Press Herald Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rally cars to roar, or creep, across northern New England Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:14:39 +0000 An annual road rally for vintage cars is coming to northern New England this summer.

The Great Race starts June 23 in Buffalo, New York, and travels through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick before finishing in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In Maine, the 120 teams will make overnight stops in Bar Harbor, Bangor and Gardiner, and lunch stops in Seal Cove and Owls Head.

The event featuring vintage cars and trucks isn’t a race. Rather, it’s a timed event in which teams of drivers and navigators match wits. The event has followed a different route each year since 1983. It first came to Maine in 2014, when it started in Ogunquit.

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Man injured after being shot in Old Port Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:40:27 +0000 A man received a minor injury when he was shot by another man in the Old Port at about 1 a.m. Saturday, WMTW reported.

Police said the suspected shooter is in custody.

The shooting took place near Dana and Wharf streets.

The victim was treated and released from Mercy Hospital.

The incident is under investigation.

Police asked any witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting to call them at 874-8575.

This story will be updated.

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

Twitter: @bquimby

]]> 0 scene tape police car genericSat, 18 Nov 2017 08:42:51 +0000
Class C settled, now 3 more state football titles on the line Saturday: Complete coverage Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:26 +0000 0, 17 Nov 2017 23:34:13 +0000 Trump fans flames in Franken groping scandal Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 President Trump’s decision to mock Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., for groping a sleeping woman while posing for a photo has once again made him a central figure in the national discussion about sexual assault, harassment and misconduct – and has again brought attention to past accusations against the president himself.

As a growing number of prominent men have publicly faced accusations, Trump has been selective in responding, largely on the basis of whether the accused is an ally or foe, and focusing relatively little on the alleged victims.

Trump called his own accusers “horrible, horrible liars” and threatened to sue them, while coming to the defense of friends such as political commentator Bill O’Reilly and former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes, accused of harassment or assault. Trump also has been mostly silent on Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, who has been accused of trying to initiate a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, sexually assaulting a 16-year-old waitress and pursuing relationships with at least five other teenagers who were much younger than he.

Trump’s responses have been notably different for some Democrats. Late Thursday night, the president tweeted about Franken, saying that a photograph of Franken appearing to grope a woman “is really bad, speaks a thousand words” and chastising the Minnesotan for “lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women.”

Trump also has said he was not surprised by accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, a major Democratic donor; released an ad during the presidential campaign calling former New York congressman Anthony Weiner a “pervert;” and hosted a campaign news conference with three women who had accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual assault or misconduct, calling those women “very courageous.”


Liz Mair, a Republican communications consultant who has been critical of the president, said Friday that Trump appears to be attempting to egg on Democrats to react and, in the process, muddy distinctions between allegations against him and others accused of wrongdoing.

“Even if he’s totally loathed, as long as he’s a little less loathed by comparison, he’s good,” Mair said.

But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday pushed back against the idea that Trump treats Democrats differently than Republicans, pointing to comments of concern over the Moore allegations. Sanders also said that there was a key difference between the accusations against Franken and those against Trump.

“Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t,” Sanders said. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.”


Last week, The Washington Post published allegations that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl nearly four decades ago when he was in his early 30s and that he pursued three other girls around the same time who were between the ages of 16 and 18.

On Monday, another woman held a news conference in New York to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her in the late 1970s when she was 16 and he was in his 30s. And on Wednesday, The Post published the accounts of two additional women who say that Moore pursued them in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers who worked at the local mall. One of those women said that she went to a movie with Moore and that he aggressively kissed her without permission.

During Trump’s lengthy overseas trip to Asia last week, Sanders told reporters that “like most Americans, the president does not believe we can allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”

On Saturday, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he is sticking with that same statement “for now, but I’ll have further comment as we go down the road” when he returned from the trip.

Since returning late Tuesday, Trump has not mentioned Moore in any public comments or tweets, and he has ignored questions about Moore that reporters have shouted at him. On Thursday, Sanders said that Trump considers the allegations against Moore “extremely troubling,” but doesn’t plan to rescind his endorsement and believes that Alabama voters should be the ones to pick their next senator.


The news about Franken broke Thursday morning when radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden, a former model who participated in USO shows in war zones, published an essay accusing the Democrat of aggressively kissing her without permission and shared a photo that showed Franken groping her as she slept on a plane wearing a bulletproof vest.

Late Thursday night, Trump jumped into the fray. “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?” he wrote on Twitter, misspelling the nickname. “And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”

The latter reference appeared to be a reference to a 1995 New York magazine article in which Franken, then a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” is described as advocating a joke about raping Stahl, a prominent CBS journalist.

Trump didn’t mention that Tweeden also accused Franken of kissing her against her will – the same thing that at least eight women have publicly accused Trump of doing.

The accusations span from the early 1990s, when beauty pageant organizer Jill Harth alleged in a lawsuit that Trump had repeatedly kissed and groped her against her will, to November 2015, when NBC News reporter Katy Tur says that Trump gave her an unwelcomed kiss on the cheek and then bragged about it on air.

Two of those women, along with at least four others, have accused Trump of groping their breasts or touching their genitals without their consent. Jessica Leeds alleges that as she sat next to Trump on a flight in the early 1980s, he touched her breasts and started putting his hand up her skirt.

Trump repeatedly denied the allegations during the campaign, calling his accusers liars and vowing to sue them, which he has not done. And referring to Leeds in October 2016, Trump said: “Believe me, she would not be my first choice. That I can tell you.”

Several beauty pageant contestants also accused Trump of barging into their dressing rooms unexpectedly, seeing them when they were not fully dressed – something that Trump admitted to doing during a 2005 interview with shock jock Howard Stern.

In early October 2016, The Post published audio from an interview Trump did with “Access Hollywood” in 2005 in which he bragged about kissing women without waiting to see if they want to be kissed and grabbing women by their genitals without asking. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”

Trump has defended those comments as being “locker room banter,” although he also issued an apology in which he said the “words don’t reflect who I am.”

At the time, Franken criticized Trump for the remarks: “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms. I belong to a health club in Minneapolis – you can tell. Our locker room banter is stuff like, ‘Is Trump crazy?’ ”

In Alabama on Friday, Moore’s opponent – Alabama Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones – said the accusations against Franken are a “serious matter” and that he supports an ethics investigation. He declined to comment on the president on directly addressing the allegations against Moore.

“You just ought to ask the president and his people that, not me,” Jones said at a campaign stop at a seafood restaurant in Dothan, Alabama.

]]> 0 - In this Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken is accused of forcibly kissing a woman while rehearsing for a 2006 USO tour; Franken also was photographed with his hands over her breasts as she slept wearing a flak vest. He has apologized, while maintaining that he remembered the rehearsal differently. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:54:01 +0000
Our View: City Council should approve Maine Med plan Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Maine Medical Center is the state’s largest hospital, accounting for over a third of all inpatient surgeries performed in Maine, admitting and discharging 41,000 patients annually.

It’s also Portland’s largest employer, with 4,500 workers filling various shifts, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And, for some people and businesses, Maine Med is their neighbor.

It’s not easy to fill all of those roles, but the medical center had done a good job of staying at the forefront of a fast-changing industry while trying to minimize its impact on the people who live or work nearby.

In its role as a good neighbor, the hospital is working with the city to develop a plan for its future growth, not just for the next three to five years, but for up to 20 years in the future.

This plan, known as an “Institutional Overlay Zone,” gives the city a sense of where Maine Med may expand in the years to come, and it spares nearby property owners and other residents the periodic shocks that have accompanied previous expansions.

This is a good way to approach planning with such an important local institution. The City Council should adopt Maine Med’s zoning.

This application comes as a result of a planned $512 million renovation and expansion project, which would modernize the facility, add surgical operating rooms with the latest technical equipment and increase the number of single rooms for patients.

These are critical improvements to this institution.

Patients who are admitted to the hospital are sicker and need more acute care than patients in the past because minor surgeries and other treatments are conducted on an outpatient basis. Maine Med has to change with the times.

The clinical necessity for a hospital that has these attributes has already been well established. The state has issued its approval of the project. The only issue before the council is how it will fit in the city.

Neighbors are concerned about a creeping institution, gobbling up housing and retail space over time, creating dead spaces with big, featureless buildings.

Maine Med has responded to those concerns.

For instance, an employee parking garage that was originally planned to front on Congress Street has been moved to the site of a surface lot currently in use behind the old railroad building on St. John Street.

When preliminary work showed that the garage would interfere with views from the Western Prom, the hospital revised its plans and made the building shorter.

These are good changes that demonstrate good faith. But some of the neighbors’ concerns will never be completely satisfied.

The hospital is an important piece of regional infrastructure. Its benefits extend throughout the city and state, and that should be considered when evaluating impacts on the immediate neighborhood.

The council should approve the overlay zone, and the city should continue to work with Maine Medical Center and its neighbors so that the institution can continue serving its multiple roles.

]]> 0, ME - SEPTEMBER 14: Maine Medical Center is proposing a massive, expensive expansion. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:58:39 +0000
Republican ‘tax reform’ could be called the ‘accident of birth lottery’ Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 PROSPECT HARBOR — If I go to the corner market (which, on the Schoodic Peninsula, is about 2 miles away) and buy a $1 lottery ticket whose jackpot is $5.5 million and then win, I know that I will be required by law to pay taxes on the full $5.5 million. This is not money I actually earned. I just got lucky, so I will not complain about paying the taxes because I will have cleared about $4 million. Nor am I likely to feel cheated because the take-home amount is not double my winnings.

Congressional Republicans’ “tax reform” proposal creates a new sort of lottery. Call it the “accident of birth lottery.” It works this way.

Currently, children who inherit their parents’ estate are not required to pay a dime of federal taxes on the first $5.5 million they inherit. Children of affluent families who leave estates of $5.5 million have won the “accident of birth lottery.” Even in families with five children, each heir will walk off, tax-free, with $1 million. Will they feel cheated that the amount is not more? Will they regret having so many siblings? If their parents’ net worth is, say, $10 million, will they be angry at the federal government for taxing the remaining $4.5 million?

Republican “tax reform” doubles the current nontaxable amount of an estate left by parents to their children from $5.5 million to $11 million. So-called “death taxes” kick in only for any inheritance above that amount. One-tenth of 1 percent of Mainers will benefit from this change, if it’s enacted. The Republican Party’s contention that owners of small farms and businesses will benefit from this change is a canard: Only 50 small farmers and business owners nationwide will benefit. In fact, the vast majority of the real beneficiaries of the proposed change in the estate tax are the already very rich.

Giving such tax benefits to the already very rich will only exacerbate income and wealth inequality in our nation. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among them have more wealth than the poorest 50 percent of the American population combined. The Brookings Institution has reported that between 1992 and 2013, the share of the nation’s wealth held by the top 1 percent of the richest climbed from 27 percent to 33 percent. Republican “tax reform” will only accelerate the rapidity of wealth accumulation by the nation’s richest people. Just how much of the fortune added to already-overstuffed coffers actually trickles down to the poor is moot.

Being born into a poor family in America is a curse; being born into a superwealthy family, a blessing. In either case, it is pure luck. “There but for the grace of God go I” can otherwise be read as “There but for the grace of good fortune go I.”

Tax policy is, as so many have pointed out, actually about values. Should the rich pay their “fair share,” and what do we mean by “fair share”? Is it fair that South Carolina taxpayers get $7.87 from the federal government for every $1 they pay in federal taxes? Or that Mainers get $1.79 from the feds for every $1 that residents pay in taxes?

Residents of Delaware, who get considerably less from the federal government than they pay in taxes, are in fact transferring wealth to South Carolinians and Mainers. Redistribution of wealth in this nation, whether by government or by private philanthropy, is a means to make birthright count for less and opportunity count for more.

Various states’ dependency on redistribution of wealth by the federal government has long been a fact of the American political economy. Similarly, progressive income taxes require the wealthier to pay more of their income in absolute terms than do the poor, because, arguably, the wealthy have benefited more from the nation’s bounty. Is this form of the Robin Hood effect unfair? Or do we agree that those who have more should be required to assist those who have less, just as the federal government already does with the states? That is a values question.

So too is the Republican plan to transfer more wealth to the already rich by changing the estate tax laws. Yes, as someone once said, everyone in America enjoys liberty and justice – but only a few heirs of wealthy parents enjoy tax breaks on their unearned income.

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Letter to the editor: Author of column on presidential misconduct needs lessons in history, responsibility Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Kathleen Parker’s Nov. 7 column is poorly written, poorly researched and inaccurate. She says Bill Clinton’s sexual misbehavior while he was in office left a legacy of “simmering rage” that, after being pent up for 25 years, has resulted in “eruptions of sexual harassment claims.”

She further states that Clinton’s was the first “two-fer” presidency, “… with a first lady who championed women’s rights” as well. Parker also declares that President “Clinton was the first, as far as we know, to have a sexual relationship with an intern.”

None of those things are true. I refer Parker to first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan as examples of “two-fers,” and to Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, Kay Summersby and Mimi Alford, a 19-year-old intern during the Kennedy administration, as examples of women in “sexual relationships” with a POTUS.

Bill Clinton is absolutely responsible for his own behavior, and certainly not responsible for others’ behavior, including presidents past, present or future.

Louise Davis


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Letter to the editor: Rich clear winners of tax plan, everyone else loses Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 The Grand Old Party is trying its hand at tax reform, a trick not seen since President Ronald Reagan forged an alliance with House Speaker Tip O’Neill in 1986. Unfortunately, the current Republican tax plan forgoes the bipartisan spirit of ’86 in favor of one-party control and arcane Senate rules that allow them to avoid a filibuster.

As with all reform, there are clear winners and losers. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy stated in a report that “nearly a third (of the cuts) would go to the richest 1 percent in 2018, and by 2027 that fraction would rise to nearly half.” That Republicans would peddle a tax cut that benefits the wealthy and corporations, while raising the deficit that they spent years railing against, is outrageous.

Tax reform should be designed to help the people who need it most: poor working families. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that children who grew up in low-income households that received an additional $3,000 of annual income through working-family tax credits earned 17 percent more as adults when compared with children whose families did not receive the extra income. This outcome benefits the entire society and puts an end to the cycle of poverty that traps many families.

This is why the Maine congressional delegation should stand up to the Republican tax bill. It will only perpetuate income inequality and, in the long run, hurt the people who need the most help.

Olin Jenner


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Letter to the editor: What will be cut later to pay for Republican tax plan now? Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 The Republican tax cut that just passed the House is projected to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. There is debate on the claim that the economy will grow enough to make up for this shortfall, as the sponsors of this bill claim it will.

I would like everyone to ask our U.S. representatives and senators to tell us, their constituents, what spending they would vote to cut in order to make up for the budget shortfalls if these predictions do not come to pass. Will they vote to cut Social Security and Medicare or veterans benefits, or close more military bases or facilities, like the Naval Shipyard in Kittery? Or, will they simply pass the burden along to our children?

They seem willing to let the future generations bear this burden, judging by their willingness to eliminate the tax deduction for student loan debt. Will we also pass to our children infrastructure that has been neglected for another 10 years because we lack the funds to invest in it?

I think it only fair that our elected officials tell Mainers right up front how they propose to make up for this shortfall before the full Congress finalizes this gigantic windfall for those who need it least.

Please think of the long-term result of this cut. Even if this does mean about $1,000 a year in the average family’s pocket, is that worth the possibility that you may have to work years longer before you can afford to retire, or accept drastically reduced medical coverage when you finally do? Are you comfortable passing this debt off on our children and grandchildren?

Ask them: What will you cut?

Jim Atkinson


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Letter to the editor: Pro-ERA column leaves men out of the picture Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Hyperbole much? In Monday’s Maine Voices column, Nancy Murdock says that “women have been held hostage” and that an Equal Rights Amendment “will help women, families, children and men. We all benefit when our working women are paid fairly … and when there is a strong defense against sex being used as a weapon.”

But this is why the column isn’t balanced. Men are tacked on the end almost as a grudging afterthought. The only “equate” is equating “equal” with “retaliation.” We’re already doing a test run called affirmative action. If she isn’t deflecting our objection to something, she outright gets even because she doesn’t like how we said something. Otherwise, we’re not wooing her enough in our presentation under their coy and extrapolated “right to choose” everything.

