasts one of the most secure lockups in the United States, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. The drab-looking building is protected by steel barricades that can stop up to 7 1/2 tons of speeding truck, and the area is watched by cameras capable of reading a newspaper a block away.

The jail’s inmates have included Ramzi Yousef, who was the architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme king Bernard Madoff.

In the special high-security wing for the riskiest inmates, around a dozen prisoners spend 23 hours a day in roughly 20-by-12-foot cells, prohibited from communicating with one another. Meals are eaten in cells, and exercise is in a recreation area specifically for these inmates.

Only a limited number of carefully vetted jailers would be allowed access to an inmate with Guzman’s wealth and potential to corrupt people, said Catherine Linaweaver, a former warden.

The special unit’s strict confinement drew criticism from the human rights group Amnesty International in 2011.

The jail saw an audacious escape attempt in 1982, when two armed people in a hijacked sightseeing helicopter tried to pluck an inmate off a roof. Four years earlier, three prisoners broke out by cutting through window bars.

Guzman, whose nickname means Shorty, presided over a syndicate that funneled tons of cocaine from South America into the U.S. via tunnels, tanker trucks, planes, container ships, speedboats and even submarines, prosecutors said.

Initially arrested in 1993, he broke out of a maximum-security Mexican prison in 2001, apparently in a laundry cart, and became a folk legend among some Mexicans, immortalized in song.

He was caught in 2014 but escaped again, this time through a hole in his prison cell shower. A specially rigged motorcycle on rails whisked him to freedom through a mile-long tunnel. He was recaptured in a January 2016 shootout.

]]> 0 emergency unit detail arrives for a convoy carrying Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman after his court appearance Friday in New York.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:39:37 +0000
Trump signs order that could gut Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:32:03 +0000 WASHINGTON — President Trump signed an executive order late Friday giving federal agencies broad powers to unwind regulations created under the Affordable Care Act, including enforcement of the penalty for people who fail to carry the health insurance that the law requires of most Americans.

The executive order, signed in the Oval Office as one of the new president’s first actions, directs agencies to grant relief to every one of the constituencies affected by the sprawling 2010 health-care law: insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and states. While the order does not describe specific federal rules to be softened or lifted, it appears to give room for agencies to eliminate an array of taxes and requirements that exist under the law.

Though the new administration’s specific intentions are not yet clear, the order’s breadth and early timing carry symbolic value for a president who made repealing the ACA – his predecessor’s signature domestic achievement – a leading campaign promise.

The order’s language about easing economic and regulatory burdens also aligns with longstanding Republican orthodoxy that the government exerts too heavy a hand on the U.S. health-care system.

The order, several paragraphs long, does not identify which of the many federal rules that exist under the ACA the new administration intends to rewrite or eliminate. In general, federal rules cannot be undone with a penstroke but require a new rule-making process to replace or delete them.

But in giving agencies permission to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay” ACA rules, the order appears to create room for the Department of Health and Human Services to narrow or gut a set of medical benefits that the ACA compels insurers to include in health plans that they sell to individuals and small businesses.

The order’s reference to relief from financial burdens could mean that the administration might try to ease taxes that the ACA imposes on various parts of the health-care industry – though it is unclear whether that would be possible, since the taxes are contained in the law itself.

The order does not mention Medicaid, but it says one of its goals is to “provide greater flexibility to States,” raising the question of whether the Trump HHS might try to loosen rules for states that have expanded the program for lower-income Americans, as the law allowed.

The order directs all federal agencies “to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act – the first step of Trump’s central campaign promise to repeal and replace former president Barack Obama’s health care plan.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are expected next week to introduce a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would allow states to maintain what they have or choose other options to provide health insurance to their residents.


Also late Friday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, issued an executive memorandum ordering a freeze on regulations for all government agencies.

The memo could freeze several new Energy Department efficiency standards affecting portable air conditioners, swimming pool pumps, commercial boilers and uninterruptable power supplies, which were issued Dec. 28 but not yet published in the Federal Register. The regulations were part of the Obama administration’s broader effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

The move echoes a missive that then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent the heads of every federal agency on Jan. 20, 2009, asking them to freeze any rules that had not yet been published in the Federal Register, and to consider a 60-day extension of the effective date of rules that had not yet gone into effect.

Trump’s health care order came at the end of what had otherwise been a largely ceremonial day. The White House did not immediately return requests for comment.


Earlier Friday, in the Capitol, the new president took several more perfunctory executive actions shortly after he was sworn in at noon, the most notable being to overturn a recent mortgage-fee reduction – geared at helping first-time and low-income home buyers – that Obama announced last week and that called for the Federal Housing Administration to cut its annual borrowing fee by a quarter of a percentage point.

And just moments after Trump took the oath of office, he began implementing his general vision, transforming the official White House website with a new set of policy pledges that offered the broad contours of the Trump administration’s top priorities. They included fierce support for law enforcement and gun owners’ rights to defend themselves. There was also some notable absences, such as the omission of a policy page on climate change.

The issues page of Trump’s White House offered no new plans or policies but rather a rehash of many of his most prominent campaign promises – a signal to the nation that Trump, more pragmatic than ideological, plans to implement at least the key guideposts of his campaign vision.

The policies laid out on the website included plans to both withdraw from and renegotiate major trade deals, grow the nation’s military and increase cyber-security capabilities, build a wall at the nation’s southern border and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes.

]]> 0 Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, signs an order easing rules governing the Affordable Care Act Friday in the Oval Office.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:51:08 +0000
U.S. soldier was denied pardon from Obama, his attorney says Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:23:42 +0000 Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who faces court-martial for desertion after walking away from his base in Afghanistan and spending five years in militant captivity, sought and was denied a pardon by President Obama before he left office, according to Bergdahl’s attorney Eugene Fidell.

The effort was disclosed Friday after Berghdahl’s legal team filed a new motion to dismiss the Army’s case against their client, citing past harsh rhetoric against Bergdahl by newly sworn-in President Donald Trump.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor” to his country and suggested that if he had acted the way he did 25 or 50 years ago, Bergdahl would have been executed by the military. In reality, the United States has executed an accused deserter only once since the Civil War, and not at all since World War II.

Bergdahl’s legal team said Trump’s comments deny their client “the due process right to a fair trial” and constitute apparent unlawful command influence, in which a senior U.S. official meddles in a military justice case while seeking a specific outcome.

“We had hoped that (Obama) would grant a pardon. He didn’t,” said Fidell, adding that the issue is a “highly discretionary matter” for a president.

Obama issued 1,715 commutations to federal prisoners during his administration, surpassing the combined total of his 12 predecessors, and an additional 212 pardons.

Bergdahl faces charges of desertion and misbehavior for the enemy for leaving his patrol base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.

]]> 0 BERGDAHLFri, 20 Jan 2017 21:23:42 +0000
Falcons’ Jones looks ready for Sunday Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:21:07 +0000 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones cleared his final hurdle for Sunday’s NFC championship game against Green Bay by practicing for the first time this week on Friday.

Coach Dan Quinn said Jones had no limitations in his first practice since aggravating his sprained left toe last week.

Jones did not appear to favor the foot in the portion of practice open to reporters.

“We were pleased with his response and how quickly he came back and had good bounce,” Quinn said. “He ran hard, jumped, so he looked good.”

Jones, the All-Pro receiver, missed two games with a toe injury this season and sat out part of the second half of last week’s playoff win over Seattle.

On Thursday, he described the injury as “a little snag” and said he’ll be ready for Sunday’s game.

Against Seattle, Jones temporarily left the game after aggravating the injury. He then returned to action before returning to the sideline for good.

Quarterback Matt Ryan said Friday he’s confident in Jones even if the receiver is still less than full speed.

“He’s pretty good at whatever percentage he is,” Ryan said. “He’s made a lot of plays at less than 100 percent. You know what, at this time of year no one is really feeling exactly perfect, but he’s a great competitor and regardless of what he has he’s going to give everything he’s got.”

