The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Tue, 30 Aug 2016 03:09:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sports Digest: One bad inning dooms Sea Dogs in 7-1 loss Tue, 30 Aug 2016 03:09:29 +0000 BASEBALL

One bad inning dooms Sea Dogs in 7-1 loss

The Reading Fightin Phils used a seven-run second inning to beat the Portland Sea Dogs, 7-1, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania on Monday.

Jake Romanski hit a solo home run in the top of the eighth and went 2 for 3 for the Sea Dogs, who were held to just four hits.

After that tough second inning, Portland starter Kevin McAvoy retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, finishing with four strikeouts in six innings.


NBA: Chris Bosh is back on the basketball court, dropping a big hint that he plans to try playing for the Miami Heat again this season.

Bosh released a video Monday on Snapchat of him going through a non-contact workout, including some shooting and dribbling. It’s the first time this offseason that he’s revealed doing any on-court work, and it remains unknown if he has been medically cleared to resume full workouts after each of his last two seasons were cut short by the formation of blood clots.

n The Indiana Pacers signed guard Julyan Stone and forward Alex Poythress.

n The Milwaukee Bucks re-signed free-agent forward Steve Novak.


SPANISH VUELTA: Nairo Quintana retook the lead after leaving his title rivals behind on the final grueling ascent to win the mountainous 10th stage at Lagos de Covadonga, Spain.

Chris Froome fell back early on the special category climb to the Lagos de Covadonga summit, but the British rider recovered to finish third behind Robert Gesink.


ENGLAND: Wayne Rooney will remain as England captain but his midfield experiment with the national team is over, with the Manchester United veteran set to revert to playing as a deep-lying forward under Sam Allardyce, the team’s new coach.

Rooney has played 115 times for England, putting him even with David Beckham as the country’s most-capped outfield player.

U.S. MEN: New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan was added to the U.S. team roster heading into two World Cup qualifying matches.

Kljestan leads the MLS with 15 assists this season and has five goals.


KENYA: Three senior Kenyan Olympic committee officials, Pius Ochieng, Francis K. Paul and Stephen Arap Soi, are the subjects of a criminal investigation relating to alleged theft and abuse of office during the Rio Games.


CONCUSSIONS: Continuing to play despite a concussion doubles recovery time for teen athletes and leads to worse short-term mental function than in those immediately removed from action, a study found.

It’s billed as the first to compare recovery outcomes for athletes removed from a game or practice compared with those who aren’t. The study was small, involving 69 teens treated at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion clinic, but the results bolster evidence supporting the growing number of return-to-play laws and policies nationwide.

The study included young athletes from several sports, including football, soccer, ice hockey and basketball who had concussions during a game or practice. It was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

– Staff and news service report

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Betts’ 30th home run helps Porcello pick up 18th win for Red Sox Tue, 30 Aug 2016 02:48:04 +0000 BOSTON — Rick Porcello became the majors’ first 18-game winner and the first Red Sox pitcher in 70 years to open a season 13-0 in Fenway Park, going seven solid innings in Boston’s 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Mookie Betts hit his 30th homer, a solo shot, and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who hold the AL’s first wild-card spot but had lost four of their last five games.

Brock Holt had three hits and drove in two runs, Travis Shaw had three hits and Chris Young added a tiebreaking two-run double for Boston.

The Rays, buried in last in the AL East, have lost three of four.

Porcello (18-3) allowed three runs and six hits, striking out seven without issuing a walk, to become the first Boston pitcher since Dave “Boo” Ferriss finished 13-0 at home in 1946 to start a season by winning his initial 13 decisions in Fenway.

Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia missed the game after a death in the family, but he’s expected back Tuesday.

Matt Andriese (6-6) took the loss, giving up a season-high seven runs in four-plus innings. Evan Longoria had two sacrifice flies for the Rays, who split a four-game series against the Red Sox at home last week.

The game was tied 2-2 after three innings before Boston took charge with three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Young lined his two-run double past third baseman Longoria, moving the Red Sox ahead 4-2. Longoria seemed to mistime the speed of the liner, raising his glove a bit late. Holt added an RBI double.

After the Rays cut it to 5-3, Betts lined a run-scoring double into the left-field corner. He scored on Shaw’s infield hit.

Betts homered over the Green Monster, hitting a billboard with the ball bouncing onto the field.

Betts, who’s 23, joined Ted Williams (1939, 1941) and Tony Conigliaro (1965) as the only Red Sox players with 30 homers in a season before turning 24.

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Gardiner forum on substance abuse focuses partly on reducing stigma Tue, 30 Aug 2016 01:41:46 +0000 GARDINER — More than 30 people spent two hours discussing ways to reduce the impact of substance abuse in local communities during a Monday forum at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gardiner.

The forum was part of a three-year project by Healthy Communities of the Capital Area to determine what the greatest health-related problems affecting the area are, as well as how to address them.

“We need to build communities, we need to reduce stigma and we need to teach each other about how we care,” said Joanna Joy, executive director of the Gardiner-based organization.

Police Chief James Thoman said he continues to encourage his officers to be seen throughout the community.

“It’s the old adage of get out of the car and go to events that are occurring, whether that be a Little League game or a concert at the waterfront,” Thoman said after the meeting. “I tell them to be approachable and be a part of the community, and let the citizens get to know you on a first-name basis because that breaks down barriers.

“Good things happen when there are no barriers,” he said.

Reducing the stigma associated with substance abuse was a focus of the meeting.

One way to do that, Joy said, is to increase community understanding of the impact of substance abuse and to educate the community about the impact that adverse childhood experiences and trauma have on substance abuse.

Bob Creamer of Hallowell, who spent more than two decades as a recovery counselor, said stigma is a big part of the problem.

“If we continue to focus on the people and not the problem, we’ll keep having these meetings until we’re all gone,” Creamer said. “Addiction is an illness and that is the problem. The person is the victim.”

Creamer said part of the stigma comes from the language people use when talking about substance abuse, including “clean.”

“You hear someone say they are clean when they aren’t using,” Creamer said. “Well, the other side of that would be someone is dirty if they are using, but we don’t use those words when talking about any other disease.”

Nobody says a person who is in remission from cancer is clean, and when they are fighting the disease they are dirty, Creamer said.

Before the meeting broke into group discussions, Joy shared several alarming statistics from the most recent Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey.

Data showed that 63.1 percent of high schoolers from southern Kennebec County, which includes 18 towns from Wayne to Richmond and on both sides of the Kennebec River, don’t believe that marijuana is harmful and 42 percent of local high school students said they’ve vaped.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gardiner program director Nate Mitchell recently spoke to a group of mostly high schoolers and said peer pressure and the desire for attention are among the reasons kids use alcohol and drugs.

The same survey found that 50 percent of area high school students feel like they don’t matter to other people. Later in the meeting, the discussion focused on making community connections by increasing shared activities between students and their parents or guardians and by identifying safe spaces for youths to be with their peers.

Last week, data released by the Maine Attorney General’s Office showed drug overdose deaths continuing to climb in Maine with opioids including heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers at the heart of the problem.

There have been 189 drug overdose deaths this year in Maine through June 30, an increase of 50 percent over the same period last year, when there were 126 overdose deaths, according to the data.

Joy said she wasn’t shocked when she read the report. She said her organization has interviewed foster families, local teenagers, Head Start program providers, people in recovery and health care providers in researching ways to reduce the risk factors associated with substance abuse.

The Mayo Clinic says people of any age, sex or economic status can become addicted to a drug, but the health care organization identifies several factors that can affect the likelihood and speed of developing an addiction. Those include lack of family involvement, peer pressure, anxiety, depression and loneliness and having another mental health disorder.

An application is due in September for a grant that would provide $60,000 per year for the organization to continue the community collaboration fostered in these meetings. Joy is confident the Gardiner-based organization will receive the funding.

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area will hold a similar forum at the Buker Community Center in Augusta at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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Major league notebook: Pirates put pitcher Gerrit Cole on 15-day disabled list Tue, 30 Aug 2016 01:22:58 +0000 CHICAGO — The Pittsburgh Pirates placed ace Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

Cole pitched five shaky innings in a 5-4 loss to Houston on Wednesday, and then let the team know he experienced some discomfort during the outing.

He had a 6.08 ERA in five August starts.

Left-hander Steven Brault was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Cole’s spot in the rotation Monday night at the Chicago Cubs.

Cole’s injury means none of Pittsburgh’s five starters from opening day are currently in the rotation. Francisco Liriano and Jon Niese left via trade and Jeff Locke and Juan Nicasio are working out of the bullpen.

 Manager Clint Hurdle said the decision to have Jung Ho Kang continue his injury rehab in Indianapolis instead of Chicago has nothing to do with an investigation into the infielder for an allegation of sexual assault.

Kang traveled with the team to Milwaukee, but went to Triple-A Indianapolis to work out when the team traveled to Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs.

Hurdle said the lack of facilities at Wrigley Field and the team’s workout schedule were the main reasons for the move.

Police said last month that a 23-year-old woman reported being assaulted by Kang inside a hotel, but the 29-year-old Kang has not been charged.

CUBS: Right-hander John Lackey, who has a strain in his throwing shoulder, threw a bullpen session Monday at home, and Manager Joe Maddon said he is scheduled to throw a second bullpen session during Chicago’s homestand before a decision is made about when he will be activated.

METS: Left-hander Steven Matz, working through shoulder problems, threw a bullpen session and is expected to throw another one before coming off the disabled list to start Thursday against Miami rather than Wednesday, Manager Terry Collins said.

INDIANS: Cleveland put right-hander Danny Salazar on the paternity list.

Salazar had a strong first half and made the American League All-Star team, but hasn’t won since July 19. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow Aug. 2 and allowed nine runs in five innings over two starts after being activated.

Salazar is 11-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 23 starts.

TWINS: Center fielder Danny Santana went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left shoulder.

Santana was injured when he collided with left fielder Robbie Grossman in the first inning Sunday in Toronto. He left the game the following inning and was examined Monday.

Santana, a switch-hitter, is batting .240 with two homers, 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases for Minnesota, which has lost 10 straight games.

GIANTS: Outfielder Hunter Pence has missed three consecutive game with tightness in his right hamstring.

 Reliever Derek Law was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow.

DODGERS: Andre Ethier (broken right tibia) went 0 for 3 and played four innings in right field for Rancho Cucamonga in his second rehab game.

Ethier has been out since spring training.

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Falmouth plans to hire consultant for Route 1 North design Tue, 30 Aug 2016 01:15:54 +0000 FALMOUTH — The town plans to hire a consultant to develop a long-term concept plan for part of Route 1.

In a request for proposals issued Monday, the town said it wants to create a 25-year vision and creative plan for Route 1 North, a section between the Maine Turnpike spur and the Cumberland town line.

The area is one of two commercial growth areas in town and is zoned as a business professional district. According to the town, the area is intended for commercial and mixed-use growth and possibly residential development. According to the request for proposals, the consultant would help a town committee and staff to articulate a vision for the area, identify infrastructure improvements and come up with possible amendments to land use regulations.

Falmouth has master plans for commercial areas on Route 1 south of the turnpike spur and Route 100, on the west side of town, but no plan for Route 1 North.

The deadline for proposals is Sept. 29.

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Report shows Maine startup activity on the decline Tue, 30 Aug 2016 01:02:39 +0000 Entrepreneurial activity in Maine declined significantly in 2015, according to a report issued Friday by entrepreneurship advocacy group the Kauffman Foundation.

Maine fell four places to land at 20th among the 25 smaller states in the latest Kauffman Index, an annual report that measures startup business activity. Maine tied with Vermont and Utah for largest year-over-year decline in ranking among smaller states.

The report divides the nation into the 25 larger and smaller states for purposes of analysis. To develop its rankings, Kauffman examined three factors: the rate of new entrepreneurs, the “opportunity share” of new entrepreneurs, and startup density.

The rate of entrepreneurs is measured by the number of people starting businesses per month out of every 100,000 adults in a given state.

The opportunity share of new entrepreneurs gauges the percentage of entrepreneurs who already were employed but started a business because they saw opportunity in a particular industry.

Startup density measures the number of startups (new businesses) per 1,000 employers in a given state. It only counts businesses that employ at least one person besides the company’s owner.

In Maine, the rate of new entrepreneurs remained flat from 2014 to 2015 at 0.29 percent (rates ranged from 0.18 percent to 0.50 percent). In other words, an average of 290 Mainers started a business each month out of every 100,000 residents in both 2014 and 2015.

The areas in which Maine declined in 2015 were opportunity share and startup density.

In 2015, the opportunity share of new entrepreneurs was 77.68 percent, down from 80.43 percent in 2014 (percentages ranged from 71.32 percent to 90.84 percent). In other words, the share of new businesses started by entrepreneurs who already had jobs fell by about 3.4 percent.

Maine’s startup density fell from an average of 64.2 startups per 1,000 employers in 2014 to 60.7 startups per 1,000 employers in 2015, a drop of 5.5 percent. Rates in this category ranged from 51.1 to 107.4.

Promoters of Maine’s entrepreneurial community have long argued that studies such as the one conducted by Kauffman fail to capture a significant chunk of Maine’s startup activity because so many of the state’s startups are one-person operations.

Still, some entrepreneurs in Maine noted that Kauffman’s apples-to-apples comparison between 2014 and 2015 still reveals a disturbing decline in entrepreneurial activity in Maine during a period of general economic recovery.

