Press Herald Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spacious farmhouse, lovely barn have been thoroughly updated Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:14 +0000 STANDISH – This grand Colonial near the town center dates back to 1763, and some locals can remember when the property was a dairy farm. Today, the home retains all its traditional appeal – and offers buyers the security of knowing that that it has been updated in all key respects, from the 2017-new roof to the 2014 Buderus boiler. The magnificent barn has been improved, too, with electricity, rebuilt rolling doors and threshold, and a second stairway.

On the back lawn, past the gardens behind the barn on this one-acre lot, there’s a large, above-ground swimming pool, with a new pump/filter motor. On the patio outside the barn, there’s a hot tub that’s also been substantially rebuilt. Off the master bedroom, there’s a new, private balcony, whose flooring provides a partial covering for the larger deck below, which has a privacy fence, and opens off the living room/family room.

These are just some examples of the contemporary comforts/amenities that await the buyer. Others include a 2017 renovation of the upstairs bathroom – granite vanity; twin copper sinks; wood plank tile flooring and electric radiant heat. The first-floor bath, which has a cast-iron clawfoot tub, was totally redone in 2015.

The large, eat-in, cherry-and-granite kitchen’s 2016 upgrades include and undermount copper sink in the island. Indeed, none of the nine rooms (there are three bedrooms, one of them a tandem, double room) has gone untouched. A particularly nice bonus is the three-season office that connects the barn and the tiled mudroom/laundry. This room, which has three stained-glass windows behind its Victorian glass-paneled doors, would serve very well if a buyer opened an antiques business on the barn’s multi-section first floor.

The home at 50 Bonny Eagle Road (U.S. Route 35) is listed for sale at $365,000 by Collette Conley of RE/MAX Shoreline in Portland. Annual taxes are $3,702. Please note that an Open House will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Collette at 415-5642, 553-7311 or at

The Friday feature home is produced by the Marketing Department of the Portland Press Herald. Photos by Dan Cassidy, SeaWolf Creative. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 21 Sep 2017 17:14:29 +0000
Biddeford teams lose their biggest fan with death of ‘Desi’ Desjardins Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000

Robert Desjardins, seen cheering on the Biddeford High softball team in May 2008, attended hundreds of sporting events involving Biddeford teams – at all levels. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Robert “Desi” Desjardins remained Biddeford’s No. 1 sports fan to the very end, using his last words to tell two friends: “I didn’t get to finish my scrapbook.”

Julie Maloy and Donna Cadorette took the newspaper clippings about Biddeford teams that Desjardins had collected and placed them in the scrapbook just before he died Thursday at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. The Biddeford native, who had cancer, was 75.

Desjardins devoted much of his adult life to supporting Biddeford athletes and chronicling their exploits in the scrapbooks that he started compiling in 1966. He never married, and the legion of athletes, coaches and parents he met over the years became his family. Maloy and Cadorette were among a group of women he called “his daughters.”

Maloy, who served as his power of attorney, said that she and the circle of friends who cared for Desjardins as his health worsened found more than 200 scrapbooks – containing mostly newspaper clippings about Biddeford student athletes and their lives – in his Graham Street apartment. Those scrapbooks and the Biddeford High School yearbooks that Desjardins purchased each year will be donated to Biddeford High School.

Friends say Desjardins will be remembered by generations of Biddeford athletes and their families. He has no known living relatives, having been predeceased by his parents and several aunts and uncles.

“He is survived by all of the former and current Biddeford Tiger students and families whom he tirelessly supported,” his obituary reads.

Desjardins, who was nicknamed for actor Desi Arnaz, attended Biddeford schools, playing basketball and running track and cross-country at Biddeford High before graduating in 1960. His love of sports carried over into his adulthood. Over the years, Desjardins attended hundreds of sporting events involving Biddeford teams. And the level of competition didn’t matter. He attended Little League softball and baseball games, high school field hockey games and football games.

Robert ‘Desi’ Desjardins made hundreds of friends as a fan of Biddeford sports teams and recently was awarded a football game ball.

“Desi was Biddeford’s No. 1 sports fan,” Maloy said.

Sports events were how Desjardins’ “daughters” met him, Maloy said. Their children, who participated in Biddeford athletic programs, all knew Desjardins because he would come to their games.

Now in their late 40s and early 50s, Maloy, Cadorette, Lisa Brown-Lewis, Kelly Reuillard, Debbie Creapeau and Deb Dumoulin banded together about eight years ago to look after Desjardins, who worked in the Pepperell Mills for many years, retiring as a security guard.

“About eight years ago, Desi got really sick,” Maloy explained. “And we realized that he didn’t have any family to take care of him.”

They drove him to games, to doctor’s appointments, cleaned his apartment, had him over to their homes as a guest for the holidays, and even recruited community members to provide him with a week’s worth of meals every Sunday.

Dumoulin’s son, Brian Dumoulin, plays in the National Hockey League for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Maloy said Dumoulin regards Desjardins as his grandfather.

“Brian loved him. He called himself Desi’s biggest fan,” Maloy said. Dumoulin called him last Friday at Gosnell House and urged him to keep fighting.

“Desi told him I’m not sure I can,” Maloy recalled.

“(Desi) bleeds Biddeford black and orange and I’m not sure there will be another person like him,” Deb Dumoulin said.

Brian Curit, Biddeford High’s football coach, said Desjardins’ love for the Biddeford teams went deeper than just showing up at a game to cheer athletes on.

“Desi has just been around forever. He supports all sports – girls, guys, freshman, JV,” Curit said. “It might sound odd, but we’re his family. It’s mind-blowing really. He was at my wedding, he has been at funerals, he was at my son’s graduation party three months ago.”

What made his attendance at contests even more impressive was that Desjardins did not drive. Curit said he would walk, ride a bike, or get a ride from someone to attend games. Biddeford residents drove Desjardins to away games.

“I don’t know what he ever sought to do, but his impact was immense. He was a very gentle, very caring, very decent human being,” Curit said.

Don Wilson, a former athletic director and coach at Biddeford High, said Desjardins was not your typical sports fan. Wilson developed a lifelong friendship with Desjardins after meeting him in the seventh grade. At the time, Desjardins was a high school senior.

“He cheered for everybody. He would take interest in any sport in Biddeford, at any level, male or female, and cheer for that team. Biddeford sports, all Biddeford sports, was his family,” Wilson said.

He would even show up at team practices. Every year before football season started, Desjardins would bring Wilson a list of athletic supporters or former Biddeford athletes who had passed away in the previous year.

“Desi wanted us to have a moment of silence for them before the first home game every year. And we always did,” Wilson said.

Desjardins was able to attend the Biddeford Tigers’ football home opener on Sept. 2. It was the last sporting event he watched in person.

Before the game started, the entire football team and coaches greeted Desjardins and wished him well.

“They all hugged him and many of them were crying,” Maloy said. After the game, the team captains brought the game ball to Desjardins’ apartment.

Wilson said that in one old yearbook he found a quote from Desjardins that said he wanted “to make a million.”

“The way I look at it is he didn’t want to make a million dollars. He wanted to make hundreds and hundreds of friends. And he did that.”

Visiting hours will be Sunday from 3-7 p.m. at Hope Memorial Chapel, 480 Elm St., Biddeford. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated beginning at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph’s Church in Biddeford.

Staff writers Mike Lowe, Steve Craig and Melanie Creamer contributed to this report.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

]]> 0 Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: Biddeford fan Robert "Dezi" Desjardins cheers on the Biddeford softball team Monday, May 5, 2008.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:49:05 +0000
Artist draws on Portland for scenes in new Batman comic series Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000

Sean Murphy drew Gotham City Hall as a near-replica of Portland City Hall for the new Batman series. Illustration by Sean Murphy / Staff photo by Ben McCanna

Holy municipal government! Is that Portland City Hall on the pages of the new Batman comic book?

Almost, old chum. It’s actually Gotham City Hall, where city fathers base their battles against The Joker, The Penguin and assorted super-villains. But it looks just like that place where Portland officials battle each other over waterfront views and school renovations.

The spitting image of Portland City Hall will appear in the DC Comics publication “Batman: White Knight #1,” which goes on sale Oct. 4. The comic book’s artist and writer, Sean Murphy, moved to Portland about a year ago from Brooklyn and finds that its Victorian vibe is perfect for his personal vision of Gotham City.

While other Batman comics and movies feature sleek modern architecture as a backdrop for mayhem and mystery, Murphy used the Old Port’s cobblestone streets, the waterfront’s weathered wharfs and downtown’s ornate red-brick commercial blocks as models for the locales in his Gotham. Besides drawing Gotham City Hall as a near-replica of the 1912 Portland City Hall, Murphy also used the H.H. Hay building at Congress and Free streets, which dates to the mid-1800s, as the model for a building on a future issue’s cover.

“I hadn’t seen another artist do Gotham with Victorian or Edwardian architecture, with cobblestone streets and iron gates,” said Murphy, 37, who lives in the West End. “I like the idea of seeing the Batmobile drive down streets that look like Jack the Ripper might be there.”

The series will have eight issues, and the first issue has sold about 90,000 pre-ordered copies, local comic dealers say. DC Comics said “Batman: White Knight” already is one of the top three best-selling comic books for October. Murphy will sign copies of the issue on Oct. 14 at Coast City Comics on Congress Street.

Even before Murphy moved to Portland, the city was inspiring his artwork. He came here for a few days in 2006 with a former girlfriend and ended up using some locations in a comic book called “Joe the Barbarian.” There’s a cemetery in that comic that looks a lot like the Eastern Cemetery, with its sweeping views of the waterfront.

“It just feels like this perfect foggy New England town. There’s something very Stephen King-y in the air,” Murphy said.

Sean Murphy works in his studio at home in Portland. Murphy said he used the city as the model for some scenes because “it just feels like this perfect foggy New England town.”


“Batman: White Knight” will be a rare treat for locals, because there likely aren’t any other mass-produced superhero comic books with easy-to-recognize Portland scenes, according to the owners of two Portland comic shops: Tristan Gallagher at Coast City Comics and Rick Lowell at Casablanca Comics.

It’s also somewhat rare, they say, that a comic book artist is allowed by a major publisher, such as DC Comics, to do both the art and writing for a comic book – especially one as well-known as Batman, which began in 1940 and has spawned TV shows, movies and thousands of comic book series. About 100 comic book issues starring Batman come out each year.

Lowell called Murphy “one of the few superstar comic creators working in the industry,” and said comic book fans are eager to see his interpretations of Batman and Gotham City.

An email sent by the DC Comics public relations office, in response to questions for this story, said DC’s management “loved the White Knight” when Murphy pitched the idea to them and “jumped at the opportunity” to have Murphy produce it.


Artist Sean Murphy of Portland used the flat iron-style H.H. Hay building at Congress and Free streets, which dates to the mid-1800s, as the model for a building, left, to appear on a future cover of the comic book series “Batman: White Knight.” The image will be printed in color. Artwork copyright DC Comics 2017

DC also allowed Murphy to create a new character for the “White Knight” series, although he can’t say anything about that yet. He can say that the story he wrote centers on The Joker, who after being beaten nearly to death by Batman and forced to take medicine for his insanity, becomes a charming and likable fellow. He runs for city council and becomes a popular figure, and in a clever media campaign he publicly blames Batman and Gotham officials for the city’s constant state of crime.

Murphy said he got some inspiration for the story line from President Trump’s campaign and election, especially his use of media to win over voters.

Murphy has been working as an artist for DC for about eight years. He’s done the art for parts of Batman comics before, but never a whole series. Some of his comic book artwork for DC has included “Hellblazer” and “The Wake.” He wrote and illustrated a comic book series for DC called “Punk Rock Jesus,” about a clone of Jesus created for a reality TV show who eventually quits the show and starts a punk rock band.

Murphy grew up in Meredith, New Hampshire. He credits teachers with recognizing and fostering his talent for art, at one point putting him in a fifth-grade art class when he was in third grade. He remembers a friend showing him a Spider-Man comic, and he immediately had to draw his own.

Murphy attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and after graduating moved to Los Angeles, hoping to work as an artist creating story boards for movies and television.

While in Hollywood, he read about how to write a screenplay, and decided it was a lot like writing a comic book. You have to get maximum punch from a minimum of dialogue.

Murphy struggled to make a living doing comics for several years – and even slept in a dumpster one night – before getting more steady employment and eventually being courted by major publishers. He views the opportunity to be the writer and artist for a Batman comic as just about the best job he could get.

“I think this is the top of the mountain for comics, to get paid what you’re worth and to be left alone to some degree. I don’t think there’s a better gig,” he said. “Working on Spider-Man and X-Men is cool, but it doesn’t pay as well as Batman.”


Murphy and his wife, writer Colleen Katana, started coming to Portland a few years ago, drawn partially by restaurants and comparatively low real estate prices. They began spending summers in the city in 2013. Then as Brooklyn prices continued to climb, they moved to Portland permanently about a year ago.

After he’s finished with “Batman: White Knight,” Murphy will do another Batman series for DC. He’ll create the art for it and comic book writer Scott Snyder will handle the story.

Now that Murphy is living in Portland full time, will more city scenes show up in his comics? In “Batman: White Knight,” Murphy didn’t just use the city’s old buildings or quaint cobblestone streets in his drawings. He needed a lobby of a youth club in Gotham City, so he sketched out one based on the lobby of the YMCA on High Street, where he often has worked out.

“I like the idea of putting my city into a comic book,” he said.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at:

Twitter: @RayRouthier

]]> 0, 21 Sep 2017 23:10:43 +0000
Our View: Federal court should throw out punitive Maine abortion restriction Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade effectively made abortion legal in the United States, but it didn’t make abortion accessible. For residents of rural Maine, a state law that allows only doctors to perform abortions is a major roadblock to exercising the constitutional right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. If this right is to mean anything, the federal government should throw out Maine’s outdated statute.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the American Civil Liberties Union filed their case Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, but the outcome of the suit will be closely watched nationwide. Forty other states also have physician-only statutes; if the Maine case succeeds, it could set a precedent around the country and help alleviate the shortage of professionals trained to perform these necessary and legal services.

Under the Maine statute, which dates to 1979, anyone other than a licensed medical doctor or osteopath could face criminal charges for performing an abortion. Although it’s not clear whether there ever have been any such prosecutions, the law has had a punitive impact – on the 61 percent of Mainers who live in rural areas.

Planned Parenthood in Portland, Mabel Wadsworth Health Center in Bangor and Maine Family Planning’s Augusta headquarters perform about 90 percent of all abortions in Maine. (Removing the physician-only restriction could increase the number of facilities providing abortion care here from three to 18.)

A northern Maine resident who’s seeking an abortion would have to make a six-hour round trip to Bangor for the procedure. Someone from Skowhegan, Farmington or Belfast would have to drive an hour each way to Augusta. A person who lives on Vinalhaven faces at least a day’s journey to get to Augusta and back for abortion services. Factor in transportation, lost wages and child care expenses, and the practical barrier of geography blocks access to abortion as effectively as any legal limit.

The physician-only law is not only unfair but also unneeded. Science doesn’t support it. Peer-reviewed research – including, most recently, a 2013 study of more than 11,000 patients in California, conducted over four years – found there’s no difference in complication rates for abortions performed by nurse-midwives or nurse practitioners and those done by physicians. The World Health Organization, the American Public Health Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all support allowing advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions at early stages of pregnancy.