Ryan set an NFL record by throwing touchdown passes to 13 players this season. The Falcons have made good use of a deep receiving corps and also have dual-threat running backs in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Despite Ryan’s deep list of targets, Jones remains a key to the Falcons’ hopes of reaching only their second Super Bowl.

Such other targets as Mohamed Sanu, who was second on the team with 59 catches, and Taylor Gabriel, who led the receivers with seven touchdowns, add depth. But Jones is the go-to leader of the receivers who opens up big plays for others by drawing extra attention from defenses.

The Falcons need Jones to remain on the field in what is expected to be a high-scoring game against the Packers.

It would be a bad sign for the Falcons and their fans to see Jones again favor the left foot while leaving the field early in the game.

Ryan was encouraged to have Jones back in practice.

“He looked good to me,” Ryan said. “He’s always a guy who if he gets reps during the week or he doesn’t, he’s always ready to go.”

]]> 0 cornerback Richard Sherman tackles Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones during the second half of their playoff game last Saturday. Jones left that game after aggravating a toe injury, but says he will play Sunday in the NFC title game.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:30:51 +0000
Boys’ basketball: South Portland hands Thornton Academy its first loss Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:12:58 +0000 SACO — If this really was a preview of the Class AA South boys’ basketball regional final, then it was South Portland that came to Linnell Gymnasium with playoff-worthy energy Friday night.

The defending regional champions, coming off a close loss at Deering, handed host Thornton Academy its first loss of the season. South Portland started fast, disrupting the Golden Trojans with its matchup zone defense, and led for nearly the entire game in a 68-58 victory.

“Coming off the loss at Deering, we kind of came in with a chip on our shoulders,” said South Portland senior forward Ansel Stilley. “We came in ready to play hard and take care of business.”

South Portland (9-2) led 16-5 at the end of the first quarter, forcing Thornton (11-1) into five turnovers and 2-of-13 shooting.

“They performed really well tonight and executed right from the get-go and we didn’t play,” said Thornton Coach Bob Davies.

South Portland and Thornton are the only teams in AA South with winning records, making them heavy favorites to get a quarterfinal bye, win a semifinal and get to the regional final.

Going into Friday’s contest, Thornton had not won by less than 11 points. Similarly, all eight of South Portland’s wins had been by at least nine points.

Thornton is at Portland on Tuesday, with further challenges coming up against Cheverus and Windham.

South Portland has a crushing schedule down the stretch, including two games with Cheverus and rematches against Portland and Deering, the two squads that have beaten the Red Riots.

“This is what we want. We want to play good games,” said South Portland Coach Kevin Millington. “You aren’t going to get anywhere without playing good teams.”

The final minutes of Friday’s game will provide lessons for both teams. South Portland was sloppy with several passes after having a 16-point fourth-quarter lead. Millington chalked up the poor execution to it being the first time this season his team was protecting a lead against a quality opponent.

Thornton had the lead down to six after an Austin Boudreau 3-pointer with 44 seconds to play.

The comeback essentially ended when South Portland’s Riley Hasson was fouled with 41 seconds remaining and then Thornton was called for its second technical of the game. Hasson made three of four free throws.

“They’re high school kids, they’re going to make mistakes, but it’s something they’re going to have to learn from,” Davies said.

South Portland had four players in double figures. Ruay Bol scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. With Bol in foul trouble, Stilley picked up the slack, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Noah Malone added 12 points, and Hasson, known as a defensive specialist, finished with 11.

David Keohan led Thornton with 20 points, continually working hard near the basket. Boudreau scored 11 points and John Fogg had 10.

Thornton’s big three of Keohan, Evan Christensen (nine points) and Boudreau all got untracked in the second quarter as Thornton closed to within 22-21 on a Christensen three-point play with 3:49 left.

But South Portland closed the quarter on a 7-0 run for a 29-21 halftime lead, aided by a corner 3-pointer from Deandre White (eight points).

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0, 20 Jan 2017 22:47:41 +0000
Boston police warn of fake playoff tickets after man gets scammed Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:07:27 +0000 BOSTON – Boston police are warning New England Patriots fans to be careful of counterfeits when buying tickets for this weekend’s AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Police said a man walked into a station Wednesday to say he had been scammed by a man he had connected with through Craigslist.

The victim said after making the online connection, he met the suspect and exchanged money for the tickets. The victim learned a short time later that the tickets were counterfeit.

The suspect identified himself as a resident of New York. Police did not say how much the victim paid for the tickets.

Police say fans should only buy tickets from authorized ticket agencies and vendors, and risk being scammed if they buy them on the secondary market.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:07:27 +0000
Official: Gambia ex-leader to cede power Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:04:02 +0000 BANJUL, Gambia —Gambia’s new president declared late Friday that “the rule of fear” had ended, while word emerged that longtime leader Yahya Jammeh was finally stepping aside under the threat of a regional military offensive.

In neighboring Senegal, where Adama Barrow has sought refuge after winning last month’s presidential election, a government official confirmed that Jammeh had agreed to leave. But at the airport in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, officials rolled up the red carpet leading to the plane that had signaled a possible departure.

Jammeh has refused to accept his loss to Barrow, who was inaugurated Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal. The leaders of Guinea and Mauritania met with Jammeh on Friday to try to persuade him to cede power.

The Senegalese government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to talk to reporters, said final arrangements for the agreement with Jammeh were still being worked out.

Jammeh, who first seized power in a 1994 coup, has offered to step aside once before during the current crisis – only to change his mind later.

He has been holed up in his official residence in Banjul, and was becoming increasingly isolated as his security forces abandoned him and he dissolved his Cabinet.

Defense forces chief Ousmane Badjie told The Associated Press that Gambia’s security services now support Barrow and would not oppose the regional force that was poised to move against Jammeh if he refused to step down.

“You cannot push us to war for an issue we can solve politically,” Badjie said. “We don’t see any reason to fight.”

The force, including tanks, rolled into Gambia without facing any resistance, said Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS. At least 20 military vehicles were seen Friday at the border town of Karang.

The force included troops from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Mali, and they moved in after Barrow’s inauguration and a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council to support the regional efforts.

Fearing violence, about 45,000 people have fled Gambia for Senegal, according to the Senegalese government and the U.N. refugee agency.

Jammeh met Friday with President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania, which has been mentioned as a possible home in exile for Jammeh.

Jammeh “has the choice of going with President Alpha Conde,” de Souza said, but if that fails, “we will bring him by force or by will.”

]]> 0's former President Yahya Jammeh reportedly has agreed to step aside under the threat of a military offensive.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:04:02 +0000
Richard Blanco writes a new poem for America Sat, 21 Jan 2017 02:03:21 +0000 Richard Blanco has written a new poem for America.

The part-time Maine resident and inaugural poet at former President Obama’s second inauguration published a new poem on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration that celebrates the diversity of America and the power of coming together as a community “to fulfill the promise of being one people.” Blanco, who lives in Bethel, published “Declaration of Inter-Dependence” on the poetry website “Split This Rock.” The seven-stanza poem portrays Americans working two jobs, struggling against oppression and unable to “mine a life anymore in a town where too much, too little has happened, for too long.” It also sees the goodness in community, the reward of kindness and the strength of standing together and speaking up:

“We’re the living who light vigil candles and the cop who didn’t shoot. We’re the inmate with his volunteer teacher diagramming sentences, the Buddhist alongside the stockbroker serving soup at a shelter. We’re the grandfather taking a selfie with his grandson and his husband, the widow’s fifty cents in the collection plate and the golfer’s ten-thousand-dollar pledge for a cure.”

Blanco delivered the poem “One Today” for Obama’s 2013 inauguration, and returned home to Maine that winter to read the poem at Merrill Auditorium. He was the first Latino, immigrant and gay person to serve as inaugural poet. He was born in Madrid to Cuban exiles, and raised in Miami.