Sam Kelly, a serial entrepreneur and owner of MBI Trailers in Scarborough, questioned the effectiveness of the many organizations promoting entrepreneurship in Maine after reading the Kauffman report. Kelly said Maine’s declining numbers are proof that a more coordinated effort is needed to encourage startup formation and help new businesses thrive.

“There are (dozens of) different organizations working on exactly this thing, just in Portland alone, but they don’t work together on anything,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem to be working.”

In 2015, Maine outperformed only Kentucky, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and West Virginia on the list of smaller states.

The five top-ranked smaller states were Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Alaska. Among the larger states, the top five were Texas, Florida, California, New York and Colorado, while the bottom five were Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Bryan Whitney, president of the Maine Technology Institute, which offers grants and other assistance to startups in Maine, said he is not overly concerned about the Kauffman Index report. He said that while it measures startup formation, the real growth in Maine’s entrepreneurial sector has been with existing startups that have experienced job and revenue growth.

Whitney also mentioned several positive developments in Maine that he said will help promote and fund startups even further, including a three-year investment from pro-startup nonprofit the Blackstone Foundation that has allowed MTI to create Maine Accelerates Growth, “a collaborative and complementary network of organizational partners who are working together to achieve a vision of accelerating the growth of companies, communities and talent.”

“Despite Kauffman’s numbers, I know well that there is great momentum in Maine’s startup community as evidenced by record numbers of MTI funding applications from entrepreneurs across Maine,” Whitney said.

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Outrage prompts Italy to alter funeral plans for earthquake victims Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:59:17 +0000 ROME — Italian quake survivors rebelled in anger Monday over the government’s plan to hold a state funeral for their loved ones in an airport hangar in a distant town, where scores of bodies are being kept in refrigerated trucks, and let them watch it on screens from near their emergency tent camp.

One relative of 7-year-old twins who perished in central Italy’s Aug. 24 quake was so upset by the announcement he could barely speak, holding up seven fingers when explaining how old the children were. The mayor of Amatrice, the hardest-hit of the three medieval towns flattened by the quake, was also upset.

“Give us back our dead!” yelled one man in the crowd of several dozen survivors.

Sensing a public relations disaster, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi’s government quickly reversed course, and he said the latest state funeral will take place Tuesday in the devastated Apennines hill town.

So far, 231 of the quake’s 292 victims have been found in Amatrice, with the toll rising by two Monday when two bodies were extracted from rubble.

The bodies of some 10 people, including that of the town’s baker, are believed to be still buried under the rubble of hundreds of buildings that collapsed, many reduced to piles of stones. Hundreds of people were injured.

Last week, a stream of ambulances brought more than 100 victims in body bags from Amatrice and another hard-hit town, Accumoli, to the airport at Rieti, 40 miles away. There they were being kept in refrigerated big-rig trucks parked in the hangar. Some relatives who live elsewhere in Italy had sent hearses with coffins to claim their loved one’s body for funerals elsewhere.

But nearly 80 bodies that families hoped would be buried near Amatrice or Accumoli remained at the hangar, and now, after the government relented, the corpses were going to be transferred back to the town.

Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told a crowd that Renzi had just spoken with him by phone. “He granted the people’s appeal,” the mayor said.

Later, Renzi told state TV: “There were so many polemics, but it’s absolutely right the people be able to weep for their dear ones in their place, their village.”

Renzi’s office later announced that the premier had declared Tuesday as a day of national mourning. The funeral will be held at the edge of Amatrice’s obliterated medieval town center, on the grounds of a Catholic retreat home for elderly and others seeking a quiet respite in the mountains.

The same complex has a makeshift morgue, with about 10 corpses still inside awaiting official identification.

On Saturday, a first day of national mourning, a separate state funeral, for 35 victims was held in Ascoli Piceno, a town unscathed by the quake.

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Fairfield police close in on burglary suspects Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:55:16 +0000 FAIRFIELD — Police are closing in on suspects in a string of car burglaries last year, while dealing with a new spate over the last 10 days.

There have been reports of about 16 car burglaries since Aug. 19 on downtown streets, according to Police Chief Tom Gould. Most are happening late at night and the burglars seem to be targeting unlocked vehicles, he said.

Burglaries occurred on Kelley, High, Main, Savage and West streets. Car windows were broken in some recent burglaries, he said.

Gould said his department just received results from DNA testing of evidence from last summer’s 40 car burglaries and may bring charges within the next two weeks.

The chief said a burglary spree like the recent one isn’t uncommon. It’s the second or third string of car burglaries he’s seen in Fairfield since he became police chief three years ago.

There were a large number of car burglaries last summer in Fairfield and Skowhegan from June to August. The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office worked with Fairfield and Skowhegan police to investigate the dozens of burglaries on Bigelow Hill Road, Six Rod Road and Center Road. Police believed the burglaries were related.

One string of burglaries involved seven cars that were all unlocked and burglarized early on June 17.

Police are reviewing video footage to narrow down the list of suspects in the recent burglaries. Gould said residents and businesses with exterior surveillance cameras should check their footage and call Officer Shanna Blodgett at 453-9322 if they see anything suspicious.

Gould also encouraged people whose cars have been burglarized but have not yet notified police to do so.

He said people should be careful to secure their cars and should report any suspicious activity to the police.

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FAA expects a surge of commercial drones as new rules take effect Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:41:37 +0000 WASHINGTON —There will be 600,000 commercial drone aircraft operating in the U.S. within the year as the result of new safety rules that opened the skies to them on Monday, according to a Federal Aviation Administration estimate.

The rules governing the operation of small commercial drones were designed to protect safety without stifling innovation, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a news conference.

Commercial operators initially complained that the new rules would be too rigid. The agency responded by creating a system to grant exemptions to some of the rules for companies that show they can operate safely, Huerta said.

On the first day the rules were in effect the FAA had already granted 76 exemptions, most of them to companies that want to fly drones at night, Huerta said.

“With these rules, we have created an environment in which emerging technology can be rapidly introduced while protecting the safety of the world’s busiest, most complex airspace,” he said.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said people are “captivated by the limitless possibilities unmanned aircraft offer.” The few thousand commercial drones that had been granted waivers to operate before Monday have been used to monitor crops, inspect bridges and transmission lines, assist firefighters, film movies, and create real estate and wedding videos, among dozens of other uses.

In general, the new rules apply to drones weighing 55 pounds or less, and require commercial operators to:

 Keep the drone within sight at all times.

Keep drones from flying over people not involved in their operation.

Limit drone operations to the hours from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Limit speed to no more than 100 mph.

Fly no higher than 400 feet.

Drone operators must also pass a test of their aeronautical knowledge administered by the FAA. More than 3,000 people had registered with the FAA to take the test as of Monday.

The Air Line Pilots Association complained that the new regulations are “missing a key component” because there’s no requirement that drone operators first have an FAA pilot license to fly a plane.

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Portland Democrats to host discussion on racism, inclusiveness Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:40:11 +0000 The Portland City Democratic Committee will host a panel discussion Thursday on racism and inclusiveness, in light of Gov. Paul LePage’s recent repeated comments about the racial makeup of drug dealers in Maine.

The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Reiche elementary school.

“When our governor goes on a racist tirade and calls people of color enemies of the state of Maine, you better believe that we’re going to fight hard to hold Gov. LePage accountable,” the committee wrote in an invitation sent Monday.

The discussion will be moderated by Danielle Conway, dean of the University of Maine School of Law. She will be joined by seven panelists from the Portland community: Mayor Ethan Strimling, the Rev. Kenneth Lewis, Rachel Talbot-Ross, Kate Knox, Ekhlas Ahmed, Sean Alonzo Harris and Samuel James.

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NFL notebook: An opportunity years in making for Barkevious Mingo Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:10:29 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass.— It’s no secret that Barkevious Mingo’s career never truly took off in Cleveland.

He’s hoping an out of the blue opportunity with a perennial Super Bowl contender will be just the thing to restore some gloss to a career that had begun to dull after three uneven years.

The linebacker is primed for a fresh start as New England’s newest addition following his trade from the Browns last week in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2017.

But he has few opportunities to prove himself in his new home, given only one preseason game left before teams must make final roster cuts.

“It’s hard. These guys got couple of months on me,” Mingo said. “It’s a challenge but the guys here they’re really helping me come along, pointing me in the right direction and just getting me ready to play.”

The sixth overall pick of the 2013 draft, Mingo arrived in Cleveland with high expectations because of his intriguing size and speed combination at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds.

It never really manifested on the field, though, as he struggled to stand out and find a definitive role on a Browns defense that went through three head coaches and changes at defensive coordinator during his three seasons.

As Cleveland’s coaching leadership changed, the 25-year-old moved around Cleveland’s 3-4 defensive alignment. He was asked to adapt again this summer, moving from outside to inside linebacker. Now he’s coming back into the Patriots’ more familiar 4-3 defense, a style he played at LSU.

“It’s been several years in the making,” Mingo said. “I’ve played several positions at Cleveland and I think I’m equipped to make the transition.”

 The Patriots released defensive lineman Terrance Knighton and offensive lineman Bryan Stork, and placed guard Tre’ Jackson on the PUP/reserve list.

LIONS: Matthew Mulligan, a West Enfield native who played two years of football at the University of Maine, was cut by Detroit, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.

Mulligan, a 31-year-old tight end, signed with Detroit in April after playing last season for the Buffalo Bills. Mulligan played in 12 games for Buffalo last season, including five starts. He had one reception.

The Lions were Mulligan’s seventh team. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009 by the New York Jets. After three seasons in New York, he played in 16 games for the St. Louis Rams in 2012. In 2013, he played 15 games for the New England Patriots. He played for three teams – the Chicago Bears, the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans in 2014.

BRONCOS: Coach Gary Kubiak told the team Trevor Siemian will be the starting quarterback when it faces Carolina in the season opener Sept. 8.

Siemian has just one NFL snap on his resume, a kneel-down when he was the No. 3 QB last year behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.

GIANTS: New York released four players, including Nikita Whitlock, who played fullback, defensive tackle and on special teams last season.

The Giants announced that Whitlock and tight end Matt LaCosse were waived/injured. Wide receiver Myles White and long snapper Tyler Ott were waived.

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Red Sox Farm Report: Moncada needs more work but Boston may need him now Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:50:11 +0000 Major league rosters can expand Thursday, the same day the Arizona Fall League rosters will be announced.

Will Yoan Moncada’s name be included on both rosters?

Earlier this month, Red Sox Manager John Farrell hinted that Moncada, now playing third base for the Portland Sea Dogs, would go to the Arizona Fall League to continue to adjust to his new position.

But on Sunday, Farrell wouldn’t rule out Moncada being called up to the majors, saying the decision “has yet to be determined.”

Could Moncada go to the majors and then head to the AFL? Sure. Mike Trout did that in 2011, jumping from Double-A to the Angels, then moving to the AFL after the season. By the way, the AFL’s Scottsdale Scorpions were loaded that year with Trout, Bryce Harper and Will Middlebrooks (and Arnie Beyeler as manager).

Moncada, 21, is Boston’s top prospect but still needs time to develop. But his production in 43 Double-A games is intriguing: a .286 batting average, .941 OPS and 11 home runs.

Boston isn’t getting a lot of production at third base from Travis Shaw (.175/.610 in the second half) and Aaron Hill (.195/.512 since his trade to Boston).

Moncada has been dominant when batting left-handed (.313/1.003), not so much right-handed (.171/.710). He has power right-handed – like his home run on a fastball Sunday. But he also struck out twice in the game, looking at a slider and swinging at a change-up.

Moncada shows a lot of athletic talent at third base but Sunday was only his eighth time at the position. He can steal bases (93 of 108 in his career), but is still learning the nuances of the running game, especially at higher levels.

Here’s one scenario: Moncada is promoted to Boston late Wednesday night. Boston is off Thursday and opens a long trip Friday at Oakland.

The Red Sox like their touted prospects making debuts far away from the glare of Boston. For example, Xander Bogaerts played his first game in San Francisco in 2013 and Andrew Benintendi debuted in Seattle earlier this month.

If Moncada is promoted by Wednesday, he becomes automatically eligible for the postseason roster should Boston make the playoffs.

THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE has been called the graduate school for prospects. Running from Oct. 8 to Nov. 19, it’s intended to be a showcase for some of the game’s best prospects, most coming from Double-A, with some from Triple-A and an occasional Class A player. Some of the prospects may not be big names but are promising players who need more work – especially those who missed time because of injury or have moved to a new position.

Each of the six AFL teams contains prospects from five major league teams, with minor league coaches assigned to each team.

Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles will manage the Surprise Saguaros.

The Red Sox players chosen for the Surprise team will be announced Thursday.

AFL CANDIDATES from the Red Sox, besides Moncada, include some other standouts in Portland.

Shortstop Mauricio Dubon would be a good candidate. Not only did Dubon tear up Double-A pitching (.342/.923) but excelled at shortstop. Dubon, 22, is likely to be introduced to other positions soon, maybe in Arizona.

Dubon has played second and third before, and probably could handle the outfield.

With Dubon blocked at so many positions in Boston, the Red Sox may want to find a way to get his quick bat to the majors. Think of him as a right-handed Brock Holt.

Catcher Jake Romanski, 25, is having a breakout year in Portland (.298/.724). He’s superb at throwing out runners but the Red Sox would like to see improvement in his overall defense. He caught 83 games in Portland and could catch a few more in the fall.

Outfielder Aneury Tavarez, 24, came out of nowhere this season, batting .331/.873. In 67 games with Portland last year, he batted .226/.616. It would be good to see Tavarez against better competition.

