Press Herald Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:52:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Former rival urges ailing McCain to mull his retirement Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:30:28 +0000 A day after news came out about Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., brain cancer diagnosis, his one-time political opponent urged the ailing senator to think about his political future sooner rather than later – and expressed interest in the possibility of her taking over his Senate seat.

“I hope Sen. McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward,” Kelli Ward, who lost to McCain in last year’s Republican primary and is now running to unseat Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told an Indiana radio station Thursday.

In a statement posted later on her website, Ward said McCain’s cancer is “both devastating and debilitating” and he “owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside” when he’s no longer able to perform his duties.

McCain’s office announced Wednesday that he’d been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. The diagnosis, which followed a surgery to remove a blood clot above the left eye, raised questions about when and if he will go back to the Senate.

McCain isn’t up for reelection until 2022. He also had not indicated that he will relinquish his seat, even assuring in a recent tweet that he’ll be “back soon.”

Still, the possibility of him leaving was raised in Ward’s interview. Host Pat Miller asked Ward, a physician and a former Arizona state senator, about whether she believes McCain can resume work.

“I would never presume to say what someone’s prognosis is without having examined them. As a Christian, I know there can always be miracles. But the likelihood that John McCain is going to be able to come back to the Senate and be at full force for the people of our state and the people of the United States is low,” said Ward.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:30:28 +0000
Concert review: Subtle themes unite Bowdoin International Music Festival Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:19:15 +0000 Sometimes a program with no immediately apparent theme turns out to have one if you listen in a particular way. On paper, the program presented by the Bowdoin International Music Festival at Studzinski Recital Hall on Friday looked as disparate as could be: Ravel’s “Sonatine” (1905) was the curtain-raiser, with Robert Sirota’s “Birds of Paradise” (2008) filling out the first half, and Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1 (D. 898, 1828) after the intermission.

But in context, each piece seemed a snapshot of musical language in transition, sometimes subtly, sometimes more strikingly, and in that sense, the program as a whole gelled as a concise overview of the musical ferment of the last two centuries, with a focus on evolution rather than revolution.

The Ravel, for example, is structurally conservative, adhering (mostly) to the conventions of sonata form. But its substance tells a different tale. Ravel, following his own instincts, was prodding classical music listeners of the early 20th century to reconsider notions of tonality and harmonic propriety in ways that early jazz listeners were beginning to do.

Granted, we don’t normally think of the “Sonatine” as one of Ravel’s jazz-tinged works; that distinction is reserved for his music of the 1920s, including the Violin Sonata, with its central “Blues” movement, and the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, with its overtly jazzy rhythms and harmonies.

But on Friday, pianist Douglas Humpherys put a subtle spotlight on the almost casual dissonances that characterize Ravel’s nascent style, and point toward the jazz influences that would become increasingly important in his work. It was not a flawless account, but the occasional slips were not enough to distract from Humpherys’ masterly melding of this bewitching score.

Sirota, who was born in New York in 1949, is a prolific composer and has a Maine connection as well: He has composed much of his music, including “Birds of Paradise,” at his home in Searsmont.

Sirota’s musical language is personal and undogmatic, in the sense that instead of aligning himself with any of the competing contemporary styles, he follows his own internal musical compass. In the case of “Birds of Paradise,” he steps outside the style wars and embraces the time-honored notion that musical language, whatever the accent, can profit from embracing the sounds of nature – in this case, bird calls.

His predecessors in this naturalistic approach include the 16th-century composer Clément Jannequin, whose “Le chant des oiseaux” wove bird calls into a Renaissance texture, through Beethoven, who incorporated birdsong into the “Pastorale” Symphony, to Olivier Messiaen, whose fascination with exotic birds was entwined with his mystical view of creation (both God’s and his own).

“Birds of Paradise” sounds nothing like those works, yet the impulses and contours of birdsong drive every bar of this work’s flute, clarinet and piano writing, with an ingenuity that renders issues of consonance, dissonance and stylistic labels beside the point.

Composed for the Webster Trio (which released a recording of it last year), the piece was taken up in 2013 by flutist Linda Chesis, who directs the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, and who gave it a vital performance here with clarinetist David Valbuena and pianist Peter Basquin.

Chesis had the idea of using film from the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Birds of Paradise Project, which documents the flamenco-like mating dance of these colorful birds, artfully edited to match Sirota’s vivid score. It brought touches of humor and sheer choreographic wonder to the performance.

It may be difficult to think of Schubert in terms of stylistic evolution. But though he spoke the same musical language as Beethoven, his Trio No. 1 is a reminder that Schubert’s melodic sweep, and sense of scale, pointed toward a new world that would blossom into the grandeur of Mahler and Bruckner. Violinist Janet Sung, cellist Steven Doane and pianist Yong Hi Moon gave it a passionate, finely balanced performance that not only illuminated Schubert’s stylistic roots, but his influence on his successors as well.

Allan Kozinn is a former music critic and culture writer for The New York Times who lives in Portland. He can be contacted at:

Twitter: kozinn

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Unpiloted boat circles for hours after fishing mishap off Biddeford Sat, 22 Jul 2017 22:14:08 +0000 The Coast Guard was involved in a water rescue and boat recovery Saturday morning near Biddeford that involved two people who were thrown out of a pleasure craft while attempting to catch a large haddock, leaving their vessel unoccupied and running in circles for hours.

The pair were trying to reel in the haddock about 8 a.m. when they realized that the craft was about to ram into a buoy, according to Coast Guard spokesman Kevin Hampton. They made a hard turn to avoid the buoy, which caused them to be ejected from the boat, he said.

“So the boat was under power with no people on board,” Hampton said.

A lobsterman who witnessed the incident rescued the pair and took them to Cape Porpoise, where they were then transferred by ambulance to Southern Maine Health Care. Neither had any serious injuries.

Meanwhile, the boat continued to circle for hours until it ran out of fuel, Hampton said. The Maine Marine Patrol tried to board the vessel while it was still under power but was unable to do so.

Therefore, a Coast Guard helicopter monitored the circling boat until it stopped around 11:30 a.m., at which point the Coast Guard towed it to Camp Ellis Pier, Hampton said.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:14:08 +0000
Rep. John Lewis takes leads civil rights march at Comic-Con Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:42:19 +0000 SAN DIEGO — U.S. Rep. John Lewis led a march through Comic-Con on Saturday.

About 1,000 people joined the Georgia Democrat on a march through the crowded San Diego Convention Center following a panel discussion about his trilogy of graphic novels, “March.”

Some chanted “No justice, no peace” as the group wound its way past costumed characters and mystified conventioneers. Those who recognized the congressman stopped to greet him and shake his hand. One man confessed that he was near tears at the opportunity to meet someone so instrumental in the fight for social change.

“Thank you for all that you’ve done,” the man said.

Lewis was welcomed with a standing ovation when he and his co-authors, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, walked into the room for their presentation. Scores of elementary school students were seated in the front row.

Lewis was almost like a preacher as he urged students to remain optimistic and to believe in their power to contribute.

“Dr. King inspired me to get in trouble: What I call good trouble, necessary trouble,” he told the audience. “Now more than ever before, we all need to get in trouble. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to stand up, to speak up, to speak out and get in trouble.”

The “March” series tells the story of Lewis’ childhood and how he became an activist for civil rights. It details the movement’s non-violent protests, from sit-ins at lunch counters in the South and the bus boycott in the mid-1950s to the marches in Selma, Alabama, and Washington, D.C.

The book is being used in schools across the country to teach young people about the history of civil rights, “March” editor Leigh Walton said.

– From news service reports

]]> 0 John Lewis, D-Ga., participates in a panel for "MARCH" on day three of Comic-Con International.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:02:16 +0000
Froome secures fourth Tour de France victory Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:40:24 +0000 MARSEILLE, France — Chris Froome stands on the doorstep of the Tour de France’s greatest champions.

Sewing up his fourth Tour crown with a cool-as-a-cucumber ride in a high-pressure time trial in heat-baked Marseille on Saturday means he’ll need just one more victory to join the record-holders who have five.

His winning margin in this Tour, 54 seconds over Rigoberto Uran of Colombia going into Sunday’s processional final stage, is narrower than Froome’s previous wins in 2013, 2015 and 2016. It’s the first he has won by less than one minute.

Over the three weeks, Froome executed fewer of his usual devastating accelerations in the high mountains. He ran out of gas and temporarily lost the race lead on a super-steep climb in the Pyrenees. He hasn’t won any of the 20 stages heading into the final stage, which is traditionally a peaceful ride into Paris with only the sprinters dashing for the line at the end, for the bragging right of winning the stage on the Champs-Elysees.

But Froome at 90 or 95 percent of his previous best still proved good enough – certainly enough to start dreaming of win No. 5 and joining the exalted company of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. They have been the joint leaders since Lance Armstrong’s string of seven doping-assisted victories was expunged from the history of the 114-year-old race.

“It’s a huge honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the greats,” Froome said. “I have got a new-found appreciation for just how difficult it is for those guys to have won five Tour de France. It certainly isn’t getting easier each year.”

Yet he made the deciding time trial look easy enough. To boos and whistles from the partisan crowd backing Romain Bardet, the French rider who was only 23 seconds behind him in the overall standings, Froome set off last from the Stade Velodrome football stadium. Bardet set off two minutes ahead of him.

Froome rode so strongly that by the end he had Bardet in his sights. The French rider wilted on the twisting, tricky course with long wind-affected straightaways by the sea and a short sharp uphill to Notre-Dame de la Garde cathedral, the dominant landmark in France’s second-largest city.

The suspense was quickly over. By the first time check, after 10 kilometers, Froome was 43 seconds quicker than Bardet. The only question was whether Bardet would save a place for himself on the podium as a top-three finisher. He did, by one second.

The time trial was won by Polish rider Maciej Bodnar, who covered the distance at an average speed of nearly 30 mph.

]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 18:32:00 +0000
Scotty McCreery cited for gun at North Carolina airport Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:30:24 +0000 RALEIGH, N.C. — Country singer Scotty McCreery has been cited after authorities say he had a loaded handgun with him in Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 13.

He told authorities he had been at a firing range and forgot to take the gun out. He was flying to Nashville.

Authorities say he had a valid concealed carry permit. He was cited for a misdemeanor concealed weapon permit violation and released.

McCreery told WTVD-TV in a statement that he has learned a lesson he won’t forget, adding, “I take gun safety very seriously.”

The singer is an “American Idol” winner.

– From news service reports

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NAACP announces interim leader, nationwide listening tour Sat, 22 Jul 2017 21:00:32 +0000 BALTIMORE — The NAACP announced a new interim leader on Saturday, along with a nationwide listening tour that will allow it to talk to local members and figure out what the future of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization should be.

Derrick Johnson, the vice-chair of the NAACP board of directors, will serve as interim president and CEO, it was announced at the 108th national convention in Baltimore.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we won’t waste any time getting to it,” he said.

Leon Russell, the NAACP’s national board chairman, said the organization needs to figure out how best to support civil rights workers on the ground in communities who are working on issues like police brutality, the upcoming census, redistricting and voter suppression.

Talking with local members will help them figure out how to “address the issues and challenges that face African-Americans and our communities,” Russell said.

The first stop will be in Detroit on Aug. 24, followed by San Antonio, Texas in September.

The NAACP has in recent years been overshadowed at street-level advocacy by groups like Black Lives Matter.

Johnson stressed that all of the organizations today are working toward the same goals.

The NAACP convention will wrap up Wednesday.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:37:55 +0000
Venezuelans protest president’s plan to rewrite constitution Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:47:50 +0000 CARACAS, Venezuela — Protesters rallied Saturday in the Venezuelan capital for a march toward the embattled nation’s Supreme Court, chanting slogans opposing President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.

Organizers hope the opposition-led demonstration will send a forceful message to Maduro to cancel a July 30 election for delegates to a constitutional assembly that would be tasked with overhauling the nation’s charter.

Protests have been ramping up ahead of the vote, but Saturday’s crowd remained relatively small.

A few thousand turned out in opposition strongholds in eastern Caracas, and elsewhere there were hundreds or dozens.

“The moment to defend Venezuela has arrived,” opposition lawmaker Richard Blanco told a crowd before the march. “We will stay in the streets.”

National guard troops launched tear gas in at least one location in Caracas, blocking protesters with clouds of white gas and rows of officers on motorcycles.

“Here we are going to fight,” opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares said. “This is for our future.”

Venezuelan authorities have routinely responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to nearly four months of street protests, during which at least 97 people have died in the unrest and thousands more have been injured or detained.

Demonstrators are also demanding new presidential elections in light of the nation’s triple-digit inflation, food shortages and soaring crime.

Maduro has shown no sign of giving in, instead promoting the constitutional rewrite as a solution for Venezuela’s political standoff and dire economy.

In recent days he and pro-government leaders have also warned that once the special assembly is elected, those they brand as “fascists” and “terrorists” could face justice.

Maduro critics fear he will use it to further consolidate his power. The assembly could remove his most vocal critics from their posts.

In Washington, President Trump’s administration threatened this week to take “strong and swift economic actions” if Maduro proceeds with the constitution rewrite.

More than 7.5 million Venezuelans heeded opposition calls to vote in an unofficial referendum rejecting Maduro’s plan last Sunday, leaders said.

On Thursday, a 24-hour strike paralyzed much of the country.

And on Friday, the opposition-controlled congress appointed a slate of judges to replace the current members of the government-stacked Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court swiftly rejected those appointments and warned that the judges could face charges of illegally usurping authority.

“The people voted and they rejected this constituent assembly,” read the sign of one man who marched through the streets with a stream of people.

