The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Flashback: Peaks to Portland swimmers, 1948 and 2014 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:37 +0000 Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

In this Press Herald photograph from Aug. 8, 1948, contestants dash into the water near Jones Landing on Peaks Island for the annual Peaks to Portland race.

Below, swimmers prepare for the starting line during the 2014 Peaks to Portland race.

Swimmers prepare for the starting line during the Peaks to Portland on Saturday.

Logan Werlinger/Staff Photographer

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 19:52:34 +0000
Maine fishermen testing a ‘game-changer’ for protected cod Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 GEORGETOWN — Like many Maine fishermen, Bryan Kelley faces a dilemma as he looks to diversify beyond the lobster that account for the bulk of his catch.

To target pollock, which are relatively common in the Gulf of Maine, he has to fish in the same areas frequented by cod, a type of groundfish protected through strict federal catch limits.

“We literally have to stay away from the codfish,” Kelley said while standing on his 40-foot boat moored in the Five Islands harbor of Georgetown. “I could fill this with codfish if I wanted to, but that wouldn’t help anybody in this sector and that is not why we are out here.”

To help him catch the groundfish he wants and avoid the species he doesn’t, Kelley has begun experimenting with a contraption akin to a conventional fishing reel on steroids and with an electronic brain. The “automatic jigging machines” loaned to Kelley and a handful of other fishermen by The Nature Conservancy allow them to more accurately target the water column where pollock hang out and stay off the bottom where cod lurk. The machines’ simple hooks and lures also ostensibly reduce inadvertent “by-catch” of cod while avoiding other downsides of trawlnets and gill nets more commonly used by fishermen.

“That’s part of the draw of it: It’s the quickest and easiest I have ever rigged anything up in my life,” Kelley said.

Geoff Smith, marine program director at the Maine chapter of the The Nature Conservancy, said preliminary reviews of the machines have been largely positive.

“This project is really about helping fishermen target those healthy stocks (of fish) while avoiding the codfish to allow them to rebuild,” said Smith, whose organization owns several groundfish permits in the Gulf of Maine. “We really feel that these jigging machines, if fished properly, can be selective and have minimal impact on the seafloor. … And if they work for fishermen, we think they could be a real game-changer.”


The jigging machine project is an example of the types of collaboration among fishermen and organizations that might have been unheard of decades ago. Working with the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the project aims to re-engage small-boat fishermen in an industry that was once the backbone of New England’s coastal economy, but now numbers just a few dozen boats in Maine.

“With these jigging machines, we have seen a lot more interest from lobstermen in getting involved in groundfishing than we have had in a long time,” said Ben Martens, executive director of the fishermen’s association, a nonprofit founded by Port Clyde-based fishermen a decade ago.

Automatic jigging machines have been used elsewhere – most notably in Iceland and the Pacific Northwest – but are fairly uncommon in the Gulf of Maine, where trawls or gill nets were typically used to catch groundfish.

The machines, which are about the size of a small outrigger engine, attach to the side of the boat and feature a spool of heavy fishing line outfitted with six to 10 hooks. The machine drops the weighted line to the seafloor and then raises the hooks back up to the level specified by the fisherman. The “jigging” part of the names comes from the machine moving the hooks up and down in the water column to draw the attention of the fish.

Finally, sensors detect when a certain amount of tension or weight is on the hooks, triggering the machine to automatically retrieve the line. Fishermen then hand-remove the fish from the line.

Kelley said that during a recent trip, his crew hauled in roughly 2,300 pounds of pollock in a four-hour period. He uses simple, hard plastic lures, eliminating bait costs and allowing him to potentially bring on another deckhand. And with fresh pollock fetching anywhere from $2 to $3.50 a pound – compared to the 80 cents a pound Kelley said he used to receive for groundfish – the Georgetown lobsterman is already planning to purchase his jigging machines from The Nature Conservancy and invest in a few more.

“It gives us another season. There’s no downtime,” said Kelley, who, like many Maine lobstermen, has fished for everything – scallops, shrimp and other species – when the lobster are out-of-season or the fishing isn’t good.

In 1989, Maine fishermen landed more than 12 million pounds of cod alone, only to see the fishery peak and then collapse several years later. This year’s cod quota – or “annual catch limit” – for the entire Gulf of Maine is just over 600,000 pounds.

Groundfish accounted for just 2 percent of total poundage – and just 1 percent of the total value – of seafood landed by Maine fishermen in 2015, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Lobster, by comparison, accounted for 44 percent of the total poundage and 81 percent of the monetary value of seafood landed in the state last year.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has designated Gulf of Maine cod as “overfished” and well below the “target biomass level” needed to rebuild the stocks. Pollock, by comparison, are not considered overfished in the gulf in 2016 and have a federal quota of more than 30 million pounds. But after years of ever-tightening quotas, the number of Maine fishermen holding groundfishing permits has dwindled from hundreds of vessels in the 1990s to just 39 that landed any groundfish last year.

The Nature Conservancy and the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association are among several nonprofit organizations that have purchased groundfishing permits from willing sellers in Maine and other New England states in recent years as part of the groups’ focus on sustainable fishing. The organizations then typically lease the quotas, or “catch shares,” associated with those permits to fishermen at favorable rates or contracts with the fishermen to conduct research on gear configurations or practices meant to make a fishery more sustainable.

Smith said The Nature Conservancy purchased about 20 of the automated or electronic jigging machines and has installed several on boats in Maine. Participating fishermen are allocated some of the organization’s quotas for pollock as well as for cod to cover any by-catch. The conservancy will sell the machines to fishermen at a discounted rate, if they elect to continue using the technology.


Automated or electronic jigging machines are billed by manufacturers and supporters as being more sustainable because they can be used to more accurately target the desired species. And because fish are quickly retrieved after the line hits a weight limit, any fish that are undersized or of the wrong species can often be released alive or at least in better shape than those caught in a gill net or trawl. Additionally, Smith said the jigging machines do not damage the ocean bottom.

Kelley said the fish he’s been hauling up have been very “clean” – fishermen-speak for “not banged up” – which often can help them command a higher price in a marketplace already seeing growing demand for fresh, locally caught fish.

Others see a specialized market for hook-caught pollock.

“We are starting to have conversations with people in Portland and Boston and New York to see if there is a market for that product,” said Martens with the fishermen’s association.


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 23:49:09 +0000
Maine groups work on opioid fix: More access to Suboxone Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Dr. Craig Smith says he once held the same misconceptions that many doctors have about bringing Suboxone – which is used to treat opioid addictions – into his practice.

Difficult patients. An overwhelming demand. A constant headache. Endless red tape.

“I thought it would be a big disruption. I thought I would have a lot of people looking like Keith Richards on my doorstep,” said Smith, referring to the Rolling Stones guitarist who has battled substance abuse.

Instead, Smith said that since he started prescribing Suboxone seven years ago, he’s helped numerous people improve their lives, and the patients have not been disruptive to the practice.

“It’s turned out to be the most gratifying part of the job,” said Smith, of Bridgton. “People come to you and they have hit rock bottom, and you’re helping them get back on their feet. Some of them, within weeks, they’re back in your office, smiling, and they’ve started to put their lives back together.”

The Maine Medical Association, an advocacy group representing physicians before the Legislature, is working hard to persuade more doctors to prescribe Suboxone to combat the state’s growing heroin crisis, because there’s a wide gulf between the supply and the demand for treatment.

Doctors must first undergo eight hours of training before being permitted to treat up to 100 patients with Suboxone, a pill that reduces cravings for opioids. Between 25,000 and 30,000 Mainers want drug treatment but don’t have access, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Lisa Letourneau, executive director of Maine Quality Counts, a health advocacy group, said Maine needs many more of its doctors to become Suboxone providers.

“Until we can get Suboxone into primary care practices, we will never have enough capacity in Maine,” Letourneau said.

There are 214 doctors actively prescribing Suboxone out of the roughly 2,000 primary care doctors in the state, according to figures provided by the medical association and Maine Quality Counts. About 13,500 Maine patients received a Suboxone prescription in 2015.

The shortage of prescribers is not just a Maine problem. Access to medication-assisted treatment is lacking across the United States, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study estimated that only 2.2 percent of all doctors in the U.S. have completed Suboxone training, and that half of all opioid addicts have no access to medication-assisted treatment.

So far, persuading doctors to become Suboxone providers is slow going, and the need is daunting, officials say.

Maine has thousands of people addicted to opioids and not nearly enough doctors able to treat them effectively.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Gordon Smith, the medical association’s executive director. Smith said he believes minds are being changed, but it’s difficult to know whether it will translate into more doctors becoming Suboxone prescribers.

“There’s some reluctance from physicians to get involved in this,” he said.


Smith said that between now and the end of the year, he will be traveling the state and hosting 50 events for doctors, in part to try to persuade them to bring Suboxone into their practice. <URL destination=””>Maine had a record 272 drug overdose deaths in 2015, with most caused by opioids.

</URL>Suboxone can be picked up at a pharmacy, unlike methadone, which is usually dispensed in cups at standalone clinics. Methadone is typically recommended for the most severe opioid addictions, but Suboxone can be prescribed for many patients.

Dr. Elisabeth Fowlie Mock, a primary care physician from Holden, said doctors, along with the pharmaceutical industry, created the opioid crisis by overprescribing opioids for pain relief, starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Four out of five heroin addicts were first addicted to prescription opioids, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“We have to own the fact that we created this tremendous mess,” said Mock, who will receive Suboxone training next month. “And now we have to be the ones to fix it.”

The medical association and Maine Quality Counts hosted a conference July 14 that discussed the dangers of prescribing opioids and how to comply with a new law that places a dosage cap on them, and also included discussions on Suboxone.

“We’re at the very beginning of addressing this problem,” said Eric Haram, who heads up a medication-assisted treatment program through Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick that’s being recognized as a model for access. But the Brunswick program is the exception.

The federal government is also working to expand treatment by increasing the cap on Suboxone patients per physician from 100 to 275. And Congress passed a law that will give nurse practitioners and physician assistants the authority to prescribe Suboxone, after completing training.

“That will be a great help,” said Smith, estimating that there are about 1,300 nurse practitioners and 700 physician assistants in Maine.

Increasing the cap to 275 patients would also be helpful, Smith said, but it doesn’t change the fact that there needs to be more doctors willing to prescribe Suboxone.

The federal government places a cap on the total number of patients each doctor can prescribe to discourage unscrupulous doctors from becoming “pill mills.”


The Maine Opioid Collaborative, a group consisting of people in the treatment community, public health system, hospitals, law enforcement, former addicts and others, concluded in May that expanding access to medication-assisted treatment would be the most effective way of dealing with the opioid crisis.

The collaborative pointed to research that shows how medication-assisted treatment is scientifically proven to work, while abstinence-based programs have a much higher relapse rate.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, said there seems to be momentum on providing greater access to medication-assisted treatment.

“I’ve seen a change in the last two to three years regarding people’s attitudes on the subject. We have to expand access, as the problem we have with opioids is staggering,” King said.

Dr. Smith, the Bridgton physician, said that for doctors, it’s “really hard to make that first step” to become a Suboxone provider.

“Doctors don’t like to do things that are uncharted territory for them,” he said.

For Smith, what he saw in his practice spurred him into becoming a Suboxone provider.

In August 2009, four of his patients died from opioid-related drug overdoses. Alarmed, Smith did Suboxone training and soon thereafter began accepting patients.

“It opened my eyes and made me realize the problem is much bigger than we thought,” Smith said. He said his patients were using opioids but hiding it from him, so every time the medical examiner called, he was surprised to hear that toxicology tests revealed the presence of opioids. “It made me realize this is something we should be doing,” he said.

Smith’s wife, Dr. Jennifer Smith, is also a Suboxone provider and works in the same office, so they treat about 200 opioid patients at the same time.

He said about 60 percent to 70 percent of Suboxone patients need to remain on a low maintenance dose of Suboxone.

The practice can accept all patients, even the uninsured, Smith said. They work closely with Crooked River Counseling so that Suboxone patients can be paired with a therapist.

Smith said that after he started seeing positive experiences with Suboxone, he began telling other doctors about it, and now there are six doctors in the region – soon to be seven – who prescribe Suboxone.


Letourneau, of Maine Quality Counts, said there are many barriers to persuading doctors to prescribe Suboxone, and one is institutional resistance. She said many of the state’s hospitals have either not yet bought into the concept or are slow to do so, in part because of society’s “overwhelming bias and stigma” against drug addicts.

“In many cases, it’s not the doctor’s individual decision. Our institutions haven’t yet addressed this crisis in a systemic way,” Letourneau said. “There has not yet been an organizational commitment to take this on.”

Most primary care doctors in Maine are connected to a hospital network, such as MaineHealth or Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.

Letourneau said some doctors may also feel held back from taking on Suboxone patients by bureaucratic requirements, which stifle their desire to treat patients with addictions.

Haram said Maine’se government could do a better job of recruiting Suboxone providers, going after grant money for training, and connecting Suboxone providers with counseling services.

“Doctors who choose to do this want to be supported,” Haram said “They don’t want to hang their shingle out for their 100 Suboxone patients and not have any counseling support.”

Haram said that despite the difficult task ahead, people are at least talking about and focused on the issue, so perhaps significant changes are ahead.

Letourneau agreed, and said that even though Maine has only a “tiny fraction” of the doctors needed to prescribe Suboxone, at least people seem more open-minded lately about treating addiction.

“There’s a buzz, a conversation about this topic that we weren’t having a few years ago,” she said.


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 23:15:14 +0000
South Portland moves ahead with solar proposal on former landfill Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — City officials are moving forward with a cost-saving plan to build a solar power array on the former municipal landfill off Highland Avenue.

ReVision Energy of Portland has sweetened the terms of its proposal to build the solar facility, reducing the price that the city would pay for electricity generated by the array from 12 cents to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour under a power purchase agreement.

ReVision revised its offer after legislation to reform Maine’s solar regulations failed last spring, causing several communities to pull back from solar proposals without the means to make them financially viable.

“I think ReVision was really willing to work with us,” said Julie Rosenbach, the city’s sustainability coordinator. “The project economics look very good. We would save more in energy costs than we would pay to finance the project.”

Rosenbach and other city administrators are expected to pitch ReVision’s latest proposal at a City Council workshop on Aug. 22. A formal vote will follow at a regular council meeting.

“The new terms that ReVision has offered make it an acceptable proposal to bring to the council,” said City Planning Director Tex Haeuser, a longtime advocate for building a solar farm on the 34-acre landfill.

Rosenbach teamed up with Portland officials to negotiate separate agreements with matching terms for ReVision to build a solar array atop each city’s capped solid waste landfill.

The Portland City Council’s Energy and Sustainability Committee voted 3-0 Wednesday to recommend the revised proposal for a solar farm on that city’s the 44-acre landfill off Ocean Avenue. The full council will take it up next.

“By doing it jointly, we’d actually be saving some funds, so I’m optimistic,” said South Portland Mayor Tom Blake.

Under the proposal, ReVision would build a 660-kilowatt array on each city’s landfill. Each array would serve a maximum 10 municipal meters – the largest possible under Maine law.

ReVision can afford to build the arrays in part because, as a for-profit company, it would receive federal solar investment tax credits, which provide a tax reduction equal to 30 percent of a project’s costs. The cities aren’t eligible for a tax credit because they are nonprofit entities.

Each city would make an initial investment of about $25,000 per year for six years. The initial $150,000 investment is expected to be paid back within 10 years through energy savings.

“That’s based on conservative estimates, so people can say that’s not far-fetched,” said Assistant City Manager Josh Reny.

Each facility would generate about 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That’s nearly 12 percent of the 10.1 million kilowatt-hours used annually by South Portland’s municipal and school facilities, Rosenbach said. And it’s about 3.5 percent of the 35.6 million kilowatt-hours used by Portland’s municipal and school facilities – enough to power Portland City Hall and Merrill Auditorium for a year.

The facilities are expected to be in cash-positive positions by the seventh year of the agreement, when each city would anticipate buying its array for $1.6 million, financed through a 20-year bond at 3 percent interest.

South Portland officials hope to cut the cost of financing the buyout, Rosenbach said, possibly by setting up a solar fund, where the city would set aside money for several years in advance, with an eye toward reducing or eliminating borrowing altogether.


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:57:51 +0000
Letter to the editor: Lewiston’s Fuel restaurant not worth trying or owning Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 While visiting friends in Norway, we decided to give Fuel restaurant in Lewiston a try, as the July 14 article in the Portland Press Herald intrigued us (“Lewiston’s Fuel restaurant is offered as prize in essay contest”).

The owner is soliciting essay submissions, of which one will be selected and the complete restaurant business awarded as a prize.

The online menu looked interesting. The actual experience could only be described as rivaling the old “Candid Camera” show, in which service was close to being absent and rude when it made a rare appearance. The food was completely inedible, appearing to have been microwaved. We expected to see Alan Funt at any moment. The only positive was a well-priced wine list.

The staff was clearly uninterested and acted as if the restaurant’s closing was imminent. Indeed, Fuel was more than three-quarters empty on a Saturday evening.