This restriction is a baffling anomaly in an otherwise pro-choice state. Maine law generally comes down on the side of the patient and their right to a safe, legal abortion, and we hope that the federal court recognizes that and strikes down this burdensome statute.

]]> 0 Parenthood's Portland clinic, above, Mabel Wadsworth Health Center in Bangor and the Augusta headquarters of Maine Family Planning perform about 90 percent of all abortions in Maine. Rural residents of the state must sometimes travel the entire day to receive abortion care.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:20:51 +0000
Bill Nemitz: In dispute over Rockland resident’s Trump signs, city official stays on message Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 When was the last time you thanked your local code enforcement officer?

Probably never. Most homeowners hide in their basements at the mere mention of the title.

But today we honor William Butler, assistant code enforcement officer for the city of Rockland – a man who believes in following the law, even if it means getting run over by the Trump Train.

“I try to go as straight ahead as possible,” Butler said in an interview, one of many he’s given to the media this week. “I look at what the code says and stick to the code and not try to get off on too many tangents.”

Meaning he has no personal or political beef with Susan Reitman, whose home on dead-end Seavey Lane is adorned with two large signs: “I (red, white and blue heart) Donald Trump” and “He Won … Get Over It!”

Butler wants Reitman to take down the signs – but not because they’re too pro-Trump.

They’re too big.

The problem is, Reitman’s not budging.

“Look, I’m a 75-year-old widow living on a fixed income,” Reitman said in a telephone interview from her home. “There is no way I could ever pay that $100-a-day or that $1,000-a-day fine. He can put a lien on my house – I have two mortgages. He can take my house. He can put me in jail or whatever. To me it’s the principle of the thing, you know?”‘

Did she say she’d go to jail? Over a couple of Trump signs?

“Yes, I would. Yes, I would,” Reitman replied. “I know you probably think I’m crazy.”

Let’s go with “passionate.” In a previous chat with WCSH-TV this week, Reitman went so far as to proclaim, “I would lay down my life for Donald Trump!”

Believe it or not, there’s a name for this kind of thing.

Psychologists call it “basking in reflected glory,” or BIRG. Often associated with sports teams, it’s the behavior people exhibit after their side wins and, like it or not, they’re going to make darn sure the rest of the world sees them revel in it.

In other words, the theory goes, “He won … Get Over It!” has at least as much to do with Susan Reitman’s self-image as a Trump supporter as it does her love for Donald Trump. As Trump won last fall, so did Reitman – and she put out her signs to prove it.

At least one neighbor, who complained anonymously, sees it a little differently. No Trump fan, she’s told Butler that she thinks the sign is aimed – both figuratively and literally – at her.

(In an odd twist, Butler divulged that the complaining neighbor has a son who’s a pilot and once worked for Trump. Meaning we now have one neighbor who would die for Trump pitted against another neighbor whose son would fly for Trump. Back to the action …)

Being a good civil servant who’s spent decades enforcing codes for four Maine municipalities and the Department of Environmental Protection, Butler wants no part of this political cage match.

His only concern is the city’s sign ordinance, which requires that residential properties be limited to one sign no larger than 2 square feet if affixed to a structure or 4 square feet if it’s freestanding.

Both of Reitman’s signs, which she estimates at 3 by 4 feet, far exceed those maximums. Big league.

“I know I’m not in compliance. I know that,” Reitman conceded. “My point is that he had all the opportunity in the world to tell me that I was not in compliance. He saw the signs. I told him about them.”

She did it once in an email last month in which she announced her plans for the signs. Butler recalls the email but said it was so laden with “pro-Trump political” stuff that the mention of the signs flew right past him.

The second came during a site visit Butler made recently to Reitman’s property to discuss her plans for a new fence. The signs were actually up by then, but Butler, unsure of what the heretofore obscure residential sign ordinance actually said, decided to go back and research it before causing a brouhaha.

Then the neighbor complained, forcing Butler to take action. And with that, a cause was born.

We won’t repeat the content of the voicemails left on the code enforcement office phone by callers who support Reitman and think the world would be a lot better off without Butler.

“They were vulgar, rude,” Butler recalled. “And they suggested (pause) that they didn’t understand (pause) what we were trying to do.”

Sounds like he’s being diplomatic here.

“I’m trying,” he replied.

Smart move. This thing could take a while.

On Thursday, Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell told Courier-Gazette reporter Stephen Betts that the whole thing is on hold until Oct. 2, when the City Council will decide whether the residential sign ordinance needs an upgrade.

Code enforcement officer Butler, for one, thinks that’s a great idea.

“I’m actually hoping that this is a segue to changing the ordinance,” he said.

More help may be coming from another, entirely unexpected direction.

Butler said Thursday that he’d just received a call from someone identifying himself as a member of the “Trump campaign.”

The caller said they’re ready, willing and able to provide Reitman with a compliant Trump sign at no charge – in exchange for the two offending placards she just moved (for safe keeping) from her driveway gate to the front of her house.

And get this: The Trump folks will even try to have the sign signed by Donald Trump himself.

“I think that might satisfy her,” Butler mused, adding that the city would consider waiving its $60 fee for a sign permit as a show of good faith.

How this sits with the angry neighbor will be anyone’s guess. But she too has options – as does anyone in Rockland looking for a way to peacefully shield themselves from all of Trump’s reflected glory., which sold Reitman her signs, is an equal-opportunity offender where Trump opponents – who, according to the shrinks, are suffering from “cutting off reflected failure,” or CORF – can purchase a post-election message all their own.

It sells for a mere $24.95.

It’s easy to read – just black letters on a white background, minus all the fancy-dancy red, white and blue stuff.

And it’s small enough – at least by the city of Rockland’s standards – to plant legally on your front lawn today.

It reads: “Elect a clown, expect a circus.”

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at:

]]> 0, ME - MAY 15: Images of Portland Press Herald news reporters and columnists, Wednesday, May 15, 2014. (Photo by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer)Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:25:33 +0000
George Will: Speech that’s easily, cheaply disseminated comes with steep cost Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 At this shank end of a summer that a calmer America someday will remember with embarrassment, you must remember this: In the population of 325 million, a small sliver crouches on the wilder shores of politics, another sliver lives in the dark forest of mental disorder, and there is a substantial overlap between these slivers. At most moments, 312 million are not listening to excitable broadcasters making mountains of significance out of molehills of political effluvia.

Still, after a season of dangerous talk about responding to idiotic talk by abridging First Amendment protections, Americans should consider how, if at all, to respond to “cheap speech.” That phrase was coined 22 years ago by Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School. Writing in The Yale Law Journal (“Cheap Speech and What It Will Do”) at the dawn of the internet, he said that new information technologies were about to “dramatically reduce the costs of distributing speech,” and that this would produce a “much more democratic and diverse” social environment. Power would drain from “intermediaries” (publishers, book and music store owners, etc.) but this might take a toll on “social and cultural cohesion.”

Volokh anticipated today’s a la carte world of instant and inexpensive electronic distributions of only such content as pleases particular individuals. Each person can craft delivery of what MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte called (in his 1995 book “Being Digital”) a “Daily Me.” In 1995, Volokh said that “letting a user configure his own mix of materials” can cause social problems: Customization breeds confirmation bias – close-minded people who cocoon themselves in a cloud of only congenial information. This exacerbates political polarization by reducing “shared cultural referents” and “common knowledge about current events.”

Technologies that radically reduce intermediaries and other barriers to entry into society’s conversation mean that ignorance, incompetence and intellectual sociopathy are no longer barriers. One result is a miasma of distrust of all public speech. Although Volokh leans libertarian, what he foresaw – “the demassification of the mass media” – led him to conclude: “The law of speech is premised on certain (often unspoken) assumptions about the way the speech market operates. If these assumptions aren’t valid for new technologies, the law may have to evolve to reflect the changes.”

He warned about what has come about, odious groups cheaply disseminating their views to thousands of the likeminded. Nevertheless, he stressed the danger of letting “government intervene when it thinks it has found ‘market failure.’ ”

Now, Richard L. Hasen of the University of California, Irvine offers a commentary on Volokh, “Cheap Speech and What It Has Done (to American Democracy),” forthcoming in the First Amendment Law Review. Hasen, no libertarian, supports campaign-spending regulations whereby government limits the quantity of campaign speech that can be disseminated. Given, however, that “in place of media scarcity, we now have a media firehose,” such regulations are of diminished importance. As Hasen says, using the internet to tap small donors has “a democratizing and equalizing effect.”

But, he correctly says, cheap speech is reducing the relevance of political parties and newspapers as intermediaries between candidates and voters, which empowers demagogues. Voters are directly delivered falsehoods such as the 2016 story of Pope Francis’ endorsement of Donald Trump, which Hasen says “had 960,000 Facebook engagements.” He cites a study reporting approximately three times more pro-Trump than pro-Hillary Clinton fake news stories, with the former having four times more Facebook shares than the latter.

Hasen says that during the 2016 election, digital advertising revenue reached $1.4 billion, a 789 percent increase over the 2012 campaign, with Facebook and Google receiving 85 percent of it. Courts have rejected the idea of government bodies declaring campaign statements lies; besides, as Hasen delicately says, this is “an era of demagoguery and disinformation emanating from the highest levels of government.” But because “counterspeech” might be insufficient “to deal with the flood of bot-driven fake news,” Hasen thinks courts should not construe the First Amendment as prohibiting laws requiring “social media and search companies such as Facebook and Google to provide certain information to let consumers judge the veracity of posted materials.”

Hasen errs. Such laws, written by incumbent legislators, inevitably will be infected with partisanship. Also, his progressive faith in the fiction of disinterested government causes him to propose “government subsidizing investigative journalism” – putting investigators of government on its payroll.

The most urgent debate concerns the First Amendment implications of regulating foreign money that is insinuated into campaigns. This debate will commence when Robert Mueller reports.

George Will is a columnist for The Washington Post. He can be contacted at:

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:08:30 +0000
Letter to the editor: Portland would benefit from LaCasse’s broad experience Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Bree LaCasse deserves our support for the City Council at-large seat – one that I believe is due for change.

I am a city taxpayer and a public school parent. I got to know Bree as we fought to support the Congress Square Park initiative in 2013-2014. Through her vision, initiative and organization, we won recognition for Portland’s neglected public park spaces.

Currently, Bree is leading the effort to pass a bond to renovate all four of the city’s most rundown public elementary schools – a welcome, if not long-delayed, infrastructure upgrade.

And Portland is grappling with immense development and housing pressure. The city’s awesome fabric of community, public resources and architecture is at issue. Bree has experience in affordable housing development and demonstrated ability to work with people on all sides of an issue to find a solution. I think she’ll work very hard for the city, with the values and wits of a lifelong Portlander.

Will Kessler


]]> 0 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:12:08 +0000
Letter to the editor: ‘Alt-right’ distorts pro-diversity message, says Democrat Mark Eves Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 On Sept. 8, the Press Herald published a letter written by Burnell Bailey. It was critical of me, but that wasn’t terribly surprising. Bailey lost an election to me in 2012. He’s never been a fan.

But what was surprising was the source of his critique. You see, in August one of Maine’s far-right fake news sites ran a piece on me that was nothing short of a lie. Of course, that didn’t stop Breitbart from picking it up. Then it was Milo Yiannopoulos – the darling of white supremacists – attacking me.

And if that weren’t enough, I then got my first-ever invitation to appear on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. It was a textbook example of how the “alt-right” works: Plant a lie, and see if you can use it to destroy someone standing in your way.

So, if you’ve had the misfortune of coming across any of this, let me set the record straight: There’s nothing more important than fixing the Maine economy. Talk to the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and local businesses around the state and they will all tell you that one of the most important ways to do that is to attract people from other places to come here and plant their new ideas in Maine soil. Why? Because diversifying the economy is a great way to create jobs, lift incomes and position Maine for the years ahead.

Of course, none of that got reported by the “alt-right” fake news machine. And maybe we should just chalk that up to politics. But here’s the thing: If you care about Maine, and this country we love, we can’t just cede the field to people like that. We must stand up for what we believe in, come what may. That’s what I’m going to do. And I hope you’ll join me.

Mark Eves

Democratic candidate for governor; former state representative

North Berwick

]]> 0 Yiannopoulos speaks in Boulder, Colo. He is an editor at the alt-right website Breitbart News.Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:17:48 +0000
Commentary: Tensions in Quebec reflect challenges faced by multicultural Canada Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 For all the praise Canada receives as “the one Western country” untouched by bigoted populism (to quote Fareed Zakaria), recent anxieties in the province of Quebec are a reminder that there exist challenges of multiculturalism even the clever Canadians can’t solve.

Like many diverse countries, Canada houses minority communities both old and new, and the ensuing tension provokes a familiar dilemma: Can a state treat all minorities with respect and fairness while offering above-and-beyond cultural and political protections to the groups it deems especially worth defending?

Much consternation was had in Quebec recently when figures from the 2016 Canadian census (since shown to be false) appeared to correlate rising levels of immigration with declining use of French in the French-speaking province.In Canada’s English-speaking provinces, declining rates of English are generally characterized by Anglo politicians as inevitable – if not exciting (Toronto Mayor John Tory even proclaimed an official day to “promote linguistic and cultural diversity”). Yet English Canada is not considered the protected reserve of a particular people, while Ottawa explicitly recognizes Quebec as the home of the French Canadian “nation.”

Though unanimously endorsed by Canada’s political class, this notion that Quebec is – and should be – the country’s French-Canadian homeland grinds awkwardly against the egalitarian, “post-national” multiculturalism that has earned Canada so much international acclaim in the age of Trump and Brexit. Keeping Quebec French (however broadly one wants to define that adjective), after all, implies a certain level of judgment for residents who are not.

For the past four years, successive Quebec administrations, representing two different political parties, have been trying to pass some manner of public-sector “headgear ban,” mostly to prevent Muslim women from wearing headscarves in government-controlled spaces. This dislike of “ostentatious displays” of religiosity from minorities – said to be rooted in the French tradition of aggressive secularism – has been similarly blamed for the low Quebec poll numbers of Jagmeet Singh, the popular turban-wearing Indo-Canadian front-runner to lead the New Democratic Party. In Canada, it’s considered highly taboo to pass judgment on Quebec peculiarities. I wrote an article in February observing that many Canadians consider Quebec a “noticeably more racist” place than elsewhere in Canada and was unanimously denounced by a furious vote of the Quebec legislature. Such touchiness merely exposes the depth of the dilemma.

The French Canadians consider themselves a persecuted minority and have fair historic justification. The French of North America are a conquered, colonized people who faced systemic discrimination under Canada’s long reign of Anglo-supremacy. Yet there are many other minority groups in Canada who can plead a similar case, including the non-French minority within Quebec itself. Many of Quebec’s customs and laws are intended as French Canadian empowerment after years of marginalization, though in practice this can often look like one minority demanding its cultural grievances supersede all others.

The problems, hypocrisies and paradoxes surrounding les Québécois may be a uniquely Canadian issue, but analogies can be found in most Western democracies these days. Like Canada, many Western nation-states were originally set up as limited arrangements of a few ethnic groups, only to see the drama between those groups appear increasingly dated or privileged as populations grow more diverse, inhabited by peoples from every corner of the globe.From Catalonia to Corsica, virtually every European nation includes a historically aggrieved community whose dreams of autonomy threaten being overshadowed by their country’s more modern cultural cleavages.

Canada offers no useful lesson on how to resolve the tension between minorities old and new – except perhaps that double standards and blind spots are a more inescapable part of managing 21st-century multiculturalism than many may like to believe.