When the United States reopened its embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2015, Blanco wrote a poem reconciling his split loyalties and heritage between Cuba and America, and delivered it at the opening.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at:

]]> 0, ME - NOVEMBER 5: Richard Blanco, a Bethel resident who has written a memoir called The Prince of Los Cocuyos in Portland Thursday, November 6, 2014. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)Fri, 20 Jan 2017 22:29:34 +0000
Gastineau promotes safe youth football Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:57:34 +0000 NEW YORK — Mark Gastineau is trying to help sack safety issues in football.

And the former New York Jets sack-dancing star wants to use himself as an example of the dangers of playing the game.

The 60-year-old Gastineau said during a radio interview Thursday night on 710 WOR Radio in New York that he was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease about a year ago.

“It’s disturbing,” Gastineau said. “But it’s disturbing to the point where I want to get out and I want to help other youths and help other people coming into the game. Right now, I’m able to do it.”

The Jets’ career sacks leader, who was known for his entertaining dances after taking down quarterbacks from 1979-88, believes his issues are largely related to his hard-playing style.

“When my results came back, I had dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Gastineau said. “Those were three things that I have. … It’s something that I want every player that goes out and plays to be protected in the best way they can be protected.”

Gastineau was promoting USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, which focuses on making the game safer. The former defensive end says the techniques the program teaches could have helped prevent his health issues.

“I’m not going to say that I’m not going to let my child play when I know there’s techniques out there that if I would have had them,” Gastineau said, “I know that I wouldn’t have the results that I have now.”

Gastineau insisted he didn’t want his situation to “overshadow” what Heads Up Football can do to help young players continue to play the game – but safely.

“I want it to be a warning to mothers and fathers to be able to put their kids in safe places,” he said, “to be able to carry on a team sport that I think is going to be way far more beneficial for them than if they didn’t have that in their lives.”

]]> 0 GastineauFri, 20 Jan 2017 21:05:53 +0000
‘A Dog’s Purpose’ weekend premiere canceled Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:47:56 +0000 LOS ANGELES — This weekend’s premiere of “A Dog’s Purpose” has been canceled following the release of a video that appears to show a frightened dog being forced into churning water during production of the film.

TMZ published the video Wednesday showing a man struggling to put a dog into a pool of rushing water while the animal fights to stay out.

Producer Amblin Entertainment and distributor Universal Pictures haven’t disputed the authenticity of the footage.

They said in a joint statement that Universal decided to cancel the premiere because Amblin’s review of the video is ongoing and they don’t want “anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”

“While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German shepherd was not harmed throughout the filmmaking,” the statement said.

The companies said the film will be released nationwide as scheduled on Jan. 27.

W. Bruce Cameron, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, said the events in the video don’t reflect what he saw when he visited the set in person.

“The ethic of everyone was the safety and comfort of the dogs,” Cameron wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

“The dog was not terrified and not thrown in the water,” he said. “When he was asked to perform the stunt from the other side of the pool, which was not how he had been doing it all day, he balked. The mistake was trying to dip the dog in the water to show him it was okay.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the cancellation of the premiere appropriate after earlier calling for a boycott of the film.

]]> 0 released by Universal Pictures shows Dennis Quaid with a dog, voiced by Josh Gad, in a scene from "A Dog's Purpose." Associated Press/Joe Lederer/Universal Pictures via APFri, 20 Jan 2017 21:00:53 +0000
Rescue teams continue to search rubble of collapsed Tehran building Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:47:24 +0000 TEHRAN, Iran — Rescue teams in the Iranian capital worked through the night and into the day Friday to try and reach firefighters and other victims believed to be under the rubble of a commercial building that collapsed in Tehran the previous day.

Iranian officials have yet to offer definitive casualty figures for the disaster. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported on Thursday that 30 firefighters had been killed, without elaborating.

Later Thursday, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said more than 20 firefighters had been killed and promised further updates. Ghalibaf also said there were no civilians inside the building at the time of the collapse, though witnesses said people had slipped through a police cordon to try and save their valuables inside the burning building.

On Friday, authorities said an injured firefighter died at a local hospital. No survivors or bodies have been pulled out of the rubble so far.

The disaster had stunned many Iranians and triggered an outpouring of grief across Tehran.

Iran’s government announced that Saturday would be a day of mourning for the nation following the incident that “claimed lives of several people and brave firefighters,” according to a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

Jalal Maleki, spokesman of the Tehran Fire Department, told state TV that along with firefighters who are believed to be under the rubble, “we assume that there are some other people.”

Iranian media said Behnam Mirzakhani, one of the firefighters hospitalized in Tehran, died Friday from his injuries sustained in the building’s collapse.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:47:24 +0000
Putting pressure on Brady no easy feat Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:42:38 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Take it from Wade Phillips, slowing down Tom Brady is a goal often sought, but seldom achieved.

“Good luck,” the new defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams said this week when asked about the difficulty of taking the Patriots quarterback out of his comfort zone. “He’s good no matter what.”

And that’s coming from a guy who’s had at least some recent success bothering Brady.

Brady enters Sunday’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 6-4 record in AFC championship games, including 4-1 at home.

But the constant in each of his losses has been when he’s faced a defense that has applied pressure up front and forced him into quick decisions in the pocket.

The Broncos, with Phillips serving as defensive coordinator, did it during last season’s 20-18 win in Denver in the AFC championship game. Led by Von Miller, they made Brady’s life miserable, sacking him four times and registering another 17 quarterback hits.

“Before we played them, they said I couldn’t stop him,” Phillips said. “It’s a combination of things, but you’ve just got to play great defense. Yeah, you’ve got to put pressure on him, but you’ve got to be able to cover. … The pressure you get, you have to get it 1-on-1.

“You’re not going to fool him and get a free runner on him. You know, you don’t see anybody just come and hit him in the back. He sees everybody. He’s special that way, too.”

The Steelers will be the latest to try to test that blueprint, albeit with a defense that has been more pedestrian than “Steel Curtain” when it’s come to pressuring quarterbacks.

They also haven’t had much success against Brady historically. Pittsburgh has sacked him just 21 times in 11 games. Brady hasn’t thrown an interception against the Steelers since 2005, while throwing 19 touchdown passes.

But Brady will face a much healthier pass rush than he did in Week 7’s 27-16 road win. Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier was returning from a knee injury; James Harrison played only 42 percent of the snaps, and Bud Dupree was on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

The improved health since then has been a boost to Pittsburgh in its nine-game winning streak. The Steelers had 13 sacks over their first nine games, but have 31 during the streak.

“I think just getting after him in general is going to be big,” Shazier said. “Every team wants to get after the quarterback; when you get the quarterback rattled or just out of position, it definitely helps out the defense, helps out the team.

“If we can make him feel uncomfortable and make him play a game he’s not accustomed to, it’s going to help out our defense … .”

It may be good timing for Pittsburgh.

The Patriots did a much better job protecting Brady during the regular season, compared to last year (17 sacks allowed in the 12 games he played after giving up 38 in 2015).

But New England’s offensive line showed some cracks in last week’s divisional-round win over the Texans, allowing Brady to be sacked twice and hit eight times. Houston also had two interceptions.

Brady said the change in the Steelers’ defense from Week 7 is stark.

“They’ve been dominant,” he said. “They’ve been great just rushing the quarterback, making plays for their team, strip sacks, forced interceptions, a lot of big plays. … It’s a big challenge for us.”

Left tackle Nate Solder said the vulnerabilities that were exposed last week by the Texans aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The things that you didn’t do right sometimes can be a gift. If you can get them right, it can help you for the next game,” Solder said. “One quarterback hit is too many. … (But) you can’t worry about every little thing that goes wrong.”

Dupree, who had his first career sack during the Steelers’ season-opening 28-21 loss to the Patriots in 2015, said he isn’t expecting Brady to stand around waiting to get hit.

“Tom Brady is on a different level. He’s playing great,” Dupree said. “Even though he’s older he’s still doing a great job. We’ve got to continue to trust our game plan, trust our training and be the best team on the field.”