Thinking they have made evidence for women’s equality, the opposite has occurred. Whereas at one time, men could “see through the hedges and stretch the envelope” to “move the ball down the field” (resolve issues), women saw it as keeping them as housewives. Nowadays, the she replacements can only mimic and administrate, meanwhile keeping intact the biggest deferment to ever come down the pike, affirmative action. So, fail on count one.

Although seemingly true in the veneer, there is a fallacy to “equal pay.” I never got equal pay for equal work; it depends on what you bring to the table at hiring. The notion of affirmative action was to employ people with deficiencies and get a tax credit for doing so, hence making allowances for the candidate with less-than-ample backgrounds: the handicapped, veterans, senior citizens, women, etc. But the enactment doesn’t say employers can’t pay them accordingly.

And thirdly, does the author really want to bring up using “sex as a weapon”?

The ongoing experiment shows that women have only gone from “the fairer sex” to the gilded cows.

William Capistran


]]> 0 Mushial of Portland raises a sign as participants in Women's Walk Portland progress to Congress Square Park. The peaceful march stretched over a mile through the city and attracted a larger crowd than anticipated.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:25:22 +0000
The Maine Millennial: It’s tough, but I’m coming to terms with gaining some weight Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 I’ve gained some weight recently.

(I can sense the women reading this nodding sympathetically.)

It took me a little while to realize it, because gradual change can be hard to see when it’s your own body. But one day I noticed my clothes weren’t fitting the way they were supposed to, so I sought a second opinion and asked my boyfriend.

Fun fact: I have literally seen deer in the headlights of my car before, and yet I have never seen such a deer-in-headlights expression as my boyfriend had when I asked him, “Hey, honey, do you think I’ve gained some weight?” I suspect his brain shut down in self-preservation as he instinctively sensed, like so many men might, that there was no right answer.

After I slowly calmed him down, he did agree that I had developed “a bit of a tum.” And indeed, I have developed a bit of a tum.

It’s not surprising – over the past six months, while watching my father die of cancer, I’ve binged on more than my fair share of wine and chocolate. My friend Grace pointed out that I’ve had a pretty good reason. And before he died, my father lost about one-third of his body weight, and he wasn’t particularly large to begin with. So maybe I was subconsciously trying to counter that. Also, I put way too much sugar in my coffee, because my lactose intolerance forbids me from cutting the bitter stuff with creamer.

Most people would agree that I’m not fat, although you probably can’t tell through a 1-inch-by-1-inch headshot. And I can’t believe I even feel like I need to say that, as if there were something wrong with being fat. Because there’s not! My mother is fat and she is perfectly healthy and very beautiful. As a bisexual woman, I myself find women with squishy stomachs attractive. (I also like women with abs. Call me, Megan Rapinoe.) Therefore, I should be perfectly happy with my own squishier stomach, right?

Wrong. The patriarchy has invaded my brain. I feel like I’ve failed somehow. My body hasn’t noticeably changed since puberty (and boy, that was a change). Now here I am, with added blubber just in time to hibernate for winter. I don’t know the numbers of this gain – we haven’t had a scale in my house since our dog broke it in 2001. (He wasn’t fat. Just rambunctious.) I only know that it’s noticeable, and that society wants me to feel bad about it so it can sell me Spanx and diet pills and celery.

But I’m fighting back, darn it! After all, this is Maine. The more body heat you can produce, the better a long-term mate you make – and since my boyfriend and my girlfriend are slim, I am happy to serve as their personal toaster. And, let’s be real – no matter what movies and magazines show, having a flat stomach as a woman is mostly a matter of genetic luck. (If you are that lucky: Congratulations. Has your mutation also given you superpowers?) We’re built to carry children, and to survive famines. Our bodies gain and distribute fat to achieve that goal.

I am going to try to eat healthier, because a diet of wine and carbs, while fun, isn’t, you know, healthy. I also plan to start working out again, but not to lose this weight. Because my jiggly stomach doesn’t need to get lost. I need to work out because yesterday, my dog beat me in a sprint across the yard, and he’s a 12-year-old shih tzu with a pin in his hips.

The other night, my mother and I started grabbing our guts and belly-laughing, doing our best Jabba the Hutt imitation (“Solo! Too Nakma Noya Solo!”). My sister, who is tall and willowy, walked in and tried to grab her abs. “Can I pretend to be a Hutt?”

Why, yes you can, Jabba Jr. All are welcome.

So, mean people on the internet can feel free to call me fat. I’m still cute. But my added weight just makes me a better tackle.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

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Commentary: PACE Act would help more Maine families afford child care Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 High-quality child care helps provide all kids – especially those living in poverty – with a shot at future success. It helps prepare them for kindergarten and helps ensure they will graduate from high school. Despite its benefits, child care costs have increased substantially in recent years. Alarmingly, in many places, including in Maine, it is now more expensive to pay for high-quality child care than it is to pay for in-state college tuition. The resulting financial pressures are felt most by low-wage workers, who spend, on average, more than 30 percent of their income on child care.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of care for one infant in Maine is $9,512, nearly 17 percent of a typical family’s income. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classifies child care as affordable if it costs no more than 10 percent of a family’s income. By this standard, only 26.7 percent of Maine families can afford infant care. That leaves a staggering number of Maine children at an unacceptable disadvantage.

And with more children comes an even heavier financial burden for families. Child care for two children – an infant and a 4-year-old – costs $16,382 a year. While this is slightly less than the national average, it is still nearly 64 percent more than average rent in Maine and nearly a third of a typical family’s income. Working parents in Maine are increasingly faced with difficult decisions when it comes to balancing care and work, with some concluding that the steep cost of care serves as a barrier to working more – or working at all. For many families, having two or more sources of income is often essential to make ends meet.

Since child care is becomingly increasingly more difficult for families to afford and serves as a barrier to employment, lawmakers would be wise to ensure our tax policies keep pace with rising child care costs and working families have the support they need to stay in the workforce. Alleviating the financial burden child care causes for working families is a political imperative that has bipartisan agreement, which is why we’re encouraged to see bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress for addressing this issue.

While the federal government provides two significant tax benefits to help offset child care costs – the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts – both are badly in need of an update.

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is a dedicated tax credit that helps families offset the costs of high-quality child care and early education programs. We strongly support the expansion of the credit, as well as efforts to make it refundable. Despite the obvious benefits of expanding and improving the child care tax credit, the recent tax reform proposals passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and introduced in the Senate this month would merely retain the credit as is.

Instead, the proposal marginally expands the Child Tax Credit, which is a different credit that can be used for any expense. In addition, the proposed expansion of the Child Tax Credit does not make it refundable, meaning millions of children from low-income families would not benefit at all. High-income families, on the other hand, would receive the largest increase in the Child Tax Credit.

It’s time for Congress to do more to specifically help working families afford high-quality child care and early learning for their children.

The Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (S. 208 and H.R. 3632) Act – bipartisan legislation introduced in both the Senate and the House – would update the tax code to reflect the reality of the rising costs of child care. The Senate would be wise to include it in its final tax reform package. Doing so would ensure that families, particularly low-income families, receive the same tax benefits already available to middle- and upper-income families. And by tying both benefits to inflation, families will benefit for generations to come.

This common-sense legislation is a step in the right direction for working families in Maine and across the country. There’s nothing more important to our nation’s future than our children, and we must do what we can to invest in them and their futures. Please join us in urging the Senate to support the PACE Act, include it in tax reform legislation and ensure a brighter tomorrow for our kids.

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Friday’s top 25 basketball roundup: Duke avoids letdown, gets past Southern Sat, 18 Nov 2017 04:25:46 +0000 DURHAM, N.C. — Wendell Carter Jr. had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 1 Duke beat Southern 78-61 on Friday night.

Marvin Bagley III added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Grayson Allen finished with 10 points for the Blue Devils (4-0), who were coming off a victory over No. 2 Michigan State three nights earlier.

Duke showed several classic symptoms of a letdown, finishing with a season-high 15 turnovers, shooting just 4 of 20 from 3-point range and for a while struggling to keep Southern off the offensive glass before regrouping to finish with a 51-34 rebounding advantage.

(4) KANSAS 98, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 64: Svi Mykhailiuk scored a career-high 27 points, Lagerald Vick finished with 22 and host Kansas (3-0) routed Summit League favorite South Dakota State (3-1).

Udoka Azubuike added 17 points and Malik Newman had 13 for the Jayhawks, who shot 60 percent from the field and didn’t commit a turnover until midway through the second half.

(5) VILLANOVA 104, LAFAYETTE 57: Mikal Bridges set a school record by hitting all six of his 3-point shots and scored a career-high 24 points for Villanova (3-0) in a rout of Lafayette (0-3) at Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Jalen Brunson added 22 points and hit 4 of 6 3s in another dominant performance by the Wildcats, who made 16 of 30 from long range.

(7) KENTUCKY 78, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 61: Quade Green scored a career-high 21 points, Kevin Knox had 17 points with 10 rebounds and host Kentucky (3-1) overcame an early 18-8 deficit to run away from East Tennessee State (1-2).


(1) CONNECTICUT 82, (20) CALIFORNIA 47: Crystal Dangerfield, Kia Nurse and Napheesa Collier all scored 14 points to help the top-ranked Huskies (2-0) rout California (1-1) at Storrs, Connecticut.

UConn trailed 4-3 early before scoring 23 of the next 25 points to take command of the game.

(2) TEXAS 120, TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO 70: Jada Underwood scored 19 points, Brooke McCarty had 18 and Texas (3-0) cruised past Texas-San Antonio (1-3) at Austin.

Underwood set career bests in scoring and rebounding (nine) while playing 21 minutes.

(9) OHIO STATE 95, QUINNIPIAC 63: Kelsey Mitchell scored 32 points, Linnae Harper had a second consecutive double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and host Ohio State (3-1) beat Quinnipiac (0-3).

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 23:35:19 +0000
NBA roundup: Miami holds off Washington Sat, 18 Nov 2017 04:20:46 +0000 WASHINGTON — The Miami Heat nearly wasted a terrific defensive effort against John Wall and the high-scoring Washington Wizards, allowing a 25-point lead to dwindle to one before holding on for a 91-88 victory Friday night.

Hassan Whiteside had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who limited the Wizards to 29 first-half points – Washington’s lowest output for a half in more than two years. Wall wound up with only eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. His first points of the night came with about five minutes left on a 3-pointer that got Washington to 75-71.

Overall, the Wizards made 38.1 percent of their field-goal attempts. Still, they within 89-88 after a pair of free throws by Otto Porter Jr. James Johnson, who finished with 20 points, made one free throw with 6.5 seconds left. That left Washington with the ball down by two, but Bradley Beal missed a 17-foot pull-up jumper and Miami rebounded, then tacked on a free throw.

Beal led Washington with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

The Wizards came in on a four-game winning streak, including a 102-93 victory their last time out, at Miami on Wednesday.

RAPTORS 107, KNICKS 84: Kyle Lowry matched his season high with 22 points and added 10 assists, DeMar DeRozan also scored 22 and Toronto won at home for its eighth consecutive victory against New York.

Toronto played without two injured starters in forward Serge Ibaka (swollen left knee) and guard Norman Powell (right hip). Reserve guard Delon Wright (dislocated right shoulder) also was unavailable.

C.J. Miles scored 14 points for Toronto. Pressed into the starting lineup, second-year forward Pascal Siakam scored 13 points and rookie forward O.G. Anunoby had 11.

PACERS 107, PISTONS 100: Reserve guard Lance Stephenson scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, including a key 3-pointer in the final few minutes, and Indiana rallied from 22 down at Indianapolis.

The shot clock was about to expire when Stephenson launched from well beyond the arc to give the Pacers a 101-97 lead with 2:03 remaining.

It was one of the six 3s the Pacers made in seven fourth-quarter attempts as Indiana outscored Detroit 36-19 over the final 12 minutes.

CAVALIERS 118, CLIPPERS 113: LeBron James scored 39 points, Kevin Love added 25 and Cleveland won its fourth straight, in overtime at home, to send Los Angeles to its seventh straight loss.

Love drained a pair of 3-pointers in overtime when the Cavs outscored the Clippers 13-8. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.

SPURS 104, THUNDER 101: LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and San Antonio overcame a 23-point deficit at home.

Danny Green added 17 points and Pau Gasol had 14 to help San Antonio end Oklahoma City’s three-game winning streak.

NETS 118, JAZZ 107: Spencer Dinwiddie scored a career-high 25 points for Brooklyn at home.

Allen Crabbe had 18 points and DeMarre Carroll added 17 for the Nets, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

BULLS 123, HORNETS 120: Justin Holiday scored 27 points and Chicago won at home, overcoming a 47-point outburst by Kemba Walker to snap their five-game losing streak.

Walker finished five points shy of his career high but missed a driving layup with Charlotte trailing by one in the closing seconds.


NETS: Guard D’Angelo Russell had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

No timetable for his return was announced.

RAPTORS: Backup guard Delon Wright has a dislocated right shoulder.

Wright was injured Wednesday night in the second quarter of a victory against New Orleans. The Raptors said tests confirmed “an injury consistent with a dislocated right shoulder.”

]]> 0 Olynyk of the Miami Heat attempts to keep the ball from Mike Scott of the Washington Wizards during the first half of the Heat's 91-88 victory Friday night at Washington. Miami saw a 25-point lead go down to one before holding on.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:22:44 +0000
Friday’s Maine college roundup: UMaine tops BU in hockey Sat, 18 Nov 2017 04:16:58 +0000 ORONO — Patrick Shea and Canon Pieper each had a goal and an assist and the University of Maine men’s hockey team won its second straight, defeating Boston University 5-2 in a Hockey East game Friday night.

Pieper and Brendan Robbins scored 21/2 apart to send the Black Bears (5-5, 3-3 Hockey East) to a 3-1 lead 7:06 into the second period.

Brady Keeper and Patrick Holway also scored for Maine. Jeremy Swayman made 40 saves.

Logan Cockerill and Kasper Kotkansalo scored for the Terriers (5-8-1, 3-5-2).

USM 4, CASTLETON 3: Michael Taormina and Patrick Magliano each scored twice for the Huskies (1-3-1) in a win over the Spartans (2-4) in Rutland, Vermont.

Taormina scored midway through the third to break a 2-2 tie, and Magliano added his second goal four minutes later.

SALVE REGINA 8, UNE 3: Timothy Sweeney and Shaun Patry each scored twice as the Seahawks (5-1, 4-1 CCC) cruised past the Nor’easters (2-2-1, 2-2-1) in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

The Seahawks scored four times in the third after the Nor’easters cut the lead to 4-3 on Tyler Seltenreich’s second goal of the game.


BOWDOIN 3, COLBY 2: Maureen Greason scored her second goal of the game on a power play with 4:46 remaining to give the Polar Bears the edge in a NESCAC opener at Brunswick.

Izzi Stoddard added a goal for Bowdoin.

Anna Cosentino and Moira Mullaney scored for Colby.

UNE 3, CASTLETON 3: Lisa Kilroy scored the tying goal on a power play with less than four minutes left in regulation, and Castleton (3-3-1, 2-2-1 NEHC) fought to a draw against the Nor’easters (1-1-3, 1-1-3) at Rutland, Vermont.

Jessie Scott scored twice for UNE, tying the game 41 seconds into the third. Marykate Drinkwater then gave UNE a 3-2 lead midway through the period.

NORWICH 10, USM 0: Sarah Schwenzfeier scored and had four assists, and Alyssa Hulst and Amanda Conway each scored twice as the Cadets (7-0-1, 5-0 NEHC) downed the Huskies (2-4, 2-3) at Northfield, Vermont.


UNE 122, ST. JOSEPH’S (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) 102: Daron Hoges Jr. had 24 points, seven rebounds and three steals to lead the Nor’easters (1-1) past the Bears (0-1) in the opening game of UNE’s tip-off tournament in Biddeford.

Matt Hobbs added 16 points for the Nor’easters.

COLBY 72, COLBY-SAWYER 60: Dean Weiner had 10 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and four steals as the Mules (1-0) defeated the Chargers (0-1) at Biddeford.