— Special to the Washington Post

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:39:27 +0000
Letter to the editor: Head of EPA gutting agency while threats from climate change worsen Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 While Texas and Florida suffer in the wake of two deadly hurricanes, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is busy undermining the agency that could help them recover, starting with staffing cuts that are so severe that top EPA Inspector General and Government Accountability Office officials are warning lawmakers that the agency needs more staffing and additional funding, not less.

With a combination of warmer air and water temperatures, as well as rising sea levels, climate change is directly responsible for the increasing danger of natural disasters like Irma and Harvey. It is with this knowledge that the Trump administration should be taking drastic steps to cut our carbon pollution, not ignore it entirely.

Instead, Pruitt is completely gutting the agency that is charged with the protection of the American population’s health, blocking lifesaving climate protections and recklessly endangering lives in order to benefit the wallets of polluters.

With increasing temperatures, natural disasters are bound to increase in number and severity. Hamstringing the EPA will only serve to hurt us more when we are tasked with cleaning up the harmful toxins and other pollution following these disasters.

Saif Pratt


]]> 0 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:14:38 +0000
Letter to the editor: Council candidate LaCasse has skills needed to build our city Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Please join me in voting for Bree LaCasse for an at-large seat on the Portland City Council.

As an entrepreneur who builds work spaces for small businesses, I see Bree as a fellow community builder. She is part of the network of doers who are enhancing Portland’s reputation as a great city to live and work in.

Portland’s creative economy is flourishing, and startups, remote workers and freelancers are flocking here to be a part of the unique lifestyle opportunities.

Bree represents the smart-growth initiatives while maintaining a dedication to the city’s roots, legacy and people. She also surrounds herself with a diverse intersection of entrepreneurs and thought leaders and will be an effective agent in growing the creative economy. We’d do well to have her represent us on the City Council as we continue to build this great city.

Patrick Roche

founder and president, Think Tank Coworking


]]> 0 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:13:40 +0000
Letter to the editor: Media stoop to new lows on president’s family, deserve not to be trusted Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 I never thought the national media could sink any lower with their daily haranguing of President Trump. But they crawled under the snake’s belly with the slamming of Trump’s 11-year-old boy and the clothes he was wearing, and the shoes that first lady Melania Trump wore on the plane to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The truest assessment of the national media was stated by actor Denzel Washington: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

Today’s media motto is “get it out first.” “Extra, extra, read all about it.” “We now interrupt this program for breaking news …”

The approach seems to be: “Don’t worry whether it is factual – we will print a retraction on the bottom of Page 27 in small print.”

Many lives have been ruined by the “get it out first” mentality. And they wonder why the majority of people don’t trust or believe in the media!

Craig Elliott


]]> 0 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:12:46 +0000
Maine Voices: Initiative pushed by Fair Rent Portland coalition is anything but fair Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Some affordable-housing advocates in the city of Portland are in desperate need of a history lesson. I say this not as an affront, but as a sympathetic warning to the Fair Rent Portland coalition. The initiative they are pushing this November is counterproductive to their cause, antithetical to their stated mission and would be disastrous for middle-income earners in Portland.

Before we begin, let’s get one thing clear: There’s no difference between “rent control” and “rent stabilization.” They may look different on paper, but they are identical in practice. Both create an artificial ceiling on annual rent increases. Brand it what you want, but they are one and the same.

Rent control is a manmade market disruptor that ultimately lowers the availability and affordability of rental units and reduces the quality of housing. In fact, cities where rent control measures have been enacted are among the most expensive in the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, California, and Washington, D.C.

I implore supporters of this ordinance to use the Family Budget Calculator developed by the Economic Policy Institute (a liberal think tank) to determine the cost of living in these metro areas. With rent control, this too could be your city.

Economists have long agreed that rent control does more harm than good when it comes to affordable housing. According to a 1992 survey by the American Economic Association, 93 percent of economists agreed that “a ceiling on rents reduces the quality and quantity of housing available.” In another context, this is what progressives call “settled science.”

The reality of rent control is that, once enacted, landlords no longer have incentive to maintain their rental properties. Without being able to raise rent beyond the rate of inflation, landlords have less income for major capital improvements. This maintenance would regularly improve the quality of living for current tenants and draw prospective ones to the city, spurring additional economic activity.

With rent control, units are rented out below market price, enticing low-income renters to stay put. However, because landlords will pay more in regulatory compliance, taxes and insurance than they receive in rent on a controlled unit, they become unable to provide adequate upkeep on the property. The combination of unavailable units and poor upkeep leads to great demand for any available, quality housing in a given city, causing prices to soar. This reality is embodied in a letter to the editor from a Portland landlord recently published in the Portland Press Herald.

As the cost of living continues to balloon, it eventually becomes more fiscally sound for landlords to transition their rental properties into high-end, non-rent-controlled condominiums once low- and middle-income earners have been priced out of the market. This accurately describes what transpired in the rent-controlled cities named above. Today, the areas of these cities with the highest proportion of rent-controlled units are often the most impoverished, markedly emboldening the line between rich and poor.

As it relates to Portland, the initiative being pushed by the Fair Rent group is anything but fair, and there is a great deal of misinformation being spread by prominent members of the community.

The initiative Portland voters will consider establishes a seven-person Rent Board that determines how much rent can increase annually on controlled units. Five members must come from the five different city wards in Portland, and the remaining two seats are for at-large members.

The language of the ordinance recommends the board contain at least four tenants and one landlord, meaning that, by design, renters will have more influence on the board.

During an Aug. 22 appearance on WGAN radio, Mayor Ethan Strimling said, “(Regarding) the tenant-landlord board, I keep hearing different things. The business community thinks that there is only one landlord on it. I think there’s more than that.”

To put it plainly, the mayor is mistaken. Article XII Sec. 6-250 of the proposed ordinance reads:

“The city shall take reasonable steps, but is not required, to appoint to the Rent Board at least one (1) Landlord and at least four (4) tenants.”

Based on this language, the board could be comprised entirely of tenants, as long as the city of Portland can prove it took reasonable steps to ensure representation of at least one landlord.

Portland cannot afford the unfair and disastrous effects of this ordinance. Like most clique progressive initiatives, with rent control, the outcome sought will never be achieved. Government cannot command the free market, and when it tries, it often fails.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:44:04 +0000
L/A Arts laying off employees, moving out of office Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:37:47 +0000 LEWISTON — L/A Arts is laying of its employees two months after the organization’s director said the nonprofit had “made huge strides” financially.

Board Chairman Jim Parakilas said Wednesday that the area’s premier arts organization hasn’t been able to bring in enough money to support itself.

“It’s been an accumulation of things,” he told the Lewiston Sun Journal said.

L/A Arts has a full-time consulting director and a part-time programs manager. It usually has a full-time business manager as well, but that position is vacant and the organization has been using a part-time bookkeeper to fill in the gaps.

The director and programs manager will leave in the coming months. The business manager position will not be filled. It is unclear what will happen with the bookkeeper.

In place of full-time employees, the 44-year-old organization will use volunteers, board members and independent contractors to keep its programs running.

The organization also plans to move out of its office space on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. The board has not yet decided on a new location.

The nonprofit focuses on arts in education, community arts events and arts agency initiatives, like the development of a Lewiston-Auburn cultural plan.

L/A Arts has struggled financially in recent years. Tax forms filed between 2013 and 2015, the latest years available, show the organization often ran a deficit.

Two months ago, Louise Rosen, L/A Arts’ consulting director, told the Sun Journal it that had been able to improve its finances despite the loss of a $75,000 Maine Arts Commission grant, thanks to other grants, increases in individual donations and business support and changes to the way it operates.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:54:32 +0000
Major League roundup: Dodgers close in on division title Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:24:23 +0000 PHILADELPHIA — Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson homered Thursday as the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a tie for the NL West title, ending a four-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4.

The Dodgers can win their fifth straight division title Friday night with a victory at home against San Francisco or a loss by second-place Arizona to Miami.

Los Angeles avoided a four-game sweep by the last-place Phillies, winning for just the sixth time in 26 games.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner sustained a bruised right thumb when he was hit by a pitch from Mark Leiter Jr. in the first inning and left the game.

Turner is hitting a team-leading .321 with 21 homers and 70 RBI.

BRAVES 3, NATIONALS 2: R.A. Dickey frustrated Washington with his knuckleball for eight innings, Ozzie Albies had three hits and Atlanta won at home.

After Ryan Zimmerman’s leadoff homer in the second, the 42-year-old Dickey gave up only one hit – a two-out single by Trea Turner in the third – over the next five innings. Turner was picked off first base.

CARDINALS 8, REDS 5: Dexter Fowler delivered again, getting three hits and driving in two runs as St. Louis overcame Scott Schebler’s two home runs to win at Cincinnati for a three-game sweep.

Fowler went 7 for 13 with two home runs and six RBI in the series. Yadier Molina drove in two runs as the Cardinals completed their first sweep in Cincinnati since 2010.


INDIANS 4, ANGELS 1: Shortstop Francisco Lindor homered at Anaheim, California, to lead Cleveland to a three-game sweep and its 27th win in its last 28 games.

The record for victories with only one loss is 29, set by the 1884 Providence Grays.

ORIOLES 3, RAYS 1: Gabriel Ynoa pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, Manny Machado homered and Baltimore won at home in a matchup between fading AL East teams.

Machado’s two-run homer in the first off Matt Andriese (5-4) propelled the Orioles to their third win in 15 games. Baltimore has only a mathematical chance of reaching the postseason and must go 7-1 the rest of the way to avoid its first losing season since 2011.

ROYALS 1, BLUE JAYS 0: Jason Vargas and four relievers combined on a two-hitter, Melky Cabrera had three hits and the game’s only RBI, and Kansas City won at Toronto.

Vargas (17-10) struck out seven in 61/3 innings to win his third straight start. None of the three batters he walked advanced beyond first base.

TWINS 12, TIGERS 1: Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco had three hits each, and Minnesota won at Detroit to extend its lead for the American League’s second wild card.


RAUL MONDESI, a former Los Angeles Dodgers star, was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of embezzlement during his term as mayor of his hometown in the Dominican Republic.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:28:36 +0000
Rosemont Market opening new store in Cape Elizabeth Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:16:21 +0000 Rosemont Market & Bakery is opening a new store this fall in Cape Elizabeth, in a building the company purchased at 573 Shore Road.

Dan Roche, Rosemont’s general manager, said the new store is scheduled to open in November.

It will be the sixth Rosemont Market to open since 2005, joining four stores in Portland and one in Yarmouth.

The Cape Elizabeth store will be a “medium-sized” market like the one in Yarmouth and the one on Portland’s West End, Roche said, but it will have meat and fish counters like the Portland store on Brighton Avenue.

Roche said he and other Rosemont managers are often approached about properties that could be good sites for a new store, but they usually don’t work out. Last year, a search in South Portland never turned up a suitable location.

In this case, though, the Cape Elizabeth property “has the exact feel we’re looking for,” Roche said. “The building feels right, the neighborhood feels right, the traffic’s good.”

After a long search, Rosemont has also found a property where it plans to build a large new facility to consolidate all of its stores’ production, processing and baking operations. The land is in Gorham, but Roche declined to say exactly where because “the paperwork hasn’t been signed.”

He estimates the new facility will take 18 to 24 months to build.

Rosemont has 85 employees. That number will hit 95 once the Cape Elizabeth store opens, Roche said, and push over 100 once the new production facility is up and running.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: MeredithGoad

]]> 0, 21 Sep 2017 23:18:52 +0000
Republican tax-cut plan picks up momentum Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:57:15 +0000 WASHINGTON — The White House plan for a massive package of tax cuts is gaining new momentum as Republicans try to set aside months of intraparty squabbling and unify behind a key part of President Trump’s agenda.

Two developments are accelerating the effort: Key Senate Republicans reached a tentative deal this week to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax reductions over 10 years; and there is a growing willingness within the party to embrace controversial, optimistic estimates of how much economic growth their tax plan would create.

Those upbeat estimates, often rejected by bipartisan economists, would supplant the traditional forecasts offered by official scorekeepers at the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, helping lawmakers argue that the plan would not increase the national debt.

Trump is pushing for what he says will be the largest tax cut in U.S. history, which advisers say will come from a sharp decrease in corporate tax rates and tax relief for the middle class.

Numerous pitfalls remain, and Republicans have not yet agreed on major aspects of the plan. They haven’t reached a deal on what the tax cut’s impact should be on the budget deficit, what tax breaks should be jettisoned, or whether to pursue permanent tax cuts or ones that would expire after a number of years. Meanwhile, House conservatives continue to threaten to block any deal unless the White House agrees to include large spending cuts in any tax package. Fights over any of these issues could derail the discussions.

]]> 0 delays – likely until the end of February – will affect families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit, which benefit the working poor.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:52:58 +0000
Thursday’s boys’ soccer roundup: Falmouth turns back Marshwood Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:56:56 +0000 SOUTH BERWICK — Thomas Fitzgerald’s tiebreaking goal six minutes into the second half gave Falmouth a 2-1 win over Marshwood in a Class A South boys’ soccer match Thursday.

Marshwood’s Jason Janetos opened the scoring 16 minutes into the match, with an assist from Turner Goodenough. Nate Arrants answered eight minutes later.

Alvaro Fuentes-Cantillana stopped eight shots for Falmouth (6-1), which has shut out five of its seven opponents. Chase Gagnon of Marshwood (4-4) recorded 15 saves.

GORHAM 3, BIDDEFORD 0: Kyle King scored two second-half goals to lead the Rams (5-1-1) past the Tigers (1-7) in Gorham.

Nolan Brown opened the scoring with 29:30 left in the second half off a pass from Ryan Farr. King’s first goal was assisted by Mike Knight with 22:52 remaining, and Farr set up King’s second goal less than two minutes later.

Clayton Bassingthwaite made eight saves for the shutout. Josh Nagle had 14 saves for Biddeford.

THORNTON ACADEMY 7, MASSABESIC 0: Brogan Searle-Belanger scored four goals and Chase Pierce added two as the Trojans (4-3) cruised past the Mustangs (0-7) in Saco.

Colten Brown got a late goal to complete the scoring for Thornton, which led 4-0 at halftime.

CHEVERUS 4, WESTBROOK 0: Luc Dionne scored twice in the second half to lead the Stags (5-2) over the Blue Blazes (2-5) in Westbrook.

Michael Nason also scored, and the Stags were aided by an own goal.

Kevin Ly stopped five shots for the shutout. Jacob Brackett and Kyle McKone combined to record 12 saves for Westbrook.

SCARBOROUGH 11, NOBLE 0: Brandon Wasser recorded a hat trick and the Red Storm (6-2) rolled past the Knights (0-8) in Scarborough.

Marco Manfra added two goals and four assists while helping Scarborough build a 7-0 halftime lead.

Justyn Sears, Ryan Jacquet and Nick Anderson also scored.

WELLS 6, FRYEBURG ACADEMY 0: Ryan Harris scored three goals and Liam Bell added two as the Warriors (2-3-1) downed the Raiders (1-6) in Wells.

Spencer Poulin tallied the other goal and Eric Sousa stopped 14 shots for the Warriors.

LINCOLN ACADEMY 5, OCEANSIDE 0: Nate Simmons and Will Shaffer each had a goal and an assist as the Eagles (4-1-2) downed the Mariners (0-7) in Newcastle.

Nolen Michael, Gus Hunt and Jorge Pulido Fernandez also scored.