I would suggest that anyone interested in the contest look elsewhere for a business opportunity. As for the owner, he should be ashamed of how dismal Fuel is in every category of restaurant operations. If anything, the name should have been a warning: Although “fuel” may be a term more associated with gas stations, in this case, the food was not quite on par with gas station fare.

I’d advise anyone considering Fuel to hold on to your pens and stay away!

Milton Schwartzberg


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:54:46 +0000
Letter to the editor: Student debt keeps college from being great equalizer Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 The July 11 editorial “Our View: Student debt load unevenly distributed” was right on the mark. Young people are forced to take on exorbitant amounts of debt to obtain a college degree, a necessary first step for many careers.

The fact that the poor and middle class are most severely burdened by college debt not only perpetuates economic inequality but also increases it. Because of this, education cannot be the great equalizer it’s supposed to be.

The Legislature took an important step this year to help address the problem by expanding access to the Opportunity Maine tax credit. The credit, which has been around for about a decade, helps offset student debt with substantial tax savings, with a larger credit for graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The average credit is about $1,000 ($2,000 for STEM graduates).

Originally, the program applied only to graduates of Maine colleges who stayed to work in Maine. Now, any college graduate who graduated after 2008 and takes a job in the state can benefit. The new rules also create incentives for Maine companies to help pay employees’ student loans, helping to attract more skilled workers.

This is a huge win for students and for our economy, but the program is not very well-known and many people miss out on the opportunity. Remind the recent college graduates in your life to check it out when tax season rolls around again.

As Maine’s population ages, the need to attract and keep young, skilled workers is more acute than ever. It is going to take significant changes to overhaul the college finance system, but it is clear that our economy cannot thrive when advancing your education puts you so far behind.

Teresa Pierce

Democratic state representative


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:53:19 +0000
Letter to the editor: Accept Quimby’s land gift to protect an American gem Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Time magazine recently published its most fascinating “double issue” ever. Dated July 11-18, it features, on the occasion of the nation’s 240th birthday, “240 Reasons to Celebrate America.” It presents wonderful tributes and tidbits toward creativity, ingenuity and culture by notables from all walks of life on what America’s all about.

Among the suggested “fixes” for America, humorist Garrison Keillor proposes we break up the partisan gangs in the U.S. Senate by seating Democrats and Republicans together – in order of age. The oldest toward the rear, the younger members up front, “so they get the idea that their time is brief.”

I’d suggest seating senators together geographically. From the speaker’s podium view: Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians on the far left. The Midwest states would border the aisle, which would be redirected to meander like the flow of the Mississippi River.

Floridians on the far right, down front. Then up the Eastern Seaboard with Mainers on the top right – presumably near the restrooms (a nice perk for Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King). Perhaps our next president – whoever she is – decrees this as “The Way Seating Should Be.”

Filmmaker Ken Burns writes ebulliently about our national parks. Theodore Roosevelt deemed the federal park system as “noteworthy in its essential democracy.” Another historian proclaimed them “the best idea the nation has ever produced,” as indeed they are.

Along that line, and in America’s unique proclivity for creativity and generosity, I believe Roxanne Quimby’s gift of the land to create another national park in Maine is a most precious gift that we should accept, forthwith – with grace and enthusiasm. Aye – grab the shovels, lads!

To have a beer with the likes of Keillor, Burns and Quimby. To me, that’s what America’s all about.

Buddy Doyle


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:47:20 +0000
Letter to the editor: Portland social worker deserves due process Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 With regards to the coverage of Kelly O’Rourke (a Portland clinical social worker charged with having an unlawful sexual relationship with a female client), I want to remind the Portland Press Herald and its readers that, under U.S. law, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Actions by the Maine State Board of Social Work Licensure or criminal justice system require due process, including gathering evidence, calling witnesses and the accused presenting their version of the facts. Alleged transgressions are only alleged until proven otherwise. Cases are tried in a court of law or reviewed by the board, not tried in the court of public opinion or in the newspaper.

It could easily take the licensing board six months to gather information and review the case, and the fact that the board hasn’t taken action against Mr. O’Rourke’s license quite possibly means there was insufficient evidence to do so.

Revoking someone’s license is the most severe action a board can take, and would represent a loss of income over the next 15 years of about $750,000. Thus, it is not an action to be taken without sufficient evidence.

I have known Kelly O’Rourke as a colleague for about five years, and during that time he has been considered a stellar clinician with excellent reviews by his clients and peers. Thus, I find it hard to believe these accusations, and hope that further investigation will clear his name.

Barbara Pearson


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:54:01 +0000
Maine Voices: Unable to support Trump when confronted with his personal flaws Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 FREEPORT — Adults spend countless hours teaching their children how to be good people and to be positive members of society. The lessons we teach are fundamental – the Golden Rule, the importance of helping others, being respectful, kind and loving and being accepting of others.

We teach them our values and encourage morality at home, in school and in church. We teach them to share, to listen and to think about consequences before speaking or acting. Just as importantly, we try to embody all of this in our own actions so that we can be good role models and to provide them a positive example to follow so that they can grow and thrive.

We could all do well to remember this when we approach the ballot box.


I am a lifelong Republican who believes in the principles and values upon which my party was founded. But recently, the rise of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee has caused me to ask myself some important questions.

Can I support the Republican nominee if that person embodies everything that I taught my children not to be?

Can I hold my nose and tolerate someone “for the good of the party” if that candidate routinely shows himself to embody behaviors and characteristics such as bigotry, intolerance, thoughtlessness, meanness, name-calling and a lack of principles that undermine what the party stands for?

Can I really cast my vote for someone just because he has an “R” after his name even if I know him to be a loose cannon, unwilling or incapable of working with others, untruthful, lacking character and largely uncaring when faced with the plight of those who are less fortunate in this world?

No matter who you are or what your political persuasion, most people agree about what makes someone a good person and what behaviors we want our kids to emulate. We do our best at home, in our schools and in our churches to teach those to generation after generation for the good of us all. But Donald Trump does not display many of them. Can that be overlooked? And, if so, what makes my choice during the 2016 presidential election – or any election, for that matter – different?

After a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to view this November’s election through the lens of a parent. If Donald Trump is not a good role model and does not demonstrate the values I have taught my children and try to express in my daily actions, he should not have my support to be the leader of our country and the Republican Party. My standards and principles are higher than that, and the promise of America deserves more. Donald Trump simply does not rise to those standards and principles.


So, what does this mean for me when I enter the voting booth? I don’t yet know.

But there are two things of which I am certain: First, I will vote for someone other than Donald Trump, in a manner that will make me (and the person for whom I vote) a positive example and role model for my kids and my country. That means that my vote will go to someone who is representative of the qualities, character and behaviors we so highly value in America but seem to have forgotten or ignored in the haze of our nation’s deserved anger and frustration with “the establishment.”

Second, I will be playing the long game when I cast my vote, caring more about the future of my party and the country than the results of any one election.

I believe in the Republican Party and that for which it stands, but it just may be that a loss at the ballot box at the top of the ticket is what is needed to begin the process of restoring the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan so that it can once again be worthy of my vote and support.


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:52:24 +0000
Community Meals Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Bake sale and luncheon. Bake sale: homemade pies, whoopie pies, cookies, breads and much more. Luncheon: hot dog, chips, beverage, $5, North Saco Congregational Christian Church, Flag Pond Road, Saco. 282-0958, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Casco Days supper, adults $8, children 8 and under $5, $21 max for families with young children, Casco Village Church, 941 Meadow Road, Casco. 627-4282, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Baked ratatouille luncheon, $6 per person, Cohen on the Meadows at the Cohen Center, Town Farm Road, Hallowell. 626-7777, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Baked ham lunch with entertainment by Bonnie Hendsbee, adults $6, seniors $5, Spectrum Generations William S. Cohen Community Center, 22 Town Farm Road, Hallowell. 626-7777, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Chicken fricassee luncheon with entertainment by Mike Theriault, adults $6, seniors $5, Spectrum Generations William S. Cohen Community Center, 22 Town Farm Road, Hallowell, 626-7777, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Free community meal every Wednesday. Co-sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church, Wayside Food Programs and the Westbrook Community Center. Free parking, handicap accessible. All are welcome for a free nutritious meal and fellowship. Westbrook Community Center, 426 Bridge St., Westbrook. 854-5653, 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Lobster bake and 20th anniversary celebration, with swingtime band, $15, Spectrum Generations William S. Cohen Community Center, 22 Town Farm Road, Hallowell. 626-7777, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.

American chop suey dinner with entertainment by Dave McInnis, adults $6, seniors $5, Spectrum Generations William S. Cohen Community Center, 22 Town Farm Road, Hallowell. 626-7777, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday.

Baked bean supper, proceeds to benefit Salem Maine Economic Ministries, $8, Cressey Road United Methodist Church, 81 Cressey Road, Gorham., 5 to 6 p.m., Sunday.

Church supper, barbecue to benefit the South Portland Food Cupboard, chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs and more, St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Black Point Road, Scarborough. Adults: $10, kids under 12: $5, family: $25, 5:45 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:23:36 +0000
Briefs Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 SEBAGO

Crafters needed for sale

North Sebago United Methodist Church is seeking crafters who wish to participate in its annual Christmas Craft and Bake Sale set for Nov. 12 at the church, 820 Sebago Road.

For more details, call Mabel Olden at 787-2530.


Apply for fair pageant

Applications are being accepted for those wishing to participate in the Miss Acton Fair Pageant, set for 8 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Acton Fair Grounds.

Girls ages 9 to 17 are eligible to participate, with contestants being broken into categories of ages 9 to 12 and 13 to 17. Those entrants must present a talent for the competition, as well as model an evening gown. Private interviews will be held with judges of the pageant at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the fairgrounds.

The deadline to enter is by Aug. 17. For information, contact June Burke at 457-1185 or 432-1570. Applications are available at


Staffer named to fellowship

Biddeford Middle School’s instructional coach Mary Bellavance was named one of nine Distinguished Fellows in New England by Jobs for the Future’s Students at the Center initiative. The inaugural cohort of students is a diverse group of leaders in policy, practice and research from around New England, each selected for their vision, contributions, and impact in the student-centered learning movement in the region. They were selected from a highly competitive field of close to 40 applicants from across New England.

Along with four research teams to be announced this fall and a group of prominent national advisers, the fellows comprise core members of the newly formed Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative.

Bellavance has proven expertise in achieving positive and equitable academic outcomes using student-centered learning approaches in multiple settings. Her career as an educator includes 11 years as a classroom teacher and 15 years in roles such as literacy specialist, literacy coach and instructional coach. She is the president of the Maine Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and strives to promote the organization’s mission to provide leadership in designing, innovating, and customizing learning for Maine educators. Bellavance has published articles about personalized learning and works with educators in Biddeford and surrounding school districts to help grow and sustain a student-centered, proficiency-based teaching and learning system.

Bellavance has been a Reading First instructor and Literacy Leaders’ Network facilitator for the state Department of Education. She has taught reading courses at the University of New England, is a professional writer and a presenter at many local and national conferences on topics such as educating in a digital landscape, habits of mind and creating a personalized learning climate for each child.


Teen named an All-American

Emma Ford, daughter of Mark and Kate Ford, was named a 2016 Brine National All-American and was selected to represent York at the Brine National Lacrosse Classic, held in Richmond, Va., recently.

Ford plays for the York Wildcats girls’ lacrosse team and the Maineiax club lacrosse program.

Ford led the team in assists and was one of the top scorers for the Wildcats her junior year. She has played for the Maineiax team since ninth grade. This is her first year playing for the Brine national team.


Calling artisans for craft fair

The Waterborough Historical Society is accepting reservations for artisans and crafters who wish to have their products represented at the ninth annual craft fair, set from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 13-14 at the Taylor/Frey/Leavitt House Museum, 6 Old Alfred Road, Route 5 at Waterboro Center.

Craft space (12 feet by 12 feet) is available at $35 for the weekend or $25 for one day. Crafters should provide their own tables and tents.

For more details, call Jim Carll at 247-5878 or email


Nonprofit awarded $10,000

York County Community Action Corporation has been awarded a $10,000 grant by State Farm to support the agency’s Economic Opportunity program, with the funds designated to help provide financial capability services to households throughout York County. These services include comprehensive credit rebuilding counseling; informational sessions in public libraries, businesses, adult education sites and other venues, to explain credit scores and the fundamentals of credit rebuilding; and financial coaching to 50 York County households.

The funding will allow for expansion of the YCCAC Foreclosure Prevention program, which since the beginning of the recession has focused almost exclusively on default and foreclosure services and counseling, to include ongoing financial capability support.

SIS Bank helps Lab Rescue

SIS Bank recently donated $450 to New England Lab Rescue as a result of its “Home Runs for Good” campaign. Through the promotion, SIS gives $50 to a local nonprofit organization for every home run hit by a Red Sox player at Fenway Park throughout the regular season. Each month, a different area charity is aided. Based in Limerick, New England Lab Rescue is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that is dedicated to saving the lives of Labrador retrievers who would otherwise be euthanized in Southern shelters for lack of space. The canines are put into safe foster homes by New England Lab Rescue, which then has them vetted, treated and neutered or spayed.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:16:03 +0000
Events Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 UNITY

Celebrate Unity at festival

The town of Unity, with the support from Unity Barn Raisers and Unity Business Exchange, will present the third annual Celebrate Unity Festival on Saturday at a variety of venues throughout the town.

The morning will start with free doughnuts, coffee and soap felting from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm, at 141 Crosby Brook Road. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be a chicken barbecue, hot dogs, ice cream, kids activities, vendors and displays, music, and performances by Cassie’s Dance School and X-treme Gymnastics and Tumbling Center at the Field of Dreams.

At the Village at Depot Crossing, there will be a classic car rally starting at noon. The Belfast Moosehead Lake Railroad will be offering motorcar excursion rides from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each ride lasts 45 to 60 minutes and departs from Spanky’s Pizza and passes by Lake Winnecook. Following these midday events will be a free wine and cheese tasting at Younity Winery from 4 to 6 p.m.

The festival will conclude with a Kevin Libby Concert at 7 p.m. at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at

For more information about this event, email, call 948-9005, or go to


Jazz ensemble to perform

The Saco River Jazz Ensemble will perform at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tory Hill Meetinghouse, at 1197 River Road.

The two-hour outdoor concert (inside the church in case of rain) will feature hot dogs, chips, water, soda and homemade desserts for purchase.

The band, composed of local musicians from teenage students to retirees, is well-known throughout the area for its big band era sound.

Freewill offerings are appreciated.


Learn to identify shorebirds

York County Audubon will sponsor a Shorebird Identification Workshop with noted Maine birder Louis Bevier on Saturday at the University of New England, that also will include an exploration of some nearby habitat.

Shorebirds herald the changing seasons by staging and feeding in mixed flocks on our beaches and resting on historical roosting areas. Fortunes Rock Beach and Hills Beach are two of these noted areas. Bevier will discuss the beautiful plumage variation of these long-distance migrant flocks. We will begin to identify specific species within the flocks by size, shape and feeding strategy. Bevier will also identify species’ migratory travel dates from ebird data. Sounds of individual species will also be discussed and listened for on our beach walks.

The workshop will be held at the University of New England (room and parking area to be announced). We will meet at the UNE parking area at 8 a.m., carpool to Fortunes Rocks for our first beach walk, and return to UNE for Bevier’s presentation at 10 a.m. A second walk will follow at Hills Beach. Beach shoes are appropriate, although we should not get wet as high tide is 8:40 a.m. Please bring your lunch.

The cost is $10 per person, payable by check or cash at the workshop. But space is limited and advance reservations are required via the website.


Library to host pet show

The 24th annual Kennebunk Free Library Pet Show will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main St.

Children are invited to show off their pet or to learn about the pets of others.

Pre-registration for all pets is required. One pet per child. Pets must be up-to-date on all shots, on leash or caged, and accompanied by an adult. Please clean up after your pet.

The rain date is Aug. 1.

For more details or to pre-register, call 985-2173, ext. 5, or go to


Lake monitoring conference

Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program will host the 2016 Maine Lake Monitoring Conference on Saturday at The Great Outdoors on Pleasant Pond.

Registration and lunch are free to all VLMP-certified lake monitors and $35 for all others; student rate is $20.

Registration is required by Monday. You may register online at or call 783-7733.

The venue and registration will open at 8 a.m., the conference begins at 9 a.m. and will wrap up at 12:30 p.m., immediately followed by lunch.


AMVETS host flea market

The AMVETS Post 6 Auxiliary will hold its annual flea market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the post home on Route 100, across from Hodgman’s Frozen Custard.

New and used items, unique crafts and collectables will be available, rain or shine.

Table rentals are available for $15.

To reserve a space or for more details, call Joyce at 926-4693 or Helen at 576-7189. Proceeds will benefit the auxiliary’s yearly projects.

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 19:12:50 +0000
Reunions Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Camden High School 111th alumni banquet, 4 p.m. Aug. 12, Islesboro Ballroom at Point Lookout Resort, 57 Atlantic Highway (Route 1), Northport. Tables will be reserved for the reunion classes of ’41, ’46, ’51, ’56, ’61 and ’66. Cost is $30. Reservation deadline is Aug. 5. Contact David Ames at or call 789-5118.