]]> 0 Steelers weren't able to record a sack against Tom Brady during their regular-season matchup, and know they need to change that stat if they hope to pull off an upset Sunday.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:03:23 +0000
Women’s basketball: Amherst easily beats Bowdoin Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:39:22 +0000 BRUNSWICK — Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles began Friday night’s game crouching calmly in front of the Polar Bears bench.

Soon, Shibles was upright and calling timeout.

Then she called another in the first quarter.

The second quarter was only two minutes old when Shibles called her third timeout.

None of them helped. National power Amherst bounced Bowdoin 66-45 in a NESCAC game at Morrell Gymnasium. Amherst took a 42-18 halftime lead, and Bowdoin never got closer than 20 after that.

“They’re a great team, obviously,” Shibles said.

Amherst, ranked No. 2 in the national polls, improved to 16-0, 4-0 in the conference.

No. 16 Bowdoin dropped to 12-3, 2-2. The Polar Bears’ other NESCAC loss came at top-ranked Tufts two weeks ago, 46-43.

It was that close game against the Jumbos that ramped up the anticipation for Friday’s game. Maybe the Polar Bears could pull the upset in their own gym.

But Amherst scored on its first five possessions, with Ali Doswell’s 3-pointer making it 11-0.

“They put us back on our heels,” Shibles said. “We sort of lost our focus and our poise.”

Bowdoin missed its first five shots and made a turnover. Amherst shot 49 percent for the game, while Bowdoin shot 32 percent.

“They couldn’t really miss. It kind of got to us,” said Lydia Caputi, a 5-foot-10 junior forward from Brunswick. She and 6-foot senior Emily Campbell of York both scored 11 points for the Polar Bears.

Amherst’s offense was relentless, led by Doswell, a 5-foot-10 senior guard who led all scorers with 15 points, including three 3-pointers.

Amherst continually worked for open shots against Bowdoin’s zone defense, driving in for layups, or kicking out for jumpers, or 3s.

Four of Amherst’s five starters were between 5-10 and 6-1. All could handle the ball, as well as shoot outside.

“They essentially play five guards,” Shibles said. “They spread you out and they really do a great job of getting in the paint and making excellent reads.”

Bowdoin could not counter. The Polar Bears drove in for shots, but Amherst contested nearly every one, and Bowdoin had trouble finishing.

“We really focused on our defense,” said 6-foot Emma McCarthy, who had 10 points and eight rebounds for Amherst. “We carried that momentum to our offense. We took our time and found the good, open shot.”

Bowdoin began the second half with a spurt – Caputi scored on a fast break, and then Campbell hit a jumper. That only closed the score to 42-22, and Amherst easily held on.

“We’ll learn from our mistakes,” Caputi said. “This game is in the past.”

NOTES: Amherst currently does not have a mascot or nickname. The school dropped the unofficial “Lord Jeffs,” after Lord Jeffrey Amherst, because of the colonial-era British commander’s oppression of Native Americans.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:58:35 +0000
Prince William will soon leave job as helicopter pilot Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:38:18 +0000 LONDON — Prince William will soon leave his job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot to spend more time on royal duties.

Kensington Palace said Friday that William, his wife Kate and their two children will spend more time in London and less time at their country home in Norfolk.

William will stop his work with the East Anglia Air Ambulance service in the summer. Officials say William and Kate will still have their primary residence in Norfolk but will have more time to represent Queen Elizabeth II at numerous events. The 90-year-old queen still maintains a busy public schedule.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:38:18 +0000
From theater to inauguration alternatives: Things to do in Maine this weekend Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:23:06 +0000 0, 20 Jan 2017 23:22:01 +0000 Availability of Packers’ receivers remains uncertain Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:56:00 +0000 GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers may not know the status of injured receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison until just before the NFC championship game Sunday.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that all three would be “given every chance to play in the game.”

The Packers didn’t have on-field work Friday, when all three players were listed as questionable on the injury report.

The team may make a decision on them after the final practice of the week Saturday, though McCarthy said it was possible that at least one or two players may be pushed back to just before the game Sunday at Atlanta.

Nelson was limited in practice this week as he recovers from broken ribs. He led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches.

Nelson wasn’t at Lambeau Field on Friday because of an unrelated illness, McCarthy said. He apparently came down with a bug that bothered kicker Mason Crosby earlier in the week, as well as quarterback Aaron Rodgers later in the week.

“Rest. Fluids. All that stuff. We’ll be OK,” Rodgers said.

Adams, who has an ankle injury, had 12 touchdown catches. Nelson and Adams were the top two receivers for Rodgers.

Allison, a rookie, emerged in the last two weeks of the regular season with eight catches for 157 yards and a score while filling in when Randall Cobb was hurt. Allison has a hamstring injury.

Illness shouldn’t have any bearing on the decision about Nelson after he looked good in practice this week, McCarthy said.

“It was good to have him out there,” McCarthy said. “Really, today was the most important day for those three (receivers), so really the information that comes out of the training room today will give us a better idea where we are.”

The Packers are left with Cobb, along with third-year player Jeff Janis and rookie Trevor Davis at receiver.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:32:48 +0000
Scholars worry as German abbey, library are closed Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:50:30 +0000 BERLIN — Bavarian Catholic church authorities said Thursday they have closed Germany’s last Bridgettine Order abbey at the request of the Vatican – renewing concerns about what will happen to the property, including a precious library, which now goes to the local diocese.

Altomuenster Abbey, near Munich, holds a collection of some 500 books, including illuminated manuscripts from the 16th century, chants used by the uniquely women-led Bridgettine Order and processionals.

Since the Vatican ordered the dissolution of the abbey at the end of 2015, the library and the order’s collection of 2,300 statues, paintings and other works of art have been kept under lock and key.

The Franciscan nun the Vatican put in charge of the abbey’s closure, Sister Gabriele Konrad, has said they’re simply being kept secure. But top Bridgettine scholars have worried that the library – estimated to hold some 80 percent of all known Bridgettine books – might be split up or damaged.

They have collected nearly 2,000 signatures urging the Munich-Freising diocese to preserve it for research.

In announcing the closure of Altomuenster, Munich Vicar General Msgr. Peter Beer sought to allay those fears. He said that all books dating from before 1803, the year of secularization in Germany when principalities took most church properties, would be digitized and made publicly available.

“In consultation with the Bavarian State Library, they will be made fully available online over the course of 2017,” he said.

He says the abbey itself will remain “a spiritual place” but specific plans haven’t been made.

Volker Schier, a Bridgettine scholar who teaches at Arizona State University and was one of the instigators of the petition, said it remains unclear whether the collection of books will be kept together, if researchers will get access to the physical books, and whether the conservation and preservation will meet established standards.

“The answers are very vague … and it is unclear how scholars will get access and when,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.

Since 1496, the former Benedictine abbey in Altomuenster has housed a female religious order founded by Saint Bridget in Sweden in the 14th century. It was one of three monasteries of the original branch of the scholarly, monastic order operating today.

The Vatican in 2015 ordered Altomuenster closed after the number of nuns fell to two, too few to train novices. One of them lives in a nearby retirement home.

The last Bridgettine nun living in the abbey, Sister Apollonia Buchinger, has fought over the last year to keep the abbey open, and it was not immediately clear whether she would try to appeal the decision to close it.

The Vatican’s representative, Sister Gabriele, said she was trying to find a solution for the last Altomuenster nun to “continue her spiritual life” elsewhere.

]]> 0 Apollonia, right, and Postulant Claudia Schwarz kneel in the chapel of the abbey in Altomuenster, Germany, on Dec. 6, 2016. The Vatican requested that the abbey be closed.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:50:30 +0000
George H.W. Bush showing improvement at Houston hospital Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:43:06 +0000 HOUSTON — Doctors removed former President George H.W. Bush’s breathing tube Friday and he was breathing well on his own at a Houston hospital, his spokesman said.