PINE TREE ACADEMY 5, A.R. GOULD 1: Evan Owen scored twice to lead the Breakers (5-1) past the Bears (1-4) in South Portland.

After Joseph Knowles gave Pine Tree a 1-0 lead, Damian Walter answered for A.R. Gould. But the Breakers got goals from Levi Miongo and Owen for a 3-1 halftime advantage.

Chris Amisi and Owen scored in the second half.

Liam Knowles stopped six shots for Pine Tree. Ernest Loranger had 13 saves for A.R. Gould.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:01:16 +0000
Thursday’s girls’ roundup: Massabesic stays unbeaten in field hockey Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:56:55 +0000 GORHAM — Logan Champlin scored with 10 minutes left to lead Massabesic to a 2-1 win over Gorham in a Class A South field hockey game Thursday.

Massabesic’s Lacey Bean scored 11 minutes into the first half. Gorham (4-4) tied it on a goal from Molly Barr with 18:37 remaining in the second half.

Jessica Dusseault made eight saves for Gorham, while Maddy Pomerleau had four saves for Massabesic (7-0).

BIDDEFORD 4, SOUTH PORTLAND 1: Sarrah Marcotte scored two goals, including the go-ahead goal early in the second half, as the Tigers (5-2) beat the Red Riots (3-5) in South Portland.

Biddeford took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on a goal from Paige Laverriere. South Portland tied on a goal from Sarah Axelrod late in the half.

After Marcotte’s two goals gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead, Abby Allen added a late goal.

Abby Jellison made 25 saves for South Portland. Taylor Wildes had nine saves for Biddeford.

MARSHWOOD 2, DEERING 0: Leah Glidden and Madison Person scored in the second half to lift the Hawks (4-3) over the Rams (1-7) in South Berwick.

Corrin Hasty assisted on both Marshwood goals.

Maddalena Lapomarda made five saves for Deering.

WESTBROOK 3, NOBLE 0: Avery Tucker scored one goal and set up two more as the Blue Blazes (6-1) beat the Knights (1-6) in Westbrook.

Westbrook took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Tucker and Kaitlyn Talbot. Alexis Witham got the final goal with 41 seconds left.

Westbrook goalie Kimmy Goddard had to make only one save. Kaylee Mayotte stopped eight shots for Noble.

WINSLOW 3, LEAVITT 0: Cassie Demers made six saves, and Haley Ward, Silver Clukey and Abby Wright scored to lead the Black Raiders (7-0) to a win at home.

Bodhi Littlefield chipped in with two assists.

Hailey Demaschio made 10 saves for Leavitt (4-3).

MARANACOOK 3, WATERVILLE 1: Erin Bonenfant scored twice to spark the Black Bears (1-6) to a win in Readfield.

Abby Jacques got the other goal for Maranacook, and Alyssa Pratt made three saves.

Corinne Roger scored and Coby Dangler stopped 15 shots for Waterville (0-5-1).

MESSALONSKEE 8, HAMPDEN ACADEMY 0: Katelyn Smith notched a hat trick for the Eagles (7-0) in a win at Hampden.

Chloe Tilley, Haley Lowell, Rylee Poulin and Ally Turner also scored. Julia Vigue made one save.

MT. VIEW 2, ERSKINE ACADEMY 1: Thurston Illingsworth and Maddy Knowlton scored to lead the Mustangs (1-6) to a win in South China.

Paige Leary scored for Erskine (3-4), with an assist from Olivia Kunish.


MORSE 2, MEDOMAK VALLEY 0: Emily Martin scored both goals to lead the Shipbuilders (4-2-1) past the Panthers (1-6-1) in Bath.

Marissa Parks made 15 saves to record the shutout.

MESSALONSKEE 3, BANGOR 1: Lydia Bradfield scored twice and Eden Sisson got the other goal for the Eagles (5-1-1) in a win over the Rams (4-2-1) in Oakland.

Mya Chalmers, Amelia Bradfield and Shauna Clark each had an assist for the Eagles. Hannah DeGiudice made six saves.

Libby Spekhardt scored for Bangor.

WATERVILLE 5, BELFAST 1: Anika Elias scored three goals to lead the Purple Panthers (5-1-1) to a win in Waterville.

Junne Robertson-McIntire scored for Belfast (1-7).

WINSLOW 4, LAWRENCE 0: Sarah Guimond collected two goals and an assist to spark the Black Raiders (4-1) to a win in Winslow.


YARMOUTH 3, FALMOUTH 0: Ceanne Lyon had four service aces and five blocks as the Clippers (6-1) swept the Yachtsmen (4-3) at Yarmouth, 25-10, 26-24, 26-24.

Kaitlyn Bennett finished with eight kills for Yarmouth.

SOUTH PORTLAND 3, BONNY EAGLE 1: Molly Mawhinney recorded 12 kills as the Red Riots (3-3) beat the Scots (3-3) in South Portland.

Grace Rende had three kills and three assists for South Portland, which took the first two games, 25-21 and 25-11. Bonny Eagle won the third set 25-15, but Maria Degifico went on an eight-point serving run in the fourth set as South Portland closed out the match, 25-23.

Aja Austin notched four aces for Bonny Eagle. Mia Ferrante had four kills, two blocks and two aces.

THORNTON ACADEMY 3, CHEVERUS 1: Laura Fortier had six kills to lead the Trojans (3-4) past the Stags (1-6) at Portland, 14-25, 25-14, 25-8, 25-6.

WINDHAM 3, MASSABESIC 0: Meghan Harmon recorded five aces and three blocks to lead the Eagles (2-5) past the Mustangs (1-7) in Windham, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20.

Lydia Bodroe added three kills.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:02:34 +0000
Group forms to challenge DeVos’ rule rollbacks Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:56:53 +0000 WASHINGTON — A group of former Obama education officials on Thursday launched a legal aid organization to challenge the Trump administration’s policies on student lending and civil rights.

The National Student Legal Defense Network will partner with state attorneys general and advocacy groups to file lawsuits on behalf of students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges or faced discrimination.

Since coming to office, Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has halted two key Obama-era regulations aimed at protecting students from fraud and predatory actions by for-profit universities and has frozen review of tens of thousands of student loan discharge applications.

Those actions, as well as the Trump administration’s ties to the for-profit sector, have prompted criticism that the Education Department is looking out for industry interests. Trump earlier this year paid $25 million to settle charges his Trump University misled customers, while DeVos appointed two senior officials from for-profit colleges.

“If Secretary DeVos continues to roll back protections for students without following the law, she will have to answer in court,” said the group’s co-founder Aaron Ament, a former chief of staff and special counsel at the Department of Education during the Obama administration. “Our group will continue to monitor the Department of Education and take legal action to stop regulatory moves that put the interests of for-profit college businessmen before students.”

Ament said the group will also support students in challenging DeVos’ decision to change the way colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault on campus. DeVos has said Obama’s guidance to campuses was skewed against students accused of sexual assault and she intends to set up a fair process.

The group will also represent transgender students fighting for the right to use the bathroom of their choice after the Trump administration signaled that the issue must be decided at the state level.

]]> 0 of Education Betsy DeVos meets with residents in Charlottesville, Ind. Devos has eased Obma-era regulations that crack down on fraudulent practices at for-profit universities.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:03:04 +0000
Sports Digest: Bruins triumph in overtime Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:38:50 +0000 HOCKEY

Agostino scores the overtime goal as Bruins down Flyers in exhibition

Kenny Agostino’s goal with 1:40 left in overtime lifted the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers in an NHL preseason game Thursday night.

Paul Postma also scored for Boston, which received a 30-save performance from Tukka Risk.

Reserve goaltender Alex Lyon took the loss for Philadelphia, allowing both Boston goals on 11 shots. Starter Brian Elliott stopped all 18 shots he faced in the first two periods.


COSTA TRANSFERS: Atletico Madrid and Chelsea announced they reached an agreement for the transfer of a Brazilian-born striker, Diego Costa, to the Spanish club.

Atletico said Chelsea gave the Spainish international permission to travel to Madrid in the coming days to take his medical and finalize the contract with his former club.


NBA: Referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia of the Warriors did on the play that injured Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs in last season’s playoffs.

Officials also will make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden’s attempts after he swings his arms into contact for the Rockets.

The Memphis Grizzlies signed Ivan Rabb, the 35th draft pick overall, to a contract days before opening training camp.


NFL: Quarterback Cam Newton, still recovering from offseason rotator cuff surgery, was limited to mostly light throwing during practice as Carolina continued preparations for its game Sunday against New Orleans.

Newton is expected to start.

 The New York Jets signed linebacker David Bass, adding a veteran pass rusher to Coach Todd Bowles’ defense.

COLLEGE: Clemson lost its kicker, Greg Huegel, for the season when he was injured on the last play of practice. A defensive lineman rolled into his leg after he kicked during a two-minute drill.

 Nebraska abruptly fired Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, citing a failure to improve the “on-field performance” by the Cornhuskers, who dropped to 1-2 in football for the second time in three years by losing at home to Northern Illinois.


MOSELLE OPEN: Second-seeded David Goffin hit 13 aces to rally past Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals at Metz, France.

Defending champion Lucas Pouille, who won his first title at the same tournament last year, lost to 86th-ranked Marius Copil of Romania, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6).

PAN PACIFIC: Barbora Strycova advanced to the quarterfinals at Tokyo by beating fourth-seeded Jo Konta, 7-5, 7-6 (5).


INDYCAR: Michigan officials are deciding whether to continue hosting the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, a state park and island that opponents say is negatively impacted by the annual event.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering whether to allow the race to continue after its current five-year contract expires after the 2018 race.

OWNER DIES: Bruce Leven, a self-made businessman whose sports car race teams won the Twelve Hours of Sebring three times in the 1980s, died in Seattle at age 79.

– Staff and news service report

]]> 0's Kenny Agostino, right, celebrates his game-winning goal with Brad Marchand during overtime of a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Thursday in Boston.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:42:36 +0000
Former hit man ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano released from prison Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:25:59 +0000 PHOENIX — Former Mafia hit man Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano has been released early from federal prison after serving most of a 20-year sentence for drug-related convictions in Arizona and New York, his attorney said Thursday.

Thomas Farinella said his 72-year-old client was released Monday, but wouldn’t disclose where Gravano served his time or where he plans to live now that he’s a free man.

“He’s very upbeat, very positive,” Farinella said from his New York office. “It’s been 171/2 years. A lot has changed. It takes a little bit of getting used to. He’s trying to figure out what he wants to do and he’s in no hurry.”

Arizona Department of Corrections officials said Gravano got released from the state prison system last year, but was incarcerated federally until recently.

Authorities said Gravano will be on federal parole for the rest of his life.

Gravano was a former underboss for the Gambino crime family and confessed to involvement in 19 murders.

He later became a government informant in 1991 and helped bring down 39 mobsters, including the family’s boss John Gotti by testifying against him.

Gravano got a five-year prison sentence in a plea agreement and moved to Arizona in 1994 under the federal witness protection program.

He left the program the next year, began giving television and magazine interviews, wrote the book “Underboss” in 1997 and was involved in an Italian restaurant and swimming pool installation company in the Phoenix area.

He was arrested in 2000 along with his wife, daughter and son in connection with an Ecstacy trafficking ring in Arizona.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:25:59 +0000
Jimmy Kimmel transforms health care debate Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:21:16 +0000 NEW YORK — If the latest Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare doesn’t work, it may become known as the Jimmy Kimmel Non-Law.

The comic’s withering attacks this week have transformed the debate over the bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy and, in the process, illustrated how thoroughly late-night talk shows have changed and become homes for potent points of view.

“Late-night has really become an important part of the civic conversation,” said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture.

Kimmel’s monologues Tuesday and Wednesday were deeply personal. His newborn son underwent surgery in May for a heart defect and faces two more operations.

He felt a sense of personal betrayal from Sen. Bill Cassidy, who was on the show this spring after Kimmel talked about his son’s medical problems, and felt that Cassidy lied to him about Republican health care plans. Cassidy said the comedian was misinformed.

Kimmel’s initial speech on his ABC show, where a phone number to Congress was flashed on the screen to urge viewers to get involved, quickly spread online and became a focus of news coverage. Cassidy was asked to respond to Kimmel when he appeared Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, despite his own doubts about the Republican bill, balked in an MSNBC appearance at being compared to Kimmel. “He’s not a serious person,” Christie said.

But Kimmel was deadly serious.

“Before you post a nasty Facebook message saying I’m politicizing my son’s health problems, I want you to know I am politicizing my son’s health problems because I have to,” Kimmel said.

After Fox News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade criticized members of the Hollywood elite “like comedian Jimmy Kimmel for pushing their politics on the rest of the country,” Kimmel blasted him the next night as a “phony little creep” who “whenever I see him, kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman.”

“He’s got a candor that we don’t often see,” Thompson said. “Certainly not from comedians but also from political leaders.”

]]> 0 Kimmel, left, said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., "lied right to my face" by going back on his word on any Republican health care overhaul.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:27:31 +0000
Volleyball: Deering continues its rise Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:19:23 +0000 GORHAM — The fledgling Deering volleyball team used to keep a close eye on successful and history-rich teams when it was in its nascent years as a program.

Now the Rams are becoming a program that others can look up to.

Deering improved to 7-0 with a straight-sets win Thursday against Gorham, 25-21, 25-11, 25-18. The Rams have only lost two sets, both in the season opener against perennial powerhouse in Class A Scarborough.

Deering played as a club team for one year and now is in its third year as a varsity squad. It cracked the playoffs in last year’s 9-6 campaign, losing 3-2 to Bonny Eagle in the preliminary round.

Coach Larry Nichols explained that from the start, he wanted his teams to play like the best out there.

“We’re tickled (about our success),” he said. “We always … looked up to (top) programs like the Scarboroughs, the Falmouths, the Gorhams and teams like Greely. We look at them and how they perform. Using them as models, we just try to play (a style) that is sophisticated and has some different aspects to it.

“We’re surprised, but if we look back at the work we’ve put in, we shouldn’t be too surprised. Our teams have worked hard. They work as hard as anybody.”

Deering clicked in all areas against Gorham – powerful net play from Avery Donovan (10 kills, two blocks), Ava Spasch (three kills, three blocks), Catherine Balzano (two kills, three blocks) and Divine M’Bambi (five kills); setting from Maddy Broda (18 assists, three aces); and all-around play from Dianne Dervis (seven kills, 13 service points and numerous heads-up plays).

“Oh my gosh, it’s so hard to believe we got this far,” Donovan said. “I remember my freshmen year just learning how to play volleyball. I never thought we’d be on this level.”

The first set went back and forth, with neither team able to take control. Deering built a 16-10 lead on six service points by Balzano – three of them aces (she finished with five). But the host battled back to trail only 16-15, aided by a Meg Perry kill and a Maiya Carlson ace as part of Carlson’s four service points.

Gorham couldn’t grab the lead, though.

“Getting that first set might have rattled them a bit,” said Gorham Coach Emma Tirrell. “But when a set goes back and forth, it is anyone’s game. And it happened to be theirs tonight.”

The second set was all Deering, thanks to Dervis. She got the serve back with a kill, off a Broda assist, then served seven straight points for a 24-11 lead.

“(Dervis) played really intelligent ball,” Nichols said. “She took what was given to her and made the most of it. She really had couple key plays – one attack, two digs and a couple pushes – for a well-rounded presence that ran (throughout) that second set.”