“We are at ‘zero hour,”‘ metropolitan Caracas Mayor Helen Fernandez said, referring to the opposition’s protest plan. “We will elevate our protest to wherever necessary.”

]]> 0 Tintori, right center, wife of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, greets an anti-government protester at a march to the Supreme Court in Caracas on Saturday.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:44:00 +0000
Seeds of Peace seeks to plant harmony while rooting out conflict Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:44:01 +0000 OTISFIELD — Middle East peace is no closer today than it was a quarter century ago when Seeds of Peace brought the first Israeli and Palestinian teens together in the woods of Maine. But the latest group to spend time together sees reason for optimism.

Husam Zarour, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, said Israeli and Palestinian youth have inherited an untenable situation but that it’s their job to fix it.

“We are born in this place and running way is not a solution. We should not give up. We should face this issue and try to solve it,” the 16-year-old said.

The lakeside camp that’s celebrating its 25th anniversary was created when the late foreign news correspondent John Wallach brought a group of Israeli and Arab teens in 1993 amid clashes over territory and Palestinians’ desire for an independent state. The hope is to find common ground so that one day, there can be lasting peace.

Over the years, more than 6,000 graduates of the program have become politicians, business leaders, teachers, journalists, nonprofit leaders and parents. Many of the Arab-Israeli friendships that took root in Maine have endured despite violence in the homeland.

Yet peace remains as elusive as ever.

“I don’t think our founder was under the impression that we were going to create the peace treaty overnight,” executive director Leslie Lewin said while watching the teens play soccer. “We’ve got a lot of work to do but we feel like we’re making a dent.”

The 67-acre camp has expanded its reach over the years, bringing in teenagers from other trouble spots such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, India and Pakistan. These days, there’s also a separate camp for U.S. teens aimed at healing some of the nation’s divisions.

The three-week camp, which wraps up this weekend, relies on the same formula used since the beginning. Built on respect, trust and communication, teenagers raised to see each other as enemies learn through dialogue sessions that they have a lot in common despite differences in culture and religion.

Noam Gabay, a 15-year-old from Tiberias, Israel, said former foes that he knew only from news accounts were transformed into something he couldn’t fathom before.

“I didn’t think we could be friends,” he said.

The only Maine summer camp protected by state police provides a safe haven for the teens, some of whom have had friends and family killed or jailed.

Each day, there are discussions in which the teens share their stories, followed by group challenges where campers are thrust into in trust-oriented activities. They also join in traditional summer camp activities like boating, swimming, games, drama, art and music.

Ynon Reiner, 14, of Kiryat Ono, Israel, described working with a Palestinian teen on a ropes course high above the ground. They had to pass each other to get to the other side. Complicating things, Reiner was blindfolded and relying on instructions of his Palestinian peer.

“You’re suspended in the air. Someone is telling you what to do. You don’t care if he’s a Palestinian. You’re 6 meters (20 feet) high!” Reiner said.

Through angry and tearful discussions, the campers learned about each other’s suffering. They also learned about common goals.

“We both deserve a peaceful life. We both deserve a happy life. And we want this for our kids. We don’t want our kids to live in the same way we lived,” Zarour said.

But the campers know it’ll take time and hard work to bring a lasting peace.

A camper said one of the counselors likened the peace process to an architect designing a beautiful cathedral back in the days when construction sometimes took hundreds of years.

“Architects would commit to a plan even though they knew neither they nor their grandchildren would see it. This conflict is so complicated. If no one has solved until now, then it will take time,” said camper Noga Kaplan, a 15-year-old from Haifa, Israel.

]]> 0 is the long-term goal, but U.S. and U.K. campers celebrate a soccer goal at the Seeds of Peace camp.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:48:27 +0000
Bipartisan agreement on new Russian sanctions puts Trump in awkward position Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:36:45 +0000 WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats announced Saturday that a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers had settled lingering issues with the bill, which also includes stiff economic penalties against Iran and North Korea. The sanctions targeting Russia, however, have drawn the most attention due to President Donald Trump’s persistent push for warmer relations with President Vladimir Putin and ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.

Passage of the bill, which could occur before Congress breaks for the August recess, puts Congress on possible collision course with Trump. The White House had objected to a key section of the bill that would mandate a congressional review if Trump attempted to ease or end the sanctions against Moscow. But if Trump were to veto the bill, he risks sparking an outcry from Republicans and Democrats and having his decision overturned. The sanctions review was included in the bill because of wariness among lawmakers from both parties over Trump’s affinity for Putin.

The precise mechanics of how involved House Democrats would be in the review process had been a key sticking point, but Hoyer said he was pleased with the outcome.

“The legislation ensures that both the majority and minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the administration’s implementation of sanctions,” Hoyer said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the sanctions legislation “strong” and he expected the legislation to be passed promptly.

“Given the many transgressions of Russia, and President Trump’s seeming inability to deal with them, a strong sanctions bill such as the one Democrats and Republicans have just agreed to is essential,” Schumer said.

Early Saturday morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted a legislative business schedule that shows the sanctions bill will be considered Tuesday. McCarthy had pushed to add the North Korea sanctions to the package. The House had overwhelmingly passed legislation in May to hit Pyongyang with additional economic sanctions, but the Senate had yet to take up the bill.

The Senate last month passed sanctions legislation that targeted only Russia and Iran. Congressional aides said there may be resistance among Senate Republicans to adding the North Korea penalties, but it remained unclear whether those concerns would further stall the legislation. The aides were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

“A nearly united Congress is poised to send President Putin a clear message on behalf of the American people and our allies, and we need President Trump to help us deliver that message,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

The House and Senate negotiators addressed concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia’s energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow’s benefit. The bill raises the threshold for when U.S. firms would be prohibited from being part of energy projects that also included Russian businesses.

Although there is widespread support for the legislation, the bill stalled after it cleared the Senate over constitutional questions and bickering over technical details. In particular, House Democrats charged that GOP leaders had cut them out of the congressional review that would be triggered if Trump proposed to terminate or suspend the Russia sanctions. But Republicans rejected the complaint and blamed Democrats for holding the bill up.

The review requirement in the sanctions bill is styled after 2015 legislation pushed by Republicans and approved in the Senate that gave Congress a vote on whether then-President Barack Obama could lift sanctions against Iran. That measure reflected Republican complaints that Obama had overstepped the power of the presidency and needed to be checked by Congress.

According to the bill, Trump is required to send Congress a report explaining why he wants to suspend or terminate a particular set of sanctions. Lawmakers would then have 30 days to decide whether to allow the move or reject it.

Contact Richard Lardner on Twitter:

]]> 0 this July 13, 2017 photo, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y. pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congressional Democrats announced Saturday that a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Schumer called the sanctions legislation "strong" and he expected the legislation to be passed promptly.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:14:05 +0000
Robot finds melted fuel in Fukushima reactor Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:21:11 +0000 TOKYO — Images captured by an underwater robot Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 3 feet on the bottom inside of a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. The three-day probe of Unit 3 ended Saturday.

Locating and analyzing the fuel debris and damage in each of the plant’s three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels.

During last week’s probe, cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the destroyed plant. TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it would take time to analyze the debris images.

]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 16:21:11 +0000
Israel sends more troops to West Bank after stabbing of 3 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:06:14 +0000 RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israel sent more troops to the West Bank on Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family in their home and widespread Israeli-Palestinian clashes erupted over escalating tensions at the Holy Land’s most contested shrine.

The 20-year-old Palestinian assailant wrote in a pre-attack Facebook post that he planned to avenge what he called Israel’s “desecration” of the Jerusalem holy site.

Disputes over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, have set off major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations in the past. They were also at the root of the current round that began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.

In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of the 37-acre walled compound, portraying the devices as a needed security measure to prevent more attacks.

Muslims alleged Israel was trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site under the guise of security – a claim Israel denies – and launched mass prayer protests.

On Friday, anger boiled over and several thousand Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem after noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen wounded by live bullets in some of the worst street clashes in the past two years.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:50:50 +0000
Britain moves to tighten rules on drone use Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:53:23 +0000 LONDON — British officials announced plans Saturday to further regulate drone use in a bid to prevent accidents and threats to commercial aviation.

The new rules will require drones that weigh eight ounces or more to be registered and users will have to pass a safety awareness exam.

The government acted because of concerns that a midair collision between a drone and an aircraft could cause a major disaster. Pilots have reported numerous near-misses in the last year alone in Britain. Earlier this month, London’s Gatwick Airport briefly closed its runway over safety concerns when a drone was spotted in the area and several planes had to be diverted.

The British Airline Pilots Association said independent tests show that even a small drone could cause severe damage to a helicopter or an airline windscreen. The union’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, said pilots “have been warning about the rise in the number of cases of drones being flown irresponsibly close to aircraft and airports for some time.”

He said a new report “clearly shows that readily available drones which can be flown by anyone can shatter or go straight through an aircraft windshield or shatter a helicopter rotor. And those impacts would have catastrophic consequences.”

British police have also reported a sharp rise in complaints from the public about intrusive drone use.

Aviation Minister Martin Callanan said drones are providing many useful services but that the new regulations are needed to prevent the technology from being misused.

“Our measures prioritize protecting the public while maximizing the full potential of drones,” he said.

The new rules will make it easier for the government to track drones that have been flown in an allegedly risky manner or that infringed on protected airspace. Details of the registration plan haven’t yet been worked out.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:53:23 +0000
Teenage German girl captured during Iraqi liberation of Mosul Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:44:19 +0000 BERLIN — A German teenager who ran away from home after converting to Islam was found as Iraqi forces liberated the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State extremists, German and Iraqi officials said Saturday.

The girl is reported to be in good health and will be interrogated this week by Iraqi officials.

The 16-year-old girl, identified only as Linda W. in line with German privacy laws, is getting consular assistance from the German Embassy in Iraq, prosecutor Lorenz Haase said from the eastern German city of Dresden.

Three Iraqi intelligence and investigative sources confirmed that the teenager, who was apprehended in the basement of a home in Mosul’s Old City this month, was Linda W.

The girl was “too stunned” to speak on the day of her arrest, Iraqi officials said, but now she is doing better.

They said she had been working with the Islamic State police department.

Linda W. could theoretically face the death sentence, according to Iraq’s counter-terrorism law.

However, even if she is sentenced to death in Iraq, she would not be executed before the age of 22.

Photos of a disheveled young woman in the presence of Iraqi soldiers went viral online last week, but there were contradicting reports about the girl’s identity.

The teenager had married a Muslim Arab she met online after arriving in the group’s territory, Iraqi officials said.

They said Linda W. was one of 26 foreigners arrested in Mosul since the retreat of the extremists there.

So far, the girl has not made any statement. The officials said she is currently being held with other foreign women at a prison near Baghdad’s airport.

Starting this week, she’ll be investigated by the Iraqi officials, who will bring in German interpreters for the interrogation because she does not speak much Arabic.

]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:44:19 +0000
Walesa joins protest against Polish rule Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:43:14 +0000 WARSAW, Poland — Polish democracy icon and former president Lech Walesa on Saturday joined the protests that have broken out across Poland over plans by the populist ruling party to put the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial system under the party’s political control.

The European Union says the changes would mark a dramatic reversal for a country hailed as a model of democratic transition over the past quarter century, and move Poland closer toward authoritarianism.

The ruling Law and Justice party defends the changes as reforms to a justice system that party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says was never properly purged of former communists after that political system collapsed in 1989.

Walesa addressed protesters in Gdansk, his home city, where he led strikes in the 1980s against the then-communist regime that eventually toppled the government and ushered in democracy.

The 73-year-old Walesa recalled those democratic changes, saying that the separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches was the most important achievement of his Solidarity movement.

“You must use all means to take back what we achieved for you,” he told a crowd that included young Poles. The 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he would always support their struggle, words that appeared to rule out any leadership role for him in the protests.

Later Saturday night, crowds of thousands began to form in Warsaw, Krakow and other Polish cities. Some people held up placards with the word “Constitution” – a reference to accusations the governing party is destroying Poland’s constitutional order.

]]> 0 Polish President Lech Walesa attends a protest against Supreme Court legislation, in Gdansk, Poland, Saturday.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:52:10 +0000
Acadia National Park gets funding for trail maintenance Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:12:21 +0000 Acadia National Park has been awarded $192,286 for trail maintenance, the National Park Service announced Saturday.

Friends of Acadia will provide another $259,112 for trail maintenance through the park service’s Centennial Challenge program, which is distributing $50 million nationwide for maintenance and infrastructure projects at 42 parks in 29 states.

Congress approved $20 million for the projects which will be matched by $33 million from park partners to improve trails, restore buildings and increase visitor access.

Friends of Acadia is a private nonprofit founded in 1986 to support Acadia National Park.

Since 2015 the National Park Service has received over $45 million in funding from Congress through the Centennial Challenge, attracting more than $77 million from partner organizations to support projects designed to reinvigorate national parks.


]]> 0 sign marks Homans Path in Acadia National Park, as well as a challenging 1.4-mile hike to Dorr Mountain.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:17:21 +0000
First-time winners finish on top at 36th Peaks to Portland swim Sat, 22 Jul 2017 17:53:56 +0000 Eric Nilsson thought he had won last year.

But he missed his target of the finish line at the YMCA of Southern Maine Peaks to Portland swim, and the detour landed him in fifth place.

“I honestly thought I’d won, but I went way past,” said Nilsson, of Cambridge, Mass. “This time, I tried to stay more to the left side so I could see.”