One pitcher seems an obvious choice. Right-hander Michael Kopech missed the first half of the season with a broken hand. In 10 starts with Salem he’s 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 51 innings. Kopech can rely solely on his 100 mph fastball in Class A. Boston needs to see him face more advanced hitters.

Portland could offer several pitchers to the AFL for more work. Ben Taylor and Ty Buttrey converted to the bullpen this year, and starter Kevin McAvoy missed time with injury. Left-handed relievers Luis Ysla and Williams Jerez are other candidates.

IN PAWTUCKET, left-hander Roenis Elias (10-5, 3.78 ERA) allowed three hits in six innings of shutout ball (three walks and six strikeouts) Sunday.

Trouble is, Elias didn’t look nearly as good during his short stint with Boston (three games, 72/3 innings, 11 earned runs).

Rusney Castillo went 3 for 5 on Sunday with a double and triple. In 22 games in August, Castillo is batting .365/.944.

IN SALEM, third baseman Rafael Devers (.335/.944) and outfielder Danny Mars (.331/.844) have been excellent in the second half of the season. They will be in Portland next year, as will first baseman Nick Longhi, who has been consistent all year (.280/.736).

IN GREENVILLE, 18-year-old wonder Raniel Raudes (11-5, 3.63 ERA) pitched only three innings in his start Sunday, allowing one hit. Raudes, in his first full pro season, is already up to 1112/3 innings and the Red Sox are cutting back his workload in the final week of the season.

IN LOWELL, two high draft picks from June are shining. Third baseman Bobby Dalbec (fourth round, Arizona) is batting .374/1.119 in 28 games. Shortstop C.J. Chatham (second round, Florida Atlantic), is batting .275 in the last 10 games, but is also showing his promising power, with three home runs in his last three games.

IN THE GULF Coast League, first-round draft pick Jason Groome made his second start last week: two innings, two hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts. Groome gave up a leadoff single. The runner stole second, advanced to third on a single and stole home.

A SCOUT WITH another organization visited Hadlock Field last week and the subject of Mookie Betts’ success came up. The scout was not surprised. “I have rated only four prospects (with top marks) – Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and …

“Andrew Benintendi.”

NOTES: Former Sea Dogs and Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard is pitching for the first time in two years. Signed by the Cardinals, Bard, 31, was activated this month in the advanced Class A Florida State League. In five games (only 11/3 innings), he has allowed eight earned runs on two hits, eight walks and five hit batters, with no strikeouts … Former Sea Dogs outfielder Shannon Wilkerson recently was released by the Twins organization. Wilkerson, 28, was batting .241/.628 in Double-A.


]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 20:06:08 +0000
Westbrook residents voice support for $27 million school expansion Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:33:18 +0000 WESTBROOK — Residents spoke Monday night in support of a $27 million expansion at two Westbrook schools, but repeated their calls for a moratorium on housing development they said could strain the district.

The money would pay for a renovation and 12 new classrooms at Saccarappa Elementary School, as well as 12 new classrooms at Westbrook Middle School. The school committee voted unanimously in favor of the plan this month. The Westbrook City Council will need to have two public hearings before voting on the plan. About 20 residents showed up Monday night for the first; the second is scheduled for September.

If passed by the council, the bond will go to voters on the November ballot.

“Our building project is something that is absolutely necessary for the children who are in our schools right now, and the children who are coming to our community,” newly appointed Superintendent Peter Lancia said.

The city’s two other elementary schools – Congin and Canal — have been renovated in the last decade. City Administrator Jerre Bryant said Westbrook schools are at capacity, but the price tag for the construction might give pause to some in November.

“I don’t think there’s any question of the need for expansion,” he said last week. “I don’t know if they’ll be happy about the number.”

The six members of the public who spoke supported the project.

“I realize it is a big chunk of change, and we are all concerned about our taxes,” Cole Street resident Kathleen O’Neill-Lussier said. “However, education in this country and this city and this state still needs to be a priority.”

Ward 3 Councilor Anna Turcotte listed the challenges her two young children have experienced due to cramming at Saccarappa. Her son sometimes eats lunch in his classroom because the cafeteria can’t accommodate all the children, she said, and her daughter takes the bus to a different school for gym.

“They don’t know what’s not normal about that, because that’s what they’ve lived,” Turcotte said. “I think it does impede their education.”

In 2012, the school department closed Prides Corner School — and its 15 aging classrooms. In 2014, the City Council approved a sale of the building to a condominium developer. Fifth-graders moved to Westbrook Middle School, while elementary students were reshuffled throughout the district.

At the time, Prides Corner was in dire need of repair, and school officials said the district was experiencing a consistent decline in enrollment. From 2003 to 2009, the student population dropped from 2,688 to 2,390. The elementary schools alone shrank by 130 students during that period.

“Part of the rationale is, or was, how many school facilities do we want to maintain?” Bryant said.

That decline in enrollment, however, has reversed since then. For 2014, total district enrollment was back at 2,483. With 1,208 students in 2014, numbers for kindergarten through fifth grade are slightly higher than a decade ago. To accommodate those students, the district has added five portable classrooms at the elementary schools.

Bryant attributed that increase to a growing immigrant community in Westbrook, as well as new construction. Lancia has estimated 331 students could join the district by 2025, which factors in an ongoing housing boom in the city. Neighbors have pushed back on a major subdivision project, citing concern about its impact on already overcrowded schools.

On Monday night, some residents worried the planned expansion wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the city’s growth.

“It’s the dog chasing its tail,” Duck Pond Road resident Dale Perry said. “I think we need to control our growth. Don’t stop it. Just control it.”

Jessica Corriveau, who lives on Austin Street, echoed an earlier request for a 180-day moratorium on residential building permits, which residents have requested in order to revise Westbrook’s process for approving new construction. In particular, she and others advocated for a system of fees on developers to account for future impacts on public infrastructure like schools.

“It’s a Band-Aid on a wound,” she said. “I’m very upset that our city continues to give out permits to keep building when our schools are already overcrowded. … It seems like the city has the opportunity to ask (developers) to chip in.”

Rocco Risbara, president of Risbara Bros., said more than half of 146 apartments at his Blue Spruce Farm development are leased, and none have school-age children. He said charging a fee for an impact that might not exist is “unfair.”

“Our apartments simply don’t produce children,” he said.

If approved by voters, the renovation of the schools would be complete no sooner than 2018. In a report to the City Council, Lancia noted the school department would likely need to hire three new employees as a result of the expansion — an administrative assistant, a custodian and a cafeteria worker.

“Initially, the growth at Saccarappa would be addressed by reassigning teachers from other schools,” he wrote. “Any additional teaching positions would be requested through our annual budgeting process as enrollment increases.”

Documents related to the school expansion are available online as part of the City Council agenda and on the school department website. The second public hearing on the plan will take place during the council’s meeting Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at Westbrook High School.

]]> 1 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:20:30 +0000
Alabama narrows starting quarterback search Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:25:34 +0000 TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s quarterback competition is down to two candidates for the opener.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide will start junior Cooper Bateman or redshirt freshman Blake Barnett on Saturday night against No. 20 Southern California in Arlington, Texas.

“Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett are probably the two guys that we’re getting ready to play in this game, and that’s the way it’s going to be for right now,” Coach Nick Saban said Monday.

Chances are, fans will have to tune in Saturday to see who’s going to start and if both will play. It’s hardly a new thing for the defending national champion.

Alabama has carried over battles into two straight seasons – at least publicly – and has been to the playoffs both times with one-year starters Blake Sims and Jake Coker.

Freshman Jalen Hurts and sophomore David Cornwell also had vied for the No. 1 spot. Bateman is the only one of the four to make it into a college game, starting the Tide’s only loss last season against Mississippi. Sims never relinquished the job.

The 6-foot-5 Barnett arrived as perhaps the most highly rated quarterback prospect Alabama has signed under Saban and has beefed up to 211 pounds since his arrival.

Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin have gone with the most experienced candidate the past two years, with strong results. Barnett has been through two spring practices after arriving as one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:54:59 +0000
Trump criticizes Clinton over Anthony Weiner, whom he gave money Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:22:07 +0000 Donald Trump, who used Huma Abedin’s separation from husband Anthony Weiner as a prompt to question Hillary Clinton’s judgment, donated to the disgraced former congressman multiple times.

Trump gave a total of $4,300 in 2007 and 2010 to Weiner’s congressional runs, and $150 to a city council race in 1997.

Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, announced Monday that she was separating from Weiner after he was once again caught sending sexually explicit pictures to women. Trump praised Abedin’s decision.

“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him,” Trump said in a statement. “I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”

]]> 2 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:55:53 +0000
FBI investigates hacking of state election systems Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:17:22 +0000 Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russian hackers were behind the assault on the election system in that state.

The bureau told Arizona officials that the threat was “credible” and severe, ranking as “an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10,” said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.

As a result, Secretary of State Michele Reagan shut down the state voter registration system for almost a week.

It turned out that the hackers did not succeed in compromising the state system or even any county system, but rather had managed to steal the user name and password for one Gila County elections official.

Nonetheless, the revelation comes amid news that the FBI is investigating suspected foreign hacks of state election computer systems, and this month warned states to be on the alert for intrusions.

In Illinois, officials discovered an intrusion into their state voter registration system in July.

The FBI’s Aug. 18 warning follows heightened concern over Russian hacks of Democratic Party organizations and possible meddling in the presidential election.

Although the hackers did not alter any data, the intrusion into the Illinois database marks the first succesful compromise of a state election database, federal officials said.

Until now, countries such as Russia and China have shown little interest in voting systems in the United States. But experts said that if a foreign government gains the ability to tamper with voter data, for instance by deleting registration records, such a hack could cast doubt on the legitimacy of U.S. elections.

Meanwhile, the recently discovered hacks have state officials across the country scrambling to ensure that their systems have not been compromised. At least two other states are looking into potential breaches, officials said.

“This was a highly sophisticated attack most likely from a foreign (international) entity,” said Kyle Thomas, director of voting and registration systems for the Illinois State Board of Elections, in a message that was sent to all election authorities in the state.

In July, officials in that state discovered the intrusion, in which hackers were able to retrieve voter records. The amount accessed was “a fairly small percentage of the total,” said Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois elections board.

State officials alerted the FBI, he said. The Department of Homeland Security also got involved, he said. The intrusion led the state election board to shut down the voter registration system for a week.

In June, the Arizona Secretary of State’s office shut down part of its website after the FBI found a potential threat to its state voter registration system, according to the Arizona Republic.

Following those breaches, the FBI issued its “flash” alert, which listed Internet protocol addresses and other technical fingerprints associated with the hacks.

“The FBI is requesting that states contact their Board of Elections and determine if any similar activity to their logs, both inbound and outbound, has been detected,” said the FBI alert, which was first reported by Yahoo News.

The FBI declined official comment other than to note it “routinely advises private industry of various cyber threat indicators” it turns up in investigations.

The bureau has told Illinois officials that they’re looking at possible foreign government agencies as well as criminal hackers, Menzel said.

The technical details in the alert were gathered by the MS-ISAC, a multi-state information-sharing center that helps state, local and tribal government agencies combat cyber threats and that works with federal law enforcement agencies.

“I’m less concerned about the attackers getting access to and downloading the information,” said Brian Kalkin, vice president of operations for the Center for Internet Security, which operates the MS-ISAC. “I’m more concerned about the information being altered, modified or deleted. That’s where the real potential is for any sort of meddling in the election.”

And James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, has told Congress that manipulation or deletion of data is the next big cyber threat – “the next push on the envelope.”

But Tom Hicks, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, an agency set up by Congress after the 2000 Florida recount to maintain election integrity, said he is confident that states have sufficient safeguards in place to ensure efforts at manipulation will be unsuccesful.

For one, he said, if a voter’s name does not show up on the list, the individual can still cast a provision ballot and once his or her status is confirmed, the ballot will be counted. Also, he said, in general the voting systems themselves “are not hooked up to the Internet” and so “there’s not going to be any manipulation of data.”

Nonetheless, more than 30 states have some provisions for online voting, primarily for voters living overseas or serving in the military. An official at the Department of Homeland Security cautioned this spring that online voting is not yet secure.

“We believe that online voting, especially online voting in large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results,” said Neil Jenkins, an official in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security.

Some private-sector researchers say some of the information released by the FBI points to a potential Russian link, but they caution that their work is preliminary. Rich Barger, chief information officer at ThreatConnect, said that several of the IP addresses trace back to a website-hosting service called King Servers that offers Russia-based technical support. He also said that one of the methods used was similar to a tactic in other intrusions suspected of being carried out by the Russian government, including one this month on the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“The very fact that (someone) has rattled the doorknobs, the very fact that the state election commissions are in the cross-hairs gives grounds to the average American voter to wonder: Can they really trust the results?” Barger said.

On Aug. 15, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state election officials, offering the Department of Homeland Security’s assistance in protecting against cyberattacks.

He said that DHS was “not aware of any specific or credible cybersecurity threats relating to the upcoming general election systems,” according to a readout of the call. It was not clear whether he was aware at the time of the FBI’s investigation into the Arizona and Illinois intrusions.

]]> 1 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:35:30 +0000
Clinton releases comprehensive plan to tackle mental illness Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:09:51 +0000 SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton rolled out a comprehensive plan to address millions of Americans coping with mental illness, pointing to the need to fully integrate mental health services into the nation’s health care system.

