The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:51:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Single-vehicle crash kills 19-year-old Standish man Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:13:53 +0000 A 19-year-old Standish man was killed in a single-vehicle crash just after midnight Thursday, police say.

Trey A. James, of Standish, was killed when he lost control of his 2005 Pontiac Grand Am and hit a tree in the area between Cape Road and Woodbine Drive, according to a statement from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies were assisted at the scene by the Windham Police Department and and the Standish Fire Department.

The crash is under investigation.

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Michael Jordan wins China court ruling in trademark case Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:46:41 +0000 BEIJING — China’s highest court on Thursday ruled in favor of basketball legend Michael Jordan at the culmination of a years-long case over use of the Chinese rendering of his globally-known name and trademark.

The former NBA star has been in a dispute with a sportswear company based in southern China called Qiaodan Sports since 2012. He had previously argued unsuccessfully in Beijing courts that they had used his Chinese name “Qiaodan” by which he has been known since he gained widespread popularity in the mid-1980s, his old jersey number 23 and basketball player logo to make it look like he was associated with their brand.

The Supreme People’s Court on Thursday announced that it was overturning two rulings by Beijing courts against Jordan from 2014 and 2015 that had found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the athlete’s allegations over the use of his image. It also ordered the trademark bureau to issue a new ruling on the use of the Chinese characters in the brand name “Qiaodan.”

Pronounced “CHEEOW-dan,” it is the transliteration of “Jordan” in Mandarin.

The court’s judgment was broadcast live on its website.

Jordan said in a statement that millions of Chinese fans and consumers had always known him by the name Qiaodan and that he was happy the court had recognized his right to protect his name.

A man shops for shoes at a Qiaodan Sports retail shop in Beijing Thursday. Associated Press/Ng Han Guan

A man shops for shoes at a Qiaodan Sports retail shop in Beijing Thursday. Numerous Chinese companies sell products with names that sound suspiciously similar to well-known foreign brands, often with only one or two letters changed.Associated Press/Ng Han Guan

“Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me. Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today’s decision shows the importance of that principle,” Jordan said.

In a twist to the legal saga, Qiaodan Sports successfully counter-sued Jordan in 2013 for preventing it from pursuing a stock market listing because of the trademark lawsuit.

The Beijing law firm representing Qiaodan Sports Co. Ltd. declined to comment.

The case reflects the difficulties faced by foreign individuals and companies in protecting their copyrights in China, where domestic firms have long taken a cavalier attitude toward intellectual property.

Numerous Chinese companies sell products with names that sound suspiciously similar to well-known foreign brands, often with only one or two letters changed.

Chinese law protects foreign companies in cases where their brand was already famous in China before being registered by a Chinese firm seeking to capitalize on its notoriety.

However, Apple Inc. lost a legal battle earlier this year when a Beijing court ruled the company had failed to prove that iPhone was a famous brand in China before a Chinese company applied for the “iPhone” trademark in 2007. The Chinese company uses “iPhone” on its handbags and mobile phone cases.

]]> 0, 08 Dec 2016 05:56:26 +0000
MaineToday Magazine: It’s time to gear up for winter adventures Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:22 +0000 0, 07 Dec 2016 20:48:02 +0000 Portland city charter: Section 5 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:04 +0000 The mayor shall be the official head of the city, responsible for providing leadership, and shall have the following powers and duties:

(a) To articulate the city’s vision and goals and build coalitions to further such vision and goals. The mayor shall give an annual state of the city address during a special meeting of the city council called for that purpose;

(b) To convene and lead an annual workshop session of the city council to discuss and identify the city’s goals and priorities in order to provide guidance for the city manager and to inform the public. The city manager shall attend this workshop session, and a summary of the session shall be made available to the public;

(c) To represent the city with other municipalities, levels of government, community and neighborhood groups, and the business community;

(d) To preside as chair of the city council, and vote upon all matters in the same manner as other members of the city council, except as provided in article VII, section 8. The mayor shall direct the city manager in the preparation of council meeting agendas;

(e) To facilitate the implementation of city policies through the office of the city manager;

(f) To consult with and provide guidance to the city manager in the preparation of all city budgets and to provide comments on such budgets at the time they are presented by the city manager to the city council for approval;

(g) To consult with and provide guidance to the city manager in the preparation of the annual capital improvement program plan described in article VI, section 5, paragraph (i), and to provide comments on such program plan at the time it is presented by the city manager to the city council;

(h) To facilitate among the city manager, city council, board of public education and the public to secure passage by the city council of the annual city and school budgets;

(i) To exercise veto power over the annual city appropriation as provided in article VII, section 8;

(j) To establish performance guidelines in conjunction with the other members of the city council for regular evaluations, no less than annually, by the city council of the performance of the city manager, corporation counsel and city clerk, such evaluations to be based upon those guidelines. Such performance guidelines shall have measurable goals and objectives, taking into consideration, as applicable, the achievement of city policies and priorities;

(k) To chair any subcommittee with at least two (2) other city councilors to recommend the appointment or removal of the city manager, corporation counsel or the city clerk, but the full city council shall have the final decision in regard to such appointment or removal by a vote of at least five (5) members of the council; and

(l) To appoint the members and chairs of the city council committees and various ad hoc committees and communicate such appointments to the city council, which may override such appointments by a vote of at least six (6) council members. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the city manager shall be in charge of the day to day operations of the city and administration of the city budgets approved by the council.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:28:43 +0000
Internal records reveal extent of ongoing power struggle in Portland city government Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling addresses outgoing City Councilor Jon Hinck during a ceremony Monday at City Hall to bid farewell to two outgoing councilors and swear in their replacements. City Manager Jon Jennings is at left. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling addresses outgoing City Councilor Jon Hinck during a ceremony Monday at City Hall to bid farewell to two outgoing councilors and swear in their replacements. City Manager Jon Jennings is at left. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A power struggle at Portland City Hall that boiled over into public meetings over the past two weeks has been raging behind the scenes for the past year, according to internal communications obtained through a public records request.

And it appears to be far from over.

Mayor Ethan Strimling has been pushing to expand the authority of the elected mayor, clashing with the city manager and challenging the city’s top attorney and her interpretations of the city charter.

At one point, the City Council privately decided to spend more than $21,000 for a second opinion about the scope of the mayor’s authority from an outside lawyer, but even that has not settled the issue.

At another point, City Manager Jon Jennings sought advice about how to file a formal complaint against Strimling for violating the charter, after the mayor sought information from city staff without first contacting the manager’s office.

The struggle, however, has been playing itself out mostly behind closed doors and in emails, and only recently was aired in public meetings and interviews with the media. The conflict even prompted Strimling to literally extend an olive branch to each councilor – and Jennings – at the inauguration ceremony this week for two new councilors, although the mayor stopped short of admitting any fault and instead called on the council to help “realize this more democratic form of government.”

Jennings declined to discuss the dispute Wednesday.

“The people of Portland do not pay us to have these petty sideshows,” Jennings said. “I just want to be able to do my job.”

Strimling, meanwhile, said he no longer believes the charter is ambiguous about his role, but also suggested the issue is not settled. “The budget/(Capital Improvement Plan) process hasn’t started yet, but my sense is that when it does, we (the committee, Jon and I) will have a conversation about how to make it work,” he said in an email.


At issue is the separation of powers between the city manager and the popularly elected full-time mayor. In 2010, voters changed the structure of city government to include an elected mayor, replacing the largely ceremonial position held by a part-time mayor appointed annually by the City Council. The new mayor’s position, however, still has very limited powers and no real executive authority, because the day-to-day operations of the city continue to be controlled by the city manager, who reports to the full council, not the mayor alone.

When asked why the debate about the city charter did not happen in public forums, a city spokeswoman defended the private discussions, saying they involved confidential personnel matters.

According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Access Act request by the Portland Press Herald and interviews with city officials, questions about the mayor’s powers – especially his direct access to city staff and his ability to direct the city manager when drafting the budget – were raised almost immediately after Strimling took office in December 2015.

After attending a few meetings with Jennings and the city’s department heads, Strimling appears to have been cut out of internal meetings in February, according to a review of his calendar. Around the same time, Jennings has acknowledged that he turned down the mayor’s request to attend the manager’s budget meetings with department heads.


Also around the same time, Strimling sought a legal opinion about the mayor’s roles and responsibilities under the city charter from Danielle West-Chuhta, the city’s top attorney. West-Chuhta’s Feb. 22 memo reproduces the charter language, along with definitions of key words that suggest the mayor does not have the power to direct the manager during the budget process.

For example, the mayor is supposed to “facilitate the implementation of city policies through the office of city manager,” according to charter language cited in the memo. West-Chuhta includes a definition of “facilitate” as meaning “to make easier or less difficult.”

Also, the mayor is to “consult and provide guidance to the city manager” in the preparation of city budgets, the charter says. West-Chuhta’s memo includes a definition of the word “consult” to mean “to seek guidance or information from,” and notes that the mayor also has the ability to recommend changes to the manager’s budget when it’s presented to the council.

West-Chutha’s memo concludes that the charter envisions a “cooperative relationship between the mayor and the city manager wherein the mayor formulates and articulates the City Council’s policy directives both on behalf of and in cooperation with the full council, and the manager implements those policies.”

After reading the memo, Strimling responded by accusing West-Chuhta of “wimping out at the end,” and by asking for more clarity about separation of powers.

“Simply saying it is up to the two parties to figure everything out leaves too much to the imagination,” Strimling wrote. “It almost feels like it backtracks from the rest of the memo, which seems to make it very clear. Let’s chat further!”


After more email exchanges, West-Chuhta stuck to her opinion. She also noted in an email “the impact that this opinion could potentially have on you and the City Council’s view of the manager,” and wrote that the council could always seek a second opinion, which the council would later decide to do.

She also recommended sending her memo to the full council. “Then you can all discuss the various roles during the city manager’s six-month check-in/review,” she wrote in a March 3 email.

Jennings had his six-month review on April 11. That review was closed to the public and city officials would not comment about what was discussed.

At some point, the council decided to spend $21,000 on another, independent review of the city charter by Peter DeTroy, a prominent Portland attorney who died in late May.

A public vote was not required to pay for that analysis, since any expenditure under $25,000 can be made administratively, according to the city’s procurement policy.

DeTroy’s analysis, dated May 3, echoes West-Chuhta’s conclusion that the mayor has the power to articulate the vision of the collective council, but is limited when acting independently. He also stressed the need for the mayor to work collaboratively with the council and manager.

“The mayor’s substantive powers are clearly and purposefully significantly limited by the charter,” DeTroy wrote. “In short, the office of mayor was not created to improve deficiencies in the office of the city manager. It was created to provide the accountability for the policy direction of the city and the improved functioning of the council. It is a role of comity, not power; of collaboration, not assertion.”

Detroy emphasized that neither the mayor nor any council member may give an order to city staff – the elected officials’ only employees are the city manager, city attorney and the city clerk. “This provision is reasonably interpreted to require that all requests for information to city officials, including those from the mayor’s office, must pass through the city manager,” he said.

Detroy suggested that Jennings and Strimling could always draft a Memorandum of Agreement about each other’s roles as a way to resolve the dispute. That has not occurred, according to a city spokesperson.


But not even that outside legal opinion from DeTroy seemed to end the conflicts.

Emails reveal that Strimling had agreed to a meeting with a city sanitation worker around May 23, but had to cancel it after Jennings informed the mayor that the employee had filed a grievance against the city.

“As we have discussed on many occasions, you should not be meeting with city staff regardless of the issue,” Jennings said in a May 23 email to Strimling and the City Council. “I once again request you do not meet with city staff unless you go through me or (Deputy City Manager Anita LaChance).”

Two months later, Strimling had apparently reached out to a staffer at the India Street Public Health Center to get an update about how the transition of HIV positive services from the city clinic to a nonprofit agency was going. That prompted Jennings to send an email to the city attorney.

“I am formally requesting to know the process, if any, in which I can bring forward a complaint about the continued violation of the charter by Ethan Strimling,” Jennings asked in a July 6 email. West-Chuhta replied there is no formal process for doing so in either the charter or the council rules.

By this point, the relationship between Strimling and Jennings had completely broken down.

Both men met at least weekly up until April, when Strimling denounced Jennings’ proposal to transition health services from the India Street clinic to a nonprofit group, claiming the move put “pavement over people.” Jennings, who had a family member die because of substance abuse, was both personally and professionally offended, as were other councilors, who rebuked the mayor immediately after his remarks.

Strimling’s critique caught both Jennings and the council by surprise because the mayor had repeatedly been briefed on the budget. Strimling had attended a series of meetings in March between Jennings and each councilor to learn about the plan, and registered no complaints.

Strimling says he didn’t understand the impact on the clinic until shortly before the budget was released publicly.


After that stinging budget message, Jennings and Strimling only appear to have met to set council meeting agendas, according to a review of the mayor’s public schedule.

Strimling and Jennings were still at odds as recently as November, when the Press Herald reached out to both men to discuss tensions at City Hall.

Jennings maintained that he had adhered to the charter by incorporating the council’s collective goals into his budget and meeting with the mayor to discuss the budget, while maintaining a firewall between the mayor and other city staff. Strimling, however, complained about a lack of access to city staff and argued that the city manager should have sought and incorporated his advice into the draft budget.

The council conducted its annual review of Jennings last Friday, and the session lasted two hours. City Councilor Justin Costa, who leads the Nominations Committee that oversees the review process, would not comment about whether the separation of powers was discussed during the private meeting.

Three days later at Monday’s inauguration ceremony, Strimling literally gave olive branches to each councilor and the manager. He also used the inauguration ceremony to deliver a speech and address the year-long conflict.

Although Strimling said he’d work to improve his relationship with the council, the mayor signaled that he was not yet ready to fully accept the legal opinions limiting his role in daily operations. He blamed the charter for much of the tension over the previous year and called on the council to help “realize this more democratic form of government that the people demanded,” suggesting that the city’s top elected official should have more say.


]]> 0, 08 Dec 2016 06:44:10 +0000
Federal contracts and patents Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Federal contracts and patents recently awarded in Maine:


PROCK MARINE CO.: The Rockland company won a $542,970 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for maintenance dredging at Sagamore Creek. The work will occur in Portsmouth and Rye, New Hampshire.

COMPOTECH INC.: The Brewer company won a $208,060 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Army for the design, fabrication and testing of modular shelters.

WARDWELL PIPING INC.: The Windham company won a $62,250 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the replacement of boiler tubes. The work will occur in the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.

MCGEE CONSTRUCTION: The Gardiner company won a $319,025 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service for snow removal services at the E.S. Muskie Federal Building in Augusta.

SOMATEX INC.: The Detroit company won a $36,620 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Air Force Material Command for rails and hoists.