Deering High School Class of 1976 reunion, 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at Keeley’s, 178 Warren Ave., Portland. Cost is $35. Send check to Victoria Photos at 2143 Wolftrap Court, Vienna, VA 22182 or email or Mary Ranaghan Latini at

Deering High School Class of 1981, 35th reunion, 6:30 to 11 p.m., Aug. 20, DiMillo’s on the Water, 26 Long Wharf, Commerical Street, Portland. Cost is $30 per alumnus, $20 per guest. Payments by check should be remitted to Lori Waterhouse Erwin, 6 Wood Lane, Scarborough, ME 04074 or RSVP via email to

Deering High School Class of 1947 reunion luncheon 11:30 a.m. social hour, lunch at 12:30p.m., Sept. 7, DiMillo’s on the Water, 26 Long Wharf, Commercial Street, Portland. Contacts: Dorrine McMahon Steele 761-6643 or JoAnne Vaughan Hall at 885-8666.

Lewiston High School Class of 1949, 67th reunion, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 10, Martindale Country Club, 527 Beech Hill Road, Auburn. Cost is $17 per person (includes tax/gratuity), payable upon arrival. Casual get-together for old times’ sake. Social hour at 11 a.m. to include a silent auction and music, followed by noon buffet lunch, raffle and cash bar. Contact Nancy Schott Plaisted at or call 251-7655.

Portland High School Class of 1945, 70th reunion luncheon, noon, Aug. 5, Ocean Garden, 390 Main St., Gorham. To reserve a spot, call Anna Paolilli at 772-1543.

Portland High School Class of 1950 reunion, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at DiMillo’s on the Water, 26 Long Wharf, Commercial Street, Portland. Reservations requested by Aug. 28. For details, contact Patricia LaPierre Bickford at 772-4464; Corinne Flaherty Pickett at 216-9709; or Louise Beaumier Baker at 781-5484.

Portland High School Class of 1954 reunion, noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Keeley’s Banquet Center, 178 Warren Ave., Portland. Meal cost is $35. Checks may be sent to Roberta (Snow) Platts, 15 Kent St., Portland 04102. Contacts are Bill Durgin (781) 964-5555; Carol (Ross) Mikkelsen, 773-7491; and Frannie (DiMillo) DiBiase, 767-2292. A class picture will be taken. Cost is $5.

Portland High School Class of 1955 reunion, 11:30 a.m., Sept. 24, DiMillo’s on the Water, 26 Long Wharf, Commercial Street, Portland. Lunch price based on order from menu. Reservation deadline is Sept. 10. Contact Joan Bennett Bartlett at 797-3260 or Frannie Bickford Pride at 797-4898.

Portland High School Class of 1960 annual reunion luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Thatcher’s Restaurant & Pub, 35 Foden Road, South Portland. Reservation deadline is Aug. 20 by calling Patti Nevers at 747-4814, email, or call Pat Sangillo at 603-746-4931 or email

Westbrook High School Class of 1950 reunion luncheon, noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 19 at Keeley the Katerer, Warren Avenue, Portland. Contact: Bill Randall at 883-3644.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:05:43 +0000
Births Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Stephens Memorial Hospital

Jaxin Charles Holbrook, born July 16 to Joshua and Kristyne Holbrook of Casco.

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center

Nola Jean Trudell, born July 11 to Ryan and Nicole Trudell of Lewiston. Grandparents are Tony and Michele Brewer of Lewiston and Carol Alexander of Lisbon. Great-grandparents are Norm and Lorraine Masse of Auburn and Janice Brewer and Bernard Bates of Greene.

Preston James Parker, born July 11 to Ryan and Amanda Parker of Lewiston. Grandparents are Christine Smith of Lisbon, Jeffery Hoyt of Standish, and John and Kelly Parker of Lewiston. Great-grandparents are Roger and Sharon Hoyt of Windham and James and Joyce Parker of Wilton.

Douglas Daniel Scott, born July 13 to Pauline D. Jacobs and Douglas Scott of Richmond and Jefferson. Grandparents are Kathryn Scott of Jefferson and Honey Rourke and Arthur Dunlop, Jr. of Lewiston. Great-grandparents are Joan and Arthur Dunlop Sr. of Richmond.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:00:00 +0000
Another View: Russia getting ugly with U.S. diplomats Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Recent interactions between the United States and Russia are a study in, well, incongruity. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry hastened from Moscow’s airport to the Kremlin bearing President Obama’s administration’s latest proposal for U.S.-Russian military coordination against al-Qaida-linked guerrillas battling the Bashar Assad regime in Syria. In the days leading up to this meeting, Russia had exhibited its contempt for Washington by harassing U.S. diplomats and expelling Jeff Shell, chairman of the board of a U.S. agency that oversees Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

Shell, the Russians explained, was on a blacklist they had put together in retaliation for U.S. sanctions targeting Moscow figures culpable for Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea – an attempt at moral equivalence whose falsity is underscored by the fact that Shell was visiting Vladimir Putin’s realm not on government business but in his capacity as chairman of NBCUniversal’s movie-production division.

Beyond these highly publicized events, Russia’s recent treatment of Americans has gotten arguably even uglier.

Consider the story of Jim Mulcahy, 72, the Ukraine-based pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church, a 48-year-old U.S. institution founded as an alternative Christian organization for gay men and lesbians who feel excluded from traditional churches. During a July 10 gathering with about a dozen people at a gay community center in Samara, Mulcahy was suddenly accosted by police.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:39:28 +0000
Our View: Gun debate should focus on everyday violence Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:00:00 +0000 The aftermath of each high-profile shooting plays out the same. One side says it’s the result of a culture engorged and enamored with guns, while the other blames, well, almost anything else – terrorism, mental illness, race, poverty, a weak and divisive president. Predictably, nothing changes.

Because of how wrapped up it is in personal and political identity, the cause and effect of gun violence is parsed like no other issue, and it is paralyzing. Most people understand it is a complex interplay of factors that gives the United States an almost unprecedented number of firearm deaths each year, yet when a high-profile shooting hijacks the country’s attention, people almost instantly, reflexively run to one side or the other.

Few other issues are like this. After the number of car crash deaths peaked in the late 1960s, a series of measures were put in place to make it safer to be on the road. Yet when a safety belt fails to save a life in a single accident, we don’t say the laws are useless. When a person is ejected from a vehicle, we don’t say, “See, what good are airbags?”

Each shooting, however, becomes a referendum on a specific factor related to gun violence.

If the killer in a mass shooting pledges allegiance to the Islamic State, the sole problem must be terrorism, never mind any other personal problems and prejudices exhibited by the shooter, or the ease in which they acquired firearms meant to kill multiple targets.

If the weapon of choice among mass killers is an assault rifle, then the problem must be the proliferation of military-style firearms, nevermind that the vast majority of firearm-related homicides involve handguns.

The reason this happens has almost nothing to do with mass shootings themselves.

Proponents of gun control, justifiably upset at the daily toll of gun violence in the U.S., want to capitalize on the outsized attention that mass shootings receive, and leverage it into action. However, when gun laws are only part of the equation, opponents are happy to point that out, and use it to obstruct even the most sensible of measures.

And besides the deadly use of guns, the mass shootings that grab headlines have little in common with the unremarkable everyday violence that constitutes most deaths by firearm.

The very real need for sensible gun control, and for a public health approach to gun safety, does not hinge on shootings like those in Orlando and San Bernandino.

Instead, action should come in response to the daily killings in places like Chicago and Baltimore, or to the abused women killed disproportionately by guns, or to the children who are victims of so many accidental shootings.

Stopping the rare madman is one thing. Ending systemic, entrenched violence is quite another. The debate should reflect that.

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 19:37:12 +0000
Creech won’t surprise anyone at Maine Women’s Amateur Mon, 25 Jul 2016 03:33:48 +0000 Staci Creech isn’t playing as much golf these days.

That is what happens when you move to Maine from North Carolina, as she did two years ago with her husband Karlton – the athletic director at the University of Maine.

Her lack of playing time, though, isn’t simply a matter of climate change. Creech is taking graduate courses at UMaine and had a summer class.

“I’m always trying to grow and learn,” she said, as she looks to earn a Master’s degree in literacy.

But when the state’s top female golfers tee off Monday in the Maine Women’s Amateur championship at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono, there’s no secret who’ll be the favorite. Creech won last year’s tournament by seven strokes.

“I see her scores and she’s consistently a good player,” said Mary Brandes, who recently won the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association senior championship.

“It’s her thing. At our level, that consistency is hard to come by.”

Creech may also have the advantage of knowing the course better than others. While she plays out of Bangor Municipal, she ventures over to “Penobby” occasionally. She played a round on the Donald Ross designed-course early last week.

“It’s very definitely going to be whoever has the short game going the best,” she said. “The greens are very challenging. All Donald Ross courses have challenging greens. Hitting is going to matter, but it’s definitely the short game, chipping and putting that’s going to determine who is the best.”

She’ll face challenges from Leslie Guenther (the 2014 Maine Women’s Amateur champ from Norway Country Club), Kris Kannegieser (the Martindale CC golfer who shot a 72 at Biddeford-Saco), Falmouth’s Brandes and 16-year-old Bailey Plourde (the Lincoln Academy senior who won the girls’ junior amateur last week).

Missing will be Emily Bouchard, a two-time women’s amateur champ who finished second last year. She works now an air traffic controller and won’t play in the tournament.

“Staci is a very good golfer and will certainly be tough to beat there,” said Kannegieser. “She’s tough to beat anywhere. But there are a lot of good players this year. Staci may be the cream of the crop, but there are a lot of really good golfers in the state.”

Brandes said there may be a surprise, like Creech last year. “There’s always that possibility that a young kid or a college student can come in and have a nice game,” she said. “No one saw Staci coming. Look, sometimes it’s that player that you don’t know about that has a nice couple of rounds.”

Creech said the pressure to repeat won’t be a factor.

“I try not to put any pressure on myself,” she said. “Golf is a game of ups and downs. Hopefully I’m on an up. I try to put golf in perspective. I see this as a great opportunity but there is no need to put any pressure on myself.

“If I win or lose, it’s not going to change how things are going or how grateful I am for all the things in my life.”


]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:35:15 +0000
Olympic notebook: Australians won’t move into Rio village yet Mon, 25 Jul 2016 03:32:37 +0000 RIO DE JANEIRO — The head of Australia’s delegation said Sunday its 700 athletes and staff would not move into rooms at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for at least two days, citing electrical and plumbing problems in the sprawling Athletes Village less than two weeks before the start of the troubled South American games.

“Electricity and water is not a good combination,” Kitty Chiller, the head of the Australian delegation, told reporters.

She said this was her fifth Olympics, and she came down hard on village preparations.

“I have never experienced a village in this state – or lack of state – of readiness at this point in time,” she said.

Australia’s protest came as the 31-building village, which will house 18,000 athletes and officials at the height of the games, opened officially on Sunday. It was not clear how many athletes were housed in the village on the first day.

This is the latest problem for the games, which have been hit by the Zika virus, security threats, water pollution and severe budget cuts.

Chiller and Australian team spokesman Mike Tancred described a wide array of plumbing, electrical and cleaning issues. Tancred said 10 of the 31 buildings were determined to be inhabitable.

OLYMPIC TORCH: A man was wrestled to the ground and detained Saturday after he tried to steal the Olympic torch as it passed through the Brazilian town of Guarulhos.

In the video on news portal G1, the unidentified man is seen trying to break through the line of security guards accompanying the torch bearer at the 40-kilometer mark of the parade in Sao Paulo state. The man was taken away and the torch bearer continued the run.

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Kevin Durant scored 19 points, Klay Thompson added 17 and the U.S. rolled to a second straight blowout exhibition victory, 106-57 over China, in Los Angeles.

DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in his hometown, and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and seven rebounds in another impressive performance to open the Americans’ pre-Olympic tour.

While they’re still learning their teammates’ tendencies and solidifying player rotations, the newly assembled U.S. players looked remarkably cohesive for long stretches against an overmatched opponent with no current NBA players.

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and led a strong defensive effort with three blocks for the Americans.

After opening its showcase tour by trouncing Argentina in Las Vegas on Friday, the U.S. posted another rout at a packed Staples Center.

The Americans haven’t lost a game since the 2006 world championships. They’re 47-1 in exhibitions since NBA stars took over the roster in 1992, going undefeated since 2004.

Jordan got the exhibition off to a rousing start with a blocked shot on China’s first possession and an alley-oop dunk on the other end.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:36:12 +0000
Maine delegates agree with resignation of Democratic Party chairwoman Mon, 25 Jul 2016 03:20:45 +0000 Maine’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia agree that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign as Democratic Party chairwoman, but some feel that her resignation at the end of this week’s convention doesn’t go far enough and suggested there should be a thorough housecleaning at the top of the party.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said hacked emails indicating that Democratic Party leaders favored Hillary Clinton over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries are a non-issue in her opinion.

“I don’t believe they are a big deal. No one here has been talking about them,” Mills, a Clinton delegate, said in a telephone interview Sunday night.

Mills predicted that Democrats will remain focused on the issues facing the nation and not be distracted by the emails. “I don’t see them as changing anything,” she said.

Phil Bartlett of Portland, a Maine superdelegate and chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, issued a statement Sunday night on behalf of the party.

“The resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz is absolutely appropriate and will enable our party to move forward,” he said. “We remain committed to talking to voters about the issues that matter, like how to rebuild our economy here in Maine, which, thanks to Republican leadership, lags behind the rest of New England and remains in the bottom ten in the nation.”

Bartlett added that if party members are talking about Wasserman Schultz, “we’re not talking about how Donald Trump – who manufactures his clothing line overseas and believes that wages are too high – would leave working Mainers behind. It is right that she should go.”

In an email, Trevor Doiron, a Clinton delegate from Jay, said “it is unfortunate that the DNC server was hacked by Russian state-sponsored groups who are trying to damage our party to ensure the election of Donald Trump, who has sung Putin’s praises and would rule with the iron fist that Putin does. That said, I think the resignation of (Wasserman Schultz) is necessary to allow us to continue to move toward unity as we work to defeat Donald Trump.”

However, state Rep. Diane Russell, a Sanders delegate from Portland, offered a different opinion on the email controversy.

“I think these emails were indicative of a culture of dismissiveness. They confirmed many people’s worst fears,” Russell said. “The whole upper echelon of the party should go. We need fresh leadership.”

Troy Jackson, a superdelegate from Allagash who supports Sanders said “the emails don’t shock me at all. These emails are further proof of the elitist attitude of party leaders.”

Jackson, who works in the logging industry, said he supports Sanders because the Vermont senator represents the interests of the working class.

“Leadership has been tone-deaf to what is going on in this country with the working class,” Jackson added. “I haven’t been happy with them for a long time.”

Despite the controversy, Jackson said, the Democratic Party and Clinton “are still better than Donald Trump and the Republicans, by 100 percent.”

Seth Berner, a Sanders delegate from Portland, said he remains impressed with Sanders and what he accomplished during the presidential primaries and caucuses. For him to have come so close to winning the party’s nomination demonstrates that Sanders did not need to be propped up, Berner said.

“I feel Bernie Sanders would be a much stronger candidate in the election against Donald Trump than Hillary would be,” Berner said. “Just imagine what he could do with a level playing field.”


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 23:30:42 +0000
Sports Digest: Biddeford beats Vermont to stay alive Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:34:02 +0000 SOFTBALL

Biddeford beats Vermont to stay alive at regional

Charlotte Donovan pitched six shutout innings to lead Biddeford to a 5-0 victory over St. Albans, Vermont, in the Little League Softball East Regional in Bristol, Connecticut.

Baylor Wilkinson had a single and two doubles for Biddeford. Donovan allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six.

Biddeford will play Worcester, Massachusetts, in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Monday.


BANK OF WEST CLASSIC: Hard-hitting Johanna Konta whipped winners every which way and outslugged top-seeded Venus Williams to capture her first career singles title, winning 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in Stanford, California.

Her serve and return games equally solid, Konta held on in the third set after squandering a 4-1 lead in the second.

CITI OPEN: Gael Monfils won his first title in 21/2 years, erasing a match point and breaking Ivo Karlovic twice in the span of four service games during a 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory in Washington.

Also, Yanina Wickmayer beat Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-2 in to win the fifth WTA title of her career.

CROATIA OPEN: Fabio Fognini defeated Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-1 in the final in Umag, Croatia.

SWEDISH OPEN: Sixth-seeded Laura Siegemund clinched her first WTA title with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Katerina Siniakova in Bastad, Sweden.

ROGERS CUP: Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament because of shoulder inflammation. The three-time champion was seeded first in the hard-court tournament and was set to have a bye in the first round.

FORMULA ONE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix for a record fifth time to take the championship lead from teammate Nico Rosberg, who finished second in Budapest, Hungary.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third, followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

INDYCAR: Series founder Tony George has been renamed the chairman of the board of Hulman & Co., the family that owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

George was forced out of that job by his mother and sisters in 2009.


FOOTBALL: Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler died in a car crash in Wisconsin after working at a kicking clinic, a sheriff’s department official said. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the crash.