Nilsson, 30, rectified last year’s mistake on Saturday by winning the 36th annual open-water swim from Peaks Island to East End Beach. He swam to shore and jogged the final stretch of the 2.4-mile race through shallow water before finishing in 43 minutes, 19.7 seconds for his first Peaks to Portland victory.

A record turnout of more than 500 swimmers participated in the fundraiser benefitting children and teens in the YMCA’s youth development programs. Conditions were almost ideal in Casco Bay, which remained flat aside from a choppy section in the latter half of the course. With water temperatures relatively warm in the low-60s, Nilsson was in the minority of swimmers competing without a wetsuit.

“At this temperature, I don’t feel like I need a wetsuit,” Nilsson said. “If it was like 50 degrees, I might wear one.”

Meanwhile, the second and third finishers – Matthew Hurley, 33, and John Stevens, 38, of Portland – encountered similar confusion that Nilsson experienced in 2016 as they swam to the right of the buoy-lined chute.

“We got totally thrown off at the finish there,” Stevens said, estimating that the mix-up cost them between 10-15 seconds. “By that point, your legs are all cramped, so you stand up and then you have to get back in, and everything tightens up on you. It’s a little bit harder to get back out of the water.”

Stevens said Hurley – his training partner – waited for him to catch up at the end, and the two finished almost simultaneously. Hurley placed second (44:11.3) and Stevens followed in third (44:11.9).

“I’ve been hurt this year, so I really haven’t been training as much as I would like to,” said Stevens, who won Peaks to Portland five times in the 1990s. “So to come in and do as well as I did, I’m happy with that.”

Along with Nilsson, Emma Rotner was also a first-time Peaks to Portland champion, finishing first among the women and 16th overall in 47:37.3. Rotner, 23, recently moved to Portland from New Hampshire. The event was her first open-water race.

“I just kind of put my head down and swam,” she said. “I know Kirsten was right behind me.”

Kirsten Read, 52, of Arundel placed second among the women last year and won in 2013. She was again the female runner-up with a time of 47:45.5. Cheryl Daly, 45, of South Portland, finished third (49:01.3).

For Rotner – an assistant director for one of the YMCA camps – the win is especially meaningful.

“It’s just cool to be swimming for a cause that I’m working for as well,” Rotner said. “I get to see the kids who are benefitting from this type of fundraiser.”

Last year, the YMCA of Southern Maine provided more than $1.2 million in financial assistance to youth alone. The YMCA has branches in Biddeford, Portland, Freeport and New Gloucester.

Helen Brena, CEO of the YMCA, said she expects the event to exceed this year’s fundraising goal of $180,000.

“We’re raising money so that the Y can have the resources to make sure no child is ever turned away because their family can’t afford programs,” Brena said. “It’s adults doing the swim, and they’re impacting the community in a wonderful way by investing in youth.

Watching the race from shore with her three grandchildren was Pat Gallant-Charette – a 66-year-old Westbrook native who became the oldest woman to swim across the English Channel in June.

Along with the English Channel, Gallant-Charette is also the oldest woman to swim the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. Next month, she plans to swim 32 miles across Lake Ontario.

But of all her swims, Gallant-Charette said Peaks to Portland is her favorite. It was her first open-water race, and she has since competed in it more than a dozen times.

“That’s where I got my start – I fell in love with open-water swimming at this race,” she said. “You don’t have to be the speed of Michael Phelps to get to the finish line. You go at your own pace, and everyone is cheering everyone on.

“I’m hoping that one of these swimmers out there one day will try some marathon swims.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 15:26:55 +0000
Maine unemployment ticks up in June Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:27:56 +0000 AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Labor says unemployment nosed up slightly in the state in June.

The labor department says the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.5 percent for June was up from 3.2 percent in May, but down from 3.9 percent a year ago.

The labor department says there were still bright spots to the employment picture, as the number of unemployed people was down 2,500 over the year to 24,700. The unemployment rate in the state has also been 4 percent or less for 21 consecutive months.

Maine’s unemployment rate was less than the nationwide rate of 4.4 percent, but rose from 4.3 percent in May. New England’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 12:29:54 +0000
Branden Grace sets major championship record with 62 at British Open Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:18:09 +0000 SOUTHPORT, England — Jordan Spieth is one round away from the third leg of the career Grand Slam, and one year removed from a reminder that it won’t be easy.

On the horizon is a chance to join Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win three different majors at age 23. In the past was the last time he was leading a major, when he lost a five-shot lead on the back nine a year ago at Augusta National.

All that mattered to him was the present.

Spieth did his part on an extraordinary day of scoring in the British Open, capping off his 5-under 65 by seizing on a good break and making a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar, who did his best to keep pace with a 66.

Spieth had one of seven rounds at 65 or lower at Royal Birkdale, which was never more vulnerable with a light breeze and a clear sky until the final hour. He was warming up on the range when Branden Grace shot 62, the lowest 18-hole score over 157 years of major championships. Spieth then delivered his second bogey-free round of the week in which he never came seriously close to a bogey.

“Pretty stress-free,” Spieth said. “On a Saturday with a lead in a major, that’s as good as I can ask for.”

He was at 11-under 199, breaking by six shots the 54-hole record at Royal Birkdale that Tom Watson set in 1983. Not only did that last birdie give him a three-shot lead, no one else was closer than six shots.

This will be Spieth’s third time taking the lead into the final round of a major. He led by four at the Masters two years ago and won by that margin. More recent was a one-shot lead at Augusta to start the final round, a five-shot lead at the turn and a quadruple-bogey on the 12th hole that cost him another green jacket.

Spieth was embracing both memories.

“I think I’m in a position where it can be very advantageous, just everything I’ve gone through – the good, the bad and everything in the middle,” he said. “I understand that leads can be squandered quickly. And I also understand how you can keep on rolling on one.”

He described the Masters last year as a humbling experience that he thought would serve him well down the road.

“If I don’t win tomorrow, it has nothing to do with that,” he said. “And if I win tomorrow, it has nothing to do with that, either.”

Kuchar never quite caught up to Spieth. He twice made birdies that momentarily tied him for the lead, only for Spieth to pour in birdie putts on top of him to stay in front. Kuchar’s one slip was a drive into the pot bunker on No. 16 when the rain finally arrived, and a three-putt that led to double bogey.

He will be playing in the final group of the fourth round at a major for the first time, and the 39-year-old Kuchar sounded up for the occasion.

“It’s not that I ever felt like I was playing Jordan today,” Kuchar said. “We certainly had a great round of golf. I never felt like I was out there trying to beat Jordan. It’s trying to go up against Royal Birkdale and put on the best show you can against the golf course.”

No one put on a show quite like Grace, the 29-year-old South African who had a chance to win the U.S. Open two years ago. He went out in 29, then added two long birdie putts on the 14th and 16th holes, and a two-putt birdie on the 17th to reach 8 under. From 60 feet behind the 18th green, he lagged it to 2 feet and tapped in for a 62.

“Look at that number! That is sweet,” Johnny Miller, now a golf analyst, said as NBC flashed a 62 on the screen. Miller was the first to shoot 63 in a major at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont. It took 44 years for someone to top it.

Spieth and Kuchar lit it up, too. They combined for 12 birdies, such impressive golf that Kuchar said a couple of times they forgot who had honors on the tee box. Along the way, they created a little separation from the rest of the field.

Austin Connelly, who grew up in Dallas and shares a swing coach with Spieth, extended his remarkable run with birdies on his last two holes for a 66. The 20-year-old Canadian was six shots behind at 5-under 205, tied with U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who had a 68.

Grace wound up seven shots behind even after his 62.

Missing from the mix was Rory McIlroy, who looked to be a big threat when he began with three birdies in five holes, driving the green on the shortened par-4 fifth hole. He lost it around the turn, making back-to-back bogeys, and then a double bogey at No. 10 when he blasted out of one pot bunker left of the fairway and it spun toward another, resting in the thick collar.

McIlroy had a 69, rarely a bad score in the third round of a major. This one left him nine shots behind.

“If you keep it in play, it’s almost hard to make a bogey out there, you know?” McIlroy said. “I’ve always been good when I get off to fast starts, being able to keep it going, and I didn’t today. And I needed to – that’s the disappointing thing.”

Ian Poulter felt even worse. Still lurking, he ran off three straight bogeys early on the back nine and shot 71 to fall nine back.

]]> 0 Grace plays a tee shot during the third round of the British Open Golf Championship.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 18:30:15 +0000
Trump fires off volley of angry tweets on Russia probe Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:09:38 +0000 WASHINGTON — Hours before he was to help commission a new aircraft carrier at a patriotic ceremony on the Virginia coast, President Donald Trump fired off a volley of early morning tweets that again showed how furious he remains over multiple investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The tweets were unusual in their breadth and scope, even for Trump, given the wide variety of topics he touched on as Saturday dawned. His 10 tweets, all sent within two hours starting before 6:30 a.m., ranged from the Russia investigation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Hillary Clinton, the health care effort and his newly appointed White House communications director.

Trump said in one missive: “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS.”

The Washington Post recently reported that Trump has inquired about the authority he has as president to pardon aides, relatives or even himself in connection with the widening investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether any Trump associates were involved.

The president has long criticized leaks of information about the investigation and has urged authorities to prosecute leakers.

Trump maintains that no crimes have been committed.

One of Trump’s attorneys, Jay Sekulow, said the president has not discussed the issue of pardons with his outside legal team.

Next week, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner; and Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman, are scheduled to appear before Senate committees investigating Russian meddling.

Trump defended his son, saying he “openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!” Trump’s namesake has become a focus of the investigation after it was revealed that he, Kushner and Manafort met with Russian representatives at Trump Tower in June 2016. Trump Jr. later released email exchanges concerning the meeting on Twitter, after learning that The New York Times was about to publish them.

The FBI investigated Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state. She turned thousands of emails over to the government, but deleted thousands of others that she said were personal or unrelated to her work as the nation’s top diplomat.

Trump also complained Saturday about a Washington Post report that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. said he discussed election-related issues with Jeff Sessions when the men met during the 2016 presidential race. Sessions, now the attorney general, at the time was a U.S. senator and foreign policy adviser to Trump.

Trump tweeted: “A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!”

The Post on Friday cited anonymous U.S. officials who described U.S. intelligence intercepts of Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s descriptions of his meetings with Sessions.

The Justice Department said Sessions stands by his previous assertion that he never had conversations with Russian officials about any type of interference with the election.

Trump also said “Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace” the Obama-era health care law. An effort to advance legislation collapsed in the Senate earlier this week after several Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for the bill.

Trump ended the tweet with “Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!”

]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 11:13:42 +0000
Coast Guard finds owner of 2 drifting kayaks Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:21:48 +0000 The Coast Guard spent two hours on Saturday morning searching for the possible occupants of two kayaks that were discovered drifting off Cow Island, but later discovered the kayaks had not been occupied.

The vessels were discovered drifting next to each other about 6:20 a.m. just north of Great Diamond Island. The Coast Guard searched the perimeter of Great Diamond Island by foot and between buoys 4 and 10.

A Coast Guard official said the search was called off after the owner of the kayaks called to report them missing. When the owner arrived to claim them, he was informed that he had cost the Coast Guard two hours of time and money by failing to include his name and contact information inside the kayaks.

The owner was given identification stickers to fill out and place inside the boats.


]]> 0, 22 Jul 2017 18:41:34 +0000
Man robbed, assaulted Portland cabdriver, police say Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:10:54 +0000 A 40-year-old Portland man is being held at Cumberland County Jail after he allegedly held up a cabdriver at knifepoint early Saturday morning.

Portland police said Dominic Deas was arrested following a search by a police dog after he robbed and assaulted a taxi driver near Valley Street about 2 a.m.

Deas fled the scene on foot, police said. Officer Zack Finley and the police search dog, Mako, followed Deas’ trail and found him hiding about a mile away.

Police said Deas surrendered without incident. The name of the cab company was not available from police. The cabdriver was injured during the incident but his injuries were not life-threatening, police said. He was treated at the scene.

Deas is being held on $35,000 bail at Cumberland County Jail on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault.


]]> 0 scene tape police car genericSat, 22 Jul 2017 18:35:07 +0000
Sale cruises in Red Sox win Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:47:40 +0000 ANAHEIM, Calif. — A pitcher dreams of starts like this, his team giving him a big early lead before he even throws a pitch. Of course, teams dream of having a starting pitcher like Chris Sale.

The two came together in brilliant fashion on a warm Friday night, with the Boston Red Sox scoring five times in the top of the first and Sale throwing six scoreless innings in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

“We spotted him five runs in the first inning,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I thought we did an outstanding job of stringing hits together, hitting pitches where they were located and using the whole field.”

And then turning it over to Sale, who continued his dominating season.

Sale (12-4) allowed four hits and struck out nine to push his major league-leading total to 200. He walked one and lowered his American League-best ERA to 2.48.

“I’ve not been around a pitcher who’s had that kind of focus,” Farrell said. “His strikeout capability is certainly unique. He’s an elite pitcher. And it’s not just with one pitch. It’s three different ones he can get strikeouts with.”

He became just the fourth pitcher to reach the 200-strikeout mark in 20 or fewer starts, joining Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson (three times) and Pedro Martinez.

“It’s cool,” Sale said. “I appreciate it. I’m not the biggest fan of looking at stuff like that. Those are things for the offseason or to tell my grandkids.”

Sale has won 11 of his last 13 decisions. He improved to 6-0 against the Angels with a 1.23 ERA in seven starts (nine games).

“He’s really deceptive, uses both sides of the plate and has really good secondary stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Boston jumped on erratic Angels starter Ricky Nolasco (4-11) in the first, with six of its first seven batters collecting a hit. Nolasco went four innings and allowed all six runs on nine hits and a walk.