Clinton’s campaign released a multi-pronged approach to mental health care on Monday, aimed at ensuring that Americans would no longer separate mental health from physical health in terms of access, care and in the quality of treatment.

“We’ve got to break through and break down the stigma and shame. We’ve got to make clear that mental health is not a personal failing. Right now it’s our country which is failing people with mental health issues,” she said.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s agenda would focus on early diagnosis and intervention and create a national initiative for suicide prevention. If elected, Clinton would hold a White House conference on mental health within her first year in office.

Clinton’s proposal would also aim to enforce mental health parity laws and provide training to law enforcement officers to deal with people grappling with mental health problems while prioritizing treatment over jail for low-level offenders.

Clinton noted that suicides were at their highest levels in years and people were dying from connected health conditions that “too often go undetected and untreated.”

]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 20:53:58 +0000
Oil spill response ship pulled from service as Portland pipeline deliveries slow Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:09:27 +0000 The Maine Responder, a massive pollution-control vessel that has been moored in Portland Harbor for more than two decades, has been pulled from service because its operator has lost funding and the risk of an oil spill in the region has dropped because of declining tanker traffic to the Portland Pipe Line Corp.

News of the change Monday surprised many who work to ensure the safe operation of the harbor and are concerned about protecting Casco Bay and shipping routes that the vessel has covered from Maine to Massachusetts and beyond.

The Marine Spill Response Corp. of Herndon, Virginia, confirmed Monday that the 210-foot-long vessel, which has docked in Portland since 1995, had been removed from service and its six crew members had been told they will lose their jobs.

Marine Spill Response will keep the boat in the water at Union Wharf and will continue to operate 10 other spill-response vessels, so several shipping companies and other facilities in the area that contract for its services will be able to maintain Coast Guard-approved spill-response plans, said company spokeswoman Judith Roos.

“(The Maine Responder) is being removed from active service as of today,” Roos said in a phone interview while in Portland. “We will continue to be able to meet our customers’ planning obligations in this sector even without the Maine Responder.”

Roos said the harbor has a “lower risk profile” because “trading patterns have shifted” in recent years, but she declined to draw a direct connection to the dwindling flow of the Portland Pipe Line, which delivers foreign crude from its ocean terminal in South Portland to refineries in Montreal.

“There are fewer tanker vessels trading into this area,” Roos said. “The (Maine Responder) will be deactivated with the potential to be reactivated should trading patterns change.”

Roos wouldn’t say how much it cost to operate the Maine Responder.

Peter Milholland, longtime staff member at Friends of Casco Bay, called the decision to suspend the service “shocking.” As pilot of the organization’s baykeeper’s boat, Milholland has participated in numerous spill-response drills and assisted in the cleanup after the 1996 crash of the tanker Julie N, which dumped 170,000 gallons of oil into the harbor after striking the former Portland Bridge.

“It will be a big loss to our area,” Milholland said. “There are a lot of other threats to our waters. There are other vessels that come through with other (petroleum) products, and lots of other boats with the potential for having problems, including cruise ships.”


The pipeline has nearly shut down in recent months as demand for foreign crude has fallen in the wake of booming tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada. The pipeline received no oil deliveries from January through May this year, then took in nearly 1.4 million barrels in June, according to the latest data available from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Pipeline officials declined to provide recent shipping data, so it’s unknown whether additional crude deliveries arrived in July and August. The pipeline transported more than 22 million barrels in 2015, down from 32.6 million barrels in 2014, according to the DEP.

“(The pipeline) remains open for business, supporting its customers, the community (and) employees … and continuing the safe and excellent operation it has long been known for,” spokesman Jim Merrill said in a prepared statement.

Merrill noted that the pipeline company has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of South Portland, challenging its 2014 ban on crude oil exports, a measure intended to protect air quality that also effectively stops the pipeline company from possibly reversing its flow in order to export tar sands oil from Canada.

The Marine Spill Response Corp. is a nonprofit, Coast Guard-classified “oil spill removal organization,” according to the company’s website. It was formed after the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which was passed by Congress following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. It is the largest emergency response organization of its kind in the U.S., offering oil spill cleanup services that mitigate environmental damage.

Shipping and trading companies that belong to the Marine Preservation Association, a separate nonprofit membership corporation, contribute a certain percentage of their receipts to operate the company and meet its capital needs.


Marine Spill Response has held a lease at Union Wharf for 21 years, said Charlie Poole, president of the Proprietors of Union Wharf.

Poole declined to comment on the company’s plans for the Maine Responder, other than to say that “they have a lease and they have honored their lease.”

The Maine Responder is one of 15 responder-class oil spill vessels operated by the Marine Spill Response Corp. across the U.S. In addition to a helipad, it has radar technology and infrared cameras that can detect oil in the water, hauls a 2,640-foot oil-containment boom and is capable of skimming and recovering 444,000 gallons of oil and water per day. The nearest vessel of its kind is in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, also operated by Marine Spill Response.

Crew members of the Maine Responder could fill job openings elsewhere in the company, Roos said. The company will keep five staff members in Portland. Vessels still operating out of Union Wharf include an MSRC 620 skimming barge and a 30-foot Kvichak Marco skimming vessel.

Wyman Briggs, the spill response preparedness specialist with the Coast Guard in South Portland, was among several local officials who were surprised to learn about the Maine Responder’s fate.

“It’s an unfortunate loss,” Briggs said. “It’s a very capable vessel. There’s not another one of its size in this area. Obviously we always prefer to have more response capability.”

Briggs said the Coast Guard will likely review the spill response plans of companies who have contracted for the services of Marine Spill Response.

Milholland noted that several other agencies also provide spill-response services, including the Coast Guard, the DEP and private contractors, such as Clean Harbors.

Acting Harbor Master Kevin Battle and South Portland Fire Chief Jim Wilson also were surprised to learn that the Maine Responder was being pulled from service.

Wilson said regional officials were scheduled to hold a tabletop spill-response drill Sept. 7. Now they’ll have a new factor to consider.

“Anytime you reduce a capability to respond, you have to make sure you can still respond adequately,” Wilson said. “We’ll probably get a good idea of the change in our capability when we meet next month.”

Staff Writer Penelope Overton contributed to this report.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 23:09:37 +0000
49ers’ Colin Kaepernick faces backlash for sitting during national anthem Mon, 29 Aug 2016 23:07:46 +0000 SAN FRANCISCO — From the White House to San Francisco police union headquarters and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Colin Kaepernick’s name came up Monday as his decision to sit down during the national anthem reached far beyond football.

And many aren’t thrilled with the San Francisco 49er quarterback’s strong words about why he is doing it: To instigate change and challenge authority when it comes to race relations and what he feels is police brutality.

Even his former coach, Jim Harbaugh, now at Michigan, disagreed.

“I acknowledge his right to do that but I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” Harbaugh said.

Kaepernick, who has sat through the anthem at all three exhibition games, is prepared to keep doing it, even alone.

“The fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness,” Kaepernick said Sunday. “Now, I think people are really talking about it. Having conversations about how to make change. What’s really going on in this country. And we can move forward. …

“There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They’re put in place by the government. That’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher.”

Martin Halloran, the San Francisco Police Officers Association president, sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell and the 49ers’ CEO, Jed York, denouncing Kaepernick’s “ill-advised” statements and a “naivete” and “total lack of sensitivity” toward police, along with an “incredible lack of knowledge” about officer-involved shootings.

The union invited Kaepernick or anyone from the league to visit the San Francisco police academy to build communication and understanding.

“I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter,” Halloran wrote. “Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL.”

]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 19:18:17 +0000
New school opens at site of Sandy Hook shootings Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:59:51 +0000 HARTFORD, Conn. — Elementary school students attended school in Sandy Hook on Monday for the first time since a shooting rampage there killed 20 first-graders and six educators.

Joseph Erardi, Newtown’s School Superintendent, said it was a great and uneventful day for the just under 400 students at the new 86,000-square-foot Sandy Hook Elementary School, which was built to replace the one torn down after the December 2012 shooting.

“I spent all day there and it felt the way that it should feel,” he said. “Students were excited to be there.”

The $50 million replacement was built on the same property as the former school, but not in the old footprint. All that remains are two large concrete slabs containing dinosaur footprints that also sat outside the old building.

About 70 current students attended the Sandy Hook Elementary School when the shooting occurred. School officials say about 35 of them were in the building at the time, but none witnessed the shootings. Those students, who were all in kindergarten at the time, are now fourth-graders.

Erardi said he visited all of their classrooms and there were no issues.

Because of retirements and transfers, about 60 percent of the staff members from the original Sandy Hook are still with the school. Others left through retirement or job changes, and a handful chose to transfer as part of their recovery process, Erardi said

He credited parents for creating a smooth first day back for students, noting the vast majority of families took the time to tour the new school in advance of opening day to prepare the children.

“It was a back to business first day,” he said. “There was nothing extraordinary that took place with announcements with any type of ceremonies. Just off the bus and let’s go to work.”

After the shooting, Sandy Hook students attended a school in neighboring Monroe, which renovated a previously closed elementary school to serve as a temporary home for them.

]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 18:59:51 +0000
Maine man makes court appearance after being bitten by police dog Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:57:44 +0000 AUGUSTA — A man who fled into the woods in China late Saturday after allegedly threatening to kill family members with a screwdriver went before a judge Monday via video from the Kennebec County jail.

Dwayne A. Kuse, 46, was arrested in the woods near the home after a police dog tracked him and bit him.

Kuse was treated at the Augusta hospital for bite wounds before being brought to the Kennebec County jail early Sunday.

According to an affidavit by Sgt. Jacob Pierce of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, police responded to a Mann Road address after a woman reported that her ex-boyfriend was intoxicated, pushed her and “threatened to stab everyone at the residence with the screwdriver and that he was holding it in a threatening manner.” There were seven people at the home, including Kuse.

The woman called again to say Kuse was hollering in the driveway “that he was going to kill everyone and to ‘come find me.'” Later, she called to say he was yelling, “I’m going to slice your throats tonight.” She also said there was a loaded handgun in the home.

Kuse then fled into the garage and finally into the woods.

He was located in the woods, according to the report, and was bitten by Maine State Police Trooper G. J. Neagle’s dog, Draco.

Kuse was treated on site for the bite wounds and then taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center.

State police Sgt. Scott Dalton, who runs the K-9 Training Center at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, said Monday, “Apprehension canines are trained to bite and hold suspects.”

Pierce wrote that Kuse hollered at him during the ride to the jail and again threatened to kill people, including Pierce, after he was released.

“He threatened to kill the officer by putting a bullet between his eyes,” Assistant District Attorney Alisa Ross told Judge Evert Fowle at Monday’s hearing in the Capital Judicial Center, adding, “Alcohol was certainly a factor.”

Attorney Dennis Jones, serving as lawyer of the day, represented Kuse at the hearing and said, “There’s no question alcohol was involved. I believe there was serious intoxication.”

However, Jones sought a lower bail amount of $1,000 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services contract, saying Kuse hopes to get admitted to a detoxification unit at the VA Maine Healthcare System at Togus.

Jones said Kuse is a longtime employee of Togus, a homeowner and previously completed a probationary period successfully.

Kuse was held without bail over the weekend. On Monday, Fowle set bail at $5,000 cash or alternatively at $1,500 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services contract. Bail conditions prohibit Kuse from contact with his ex-girlfriend, from being anywhere in the town of China, and from using alcohol and illegal drugs.

Kuse did not answer to the charge of domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, a felony which would have to be presented to a grand jury. He pleaded not guilty to two related misdemeanor charges, domestic violence assault and domestic violence terrorizing.

Newspaper records indicate Kuse graduated from the Co-Occurring Disorders and Veterans Court, a specialty court aimed at helping defendants with mental health and substance abuse problems, in December 2014. He was admitted to the veterans court program, which operated out of Kennebec Superior Court, on Oct. 18, 2013, about eight months after he was charged with assault in South China.

After successfully completing that program, he was sentenced in January 2015 to 364 days in jail with all but 10 days suspended, to be served in the alternative sentencing program, and one year probation.

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

Twitter: @betadams

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 18:57:44 +0000
Developer scales back plans for Westbrook subdivision Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:56:39 +0000 A developer will scale back plans for a controversial housing complex in Westbrook because of a legal conflict with a landowner.

Risbara Bros. is already building nearly 200 single-family homes and apartments at Blue Spruce Farm on Spring Street. In response to high demand, the company applied to extend the subdivision by more than 300 units, mostly apartments.

Worried that the housing boom might strain the city’s roads and schools, some neighbors have called for a 180-day moratorium on residential building permits. Despite those concerns, the second phase of Blue Spruce Farm was on track for approval by the Planning Board this fall.

On Friday, however, company president Rocco Risbara penned a letter to the city to withdraw the current layout. “We will not be moving forward with the project as presented,” he wrote.

The land for the proposed second phase is owned by two separate entities – Westbrook Land Co. and resident Daniel Chick. Westbrook Land Co. is tied to a property management group in Massachusetts, according to property records.

Both properties are under option to Risbara Bros., but the company’s letter to the city suggests Westbrook Land Co. has backed out of the deal for its 29 acres. It is unclear what has caused the dispute, or whether it is related to concerns from residents.

“Due to the fact that the sellers of the Westbrook Land Company have breached the contract by refusing to close, we have been forced to file a lawsuit to compel their performance,” Risbara wrote.

That legal battle could take months or even years. If the land does become available, Risbara wrote that the company would consider it for additional development.