Waukesha County Sheriff’s Lt. Thom Moerman said speed was likely a factor in the single-vehicle crash that happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

The 24-year-old Sadler, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was driving. He and 22-year-old Foltz, of Greeley, Nebraska, both died at the scene. Delahoussaye, 21, of New Iberia, Louisiana, was also a passenger. He was treated at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and released. A statement from LSU said his injuries were minor and he was scheduled to return home Monday.


MLS: Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice, Sacha Kljestan had a goal and two assists and the New York Red Bulls beat New York City FC 4-1 in Harrison, New Jersey.

Dom Dwyer scored twice and Sporting Kansas City held the Seattle Sounders without a shot until the 88th minute in a 3-0 victory in Kansas City, Kansas.

– From staff and news services

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:38:36 +0000
Major League notebook: Yankees, Cubs talking Chapman trade Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:29:07 +0000 The New York Yankees were discussing a trade that would send reliever Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs as part of a swap that would bring 19-year-old shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the Yankees, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing and New York owner Hal Steinbrenner had not made any final decision.

Chapman has 20 saves in 21 chances and his fastball, at up to 105.1 mph, has entertained fans focusing on the scoreboard velocity of every pitch.

“It’s tough. I feel comfortable here. I feel like part of the family here,” he said through an interpreter, adding that the Yankees have been talking to his agent.

BLUE JAYS: Struggling relief pitcher Drew Storen was designated for assignment, and Toronto recalled right-hander Ryan Tepera from Triple-A Buffalo.

Toronto acquired Storen from Washington in January for outfielder Ben Revere, hoping the former closer would be a valuable option in late-inning situations.

Instead, Storen went 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA and three saves in 38 games for the Blue Jays. In his final appearance Saturday, he gave up a three-run home run to Nelson Cruz.

MARLINS: Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen went on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained elbow, intensifying Miami’s need for rotation help.

Right-hander Jarred Cosart will be recalled from New Orleans to start Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies in place of Chen, who complained of elbow soreness after his most recent start.

A’s: Rich Hill threw 30 pitches while wearing a protective covering on the middle finger of his left hand. Hill, who left his last start after five pitches because of a blister, will continue to throw bullpen sessions for conditioning until the blister heals.

RANGERS: General Manager Jon Daniels said he anticipates left-handed pitcher Derek Holland and right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis will return to the rotation on Aug. 20 and 21, the dates they are eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list.

Rays: Desmond Jennings (strained left hamstring) ran the bases and took batting practice without a setback during a minor-league rehab appearance.

Right-hander Brad Boxberger threw 22 pitches in a rehab outing and is hopeful of rejoining the Rays in Los Angeles.

Nationals: The team said right-handed pitcher Aaron Barrett, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September, suffered a right elbow fracture Friday and will have surgery Monday.

BRAVES: Right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran threw from 90 feet and didn’t feel pain two days after leaving a game early because of tightness in his right lat.

Teheran remains hopeful he can make his next scheduled start.

“We still have to wait,” Teheran said. “I don’t feel any pain and that’s a good sign.”

Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus said no decision has been made on whether left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris will rejoin the team Monday in Boston.

Norris allowed five runs on five hits in 42/3 innings during a rehab start in Triple-A on Saturday.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:31:57 +0000
Sunday’s local baseball roundup: Morrill Post advances to Junior Legion final Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:25:20 +0000 WATERVILLE — Jake Poole singled in the eighth inning to drive in the winning run as Morrill Post beat Gray-New Gloucester 9-8 in a Junior Legion state tournament winners’ bracket game.

Morrill Post (15-3) led 7-1 after three innings, led by Zach Johnson’s two-run double in the second inning.

Gray-New Gloucester scored seven runs in the fifth inning and took an 8-7 lead on a bases-loaded triple by Tanner Mann, but Poole drove in the winning run in the eighth with his third hit of the game.

Morrill and Gray-New Gloucester will meet Monday in the championship round. They will face off at 5 p.m., and if Gray-New Gloucester wins, they will play again at 7:30 p.m.

Gray-New Gloucester earned its spot in the final of the double-elimination tournament with a 2-0 victory over Skowhegan later Sunday.


PATRIOT 8, EDGE 1: Christian Bourget hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to lead Patriot (8-9) past Edge (7-9-1) in Cumberland.

Bourget finished with two hits, adding a double in the seventh inning.

Joe Quinlan led Edge with two hits.

John Parker picked up the win, allowing one run over seven innings while striking out six.

AERO 14, ON TARGET 3: Kip Richard had three hits and six RBI to lead Aero (9-7-2) over On Target (10-7-1) in Cumberland.

Nick Bowie also had three hits for Aero.

Daren Wood had two hits for On Target.

Andrew Richards earned the victory, allowing one run and striking out five in four innings.


SULLIVAN 5, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 3: The Explorers (21-22) scored three runs in the top of the ninth and defeated the Surge (26-23) at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach.

The Surge took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk, followed by a hit batsman.

Old Orchard Beach extended the lead to 3-0 in the second inning on an RBI double by Chris Allen.

The Explorers trailed 3-2 going into ninth but scored three runs on an error, a wild pitch and a groundout.

Jacob Fabry led the Surge with three hits.

Surge starter David Ernst allowed four runs in 81/3 innings.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:33:52 +0000
Somerset County starts alternative sentencing program Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:05:07 +0000 After a judge found him guilty of operating under the influence, Marc Farrell, of Bradford, New Hampshire, faced a choice: He could either spend four days at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison or commit to a weekend of community service at a local junior high school.

Farrell, 56, chose to pay $225 to spend the weekend at Madison Junior High School, painting the school’s former industrial arts center along with a handful of others convicted of nonviolent minor offenses.

“It was less time for me and I’m also not lying in a jail cell staring at the ceiling,” Farrell said during a break from his second and last day of painting. “It may sound corny, but I’m in Alcoholics Anonymous now and I’ve been sober four and a half months. This is a way for me to give back to society.”

Farrell was one of four participants who recently completed the Somerset County Jail’s first alternative sentencing program, a new program that provides nonviolent offenders access to educational programs and the opportunity to do community service in place of a jail sentence.

Alternative sentencing is not unique to Somerset County – more than half of the county jails in Maine are involved in such programs – but there can be challenges to getting one started, said Teresa Brown, community corrections program supervisor for the jail in East Madison.

“It’s going to be a good thing,” said Brown, who added that the development of the program has been about a year in the making. “We’re saving the school money in manpower, and of course there’s the savings from these people not being in jail. Not only that, but it’s community service and they’re giving back. I think having these guys leave with a rewarding experience is more beneficial to them than sitting in jail for three days.”


The program is the first of its kind in Somerset County to offer community service as an alternative sentence. In 2014 the jail started its Alternative Substance Abuse Program, in which participants convicted of drug-related offenses spend up to one year in mental health and substance abuse treatment as an alternative to jail time, but that program targets a different jail population with more of an emphasis on treatment and behavioral modification for individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction.

Some inmates also participate in regular community service through the jail’s work program, but they still spend most of their time at the jail.

In Kennebec County, which has had an alternative sentencing program for years, about 40 to 70 participants take part four times per year, said Kennebec and Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.

“The beauty of this program is not only does it help with jail overcrowding, but the person is paying for their incarceration rather than having taxpayers pay for it,” Maloney said. “They’re giving back to the community, they’re paying for their time in custody and they’re learning about why their crime has a negative impact on the community.”

A vast majority of participants in alternative sentencing programs have been convicted of operating under the influence, according to Maloney, but the program in Somerset County is also open to other misdemeanor and nonviolent convictions for which someone is sentenced up to four days in jail.

The cost of participation is $225 for the weekend, something that Brown said she doesn’t see as a deterrent.

“If you were going to go to jail for four days, or you could pay $225, which would you rather do?” she said. “People are willing to pay for it.”

Farrell agreed. “Maybe if somebody was financially worse off it would be a deterrent, but for me it wasn’t a big deal,” he said. “It basically cut my time in half.”

The program is also expected to generate a small cost savings for taxpayers, as it eliminates the need for funds that would normally be spent on housing the participants of the program. The cost of housing an inmate for one day at the jail is about $90, according to Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

“Not only does it pay for itself, but it also pays money because we’re not having to incarcerate,” Lancaster said.

Brown and Somerset County Jail Program Manager Mike Welch, who oversaw the first alternative sentencing program, are both salaried employees, so they were able to be scheduled to work the weekend without an additional cost. In the future they estimate the program will pay for itself with the cost of participation in the program.


While the program is generally considered a win-win, Brown said there were some challenges in getting it started, including having to have the Maine Department of Corrections approve the community service site in advance and getting the community comfortable with the idea of having inmates working outside the jail. Other counties might also find it hard to staff larger programs, she said.

Counties that do not have alternative sentencing programs, according to the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, are Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Piscataquis and Washington.

In Somerset County, inmates sleep on cots in a locker room at the middle school and in the evening attend speaking events with substance-abuse related experts – something that is not normally available to short-term inmates at the jail, where the first 72 hours are normally spent in the intake department going through the classification process.

“It was definitely interesting to hear other people’s point of view,” said one inmate, a local resident who did not want to give his name out of fear of losing his job. “It really opens up your eyes to how bad (addiction) can get.”

After reporting to Madison Junior High School Friday afternoon, the inmates spent all day Saturday and Sunday last week painting the school’s former industrial arts center. The job was a “significant” cost savings to School Administrative District 59, said interim Superintendent Bonnie Levesque, though she did not have an exact figure.

“I think it was great because it gave them something to do for the weekend while they served their time and it was a great service for us,” Levesque said.

By Sunday afternoon, the second coat of new white paint had almost been completely applied to the garage-like building and the four participants were cleaning up the area.

“Group dynamics are an important part of the program,” Welch said. “I think by working together they have a chance to interact and to learn that somebody else got caught for the same thing and the repercussions can be different. There were some that lost jobs, weren’t able to work anymore or lost their licenses. It affected them in different ways and hopefully they learn from each other’s experiences.”

“I think the four of us got along really well and worked really well together,” Farrell said. “The staff, too, treated us with respect and dignity. It made me want to do a really good job.”


]]> 1, 24 Jul 2016 22:22:16 +0000
Griffey, Piazza enshrined in Hall of Fame Mon, 25 Jul 2016 01:48:10 +0000 COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Two players who began their careers at opposite ends of the spectrum nearly three decades ago ended up in the same place Sunday – with their names etched on plaques at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, the culmination of their long journeys was tinged with tears all around.

“I stand up here humbled and overwhelmed,” Griffey said, staring out at his family and tens of thousands of fans. “I can’t describe how it feels.”

The two became a piece of history on their special day. Griffey, the first pick of the 1987 amateur draft, became the highest pick ever inducted. Piazza, a 62nd-round pick the next year – No. 1,390 – is the lowest pick to enter the Hall of Fame.

Griffey played 22 big-league seasons with the Mariners, Reds and White Sox and was selected on a record 99.32 percent of ballots cast, an affirmation of sorts for his clean performance during baseball’s so-called Steroids Era.

A 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, Griffey hit 630 home runs, sixth all-time, and drove in 1,836 runs. He also was the American League MVP in 1997, drove in at least 100 runs in eight seasons, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.

Griffey, who fell just three votes shy of being the first unanimous selection, hit 417 of his 630 homers and won all 10 of his Gold Gloves with the Seattle Mariners. He played the first 11 seasons of his career with the Mariners and led them to the playoffs for the first two times in franchise history.

“Thirteen years with the Seattle Mariners (organization), from the day I got drafted, Seattle, Washington, has been a big part of my life,” Griffey said, punctuating the end of his speech by putting a baseball cap on backward as he did throughout his career.

“I’m going to leave you with one thing. In 22 years, I learned that one team will treat you the best, and that’s your first team. I’m damn proud to be a Seattle Mariner.”

Dubbed “The Natural” for his effortless excellence at the plate and in center field, Griffey avoided the Hall of Fame until his special weekend because he wanted his first walk through the front doors to be with his kids, whom he singled out one by one in his 20-minute speech.

“There are two misconceptions about me – I didn’t work hard and everything I did I made look easy,” Griffey said. “Just because I made it look easy doesn’t mean that it was. You don’t become a Hall of Famer by not working, but (by) working day in and day out.”

Selected in the draft by the Dodgers after Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, a close friend of Piazza’s father, Vince, put in a good word, Piazza struggled at first.

He briefly quit the game while in the minor leagues, but returned and persevered despite a heavy workload as he switched from first base to catcher and teammates criticized his erratic play.

Mom and dad were foremost on his mind, too.

“Dad always dreamed of playing in the major leagues,” said Piazza. “He could not follow that dream because of the realities of life. My father’s faith in me, often greater than my own, is the single most important factor of me being inducted into this Hall of Fame. Thank you dad. We made it, dad. The race is over. Now it’s time to smell the roses.”

Piazza played 16 years with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and Athletics and hit 427 home runs, including a major league record 396 as a catcher. A 12-time All-Star, Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and finished in the top five of his league’s MVP voting four times.

Though the Dodgers gave him his start, Piazza found a home in New York when he was traded to the Mets in May 1998.

Three years later, he became a hero to the hometown fans with perhaps the most notable home run. His two-run shot in the eighth inning at Shea Stadium lifted the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the first sporting event played in New York after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Piazza paid tribute to that moment.

“To witness the darkest evil of the human heart … will be forever burned in my soul,” Piazza said. “But from tragedy and sorrow came bravery, love, compassion, character and eventual healing.”

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 21:57:51 +0000
Marchers of 1966 weigh in on civil rights then and now Mon, 25 Jul 2016 01:40:17 +0000 JACKSON, Miss. — A half-century ago, thousands joined a march across Mississippi to challenge a system that condoned violence against black people and suppressed their rights – issues still reverberating in today’s national debates about police violence.

The March Against Fear in the summer of 1966 helped many find a voice to protest the injustices of the day, setting an example for contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter.

The link between past and present was on the minds of participants in the march 50 years ago who recently told their stories to The Associated Press.

They say recent deadly encounters involving police show that Americans need to engage in honest dialogue about race – even if it’s uncomfortable for some people to acknowledge that black lives have long been devalued. They also lamented what they see as a lack of progress on many fronts.

“Literally nothing has changed,” says James Meredith, who launched the march. “That is not completely true. What has changed the so-called civil rights movement is completely at an end. It is over. … That’s why we have the crisis we have in the nation today.”

While Meredith declined to discuss specifics of the recent violence, he and his contemporaries say much work still needs to be done.

The march started as a one-man journey by Meredith, four years after he integrated the University of Mississippi amid violent backlash. In June 1966, he wanted to show that a black man could walk through Mississippi without fear. He set out to walk more than 200 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Mississippi capital of Jackson.

But one day in, a white man shot and wounded Meredith. Activists including the Rev. Martin Luther King took up his cause and eventually rallied thousands of marchers.

Now 83, Meredith wants the black community to embrace education and mentorship as ways to “pay God back.”

“Citizenship is what the March Against Fear was about,” he says. “Citizenship. Not only rights and privileges are part of citizenship. Duty and responsibility are an equal part, and that’s the part the black race has failed to pay any attention to.”

Dianna Freelon-Foster is blunt in her assessment of America.

“I see this country as a violent country. …We shirk talking about it,” says Freelon-Foster, who was 15 when the marchers passed through her hometown of Grenada.

She says their courage gave locals the confidence to challenge segregation.She and other black students integrated Grenada schools the following fall, and they were beaten by white men wielding baseball bats and tree limbs.

A generation later, in 2004, Freelon-Foster was elected mayor of Grenada – a post she held for one year.

She says police aren’t bad people, but many can’t relate to the communities they patrol.

Marcher Flonzie BrownWright’s own grandson was fatally shot by deputies in Los Angeles in 1999.

Dion Goodloe, 19, was home in a wheelchair with a broken leg when officers came to investigate a report of trouble at a nearby store, says BrownWright. She was told that her grandson was sitting on his hands and that officers thought he was hiding a gun. A sheriff’s spokesman said at the time that he had a gun and pointed it at deputies.

“Whatever the reason was, it did not justify them shooting a kid sitting in a wheelchair who could not walk,” she says.

Still, she condemns any violence – whether by police or against them.

“The Bible tells us … you don’t have a right to take another person’s life. That works on all sides,” BrownWright says.

Back in 1966, she was an NAACP volunteer in Canton who received a phone call from King asking if she could provide food and housing for 3,000 marchers. Without hesitation, she said yes. The marchers slept in homes, on porches and in cars. Some slept in a gymnasium.

BrownWright says King talked about receiving threats, and he exhorted her and others to “do what you can do to continue the struggle.”

The Rev. Ed King was an anomaly – a white chaplain at a historically black private college that was a safe haven for civil rights activists. He was also active in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the state’s 1960s white establishment.

After a recent Tougaloo College commemoration of the march, he said people need to continue challenging injustice.

“You have to be able to say, ‘As an American, I have a right to ask these questions, to say that things aren’t perfect,” King says.

Wendell Paris, a Baptist minister in Jackson, still sees inequality and says, “Police violence – that’s always a concern.”

Paris was a 21-year-old student in Alabama when he drove to Mississippi to join the march. Along the final stretch, it was his job to persuade black spectators to participate.

“Man, that was just a day of jubilee for us, because here we were marching basically with much less fear than we had ever had before,” he says.