The Angels avoided a shutout when Martin Maldonado hit a solo home run off reliever Kyle Martin in the seventh. It was his 11th homer of the season.


Jackie Bradley Jr. made a tremendous, leaping catch as he flew into the center-field wall on a drive by Yunel Escobar to lead off the bottom of the first inning.

“Jackie made a spectacular catch going up against the wall, as he’s done so many times,” Farrell said. “That was a play he was all out, right to the point of impact. Thankfully there’s padding there.”

All Sale could do was be appreciative.

“It seems like once he makes a great catch, it’s like, OK, that’s the best catch,” he said. “Then he makes another and then that’s the best one. It just seems like he’s always raising the bar. It’s fun to watch.”


The Angels are 5-15 in games Nolasco has started this season, and 42-36 all the others.

“All you can do is wear it,” Nolasco said.


The Red Sox are not the only team getting some strong defensive play.

The Angels have now gone 14 consecutive games without committing an error, matching the franchise record.


Red Sox: Right-hander Joe Kelly (strained left hamstring) remained in Boston and threw long-toss. … With Eduardo Rodriguez (partial shoulder dislocation) back, right-hander Doug Fister is moving to the bullpen. In five games (four starts), Fister is 0-4 with a 7.89 ERA.

Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (forearm strain) threw lightly for the first time in two weeks. “He’s taking baby steps right now,” Scioscia said. “We won’t have a read on him for another seven to 10 days.” … Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (right oblique strain) is scheduled to throw four innings Saturday for Triple-A Salt Lake. … Outfielder Shane Robinson left the game after four innings with upper back spasms.


Red Sox: Left-hander David Price (5-2, 3.39 ERA) looks to keep his strong recent stretch going Saturday against the Angels. In his last three starts, he has allowed just two earned runs (20 innings).

Angels: Right-hander JC Ramirez (8-8, 4.54) is scheduled to make his 19th start of the season. In five career games against the Red Sox (one start) he is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He last started a game on June 14.

]]> 0 starting pitcher Chris Sale throws against the Angels during the first inning Friday night in Anaheim, Calif. The Red Sox scored five times in the top of the first inning and Sale threw six shutout innings in a 6-2 Boston win.Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:43:49 +0000
For Mr. and Mrs. Fish, it’s time for a sea change Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — The giggles began when Jeff Sandler strolled into the classroom wearing a white wig and a robe decorated with yellow lightning bolts.

“Oh yes, it’s me, your basic storm,” he said. “I have everything a storm needs.”

Children in the audience tittered from their cross-legged positions on the floor.

“Lightning,” he said, waving a yellow bolt in the air. “Wind,” he cried, exhaling a loud breath. “Thunder,” he shouted, dancing as he sang, “Boom-ba-da-boom-ba-da-boom.”

“And what’s a storm without lots of rain and big waves?” he said, spritzing water under his armpits with a spray bottle.

The giggles gave way to raucous laughter.

Jeff is better known to his audience as Mr. Fish, and his wife, Deb Sandler, is Mrs. Fish. They are the founders and anchors of Fish Camp, a marine education summer camp at Southern Maine Community College.

Fish Camp has been an institution in South Portland for 39 years, and this summer will be its last. The Sandlers will continue to make educational visits to schools and aquariums, but at ages 69 and 67, respectively, Mr. and Mrs. Fish have decided to close the camp.

As many as 400 children aged 7 to 13 years old have visited Fish Camp in a summer, and the couple has lost count of the total over four decades.

“Many thousands,” Jeff said.


Jeff and Deb met in Portland in their 20s when they were both involved in what became the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street. They wanted to teach children about the ocean, and in 1978, they began to host school groups in a classroom at Southern Maine Community College.

They called themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Fish,” but they didn’t get along at first.

“The two of us were sort of thrown together, both thinking we would be the boss,” Deb said.

But they fell in love, married and later had a daughter and named her Coral. They starred in three local TV specials and learned how to make costumes. Silly skits and homemade costumes are still the foundation of their program. Their shows teach children about ocean creatures – Jeff wears a starfish costume; and clean water – Jeff dresses up as a giant water drop; and tidal pools – Jeff is the storm attempting to disrupt the creatures in the pool.

Eleven-year-old Tony Reiling, right, of New Gloucester plays a sea urchin in a camp skit with Mr. Fish, aka Fish Camp co-founder Jeff Sandler, who’s in the role of “your basic storm.”

By 1980, they were visiting schools five days a week. They began to train aquarium staff across the country to use creative dramatics for educational purposes. They have received awards from organizations that include the Gulf of Maine Marine Educators Association, the National Marine Educators Association and the National Water Environment Federation.

They have since taken their shows to 20 countries and territories, from Japan to American Samoa to the Middle East. Their office in South Portland is papered with ads for their shows – the yellowing poster from their first assembly at Reiche Elementary School in Portland, a newspaper clipping from Massachusetts, a poster from Las Vegas, a hand-drawn flier for the Mr. & Mrs. Fish 1985 Turks & Caicos Tour, a Scottish ad for Mr. and Mrs. Fish “returning to Edinburgh by popular demand.”

But every summer, they have returned to their classroom near Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse for Fish Camp.

“What we’re most proud of is the work we can do here with kids locally,” Jeff said. “This is our home.”


Tuesday at Fish Camp started with free time.

The Sandlers are running three two-week sessions and one one-week session this summer. As many as 100 children sign up for each session; the cost to attend is $675 for two weeks and $375 for one week.

Kids arrive at 9 a.m. to join a game of four square, draw a picture for the camp’s gallery wall or pluck creatures from the tide pools. As Jeff and Deb prepare for their day, children run into their office with drawings of sharks or wriggling crabs found in the pools. Deb puts on her glasses to inspect the findings in one boy’s Tupperware. Her earrings – large green fish – dangle.

“Go put it in the bucket,” she tells him.

They gather the children together for a morning meeting. Deb displays the morning’s tide pools for the kids, including the contents of the boy’s Tupperware. It turns out to be a green crab, and she tells her audience they can be identified by the number of ridges on their shells – five, like the number of letters in the word “green.” Hands shoot in the air to identify a scallop shell, and everyone applauds when one camper successfully identifies the difference between female and male crabs.

Jeff leads a puppet show and then disappears to change into his thunderstorm costume. Deb dresses campers in costumes to represent the life in a tide pool – a mussel, a barnacle, a sea urchin and a piece of seaweed. She is animated as she describes each one, and she uses plungers and props to act out the ways they hang on to the rocks when a storm comes through.

“Mia is going to be a sea creature that loves the sunshine,” Deb says. “She’s right out there in the open on top of the rocks. You can see her all the time when you go to the tide pools. She’s going to be small and white, look like a miniature volcano, and she’s going to be called a …”

“Barnacle,” the audience chimes in.

The campers accept their roles solemnly and listen to their instructions, but when Jeff appears as a thunderstorm, they can’t hide their grins behind their costumes.


Still smiling, the campers head outside for games. They mimic jellyfish with giant parachutes, play a game of kickball with staff who are dressed as clownish zombies and throw water balloons as a sandcastle city.

Some kids met Mr. and Mrs. Fish at school. Luke Gagne, 10, begged his mom to send him to Fish Camp after Mr. and Mrs. Fish visited his class in Cape Elizabeth.

“Mr. and Mrs. Fish came in when I was in kindergarten, and I liked them a lot,” Luke said.

Others are the children of Fish Campers from years past. Caroline Granata, 15, and her brother Braden Paradis, 7, said their grandfather worked at the camp when it first opened. Their mom and aunt attended as children and returned as counselors. This year, Caroline is a counselor too. Their cousin, Reese Schaiberger, 9, came from Massachusetts to join Braden as a camper.

It was early in their two-week session, but they are looking forward to ghost stories at the lighthouse, digging for clams, field trips for ice cream and the night when everyone stays until 8 p.m. for a talent show. They love the range of voices Mr. and Mrs. Fish do during the skits.

“We learned – what was the one that could move backwards?” Braden asked.

“A scallop,” Caroline reminded him.

Stephanie Howard, 42, lives in Massachusetts but brings her family to her childhood home in Cape Elizabeth in the summer. Three of her four children will attend Fish Camp this summer, just like she did.

“The fourth child, she’s too little, so she’ll miss the whole Fish Camp experience,” Howard said. “I was heartbroken.”

Many of the songs and skits Howard saw as a child are still part of Fish Camp. The kindness she remembers from Mr. and Mrs. Fish hasn’t changed either.

“There’s so much technology and sports year round,” Howard said. “It’s so nice to have one that’s just old-school camp. Mr. and Mrs. Fish, they are incredibly kind and energetic people. I think the one thing that really stands out about them is they are truly able to see the best in every child.”

Many campers return year after year. Sophia Gavin, 9, from Portland, rattled off the list of things she had missed since last summer – her friends, the guinea pigs, the counselors and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Fish.

“They make it more fun than a teacher standing up there just saying, ‘Now we have to learn about the habitats,'” Gavin said.

And almost every counselor and staff member is a former camper.

Molly Brenerman, 26, has been coming to Fish Camp as a camper and then a counselor since she was 7 years old. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine in May and plans to be a teacher, but she had to come back for the last summer in South Portland.

“Fish Camp teaches you a lot about the ocean, but it also teaches you to be kind to other people,” she said. “Fish Camp inspired me to want to be a teacher.”


The announcement of Fish Camp’s final summer has inspired notes from former campers and parents.

Jeff has collected them in his office.

“Fish camp is a topic of conversation all year,” one parent wrote. “There are many Maine-made marine biologists and naturalists” because of Fish Camp, another said.

Jeff’s eyes had turned red, and he wiped a tear.

“That makes me cry,” he said.

Mr. and Mrs. Fish will continue to make appearances at schools, aquariums and other camps. But the Sandlers are ready for their first summer off in more than 40 years.

“I’m going to sail a lot,” Deb said. “I have a Sailfish I don’t have the energy to use until the end of the summer.”

They know, however, that their lives will be quieter without the camp. Deb said she will miss leading silly songs every day.

“I really enjoy singing with the kids,” she said.

Jeff will miss another sound.

“Kids laughing,” Jeff said. “I really love the sound of kids laughing.”

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

]]> 0 Tony Reiling, right, of New Gloucester plays a sea urchin in a camp skit with Mr. Fish, aka Fish Camp co-founder Jeff Sandler, who's in the role of "your basic storm."Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:47:06 +0000
Campaign fundraising well underway for Portland City Council races Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 It’s not even August and no one in Portland has officially qualified to be a candidate for City Council, but campaigning – and fundraising – is well underway for the November election.

One potential candidate for an at-large seat, Bree LaCasse, has already raised nearly $20,000 – continuing what appears to be a trend of big money in Portland’s at-large council races.

Meanwhile, a political action committee supporting the $64 million bond to renovate four elementary schools is off to a slow fundraising start.

The reports filed Monday in City Hall are required only of candidates and PACs that had raised or spent more than $500 as of July 1.

LaCasse, a development officer at Community Housing of Maine, formally announced her intention to seek the at-large seat held by veteran Councilor Jill Duson on June 4. According to campaign finance reports filed on July 17, the daughter of the prominent Portland artist Pandora LaCasse had already raised $19,230 and spent nearly $10,000 as of June 30.

Another potential challenger to Duson, Joey Brunelle, a Web developer, is already making campaign finance a central theme of his campaign. Concerned about gentrification, Brunelle has vowed not to take money from real estate developers.

On July 13, Brunelle issued a statement saying he had refunded $2,200 in donations from out-of-state friends and associates, bringing his total to about $5,800 as of June 30, of which he had spent nearly $4,000.

Duson, who is finishing her fifth term on the council, reported raising a little more than $3,400, showing a cash balance of $83 as of June 30.

The early fundraising of LaCasse exceeds the amount raised at this time last year by Councilor Pious Ali, who unseated incumbent Jon Hinck. Through June 30 of last year, Ali had raised over $15,000 toward his pre-election total of $24,000, in what was the city’s most expensive council race in recent history.

In 2014, two candidates raised more than $15,000. Spencer Thibodeau raised $15,776 in his successful bid for the District 2 seat representing the West End. And Brandon Mazer raised $15,336 in his unsuccessful bid for the District 1 seat, representing the East End, now held by Belinda Ray, who raised $4,300.

In 2012, political newcomer Wells Lyons raised $14,000 in an unsuccessful bid to unseat longtime at-large Councilor Nicholas Mavodones.

Those totals, however are dwarfed by the 2015 mayoral race, during which Mayor Ethan Strimling raised more than $100,000 to unseat Michael Brennan, who raised $49,000.

At-large candidates must get 300 to 500 signatures from people registered to vote in Portland, to appear on the ballot. The deadline to submit nomination papers is 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 28.

Protect Our Neighborhood Schools filed reports to become a political action committee to support the $64 million school bond. The group’s principal officer is Emily Figdor, while LaCasse is listed as a candidate with a significant role in the PAC. Strimling is also listed as having a significant role, as well as being a fundraiser.

The PAC reported raising $1,580, plus a $76 loan from Figdor and $1,024 loan from Progressive Portland, a nonprofit co-founded by her husband, Steven Biel. Both Protect Our Neighborhood Schools and Progressive Portland list their address as 31 Cushman St.

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

Twitter: randybillings

]]> 0 Chibroski/Staff Photographer. May 05, 2008. Various photos of Portland City Hall. This is a composite of three images using PhotoMerge in Photoshop.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:10:12 +0000
Letter to the editor: McCain’s fighting spirit should opt for clinical trial Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 My husband suffered with glioblastoma for almost three years before he died. Glioblastoma multiforme is an insidious, powerful cancer, and it always wins. My heart goes out to Sen. John McCain and his family. I hope they will learn everything they can about this disease and make thoughtful choices about treatment, including balancing his quality of life with the side effects of intervention.

