The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Fri, 27 May 2016 15:59:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sitel plans to lay off up to 120 workers in Caribou Fri, 27 May 2016 15:59:24 +0000 Sales and customer service outsourcing firm Sitel is planning to lay off up to 120 workers in July at its call center in Caribou.

The company informed the state Department of Labor that the planned layoffs are the result of the company losing a major client, Comcast. Sitel said it still serves three other clients at the Caribou location and will try to reduce the number of layoffs by picking up new business.

This story will be updated.

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Video: Memorial Day weekend weather warm with showers arriving Fri, 27 May 2016 15:38:26 +0000 0, 27 May 2016 11:38:26 +0000 Saving salamanders, including Maine’s red-spotted newts Fri, 27 May 2016 15:37:05 +0000 SUNDERLAND, Vt. — Holding a sandwich bag containing a squirming, Eastern red-spotted newt, Evan Grant inspects its shiny skin for signs of a killer.

If he finds what he’s looking for, a gruesome fate awaits the amphibian. Ulcers would cover its body, eating away the skin and killing it outright or leaving it vulnerable to infection. Breathing would come with difficulty, and the lizard-like creature couldn’t absorb through its skin the water and minerals it needs.

Death would follow, not just for the specimen Grant holds at a pond in Vermont, but for any salamander afflicted by a fungus that has ravaged its brethren in parts of Europe. There’s no sign it has yet reached North America, home to 190 of the world’s 655 salamander species, but scientists aren’t taking chances.

Fearing the fungus could reach the United States through the pet trade, Grant and an army of fellow wildlife biologists with the U.S. Geological Survey, the lead federal agency in the fight, are checking salamanders nationwide. The goal is to take samples from 10,000 salamanders — including red-spotted newts from Maine and New Hampshire down to Virginia and over to Louisiana; Pacific newts in California and Oregon; and the flatwoods salamander in Florida, among others.

“We have the highest biodiversity of salamanders in the world,” said David Hoskins, assistant director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s fish and aquatic conservation program. “We were concerned that once the fungus reaches the United States — if it was introduced into wild populations — it could become established and spread and potentially wipe out important species of salamanders.”

They may be small, hard to spot and overlooked compared with tigers and polar bears. But salamanders are critical indicators of environmental health, and their roles in wetlands, lakes and forests are critical in controlling insect populations and providing food for other animals. Anything that harms them stands to harm other species.

The USGS hasn’t yet found the fungus in any of the nearly 1,000 salamanders it has sampled across the country. But there are many more salamanders than biologists looking for them.

Researchers believe the fungus, related to one that has decimated frog populations around the world, likely arrived about seven years ago in Europe through the pet trade and was released in the wild when captive animals escaped or were abandoned. It has since been found in captive populations of fire salamanders, Europe’s best-known species, in the United Kingdom and Germany. There have also been outbreaks in wild populations in Belgium.

Wherever the fungus has been found, the end result is not good. In the Netherlands, the fungus has wiped out almost all fire salamanders.

The loss of what’s known as a “sentinel species” — the proverbial canary in the coal mine — could “disrupt the equilibrium of the ecosystems” across Europe, said An Martel, a Belgian professor who discovered the fungus on salamanders in the Netherlands.

“Very few animals are left,” Martel said. “It has had a huge impact. The populations where the fungus is present are almost gone. We don’t find any salamanders anymore.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whose role is regulating the trade in amphibians and other species, in January prohibited 201 salamander species from being imported or traded across state lines, which should put a dent in a pet industry that saw 2.5 million salamanders imported between 2004 and 2014.

The move aims to get ahead of the fungus and avert the problems that came with combating the frog fungus, which wiped out several species before action plans started, Hoskins said.

At the pond in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest, the shoreline teeming with red-spotted newts, Grant and colleague Adrianne Brand trapped as many as 30 in small nets or wire traps resting on the lake bottom.

The pair measured the newts, recorded sex ratios and looked for signs of the fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, commonly called Bsal. Then they swabbed the creatures’ hands and underside for any evidence of Bsal and put the samples in a test tube for freezing and shipment to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for analysis.

If the fungus is found, the response would depend on the location and the likelihood of it spreading; it could include limiting access to certain spots as well as quarantining or treating sick salamanders.

“For salamander diversity, I would hope not to find it,” Brand said. “But it is an interesting scientific issue. We have a chance to learn a lot. If it is a problem, we have a lot to learn about being on the forefront of disease.”

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Gorham Savings picks finalists for its annual LaunchPad competition Fri, 27 May 2016 15:34:10 +0000 Gorham Savings Bank has chosen Blue Ox Malthouse, Fluid Farms, Garbage to Garden, Good To-Go and UniteGPS as the five finalists in this year’s LaunchPad competition. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant.

The five early-stage Maine businesses were chosen from a pool of 179 applicants because of their focus on “sustainability and convenience in a busy world,” according to a Gorham Savings news release. All five will participate in a live-pitch competition to be held the evening of June 7 at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall in Portland.

In front of a live audience, an independent panel of judges will decide which business will be awarded the $50,000 grant from Gorham Savings. This year’s judges will be WEX Inc. President and CEO Melissa Smith, Winxnet CEO and co-founder Chris Claudio, and the Director of Southern Maine Community College’s Entrepreneurial Center, Michelle Neujahr.

Now in its fourth year, LaunchPad is designed to help fund the growth of one promising, early-stage Maine business. Entries for this year’s competition were submitted via an online form during the entry period of April 1 to May 1.

“Maine’s economy is made up of thousands of small and innovative businesses, and we want to see those numbers grow and more businesses succeed,” said Chris Emmons, president and CEO of Gorham Savings Bank, in the release. “We’re constantly inspired by the success stories we hear from entrepreneurs, and we’re looking forward to giving another one a meaningful boost this year.”

Blue Ox Malthouse of Lisbon Falls turns raw grain from local farms into malt used by craft breweries. The farmer-to-brewer link the malthouse creates also promotes economic sustainability.

Fluid Farms Aquaponic Produce in Portland grows organic greens and freshwater tilapia (striped bass), and operates the state’s only Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association-certified organic aquaponic greenhouse.

Garbage to Garden, also in Portland, makes it easier for residents, schools, and businesses to divert their food scraps – including meat, dairy and bones – from landfills. Each week, participants leave their bucket of scraps at the curbside to be exchanged for a fresh, clean one, and if requested, a bag of compost.

Good To-Go, in Kittery, offers a line of all-natural, dehydrated gourmet meals catering to “active adventurers.” Each meal is handmade by nationally-recognized chef Jennifer Scism, who once defeated Mario Batali on Food Network’s Iron Chef.

UniteGPS of Portland aims to improve a different outdoor experience: waiting for the school bus. The company’s GPS solution, CrossWalk, solves the problems of parents and students not knowing exactly when the bus will arrive each day.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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Rafael Nadal withdraws from French Open Fri, 27 May 2016 15:20:05 +0000 PARIS — Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal says he is pulling out of the French Open because of an injury to his left wrist.

The left-handed Nadal made the announcement at a hastily arranged news conference Friday, one day before he would have been scheduled to play his third-round match.

He says he got an injection to numb the wrist before playing in the second round on Thursday.

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Maine man gets 2-week sentence for 2013 road rage incident Fri, 27 May 2016 14:56:59 +0000 AUBURN — A Maine man is heading to prison for two weeks for a 2013 road rage incident that a prosecutor says is one of the worst he’s ever seen.

The Sun Journal reports the sentence was handed down against 33-year-old Adam Getchell, who pleaded guilty to reckless conduct and criminal mischief on Thursday.

The Auburn man was convicted in March of driving to endanger, but acquitted of a hate crime in the incident.

Authorities had said Getchell tried to block 19-year-old motorist Matthew Wooten Jr. from passing him. When Wooten did pass him, Getchell apparently swerved and hit Wooten’s rear fender.

A police recording caught Getchell using racial epithets afterward inside a police cruiser.

Getchell wrote in a letter to the court that he apologized for his poor choices.

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UMaine wind project back in running for major federal grant Fri, 27 May 2016 14:42:07 +0000 An experimental offshore wind turbine being developed by a University of Maine-led consortium is a finalist for a major federal grant that’s critical for building a floating, deep-water wind farm and creating a new clean-energy industry.

Maine’s New England Aqua Ventus I offshore wind pilot project, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration program, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced Friday.

The announcement means the Maine venture will be one of up to three leading projects that are each eligible for up to $40 million in funding over three years for the construction phase of the demonstration program.

“This decision is outstanding news for Maine and a testament to the unmatched hard work and ingenuity of the University of Maine and the numerous Aqua Ventus partners,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We applaud them for their efforts and will continue to support them as they strive to lead our state and nation into a brighter, cleaner energy future.” The Maine project had been competing with demonstration proposals in other states for a demonstration program grant, but was passed over in 2014 in favor of ventures in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon. Instead, Maine became an alternate, and got $3 million to continue engineering and design work.

The Energy Department wants the United States to develop an offshore wind industry because roughly 80 percent of power demand occurs in coastal states. Europe has hundreds of offshore wind turbines, mostly in shallow water on steel towers buried in the seabed. The Obama Administration is seeking new designs to radically cut the cost of wind energy. One idea is turbines that float far offshore, where the wind is stronger and steadier and where people can’t see or hear them.

But things haven’t gone as planned. Each of the three winners has been unable to secure a power purchase agreement for electric output. Last November, those projects received six-month extensions from the Department of Energy, to try to resolve their problems. At the same time, Maine won $3.7 million to further refine its proposal, which would be located off Monhegan Island.

Six month later, the three competitors still appear to be bogged down with cost and regulatory issues.

In Oregon, Maine’s chief rival is a floating turbine technology being developed by Principle Power. But utilities have balked at buying the electricity, which they say is too costly for ratepayers.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie this month vetoed a bill that would have allowed Fishermen’s Energy to pursue its plans with state utility regulators.

In Virginia, Dominion Virginia Power sent out a second round of bids in an effort to lower the cost of building its turbine proposal. The first bids were twice as expensive as expected.

Maine supporters have been waiting to hear if the Energy Department will give up on any of the winning bids and whether it has concluded that Aqua Ventus has a better chance of coming to fruition. The project won a 20-year power-purchase agreement from the Maine Public Utilities Commission. An average Central Maine Power Co. home customer would pay an additional 73 cents a month, or $8.70 in the first year.

Maine Aqua Ventus is being developed by a for-profit spinoff that represents UMaine, Cianbro Corp. and Emera Inc. of Nova Scotia. The proposal is unique in that it’s made from advanced composite materials instead of steel, to fight corrosion and reduce weight. The hull is concrete, which can be produced in Maine.

In 2013, the partners launched a one-eight scale model and tested it off Castine. The pilot project would be full size, consisting of two turbines with a capacity of six megawatts, enough to power 6,000 average homes.

Clean-energy advocates see Aqua Ventus as Maine’s only near-term chance of developing an offshore wind industry.

In 2011, the Norwegian energy giant Statoil proposed an experimental, $120 million floating wind farm off Boothbay Harbor. But the company left Maine after a political maneuver by Gov. Paul LePage in 2013, and instead went to Scotland. Last week, Statoil announced plans to build the world’s largest floating wind farm involving five floating turbines off the Scottish coast.

Closer to Maine, other states have emerged as research and development centers for the evolving technology. In Rhode Island, Deepwater Wind began laying undersea cable this month to towers at its 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, the country’s first offshore wind farm.

Even with a federal grant, the Maine project still needs to attract more than $100 million in private investment.

It also will seek to gain support on Monhegan Island, where at least some summer and year-rounds residents are concerned about the visual impact of the project and its potential interference with lobster fishing.

The turbines will be anchored 2.5 miles off the island’s southern tip and roughly 10 miles off the mainland. With turbine hubs 350 feet above the water and blade tips reaching 600 feet into the sky, the project would be visible from some locations, but not from the village, according to Jake Ward, vice president of innovation and economic development at UMaine.

Ward was on the island this week, meeting with a task force formed by the plantation. A citizen group, the Monhegan Energy Action Coalition, also has come together to question the scale of the project and the impact of an undersea cable.

“Some people like it, some don’t,” Ward said. “Like any group, there are people on all sides.”

Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or


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Dr. Heimlich, 96, saves choking woman with famous maneuver Fri, 27 May 2016 13:57:22 +0000 CINCINNATI — The 96-year-old Cincinnati surgeon credited with developing his namesake Heimlich maneuver recently used the emergency technique for the first time himself to save a woman choking on food at his senior living center.

Dr. Henry Heimlich told The Cincinnati Enquirer in an interview Thursday he has demonstrated the well-known maneuver many times through the years but had never before used it on a person who was choking.

An employee at the Deupree House in Cincinnati where Heimlich lives says the retired chest surgeon was in the room when an 87-year-old woman began choking. The employee says Heimlich dislodged a piece of hamburger from the woman’s airway and she quickly recovered.

Heimlich says it made him appreciate how wonderful it has been “to be able to save all those lives.”

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Morning house fire in Gorham displaces family, injuries firefighter Fri, 27 May 2016 13:25:18 +0000 One fire fighter suffered minor injuries when a fire tore through a garage and single family home on Plummer road in Gorham Friday morning.