Still, he recalls a tense moment when he encountered an officer. “I looked him straight in the eyes and said, ‘You’ve got to be careful today how you treat us, because we’re not taking this foolishness that we’ve been taking before.”‘

Frank Figgers was 16 when he joined the final day of the march. He says he didn’t listen to the speeches because he was so caught up in seeing black and white people together, standing up to Highway Patrol officers who surrounded the Capitol as if protecting a fortress: “It was something energizing about the crowd.”

He sees today’s Black Lives Matter activists displaying the same kind of righteous energy that young people had 50 years ago: “It is a blossoming now of stuff that was planted then.”

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 22:00:33 +0000
Prominent wharf site in Augusta overgrown once again Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:54:03 +0000 AUGUSTA — Tall grass, weeds and a few small trees have been allowed to grow back on a prominent riverfront granite wharf and parcel of land between the historic Arsenal property and the Kennebec River, prompting the city manager to raise concerns about a highly visible part of the city.

As part of a nearly $600,000 project in 2005, the 1,000-foot-long, 17-foot-high rock retaining wall had been reclaimed from overgrowth that all but hid it from view. But conditions have deteriorated in recent years.

Mowing the piece of land visible from Memorial Bridge high above it is not the responsibility of oft-criticized Arsenal owner and would-be developer Tom Niemann. Rather, it is the responsibility of the state under the terms of a 2007 “use agreement” with Niemann that specifies the state “shall maintain the wharf parcel in good order and repair and in a reasonably neat and clean condition, including periodic mowing and removal of brush as necessary.”

David Heidrich Jr., director of communications for the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services, acknowledges that periodic mowing is the state’s responsibility, but said the state hasn’t been able to arrange mowing since last summer when the only contractor to bid on the job doubled his price because of concerns about being able to mow the steeply banked property safely.

Heidrich said the state is looking at options and will find a way to get the parcel mowed.

“Ultimately, we’ll be addressing the issue and trying to find a solution that’ll get the wharf parcel maintained as it needs to be,” Heidrich said. “We’re not sure what our solution will be, but one way or another, we’ll get the grass down.”


He said some of the options could include putting the work out to bid again, or having state employees do the work of either mowing or weed-whacking the site to keep the grass at a reasonable height.

Heidrich said the department looked into burning the grass off in a controlled burn or replacing the grass and weeds growing there with rocks and doing some hardscaping, but state Department of Environmental Protection officials said those methods couldn’t be used because they wouldn’t do an effective enough job of retaining stormwater at the site.

Augusta City Manager William Bridgeo said he is concerned that the property isn’t being mowed, especially given its visibility in the city.

The 2005 restoration was funded by a $295,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation, $200,000 from the state and $95,000 from the Capital Riverfront Improvement District, a now inactive state and city partnership.

“That cleaned up the whole front of the property and opened it back up. That’s when people rediscovered the majesty of the Arsenal property,” Bridgeo said.


Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the state in 2013 claiming Niemann had failed to maintain and protect the Arsenal’s eight historic granite buildings built between 1828 and 1838 remains on hold under an agreement between the state and Niemann. The settlement has allowed him to take steps in recent years to secure the property from vandals and weather damage.

“In the past two years, Mr. Niemann has made much progress in making the Arsenal buildings weather-tight and secure, but there is additional work that must be done,” Tim Feeley, special assistant in the Maine Office of the Attorney General, said in an email. “The parties are attempting to reach an agreement on the scope and time frame for this additional work, and we are optimistic that we will soon reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties may need to involve the court in order to resolve their differences.”

Niemann bought the property from the state in 2007 for $280,000. Attached to the sale are requirements that the buildings be preserved and their historic character maintained. At the time, Niemann said he would redevelop the property for mixed uses, including condominiums, a restaurant, offices and retail. None of that redevelopment has occurred and the property remains vacant.


The state, in a court complaint filed in April 2013, alleged Niemann’s company, Niemann Capital and Main Street LLC, had neglected the property since taking ownership of the site, allowing it to be damaged by vandals and allowing historic architectural features to deteriorate. The state lawsuit sought damages and assurances that Niemann would protect the property, and also noted that if the work is not done, the state could seek to reclaim the property.

Niemann denied those allegations in court filings. He has said an economic collapse occurred just after he closed on the property, making financing hard to come by and preventing redevelopment.

Both sides have since met and, as Feeley indicated, agreed to keep the lawsuit on hold as long as they continue to agree on what Niemann needs to do to keep the property secured and protected from deterioration.

A joint status report filed in Kennebec County Superior Court this May indicated both sides were working collaboratively to reach an agreement on what needs to be done to protect the property, and it would be premature to place the case on a list of cases to be brought to trial.

Niemann said by email that he continues to cooperate with the state. He said he plans to meet with state officials to discuss maintenance of the property after Aug. 20.


Niemann said his firm, North Carolina-based Niemann Capital, remains committed to both the city and state to redevelop the property over time. He said “2010 was a very difficult year” for his company and the site.

He said Friday he hopes to announce a first tenant for the property in the fall, as negotiations are taking place with a Maine company he declined to name to occupy all of the Burleigh building, the largest of the buildings, and possibly some or all of one of the other buildings which are listed as National Historic Landmarks.

“There has been more interest expressed in the site from others over the last six months than the last six years,” Niemann said. “This is a very good sign, and it points towards the strong leadership in the city, the improving real estate market in the area and the intrinsic value of the Arsenal campus.”

Niemann said that since 2013, roofs of buildings there have been replaced, a security worker has been hired to watch over the property, and landscaping, painting, foundation, drainage and masonry work has been done.

Last month, Niemann closed off public access to the grounds of the property, citing concerns about illegal activity in and around the parking lot.

Augusta Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills confirmed that before the site was closed off, police had responded to reports of indecent conduct and drug dealing on the property.

The Greenway Trail, a hiking and biking trail that runs between the Arsenal buildings and the river above the currently unmowed wharf area, remains open to the public via an easement the city holds ensuring public access to it.

Niemann reiterated Friday that he plans to reopen the Arsenal grounds to public access, likely for limited hours, in August after forming a plan to do so.


]]> 1, 24 Jul 2016 21:02:09 +0000
Busch dominates in win at Indy Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:49:35 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Kyle Busch won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday to make it a clean sweep at Indianapolis.

He led a race-record 149 of the 170 laps and beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.126 seconds. Jimmie Johnson was third, 2.638 seconds behind the defending Sprint Cup champ – thanks to the double overtime forced by three late crashes.

“I guess, I didn’t expect it,” Busch said when asked about his dominance. “I guess, I hoped it would be this way. But this Toyota was awesome today.”

Busch became the first NASCAR driver to sweep the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup poles and races on the same weekend. He also joined Johnson as the only Cup drivers with back-to-back wins on Indy’s 2.5-mile oval. Johnson won in 2008 and 2009.

Tony Stewart was 11th in his final Brickyard race after being assessed a late penalty for speeding on pit road.

Five-time race winner Jeff Gordon finished 13th after coming out of retirement to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is fighting concussion-like symptoms.

Before teams arrived in Indy on Thursday, all the talk was about Stewart’s farewell and Gordon’s comeback.

Even during the drivers’ meeting, Gordon and Stewart were front and center. Gordon delivered a moving speech in which he thanked Stewart for the impact he has made on the sport and ended with a standing ovation for the three-time Cup champ and two-time Brickyard winner. Afterward, the two drivers drove around the track together.

But Busch’s domination overshadowed everything and everyone.

He surrendered the lead for 14 laps after his first pit stop, regained it when race leader Brad Keselowski pitted, then gave it up again for only five laps when he made his second pit stop. Everyone else spent the day chasing Busch.

The only real challenge for Busch came with the series of late crashes that delayed his fourth trip to Victory Lane.

It started with Carl Edwards’ car wiggling in the first turn on a restart with seven laps to go. His car slid up the track, hitting Keselowski and catching Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick. Though nobody appeared to be seriously hurt, the wreck brought out a red flag.

On the ensuing restart, with three to go, Busch pulled away one more time, only to have a collision between Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer behind him extend the race again.

It happened yet again when Jamie McMurray slid through the first turn and into the wall on the next restart.

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 20:51:17 +0000
Behavior could signal dementia before memory slips Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:44:40 +0000 WASHINGTON — Memory loss may not always be the first warning sign that dementia is brewing – changes in behavior or personality might be an early clue.

Researchers on Sunday outlined a syndrome called “mild behavioral impairment” that may be a harbinger of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and proposed a checklist of symptoms to alert doctors and families.

Losing interest in favorite activities? Getting unusually anxious, aggressive or suspicious? Suddenly making crude comments in public?

“Historically those symptoms have been written off as a psychiatric issue, or as just part of aging,” said Dr. Zahinoor Ismail of the University of Calgary, who presented the checklist at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto.

Now, “when it comes to early detection, memory symptoms don’t have the corner on the market anymore,” he said.

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., a number growing as the population ages. It gradually strips people of their memory and the ability to think and reason.

But it creeps up, quietly ravaging the brain a decade or two before the first symptoms become noticeable. Early memory problems called “mild cognitive impairment” can raise the risk of later developing dementia, and worsening memory often is the trigger for potential patients or their loved ones to seek medical help.

It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms, too – problems such as depression or “sundowning,” agitation that occurs at the end of the day.

What’s new: The concept of pre-dementia “mild behavioral impairment,” or MBI, a term that describes specific changes in someone’s prior behavior that might signal degeneration is starting in brain regions not as crucial for memory, he said.

Ismail is part of an Alzheimer’s Association committee tapped to draft a checklist of the symptoms that qualify – new problems that linger at least six months, not temporary symptoms or ones explained by a clear mental health diagnosis or other issues such as bereavement, he stressed. They include apathy, anxiety about once routine events, loss of impulse control, flaunting social norms, loss of interest in food.

If validated, the checklist could help doctors better identify people at risk of brewing Alzheimer’s and study changes over time.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 20:49:48 +0000
German cargo ship christened in Portland Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:36:19 +0000 A German-based company that for years has quietly transported clay slurry to Maine for use in the paper mill industry put the spotlight Sunday on one of its newest cargo vessels, providing the public a rare look into the global maritime industry that makes Portland Harbor one of the state’s busiest ports.

The company, MST Mineralien Schiffahrt, based in Schnaittenbach, Germany, held an unusual naming ceremony late Sunday afternoon at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Terminal for the MV Marguerita. The ship is named after a New York City woman, Marguerita DeLuca, whose husband, Matthew, a shipping broker, has known MST’s founder for 45 years.

Clay slurry has been shipped by MST to the ports of Searsport and Portland for about 20 years, officials familiar with the company said. Clay slurry from Brazil supplied by Imerys, a company based in Savannah, Georgia, is used for specialized paper coatings in Maine’s paper mills. The slurry solution provides a glossy, smooth surface to the paper product.

Aside from the people who work in the port of Portland, cargo ships the size of the MV Marguerita – which is 185 meters long, or about the size of two football fields – largely go unnoticed. And if they are noticed, not too many people can guess what the ships are carrying.

“People notice all the cruise ships and tankers, but this cargo ship represents the other side of Portland Harbor. They slip in under the cover of darkness, before they ship out again,” said Capt. Shawn Moody, agency operations manager with Chase, Leavitt & Co. of Portland.

Moody’s firm acts as MST’s local shipping representative, making sure that ship arrivals and deliveries are coordinated with port authorities and local vendors.

The MV Marguerita was built in China and set sail on its maiden voyage in February. The ship made its first visit to Portland on March 9 and returns every 25 days, offloading its cargo at the Sprague Terminal in South Portland.

Moody said the fact that MST chose Portland as the place to christen its new ship is an honor.

“The owners could have done this in China, but instead they chose Portland. It’s something Portland should be proud of,” Moody said.

Markus Hiltl, MST’s chartering manager, introduced the ship’s captain, Paul Lukac, and his crew to a crowd of about 50 people who attended the ceremony at the Ocean Gateway Terminal. Hiltl said that on the guest list were people from all over the world, including China, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.

Hiltl said the MV Marguerita, in addition to Brazil, has sailed to Vancouver, British Columbia.It also was designed to navigate through the Great Lakes Waterway, a system of channels and canals. It is manned by a crew of 21 sailors.

Matthias M. Ruttmann succeeded his father, Jürgen W. Ruttmann, in 2009 as MST’s owner. Matthias spoke at the ceremony.

Ruttmann said his father, who could not attend the ceremony, believes that naming a ship, an old seafaring tradition, is still important.

“Why should we christen a piece of steel?” Ruttmann asked. He said naming a ship is important to the crew, which can face all sorts of dangers on the open sea.

“In a situation of stress and danger, the crew will be happy to think of someone who will hold their hands, mentally of course,” Ruttmann said.

Marguerita DeLuca wished the crew calm seas and safe passage before cutting the rope that held a bottle of champagne suspended in midair. After cutting the rope, the bottle smashed against the hull. Ship tours and a private reception followed the christening ceremony.


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 20:48:19 +0000
Whitefield couple cook up business incubator Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:27:32 +0000 WHITEFIELD — When Stephen and Milva Smith purchased the Country Farm Restaurant building on Mills Road in 2008, they converted part of the building into apartment units and a commercial space available to lease, but they had no idea what to do with the restaurant’s kitchen.

“It was trashed and it was unused,” Milva Smith said.

The couple left the space untouched and unoccupied for quite some time before slowly converting it into a commercial kitchen and business incubator called Food Forge that can be rented by anyone who has a need for a large-scale food operation without the financial or regulatory hassles that come from building one themselves.

“We did some research and looked around, and we saw an interesting space in Washington, D.C., which, on a really large scale, is what we envision for our space,” she said.

The Smiths, who live down the street from the property, said there are regulatory and financial burdens that come with trying to open something like this. Not everyone wants to spend or can afford $200,000 to build one of these kitchens, especially if they just have an idea for a product they’d like to explore.

“I’ve gotten a call recently from a baker who bakes out of her home kitchen, but she wants to be able to approach places like Whole Foods and local markets, but she needs something on a larger scale than what she has at home,” Milva Smith said. “Those are the kinds of people calling us.”

Her husband said the local Whitefield area is the center for a back-to-the-earth, organic movement, and the couple felt there was a need for kitchen space so people could not only harvest food from those local farms, but also have a place to process it locally. They have a Commercial Food Processor license from the state, which allows many foods to be prepared in the kitchen and re-sold.

Stephen Smith, who by day is a trial lawyer for Lipman & Katz in Augusta, credits the Sheepscot General country store down the street from Food Forge for reinvigorating the farming community in the area.

“They opened a new chapter in Whitefield, and we hope that something like this can keep it going,” he said.

Because the couple, who have four children ranging from 3 to 14, already owned the building, there isn’t a lot of pressure to immediately fill the space and make money. Most of the equipment came with the purchase of the restaurant back in 2008, so the Smiths haven’t put too much new money into the venture.

Food has always been a big part of Milva’s life, and growing up in an Italian family, it became a passion. Her parents came to the U.S. from Italy in the 1960s, and her father, Donato Ferrante, was an original co-owner of an Amato’s Italian sandwich shop in Portland, where she spent much of her childhood.

She and her husband owned Giacomo’s Italian Groceria in Bangor, but it was difficult to run the business with a growing family, so they now lease it.

Stephen Smith knew how important food was to his wife from the beginning.

“When I first went to her mother’s house, there was a very beautiful meal on the table, and it was so delicious that I had thirds,” he said. “Then I learned that there were four more courses coming. It’s her vernacular, and I’ve really come to appreciate it.”

The couple hopes the family’s love and passion for food translates into a successful venture that offers not only commercial cooking space, but cooking classes and space for events and other projects.

The building, which also includes two apartments and a hair salon, sits on the front of several acres of farm property the Smiths own.

The kitchen is fully equipped with everything a baker or chef would need, including a commercial-grade stove and hood, multiple sinks, a convection oven, meat slicer, stainless steel work tables and granite presentation tables among many other pieces of equipment. During the tour, the Smiths showed off the kitchen equipment, much of which was covered up by the client currently using the facility, and explained where they hope to see the venture go in the future.

“I want to get to the point where we have a lot of different people making a lot of different products,” Milva Smith said. “We just want to get people in here and tell them what we do.”

The kitchen is available to rent for $125 for a five-hour block that must be used within a 30-day period. The event space, which has enough seating for 30, can be rented for $125 per day, and the business offers rentals of glassware, dishware, utensils and other party and event supplies.


]]> 1, 24 Jul 2016 20:30:00 +0000
Bomber dead after blast at music festival in Germany Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:16:52 +0000 ANSBACH, Germany — A man who blew himself up and injured 12 people after being turned away from an open-air music festival was a 27-year-old Syrian who had been denied asylum, Bavaria’s top security official said early Monday.

“We don’t know if this man planned on suicide or if he had the intention of killing others,” Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann said.

He added that the man’s request for asylum was rejected a year ago, but he was allowed to remain in Germany on account of the situation in Syria.

Three of the 12 victims suffered serious injuries, Herrmann said.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Ansbach said the attacker’s motive wasn’t clear.

“If there is an Islamist link or not is purely speculation at this point,” said the spokesman, Michael Schrotberger.