COLBY CO.: The Portland company won a contract valued at up to $500,000 from the U.S. Postal Service for architectural and engineering services for repair and alteration projects, building expansions and new construction of lease and owned facilities in Maine.

MEGA INDUSTRIES LLC: The Gorham company won a $39,815 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for waveguide adapters.

DOWNEAST LOGISTICS LLC: The Scarborough company won a $33,233 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the Defense Logistics Agency for specimen bags.

HOWELL LABORATORIES INC.: The Bridgton company won a $25,500 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for centrifugal pump units.

ENGINEERED CONSTRUCTION SERVICES INC.: The Raymond company won a $1,070,311 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic for the replacement of compressed air dryers.

N.H. BRAGG & SONS: The Bangor company won a $49,940 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the Defense Logistics Agency for storage batteries.


PROCK MARINE CO.: The Rockland company won a $542,970 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for maintenance dredging at Sagamore Creek. The work will occur in Portsmouth and Rye, New Hampshire.

COMPOTECH INC.: The Brewer company won a $208,060 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Army for the design, fabrication and testing of modular shelters.

WARDWELL PIPING INC.: The Windham company won a $62,250 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the replacement of boiler tubes. The work will occur in the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.

MCGEE CONSTRUCTION: The Gardiner company won a $319,025 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service for snow removal services at the E.S. Muskie Federal Building in Augusta.

SOMATEX INC.: The Detroit company won a $36,620 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Air Force Material Command for rails and hoists.

COLBY CO.: The Portland company won a contract valued at up to $500,000 from the U.S. Postal Service for architectural and engineering services for repair and alteration projects, building expansions and new construction of lease and owned facilities in Maine.

MEGA INDUSTRIES LLC: The Gorham company won a $39,815 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for waveguide adapters.

DOWNEAST LOGISTICS LLC: The Scarborough company won a $33,233 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the Defense Logistics Agency for specimen bags.

HOWELL LABORATORIES INC.: The Bridgton company won a $25,500 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for centrifugal pump units.

ENGINEERED CONSTRUCTION SERVICES INC.: The Raymond company won a $1,070,311 contract set aside for small business from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic for the replacement of compressed air dryers.

N.H. BRAGG & SONS: The Bangor company won a $49,940 contract set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small business from the Defense Logistics Agency for storage batteries.

]]> 0 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:00:00 +0000
Toy Fund contributions made in honor of deceased donor Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Henrietta “Henty” LaRou was a loyal friend to needy children in southern Maine.

Well known for her knowledge of local history and her volunteer and civic contributions to her hometown of South Portland, LaRou also was well known to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund as one of the regular donors who always wanted to bring Christmas joy to children who faced bleak holidays because of circumstances beyond their control.

LaRou used to donate in memory of her late husband, Phillip, who died in 1996. She died just about one year ago, on Dec. 6, 2015, at the age of 94. And now, donations arrive at the toy fund in memory of Henrietta and Phillip.

The transition is a familiar one at the 67-year-old toy fund: Checks suddenly stop coming from a loyal supporter, replaced by checks in their memory.

Long-time donors like LaRou “are kind of like old friends we’ve never met,” said Kathleen Meade, director of the toy fund.

Toy fund donations in her name are a fitting way to remember LaRou, who lived a life as generous as it was long, and, when she died, had 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

LaRou was born and raised in South Portland, and devoted much of her life to bettering the community. She left her mark on South Portland’s libraries, the historical society and museums. She helped lead the land trust and led beach cleanups. She was a troop leader for Camp Fire Girls, taught Sunday School and was a leader at Holy Cross Church.

And, as a steadfast supporter of the toy fund, LaRou made a difference in homes and communities far beyond her hometown.

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents.

The fund – now in its 67th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Applications can be downloaded at or picked up at the Welcome Center desk on the fifth floor of One City Center in Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made on the website or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.

For more information and to donate online, go to:

See more stories about the fund at


In memory of Bill and Mary Lamont who loved Children and Christmas  $100

Anonymous  $25

In loving memory of Belinda & Leslie Gray  $25

In loving memory of Iola and Raymond Leavitt  $25

In memory of Robert Pettengill from the family  $50

In memory of Bill and Alice Amero from the family  $50

Merry Christmas: Danielle & Brooke  $100

Linda Hanscom  $50

Merry Christmas from Lorraine Sarno  $10

In loving memorry of Nannie & Papa Flaherty and family  $50

In loving memory of Grammie and Grandpa Smith and family  $50

Merry Christmas – Manus L. Doten  $100

In memory of Mom and Dad Foss and grandparents  $150

Paul Loring  $100

In memory of my Dad – Sharon Lorrain  $25

In memory of my beloved Bob, my first and only love – Simone  $25

In memory of Hedy  $50

In memory of my parents – Marion & Edwin Brown – from Fran  $50

Everest and Macenzie Freeman – Merry Christmas!  $25

Anonymous  $25

In Priscilla’s Memory  $30

In memory of Larry and Aldona Barnes  $25

In memory of Phillip LaRou Sr. and Henerietta LaRou  $25

Merry Christmas from Ollie’s Mom and Daddy  $50

Janet Mordarski  $30

In loving memory of our wonderful parents – Dot & George Robinson- Suzanne & Sherry  $75

In memory of Flora & Walter Perkins  $100

In memory of Geraldine and Warren  $100

In memory of Angie Walker from Keith  $100

In thanks to God for so many blessings  $100

Olive Hart  $100

Anonymous  $40

In memory of Joe Robinson – “what a pretty day”  $50

Kathy Duell Camire  $50

In memory of Mr. & Mrs. James H. Kehoe and Mr. Raymond L. Davignon  $100

Donna & Greg Barmore  $150

Best Wishes from Drumlin Environmental, LLC  $150

Total to date  $47,795.60

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:35:34 +0000
Even ‘foodie’ Maine has an appetite for delivered meal kits Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Emily Griffin likes to cook, but the working wife and mother of a 2-year-old found planning meals on Sunday for the coming week and then shopping for the ingredients onerous.

So when a family member gave her a free trial to Blue Apron, one of the many meal kit companies that have come on the scene since 2012, she jumped on it.

“It’s the convenience factor,” she said. “I don’t have to create a whole meal plan and there’s little food waste. And it’s good if you like to cook because you can explore different things.”

The food kits, which include everything needed to make a meal in about 45 minutes, seem to run counter to the farm-to-fork foodie movement for which Maine is known. But Griffin says Blue Apron supports local agriculture in the areas where it packages. It also will take back, with a prepaid label, any packaging, although she says it tries to package using recyclable items.

“The food may not be local to here, but a lot of it is local,” said Griffin, 34, of Lisbon Falls. “I’m a huge fan of it. And we did a (farm product share program) out of Freeport this summer with salad to supplement Blue Apron.”

Meal kit makers emerged in 2012 and quickly grew into what is expected to be a $1.5 billion market this year, with more than 150 companies competing nationally, regionally and locally, including Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Plated, according to market research firm Packaged Facts of Rockville, Maryland. A Brunswick company, Local Market, had so much success this summer with meal kits made from local farm fare that it plans to resume the service in the spring.

Griffin has used the service weekly, getting three, two-person meals every Saturday. She’s been so satisfied that others in her family have joined in. Her mother, 62, lives alone in Brunswick and uses Blue Apron, as does her uncle, 52, a priest in Bath who has odd hours and likes the convenience, she says.

Griffin works full time at a software company and runs a second business on the side selling LuLaRoe clothing for about 25 hours a week on nights and weekends. Her husband drives more than 700 miles a week as a sales representative for Federal Distributors Inc., a beer distributor in Lewiston. So the time saved on planning and running to the stores, let alone buying ingredients like spices that she’ll only use a few times, has made the $10 meals worth the cost.

“You can’t even get takeout for under $35,” she said. “I think the kits will grow. People can’t afford to go to (restaurants like TIQA in Portland) once a month for farm-to-table. They’re awesome, but they’re expensive.

“This is super-attractive for people who aren’t in Portland proper,” she said. “You have a well-rounded palate without breaking the bank.”

Griffin said some meal kits mix ingredients in ways that never would have occurred to her, such as kale with couscous and vinegar dressing.


Meal kits still are in their infancy, and cost is one of the main drawbacks, according to the Chicago market research firm NPD Group. The average cost of a standard in-home dinner is $4 per person, but it’s $10 for a single meal using a kit, closer in price to a take-out meal. Although $10 might be a bargain for residents of large cities, those in rural areas might find it steep. Still, NPD Group says about 3 percent of U.S. adults, about 8 million people, have tried a meal kit over the past year, and two-thirds were satisfied with the service.

The kits typically are sold by monthly subscription and come in boxes complete with all ingredients and recipe cards for making the meals. In July, The New York Times started selling boxed versions of its printed recipes to be delivered by Chef’d, including with meal ingredients for making braised halibut with asparagus, baby potatoes and saffron.

Even the big food companies are jumping in. Tyson Foods said earlier this year that it will launch a curated line of dinners called Tyson Tastemakers. And Martha Stewart has started Martha & Marley Spoon.

A Packaged Facts study estimated that meal kit delivery startups have raised more than $650 million in venture capital, but still haven’t turned a profit because they are in growth mode, setting up new facilities, hiring workers and bringing in new customers with deep discounts.


So, do meal kit companies represent a major shift in the way we eat, like TV dinners did 50 or 60 years ago, or are they just a fad?

It’s probably too early to say for sure, but Sharon Smiley, co-owner of Local Market in Brunswick, thinks meal kits are here to stay. “Once (customers) buy one, a lot of them reorder,” she said. “People like quick and healthy meals.”

The market first tried offering meal boxes with food sourced from local Maine farms last May to October, during the height of the growing season. Boxes ranged from $30 to $38 and fed two people.

She stocked the boxes, based on recipes from the store’s chef, with vegetables from Left Field Farm in Bowdoinham, White Oak Farm in Warren and Farm Fresh Connection, a Freeport-based collaborative of some 20 farms. She also used pasta from Blue Ribbon Farm in Mercer and bread from Standard Baking Co. in Portland. Each boxed meal came with a recipe card and photo of how to plate it. Added to that were spice rubs and other items needed for flavor.

Recipes were based on prepared food already sold in the store, then advertised on social media. “Instead of shopping at two or three different places, customers could pick up everything here,” Smiley said. She plans to sell the boxes again starting in the spring.

Boxes were made-to-order and sold only on Thursdays, primarily to young professionals and older couples, Smiley says.


Jessica Simpson, 36, a single working mom from Cape Elizabeth, has tried several of the boxed meals. A manager at her family’s Shoppers True Value Hardware store in South Portland, she has ordered the meals once or twice a month for six months at a time over the past five years. The ordering is flexible, and she can choose from different meal options each week, including vegetarian meals.

Simpson says she started ordering the meal kits when free offers appeared on her Facebook account. So far she’s tried Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and most recently, Sun Basket out of San Francisco.

“It’s a way to get different foods that you wouldn’t necessarily get at the restaurant,” she said, adding that sometimes she gets more out of two meals because her 6-year-old son only eats part of his meal. She thinks there’s less food waste overall.

“The food quality is really good. The portions are good,” she said.

Simpson especially likes the quinoa black bean chili, which she says she’d never made before, but her son picked out the “round things,” meaning the quinoa.

Seafood and meat come in frozen packs, and the meal packs are shipped mainly through overnight services.

Simpson says she likes Sun Basket because it has a lot of meals from different parts of the world, and cards that come in the box tell about the food.

“The cards also tell you the amount of calories, protein, fiber and other information,” she said. “The concept is really good for people who like to try different things.”

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:56:03 +0000
Our View: There is no easy fix for health care reform law Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Health care, with its interlocking systems of public and private insurers and providers, is complex, so health care reform is never easy.

But for the last four election cycles we have heard Republican office seekers say that it’s really simple. All you have to do is repeal “Obamacare,” they said, and replace it with something better.

But replace it with what? Anyone who can remember back before 2010, when you could be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition, lose your insurance for getting too sick or find your medication unaffordable because you fell into a “doughnut hole,” knows that some things are worse than Obamacare.

Now some Republicans in Congress are saying that the solution should be “repeal and delay,” cutting out the legs from the health reform law and spend the next three years designing an alternative. As if what America really needs is three years of uncertainty and upheaval in the health care economy.

A recent study by the Urban Institute puts some of what’s at stake into perspective. If congressional Republicans pass a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation (a process that requires only a majority vote in the Senate), they could eliminate Medicaid expansion, and tax credits for people who buy insurance on the exchanges, as well as individual and employer mandates.

While we wait for the new plan to take shape, this is what we could expect to see:

n 22.5 million would drop insurance they can’t afford without a subsidy.

n The individual market would collapse, driving insurance companies out, leaving millions more Americans without options.

n Hospital costs for uncompensated care would skyrocket.

There is a better way, even if it won’t match the hot rhetoric of the campaign trail.

While Republicans have talked about replacing the Affordable Care Act, Democrats have said that it should be fixed. There might be enough improvements that both parties could agree on that would satisfy the Republican promises in the short run, while the new administration takes on a more thorough reform.

Negotiating prescription drugs and expanding payment reform trials that reward wellness are among the small changes that could make a big difference.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins said that until she sees a bill, she’s not sure how she would vote on a plan to dismantle the ACA without replacing it right away.

But she did express her concern about the order of the steps that some of her colleagues are proposing. “I think what we need to focus on first is what would we replace it with and what are the steps to do that,” she told the Press Herald last week.

Collins is a longtime critic of the ACA, and would be a good source for recommendations on how it could be changed. We urge her to offer those ideas and fight an irresponsible repeal and delay strategy.

Incremental reforms are not the easy fix that some members of Congress are promising, but they’re a much better way to approach a problem for which no fix is easy.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:21:32 +0000
Letter to the editor: Any new downtown parking in Biddeford must be affordable Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Many Maine communities, with downtown growth, consider parking a necessary ingredient for further economic growth and resident happiness. To this end, Biddeford might build a parking garage, the Press Herald reported Nov. 30 in the article “Downtown Biddeford’s all abuzz, but the parking’s a buzzkill.”

A municipal parking garage can be an important asset for a growing community. It provides certainty to shoppers, employees and community members that parking will be available close to their destination.

Great examples include High-Hanover Garage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Bangor’s Hammond Street Deck; and the Wells Street Parking Structure in Keene, New Hampshire. In particular, the High-Hanover Garage has been carefully expanded over the years to meet demand.

In contrast, an empty municipal parking garage just ends up being expensive to build, expensive to operate and expensive to repair. For example, Auburn’s Mechanic’s Row Parking Garage and some areas of the four garages Lewiston has built in the last decade and a half are considered underutilized.