The tube was inserted Wednesday while the 92-year-old former president was being treated for pneumonia. Bush remains in intensive care at Houston Methodist Hospital but is comfortable, family spokesman Jim McGrath said.

“He was extubated this morning, and is breathing well on his own with minimal supplemental oxygen,” McGrath said. “President Bush is comfortable and watching inauguration coverage together with Mrs. Bush, their son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria.”

Former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, also remained hospitalized Friday for treatment of bronchitis, but she’s feeling better and “focusing on spending time with her husband,” McGrath said. She is expected to remain in the hospital over the weekend as a precaution.

The Bushes, longtime summer residents of Kennebunkport, were married Jan. 6, 1945, and their 72-year marriage is the longest of any presidential couple in American history.

Their son former President George W. Bush offered thanks on Instagram on Thursday for all the messages “of love and support for Mother and Dad.”

“Your prayers are working: 41 and Mom are doing much better today and fighting on,” he said in his first public comments about their illnesses.

The younger Bush and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, were at President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

Trump and former President Bill Clinton sent their well wishes earlier this week via Twitter, and Barack Obama offered similar thoughts earlier this week at his farewell presidential news conference.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:43:06 +0000
Non-Muslims in Minnesota help counter hateful messages Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:40:23 +0000 MINNEAPOLIS — Stories about Muslim children being harassed in schools and anti-immigrant statements made during the presidential campaign troubled Sharon Chace.

So when she learned the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was holding a meeting to show non-Muslims what they could do to help, she decided to attend. Now the St. Paul retiree is taking steps toward helping Somali immigrants, most of whom are Muslim, to learn to read English – and she hopes to take what she learns to be a bridge for others.

“I’m just trying to be a sponge right now,” she said.

The meeting Chace attended was part of CAIR-MN’s effort to take its longtime advocacy work a step further in Minnesota by providing non-Muslims with concrete opportunities to help. For example, they could join crisis teams that respond to incidents of bias or learn how to teach others to respond to anti-Islamic rhetoric, said Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-MN’s executive director.

He said hostility toward Muslims increased during the presidential campaign when Donald Trump talked about creating a Muslim registry and banning immigrants from certain countries. Those comments spurred some, like Chace, to want to get involved.

“A lot of people are upset, a lot of people are frustrated, and they just don’t know what to do,” Hussein said. “People who were typically troubled by what has been happening are now, for the first time … willing to stand up and do something about it.”

Minnesota, which has the largest Somali population in the United States, has seen several examples of anti-Islamic rhetoric in recent months. In September, after a young Somali man stabbed 10 people at a central Minnesota mall, the owner of a southern Minnesota ice cream parlor put up a sign that said: “Muslims Get Out.” Days before the election, someone scrawled “ISIS” over a sign promoting the University of Minnesota’s Muslim Students Association.

Hussein said supporters can take simple steps, such as using social media to share stories of positive experiences with Muslims, immigrants or refugees, or donating money. CAIR also created an idea bank for people to connect and share ideas.

Rick Bernardo, an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University, said he got involved because he has several friends and colleagues who are Muslim, including a woman who told him she had to dive away from a moving car when a driver cursed at her and tried to run her over. Among other things, he hopes to dispel stereotypes by talking about the kindness of his Muslim friends if he hears or sees someone paint a negative picture of Islam.

“At some level of friendship, it’s almost like family,” Bernardo said. “This is what you do for each other.”

]]> 0 Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says his organization is taking a new approach to countering hateful messages – and he's asking non-Muslims to get involved. Minnesota has seen its share of incidents directed at Muslims in recent months, and statements made during the presidential campaign have created uncertainty. Jason Wachter/St. Cloud Times via AP, FileFri, 20 Jan 2017 19:40:23 +0000
Senate confirms retired Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:20:59 +0000 WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed the first of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees Friday evening, his picks for two major national security posts, but the rest may have to wait days or weeks before they can officially join the new administration.

Retired Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense, won confirmation on a 98-1 vote shortly after 5 p.m., hours after Trump took the oath of office at the Capitol. Retired Gen. John F. Kelly, his choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, was subsequently confirmed 88-11.

Both former Marine Corps generals were well known to senators and earned bipartisan support as their nominations headed to the Senate floor. Mattis was previously in charge of U.S. Central Command, with responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Kelly led U.S. Southern Command. Perhaps more critically, both showed a willingness to break with new president’s controversial campaign positions during their confirmation hearings last week, on matters including the likelihood of building a wall on the border with Mexico and the importance of countering the Kremlin to preserve the hegemony of NATO.

While Democrats were ready to endorse Trump’s generals, they are withholding support from almost all of Trump’s other Cabinet nominees, threatening to slow-walk proceedings on the floor if the president-elect doesn’t force his picks to go back to the committees and answer more questions. But it is unclear whether they will be able to persuade any Republicans to join them in opposition, and Democrats cannot ultimately reject any of the nominees without Republican allies.

“If there was ever a group of Cabinet nominees that cry out for rigorous scrutiny, it’s this one,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday, calling Trump’s Cabinet “a swamp full of billionaires” beset with “conflicts and ethical issues as far as the eye can see.”

A early tiff emerged Friday over the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., selected to serve as CIA director. Several Democratic senators raised objections to proceeding with Pompeo’s confirmation without an extended floor debate, even though they could not block an up-or-down vote.

“This is about whether the Senate is going to be a rubber stamp and whether the senate is in effect going to abdicate its responsibilities to do oversight,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Schumer asked the Trump transition Thursday to keep CIA Director John Brennan in office until a final vote Monday – much as President Obama kept former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden for three weeks after his own inauguration. The request was not granted: Brennan, who has sharply criticized Trump’s recent comments on the U.S. intelligence community, left Friday upon Trump’s inauguration.

In a sign that Pompeo will ultimately be confirmed, the Senate advanced his nomination Friday on an 89-8 procedural vote.

Other nominees could wait much longer than Pompeo: Democrats are prepared to delay at least eight other nominees until they are able to register their complaints, either in another round of committee questions or on the floor.

Those nominees include attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, who faces deep skepticism over his civil rights views and record; Education nominee Betsy DeVos, who underwent aggressive questioning from Democrats on Tuesday over her views on education policy and showed a tenuous grasp of some key issues; Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, a Georgia congressman who is accused of using his legislative post to help companies he had invested in; and Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick for the Office of Management and Budget, who admitted failing to pay taxes for a domestic employee for four years.

Another nominee who has inspired controversy is State Department nominee Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of oil giant Exxon Mobil. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote on his nomination Monday, but it is not clear that Tillerson will win the support of a majority of members. Democrats are all but uniformly opposed to his nomination, and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has criticized Tillerson sharply for his stance on Russia’s involvement in Syria and countering human rights violations around the world.

Democrats have also signaled serious doubts about Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin, grilling the billionaire investor Thursday about his six-year tenure running a mortgage bank after the 2008 economic crisis, as well as his failure to initially disclose hundreds of millions of dollars of personal assets to the Senate Finance Committee.

Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick to lead the Labor Department, is under close scrutiny for his record as chief executive of a major fast-food chain – including his stance against minimum-wage increases and federal worker protections – and will face senators on Feb. 2. And Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, underwent hours of hostile questioning Wednesday from Democrats concerned about his views on climate change and his record of repeatedly suing the agency he is looking to run.

]]> 0 Gen. James Mattis arrives for church service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington on Friday. Later in the day, the Senate confirmed Mattis' appointment as defense secretary.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:20:59 +0000
Nebraska targets ban on religious garb worn by teachers Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:50:30 +0000 Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. — Sister Madeleine Miller applied for a high school teaching job in Nebraska thinking she would get judged on her credentials – not what she was wearing on her head.

The 37-year-old nun was shocked to learn that, under a little-known law nearly a century old, she couldn’t wear a habit in a public school classroom.