Deering kept its composure in the third set after blowing a 7-0 lead and falling behind 15-14. Broda assisted on a Dervis kill before serving three points for an 18-15 advantage. Dervis won one of those points with a kill, Donovan had a block for a point, and Broda recorded an ace.

“(Deering) is absolutely awesome,” said Tirrell, whose team fell to 4-3. “They do an awesome job of working together, and figuring out ways to win, and keeping their heads up.”

]]> 0's Avery Donovan celebrates with teammates after the Rams won the second set Thursday against Gorham on the way to a 25-21, 25-11, 25-18 victory.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:54:32 +0000
Madison sues to gain access to closed mill’s assessment Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:03:37 +0000 MADISON — The town of Madison has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the community’s former landmark paper mill, ratcheting up a dispute over property values and access to assessment information.

At stake are thousands of dollars in property taxes as the town struggles in the wake of the mill’s 2016 closure and the loss of more than 200 jobs in this town of about 4,800 people.

The town says it is taking owners of the shuttered Madison Paper Industries to court to allow access by town officials and their attorneys to information, which currently is confidential, about the town’s assessment of the mill’s real estate and personal property.

Under Maine law, only the town’s assessor and the state tax assessor – not the town manager or the selectmen – are allowed to see the tax assessments if the company does not want others to see the information, according to court documents.

Any violation of that state statute would be a Class E misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Complicating the matter is the fact that the Board of Assessors – the only municipal partner allowed to see MPI’s valuations – is composed of the same people who sit on the Board of Selectmen.

Madison voters in February 2015 voted to abolish the Board of Assessors and transfer its duties to the Board of Selectmen. That decision allows selectmen, who are charged with creating a municipal budget, access to information that will inform them better in creating a budget. However, according to a 2014 Maine law, assessors are required to maintain confidentiality about assessments for a major taxpayer requesting a change in valuation.

The town, through its attorney, David Silk of the Portland law firm Curtis Thaxter, is seeking to make those documents available to town officials so they can mount a challenge to MPI’s appeal of taxes for 2016-17.

“What the town is trying to do with this lawsuit is find a way so that the other folks besides the Board of Assessors can look at this information,” Silk said. “The Board of Assessors believe that the information is relevant to the valuation of the mill.”

The object of the filing in Somerset County Superior Court is to have a judge declare that the confidential information is no longer “proprietary” information because Madison Paper “appears to no longer be in business,” according to court documents.

Madison Paper Industries closed in May 2016, putting about 215 people out of work. The mill, a producer of super-calendared paper used for magazine publishing, had been in Madison since 1978 and was producing about 195,000 tons of paper annually.

Silk recently filed a motion for entry of an order to allow the documents to be viewed by town officials during a time when MPI is appealing its tax assessment before the state Board of Property Tax Review. The mill’s valuation has dropped by about $8 million since the closure was announced, and it is currently valued at $72,362,681.

The tax rate for 2016 was estimated to be $21 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning the mill owes about $1.5 million in property taxes to the town.

Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis did not return calls for comment.

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:;


]]> 0 215 people lost their jobs when the Madison Paper Industries mill closed in 2016. The mill is challenging its valuation, which has dropped $8 million to $72 million.Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:01:12 +0000
Week 4: High school football predictions Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:00:49 +0000 0, 21 Sep 2017 22:40:45 +0000 High school golfer hits 2 aces in round Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:56:43 +0000 ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania high school golfer defied huge odds by recording two holes-in-one in the same round.

Parkland High golfer Ben Tetzlaff told The (Allentown) Morning Call he still can’t believe the feat, which came during a nine-hole practice round Monday at Iron Lakes Country Club. The National Hold-In-One Registry calculated the odds of the feat at 67 million to 1.

Parkland Coach Scott Levan said he missed the first ace but saw the second when Tetzlaff hit a 9-iron on the 140-yard sixth hole. Tetzlaff had already sunk a gap wedge on the 104-yard second hole.

Tetzlaff’s career-low round is a 76 he shot at Allentown Municipal Golf Course. He hopes to play golf in college. Tetzlaff said, “I still can’t believe it and I’m the one who did it.”

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:57:42 +0000
Undefeated boxing champion decides to retire Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:56:19 +0000 OAKLAND, Calif. — Andre Ward decided to end his career on top.

Ward announced Thursday he is retiring from boxing because he no longer has the desire to fight, leaving the sport at age 33 with an undefeated record and the light heavyweight championship.

Ward released a statement on his website titled “Mission Accomplished “thanking those who helped him throughout his career and explaining his reasons for his retirement.

“I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there,” he wrote. “If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting.”

Ward is currently rated the best “pound for pound” boxer by Ring magazine. But in an interview with ESPN’s First Take, he said he no longer wants to do the work leading to his bouts.

“People see what I do fight night, they see under the lights, but they don’t see the toil, they don’t see the grind, they don’t see just the pain, the physical pain that you go through, not just in the fights, but to prepare and to get ready for those battles,” he said.

“I felt the physicality of the sport, not just in the ring stuff, but the training and the preparation, start to take its toll on me for the last two or three years, and I bit down and continued to push through and at this point, it’s time and I know it’s time.”

Ward declined other interview requests through his publicist, saying he wanted to celebrate with family and friends.

Ward won all 32 of his fights with 16 knockouts. He won the Olympic gold medal as a light heavyweight in 2004.

Ward won the WBA super middleweight title in 2009 when he beat Mikkel Kessler and unified that title in 2011 when he beat Carl Froch in the Super Six super middleweight tourney final.

Ward then contended with shoulder problems that kept him out of the ring and later went 19 months without a fight because of a legal dispute with his former promoter, the late Dan Goosen.

Ward got back in the ring in June 2015, then won the light heavyweight title against Sergey Kovalev in November 2016.

]]> 0 WardThu, 21 Sep 2017 21:58:39 +0000
Standish man sentenced to more than 5 years on drug charges Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:56:02 +0000 A Standish man was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in prison for possessing heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine with intent to distribute, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced 28-year-old Kyle Braga of Standish to five years and three months during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland.

In addition to a prison sentence, Braga was ordered to undergo three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges on April 4, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Richard W. Murphy.

Court records show that Braga distributed cocaine on Jan. 20, 2016. Drug agents stopped his car and seized heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine from a magnetic box under the car.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:59:52 +0000
Golf roundup: Spieth lurks near top at Tour Championship Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:33:58 +0000 ATLANTA — Kyle Stanley and Jordan Spieth got off to strong starts in the Tour Championship with entirely different goals in mind.

Stanley ran off four straight birdies on the front nine, one of them from 40 feet, then added two late in his round on a steamy Thursday at East Lake for a 6-under 64. In his Tour Championship debut, he had a two-shot lead over a group that included U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.

Spieth had a 67 and while it was a grind, he had no gripes about that.

He is the No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup, and no one from the top five had a lower score. That kept Spieth on track in his bid to join Tiger Woods as the only two-time winners of the $10 million bonus since the FedEx Cup began in 2007.

The top five seeds only have to win the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup, though there have been three occasions where someone else won at East Lake and walked away with golf’s biggest payoff when the leading players faltered.

That explains why Spieth spent more time looking at the leaderboard than he typically does in the opening round.

“I don’t know the scenarios, so it really doesn’t make a difference for me to watch the scoreboard other than to figure out how to get to the leaders,” he said. “It’s a weird scenario teeing off last when it’s the first round and there’s only 30 guys.”

And it didn’t help to see what Stanley was doing.

Stanley, the No. 22 seed and a long shot for the FedEx Cup, thought East Lake was plenty tough during the practice rounds. He just didn’t make it look that way, stuffing a wedge into 2 feet on No. 3 to start his run of four straight birdies.

He extended his lead by hitting a tee shot over the water to a front pin on the nervy par-3 15th and making his 18-foot birdie, then holing a 10-foot birdie on the 16th.

“I don’t have too good of a game plan for this golf course seeing it for the first time,” Stanley said. “But I felt like maybe that would be key, just hitting a lot of fairways and giving myself chances on second shots.”

Stanley isn’t too wrapped up about the $10 million bonus, though Bill Haas won it in 2011 as the No. 25 seed.

He was two shots ahead of Koepka – who played bogey-free – Webb Simpson, Paul Casey and Daniel Berger, who made eagle on the final hole.

Spieth was among five players at 67 that included two other top seeds, Justin Thomas (No. 2) and Jon Rahm (No. 5). Rahm made eagle on the par-5 sixth, and nearly ended his round with another eagle.

For Spieth, it was a struggle.

He spent most of the week trying to eliminate the right side of the golf course and thought he had that ironed out. And then he pulled his opening tee shot Thursday and was happy just to reach the green on East Lake’s toughest hole for par. He hit a sharp draw on the par-3 11th, turning and swinging his club in disgust as it bounded down a hill.

He turned to his caddie and said, “We might have to hit a provisional,” fearing the ball would leave the property.

Instead he took two shots to reach the green, the second a daring flop from the Bermuda rough to a pin that ran away from him. He hit that to 2 feet for bogey.

That was the last of his blunders. He settled in with three straight birdies and a tough par from the bunker on the par-3 ninth, then couldn’t make a putt. Spieth missed four birdie chances inside 12 feet on the back nine.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Joost Luiten of the Netherlands and George Coetzee of South Africa each shot 7-under-par 64 to share the lead in the first round of the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, Portugal.

Luiten had seven birdies in a bogey-free round in the morning, and Coetzee matched him in the afternoon after starting with six birdies in his first eight holes.

They took a one-stroke lead over Nino Bertasio of Italy, Gregory Havret of France, Jason Scrivener of Australia, Callum Shinkwin of England, and Ashun Wu of China.

]]> 0 Stanley had four straight birdies Thursday and shot a 6-under 64 for a two-shot lead in the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta. Top-ranked Jordan Spieth shot 67.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:38:57 +0000
Tests show residents’ wells near former Brunswick air station are safe, Navy says Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:01:59 +0000 BRUNSWICK — Navy officials Thursday touted test results showing little to no contamination in private wells near the former Brunswick Naval Air Station but pledged to continue sampling for a potentially harmful chemical once used in aviation firefighting.

“Probably the most important point is nobody here has been negatively impacted: We did all of the residential well sampling and they came back clean,” said Paul Burgio, the Navy’s environmental coordinator for the Brunswick base. “Nobody is drinking contaminated water … so this is a really good story. We still have information that we are going to collect and gather.”

The Navy has been testing for the presence of perfluorinated compounds in groundwater, surface water and sediments. Once widely used in both industrial and household products, so-called PFCs have been shown to cause health problems in laboratory animals – including impacts to reproduction and development – and are listed as an “emerging contaminant” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

On Thursday, members of the Restoration Advisory Board that helps oversee environmental cleanup at the former air station received updates on testing for PFCs both on-base and off-base.

Tests conducted last year on more than 30 private wells just outside the base showed little to no PFCs in the water, suggesting plumes of the chemicals are not migrating outside of known contamination hotspots on base.

Nineteen of 29 private wells in a neighborhood along Coombs Road tested positive for one type of PFC – also often referred to by the acronym as PFAS – but at levels far short of the EPA’s “health advisory” threshold. Another type of PFC was detected in eight of the wells but, again, well below the 70 parts per trillion health advisory level for drinking water.

Samples collected from four wells north of the base also either had no detectable PFCs or levels below the EPA threshold. While several surface water sources – stormwater or drainage sites – had levels higher than the EPA’s health advisory, the levels “do not pose a human health risk/hazard above target levels,” according to a draft report.

Burgio said the Navy would conduct further testing of a subset of those wells in the future, with landowner permission, to ensure conditions have not changed.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that the closest residential wells have all come back clean and the Navy continues to investigate PFAS both on- and off-base and in public water,” Burgio said.

All homes and businesses located on the former base are connected to municipal water supplies and are, therefore, not considered to be at risk from PFC contamination in drinking water.

Brunswick Area Citizens for a Safe Environment, a group that closely monitors base cleanup efforts, had been pushing for tests of private wells near the base. Member Carol White said the group was pleased the Navy agreed to the sampling.

“I feel a lot better about the PFC problem around the residential levels,” White said. “I, personally, still have concerns on the northern part just because of the limited number of sites.”

Perfluorinated compounds are a class of chemicals that were widely used in airport firefighting foam because of their ability to essentially form a blanket over flammable petroleum products. But PFCs were also used in countless household products, including Teflon cookware, stain-resistant carpet and fast-food wrappers.

The Navy has known for years about PFC contamination at several sites on the former air station, which closed in 2011 and now serves as the Brunswick Landing business campus.

Recent tests around the site of a former building that stored the firefighting foam, known as Building 653, found elevated PFC levels in groundwater. While those levels were above safe levels for drinking water, they were below the level that would pose a human health risk for incidental exposure, according to contractors who performed the testing for the Navy.

The Navy and contractor plan further tests and are still evaluating options for addressing the contamination.

Other sites on the base have shown even higher levels, based on previous testing. The Navy plans to launch another round of basewide testing starting this month and continuing into next year, including sampling 40 groundwater sites, seven stormwater systems and five surface water sites.

PFCs have made headlines in communities near military bases across the country, even forcing some communities to turn off public water supplies found to be contaminated with the chemicals. Some adults and children living or working near the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, N.H., for example, have substantially elevated PFC levels in their blood.

But Burgio pointed out that the Navy began testing on-base groundwater for PFCs years ago and continues to expand that monitoring program.

“If you look across the country, a lot of it is piecemeal or disorganized,” Burgio said. “We, I think, have had a very comprehensive and inclusive process.”

White and other members of the Brunswick Area Citizens for a Safe Environment also credited the Navy for working with them on the issue.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at:

]]> 0 Naval Air Station. A developer from Topsham is proposing a $21 million mixed-used development at the entrance to the former Navy base. Provided PhotoFri, 22 Sep 2017 00:06:32 +0000
High school football notebook: Portland, Brunswick seek turnarounds Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:00:00 +0000 It just doesn’t look right. Two-time regional champion Portland is at the bottom of the Class A North football standings, seventh among seven teams, with an 0-3 record.

Scroll down to Class B North and there’s another anomaly: Three-time regional and defending state champion Brunswick is also 0-3.

Both teams graduated many talented players, but in the preseason they were still being pegged as league favorites by fellow coaches.

Portland Coach Jim Hartman said when a team has high turnover among starters, the short preseason makes preparation difficult. The first four days of practice are either no-contact or limited contact, and his team’s first scrimmage was on Day 6.

“We didn’t have any time to develop. We practiced five days and then we (scrimmaged) Scarborough,” Hartman said. “It hasn’t affected us in the past because we had a lot of experience. Next year, when we have 17-18 seniors coming back, we’ll be the team with the edge.”

“Then, once you get into a real game, teams like us and Portland, the other teams are frothing at the mouth to get a piece of you and they don’t cut you any slack,” said Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper. “They’re happy to kick you when you’re down.”

Both coaches believe their teams will recover from the slow start. As Hartman said, “the film wasn’t that bad,” from last Friday’s 68-14 loss to Bonny Eagle. “I think by the end of the season, we’ll be just fine.”

Brunswick’s last two losses – 35-28 against Biddeford and 26-14 at Cony – were competitive, and sophomore running back Owen Richardson has rushed for 400 yards.

The outlook for both teams is helped by the fact that most of the teams in Class A and Class B North will qualify for the playoffs. Only one team will miss out in Class A North, and six of the eight teams in Class B North will qualify.