If he decides to be aggressive about seeking treatment, I hope he chooses a clinical trial first rather than waiting until after he has run out of medical standard of care options. It may be that trials work best on patients who are newly diagnosed than on those who are ill, tired and fragile from previous lengthy treatments.

That being said, he should remember the option of doing nothing. It’s a valid choice, and no one should take that away from him.

Sally Connolly


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Letter to the editor: Environmental issues take shine from the solar array Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Earlier this year, the Portland City Council approved plans to build a solar array on the capped dump near Ocean Avenue. My neighborhood is one of the closest to this landfill. About 10 years ago, my neighbor moved in and began a personal investigation into the site’s environmental condition.

Her thick notebook of facts raises more questions than answers: Conspicuously absent is a site analysis usually completed at the time of a landfill’s official closing. Also, testing wells were unmonitored and woody plants that can compromise the cap were allowed to grow abundantly on its hillside. We took for granted that the landfill, and the surrounding 400 acres of forest and streams, were properly monitored – particularly since it had been zoned for open recreation.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection now requires that Portland improve the site to state standards, including methane gas and cap integrity testing and proper hillside grading, before installing the solar panels. This is good news for all who live and play in the area.

It is the solar array proposal that caused a number of unpleasant environmental truths to bubble to the surface – facts that my neighbor has been telling us about for years. Hence, the environmental problems with the capped dump and the solar array installation are unavoidably entwined. And there is a rush to build before year’s end because of the governor’s veto of the solar net metering bill, L.D. 1504.

At this week’s neighborhood meeting, city officials and civil engineering firm Sebago Technics honestly admitted that the site has not been maintained properly. While I support the solar panel project, serious environmental questions must first be answered about this particular closed landfill as an appropriate building site. On Tuesday, the Planning Board will hold a public hearing beginning at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Kim Rich


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Letter to the editor: Thoughtful, informative Lawton is a must read Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 I applaud Press Herald columnist Charles Lawton for his ability to provide thoughtful and informative commentary on a wide range of subjects.

His brevity and lack of bias and bombast ought to be emulated more often. Lawton’s columns are always worth reading from start to finish.

John O’Connell

Boothbay Harbor

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Letter to the editor: Scarborough spending plan deserves public’s support Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Having spent nine years on school committees in Massachusettes, I was impressed with the efforts of both sponsors and critics of school budgets. The Scarborough Town Council and School Committee and the Smart Taxes group exemplify those efforts in the time and effort they put into the complex task of hammering out their respective positions on the economy of the town and the schools in particular.

Unfortunately, the opposition offered a skewed view of the budget realities in that the projected tax increase is about 3 percent, which encompasses the 6.8 percent increase in school spending. Adjusted for inflation and contracted expenses, the school spending increase drops to about 3 percent.

That 3 percent buys us a lot. In fact, a quick run of the numbers finds that a $47 million school budget, broken down by 3,000 kids over 180 days, costs us about $80 a day, not factoring in expenses that run for 2½ months in the summer. Could we find a baby sitter for that money?

Then there is the matter of what we are spending that money on, coming out of one of the lowest tax rates in southern Maine at just over 16 percent.

As we go to the polls Tuesday, folks might keep in mind that our schools are at or near the bottom of regional spending on administration, transportation and facilities.

While all that is going on, we offer a first-rate state-of-the-art academic and special needs program, with 34 extracurricular activities. In 2016 we graduated 257 students, with 80 percent going on to some form of higher education – in many instances, to some of our more prestigious colleges and universities.

On Tuesday, let’s step up and support our kids and administrators. Vote “yes”!

Art DiMauro


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Letter to the editor: It’s a new but not improved Portland Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Editorial page editor Greg Kesich’s July 19 column, “Good old days were not always so good in Portland,” waxes rhapsodic about the Portland of today, a place where, he admits, his children can’t afford an apartment, the waterfront used to be a welcome place for fishing boats and the restaurants are no longer affordable to the people who work here. But “congestion, competition and new construction are signs of progress, not decline.”

If you say so, Greg. You’ve been here 30 years, so maybe you remember when all the artists moved in, used sweat equity to make rundown units into studios and shops to create and sell their wares, and talent exploded throughout the region from, not just Maine, but everywhere talented artists were looking for a place to pursue their dreams.

Well, that scenario is over. From what I hear, Biddeford is where new artists are going. Portland is now a destination for upper-middle-class consumers to play in. The people who work here mostly have to live elsewhere. And Greg’s dream of congestion and condos is a reality. I hope he enjoys it.

John Nichols


]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:55:31 +0000
Another View: States should fix solar incentives, not dump them Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Almost overnight, it seems, the decade-long expansion of rooftop solar in the U.S. has come to an end. Installations are set to fall by 2 percent this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Partly to blame is a widening campaign to end a key customer incentive, homeowners’ ability to sell their extra energy back to the grid at retail prices.

Power companies pressing for this change argue that the practice shifts costs from the affluent owners of solar-powered homes to poorer ratepayers. That’s misleading. Net metering, as it’s called, has a negligible effect on most utilities’ retail rates, especially in states where rooftop solar has only just begun to catch on.

Still, getting these prices right, and treating all consumers fairly, is a complicated business. To encourage wider use of emissions-free energy, state regulators need to carefully weigh all the costs and benefits – including the cost of greenhouse-gas emissions to the climate – and set an appropriate price for rooftop solar power that’s returned to the grid.

As things stand in many states, rooftop solar users get full credit for the excess power they generate and return to the grid – a deduction from their monthly electricity charges. The utilities are thus expected to pay retail for rooftop solar, with no accounting for the grid costs involved. This amounts to a subsidy.

Solar power should indeed be subsidized, relative to carbon-based energy – to protect against climate change and the lung-damaging pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels. The question is how big that subsidy should be. The best way to put different energy sources on the same footing would be through a national carbon tax. By raising the cost of coal and natural gas, this would give the utilities the correct incentive to buy rooftop solar. Since the U.S. has no such tax, net metering (together with the national 30 percent tax credit for residential solar systems) is a workable, albeit inferior, alternative.

That said, it makes sense for states to calculate the net-metering subsidy carefully. The rooftop-solar users’ grid costs should be accounted for, alongside the benefit to the utilities (less required capacity) and to society at large.

New York State has taken a step in the right direction by adopting rates for rooftop solar that account for such variables, including even the relative value of electricity at different times and locations. If all goes to plan, New York will eventually do away with net metering altogether, paying rooftop-solar users an arranged price that strikes the right balance.

In the long run, the dispute over net metering will likely diminish, as costs fall and better batteries make storing surplus power economic. In the meantime, states should dispel needless uncertainty about solar by assuring users and utilities alike that a fair price will be paid for sending power back onto the grid.

]]> 0 we won't tax carbon to put a realistic price on its bad environmental effects, we should continue to subsidize renewables because of the broad-based benefits their use delivers.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:46:59 +0000
Reflections: ‘Of course you can be a bigamist, and I’m glad you are’ Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Is bigamy always illegal? As I recounted to Barbara in my office her proposed chemotherapy program and potential side effects, I noted that her attention was wandering. Didn’t she realize what I was saying was important? I stopped and shook my head. Barbara, realizing I caught her looking away, said, “I wasn’t zoning out. I was listening to what you were saying – I can multi-task.

“But I was wondering: How do you think Paul would feel if I told him I was a bigamist?” I was shocked. Paul was Barbara’s second husband – Barbara had been a widow for 10 years. Did she have some mystery third husband no one knew about? Barbara could see I was stunned by her revelation. I could understand why she thought this news was important enough to interrupt my explanation of her cancer treatment! Was it because the police were coming for her at any moment? Barbara continued: “I don’t mean I’ve married a third time in secret.” I was relieved. “But,” she said, “I mean I still love my first husband. Is that OK?”

Barbara told me she had grieved over the death of her first husband a decade ago. Since that time, her loss had become more tolerable and less central to the course of each day. But the pain of his death had not gone away completely. “Does it have to?”

Barbara pined. Though Barbara had a new life with her second husband with new experiences and challenges, she still remembered the life she had together with her first husband: finishing college, starting jobs, having children and building a home. Most importantly, Barbara remembered how her first husband treated her, worked together with her in all their life experiences, and encouraged her with her career after the kids were off to school. “These experiences have made me what I am now and have equipped me to be part of a new relationship. I love my first husband for all that. I don’t want to give him up.”

Barbara’s comments made me think of the rich Bible passage so often part of a marriage ceremony: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-serving. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8). I realized these were the characteristics Barbara and her first husband shared and were supporting her in her new relationship.

This Bible passage then turns to human endeavors that will not last: “But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13: 8-9). So is anything permanent? The passage continues with these stirring and encouraging words: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13: 13).

Barbara caught me with my attention wandering and remarked, “Doctor, you’re not saying much.” I told her what I was thinking about her relationship with her first husband and how it related to this famous Bible passage about love. “So the answer is?” she prodded me.

I answered, “Of course you can be a bigamist, and I’m glad you are.” Barbara was living out the concluding words of this passage from Scripture: “Follow the way of love” (1 Corinthians 14:1).

“Barbara,” I added, “you’re doing the right thing – the thing that lasts.”

When Barbara left the office that day, I had not covered all the issues about her treatments – that could wait until the next visit. But I was glad I had the opportunity to witness in my patient the true love she had in her relationship with her first husband and to realize how that love had not been diminished or extinguished by death.

Dr. Delvyn C. Case Jr. is a hematologist/oncologist, playwright and director, columnist and consultant to the Department of Spiritual Care at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:08:36 +0000
Religion Calendar Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Be Still (Mental Peace Through Meditation). Weekly drop-in meditation classes. $10. The Yoga Center, 449 Forest Ave., Portland,, 10-11 a.m. Sunday.

Mountaintop Summer Worship Services. Load the Sugarloaf SuperQuad chairlift by 10:30 a.m. Discounted worship lift tickets available. Sugarloaf USA, 5092 Sugarloaf Access Road, Carrabassett Valley. 237-2304. 11 a.m.-noon Sunday.

Before the Flood: Paintings and Video Installations by Anita Clearfield. Free, Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress St., Portland., 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Service of Comfort and Hope. Monthly evening service of contemplation. Last Wednesday of each month. First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, 12 Beach St., Saco., 7:30 p.m.

To submit an item for the Religion Calendar, go to and click on the calendar tab.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:31:53 +0000
First responders need to know that we share the burden they take on every day Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 CAMDEN — The words of Knox County Chief Deputy Tim Carroll in the July 15 article “Union crash victim had launched second career” have stuck with me this past week and will not let go.

Deputy Carroll spoke about having to notify families when their loved ones have died tragically: “I don’t know if I ever do it right. I ask myself after each one if I could have done it differently.”

Over the past 12 weeks, our Knox County first responders have answered calls involving the deaths of six people on our roads, in addition to the non-fatal accidents and countless incidents and deaths involving house fires, drug overdoses and domestic abuse that we don’t hear about in the news.

Our sheriff’s deputies, local police officers, firefighters and ambulance crews work hard to prevent tragedies, and when there is one, they’re the first people there and the last to leave. And the work doesn’t end at the scene.

First responders, as front-line caregivers, put themselves in danger every day not just physically, but emotionally as well. They’ve chosen to accept the burden of the stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger and self-doubt that go hand in hand with the already-demanding physical tasks of their jobs.

Many will suffer from compassion fatigue – secondary post-traumatic stress disorder that affects caregivers who regularly interact with other people’s trauma. It takes time, hard work and a lot of self-care just to deal with one traumatic experience. And these courageous women and men get up every single day, go to work and pile more on top.

Experiencing trauma vicariously every day can result in a broad range of health consequences – everything from headaches and back pain to loss of sleep, depression and despair. Exposure to critical events like fires, murders and car accidents can overwhelm any individual, even the strongest among us. And it can often be difficult to ask for help.

Imagine looking our statewide opioid addiction epidemic in the face every day as you literally work to save the lives of men, women and children who have overdosed – and feeling you have no way to personally stop these incidents from happening. Imagine working to save a life in a head-on collision, knowing that a slower speed, a seatbelt or less distraction could have avoided the incident altogether – but having no control over what drivers do when they get behind the wheel.

Fortunately, first responders, while considered at high risk for compassion fatigue and burnout, have also been identified as a group that shows incredible resiliency despite a constant barrage of traumatic incidents. One element of this resiliency has been identified as a sense of community, not just within their professional ranks, but also within the neighborhood, city or county where they do their work.

This means that we – every single one of us – play a real role in the physical and mental health of our first responders, not only in their ability to do their jobs successfully, but also in making sure they don’t suffer for the incredible work they do for us.

It’s not enough to just say thank you. Our first responders need to know that we, as a community, will share the burden they take on every day. They need to know that we are here for them. First responders like Deputy Carroll need to know that when he has to make a long walk up to a family member’s front door, we’re all standing there behind him.

That’s why I’d like to ask you to contact your local first responders and tell them you support them and that you’re here for them. Give them a call, write an email or bring some cookies on a busy weekend. It means more than you know.

And for goodness’ sake, please slow down on the roads and get off your cellphone. We have to do our part, too. Every time each of us chooses to take more care on the road, it’s one less potential walk a first responder will have to make to deliver unthinkable news.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:50:31 +0000
The humble Farmer: Celebrating my 81st-and-a-half birthday Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Jo Lindsay said that the first time she met me, I told her that she had to take off all her clothes.