Biddeford commissioned a 2012 parking study that identified a future parking shortage in the private mill area developments. If a municipal parking garage is built to serve these developments, it must be linked to long-term, affordable user fees.

Biddeford city staff have a solid grasp of the issues, presented in a May report titled “An Analysis of the Real Costs of Free Parking.” I hope Biddeford’s staff is empowered to make progressive decisions in the execution of downtown Biddeford’s parking and transportation policy as the city moves forward on this expensive decision.

Sam Snellings


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Letter to the editor: Health care policy must move forward, not back Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Daniel C. Bryant, M.D., deserves credit for seizing the moment in his Dec. 5 Maine Voices column, “Trump’s health care policy appears heavy on complexity, light on mercy.”

In analyzing each of six changes that President-elect Donald Trump promises to make to our health care system (outlined on Trump’s website), Dr. Bryant exposes their multiple inadequacies. His arguments in debunking them are altogether convincing.

I find it outrageous that the United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, but lags behind other industrialized nations in life expectancy.

As Dr. Bryant makes clear: “A simple and equitable system of the single-payer, Medicare-for-All type” is the way to go! Working toward that end, this retired physician is leader of the Portland chapter of Maine AllCare (

Elaine G. McGillicuddy


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Letter to the editor: Children hear meanings that adults might have missed Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 One recent evening, we received a call from our granddaughter, who is a teacher at a charter school in Springfield, Massachusetts, and whose fifth-graders are predominantly Hispanic and black.

She said that the children, the students, were afraid and very upset, because the next president of the United States is a man who thinks he can say anything and that there are no consequences to what he says, that words don’t matter.

Well, words do matter. He can’t take them back. He said them, and the children heard them. They heard what he said and what his supporters said, and they are scared and their lives are being profoundly damaged by what Donald Trump has said and says he will do.

I say to all of us: This is the time to talk to our children and our grandchildren, to reassure them, but also to tell them that they can make a difference. And going forward, we must all do whatever it takes to make sure that such a man with such a terrible message does not again prevail in a presidential election.

Deborah Schneider


]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:46:39 +0000
Letter to the editor: More walkable spaces are important to older residents Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Throughout its history, AARP has had a vision of an America whose towns and cities nurture the mobility, safety and engagement of citizens throughout their lives.

In 2012, AARP implemented a program, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, to support cities, towns and neighborhoods across the country. More than any other state, Maine cities and towns have risen to the challenge. In fact, 21 Maine communities have already joined the network, and more are in process.

Portland, home to our state office, is one of these engaged and enlightened municipalities that have joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities.

Multi-generational mobility is a cornerstone of the age-friendly vision, and I am writing today in response to Shoshana Hoose’s final Leg Work column, “On our way to better cycling and walking around Maine” (Nov. 6), to both commend and encourage Portland in its mission to improve our city’s bicycling and walking-friendly infrastructure.

AARP Maine agrees that several promising initiatives are already underway in Portland to address the conditions of roads and sidewalks – positive changes for residents and visitors of all ages. We also appreciate the mention of other opportunities to make the city more livable for older residents.

Hoose rightly acknowledges the need for creative solutions to address transportation challenges. It is worth noting that age-friendly solutions can be effective even when addressing just one concern. For example, the placement of more benches at bus stops would be of great benefit to older or physically challenged commuters who currently have to stand while they wait for the bus to arrive.

As Portland continues to advance age-friendly initiatives, we applaud the efforts of community leaders and town officials to tackle these issues as they work to build a nurturing and safe environment now and for the future. To learn more, go to

Andrea Cooper

Americorps VISTA member, AARP Maine Age-Friendly Communities


]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:45:24 +0000
Commentary: LePage administration committed to Maine’s disabled, DHHS chief says Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 AUGUSTA — The Maine Sunday Telegram’s recent article on Maine’s commitment to individuals with an intellectual disability or autism is uninformed, misleading and beyond biased. (“Maine used to be a leader in caring for adults with intellectual handicaps. What went wrong?” Dec. 4)

While it is the newspaper’s prerogative to editorialize its opposition to the LePage administration, as it so routinely does, it is unacceptable and wrong to publish a news article that needlessly frightens families and vulnerable individuals by twisting and clouding the truth.

The assertion that the Department of Health and Human Services has reduced funding for, or focus on, services for individuals with an intellectual disability or autism is false. In fact, the opposite is true. We have increased funding by over $70 million over the last five years.

From the earliest days of the LePage administration, we have endeavored to refocus MaineCare spending on Maine’s neediest and most vulnerable – specifically, our state’s elderly and those with disabilities. The governor and I have made meeting the needs of this population a core priority as we have returned fiscal stability to the state budget and worked to align our limited resources to our most vulnerable populations.

We have been consistent in our words and in our actions. Previous administrations successfully supported massive expansions in MaineCare that dramatically increased the number of nondisabled adults on the program, led to a program in a constant state of financial crisis and created massive annual shortfalls, to the detriment of elderly and disabled Mainers.

Despite what this newspaper would have readers believe, the LePage administration’s commitment to Mainers with severe disabilities remains strong and unwavering. Consider the facts:

• Section 21 and Section 29 are the policy sections that create support for individuals with disabilities.

• From fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2016, DHHS has increased funding for Section 21 group-home and Section 29 in-home services from $278 million in 2011 to $350 million in 2016. The number of adults served under those sections of policy has increased from 4,128 to 4,882 in the same time period.

• DHHS has eliminated the waitlist for Section 29 Supports Waiver.

• Gov. LePage included a funding increase of more than $40 million to address the Section 21 waitlist in his fiscal years 2016-2017 biennial budget proposal. While the Legislature only supported $14 million of that increase in their final budget, DHHS has used those dollars to provide additional services to 200 individuals, removing them from the waitlist.

• Maine spends more per person on these services than 48 other states. Most states spend an average of half of what Maine provides for the same services for the same level of need in the population served.

Even considering these advances, it is important to consider the following context within the debate about funding for services to the intellectually and developmentally disabled. Unfortunately, the Press Herald article ignores any such context.

The annual cost to serve an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a group home is typically between $130,000 and $160,000. Dollars for these essential services add up quickly, and Maine’s resources to fund them are finite and limited by the amount set by the Legislature. That is why the LePage administration has maintained a determined focus on shifting MaineCare’s prioritization to our state’s neediest and most vulnerable. It is why we have implemented common-sense reforms, such as proposing that providers only bill for the amount of services they provide. And it is why we have adamantly opposed MaineCare expansion.

This newspaper ignores fiscal reality by strongly advocating for the expansion of the Medicaid program to 100,000 nondisabled, nonelderly individuals at a state cost of more than $400 million in the next five years. By contrast, the LePage administration has not only opposed that expansion to protect resources for our most vulnerable, but has also significantly increased that financial support by successfully prioritizing taxpayer resources.

We’ve moved from the crisis-oriented financial management that dominated DHHS for more than a decade to create a stable financial foundation. We have reined in the out-of-control spending that failed to prioritize our neediest, exacerbated Maine’s tax burden and distorted other state priorities because of the annual shortfall in the DHHS budget.

As a result of improved financial management and prioritization, Gov. LePage will be able to include additional funding for Section 21 services when he submits his biennial budget proposal to the Legislature next month. From there, it will be up to legislators to uphold those funding increases and help the LePage administration continue to support services to individuals with an intellectual disability or autism in our state.

We hope that they will do the right thing and support Maine’s disabled and elderly.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:07:56 +0000
Dana Milbank: Trump’s unpredictability already making for messy foreign relationships Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 Is America becoming a rogue state?

The State Department stopped using the term years ago to describe the likes of Iran and North Korea, figuring it was needlessly provocative. But it would seem the incoming Trump administration plans to handle its affairs – domestic and foreign – in a manner that meets the dictionary definition of a “rogue state” as one “that conducts its policy in a dangerously unpredictable way.”

Even before Donald Trump threw Sino-American relations into a new round of turmoil by speaking with the Taiwanese leader and by trolling a nation of 1.4 billion people on Twitter, Trump and his team set off new chaos between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, with Trump praising the repressive regime of the latter and pledging to visit.

Trump snubbed our closest ally, Britain, by having post-election calls with nine foreign leaders before granting British Prime Minister Theresa May the honor. He shattered protocol by suggesting that Britain name Nigel Farage, the Brexit leader, ambassador to the U.S. Meanwhile, NATO leaders meeting in Brussels this week were on edge about Trump’s coziness with Russia and his dismissive words about the alliance.

According to foreign government accounts, Trump praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against drug users and dealers, which has killed at least 4,500 people in five months. And he hailed Kazakhstan dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev for his “fantastic success” that can be called a “miracle.”

The domestic picture is no less chaotic. Trump is now open to keeping the Paris climate pact, after calling climate change a hoax. He campaigned against Goldman Sachs as a symbol of corruption and is now stocking his administration with Goldman bankers. He pledged to reinstate waterboarding and to repeal Obamacare but is rethinking both. He riled supporters with a pledge to prosecute and imprison Hillary Clinton but has reconsidered. He dropped his pledge to ban Muslims or those from terrorism-prone countries from entering America in favor of better vetting of all immigrants. He now says his border wall may be a fence in parts, and he dropped his talk of mass deportation of illegal immigrants.

His nominee to be commerce secretary assures Americans that “tariffs are the last thing” to which the Trump administration would resort – only to be contradicted by Trump himself, who tweeted Sunday that here will “soon” be a 35 percent tariff on imports from companies that offshore jobs.

But for all the promises Trump is breaking, there is one he has kept without wavering: his vow to be unpredictable. “We must as a nation be more unpredictable,” he said this year. “We have to be unpredictable, and we have to be unpredictable starting now.”

Some suggest that there is a method to Trump’s madness, that he is trying to make would-be adversaries think he is irrational and capricious, thereby making foes and rivals wary of pushing him too far. This is why North Korea’s Kim Jong Un gets a wide berth.

But while there may be advantages to keeping foes and opponents off guard, Trump is baffling friends and allies, too. In foreign affairs, unpredictability spooks allies and spreads instability. And unpredictable policy at home has long been seen as toxic for business.

For these reasons, George W. Bush made predictable leadership a matter of pride. When I covered his White House 16 years ago, I found that the best way to predict Bush’s actions was to listen to his words: He did exactly what he said he would do. Many didn’t like the result, but Bush made it easy for Republicans in Congress to follow his lead.

Now, Trump’s uncertain trumpet is having the opposite effect. The corporate welfare offered to Carrier’s parent company to keep jobs in the United States has some previously supportive conservatives complaining about crony capitalism. His revived talk of high tariffs on imports has Republican congressional leaders worried about a trade war. On his decision to speak with the Taiwanese leader, Trump’s would-be defenders were split: Was it a meaningless courtesy, as some Trump advisers said? Or a well-thought-out shift in U.S. policy, as others claimed?

The widespread chaos suggests Trump isn’t signaling new policies as much as he’s winging it. His unpredictability is not a theory. It’s the absence of one.

Dana Milbank is a columnist for The Washington Post. He can be contacted at:

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 18:05:56 +0000
Whether in war or politics, arrogance results in bad decisions Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:00:00 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — June 4, 1942, 10:20 a.m. local time, 175 miles northwest of Midway Atoll, north-central Pacific.

Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo strode the bridge of Akagi, flagship of a powerful Japanese carrier strike force that six months earlier had decimated American ships at anchor at Pearl Harbor and then marauded through the western Pacific, taking the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, British Malaya, Singapore, Guam and Wake Island.

The aim of this new offensive was to occupy Midway, destroy what remained of the U.S. Fleet and drive American forces back to the West Coast.

The day had begun well with a devastating first strike on Midway, the returning planes being rearmed for a final coup de grace. It was the high water mark of the Japanese Empire, those final few minutes when a Pacific Ocean dominated by the Land of the Rising Sun still loomed possible.

Then a Japanese scout plane spotted American carriers to the northeast. The same thing had happened a month earlier in the Coral Sea when American carriers appeared unexpectedly and turned back a Japanese invasion of Port Moresby on the doorstep to Australia. American cryptographers had broken the Japanese naval code and were reading their every move, but with the arrogance born of success and believing their code was unbreakable, the Japanese never suspected.

Nagumo ordered his aircraft rearmed to attack the American carriers, with the result that his flight decks were littered with munitions. The first American attack came at wave-top level by 41 torpedo bombers that scored not a single hit, losing 37 of their number. Then American dive bombers from two carriers arrived over the Japanese at exactly the same time and turned the weapons-strewn decks of three Japanese carriers into sinking, raging infernos.

The Japanese withdrew from Midway and began the retreat that would end at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thus making those five minutes when American dive bombers rained down death from on high one of the most spectacular sudden reversals of national fortune in history. It was a defeat born of arrogance.

So, too, for the recent election. Hillary Clinton was the anointed one – anointed by the mainstream media, academia, Hollywood, intellectuals, feminists, coastal elites – everyone who wasn’t working-class middle America.

She’d been preparing since childhood, went to the best Eastern schools, stuck with her philandering husband as first lady in Arkansas and Washington (would she have done so had Bill been a plumber?), blew the 2008 nomination by underestimating Barack Obama, then blew her secretary of state stint by setting up a private email server.

Why would she do something so reckless? Because she and her team “wanted to get away with it,” said Clinton adviser Neera Tanden. It was arrogance.

She pledged to maintain a wall of separation between her State Department duties and the Clinton Foundation, and then she didn’t. It was arrogance.

She lied about the Benghazi attack being caused by a video, according to family members of people killed there. She described 50 percent of Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” And never after the April primary did she visit the swing state of Wisconsin, which she lost. It was arrogance.

And she underestimated Trump – arrogance on steroids.

Yet still she was expected to win, and when the polls closed in the East at 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, Democrats looked forward to taking the Senate, major House gains, some governorships, controlling the Supreme Court for a generation, and a Republican Party in utter disarray. It was the high water mark of modern American liberalism.

Then, at 10:22, Ohio was called for Trump, then North Carolina, then Florida, then – gasp – Wisconsin. Pennsylvania was anticlimactic – it was over. Republicans had achieved their highest level of national dominance since 1928, and it was the Democratic Party that was in shambles. As with the Japanese, it was a defeat born of arrogance.

Even after being surprised by the Americans at Coral Sea and Midway, the Japanese refused to believe that their naval code could be broken, and they paid dearly. In April 1943 American codebreakers deciphered Japanese message traffic indicating that Isoroku Yamamoto, fleet admiral and Pearl Harbor attack mastermind, would be visiting the Japanese base at Rabaul. American aircraft arrived off Rabaul at exactly the right time and sent Yamamoto to a fiery death.

Democrats, meanwhile, have responded to the Rust Belt revolution that elected Donald Trump by re-electing San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader and are considering Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a far-left progressive and a Muslim, to head the Democratic National Committee, acts of – shall I say it – breathtaking arrogance.