The vaguely worded state ban prohibits teachers from wearing any sort of religious garb, from burqas to yarmulkes.

“I could have been arrested, jailed, fined or had my license taken away if I had tried to teach,” Miller said.

Now, state lawmakers are looking to end the ban, which was passed in 1919 under pressure from the Ku Klux Klan amid a national wave of anti-Catholic sentiment.

The law is rarely enforced but came to the attention of the senator whose district includes Norfolk Public Schools, where Miller had hoped to work.

Miller said a school administrator told her the district would be happy to hire her, but she couldn’t wear her habit in class.

Thirty-six states had adopted similar bans on religious garb at various points, but Nebraska and Pennsylvania are the only ones that have yet to repeal them, said Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, sponsor of the repeal bill. Oregon abolished its ban in 2010.

Scheer, who spent nearly two decades serving on a local school board, said he had no idea the ban was still in place but argued that it violates teachers’ free-speech rights. Nebraska is also struggling to fill teacher shortages this year in 18 different fields, according to the state Department of Education.

Miller – who holds a Nebraska teaching certificate, a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College in Nebraska and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago – ended up taking a job at a Catholic school in neighboring Iowa. She said she initially considered filing a lawsuit with help from the Thomas More Law Center, a national religious liberties group, but decided against it in hopes that lawmakers would fix the issue themselves.

Church rules require sisters to wear the habit virtually all of the time, except when working in a communist country or cleaning with harsh chemicals that could damage the blessed garments.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:50:30 +0000
Affordable Care Act repeal would harm Mainers, according to think tank Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:41:19 +0000 The Maine Center for Economic Policy, an Augusta-based progressive think tank, has released a new report detailing the economic harm it says would be caused by repealing the Affordable Care Act.

The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are touting a repeal, although if the law were repealed, it’s unclear what it would be replaced with.

“Repealing the law without a suitable replacement would cause 95,000 fewer Mainers to have health insurance in 2019,” the report said. “The ACA has helped curb increases in health insurance costs for individuals and businesses in Maine. It has also helped reduce uncompensated care costs for Maine hospitals. These benefits have been evident across the state, but the ACA has been particularly beneficial for Mainers aged 55-64 and those living in rural areas.”

The loss of federal subsidies that help Mainers purchase ACA marketplace insurance would total $390 million in 2019, according to the report.

The report also said 19,000 Mainers with a mental illness or substance use disorder would lose access to counseling and medication needed for treatment if the law were repealed.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:59:38 +0000
Backyard Farms names new chief for tomato growing Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:40:33 +0000 MADISON — Backyard Farms has named a new head grower to oversee the company’s 42-acre greenhouse operation.

Tony Stevens will be in charge of the tomato growing operation in Madison. He has 18 years of greenhouse growing experience, according to a news release from the company.

Backyard Farms also is marking 10 years of operation in Madison and is launching a website – – to highlight the company’s history with its first shipment to a Hannaford supermarket, and to offer recipes and tips.

“The head grower position is an important, highly visible role in our greenhouse and a critical component of our leadership team,” Backyard Farms President Stuart Jablon said in a prepared statement. “In addition to his proven track record of excellence and productivity, Tony shares our company values and understands our vision to be the most trusted brand in America. I’m confident in his ability to manage and develop our people as well as our crop and I look forward to seeing our company gain from his considerable experience and fresh perspective.”

Stevens was most recently a senior grower with Windset Farms in Santa Maria, California. He also held senior leadership positions at other commercial greenhouses, including hydroponic tomato producer Colorado Greenhouse, Eurofresh Farms and Nature Sweet Farms, according to the release.

“I’m excited to have been entrusted to maintain Backyard Farms’ reputation for excellence while exploring new ways to make our greenhouse as efficient and productive as possible,” Stevens said in a statement. “I truly admire the company-wide commitment to quality and taste.”

Stevens has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and agriculture business from the University of Wyoming. In 2005, he was recognized by Vortus Consulting as the top grower in North America.

Backyard Farms, which is the largest commercial grower of year-round tomatoes in New England, produces 25 million to 30 million pounds of tomatoes annually from about 600,000 plants. It’s also the largest employer in Madison, with about 200 employees.

The company has faced obstacles along the way, including several months in 2013 when a whitefly infestation forced the greenhouse to cease operations and furlough employees.

Backyard Farms’ greenhouses are hydroponic, which means that nutrients are distributed to plants through a water-based system in which they grow. The greenhouses are kept at 69 to 72 degrees during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night.

The company grows several varieties of tomatoes that are sent to stores including Hannaford, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Shaw’s.

]]> 0 StevensFri, 20 Jan 2017 23:02:34 +0000
White House website promotes Melania Trump’s jewelry line Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:32:48 +0000 Visitors to the newly revamped White House website get more than a simple rundown of first lady Melania Trump’s charitable works and interests – they also get a list of her magazine cover appearances and details on her jewelry line at QVC.

Trump’s biography starts with traditional details such as her date of birth in her native country of Slovenia and information about her background as a model. That’s when the brief backgrounder takes a promotional turn. The website includes a lengthy list of brands that hired her as a model and several of the magazines in which she appeared, including the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

It is not uncommon for the White House to note the accomplishments of the first lady in her official biography, but Trump’s decision to include a detailed list of her media appearances is unusual.

The site also lists the brand names of Trump’s jewelry lines sold on QVC, at a time when questions have been raised by critics about the ethical implications of the family’s business entanglements.

“Melania is also a successful entrepreneur. In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, ‘Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,’ on QVC,” the site reads.

President Trump has been criticized for failing to fully sever ties with his famous business empire. He announced earlier this month that he would turn over control of his businesses to his two adult sons, but critics say he has not gone far enough. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tweeted Friday that Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause in the Constitution, which bars elected officials from profiting from the office they hold.

The site also touches on the previously controversial subject of Melania Trump’s university background.

“She would pursue a degree at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, but pause her studies to advance her modeling career in Milan and Paris before moving to New York in 1996,” the site reads.

Melania Trump’s college education was a sensitive point during the campaign. A biography of Trump distributed in a program at the Republican National Committee, which mimicked her biography posted on the Trump Organization, had indicated she had begun modeling “after obtaining a degree in design and architecture at university in Slovenia.” Reporters then learned that she had attended the university but did not graduate, prompting the Trump Organization to remove her biography from the company website altogether.

]]> 0 Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump, leaves the President's Room of the Senate at the Capitol in Washington on Friday after President Trump signed his first legislation. The new White House website lists the brand names of Melania Trump's jewelry lines sold on QVC, at a time when questions have been raised by critics about the ethical implications of the family's business entanglements.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:32:48 +0000
Man charged with killing father in Gardiner wants to claim self-defense at trial Fri, 20 Jan 2017 23:22:20 +0000 AUGUSTA — Leroy Smith III, accused of murdering his father in May 2014, is adamant that he wants a trial so he can tell jurors he acted in self-defense.

Smith, now 27, believes his father was putting rat poison in the food he served, and he wants attorneys to investigate that theory and theories involving an event Smith believes happened at a Phish concert, where members of the Hells Angels held him at gunpoint and warned him that his father would try to kill him. The band Slayer was involved, as well, Smith has said.

Forensic psychologists and others who have dealt with Smith have testified that those accounts are delusions.

Three psychologists discussed Smith’s recent condition during a hearing Friday at the Capital Judicial Center, and all said he has made progress over the past year or so while on medication. It was not clear when Justice Michaela Murphy will issue the next order, which could deem Smith competent to stand trial or request that he continue to receive treatment at the Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Smith has been in court about every six months and evaluated frequently because he has been found incompetent to stand trial and is under a court order to be involuntarily medicated, if necessary, in an attempt to restore him to competence.

While he has been taking the medication voluntarily, it has had side effects, including an obvious weight gain and some tremors, which apparently have been reduced.

Following passage of a law in 2015, Smith is the first person in Maine to be forced to take psychiatric medication in an effort to restore his mental capacity to a level at which he can participate fully in his own defense.