You do know that I recently celebrated my 81st-and-a-half birthday, don’t you? More than a handful of friends gathered at the St. George Grange Hall on July 18 for this highly publicized and not-to-be-repeated event, and, because I needed something to fill this space today, I asked each guest to stand up and say a few words about the first time we met.

As they spoke, I diligently scribbled in my little notebook. You will forgive me if I misquote because my cousin Truman Hilt, who was sitting behind me, kept whispering aphorisms in my ear. Let me give you an example and get that out of the way. Don’t bother to look it up and correct him: “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed and instead of dying, he sings.”

Cousin Truman makes me laugh. He’s got a shop full of good old things, and has a standard answer for anyone who asks him if he buys antiques: “I’ve got to. I can’t steal enough to stay in business.”

Psychologist Gar Roper was among the first to speak. He told of a hippie wedding he attended years ago at a friend’s summer camp in the back woods of Maine, and described in detail how the flower-decked bridal party paraded down a grassy green moraine to where bride and groom were joined in blissful matrimony. Gar said that when they asked the assemblage for comments, one unassuming stoop-shouldered man slowly raised his hand. The bride obviously knew him because she grimaced. The man said, “When I was invited to this wedding, I figured I’d probably be the only person here wearing a tie. I didn’t realize that I’d also be the only one wearing shoes.”

Peg Gagnon from up Palmyra way stood and said, “His short-term memory is nonexistent. But he can tell you who he is related to back to 1609.”

For several years Denise, who, with her husband, George, has spent the second Friday in July in our bed-and-breakfast, said she found our webpage on Google. “And there I saw a picture of Marsha on her knees washing the kitchen floor. I said to myself, ‘How can this be a B&B?’ I shut off my computer and said, ‘I’ve got to start over again.’ And this time I turn up a man. And he’s drinking his oatmeal out of a tin pan.”

Cousin Truman said, “I went to humble’s wedding. He got married at 12. At 1 he started auctioning off the wedding presents.”

If you were at our wedding, you know that there is not a word of truth in that statement. We didn’t send out personal invitations to our wedding, but I did pay to have a blanket wedding invitation printed in several newspapers, hoping that a few people with a morbid sense of humor would show up with food. I mentioned that presents were not wanted, and, because we were merging two households into one, after the ceremony guests were expected to buy something at the auction in which unwanted furnishings from an 1811 Maine farmhouse attic would be sold.

The ad drew dealers from all over Maine and warranted a two-page illustrated spread in Sam Pennington’s Antique Digest. We raked in enough from the auction to pay for the newspaper ads, and because the widow Marsha recycled the minister she used at a similar event, our wedding cost us nothing. We also had enough food left over to eat for a week. It is my understanding that some people lay out two or three hundred dollars to get married, and why more people don’t do it the way we did is beyond me.

Some things are best left unsaid. When I asked my younger brother, Jim, if he’d say a few words, he politely declined. He told me later that I should thank him.

Marsha had to work in Tenants Harbor that day and so couldn’t attend the birthday party. She has been a wonderful wife, but likes to keep her life separate from the mad social whirl that surrounds mine. When we first met, she would rather scrape paint off the front of a house than make marketing calls for my speaking business, which is why I advertised for help.

Jo Lindsay said that when she showed up to work in my office, I was so allergic to the cat hair on her clothes that she had to throw them in a pile and change into something Marsha had just washed before I’d let her in.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 19:52:05 +0000
Gina Barreca: Some things are just too awful to be forgiven Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Krissy can’t forgive those who don’t tip. Amy can’t forgive those who text while driving. Donna can’t forgive grated cheese on clam sauce.

Forgiveness can be boundless, and yet for many of us it’s a scarce commodity. This is what I discovered when I asked about forgiveness on social media. Why are so many things, great and small, difficult to forgive?

Julie, a university administrator, instantly skips over any bother about forgiveness and heads straight into rage: “Unforgivable? The people who don’t get the concept of when ‘reply all’ is appropriate. If there are 40 people on an email that says ‘Congratulations to Mark for his new book on tiny dinosaurs in literature!’ those 40 people can and should privately write to Mark and congratulate him, invite him out to have a beer, give him a tiny dinosaur, etc. BUT, for the love of all that is holy, please do not fill up my inbox with 40 emails saying, ‘Congrats Mark!’ ‘Way to go!’ ‘Good job, man!’ ‘Nice dinosaur!’ Just. Stop. Doing. That.”

Frank can’t forgive the screenplay written by his hero, Stephen King, when King adapted “The Shining” for television (“Kubrick got it right. King didn’t”). Bette can’t forgive Virginia Woolf for committing suicide; it makes Bette furious even though (or perhaps because) she struggles with depression herself.

Dianne can’t forgive the dry cleaner who shrank her favorite pants. When she brought this to his attention, he gave her the once-over and shrugged, “Maybe you need a little more exercise.”

I can’t forgive the saleslady who insisted I looked fabulous in a pricey knitted ivory suit, which, I discovered as I saw myself in my home mirror, makes me look less like a European sophisticate and more like something in its larval stage. It was a final sale. Of course.

I can’t forgive the boy who, when we were 16, not only stood me up but also went to the party without me and bragged to everybody there that he’d stood me up, inspiring one of the more popular girls to call me at home “because I feel bad for you, just waiting there, when he’s already broken up with you.”

I can’t forgive the colleague who, right after my first book started doing well, announced to other members of our department that I was “a hack” and would do anything for a buck. I was 31 – she was 55. I’d thought she was my friend; I’d respected her.

The calumny by an older woman I’d admired is the one that still rankles.

It’s tough to relinquish the grudges we develop when we’re faced with betrayal. Precisely because a stable and shared sense of balanced reality keeps us sane, we’re stunned when lies and unacceptable actions become normal.

Natasha can’t forgive “The 23-Years-Older-Than-I Husband Who Had an Affair When We Were Living Abroad with the Married Daughter of Our Landlord Who Evicted Me at 4:30am With This News.” I liked her use of capitalization, providing, as it does, the heft of a parable.

“Why can’t I forgive the co-worker who went behind my back 36 years ago and deliberately revealed something said in strictest confidence?” Barbara asks. “For the same reasons I can’t forgive the current occupant of the White House. That former co-worker and this current president are constructed from the same basic kit, right down to their beady little eyes.”

Barbara is not the only one forging connections between betrayals on a personal level and betrayals on a broader – bigger, wider and universally momentous – scale.

Kim finds unforgivable, “People who believe that calling something by a different name will change its essence.”

Words can either clarify or obscure. Unless you are God (and merely believing that you’re God doesn’t work), words do not alter truth.

I suspect that the phrases “alternative facts” and “fake news'” are the political equivalent of “I love her but I’m not in love with her” and “I haven’t touched my mate in years even though we live together.”

Nobody should believe these words. Ever.

If the person to whom you’re addressing your duplicitous remarks is vulnerable, guileless or a wildly uneducated voter, you’re responsible for the connivance, the cruelty and the consequences.

History doesn’t forget, nor should it. And yes, some things should remain tough to forgive. Don’t forget to tip.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:44:00 +0000
Major league roundup: Astros hang on to defeat Orioles, 8-7 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:21:53 +0000 BALTIMORE — Rookie Yuli Gurriel had a career-high four hits Friday night, including a home run, and the Houston Astros received a gritty pitching performance from Mike Fiers in an 8-7 victory against the Baltimore Orioles.

Colin Moran hit his first major league homer and first triple for Houston, and Brian McCann also went deep.

The Astros took an 8-2 lead into the ninth before Adam Jones hit a two-run double off James Hoyt and Jonathan Schoop homered with two on against Chris Devenski.

After Chris Davis was thrown out trying to bunt against the shift, Ken Giles struck out Mark Trumbo to earn his 21st save.

Fiers (7-4) threw 105 pitches over seven innings. He struck out nine, including Jones three times, and allowed one run and six hits.

INDIANS 13, BLUE JAYS 3: Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs against his former team, and Cleveland broke open a close game with an eight-run seventh inning at home.

Encarnacion, who played the last six seasons with Toronto before signing a three-year, $60 million contract with Cleveland in January, hit a leadoff home run in the second, broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a two-run double and added an RBI single in the seventh.

Encarnacion was 3 for 4 with a walk and nearly added to his total later in the seventh, but center fielder Kevin Pillar tracked down his fly ball on the warning track with two runners on.

RANGERS 4, RAYS 3: Elvis Andrus homered early, then snapped a 10th-inning tie with a two-out infield single that gave Texas a victory at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Andrus, who homered in the first inning, hit a sharp grounder off Brad Boxberger (2-1) that forced Evan Longoria to make a diving stop. Pinch-runner Delino Shields scored when the third baseman was unable to complete the throw to first base.

Alex Claudio (2-0) pitched two innings in relief to get the win.


CARDINALS 11, CUBS 4: Paul DeJong hit a tie-breaking two-run double in a nine-run eighth inning as St. Louis won at Chicago.

Chicago carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth, looking for its seventh consecutive win. But St. Louis sent 14 batters to the plate in its highest-scoring inning of the season, taking advantage of a combined six walks by three relievers while improving to 4-4 since the All-Star break.

PHILLIES 6, BREWERS 1: Aaron Nola tied a career high with nine strikeouts in seven sharp innings, Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia won at home.

Nola (7-6) allowed one run and five hits. He has six straight quality starts, going 4-1 and lowering his ERA from 4.76 to 3.38 in that span.


METS 7, ATHLETICS 5: Michael Conforto hit a pair of two-run homers and Jerry Blevins rescued the Mets’ bullpen with a five-out save as New York held on at home for its third straight victory.

T.J. Rivera put the Mets ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run single. Rivera then scored on the play after third baseman Matt Chapman, trying to get him at second, threw the ball into right field.

]]> 0 Altuve of the Houston Astros, right, steals second base as Ruben Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles takes the throw Friday night in the first inning of Houston's 8-7 victory.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:23:35 +0000
Friday’s local baseball roundup: Fayette-Staples qualifies for Legion state tournament Sat, 22 Jul 2017 03:07:03 +0000 SACO — Zach Ham hit a triple and a double in the first inning as Fayette-Staples sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs, then held off Saco Bay PT/York for a 10-7 win in an American Legion Zone 4 playoff game Friday.

Ham, the winning pitcher, and Ben Lambert each finished with three hits for Fayette-Staples (11-7), which earned the runner-up position in Zone 4 behind Wells and qualified for the state tournament that starts Wednesday at Husson University.

Tommy Carr, Trevor LaBonte. Chris Neilson and Alex Neilson each hit an RBI single for York, which got four runs in the fifth and two in the seventh.


WINNIPESAUKEE 6, SANFORD 5: Conrad McMahon tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored on a catcher’s error as the Muskrats (13-20) rallied to beat the Mainers (13-22) in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Sanford got a home run from Colby Maiola in the third inning and added a pair of runs in the fifth to open a 3-0 lead. Riley Pittman’s two-run homer made it 5-1 in the seventh before the Muskrats started their comeback.


SURGE SPLITS WITH REDBIRDS: Sebastian Diaz blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the second and the Old Orchard Beach Surge (14-14) salvaged a doubleheader split with a 4-1 win over the Plattsburgh Redbirds (17-10) at The Ballpark.

The Surge added two runs in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball.

Christian Nazario-Cruz went 3 for 5 to lead Plattsburgh to an 11-2 win in Game 1. Jake Walters had a pair of doubles for OOB.


PATRIOT INSURANCE 3, ON TARGET 1: Cody Cousins allowed six hits over six innings as Patriot Insurance (11-6) beat On Target (4-12) in Portland.

Drew Lashua opened the scoring for Patriot with an RBI single in the second inning.

Ben Rollins had a double for On Target.

EDGE ACADEMY SPLITS WITH AERO H&V: Alex Curtis lined an RBI double and scored on an Andrew Merlino single in the first inning to start Edge Academy (8-8) on its way to a 3-1 win over Aero Heating & Ventilating (10-7) in the first game of a doubleheader at Deering Oaks.

Chaz Reade collected two hits for Edge.

In Game 2, Connor MacDowell singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to lift Aero to a 4-3 win.

Jacob Shapiro hit a two-run homer for Edge in the second game.


SOUTH PORTLAND 12, GORHAM 4: South Portland (14-3) sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the fifth inning to defeat Gorham (6-8-1) in Gorham.

Caden Horton went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI for South Portland. Anthony Poole and Dan Mickiewicz each added two hits and two RBI.

Will Prescott had two hits for Gorham.

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 23:16:00 +0000
Waterville workshop explores filmmaking as collaborative art Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:44:48 +0000 WATERVILLE — Sitting at a corner table in the first floor of the Waterville Public Library on Friday afternoon, Ezra Ehrenzeller showed off the collection of screenplays he’s written. His mother, Tamara, said Ezra, a big fan of movies, began writing screenplays as soon as he could write. He researches voice actors, studios and soundtracks for his movies, she said, and he keeps all his scripts in a box for his brother and often organizes family movie nights.

Ezra, 9, of Oakland, said: “It’s more than just pictures. They make you learn stuff.”

The mother and son were among a half-dozen people who attended an all-day workshop on filmmaking as a collaborative art, the first of its kind at the Maine International Film Festival. Participants in the workshop, directed by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Lynne Sachs, broke off into pairs, with each person making his or her own two-minute film.

Before the pairs went off to make their movies, Sachs showed them a few short films to demonstrate how experimental filmmaking without cuts can be done. One film, titled “Painting Myself into a Corner” by artist Keith Haring, had no cuts at all in it.