They’ll go down in flames like Yamamoto.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:17:57 +0000
UConn women beat Notre Dame to stretch winning streak to 83 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:28:13 +0000 SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A month into the season Connecticut doesn’t look quite as vulnerable as many people thought. Not after beating No. 2 Notre Dame. Not after winning its 83rd straight game.

Two days after narrowly earning the top-ranking in The Associated Press poll, the Huskies easily secured that title on the court with a comfortable 72-61 victory over the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night, their third straight victory over a ranked team.

Coach Geno Auriemma said the Huskies (8-0) wouldn’t know their winning streak stretched to more than two years if not for the media.

“I would think if this was the first time our program had ever been here, we’d be acting a little bit different. You don’t want to sound like you don’t appreciate it – but we did win 90 in a row,” Auriemma said.

Napheesa Collier scored 14 of her 20 points in the second half after playing just nine minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Gabby Williams had 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and Katie Lou Samuelson added 18 points to pace the Huskies.

The Huskies trailed for about 2 minutes in late in the second quarter, but played with the lead most of the game as they controlled the inside, outscoring the Irish 42-30 in the paint and finishing with a 35-32 edge in rebounding.

“I was really disappointed in everything, execution, the inability to get the ball to (Brianna Turner.) Completely ineffective offensively,” Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said.

Turner led the Irish (8-1) with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Lindsay Allen added 11 points.

After Notre Dame tied it at 42 with just under 2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Huskies forced a pair of turnovers leading to layups by Samuelson and Williams.

Collier added a pair of free throws to give Connecticut the lead 50-43 at the end of the third quarter.

“We knew they were going to hit us hard at times and we just had to hit back harder,” Williams said.

Auriemma said that stretch was the key.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 23:29:35 +0000
Wednesday’s college basketball roundup: Maine men top Holy Cross Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:15:33 +0000 BANGOR — Ryan Bernstein and Ilker Er each scored 12 points and Maine held on to beat Holy Cross 55-53 on Wednesday night.

Er hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Black Bears (3-6) a 50-39 lead but Holy Cross scored the next six points.

Karl Charles sank an open 3-pointer to pull Holy Cross (3-6) within 54-52 with 1:06 left and he blocked a shot on the other end. After a timeout, Charles missed an open layup and Maine forward Andrew Fleming hit 1 of 2 free throws with 17.1 seconds left for a three-point lead.

Holy Cross forward Malachi Alexander air-balled a 3-pointer but Maine’s Marko Pirovic missed the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left to give the Crusaders another chance. Robert Champion hit the first of two free throws with 2.6 seconds left and intentionally missed the second, but it went out of bounds.

BATES 74, BOWDOIN 60: Marcus Delpeche scored 25 points, Malcolm Delpeche had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bobcats (5-2) rode an early lead to a win over Bowdoin (4-3) in a nonconference game at Lewiston.

Malcolm Delpeche blocked one shot to bring his career total to 127 blocks, tied for the most in team history.

Jack Bors scored 16 points for the Polar Bears.

UM-PRESQUE ISLE 64, COLBY 64: Derek Healy sank the winning jumper with 13 seconds remaining, and the Owls (3-4) rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 10 minutes to beat the Mules (4-4) at Presque Isle.

Healy finished with 31 points. Patrick Stewart had 22 points and eight rebounds for Colby.

(6) KENTUCKY 87, VALPARAISO 63: Bam Adebayo scored 16 points, Malik Monk added 15 and the Wildcats (8-1) scored 21 straight points during a first-half run in a win over Valparaiso (7-2) at Lexington, Kentucky.

Needing to rebound after Saturday’s upset by then-No. 11 UCLA, Kentucky turned a 4-all tie into a 29-9 lead behind that big run over 8:51, holding the Crusaders scoreless for 7 minutes during that stretch.

(11) LOUISVILLE 74, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 51: Mangok Mathiang scored 15 points to lead host Louisville (8-1) past Southern Illinois (5-4).

The 6-foot-10 senior got the Cardinals off to a hot start as he scored the team’s first seven points, and Louisville settled in from there, extending the lead to 21-4 in the game’s first 8 minutes.


MAINE 68, NORTHEASTERN 49: Sigi Koizar scored all of her 14 points in the first half to help the Black Bears (4-5) open a 37-22 lead over Northeastern (2-7) at Bangor.

Laia Sole led Maine with 16 points, including 10 in the first half. Julie Brosseau added 11.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:19:05 +0000
Bruins soar back from three-goal hole, but lose 4-3 in OT Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:12:06 +0000 WASHINGTON — Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:36 into overtime, helping the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 after blowing a three-goal lead Wednesday night.

Justin Williams scored twice and Daniel Winnik also had a goal to put Washington ahead 3-0 about six minutes into the second period.

After Winnik’s tally, Washington went over 26 minutes without a shot on goal. Boston dominated the final five minutes of the second period, when Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak beat goaltender Braden Holtby. Colin Miller’s power-play score 8:19 into third tied it at 3.

Boston arrived in Washington 4-0-1 over its last five games with three wins in a row, including a 4-3 overtime triumph against Florida on Monday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin got his first point since Nov. 26.

Boston outshot Washington 34-20. The Capitals have won two straight following a three-game skid.

Backstrom patiently waited on the right side before firing the winner past goaltender Tuukka Rask, who entered second in the league with a 1.68 goals-against average. Rask allowed three goals in his previous outing, too.

Williams had two goals over the first 24 games this season, but he matched that total less than eight minutes in against the Bruins. He redirected Kuznetsov’s lofted centering pass past Rask for a 1-0 lead 23 seconds into the first period.

Matt Niskanen left with an upper-body injury and did not return. With the Caps down a defenseman, Boston outshot Washington 11-2 in the second period.

The Capitals’ second goal also occurred in front of the net. Williams emerged from a scramble with a shot that slithered under Rask.

NOTES: Boston assigned F Noel Acciari to the Providence Bruins of the AHL two days after the 24-year forward returned to practice. Acciari injured his right leg on Nov. 7. … Holtby improved to 10-2 career against the Bruins. His first career win came in relief against Boston in November 2010.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 23:28:26 +0000
NBA roundup: Cavaliers roar past Knicks Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:08:23 +0000 NEW YORK — LeBron James scored 25 points, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love also surpassed 20, and the Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the New York Knicks 126-94 on Wednesday night.

James had nothing to say Wednesday morning about Knicks President Phil Jackson and not much more about his decision to not stay with the team in a Donald Trump-branded hotel, but he and the Cavs made a loud statement at Madison Square Garden.

It was their second straight win after a three-game skid, and they did it easily in handing the Knicks their worst loss of the season. Irving led Cleveland with 28 points and Love scored 21, 16 in the first quarter.

Brandon Jennings scored 16 points for the Knicks, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. He started for Derrick Rose, who missed his first game of the season with lower back pain.

Tristan Thompson grabbed 20 rebounds for the Cavs. They played without guard J.R. Smith, who returned to Cleveland for additional testing after hyperextending his left knee Monday.

HORNETS 87, PISTONS 77: Kemba Walker scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Nic Batum posted his third straight double-double and Charlotte won at home.

Batum had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Hornets, who won despite being held to 38 points in the first half.

Marvin Williams returned to Charlotte’s lineup after missing the last six games with a hyperextended knee and finished with 12 points and five rebounds.

ROCKETS 134, LAKERS 95: Eric Gordon made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points to help host Houston cruise past Los Angeles.

James Harden added 25 points in three quarters for the Rockets. They scored a season high and extended their winning streak to four games.

HAWKS 103, HEAT 95: Dwight Howard had 23 points and 17 rebounds, Paul Millsap added 21 points and host Atlanta snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Dennis Schroder had 17 points for the Hawks, who had gone 14 days without a victory.

Tyler Johnson scored a career-high 27 points for the Heat.

NETS 116, NUGGETS 111: Brook Lopez scored 24 points, Sean Kilpatrick had 22 and host Brooklyn held off Denver.

Brooklyn led by as many as 29 points midway through the third quarter, but Denver closed to 103-99 on Kenneth Faried’s layup with 4:31 left.

But Bojan Bogdanovic and Kilpatrick each made two foul shots in the final 13 seconds to help secure the win for the Nets.

BUCKS 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 107: Giannis Antetokounmpo got his second triple-double of the season to lead Milwaukee to a win at home.

Antetokounmpo had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh career double-double, second most in team history.


WARRIORS: Golden State players and coaches pledged $75,000 to help relief efforts for the deadly Oakland warehouse fire that happened only a few miles from their home arena.

Separately, the franchise already donated $50,000 to the Oakland Fire Relief fund.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:16:45 +0000
Bid begins to ban graffiti on Portland’s East End wall Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:07:37 +0000 For 15 years, the graffiti wall at the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility in Portland has served as a welcoming canvas for artists and others searching for a place to express their creative impulses.

But now there is a movement afoot to banish the Portland Water District’s so-called graffiti wall. The district’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to discuss the future of the controversial wall at a workshop Monday night.

The agenda states, “A discussion will begin regarding continued use of the wall at the treatment plant for graffiti art purposes.”

The topic was added to the agenda after Jay York, a Bayside resident and photographer, asked the board at its Nov. 28 meeting to consider banning graffiti painting on the wall and converting it to a mural.

“There are a lot of us who feel the existence of that wall sends a mixed message to the community,” York said. “Graffiti is illegal anywhere else in the city. The wall has basically become a training ground for young criminals to express themselves.”

York said he was speaking for East End property owners and business owners who believe the graffiti wall encourages graffiti painting in other places where it is not allowed. Graffiti is showing up in neighborhoods surrounding the treatment facility wall, he said.

“We feel the graffiti wall has been a failed experiment,” he said.

Michelle Clements, a spokeswoman for the water district, said the city approached the district about 15 years ago and asked if it would allow the wall to be used by graffiti artists. Clements said the wall was already being defaced, so the notion of designating it for use as a graffiti wall seemed like a good idea.

“It turned into a revolving canvas. People are always out there,” Clements said.

But in September, the 100-foot-long wall, which borders the Eastern Promenade Trail, was painted with a scathing depiction of Gov. Paul LePage dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Later in the day, the graffiti depicted the governor wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

At the time, Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling said the Klan depiction bordered on hate speech and should be removed.

“I do not want it up there. It is not reflective of our values,” Strimling told the Portland Press Herald.

But Strimling said Wednesday night that he would object to shutting the graffiti wall down. Other than the Asylum nightclub, which allowed graffiti on an adjacent exterior wall before the wall was torn down during renovations, there are no other places in the city where artists can legally display their talents.

“I’d be very disappointed to see the wall come down. It has served as a valuable asset to the community and to young people,” the mayor said. “If you take it down, graffiti will increase elsewhere in the city.”

City Councilor Belinda Ray in her online newsletter said, “Personally, I’m a big fan of that wall. It provides an opportunity for artists from all walks of life an open canvas on which to express themselves and gauge public reactions to their work.

“While the wall may, from time to time, contain controversial images, it does a great job of policing itself,” Ray wrote. “Artists who use the wall are, for the most part, respectful of one another’s work, and it is a wellspring of creativity and collaboration.”

The water district board does not allow public comment at its workshops and no decision will be made during it, said Guy Cote, chairman of the trustees. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district offices, 225 Douglass St.


]]> 0, 08 Dec 2016 00:23:56 +0000
Wednesday’s girls’ hockey roundup: Scarborough skates to tie Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:03:52 +0000 AUBURN — Lauren Topchik scored with 1:16 left in the third period as the Scarborough girls’ hockey team skated to a 2-2 tie with Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland on Wednesday at the Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Madi Simard scored in the first period to give the Red Hornets a 1-0 lead.

Taylor Veilleux tied it in the second period, before Mariah Vaillancourt gave the Red Hornets the lead back 3:30 into the third.

FALMOUTH 6, CAPE ELIZABETH/WAYNFLETE/SOUTH PORTLAND 1: Evie Clement scored twice in the opening two minutes, setting the tone for a Yachtsmen (4-0) victory over the Capers (2-2) in Falmouth.

Kayla Sarazin, Reade Carmichael and Caroline Proctor scored for Falmouth in the second period, and Stone Carmichael upped the lead to 6-0 in the third.

Kate Ginder scored the lone goal for Cape Elizabeth.

Ali Hurdman stopped 11 shots in net for the Yachtsmen. Cape goalie Abby Joy made 36 saves.

LEWISTON/MONMOUTH/OAK HILL 6, GORHAM/BONNY EAGLE/WINDHAM 4: Jordan Mynahan scored three goals in the third period as the Blue Devils (2-1) rallied to beat the Rams (2-2) in Lewiston.

Lewiston led 2-1 after the first period as Veda Leclerc and Andri Roy sandwiched goals around a score by Gorham’s Celia Begonia.

However, Gorham outscored Lewiston 3-1 in the second period to take a 4-3 lead into the final 15 minutes. Gorham’s Karen Stemm and Lewiston’s Katie Lemieux exchanged goals before Anna Nault and Begonia and tallied to put Gorham ahead.

ST. DOMINIC 12, MT. ARARAT/MORSE 0: Avery Lutrzykowski scored three times to help the Saints (3-0) beat Mt. Ararat/Morse (0-5) in Auburn.

Kristina Cornelio and Dasha Fons added two goals each, while Lexie Kesaris, Izzy Frenette, Madison Samson, Emma Theriault and Bugsy Hammerton scored the others.

St. Dom’s goalie Payton Winslow stopped both shots she faced. Lily Schenk had 27 saves in two period for Mt. Ararat/Morse.

WINSLOW/GARDINER 5, BRUNSWICK 4: Julie Hinkley scored less than a minute into overtime and the Black Tigers (2-2) beat the Dragons (1-2) in Kents Hill.

Jenna Brooks scored three straight goals, including the tying goal with 55 seconds left, as the Dragons rallied from three goals down in the final six minutes to send the game to overtime.

Brooks scored all four of Brunswick’s goals.

Sarah Morgan scored later in the first for Winslow/Gardiner. Hinkley scored twice in the third and Anna Chadwick had one as the Black Tigers appeared to take control.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 23:13:35 +0000
Sports Digest: IOC extends sanctions on Russia Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:32:54 +0000 OLYMPICS

International Olympic Committee extends sanctions on Russia over doping allegations

Two days before the release of a new report on Russian doping, the IOC on Wednesday extended the provisional sanctions imposed on the country over allegations of systematic cheating and cover-ups.

The International Olympic Committee executive board said the measures imposed on July 19 have been extended “until further notice.”

The sanctions, originally designed to apply until the end of this year, were put into place following the first report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren that alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia.