In the meantime, Risbara said development will move forward on the Chick parcel, which abuts the existing neighborhood. While the original proposal included 13 single-family homes, 40 condominiums and 250 market-rate apartments, the revised plans could include slightly more than 100 apartments. The new plans will likely call for nine buildings on 13 acres of land, according to Risbara’s letter.

The developer said redrawing the plans will allow Risbara Bros. to address some of the neighbors’ concerns, including cutting out a proposed public road.

“Buffering to existing neighborhood areas will be increased and easier to achieve with this plan as well,” Risbara wrote.

Bill Risbara, one of the company’s owners, did not return a call for comment Monday. The company will submit new plans to the city in coming weeks.

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 20:19:35 +0000
EpiPen maker says it will offer half-price alternative Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:41:03 +0000 EpiPen maker Mylan said Monday that it would introduce a generic version of the lifesaving allergy injection at half the price of the brand-name product, after politicians denounced the company for a drug coupon program seen as a public relations Band-aid.

The generic, which the company said will be launched “in several weeks,” will carry a list price of $300 for a two-pack carton. That is half the list price for the branded product, which costs $608 for a two-pack, but it is still nearly $40 more than the price three years ago, according to data from Truven Health Analytics.

“We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public’s desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it,” Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch said in a written statement. “Our decision to launch a generic alternative to EpiPen is an extraordinary commercial response.”

Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called it a face-saving move by the company. The generic offers a way of dropping the price of one version of the drug, while also bringing the company some benefits. It will allow Mylan to segment the market, because some people will continue to buy the brand-name product.

Sharfstein said one important question will be whether the price stays the same over time.

The introduction of Mylan’s generic also won’t automatically open the window to true competition from other generic companies, said Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School. Companies can introduce generics of their brand-name drugs, called “authorized generics,” but the effect on competition is ambiguous, he said.

“We have more competition than we did yesterday, but on the other hand, we don’t have wide-open competition among the generics,” Carrier said. “And maybe by having this authorized generic, we’re keeping at bay some of that true competition.”

He noted that when the first generic drug enters the market, it usually gets a very shallow discount off the brand-name list price – maybe 5 percent or 10 percent. It is only when multiple generics enter that deeper discounts occur. The deep initial discount off the brand-name price could make the market less attractive to generics companies.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has been trying to launch a generic version of the drug, but it was rejected by regulators earlier this year for “certain major deficiencies,” according to a spokeswoman. The product launch has been delayed until at least 2017.

Public Citizen, a patient advocacy group, noted that not everyone will get access to the generic, making it an incomplete solution to the high price – similar to the critique leveled at the coupons and patient assistance.

“The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a written statement. Mylan “aims to continue ripping off some segment of the marketplace – both consumers who do not trust or know about the generic, and perhaps some insurers and payers constrained from buying a generic.”

He noted that the price in Canada is $200 for a two-pack of EpiPens and the price in France is even lower.

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 20:33:36 +0000
Affleck tweets sneak peek at potential Batman nemesis Deathstroke Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:21:36 +0000 Live-action footage of DC Comics villain Deathstroke on the internet is nothing new – we’ve seen the character on the CW show “Arrow,” portrayed by actor Manu Bennett. Live-action Deathstroke footage being tweeted by Batman himself, Ben Affleck, well, that’s something else entirely.

In Batman-like stealth fashion, Affleck dropped a tweet with what looks to be test footage of an unidentified actor suited up as Slade Wilson, aka one of the most lethal killers in the DC Comics universe: Deathstroke.

The question that has no doubt stopped the presses over at The Daily Planet is what part, if any, Deathstroke may have in Warner Bros./DC Entertainment’s upcoming movie slate. We know that Affleck recently had his utility belt amplified slightly when he was named an executive producer of WB/DC’s upcoming “Justice League” movie.

Deathstroke doesn’t seem to be the type of villain who would scare Affleck’s Batman into traveling around the world searching for super-powered beings. In “Justice League,” Affleck/Batman is building a team to go up against an unknown – as of right now – and possibly other-worldly threat. Deathstroke is a heavy hitter when it comes to DC bad guys, but does Batman really need Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, the Flash (and possibly a back-from-the-dead Superman) to take him on?

What if this footage is instead the beginnings of a solo Batman project that he and DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns have both confirmed they are working on? We’ve already seen Batman’s rivalry with another assassin, Will Smith’s Deadshot in “Suicide Squad.” Deathstroke seems like the right type of villain for future solo-Batman films.

While it might be a while before we know who is under the Deathstroke mask and when and where he’ll appear, if there’s one thing this reveal does confirm, it’s that the DC Comics universe on film is continuing to grow.

]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 18:21:36 +0000
Why it matters: Clinton, Trump appear to live on different Earths Mon, 29 Aug 2016 22:07:17 +0000 Editor’s note: This story is part of an occasional Associated Press series examining the issues at stake in the presidential election between now and Election Day. Read more from “Why it matters.”


It’s as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump live on two entirely different Earths: one warming, one not.

Clinton says climate change “threatens us all,” while Trump tweets that global warming is “mythical” and repeatedly refers to it as a “hoax.” Measurements and scientists say Clinton’s Earth is much closer to reality.

As heat-trapping gases in the air intensify and hot temperature records shatter, global warming is taking a toll on Americans’ everyday life : their gardens, air, water, seasons, insurance rates and more.


Trump calls attempts to remedy global warming “just a very, very expensive form of tax.” He tells coal miners he’ll get their jobs back. Solar power now employs four times more people than coal mining.

Clinton proposes to spend $60 billion to switch from dirty fossil fuels to cleaner energy. She says clean energy is needed; otherwise, it would “force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” She promises to deliver on President Obama’s pledge that by 2025, the U.S. will emit 30 percent less heat-trapping gases than in 2005.


Dozens of measurements show Earth is warming. And it’s worsening. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists and nearly every professional organization of scientists have said climate change is real, man-made and a problem.

The last 15 months in a row have set records globally for heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The world is on pace to break the record for hottest year, a record broken in 2010, 2014 and 2015. The five hottest years recorded have all been from 2005 on and it is about 1.8 degrees warmer than a century ago.

But it’s more than temperatures. Arctic sea ice keeps flirting with record low amounts. Hot water has been killing coral as never before seen. Scientists have connected man-made climate change to extreme weather , including deadly heat waves, droughts and flood-inducing downpours. They even have connected it as one of several factors in the Syrian drought and civil war that led to a massive refugee crisis.

Climate change is causing the seas to rise, which threatens coastlines. Sea level has risen a foot in the waters around New York City in the past century, worsening flooding from Superstorm Sandy.

And it is making people sicker with worsened allergies and asthma, heat deaths, diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, dirtier air and more contaminated water and food, a federal report said in April.

Changing the world’s economy from burning fossil fuel, which causes global warming, comes with a huge cost. So does not doing anything. The world’s average income will shrivel 23 percent by the year 2100 if carbon dioxide pollution continues at the current pace, according to a 2015 study out of Stanford and the University of California Berkeley.

Just the Obama administration’s efforts to cut carbon pollution from 1,000 power plants projects to cost about $8 billion a year, but save several times more than that in reduced health problems.

The world’s largest general scientific society warns of “abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.”

It may seem improbable that government action can restore balance to something as vast as the climate. But presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush showed that big things can be done about air pollution. They took steps that reduced ozone depletion and acid rain .

]]> 2 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:53:17 +0000
Taylor Swift goes to jury duty in Nashville Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:38:19 +0000 NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pop star Taylor Swift surprised Davidson County residents when she showed up to jury duty in Nashville.

Media outlets report that Swift reported for jury duty Monday morning at downtown Nashville’s courthouse with security in tow.

Several social media posts have circulated of Swift taking photos with other prospective jurors.

The case Swift was considered for was a domestic violence case involving a charge of aggravated rape.

After being questioned by attorneys, the 26-year-old was dismissed by 1 p.m.

– From news services

]]> 1 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:28:53 +0000
Puppy retrieved 3 weeks after East Madison crash, scrawny but alive Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:16:09 +0000 A Labrador retriever puppy that was thrown from his owner’s car during a crash on U.S. Route 201 has been found and reunited with his family after surviving more than three weeks in the woods of East Madison.

Tucker, the 7-month-old puppy, was rescued Friday with the help of volunteers from Maine Lost Dog Recovery who set a live trap for the dog, said Chief Deputy James Ross of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Ross said Tucker was on the verge of starvation when he was found, and pictures on the Maine Lost Dog Recovery Facebook page show a very skinny dog with his ribs showing. Maine Lost Dog Recovery did not immediately respond to requests for details Monday.

The nonprofit organization works with families of lost dogs, shelters, animal control officers and people who find lost dogs to help reunite them with their owners, according to the Facebook page.

Tucker’s owner, Shanya Pottle, 20, of South China, was seriously injured in the Aug. 9 crash that took place about a mile north of the Lakewood Golf Course. The dog was reportedly thrown from the vehicle during the crash and had been missing since.

Pottle was taken by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and later transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

A hospital spokeswoman at Maine Medical Center said Monday that she did not have a record of anyone with Pottle’s name at the hospital.

Pottle could not be reached for an interview Monday.

A truck driver who Pottle passed immediately before the crash told police she was on her cellphone, and police said at the time the crash may have been because of distracted driving.

Ross said Monday that he did not have further information on the cause of the crash or Pottle’s condition. He said it is unlikely there will be criminal charges.

“Under the circumstances it would be really hard to prove (that there was distracted driving),” Ross said. “That’s what it appeared to the truck driver who passed her, but being able to convert that into something you can prosecute is hard.”

]]> 2, 29 Aug 2016 19:38:10 +0000
HS SOCCER NOTES: Hall-Dale boys expect to remain in contention Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:09:03 +0000 One year after going unbeaten in the regular season in the Mountain Valley Conference, the Hall-Dale boys soccer team expects to remain in contention for the conference title. It matters little to the Bulldogs what the rest of the league perceives as a “down year” for the Bulldogs.

While it’s true that the team which advanced to the Class C South regional quarterfinals last October graduated 11 seniors, don’t expect Hall-Dale to spend a year in rebuilding mode.

Sixth-year head coach Andy Haskell points to the Bulldogs squad from just three years ago as an example.

“We had our best team in 2012 that went all the way to the (Class C) state game,” Haskell said. “We lost 16 seniors from that team and had only two returning players, but the next year we went 14-0.”

There are seniors on this edition of the Bulldogs that expect to make an impact, particularly in the midfield. Nick Guiou, Malcolm Avore and Cody Goyon should be a key part of the team’s possession game, and they’ll certainly buy time for incoming senior goalkeeper John Whitcomb to prove his mettle between the sticks.

Hall-Dale, which lost in the C South semis in heartbreaking double-overtime fashion to Monmouth last fall, also has a large group of juniors eager to serve valuable minutes.

“We’re a little bit young, but we’re a more athletic bunch,” said Haskell, whose team opens the regular season with a night game at Mt. Abram on Friday. “They’ve played a lot of sports together. Every year, our goals are the same — to compete for the MVC title and be highly competitive in the southern region.”

• • •

Mark Serdjenian tries his best to avoid tired cliches, but his return to Waterville Senior High School is hard to put into words.

“Waterville has such a great soccer tradition with both the boys and the girls,” said Serdjenian, who spent 38 years as the head men’s coach at Colby Collge and was the women’s interim coach last season. “It’s terrific to be part of that program. My main goal is to continue the recent success of the coaches who have come before me.”

The Waterville girls went 11-1-2 and finished third in the Kennbec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division last season, losing in the Class B South regional quarterfinals.

Serdjenian likes what he’s seen from the group that’s returning this fall.

“One would hope they’d be working hard for a new coach coming in, and they certainly are,” Serdjenian said of preseason training. “I think we’re pretty well balanced from front to back, and that’s a huge part of it. A lot of the girls have played a lot of soccer (at the club level), and I think we can be a team that can pass and possess the ball.”

Waterville opens its season at Nokomis on Friday.

• • •

In 15 seasons, the Skowhegan boys soccer team has amassed a total of four wins. The good news for the Indians? All four of those wins came last season, when they came within a late-game penalty kick of qualifying for the Class A North playoffs.

“Saying that it was like getting a gorilla off your back doesn’t even begin to hold what that meant,” said first-year head coach Jordan Hale, an assistant coach last season.

The Indians welcome 12 seniors back to the team this year, including Alex Poirier, a midfielder who has defected from the school’s football program. It’s a foundation that Hale hopes the team can continue building from.

“When the kids are walking the hallways with a bunch of football players on a team that’s won a few Eastern Maine titles over the years, you definitely feel it,” Hale said of the toll of so many winless seasons. “What last year did for us is it said, ‘We’re a soccer program now. We’re not just a team of kids that play soccer.'”

• • •

Many will be keeping an eye on Messalonskee striker McKenna Brodeur this season. A senior, she already holds the school record for career goals with 45 after scoring 15 for the Eagles as a junior last season.

“She’s really an exceptional player,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said.

But Brodeur isn’t alone. The Eagles are blessed with a number of players who are dedicated, soccer-first players.

“This is the first year with the varsity team that I’ve a true soccer team,” Stansfield said. “They’ve dedicated time outside of school to improving their skill and it’s showing.”

Messalonskee finished seventh in the KVAC A last year with a 5-7-2 record and lost in the Class A North quarterfinals. They’ll open this season on Saturday night at perennial KVAC power Hampden.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 17:09:03 +0000
Portland police release images of car wash robber Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:50:56 +0000 Police in Portland have released new images of an Aug. 20 robbery at the ScrubaDub car wash and are asking the public to help identify the robber.