Matt Hanna added 14 points and three steals.

BOWDOIN 80, ST. LAWRENCE 74: Jack Simonds had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Polar Bears (1-0) held off the Saints (0-1) in the opening round of Westfield State’s tip-off tourney in Westfield, Massachusetts.

David Reynolds added 13 points, while Jack Bors and Liam Farley each chipped in with 12.


BOWDOIN 76, SKIDMORE 42: Kate Kerrigan scored 13 points to lead four players in double figures, and the Polar Bears downed the Thoroughbreds in an opener at Saratoga Springs, New York.

Abby Kelly scored 12 points, and Taylor Choate and Lauren Petit each added 11 for Bowdoin.

COLBY 52, UMASS-BOSTON 48: Haley Driscoll scored 11 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 47 seconds left to put Colby (1-0) up for good against the Beacons (1-1) at Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Ainsley Burns added 12 points.

UNE 67, CLARKSON 38: Olivia Shaw scored 14 points and Jocelyn Chaput had 12 points,14 rebounds and six assists as UNE (2-0) beat the Golden Knights (1-0) in Plattsburgh, New York.

Sam MacDonald added 12 points and six assists.

BABSON 81, ST. JOSEPH’S 64: Payton Ouimette scored 19 points with 11 rebounds as the Beavers (1-0) beat the Monks (1-1) at Keene, New Hampshire.

Kelsi McNamara and Emily Benway each scored 13 points to pace the Monks.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:18:54 +0000
Students showcase crafsmanship at annual Augusta trade show Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:39:23 +0000 AUGUSTA — Over the sounds of welding torches, hammers and robotic lifts, Jackson Fortin talked Friday about what he hopes will be a promising career of building houses.

Fortin, a junior at the Mid-Maine Technical Center in Waterville, was one of more than 1,200 students at the 18th Annual Crafts Championships at the Augusta Civic Center.

“I really like construction, so the nailing stations and doing measurements are my favorite,” Fortin said. “The lifts here look pretty cool, too.”

Fortin was speaking of the two large scissor lifts taking several students at a time – secured in safety harnesses – more than 20 feet above the civic center floor. It was one of the areas that was most popular among the attendees, said Hope Perkins, president and CEO of the Maine chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors.

“This is my 11th year, and it grows every year,” Perkins said. “Some of these kids are from families of contractors, and it’s what they’re doing in their schools.”

Throughout the daylong event, students from across the state worked on projects inside the civic center and outside on welding trailers and line trucks. Students showcased their talents and skills by participating in a variety of competitions and activities, including hammering nails, installing light switches on a mock wall, pouring cement and welding pieces of steel.

At the welding station, Rob Piccirilli, a district sales manager at Maine Oxy, said the activity gives students a chance to try their hand using a welding torch and helmet in a controlled environment.

Andrew Longpre, of Fryeberg, tries out welding Friday during the 18th Annual Crafts Championships at the Augusta Civic Center. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

“It’s one of the easier (welding) processes, and it gives them some exposure,” he said.

In the center of the main civic center floor, judges were watching about 10 budding electricians as they spent about three hours working on a mock interior wall. The judges, including Rusty Travers, were looking for neat workspaces, proper safety techniques and the ability to follow directions and adhere to construction codes.

Anthony Warner, a home-schooled student from Portland, was watching with interest because he hopes to begin a career as an electrician upon completing his high school education. Warner, 17, said he wants to work with smart-home technology, because home automation is the future.

“Using a smartphone or tablet to control most of the electronic devices in your home is going to be common soon, and I love computers and technology,” Warner said. “But installing light switches or thermostats, whether controlled by hand or a smart device, is the same.”

Rick Forbush is a territory sales manager for Leviton Manufacturing Co., the nation’s largest electrical wiring manufacturer. He said smart homes and smart technology are the future, and the industry is starting to catch up.

Students pound nails during a contest Friday at the 18th Annual Crafts Championships at the Augusta Civic Center. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

“All the devices these kids are learning how to install install the same way,” he said. “There’s a fear factor because of connected technology, so the progress isn’t moving as fast as we’d hope.”

Outside the civic center, boom trucks, line trucks and excavators were set up as students took turns operating the equipment. A representative from Cianbro said the students weren’t having much success picking up a rubber ball with the excavator and putting it into a bucket.

Perkins said the event includes more than 84 instructors and 27 members with hands-on activities for students. Colleges and trade schools were promoting their programs, and many companies were handing out business cards by the hundreds.

Langford & Low Construction in Portland held a hammering competition in which four students simultaneously hammered four nails into four places on a large wooden display. Foreman Lawrence Campbell said despite what people might think, being good with a hammer isn’t about how hard you hit the object or how strong a person is.

“It’s about persistence and not giving up,” Campbell said. “It says a lot about a person.”

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

]]> 0 Forget, of Oxford Hills, pounds nails Friday during a contest at the 18th Annual Crafts Championships at the Augusta Civic Center.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:44:43 +0000
Auto racing roundup: Earnhardt reflects ahead of his last laps Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:26:17 +0000 HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. bounded out of the media center and was instantly swarmed by fans snapping photos and shoving Sharpies in his face. Earnhardt was tailed until he walked up the steps to another TV interview.

“Did you see him?” a man yelled as more fans arrived a few steps too late to reach NASCAR’s most popular driver.

The chance to catch him is winding down.

Earnhardt will retire Sunday, ending a career that saw him emerge from his father’s intimidating shadow and grow into NASCAR’s favorite son over 18 full seasons. Hilarious and heartfelt, his folksy charm endeared him to the millions that comprised “Junior Nation” and made him a household name to the casual fan who recognized Earnhardt simply as NASCAR’s top pitchman.

Earnhardt has one final destination on his farewell tour, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track which over the last two years also helped the sport bid farewell to NASCAR greats Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. His legacy will be different from theirs, and not simply because Earnhardt never won a championship as they did. If anything, he was more beloved as an ambassador of the sport than any driver of his era.

The 20-something Earnhardt that retreated into his motorhome to play video games all night has matured into a 43-year-old man who will be flanked Sunday by his pregnant wife, his mother and his sister before he slides into the No. 88 Chevrolet one last time.

“There’s a whole other world out there waiting for him,” sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller said. “There’s his marriage and having a baby and doing other things in life, either professionally or personally that he hasn’t been able to do. He’ll have time for them now. It’s exciting.”

Earnhardt’s finale hit a bump Friday – he’ll start from the rear of the field because of an engine change in the Chevys. His one wish was to end the race on his terms.

“It would be a bit of a heartbreaker if we have the kind of issue that would take us out of an event and we couldn’t finish,” he said.

Earnhardt, dressed in a red T-shirt and red cap of his race sponsor, was at ease as he reflected on the end of a career that started May 30, 1999, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished 16th – his dad was sixth – and he soon started his perpetual grip on NASCAR’s most popular driver award.

Earnhardt cracked jokes, quizzed his eligibility to race in an Xfinity race with a reporter and spoke with some regret on the misspent years early in his career.

“There were days when I would come into the garage to practice and everybody was in their cars pulling out of their stalls and I’m just walking in,” he said. “And, nothing was wrong with that, you know, in my mind. That’s crazy. I mean, you’d be fired in this day and time if a driver was that carefree about it. It didn’t seem to matter.”

He maintained much of that spirit even though he shaped up and ditched the lazy habits he kept at Dale Earnhardt Inc. when he joined the more buttoned-down operation at Hendrick Motorsports.

Earnhardt has driven for team owner Rick Hendrick since 2008 after he split DEI, the team founded by his father but run by his stepmother. He was unhappy with the direction of DEI since his father’s 2001 death in a last-lap accident at the Daytona 500, and a frosty relationship with his stepmother led him to bolt to NASCAR’s most powerful team.

He won a Daytona 500 with each team and 26 races overall. But he never won a Cup championship, or came close in achievements to matching his late Hall of Fame father, Dale, who won seven titles and was known as “The Intimidator.”

A third-generation driver, Earnhardt wanted to win a title for himself, Hendrick, and the legion of fans who have idolized him for a generation. Earnhardt has been feted with charitable donations, his father’s race car, a barrel of pickles, and numerous video tributes from tracks, sponsors and teams. Budweiser, his sponsor at DEI, aired a tear-jerking appreciation of his days in the No. 88 car.

“They were all very emotional. Amy is the one that’s obviously the most emotional, with being pregnant and everything, so they’ve really been hitting her,” he said, laughing.

Martin Truex Jr. was the fastest of the four championship contenders in qualifying and will start second in Sunday’s finale.

Truex, the regular-season champion, turned a lap of 173.952 mph on Friday night. Denny Hamlin stole the pole from Truex on the last lap of qualifying. Hamlin went 173.980 mph to take the spot and give Toyota a 1-2 front row.

Kyle Busch will start third and Brad Keselowski fifth. Kevin Harvick qualified ninth.

TRUCK SERIES: Christopher Bell won his first career NASCAR championship to open a big weekend for Kyle Busch.

Bell finished Friday night at Homestead-Miami to wrap up the championship. He drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Bell was technically the favorite after a strong regular season in which he won five races in his Toyota. He only had to outlast three other title contenders to win the title at Homestead, and it was no problem for Bell.

Chase Briscoe won the race, the first victory of his career and in the last event for Brad Keselowski Racing. The team is closing after this race.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 22:47:39 +0000
Trump delays new policy on importing elephant trophies Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:24:50 +0000 WASHINGTON — President Trump said Friday that he’s delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review “all conservation facts.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it would allow such importation, arguing that encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs.

Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. California Rep. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the “wrong move at the wrong time.”

Trump tweeted Friday that the policy had been “under study for years.” He said he would put the decision “on hold” and review it with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Zinke issued a statement later Friday saying: “President Trump and I have talked and both believe that conservation and healthy herds are critical. As a result, in a manner compliant with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, the issuing of permits is being put on hold as the decision is being reviewed.”

Royce questioned the action because of concerns not only about African wildlife but U.S. national security, citing the political upheaval in Zimbabwe, where the longtime president was placed under house arrest this week by the military.

“The administration should withdraw this decision until Zimbabwe stabilizes,” the committee chairman said in a statement. “Elephants and other big game in Africa are blood currency for terrorist organizations, and they are being killed at an alarming rate. Stopping poaching isn’t just about saving the world’s most majestic animals for the future – it’s about our national security.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service said in a written notice issued Thursday that permitting elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia to be brought back as trophies will raise money for conservation programs. The change marks a shift in efforts to stop the importation of elephant tusks and hides, overriding a 2014 ban imposed by the Obama administration. The new policy applies to the remains of African elephants killed between January 2016 and December 2018.

“Legal, well-regulated sport hunting as part of a sound management program can benefit certain species by providing incentives to local communities to conserve those species and by putting much-needed revenue back into conservation,” the agency said in a statement.

Royce said that when carefully regulated, conservation hunts could help the wildlife population, but “that said, this is the wrong move at the wrong time.”

He described the perilous situation in Zimbabwe, where the U.S. Embassy has advised Americans to limit their travel outdoors.

“In this moment of turmoil, I have zero confidence that the regime – which for years has promoted corruption at the highest levels – is properly managing and regulating conservation programs,” Royce said. “Furthermore, I am not convinced that elephant populations in the area warrant overconcentration measures.”

The world’s largest land mammal, the African elephant has been classified as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1979.

Illicit demand for elephant ivory has led to devastating losses from illegal poaching as the natural habitat available for the animals to roam has also dwindled by more than half. As a result, the number of African elephants has shrunk from about 5 million a century ago to about 400,000 remaining. And that number continues to decline each year.

Two other lawmakers, Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, assailed the administration’s decision.

“We should not encourage the hunting and slaughter of these magnificent creatures,” Buchanan said. “We don’t get a second chance once a species becomes extinct.”

One group that advocates for endangered species called for more action after Trump’s Friday night tweet. “It’s great that public outrage has forced Trump to reconsider this despicable decision, but it takes more than a tweet to stop trophy hunters from slaughtering elephants and lions,” said Tanya Sanerib, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We need immediate federal action to reverse these policies and protect these amazing animals.”

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 23:52:47 +0000
NHL roundup: Blue Jackets blank Rangers for third straight win Sat, 18 Nov 2017 03:22:06 +0000 COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for his 21st career shutout and Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin scored in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night.

New York ran into a hot goalie in Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner who notched his second shutout of the season in powering Columbus to its third straight victory.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was nearly as good against the increasingly aggressive Blue Jackets, stopping 40 shots. The Rangers lost their second straight following a six-game win streak.

After a scoreless first period in which both goalies made some slick, sprawling saves, Werenski scored his sixth goal of the season 13:34 into the second.

Brandon Dubinsky lost the handle of the puck in the slot, and Werenski picked it up just inside the right circle and beat Lundqvist with a one-timer.

Panarin scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play 7:14 into the third period, rocketing a slap shot from the high slot that ricocheted off the bar and in.

RED WINGS 3, SABRES 1: Tomas Tatar scored a go-ahead goal midway through third period and Detroit won at home.

Detroit’s Luke Glendening broke a scoreless tie late in the second period. Ryan O’Reilly pulled Buffalo into a 1-all tie 5:50 into the third.

Dylan Larkin scored late in the game and Jimmy Howard had 19 saves for the Red Wings. They have won consecutive games at home for the first time this season.


GOLDEN KNIGHTS: Vegas activated goalie Malcolm Subban from injured reserve and assigned goalie Dylan Ferguson to Kamloops of the Western Hockey League.

Subban, the brother of Nashville star P.J. Subban, left with a lower-body injury Oct. 21 in the third period of an overtime victory over St. Louis. Claimed off waivers from Boston on Oct. 3, he’s 2-0-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average in three games this season.

]]> 0 defenseman Marc Staal, right, checks Columbus' Nick Foligno, left, behind Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello in the third period Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:23:06 +0000
Football: MCI denies Cape Elizabeth, wins Class C championship Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:45:55 +0000 ORONO — The Maine Central Institute football players lingered on the Alfond Stadium turf long after the final whistle had blown, long after the Gold Ball had been presented, as if they didn’t want to leave.

And why would they?

The Huskies, seeded sixth in their region, overpowered Cape Elizabeth 30-13 to win the Class C state championship Friday night.

Using a powerful running game, MCI took control from the first play and never relinquished it to win its second consecutive state championship.

MCI won Class D a year ago, and this is the school’s fourth title overall. Cape Elizabeth (9-3) was in its second state title game, losing to Leavitt in 2009.

“This means the world,” said Adam Bertrand, a senior running back for MCI and son of Coach Tom Bertrand. “We all knew we could do it. We didn’t want to come in as a sixth seed but that’s what we were given, so we rolled with it and we weren’t going to let anybody get in our way. We really committed to winning.”

“We knew we were the underdog and we appreciated that role,” said Tom Bertrand. “We embraced it.”

Bertrand ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns – on runs of 52 and 1 yards – and Pedro Matos rushed for 163 yards and one touchdown – a 93-yarder in the third quarter. The Huskies ran for 388 yards.

“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect, we just couldn’t stop their counter and obviously their power,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Aaron Filieo. “And I didn’t think we tackled particularly well tonight, which was uncharacteristic.”

MCI (8-4) went 78 yards in five plays on its first possession, which ended with Bertrand’s 52-yard run.

“We had to jump on them,” said Adam Bertrand. “We had to start big, play big and continue, not stopping.”

It was 21-13 MCI at the end of a very entertaining first half that featured a lot of hard running by both teams, some nice touch passing by Andrew Hartel of Cape Elizabeth, who threw scoring passes of 16 yards to Jacob Brydson and 10 yards to Matt Conley, and a bit of trickery by the Huskies.

The trickery came at the end of the half, with MCI facing fourth-and-goal from the 3. After lining up for a field goal, the Huskies decided to go for it after Cape called a timeout.

MCI came out in an unorthodox formation, with seven players to the left and four, including quarterback Ryan Friend, in the middle of the field. Friend took the snap and found a wide-open Andrew Whitaker, who had lined up next to the center, for a touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half for a 21-13 lead.