“The challenge is to not let the kids get too down on themselves,” Cooper said. “All you’ve got to do is win a couple of games to get into the playoffs.”

But there is a sense of urgency to get the first win.

Portland hosts Windham (2-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, with rival Cheverus waiting next week in a game that has been moved from Saturday to Friday afternoon (3:30 p.m.) because of Yom Kippur. Brunswick hosts Skowhegan (1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday, then is at undefeated Kennebunk in a rematch of last year’s state championship game.

“We don’t want to be 0-4 heading down to Kennebunk. We’re kind of circling the wagons this week,” Cooper said.

Deering, another 0-3 team, is on its third quarterback.

The Rams lost to Class A South powers Scarborough (48-0) and Thornton Academy (55-12), then lost 20-6 last week to South Portland.

Starting quarterback Ben Trefethen went down early against Scarborough. Backup Jack Lynch was injured early against South Portland, and sophomore Travis Soule took over.

“He did very well last week and he’d only taken 10 to 12 snaps the night before in practice,” said Deering Coach Jason Jackson.

Jackson said mental mistakes, more than quarterback play, are holding back the Rams.

Deering hosts Sanford (1-2) on Friday.

On the flip side is Lake Region, which is 2-1 in Class C South after consecutive shutouts against Freeport (12-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (25-0). The Lakers, who host winless Yarmouth on Friday night, have historically struggled and haven’t won more than two games in five previous seasons under Coach Brian Jahna.

“The football IQ is better. We have strong senior leadership, and they’re believing in what we do and allowing themselves to be coached,” Jahna said. “With two (wins) in a row, they believe they can win, and that’s battling tradition. That’s what the guys are overcoming.”

Seniors Andrew Douglass (RB) and True Meyers (TE/DB) have played well. Jahna also noted the contributions of Brandon Sargent and Ethan McMurray, two sophomore backs who selflessly moved to the offensive line.

“Brandon had a broken thumb and had a hard cast on it, so the first week we moved him to offensive tackle and he weighs maybe 150, 160 pounds,” Jahna said. “Ethan was going to be our backup quarterback. He knew we had an opening (at right guard) and he convinced me he could do it, and wanted to do it, and the team needed him to do it, and he’s done a great job.”

Two small-division games should go a long way toward determining the top seeds in Class C and Class D South.

Two explosive Class C offenses meet when Leavitt (3-0) plays at Fryeburg Academy (3-0) on Saturday. Only Bonny Eagle (171) has scored more points than Leavitt (147), which scored on its first six offensive plays in a 73-0 win against Belfast in Week 2. Madison/Carrabec has also scored 147 points.

Fryeburg has put up 40 or more points twice, including last week’s 44-6 win against Poland, and also has a 20-0 win at York.

Fryeburg is a veteran bunch that went 7-3 a year ago and returns three key scoring threats – backs Jared Chisari and Cody Gullikson and quarterback Oscar Saunders.

Leavitt was in Class B a year ago, going 2-7 with several close losses.

In Class D, Madison/Carrabec (3-0) gets its first big test Friday night, at Wells (3-0). Wells, last year’s Class C state champion, got through a slugfest with Cape Elizabeth last week, winning 14-7. The Warriors shut out their first two opponents. Madison/Carrabec has outscored its three opponents by a margin of 147-36.

Lisbon, the other 3-0 team in Class D South, is at Class E Sacopee Valley.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0 fall, Brunswick Coach Dan Cooper guided his team to a third straight Class B North title and its first state championship since 1963. After heavy graduation losses, though, Brunswick is 0-3 this year.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:17:14 +0000
Field hockey: Cheverus clips Thornton Academy Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:58:07 +0000 SACO — Stout defense and a pair of early goals led Cheverus to a 3-1 win over Thornton Academy in a Class A South field hockey game Thursday at Hill Stadium.

Cheverus (6-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead when freshman Lucia Pompeo scored less than four minutes into the game.

Pompeo took a shot that was stopped on a kick save by goalie Jenica Botting, but the rebound went right back to Pompeo, whose second shot slipped past Botting’s extended left leg.

“The idea was that we were going to beat (Thornton Academy) to the ball and just take charge of the momentum of the game. I think we did that,” said Cheverus Coach Sally Cloutier.

The Stags made it 2-0 with 20:16 remaining in the first half when Haley Hinkle finished off a pass from Sophia Pompeo.

“I could tell that (we) just looked tired today; coming out in the very beginning we were unorganized,” said Thornton Coach Lori Smith.

Cheverus’ defense limited Thornton’s scoring opportunities, especially in the first half.

“We worked really well together today and worked on our clearing, getting (the ball) out,” said Cheverus back Olivia Adams.

“Every game we try to stay on our marks, keep (the ball) off our feet, and just try to get it out of there,” added Cheverus back Hannah Abbott.

The Trojans (5-3) got their offense going in the second half, earning six of their 10 corners in the final 30 minutes.

“(Thornton) did get a lot of corners, but I think we played off those corners pretty well,” said Cloutier.

Cheverus outshot the Trojans, 11-9. Stags goalie Kat Kane made eight saves and effectively controlled rebounds.

“Kat had some amazing saves today. She helped us out when we needed it,” said Adams.

It was a typically solid defensive performance for the Stags, who have allowed five goals in seven games.

“Our defense is so strong,” said Kane. “I would not want to be back there with anyone else. I have so much confidence in them.”

Cheverus maintained its 2-0 lead until midway through the second half, when Thornton’s Abby Pomerleau notched an unassisted goal.

“I felt like if we didn’t have that disorganization happen in the beginning, that we would have been in it a little bit more,” said Smith. “Definitely a (growing) and learning (experience) on our part. Just every game, try to get better. (This was) a missed opportunity, unfortunately.”

Cheverus responded about 21/2 minutes later on a goal by Isabella Booth.

“That (goal was huge),” said Cloutier. “We answered and that’s what we needed. (Thornton) is a great team and they were going to come out hard, I knew that. I couldn’t ask for more from the kids.”

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:58:44 +0000
State seeks more time to reply to filings in Sanborn murder case Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:49:00 +0000 The Maine Attorney General’s Office has asked for more time to respond to recent filings by attorneys for Anthony H. Sanborn Jr., who last week submitted new allegations and information in advance of an Oct. 10 hearing to examine whether Sanborn’s conviction for the 1989 murder of Jessica L. Briggs should be overturned.

It is unclear whether the state’s request will affect the start of the hearing, which is expected to last for several days in Cumberland County Unified Court. Sanborn has proclaimed his innocence since his arrest and conviction for the murder of Briggs, his former girlfriend.

Sanborn was released on bail in April after 27 years behind bars, after his attorneys raised questions about the investigation by Portland Police. Sanborn’s lawyers alleged that he was the target of a concerted effort by detectives to conceal evidence helpful to his defense and coerce witnesses into incriminating him.

The only eyewitness in the case, Hope Cady, recanted her testimony and said detectives told her to implicate Sanborn or she would be locked up.

In new pleadings submitted Sept. 15, Sanborn’s attorneys, Amy Fairfield and Timothy Zerillo, say they have identified a key figure in the murder – the so-called “boy on the bike,” a young-looking man who witnesses saw walking with Briggs toward the Maine State Pier shortly after midnight. The lawyers say the man was Morris “Butch” King, not Sanborn.

Sanborn’s team wrote that King more closely fit the description of the person seen with Briggs, and traced a relationship between King and Briggs. Detectives’ notes, old police reports and other scraps of information from police files show King had a proclivity for violence, had threatened other women with a knife, and had been dating Briggs, who also owed him money from a drug deal, the attorneys wrote.

The theory regarding King incorporates information pulled from the boxes of evidence, police notes and Briggs case material that had been stored at the home of retired police Detective James Daniels, who was the lead investigator on the case. The boxes were turned over in June, and have been central to the arguments made by Sanborn’s attorneys since then.

Sanborn’s attorneys have said in court filings that the boxes contain information that would have been helpful to Sanborn but was never released to his defense team at his original trial.

But the state, in Sept. 19 filings signed by Assistant Attorneys General Meg Elam and Paul Rucha, says Sanborn’s attorneys are too late to continue adding allegations to the case, and have not followed a judicial directive to be more specific in their pleadings, including specifying which documents are the source of their claims.

The Attorney General’s Office has argued in the past that without such detailed, specific information, the state cannot adequately prepare to defend the conviction’s validity.

Briggs and Sanborn were both 16 at the time of her death, and the two dated briefly several weeks before she died. Her body was found in Portland Harbor near the Maine State Pier.

Investigators found Briggs’ throat was slashed and she had been stabbed multiple times and nearly disemboweled, according to authorities.

Prosecutors said during Sanborn’s 1992 trial that he had been looking for her before she died, and that when he found her, they argued when Briggs refused to come to Virginia Beach with him or hand over tip money she had earned that night busing tables at DiMillo’s floating restaurant.

Sanborn denied killing her, and told investigators that he was home that night at his parents’ apartment on Oxford Street.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

]]> 0 H. Sanborn Jr.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:51:16 +0000
Athletes of the Week: Sept. 22, 2017 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:48:06 +0000 GIRLS

Gianna Charest, Deering soccer: The sophomore goalkeeper notched 31 combined saves for the Rams in their last two games, which ended in 0-0 ties. Charest turned away 16 shots on goal against Gorham on Friday and 15 against Noble on Monday, including a diving save in overtime.

Honorable mention

Gaby Panagakos, Scarborough soccer: In a game between unbeaten Class A South teams, Panagakos scored both goals for the Red Storm, leading them past Bonny Eagle 2-1 on Saturday. Earlier in the week, Panagakos also scored two goals in a 6-0 win over Kennebunk.

Sophia Laukli, Yarmouth cross country: A senior, Laukli won a four-school meet by more than a minute in 19:47 over 5 kilometers at Pratt’s Brook in Yarmouth. The Clippers snagged five of the top seven slots to outdistance runner-up Freeport 19-43.

Lucia Pompeo, Cheverus field hockey: Pompeo’s overtime goal lifted Cheverus over Gorham 1-0 on Friday. The freshman scored by charging to the net on a breakaway, slotting home the shot at 6:13 of overtime. She also scored twice in a 4-0 win over Falmouth.


C.J. LaBreck, Thornton Academy football: The junior wide receiver had eight catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns as the Golden Trojans rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat host Scarborough, 32-28. LaBreck’s 70-yard touchdown, when he took a short pass from Will Mitchell and broke three tackles near the line of scrimmage, cut the margin to two points and a 38-yard catch with 1:30 to play set up the winning touchdown.

Honorable mention

Eric LaBrie, Yarmouth soccer: With three goals and two assists, LaBrie played a role in all five of the Clippers’ goals in their 5-0 victory over Greely on Saturday. The junior forward also contributed a goal in a 7-0 win over Poland on Tuesday.

Luke Marsanskis, Greely cross country: A junior, Marsanskis won a five-school meet by 25 seconds in 18:04 over 5 kilometers at Libby Hill in Gray. Marsanskis led the Rangers to a 20-point victory over runner-up Cape Elizabeth with Maine Coast Waldorf third.

Joe Taran, Marshwood football: The senior running back broke free for a 36-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and added an 88-yard touchdown late in the second quarter in Marshwood’s 35-21 win over Biddeford on Friday. Taran ended with 130 yards on only five carries. He also had two interceptions.

– Staff report

]]> 0, 21 Sep 2017 20:56:30 +0000
As ubiquitous ATMs turn 50, have they hit a wall? Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:38:46 +0000 Automated teller machine. The cash machine. In Britain, a cashpoint. ATMs, known for spitting out $20 bills (and imposing fees if you pick the wrong one), turned 50 years old this year. They’re ubiquitous – and possibly still a necessity, despite the big changes in how people pay for things.

It was a radical move when Barclays installed cash machines in a London suburb in 1967. The utilitarian machine gave fixed amounts of money, using special vouchers – the magnetic-striped ATM card hadn’t been invented yet. There was no way for a customer to transfer money between accounts, and bank employees tabulated the transactions manually at the end of each day.

As the ATMs became familiar, though, they changed not only the banking industry but made people comfortable interacting with kiosks in exchange for goods. Now that means getting movie tickets and boarding passes, self-checkout at grocery stores, and online shopping that brings products to your door with a few clicks. All are based on the idea that people can handle routine transactions by themselves without a teller or cashier.

“The ATM tapped into that innate force in people that gives gratification for doing a task on their own, and it grew from there,” said Charles Kane, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

It was a radical concept at the time. The ATM wasn’t the first self-service device – vending machines and the automat had been popular before. But those dispensed items people could hold in their hand.

Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, a business professor and ATM historian (yes, they exist!) at Bangor University in Britain, said early users of automated tellers were often checking their balances twice: once to see how much was in their account, then again after withdrawing money to see if it registered.

“They were popular, but it took a long time to slowly convince customers to learn about ATMs and use them regularly,” Batiz-Lazo said.

For the banking industry, ATMs meant banks could be in thousands of places at once, not just in branches, and earn billions of dollars in fees from non-customers. Banks used to staff dozens of tellers at each branch to handle routine transactions; now many staffers work on other tasks, like sales or account maintenance.

Around the U.S. today are roughly 3 million cash machines, according to the ATM Industry Association. Most are actually not owned by banks, but by private companies that install them at convenience stores, restaurants and bars in hopes of grabbing customers who don’t want to find a bank branch.

The wide acceptance of ATMs changed the types of cash that Americans typically carry in their wallets and pocketbooks. Since ATMs became more widely available in the early 1980s, the $20 bill has regularly been the second-most-printed bank note each year by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, behind the $1 bill.

Even as people use cash less, and credit cards or mobile payments more often, the ATM isn’t going anywhere for a while. At least that’s what historians and – unsurprisingly – the ATM industry say. Devon Watson, vice president at Diebold Nixdorf, the world’s largest manufacturer of ATMs, says 85 percent of all transactions worldwide are still in cash.

Newer ATMs have more functions than ever. They accept check deposits, can transfer money between accounts, show an account balance, pay a credit card or mortgage payment, or even sell you stamps. NCR, another major manufacturer of ATMs, say the latest models are also designed to act more like smart devices. Kevin King of NCR says that includes “swipe, gesture, multi-touch.”

And future ATMs will likely start selling products as well. Have a checking account? The ATM will ask you whether you want to open a brokerage account. Much like tellers did.

]]> 0 1968, bank customers in London had to insert a computer punch card into the slot of an ATM in order to obtain cash. Below, a Diebold Nixdorf worker installs software in a new version of ATMs, some of which act more like smart devices.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:40:17 +0000
SEC under fire after being hacked Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:24:08 +0000 The federal agency responsible for ensuring that markets function properly and for protecting investors is under fire after disclosing its computer system was hacked despite repeated warnings about deficiencies in its cybersecurity measures.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said late Wednesday that it discovered a breach to its corporate filing system last year but only became aware last month that information obtained by the attackers may have been used for illegal trading gains.

The agency did not explain why the initial hack was not revealed sooner, or which individuals or companies may have been impacted.

The disclosure arrived two months after a government watchdog said deficiencies in the SEC’s filing system put the system, and the information it contains, at risk.

The hack was disclosed by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton in a statement posted to the agency’s website and comes just two weeks after the credit agency Equifax revealed a cyberattack there had exposed highly sensitive personal information of 143 million people.

Clayton is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the committee, said Thursday that the disclosures by the SEC and Equifax show “that government and businesses need to step up their efforts to protect our most sensitive personal and commercial information.”