Under the measures, the IOC will not organize or “give patronage” to any sports events or meetings in Russia. In addition, the IOC urges all Olympic winter sports federations to “freeze their preparations for major events in Russia,” including world championships and World Cups and “to actively look for alternative organizers.”

The IOC executive board released a statement that set out its position ahead of Friday’s release in London of McLaren’s second and final report on the Russian scandal.

The Canadian lawyer’s first report, issued in July, led WADA to recommend Russia’s exclusion from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The IOC rejected the call, instead allowing international federations to decide which Russians could compete.

Friday’s report is expected to focus on evidence of organized Russian doping centered on the Sochi Games, including allegations that tainted samples of Russian athletes – including medalists – were swapped for clean ones through a concealed hole in the wall of the drug-testing lab.


CADDIE DEATH: A caddie was pronounced dead after he collapsed at the Dubai Ladies Masters, forcing the suspension of the first round and shortening the Ladies European Tour event to 54 holes.

The tour said play was suspended at 10.30 a.m. Wednesday after the caddie, who was not identified, collapsed on the 13th fairway. It said the caddie was immediately attended to by an on-site medical team and was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.


WORLD CUP: Men’s races canceled in Canada last month have been rescheduled for Italy and Norway. A super-G will be held in Santa Caterina, Italy, on Dec. 27 and a downhill will be contested on Feb. 24 in Kvitfjell, Norway. Both races have been added on to existing race programs.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:40:15 +0000
Woman charged after exchange of gunfire in Wal-Mart parking lot pleads to reduced charge Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:30:23 +0000 AUGUSTA — One of four people charged after gunshots erupted in the parking lot of an Augusta Wal-Mart this summer pleaded no contest to a reduced charge Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center.

Diana M. Davis, 29, of Rochester, New York, and two others charged in the incident were in the same courtroom Wednesday for separate hearings at the Capital Judicial Center.

Davis originally was indicted on a charge of aggravated assault stemming from an exchange of gunfire between people in two vehicles in the parking lot. Armed civilian bystanders intervened and broke up what police said was a dispute over money and drugs. No one was injured.

Davis had been accused of causing serious bodily injury to Reginald McBride by hitting him with a firearm. That aggravated assault charge was dismissed by the state Wednesday and Davis pleaded to a lesser assault charge.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Cavanaugh said the joint recommendation was for a 100-day jail sentence and said Davis had been held for longer at the Kennebec County jail before being freed in November on personal recognizance bail. Justice Robert Mullen also suspended the $300 fine because Davis had no prior criminal record.

Davis’ brother, Frankie Dejesus, 28, also of Rochester, was indicted on a charge of attempted murder in the incident. Mullen denied a request to lower his $25,000 bail.

McBride, 39, of New York City was in court for a hearing in which the state agreed to personal recognizance bail on the pending state charges — which include attempted murder and aggravated drug trafficking — because he was being taken into federal custody.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:52:08 +0000
Hallowell woman arrested, accused of taking illegal custody of biological child Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:50:53 +0000 WATERVILLE — A Hallowell woman who allegedly took illegal custody of her biological child in Winthrop Monday, concealed his whereabouts and drove him to Waterville was arrested Wednesday morning on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Stacy-Lee Taylor, 33, who does not have full guardianship of the 11-year-old boy, was charged with criminal restraint by a parent, a class C felony, Winthrop police Chief Ryan Frost said.

Frost said the person who has full guardianship of the boy lives in Winthrop. When Winthrop police learned Monday from a family member that Taylor was in Waterville with the child, Frost asked Waterville police to find and detain Taylor until Winthrop police officers could go there and arrest her.

Taylor was arrested at 11:23 a.m. Wednesday and taken to the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta, where she was being held in lieu of $500 bail.

Frost said Winthrop police started investigating the case when the department received a report at 6 p.m. Monday that the child was missing. That department worked with the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office to determine a violation had occurred.

Taylor “basically concealed the child and the child’s location from the actual guardian of the child,” Frost said.

Waterville Deputy Chief Bill Bonney said Wednesday that Waterville officers went to Kennedy Memorial Drive around 8:41 a.m., responding to a report of criminal restraint by a parent. Police detained the woman but the boy wasn’t with her. Bonney said police learned an acquaintance of Taylor’s had left the area in a vehicle. Waterville and Winslow police stopped the vehicle on Cushman Road in Winslow to question Taylor’s acquaintance.

“We ultimately learned that the child in question was safe in Waterville and we, along with Winthrop PD, located the child,” Bonney said.

The boy was not hurt and the state Department of Health and Human Services was going to determine where he would be taken, Frost said.

He said Winthrop police kept the investigation under wraps because they did not want Taylor to disappear. Meanwhile, he praised Waterville police for their help in finding Taylor.

“Waterville Police Department was great,” he said. “They obviously took it seriously and got over there to detain her for us.”


]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:31:21 +0000
Celtics take control, beat Magic by 30 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:48:59 +0000 ORLANDO, Fla. — Avery Bradley and the Boston Celtics made up for Isaiah Thomas’ absence by spreading the ball around.

Bradley scored 23 points, Jae Crowder had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Celtics routed the Orlando Magic 117-87 on Wednesday night.

Boston shot 51.2 percent from the field and had seven players score in double figures, bouncing back nicely from a disappointing 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday night. Terry Rozier scored a career-high 16 points, and Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart finished with 13 apiece.

It was an impressive offensive performance while playing without Thomas, who was held out after he suffered a groin injury against the Rockets. Boston (13-9) trailed by one at the break, but grabbed control with a big third quarter and pulled away in the final quarter.

“Whenever we have somebody down we come together and try to figure out a game plan,” Bradley said. “And our game plan was to get it done on the defensive end and make sure we are moving the ball on the offensive end.”

Orlando shot 37 percent from the field. D.J. Augustin scored 15 points – all the first half – and Evan Fournier had 14.

The Magic were coming off a 4-1 trip, including a 124-116 victory against Washington on Tuesday night.

“We’ve just got to play better,” Coach Frank Vogel said. “The second game of back to back can’t be an excuse. Every other team plays in these situations. If we’re going to be a playoff team, we’ve got to win these games.”

The Magic (10-13) came out cold in the third quarter and the Celtics took advantage. Bradley made a 3-pointer and Crowder connected on a jumper to help Boston open a 67-54 lead with 6:22 left.

The Celtics outscored the Magic 58-26 in points in the paint.

“Like I’ve said before, we’re always trying to attack the paint first,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said. “One of the things we want to do, especially in Isaiah’s absence is play through our bigs and through the post.”

NOTES: Smart replaced Thomas in the starting lineup. … Bradley had three of Boston’s seven 3-pointers. The Celtics went 7 for 27 from long range. … Boston enjoyed a 49-37 rebounding advantage.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 23:40:52 +0000
Ohio anti-abortion bill awaits Gov. Kasich’s signature Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:39:31 +0000 With little notice and stunning quickness, anti-abortion legislators in Ohio stand one signature away from enacting the nation’s most stringent abortion law in the hopes of sparking a nationwide reversal of the legal right of women to terminate their pregnancies.

With a day left in their annual session, lawmakers Wednesday delivered to Gov. John Kasich a revived “heartbeat bill,” a ban on abortions from the moment a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as five or six weeks from conception. They left no exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, but abortions would be permitted to save the life of a pregnant woman.

“No person shall knowingly and purposefully perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman,” the bill reads, “with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected.”

The legislation has already drawn promises of legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union, even before Kasich decides whether to cast a veto.

The Ohio Senate passed the abortion-ban amendment to an unrelated bill concerning child-abuse reporting on Tuesday afternoon, then passed the bill itself and sent it to the Ohio House, which voted 56-39 on Tuesday night to send the bill to Kasich for his signature.

Within hours, a Midwestern state that had already placed a number of restrictions on abortions opened the door to a new round of legal challenges on an issue likely to be key under President-elect Donald Trump, who will be nominating at least one U.S. Supreme Court justice early in his new administration.

Kasich, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination this year, has generally favored moderate restrictions on abortion. “I am pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother,” he said on CNN in February.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 22:01:37 +0000
House passes bill Sen. Collins authored to counter Boko Haram terrorist threat Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:37:26 +0000 A bill drafted by Sen. Susan Collins to counter the terrorist threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria and other African nations won unanimous support Wednesday in the House and awaits the president’s signature.

Collins, R-Maine, submitted the bipartisan legislation after members of Boko Haram stormed a Nigerian secondary school in 2014 and kidnapped 276 girls at gunpoint. The Senate passed the bill in September 2015.

The legislation calls for a new five-year U.S. government strategy to counter the threat of Boko Haram and assist the government of Nigeria in addressing the grievances of vulnerable populations affected by this terrorist group.

“By definition, Boko Haram means Western education is forbidden,” Collins said in a news release. “I urge the president to immediately sign this bill into law and send an international signal that we will never forget the girls of Nigeria who were targeted simply because they chose to pursue an education.”

Collins said Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and continues to commit terrible acts of brutal violence against civilians in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

In 2014, Collins and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, led all 20 women senators in urging Secretary of State John Kerry to seek Boko Haram’s addition to the United Nation’s al-Qaeda Sanctions List. Following that letter, the United Nations Security Council voted to subject Boko Haram to a complete asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo.

“This bipartisan legislation signals a renewed congressional commitment to pursuing Boko Haram and bolstering U.S. efforts throughout the region,” Collins said Wednesday. “The already dire situation there will continue to worsen if the current trajectory is not significantly altered.”


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NFL notebook: Giants’ Pierre-Paul has surgery for hernia Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:31:18 +0000 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is going to miss the rest of the regular season after surgery to repair a sports hernia.

The 27-year-old old tweeted on Wednesday that he had surgery and was feeling well.

Pierre-Paul sustained the injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The normal recovery time from hernia surgery is 4 to 6 weeks, so Pierre-Paul needs the Giants to end a four-year playoff drought to play again this season.

The Giants (8-4) have not commented on Pierre-Paul’s tweet. Coach Ben McAdoo said on Monday that Pierre-Paul was going to be evaluated. Teammates on Tuesday said they did not think he would be ready by Sunday for a game at MetLife Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys.

VIKINGS: Neither the Vikings nor Adrian Peterson have been willing publicly to put a timetable on his potential return to the field nearly three months after he tore the meniscus in his right knee.

Peterson made two points clear, though, in his first comments to reporters since he got hurt. He is trying to get in position to return this year, but if the Vikings are eliminated from postseason contention he wouldn’t come back and risk re-injury.

“For obvious reasons,” Peterson said. “I’m not really going to get into details about that, but my vision is making it to the playoffs. That’s what I believe, and that’s what I have my eyes on right now.”

Peterson rushed 31 times for a mere 50 yards in two games before he went down Sept. 18.

Without the four-time All-Pro running back, the Vikings are last in the NFL in rushing with 72.4 yards per game and 3.0 yards per attempt.

The 31-year-old Peterson, who is making $12 million this season, has one more year on his current contract. None of the $18 million he could earn in 2017, though, is guaranteed.

JETS: New York signed running back Khiry Robinson, who was waived/injured in September, and promoted running back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad.

The team also claimed linebacker Arthur Brown on waivers from Jacksonville, waived/injured linebacker Julian Stanford and signed defensive lineman Claude Pelon to the practice squad.

PANTHERS: Coach Ron Rivera said he benched reigning league MVP Cam Newton on Sunday night because he didn’t want “chaos” setting in with his football team.

Rivera opened his press conference with a stern statement, hoping it will put to rest his much-publicized decision to not start Newton in a game the Panthers lost 40-7 to the Seahawks.

“I am going to address this situation one last time – I made a decision based on rules. I treat everybody the same,” Rivera said. “The reason you do it, especially when you are having a tough season, is because chaos can consume your football team.”

RAIDERS: Oakland rookie safety Karl Joseph will miss the showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs with a toe injury.

PACKERS: Linebacker Nick Perry was ruled out for Sunday’s game against Seattle with what Coach Mike McCarthy called a “significant hand injury.”

FALCONS: Atlanta practiced without star receiver Julio Jones (turf toe), left tackle Jake Matthews (knee) and receiver Mohamed Sanu (groin).

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Trump keeps naming military leaders Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:29:20 +0000 President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as secretary of homeland security, officials familiar with the decision said Wednesday, recruiting a third former member of the military’s brass to serve at the highest levels of his administration.

Trump’s choice of Kelly – and his continued deliberations about tapping as many as two more military figures for other posts – has intensified worries among some members of Congress and national security experts that the new administration’s policies may be shaped disproportionately by military commanders.

“I’m concerned,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “Each of these individuals may have great merit in their own right, but what we’ve learned over the past 15 years is that when we view problems in the world through a military lens, we make big mistakes.”

Despite making regular remarks on the campaign trail disparaging the nation’s generals, Trump has long shown an affinity for them. In shaping his administration, Trump has prioritized what one adviser described as “can-do, no-bull types,” which the president-elect sees as a deliberate contrast from the personnel choices President Barack Obama has made.

drawn by their swagger

If confirmed, Kelly and defense secretary nominee James Mattis, a retired Marine general with the nickname “Mad Dog,” would join retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for White House national security adviser. Meanwhile, retired Army Gen. David Petraeus is under consideration for secretary of state, and Navy Adm. Michael Rogers is a contender for director of national intelligence.

Other figures with military backgrounds are populating the administration as well, including Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who graduated from West Point and served in the Army in the Gulf War, is Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, while Stephen Bannon, a former naval officer, will serve the president in the West Wing as chief strategist and senior counselor.

Trump, who received multiple draft deferments and who has no military experience beyond his years at a military boarding school, is said to be drawn to generals by their swagger and dazzled by their tales from the battlefield.

Many of those he has been interviewing and consulting have spent much of the past decade and a half at war, intimately involved in the U.S. fight against global terrorism. Trump’s choices also are striking considering his noninterventionist posture in the campaign and sharp criticism of the war in Iraq and other military adventures.

As Trump formally introduced Mattis as his pick to run the Pentagon, he relished in recalling the general’s exploits, and he has likened him to George S. Patton, the legendary World War II Army general.

” ‘Mad Dog’ plays no games, right?” Trump told a roaring crowd Tuesday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “Led the forces that went after the Taliban and commanded the First Marine Division in Iraq. He is one of the most effective generals that we’ve had in many, many decades.”

To be confirmed, Mattis would have to receive a waiver from Congress because the law requires the defense secretary be a civilian for at least seven years before taking office. Mattis retired in 2013.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said of Trump, “For a guy who got four or five deferments from the draft, he seems pretty impressed with the military.”

Trump’s heavy reliance on military leaders marks a departure from the previous three presidents, who tapped a few generals for the highest jobs with mixed success and relied mostly on people who had spent decades in civilian service, as politicians or academics or lawyers.