Seth Crossman, 28, who has owned the home at 11 Plummer Rd. for about four years, awoke to the sound of people screaming that his house was on fire.

Gorham deputy fire chief Ken Fickett said the flames appear to have started in the garage, which was fully engulfed when the first units arrived.

Crossman said he bought the home to help out his extended family, who lost their home to a bank. About 7 people, spanning three generations and including one unrelated friend of Crossman’s, were living in the home at the time.

“I bought it four years ago to help my family out,” said Crossman, who stood barefoot and shirtless across the street as firefighters picked through and extinguisher the last smoldering embers.

Now, much of the home is ruined, but Fickett, the deputy fire chief, said a far portion of the home less effected by the flames may be salvageable.

The Red Cross of Maine is expected to be on scene Friday morning to help Crossman and his family, Fickett said.

So far, no one interviewed who was inside the home at the time of the fire could pinpoint why or where it started. The state Fore Marshal’s office is being called to investigate the cause, Fickett said.

Also destroyed in the flames was a camper staged behind the garage, where Crossman’s brother, Chris Green, was living. Green, 24, was already at work when Crossman called to tell him the house was ablaze.

Green rushed from his job at a body shop, but by time he arrived, the camper was already burning.

“Everything I owned was in that camper,” Green said. “Everything.”

Another resident, Shawn Cressey, 22, one of Crossman’s friends, said he fled the house before it filled with smoke, but ran back in to retrieve his two dogs, who made it out uninjured.

Asked if he was concerned with the loss of his belongings, Cressey was unmoved.

“I was more worried about me and my animals,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive) about my stuff.”

]]> 0, 27 May 2016 10:42:08 +0000
Origins of key Clinton emails from report are a mystery Fri, 27 May 2016 13:23:57 +0000 WASHINGTON — Since her use of a private email server was made public last year, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has insisted she turned over all work-related emails to the State Department to be released to the public.

But after 14 months of public scrutiny and the release of tens of thousands of emails, an agency watchdog’s discovery of at least three previously undisclosed emails has renewed concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over a trove of 55,000 pages of emails. And the revelation has spawned fresh criticism from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The three messages include Clinton’s own explanation of why she wanted her emails kept private: In a November 2010 email, Clinton worried that her personal messages could become accessible to outsiders. The messages appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides.

Two other messages a year later divulged possible security weaknesses in the home email system she used while secretary of state. The Clinton campaign has previously denied that her home server was compromised.

On Thursday, Clinton, who has called her use of a private email server “a mistake,” said she had been forthcoming with her personal emails and said she believed her use of a private email account was allowed.

“I have provided all of my work-related emails, and I’ve asked that they be made public, and I think that demonstrates that I wanted to make sure that this information was part of the official records,” Clinton said, according to an interview transcript provided by ABC News.

Most of Clinton’s emails have been made public by the State Department over the past year due to both a court order and Clinton’s willingness to turn them over. But hundreds were censored for national security reasons and 22 emails were completely withheld because the agency said they contained top secret material — a matter now under investigation by the FBI.

Clinton said in March 2015 that she would turn over all work-related emails to the State Department after removing private messages that contained personal and family material. “No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that and respect their privacy,” she said after her exclusive use of private emails to conduct State Department business was confirmed by media reports.

Senate investigators have asked for numerous emails about Clinton’s server as part of their own inquiry into Clinton’s email practices in recent months, but they didn’t get copies of key messages made public by the State Department’s own watchdog this week, a senior Republican senator said Thursday.

“It is disturbing that the State Department knew it had emails like this and turned them over to the inspector general, but not to Congress,” said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the chair of the Senate judiciary committee that’s been probing Clinton’s use of a private server.

The emails appear to contain work-related passages, raising questions about why they were not turned over to the State Department last year. The inspector general noted that Clinton’s production of work-related emails was “incomplete,” missing not only the three emails but numerous others covering Clinton’s first four months in office.

The inspector general also found Clinton’s email set up violated agency policies and could have left sensitive government information vulnerable. It also complicated federal archiving of her emails, in turn making it more difficult to obtain them under the Freedom of Information Act.

On Thursday, Clinton told ABC News her use of the personal email was “allowed,” saying that “the rules have been clarified since I left.” In a later interview Thursday with CNN, Clinton said she “believed it was allowed.”

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not respond to emailed questions Thursday. An inspector general’s spokesman declined to discuss the report.

The report said the inspector general was able to reconstruct some of Clinton’s missing emails by searching the email files of four former Clinton aides who had turned over thousands of pages of communications in 2015 at the request of the State Department, which is defending itself in multiple public records lawsuits, including one filed by The Associated Press. The four aides who turned over those files, according to the report, were Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and top aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines.

Abedin was the aide who authored the key email in November 2010 that provoked Clinton’s concerns about outsiders obtaining her personal emails. After the State Department’s computer spam filters apparently prevented Clinton from sending a message to all department employees from her private server, Abedin suggested that she either open an official agency email or make her private address available to the agency.

Clinton told Abedin she was open to getting a separate email address but didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.” Clinton never used an official State Department address, only using several private addresses to communicate. Abedin, Mills, Sullivan and Reines all also used private email addresses to conduct business, along with their government accounts.

Two other emails sent to Abedin were cited in the inspector general’s report, but also did not turn up among the emails released by Clinton. Those messages to Abedin contained warnings in January 2011 from an unidentified aide to former President Bill Clinton who said he had to shut down Hillary Clinton’s New York-based server because of suspected hacking attacks.

In response, Abedin warned Mills and Sullivan not to email Clinton “anything sensitive” and said she would “explain more in person.”

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Eight automakers recall more than 12 million vehicles for Takata air bags Fri, 27 May 2016 12:44:24 +0000 DETROIT — Eight automakers are recalling more than 12 million vehicles in the U.S. to replace Takata air bag inflators that can explode with too much force.

Documents detailing recalls by Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ferrari and Mitsubishi were posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

They’re part of a massive expansion of Takata air bag recalls announced earlier this month. Seventeen automakers are adding 35 million-to-40 million inflators to what already was the largest auto recall in U.S. history.

In addition, the Japanese transport ministry on Friday announced 7 million additional recalls related to the Takata inflators. Those recalls cover all front air bags that do not have a chemical drying agent.

Friday’s recalls include passenger air bags mainly in older models in areas along the Gulf Coast with high heat and humidity.

Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates the air bags in a crash. But the chemical can deteriorate over time when exposed to high heat and humidity and burn faster than designed. That can blow apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion, spewing hot shrapnel into vehicles.

The inflators are responsible for 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. Two additional deaths are under investigation in Malaysia and may have been caused by the inflators.

The recalls are among the first to be unveiled by automakers since Takata agreed to the recall expansion, and more recalls will be announced in the coming week. The recalls are being phased in by the government due to a lack of available replacement parts. Models that are from 2011 or older in high heat and humidity areas will get first priority, followed by 2008 and older models in Southern-tier states, then 2004 and older models in the rest of the country.

Honda had the biggest recall total on Friday with more than 4.5 million inflators, while Fiat Chrysler reported 4.3 million. The Honda total even includes about 2,700 Gold Wing motorcycles with optional front air bags.

Honda says the latest recall covers only about 2.2 million additional Honda and Acura vehicles. The other 2.3 million vehicles were recalled previously for other Takata air bag problems. Honda expects the recalls to start in late summer for automobiles and in late fall for the motorcycles.

Fiat Chrysler said it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries involving its vehicles that are part of the recall.

The latest recalls cover mainly front passenger air bag inflators without the chemical drying agent. The jury is still out on whether Takata will have to recall millions more inflators with the drying agent. Takata has to prove to the government that those are safe by the end of 2019, or more recalls will start.

Since the recalled models vary by state and age, officials say that the best way to see if your car is affected is to go to or manufacturer websites and key in the vehicle identification number. That number can be found on the driver’s side of the dashboard near the windshield or on your state vehicle registration. It may take several weeks for all of the newly recalled vehicles to be entered into the databases.

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Almost two dozen athletes from London Olympics test positive for doping in reanalysis Fri, 27 May 2016 12:39:37 +0000 LONDON — Nearly two dozen athletes tested positive in reanalysis of their doping samples from the 2012 London Olympics, adding to the more than 30 already caught in retesting from the 2008 Beijing Games.

The International Olympic Committee said Friday that 23 athletes from five sports and six countries had positive findings in retests with improved techniques on 265 samples from the London Games.

The IOC did not identify the athletes, their sports or their nationalities.

“The reanalysis program is ongoing, with the possibility of more results in the coming weeks,” the IOC said .

The 23 London athletes are in addition to the 31 who tested positive in retesting from the Beijing Olympics. The IOC said Friday that another sample from Beijing has since shown “abnormal parameters,” and the case was being followed up.

Overall, up to 55 athletes from the past two Summer Olympics could be retroactively disqualified and have their results, and any medals, stripped.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years so they can be reanalyzed when new testing methods become available.

The current retesting program targeted athletes who could be eligible to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

“These reanalyses show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “We want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This is why we are acting swiftly now.”

Bach said he has appointed a disciplinary commission which “has the full power” to sanction athletes.

The IOC still has to retest the athletes’ “B” samples. Formal positive cases are not declared until the “B” samples confirm the original findings.

The IOC said the athletes, their national Olympic committees and their international sports federations were being informed ahead of formal disciplinary proceedings.

“All athletes found to have infringed the anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games” in Rio, it said.

The IOC said the retests were carried out using “the very latest scientific analysis methods.”

The IOC retested 454 samples from Beijing. Of those original 31 positives, the Russian Olympic Committee confirmed that 14 involved Russian athletes.

Russian state TV said they included 10 medalists, among them high jumper Anna Chicherova. She won the bronze medal in Beijing and went on to take gold in London.

Match TV said 11 of the 14 athletes from Beijing were from track and field, including 4×100-meter relay gold medalist Yulia Chermoshanskaya.

Spanish hurdler Josephine Onyia has been identified in Spain as being one of the athletes whose samples from Beijing was positive.

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In Hiroshima, Obama honors ‘silent cry’ of bombing victims Fri, 27 May 2016 11:20:27 +0000 HIROSHIMA, Japan – President Barack Obama paid tribute Friday to the “silent cry” of the 140,000 victims of the atomic bomb dropped 71 years ago on Hiroshima, and called on the world to abandon “the logic of fear” that encourages the stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

Obama’s trip to Hiroshima made him the first U.S. president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, and he sought to walk a delicate line between honoring the dead, pushing his as-yet unrealized anti-nuclear vision and avoiding any sense of apology for an act many Americans see as a justified end to a brutal war that Japan started with a sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.

“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Obama said, after laying a wreath, closing his eyes and briefly bowing his head before an arched stone monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park that honors those killed on Aug. 6, 1945. “The flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.”

In a carefully choreographed display, Obama offered a somber reflection on the horrors of war and the danger of technology that gives humans the “capacity for unmatched destruction.”

With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe standing by his side and an iconic bombed-out domed building looming behind him, Obama urged the world to do better.

“We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell,” Obama said. “We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry.”

A second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days after Hiroshima, killed 70,000 more. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, ending a war that killed millions.

Obama hoped Hiroshima would someday be remembered not as the dawn of the atomic age but as the beginning of a “moral awakening.” He renewed his call for a world less threatened by danger of nuclear war. He received a Nobel Peace Prize early on in his presidency for his anti-nuclear agenda but has since seen uneven progress.

“Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them,” Obama said.

Abe, in his speech, called Obama’s visit courageous and long-awaited. He said it would help the suffering of survivors and he echoed the anti-nuclear sentiments.

“At any place in world, this tragedy must not be repeated again,” Abe said.

Critics believe Obama’s mere presence in Hiroshima would be viewed as an apology for what they see as a bombing that was needed to stop a Japanese war machine that had brutalized Asia and killed many Americans. But Obama’s decision also drew praise from those who see it as a long overdue gesture for two allies ready to bury a troubled past.

Obama’s remarks showed a careful awareness of the sensitivities. He included both South Koreans and American prisoners of war in recounting the death toll at Hiroshima – a nod to advocates for both groups who publicly warned the president not to forget their dead.

Obama spoke broadly of the brutality of the war that begat the bombing – saying it “grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes” – but did not assign blame.

After his remarks, he met with two survivors. Although he was out of ear shot of reporters, Obama could be seen laughing and smiling with 91-year-old Sunao Tsuboi. He embraced Shigeaki Mori, 79, in a hug.

Later, Tsuboi told reporters he was struck by how Obama held his hand and listened carefully. He told the U.S. president he will be remembered as the one who “listened to the voice of survivors like us.”

“You should come visit Hiroshima from time to time and meet lots of people. That is what is important,” Tsuboi said.

Obama’s visit, which lasted just under two hours while most Americans were sleeping, was crafted for close scrutiny in Asia, a region he’s tried to put at the center of his foreign policy legacy. Obama and Abe strode together along a tree-lined path, past an eternal flame, toward a river that flows by the domed building that many associate with Hiroshima.

They earlier went to the lobby of the peace museum to sign the guest book: “We have known the agony of war. Let us now find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama wrote, according to the White House.