Clayton said a review of the agency’s cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected incident was caused by “a software vulnerability” in its filing system known as EDGAR, short for Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system.

EDGAR processes more than 1.7 million electronic filings in any given year. Those documents can cause enormous movements in the market, sending billions of dollars in motion in fractions of a second.

Clayton said the SEC has been conducting an assessment of its cybersecurity since he took over as chairman in May. Experts note, however, that both agency and congressional investigators have been critical of the SEC’s handling of its information technology security for years.

Early this decade, the SEC inspector general’s office uncovered security lapses involving SEC staffers who examined the data-protection systems of the stock exchanges.

Some of the staffers used unencrypted laptops to store sensitive exchange information – and then carried the laptops to a Las Vegas conference for information security professionals that is known to attract hackers. The 2011-12 investigation raised concerns of a potential breach of the exchanges’ information.

]]> 0 chairman says "incident" caused by "software vulnerability" in filing systemThu, 21 Sep 2017 21:03:21 +0000
Verso raises possibility of selling off mills Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:14:42 +0000 Days after stakeholders said they would consider selling the Verso paper mill in Jay, Verso announced it will establish a committee to explore what it calls transaction alternatives, including the potential sale of some mills.

Verso’s announcement, which came in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, said the company has formed a Strategic Alternatives Committee, which will continue “efforts to identify and evaluate a range of potential strategic transaction alternatives, including the possible sale of some Verso mills, engage in discussions and oversee the due diligence process with parties potentially interested in transactions with the company, and recommend to the board whether any proposed transaction is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders.”

This announcement comes shortly after the SEC filing from Mudrick Capital, a New York City-based investment firm that owns 15.3 percent of Verso’s stock. Because Verso is a public company and Mudrick owns more than 5 percent of its stock, Mudrick is required to report purchases of additional Verso stock to the SEC.

The Androscoggin Mill has faced difficulty in recent months. Earlier this summer, the mill shut down its No. 3 paper machine permanently, resulting in about 120 layoffs, though many of those workers had either found new employment or entered training programs before the machine was switched off.

Following the SEC filing from Mudrick, Kathi Rowzie, vice president of communications and public affairs at Verso, said the company continues to evaluate its options.

“With that said, there’s no assurance that this review will result in any particular alternative, and Verso will not be commenting further,” she wrote in an email.

According to its website, Mudrick Capital Management, L.P., is an investment firm that specializes in long- and short-term investments in distressed credit. It was founded in 2009 with $5 million under management. As of September, it is managing about $1.6 billion.

Verso’s new committee is made up of independent directors Eugene Davis, Alan Carr and Steven Scheiwe assisted by Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc., Verso’s financial adviser.

In a statement, Rob Amen, Verso’s board chairman, said the company is committed to exploring “strategic transaction alternatives, and the committee will facilitate this process.”

The statement concludes that there “is no assurance that the review of strategic alternatives will result in any transaction or other strategic alternative. Verso does not intend to make any further disclosure concerning these matters until a definitive transaction agreement is reached or a determination is made that none will be pursued.”

The Mudrick filing reads: “The Reporting Persons are deeply frustrated with the Board’s inaction to address the Issuer’s rapidly deteriorating financial position. The Reporting Persons have expressed these frustrations to the Board and intend to continue its dialogue with the Board to help enact a strategic plan that will return value to stockholders, including a potential sale of the Stevens Point and Androscoggin mills. If the Board does not engage with the Reporting Persons in good faith, the Reporting Persons intend to pursue all other avenues to protect its investment.”

Rumors of a potential sale of the Jay mill have been circulating for some time, and Jay Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said the Mudrick SEC filing was something local officials had heard about before.

In a conference call earlier this summer, CEO Chris DiSantis said, “Androscoggin Mill is being evaluated for additional capital investment for expanded product line offerings and to enhance cogeneration capabilities.”

In that call, Verso managers said they hired a consultant to look at each of the company’s seven mills and the company as a whole to determine how to wring the best value out of them for shareholders. That consultant, global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, is the top mergers and acquisitions adviser in the country, according to Thomson Reuters. The Androscoggin Mill was singled out as an example of how converting to a new product line and reducing excess capacity would position the company to increase revenue.

The No. 5 machine is now at 78 percent capacity and growing, according to the second-quarter report. Once it achieves full capacity, it could contribute $10 million in revenue.

In an earlier filing with the SEC, Verso said severance and benefits payouts related to the shutdown of the No. 3 machine would amount to about $4 million, plus another $1 million in writing off spare parts and inventory produced on the No. 3 paper machine in 2016.

The shutdown of the No. 3 machine reduces the mill’s annual coated paper production capacity by about 200,000 tons.

The Androscoggin mill has been struggling. It laid off 120 employees earlier this summer and 300 others in 2015 as part of a plan to reduce production capacity. The Androscoggin mill is down to about 400 employees. Of the 120 who were laid off, about 20 were rehired for new positions at the mill. The mill’s employees are not unionized.

The overall economic landscape for Maine mills has been troublesome in recent years. Five mills have closed in the last few years, including Verso’s Bucksport mill in 2014, with more than 500 jobs lost. The Madison Paper mill closed in May 2016, which put more than 200 people out of work. More than 2,300 mill workers in Maine have lost their jobs since 2011.

Colin Ellis can be contacted at 861-9253 or at:

Twitter: @colinoellis

]]> 0 Androscoggin Mill in Jay. Mill owner Verso announced formation of a committee that will look at ways to increase the value of its stock, including the possible sale of mills.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:26:17 +0000
Russia threatens U.S.-backed forces in Syria Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:01:47 +0000 MOSCOW — Russia on Thursday raised the threat of a direct confrontation with U.S. forces in Syria, saying that the Russian military would target areas occupied by American units and U.S.-backed militias if Moscow’s troops come under fire.

The warning came amid rising tensions in the Syrian desert between the United States and its Kurdish and Arab allies on the one hand, and Russia, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed militias on the other, as both converge on Islamic State-held territory in eastern Syria.

A Russian military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, had twice in recent days shelled Syrian government positions outside Deir al-Zour, a strategic city in the region.

Konashenkov said Russian special forces are helping government troops fight Islamic State militants in the battle for the city.

Moscow has conveyed to the U.S. military command “in no uncertain terms that any attempts to open fire from areas where SDF fighters are located would be quickly shut down,” Konashenkov said in a statement. “Firing positions in those areas will be immediately suppressed with all military means.”

The tensions have been escalating as the SDF advances through Islamic State-held territory from the northeast toward Russian-backed Syrian government forces advancing from the west, risking a collision at some point.

The warning that Russia is prepared to take military action to check any further advances by the U.S.-led coalition came after the United States on Saturday said Russian warplanes had struck an SDF position north of Deir al-Zour. Soldiers of the U.S.-led multinational coalition were present at the time of the strike, according to a U.S. military statement.

Syrian government officials have said they regard it as essential to take control over the area.

]]> 0 Russian soldier guards a city market in Deir al-Zour, Syria. A U.S.-backed force in Syria said a Russian airstrike wounded six of its fighters Saturday near Deir al-Zour. Associated PressThu, 21 Sep 2017 20:01:47 +0000
North Korean leader says he will ‘tame the mentally deranged’ Trump Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:57:01 +0000 TOKYO — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned President Trump that he will make the U.S. leader “pay dearly” for his threat to totally destroy North Korea, in an unusual direct and angry statement published Friday.

Calling Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and his speech to the U.N. General Assembly “unprecedented rude nonsense,” Kim said that he was now thinking hard about how to respond.

“I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech,” Kim said in a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency, which also published a photo of the North Korean leader sitting at his desk holding a piece of paper.

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation,” Kim said, saying that he would “tame” Trump “with fire.”

In his maiden address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called Kim “Rocket Man” and said that his administration is prepared to defend the country and its allies if Kim continues to threaten the United States and to destabilize East Asia.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

]]> 0, 21 Sep 2017 20:01:50 +0000
Commentary: True tests on the way for Patriots Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:51:09 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady and the Julian Edelman-less New England Patriots offense passed one test last week.

Brady & Co. took advantage of a poor New Orleans Saints defense during Sunday’s 36-20 blowout win. So that box can be checked off.

But now come the real tests, starting Sunday with the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. The next three weeks – with games against the Texans, Panthers and Buccaneers – should provide a much better idea about the offense, and how it might fare in the long run.

After the first two weeks of the season, those defenses are the ranked No. 8, No. 3 and No. 1, respectively, in yardage allowed per game. Against the pass, Carolina is No. 2, Tampa Bay No. 3 and Houston No. 8.

In other words, those teams are a far cry from the Saints, who own the worst passing defense in the league.

As we saw last season during the AFC playoffs, the Texans were able to effectively neutralize Brady for much of that game by using man coverage on receivers and creating an effective pass rush up the middle.

They moved Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus off the edge to collapse the middle of the pocket.

Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel also will have quarterback destroyer J.J. Watt at his disposal this time. Watt missed all but three games last year following back surgery and was severely hampered in Houston’s Week 3 loss at Foxborough, his final game of the year.

Wherever they line up Sunday, Watt, Mercilus and Clowney must be accounted for on each play or it will be a long afternoon for Brady, who could be without Rob Gronkowski (groin injury, but he did put in a limited practice on Thursday).

But Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said tracking the Texans trio is the least of the team’s worries.

“They move around but I mean, they are who they are,” Belichick said. “It’s no big mystery. They’re good. Blocking them is a lot harder than finding them.”

Belichick said Vrabel, the former Patriots linebacker, does a good job keeping offenses off balance. Last season it was Romeo Crennel pulling the strings in the Texans’ losses.

Whether rushing three, four or five, they’ll mix it up and try to make life miserable for Brady.

Said Belichick: “You’re never sure exactly which one of those things you’re going to get. When you start mixing them together, you don’t end up with the same thing repeatedly so it’s always something different. A different type of rush, a different type of coverage, maybe players aligned in different positions, even though it might be the same players but just different matchups. They create a lot of problems.”

Brady was 18 of 38 with two picks and two touchdown passes in the 34-16 playoff win last season.

His passer rating was 68.6. He was sacked twice and harassed constantly, and the Pats didn’t pull away until the fourth quarter.

He knows the Texans will be a much tougher test than the Saints. As will the Panthers, who have seven quarterback sacks already.

Brady, of course, is worried only about the present, so that means the Texans’ defensive front.

“All those guys on the field at the same time is a big problem for any offense,” Brady said. “You don’t want to be holding the ball too long because you know they’re going to get home at some point. I think that means we’ve got to really stay on track. We can’t have many negative plays. We’ve got to play a really consistent kind of football for the entire game.”

The Texans may be missing their two starting cornerbacks Sunday. Kevin Johnson isn’t expected to play due to a knee injury and veteran Johnathan Joseph was limited in practice thanks to a shoulder injury.

The Texans lost last year’s top corner, A.J. Bouye, in free agency over the offseason. So we’ll see if they can be as effective at shutting down the Patriots’ offense as they were during the 2016 postseason.

As we saw with the Chiefs in the Patriots’ Week 1 loss, if you can play man-to-man competently, you give yourself a chance to contain Brady and beat the Patriots. The Saints played man coverage but their corners aren’t nearly as good as what the Pats will see going forward.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said the key won’t necessarily be a quick strike offense against these strong pass-rush teams, but more about beating the defender on the play called.

“I wouldn’t say it’s about getting open as quick as possible,” Cooks said.

“It’s trusting Coach (Josh McDaniels) and the play-calling. It’s doing our job and focusing on winning our matchups. That’s critical. Not necessarily getting open quick.”

The Texans know how to stall the Patriots’ offense.

We’ll see if they can pull it off for four quarters this time.

]]> 0 quarterback Tom Brady stands on the sidelines during the first half.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:23:57 +0000
Facebook to turn over thousands of Russian ads to Congress Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:46:01 +0000 Facebook on Thursday announced it would turn over to Congress copies of more than 3,000 politically themed advertisements bought through Russian accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, reversing a decision that had frustrated lawmakers.

The company has been struggling for months to address the steadily mounting evidence that Russians manipulated the social media platform in their bid to tip the presidential election in favor of Republican Donald Trump.

Democratic lawmakers in recent days had demanded that Facebook be more open about what it knows and to dig more deeply into its troves of data to analyze the propaganda effort, which the company has acknowledged involved at least 470 fake accounts created by a shadowy Russian company that spent more than $100,000 targeting U.S. voters. Lawmakers particularly wanted copies of the ads bought through the fake accounts, some of which Facebook officials showed to Hill investigators and then took away,making further study impossible. The company said sharing the ads would compromise privacy of users.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a reversal of that decision Thursday, saying that the company believed it could share the ads with Congress without compromising user privacy. The company already had shared at least some of the same information with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“I care deeply about the democratic process and protecting its integrity,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook Live, a video streaming service provided by the company. “Facebook’s mission is all about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values, and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for.”

The company has been slow to respond to signs, dating back to November, that Russians used Facebook and other technology platforms to deliver propoganda and manipulate voter sentiment. As evidence has grown, including from Facebook’s own internal investigations, lawmakers have pushed the company and others to search more deeply and more quickly for answers – both to determine what happened in 2016 and to head off a repeat in future elections.

Hill investigators are still seeking a longer, more-detailed version of an investigative report into election meddling on the platform that Facebook concluded in April. A 13-page final version was released publicly that month but without many of the details included in earlier drafts, which were several times longer, say people familiar with the investigation. The public report made no explicit mention of Russia, nor did it discuss the possibility that the propaganda may have included messages delivered through advertising – the core of Facebook’s multi-billion-dollar business.

The steps Zuckerberg announced Thursday – which included efforts to improve the review of political ads and enhance transparency about who buys them – drew some praise from lawmakers who recently had expressed frustration with the company.

“This is an iconic company in many ways, but they really rely on the trust of their users. I think the steps they took today were important and necessary. But there are still a lot of questions.” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Warner said he believes the full impact of the 470 fake Russian accounts and pages remains unknown and likely has been downplayed by Facebook. He said more than 3000 ads could have reached tens of thousands of users through their Facebook “friends,” causing a dramatic influence on an election narrowly won by Trump in several states. Warner said Facebook still needs to do more intense investigation into other ways its platform was manipulated.

“Americans ought to be able to see the content of ads that are used for and against candidates,” Warner said. “Americans both need to know what happened in the election of 2016, and have confidence going forward that if they see an ad it isn’t sponsored by a foreign government.”

His House Intelligence Committee counterpart, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement, “The data Facebook will now turn over to the Committee should help us better understand what happened, beyond the preliminary briefings we already received. It will be important for the Committee to scrutinize how rigorous Facebook’s internal investigation has been, to test its conclusions and to understand why it took as long as it did to discover the Russian sponsored advertisements and what else may yet be uncovered.”

Republicans on the committee did not have any immediate comment.

The halting response from Facebook has resulted from a combination of pressures on Zuckerberg, who has been reluctant to impose restrictions on user’s free speech but also have come to accept that stronger measures are necessary against abuse, say people familiar with his thinking.

“What we’re seeing is Mark’s idealism coming up against the hard realization that they were hacked in this way that nobody was expecting,” said Tim O’Reilly, chief executive of Silicon Valley publisher O’Reilly Media. “He is acknowledging that online media enables targeting in ways that are impossible for broadcast media to do – so the tools of disclosure need to actually be more transparent.”