Midway through the third quarter, Cape Elizabeth put together a nice drive behind the power running of Ryan Weare (24 carries, 84 yards) to move to a first down at the MCI 23. Three carries by Weare led to fourth-and-1 at the 14. Weare was then stuffed for no gain and the Huskies took over.

“We just didn’t get to the point of attack on that fourth down,” said Filieo.

Three plays later, on third-and-17 from the MCI 7, Matos took a counter to the right and suddenly cut upfield. He had one player to beat at the 20, did it, then sprinted down the right sideline for a 93-yard touchdown. Devon Varney’s fourth PAT kick made it 28-13.

“That was a backbreaker,” said Filieo.

The Capers, who defeated MCI 35-15 at home on Sept. 22, were never able to get the big offensive play or big defensive stop they needed. And the Huskies did.

“I don’t know if they did a lot differently,” said Luc Houle, a senior lineman and captain for Cape Elizabeth. “I just don’t think we were quite locked in on our execution. The heart was there, but it was just some of the little things we missed on. It was more on us as a collective.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 23:09:59 +0000
Purdue Pharma proposing settlement of opioid claims Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:42:00 +0000 WILMINGTON, Del. — Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma is proposing a settlement in an attempt to end state investigations and lawsuits over the U.S. opioid epidemic, according to people familiar with the talks.

Purdue’s lawyers raised the prospect with several southern state attorneys general who haven’t sued the company, as they try to gauge interest for a wide-ranging deal, said four people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Opioid makers are accused of creating a public health crisis through their marketing of the painkillers. More than a dozen states and about 100 counties and cities have sued Purdue, other opioid makers and drug distributors, in a strategy echoing the litigation that led to the 1998 $246 billion settlement with tobacco companies.

A group of 41 attorneys general is also investigating how companies like Purdue and other opioid makers marketed and sold prescription opioids. It’s not clear whether Purdue’s lawyers are authorized to speak for other drugmakers being sued, but the people familiar with the talks say Purdue’s attorneys are looking for an agreement to include all U.S. states’ claims against all manufacturers.

Purdue spokesman Robert Josephson, declined to comment on the settlement discussions. The company said earlier that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Oxycontin for use as a painkiller, and approved the safety warnings. Cases focusing on opioids are targeting a government-regulated product, the company said. That means judges must defer to the FDA’s finding that the painkillers are safe and effective, and that Purdue properly disclosed addiction risks on its warning label, according to the company’s filing.

Any settlement would likely include cash and changes to the company’s manufacturing and marketing practices, the people said. It would resolve only the state claims, they said.

]]> 0 Scripts will soon limit the number and strength of opioid drugs such as OxyContin prescribed to first-time users.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:00:12 +0000
Everything’s OK for Golden State guard, at long last Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:30:32 +0000 OAKLAND, Calif. — Klay Thompson danced unabashedly in China after winning another NBA championship, and it got shared all over social media. He smoked a stogie on the rooftop, letting loose to reveal another side of himself.

“I didn’t plan for that video to go viral,” Thompson said matter-of-factly. “I was just having fun. I’ve always been myself and having fun while doing it, and learning to enjoy every day because it goes by so fast.”

But coming to that mindset has been a process for the seventh-year Golden State guard who acknowledges for so long he put extreme pressure on himself to be the best.

The quiet, most under-the-radar Warriors All-Star of the bunch, Thompson has provided a steadying hand early on for the reigning NBA champions, who are favored to capture a third title in four years.

“I used to stress a lot more at the beginning of my career about my performance,” Thompson said. “Now, it’s not like I don’t stress, but I play more carefree and I’m more able, if I play as hard as I can, I’m satisfied with the results. … I used to compare myself with all players and want to be the best so badly, but now it’s all about winning and having fun, and realizing basketball is a team sport than anything.”

After a recent practice, Thompson dazzled right alongside a couple visiting Harlem Globetrotters, spinning the ball on his finger, rolling it up and down his arms, off his knee and then a foot soccer-style before swishing a short jumper.

“I should have been a Globetrotter!” he yelled.

It’s a new look for this hang-loose, beach-loving Splash Brother.

The approach is working for the Warriors.

“He still carries the threat. You have to honor him,” Orlando Coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s great at making the right play. Their whole team is. I think he’s trying to fit in with their whole buy-in that ball movement and passing is greater than any one man carrying the bulk of it.”

Still, his numbers are stellar. Thompson has had a fast start this season, which previously wasn’t been the case.

Thompson credits familiarity with teammates and a comfort in Coach Steve Kerr’s offense.

“He’s taken another step in his game. Just the experience that he’s had in his career, every year he’s gotten better, and I think this year he’s shown how at the end of the season he carried it over to the beginning of this year,” backcourt mate Stephen Curry said.

“Historically, he hadn’t started seasons well, but this year he’s locked in. He’s obviously shooting the ball well and playing great defense, but I think the biggest thing is his playmaking in situations where he’s drawing a crowd. He’s making great decisions setting guys up and just playing under control.”

Life off the court also is great for Thompson, and that helps him be stress-free on it.

He threw out the first pitch at an Oakland Athletics game in July, then drove an IndyCar in September while serving as Grand Marshal of a series stop in Sonoma.

Thompson shares his training tricks on social media and posts photos with his bulldog, Rocco.

He recently donated $75,000 to relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating Northern California wildfires, committing $1,000 per point for a three-game stretch during which he scored 69 points – but added to that total.

Thompson used to get teased for his lack of assists, and it remains a running joke.

“I’ve got thick skin,” Thompson said. “Honestly, I don’t really care.”

That carefree approach has taken time, and the Warriors are better for it.

]]> 0 Thompson scored 60 points Monday night for the Golden State Warriors and that was just part of the story. He did it in three quarters, in a mere 29 minutes of playing time, in a 142-106 victory against the Indiana Pacers.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:38:04 +0000
Commentary: As losses mount, job security for NFL coaches goes down Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:24:27 +0000 Hue Jackson’s position on an NFL coaching hot seat is no surprise. Nothing was expected of the Cleveland Browns anyway.

Ben McAdoo’s spot on a similarly burning seat is stunning because plenty was projected for the New York Giants.

Those are the two most prominent cases of a coach in trouble as the NFL heads toward its stretch drive.

Jackson and McAdoo are not the only ones without job security. Add in Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis, John Fox in Chicago, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay.

And Jim Caldwell in Detroit and Todd Bowles with the Jets aren’t completely safe.

Several betting outlets even have odds on which coach will go first.

As all of them would say – and some of them have – “it’s our job to coach, not to worry about those things.”

That, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t somewhat nervous.


This one is most obvious, but Jackson doesn’t seem to have lost his players’ faith. Upper management is another story.

Jackson appears at odds with Cleveland’s analytics-reliant front office. He can only coach the talent he’s given, and the skill level might not win the Big Ten.

Give him credit for this: Except for John McKay, who went 0-25 with a ragtag bunch of expansion Buccaneers in the 1970s, Jackson has the worst 25-game span in NFL history at 1-24, but he consistently takes the blame for what goes wrong.


This one is confounding.

New York didn’t make the playoffs in each of the four seasons Tom Coughlin coached after winning his second NFL title by beating the Patriots in the 2012 Super Bowl. When Coughlin was forced out, the Giants elevated offensive coordinator McAdoo, who was coveted by other clubs.

He guided the Giants to an 11-5 record and playoff berth in 2016 with a big-play defense.

That defense has crumbled, the offense has been inept – it’s fair to blame injuries to three key receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., for some deficiencies – and the locker room is a mess. McAdoo suspended both starting cornerbacks for a game for breaking team rules, and what some characterize as rumblings feel like earthquakes.


When you lose your outstanding quarterback to a lengthy injury, as Pagano has with Andrew Luck, you probably are doomed. That Luck’s surgery was at the start of 2017 and he never got onto the field this season is beyond Pagano’s control, but the coach’s Plan B has been a bust.

The Colts haven’t been the same since losing the AFC title game in the 2014 season. Yeah, the “Deflategate” game.


Like Jackson and Pagano, Lewis is a nice man who spent lots of time working his way through the ranks. He’s also the best coach Cincinnati has had since founder and Hall of Famer Paul Brown from 1968-75.

But the time perhaps has come for the second-longest tenured NFL coach to move on.

The Bengals have gone to the playoffs seven times under Lewis. They’ve left the postseason after one game all seven times.

Their offense is as abysmal as the front office, which allowed top linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler to walk in free agency. Quarterback Andy Dalton has regressed. Perhaps most damning: The Bengals are downright dull.


Fox guided the Panthers and Broncos to Super Bowl appearances (and losses). The Bears are about as close to a Super Bowl as Chicago is to Mars.

Fans are ticked that Adam Gase departed for Miami before last season, ending any hopes he would take over for Fox at some juncture. The Bears haven’t been relevant since Lovie Smith was in charge, and he got fired in 2012 with an 84-66 record and two NFC title-game appearances.

The main reason Fox isn’t higher on this list is these Bears have a foundation. The running game with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen is outstanding. They believe they have their franchise quarterback in second overall draft choice Mitchell Trubisky. The defense has some young playmakers.

None of which means Fox will be around in 2018.


Tampa Bay rivals the Giants in some ways as a flop. The NFC South was supposed to be a powerhouse, with the Bucs in the mix. It has been the league’s best division, but with the Bucs mired at the bottom.

History is not on Koetter’s side. The past two coaches (Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith) only got two years. The coach before that (Raheem Morris) got three. The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a postseason game since the 2002 team won the Super Bowl.

]]> 0 Deflategate? Well, Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts lost that game decisively to the New England Patriots in the AFC final following the 2014 season, and haven't done a whole lot of anything since then. So if Pagano joins the list of coaches seeking employment elsewhere soon, well, don't be all that surprised.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:26:45 +0000
With crowded field in governor’s race, Maine clean elections fund could face shortfall in 2018 Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:22:38 +0000 Lawmakers and state officials are concerned that the burgeoning field in the 2018 gubernatorial race could drain the state’s fund for publicly financed candidates.

Exactly how much the fund would be depleted depends on several factors, including how many of the candidates – there are expected to be 20 in the race by the end of the month – raise the required matching funds to qualify for clean elections money.

Currently, six people in the race are running as clean elections candidates. Each could receive up to $1 million for a primary race if they raise 3,200 contributions of $5 or more from individual donors by April 2. General election candidates qualify for up to $2 million. The fund currently has balance of about $4.5 million.

“It could get very expensive,” said state Rep. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, the House chairman of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over campaign finance and election laws.

The challenge, in part, has been compounded by the Legislature’s habit of drawing money from the fund to balance state budgets. On Friday, Luchini and Jonathan Wayne, the executive director of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, which manages the fund and doles out the cash, said the funding levels are a concern.

Wayne said the ethics commission could go to the Legislature in January and seek additional money to cover campaigns if candidates become eligible and the funding is insufficient.

The fund, which also finances clean election candidates for the Legislature, has been the subject of controversy, as well as a failed attempt this year by mostly Republican lawmakers to make candidates for governor ineligible for public financing. Among the Republicans who voted to make gubernatorial candidates ineligible was Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls.

He is now running for governor as a clean elections candidate.

Mason, who was traveling outside the country, could not be reached for comment Friday.

State Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, who is running for governor as a privately financed candidate, said the Legislature should be setting aside enough funds to cover all six clean elections candidates in the race, even if it’s likely that not all of them will collect the matching funds they need to qualify.

“If there’s the potential for six you ought to have the money set aside for six because that’s your obligation,” Fredette said. “This shows why this is a flawed system. You create this system where there is a government-funded process and people will figure out how to use it and possibly abuse it, but at the end of the day these are taxpayer dollars that can’t be used to fund other priorities in the state budget and that’s what the real issue is.”

Fredette also said clean elections funding may make sense for legislative candidates, who can receive up to $16,000 in clean elections funds and may not otherwise have the resources to finance their own campaigns or raise private funds.

“I’m less offended by people using clean elections money to run for the Legislature,” Fredette said. “Very clearly on the flip side of that is when you are running for governor it’s a different ball game.”

He said any Republican candidates who have a track record of opposing publicly financed campaigns but are now running as clean elections candidates will have to answer to voters.

Luchini said the large field of candidates for governor also will put immense pressure on the pool of private donors in Maine, making cash hard to come by for everyone, even those running traditional privately financed campaigns.

“The well for private money is going to get pretty dry as well,” Luchini said, noting that this may entice more legislative candidates to seek public financing, adding to the pressure on the clean elections fund.

“We will definitely have to look at that in January, and not knowing how many candidates and not knowing how much it will need makes it a much bigger variable budgeting-wise,” Luchini said. “It’s a pretty big moving target.”

John Brautigan, the executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, the advocacy group that has advanced state ballot measures to expand the public financing system, is less worried about a funding shortfall.

He believes that the threshold to qualify for the matching funds is so difficult that few candidates will actually be able to reach it, and that some candidates back away from clean elections funding because of the challenge.

“I still feel confident that we hit the right balance on the amount of difficulty there is to get the funding, and we will be in good shape,” Brautigan said. “They have to submit those qualifying contributions and, of course, they also have to survive the primary and there’s no guarantee there are going to be that many candidates who are going to get the full allocation of funding at the end of the day.”

Brautigan said that the alternative to public financing is private financing by big-money, special-interest donors to whom candidates become beholden.

Clean election candidates say public financing gives them the freedom to focus on issues and not just on raising funds. They say the voters who give $5 qualifying donations don’t expect to have a lot of sway with a candidate after they are elected.

Betsy Sweet, a Democrat running as a clean elections candidate for governor, and state Treasurer Terry Hayes, an independent clean elections candidate for governor, each made a qualifying $5 donation to the other’s campaign. They praised the system in a joint statement this week.

“It’s time to get big money out of politics so democracy can be put back in the hands of ordinary people, not big donors and their interests,” Sweet said in the statement. Hayes echoed the sentiment.

“As a Clean Elections candidate, I am not beholden to wealthy donors or special interests lobbyists, only to the Maine people,” she said.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

Twitter: thisdog

]]> 0 LePage and his allies in the Maine House of Representatives are pushing state government toward a shutdown so he can have maximum leverage in negotiating on education policy questions.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:21:00 +0000
Home construction in U.S. reaches strongest pace in a year Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:11:25 +0000 WASHINGTON — Construction of new homes climbed 13.7 percent in October, the biggest jump in a year as builders broke ground on more apartments and single-family houses.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the monthly gain put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million units. That is the best pace for home construction in 12 months.

Housing starts have risen just 2.4 percent year-to-date, largely because fewer apartment complexes are being built. Single-family house construction has driven much of the growth this year in a sign of greater demand from buyers amid a healthy job market.

But recent building trends reversed themselves somewhat in October, with most of the momentum coming from apartment construction. The building of multi-family properties jumped 37.4 percent in October. Construction of single-family houses increased 5.3 percent.

Still, the building of new homes has done little to alleviate the growing shortage of existing homes for sale. This shortage has started to stifle the broader real estate market. Purchases of existing homes have fallen over the past 12 months, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline largely reflects that there are 121,600 fewer homes on the market during the same period, a 6.4 percent decrease that new construction has been unable to offset.

“For a significant increase in new homes, municipalities are going to have to work harder to make more land available for building,” said Robert Frick, a corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union.

Construction in the South rose 17.2 percent last month, a sign the region is regaining its footing after damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Home construction shot up in the Northeast due to ground breakings for apartments. Construction also increased in the Midwest but declined in the West.

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 5.9 percent in October to 1.3 million.

]]> 0 builder works on the roof of a home under construction at a housing development in Jackson Township, Butler County, Pa. Apartment complexes drove new construction in the Northeast.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:58:46 +0000
Monsanto asks Arkansas court to halt ban on weedkiller Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:10:35 +0000 LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A major agribusiness company asked an Arkansas judge Friday to halt the state’s plan to ban an herbicide that’s drawn complaints from farmers across several states who say the weed killer has drifted onto their fields and caused widespread damage.

Monsanto asked a Pulaski County judge to strike down the rule approved by the state Plant Board this month that would prohibit the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. The ban is expected to go before a legislative panel next month, but the Missouri-based company said action is needed now because farmers are already buying their products for next year’s growing season.