The president’s call for a nuclear-free world was a long way from the optimistic rallying cry he delivered as young, newly elected president. Obama did not employ his campaign slogan – “Yes, we can” – as he did in a speech in Prague in 2009. Instead, the president spoke of diligent, incremental steps.

“We may not realize this goal in my lifetime but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe,” he said. “We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles.”

Obama touched down in Hiroshima after completing talks with world leaders at an international summit in Shima, Japan. He was accompanied by Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Hiroshima’s peace park is a poignant place, with searing images of the burnt, tattered clothing of dead children and the exposed steel beams on the iconic A-bomb dome. The skeletal remains of the exhibition hall have become an international symbol of peace and a place for prayer.

Han Jeong-soon, the 58-year-old daughter of a Korean survivor, was also at the park Friday.

“The suffering, such as illness, gets carried on over the generations – that is what I want President Obama to know,” she said. “I want him to understand our sufferings.”

]]> 4, 27 May 2016 10:42:20 +0000
Summer heat, cool ocean air and even showers for this Memorial Day weekend Fri, 27 May 2016 10:41:46 +0000 Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer for many and the first weekend you might be traveling to the beach, lake, mountains since last year.  This weekend the weather is all about location.  The differences in temperatures from the Maine coastline down to Cape Cod will be nearly as dramatic as from the Maine coast to the mountains.    The general theme of the weekend is warm to hot at the start, but turning cooler, especially along the coastline on Sunday and Monday.

Showers are in the forecast and your smart-phone might lead you to believe it’s going to rain more than it actually will.  As a matter of fact, if you missed this morning’s showers, you likely will remain dry until Monday.

A tropical weather system currently near Bermuda may bring some beneficial rain Monday.  While no one wants rain on a holiday, the region is very dry and this rain would help a lot.

Tropical Outlook This Weekend

As always forecasts are subject to change.  The day most vulnerable to a forecast shift is Monday.  I’ll be updating on Twitter @growingwisdom throughout the holiday weekend.

If watching a parade…

The Red Sox are not in Boston this weekend, but there are a lot of parades on Memorial Day.  There could tropical downpours, especially over southern and coastal areas during the time these are taking place on Monday. Bring your umbrella and check to be sure the parade you are headed to hasn’t been postponed.

Projected Highs Saturday

If you’re going hiking, biking, or running…

The one day where heat will really be an issue is Saturday.  With temperatures approaching 90 over interior York and Cumberland counties Saturday afternoon, you’ll want to get the strenuous workouts over by the middle of the morning.  The sun is up around 5 a.m., so if you can force yourself to take that run early, you can take a nap when it’s hot later on.  Sunday and Monday will be much cooler, and along the coast  it will be particularly cool Sunday.

Projected Highs Sunday

If you’re going beaching and boating…

Saturday is the one day where even much of the coast will be warm.  On Sunday and Monday, marine air will bring a chill, especially east of Portland.  Highs Sunday could remain in the 50s in many coastal towns.

Maine coast to the North shore of Boston: Tides are high at about 4 a.m and a 4 p.m this weekend shifting toward 6 o’clock in the morning and evening late in the weekend.  Boaters need to be aware of a southerly flow of air Saturday shifting the east on Sunday.

Seas will mainly be 2-4 feet, but always verify the latest forecast before heading out.

If you’re playing soccer, softball, baseball, or golf…

Saturday’s forecast: Humidity hasn’t been much of a factor yet this spring, but you’ll feel it Saturday.  The fields should be quite dry, even early, unless your town happens to see a quick shower.

Sunday and Memorial Day outlook:  Cool and dry on Sunday with that chance of heavier showers Monday.

Project Highs Memorial Day

If you’re gardening…

This is the weekend it’s safe to plant anything you desire.  Remember the sun is very strong.  The best time to plant is after 4 p.m. giving your plants the cooler evening, overnight and following morning to acclimate. Planting in the middle of the day can actually kill tender seedlings. Some much needed rain may occur Monday, but water newly planted seedlings anyway.

If you’re running errands…

Park the car in the shade this weekend and leave the windows open just a bit.  The heat on Saturday means the interior of vehicles left in the sunshine can reach well over 100 degrees!   Use the middle of the day, when it’s warmest to do your errands and spend the morning and the late afternoon and evening enjoying the weather.


]]> 1, 27 May 2016 08:17:21 +0000
Beacon from EgyptAir flight detected, official says Fri, 27 May 2016 09:56:32 +0000 CAIRO — A French vessel that joined the search for the EgyptAir plane which crashed last week killing all 66 people on board arrived Friday in the crash area, as Egyptian officials said search teams in the Mediterranean have picked up a beacon believed to be from the doomed aircraft.

According to Egyptian security officials, the French ship is carrying equipment that can find flight data and cockpit voice recorders — the so-called “black boxes.” French officials could not be immediately reached to confirm the ship’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the chief investigator in Egypt said search teams in the Mediterranean have picked up a beacon believed to be from the EgyptAir Flight 804. Locating a beacon has narrowed the search to a 5 kilometer (3 mile) radius, said Ayman al-Moqadem, stressing that this doesn’t mean the black boxes have been found, which he said requires highly sophisticated technology.

The signal that was picked up came from one of the devices on the plane transmitting its location, said al-Moqadem, who spoke to reporters on Thursday.

Eight days after the plane crashed off Egypt’s northern coast on a Paris to Cairo flight, the cause of the tragedy still has not been determined. Ships and planes from Egypt, Greece, France, the United States and other nations have been searching the Mediterranean north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria for the jet’s voice and flight data recorders, as well as more bodies and parts of the aircraft.

Small pieces of the wreckage and human remains have already been recovered while the bulk of the plane and the bodies of the passengers are believed to be deep under the sea. A Cairo forensic team has received the human remains and is carrying DNA tests to identify the victims.

Egypt’s civil aviation minister Sherif Fathi has said he believes terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure or some other catastrophic event. But no hard evidence has emerged on the cause, and no militant group has claimed to have downed the jet. Earlier, leaked flight data indicated a sensor detected smoke in a lavatory and a fault in two of the plane’s cockpit windows in the final moments of the flight.

The French air accident investigation agency, the BEA, said in a statement that the Laplace ship left Thursday from Corsica for the zone of the crash, with two BEA investigators aboard. The Laplace is equipped with three detectors made by the Alseamar company designed to detect and localize signals from the flight recorders, believed about 3,000 meters (3,280 yards) underwater.

France may also send an unmanned submarine and deep-sea retrieval equipment, the statement said. The BEA is involved in the search because the crashed plane was an Airbus, manufactured in France.

Because of the difficulties in finding the black boxes, Egypt has contracted two foreign companies to help locate the flight data recorders of the plane.

One of the companies is Alseamar, which has equipment aboard the French vessel. Egyptian official have said the second company is called Deep Ocean Search. Also, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said earlier that a submarine would join the search for the plane’s data recorders.

However, al-Moqadem told reporters that the submarine is not equipped to detect signals from the black boxes.

All Egyptian officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

]]> 0, 27 May 2016 08:04:49 +0000
With 2017 Ridgeline, Honda produces ultimate tailgating truck Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:38 +0000 I am not a guy who tailgates. The redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline, however, might change all that.

Despite winning a pair of major awards when it debuted in 2005, the Ridgeline’s sales peaked at 50,193 the following year before sinking to a mere 13,389 units in 2014. Comparatively, Toyota sold 75,149 Tacomas that year.

“The styling wasn’t for everybody,” said Kerry McClure, chief engineer for the 2017 Ridgeline. “It was a little bit polarizing, a little bit odd.”

No kidding.

Its eccentric appearance affected sales, causing Honda to hesitate before deciding to approve a second-generation Ridgeline. But it was given a green light, and not a moment too soon. U.S. demand for midsize pickups grew 16 percent through April of this year, outpacing a market sales increase of 3.3 percent.

Nevertheless, the 2017 Ridgeline should erase any memories of its nonconformist predecessor, with a conventional appearance anchored by a front fascia that recalls the Honda Pilot. Its new duds trade the overwrought machismo of its competition for a refined, upscale allure that casts it as a thinking person’s truck.

After all, it shares its platform – and about 50 percent of its parts – with the redesigned Pilot crossover, although the Ridgeline’s parts are beefed up for its more demanding role. Even so, its ride and handling are every bit as carlike and comfortable, while its roomy cabin boasts generous room for five.

But it’s the back of the truck that will change my pregame habits, namely a new 400-watt power inverter and an in-bed audio system.

The first can power a flat-screen TV or other device, and is available on upper trim levels in place of what is otherwise an in-bed storage compartment on lower trim levels. The second is a bit more unique.

Each of the Ridgeline’s three sidewalls has exciters mounted behind it, much as a speaker magnet is affixed to a speaker cone. These transform the sidewalls into audio speakers. And yes, the system is waterproof.

Best of all, the dual action tailgate and 7.3 cubic-foot in-bed trunk returns with a newly flat floor and drain plug, so it can hold even more of your favorite chilled beverages.

Clearly, this is easily the ultimate tailgating pickup. Ridgeline? They should have called it the Partyline. And wait till you drive it. More merrymaking looms.

Base price $50,075 ($58,845 as tested,) the Ridgeline returns with all-wheel drive, although front-wheel drive is available for the first time. A 3.5-liter single-overhead-cam V-6 engine that generates 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission powers all seven trim levels.

Opting for front-wheel drive limits towing to 3,500 pounds, but returns fuel economy of 19 mpg with city driving and 26 mpg on the highway.

All-wheel drive models can tow 5,000 pounds, although fuel economy falls 1 mpg. All Ridgelines are equipped with a standard transmission cooler, high capacity radiator fans, and a trailer hitch with 7-pin coupler, so there’s no optional trailer-towing package to buy.

If these numbers seem low, guess again. Company research shows that 95 percent of midsize trucks are used for on-road commuting. Fewer than 3 percent of midsize truck buyers tow, and of those buyers, fewer than six percent haul more than 5,000 pounds.

Leaving the most extreme buyers to other automakers allows Honda free to produce the industry’s most refined and fun-to-drive midsize pickup. The engine and transmission respond smoothly and speedily, but remain unassuming – like a good servant. You can drive it aggressively without the suspension histrionics typical of pickup trucks.

The ride remains calmly absorbent yet taut. Credit for being able to pilot this pickup like Richard Petty goes to the platform’s redesigned independent suspension as well as its increased rigidity. Their effect becomes apparent once tromping off-road.

Of course, if you’re just hauling stuff home from a big box store, you’ll appreciate the rear seat’s ability to hold a flat screen TV or a bicycle.

Out back, its 64-inch bed is longer than the crew-cab Toyota Tacoma or short-bed Chevrolet Colorado. Better yet, 4-by-8 sheets of drywall or plywood fit between the Ridgeline’s wheel wells.

Finally, you’ll be happy to know that the new Ridgeline has the usual blizzard of technology, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB plugs and Honda Sensing.

But unless you need more towing capacity or an extreme boulder basher, there’s no reason to ignore the 2017 Honda Ridgeline. It has all of the benefits of a midsize pickup with none of the compromises. And its price seems reasonable given its competition.

It makes for a really sweet tailgating partner. This summer, you’ll know where to find me.

]]> 0, 23 May 2016 16:42:50 +0000
35 North Gorham Road, Gorham Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:33 +0000 GORHAM – If any one room epitomizes how beautifully this 1790 farmhouse has been remodeled to preserve original character and to provide contemporary comforts, it is probably the spacious, eat-in kitchen. Here are Vermont soapstone counters, a butcher block island, all-new stainless appliances including a French door refrigerator, double convection ovens and a Jenn-Air cooktop with grill.

Here, too, is an original brick fireplace framed by wide boards and a rough-hewn mantel. (A larger version of the fireplace, with a beehive oven, is back-to in the wonderfully period-flavor dining room, also with barn boards paneling.)

In pleasant contrast, upstairs the master suite is sleekly modern: Radiant heat, two double closets plus a long walk-in with Container Store metal built-ins, and a sumptuous bath with a jetted tub, and river-rock flooring in the shower enclosure.

Throughout the 3,942-square-foot expanded home, the blend of old and new is harmonious. (Cool to see a pantry that opens into a second pantry, and a walk-in closet in an “antique” bedroom.)

The total of 11 rooms affords excellent floor-plan flexibility. Above the oversized, two-vehicle garage are a big bonus/recreation room plus accessory room that could serve as guest/overflow quarters (there’s a full bath off the mudroom just below). A versatile first-floor front room is now a playroom. The kitchen is flanked by a family room with a full wall of built-ins, and by a great office and a year-round sunroom. Tucked between sunroom and mudroom, near the purple lilacs, are a south-facing deck and a large stone patio with fire pit.

Outbuildings on the 4.35-acre lot (there’s even a pond in the woods out back) are another bonus. Near the big garden shed is a post-and-beam, three-bay carriage house that was built in 2006, has water and electricity and a sweetly aromatic walkup bonus/room studio, and is ideal for a contractor/woodworker – or for horses, with some modification. It may also be possible to build a second house on the site, which is a couple of miles from Sebago Lake and the Standish boat launch.