The explosion in the southern German state came just two days after a man went on a deadly rampage at a Munich mall, killing nine people, and after an ax attack on a train near Wuerzburg last Monday wounded five.

Authorities said they were alerted to an explosion in the city’s center shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The open-air concert with about 2,500 in attendance was shut down as a precaution after the explosion.

Germany, and Bavaria in particular, have been on edge following the attacks in Munich and on the train, which in turn came shortly after a Tunisian man in a truck killed 84 people when he plowed through a festive crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, on the French Riviera.

Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk reported that about 200 police officers and 350 rescue personnel were brought in following the explosion in Ansbach.

]]> 2 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:23:44 +0000
Turks rally against failed coup, voice fears about crackdown Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:07:06 +0000 ISTANBUL — They ostensibly rallied here on Sunday to protest the attempted overthrow of their government. But what seemed to worry them was the direction of that same government and a crackdown led by its powerful leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I’m afraid. Erdogan is trying to become a dictator,” said Ahmet, a 21-year-old university student who joined thousands of other demonstrators here in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

He declined to give his last name because, like many in Turkey, he feared being swept up in the extraordinary purge of state institutions triggered by a failed coup on July 15.

The measures have involved the detention, suspension and firing of tens of thousands of people, including soldiers, police, judges and civil servants. On Saturday, Turkey’s presidency ordered the closure of 1,043 schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions.

Participants at the rally waved Turkish flags and chanted nationalist slogans. Some drank beer – an unspoken rebuke to the Islamic orientation of Erdogan’s government – and held up posters showing the visage of Turkey’s secular founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

They were united in expressing concern about the turbulence shaking this Middle East nation of 75 million people. Many also seemed careful not criticize their president – at least not in public or in front of foreign journalists.

A climate of fear has gripped many Turks, who say the government’s response seems more about Erdogan consolidating his power than just rooting out coup plotters. Turkey’s allies, including the United States, have expressed similar concerns.

Supporters of the Republican People’s Party – the country’s main opposition, referred to here as the CHP – have long been critical of the Turkish leader’s religious agenda and attempts to silence journalists and critics.

Even so, the CHP’s secular-leaning leadership tried to extend an olive branch to Erdogan and his Islamist allies. The party organized Sunday’s rally, and its officials formally extended an invitation to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its supporters.

That gesture felt at odds with comments on Friday by the CHP’s head, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. He suggested that Erdogan had taken the purge too far.

“We want all those who are prosecuted on coup-related charges to be tried in line with democracy and the rule of law. We don’t want a witch hunt,” Kilicdaroglu told NTV, a private broadcaster.

]]> 1, 24 Jul 2016 22:48:08 +0000
Golf roundup: Vegas rallies to win Canadian Open Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:03:52 +0000 OAKVILLE, Ontario — Jhonattan Vegas birdied his way off Glen Abbey and waited to see if anyone could catch him. No one could.

Vegas rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, birdieing the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and one-stroke victory.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan Olympic player began the day five strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker and four behind U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Canadian amateur Jared du Toit. Last week in Alabama in the event opposite the British Open, Vegas shot a course-record 61 in the second round and tied for fourth.

“That’s the fortunate breaks that sometimes you need to be a champion on the PGA Tour,” Vegas said. “It’s a great feeling. I mean, last week, I had a six-shot lead going into the weekend and lost by three. I was five back starting today and won by one. It’s a crazy sport. You’ve just got to keep your head down and play hard.”

Vegas had five straight birdies on Nos. 2-6, bogeyed the par-4 eighth and also birdied the par-5 13th. He finished at 12-under 276.

Johnson, Jon Rahm and Martin Laird tied for second.

LPGA: Cristie Kerr held on for a 3-and-2 victory over Melissa Reid to give the United States the UL International Crown, in Gurnee, Illinois.

Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller each closed out wins for the U.S. before Reid missed a birdie putt on 16, handing the decisive victory to Kerr.

The Americans finished the four-day event with 13 points – one more than South Korea and two better than England and Taiwan.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Paul Broadhurst won the Senior British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland, for his first major title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Scott McCarron.

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 20:13:00 +0000
Thousands of detained coup suspects mistreated in Turkey, lawyers say Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:01:27 +0000 ANKARA, Turkey — Thousands of people taken into custody since Turkey’s attempted coup are being held in sports facilities and stables, where some have been beaten and mistreated, according to lawyers familiar with the cases.

Lawyers from the Ankara Bar Association’s human rights commission say members have reported the alleged abuses after trying to meet with clients. Other lawyers and human rights organizations have made similar allegations.

In addition to verbal and physical abuse, clients complained about a lack of food and that their hands have been bound for days, said Sercan Aran, deputy head of the commission. The mistreatment is “systematic,” and lawyers have been prevented from documenting physical signs of beatings and abuse, he said.

The Turkish government strongly denies the allegations, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that due process is being followed.

“We are doing everything according to the law,” said a Turkish official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with government protocol. He said the law is being upheld and that he “categorically denied” that prisoners have been abused in custody.

The United States and European nations have urged Turkey to maintain democracy and respect for human rights after the brazen attempted coup, which left at least 232 people dead as a rebel faction of the military bombed parliament and police bases with hijacked aircraft.

In a large-scale crackdown on alleged coup plotters, more than 9,000 people, mostly soldiers, have been taken into custody, while 50,000 others have been fired from their jobs or suspended while they are investigated. Erdogan, who has declared a state of emergency, has pledged to “cleanse” what he has described as a “cancer” in the country.

“Right now, law is suspended,” Aran said. “We see investigations going on without any rule of law. Yes, the military intervention was stopped, the military dictatorship was stopped, but right now we see they are trying to build a civilian dictatorship.”

The state of emergency has compounded fears among lawyers and human rights groups that the rule of law will be eroded, which would threaten Turkey’s long-standing bid to join the European Union.

“The idea that Turkey, a country seeking European Union membership, would not respect the law is absurd,” the Turkish official said, pointing out that 1,200 of the detained were released on Saturday. “All we care about is concrete evidence of complicity in this grave assault,” he said.

Before the emergency law was announced, detainees were already being held without charge longer than legally allowed, lawyers said. Under the new measures, suspects can be held for up to 30 days.

Some are also being denied the right to speak privately with lawyers and to call a next of kin, according to lawyers and families searching for information about missing relatives.

The Ankara Bar Association has set up a 24-hour hotline and crisis center, where phones ring incessantly. Out of fear of being seen as sympathetic to coup plotters or critical of the government, most lawyers and family members declined to be quoted by name.

“Crisis Center,” said one curly haired lawyer working at the center, as she picked up one of four phone lines. “Have you called previously?”

“Tell me his name,” she then said in response to the caller.

She typed the name of the caller’s missing husband into her computer and came up with a match. “He’s in the academy sports hall,” she said, then added: “Don’t go, they aren’t letting anyone visit.”

She told the caller that he hasn’t been appointed a lawyer, but to call back the next day for an update.

On Thursday, 2,398 soldiers were in custody in the Ankara area, according to a list of names that the police had sent to the lawyers. Some 1,086 were being held at a police academy’s sports facility, it showed. Another 452 are being held at a volleyball court, 354 at another sports facility and 304 at an equestrian center.

Others were being held at an intelligence building and other detention facilities. On Friday, the police sent more names, bringing the number of soldiers recorded as being in custody in Ankara to 4,218.

The call center covers only the Ankara area. For the families of people detained in Istanbul and elsewhere, there is no such service.

The Ankara bar association has assigned 961 of its lawyers to coup-related cases, but most of the bar’s 3,000 criminal lawyers are too afraid to take them on or politically opposed to doing so, Aran said.

Dogukan Toguc Cankurt, another lawyer with the bar association, said that lawyers representing clients connected with the coup have themselves faced harassment.

“If they try to record signs of torture, they face threats and violence from the police,” he said. “A colleague that tried to photograph evidence of torture was made to erase the photos.”

The prosecutors office gave the Ankara Bar Association a list of 189 lawyers who aren’t allowed to represent coup plotters.

Most had represented cases linked to the Gulen movement in the past. The Turkish government accuses its leader, Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of being behind the coup, a claim he has denied.

In one official written statement, a general who denied involvement in the coup said he was unarmed and did not resist arrest when police forces turned up at his office. His lawyer added a note at the end asking that his client be referred for medical examinations to record “wounds” on his body.

“I have not benefited from the right to talk to my client,” the lawyer noted.

The government official said that injuries may have occurred at the time of arrest.

“During many arrests, fire was exchanged and there was resistance from coup plotters,” he said. “Individuals in need of medical assistance receive necessary treatment.”

However, Andrew Gardner, a researcher for Amnesty International, said he didn’t think that the fact that beatings had taken place in custody was “in dispute whatsoever.”

“There are a litany of abuses that have been reported to us,” he said. “There are serious allegations of widespread mistreatment and mutually corroborating reports going beyond beatings to high levels of abuse.”

Gardner also said that complaints of sexual abuse had been reported to Amnesty.

One lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said a detainee reported being raped in custody.

Gardner said it is not possible that authorities have collected evidence on all of the suspects.

“And if they don’t have concrete evidence, they shouldn’t be detaining them,” he said.

A woman who had traveled from Britain in search of her missing brother, a military officer, said the family last heard from him the morning after the coup via a text message that read: “I’m fine.”

A lawyer at the call center explained to the woman that her brother is in a high-security prison and that in normal times, three relatives would be allowed to visit.

“But these aren’t normal times,” the lawyer said, adding that the officer has been appointed a lawyer.

“These are the brave ones,” the woman said of the lawyers in the call center, who work for a nominal fee, doing shifts through the night. “They have the courage to help us. It gives me some hope.”

]]> 0 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 20:20:43 +0000
Northeast’s farmers ration water as drought worsens Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:37:28 +0000 CONCORD, N.H. — At Lavoie’s Farm in New Hampshire, beans and corn haven’t broken through the ground yet and fields of strawberries are stunted.

The drought that has taken hold in the Northeast is especially felt at John Lavoie’s farm in Hollis, presenting him with some tough choices. Irrigation ponds are drying up, forcing him to choose between tomatoes and berries or apple and peach trees.

Lavoie decided to hold off watering the fruit trees so he could quench the tomato and berry plants before they succumb to the heat.

“We need some rain pretty quick,” Lavoie said. “There is just some corn that won’t make it. A lot of things we would like to give water to, we can’t.”

The dry blast in New Hampshire is being felt throughout the Northeast, from Maine to Pennsylvania, driven by a second year of below-average rainfall. Though not as dire as the West Coast drought of five-years running, the dry, hot weather has stressed farms and gardens, prompted water restrictions and bans in many towns, and threatened to bring more wildfires than usual.

In the hardest-hit areas of western New York, Massachusetts and southern parts of New Hampshire and Maine, it’s been dryer than in a decade or more. And national weather experts predict the drought will persist at least through the end of October.

“The Northeast is a little bit of a mixed bag, but the bottom line is that the conditions have deteriorated over the past several weeks to a couple of months,” said Rich Tinker, a drought specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

If there were a drought epicenter, it probably would be Massachusetts. More than 74 percent of the state, according to the United States Drought Monitor, is experiencing some degree of drought, and almost the entire state is dry.

Many Massachusetts farmers are hurting, said Katie Campbell-Nelson, a vegetable production specialist with UMass Extension. Yields and quality are down, and irrigation costs are up.

“Some farmers are abandoning crops because it’s not worth the financial risk of harvesting them,” Campbell-Nelson said.

The dry conditions have raised the risk of wildfires in Massachusetts, said Dave Celino, chief forest fire warden for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. Typically, the state records about 1,600 wildland fires a year. But this year, it’s already seen more than 1,000.

Meanwhile, some wells are going dry in Connecticut. And the blueberry crop in Maine will be slightly smaller this year than the past two, said Nancy McBrady, executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine.

In New Hampshire, the Lavoies, like their farming neighbors, are spending twice as much and committing 90 percent of their labor to watering. They’ve instituted drip agriculture and other conservation measures to ensure every drop of water goes farther and lasts longer. It’s a smart move, especially since it may be months before they see any relief.

]]> 2, 24 Jul 2016 19:46:21 +0000
Prince William says his little Prince George is ‘far too spoiled’ Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:13:24 +0000 LONDON — Prince William thinks his son got too many birthday presents when he turned 3 two days ago.

Asked about the birthday Sunday during a visit to see Britain’s America’s Cup ships and a competition near the crew’s home base in Portsmouth, Prince William declined to reveal what gifts Prince George received.

“I am not telling, he got too many things, he’s far too spoiled,” William said.

He was joined by his wife, Kate, on the visit. The couple has released photos of George to mark his birthday.

– From news service reports

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 19:26:25 +0000
Farmington town meeting to consider assisted living center Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:10:59 +0000 FARMINGTON — Residents at a special town meeting Tuesday will consider allowing the town to enter into a tax increment financing agreement with a Waterville-based company that is looking to develop an assisted living care center on Knowlton Corner Road.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Farmington Community Center following a 6:30 p.m. regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen’s meeting at the same location.

Selectmen earlier this month approved the terms of a tax increment financing agreement with Woodlands under which the town would reimburse 100 percent of incremental tax revenue to the company for 10 years. While selectmen agreed on the terms, the town entering into TIF agreements is subject to voters’ approval.

At Tuesday’s meeting, voters will consider establishing a tax-increment financing district for the 38-acre area on Knowlton Corner Road where the $4 million assisted living center will be built. They will then consider authorizing selectmen to enter into a credit enhancement agreement for the district with Woodlands Senior Living.

Woodlands Senior Living, which operates 12 residences in Maine, approached the town in December about developing an assisted living center specializing in memory care within Farmington. The center will have 36 beds and provide care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

In April, when Matthew Walters, who co-owns Woodlands Senior Living with his father Lon, first requested the 10-year TIF, selectmen tabled the issue, saying they thought that length of time at 100 percent was too long. However, after touring the Woodlands assisted living center in Lewiston and hearing more about the value the project would bring to Farmington, selectmen agreed to accept the terms as presented, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said.

Matthew Walters said there is no assisted living center in the area offering these type of memory care services. He said a big factor in choosing the plot of land on Knowlton Corner Road is the possibility of further development beyond the initial $4 million project. He said it is likely that a second phase of development would occur, possibly in the form of an apartment-style care center on the site.

The company hopes to close out on the land purchase and break ground on the project by late August. Walters said the residence is expected to open in late summer next year.


]]> 1 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:28:17 +0000
Commanding debut at box office for ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:58:34 +0000 LOS ANGELES — “Star Trek Beyond” has landed atop the weekend box office.

Paramount’s latest outing with the Starship Enterprise soared to $59.6 million in domestic ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday, knocking Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” from the No. 1 spot. “Pets” fell to second place, adding an additional $29.3 million to its stellar $260 million earnings over the past three weeks.

“Star Trek Beyond” is the third film in the rebooted franchise that kicked off with J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek.” This latest film opened $20 million behind that 2009 release, but experts say the returns are still promising for Paramount.

“This is a solid enough debut to tell them there’s still enough interest in ‘Star Trek’ to keep this franchise alive,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore.

“Star Trek Beyond” opened in line with industry expectations, he said, despite the unexpected death last month of 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov.

“The tragic passing of Anton Yelchin made it bittersweet for fans,” Dergarabedian said. “I don’t think that took away anything from the film. Fans can pay their respects to Yelchin by watching him on the screen.”

“The Secret Life of Pets” and “Ghostbusters” bested – or tied – the weekend’s other new releases. Warner Bros.’ low-budget horror film “Lights Out” opened with $21.6 million – more than quadrupling its reported $5 million budget – to tie with “Ghostbusters” for third place.

Fox’s animated “Ice Age: Collision Course” debuted with $21 million. Fox Searchlight’s “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” opened outside the top 10 with $1.8 million.

The documentary “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” from conservative political pundit Dinesh D’Souza, edged into the top 10 in its second week with $3.7 million.

“That’s pretty amazing,” Dergarabedian said. “But it’s obviously due to the timing with the Republican National Convention last week and the Democratic National Convention this week.”

Here are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Star Trek Beyond,” $59.6 million ($30 million international).

2. “The Secret Life of Pets,” $29.3 million ($10 million international).

3. (tie) “Lights Out,” $21.6 million ($8.3 million international).

3. (tie) “Ghostbusters,” $21.6 million ($10.5 million international).

5. “Ice Age: Collision Course,” $21 million ($30 million international).

6. “Finding Dory,” $7.2 million ($19.5 international).

7. “The Legend of Tarzan,” $6.4 million ($44.7 million international).

8. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” $4.4 million ($1 million international).

9. “Kabali (Tamil & Telugu),” $4.1 million.

10. “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” $3.7 million.

]]> 1 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:30:18 +0000
As deaths rise, Coast Guard warns paddlers to take precautions Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:05:49 +0000 As the popularity of paddle sports surges, the Coast Guard is warning kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders to be prepared before venturing out following a rise in deaths in the past year.

Eighteen people have died in New England since October, compared to seven in the 12-month period that ended in October, said Nicole Grolls, a Coast Guard spokeswoman in Boston.