The man entered the business about 9:15 p.m. and demanded money, threatening a clerk with a large knife. The business also serves as a gas station and small convenience store.

The man then ran off.

Surveillance video shows a light-skinned man in his 30s or 40s. He was wearing a blue Red Sox baseball cap, a red hooded sweatshirt with a design on the chest, jeans and tan work boots. He was seen riding a bicycle in the parking lot just prior to the robbery.

Police continue to investigate a similar robbery of Bimbo’s Bakery at 1037 Forest Ave. that occurred on Aug. 23. In both incidents, the robber was armed with a large knife.

Anyone with information about the robber or either robbery should contact Portland police at the anonymous tip line at 874-8584.

]]> 3, 29 Aug 2016 17:32:29 +0000
UMaine’s top receiver suspended for first two games Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:44:44 +0000 ORONO — The University of Maine football team will be without its top wide receiver for the first two games of the season.

Micah Wright, a sophomore from Newark, New York, has been suspended for a violation of the school’s student-athlete code of conduct. Wright was arrested for disorderly conduct in May by Orono police while attending an off-campus party.

At the time the university “interimly suspended” Wright from the team. The University of Maine Student Conduct Office in the Division of Student Life made the two-game suspension official Monday.

Wright led the Black Bears with 61 catches for 818 yards and five touchdowns last year. He was a second-team selection on the Colonial Athletic Association’s all-conference squad.

Wright will miss Maine’s opening game Thursday at Connecticut and the Sept. 10 game at Toledo. Both games are against FBS opponents, the division higher than FCS Maine.

“Obviously when you lose someone like that, yeah, it’s going to hurt,” said Joe Harasymiak, the Black Bears’ rookie head coach. “But I think the group (of wide receivers) that we have, and the opportunity that some of those guys are probably going to get now, it’s probably going to be a good thing … I’m excited to see some of those other guys now develop and grow. Once we have him back, it will hopefully only benefit us.”

Wright is still able to practice with the team and has been playing on the scout team simulating UConn wide receiver Noel Thomas, who caught 45 passes last year.

“He knows that he screwed up,” said Harasymiak. “You can’t be a Division I football player and do that kind of stuff.

“I think Micah has handled it the best way you can.”

Dan Collins, Maine’s starting quarterback, said other receivers will have to step up in Wright’s absence.

“It’s next guy in,” said Collins. “Everyone will tell you that, whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. There’s another guy behind him that wants to play as much as he does. We’ll be right there.”

Maine also will be without punter James DeMartini for the UConn game. He also has been suspended one game for a violation of the university’s student-athlete code of conduct last spring. DeMartini, a senior from Haddon Heights, New Jersey, is eligible to return for the Toledo game. He averaged 40.7 yards per punt last year and placed 20 of his 57 punts inside the 20-yard line.

He will be replaced by Derek Deoul, a redshirt freshman from Washingtonville, New York.


]]> 1 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:21:05 +0000
Gene Wilder, zany star of ‘Wonka’ and Brooks films, dies at 83 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:30:27 +0000 Gene Wilder, an actor whose work with comics Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor made him one of the most popular stars of the 1970s and whose memorable portrayals of neurotics and eccentrics included the hilariously mad scientist in “Young Frankenstein,” died Sunday at home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83.

A nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, confirmed the death in a written statement that said the cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Wilder had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma nearly two decades ago.

He grew up in the Midwest, trained at the Old Vic in England and brought classical stage technique to Brooks’ outlandish humor. “My job was to make him more subtle,” Wilder once said. “His job was to make me more broad.”

But sometimes Wilder brought important comic ideas to Brooks. While filming “Young Frankenstein” (1974), a tribute to Universal Studios horror movies of the 1930s, Wilder urged that he and Peter Boyle, who was playing the monster, tap-dance a duet to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

Brooks objected to the musical number until a test audience reacted with howls of laughter.


In another era, Wilder’s Harpo Marx-like mop of golden hair, his slight physique and his soft, almost lisping voice might have hindered a career as a leading man. But Brooks once said he found Wilder “a natural . . . an Everyman with all the vulnerability showing. One day God said, ‘Let there be prey,’ and he created pigeons, rabbits, lambs and Gene Wilder.”

Brooks channeled the actor’s wide-ranging comic talents into many types of roles. For the theatrical farce “The Producers” (1968), Wilder played an ultra-nervous accountant who becomes hysterical when his baby-blue security blanket is taken away. It was a portrayal that film critic Pauline Kael called “almost a shtick of genius.”

In the western spoof “Blazing Saddles” (1974), Wilder played the other extreme as the Waco Kid, an alcoholic gunman whose draw is so quick that he disarms eight attackers in one scene without the camera detecting any expression or movement on his part.

After an early Broadway career, Wilder debuted onscreen in a brief role as a kidnapped undertaker in “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967).

He soon teamed with Brooks, and Wilder’s comic skills tended to overshadow his work as a director, writer and championship fencer, all of which he displayed in “The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother” (1975).

His other well-known portrayals included the candymaker who gleefully watches greedy children meet their just deserts in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971) and a doctor lovestruck with a sheep named Daisy in Woody Allen’s “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask” (1972).

The second role was widely acknowledged as an exercise in brilliant deadpan comedy. Keeping in character, Wilder later joked that the part was made easier because of “very attractive things about this sheep, the little black hairs around each eye.”

With Pryor, Wilder made several buddy comedies that broke ground in their interracial teaming, including “Silver Streak” (1976) and “Stir Crazy” (1980). Wilder pushed for casting Pryor to deflect cries of racism in light of controversial material, such as the scene in “Silver Streak” in which Wilder applies shoe polish to his face and tries to “act black.”

Wilder’s career faded in the 1980s after he made a series of undistinguished films, several co-starring his third wife, “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Gilda Radner. After her death from ovarian cancer in 1989, Wilder co-wrote a book about ovarian cancer and started a cancer support network.

Gene Wilder was nominated for an Oscar twice: as Supporting Actor in "The Producers" and as a "Young Frankenstein" co-writer.

Gene Wilder was nominated for an Oscar twice: as Supporting Actor in “The Producers” and as a “Young Frankenstein” co-writer. Associated Press/Jessica Hill


Jerome Silberman was born in Milwaukee on June 11, 1933. He later took his stage name from the playwright Thornton Wilder. His first name came from the main character of Thomas Wolfe’s novel “Look Homeward, Angel,” although Wilder later wrote in a memoir that his psychoanalyst suggested another reason: His mother’s name was Jeanne.

As a boy, Wilder was warned by a doctor that if he directed anger toward his emotionally fragile mother, it might kill her. He spent hours trying to make her laugh, and from there he developed an interest in theater. Along with acting classes, he took up fencing and won the all-school fencing championship during a year spent at the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. He also enrolled at the Actors Studio in New York, where he studied the “Method” style that asks performers to draw on personal memories in forming a character.

After Army service in a psychiatric ward, Wilder picked up his theatrical career and appeared in several Broadway productions. His small role in Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” in 1963 proved crucial to his career. Also in the show was actor Anne Bancroft, whose then-boyfriend Brooks was a TV comedy writer struggling with a film script.

“Mel said to me, ‘I’ve got a great idea for a movie, and you’re the only one I want for this part,’ ” Wilder told The New York Times in 1967. “Three years went by, and I didn’t hear from him, not a message, not a phone call. Then I was in (the Broadway comedy) ‘Luv,’ and one matinee day I got a knock on my door, and he said, ‘You didn’t think I forgot, did you?’ ”

The film was “The Producers,” and the supporting role brought Wilder an Academy Award nomination. His only other Oscar nomination was for co-writing “Young Frankenstein.”

Wilder made no more movie appearances after 1991, although he periodically acted on television. He won a 2003 Emmy Award for his guest role on the sitcom “Will & Grace,” playing a quick-to-anger boss.

Mostly, he devoted himself to painting and writing, including the memoir “Kiss Me Like a Stranger” (2005).

His marriages to Mary Mercier and Mary Joan Schutz ended in divorce. Survivors include his fourth wife, Karen Boyer, a speech therapist who taught him to lip-read for his role as a deaf man in “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” (1989).

]]> 3, 29 Aug 2016 21:01:51 +0000
With goat’s help, elusive Clydesdale goes AWOL for 5 days Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:11:06 +0000 SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — A dwarf billy goat gave new meaning to the word “scapegoat” when he busted out a surprisingly slippery Clydesdale that went on the lam in California for several days.

Budweiser was safely back in his corral Sunday, after his frolic in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Photo courtesy of Tamara Schultz via AP

Budweiser was safely back in his corral Sunday after his frolic in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Photo courtesy of Tamara Schultz via AP

The nearly 1-ton horse named Budweiser, who goes by “Buddy,” was safely wrangled back into his pen Sunday in the Santa Cruz Mountains on California’s Central Coast.

The goat named Lancelot knows how to butt open the stable gate, and did just that Wednesday, letting his best friend escape, owner Tamara Schmitz told the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper.

Another Clydesdale, Harry, also fled and was nabbed in a meadow the next day. But Buddy was more wily, Schmitz said.

“Buddy’s very elusive,” she said. “He’s not like other horses. He’s not attracted by meadows and other horses. He can stay hidden.”

That made him very hard to find. He eluded volunteers from around the Santa Cruz area for five days, with evidence like tracks and loud snorts suggesting he was as far as 3 miles away.

The owners even trotted out Lancelot and Harry to try to lure back Buddy, but he didn’t fall for it. They just hoped the horse would stay away from Highway 17, a busy and dangerous road running through the area.

A pair of searchers on horseback finally found Buddy hiding amid manzanita shrubs Sunday.

“When we got him back in the pen, he was particularly frisky and playful and happy,” Schmitz said. “I think he was glad to be back.”

]]> 0, 29 Aug 2016 15:21:58 +0000
Stephen King tweets LePage is a ‘bigot, homophobe, racist’ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:41:09 +0000 AUGUSTA — Maine author Stephen King is chiming in on recent controversial remarks by Gov. Paul LePage, saying the Republican is “a bigot, a homophobe and a racist.”

King made the comments on Twitter this weekend.

Last week, the governor said blacks and Hispanics make up the majority of drug arrests in the state. He also left an obscenity-laced tirade on a Democratic lawmaker’s voice mail, calling him a vulgar name that can also be used as a gay slur.

LePage said he believed the lawmaker had called him a racist, which the lawmaker denies. LePage says he takes it “very seriously” when someone calls him a racist.

Last year, King told the governor to “man up and apologize” after LePage said states without income taxes had lured away Maine residents including King.

King maintains his Bangor residence.

]]> 24 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:44:47 +0000
Concert review: Sean Lennon, Les Claypool create something altogether new Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:37:41 +0000 The Claypool Lennon Delirium played to the edge of imagination at the State Theatre on Sunday night. Their heavy mix of classic and newly minted songs, with a variety of electronic enhancements, kept the large crowd engaged and moving. And their sense of humor further served to make the 90-minute performance an exciting one.

Les Claypool and Sean Lennon have established a promising partnership after befriending each other last year during a combined tour of their respective bands, Primus and The Ghost of the Sabre Tooth Tiger. Claypool’s virtuosic electric bass work and Lennon’s getting-better-all-the-time lead guitar playing, combined with some shared eccentricities, has already made the group a formidable force in a music scene hungry for something new, even when it contains many elements of what’s come before.

The group offered several tunes from their album, “Monolith of Phobos,” a collection put together by minds obviously open to what’s beyond the everyday.

The title piece emerged from a spacey electronic haze to establish the setting for Claypool’s insistent vocal, asking “why we live and do or die.” The song’s spooky lyrics were mirrored in an instrumental core shared among Claypool’s percussive bass work and Lennon’s psychedelic guitar lines. Keyboardist Mark Ramos Nishita and drummer Paul Baldi filled out the sound.

Some comedic camaraderie, initiated by Claypool, led to the funky “perversity” of their song about “Mr. Wright,” who’s always “creeping through the night.”

The arty, prog-rock era of the last century seems to have special allure for the band as selections by King Crimson and Pink Floyd figured prominently in the mix.

“The Court of the Crimson King” added drama, with Lennon’s vocals calling to mind the playful dreaminess of his Beatle father John Lennon’s psychedelic period. A wash of organ chords and heavy-on-the downbeat guitar thunder also reinvigorated this vintage anthem.

Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine,” with its descending chorus seemingly out of some sci-fi B-movie, likewise took things to an edge of the musical universe that this group favors. A soaring guitar solo matched Lennon’s vocal in celebrating the ethereal.

Things reached transcendent levels on the set closer, a tune written by Lennon’s dad that highlighted the ways in which the son sounds and thinks like his legendary father. “Tomorrow Never Knows,” with its exotic harmonies and movement-inducing rhythmic lurch, rode the young (at 40) scion’s vocals into a spectacular instrumental close with wah-wah guitar evolving into a loop of sound that persisted as Lennon doffed his hat to the crowd and left the stage.

The evening began with a brief set from JJUUJJUU, a quartet well into its own journey to psychedelic jam nirvana.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 17:26:22 +0000
Lockdown lifted at Corinna school; man in protective custody Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:37:19 +0000 The Corinna Elementary School was in lockdown for about an hour and a half Monday afternoon following a report of a suicidal man in the area who was taken into protective custody shortly before 2 p.m., according to reports.

Police were responding to a report of a man who had threatened to harm himself with a knife in an apartment or residence about 200 to 300 yards away from the school, according to Lt. Mark Brooks of the Maine State Police. The man was reportedly taken into protective custody shortly before 2 p.m. when the lockdown was lifted, but police were not immediately available to confirm that.