The home at 35 North Gorham Road, Gorham is listed for sale at $409,000 by Bill Corrigall of Reali Realty in Portland, and is being shown by appointment. For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Bill at 239-6909 or at

Produced by the Marketing Department of the Portland Press Herald, the Friday feature home is provided at no cost.

Photos: Melanie Sochan, staff photographer; Aerials: Nicholas LaRivierere , Firefly Aerial Solutions.

Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 26 May 2016 16:26:00 +0000
Maine portion of Appalachian Trail dangerous, remote and heavily wooded, experts say Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Remote, rugged and heavily wooded, the terrain surrounding Maine’s portion of the Appalachian Trail likely contributed to hiker Geraldine Largay’s death in two ways.

It probably was a factor when Largay, who reportedly had a poor sense of direction, became lost after stepping off a section of the trail in northern Franklin County for a bathroom break on July 22, 2013. Then it hampered searchers during a rescue effort that failed to find her, those familiar with the trail say.

She died after weeks in the wilderness, leaving behind a journal and a cellphone that provided some clues to her plight when her remains were found in October 2015. Entries from the journal and a transcript of text messages she tried to send from her cellphone were part of the 1,579-page case file released Wednesday by the Maine Warden Service.

The 66-year-old Largay was an experienced hiker from Brentwood, Tennessee, who planned to through-hike the trail. While questions remain about how she lost her way after leaving the trail for what was likely a relatively short distance, those familiar with the unforgiving nature of the swath of Maine land that the trail cuts through aren’t surprised.

“Maine has some of the most rugged terrain on the Appalachian Trail,” said Doug Dolan of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, a group of volunteers who maintain portions of the trail. “When you get off the trail, there’s very dense vegetation. You can’t see more than 6 feet in front of you.”


Dolan said the trail itself is 4 feet wide, well-maintained and well-marked, but the markings are designed for hikers who stay on the trail.

“If you get off the trail, it can be difficult to find your way back to civilization,” Dolan said. “You really have to pay attention.”

Dolan advises hikers who go off the trail to mark their path. That’s key, he said, both to help hikers find their way back, and to allow someone searching for them to see where they left the trail.

He said if Largay had built a campfire, the smoke would have helped wardens find her. Setting up a tent in a spot with the least amount of tree canopy also could have helped, because wardens search by air for signs of lost hikers.

“It’s really difficult for them to do the searches on foot, because of how dense” the woods are, Dolan said.

The warden service conducted an intense seven-day search immediately after Largay was reported missing by her husband, on July 24, 2013, and periodically searched for her over the next 26 months. Her husband, George Largay, was meeting her at designated checkpoints, and called authorities when she failed to show up at a checkpoint.

Geraldine Largay kept a journal that was made public Wednesday, indicating that she set up a tent in a heavily wooded area about 2 miles from the trail. She survived for at least 26 days before dying from a lack of food and water and from environmental exposure, the warden service said in its report on the search for Largay and the eventual recovery of her body. She was found in her sleeping bag inside a zipped tent.

She had tried to text her husband, but the texts did not go through because of poor cellphone service in northern Maine.

Largay was hiking alone – another risk factor – after a friend she was hiking with left the trail because of a family emergency. The friend, Janet Lee, also told the warden service that Largay didn’t know how to use a compass.


Lee also told the warden service that Largay had a poor sense of direction, and would become easily flustered when she made a mistake. The report also said she was scared of the dark and of being alone.

She was also a slow hiker, giving herself the nickname “Inchworm.”

Hiking the Appalachian Trail has become more popular in recent years, spurred by publicity from best-selling books and a 2015 Robert Redford movie based on the book “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson.

The number of people who have successfully completed the entire trail from Georgia to Maine has increased steadily, from 526 in 2007 to 928 in 2014, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a national group that advocates for the trail.

“There’s a lot more people interested in doing the Appalachian Trail,” said Sandy Bell, co-owner of the North Woods Trading Post in Millinocket, which bills itself as “the last stop for gas, gear and supplies before Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.” Katahdin is the northern end of the 2,184-mile trail that begins on Springer Mountain in Georgia.

“There are people who are very well-equipped for the hike, and a whole group that’s not,” Bell said. “If they come in wearing flip-flops and say they’re going to hike the Appalachian Trail, we have a talk with them.”

Bell said the store sees a lot of people who are trying to hike the trail from north to south, but people who aren’t well-prepared often will give up, their enthusiasm dampened after the grueling ascent of Mount Katahdin and trying to hike through the rugged woods in northern Maine.

“Maine is probably the toughest part of the whole Appalachian Trail, and if you’re not prepared, that’s where problems set in,” Bell said.


An average of 28 Appalachian Trail hikers get lost in Maine each year, the warden service said. But they’re almost always quickly found: 95 percent of the time, searchers locate them in 12 hours, and 98 percent of lost hikers are found within 24 hours.

Bell said there are many books on how to prepare for the trail, including what gear to bring, how to use the U.S. Postal Service to re-supply, and other tips to complete the 2,184 miles of trail. Hiking the entire length can take five to six months.

Dolan said southern parts of the trail are wider, with less vegetation and many more people hiking, so getting lost is less likely. But most of the hikers who begin the trek have dropped out before reaching Maine.

About 2,500 people began an attempted through-hike at the trailhead in Springer Mountain in 2014, but only 653 accomplished the feat, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy said. Others complete the full trail by going north to south, or by completing it in sections.


]]> 1, 27 May 2016 08:10:51 +0000
Chronicler of war stories from Boothbay-area veterans to release books, host party Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 For five years, every time Ross Maddocks saw Sarah Sherman McGrail coming he’d turn around and head the other way.

Maddocks knew that McGrail was on a mission to interview as many Korean and Vietnam war veterans from Boothbay Harbor and surrounding towns as she could, and he did not want to talk. He didn’t want to relive his days on a river patrol boat in Vietnam more than 40 years ago, when “one minute you’re talking to a guy and the next minute he’s lost an arm.”

But after dodging her on street corners or at the post office for so long, Maddocks finally changed his mind. He found McGrail to be sincere, straightforward and persistent. Very persistent.

“She told me she didn’t want (to write about) what we see on TV. She wanted to write what actually happened, what we did over there,” said Maddocks, 77, of Boothbay Harbor. “I was convinced what she was doing would not glorify war. She knows we’re all hurting, she’s sensitive to that.”

Maddocks opened up to McGrail and told his story for her new two-volume work, “Looking Back: A History of Boothbay Region’s Veterans During the Korean and Vietnam Wars.” McGrail, 46, spent eight years gathering 228 stories told by veterans from Southport, Boothbay Harbor and Boothbay. She began her work documenting the stories of local veterans more than 20 years ago, and previously had published two books about the region’s World War II veterans. Counting family and friends of veterans, she estimates she’s done more than 3,000 interviews. Her latest books, which are self-published, are due to arrive in a few Midcoast-area stores soon. Orders are also being taken online.

McGrail now wants to thank the veterans who found the time and strength to relive wartime experiences. She’s planning a “Welcome Home” party for the veterans she’s written about, on Saturday – over Memorial Day weekend – at Southport Town Hall. She’ll be decorating the gymnasium-sized main hall as if it’s for a USO dance, and displaying pictures and other memorabilia from the veterans. McGrail has invited more than 500 people personally. But she says anyone is welcome.


Ross Maddocks didn’t want to relive his days on a river patrol boat in Vietnam, but changed his mind and spoke with Sarah Sherman McGrail. He's glad he did.

Ross Maddocks didn’t want to relive his days on a river patrol boat in Vietnam, but changed his mind and spoke with Sarah Sherman McGrail. He’s glad he did.

Veterans say it’s McGrail who deserves the thanks, for preserving such personal pieces of history for three small coastal Maine towns and for letting veterans know someone cares about their stories.

“I know it took her a good five years to catch me, so I can’t imagine how long it took her to get all the others,” said Maddocks. “Hats off to Sarah. After all the stories she’s heard, I’m surprised she’s not white-haired from it. She’s a good girl for doing it.”

Brian Rego of East Boothbay, 64, also was hesitant to talk about his time in Vietnam, so he really appreciated not only the time McGrail has put in, but her delicate and comforting approach.

“It really wasn’t like interviewing. It was more about getting you to say stuff on your own,” said Rego, who served on a helicopter crew in Vietnam as a teenager. “The first time she came to talk to me she was settin’ on the steps of my workshop, wearing sandals. By the time she left, her feet were sunburnt.”

McGrail is a seventh-generation resident of Southport Island and works as a legal advocate for New Hope For Women, a domestic violence agency that serves the midcoast area. Her first thoughts about what veterans had gone through began when she was growing up, as she realized that she had not heard her father, Maurice Sherman, say much about his service in North Africa and Italy during World War II.

Brian Rego Courtesy photo

Brian Rego, who served on a helicopter crew in Vietnam as a teenager, contributed his story, then helped McGrail by copy reading her books. Courtesy photo

“We knew he was in the Army, and we all twirled our spaghetti with a spoon because he learned to do that in Rome, but he really didn’t talk much about it,” McGrail said. “You look at his medals, four battle stars, and that means he was in four major campaigns. So it just hit me that I should write it all down. After he finally told me his story I began to think, what if nobody has written these stories down?”

She was thinking of her neighbors, the families she knew.

McGrail started her research with a list of veterans’ names on a wall in the Southport Memorial Library. Soon, people all over the area were helping her find veterans – men and women – to talk to. Some she sought out wouldn’t talk at all, some a little, some a lot. McGrail wrote 228 stories in her “Looking Back” books, but lists the names of more than 430 veterans from the three towns who served in the military during the years of, and between, the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Layout 1

Although he didn’t want to talk at first and avoided her for years, Maddocks was one of the veterans who shared a lot of what he saw and did in the military. The 29 pages devoted to his story feature pictures from Maddocks’ time in the Navy in Vietnam and very specific details of his service. There’s a snapshot of the coxswain’s flat, the area where Maddocks stood when driving a river patrol boat in Vietnam, for instance. Other photos show Vietnamese villages and villagers, Maddocks with orphans near the Cambodian border, and Maddocks’ bent rifle, damaged during a battle. There’s a picture of Maddocks, standing at attention, to receive a medal from Vietnamese officials.

Maddocks joined the Navy when he was 17, in 1956, and served for more than 30 years. He said he hopes that sharing his story will help illustrate to younger people “why we don’t want to go to war” as a nation.

While being interviewed for this story, Maddocks mentioned that one time he was injured while on patrol. He said a flak jacket saved his life, and it was easier for him to list the parts of his body that weren’t riddled with shrapnel than the areas where he was hit.

“Anyone who serves in a war is never completely the same,” he said. “You have memories that will always bother you, that you’ll never forget.”


Layout 1McGrail hopes that people in other towns hear about her books and decide to chronicle veterans’ stories too. She’s more than willing to share her methods, including the questionnaires she sent to people and how to check various government service records.

“It is the least we owe our veterans after the sacrifices they have made for all of us,” McGrail said.

Rego not only contributed his story to McGrail’s effort, but also helped her by copy reading her books. He found himself getting “caught up” in the stories, from people he’s known all his life, recalling experiences they seldom shared.

Rego is especially glad that McGrail has recorded the stories of so many Vietnam veterans, since they often came home to a hostile reception from the public.

“There was a lot of name-calling when we came back,” he said. “But all these stories are part of history.”

And thanks to McGrail, in these three small Maine towns, they won’t soon be forgotten.

]]> 1, 27 May 2016 08:12:29 +0000
Another View: Austrian election close shave with right-wing xenophobia Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 In elections that Americans may examine closely for parallels and to understand what is going on in Europe, Austria on Sunday elected a harmless Green Party candidate president over a less-harmless far-right candidate. The margin was excruciatingly close, just 30,000 votes.

The first round of voting last month eliminated candidates of the two main parties, the center-left Social Democrats and center-right People’s Party. They have ruled the Central European country of 8.6 million off and on since the end of World War II.

The two candidates remaining were Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of the Green Party, and Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party. Van der Bellen won with 50.3 percent of the vote, only after mail-in ballots were counted Monday.

Voters from the defeated centrist parties spared Austria the embarrassment of electing a far-right populist as head of state (though the nation’s chancellor is the more powerful political position). Hofer’s Freedom Party is anti-Muslim, likes Russian President Vladimir Putin, opposes migration and doesn’t like the European Union, which Austria joined in 1995.

It is likely that reaction to mainly Muslim migrants from the East are what helped the Freedom Party boost its vote so drastically, though there are only 90,000 or so asylum seekers remaining in Austria. The current government first followed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy. Then, in the face of opposition, it shifted to border closures and asylum quotas. And while the Austrian economy is relatively healthy and its citizens have a comfortable life, economic inequality is on the rise. A general sense of discontent contributed to the defeat of the old-guard centrist parties.

Europe watched these elections with some apprehension. Hungary and Poland already have right-wing governments. The Austrian election was a worrisome close shave.