“Trump is clearly operating out of a particular model,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Almost all of his Cabinet will be made up of people from the military or people from a corporate background, and what they have in common is strong leadership and executive decision-making.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., quipped: “It’s the G&G cabinet. It does seem to be fairly limited to Goldman Sachs and generals.”

one at a time

On Capitol Hill, the two generals Trump has nominated for Senate-confirmed positions – Mattis and Kelly – have been relatively well-received.

“Can you have a Cabinet full of generals? No – not any more than you can have a Cabinet full of lawyers or a Cabinet full of business people or whatever,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tex. But, he said: “I’m thinking of the individuals. They’re people I have incredible respect for.”

Kelly especially is likely to benefit from the relationships he cultivated among lawmakers during his years in uniform, including his role in 2014 as commander of the U.S. Southern Command, managing an influx of migrant children at the border with Mexico.

Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., former chairman of the Homeland Security panel, said Kelly has “genuine compassion” for immigrants and understands the root causes of the nation’s immigration challenges in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

“I will reserve judgment on many of the president-elect’s other nominees,” he said, “but with General Kelly, he’s hit a home run with runners on base.”

There does not yet appear to be a Democratic strategy to derail either nomination because of the preponderance of military figures. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats, summed up the approach: “Take ’em one at a time.”

That posture could change if Trump nominates another general to a top post, such as Petraeus at the State Department.

Daniel Benjamin, the former senior counterterrorism official at the State Department in the Obama administration and now a professor at Dartmouth College, said having too many generals in what are traditionally civilian positions is “a matter of deep concern.”

“Generals as a rule believe in hierarchies and taking orders, and if the president gives them an order you have to wonder how likely they are to push back against it,” Benjamin said. “Generals have one set of skills, and diplomacy is not in the top drawer of that tool kit.”

There was some snarky commentary on Twitter about Trump’s emerging Cabinet resembling “a military junta.” Anthony Scaramucci, a Trump transition official, defended Trump’s selections: “Decorated American Generals aren’t warmongers – they’re among the most intelligent, disciplined & patriotic people our country has to offer!”

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 21:29:20 +0000
Fire that injured Skowhegan woman and son started in boy’s bedroom Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:26:12 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — A mobile home fire that severely burned a mother and her young son on Friday started in the boy’s bedroom, a state fire investigator said Wednesday.

Andrea Curtis, 24, who lived in the mobile home, remains hospitalized at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Her son, Tyler Curtis-Benson, 4, has been at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston since they were pulled from the fire just before 8:30 p.m. Friday by Skowhegan police Officer Tim Williams.

Curtis’ cousin, Tylene Bergeron, said both mother and son are improving.

“She’s better today, much better,” Bergeron said Wednesday. “They’re coming around. Andrea is still critical, but she is much better than she was. She’s doing really good compared to what she was doing. Tyler has improved a lot and is off the ventilator, finally.

“Andrea will have a long road of recovery. So will her little boy.”

Sgt. Ken Grime’s of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said investigators know where the fire started, but still don’t know how. He said investigator Stu Jacobs returned to the fire scene Wednesday at 279 North Ave. in Skowhegan to look for evidence.

“We’re having some difficulty classifying the fire as far as what actually caused it,” Grimes said Wednesday. “We were back up there on scene today with the electrical inspectors taking a look at some electrical appliances, so we’re still picking away at it.”

Bergeron said Curtis has burns over 60 percent of her body and lost the skin on her face, but is improving, as is her son, who has burns over 40 percent of his body.

A Shriners Hospital spokesperson would not release information about the boy’s condition. A hospital spokesman at Maine Medical Center in Portland did not return calls immediately Wednesday for an update on Curtis’ condition.

Williams, 51, the police officer, said he was just doing his job when he crawled through thick smoke into the burning mobile home to pull the two unconscious people to safety.

Curtis, a full-time student at University of Maine at Farmington, is studying education and plans to become a teacher when she graduates in the spring, her cousin said. She said a GoFundMe page has been set up for Curtis and her family, who lost everything in the fire. Curtis’ husband, Tyler’s stepfather, Brian Armstrong, was at work when the fire broke out Friday night.

By Wednesday afternoon, a total of $6,780 had been raised on the GoFundMe page, with a goal of $20,000.

Bergeron said Curtis paid cash for the mobile home but rented the lot where it stood. She said the family is not insured and doesn’t know where they will live once Curtis and her son are released from the hospital.

Bergeron said of her cousin: “They lost everything. They need everything.”

Bryan Armstrong needs 32-inch waist, 32-inch length pants and men’s medium tops. Tyler and Curtis can wear only white clothing when they are released to prevent infection, she said. Tyler wears a size 6 boys’ clothing.

The Kennebec Valley Inn in Skowhegan is hosting a benefit spaghetti supper for the family from noon until 6 p.m. Dec.17.

A donation of $7 per plate will include salad, spaghetti and beverage, according to the inn’s Facebook page. There will be no alcohol sales during the event so visitors can bring their children. A silent auction also will take place.

The Full Drive Band, featuring Nashville singer-songwriter and 2005 Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Eddie Lee Van Zant is scheduled to perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., after the dinner. Van Zant will be selling autographed pictures with all proceeds going to Curtis and her son.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 21:45:16 +0000
College football notebook: Emmert pleased with Penn State’s rebound Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:13:57 +0000 NEW YORK — NCAA President Mark Emmert says he is pleased to see how well Penn State’s football team has bounced back from the sanctions the program received in 2012 after the Sandusky scandal.

No. 5 Penn State (11-2) is having its best season since Jerry Sandusky, a longtime assistant of late Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno, was arrested in 2011 for sexually abusing boys. The Nittany Lions won their last nine games and the Big Ten title.

“I think it’s terrific,” said Emmert, who spoke at an intercollegiate athletics forum sponsored by Learfield Communications on Wednesday in Manhattan.

“I think what Penn State went through is an awful situation and it’s still playing out sadly. But the football program is still Penn State and they showed it and they did really well. The university has done an amazing job to put in place all of the things their board wanted and our board wanted.”

The NCAA went outside its usual process to sanction Penn State in 2012. The school was hit with massive scholarship limitations and a four-year bowl ban, along with fines.

STANFORD: Running back Christian McCaffrey will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. McCaffrey was the runner-up last season for the Heisman Trophy when he broke Barry Sanders’ NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season with 3,864. He was slowed by an injury this season but still rushed for 1,596 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.

OREGON: The school hired Willie Taggart, who spent the last four seasons as head coach at South Florida, to take over as coach of the Ducks following the dismissal of Mark Helfrich.

Taggart has led USF to an 18-7 record over the last two seasons, including a 10-2 mark this year. He also spent three seasons as coach of Western Kentucky.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:14:59 +0000
Major league notebook: Cubs acquire closer Davis from Royals for outfielder Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:11:17 +0000 OXON HILL, Md. — The World Series champion Chicago Cubs acquired star closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Jorge Soler.

The trade was announced Wednesday at the winter meetings.

Davis will take over the ninth-inning role held by Aroldis Chapman, who became a free agent after the Cubs won their first world championship since 1908.

The 31-year-old Davis went 2-1 with 27 saves in 30 tries and a 1.87 ERA last season. He spent time on the disabled with a forearm injury and was limited to 431/3 innings, but returned to pitch in September.

Davis has done especially well in the postseason and helped the Royals win the 2015 crown. In 271/3 postseason innings as a reliever, he has a 0.33 ERA with 39 strikeouts.

The 24-year-old Soler hit .238 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 86 games last season.

He missed almost two months because of a strained left hamstring.

ROCKIES: All-Star free agent outfielder Ian Desmond and Colorado agreed to a $70 million, five-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement had not been announced.

A versatile 31-year-old, Desmond hit .285 with 22 homers and 86 RBI this year in his lone season with Texas, earning his first All-Star trip since 2012. He played shortstop from 2011-15, then was shifted to the outfield by the Rangers.

Colorado may move him to first base.

YANKEES: New York has offers out to free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, who would bump Dellin Betances back to the eighth inning.

RANGERS: Outfielder Carlos Gomez has agreed to an $11.5 million, one-year contract to remain with Texas, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement was subject to a physical and had not been announced.

Gomez, who turned 31 last weekend, figures to play center field in an outfield that includes Shin-Soo Choo in right and Nomar Mazara in left.

MARLINS: Left-hander Jeff Locke has agreed to a one-year contract with Miami worth $3,025,000, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

In addition, the Marlins agreed to a one-year contract to keep right-hander Dustin McGowan, one of the people said.

NATIONALS-WHITE SOX TRADE: Washington acquired center fielder Adam Eaton from Chicago for three young pitchers, including top prospect Lucas Giolito and hard-throwing Reynaldo Lopez, who made the team’s postseason roster in 2016.

GIANTS-MARINERS TRADE: San Francisco agreed to trade right-hander Chris Heston to Seattle for a player to be named, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:13:33 +0000
On Football: Time for Patriots’ defense to stand tall in playoff push Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:53:44 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — As the players slowly filtered out of the New England Patriots locker room Sunday, defensive end Chris Long spoke of the team’s 26-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams: “For the first time all year, I feel like we really put it all together.”

Long was talking about the offense, defense and special teams. But if he had been speaking only about his defensive teammates, people would have understood.

The Patriots threw their best defensive effort of the season together on Sunday, holding the Rams to just 162 total yards, 36 rushing yards and seven first downs. Los Angeles was just 1 for 12 in third-down conversions.

Now the Patriots know they have to keep getting better.

“We’re definitely improving for sure but we’ve got a long way to go,” Long said on Wednesday. “We’ve got a really big test this week and these games only get tougher as the year goes on. We’re in December now so it’s going to be really important.”

That test comes Monday night when the Patriots – 10-2 and primed to clinch the AFC East for an NFL-record eighth consecutive year – play the surging Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Baltimore (7-5), which has the league’s top-ranked defense, has won four of its last five and sits atop the AFC North.

New England’s defense has been much maligned this season. If the Patriots are going to have any postseason success this year – and they’re certainly one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl – the defense is going to have to play a huge role.

The loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski for the season to a back injury hampers a potent New England offense.

His loss was most noticed last Sunday whenever the Patriots moved deep into St. Louis territory. Four times the Patriots had to settle for field goals.

If that continues, it’s going to be up to the defense to make sure those lost points don’t come back to hurt the Patriots.

And they are getting better. The Patriots have the ninth-ranked defense, but are tied with Baltimore for second-fewest points allowed (17.3).

Since losing at home to Seattle, 31-24, on Nov. 13, the Patriots defense has stepped up in critical situations. In three victories, New England has held teams to an average of just 74 rushing yards (20.3 fewer than the season average), 264.7 yards of total offense (down 72.6 yards from its season average) and 11 for 37, or 30 percent, in third-down conversions (down from 38.7 percent on the season).

Granted, the opponents have been San Francisco, the New York Jets and the Rams – all among the NFL’s worst offensive teams – but the defense is making strides. New England has had 10 sacks in the three games and it has forced four turnovers – two fumble recoveries and two interceptions – in the last two.

Asked if he felt the defense had turned the corner, Long said, “We’re moving in the right direction but you never really turn that corner. You’re always looking ahead and trying to improve. We sure do have a host of things we want to improve on this week going into a game like this against a really good opponent.”

The Patriots are not going to be satisfied with these latest results. That’s not the way they operate.

“We’re playing good ball and doing what we got to do to get off the field on defense and stopping the running backs as best we can,” said defensive tackle Alan Branch. “But we’ve got to take it one week at a time.”

Especially this time of year. December is when playoff hopes are realized or crushed. It’s also when the Patriots seem to be at their best. Since 2001, the year of their first Super Bowl championship, the Patriots have the NFL’s best record in December games, at 55-10. Pittsburgh is next at 47-19.

Safety Devin McCourty said the team talks constantly about playing its best down the stretch.

But that’s easier said than done, McCourty said.

“Just talking about it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically going to happen. It’s up to the guys to go out there each day in practice and try to get better, at a time in the season when some people are just trying to get by and hurting.”

For McCourty, all the talk about an improved defense still comes down to one thing: winning.

“That’s what we’ve got to keep focusing on,” he said. “It’s a week-by-week thing with us. We’ve been getting better. We’ve just got to stick to that path and what we’ve been doing and we’ll be all right.”

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 21:31:59 +0000
Struggling special teamers could be key for Patriots Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:42:04 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When the Ravens and Patriots have met in New England in recent years, it has usually been a close affair.

In the six games the Ravens have played at Gillette Stadium since Coach John Harbaugh took over in 2008 they are 2-4, with their four defeats coming by average of four points. That includes a 35-31 loss in the division round of the playoffs in 2015.

Such tight games typically leave little room for error. That means special teams play could play a big role Monday night.

For the Patriots that would shine a light on two players in particular: kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punt returner Cyrus Jones.

Gostkowski had a rocky start to the season by his standards, missing three extra points. It marked the first time since his rookie season in 2006 that he had missed even a single extra point. He also has misfired on four field goals – his most misses since 2012.

But after going 4 for 4 on field goals in Sunday’s win over the Rams – including three makes of 45 or more yards – the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week feels like he is trending in the right direction.

“It’s a start. It’s one game,” Gostkowski said. “Every week is a different challenge. You just got to battle, keep your head down, stay humble and show up, but control your attitude and your effort. And make sure both of those are good and have faith in the process that what you’ve been doing is going to continue.”

Confidence has been lacking for Jones, who can’t shake himself free of the fumbles that cloud his rookie season.

New England didn’t have a first-round draft pick this year as part of its “Deflategate” punishment. But it used its second-round pick on Jones, who had returned four punts for touchdowns as a senior at Alabama.

But in nine punt returns this season, Jones is averaging only 4.7 yards and has four fumbles. After a muffed punt in the win over Los Angeles, he was replaced by Danny Amendola, who promptly suffered an ankle injury that could keep him sidelined this week.

A subdued Jones took ownership of his struggles before practice on Wednesday, and said that despite his issues he’s still hoping to get more chances to prove himself.

“I’ll just take whatever opportunities I get,” Jones said. “Danny’s out, so somebody has to get back there and try to do it.”

He said there’s no magic to breaking out of his current funk, adding that once he can get over the initial step of catching the ball cleanly, he can run with it.

“That’s the easy part,” he said.

In the meantime he’s still trying to mend fences with the coaching staff. A big night against the Ravens would certainly aid that.

“It’s tough to gain the trust of the coaches when you keep going out there and keep muffing punts and doing things like that,” he said. “So it’s on me. The coaches keep giving me opportunities because they know what I can do… once I get the bad football eliminated.”