In June 2016, a judge found Smith competent to enter a plea of not guilty. The judge entered a plea of not criminally responsible on Smith’s behalf as well.

On Friday, Smith sat quietly at a table behind his two attorneys, with his head shaved and a trimmed long dark beard, and wearing a long-sleeved white dress shirt and a tie.

A chain was wrapped around his waist and connected to his handcuffs. He was watched closely by Kennebec sheriff’s deputies as he listened to testimony about himself. He was not expected to testify, and at one point leaned over the table to discuss something with Scott Hess, one of his two attorneys.

Smith has tried to fire both Hess and attorney Pam Ames, but Justice Michaela Murphy told him Friday that they will remain on the case as long as his mental competence is at issue. Smith has been unwilling to meet with them.

Police say the younger man stabbed Leroy Smith Jr., 56, to death in May 2014 in the Gardiner apartment they shared, then dismembered the body, distributing some parts in a wooded area of Richmond.

Smith, who doctors say suffers from delusional disorder, has been held at Riverview since his arrest several days after his father’s death.

At Friday’s hearing, three psychologists who evaluated Smith testified that he has improved enough to recognize that people might think his theories are crazy, but he still wanted his day in court.

“Mr. Smith’s motivation to come to a disposition at this time is extremely high,” she said.

Ann LeBlanc, director of the state forensic service, said that while Smith holds to his delusions, “his ability to step back from his delusions when talking about his case has improved.”

She said Smith is reluctant to plead not criminally responsible for the murder because he has spoken with others who have been held at Riverview for long periods until a judge has decided they can be discharged.

She also said Smith has done well in his efforts toward recovery and recently was elected president of the unit on which he is being held at Riverview.

Peter Donnelly, another clinical psychologist, testified that Smith regrets not having his hair tested for the presence of rat poison closer to the time of his father’s death.

Donnelly said Smith told him the story about the encounter with the Hells Angels and Slayer.

“He believes he was forced to take peyote,” Donnelly said. “He believes he was being tested for not leading the right kind of life or not playing music correctly.”

Donnelly said Smith hopes Slayer’s tax records can be found, and Smith wants to recover his 2011 Facebook postings – in which he apparently threatened the president – because they should have alerted the government to step in, thereby preventing his father’s death.

At one point, the Secret Service warned Smith after questioning him about threats he allegedly made against President Obama.

According to information in an affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Jonah O’Roak, who sought the original arrest warrant, the younger Smith told investigators he had killed his father and then “filleted him and buried him in the woods because his dad sexually assaulted him his whole life.”

There was no record of Leroy Herbert Smith Jr. on a sex offender registry in the United States, and the younger Smith had lived in Massachusetts until moving in with his father not long before the slaying.

Smith also said he rented a carpet steamer to help clean up the blood. At a hearing five days later, the younger Smith claimed to be a political prisoner.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

Twitter: @betadams

]]> 0 Smith III sits in court Friday during a hearing on his competence to stand trial for the 2014 killing of his father.Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:05:18 +0000
The latest: President Trump walks part of parade route Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:10:25 +0000 WASHINGTON – The Latest on Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States:

5:40 p.m.

A video on social media shows District of Columbia police pepper-spraying a group of protesters — including an elderly woman and a man on crutches, as well as those trying to help them to move out of the way.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department declined to immediately provide comment. It was unclear what happened just before the video began.

The video shows a woman screaming “my child” as she runs with her crying son in her arms. Others are hunched over or coughing as plumes of pink spray waft over hundreds of people in the street. Toward the end of the video, protesters appear to be breaking up cement blocks and

5:30 p.m.

A group of protesters in downtown Washington jumped on the hood of a limousine, smashed its windows and then set it on fire, while hundreds of others waved signs and chanted slogans voicing their displeasure of their new president.

The protests came as President Donald Trump’s inaugural parade continued blocks away.

Pockets of demonstrators broke out into screaming matches with Trump supporters. Police deployed flash bang grenades. Helicopters circled above, taking in the scene.

A line of police officers wearing riot gear watched demonstrators marching. The officers moved in once the limo was set afire to allow fire officials to extinguish the blaze. A pile of overturned newspaper boxes, trash cans and a tire were also set alight.

President Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade in Washington on Friday.

President Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade in Washington on Friday. Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

5:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives are arriving at the reviewing stand near the White House to watch the inaugural parade.

Trump said the day was “unbelievable,” as he and wife Melania made their way along the North Lawn to the stand on Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump also flashed a thumbs-up.

The first couple are surrounded in the enclosed stand by their family members.

5:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump twice got out of their vehicles to walk and wave to the crowd during their escorted trip from the Capitol to the White House.

They first walked for about a block before reaching the Trump International Hotel, where the crowds on both sides of the street were at their loudest. As the Trumps neared the hotel, agents urged the couple to get back into their sedan.

A large crowd of protesters had gathered on the opposite side of the street, while supporters and employees of the hotel cheered on the hotel side of the street.

Later, the Trumps exited their sedan with their children and grandchildren in tow. An announcer roared, “Welcome home, Mr. President.”

President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on Friday.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on Friday. Associated Press/Evan Vucci

5:10 p.m.

A man who described himself as an American nationalist says his friend was knocked out after he was hit on the head with a stick by an anti-Trump protester in McPherson Square.

Samuel Hyde of Jacksonville, Florida, says he and his friends ventured into the anti-Trump protest “just to see what was going on. We figured out quickly we weren’t welcome.”

The pro-Trump supporters were quickly surrounded. The man who was struck, who did not give his name, told Army soldiers who came to his aid, “I was worried they were going to bash my brains out.”

Araquel Bloss, lead organizer of the Occupy Inauguration protest in McPherson Square, also came to the man’s aid. She says the protest was nonviolent and the man who struck the victim is not representative of the protesters.

5:05 p.m.

A watchdog group is asking the General Services Administration to determine whether President Donald Trump has violated his lease for the government-owned building that houses his luxury hotel a few blocks from the White House.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington issued the letter Friday shortly after Trump took the oath of office.

The 2013 lease Trump signed for the Old Post Office building specifically bars any “elected official of the Government of the United States” from benefiting. Trump announced earlier this month that he would hand over day-to-day control of his multibillion-dollar business empire to two of his sons, but there is no indication he has relinquished his ownership stake in the $200 million project.

A spokeswoman for the GSA declined to comment.

4:25 p.m.

The leader of Taiwan’s delegation to the U.S. presidential inauguration has dismissed China’s strong objections to his attendance as “small-minded.”

Former Premier Yu Shyi-kun says: “It’s hard to believe that a country with 5,000 years of history and its glorious background is so focused on this. It just shows how petty they are.”

Yu was interviewed by The Associated Press after watching Trump’s swearing-in. He says he had a good seat, directly in front of the ceremony at the Capitol.

The U.S. has no formal relations with self-governing Taiwan in deference to China, which claims the island as its own. However, the two maintain robust informal ties. China is concerned that President Donald Trump could seek to redefine relations between Beijing, Taipei and Washington.

Military units march during the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday.

Military units march during the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday. Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

4:05 p.m

President Donald Trump is making his way down Constitution Avenue with a military escort as his inauguration parade begins in Washington.

The president will review the parade from a viewing stand near the White House.

He and first lady Melania Trump are riding in the presidential limousine nicknamed “The Beast.”

Trump is being cheered by supporters as his car passes.

Others are shouting “Media sucks” while a group of protesters chants, “Not my president, not my president.”

Military units march in the inaugural parade from the U.S. Capitol on Friday in Washington, D.C.

Military units march in the inaugural parade from the U.S. Capitol on Friday in Washington, D.C. Associated Press/Alex Brandon

3:50 p.m.

Military bands representing all the service branches are playing and marching outside the Capitol, signaling the start of the inaugural parade.

Police officers on motorcycles are following closely behind as the parade participants begin the slow trek down Constitution Avenue.