]]> 5 Thu, 26 May 2016 21:27:14 +0000
Our View: Maine’s alarming bike, pedestrian toll demands road rules refresher Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Six people have been struck and killed this year in Maine while out walking or biking – a statistic that’s even more chilling given that the combined total of pedestrian and cyclist deaths here averages 11 a year. So as Memorial Day weekend approaches, heralding the unofficial start of summer and the annual surge of seasonal traffic, it’s critical that we all take time away from digging out the beach towels and cleaning the grill to educate ourselves about the rules of the road.

The first pedestrian fatality of 2016 occurred Jan. 1, and there have been four more since (the most recent of which is the death May 21 of a Portland man who was struck May 17), and a cyclist was killed at the end of March. This follows a year in which 19 pedestrians were struck and killed, the highest annual toll in Maine in over two decades.

And hundreds of other people on foot or bicycle are injured every year – such as Mattie Daughtry, a state legislator who was hit by a car this month while riding a bike in her hometown of Brunswick.

Car-pedestrian and car-cyclist accidents are largely preventable. But this, of course, requires knowing the regulations that allow all of us to share the road safely. Changes to state law took effect last fall that clarify cyclists’ responsibilities, making it easier for police to ticket pedalers for such offenses as running stop signs or operating against traffic.

The advocacy group that helped develop the new regulations, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, wants cyclists to follow the rules. They’re not any happier than motorists are to see scofflaws on two wheels fly through a red light.

However, drivers have to be more aware as well: They’re required to give pedestrians and cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. That may mean spending a few extra seconds waiting for someone who’s walking or biking in front of you, instead of blowing by them with little room to spare and risking an accident. But it’s the right – and lawful – thing to do.

When it comes to road safety awareness, many of us are probably drawing on our memories of parental lectures or driver’s education lessons. There are, however, resources that can bring those interested up to speed, such as the Maine Department of Transportation website and the guide offered by the bike coalition.

The more we all know about our rights and responsibilities as pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, the greater the chance that we’ll be able to enjoy the summer months without being injured or worse. See you on the road.

]]> 20, 26 May 2016 23:46:34 +0000
Budding rivalry to be renewed at Beech Ridge opener Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Young drivers Reid Lanpher and Garrett Hall will renew their rivalry Saturday night when Beech Ridge Motor Speedway hosts its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season opener.

Lanpher, 18, of Manchester, captured the 2015 Beech Ridge Pro Series title, winning four races. Hall, 21, of Scarborough, took the point battle to the last weekend.

Both drivers are expanding their racing horizons with out-of-state touring series competition but will call Beech Ridge their home base this summer.

“Our main objective is the Beech Ridge championship,” Hall said.

Lanpher is getting part-time driving assignments this year on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and also hitting Pro All-Stars Series (PASS) races. But with the exception of one date in July, Lanpher expects to be in the Beech Ridge pit every Saturday night.

“(Beech Ridge) is the toughest competition around and it’s a lot cheaper to race than tour racing,” Lanpher said. “We’d love to run the full PASS race schedule but we’re not quite in a position to do that. Weekly racing is something we can do while still having stellar competition.”

Lanpher said he expects his next K&N race, driving the No. 31 car for Marsh Racing, will be June 17 at Stafford, Connecticut.

“We’re hoping to add as many races as we can with New Hampshire being the next one we want to do,” Lanpher said. “We’ll probably end up running five (K&N) races but at this time we’re not sure where those will be.”

Hall won Beech Ridge’s Pro Series Rookie of the Year in 2015 after winning the Sport Series title in 2014.

This spring he has reached another plateau. He competed in six races at New Smyrna, Florida, then won his first Pro Series/Super Late Model style race in the PASS opener April 10 at the five-eighths mile Thompson Motor Speedway.

“Last year at the long-distance races I thought I needed to save my tires more,” Hall said. “This year I kind of learned to push the car more and to get to the front.”

Hall backed up his Thompson win with a third in the PASS race at Beech Ridge and another win at Speedway 95. He’s third in PASS points and with success has come a re-evaluation of his plans.

“When I first started out racing, my goal was to run a Pro Series and to qualify for the Oxford 250,” Hall said. “But the thing is, I did both of those last year. This year I’ve won two races. Obviously you want to look for more goals.”

Lanpher and Hall both said they consider the other to be a competitor worthy of attention.

“I wouldn’t consider ourselves buddies,” Lanpher said. “I have a lot of respect for him on and off the track.”

Of Lanpher, Hall said. “Obviously he’s smooth as a driver. He has a good car and he has a good crew, and I guess it’s all about trying to learn the track and obviously he learned that last year and got four wins.”

BEECH RIDGE is known for depth in its three Saturday night racing divisions: the Pro Series, Sport Series and Wildcat.

Track owner Andy Cusack said the Pro Series field added two well-known drivers.

“Just this week we heard from a few different drivers who intend to run our series,” Cusack said. “One of them is Joey Doiron (of Berwick). They have contacted us and said they want to focus on Beech Ridge and run the series. T.J. Brackett, he’s also interested in runing here full time.”

Doiron, the PASS North runner-up in 2015, is eighth in PASS points. He was caught up in a heat wreck last Saturday at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. Doiron has confirmed he will compete for the championship at Beech Ridge.

He will also compete in selected PASS races.

Brackett won the 2013 Pro Late Model championship at Oxford Plains Speedway. His father, Tim Brackett, is a multi-time Oxford champion and leads in points this season.

]]> 0, 26 May 2016 21:36:51 +0000
Maine Voices: Doctors, hospitals working to increase access to unaffordable medications Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 WEST NEWFIELD — Obtaining needed medicines remains a financial challenge for a great many Mainers. I’ll be discussing why prescription drugs are unaffordable, but my primary purpose is to emphasize the extent of the problem and then to describe how some Maine doctors and hospitals are working together to increase access to unaffordable yet often life-preserving medications.

Not only is Maine the only New England state that has not expanded its Medicaid (MaineCare) program for its very poorest residents under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), it’s actually disenrolled thousands of MaineCare beneficiaries, many with chronic diseases that are now untreated. Maine is now the only state in the nation where the percentage of people with health insurance didn’t rise between 2010, when Obamacare was approved, and 2014.

With the cost of prescription drugs doubling over the past seven years, and with the average out-of-pocket cost of many commonly used medications now surpassing $11,000 a year, the elderly or disabled with Medicare coverage or those with ACA marketplace or employer-provided insurance also often struggle to meet increasingly unaffordable policy deductibles, coinsurance and copays.

The more drugs people take and the sicker they are, the more likely they are to experience problems paying for prescription medicines – or to forgo them altogether because of cost. Because of the high price of medications, 43 percent of people in fair or poor health and 35 percent of those taking four or more drugs said they either did not fill a prescription at all, cut pills in half or skipped doses, according to recent Kaiser Family Foundation polling.

MedHelp Maine is listed with both 2-1-1 and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services as a medication access resource, so it often gets referrals from these organizations. In just one 24-hour period, MedHelp Maine heard from:

 A 90-year-old woman discharged from the hospital with an antibiotic prescription that requires a $500 copay.

 An unemployed, uninsured woman with prescriptions for rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and post-traumatic stress medications. Without these drugs, her conditions remain untreated.

 A 55-year-old man who receives free hospital care – but it does not cover outpatient medications. He can’t afford the insulin for his diabetes.

 A 73-year-old man, now in the Medicare doughnut hole, who finds that the drug he’s been taking for a heart condition will now cost him $800 per month.

Patients such as these, believing there’s nothing that can be done anyway, seldom tell their doctors if they can’t afford their medications. And practitioners, not realizing that patients are having problems obtaining the medications they’ve prescribed, can only assume that their patients are taking them.

MedHelp Maine is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing Mainers’ access to unaffordable prescription drugs. It has provided startup guidance and funding for seven hospital-managed prescription assistance programs throughout the state.

Area physicians who find the medication access process too costly and burdensome for their practices to perform themselves may refer patients to these programs. Skilled personnel, dedicated solely to this task, then identify the most appropriate sources of free or low-cost medications and then manage the application process on behalf of both doctor and patient. In just one recent year, one program alone obtained $5.7 million worth of free medications for over 400 patients of 135 referring prescribers.

Portland-based MaineHealth has centralized its systemwide medication access work through its MedAccess program. With knowledgeable program personnel at six MaineHealth hospitals, MedAccess obtained $24 million in free medications last year.

Because prescription medicines can be obtained only with a prescription, patients must tell their practitioners if they can’t afford needed medications. Clinicians then may choose to prescribe other, less-costly drugs; they and their practice staff may opt to manage the medication access process themselves.

Or, because this work is so complex and time-consuming, they may find it more efficient to refer their patients to their local hospital’s prescription assistance program – a resource that also benefits the facility by limiting preventable and often unreimbursed ER and inpatient services required to treat patients who haven’t been taking their medications as prescribed.

Accessing unaffordable medicines begins with patient-doctor communication. Patients must tell their practitioners if they can’t afford their medications, and prescribers must help them obtain the drugs they need to stay well. Please have these conversations.

]]> 0, 27 May 2016 11:31:22 +0000
Letter to the editor: Hardworking, compassionate Diane Denk a good choice for state representative Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 I met Diane Denk, Democratic candidate for District 9 state representative, over 15 years ago.

She teaches special needs students in the Kennebunk schools and helps them and their families learn how to be the best they can be. This work opened this steady and intelligent woman to volunteer with homeless shelters and hospice and to serve as the public member and vice president of the Maine Board of Dental Examiners, helping small-business owners.

Diane would be a voice to keep taxes fair to all workers, stay-at-home moms and struggling families.

I know that when there is a problem, Diane would find a just answer and get it done.

Her constituency, be they seniors, students, tradesmen and women, entrepreneurs or any good citizen, would take comfort in knowing Diane is there to serve us and make a difference.

I happily support her in the June 14 primary.

Rose Daily


]]> 0 Fri, 27 May 2016 10:21:42 +0000
Letter to the editor: As state senator, Charles Radis would bring information, gumption to Augusta health care debate Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 I urge support for Dr. Charles Radis, who is running for the Maine Senate. He’d bring two characteristics to the Legislature that are in short supply.

 First: He’s a practicing physician. Health-related issues are of increasing importance in the legislative process; he would bring facts and firsthand knowledge to the debate.

 Second: He lives (year round) on Peaks Island. His knowledge of the unique needs/difficulties that island communities face would again inform the legislative debate.

Beyond these factors, Dr. Radis is the only legislative candidate who’s openly stated that if the Affordable Care Act cannot finally get past Gov. LePage’s vetoes, he’ll lead the fight to take the issue to a citizens initiative. No member of the Legislature has staked out this position.

In short, Dr. Radis is smart, and he has moxie. The Senate needs people with these qualities. Vote for Dr. Radis in the June 14 Democratic primary.

Orlando E. Delogu


]]> 0 Fri, 27 May 2016 10:33:13 +0000
Letter to the editor: Ande Smith will work in best interests of 1st District, not D.C. establishment Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 I’m a Navy veteran. Although Ande Smith and I never served together, we are shipmates. The campaign flier I received had a handwritten note on it along with a telephone number.

I was pleasantly surprised when Ande answered the phone. We spoke for 20 minutes and it was a comfortable exchange, like talking with my brother. We discussed the Navy, the state of Maine and the future of our country.

Ande shares my belief that the government has become too large, wasteful and intrusive. The voters returned the House to the Republicans in 2012 and the Senate in 2014, but those elected have done nothing with it.

We need change. We need people in D.C. who will support and defend the Constitution and remember they work for us, not the political establishment. Ande Smith for Maine’s 1st Congressional District is that person. Vote for him in the June 14 Republican primary.

James Waite

Old Orchard Beach

]]> 0 Fri, 27 May 2016 10:21:28 +0000
Letter to the editor: Gun law foe’s column brings measure of relief Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 I have always been more than a little perplexed by people’s opposition to reasonable gun laws, but I have to admit, David Trahan’s commentary in the May 21 edition helped me a great deal (“Sportsman’s chief says gun law would be overregulation of the purest kind”).

Given that the fastest-rising demographic of gun violence victims is children, and assuming that Mr. Trahan would agree that children are worth saving, his and others’ unwillingness to entertain even the most common-sense precautions is confusing.

I have always known that there are people who have “a deep-rooted mistrust of our government,” as Mr. Trahan states, but it seems disingenuous at best for him to lament this fact, while spending the bulk of his column space fanning the flames of this mistrust (government confiscation of firearms – are you kidding?).

The thought that occurred to me that will allow me to sleep at night without having nightmares of 9-year-olds swapping shotguns like baseball cards is simply this: Mr. Trahan and his ilk have no clue what a government is good for. To them, there seems to be no such thing as government reach, only government overreach.

Glenn Selwood



]]> 4 Thu, 26 May 2016 19:57:47 +0000
Letter to the editor: Act now to close Maine’s job skills gap Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 Your article on skilled labor shortages (“Skilled-worker shortage crimps new construction in Maine,” May 18) was a spot-on overview of a problem that has the potential to plague Maine for years if we don’t take action to stop it.

As you reported, we simply don’t have enough skilled workers to fill demand, and skilled workers often wind up leaving for other states where demand is also high. Worse, our “skills gap” is only going to grow.