The problem can partly be attributed to the growing popularity of paddleboards, kayaks and canoes, but too many paddlers are unprepared for changing conditions, don’t have appropriate safety gear and lack skills needed to stay safe when the unexpected happens, said Walter Taylor, a Coast Guard recreational boating safety specialist.

Even taking the normal precaution of wearing a life jacket may not be enough when the water is cold enough to kill, he said.

“It could be a nice beautiful day forecast in the 90s, but the water temperature where they’re paddling is below 60. They may not account for hypothermia,” Taylor said.

That’s exactly what happened a month ago in Maine.

A licensed guide from Maine and his two clients from New Jersey departed on a pleasant afternoon but encountered a brief-but-violent squall that capsized their kayaks. Ed Brackett of Gouldsboro and Michael Popper of Plainfield, New Jersey, died June 22. Popper’s wife, Cheryl, survived severe hypothermia after being in the water for five hours.

The three were wearing life jackets, and Brackett even had a waterproof radio. Others knew their plans and reported them missing.

“He wasn’t a seat-of-your-pants kind of guy. He was always prepared,” Town Manager Bryan Kaenrath said of Brackett, who worked for the town.

They were doing many of the right things, but they weren’t dressed for the possibility of going into the water, the Coast Guard said.

They were wearing summer clothes – shorts and T-shirts – instead of something geared to insulate themselves from the cold water, Taylor said.

The number of paddler deaths fluctuates from year to year. Nationwide, paddler deaths have ranged from a low of 144 to as high as 198 over the past 10 years even as the total number of boating deaths has dropped, according to Coast Guard data.

Meanwhile, more people are getting into the sport each year. The Outdoor Foundation says nearly 22 million Americans – about 7 percent of the population – participated in paddle sports in 2014.

]]> 2, 24 Jul 2016 18:16:16 +0000
Porcello wins again at Fenway Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:03:13 +0000 BOSTON — A year ago, Rick Porcello was hearing nearly as many boos as cheers in Fenway Park.

Now, he’s piling up wins in front of the home fans.

Porcello became the first Boston pitcher in 55 years to open a season 10-0 in Fenway, and Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw each hit a three-run homer as the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 8-7 Sunday to earn a split of a four-game series.

“I just feel good here,” Porcello said. “I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd.”

Porcello, 27, was expected to be an ace for the staff last year after the club acquired him from Detroit, but he lost six of his first 11 starts at home and ended the year just 9-15 overall with a 4.92 ERA.

“Rick is in a very good place here in Fenway,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “You talk about dependable and reliable, he embodies that. He epitomizes that.”

Porcello (13-2) allowed five runs with eight strikeouts in 62/3 innings, becoming the first since Don Schwall in 1961 to win his first 10 Fenway decisions in a season.

Dustin Pedroia hit a tiebreaking solo homer and Xander Bogaerts had three singles for Boston, which won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Juan Centeno had three hits and drove in three runs for the Twins, who completed a seven-game road trip 4-3 but gave up four unearned runs in a key inning.

“You’ve got a chance to come in here and potentially beat a team that’s been playing good – three out of four,” Minnesota Manager Paul Molitor said. “Unearned runs, they’re painful, they’re tough when you can’t find a way to get off the field.”

Brad Ziegler got the final three outs for his first save with Boston after being acquired from Arizona earlier this month.

The Red Sox surged ahead with five runs – four unearned – and chased Tommy Milone (3-3) in the fifth.

Pedroia homered over the Green Monster. Third baseman Miguel Sano had a grounder go through his legs for an error that scored a run before Shaw belted his homer into Boston’s bullpen, making it 8-3.

“The one to Shaw was just a curveball that hung over the middle of the plate,” Milone said. “He was waiting for it. They capitalized hard on the mistakes.”

Milone gave up eight runs – four earned – in 42/3 innings, snapping a three-game winning streak.

The Twins scored two runs in the seventh and two in the eighth, slicing it to 8-7.

Ramirez’s homer – his fifth in five games – went into the first row of Monster seats, with a fan making a nice standing, two-handed grab as Boston took a 3-2 lead.

The Twins tied it when Max Kepler tripled leading off the fourth before scoring on Kennys Vargas’ grounder.


TWINS: Catcher Kurt Suzuki was out if the lineup after getting stitches in his chin. Suzuki was hit in the face mask Saturday by a foul tip. “We’re trying to look at ways that we can potentially protect him if we needed to play him in an emergency,” Molitor said.

RED SOX: Designated David Ortiz got the day off. … Farrell said right fielder Mookie Betts’ right knee was “improved” and “we hope that by (Monday) night he’s back in the lineup.” Betts left Friday’s game with soreness in the knee.


The Red Sox recalled right-hander Joe Kelly from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game after sending right-hander Heath Hembree there following Saturday’s loss.

Kelly will serve as a reliever. He has only started for the Red Sox since being acquired in 2014, but he has pitched 522/3 career innings of relief with a 3.25 ERA.


Junichi Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth. He allowed two inherited runners to score but struck out Byron Buxton on a splitter in the dirt to end the inning.


Ortiz wore a Boston Marathon medal that’s given to runners who finish the race.

“A friend of mine that ran the Marathon gave it to me,” he said, pointing to it hanging in his locker. “I wear my jewelry on different days. I just put it on.”


TWINS: They’re off Monday before beginning a six-game homestand Tuesday. Right-hander Ervin Santana (3-8, 3.93) faces Atlanta right-hander Lucas Harrell (1-2, 4.24) in the first of a two-game series.

RED SOX: Left-hander Drew Pomeranz makes his second start for Boston on Monday after being acquired from San Diego. He gave up five runs in three innings in his debut Wednesday against the Giants. Right-hander Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.74) is slated to go for the Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 18:37:24 +0000
Binghamton edges Sea Dogs, 2-1 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 19:59:32 +0000 A glorious Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field turned out to be something of a nightmare for the highest-rated prospect in minor league baseball.

Yoan Moncada, less than two weeks removed from his MVP performance at the Futures Game, struck out in all five of his plate appearances Sunday, including a game-ending whiff that sealed a 2-1 Eastern League victory for the visiting Binghamton Mets before a crowd of 5,408.

The Mets took three of four from the Sea Dogs and held Portland’s prized second baseman to one hit in 16 at-bats.

“People may look at the 0 for 5 with five punch-outs, but I really believe that this kid is going to be an offensive player with power,” Binghamton Manager Pedro Lopez said of Moncada. “He’s probably a little over his head right now and maybe we just got him at the right time, but the way he goes about his business, he’s going to be a really good player.”

Moncada went down swinging all five times, the first four while batting left-handed and the final time right-handed against Binghamton closer David Roseboom, who earned his sixth save with a hitless ninth inning that included the game’s only error. Moncada managed only three foul balls and a foul tip, and accidentally sent his bat into the stands above the Sea Dogs dugout after one missed swing.

“Change-ups,” said Binghamton starter Tyler Herron (2-1), an Eastern League veteran who has also pitched for Harrisburg and Altoona and who joined the Mets last month out of independent ball in North Dakota. “It seems like the whole series we’ve kind of been getting him with change-ups. That was the plan.”

Herron scattered six hits, struck out five and walked only one before giving way to Kevin McGowan, who allowed doubles in the seventh and eighth to Tzu-Wei Lin and Mauricio Dubon but stranded both at second base.

Dubon went 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles but was thrown out trying to stretch a one-out single to left in the first inning.

“That was an aggressive play,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “I have no problem with that. It took them a good relay throw to get him out. I don’t see that as a mistake. I see a guy trying to advance an extra base.”

The Sea Dogs loaded the bases in the second and took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by Rainel Rosario. Lin flew out to end the inning, stranding two runners in scoring position. Never again did the Sea Dogs advance a base runner as far as third.

“It was a great game,” Febles said. “Unfortunately, we were on the losing end. It was close. We had some good at-bats, but we just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed to. As a manager, you feel pretty good about your club when you play games like this.”

Sea Dogs starter Mitch Atkins (2-5) held the Mets scoreless through four innings and escaped a second-and-third, nobody-out situation in the second inning, but Binghamton scored twice in the fifth. L.J. Mazzilli homered to left with one out. Atkins appeared to be out of the inning when, with two outs, Champ Stuart bounced one up the middle. Dubon, Portland’s shortstop, ranged in front of second base and gloved the ball but lost the handle when he reached in for the throw.

“He told me he expected me to be an easier play,” Stuart said of Dubon, “and when he looked up and saw me halfway down the line he kind of rushed it. I guess it got away from him there.”

Stuart, credited with a hit, had the conversation with Dubon after a stolen base made possible by a slide that jarred the ball loose from Moncada’s glove following a one-hop throw from catcher Jake Romanski. Amed Rosario followed with a ground-ball single to left, driving home Stuart with what turned out to be the winning run.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” said Atkins, who struck out five, walked two and allowed eight hits. “I threw the ball well. My job is to keep the game close and give my team a chance to win, and I did that. Sometimes you pull it out and sometimes you don’t.”

The game marked the 236th career start for Atkins, tops among active minor league pitchers. He’s been around long enough to know something about how to handle a day like Moncada’s.

“You can learn a lot from days like that,” he said. “I think you learn more from bad days than good days.”

NOTES: Former Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon departs Monday morning after four days in town as a Red Sox roving outfielder instructor. That another top prospect, Andrew Benintendi, moved over from center field to left for two games was merely a coincidence, McMillon said.

“But one of my philosophies is that all the outfielders should be able to play all over the place,” said McMillon, who heads to Triple-A Pawtucket next before returning home to South Carolina.

The Sea Dogs open a three-game series with Trenton on Monday night. … The last Sea Dogs batter with five strikeouts in a game was Sean Coyle in 2014 against New Hampshire.

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 18:51:18 +0000
Maine’s Open Farm Day gives visitors an inside look Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:36:17 +0000 GORHAM — Clutching a furry living ball in her hand, Althea McNulty, 11, stood stock still in the henhouse at the Underhill Fiber Farm on Wilson Road.

It was the first time she had held a live chick.

“It’s soft but its wings are prickly,” Althea said.

The moment was exactly why Althea and her family moved back to Maine last month after a four-year stint in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, a 24-hour flight away, said her mother, Gretchen McNulty. The McNultys were spending Sunday visiting local farms as part of Open Farm Day, when more than 80 agricultural operations across the state flung open their doors to the public.

“I am blissing out. I am embracing the fresh, clean beautiful air. We are so happy to be back,” said Gretchen McNulty, who worked at an international school in Kuala Lumpur and just took a job as a curriculum director for the Falmouth public schools.

The Underhill Fiber Farm – run by Jenny Smith, 41, her parents, Cindy and Larry Smith, who bought it in 1977, and twin sisters Nancy and Chrissy, 31 – was a picture of summer bounty with the Smith family’s high-energy industriousness on full display.

The gardens surrounding the house were a tumble of flowers and vegetables. Swiss chard burst up among the yellow daisies. Tomatoes poked through the amaranth and delphinium spikes. Corn stalks towered over mounds of catnip and mint. Scarlet runner beans bloomed blood red.

Visitors patted the horses, held the Angora bunnies and nuzzled the 50 baby broilers and 30 baby turkeys.

The farm animals emitted an outdoor concert of baas, quacks and bleats.

Out in front of the 1700s-era farmhouse Jenny Smith sold skeins of wool from her animals, while several friends demonstrated how to make yarn at their spinning wheels. Betty Johnson of South Portland, who met Smith at a spinning event, sat spinning cobalt blue wool. Johnson once spent four years collecting the fur off her 120-pound Newfoundland dog, Emily.

“I combined it with sheep wool and made a capelet and shawl,” Johnson said.

The fiber operation is a labor of love. If she is lucky in a given year, Jenny Smith will cover her costs. Digging her hand into a bag of dark brown sheep wool, Smith said it takes $150 a year to feed a sheep. In return she gets about 5 pounds of wool. She will lose 30 percent of that when she washes it. Then she spins it and sometimes she knits it into sweaters and hats. She spins any fiber she can find, including cat fur.

The family eats from the garden. They slaughter and eat their chickens, sheep and pigs. They make cheese from goat milk and dine on freshly laid eggs. Smith makes wine, using rhubarb or autumn olives and other fruits and berries – “from anything I can get my hands on,” she said.

Johnson said she considers Smith amazing, and held up an orifice hook used to thread a spinning wheel that Smith fashioned out of copper wire and a wine cork.

“I don’t drink, but I hear her blueberry wine is terrific,” Johnson said.


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 17:49:04 +0000
Froome wins his third Tour de France Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:20:17 +0000 PARIS — After the beer and champagne celebrations, Chris Froome delivered a sobering and emotional message from the Tour de France winner’s podium on the Champs-Elysees.

Ten days after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people, Froome – a Kenyan-born British rider who often trains on the French Riviera – reminded everyone what the Tour stands for.

“These events put sport into perspective, but they also show why the values of sport are so important to free society,” Froome said on Sunday in a prepared speech. “We all love the Tour de France because it’s unpredictable, but we love the Tour more for what stays the same – the passion of the fans for every nation, the beauty of the French countryside and the bonds of friendship created through sport. These things will never change.

“Thanks for your kindness in these difficult times,” Froome added, switching to French as he addressed the local fans. “You have the most beautiful race in the world. Vive le Tour, Vive la France.”

Cheered on by thousands of fans undeterred by the recent spate of violence across Europe, Froome celebrated his third Tour title in four years. He finished safely at the back of the main pack in the final stage, arm-in-arm with his teammates during the mostly ceremonial leg ending on the cobblestones below the Arc de Triomphe.

Andre Greipel of Germany won the 21st leg in a sprint finish.

At the start of the stage, Froome dropped back to his Team Sky car to collect bottles of beer and distributed them to his teammates for a celebratory round. Then it was time for the traditional flute of champagne.

Froome rode a yellow bike to go with his yellow jersey, helmet, gloves and shoes.

Froome finished with an advantage of 4 minutes, 5 seconds over Romain Bardet of France, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia placed third, 4:21 back.

Only four men – five-time winners Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain – have more Tour victories than Froome.

“I’ve definitely grown to appreciate this history of the sport a lot more,” Froome said. “Being in the position that I’m in now, I’m understanding how tough it is to win a race like the Tour de France. To win back-to-back editions and now to be a three-time winner is incredible. It’s beyond what I’ve ever dreamed.”

While other top riders of his generation like Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali have won all three Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta – Froome plans to keep his focus on the Tour.

“It would be my dream to keep coming back to the Tour de France for the next five, six years,” he said. “I’ve already won it three times and I wouldn’t say the novelty is wearing off. … It’s the biggest event we have on our calendar and to be here in the yellow jersey, it’s every cyclist’s dream.”

Compared to his wins in 2013 and 2015, Froome has become more adept at handling speculation that he is doping. After facing constant accusations during last year’s race – including a spectator yelling ‘doper!’ and hurling a cup of urine at him – Froome released some of his training data at the end of last year.

“I think I’ve put that to rest now,” he said. “I’ve really done a lot in terms of offering up my physiological data and trying to be open to people as much as I can while protecting a competitive advantage at the same time.”

Froome took the yellow jersey with a daring downhill attack in Stage 8, padded his lead with a late breakaway in Stage 11, and overcame a motor bike crash on the legendary Mont Ventoux and a fall on a slippery descent in the Alps with two stages to go.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme complimented Froome for showing “panache” after his downhill attack in the Pyrenees, and the fans have treated him better, too.

“The atmosphere on the roads has been fantastic,” Froome said. “The French public, they make this race what it is.”

Out of respect for the Nice victims, Froome refused to discuss race details the day after the attack. But he lauded Tour organizers for deciding to keep the race going.

“It’s been a really strong sign,” he said, “that life goes on and it’s not going to be stopped by these terrorist activities.”

]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 20:09:26 +0000
Suspect in Kittery sex assault arrested in Florida Sun, 24 Jul 2016 17:56:27 +0000 A man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in Kittery on July 10 was arrested Thursday in Florida.

Kittery police said the woman had accepted a ride home from an evening out when she was attacked by the male driver. The woman was able to escape and ran to the home of a Kittery resident, who called police.

Kittery police said their investigation led them to a suspect, Alhassane Camara, 43, of Rollinsford, New Hampshire, who had left New England for Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

U.S. marshals and Fort Lauderdale police helped arrest Camara, who has been charged with being a fugitive from justice. He will be formally charged with felony gross sexual assault when he is returned to Maine.

]]> 4, 24 Jul 2016 22:15:43 +0000
White Sox suspend top pitcher Chris Sale for ripping up jerseys Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:26:23 +0000 CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox suspended ace Chris Sale five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The White Sox announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 – the cost of the destroyed jerseys – according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

“Obviously we’re all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris’ perspective,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “It’s unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we’re trying to accomplish on the field.”

Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.

The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.

FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.

Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.

The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale’s name circulating in trade rumors.

“The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships,” Hahn said. “It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events.”

This wasn’t the first flare-up involving 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.

He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches’ jerseys in his locker.

He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals’ Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.


]]> 0, 24 Jul 2016 17:14:16 +0000
IOC decides not to ban full Russian team from Olympics Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:06:32 +0000 The Russian flag will be flying at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, after all, and the athletes from a nation mired in an ongoing drug scandal will be allowed to compete on the sporting world’s largest stage.