Sachs, whose film “Tip of My Tongue” was screened at the festival, asked each participant to come with a cellphone to film the movies and “wacky props” for each of the films. By using the props, she said, the filmmakers were free to explore new ideas.

One group that was making a film about a doctor who went to medical school in just 20 minutes brought a white jacket that looked like one a doctor would wear. John Lovejoy, who played the doctor, went into the library elevator as himself in the film and came out as a doctor.

Sachs said teaching film as a collaborative art makes the experience more fun for the students involved, and the format allows each participant to learn from the others. She likes the idea of the uncut two-minute shorts as a means of storytelling, and the films she showed were largely that same style.

By and large, the performances were more physical than dialogue-based, she said, much like the film she showed by Haring, which was full of activity and motion.

“Your creativity explodes,” she said.

The point of using cellphones to record the films was multifaceted, she said. On one hand, cellphones are far more accessible than a big, expensive camera. A person might come to a workshop and use a bigger camera, but likely wouldn’t have access to such equipment again.

More important, Sachs said she wanted those in attendance to see that cellphones can be used artistically and as a means to be expressive constantly.

“I really want people to look at phones as a paintbrush,” she said.

At a lunch at Jorgensen’s Cafe on Main Street paid for by the film festival, Sachs asked the participants not to use their phones as a distraction, but instead to enjoy the communal meal. She said that not every participant at the workshop was angling to become a filmmaker, but she hoped that they were able to take home the notion that the cellphone is a powerful tool for managing their lives and can be used for art.

“It can still be a place where you express yourself,” she said. “I hope people will walk away with that.”

Once the films were finished, they were shown on a screen on the top floor of the library so everyone in the workshop could see them.

Earlier in the day, as Tamara Ehrenzeller readied her phone to record, she asked Ezra how they should begin. With his props on the table, he said to begin with him building.

Ezra, a boy living with autism, made a film in which he stacked, knocked down, and stacked again a pile of wooden pegs. All the while, he called out to an off-screen character to keep it down and to stay out. He called his movie “Noisy Problems.”

Finally the red-headed boy called out what could be every director’s favorite phrase: “That’s a wrap.”

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

Twitter: colinoellis

]]> 0 Lovejoy plays a maniacal doctor named Dr. Dementia on Friday while performing for his two-minute film during a workshop hosted by the Maine International Film Festival at the Waterville Public Library in Waterville.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:56:51 +0000
Kushner failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:38:37 +0000 WASHINGTON — Jared Kushner failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings that he was required to declare when he joined the White House as an adviser to President Trump, his father-in-law, according to a revised form released Friday.

A separate document released Friday also showed that Kushner’s wife, presidential daughter Ivanka Trump, had been paid as much as $5 million from her outside businesses over an 84-day span this spring around the time she entered the White House as a senior adviser and pledged to distance herself from her outside holdings.

Kushner’s new disclosure, released by the White House, detailed more than 70 assets that his attorneys said he had inadvertently left out of earlier filings.

The new document comes as the presidential aide faces increasing scrutiny as part of investigations into alleged Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.

In recent months, Kushner also has updated a national security questionnaire in which he had failed to disclose more than 100 calls or meetings with representatives from foreign countries – and he is scheduled to appear Monday at a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The new filing reveals Kushner’s past and current investments in an array of entities, including a real estate trading platform now valued at $800 million in which he continues to hold a large stake. He and his wife also disclosed that their contemporary art collection is valued at between $5 million and $25 million


Kushner’s financial disclosure has been updated 39 times since his first filing in March. Frequent revisions are not unusual for appointees with many holdings.

Their attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement that Kushner and Ivanka Trump “followed each of the required steps in their transition from private citizens to federal officials.”

“The Office of Government Ethics has certified Jared’s financial disclosure, reflecting its determination that his approach complies with federal ethics laws,” Gorelick said. He added that Ivanka Trump’s financial disclosure, which was filed in June, is still being reviewed by the agency.

The filings underscore the enormous wealth of the young couple, who stepped down from day-to-day management of their companies before assuming their public posts.

Kushner resigned from 266 corporate positions and Trump stepped down from 292 positions, the documents show.

But they still control assets worth at least $139 million, along with another $66 million, at minimum, of assets that are tied to Trump’s stakes in her fashion brand, the Trump hotel in Washington and other real estate projects, according to the filings.

And they both continue to draw large sums from outside interests: The couple has jointly made at least $102 million since the start of 2016, the documents show.

Trump gave up her right to performance-linked payments from three Trump real estate companies and instead receives fixed payments totaling $1.5 million a year.

But she continues to reap a share of the profits from her fashion brand, where executives said sales climbed more than 20 percent last year and continue to rise this year.

Ivanka Trump has stepped down from day-to-day management of her company, which has come under criticism from labor advocates for its lack of oversight of its operations overseas, but has retained ownership.

Between March 9 and May 31, Ivanka Trump made between $1 million and $5 million from a trust valued at more than $50 million that now holds her fashion business’s collection of shoes, clothes, handbags and other goods. The business earned her more than $5 million between Jan. 2016 and March 2017, disclosures show.


Ivanka Trump also listed receiving $2.4 million in hotel-related revenue from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. She said she earned $787,500 from a publisher’s advance for her book “Women Who Work,” which debuted in May. And she reported $2.5 million in salary and severance from her “continued participation in employer-sponsored 401(k) plan” of Trump Payroll Corp., a side entity that handles Trump Organization wages.

For his part, Kushner earned millions from his family’s real estate over the past year, his filing shows. He pulled in between $1 million and $5 million between January 2016 and March 9 of this year from BFPS Ventures, a holding company valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

An earlier version of Kushner’s disclosure form described BFPS as a company focused on “real estate in New York.” However, public documents revealed, and Kushner’s legal team later confirmed, that it held a wide range of entities, including an Oklahoma oil and gas firm that has been sold.

In correspondence with the ethics office earlier, White House lawyers indicated Kushner wished to sell BFPS, adding that if he retained the company, it would “disqualify him from participating in particular matters that will have a direct and predictable effect on the technology and electronic sectors.”

But Kushner and his legal team reversed course on selling the entire company. Instead, Kushner sold off a number of its assets, including an investment in an Argentine venture capital firm; a stake in FabFitFun, a beauty and wellness subscription company; and dozens of government and corporate bonds, the documents show.

He retained interests in more than two dozen properties in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Maryland.

The holding company now also includes a $5 million to $25 million stake that Kushner has in Cadre, an online real estate investment platform he co-founded with his brother, Joshua.

Last month, Cadre raised $65 million in venture capital from investors that included Goldman Sachs and Andreessen Horowitz. Cadre is now valued at an estimated $800 million.

As a senior adviser to Trump, Kushner has vast purview, including a role heading the newly formed Office of American Innovation, which collaborates with the private sector to improve government.

On his updated disclosure, Kushner said he “has been and will continue to be recused from particular matters in the broker-dealer, real estate, and online financial services sectors to the extent they would have a direct and predictable effect on Cadre.”

]]> 0 Trump and her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner, sit in the front row for a joint news conference at the White House in Washington on April 5.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:44:05 +0000
Republicans feeling pressure to pivot on effort to dismantle ACA Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:25:12 +0000 WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will move next week on a measure to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but, predicting failure, other senators are already talking about areas of compromise between Republicans and Democrats.

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said there was a “good chance” that if Republicans prove unsuccessful next week there could be pressure to “pivot to another strategy, which could include shorter term measures where you are dealing with some of the Democrats, assuming they are interested in helping.”

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said he’s talked with the top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, about holding hearings on health care that would look more broadly at the entire system.

In a statement from Arizona, where he is recovering from surgery, Republican Sen. John McCain also endorsed the idea of hearings and negotiations with Democrats.

“Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” McCain said.


Democrats signaled they were ready to talk too.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Deleware, said he has talked several times with McCain and is “hopeful” that after the vote collapses Republicans will begin working with their Democratic colleagues.

Republicans, he said, are “kind of constrained until they have their debate, their vote.”

“If there are not the votes to move forward, then I think you will find plenty of Democrats and Republicans who will work together,” Carper said.

Indeed, a compromise package is not impossible, argued Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

“My somewhat naive view would be that yes, absolutely, on policy, they can come to bipartisan agreement. That’s the easy part. It’s the politics that are hard,” Corlette said.

An easy fix that both parties might support is a reinsurance program to help insurers with a large number of sicker, high-cost plan members. The Republicans’ House and Senate repeal legislation both contain reinsurance proposals. A bill by Carper and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, also would create a reinsurance program.

Timothy Jost, an emeritus law professor at Washington and Lee University, said an effort to step up federal enrollment outreach efforts also might find bipartisan support. But disputes over retaining the Medicaid expansion and strengthening federal subsidies to help purchase marketplace coverage might not be so easy.

“You want to start with small-bore things that everybody can agree on and then go from there,” Jost said.

Another fix that might gain bipartisan support is permanent federal funding of cost-sharing subsidies that help low-income marketplace enrollees with their out-of-pocket costs.


That’s something they really need to act on right now,” Jost said. “It’s not something to hold hearings on and decide in fall. That needs to happen before (the August) recess, if possible.”

Corlette said Democrats and Republicans might also agree on possible repeal of some ACA taxes, like the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans and regulatory or tax relief for insurers willing to go into rural counties with no marketplace insurers.

But it wouldn’t be easy.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who sits on the Senate health committee, said he’s skeptical of talk that Republicans will work with Democrats.

He said he hoped that Monday night was a turning point after McConnell lost two votes on his bill, but Republicans instead doubled down on their efforts.

Murphy said he’s had “detailed conversations” with Republicans about elements of compromise if the Republican plan fails, “but it’s up to Mitch McConnell to declare when the process has failed and I worry that this is a perpetual process that fails and restarts, fails and restarts.”

And even if Senate Republicans did reach a legislative agreement with Democrats, there’s no guarantee that the more partisan House would buy in.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday suggesting that the two parties could start to address the cost-sharing reduction payments.

“We’re ready to work in a bipartisan way on this,” she said. “But so far I haven’t gotten a response to my letter.”

]]> 0 Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday, said Democrats are ready to work on health care reform in a bipartisan way but haven't heard from Republicans.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:35:21 +0000
Hallowell officials step up effort to make city more age-friendly Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:20:03 +0000 HALLOWELL — City officials bidding to make Hallowell a more age-friendly city continue to make improvements to conform with the AARP’s eight domains of livability that influence the quality of life for older adults.

City Manager Nate Rudy and intern Clio Barr are leading the effort that got a boost this year when Hallowell received a $6,000 grant from AARP to begin an age-friendly action plan and become one of 39 communities in the organization’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities.

Berwick, Biddeford, Kennebunk, Portland, Saco, Westbrook and Yarmouth are among the communities in southern Maine that belong to the network.

“AARP has been a trailblazer on livability and they have established a brand around trying to help communities make decisions on how to make the town more livable, people- and pedestrian-friendly, and also to increase outreach and communication with older folks,” Rudy said.

Rudy said more than 30 percent of residents are over 60, which is a higher-than-average number for Maine. That means a lot of people who have had careers and experiences might have extra time they can dedicate to serving on committees and sharing their knowledge.

A large number of them already are taking part in municipal government, from attending and speaking at meetings to serving on boards and committees, but some don’t want that much involvement yet still want to be heard. Rudy said the city is thinking of more ways to continue reaching out to them.

The city has demonstrated success in a number of the AARP’s eight domains of livability: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community and health services.

There are ample outdoor spaces, there is a high level of social participation among residents, and the city adopted a resolution to be known as a “welcoming city” earlier this year.

The city can improve in the areas of communication and housing, Rudy said.

“I’ve heard a number of people say they want the city to improve its communications outreach,” he said. “The council formed a communications committee, and we’re looking at the ways we reach out and the ways we can improve that within our budget.”

Community Housing of Maine has pledged to convert a building on the Stevens Commons campus into affordable senior housing, something the city set as a goal when it discussed what it was looking for from a potential developer of the 54-acre campus off Winthrop Street.

Barr, a student at Bates College who grew up in Hallowell and graduated from Hall-Dale High School, is leading the effort to gauge the city’s age-friendliness using a survey available online and around the city and through focus groups.

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

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

]]> 0 Warren, 71, of Hallowell, pedals her recumbent bicycle Friday at Slate's Bakery in downtown Hallowell. The outdoor tables are an early morning gathering place.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:36:23 +0000
Sports Digest: Froome keeps overall lead in Tour de France Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:14:15 +0000 CYCLING

Froome keeps overall lead as Norwegian wins stage

After two second-place finishes, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway finally got a stage victory at the Tour de France, using his guile and strength to hold off chasers in the final section Friday at Salon-de Provence.

Boasson Hagen was part of a 20-man group that Chris Froome and Team Sky gave freedom to escape from the peloton because none of them presented a threat to his overall lead.

The overall standings remained unchanged, with Froome still leading French rider Romain Bardet by 23 seconds and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia by 29 seconds. The race ends Sunday.


HALL OF FAME: Top-seeded John Isner beat fellow American Dennis Novikov 6-4, 6-4 to reach the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships semifinals at Newport, Rhode Island.

The only seeded player remaining, Isner will face American Bjorn Fratangelo in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Peter Gojowczyk of Germany will face Matthew Ebden of Australia.

CROATIA OPEN: Local wild card Ivan Dodig upset top-seeded David Goffin 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals at Umag, Croatia.


NFL: Cincinnati cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the regular-season opening game after his role in an altercation at a downtown Cincinnati hotel earlier this year.

Jones pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge from the January incident, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran. The NFL said the suspension was for a violation of its personal conduct policy.