As a businessperson who spent many years in the construction industry, as a former educator and as a Mainer, I am greatly concerned by this problem. How bad is it? The business-leader group ReadyNation estimates that our state will have a shortfall of 15,000 highly skilled workers by the end of this decade if present trends don’t change.

And this shortfall is by no means limited to construction. Many sectors, especially science, technology, engineering and math jobs, are experiencing a skills gap problem.

Thankfully, we have powerful tools to help reverse those trends.

One solution is to continue to commit to proficiency-based learning. This approach emphasizes assessments of student progress, specific academic standards and a curriculum based on core subjects to help ensure that our state’s students are college-ready and career-ready.

Another solution is to incorporate “deeper learning” into today’s schools – connecting high schools to higher education and workplaces, as well as using project-based learning and career and technical training. Deeper learning also builds executive-functioning skills. These skills – such as the ability to collaborate in teams, think critically and communicate effectively – drive the productivity of Maine’s largest employers.

Maine’s workforce must be strong enough to fill demand for skilled positions. Continuing to support proficiency-based learning and expanding deeper learning programs will help close our skills gap and ensure our long-term economic health.

Steven M. Pound, Ph.D.

retired business leader and former chair, Maine State Board of Education


]]> 3 Thu, 26 May 2016 19:56:40 +0000
M.D. Harmon: ‘Totalitolerance’ is the secular faith of the progressive reformer Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 My friend Bob Knight, a Cape Elizabeth native who writes a column for The Washington Times, coined a new word this week.

It’s “totalitolerance” – and I wanted to share it because its progressive practitioners are doing their absolute best to make you shut up and obey them under the false flag of “toleration.”

On issues ranging from climate change to gun control, from abortion to wedding-cake bakers to access to addictive drugs, the secular faith of the progressive reformer is a jealous one.

And like any faith, progressivism has unquestioned assumptions and strict rules, and its own Inquisition to enforce them (using insults, threats, exclusion and, where possible, legal action).

A few examples:

North Carolina was recently threatened with the withdrawal of federal funding for the offense of not wanting fully equipped male persons to use the same public restrooms as women and little girls.

And the Obama administration wants to force the same practice on every public school bathroom and shower in the nation – although no federal law requires it.

Were we really supposed to “get the government out of our bedrooms” so it could push its way into our bathrooms instead?

“Transgender people have rights,” we are told. But do not women and little girls have rights, too – to privacy in a bathroom, for example?

Apparently not, according to The Charlotte Observer, which stated in a recent editorial: “Yes, the thought of male genitalia in girls’ locker rooms – and vice versa – might be distressing to some. But the battle for equality has always been in part about overcoming discomfort … .”

If you define “some” as “nearly everyone,” then that first sentence might make sense. But the idea is still insane.

And might not a man who is not part of the estimated 0.3 percent of the population that considers itself “transgender” (an entirely subjective self-identification, remember) use this rule for some quality Peeping Tom time – or worse?

Providing single-occupancy bathrooms would solve this problem, but that’s too easy. Instead, we are told, “You will be made to care.”

Fortunately, resistance is rising. On Wednesday, 11 states, including Maine (at Gov. LePage’s behest), filed suit against the administration on this issue.

The lawsuit says: “Defendants have conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

Indeed they have – with malice aforethought.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Human Rights Commission has decreed that covered businesses and individuals must use whatever personal pronouns employees and customers desire – or face fines of $125,000, rising to $250,000 for “willful, wanton or malicious” violations. Some examples that “gender-nonconforming people” may desire include “ze,” “hir” or “xem.”

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor, says that means “People can basically force us – on pain of massive legal liability – to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie.”

I guess the new policy would mean that Nancy Kwan’s famous ditty in “Flower Drum Song” would have to be revised substantially if the musical were to appear on Broadway today:

“I’m strictly a zemale zemale,

And my future I hope will be,

In the home of a brave and hirmale

Who’ll enjoy being a zuy having a xirl like zeeeeee!”

As I said, insanity.

Our military, which has been reduced to pre-World-War-II levels in the face of ever-growing threats from powers such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, not to mention numerous international terror networks, has not escaped the totalitolerance movement.

We are actually putting women into infantry units, when we wouldn’t dare put them on the same pro football field, rugby pitch or hockey rink with men (and no, heavily protected kickers and goalies don’t count).

This has nothing to do with equality. It springs instead from the progressive assumption that sexuality is a “social construct,” not a matter of innate biological reality.

While that weakens us from the inside, former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said in July 2015 that force cutbacks left us even then without “the ability to deter (hostile nations). The reason we have a military is to deter conflict and prevent wars. And if people believe we are not big enough to respond, they miscalculate.”

But if an enemy attacks because it considers us weak, it’s only a “miscalculation” if the onslaught fails. Instead, if we lose that battle (or that war), the enemy will have made an “accurate judgment” about us – unless things turn around soon.

It’s time to pay attention, folks. The frog is boiling.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

]]> 4, 27 May 2016 10:38:40 +0000
Charles Krauthammer: Obama belatedly comes around to reality in dealing with China Fri, 27 May 2016 08:00:00 +0000 How do you distinguish a foreign policy “idealist” from a “realist,” an optimist from a pessimist? Ask one question: Do you believe in the arrow of history? Or to put it another way: Are we condemned to do the same damn thing over and over – or is there hope for some enduring progress in the world order?

For realists, generally conservative, history is an endless cycle of clashing power politics. The best we can do is to defend ourselves, managing instability and avoiding catastrophe. But expect no essential alteration in the course of human affairs.

The idealists believe otherwise. They believe that the international system can eventually evolve out of its Hobbesian state of nature into something more humane and hopeful. What is usually overlooked is that this hopefulness for achieving a higher plane of global comity comes in two flavors – one liberal, one conservative.

The liberal variety (as practiced, for example, by the Bill Clinton administration) believes that the creation of a dense web of treaties, agreements, transnational institutions and international organizations (like the U.N., nongovernmental organizations, the World Trade Organization) can give substance to a cohesive community of nations that would, in time, ensure order and stability.

The conservative view (often called “neoconservative,” and dominant in the George W. Bush years) is that the better way to ensure stability is not through international institutions, which are generally powerless, but through the spread of democracy. Because, in the end, democracies are inherently more inclined to live in peace.

Liberal internationalists count on globalization, neoconservatives on democratization to achieve international harmony. But what unites them is the belief that such a state exists and is achievable. Both believe in the perfectibility of the international system. Both believe in the arrow of history.

For realists, it’s a comforting delusion that gives high purpose to international exertions where none exists. Sovereign nations remain in incessant pursuit of power and self-interest. The pursuit can be carried out more or less wisely. But nothing fundamentally changes.

Barack Obama is a classic case study in foreign policy idealism. Indeed, one of his favorite quotations is about the arrow of history: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” He has spent nearly eight years trying to advance that arc of justice. Hence his initial “apology tour,” that burst of confessional soul-searching abroad about America and its sins, from slavery to the loss of our moral compass after 9/11. Friday’s trip to Hiroshima completes the arc.

Unfortunately, with “justice” did not come peace. The policies that followed – appeasing Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs, the butchers of Tiananmen Square and lately the Castros – have yielded nothing but geopolitical chaos and human suffering. (See Syria.)

But while two terms as president may not have disabused Obama of his arc-of-justice idealism (see above: Hiroshima visit), they have forced upon him at least one policy of hardheaded, indeed hardhearted, realism. On his Vietnam trip this week, Obama accepted the reality of an abusive dictatorship while announcing a warming of relations and the lifting of the U.S. arms embargo, thereby enlisting Vietnam as a full partner in the containment of China.

This follows the partial return of the U.S. military to the Philippines, another element of the containment strategy. Indeed, the Trans-Pacific Partnership itself is less about economics than geopolitics, creating a Pacific Rim cordon around China.

Obama thus leaves a double legacy. His arc-of-justice aspirations, whatever their intention, leave behind tragic geopolitical and human wreckage. Yet this belated acquiescence to realpolitik, laying the foundations for a new containment, will be an essential asset in addressing this century’s coming central challenge, the rise of China.

I don’t know – no one knows – if history has an arrow. Which is why a dose of coldhearted realism is always welcome. Especially from Obama.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for The Washington Post. He can be contacted at:

]]> 1, 26 May 2016 20:10:11 +0000
National spelling bee ends in tie for third straight time Fri, 27 May 2016 05:08:44 +0000 After a heartstopping epic duel of word masters, an 11-year-old Texan and 13-year-old New Yorker tied for the championship trophy on Thursday night in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the third time in a row the contest deadlocked between two victors.

Crowd favorite Nihar Saireddy Janga, a fifth-grader who charmed the fans with his slight voice and knowledge of obscure words, and Jairam Hathwar, whose brother Sriram Hathwar co-won the contest in 2014, were declared this year’s winners.

The two contestants from Maine, Syra Gutow of Castine and Javier Alicea-Santiago from Orono did not advance to the Finals. Gutow was eliminated after the third round.

The two Indian-American boys squared off against only each other for 22 rounds, and nearly didn’t tie: Nihar had the opportunity to win after his older competitor stumbled on two of his turns. But, much like a tennis match, Nihar subsquently faltered himself, making their tie seem like spelling bee destiny.

The bee was scheduled from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., but lasted about an hour longer, thanks largely to new rules that allowed for 25 rounds among the final three contestants. But it was only a group of three for one round: The other competitor, Snehaa Ganesh Kumar, 13, of California, fell out early, leaving the bee largely between Nihar and Jairam.

Nihar awed fans by dropping serious knoweldge on some of his words.

“Is this a cheese?” he asked when given one word.

When they reached the final round where one could have beaten the other, neither showed a shred of weakness. Jairam nailed “Feldenkrais,” then Nihar slammed it home with “gesellschaft.”

Once the two boys realized they tied, they embraced and celebrated. Confetti poured down onto the stage, and the crowed seemed relieved that both boys would win, and not just one.

The Bee’s director, Paige Kimble, said even though new rules were put in place to decrease the likelihhood of a tie, she knew all along that a deadlock was quite possible.

During the celebration, Nihar thanked his mom and said: “I’m just speechless. I can’t say anything. I’m only in fifth grade.”

Earlier in the night, the top 10 contenders mouthed words that were in English, technically. But the language was exotic, multi-syllabic, maybe something from “Game of Thrones.”

Myoclonus. Pneumatomachy. Hirundine. Comitatus.

“OK, you need to give me a word I know,” said Mitchell Robson, 14, of Massachusetts, as he approached the microphone and ESPN cameras zoomed in on his face. “Please.”

“I’ll try and work with you,” said the Bee’s longtime pronouncer, Jacques Bailly, himself a previous Bee winner.

But who was Bailly kidding? He wasn’t going to work with Mitchell. The Bee Deity threw down the gauntlet to the eighth-grader: esquisse. It means a first, usually rough, sketch, as a picture or model of a statue.

“Uh . . . esquisse?” Mitchell said.

He asked for the definition and the word’s origin. He asked to hear it in a sentence.

“Is there anything else I can, like, get out of you?” he pleaded.

The crowd laughed nervously. Was Mitchell – whose humor made him popular all week with fans – finally choking?


The crowd boomed with applause. But not even Mitchell would last much longer.

The 89th Scripps National Spelling Bee championship round of 10 was brutal. By late into the evening, the top 10 was down to the top five and still going.

The event, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Md., began this week with 284 contestants from around the world. By Thursday morning, it resumed with 45 finalists who were whittled down to just 10 for the evening championship, aired live on ESPN.

Less than an hour into Thursday night’s championship, Cooper Komatsu, 13, of California, who with a teammate won the 2016 North American School Scrabble Championship, was taken out. The killer word: illicium. Fans loved Cooper, who placed 11th last year. He barely got his first word right Thursday evening – myoclonus – pausing at length between letters.

After he was ousted, ESPN’s sideline reporter – yes, just like those in sports – interviewed him on the couch next to the stage, where all the vanquished spellers are offered a box of tissues and a plate of cookies.

“When I got my first word right, I didn’t know it,” he said. “I was really happy. The second word I just didn’t know. I tried my best. I didn’t get it, but I am glad to be here.”

Anytime anyone misspelled a word Thursday night, the crowd gave a standing ovation. Sometimes, like the Oscars, the kids thanked their team: parents, teachers and friends.

Mitchell’s kryptonite was “Wehrmacht,” the armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. He spelled it V-E-R-M-A-C-H-T.

After he thanked his grandmother on stage, he told The Washington Post in a brief interview: “I knew that word in the back of my brain. I didn’t think about the beginning of the word hard enough. I could have gotten it.”

Earlier Thursday, all four Washington area students stumbled, including Tejas Muthusamy, a Richmond student who tied for seventh place last year and eighth the year before. Muthusamy’s early exit was such a stunner that he earned a standing ovation when he walked to the cookie couch. One fan asked for his autograph.

The Scripps Bee is inherently nerve-racking, but the contest organizers do all they can to pump up the pressure. Finalists sit on an elevated, neon-lit stage facing ESPN cameras swooping overhead in two directions and an ESPN GameDay-style host set in the back.

Two movie-size screens flank the stage, one showing photos of each student, the other showing live footage of them spelling their words and their parents reacting to the result. Dozens of credentialed reporters from around the world sit along five long rows of tables right behind a set of four judges.