Facebook is not alone in drawing the attention of investigators. U.S. intelligence agencies have portrayed a broad propaganda campaign by the Russians, and numerous independent researchers have detailed evidence of propaganda flowing through Google, Twitter and other tech platforms. Lawmakers have called for their full cooperation and made clear that tech executives should be prepared to testify before investigative committees on Capitol Hill.

But Facebook has drawn particular attention in the weeks since it announced, on Sept. 6, that the Internet Research Agency, a notorious troll farm based in St. Petersburg, Russia, had purchased political ads through Facebook.

Zuckerberg, in his remarks, also vowed to continue investigating and cooperating with federal authorities, including on unanswered questions involving the possible involvement of other Russian groups and those in former Soviet states. Facebook will begin requiring that political ads make clear what accounts have bought them and also what other ads the account is running elsewhere on the social media platform, Zuckerberg said.

The company also plans to expand its team working on election integrity and build better connections with electoral officials in many nations.

“We are in a new world,” Zuckerberg said. “It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that’s what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion.”

]]> 0 the last three months of the presidential campaign, fake election news had more traction on Facebook than the top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 21:48:05 +0000
Tavis Smiley’s production will showcase MLK’s last year Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:40:15 +0000 NEW YORK — You think you know Martin Luther King Jr.’s story? Tavis Smiley is willing to bet you don’t.

To mark the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination next April, the radio and TV host is planning a nationwide tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of King’s life, a time when he was reviled by some for expanding his critique of America beyond its racism to poverty issues and the Vietnam War.

“I don’t want this anniversary to come and go without people finally coming to terms with wrestling with who Martin Luther King really was,” Smiley said Wednesday, the day before the official announcement of the production.

“Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience” is based on Smiley’s 2014 book of the same title. Smiley will narrate from his book, and will be accompanied by jazz pianist Marcus Roberts.

The production will travel to 40 cities still to be determined. It is set to kick off Jan. 15, the day of the national holiday named for King and his actual birthday, and run through April 4, the anniversary of the day he was fatally shot while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

King’s last year, from the time he gave his powerful “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” speech on April 4, 1967, was an incredibly difficult one, Smiley points out, with critiques coming from all sides over his anti-war stance. Polls at the time showed the majority of the country looking at him unfavorably.

“He has a headwind like nobody’s business, yet he stands in his truth, he never backs down,” Smiley said.

The production will use live music, videos and photos.

– From news service reports

]]> 0 Smiley will take "Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience," to 40 cities, starting Jan. 15.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:48:44 +0000
Protesters in Philippines slam martial law Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:40:15 +0000 MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of protesters marked Thursday’s anniversary of the 1972 declaration of martial law by late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos with an outcry against what they say are the current president’s authoritarian tendencies and his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.

Hundreds of riot police were deployed to secure the marches and rallies, among the largest against President Rodrigo Duterte since he took power last year, although a new survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center showed the president and his anti-drug campaign are widely popular in the Philippines.

Pro-Duterte followers also staged rallies in Manila. The rival demonstrations reflected deepening divisions sparked largely by the president’s brutal anti-crime style.

Duterte warned he will use force or expand nationwide his declaration of martial law in the country’s south if the anti-government protesters threatened public order.

In May, he placed the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic nation under martial law to deal with a siege by pro-Islamic State militants in southern Marawi city that has dragged on for nearly four months.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:40:15 +0000
Neanderthal children were slow to grow – just like modern kids Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:32:01 +0000 About 49,000 years ago, a Neanderthal boy died young. The cause of death isn’t clear. Scientists who pored over his bones many millennia later found no signs of fatal trauma or disease. But something cut his life abruptly short about four months shy of his eighth birthday.

He left behind a remarkably complete skeleton. The Neanderthal bones tell a story of a species that grew slowly through early childhood, a team of scientists reported in the journal Science on Thursday. That story, they say, is quite like our own.

“What we see in this Neanderthal is the general pattern of growth is very similar to that of modern humans,” Luis Ríos, a paleoanthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History of Spain, said Wednesday.

Between 2000 and 2013, excavators removed more than 2,500 fossilized bones from the Spanish cave system known as El Sidron. Researchers have so far identified 13 individuals. This includes several adults, as well as the young boy and a child of about 2 or 3 years old. The bones were jumbled and must be pieced together, jigsawlike. Some of the bones have cut marks made after death, suggesting postmortem cannibalism.

The sophistication of the stone tools found in El Sidron indicate these archaic humans lived during the Middle Paleolithic period, about 49,000 years ago.

About 36 percent of the juvenile Neanderthal’s skeleton was still intact. El Sidron J1, which is what the researchers called him, had a complete lower jaw, 30 teeth, bits of skull, backbone, ribs, arms and a knee. He would have been about 3-foot-8 and 60 pounds. Though tests of his ancient DNA were inconclusive, the teeth size and bone shape indicated the Neanderthal was male.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:32:01 +0000
Shipwreck sanctuary plan surfaces for Lake Michigan Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:27:13 +0000 SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — After a year of scouring the depths of Lake Michigan with a sonar-equipped fishing boat, Steve Radovan finally got a hit on the gray-scale monitor in the captain’s cabin in May 2016.

The 71-year-old shipwreck enthusiast powered down the Discovery’s engines and dropped a waterproof camera attached to a rope into roughly 300 feet of water. The images revealed a three-masted barquentine, covered in mussels and algae but lying on the bottom still largely intact. After reporting the finding to the state of Wisconsin, he learned the foundered ship was the Mojave.

With a cargo of 19,500 bushels of wheat, the ship had set sail from Chicago en route to Buffalo in 1864. The Mojave was spotted by the crew of a passing ship as it dropped into a trough of stormy waters. A small boat and cabin doors belonging to the lost ship were later recovered on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, but the vessel lay deep below the surface for over a century.

“This is the stuff the movie-makers dream of. This is just like it was when it sank to the bottom,” Radovan said with a grin, watching the camera’s images from his home office. “No human has seen this ship since 1864.”

For more than a century, sinking ships claimed thousands of lives, burnishing Lake Michigan’s reputation as being among the most dangerous waters to navigate. Its notoriety as the deadliest of the Great Lakes is evident from an expansive graveyard of shipwrecks spanning the shoreline of Wisconsin – a testament to the perils taken on by crews and passengers who navigated the waters in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Under a new push by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ghostly collection of sunken vessels could become the first national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan and the second in the Great Lakes. NOAA is expected to make a final decision by next year; then Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the U.S. Congress are to review the proposal.

Advocates say time is of the essence if the public is to view and study the wrecks because their structural integrity is endangered by the zebra mussels, an invasive species known for its propensity to cling to objects underwater and rapidly reproduce. The mussels can be cancerous, as evidenced by what happened to the Gallinipper, a fur trading ship that went down in 1851 and remained in pristine condition on the lake floor for more than a century.

“If it was raised, it could sail again,” said Brendon Baillod, a Great Lakes maritime historian. “But it became so encrusted and caked in zebra mussels it started to collapse. So, in a sense, there’s an urgency to finding these wrecks now, because in 10 years, they could start disappearing.”

While the sheer number of sunken vessels makes Wisconsin’s slice of Lake Michigan stand out, the site is also renowned for the remarkably sound condition of many downed ships. Fifteen wrecks known to researchers are virtually intact, and 18 are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, per preliminary reports. Divers have found many with masts still standing, unbreached hulls, and even one with nautical charts still stowed in the drawers of the wheelhouse – something that would be unlikely in ocean waters.

“Cold, fresh water,” said Russ Green, NOAA regional coordinator. “The fact that it’s salt-free helps preserve iron and wood, and the cold water is like a big freezer that acts against deterioration.”

The proposed 1,075-square-mile site contains 37 known shipwrecks dating from the 1830s through the early 1900s. Researchers say the area could be home to as many as 80 other undiscovered wrecks.

]]> 0 archaeologists and volunteers measure the keelson of the J.M. Allmendinger, which sank in 1895 in Lake Michigan near Port Washington, Wis. At left, shipwreck enthusiast Steve Radovan of Sheboygan, Wis., stows a sonar transducer on his boat in Lake Michigan during a survey of underwater shipwrecks. A marine sanctuary is proposed for the site. (Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:44:34 +0000
Ventriloquist, 12, wins ‘America’s Got Talent’ crown, $1 million prize Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:26:59 +0000 LOS ANGELES — A 12-year-old girl is getting a $1 million prize and her own Las Vegas show after taking the “America’s Got Talent” crown on the season 12 finale of the NBC reality competition.

Darci Lynne Farmer of Oklahoma City beat out another youngster, 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale, for the ‘AGT’ title Wednesday by garnering the most votes from viewers.

Farmer said after the show that she was “overcome with joy and luckiness.” Judge Heidi Klum said the girl “is the full package,” adding that “she really touched people’s hearts” and “made people laugh at home.”

Farmer is the third ventriloquist to win the competition.

– From news service reports

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:45:14 +0000
Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oreal heiress and richest woman in the world, dies at 94 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:22:26 +0000 Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal cosmetics empire and the world’s wealthiest woman, has died. She was 94.

Her death was announced in a statement from Jean-Paul Agon, CEO at L’Oreal Group. She died Wednesday at her home in Neuilly, a suburb west of Paris, according to a company spokesman. No cause was given.

Bettencourt, the only child of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, owned about one-third of the company’s shares. During her lifetime, the Paris-based company grew from a small hair-dye supplier into the largest maker of beauty products with more than 30 brands including Lancome and Garnier sold in about 140 countries. In 2016 the company reported revenue of $27 billion.

Her net worth was $42.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“Friendship, taste for life, knowledge, health. I would say that these are the things that are the most valuable,” Bettencourt said in a rare interview with French literary magazine L’Egoiste in 1988. “Everything that isn’t measured is what matters most.”

After the death of Bettencourt’s husband, French conservative politician Andre Bettencourt, in 2007, the media-shy heiress spent her final years embroiled in a legal spat with their only child, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.

Bettencourt Meyers claimed her mother was mentally unfit and had been manipulated by her entourage, especially one friend to whom she gave about 1 billion euros in gifts and cash. In 2011, a French judge assigned Bettencourt’s daughter and two grandsons as guardians over her interests.

The fortune now passes onto Bettencourt Meyers, 64.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:22:26 +0000
Lewiston man gets 5 years in prison for credit union robbery Thu, 21 Sep 2017 23:17:59 +0000 A federal judge has sentenced a 33-year-old Lewiston man to five years in prison for robbing a credit union this year.

U.S. District Judge Jon Levy sentenced Brent Roaix on Wednesday. Roaix pleaded guilty in May.

Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy said Roaix handed a bank teller a handwritten note demanding money on Jan. 25 at a Rainbow Federal Credit Union in Lewiston. The teller gave money to Roaix, who fled.

Murphy said Lewiston police found Roaix hiding in a nearby apartment, arrested him and recovered the stolen money.

Roaix faced up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

The Sun Journal reported that Roaix faces sentencing in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Friday on 2014 robbery charges.

]]> 0 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:43:28 +0000
Japanese creator of emoji says he saw nuances in pictures Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:18:39 +0000 TOKYO — The tiny smiley faces, hearts, knife-and-fork or clenched fist have become a global language for mobile phone messages. They are displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They star in a new Hollywood film.

The emoji is heir to a tradition of pictographic writing stretching back millennia to Egyptian hieroglyphics and the ideograms used to write Chinese and Japanese.

Despite their ubiquity, they started in 1998 with one man: A 25-year-old employee of mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo who created the first set of 176 in one month as he rushed to meet a deadline.

“I happened to arrive at the idea. If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have,” said Shigetaka Kurita, who now is a board member at Dwango Co., a Tokyo technology company.

Kurita’s challenge: NTT DoCoMo’s “i-mode” mobile internet service limited messages to 250 characters, which cried out for some kind of shorthand.

A message that said “What are you doing now?” could be menacing or nosey, but adding a smiley face softened the tone.

“Digital messaging was just getting started, and so I was thinking about what was needed,” Kurita said.

Following i-mode’s launch in 1999, that nuance made emoji an immediate hit in Japan, where the demands of courtesy make for a complex art and a tiny mistake can prove costly. Emoji combines the Japanese for “picture,” or “e″ (pronounced “eh”), and “letters,” or “moji” (moh-jee).

Kurita collected common images including public signs, weather symbols, the zodiac and comic book-style pictures such as a light bulb or a ticking bomb.

With simple lines, he made five faces – happy, angry, sad, surprised and perplexed. The heart and a smiley face are still his favorites.

Some visuals transcend culture. A drop of sweat rolling down a cheek means exasperation or anxiety. Others confuse: A camcorder was misread by many as a fish.

“Japanese tend to excel at making the most of limitations. It’s a nation filled with limitations, a small piece of land,” Kurita said. “We do well at carrying out tasks within a framework, rather than being given a free hand.”

Western players Apple and Google made emoji a global phenomenon.

“Perhaps because of the popularity of the iPhone, Apple’s art style for its emojis also became extremely influential, to the point that when most people think of emoji imagery, they’re thinking of Apple’s take on it,” said Jason Snell, a tech journalist and podcaster.

Kurita shrugs that off. The dozen-member team designing i-mode was making something for Japan long before smartphones.

“Japanese always are too ahead of our time,” said Kurita, an unpretentious man with a quick smile.

“I think Galapagos is OK. It’s cool,” he said, referring to the remote Pacific Island, used in Japan to describe the nation’s insularity. “After all, how can Japan hope to win as a global standard?”

“And so we go ahead with our Galapagos ways in Japan, and people abroad will see it as wonderfully Japanese.”

Kurita’s invention inspired “The Emoji Movie,” an animated film by Sony Pictures about emojis that live inside the world of a smartphone. It has yet to be shown in Japan but was modestly popular in the United States.

In 2010, the 12-by-12-pixel designs were adopted as a global standard by the Unicode Consortiums. That means any phone or operating system that follows the standard will use the same images, making them a universal language.

Some initially opposed making emoji a Unicode standard, according to Yasuo Kida, a technology expert who was involved in their adoption.

Among the arguments: emoji was mere pictures, too infantile and uniquely Japanese. But Kida said companies that saw Japan as an important market won out.

What began as primitive digital drawings is growing into an elaborate tool for communication with more choices for pictures and animation, such as Apple’s latest Animoji, Kida said.

Unlike Kurita, Kida finds it sad Japanese lose out on opportunities to reap benefits of their innovations on a global scale because of lack of language skills and international influence.

Yuka Kubo, a researcher at the University of Tokyo, is working on a book about how young Japanese women pioneer innovations such as selfies and use of emojis as art that are ridiculed but become hits.

“The young women are expressing their rebellion against the adult world, but in a playful way,” Kubo said.

These days, Kurita works on a popular live video streaming service called Niconico. He believes such services will become more interactive, building online communities, possibly with artificial intelligence.

Kurita doesn’t feel all that involved with emoji today because they have evolved beyond his original set. He receives no royalties and is little-known in Japan outside technology circles.

He paid his own air fare to New York last year to see the Museum of Modern Art exhibit, which cited him by name.

Kurita was overcome with emotion.

“There they were, something I’d been involved with, although I’m neither an artist nor a designer,” he said. “The museum saw value in the design that had the power to change people’s lifestyles.”

]]> 0 Co., Ltd. Director Shigetaka Kurita writes a pictograph during an interview at his office in Tokyo.The Japanese creator of the first emoji wanted to add nuance to mobile phone messages and never imagined his 1999 work would become a global phenomenon.Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:18:39 +0000