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 20:54:50 +0000
Maine House rejects challenge to residency of Old Orchard Beach lawmaker Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:21:46 +0000 AUGUSTA — In its first roll call vote of the legislative session, the Maine House rejected a bid to review the residency of a newly elected state representative from Old Orchard Beach.

A request by state Rep. Larry Lockman, R-Amherst, to convene the House committee on elections to review the election of George Hogan, D-Old Orchard Beach, was rejected, with 121 lawmakers voting against the review and 17 voting for it.

Lockman said he had testimony and evidence to suggest that Hogan was not living at his Old Orchard Beach home in House District 13 when he was elected and was instead living in Saco. But House Majority Leader Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, said that Hogan, who has lived in Old Orchard Beach for 74 years, was living in Saco only temporarily as his home was being remodeled. Herbig said Hogan’s family has lived in Old Orchard Beach for several generations.

Hogan was elected to the seat with 61 percent of the vote over Republican Michael Coleman.

Also speaking against Lockman’s request was House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, who said it is unreasonable to suggest that a person who moves temporarily for specific reasons would be relinquishing their residency in a town, state or country. Fredette, an officer in the Maine Air National Guard, used the example of military members who are deployed to other countries.

He also said he had spent two years attending graduate school in Boston, returning to Maine on weekends, but that didn’t make him a resident of Massachusetts.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:40:17 +0000
Vinyl records beat downloads in UK Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:20:43 +0000 First the Twinkie rears its sugary self. Now record albums are seeing a “vinyl revival.” Is the rebirth of the IBM Selectric typewriter next?

In Britain, vinyl sales ($3.02 million) – those petroleum-based discs that you hold gingerly by the edges – eclipsed digital music downloads ($2.6 million) for week 48 of this year.

The news came from Britain’s Entertainment Retailers Association, suggesting the surge could be due to the Christmas shopping season and a growing number of British retailers making shelf space for vinyl.

“This is yet further evidence of the ability of music fans to surprise us all,” ERA chief Kim Bayley said in a statement, which was reported by the British newspaper, The Independent.

“Few would have predicted that an album format, first invented in 1948 and based on stamping a groove into a piece of plastic, would now be outselling it in 2016,” the Independent reported.

Even has gotten in on the act, announcing the launch of Amazon Vinyl Lounge for the purists.

Is this trend taking the United States by storm? Don’t dust off the antique turntable just yet.

“We love that people are consuming music in all these different ways,” said Joshua Friedlander, senior vice president for strategic data analysis at the Recording Industry Association of America. But he added that, “It’s important to temper the enthusiasm by saying this (vinyl sales) is just a single digit slice of the market.”

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:02:07 +0000
BIW wins destroyer contract modification worth $59.4 million Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:15:39 +0000 The Navy has awarded Bath Iron Works a contract modification worth $59.4 million to provide engineering and technical assistance in building new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced Wednesday.

The expanded contract funds a variety of services and design improvements related to the Flight III upgrade, which adds an air and missile defense radar to the DDG-51 class ships, according to Navy reports.

BIW is in the midst of a building boom as crews work on the final two destroyers in the three-ship Zumwalt class as well as four more Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. While at least three additional Arleigh Burke destroyers will be built in Bath as part of a multi-year contract awarded by the Navy in 2013.

Collins is a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and King is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:02:12 +0000
Dolly Parton organizes musical Tennessee benefit concert Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:07:10 +0000 NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country icon Dolly Parton has organized a musical telethon to raise money for victims of the Tennessee wildfires that destroyed more than 1,700 homes in the resort town of Gatlinburg.

The event, which will air Dec. 13 on Great American Country, will include performances by Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss and Parton, whose Dollywood theme park in neighboring Pigeon Forge escaped damage from the fires.

Proceeds will go to the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, which was created to provide $1,000 each month to Sevier County families.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:12:37 +0000
Boras says new deal will turn away Latin players Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:04:04 +0000 OXON HILL, Md. — Agent Scott Boras says baseball’s new labor contract will cause Latin American players to turn away from the sport and play soccer.

The deal agreed to last week places limits on bonuses for players who reside outside the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, restricting teams to signing pools that start at $4.75 million for the year starting next July 2.

Baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement put signing pools on residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada who are subject to the amateur draft each June.

“Why are we as an industry saying that we’re going to succumb to the other sports and not pursue best athletes?” Boras said. “When we’re making $10 billion, should we really build the Berlin Wall to youth? We just cut off the American players and limited them well below the NBA and the NFL, and now we’re doing it with the Latin players, as well. We’re cutting off our soil. Because now I would imagine FIFA is over in Venezuela, ’cause they’ve coveted South America, and they’re building soccer fields as we speak in the Dominican and there because these athletes are going to turn to something that is better for them.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Players’ association head Tony Clark said “nothing to add.”

Boras said changes in the new agreement that could lessen revenue sharing for large-market teams should encourage them to maintain high payrolls despite an increase in the rates for exceeding the luxury-tax threshold.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:05:16 +0000
Judge refuses Pitt request to seal filings Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:03:41 +0000 LOS ANGELES — A judge on Wednesday rejected Brad Pitt’s request to seal details about custody arrangements in his divorce from Angelina Jolie Pitt.

Los Angeles Superior Court Richard J. Burdge Jr. denied Pitt’s request in a brief written order that states the filing did not meet the requirements for sealing details at this time. Pitt had sought to seal details of his custody dispute with Jolie Pitt at an emergency hearing, but Burdge declined to hear the petition on an expedited basis.

Pitt’s motion came two days after the release of a custody agreement that he and his estranged wife reached in late October. The agreement calls for the actor to have visitation with his children under the guidance of a therapist.

Pitt intends to seek temporary custody orders soon, and his filing states that he wanted those documents sealed to protect the children’s privacy. He was also seeking the sealing of any custody-related filings.

“I am extremely concerned that if court records regarding custody are not sealed, information contained therein will cause irreparable damage to our children’s privacy rights,” Pitt wrote in a sworn declaration filed Wednesday.

Pitt’s attorney Gary Fishbein declined comment after the hearing.

Jolie Pitt filed for divorce in September and currently has primary custody of their six children.

The divorce filing came days after a disagreement broke out on private flight ferrying the actors and their children from France to Los Angeles.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 21:04:02 +0000
Ancient astronomers help prove that time is off a bit Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:59:36 +0000 The latest findings in Earth science are brought to you by ancient astronomers who observed the heavens as much as 2,700 years ago.

Thanks to hundreds of records of lunar and solar eclipses carved in clay tablets and written into dynastic histories, modern scientists have determined that the amount of time it takes for Earth to complete a single rotation on its axis has slowed by 1.8 milliseconds per day over the course of a century, according to a report published Wednesday.

It might not sound significant, but over the course of 2½ millenniums, that time discrepancy adds up to about 7 hours.

In other words, if humanity measured time with an atomic clock that started running back in 700 BC, today that clock would read 7 p.m. when the sun is directly overhead rather than noon.

“There is time and then there is how fast the Earth spins,” said Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, who was not involved with the work. “Traditionally those things are closely linked, but they are not the same.”

Our earliest ancestors measured time based on the position of celestial bodies in the sky, such as the rising and setting of the sun or the changing shape of the moon. Scientists refer to this as Universal Time, and it is governed by the dynamic gravitational motions of the Earth, moon and sun.

Terrestrial Time, on the other hand, is measured by clocks and is independent of the laws of physics. Since the 1960s, it has been tracked by exquisitely precise atomic clocks. According to our modern take on Terrestrial Time, there are exactly 86,400 seconds in a day and each second is defined as exactly 9,192,631,770 oscillations of a cesium-133 atom.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:59:36 +0000
Trump takes aim at drug makers Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:53:04 +0000 Biotech and pharmaceutical stocks rose after the November election, reflecting investor optimism that a Trump presidency would mean less focus on drug prices.

Not so fast, President-elect Trump said in his interview for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

“I’m going to bring down drug prices,” Trump told Time during an interview in his dining room after the election. “I don’t like what has happened with drug prices.”

Trump didn’t elaborate on what he would do to lower drug prices, and his transition team did not respond to requests for more information.

Drug companies and investors could see Trump’s words as a threat. Biotech and pharmaceutical company stocks closed slightly down Wednesday. The S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index closed down 1.9 percent and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index closed down 2.9 percent.

Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a firm focused on pharmaceutical economics, said that Trump may be sending a signal to the industry.

“Historically, a lot of manufacturers have increased the prices of their products at the beginning of the year,” Fein said. “He may be trying to use his bully pulpit to signal, ‘You should change the system’ – without necessarily saying how he’s going to change the system, or what should be done.”

Drug companies have been under intense scrutiny from lawmakers for large price increases after a series of high-profile cases sparked public outrage. Last year, Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli stirred controversy after hiking the price of the drug Daraprim 4,000 percent. And earlier this year, lawmakers called the chief executive of drug company Mylan to a congressional hearing to defend the 500 percent increase on the price of the lifesaving allergy treatment EpiPen over a decade.

Some pharmaceutical executives, believing that the drug price debate isn’t likely to recede, have pressed the industry to get in front of the issue to avoid government intervention. In some cases, companies have taken steps to show they can keep prices in check without federal action. Brent Saunders, chief executive of Allergan, wrote a blog post in September vowing to limit drug prices to single-digit percentage price hikes, once a year. Danish diabetes giant Novo Nordisk followed suit with a similar pledge last week.

“We hear from more and more people living with diabetes about the challenges they face affording healthcare, including the medicines we make,” wrote Jakob Riis, Novo Nordisk’s U.S. president.

“This has become a responsibility that needs to be shared among all those involved in healthcare and we’re going to do our part.”

President-elect Trump’s unpredictability has already made companies in multiple industries nervous. Drug companies may refrain from big price hikes simply to stay out of his crosshairs, since the pharmaceutical industry – already under intense scrutiny because of price hikes – could be an easy target.

Fein also noted that Trump may have industry tailwinds — drug companies have increasingly begun to talk publicly about pricing and the warped incentives that exist in the current system.

Drug companies have argued that list prices are fiction. Traditionally, list prices do not reflect what anyone in the system pays for a drug — or what drug companies receive — due to a complex system of payments to middlemen and secret rebates and discounts. But as health plans have shifted toward high-deductible plans or coinsurance, patients are being affected by the list prices of drugs, and drug companies have increasingly begun to acknowledge and focus on the problem.

It’s hard to know whether the Trump administration would support other policy levers to rein in drug prices. But a signal might be in his choice of Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2007, Price said that allowing Medicare to negotiate on drug prices, for example, was a “solution in search of a problem,” according to the New York Times.

]]> 0 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:08:11 +0000
Gadget could keep drivers’ eyes on the road Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:31:11 +0000 An engineer has invented a device he believes could eliminate distracted driving. He also says at least one mobile phone provider appears close to rolling out the gadget to its users and that another provider has shown an interest in the technology.

But, then again, Scott Tibbitts and his colleagues at a company called Katasi have been trying to persuade cellphone providers, automakers and the federal government to deploy his gadget for half a decade now.

“How do you get to the top executives to say: ‘This is insane. You’ve got a solution right under your hood. You could be heroes. Let’s just do this thing and save a bunch of lives.'” Tibbitts asked. “But at the end of the day, everything seems to slow down, right at the point they say let’s do this.”

Tibbitts, who also developed motors used on NASA space missions, came up with a temporary blocking device that can be plugged into a port on a vehicle’s steering wheel about as easily as a thumb drive. The technology – called Groove – is designed to halt incoming texts and other potential wireless distractions as soon as the vehicle moves at 5 mph or faster. Only data for GPS navigational systems and music are allowed to reach the driver’s smartphone. The device blocks other data by alerting the driver’s mobile phone service provider that the vehicle is in motion. Once the vehicle comes to a stop, the device ceases blocking. It can also distinguish the phone of the person who’s driving, so that passengers’ phones aren’t affected.

Sprint, which has been using the technology on a pilot basis, could make it available as early as next year, Tibbitts said. After a clever social media campaign by Tibbitts and supporters last month, T-Mobile is also exploring the technology, Tibbitts said.

“It’s a horse race, with two thoroughbreds, to see which one will go over the line,” Tibbitts said.

Tibbitts is, of course, peddling a product. But if Groove does what Tibbitts says it does, it’s a wonder the technology doesn’t come with every new car.

It’s not that Tibbitts’s device has been languishing in obscurity, either. The New York Times wrote about the technology a couple of years ago. Yahoo! News global anchor Katie Couric took a spin with Tibbitts to see whether his device would block texts from reaching her while she was driving. (It did.) Couric also admitted to sneaking off a text while driving on occasion — and who hasn’t?

That’s why, as Tibbitts argues, only technology is going to fix the problem of being distracted by technology.

For him, the terrible consequences of distracted driving hit close to home. In 2008, he arrived at a Denver firm for his first business meeting with another engineer to talk about working together. He learned instead that the man had been killed in a crash that day by a teenage driver who was texting and ran a red light.

A year later, Tibbitts and others formed Katasi, the Boulder, Colo.-based company that developed Groove. Tibbitts, who is chief executive, said it had already become clear that distracted driving could not be stopped through public service campaigns or legislative fiat. “Legislation would fail because of the nature of human beings,” he said. “Everyone thinks, ‘One text won’t kill anybody. . . How are they ever doing to see me sneaking this text message? And if they do, all I’ll say is I was looking at my navigation.'”

In other words, not much has worked so far to reduce texting and driving. If anything, it seems as if every other driver these days is steering with one hand while texting or talking with the other.

Tibbitts said members of Congress have expressed enthusiasm about the technology but told him it would be better to persuade mobile phone providers to adopt it rather than embark on a legislative fix. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave him a thumbs-up but offered similar advice. Automobile executives seemed more interested in packing new vehicles with more technology to pump data at drivers in ways that would be less distracting, Tibbitts said. And some mobile phone providers expressed interest in blocking texts with his device, but none wanted to be the first, he said.

So Tibbitts and his company tried a different tack: using social media to attack a problem caused at least partly by social media. In November, they targeted T-Mobile’s president and chief executive, John J. Legere, through Twitter.

Legere happens to be an energetic tweeter. His 3.35 million followers have been treated to postings about monkeys recognizing each other’s posteriors, a cheese gun and what’s happening with his slow cooker.

So Katasi staff, with some help from safety advocates, started peppering the T-Mobile boss with tweets urging his company to consider using Groove.

Eventually, Legere responded, and now they are talking.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 21:07:33 +0000
Anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack marked with silence, ovations Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:26:23 +0000 PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Thousands observed a moment of silence before fighter jets streaked across the sky during a ceremony Wednesday at Pearl Harbor marking the 75th anniversary of the attack that plunged the United States into World War II and left more than 2,300 service people dead.