This is not, in other words, for children with hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – fear of words.

Indian American children again appear to be dominating the Bee, making up the majority of the final 10 competitors. They’ve won the past seven years in a row.

Some students emerged as obvious crowd favorites: Two 11-year-olds, Nihar Saireddy Janga of Texas, and Jashun Paluru of Indiana, the youngest to make it that far; Sylvie Lamontagne of Colorado, who took ninth place last year and cracked up the audience when she asked Bailly, the pronouncer, for an easy word.

On Thursday night, Sylvie, another favorite, made it to the top five. Earlier in the evening, the Bee showed an interview with her back home in Colorado, where she showed off her tap-dancing and Scrabble skills.

“Words are fascinating because they can take you to a lot of places,” she said.

When it was her turn at the microphone, with more than an hour into the competition, she was among the final five.

Her word was “venetic,” the language of an ancient Italian people.

“Venetic,” she said. “V . . . can I start over?”

The crowd drew a long breath.


Bailly rendered the verdict: “That is correct.”

]]> 1, 27 May 2016 10:58:49 +0000
Thursday’s college roundup: Maine ousted in conference baseball tournament Fri, 27 May 2016 04:13:39 +0000 LOWELL, Mass. — The Maine baseball team lost 9-8 to Albany on Thursday night in an elimination game of the America East tournament.

Maine, which ends its season at 20-35, had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning but was unable to push across the tying run. Danny Casals, Lou Della Fera and Tyler Schwanz each had two hits for Maine.


NCAA TOURNAMENT: Joulia Likhanskaia and Tiffany Cheng of Bowdoin advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-set victory at the NCAA Division III women’s tennis doubles championships at Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Likhanskaia and Cheng beat Marie Lutz and Liza Southwick of Trinty (Texas), 6-3, 6-1, and will play Kait Brogan and Shelby Harris of Mary Washington.

Likhanskaia also made it to the singles quarterfinals. She will face Eudice Chong of Wesleyan Friday.


NCAA TOURNAMENT: Bates sophomore Ben Rosen won two matches to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III men’s single championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Rosen earned All-America status with a 6-2, 6-1 win against Arthur Fagundes of the University of Texas-Tyler, then knocked off the No. 8 seed, C.J. Kimball of Case Western Reserve, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.

Rosen faces fourth-seeded Skyler Butts of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. Friday.


NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: USM hurdler Jeremy Collins and Colby steeplechaser Alanna McDonough advanced to the finals by recording the third-fastest prelim times at the NCAA Division III championships in Waverly, Iowa.

Collins finished second in his 400-meter hurdles heat with a school-record time of 52.22 seconds. He’ll compete in the finals Saturday afternoon.

McDonough also placed second in her heat, posting a time of 10:56.87. She goes into Saturday’s final as the No. 2 seed.

]]> 0 Fri, 27 May 2016 00:18:21 +0000
Warriors stop Thunder to stay alive Fri, 27 May 2016 03:47:32 +0000 OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to awaken Golden State’s raucous crowd, and the defending champion Warriors staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, and Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. Golden State trails 3-2 and is trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

“We’re not going home! We’re not going home!” Curry yelled at the top of his lungs in the waning moments.

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and chasing just the second championship after the 1978-79 Seattle SuperSonics won it all.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

Durant’s 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter, but the Thunder didn’t go away easily.

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook’s 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period by scoring five unanswered points.

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, and Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Steve Kerr thought his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they’re the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise’s playoff scoring list.

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Major league roundup: Harper breaks slump as Nationals beat Cards Fri, 27 May 2016 03:44:03 +0000 WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper hit a slump-busting home run, Danny Espinosa also went deep and the Washington Nationals got seven strong innings from right-hander Joe Ross in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

Washington trailed 1-0 in the sixth inning before Harper ended a 4-for-33 skid with a no-doubt-about-it shot into the upper deck, far beyond the wall in right field. It was his 12th homer of the season, the first since May 13.

The light-hitting Espinosa snapped the tie in the seventh with a drive to right. Batting eighth, Espinosa came in with a .199 batting average and three home runs.

Both homers came off Mike Leake (3-4), who won his previous three starts while allowing only two runs over 21 innings.

PIRATES 8, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Josh Harrison came off the bench to hit a two-out, two-run double in the sixth inning to help Pittsburgh win at home.

The pinch hit gave the Pirates a 5-3 lead and the runs gave reliever A.J. Schugel (1-1) his first major league win after he had surrendered the lead inherited from starter Gerrit Cole in the top half of the inning. Schugel gave up a two-run single to Paul Goldschmidt in his only inning of work.


BLUE JAYS 3, YANKEES 1: J.A. Happ (6-2) pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis had two-out RBI, and Toronto won at New York to take the three-game series. CC Sabathia (3-3) was the tough-luck loser for New York, allowing just two unearned runs.

Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since going on the disabled list May 4 with a strained hamstring.

ASTROS 4, ORIOLES 2: George Springer homered twice and Houston set a major league record for strikeouts in a three-game series, finishing a sweep of visiting Baltimore.

Houston starter Lance McCullers (1-1) allowed just one hit – a home run to Mark Trumbo – and had 10 strikeouts in five innings, helping the Astros break the major league record for strikeouts in a three-game series with 52. The previous mark was 47 by Washington earlier this season.


MARLINS 9, RAYS 1: Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings and won his sixth straight start for visiting Miami.

Fernandez (7-2) struck out eight of the last 10 batters he faced and struck out every hitter in the Rays lineup at least once.

The 23-year-old right-hander from Tampa gave up six hits in beating his hometown Rays for the first time in three tries.

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Penguins top Lightning 2-1 in Game 7 to advance to Stanley Cup Final Fri, 27 May 2016 03:14:15 +0000 PITTSBURGH — Bryan Rust scored a pair of second-period goals and Matt Murray stopped 16 shots to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night to send the franchise to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009.

Pittsburgh will host Western Conference champion San Jose in Game 1 of the final Monday night.

Jonathan Drouin scored his fifth goal of the playoffs for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves, but it wasn’t enough to send Tampa Bay back to the Cup Final for a second straight year. Captain Steven Stamkos had two shots in his return from a two-month layoff while dealing with a blood clot.

The Penguins avoided elimination with a borderline dominant 5-2 victory in Game 6 that provided a snapshot of the formula that fueled their rise through the Eastern Conference standings shortly after Coach Mike Sullivan’s arrival in mid-December. Sullivan calls it “playing the right way,” a way abetted by the influx of speed brought in by General Manager Jim Rutherford. That group includes Rust, who forced his way onto the roster thanks to feverish skating and a relentlessness that belies his nondescript 5-foot-11 frame.

That effort – or “desperation level” as captain Sidney Crosby calls it – provided the Penguins with the boost they needed to overcome a bit of unfortunate history and the return of Stamkos. Pittsburgh had dropped five straight Game 7s at home, including a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay in 2011 in a series in which both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missed due to injury. That loss had become symbolic of the franchise’s postseason shortcomings following that gritty run to the Cup in 2009 that culminated with a Game 7 win in Detroit that was supposed to be the launching pad of a dynasty.

Seven long years later, with an entirely new cast around mainstays Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz and Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins are finally heading back.

It hardly came easy. Vasilevskiy, a revelation while filling in for injured Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop, spent most of the night facing barrage after barrage as Pittsburgh controlled the puck and the pace of play for long stretches. Not even the return of Stamkos, who missed eight weeks while recovering from surgery to fix a blood clot near his right collarbone, could give Tampa Bay a boost as it sought a second straight appearance in the final round.

The 26-year-old practically chased Vasilevskiy onto the ice and played 11:55, his best chance coming on a breakaway in the second period in which his slap shot from the right circle hit Murray and trickled wide.

Yet he was outshone – as was everyone else inside an electric Consol Energy Center – by a 24-year-old who managed all of five goals in 55 regular-season games, a total he’s matched in just 17 games during the postseason. And perhaps even more surprising than the amount of success Rust has enjoyed during the playoffs is when he’s done the most damage. He collected two goals and an assist in a series closeout win over the New York Rangers in the opening round.

Just over a month later, Rust was at it again.

He gave the Penguins the lead 1:55 into the second when he raced down the slot, took a feed from Kunitz and beat Vasilevskiy over his glove. Drouin’s fourth goal of the series tied it at 9:36 of the second, a wicked wrist shot from the circle that zipped by Murray and seemed to blunt Pittsburgh’s momentum.

Only it didn’t.

All of 30 seconds later, the Penguins were back in front. Ben Lovejoy’s slap shot from the point caromed off the end boards to the right of the net. Rust jabbed at it, squeezing it between Vasilevskiy’s left arm and his body.

The Penguins kept coming. Only the spectacular play of the 21-year-old Vasilevskiy kept the Lightning in it. Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 21-5 in the second period alone, yet couldn’t extend its advantage.

Their season on the brink, the Lightning recovered but Murray never wavered. His teammates in front of him kept Tampa Bay from getting in his way and when the final horn blared, Pittsburgh’s metamorphosis from the blahs of December to the madness of May was complete.

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Major League notebook: Dodgers to debut heralded pitcher Fri, 27 May 2016 03:06:33 +0000 LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are ready to unveil highly touted pitcher Julio Urias, calling him up to make his major league debut on Friday night in New York against the Mets.

The 19-year-old left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he has a 27-inning scoreless streak and 44 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Urias will replace lefty Alex Wood, who was scratched with triceps soreness. Wood is expected to make his next start on Monday in Chicago against the first-place Cubs.

YANKEES: New York hopes Mark Texeira will miss only a few games.

Teixeira missed his second straight game Thursday with a neck problem, with Manager Joe Girardi expecting the first baseman to sit out at least two more but hoping he won’t need a DL stint.

Teixeira received cortisone shots in multiple places in his neck Thursday, a day after an MRI showed inflammation but no serious damage. He also got cortisone shots – but in fewer spots – two weeks earlier after he missed a pair of games because of the same issue.

The 36-year-old switch-hitter said he’s dealt with neck and upper back tightness throughout his career

ROYALS: Third baseman Mike Moustakas was put on the 15-day disabled list with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Such injuries usually sideline a player for a long period. Moustakas said he will seek a second opinion on the injury.

TWINS: Minnesota suspended pitching coach Neil Allen indefinitely with pay, following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

BRAVES: Outfielder Hector Olivera was suspended through Aug. 1 for his arrest on domestic violence charges.

The suspension, announced by commissioner Rob Manfred, is without pay and covers 82 games, retroactive to April 30.

Olivera was arrested April 13 at a hotel outside Washington, D.C., charged with assault and battery of a woman and he was immediately placed on leave.

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Thursday’s girls roundup: Marshwood triumphs in lacrosse Fri, 27 May 2016 03:00:14 +0000 SACO — Hannah Costin scored three goals Thursday night to lead Marshwood to a 4-2 victory against Thornton Academy in a schoolgirl lacrosse game.

Marin Smith added a goal and two assists, and Skyler Amsden stopped 12 shots for Marshwood (11-1), which led 3-1 at halftime.

Faith Sinclair and Paige LeBlanc each scored goals to lead the Trojans (8-3). Meaghan Stephenson had nine saves.

MASSABESIC 17, SOUTH PORTLAND 6: Maquila Dimastrantonio had six goals to lead the Mustangs (10-1) over the Red Riots (6-6) at South Portland.

Delia Sylvain added four goals, and Marissa Thyng, Madison Drain and Allison Irish each added a pair of goals. Keilly Lynch had one goal.

Jena Leckie and Mary Cronin each had two goals to lead South Portland. Maddie Hasson had a goal and two assists and Molly Walker added a goal and an assist.

WINDHAM 7, MCAULEY 1: Katie Skvorak had six goals to lead all scorers as the Eagles (9-2) led 2-1 at halftime and pulled away from the Lions (2-9) at Portland.

Mya Mannette added a goal for Windham. Zoe Mazur scored for McAuley.

Grace Sawyer made nine saves for the Eagles. Jordyn Carr stopped seven shots for the Lions.

YARMOUTH 14, CAPE ELIZABETH 4: Eliza Lunt had five goals for the Clippers (9-2) as they easily got past the Capers (3-8) at Yarmouth.

Molly Wilson, Lilly Watson and Cory Langenbach each contributed two goals and an assist for Yarmouth.

Chloe Chapin and Mariah Deschino each had a pair of goals for Cape Elizabeth.

Mary Kate Gunneville stopped seven shots for the Clippers.

MORSE 9, GARDINER 3: Amanda Gagne scored a hat trick to lead the way on Senior Night as the Shipbuilders (10-1) cruised past the Tigers (7-4) at Bath.

Isabella Paulus had two goals for Morse, and Madison Savary and Noa Sreden each added a goal and two assists.

Madelin Walker, Bryce Smith and Evelyn Hinkley scored for Gardiner.

Zenaide McCarthy had five saves for the Shipbuilders, and Kaylin Mansir stopped nine shots for the Tigers.

BIDDEFORD 16, NOBLE 5: Paige Laverriere scored seven goals to pace the offense as the Tigers (7-4) handled the Knights (2-9) at Biddeford.