The school was in lockdown starting at around 12:15 until just before 2, according to Principal Ellen Surprenant.

“We have resumed all normal activity,” Suprenant said around 2 p.m., adding that there was no threat to safety at the school.

At around 1 p.m., Brooks said troopers were at the scene talking with the man and trying to get in touch with his family to get him help. Brooks said the man had only threatened to hurt himself and had not made threats against others.

“Anytime you have something like that happening so close to a school they advise the school to go into a lockdown to make sure nobody goes in or out until they resolve the situation,” Brooks said.

Additional information was not immediately available from police.

This story will be updated.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:59:16 +0000
Rumford drug felon gets 4 years in prison for gun possession Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:24:52 +0000 A 27-year-old Rumford man was sentenced to four years in federal prison on Monday for possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony.

Troy Blanchard was arrested Jan. 19 by police in Rumford after he was spotted walking along a road in town with a shotgun.

When police pursued him, Blanchard dropped the gun and went into a nearby residence, where he was arrested without incident.

Blanchard has been prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a 2014 conviction in Oxford County for drug trafficking. He was sentenced by District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:20:07 +0000
Maine Maritime Museum honors Eimskip for ‘extraordinary’ impact Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:18:50 +0000 Shipping company Eimskip USA was honored by the Maine Maritime Museum last week for its “extraordinary contributions” to the state’s maritime heritage and its impact on Maine’s culture and economy.

The company, which is based in Iceland but operates its U.S. headquarters in Portland, received the museum’s annual Mariners Award at a ceremony Wednesday.

“The Icelandic shipping company’s decision in 2013 to make Portland its primary U.S. port of call has had – and will continue to have – a transformative effect on Maine’s economy,” according to a release from the museum announcing the honor.

It cited the company’s involvement in getting Maine to become an active member of the multinational Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum for discussing sustainable development and environmental protection and other issues in the Arctic. Portland will host an Arctic Council forum in October, drawing representatives from countries all over the world.

John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority, provided the keynote address, and Eimskip USA’s Managing Director Larus Isfeld accepted the award on the company’s behalf.

]]> 1 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:33:18 +0000
Gov. LePage to meet with family, advisers to decide on ‘corrective action’ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:58:52 +0000 AUGUSTA — Top Republicans in the Maine Legislature met with Gov. Paul LePage Monday night and were told he planned to speak with his family and advisers to decide how he’ll respond to the outrage over statements he made last week threatening a Democratic legislator and identifying blacks and Hispanics as “the enemy” in Maine’s war against drug addiction.

Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport spoke with the governor at the Blaine House for about 90 minutes, Thibodeau spokesman Jim Cyr said.

“Senate President Thibodeau and Rep. Fredette met with the governor this evening – as a result the governor told leadership he was going to be speaking with his closest friends and family about the corrective action that Thibodeau was talking about (earlier in the day) and he would get back to leadership tomorrow,” Cyr said.

Following the meeting, which also was attended by House Assistant Minority Leader Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, Thibodeau told television reporters, “The ball is now in the governor’s court.”

Fredette, in a telephone interview following the meeting, said that House Republicans will hold a caucus Tuesday evening to discuss the events of the past few days involving the governor. The caucus will take place at 6 p.m., but the location has not been determined.

Fredette declined to speak about what happened at the meeting with LePage and said the Legislature and state government need to focus on issues such as dealing with the state’s drug crisis, welfare reform and reducing high energy costs.

“Those are some of the issues that the people of Maine really care about. Personality differences are not going to solve any of those problems,” he said.

Espling said the meeting with LePage went well.

“It was proactive and productive. Us being able to have the time to sit down with the governor is a really good thing. We were able to air a lot of our concerns,” Espling said.

Rep. Drew Gattine, the Democratic legislator from Westbrook who received LePage’s obscenity-laced voice mail last week, appeared on MSNBC Monday night to discuss the governor’s actions and the national attention they have drawn.

“The governor’s behavior becomes more erratic and bizarre, calling into question whether he’s fit to serve,” Gattine said in response to questions from host Chris Hayes.

Gattine, in a telephone interview Monday evening, said that two members of the board of directors for the My Place Teen Center in Westbrook told him that the board voted Monday to cancel the governor’s town hall meeting – scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Donna Dwyer, the center’s president and CEO, said in an email that LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett had been notified that the center did not have the capacity to host the town hall.

Bennett and other LePage representatives did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

Democratic leaders commended Republicans for taking the matter seriously, but said a legislative censure was not enough, and that LePage should step down.

After a short closed-door meeting with a handful of House and Senate Republicans Monday morning, Thibodeau said he had spoken with Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, who posted a statement Sunday on Facebook saying a legislative censure of LePage might be appropriate, and suggesting that LePage may have a substance abuse or mental health problem that requires professional intervention.

Thibodeau said many other Republican senators share her concern.

“She is not on an island here,” Thibodeau said of Volk. “Look, if anybody did this, that was an employee of any corporation in our state, there would be ramifications.”

But Thibodeau and Fredette refused to speculate on what those ramifications might be for LePage or what “corrective action” he needed to take.

After the leaving the profane voice mail for Gattine last week, LePage then told reporters that he was so angry at Gattine he wished it were 1825 and the two men could duel over their disagreement.

“When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I’d like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825,” LePage said. “And we would have a duel, that’s how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he’s been in this Legislature to help move the state forward.”

LePage was reacting to Gattine’s response to statements the governor made Wednesday at a town hall meeting in North Berwick, where he told a member of the audience that more than 90 percent of those arrested for drug trafficking in Maine since January were black or Hispanic.

LePage also said he kept a three-ringed binder with booking mugshots of those charged with drug crimes as proof. That statement prompted Gattine to say LePage’s comments were “racially charged.”

On Friday, LePage met with reporters again for nearly 40 minutes, apologizing for the language he used in his message to Gattine but not apologizing for saying it.

He also reiterated his position that drug-trafficking crimes in Maine are largely perpetrated by people of color.

“Look, the bad guy is the bad guy, I don’t care what color he is,” LePage said Friday. “When you go to war, if you know the enemy and the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, then you shoot at red.”

LePage then turned to Fredette, who was at the news conference and serves as a military lawyer in the Maine Air National Guard. “Don’t you – Ken, you’ve been in uniform – you shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

Federal statistics on drug trafficking arrests in Maine show that is not true. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service reported that, in 2014, 1,211 people were arrested for selling or making drugs in Maine, and, of those, 170 – or 14.1 percent – were black.

LePage was in Boston on Monday discussing energy and other issues at the 40th Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. During the event, the governor again turned to the theme of the race of drug dealers involved in heroin and fentanyl arrests in Maine.

“They’re Hispanic and they’re black and they’re from Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts, Waterbury, Connecticut, and the Bronx and Brooklyn,” LePage said, according to a State House News Service report quoted in Boston Magazine. “I didn’t make up the rules. That’s how it turns out. But that’s a fact. It’s a fact. What, do you want me to lie?”

Thibodeau said that while Republican leaders had a range of ideas on what should take place, they had not settled on a plan.

“I think there is a whole bunch of different ideas about what the right thing to do is, but I don’t think there was anybody that thought what has transpired is appropriate,” Thibodeau said. “And I would hope that we could come up with something that ends well for the governor as well as the people of the state of Maine.”

LePage’s comments triggered national media attention and were the focus of intensive coverage on MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS news and a host of other online, print and television outlets. Many broadcast audio recordings of LePage’s inflammatory voice mail to Gattine, with the obscenities bleeped out.

Rep. Kevin Battle, a Republican from South Portland, told The Associated Press that LePage felt provoked, though that didn’t excuse him from failing to control himself. “There’s some very upset people and rightfully so,” said Battle, who won’t be able to caucus Tuesday. “There needs to be a professional approach.”

Fredette said he and other lawmakers are frustrated by the distraction LePage’s behavior causes, saying it is keeping them from working on important policy issues, including the state’s opioid drug crisis.

Democratic leaders issued a statement Monday reiterating their position that LePage needed to resign.

Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, the assistant majority leader in the Maine House, said Democrats were trying to give their Republican colleagues the space and the time they needed to address LePage’s actions.

“Republican leadership needs take care of the problems that are going on with their chief executive, with their governor and I think by having that meeting they are showing they want to do that,” Gideon said.

Gideon said she did not know “corrective action” means, but for Democrats there were only two options for LePage.

“We’ve all been very clear in what we are looking for,” Gideon said. “We feel that the governor has really demonstrated behaviors and it’s not just that it’s not appropriate for a governor, it shows that he is not in control of either his emotions or his actions and yes we have called for his resignation. We think it should be nothing short of that.”

Gideon also echoed some of Fredette’s frustration about LePage’s behaviors being a distraction for lawmakers.

“We all know we have so many challenges in this state to address and the really interesting and sad thing about this is all of this sort of arose from one of our greatest challenges, which is this drug abuse and addiction challenge we have in this state,” Gideon said. “It is really just crazy that we are not working together and working on this instead find ourselves embroiled in what is not productive and quite destructive actually.”

To vote on a censure of LePage or take any other official action against him, the Legislature would have to convene in a special session. In in order to do so, a majority of the members in the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both the House and the Senate would have to agree.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.


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Scratch Baking Co. to close for a week while it opens its new bakery Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:39:20 +0000 Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland will close Sept. 6-12 so that it can move its bagel- and bread-making operations out of Willard Square and into the former Getty station on the corner of Sawyer Street and Broadway.

Scratch Baking Co.'s Willard Square store in South Portland will close for a week starting Sept 6. John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Scratch Baking Co.’s Willard Square store in South Portland will close for a week starting Sept 6. John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

The Willard Square site will reopen Sept. 13, according to a notice posted for customers. While baking will be underway on Broadway, the “toast bar” where customers can purchase bagels to take away, or enjoy toast and bagels with a variety of toppings, will open in late fall.

Sonja Swanberg, co-owner of Scratch, announced in April that the bakery was expanding, an effort to provide some relief to customers tired of standing in long lines or frustrated by how early Scratch’s popular bagels sell out. Most mornings, customers arriving after 10 a.m. are left holding an empty bagel bag. Swanberg told the Press Herald in April that the new facility will produce at least 25 percent more bagels per day.

Nothing will change at the Willard Square location other than the baking of bread and bagels being moved off site.

]]> 1, 29 Aug 2016 14:23:52 +0000
Driver suffers medical problem, hits Macy’s at Maine Mall Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:32:44 +0000 A pickup truck whose driver suffered a medical emergency crashed into Macy’s department store at the Maine Mall on Monday morning.

The driver and a passenger were both taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, according to South Portland Police Lt. Todd Bernard.

The crash occurred when the driver experienced an unspecified medical emergency while behind the wheel. The pickup took out a fire hydrant before it struck the side of Macy’s, causing minor damage to the building.

The hydrant will have to be replaced, Bernard said.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:25:50 +0000
Board of Westbrook teen center votes to cancel LePage town hall Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:09:08 +0000 The board of the Westbrook teen center where Gov. Paul LePage planned to hold a town hall meeting Wednesday night has voted to cancel the event.

The move follows growing condemnation of the governor’s recent actions, including inaccurate comments he made that drug traffickers arrested in Maine are predominantly black and Hispanic, and a obscenity-filled voice mail he left Drew Gattine, Westbrook’s Democratic state representative.

Westbrook leaders last Friday, in an open letter defending Gattine, said LePage had “humiliated himself and the office” with his latest actions.

However, LePage told his staff last Thursday, while several reporters were present for a meeting with him, that he wanted his next town hall to be in Westbrook.

Wednesday’s event was to be held just one week after a town hall in North Berwick during which LePage disclosed that he has been keeping a three-ring binder of photos of suspects charged with selling drugs in Maine. He said that 90 percent of the photos were of black suspects, prompting many to criticize the governor for focusing on race. LePage previously had made comments about black drug dealers from out of state coming to Maine and impregnating “white girls.”

Among those who criticized LePage for his latest comments was Gattine, who as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee has tussled with the governor.

Told on Thursday, the day after the North Berwick town hall, that Gattine had questioned his comments about race, LePage responded angrily at reporters and then left an expletive-filled voice mail on Gattine’s cellphone. He later told reporters that he wished it were 1825 so he could challenge Gattine to a duel.

Gattine has denied calling the governor a racist, but said he was troubled by his racially charged language.

LePage met with reporters later Thursday after leaving the voice mail and again on Friday in an effort to further explain himself, but he did not apologize to Gattine and did not back off his claims about black drug dealers. In fact, he took his comments further.

Referring to the fight against drug traffickers as a war, he said: “You try to identify the enemy and the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in, are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

Since Friday, many lawmakers, including a growing listnumber of Republicans, have called on the governor to seek professional treatment. Democratic leaders have asked him to resign. Senate Republican leaders said Monday they hoped to meet with the governor to discuss “corrective action.”

Westbrook’s Democratic mayor, Colleen Hilton, was among many who condemned the governor’s recent words and actions. Along with City Council President Brendan Rielly and School Committee Chairman James Violette, Hilton addressed an “Open Letter to the People of Maine.”

“Once more Governor LePage has humiliated himself and the Office of the Governor,” it read. “He continues to again embarrass the citizens of this wonderful state. Unfortunately, the current target of his inappropriate outbursts is Drew Gattine, a respected member and leader of our community, the City of Westbrook, and a highly respected member of the Maine State Legislature.