The crowd bowed their heads at the precise moment decades ago when Japanese planes began their assault on the U.S. naval base at the harbor. And they stood and clapped when survivors joined active-duty servicemen and women and National Park Service rangers in dedicating wreaths to those killed.

Attendees also gave a lengthy ovation to Adm. Harry Harris of the U.S. Pacific Command when he spoke in favor of standing for the national anthem.

The anniversary is a tribute to “what freedom does when it is faced with fascism,” said Paul Hilliard of the National World War II Museum.

“America went abroad to gain freedom for millions of other people,” said Hilliard, a Marine veteran and one of several dignitaries and officials who presented wreaths for the fallen at a memorial over the sunken hull of USS Arizona. “We are kind of unique. We are an exceptional nation.”

Wednesday’s ceremony started with the USS Halsey sounding its whistle to mark the start of the moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. It ended with F-22 fighter jets flying in formation overhead.


Harris told the crowd the servicemen attacked at Pearl Harbor “engaged the enemy as best they could,” and there is sorrow for those who died. “Yet we are also inspired by their great gift to the world – the gift of freedom itself,” he said.

Harris also said: “You can bet that the men and women we honor today” never failed to stand for the national anthem. The crowd applauded for nearly a minute.

In recent months, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others have knelt through the anthem to protest police brutality and the treatment of minorities – drawing both criticism and acclaim.

Reached later, Pacific Command spokesman Robert Shuford said Harris’ remarks “speak for themselves.”

The ceremony wrapped up with Marines firing a gun salute and the Pacific Fleet band playing taps.

Laura Stoller accompanied her adoptive grandfather and Pearl Harbor survivor Stan VanHoose of Beloit, Wisconsin, to the event. At one point, she watched as crowds jostled for autographs and photos with survivors. “All of these men who for so long didn’t get the recognition they deserve – they’re soaking it up. And it’s so fun to see,” Stoller said.

VanHoose, 96, served on the USS Maryland.

Fellow survivor Jim Downing of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said he returns to Hawaii for the anniversary commemorations to be with his shipmates.

“We get together and have a great time and compare our stories,” he said.

Downing said fear, anger and pride overcame him as Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor. Then a newlywed sailor, he recalled a Japanese plane flying low and slow in his direction as he rushed to his battleship from his home after learning of the attack on the radio.

“When he got the right angle, he banked over, turned his machine guns loose,” Downing, now 103, said in an interview at a Waikiki hotel. “He didn’t bank far enough so it went right over my head.”


The next aviator might have better aim, Downing remembers thinking. And with nowhere to hide, “I was afraid,” he said.

His ship, the USS West Virginia, was hit by nine torpedoes.

“We were sinking, and everything above the water line was on fire,” he said.

Downing said he felt proud while watching sailors balance the capsizing ship by allowing water to seep in. The tactic let the giant battleship slide into mud below.

The West Virginia lost 106 men. Downing, who also served as the ship’s postmaster, spent two hours fighting fires and checking the name tags of the dead so he could write their families personal notes about how they died.

Pearl Harbor events took place across the country Wednesday. In Texas, hundreds of well-wishers applauded World War II veterans George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole during a patriotic ceremony. A tattered U.S. flag that flew at Pearl Harbor was on display at an Ohio museum, and dozens of WWII veterans in the Cincinnati region recounted their experiences for high school students gathered at the Sharonville Convention Center.

President Obama issued a statement saying he and first lady Michelle Obama join Americans in remembering those who gave their lives.

]]> 0, 07 Dec 2016 19:40:13 +0000
Senate shows rare camaraderie in support for biomedical bill Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:17:36 +0000
WASHINGTON — With an atypical burst of bipartisanship, the Senate shipped legislation to President Obama on Wednesday lowering hurdles for government drug approvals as the 114th Congress bumped toward the end of a two-year run highlighted by upheaval and stalemate.A week after the House easily approved the biomedical bill, senators passed it by a similarly overwhelming 94-5 margin. That was testament to a package that plans spending $6.3 billion over the next decade on popular efforts like cancer research and battling drug addiction.

“This is a reminder of what we can do when we look out for one another,” Obama said in a written statement that promised his signature. Referring to families that have endured losses to cancer, Alzheimer’s and drug abuse, he added, “Their heartbreak is real, and so we have a responsibility to respond with real solutions. This bill will make a big difference.”

“This is an opportunity we cannot miss, and we’re not going to miss it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate health committee.

Before adjournment, which leaders targeted for later this week, lawmakers were also tackling bills financing government agencies into late April, mapping Pentagon programs and planning water projects.

In a chamber where senators can flash barely concealed animosity, they showed their more gracious side with speeches lauding departing colleagues including Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. The Senate floor was also the stage for accolades to departing Vice President Joe Biden, who served 36 years as a Democratic senator from Delaware.

“You’ve been a real friend, you’ve been a trusted partner and it’s been an honor to serve with you,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said to Biden, who presided over the tribute.

That camaraderie was also reflected in the biomedical bill, which included a planned $1.8 billion for cancer research. Biden, whose 46-year-old son Beau succumbed to the disease last year, has championed such work.

That bill, which also takes steps to sharpen federal mental health programs, drew praise from scores of pharmaceutical, device and other medical industry associations and from numerous patients’ groups.

It was opposed by consumer organizations and liberals who said the measure’s shortcuts for Food and Drug Administration approvals would endanger consumers and represented a sellout to drug makers. They also complained that it will take later legislation for Congress to provide the funds the bill envisions.

“Congress should not have had to jeopardize patient safety to increase medical research funding,” said Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

The drug bill was a cooperative capstone to a Congress that has seen its share of tumult.

A conservative rebellion booted Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, from office last year. Democrats staged an overnight sit-in on the House floor protesting the GOP-led Congress’ inaction on gun control. Senate Republicans refused to let Obama fill a Supreme Court vacancy after Justice Antonin Scalia died last February.

The two parties gridlocked over easing trade barriers with Pacific Ocean nations and revamping criminal justice statutes, and in a prelude to next year’s battles, Obama vetoed a repeal of his health care law. It took months for lawmakers to approve money to combat the Zika virus.

Congress did extend dozens of minor tax breaks for individuals and businesses, reshaped how Medicare reimburses doctors and rewrote federal education and transportation programs.

Before adjourning, lawmakers still needed to approve government-wide spending legislation. It contained money to keep agencies functioning into next spring, when the new President Donald Trump and GOP-run Congress would make final budget decisions.

It included $4.1 billion in disaster aid for Louisiana and other states, $170 million to help Flint, Michigan, rebuild its lead-poisoned water system and other funds for U.S. anti-terrorism operations overseas. It also contained a provision to help former Gen. James Mattis become Trump’s Defense secretary by making it easier for Congress next year to waive the required seven-year wait before military retirees can head the Pentagon.

No one was expecting the bill to fail — which would produce a Friday night government shutdown — but there were lingering disputes to resolve.

These included complaints from coal country lawmakers that the measure insufficiently extended health care benefits for 16,000 retired mine workers, whose coverage is slated to end Dec. 31. Democrats were unhappy the bill provided just $7 million of the $35 million the Obama administration requested to beef up security in midtown Manhattan, home to President-elect Donald Trump.

By 92-7, the Senate gave preliminary approval to a defense policy bill that would block Obama from his goal of shuttering the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A $558-million water-projects bill was in jeopardy, due to a fight over spending for California that pitted agricultural against environmental interests.


Associated Press writers Matthew Daly and Richard Lardner contributed to this report.

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Maine’s top, bottom schools in English, math and science Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:13:15 +0000 The districts with the highest and lowest percentage of students at or above grade level, according to a statewide assessment released Wednesday:

ENGLISH – Top 10
Falmouth Public Schools, 80.64 percent
Mount Desert CSD, 80.58 percent
Yarmouth Schools, 79 percent
Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, 78.38 percent
York Public Schools, 73.75 percent
RSU 51/MSAD 51 (Cumberland), 72.81 percent
Five Town CSD, 72.66 percent
Scarborough Public Schools, 72.19 percent
Cape Elizabeth Public Schools, 71.8 percent
Penobscot Public Schools, 71.15 percent

ENGLISH – Bottom 10
Indian Township, 18.89 percent
RSU 42/MSAD 42 (Blaine), 27.89 percent
Pleasant Point, 29.76 percent
Lewiston Public Schools, 29.86 percent
Bridgewater Public Schools, 30.3 percent
Cornville Regional Charter School, 30.77 percent
Charlotte Public Schools, 31.43 percent
RSU 41/MSAD 41 (LaGrange), 32.03 percent
Deer Isle-Stonington CSD, 32.64 percent
Princeton Public Schools, 32.76 percent

MATH – Top 10
Yarmouth Schools, 74.26 percent
Falmouth Public Schools , 72.55 percent
South Bristol Public Schools, 68.42 percent
Bar Harbor Public Schools, 67.06 percent
Chebeague Island Public Schools, 65.52 percent
Marshfield Public Schools, 62.5 percent
RSU 51/MSAD 51 (Cumberland), 62.29 percent
Cape Elizabeth Public Schools, 62.28 percent
Hope Public Schools, 61.06 percent
RSU 21 (Kennebunk), 59.11 percent

MATH – Bottom 10
East Machias Public Schools, 12.59 percent
Indian Township, 14.44 percent
Harpswell Coastal Academy, 17.70 percent
Cornville Regional Charter School, 17.95 percent
Cherryfield Public Schools, 18.82 percent
RSU 03/MSAD 03 (Unity). 19.25 percent
RSU 45/MSAD 45 (Washburn). 19.35 percent
RSU 42/MSAD 42 (Blaine). 20 percent
RSU 04 (Litchfield). 20.25 percent
RSU 41/MSAD 41 (LaGrange). 20.61 percent

SCIENCE – Top 10
Bar Harbor Public Schools, 87.06 percent
Cape Elizabeth Public Schools, 86.63 percent
RSU 51/MSAD 51 (Cumberland), 83.15 percent
Yarmouth Schools, 82.80 percent
Great Salt Bay CSD, 82.22 percent
Falmouth Public Schools, 80.72 percent
RSU 26 (Orono), 78.26 percent
Scarborough Public Schools, 77.7 percent
Bristol Public Schools, 76.92 percent
RSU 78 (Rangeley Lakes), 75.56 percent

SCIENCE – Bottom 10
Indian Township, 27.78 percent
RSU 85/MSAD 19 (Lubec), 31.25 percent
RSU 88/MSAD 24 (Van Buren), 35.71 percent
Lewiston Public Schools, 36.29 percent
RSU 23 (Old Orchard Beach), 40.67 percent
RSU 41/MSAD 41 (LaGrange), 42.86 percent
Machiasport Public Schools, 44 percent
MSAD 27 (Fort Kent), 45.86 percent
RSU 17/MSAD 17 (Oxford Hills), 46.09 percent
RSU 42/MSAD 42 (Blaine), 46.67 percent

Source: Maine Department of Education

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Former astronaut, Sen. John Glenn hospitalized in Ohio Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:10:07 +0000 COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio State University official says former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn has been hospitalized for more than a week.

Hank Wilson with Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs said Wednesday that Glenn, 95, is at the James Cancer Hospital, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has cancer.

Wilson said he didn’t have other information about Glenn’s condition, illness or prognosis.

In 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. He served as a U.S. senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999.

Glenn apologized for his poor eyesight this year at the renaming of Columbus’ airport after him. He said he’d lost some of his eyesight because of macular degeneration and a small stroke. Glenn had a heart valve replacement in 2014.

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Van Williams, TV’s ‘Green Hornet,’ dies at 82 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:04:39 +0000 LOS ANGELES — Van Williams was teaching scuba diving in Waikiki when a man approached him and said he looked like Hollywood material.

The idea seemed comical to Williams. A Texas kid who’d chased adventure around the South Pacific and finally to Hawaii, his resume consisted of exactly one high school stage production and a whole lot of football.

Still, the guy seemed sincere, and urged Williams to get his college degree and then look him up if he was ever in L.A. The man turned out to be movie producer Michael Todd, then married to Elizabeth Taylor, and though he died before Williams graduated from Texas Christian University and headed to Hollywood, his name alone seemed to open doors.

Williams was quickly cast as a private detective in “Bourbon Street Beat,” a short-lived show in which the main character worked out of an agency perched above a restaurant in the French Quarter, exploring the dark mysteries of New Orleans.

Magically, the character was resuscitated the next year in “Surfside 6,” another private detective show, but this time set in a houseboat off Miami. He was cast alongside Troy Donahue. The series lasted two years. Williams later appeared with Walter Brennan in “The Tycoon,” the story of an eccentric and cranky millionaire who helps people who show promise.

But the role the cemented Williams’ lasting reputation in prime-time television was as the emerald-suited superhero in “The Green Hornet.”

Though the series lasted only one season, collapsing in the ratings alongside “Batman,” Williams was never able to fully escape his brief stint as Britt Reid, the wealthy Los Angeles newspaper publisher who fought crime after hours alongside his personal manservant and karate pal Kato, played by a young Bruce Lee.

Williams, who died Nov. 28 at the age of 82 in Scottsdale, Ariz., continued to pick up occasional roles — “The Rockford Files,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Streets of San Francisco” — but grew weary of Hollywood, the expectations and the glad-handing it seemed to take to land roles.

Born outside Fort Worth in 1934, Williams was raised on a farm and preferred straight-shooting common folk, not the plotting and scheming he witnessed in Hollywood.

And the fun he once found in location shooting had evaporated, to the point he turned down a role in “Falcon Crest” because it involved filming in Napa Valley.

“He never saw himself as an actor, it was just something he fell into,” his wife Vicki said. “He was tired of all the shenanigans, he just wouldn’t play along.”

Instead he launched a communication company in Santa Monica, renting out pagers and walkie-talkies to Hollywood types when such devices were cutting-edge technology. He later licensed a half dozen repeater stations, renting out air time for customers to relay their own walkie-talkie conversations.

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And now his watch has ended: Actor Peter Vaughan, who played Maester Aemon on ‘Game of Thrones,’ dead at 93 Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:01:13 +0000 LONDON — Veteran British character actor Peter Vaughan, who played the enigmatic Maester Aemon in “Game of Thrones,” has died aged 93.

Vaughan’s agent Sally Long-Innes says he died Tuesday, surrounded by his family.

Vaughan’s face – if not his name – was familiar to generations of television viewers in Britain and around the world. His best-known roles included criminal Harry Grout in 1970s prison sitcom “Porridge.”

Film appearances included “The Naked Runner,” opposite Frank Sinatra, and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.”

Like many British actors, he gained wider fame through HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Vaughan played blind scholar Maester Aemon on the hit fantasy series.

Born Peter Ohm in the central England county of Shropshire, Vaughan was married first to the late actress Billie Whitelaw, and then to Lillias Walker, who survives him.

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