“The ban severely curtails Monsanto’s ability to sell its new dicamba-tolerant seed and low-volatility dicamba herbicide within the state, and every day the ban remains in place costs Monsanto sales and customers,” the company said in its filing.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use it on soybean and cotton fields where they planted new seeds engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. Because it can easily evaporate after being applied, the chemical sometimes settles on neighboring fields. The state earlier this year approved a temporary ban on the herbicide’s sale and use, and has received nearly 1,000 complaints about dicamba this year.

The request to halt next year’s ban was added to a lawsuit Monsanto filed last month over the board’s decision in 2016 to prohibit the use of dicamba.

In its amended lawsuit filed Friday, the company argued the Plant Board exceeded its authority by banning dicamba and did not consider the financial impact on the state’s farmers. Monsanto said it would ask the court to move quickly on its complaint, and hoped the board would join in that request.

“This is all about having the newest technology available to growers so they can choose what products they wish to use to combat those difficult-to-control weeds,” said Scott Partridge, the company’s vice president of global strategy. “There’s no reason to delay.”

The company also challenged the makeup of the 18-member board, arguing a state law that gives private groups such as the state Seed Growers Association power to appoint members violates Arkansas’ Constitution.

Farmers have also complained about dicamba causing damage to their crops in other states, including Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee. The Environmental Protection Agency last month announced a deal with Monsanto and two other makers of dicamba herbicides, BASF and DuPont, for new voluntary restrictions on the weedkiller’s use.

]]> 0 Arkansas soybean farmer Reed Storey looks at his field in Marvell last summer. He said half of his crop had shown damage from dicamba, an herbicide that has drifted onto unprotected fields and spawned hundreds of complaints from growers.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:01:13 +0000
Sports Digest: Cook shoots 62 for one-stroke lead at RSM Classic Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:04:45 +0000 GOLF

Cook shoots 62 to lead Gay by one at RSM Classic

PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook sank a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole Friday for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic at St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Cook has gone 36 holes without making a bogey on the Plantation Course and the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

Cook was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back.

LPGA: Sung Hyun Park made five straight birdies and seized control late in the round with an eagle for a 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead in the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.

Not only was Park three ahead of Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith, none of the other players vying for all the awards was within five shots. Lexi Thompson shot a 67 and lost ground, falling six shots behind.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the season-ending Tour Championship at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick was ahead of English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year. Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63.


MAJOR LEAGUES: Aaron Boone became the first person with no experience as a manager or coach to interview to become Joe Girardi’s successor with the New York Yankees.

The 44-year-old interviewed Friday, becoming the fourth to go through the process.

Boone is a third generation major leaguer and played in the majors from 1997-2009. He has been an analyst for ESPN since his retirement.

John Hart left the Atlanta Braves, less than a week after being stripped of his role as president of baseball operations.

The decision was not unexpected given the hiring of General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, who now has autonomy over all baseball-related decisions. Hart was given the title of senior advisor, but clearly had no real power.

The Oakland Athletics hired former San Francisco Giants star Matt Williams as their third-base coach.

Williams spent five years as a coach with the Diamondbacks before managing Washington for two seasons from 2014-15. He had a 179-145 record and won the NL Manager of the Year award his first season.


ATP FINALS: No. 7-seeded David Goffin beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in London to set up a semifinal meeting with Roger Federer.

From 0-3, 0-15 down in the opening set, Goffin won 15 consecutive points to take control of the match and never looked back.

The victory took Goffin to 2-1 in the round-robin stage of the elite season-ending tournament.

Grigor Dimitrov defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1, 6-1 in the late match to become the first player to win all three round-robin matches in his debut since Andy Murray in 2008. He will meet Jack Sock in Saturday’s other semifinal.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:10:20 +0000
Commentary: Celtics’ resume just keeps growing Sat, 18 Nov 2017 02:01:04 +0000 The Boston Celtics have attempted to pull off one of the most difficult balancing acts in sports in recent seasons – trying to win in the present while setting themselves up for the next decade.

But Thursday night, the focus on the future faded into the background. With a 92-88 victory against the Golden State Warriors in front of a raucous crowd at TD Garden, the Celtics increased their stunning winning streak to 14 games and announced to the league that this year’s team, as constituted, will be a force.

That Boston finds itself in this position is stunning. When Gordon Hayward, the team’s marquee free-agent acquisition, suffered a gruesome dislocated ankle and fractured tibia six minutes into the season at Cleveland, it seemed like the focus was going to shift back to the future for Boston.

And with 21-year-old Jaylen Brown and 19-year-old Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup, plus the possibility of a top-five pick coming in one of the next two drafts, it was a future that still looked plenty bright.

But then, after losing their opening two games and trailing in the second half of their third, the Celtics started winning.

And winning. And winning some more.

Suddenly they found themselves riding the league’s best defense to a 13-game winning streak before welcoming the defending champion Warriors for a nationally televised game Thursday night. Surely a game against the team with arguably the greatest collection of talent in league history finally would produce the end to the unlikeliest of streaks.

Only it didn’t.

At times in both the first and third quarters, it looked as though Golden State might run away with the game, particularly when it took a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter.

But other than for brief portions of the game, it was the Celtics – and not the high-powered Warriors – who dictated the terms of engagement.

With officials allowing them to be physical with their more skilled opponents, the Celtics turned the game into a good old-fashioned street fight. That’s why, despite shooting 32.9 percent overall and 21.9 percent from 3-point range, Boston was able to hang tough against a Golden State team that has the league’s best offense by a significant margin.

“They were just tougher and smarter than we were tonight,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said.

Much of that success can be attributed to Brown, who played like a 10-year veteran in leading the Celtics in scoring (22 points) while playing ferocious defense.

The fact he did so after the death of his best friend this week makes his performance all the more admirable.

But Brown wasn’t alone. It takes a team effort to hold Stephen Curry to nine points, Klay Thompson to 13 and the Warriors to 40.2 percent shooting overall and 31.3 percent from 3-point range.

Golden State never looked comfortable aside from Kevin Durant, who had 24 points. But even Durant missed a potential tying basket in the final 15 seconds, and the Warriors spent the final few minutes rushing into one ill-advised shot after another.

But the Warriors were rushing because the Celtics made them. The intensity with which the Celtics played, and the physicality that went with it, had an impact on Golden State as the game wore on, and allowed Boston to put the ball in Kyrie Irving’s hands down the stretch to carry the team home.

And Irving did just that, scoring seven straight points in the final three minutes to keep this entirely unexpected winning streak alive.

Boston now has a victory against the defending champs, a 14-game winning streak and the best record in the NBA – three pretty good reasons to believe Thursday night’s game might have been a preview of the 2018 NBA finals. When asked about it after the game, even Curry couldn’t help but feed into the hype.

“It’s very, very likely, right?” Curry said with a smirk, responding to a question on that very topic. “They’re playing the best right now in the East and obviously they (have to) beat Cleveland, who’s done it three years in a row … so we’ll see.

“But I hear the weather is great here in June.”

Even with Thursday’s result in the books, that kind of conjecture remains premature. For as hard as Boston plays, and as good as its defense is, the offense – ranked 22nd in the NBA – remains a problem.

So too is the continued loss of Hayward. Relying on such young players as Brown and Tatum – as great as they’ve been – in the postseason is always a harrowing experience.

And despite the ups-and-downs Cleveland has gone through this season, Curry was correct to mention that the Celtics still have to get past the Cavaliers, and LeBron James isn’t going to cede his throne without a fight.

But the time for doubting the Celtics is over, as is the time for worrying about Boston’s future.

Thursday night, these young Celtics officially arrived, and they’re here to stay.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 21:07:58 +0000
Reflections: Prayer comes in many different forms, find your own approach Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:53:15 +0000 What do we mean when we say “our thoughts and prayers are with you”? Has this become so routine in our public discourse as to become meaningless? We in this country along with our neighbors to the south have had a particularly brutal last few months in terms of natural and other disasters. Do our prayers make a difference? Is it enough? What exactly is prayer?

If we are talking about an immediate situation where a boat is needed or an ambulance or a place to sleep and all we offer is prayer, clearly that is not enough. I am thinking of the many times when action is not helpful, when a group of people or someone we know is suffering and we wish to show our concern by praying for them. Do you practice this kind of prayer? How do you feel when someone says they will pray for you? When we offer prayers to someone who does not think of himself or herself as religious or spiritual, is it an affront to that person?

Of course, there are many different kinds of prayers as described in our various religions and spiritual traditions. The kind I am talking about here is commonly called “intercessory” prayer in western religions. It is simply the kind of prayer where one is praying for someone else, or a group of people.

In the last twenty years or so, there have been a number of scientific studies done on intercessory prayer to try and prove or disprove the effectiveness of this mysterious thing we call “prayer.” You may have heard of some of them, for example: do people recover faster from certain types of medical procedures if people are praying for them vs. people who are receiving no prayers. Apparently the results are mixed, as are the methods. Trying to measure something like prayer, I think, is beside the point. To me, prayer is about connection.

Catherine of Sienna wrote that, “Perfect prayer is achieved not with many words, but with loving desire.” Loving desire . . . is this not what we would want from those who care about us, from the creator, from strangers, even? This is, in fact, the golden rule, which every religion claims as an important, if not the most important, guiding principal. To me then, intercessory prayer is nothing more than the golden rule, only perhaps more hidden and silent. It is not a “doing unto” the way we would think of providing the boat or the food. It is, however, just as real, just as powerful. It is our loving desire for healing, for connection.

Some people may wonder how this loving desire translates into prayer. Is it okay to pray for specific outcomes? Is it more effective with certain rituals, or prayer beads, or done in groups? Does this prayer need to be in words, either said aloud or in our hearts, or can it be a kind of feeling or visual image in our minds? Do we need to be in a meditative state, or do we even, in fact, need to think of ourselves as spiritual people to engage in this kind of prayer?

I believe that everyone must find his or her own approach to prayer. If you have a loving desire, I think there is no wrong way to pray. Sometimes, my prayer is simply feeling the pain or suffering or sadness of someone or a group of people. Somehow it is easier to bear pain if we know we are not alone in it. I believe that the willingness to feel the pain, to share in the suffering of someone else, is a gift to the suffering person even if that person does not know you.

I also confess to praying sometimes for specific outcomes, at the same time that I hold in my heart the awareness that there are forces at work that I do not understand. I must let go of any need I have for that outcome to come true. But prayer is a dialogue, and when I am talking to divine mystery and happen to mention this specific outcome, what I am really saying is that this is my loving desire for this person or group of people. It does not mean that I am trying to will it to happen, or that I will somehow hold it against God if the outcome I want does not happen.

As for whether or not prayer is real, I only have my own life as a guidepost. I have experienced so many “miracles” in relation to prayer, both in people praying for me and in my praying for others, that I do not doubt the power of prayer. Willis Harmon said, “Because of the interconnectedness of all minds, affirming positive vision may be about the most sophisticated action any one of us can take.” It is prayer that is our best vehicle for creating and maintaining a positive vision for all of humanity, and for our loving desire to be a force of healing change in the world.

The Rev. Cathy M. Grigsby is an Interfaith minister who teaches at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, is the co-founder of the Interfaith Ministers of New England, an artist, a spiritual director and a retired art teacher. She can be contacted at:

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:01:59 +0000
Portland police close streets during search for bank robbery suspect Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:35:44 +0000 Police shut down parts of three streets Friday night as they searched for a man with a semiautomatic handgun who robbed the Key Bank on Auburn Street Friday afternoon, threatening and employees and demanding cash before fleeing on foot toward the back of the Northgate Shopping Center.

The robbery occurred just after 2 p.m. Police would not say how much money was taken.

The suspect was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and a wig with long black hair when he robbed the bank. Eyewitnesses described him as white, thin, and having a deep voice. He was last seen on Brook Road, police said in a statement. The police ask anyone with information to call them at 207-874-8575.

The FBI, Maine State Police and Falmouth police joined city police in a manhunt that closed down the neighborhood near the intersection of Presumpscot Street and Ocean Avenue for hours. People who live in the area said they had been told to remain inside their homes.

The suspect remained at large late Friday night.

Police had reopened the intersection of Presumpscot and Ocean just south of the Falmouth line just after 9 p.m., but police vehicles remained parked outside 1021 Ocean Ave. A trophy shop is listed at that address, but it appeared as if someone lived in a house on the property, too.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 22:53:06 +0000
NFL notebook: Missing players leave Patriots hurting on offensive line Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:34:19 +0000 MEXICO CITY — The New England Patriots said Friday that right tackle Marcus Cannon and center David Andrews will be sidelined Sunday for a game against the Oakland Raiders at Azteca Stadium.

Cannon, who had an ankle injury and also missed last Sunday’s game at Denver, and Andrews, who has an illness, represent 40 percent of the offensive line. LaAdrian Waddle is expected to replace Cannon and Ted Karras should take over for Andrews.

Also, wide receivers Chris Hogan (shoulder) and Matthew Slater (hamstring) were ruled out after not practicing all week.

Listed on the team’s injury report as questionable were wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee), tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring), defensive tackle Malcom Brown (ankle), defensive end Cassius Marsh (shoulder) and cornerback Eric Rowe (groin).

CHIEFS: Pass rushers Tamba Hali and Dee Ford were ruled out Sunday against the New York Giants, and defensive lineman Allen Bailey also was ruled out, all with injuries.

Wide receiver Albert Wilson also was ruled out for the third straight game because a bad hamstring.

BUCCANEERS: The NFL is investigating an allegation that Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in 2016. Winston denied the allegation on his social media accounts.

The driver said the incident was from a 2 a.m. ride in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 13, 2016.

SEAHAWKS: Quarterback Russell Wilson said he had to wear a specialized mouthpiece in the days after a 22-16 win over Arizona on Nov. 10 to put his jaw back in proper alignment. Wilson said he underwent X-rays and there was no fracture, but a hit from Karlos Dansby required Wilson to limit the amount of speaking and eating he could do.

CHARGERS: Quarterback Philip Rivers is listed as questionable for the game Sunday against Buffalo because of to a concussion.

COWBOYS: Linebacker Sean Lee was ruled out of Sunday’s game against Philadelphia because of a hamstring injury.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville could be without running back Leonard Fournette, who has an ankle injury, Sunday at Cleveland.

CARDINALS: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will get his first start Sunday for Arizona when it plays at Houston.

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald signed a contract to return to Arizona for a 15th season, if he decides to play at all.

DOLPHINS: Receiver Kenny Stills is questionable for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay because of a back injury that forced him to leave practice this week.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 20:54:37 +0000
On Football: UMaine learning that ‘little things matter’ Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:31:54 +0000 ORONO — A year ago, the University of Maine went into its final regular-season game with a chance to qualify for the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

The Black Bears lost that game – and a shot at the playoffs – in the final seconds to rival New Hampshire. But Maine finished the season 6-5 in Joe Harasymiak’s first year as coach, a three-win improvement over the previous season.

Saturday, Maine will finish its season at home again, against nationally ranked and playoff-bound Stony Brook. This time the Black Bears (4-5) have no playoff hopes on the line. The best they can do is finish .500.

So should this be considered a step back for Harasymiak and the Black Bears? Certainly, in terms of wins, it was. And everyone associated with the program will tell you it was disappointing.

Led by 24 seniors, the Black Bears expected to contend not only for a playoff berth but a Colonial Athletic Association title.

“With the talent we have, we should have done better,” said Isaiah Brooks, a senior offensive lineman.

Maybe those expectations were unrealistic. This was, after all, a team that graduated three players who went on to play professional football: defensive lineman Pat Ricard with the Baltimore Ravens, and linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga and quarterback Dan Collins in the Canadian Football League. Those three were in the middle of every one of those six wins a year ago.

And the Black Bears were starting young players at several key positions, including quarterback and center.

Maine faltered this season because it couldn’t win games in the fourth quarter – and because it couldn’t beat the CAA’s most successful programs. Over the last two years, Maine is 0-6 against James Madison, New Hampshire and Villanova. That’s 60 percent of Maine’s losses in two years.

The Black Bears have had several failings this fall. Going into Saturday’s game, they lead the CAA in penalties (averaging 84.2 penalty yards per game) and are next-to-last in third-down conversions (28.9 percent).