“Drew Gattine is what we want in a Maine leader. He is totally dedicated to helping others, has integrity and a strong ethical compass, is willing to lead with humor and humility, is articulate and is open to dialogue with those who disagree with him.”

Rielly confirmed that the town hall had been canceled and said that a rally for decency was slated for Riverside Park at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Westbrook, a mostly blue-collar mill city of about 18,000 residents, has seen its demographic makeup shift in recent years. Many immigrants and refugees have settled in the city, in large part because of affordable housing, and recent events have created racial and ethnic tension.

After it was learned this month that Iranian refugee-turned Islamic State radical Adnan Fazeli lived in Westbrook, Muslims in the same housing complex were targeted with anonymous threatening typed notes that read, “All Muslims are Terrorists should be Killed.”

Westbrook, like many communities, also has been hit hard by the heroin and opiate epidemic. Following a rash of overdose calls, the city’s police department accepted an offer by Maine’s Attorney General to equip officers with more doses of the life-saving drug Narcan.

In April, there were 4,691 registered Democrats in the city and 2,691 Republicans, according to the Secretary of State. When LePage was reelected in 2014, he received 41 percent of the votes in Westbrook.

House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, criticized LePage for wanting to schedule the event in Gattine’s hometown.

“It’s unbelievable that the governor plans to hold a town hall in Westbrook on the heels of his threats toward Rep. Drew Gattine. He doesn’t seem to be in touch with reality here. He keeps making bad decisions in the wake of his meltdown last week. This erratic behavior is why we and many Republicans do not have faith in his ability to hold his office.”

LePage previously held a town hall forum in Westbrook in February 2015, during which he talked mostly about his proposed budget. That event, one of his first town halls, was held at the city’s Performing Arts Center, located at the middle school.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

]]> 55, 29 Aug 2016 22:08:31 +0000
Madawaska backs off proposal to drug-test welfare recipients Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:57:49 +0000 MADAWASKA — The town manager in Madawaska says he is backing off a proposal to drug test welfare recipients.

Madawaska Town Manager Ryan Pelletier said earlier this summer that such new rules could apply to the town’s use of state General Assistance money. He said on Monday that he is not moving forward with a random drug testing policy.

Instead, Pelletier is recommending that the town follow the state’s lead with drug testing requirements for convicted felons. He says he will tell the town’s Board of Selectmen on Monday night that the local charter commission should explore the adoption of a similar policy.

The General Assistance program provides money for things like food.

The ACLU had raised questions about the legality of the plan to drug test welfare recipients.

]]> 4 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 12:05:26 +0000
Clinton aide leaving Anthony Weiner after latest sexting revelation Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:45:20 +0000 NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is done playing the good wife to Anthony Weiner, announcing Monday that she is leaving the serially sexting ex-congressman after he was accused of sending raunchy photos and messages to yet another woman.

Abedin, who as vice chair of Clinton’s campaign is destined for big things if the Democrat is elected president, stayed with Weiner after a sexting scandal led him to resign from Congress in 2011 and after a new outbreak of online misbehavior wrecked his bid for New York mayor in 2013.

She didn’t leave even when a recent documentary blew up tense moments in their marriage to big-screen proportions.

But on Monday, she effectively declared she had had enough.

“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” she said in a statement issued by the campaign. “Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life.”

The New York Post published photos late Sunday that it said Weiner sent last year to a woman identified only as a “40-something divorcee” who lives in the West and supports Republican Donald Trump.

The photos included two close-ups of Weiner’s bulging underpants.

In one of the pictures, Weiner is lying on a bed with his toddler son while texting the woman, according to the Post. The tabloid also ran sexually suggestive messages that it said the two exchanged.

Weiner told the Post that he and the woman “have been friends for some time.”

“She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate,” the 51-year-old Democrat told the newspaper.

Abedin, 40, is a longtime Clinton aide and confidante who is often referred to as the candidate’s second daughter.

Abedin has been under scrutiny during the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Federal prosecutors declined to file charges in the investigation, but FBI Director James Comey said Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.

Abedin began working for the former first lady as a White House intern and became a trusted aide as Clinton won a seat in the Senate representing New York in 2000, ran for president in 2008 and served as President Obama’s secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton officiated when Abedin and Weiner married in 2010.

Abedin was pregnant with the couple’s son, Jordan, when a photo of a man’s bulging underpants appeared on Weiner’s Twitter account in 2011. After initially claiming his account was hacked, Weiner acknowledged inappropriate online communication with several women.

]]> 41, 29 Aug 2016 19:43:57 +0000
Firefighters extinguish blaze at Old Orchard Beach apartment complex Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:05:07 +0000 A fire at an apartment complex in Old Orchard Beach damaged two units Monday and caused $100,000 in damage, the fire chief said.

Alarms sounded about 10:30 a.m. after a kitchen stove fire triggered the building’s sprinkler system, said Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Ed Dube.

Fire crews responded to find smoke coming from the building at 18 Smithwheel Road, but the flames were already extinguished by the sprinkler, Dube said. No one was injured.

Water damaged the third-floor unit where the fire began and damaged one below it.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:37:28 +0000
Truck carrying Takata inflators explodes, kills woman nearby Mon, 29 Aug 2016 15:05:07 +0000 DETROIT — Air bag maker Takata Corp.’s troubles worsened Monday as the company confirmed that a truck carrying its inflators and a volatile chemical exploded last week in a Texas border town, killing a woman and injuring four others.

The truck, operated by a subcontractor, crashed, caught fire and exploded Aug. 22 in the small town of Quemado, about 140 miles from San Antonio, leveling the woman’s house. The company says it sent people to the site and is helping authorities investigate the crash.

Takata has a warehouse in nearby Eagle Pass, Texas, and it has an air bag inflator factory across the border in Monclova, Mexico.

The News Gram of Eagle Pass identified the victim as Lucila Robles.

Takata says it has strict procedures covering transportation of its products that meet all government regulations. The explosion left debris up to two miles from where the truck crashed, The News Gram reported.

Takata sent employees to the Quemado Public Library last week to advise residents to report any suspicious material on their property so it could be disposed of properly, the newspaper said. Authorities searched the area with metal detectors in an effort to find any inflator canisters.

Sheriff Tom Schmerber told the paper that to his knowledge, the county clean-up has finished.

Robles’ charred vehicle was one of the only items remaining at the scene of her home. It was later taken away.

Takata uses ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that fills air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to prolonged heat and humidity and burn too fast. That can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 11 people, and probably 14, have died worldwide due to Takata inflator explosions. The deaths have occurred in the United States and Malaysia, where three remain under investigation.

The Takata factory in Monclova made the faulty inflators that were blamed in several of the deaths.

The deaths and more than 100 injuries sparked a massive global recall of more than 100 million inflators, including 69 million in the U.S. in what has become the largest automotive recall in U.S. history.

Earlier this month Takata stuck to its forecast of a $129 million profit for the fiscal year through March. It reported a quarterly profit of $19.8 million from April through June. But analysts note that recall costs that are now being shouldered by automakers eventually will be billed to the Tokyo-based Takata, which has had two straight years of losses over the recalls.

Takata also faces multiple class-action lawsuits over its defective air bag inflators.


]]> 2 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:05:11 +0000
Builder aims to pedal his mammoth-tired bicycle into record books Mon, 29 Aug 2016 14:42:09 +0000 BERLIN — Using giant tires from an industrial fertilizer spreader and scrap steel, a German man has built a bicycle weighing 2,072 pounds that he plans to pedal into the record books as the world’s heaviest rideable bike.

Frank Dose’s bike already outweighs the current Guinness World Record holder’s 1,900-pound contraption.

But the dpa news agency reported Monday that Dose plans to add weight to boost his creation to 2,646 pounds before attempting the 656-foot ride Saturday.

The 49-year-old Dose has been building his bike since March. It sports tires that are 5 feet in diameter. It’s reportedly proved surprisingly easy to ride.

“It’s a sensational bike,” says his wife, Astrid.

]]> 2, 29 Aug 2016 10:52:30 +0000
Maine’s education reform panel to accept fine for closing meeting Mon, 29 Aug 2016 13:22:16 +0000 WELLS — An education reform commission accused of meeting illegally in closed session won’t challenge a legal complaint from the Maine Attorney General’s Office and will pay any fine the court sets, the panel decided in a unanimous vote Monday.

Eight members of the 15-member education finance reform commission voted without any discussion, declining to meet in closed session with an attorney hired to represent it in court. The lawyer was in the audience but did not address the commission.

One Democrat on the Legislature’s Education Committee said she was glad the commission dealt swiftly with the legal complaint.

“It was definitely a distraction and started the commission on a bad note,” said Sen. Rebecca J. Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, who was in the audience. “I’m glad the commission can move forward.”

Commission Chairman Bob Hasson, a Maine Department of Education employee, proposed the motion as the commission met in public for the first time. Several dozen people were in the audience, including education lobbyists, education officials and lawmakers.

One of the commission members, House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, did not attend. Rep. Michael McClellan, R-Raymond, took his place. McClellan voted to pay the fine, but his vote did not count.

Hasson said the vote would help the commission “put (the issue) behind us” and allow members to focus on education issues.

Deputy Education Commissioner Bill Bearsdley agreed. “I’m ready to move on,” he said during a break in the meeting.

After the vote, the commission immediately moved into a discussion of how it would operate and communicate, and Hasson asked members to suggest “big ideas” for education reform.

The commission, created by L.D. 1641, is charged with evaluating the state’s current education funding model and reporting back to the Legislature with “recommendations for action to reform public education funding and improve student performance in the state.” The commission is expected to meet through July 2018.

On Monday, members tossed out more than a dozen ideas for possible focus areas. Some of the ideas were familiar to education specialists: the benefits of universal pre-K instruction, satisfying the 55 percent state funding for education mandate, improving teacher training and increasing teacher pay. Other ideas, not as widely discussed previously, included moving to a year-round school calendar, adopting a common statewide school calendar, shifting sports away from schools to municipalities, and having a single statewide teachers contract.

Documents, past reports and meeting materials are all available at the Maine Department of Education website, Hasson said.

“I’m encouraged that (Gov. Paul LePage) said that whatever comes out of the commission, he will seriously consider it,” Hasson said.

LePage’s education adviser, Aaron Chadbourne, had no comment on the commission’s vote.

The Attorney General’s Office filed its complaint in Kennebec County Superior Court over whether the LePage administration violated the state’s open meetings law when the reform commission held a session closed to the public on April 25. The court date for the hearing is Sept. 12.

Maine law requires most meetings by elected bodies to be open to the public. The law provides for a civil penalty of up to $500 for a knowing or intentional violation.

Three days before the meeting, an assistant attorney general told Beardsley that the meeting needed to be open to the public under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, according to the court complaint.

After getting the opinion, the administration changed the description of the meeting and relocated it to the Blaine House, but kept it private. The governor’s office described the three-hour meeting as an informal, invitation-only, getting-to-know-you session, even though an agenda described it as the commission’s first meeting.

On the day of the meeting, members of the governor’s staff exchanged a flurry of texts when lawmakers and members of the public objected that they were not being allowed to attend.

The texts violated the governor’s policy against communicating via text messages.

In the wake of the controversy, LePage removed himself from the commission and appointed Beardsley as the governor’s representative. In turn, Beardsley named Hasson the Education Department’s representative and the commission chairman.

Hasson oversees certification, educator effectiveness and higher education for the department.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

Twitter: noelinmaine

]]> 4, 29 Aug 2016 20:06:56 +0000
Six-vehicle crash on I-295 cleared, traffic flowing again Mon, 29 Aug 2016 13:19:34 +0000 Officials have cleared a multi-vehicle crash that brought traffic to a standstill on Interstate 295 in Yarmouth Monday morning, but traffic in the area is still slow, authorities said.

The accident involved at least six vehicles in the southbound passing lane near Exit 17, according to state and local authorities.

It was unknown whether anyone was injured in the crash, a dispatcher said.

]]> 7, 29 Aug 2016 13:08:11 +0000
Paris fire chief retires with gripes against selectboard Mon, 29 Aug 2016 13:07:40 +0000 PARIS, Maine – Citing a perceived lack of support from the Paris Board of Selectmen, the Maine town’s fire chief has decided to retire early after 53 years in the fire service.

The Sun Journal reports Chief Brad Frost has notified Paris officials that his last day on the job will be Wednesday.

Frost says he’s “truly saddened” by the selectboard’s lack of support for town employees, which he claims is driven by person agendas that have created a hostile work environment for all employees.

Frost says he’s invited selectmen to many fire department events in the past and none have shown up.

The 77-year-old says he planned to remain fire chief through the fall, but he can’t put up with the selectboard’s “bashing and negativity” any longer.

]]> 0 Mon, 29 Aug 2016 09:07:40 +0000
Riding new trends, University of Maine welcomes largest-ever incoming class Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:14:03 +0000 ORONO — The University of Maine is welcoming the largest incoming class in its history this fall.

The Orono university’s new class will have 2,300 students. The fall semester for the class of 2020 starts on Monday.

The university says the incoming class is 56 percent Maine residents and the rest are from elsewhere. The school says the number of in-state students is comparable to last year, and the number of out-of-state students has been growing.

The University of Maine is also seeing an increase in students attending masters and doctoral programs. Masters students are up 20 percent and doctoral students are up 4 percent.

The school says its total enrollment will be more than 11,000, with more out-of-state students than ever. They will make up 30 percent.

]]> 3, 29 Aug 2016 08:02:21 +0000