Hundreds of police officers have lined both sides of the street. Service members are also standing at attention on both sides.

There are only a few onlookers along the first couple of blocks but the crowds appear to grow as the parade approaches the National Mall.

3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump – in brief remarks at his inaugural lunch at the Capitol – says he was honored that Hillary Clinton, his rival in the White House race, came to the event.

The bipartisan crowd of lawmakers and other dignitaries gave Clinton a standing ovation after Trump asked her to rise.

Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, sat with members of Trump’s family at the event.

Trump ended by saying he has “a lot of respect for those two people.”

Contrast that with some of his rhetoric during the campaign.

Back then, Trump repeatedly said Hillary Clinton deserved to be in jail because of her private email server issues. And Trump invited women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to sit in the audience of one of the presidential debates.

]]> 0 Donald Trump smiles with his son Barron as they view the 58th Presidential Inauguration parade for President Donald Trump in Washington. Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:04:31 +0000
Maine Turnpike worker hit and killed at construction site near Exit 48 in Portland Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:05:28 +0000 A Maine Turnpike Authority employee was killed when he was hit by a truck at a construction site in Portland in one of two highway fatalities Friday afternoon in Maine.

Jeffrey Abbott, 53, of Saco died when he was struck after he left the cab of an MTA safety vehicle to remove traffic cones on the northbound side of the highway near Exit 48 around 1:35 p.m., Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said.

The driver of the truck, 20-year-old Cody Craig of Turner, had struck two vehicles ahead of him that had slowed for the construction. The truck, owned by Nortrax Corp. of Westbrook, then veered into the construction area and hit Abbott.

The two vehicles the truck hit were operated by Joshua Brown, 40, of Rumford and Kelly James, 25, of Lewiston. Neither driver was injured.

There were significant delays until state troopers cleared the scene about 5:15. No charges were filed, but the crash report will be reviewed by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office after it is completed.

In Whitefield, police said Robert Frith, 62, of West Gardiner was killed when the dump truck he was driving overturned off Doyle Road about 1:30 p.m. The truck, which was loaded with gravel, ended up on its side and struck a tree, police said.

Frith was working for BHS Inc. in Farmingdale, McCausland said. Doyle Road, which is unpaved, was closed Friday afternoon while police investigated the crash and brought in equipment to remove the truck.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:31:08 +0000
Analysis: Trump inaugural speech makes sharp break with past, and his party Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:42:43 +0000 Donald Trump began his presidency as he ran his campaign – with blunt, searing talk about a crippled nation in dire need of bold, immediate action. His inaugural address broke with those that came before it. This, he made clear in case anyone had not yet gotten it, will be a very different presidency.

Standing on a platform with much of the Washington establishment, he tore into the people who have run the country. He spurned the poetry and grandeur of most inaugural speeches and instead delivered a rallying cry, remniscent of his stream-of-consciousness campaign talks, brimming with brash bravado about his intention to bring massive change: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

“This was pure Trump, just a declaration of war against the Washington establishment and President Obama,” said Craig Shirley, author of books on Ronald Reagan and a Republican political consultant. “It was not the usual call for togetherness; it was Trumpism, the speech of a businessman – problems and solutions, very utilitarian.”

After a quick nod to his predecessors, Trump launched immediately into a fiery recitation of the ills of a nation that he has long described in apocalyptic terms – a crippled, hollowed nation in need of immediate, intensive care.

Trump portrayed the source of the country’s problems as the government he now leads. “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said. “Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.”

Trump had promised for nearly a year that when the time came, he would pivot to a style he called “presidential.” But his speech made clear that he intends to govern as he campaigned, in direct communion with his followers, bypassing the usual niceties and channels of power.

“This was a campaign speech,” said Elvin Lim, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore who has written extensively on inaugural addresses. “This is a big break from the inaugural tradition: where others have emphasized continuity, he stressed that this is a sharp break with everything that has come before.”

Trump said in recent days that he was inspired by the inaugural addresses of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. But there were few echoes of their poetic, uniting rhetoric in Trump’s address.

Instead, Trump paid tribute to Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era homage to the “forgotten man,” tapped into a bit of Reagan’s language of optimism about American energy and resolve, and included a line that almost directly shadowed Kennedy, promising that at “the birth of a new millennium,” the nation is “ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.”

But this was no occasion for eloquence or abstract ambition, Trump made clear. Rather, this was, as Lim said, “a defiant speech. The inaugural is generally the time to say the campaign is over, but Trump is proving to his supporters that he’s still the same man as he was in the campaign. This is not the usual defense of the Constitution, but a speech about him and the people, that special personal relationship he has built with his supporters.”

Trump has never been a traditional or eloquent orator, and he sometimes scoffed at those who crafted their speeches with artisanal care. He boasted about writing his books on the fly, talking them through with his ghostwriters, believing that plain, punchy language and simple ideas were the best way to build his brand and connect with his audience.

He has always considered himself as much a showman as a businessman, and he inherited his mother’s passion for pageantry and pomp. He believes that straight, plain talk is the best way to cut through popular skepticism about authority and institutions in a troubled era.

Trump made no reference to his party, Congress, or any other means by which he expects to accomplish the sweeping change he promised. Instead, he once again promised that he personally will deliver a national restoration: “I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down,” he said. “America will start winning again, winning like never before.”

“There weren’t any memorable, bumper sticker lines,” Shirley said. “Eloquence and statesmanship were not what he was going for. This is a break with the past, including with the Republican party and its ideals.”

Trump had said he was modeling his address after his favorites: Kennedy’s short, stirring call in 1961 for Americans to join in common pursuit to “explore the stars, conquer the deserts . . . and encourage the arts and commerce,” and Reagan’s gracious but blunt 1981 speech, perhaps the first inaugural oration to include a moving anecdote about an ordinary American.

Kennedy reached in nearly every paragraph for poetry and posterity. He hit time-honored themes of unity (“Divided, there is little we can do”) and change (“the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,”) but he also went big from the start, challenging the nation to confront the horrifying prospect of nuclear annihilation and to contemplate the possibility of eliminating human poverty.

Reagan’s first inaugural is remembered mainly for its tone-setting catchphrase, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” But Reagan’s full speech was a masterful blend of velvet and hammer: A frank critique of the nation’s malaise, “an economic affliction of great proportions” but also a warning that “progress may be slow – measured in inches and feet, not miles.”

Trump offered no such cautions. He promised to “eradicate completely from the face of the earth . . . radical Islamic terrorism,” and he repeatedly swore allegiance to Charles Lindbergh’s “America First” theme, stating that he will “follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.”

“This was a speech dedicated almost only to people who voted for him,” Lim said. “The inaugural is generally used to heal wounds, but he barely went there.”

Trump did say that “When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

His central message for his presidency was a near-perfect copy of the core of his campaign, a resolute belief that America is severely damaged and only Trump can fix it. “The time for empty talk is over,” he said. “Now arrives the hour of action.”

]]> 0, 20 Jan 2017 14:49:48 +0000
Down East salmon also served during inauguration Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:27:10 +0000 Maine lobster wasn’t the only Pine Tree State delicacy consumed by revelers at the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Farm-raised salmon from Eastport also made the menu.

Atlantic salmon raised at the Cooke Aquaculture farm in Eastport were hand selected and shipped to Washington, D.C., where they were smoked and served Thursday by the executive chef of the Blair House where Trump spent the night before his inauguration, according to a news release from the Maine Aquaculture Association.

“To have farmed salmon that were raised in the state of Maine served to President Trump, Gov. LePage and to those celebrating today’s inauguration, is a real honor and affirmation of our healthy, high-quality, sustainably produced farmed seafood,” said Sebastian Belle, the association’s executive director.

Cooke, which is based in New Brunswick, employs approximately 250 people in Down East Maine in its salmon farming operations.

Maine lobster was on the menu for lunch Friday following the swearing-in of the nation’s new president.

]]> 0 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:52:08 +0000