They’ve made too many mistakes in critical moments: a pass interference penalty to keep an opponent’s drive going, an illegal-shift penalty to kill an offensive drive, a dropped pass or a missed tackle on third down, a fumble on a punt return, a missed field goal or extra point.

Maine lost to New Hampshire by a point in the opener. It trailed top-ranked James Madison by four entering the fourth quarter, was tied with Delaware entering the fourth quarter, and was tied with Massachusetts (a Football Bowl Subdivision team) in the third quarter after trailing by 17 in the first. The Black Bears lost all three of those games.

“As a team, we just didn’t step up in big moments,” said Najee Goode, a senior cornerback who battled injuries all year.

But this is a team that also did a lot of things well, and one that shows a lot of promise.

Its defense, spurred by a young group of interior linemen and linebackers, leads the CAA in opponents’ third-down conversion rate and is ranked fourth overall. Defensive linemen Charles Mitchell and Kayon Whitaker have been dominant at times. Redshirt freshmen linebackers Jaron Grayer and Deshawn Stevens have been impressive.

Sophomore running back Josh Mack leads the FCS in rushing yards per game (140.2) and is just 22 yards shy of the fourth-best rushing season in Maine history. Sophomore receiver/kick returner Earnest Edwards has become one of the most dangerous players in the CAA.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Ferguson has struggled at times, but has also shown enough talent to indicate he could have a nice career. Ferguson has completed 152 of 284 passes (53.5 percent) for 1,808 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has thrown 11 interceptions. When he’s played well, the Black Bears have succeeded. In the four wins, he has thrown 10 touchdown passes with no interceptions.

So was this season a step backward for the Black Bears?

No. Call it a sideways move. But they certainly need to take a step forward next year. And to do so, they must be more focused.

Harasymiak knows this and plans on re-evaluating everything he and his staff does to prepare their players – not just physically but mentally.

“We’ve got to come up with ideas on how to get us to execute in crucial situations,” he said.

The Black Bears begin a long offseason on Sunday. If Maine is to return to the playoffs any time soon, its young players have to take that next step next year. Harasymiak believes they will.

“They now know what it takes,” he said. “They have seen how the little things matter.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0 Joe Harasymiak has brought renewed enthusiasm to a team that won only three games in 2015.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:43:52 +0000
Football: Once among the young fans, Wells’ Nolan Potter now inspires them Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:24:35 +0000 WELLS — Wells High faced third-and-2 in the third quarter last Saturday, and there was little doubt who would get the ball. Quarterback Michael Wrigley handed off to 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior fullback Nolan Potter.

Potter was hit at the line of scrimmage – or more accurately, Potter hit the defender. Potter’s legs didn’t stop, following hit after hit. He broke four tackles and gained 8 yards.

“He likes to be physical and just keep going,” Wrigley said.

Sounds like a tough kid? Yes, in some ways.

In other ways, Potter is a gentle soul.

After Wells completed its 34-12 win over Madison/Carrabec in the Class D South title game, Potter soon had his helmet off, and was smiling and talking to children. He signed autographs, posed for photos and kept engaging the young fans.

“I like talking to the younger kids, be a good role model, give them something to work for as they get older,” Potter said.

While he hopes to play football in college, Potter thinks he may study to be a teacher. He worked as a camp counselor last summer.

A role model.

“A great kid,” said Wells Coach Tim Roche.

And Roche could add that Potter, 17, is a fine football player, one who will be counted on heavily Saturday when the Warriors (11-0) go for a second straight state championship – they won in Class C last year – against North champion Foxcroft Academy (8-2) at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The kickoff is scheduled for 2:36 p.m.

A three-year starter on defense at inside linebacker, Potter became a regular on offense for the first time this fall. The result: 207 carries for 1,390 yards and 26 touchdowns.

“He just goes through you,” Roche said. “He doesn’t avoid contact. He can run. He’s fast.”

Madison knew all about Potter.

“He’s a big part of what they do,” said Coach Scott Franzose. “Not a guy you want to tackle high. You want to gang up and tackle him low.”

One on play early in the fourth quarter, Madison blitzed up the middle, expecting a Potter run. But Wrigley kept it and scampered outside for 29 yards.

“He draws the attention,” Wrigley said. “Sometimes he gets down when he’s not getting a whole lot of yards, but I tell him it opens things up for other people.”

Against Madison, Potter gained 138 yards and rushed for four touchdowns. Halfback Tyler Bridge was also effective, running for 92 yards.

With Potter leading the way, Wells’ offense grinds down opponents, much to the delight of the fan base – a hearty mixture of students, alumni and the community.

“They just give you so much energy,” Potter said. “It’s special.

Potter grew up in Wells. He began playing Pee Wee football in 2011 while watching the high school team win a state title.

“The entire town of Wells came out for that state game,” Potter said. “I’d watch them play. The players were celebrities. They were bigger than life.”

Potter remembers looking up to them. Now that the younger kids are raising their eyes to him, he enjoys the moment while giving back.

Among the Wells fan base are his parents, Adam and Tasha, younger brothers Jonah and Eli, and four grandparents – including grandfather Bob Walker, a former coach at Noble and Kennebunk who influenced Nolan’s hard-nosed style.

“That’s how I was taught to play the game,” Potter said. “Be aggressive and never shy away from contact.”

He is plenty busy during games, but when Potter can, he turns to the crowd.

“My family has a specific spot in the bleachers where they sit during home games,” Potter said. “I can look up and see them all. It’s nice to have that support.”

The family can watch him one more time, as will his young fans. The Foxcroft Academy players also will be paying attention. They know that stopping Nolan Potter is Job 1, and that’s not such an easy task.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Potter of Wells remembers looking up to the players when the Warriors won a state title in 2011. Now it's his turn, not only for a possible title but to have young fans.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:51:50 +0000
Preview of Saturday’s high school football championships Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:20:21 +0000 At Fitzpatrick Stadium, Portland


Windham (7-4) vs. Scarborough (9-1)

WHEN: 11:06 a.m.

SCARBOROUGH: The Red Storm are making their first trip to a Class A final and first championship-game appearance since winning Class B in 2002. They have a diverse and potent offense, averaging 48.3 points and more than 420 yards per game. Owen Garrard (1,119 yards, 20 TDs) is a power back with nimble feet. Jarett Flaker and Cody Dudley are big-play outside threats with 8 TDs each. QB Zoltan Panyi will run (509 yards, 6 TDs) and throw (61.2 percent completion rate, 1,290 yards, 18 TDs). Garrard and Reece Lagerquist have become a dominant linebacking duo. The defensive line is big and active, and the secondary, led by Jeremy Sendrowski and Jaquan Seme, can cover and play the run. In Week 6, Scarborough beat Windham, 66-7.

WINDHAM: The Class A champion in 2009 and runner-up in 2014, Windham has won four straight games, including a 42-6 trouncing of Portland in the North final. QB Tanner Bernier is the leading rusher with 569 yards. Stuart Salom, out because of injury in the first meeting with Scarborough, and powerful Treva Valliere (team-high 8 TD runs) are solid options. Bernier has thrown for about 700 yards but completed less than half of his passes. The Eagles must create turnovers, something they have shown they can do, and have their defensive line – led by Jared Labrecque and Connor McInnis – contain Garrard so everyone else can cover the outside. Windham is known for its special teams, but Scarborough K Liam McDonnell is as reliable as Windham K Liam McCusker, and Red Storm returner Flaker will discourage deep kickoffs.


Skowhegan (7-3) vs. Marshwood (11-0)

WHEN: 6:06 p.m.

MARSHWOOD: The Hawks are in their fourth Class B title game in six years under Coach Alex Rotsko. Most of the Hawks’ wins have been one-sided – like the season-opening 55-12 win at Skowhegan. But they have also won tight games at Kennebunk and in the South final against Falmouth, 31-28, on a late field goal by all-around contributor Max Horton. The health of Tommy Springer, who left last week’s game because of concussion-like symptoms, will be important. Springer is a dual-threat QB, with 15 TD passes and a 65 percent completion rate, and 611 yards and a team-high 12 TDs on the ground. Kyle Glidden (85 carries, 695 yards), inside runner Justin Bryant (99-668) and Joe Taran (32-568, 9 TDs) share the carries behind a big offensive line. Defensively, Marshwood will need its veteran secondary to communicate well and defensive linemen like sophomore Drew Gregor to provide pressure and get their hands up to slow Skowhegan’s quick passing offense.

SKOWHEGAN: A cold rain is in the forecast, but Skowhegan will keep throwing. Junior QB Marcus Christopher has completed 203 of 316 passes for 2,901 yards and 37 touchdowns against four interceptions. He has thrown one pick since Marshwood snared three of his passes in Week 1. Jon Bell (45 catches, 825 yards, 13 TDs), Cam Barnes (55 catches, 857 yards, 10 TDs) and Sean Savage (38 catches, 496 yards, 7 TDs) are the top targets. The explosive Bell is a threat as a returner and as a ball-hawking cornerback. The defense was porous for most of the season but is coming off an impressive shutout of Lawrence in the regional final, with LB Kobe Houghton and Savage at strong safety keying the improvement. Skowhegan forced three turnovers in each of its last two playoff wins.


Foxcroft Academy (8-2) vs. Wells (11-0)

WHEN: 2:36 p.m.

WELLS: The Warriors are on a 15-game winning streak, and trying to win back-to-back state titles after moving from Class C to D and graduating 19 contributing seniors from their 2016 team. The running game is perhaps even more dominant this year behind an offensive line led by senior center Sean McCormack-Kuhman. Nolan Potter, at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, is Mr. Inside with 207 carries for 1,390 yards and 26 touchdowns. Tyler Bridge, another big back at 6-3, 180 pounds, has the speed to be Mr. Outside, gaining 1,019 yards with 12 touchdowns on only 103 carries. Chad Fitzpatrick is a dangerous third option with 412 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Michael Wrigley is a savvy QB who seldom throws (39 attempts in 11 games) but has the arm to go deep. The defense is also stout, allowing 7.8 points per game. Over the last six games, that number falls to 6.2, and Wells has allowed only two first-half scores.

FOXCROFT: The Ponies moved from Class C to D this year and were the preseason favorites to win Class D North. Foxcroft’s last title came in Class C in 2012. The Ponies’ losses were to Class C North champ MCI and Madison/Carrabec, a regional finalist in Class D South. They have outscored three playoff opponents 114-0, with a defense led by DT Reggie Johnston, outside linebackers R.J. Nelson and Michaleb Niles, and inside linebackers Johnny Labree and Matt Spooner. Senior QB Nick Clawson, the starter since the second game of his sophomore season, is a power runner out of the shotgun (1,060 yards, 18 TDs) who can also throw (64 of 114, 1,126 yards, 14 TDs). Wells must be wary of receiver Hyatt Smith (31 catches, 688 yards, 11 TDs) and RB Niles (624 rushing yards). Kicker Levi Steadman has missed just two extra points and has made 3 of 4 field-goal attempts.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:51:44 +0000
Keystone pipeline leak won’t affect Nebraska regulators’ decision Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:05:16 +0000 LINCOLN, Neb. — Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil leak from the Keystone pipeline would seem to be poor timing four days before regulators in Nebraska decide whether to allow a major expansion of the system. But officials say state law does not allow pipeline safety to be a factor in their decision.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission was scheduled to rule Monday if a Keystone XL expansion pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. can cross the state. The commission’s decision is the last major regulatory hurdle for a project that has faced numerous local, state and federal reviews and lawsuits since it was announced in 2008.

Keystone operator TransCanada Corp. shut down the existing pipeline early Thursday, and workers were testing to determine the cause of the spill on agricultural land in Marshall County, South Dakota, near the North Dakota border, about 250 miles west of Minneapolis.

State and company officials said the spill was not a threat to waterways or drinking water, but critics were quick to use the leak as an example of what they see as the risks to the environment.

The Nebraska vote Monday will be on a proposed route for Keystone XL, a massive expansion that also would be operated by TransCanada.

The new pipeline would carry an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil sands areas of Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, where it would connect with the existing Keystone pipeline.

The decision will hinge on testimony and documents generated from public hearings over the summer and from more than 500,000 public comments, Nebraska Public Service Commission spokeswoman Deb Collins said. A state law passed in 2011 prevents the commission from factoring pipeline safety or the possibility of leaks into its decisions.

“The commission’s decision … will be based on the evidence in the record,” Collins said.

The Keystone XL proposal has faced intense opposition in Nebraska from a coalition of environmental groups, Native American tribes and some landowners who don’t want the pipeline running through their property.

Nebraska lawmakers gave the five-member commission the power to regulate major oil pipelines in 2011 in response to a public outcry over the pipeline and its potential impact on the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region of grass-covered sand dunes.

But when they passed the law, legislators argued that pipeline safety is a federal responsibility and should not factor in the state decision.

Opponents of Keystone XL are incensed that the leak won’t be considered.

]]> 0 sign for TransCanada's Keystone pipeline facilities stands in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:29:19 +0000
Moscow meeting in June under scrutiny in Trump probe Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:04:50 +0000 WASHINGTON – Earlier this year, a Russian-American lobbyist and another businessman discussed over coffee in Moscow an extraordinary meeting they had attended 12 months earlier: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman.

The Moscow meeting in June, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public, the Associated Press has learned.

Congressional investigators have questioned both men – lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and former Trump business partner – and obtained their text message communications, people familiar with the investigation told the AP.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team also has been investigating the Trump Tower meeting, which occurred weeks after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination and which his son attended with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton. A grand jury has already heard testimony about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which in addition to Donald Trump Jr., also included Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The focus of the congressional investigators was confirmed by three people familiar with their probe, including two who demanded anonymity to discuss the sensitive inquiry.

One of those people said Akhmetshin told congressional investigators that he asked for the meeting with Kaveladze to argue that they should go public with the details of the Trump Tower meeting before they were caught up in a media maelstrom. Akhmetshin also told the investigators that Kaveladze said people in Trump’s orbit were asking about Akhmetshin’s background, the person said.

Akhmetshin’s lawyer, Michael Tremonte, declined to comment.

Scott Balber, a lawyer for Kaveladze, confirmed that his client and Akhmetshin met over coffee and that the Trump Tower meeting a year earlier was “obviously discussed.” But Balber denied his client had been contacted by associates of Trump before he took the meeting with Akhmetshin.

Balber said the men did not discuss lining up their stories in expectation of the meeting becoming public and receiving media attention. Balber said Akhmetshin did raise the possibility that his name could come out in connection with the Trump Tower meeting and cause unwanted attention given that he had been linked in earlier news reports to Russian military intelligence, coverage that Akhmetshin considered unfair. Akhmetshin has denied ongoing ties with Russian intelligence, but acknowledged that he served in the Soviet military in the late 1980s as part of a counterintelligence unit.

“That was the impetus,” Balber said. “It had absolutely nothing to do with anticipation of the meeting coming out in the press.”

The meeting in Moscow occurred during a tumultuous time for the administration. Mueller had been appointed as special counsel weeks earlier following the firing in May of FBI Director James Comey, and as associates of Trump were under pressure to disclose any contacts they had with Russians during the campaign.

The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower first became public on July 8 in a report in The New York Times.

The White House initially said the meeting was primarily about U.S. adoption of Russian children, but days after the story was published, Trump Jr. released emails showing he took the meeting after being offered damaging information on Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aide his father’s candidacy. Mueller’s investigation has included scrutiny of the White House’s drafting of the initial incomplete statement.

As part of their inquiry, congressional investigators are reviewing copies of the text messages between the two men that were turned over, Balber said. He declined to say what the text messages showed. One person familiar with the messages said they reflect the logistics of the meeting during a trip by Akhmetshin to Moscow.

Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this report.

]]> 0 House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner was among those at a meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 that has been one focus of the special counsel investigating whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:04:50 +0000
Head of Puerto Rico’s power company resigns as blackouts continue Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:00:17 +0000 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The director of Puerto Rico’s power company resigned on Friday amid ongoing blackouts and scrutiny of a contract awarded to a small Montana-based company to help rebuild the electricity grid destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority said Ricardo Ramos presented his letter of resignation to the company’s board effective immediately. Ramos said in a brief video posted on Twitter Friday evening that it was a very personal decision and that it had nothing to do with any issues covered by the media.