Less than two weeks before the start of the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee ruled against barring Russia from the Summer Olympics but did approve measures that could reduce the number of Russian athletes participating. Members of the executive board met on a conference call Sunday and granted wide-reaching powers to the 28 individual federations that govern each sport to rule on which Russian athletes would be permitted to compete in their respective disciplines.

While that could curtail Russia’s participation in the Rio Olympics, it means the exact number of participants and medal hopefuls representing the nation could remain in flux until days before the opening ceremony, which is scheduled for Aug. 5.

While the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international body that oversees track and field, has already ruled that Russia would not be permitted to compete in Olympic competition, other governing bodies will have big decisions to make in the coming days. Many sports federations, such as gymnastics, have already indicated a preference to see Russian athletes competing for Olympic medals. Bruno Grandi, president of the FIG, the international gymnastics federation, for example, said in a statement last week, “Blanket bans have never been and will never be just.”

No nation had ever been barred from competing at an Olympics for doping, but with sentiment growing against the Russian athletes and questions about whether they’d compete clean in Rio, the IOC faced a difficult decision. Last week the World Anti-Doping Agency, the international body that polices doping in sports, released a damning report that charged Russia with operating a prolific state-run doping program spanning 30 sports over several years.

As the doping scandal grew, more than a dozen anti-doping agencies from around the world, including those from the United States and Canada, banded together and urged the IOC to issue a wholesale ban of Russia from these Olympics, an extraordinary measure that would have included athletes who’ve never tested positive for banned substances or been implicated in the scandal.

The IOC opted not to take immediate action last week, preferring to wait for an important ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which last Thursday upheld the ban on Russia’s track and field teams. In June those squads were barred from the Rio Games by the IAAF. The court’s ruling effectively set a precedent that a sport’s international federation had the authority to prohibit certain athletes from competing.

The Russian Olympic Committee said in a statement last week that the court’s ruling unfairly punished a large swath of Russian athletes for the alleged misdeeds of a few. “The CAS decision violates the rights of all clean athletes who from today will also bear a collective responsibility for the guilt of others,” the committee said.

While officials with the Russian sports ministry have acknowledged a “culture of doping,” they have denied any form of government involvement. Russia President Vladimir Putin has been vocal about what he sees as an unfair process and a political witch-hunt that has seeped into the sports world.

“Today, we see a dangerous return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport,” Putin said in a statement last week, harkening back to Cold War-era relations. “Yes, this intervention takes different forms today, but the essence remains the same; to make sport an instrument for geopolitical pressure and use it to form a negative image of countries and peoples. The Olympic movement, which is a tremendous force for uniting humanity, once again could find itself on the brink of division.

Before a single Olympic event has been contested, doping has already emerged as a dominant storyline of these Summer Games. The IOC and WADA have been trying to cleanse the Rio Games of known cheaters and have been retesting samples from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. They found 98 athletes who tested positive for prohibited substances, including at least 23 medalist from the Beijing Games.

Since competing under the Russian flag, the country has been among the top three or four medal winners in each of the past five Summer Olympics. Russia, which has traditionally been a power in track and field, wrestling and gymnastics especially, won 79 medals at the 2012 London Games, trailing only the United States (103) and China (88). Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and won more medals there than any other country – 13 golds and 33 overall — a feat that might not stand the test of time after the IOC and WADA completes their doping inquiry and metes out individual punishments.

The absence of any number of Russian athletes will surely have a major impact on the medal hopes of athletes competing in almost every sport. Russian typically sends an Olympic team of more than 400 athletes at the Summer Games. The last time Russian athletes missed the Summer Games was 1984, when the then-Soviet Union was among 14 communist nations to boycott the Olympics. That year the United States won 83 gold medals at the Los Angeles Summer Games, which is still an Olympic record.

]]> 2, 24 Jul 2016 17:16:30 +0000
Democratic Party head resigns amid scandal over anti-Sanders emails Sun, 24 Jul 2016 14:35:54 +0000 PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic National Committee chairwoman resigned under fire Sunday, on the eve of a national convention meant to project competence and unity in contrast to what Democrats say was the chaos of the Republicans’ gathering last week.

The disarray threatened to upend Hillary Clinton’s plan to paint the Democrats as the party best prepared to lead a divided and anxious country and herself as the leader who can offer an optimistic alternative to Republican Donald Trump.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced aside by the release of thousands of embarrassing emails among party officials that appeared to show coordinated efforts to help Clinton at the expense of her rival in the Democratic primaries. That contradicted claims by the party and the Clinton campaign that the process was open and fair for her leading challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The trove of messages released by hackers on the website WikiLeaks proved to be the last straw for Democrats, including top Clinton advisers.

“Myself and other Democrats who were Clinton supporters, we have been saying this was serious. It truly violates what the DNC’s proper role should be,” said Edward G. Rendell, a former DNC chairman and former Pennsylvania governor.

“The DNC did something incredibly inappropriate here,” and needed to acknowledge that, Rendell said.

Republicans led by Trump jumped to portray the episode as evidence that the system was rigged for Clinton, whom Trump calls “Crooked Hillary.”

“The Democrats are in a total meltdown but the biased media will say how great they are doing!,” Trump exulted on Twitter. “E-mails say the rigged system is alive & well!”

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who is Wasserman Schultz’s counterpart, said in an interview “There was no way out. The end has come. There wasn’t any other outcome that was foreseeable.”

Sanders said he was not surprised by the email revelations. He is scheduled to address the opening night of the Democratic convention on Monday. While he is expected to stress unity, many of his supporters say they are furious about what they see as evidence of party bias.

The Clinton campaign – and several cybersecurity experts – said the leak was a political ploy carried out by the Russian government to aid in the election of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

That didn’t stop a massive political firestorm directed largely at Wasserman Schultz – nor strong pressure from the Clinton campaign and others to step aside, according to a senior Democrat familiar with the negotiations.

She finally did, but not before speaking with President Obama – and not without a fight, according to Democrats familiar with the negotiations.

A member of Congress from south Florida, Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that her resignation will take effect upon the close of the convention. Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic strategist, will take over as interim chair, according to the DNC.

“I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory.”

The controversy blew up at a key political moment for Clinton: just as convention delegates were descending on Philadelphia – and just as her campaign was hoping to patch up disagreements with Sanders supporters over superdelegates, the party platform and her choice of running mate, Virginia Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, who is seen by some as insufficiently progressive.

Erin Bilbray, a DNC member from Nevada who supported Sanders in the primaries, said there had been talk about some delegates turning their backs on Wasserman Schultz in a show of protest during the convention if she didn’t step down.

“There definitely would have been some anger in the convention hall,” Bilbray said. “Hopefully, this will be a good thing for unity in Philadelphia.”

In pressuring Wasserman Schultz to resign, campaign officials argued that she had become a lightning rod for divisions within the party.

Democrats said pressure was applied both publicly and behind the scenes, in hopes of getting the embarrassing episode over as quickly as possible. Democrats began lobbying Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta on Saturday, arguing that the campaign had to step in before the damage worsened.

And it may not be the end of it. R.T. Rybak, a former Minneapolis mayor and a DNC vice chairman, said in an interview that Wasserman Schultz did the right thing by resigning and “allowing the rest of us to clean up this mess so that we can quickly pivot to talking about Hillary Clinton.”

Rybak called for DNC staff who wrote emails aiming to discredit Sanders or any other candidate to be dismissed.

“There is some deeply disturbing information in the emails, but they don’t need to distract from the convention if the DNC takes clear and immediate action,” Rybak said. “We should clearly state that any person from the DNC who worked to discredit another presidential candidate, especially on DNC time and equipment, should be fired immediately. No question.”

According to one Democratic member of Congress involved in the discussions leading up to her resignation, Wasserman Schultz strongly resisted giving up her position amid discussions that staff should shoulder some of the blame. Among the options discussed was having Amy Dacey, the DNC’s chief executive officer, put out a statement, according to two Democratic sources.

That served to exacerbate other Democrats’ frustration with her – and led to accusations that she had made the situation worse by not acting swiftly to step aside as the convention loomed.

“There was a lot of drama,” this lawmaker said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “She made this as painful as she could. She did not want to go. She was in a meeting this afternoon and blamed it all on Amy Dacey. … She wasn’t going to resign until the president called her. She put a lot of people through hell.”

“We were going to come into the week and be united,” said the member of Congress. “But she did ugly and messy and stepped on the message of unity.”

This person said that senior Democrats expect there to be additional departures from the DNC’s senior staff in coming days.

Brazile is taking over as the interim chair, but discussions were underway Sunday about who might be suitable to step in as chair between now and the November election. Among the Democrats mentioned: former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Rep. Steve Israel of New York and EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. All are loyal supporters and trusted allies of Clinton.

Less clear is how much turmoil remains within the party, even with Wasserman Schultz gone. According to one top Democratic official who requested anonymity to speak candidly, “People feel the culture of the DNC is not right, and it starts at the top.”

In addition to the friction with Sanders and his supporters that was revealed in the email hack, donors were also upset over the way they were talked about in some of the emails, and were complaining: “They talk about us that way?”

In one email exchange in May, national finance director Jordan Kaplan and one of his deputies, Alexandra Shapiro, strategized about where to seat a major Florida donor, Stephen Bittel, at a DNC fundraiser featuring President Obama. Bittel, a real estate mogul in south Florida, appears to have exasperated the officials, the documents suggest.

“He doesn’t sit next to POTUS!” Kaplan wrote.

“Bittel will be sitting in the (expletive)-est corner I can find,” responded Shapiro, who also referred to donors who had yet to confirm for the event as “clowns.”

Wasserman Schultz expects to continue to help out through the end of the convention.

In addition, Clinton issued a statement in which she announced that Wasserman Schultz would serve as honorary chair of the campaign’s 50-state program as well as continuing as a surrogate nationally and in Florida.

In a statement, President Obama said he was “grateful” for Wasserman Schultz’s service. “Her fundraising and organizing skills were matched only by her passion, her commitment and her warmth. And no one works harder for her constituents in Congress than Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”

Others were less generous.

“On the whole I’d rather she not be in Philadelphia,” said James Carville, a longtime Clinton confidant.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said that the DNC would need to investigate the hack, including checking to see whether any emails were “doctored,” and that the party would “take appropriate action.”

“What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us that Russian state hackers broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump,” Mook said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and that’s disturbing.”

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Mook’s Russia theory is “absurd.” Asked about Mook’s allegation that the Russians were trying to help Trump by releasing damaging DNC emails, Manafort said, “It’s a far reach, obviously.”

The Washington Post reported last month that Russian government hackers penetrated the DNC, stealing opposition research about Donald Trump and compromising the party’s email and chat systems.

But that explanation seems unlikely to mollify Sanders supporters who are angry about the messages and distrustful of Clinton and the party.

The emails revealed a DNC official apparently discussing how to use Sanders’s religion against him to help Clinton ahead of the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries. In another email, a Clinton campaign lawyer suggested to the DNC how it should respond to claims from the Sanders campaign that it was improperly using a joint fundraising committee with state parties.

They also reveal the prized perks given to the party’s top donors.

Central themes of the Democrats’ convention will be optimism and inclusion, in direct contrast to what Clinton calls Trump’s divisive and dysfunctional politics. Democrats have planned to use the spectacle of the Republican convention as Exhibit A for how not to lead.

DNC spokesman, Luis Miranda, who announced Brazile as the interim party leader in a Twitter message Sunday, had earlier recapped the Republican convention by saying “it was a chaotic week that set a low bar.”

Monday’s convention program is expected to open with some of the party’s biggest political stars, and it will highlight some of the party’s most progressive voices.

Sanders, first lady Michelle Obama and Warren, the senator from Massachusetts and a liberal firebrand, are expected to kick off the opening session.

Sanders moved quickly on Sunday to separate the dispute with the DNC from his support for Clinton. He strongly denied that the revelations had changed his support for Clinton and said the real threat was Trump.

“To my mind, what is most important now is the defeating of the worst candidate for president that I have seen in my lifetime, Donald Trump, who is not qualified to be president by temperament, not qualified to be president by the ideas that he has brought forth,” Sanders said on ABC.

Brazile, a vice chair of the convention, wasalso caught up in the leak. Asked for comment in an email from a Washington Post reporter about negotiations between the Sanders campaign and the DNC about the composition of the party’s convention committees, Brazile forwarded the reporter’s request to DNC officials.

“I have no intentions of touching this,” she said. “Why? Because I will cuss out the Sanders camp!”

]]> 192, 24 Jul 2016 23:41:29 +0000
Suicide attack in Baghdad kills at least 14 people Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:39:23 +0000 BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber attacked a security check point in northern Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 14 people, Iraqi officials said.

The bomber, who was on foot, detonated his device at one of the busy entrances of the Shiite district of Kadhimiyah, killing at least 10 civilians and four policemen, a police officer said. At least 31 other people were wounded, he added.

Three more civilians were killed and 11 wounded in a bomb explosion in an outdoor market in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib, another police officer said.

Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

In an online statement, the IS group claimed responsibility for the Kadhimiyah attack, saying it targeted a gathering of security forces and Shiite militia members. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statements, but they were posted on a militant website commonly used by the extremists. Security forces and public areas, mainly in Shiite neighborhoods, are one of the most frequent targets for the Islamic State group, which controls key areas in mainly northern and western Iraq.

Since late last year, the group has suffered a string of territorial losses, most recently last month in Fallujah, where it was driven out by Iraqi forces after occupying the city for more than two years. But the extremists have continued to carry out near-daily bombings in and around Baghdad, as well as complex attacks in other countries.


]]> 1 Sun, 24 Jul 2016 18:33:53 +0000
Arundel woman arrested in stabbing Sun, 24 Jul 2016 12:31:03 +0000 A 50-year-old woman was arrested Saturday after she stabbed a man in the neck at the residence they and others share in Arundel, the York County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

Deputies responded to a reported stabbing at a home on South Skillings Road at 4:30 p.m. They found many people at the home, including Violet Walker, who lived there along with the stabbing victim and others.

Their investigation revealed that Walker had gotten into an argument with the man and stabbed him in the neck with a pocketknife, Sheriff William King said.

Walker was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal threatening.

The man was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland with non-life-threatening injuries. He was treated and released. His name has been withheld by police.

Walker is being held at York County Jail on $1,000 bail and her initial court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

]]> 8, 24 Jul 2016 22:14:24 +0000
Democrats agree on compromise to limit superdelegates Sun, 24 Jul 2016 12:10:01 +0000 PHILADELPHIA – The role of superdelegates could be significantly reduced in future Democratic presidential primaries under a compromise deal struck at the Democratic National Convention rules committee Saturday.

Efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters to pass amendments eliminating or limiting the power of superdelegates failed to win approval at the committee meeting in Philadelphia. But campaigns for Sanders and Hillary Clinton worked out an agreement to create a “unity commission” to revise the nominating process, including changing superdelegate rules, which won near-unanimous support.

The 21-member commission will study a number of issues, including how to improve access to caucuses and how to broaden the party’s appeal. For superdelegates, the commission’s recommendation is that Congress members, governors and other elected officials should remain as unpledged delegates, but that other delegates would be bound proportionally to the primary results of their state.

Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver endorsed the plan, saying it would “result in the reduction of superdelegates as we know them by two-thirds.” The Clinton campaign also expressed support for the commission.

Any changes to superdelegate rules would still be subject to DNC approval. A report by the commission is due by Jan. 1, 2018.

The compromise came after a lengthy meeting in which Sanders supporters grew increasingly frustrated as their efforts on superdelegates were voted down.

Discussing the proposal to eliminate superdelegates, Aaron Regunberg, a Sanders delegate and a Rhode Island lawmaker, argued that the current system does not reflect “our core values.” But Clinton supporters argued that the superdelegate system brings more people into the political process and instead called for a more extensive review of the nominating process.

The amendments did win enough support to potentially move on to the convention floor for votes next week. But conflict on the floor appeared unlikely. Calling the compromise a “step forward,” Regunberg said they had not filed a so-called minority report to pursue a floor fight on the amendment to abolish superdelegates.

Sanders has been critical of superdelegates during his contentious primary fight with Clinton. His supporters argue that Clinton’s substantial superdelegate lead may have influenced the outcome of the race, although Clinton also led Sanders with pledged delegates. Late in the race, Sanders sought to flip superdelegates, but with little success.

There are 713 superdelegates, mainly members of Congress and members of the Democratic National Committee. Clinton leads Sanders with superdelegates 602-48. Combining pledged delegates and superdelegates, Clinton leads 2,807 to 1,894.

A collection of liberal organizations and Sanders backers held a news conference before the hearing, stressing their opposition to superdelegates. Supporters crowded the conference room where the hearing was held, with more people packed in an outside hallway, cheering and chanting.

With the convention just days away, the hearing was one of the last opportunities for Sanders’ supporters to push their agenda. The party platform debate concluded recently with a draft document that included many of Sanders’ priorities, including proposals for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, abolition of the death penalty and steps to break up large Wall Street banks.

The hearing came as the Democratic Party tries to unify for the general election after an acrimonious primary. But the recent release of hacked DNC emails, detailing the split between the DNC and Sanders, may slow that process.

]]> 4, 24 Jul 2016 18:08:04 +0000