The Chiefs signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a four-year rookie contract.

COLLEGE: Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop doesn’t expect a lawsuit filed against him by his former employer to be a distraction as the Volunteers’ defense attempts to bounce back from a disappointing season.

Penn State sued Shoop for breach of contract over the circumstances of his January 2016 departure. Shoop has filed a counterclaim indicating he was forced out rather than leaving Penn State on his own.

Coastal Carolina Coach Joe Moglia will miss the Sun Belt Conference’s yearly football gathering after having a precautionary medical procedure.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Olympic champion Shi Tingmao led a China 1-2 in the women’s 3-meter springboard competition at Budapest, Hungary.

Earlier, Russia again showed its class in synchronized swimming, taking the women’s team free title for its sixth gold from seven competitions.


PREMIER LEAGUE: Alvaro Morata joined Chelsea from Real Madrid and is set to take over from Diego Costa as the main striker for the English champion.

Chelsea announced the signing of the Spain international without giving a fee. He signed for five years.

EUROPA LEAGUE: UEFA ordered Hajduk Split of Croatia to play its next home game in an empty stadium as punishment for racist chants by fans.


NHL: Detroit agreed to terms with winger Tomas Tatar on a $21.2 million, four-year contract.

Tatar, 26, a Czech native, led Detroit with 25 goals last season and also had 21 assists.

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 22:35:30 +0000
Belgrade residents consider withdrawing from RSU 18 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 02:03:35 +0000 BELGRADE — A public hearing is scheduled for September for residents to weigh in on a petition calling for withdrawing from Regional School Unit 18.

Selectmen on Tuesday accepted a petition to begin the process of withdrawing, and the issue will go to Belgrade voters in November.

The 170 signatures on the petition were all collected by Penny Morrell, most of them outside the Town Office in June.

Belgrade is one of five towns in the district, which also includes China, Oakland, Sidney and Rome, and has considered the issue informally previously in response to the town’s rising education costs.

Morrell, who was a member of the most recent study committee, said: “Our conclusion was it looked like there would be a significant savings, but we’re amateurs.”

Rebecca Seel, a longtime school board member from Belgrade, said previously that the committee concluded no significant savings were identified.

The petition is the first step in a 22-step withdrawal process regulated by state law. If voters approve the move, in November, the town clerk has to forward results to the superintendent, and a withdrawal agreement is then developed. Voters again would weigh in on that agreement.

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

Twitter: betadams

]]> 0 HolingerFri, 21 Jul 2017 22:08:34 +0000
Laughing teens had no legal duty to save man who was drowning in Florida Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:58:11 +0000 MIAMI — It may be reprehensible and morally outrageous, but legal experts say a group of Florida teens had no obligation to rescue a drowning disabled man they instead mocked, laughed at and recorded on a video that was later posted online. Still, authorities are pursuing possible misdemeanor charges against them for failing to report a death.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in a 2012 legal argument, summarized that across the U.S. there’s no general duty to render aid to someone in distress. “You don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger. The blind man is walking in front of a car and you do not have a duty to stop him absent some relation between you,” Kennedy said in arguments on the Affordable Care Act.

Kennedy added that there are “some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that’s generally the rule.”

The case in central Florida’s Brevard County involves the July 9 drowning of Jamel Dunn, 31, in a retention pond. Police in the city of Cocoa discovered later that five teenagers, ages 14 to 16, had made a video of the drowning, which was published Friday by Florida Today. The teens can be heard laughing at Dunn, telling him he’s going to die and that they weren’t going to help him as he struggled and screamed.

Police identified and interviewed the five teens involved. The office of State Attorney Phil Archer initially determined there was no immediate indication that a crime was committed because state law does not require people to give or call for help when someone is in distress. But later, after the story drew widespread attention online, officials said they were pursuing misdemeanor charges of failure to report a death against the teenagers.

“While this in no way will bring justice for what occurred, it is a start,” Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III said. “I know that everyone working on this investigation has been tireless in their efforts to find answers. Everyone has been affected by what we have seen.”

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:04:42 +0000
Senate health bill’s prospects worsen after procedural setback Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:47:36 +0000 WASHINGTON — The Senate parliamentarian issued a preliminary finding that key parts of Republicans’ health care proposal don’t qualify for a fast-track procedure, dramatically complicating Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s already slim prospects of passing a bill next week.

Democrats on the Budget Committee on Friday released a summary of the parliamentarian’s findings on a June 26 draft of McConnell’s proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. The majority leader plans a test vote early next week on the repeal effort.

Two anti-abortion provisions are among the dozen the parliamentarian concluded would require 60 votes rather than the simple majority the GOP seeks to use under the fast-track procedure. One portion prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds for one year, and the other would prevent tax credits for insurance premiums from being used to buy policies that cover abortion.

A Republican aide cautioned that the parliamentarian’s findings were guidance and not formal rulings. The aide said that party leaders would take them into account.

– Bloomberg News

]]> 0 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:56:16 +0000
Woman from Guatemala takes refuge in Connecticut church Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:44:29 +0000 HARTFORD, Conn. — U.S. immigration officials said Friday they consider a woman trying to avoid deportation by seeking sanctuary in a Connecticut church to be a fugitive, but acknowledge they have a policy that restricts them from entering a house of worship except in extraordinary circumstances.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is among those showing support for Nury Chavarria of Norwalk. The governor visited her Thursday night after she took refuge inside the Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal church in New Haven.

Malloy said the attempt to deport the housekeeper and mother of four shows President Trump’s administration is not being truthful when it says its immigration policies are focused on “the bad guys.”

“I am here to say this individual case is a wrong, but I am also very concerned that the greater wrong is when the American people are lied to about what their government is doing,” he told reporters after leaving the church. “If everything I have learned so far about this particular case bears up, then we are being lied to about this case and apparently other cases, as well.”

Chavarria, who is from Guatemala, has lived in the U.S. for 24 years. Her four children, who range in age from 9 to 21, are U.S. citizens.

Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an email Friday that Chavarria was allowed to voluntarily depart by a federal immigration judge in 1998, but failed to comply. He said a final order of removal was issued in 1999. In 2010, the agency deferred her removal for one year on humanitarian grounds, he said.

Chavarria’s supporters said she has gone to ICE and received a stay every year since then, until June, when she was ordered to get on a plane to Guatemala by Thursday.

“Since she did not depart as instructed, she is currently an ICE fugitive,” Walls said.

It is not clear how long Chavarria intends to remain in the church.

Walls said ICE policy is to avoid conducting enforcement activities at churches “unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances.”

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, asked federal immigration authorities for a stay of deportation on humanitarian grounds, but their request was denied.

Both said Friday they will continue to fight on her behalf. They said she has a compelling humanitarian argument because her 21-year-old son suffers from cerebral palsy. They said ICE officials should also take another look at why she was denied asylum when her father and brother’s requests were granted.

“The policy from the Trump administration is inhumane,” Murphy said.

Chavarria’s 9-year-old daughter, Hayley, told reporters outside the church that she is happy to get to spend more time with her mother, but also sad because she knows it is temporary.

“She is not a criminal and has a positive attitude about everything,” Hayley said. “I want her to stay. I love her so much. My message to President Trump is, ‘Don’t separate my family.”‘

]]> 0 Gov. Dannel P. Malloy walks with 9-year-old Hayley Chavarria before speaking at a Thursday news conference at Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Church in New Haven, where her mother has taken sanctuary to avoid deportation.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:46:48 +0000
West carries packed lineup into WNBA All-Star Game Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:42:17 +0000 SEATTLE — It’s hard not to look at the rosters for the WNBA All-Star Game, see the names and accomplishments associated with the West lineup, and not think Saturday’s showcase could be one-sided.

Even for those playing.

“I’m like, ‘Is this the super All-Star team against the younger All-Star team?’ ” Atlanta guard and first-time All-Star Layshia Clarendon said. “I think they have the more seasoned talent, obviously the bigger names, legends in women’s basketball right now and we have the younger generation names. It’s cool that we’re getting to play against them.”

The WNBA brought its midseason showcase to the Pacific Northwest for the first time and it’s probably appropriate it’s taking place out West where most of the league’s big-name stars play. Whether it’s Sue Bird of Seattle, reigning MVP Nneka Ogwumike of Los Angeles or Diana Taurasi of Phoenix, the names on the West roster are among the most recognizable in the sport.

The East? Not so much, especially with the loss of former MVP Elena Delle Donne due to an injury. The East roster features eight first-time selections.

“I think it speaks to the dynamics and the progression of the league,” Ogwumike said. “You have a lot of established players in the West and you have a lot of first-timers that are playing at an All-Star level. I think it shows the growth of the league and its different styles, and I don’t think any of them should be ignored.”

Among the starters selected through voting, there were a combined 12 All-Star appearances by the East and 31 by the West.

Bird nearly tops the entire East by herself, making a record-tying 10th All-Star appearance.

The total all-time All-Star selections among both rosters: East, 25; West, 55.

“They’ve got some run-and-gunners over there and they’re going to be ready to go,” Taurasi said. “They’re not going to know what to expect. They’re going to think it’s a real game.”

NOTES: Delle Donne has been an All-Star in each of her four seasons but will miss the game for the third time after suffering an ankle injury July 14. Delle Donne was replaced by New York guard Sugar Rodgers, making her All-Star debut.

The West will be without Phoenix center Brittney Griner due to ankle and knee injuries suffered on July 14. …

The 3-point contest returned for the first time in eight years. The contest will take place at halftime and features Bird, Rodgers, Maya Moore of Minnesota, Jasmine Thomas of Connecticut and Allie Quigley of Chicago.

]]> 0, 21 Jul 2017 22:12:33 +0000
Busch happy to be back in Indianapolis Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:42:16 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is quickly becoming Kyle Busch’s favorite racing venue.

Ten years ago, he met his future wife, Samantha, at the 2.5-mile oval.

Last year, he pulled off a rare sweep by winning both poles and both races on Brickyard 400 weekend. It’s the last time Busch celebrated a Cup win, and now that he’s back at the historic track, he doesn’t want to wait until next September to make a return trip. He’d like to add a May stop to his already full 2018 schedule and attempt the fabled double bill of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

“I had (a deal) done last year, sold it and everything,” Busch said when asked about competing in the Indy 500. “I had a boss that said no.”

Busch, the 2015 Cup champion and two-time defending Brickyard champ, hasn’t given up on his dream; he’s just putting it on hold temporarily this weekend as he chases history and tries to end a 12-month victory drought.

He couldn’t have picked a better place to come. Over the past two years, Busch has been the most dominant stock-car driver at Indy.

The two-time defending Brickyard champion has led 168 of the last 189 laps here, including a record 149 out of 170 last year when he won from the pole. He also won the 2015 and 2016 Xfinity Series races from the pole, giving him four consecutive wins at Indianapolis.

When the track opened for Xfinity practice Friday, Busch’s car was near the top again – even with restrictor-plate motors.

Busch still had the third-fastest car in the first two practice sessions, turning a fast lap of 166.162 mph as overcast skies cooled the track. The Xfinity qualifications and race will be held Saturday, the same day Busch and the other Cup drivers also will take their first laps.

Even as Busch talks about winning an unprecedented third straight Brickyard, the thrill of taking a shot in IndyCar’s marquee race – and trying the 1,100-mile Memorial Day weekend double – remains a major attraction for the 32-year-old driver.

“I thought I had a great opportunity to do it (in May), but I’m kind of glad it didn’t come together because (Fernando) Alonso kind of stole the headlines the last time it was done,” Busch said. “It would be fun. It would be a unique opportunity. The thing that scares my boss is that I’ve never driven those cars.”

If he goes for it, Busch would start the day in Indianapolis for the 500, then fly to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 600-mile Cup race. His brother, Kurt Busch, tried that in 2014 and finished sixth at the Indy 500 before a blown engine knocked him out of the NASCAR nightcap.

]]> 0 Busch tries to cool down following a practice session for Saturday's Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch swept the Xfinity and Cup Series races each of the previous two years.Fri, 21 Jul 2017 22:09:49 +0000
New Hampshire court again upholds lighter sentence in sexual assault case Sat, 22 Jul 2017 01:40:33 +0000 CONCORD, N.H. — A Wakefield man convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl has again been sentenced to six years in prison nearly three years after a judge changed his mind about imposing a harsher punishment.

Joshua Baud was sentenced in September 2014 to 7½ years for the 2006 assault. But his case sparked outrage and set in motion a sentencing saga after Carroll County Superior Court Judge David Garfunkel said days later that he had reconsidered and wanted to impose a lighter sentence of six years.

“After much soul searching,” he said, he decided he had not balanced the goals of sentencing: punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation.

After prosecutors objected, the state Supreme Court twice ruled that Garfunkel had the authority to revise the sentence, and sent the case back to him. But Garfunkel has since retired, so the new sentence was issued Friday by another judge.

Judge Amy Ignatius said had Garfunkel not reached the state’s mandatory retirement age, he would have heard the case, and there was no doubt that he would have imposed the revised sentence. Given that she didn’t preside over the trial, observe witnesses or hear arguments at sentencing, Ignatius said she would not substitute her judgment for his.

Baud’s attorney, David Rothstein, called the ruling a sound decision that accurately reflects Garfunkel’s thinking and properly imposes the sentence he wanted.

The attorney for the state, Sean Locke, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday.

At a hearing in 2014, the victim’s mother argued against the lighter sentence, saying Garfunkel’s change of heart had her daughter reliving painful memories of the assault.

“This has had a big backlash on my daughter,” the woman said at the time.

“She was hoping for it to be over.”

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