“The focus has to remain on restoring the electrical system,” he said as he thanked his power company crews and those that had arrived from New York and Florida.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello briefly told reporters that Ramos is a professional who worked hard to bring power back to Puerto Rico, but that “there were a series of distractions, and a decision was taken to go in another direction.”

“That resignation was taken … in the best interest of the people of Puerto Rico,” he said.

Hours after the resignation, Rossello recommended that the board appoint Justo Gonzalez, the company’s power generation director, as interim director.

Earlier this week, Ramos testified before a U.S. Senate committee about a $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings that has since been canceled. The contract is undergoing a local and federal audit.

Prior to the announcement of Ramos’ resignation, local newspaper El Vocero had reported on Friday that Ramos had awarded a nearly $100,000 contract to an attorney for consulting work just days after Hurricane Irma brushed past Puerto Rico. It was the same attorney Ramos previously had tried to appoint as sub-director of the power company. Rossello said that contract also will be reviewed.

Ramos said in a Facebook post published on Friday before his resignation that the contract was legitimate.

“Absolutely nothing was done outside the law,” he said.

Ramos acknowledged mistakes Tuesday as the utility sought immediate help in the aftermath of the storm, which destroyed the island’s power grid.

Whitefish was one of only two companies that offered immediate services, Ramos said. The other company required a guaranteed payment of $25 million – money the bankrupt utility with a $9 billion debt load did not have, he said.

Lawmakers from both parties criticized the power authority for failing to seek mutual assistance from other public power providers – assistance that was offered to Florida and Texas utilities following hurricanes Harvey and Irma

More than 20 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities remain without power nearly two months after Maria hit the U.S. territory as a Category 4 hurricane. A major blackout occurred on Wednesday just as the government had announced it had reached 50 percent of power generation. Two more large blackouts have since been reported as crews work to restore power.

Ramos said the recent blackouts were a result of problems ranging from overgrown vegetation to fuel not being supplied on time.

Rossello has said he anticipates 80 percent power generation by end of November and 95 percent by mid-December. However, the U.S. Corps of Engineers has said it expects 75 percent power generation by end of January.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:01:52 +0000
College football advance: Maine vs. Stony Brook Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:22:12 +0000 WHERE: Alfond Stadium, Orono

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday

ALL-TIME SERIES: Maine leads, 4-2

LAST MEETING: Nov. 12, 2016, won by Maine, 27-21


WHEN MAINE HAS THE BALL: The Black Bears have established a run-first identity with sophomore RB Josh Mack, who leads FCS with 140.2 rushing yards per game, and a big, veteran offensive line. Redshirt freshman QB Chris Ferguson is coming off a game in which he completed 16 of 41 passes and threw two interceptions. He’ll need to be much better against a Stony Brook defense that ranks 15th in the nation overall and 13th against the run. Look for a lot of quick crossing routes.

WHEN STONY BROOK HAS THE BALL: The Seawolves feature a wide-open offense, led by QB Joe Carbone, who has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,773 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s thrown just one interception in his last nine games. He’ll test a Maine secondary that has been hit by injuries. WR Ray Bolden ranks sixth in FCS with seven touchdown catches and has 64 receptions. Stony Brook will still look to run the ball – it averages 3.9 yards per rush – but look for the Seawolves to try to spread Maine out and go for some quick strikes.

KEY STAT: It’s been five years since Maine has won its season finale.

OUTLOOK: Not only are the Black Bears facing one of the best defenses in the nation, but they are going against some of the top special-teams units in the CAA. Stony Brook leads the league in kickoff returns (24.1 yards per return) and kickoff coverage. In addition, Stony Brook’s red-zone offense is tops in the CAA, scoring on 35 of its 39 possessions inside the 20 (25 touchdowns and 10 field goals). Maine’s red-zone defense is 11th in the 12-team CAA, allowing scores on 20 of 24 chances. Maine must hope its running game can control the tempo.

OF NOTE: Stony Brook, ranked 10th and 12th in the two FCS national polls, can clinch a share of the CAA championship with a win against Maine and an Elon win over James Madison. … The Seawolves have won four games in a row but have never won in Orono (0-3). … Maine redshirt freshman LB Deshawn Stevens, in for the injured Taji Lowe, has 26 tackles in the last two games. … Maine could be without several defensive players, including Lowe and defensive backs Jeff DeVaughn and Mozai Nelson.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:51:19 +0000
Farmington driver’s race car is delayed at Canadian border Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:15:54 +0000 For Farmington native Cassius Clark, the anticipation leading up to Saturday’s annual Pro All Stars Series Mega-Meltdown 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina has turned to stress.

The team for which Clark drives, King Racing, owned by former racer and Canadian businessman Rollie MacDonald, is stuck at the Canadian border with the car and all of the equipment necessary to run this weekend’s race.

“They’ve been delayed at the border cross at Houlton since Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m.,” Clark said on the phone from North Carolina. “There was a practice session here yesterday, and there is more on tap for today. It’s a 20-hour drive from Houlton to get here, so I sure hope they get released soon.”

Two other race teams had similar difficulties, Clark said, but were allowed to pass after a lengthy delay.

U.S. Customs and Border Protections Public Affairs Officer Stephanie Malin on Friday afternoon released a statement on the matter:

“While I cannot get into the specific details of the inspection, I can confirm the individuals were not detained at the port of entry at all,” she wrote, “The issue is related to a lack of proper importation documents required for importing a vehicle for racing purposes.

“Non-residents may import an automobile or motorcycle and its usual equipment free of duty for a temporary stay to take part in races or other specific purposes,” Malin said. “However, prior written approval from the EPA is required and such approval is granted only to those racing vehicles that EPA deems not capable of safe or practical use on streets and highways. If the contests are for other than money purposes, the vehicle may be admitted for 90 days without formal entry or bond however, for automobiles being used for races with monetary purposes, a formal Temporary Importation Bond from a broker is required.”

Clark has had a successful year driving for the King Team. His many fans and followers are expecting him to be at this race.

“It’s not like I can just hop in another car and race,” Clark said. “I’m committed to this team and I drive for Rollie, end of story. All of my gear is in that trailer and the car is set up and ready for practice. I just need for the Border Patrol officials to release that transporter so the guys can get down here.”

Also already in North Carolina with Clark are crew chief Andrew Hicken and MacDonald.

McDonald has been racing in the U.S. for 40 years and owns and operates King Freight Lines Limited, a trucking business based in Atlantic Canada that often does business in Maine. The team has been forced to fill out and file various forms of documentation, from matters like the type of material in the driver’s suit to what kind of fuel cans they’re using.

“They’ve even contacted the EPA and got clearance from them as to the type of cargo they are carrying. I’m not sure what else the agents are looking for; Rollie is always very thorough with required papers.”

According to Clark, the team’s equipment is the same as it has always been when entering the U.S. successfully over the course of this season. It is the same equipment as that of their fellow racing teams that have been allowed to cross.

“They’re complaining about what my firesuit is made out of, fuel jugs, the easy-up tent, the oil in the race car, lawn chairs, you can’t even imagine,” Clark told

Clark said Friday this is the first such problem he or his team have had, which surprised officials.

“The guy from the EPA said, ‘Oh Jesus, I can’t believe they let you into the US.’ You need to have this or whatever, so we got that,” Clark told “But it’s never been an issue. You roll up and we know the people there. Everybody is saying to go to this border or that border, but you can’t do that at this point. They call it border jumping and it’s kind of big news right now, so they’re going to know. We’re kind of stuck where we’re at right now.”

]]> 0 native Cassius Clark drives off Turn 4 at Oxford Plains Speedway earlier this season. Clark is in North Carolina awaiting the arrival of his King Racing team transporter that has been delayed at the border crossing in Houlton since Tuesday. ()Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:25:22 +0000
Patrick to retire after next year’s Indy 500 Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:00:42 +0000 HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Danica Patrick announced Friday she will retire from full-time racing next year after running the Daytona 500 and then the Indianapolis 500, closing her career at the track that made her famous.

Patrick told The Associated Press it took her many months to come to the realization her career is all but over. Once she accepted it, the idea of ending her career at Indianapolis Motor Speedway popped into her head.

She told her agent, and she’s been working on putting together “The Danica Double” over the last several weeks.

“Nothing that was being presented excited me, then about three weeks ago, I just blurted out, ‘What about Indy? Let’s end it with the Indy 500,”‘ she said. “This ignites something in me. But I am done after May. Everyone needs to put their mind there. My plan is to be at Indy, and then I’m done.”

Patrick would not reveal who she will drive for in either race next year, but Chip Ganassi Racing is the likely ride at Indy.

Patrick will not be driving in the Daytona 500 for Stewart-Haas Racing, team co-owner Tony Stewart told AP. Patrick moved from IndyCar to NASCAR after the 2011 season and has been racing for SHR since 2012. She is being replaced after Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Aric Almirola.

Patrick is the only woman to have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. She ran the Indy 500 from 2005 through 2011, leading 19 laps as a rookie and finishing third in 2009.

]]> 0 Patrick is done at Stewart-Haas Racing and her future in NASCAR is now up in the air. Patrick posted a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday saying her time with Stewart-Haas "had come to an end."Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:54:34 +0000
Ferdie Pacheco, doctor to Muhammad Ali, dies at 89 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:51:15 +0000 MIAMI — Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, known as “The Fight Doctor” for his role as Muhammad Ali’s ringside physician, died in his sleep Thursday morning at his Miami home, his daughter Tina Louise Pacheco said.

Pacheco, who was the lone surviving member of Ali’s training team and who would go on to a career as author, painter and Emmy-winning boxing analyst for NBC, was 89.

“He’s a cool guy, a cool Florida guy,” his daughter said.

Born to a Spanish-Cuban immigrant family in Ybor City in Tampa, Pacheco died in the Baypoint neighborhood of Miami that he had lived in since the 1950s. “That’s a long time. And he stayed in Florida even when he worked with NBC. They wanted him in New York but he didn’t want to leave,” his daughter said.

The Fight Doctor was so proud of his adopted Miami home he once said of Ali: “Cassius Clay was born in Louisville. Muhammad Ali was born in Miami.”

Pacheco, whose father J.D. was a physician, started his medical practice after earning his medical degree from the University of Miami in 1959. He served as a pharmacist in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

“The big important thing for him was helping people,” his daughter Tina Louise Pacheco said. “He wanted to be a good doctor and cure people.”

Later, he joined boxing trainer Angelo Dundee’s corner at the famous 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach.

There, he became intrinsically linked with Ali — The Greatest.

Before the Miami Dolphins’ perfect football season in 1972, and long before the Miami Heat, Miami Marlins and Florida Panthers, the epicenter of sports in South Florida was a rough-hewn, sweaty boxing temple, accessed by a flight of sagging steps leading up to the 5th Street Gym. There, for 15 years, one could find Pacheco and the Dundee brothers, Angelo and Chris, at Ali’s side.

The Greatest trained there for his history-making match against Sonny Liston at the nearby Miami Beach Convention Center in 1964, when the-then Cassius Clay defeated the favored Liston and won his first heavyweight championship title.

Sports Illustrated called the bout one of the five greatest sporting events of the 20th century. Clay would soon convert to Islam and change his name to Muhammad Ali. As Ali, he faced pressure from his new community to make changes among his team. He chose to stick by Pacheco and the Dundees.

Pacheco served as Ali’s cornerman and personal physician from 1962 to 1977. He became almost as famous as Ali. He never had to wait for a table at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach. NBC hired Pacheco to do boxing analysis on television, a role he played for 19 years following his retirement from ringside in 1981. He won an Emmy award in 1989 for his production, writing and commentary on the special, “February 25, 1964: The Championship.”

“He called so many amazing fights from the years 1981 to 2000; it’s hard to mention them all,” his daughter said. “If it was a must-see boxing event during those years, Ferdie was on the air giving his opinion and commentating.”

Pacheco is survived by his wife Luisita, his children Tina, Dawn, Evelyn and Ferdie Jr., and two grandchildren.

]]> 0 PachecoFri, 17 Nov 2017 18:51:15 +0000
Lebanon’s prime minister says trip to Saudi Arabia was taken to get political advice Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:42:14 +0000 BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Friday his stay in Saudi Arabia was to consult with officials there on the future of Lebanon and its relations with its Arab neighbors, dismissing as “rumors” reports about his alleged detention.

Hariri’s tweet came hours before he was expected in France two weeks after his surprise resignation in Saudi Arabia.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said Hariri was expected in Paris’ presidential palace by midday Saturday. Macron said Hariri will be received “with the honors due a prime minister,” even though he has announced his resignation, since Lebanon hasn’t yet recognized it.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:42:14 +0000
Red Cross: Cholera threat to 1 million in Yemen Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:37:04 +0000 SANAA, Yemen — One million people across three Yemeni cities are at risk of a renewed cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases following the closing of airports and sea ports by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels, an international aid group said Friday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said that the cities of Hodeida, Saada and Taiz were not able to provide clean water in recent days because of a lack of fuel.

“Close to 1 million people are now deprived of clean water and sanitation in crowded urban environments in a country slowly emerging from the worst cholera outbreak in modern times,” said Alexander Faite, head of the Red Cross delegation in the war-ravaged nation.

The Red Cross said other major urban cities, including the capital, Sanaa, will find themselves in the same situation in less than two weeks unless imports of essential goods resume immediately.

The U.S.-backed coalition imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Nov. 6 after a missile attack by rebels targeted the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia said Monday the coalition would lift the blockade after widespread international criticism.

On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to Saudi Arabia’s U.N. ambassado, saying the Gulf kingdom’s failure to reopen key Yemen airports and sea ports is reversing humanitarian efforts to tackle the crisis in the impoverished country.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Guterres welcomed the reopening of the port in the city of Aden; however, he said this “will not meet the needs of 28 million Yemenis.”

Suspected airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 21 people Friday in the country’s west and northwest, said Yemeni security officials and witnesses.

One airstrike hit a bus in the el-Zaher district in the western province of Hodeida, killing six civilians, they said.

At least 15 people were killed in another airstrike on a market in Yemen’s northwestern Hajja province, controlled by the Shiite rebels, the officials and witnesses said.

Over the past two years, more than 10,000 people have been killed and 3 million displaced in the coalition’s air campaign. With the country in a stalemate war, cholera began to rear its ugly head in October 2016, but the epidemic escalated rapidly in April.

The fighting has damaged infrastructure and caused shortages of medicine and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

]]> 0 malnourished child lies in a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Save the Children says 130 children die every day in Yemen from hunger and disease.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:37:04 +0000
Not real news: At look at what didn’t happen this week Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:09:56 +0000 A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: Second Roy Moore accuser works for Michelle Obama right now

THE FACTS: The woman named as an accuser of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in a story by the Last Line of Defense doesn’t work for Michelle Obama. In fact, it’s unclear that she’s a real person. The article claims a woman named Fiona Dourif told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week that she was groped by Moore in 1957. No one by that named appeared on Maddow’s show. An actress with the same name called out the story on Twitter, saying she has nothing to do with Moore. The story is linked to a photo of former Alabama U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. An Obama family representative tells the AP the claim that the woman worked as a housekeeper for the Obamas is completely false.

Lexy is a therapy dog at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. An article claiming President Trump discontinued an animal therapy program at Walter Reed National Medical Center is false. Associated Press/Lolita Baldor

NOT REAL: Trump abruptly shuts down dogs for Wounded Warriors program, leaving vets high and dry on Veterans Day!

THE FACTS: Officials at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, did issue a stop-work order to an animal therapy group contracted with the hospital, but it came on Oct. 27, more than two weeks before Veterans Day. The order to the Warrior Canine Project came from hospital officials, not the White House. Hospital spokeswoman Sandy Dean says it’s looking to restructure its animal therapy contracts to improve patient care. She adds that therapy dogs continue to be available for patients at Walter Reed.

NOT REAL: British intelligence seizes Clinton Foundation warehouse, $400 million in cash

THE FACTS: Several websites have posted a story claiming the Clinton Foundation was leasing a British warehouse owned by a man on the U.K.’s terrorist watch list, quoting an unnamed assistant to Chelsea Clinton stating that the facility was “rented through an agency.” Foundation spokesman Brian Cookstra tells the AP the story is “totally false.” He adds: “We don’t rent a warehouse in the UK, the quote from ‘Chelsea Clinton’s assistant’ is made up, and nothing in this story seems to be based in reality.” A photo included with the story is a picture from Britain’s The Sun newspaper that shows unrelated police activity in Kent, England.

Actor Ian McKellan is shown here in 2013, but not to worry, he’s still alive despite an article circulating online claiming otherwise. Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/Associated Press

NOT REAL: English actor Ian McKellen dies at age 78

THE FACTS: McKellen is alive and actively working despite a story from a website appearing to mimic Britain’s Daily Mail reporting he died after a lengthy hospitalization for pneumonia. The story first published last year has recirculated in recent days. McKellen has starred in several projects on stage and screen this year alone, including the British sitcom “Vicious.” The show’s Twitter account posted a photo of McKellen and co-star Derek Jacobi on Saturday with the note: “In case you were wondering, we’re still alive.”

NOT REAL: Iceland mandates mental health warnings on all Bibles

THE FACTS: No warnings are required to be put on Bibles sold in the island nation. A widely-shared hoax story from the website Patheos offers a clue to the joke by naming the prime minister of the country as Andrew Canard. Canard is a seldom used word that means a fabricated report. The actual prime minister of Iceland is Bjarni Benediktsson.

This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

]]> 0 Ian McKellan is shown here in 2013, but not to worry, he's still alive despite an article circulating online claiming otherwise.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 18:14:41 +0000
Hillary Clinton says she quits the ‘Fox News presidency’ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 23:02:29 +0000 WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton is mocking Fox News for “always talking” about her as if she’d won the presidency.

The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate joked in an interview with the online news outlet NowThis that she is officially resigning as the conservative news channel’s president of the United States.

She said the outlet is “always talking about the Clinton administration,” despite the fact that she lost the election Donald Trump.

Clinton said: “I want to take this opportunity, sitting here with you, to announce that I am resigning from the Fox News presidency. ”

She adds: “I think that we should just leave that behind us and whoever they want to blame for anything, they’re going to have to find somebody else.”

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:39:43 +0000
Pope urges guaranteed health care for all people Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:55:38 +0000 VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday urged lawmakers to ensure that health care laws protect the “common good,” decrying the fact that in many places only the privileged can afford sophisticated medical treatments.

The comments came as lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have been debating how to overhaul the nation’s health insurance laws.

In a message to a medical association meeting at the Vatican, Francis expressed dismay at what he called a tendency toward growing inequality in health care. He said in wealthier countries, health care access risks being more dependent on people’s money than on their need for treatment.

“Increasingly, sophisticated and costly treatments are available to ever more limited and privileged segments of the population, and this raises questions about the sustainability of health care delivery and about what might be called a systemic tendency toward growing inequality in health care,” the pope said.

“This tendency is clearly visible at the global level, particularly when different countries are compared,” Francis said. “But it is also present within the more wealthy countries, where access to health care risks being more dependent on individuals’ economic resources than on their actual need for treatment.”

Without citing any countries, Francis said health care laws must take a “broad and comprehensive view of what most effectively promotes the common good” in each situation, including looking out for society’s most vulnerable people.

The Vatican meeting explored end-of-life issues and Francis repeated decades-old church teaching forbidding euthanasia.

He also reiterated Vatican teaching that says “not adopting, or else suspending, disproportionate measures, means avoiding overzealous treatment. From an ethical standpoint, it is completely different from euthanasia, which is always wrong.”

On end-of-life, the pope said, countries must “defend the fundamental equality whereby everyone is recognized under law as a human being.”

]]> 0'Osservatore Romano via AP Pope Francis greets an unidentified man during a surprise visit to a small facility near St. Peter's Square where doctors on a volunteer basis give poor people medical exams, Thursday. Francis decried that, increasingly, only the privileged can afford sophisticated medical treatments and urged lawmakers to ensure that health care laws protect the "common good."Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:55:38 +0000
Private collection becomes Museum of the Bible Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:44:03 +0000 WASHINGTON — Eight years ago, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green found a new way to express his Christian faith. His family’s $4 billion arts and craft chain was already known for closing stores on Sundays, waging a Supreme Court fight over birth control and donating tens of millions of dollars to religious groups.

Now, Green would begin collecting biblical artifacts that he hoped could become the starting point for a museum.

On Friday, that vision was realized when the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible opened three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The $500 million museum includes pieces of the family’s collection from the Dead Sea Scrolls, towering bronze gates inscribed with text from the Gutenberg Bible and a soundscape of the 10 plagues, enhanced by smog and a glowing red light to symbolize the Nile turned to blood.

It is an ambitious attempt to appeal simultaneously to people of deep faith and no faith, and to stand out amid the impressive constellation of museums in Washington. The Bible exhibits are so extensive that administrators say it would take days to see everything.

Green says the institution he largely funded is meant to educate, not evangelize, though critics are dubious. Museum administrators have taken pains to hire a broad group of scholars as advisers. Lawrence Schiffman, a New York University Jewish studies professor and Dead Sea Scrolls expert, called the museum a “monument” to interfaith cooperation. Exhibits are planned from the Vatican Museum and the Israel Antiquities Authority.


“There’s just a basic need for people to read the book,” Green said. “This book has had an impact on our world and we just think people ought to know it and hopefully they’ll be inspired to engage with it after they come here.”

The last major splash the Greens made in Washington was over their religious objections to birth control. In 2014, Hobby Lobby persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to exempt for-profit companies like theirs from the contraception coverage requirement in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. That culture war victory has in part colored reactions to the museum even before it opens.

The Oklahoma company also had to pay a $3 million fine and return artifacts after federal prosecutors said they got caught up in an antiquities smuggling scheme. Green said the company had been naive in doing business with the dealers. Items at the center of the fines were never destined for the museum, administrators say. Of the 1,100 items the museum owns, 300 come from the Greens’ personal collection.

But skepticism surrounding the intent of the project has focused more on the Greens’ record of putting their fortune and influence behind spreading their particular religious beliefs. The museum will be the centerpiece of several of the family’s efforts, including sponsoring research on the Bible and promoting a Bible curriculum they hope will be used in U.S. public schools. An initial attempt in an Oklahoma school district was withdrawn following complaints the lessons weren’t neutral.

“The museum is a massive advertisement for the curriculum,” said Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University, who has critically analyzed content of the Bible lesson plans.

A new book written by Green and his wife, Jackie, about how they developed the museum seems to send mixed signals about their goals.

In “This Dangerous Book, How the Bible Has Shaped Our World and Why It Still Matters Today,” the Greens write of the museum: “We’re not creating a place to proselytize.” They also write: “We believe there are multiple applications for Scripture, but only one interpretation,” and “Time and time again, evidence has shown the Bible to be accurate.”

Still, the museum avoids debates over interpreting the Bible and over contentious issues such as evolution and marriage.

Separately, critics have seized on a changing mission statement of the museum from its earliest days, when founders said they aimed to prove the authority of the Bible, to a new, more neutral goal of inviting people to learn more about the Bible. Museum president Cary Summers described the change as a natural progression as the project moved ahead.


But John Fea, a historian at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, points to the family’s goal of helping people “engage with” the Bible as a telling indication about what the Greens hope to achieve. He said the “Bible engagement” concept was popularized by the American Bible Society in the 1990s amid concern that people who owned copies of the Scriptures weren’t necessarily reading them.

Fea said advocates for this strategy ultimately hope the Bible will inspire a desire to learn more and maybe accept Christ.

“There’s a public face to this Bible engagement rhetoric, and then there’s a private aspect of what it really means,” Fea said. “It debunks the whole notion that this is just a history museum.”


Green’s response to such arguments: Visit the museum and decide for yourself.

Located near the National Mall, the building alone has been designed to inspire a sense of wonder. The Gutenberg gates flank the entrance. A 140-foot LED display runs the length of the entrance hall ceiling, bathing the lobby in a changing array of color. The floors are a mix of shimmering marble from Denmark and Tunisia, complemented by columns of Jerusalem stone. From two high stories, a glass atrium curves from ceiling to floor, echoing the shape of a scroll and providing a clear view of the Capitol dome and the Washington Monument.

A section dedicated to the Bible’s modern-day influence includes a replica of the Liberty Bell, inscribed with a verse from Leviticus, and exhibits touching on slavery, abolition and the civil rights movement. A motion simulator called Washington Revelations creates the sensation of flying over the nation’s capital to see Bible inscriptions and references in buildings and monuments throughout the city.

Festivities surrounding the opening include a gala fundraiser for the museum at the Trump International Hotel, a dedication ceremony at the museum with Roman Catholic, Jewish and Protestant religious leaders, and a gala in the museum ballroom.

The Greens invited House and Senate leaders to join the events, along with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Trump Cabinet. Pence said through a spokesman he would not participate. Some Cabinet members are expected to attend the fundraiser, a museum spokeswoman said.

]]> 0 door opens to the "Exodus" section inside the Museum of the Bible in Washington. The project is largely funded by the conservative Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby crafts chain. Hobby Lobby president Steve Green, left, says the aim is to educate, not evangelize. But skeptics call the project a Christian ministry disguised as a museum. Associated Press/Jacquelyn MartinFri, 17 Nov 2017 17:44:03 +0000
Detroit priest known for humility to be beatified Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:43:09 +0000 DETROIT — A Detroit priest celebrated for his humility will be beatified in a ceremony in Detroit this weekend, bringing him a step closer to possible sainthood.

The beatification Mass for the Rev. Solanus Casey, known as Father Solanus to his many admirers, will be held Saturday at a Detroit football stadium capable of accommodating the more than 60,000 people expected to attend.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis said Father Solanus met the requirements to earn the title of “blessed,” especially after a woman from Panama was cured of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012.

Father Solanus was a Catholic priest, but he was barred from giving homilies because of academic struggles. He instead dedicated himself to helping the poor and counseling people.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:43:09 +0000
Bail revoked for former Windham man who bilked elderly neighbor Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:38:39 +0000 A judge refused Friday to grant bail to a former Windham man who twice failed to show up for trial, pleaded guilty to financially exploiting an elderly neighbor and then failed to show up for his sentencing hearing last month.

The no-bail decision stems from an arrest warrant Justice Andrew Horton issued after Theodore Thomes was a no-show at his scheduled sentencing hearing Oct. 19. Thomes also faces a new charge of failure to appear and Horton set the bail on that charge at $10,000 cash, but the warrant Horton issued will keep Thomes behind bars.

He will be sentenced Nov. 29 on the financial exploitation charges and the hearing on the new charges will be held in January.

Thomes pleaded guilty in July to bilking an elderly neighbor, Don Penta, of about $300,000 in cash and possessions. Thomes’ guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who said they would ask for sentences of six years, all but three suspended, on three counts of theft by deception. Those sentences would run concurrently, as would sentences of nine months each on six counts of evading state income taxes, meaning Thomes would spend three years in jail and three on probation.

His plea was delayed after he failed to show up for two previous trial dates, saying that hip replacement surgery in the U.S. Virgin Islands created a scheduling conflict for him.

Prosecutors and Thomes’ lawyer had agreed that they would discuss restitution, along with a state tax bill of nearly $50,000, at his sentencing, but Thomes did not appear.

At the time of Thomes’ guilty plea, Horton allowed Thomes to travel back to his home in the Virgin Islands to get hip replacement surgery before his sentencing. Horton warned Thomes that he expected him back in court in Maine on Oct. 19, barring “a major hurricane.”

But Hurricane Maria hit the Virgin Islands a month before the sentencing and Thomes argued that he couldn’t return to the mainland because of the devastation. He said Friday that his trailer in the islands was destroyed in the storm and his lawyer said electricity is not expected to be restored to Thomes’ property until June.

Horton said he considered the month between the hurricane’s strike and Thomes’ sentencing enough time to arrange to come back to Maine. As a result, at the time of the scheduled sentencing, Horton revoked Thomes’ $10,000 cash post-conviction bail and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Thomes returned to the state Tuesday. He is on federal probation for a 2015 conviction for possession of firearms by a felon related to guns that he stole from Penta. Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said Thomes’ federal probation officer gave him “strong encouragement” to return to Maine and he flew last week to Washington, D.C. However, Thomes said his connecting flight to Maine was canceled and he ended up completing his travel by train.

Robbin told Horton on Friday that might have been a ruse to avoid being arrested by Portland police on his arrival at the Portland International Jetport and being taken immediately to Cumberland County Jail. He ended up staying with a friend Tuesday night and reported to the jail Wednesday, but officials there said they didn’t have his paperwork, so he stayed with a friend a second night and turned himself in Thursday.

A common refrain throughout Thomes’ involvement with the court system has been his ailing hip. Although he finally got replacement surgery in the Virgin Islands on Aug. 30, his lawyer, Devens Hamlen, told Horton that the hurricane had kept Thomes from getting post-surgery physical therapy. Hamlen also said that jail officials wouldn’t take Thomes to Maine Medical Center on Friday morning for a therapy appointment. Jail officials told Horton that they don’t honor appointments prisoners make on their own, but they would have Thomes evaluated by the jail’s medical staff and follow its recommendations on any treatment.

Horton said that should suffice and he refused to set bail for Thomes on the arrest warrant, saying Hamlen could return to court if medical arrangements were insufficient and he couldn’t work it out with jail officials.

Thomes directed some ire at Robbin, saying state officials didn’t appreciate the difficulties of living in the Virgin Islands after the hurricane hit. “I don’t even have a trailer. My home is gone,” he said. “This is ludicrous, I just wanted to get my hip done and do my time. If I don’t get the (hip) rehab, it’s on her and the state.”

But Robbin said Thomes has played the system to buy him more time outside of jail. “He’s essentially got over a month’s continuance” on his sentencing, she said. “He has been manipulating the court system.”

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

]]> 0 Thomes, standing next to his lawyer, Devens Hamlen, speaks on his own behalf during a hearing Friday at the Cumberland County Courthouse.Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:13 +0000
Man sentenced to death in killing of former Maine residents in Texas Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:57:40 +0000 BRYAN, Texas — A man was sentenced to death Wednesday for a rampage that left six people – including former Mainers – dead at a remote East Texas campsite.

A Brazos County jury deliberated about 45 minutes before deciding that William Hudson, 35, of Tennessee Colony, should face execution.

The same jury found him guilty last week on three counts of capital murder in the 2015 shooting and beating deaths of 77-year-old Carl Johnson, a former professor at the University of Maine at Farmington; his daughter, 40-year-old Hannah Johnson, a Mt. Blue High School and University of Maine graduate; and four members of their extended family, 45-year-old Thomas Kamp, 23-year-old Nathan Kamp, 21-year-old Austin Kamp and 6-year-old Kade Johnson.

The verdict on punishment comes exactly two years after Hudson’s arrest, which was on Nov. 15, 2015.

Evidence showed the victims were part of a blended family that gathered for a weekend together to camp on property in Tennessee Colony, about 90 miles southeast of Dallas. They had recently bought the land from Hudson’s family. Prosecutors said Hudson resented the sale.

Cynthia Johnson, the wife of Carl Johnson, managed to hide and survived the rampage.

The Eagle of Bryan-College Station reported that Cynthia Johnson testified that she heard Hudson fatally beat her husband and her daughter, Hannah, inside a recreational vehicle. She hid until dawn the next morning, retrieved a cellphone dropped by her daughter and called police.

Four victims were found in a pond.

Defense witnesses testified that Hudson suffered brain damage from multiple seizures, two car accidents and extreme alcohol abuse, and had been emotionally and sometimes physically abused by his father.

“William Hudson was created, he wasn’t born that way,” said Stephen Evans, one of Hudson’s attorneys.

Prosecution experts said Hudson had a personality disorder and not a mental illness.

“This is just who he is,” special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said. “This is a man who is not gonna change. That ought to scare you.”

The case had been moved from Anderson County to Bryan, about 90 miles to the southwest, to avoid potential jury bias.

]]> HudsonFri, 17 Nov 2017 21:49:27 +0000