Camryn Mckeown had four goals and two assists, Taylor Turgeon had two goals and dished out four assists and Hailey Allen added two goals and an assist.

Megan Bataran had three goals and an assist to lead Noble.

Rebekah Guay and Eliza Gilliam combined for eight saves for the Tigers.


SCARBOROUGH 2, WINDHAM 0: Katie Verreault broke a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run and the Red Storm (14-0) held on to beat the Eagles (11-4) at Windham.

Lilly Volk pitched a four-hitter for Scarborough, allowing one walk and striking out 12. The Red Storm added another run in the sixth: Maggie Murphy tripled and later scored on a single from Kaleigh Scoville.

Windham had its best opportunity to score with runners on first and third with one out in the fourth, but Volk struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Danielle Tardiff of the Eagles allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out three.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY 6, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 1: Nicole Bennett went the distance, allowing one unearned run on two hits, striking out seven as the Raiders (10-5) cruised past the Seagulls (0-16) at Fryeburg.

Old Orchard scored in the top of the second on a throwing error. Fryeburg answered in the bottom of the third with three runs, highlighted by a Bennett two-run double.

The Raiders added three runs in the fourth when Mackenzie Buzzell lined a two-run double and she was driven home on an RBI single from Lexi L’Heureux-Carland.

CARRABEC 8, MT. ABRAM 3: Mickayla Willette had two singles and three RBI to pace the Cobras (10-5) over Mt. Abram (3-11) at Salem.

Baylee Atwood, Liberty Chestnut, Mel Clark and Sam LeBeau each chipped in two singles for Carrabec.

Kiley Holt had a double and a single for Mt. Abram and Meg Marble added a double.


PORTLAND 3, WINDHAM 2: Jessica Brown tripled with one out in the top of the eighth and Isabelle Dimillo drove her in with a double for the go-ahead run as the Bulldogs (8-7) outlasted the Eagles (11-3) at Windham.

Lauren Talbot lined a triple to score Katie Hunter to score the tying run with one out for Windham in the bottom of the seventh inning.

]]> 0 Thu, 26 May 2016 23:05:53 +0000
Sports Digest: Molder birdies his way to one-stroke lead at Texas Fri, 27 May 2016 03:00:13 +0000 GOLF

Molder birdies his way to one-stroke lead at Texas

Bryce Molder birdied six of his last nine holes for a 6-under 64 and a one-stroke lead Thursday after the first round of the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.

Molder was in the first group of the day off the 10th tee, and was on the 16th green when play was stopped for 1:15 because of rain and lightning. He completed his seventh of nine consecutive pars when play resumed, then had all of those birdies on the front nine.

Patrick Reed, Anirban Lahiri and Webb Simpson shot 65.

Colonial member Ryan Palmer was among four players tied for fifth at 66. Jordan Spieth, the world’s No. 2 ranked player, had a 67 even after missing the first six fairways.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Masters champion Danny Willett, the only member of the world’s top 20 competing in the tournament, got off to another fast start on the European Tour, shooting a 6-under 66 to land a stroke behind a trio of leaders after the first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Virginia Water, England.

CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR: Rocco Mediate played the first 13 holes in 9 under and closed with five pars for a 62 to match the Senior PGA Championship and Harbor Shore records at Benton Harbor, Michigan.

LPGA: Christina Kim took advantage of favorable conditions at Ann Arbor, Michigan, shooting an 8-under 64 to top the leaderboard in the inaugural Volvik Championship.

Second-ranked Inbee Park’s lingering thumb injury led her to withdraw from the tournament.

U.S. AMATEURS: Hailee Cooper, 16, and Kaitlyn Papp, 17, won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Streamsong Resort, outlasting 13-year-olds Angelina Kim and Brianna Navarrosa with a par on the first extra hole at Bowling Green, Florida.


NFL: The Baltimore Ravens have forfeited one week of offseason practices for violating the labor agreement on such workouts.

The NFL also fined Coach John Harbaugh $137,000, while the team was fined $343,000 under current collective bargaining agreement guidelines.

When the Ravens had rookies and first-year players don pads at a minicamp, it was a violation of the CBA rules.

Commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed the league’s commitment to concussion research in a letter to the 32 team owners.

In the wake of a congressional study that concluded that NFL officials tried to strong-arm the National Institutes of Health into taking away a project from a researcher the NFL feared was biased, Goodell called for “continued and robust support of independent medical research.”


U.S. WOMEN: A federal judge heard arguments on whether the world champion U.S. women’s soccer team has the right to strike for improved conditions and wages before this year’s Summer Olympics in Brazil, with her pending decision potentially carrying far-reaching consequences for American soccer.

ENGLAND: Manchester United is not commenting on a report that Jose Mourinho has signed a contract to become the club’s new manager.

British broadcaster Sky Sports said that Mourinho has been appointed by United. The club hasn’t announced the deal.

Louis van Gaal was fired as United manager on Monday.


OLYMPICS: Russia has included Maria Sharapova on its preliminary team for the Olympic tennis tournament in August despite her provisional suspension for failing a drug test.


GIRO D’ITALIA: Matteo Trentin used a late counterattack and some crafty teamwork to win the longest stage at Pinerola, Italy, while Steven Kruijswijk held on to a comfortable overall lead with only two challenging legs to go.

]]> 0, 26 May 2016 23:09:21 +0000
Five reasons a local loves Acadia National Park Fri, 27 May 2016 02:53:06 +0000 0, 27 May 2016 09:20:53 +0000 Thursday’s boys’ roundup: Deering rallies in baseball Fri, 27 May 2016 02:50:32 +0000 Deering scored three runs in the sixth inning Thursday night, rallying to a 4-3 victory against Bonny Eagle in an SMAA baseball game at Hadlock Field.

The highlights of the sixth for the Rams (10-6) were a triple by James Sinclair, and run-scoring singles by Ben Jones and Orey Dutton.

Dutton finished with three hits to lead Deering, and Sinclair and Nate Loranger each added a pair of hits.

Sinclair, the winning pitcher, went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out nine and walking one against the Scots (8-8).

THORNTON ACADEMY 9, SANFORD 4: Brandon Hall went 4 for 4 with an RBI and scored a run as the Golden Trojans (11-3) defeated the Spartans (2-12) at Saco.

Trailing 1-0, Thornton Academy scored five runs in the third inning, including run-scoring singles by Brady Lambert, Adam Gibbons and Hall.

Brad Bouchard and Keith Kerrigan each had a pair of singles for Sanford.

PORTLAND 8, MASSABESIC 1: Jake Knop capped a five-run third inning with an RBI triple and the Bulldogs (11-3) beat the Mustangs (5-8) at Portland.

Thomas Joyce and Zack Fortin each had RBI singles during the outburst. Portland scored three runs in the first inning. Knop led off with a triple and later scored on a single from Dominic Tocci. Nick Archambault hit another triple scoring two and giving Portland a 3-0 lead.

Massabesic responded with a run in the top of the third. Josh Daigle led off with a single and later scored on an error.

Daniel Marzilli pitched a strong game for Portland, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. Knop tripled twice, Archambault had two hits and John Williams and Joe Fusco each added a pair of hits.

NOBLE 8, WESTBROOK 4: The Knights (2-12) scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the lead for good as they got past the Blue Blazes (2-11) at North Berwick.

Noble took advantange of a pair of Westbrook errors to load the bases, and got sacrifice flies from Tyler Merrill and Kasey Rogers.

Derek Corbett and Dylan Francoeur each had a pair of hits for the Blue Blazes.

CHEVERUS 12, BIDDEFORD 5: Alex Jacobs went 3 for 3 with four runs scored and also pitched a complete game to lead the Stags (8-6) over the Tigers (3-11) at Portland.

Jacobs gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out three and Jared Brooks went 2 for 5 with three RBI, including a run-scoring double during a four-run fourth to help break the game open for Cheverus.

Joey Curit went 2 for 3 with two RBI and two runs, and also hit a two-run single as part of a four-run fifth inning for Biddeford. Jason Vadnais added two hits.

FRYEBURG ACADEMY 4, OLD ORCHARD BEACH 3: Tucker Buzzell had a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to help the Raiders (4-11) beat the Seagulls (8-7) at Fryeburg.

The Raiders trailed 3-2 going into the seventh but three straight walks loaded the bases, and Hunter Day scored on a fielder’s choice from Jones to tie the game 3-3. Day also hit a two-run triple in the fifth to give Fryeburg a 2-1 lead.

Old Orchard responded with two runs in the sixth. Evan O’Donnell doubled in Thomas Fregeau, who led off the inning with a single. O’Donnell later scored on a single from Brown.

Keegan Jones picked up the win for Fryeburg, allowing three runs on 10 hits and striking out four in a complete-game effort. Dylan Creswell went 3 for 4 with a run scored for Old Orchard.

SCARBOROUGH 3, WINDHAM 1: Mitch Wedge went the distance, allowing one run on eight hits, fanning six and walking one as the Red Storm (11-3) downed the Eagles (4-10) at Windham.

Scarborough scored a run in the third on a wild pitch, added a run in the fourth as Bayley Welsh scored on a Connor Kelly single, and Cam Seymour drove in Tim Carion with a single in the fifth to round out the scoring.

Windham scored its lone run in the sixth inning as Tyler Johnson scored on a Kobe Lauzier single. Josh Reed had a pair of hits, including a triple, for the Red Storm.

MARSHWOOD 3, GORHAM 2: Aidan Place drove in the go-ahead run with a single as part of a three-run fifth inning and the Hawks (9-5) held on to beat the Rams (9-7) at Gorham.

Nick Landis hit a sacrifice fly to score Clint Knowles, and Cole McDaniel, who scored on Place’s single, drove in the second run to make it 2-2. Gorham scored its runs in the first on fielder’s choices from Cameron Smith and Gerek Brown.

]]> 0 Thu, 26 May 2016 23:01:05 +0000
Taco the Town truck in Brunswick gets Mexican street food right Fri, 27 May 2016 02:41:13 +0000 0, 26 May 2016 22:41:13 +0000 Bradley’s hitting streak, Sox winning streak end Fri, 27 May 2016 02:18:55 +0000 BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have been an offensive wonder over the past month, leaving a wake of hits, runs and wins that have become the marvel of baseball to this point.

But on a night that saw Jackie Bradley Jr.’s major league-best hitting streak halted at 29 games, the attention shifts to a struggling member of their pitching staff who could be on his way out of the rotation.

Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies pulled away for an 8-2 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday night.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by Colorado and it ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Sox. Bradley’s streak ended with a whimper when he went 0 for 4 and was flummoxed by young Rockies starter Jon Gray after he moved up to the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

Thursday was just the fifth time in Boston’s last 15 home games that it has failed to score eight or more runs.

“I’m very proud of myself. To be able to get the opportunity to go this far, it’s a blessing,” Bradley said of the streak. “I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed. Obviously you want to get a hit, but the pitchers are really good in this league. It’s tough getting a hit day in and day out. And it was a pretty special run for me.”

Clay Buchholz (2-5) took the loss. He pitched three perfect innings before things came apart in the fourth, when he gave up Gonzalez’s homer with the other two coming the following inning.

The 12 home runs he’s given up this season are six more than he gave up in all of his 18 starts last season.

“I’m basically the one that’s struggling – the only one that’s struggling,” Buchholz said. “I guess it’s better off that way than to have three out of five guys struggling. Other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I’m leaving behind. You figure it has to change sooner or later.”

He may not get that chance. Eduardo Rodriguez is getting close to getting off the disabled list, and his return could signal a demotion for Buchholz.

“We always have conversations about every guy. This will be no different,” Manager John Farrell said. “We know that Eddie is soon to, or ready probably to come back to us. But there’s been no decision made as of right now.”

Thursday marked the first time this season any Red Sox player besides Mookie Betts had led off a game. He had the night off, before pinch hitting in the ninth with Bradley on deck. But Betts grounded out to end the game.

Gray (2-2) gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the first, but pitched six scoreless innings before leaving in the eighth.

Gray was unfazed by the shuffle. He was steady throughout the night, mixing his pitches and scattering five hits while striking out six.

While Bradley’s streak ended, teammate Xander Bogaerts managed to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, which takes over as the longest in the majors.

Bradley just missed a home run to right field in his first at-bat, and grounded out on his second plate appearance of the night. He flied out to center in the fifth.

The Fenway Park crowd roared when he came to the plate to lead off the eighth, but he swung at Carlos Estevez’s first pitch and grounded out.

Buchholz isn’t obsessing about his roster status.

“That’s out of my pay grade. I can’t worry about that. I’m here to pitch. If I don’t have a spot, that’s part of it,” he said. “So like they say, `If you don’t like it, pitch better.’ So I guess that’s what it comes down to.”


Farrell said C Ryan Hanigan, who left Wednesday night’s game due to illness and neck stiffness and was given the day off Thursday, should be ready to return Friday. … Farrell said Rodriguez (right patella subluxation), who began a second rehab assignment Tuesday in Triple-A Pawtucket, did some fielding practice Wednesday, but a decision is yet to be made about where his next start will be.

]]> 0, 27 May 2016 00:17:32 +0000
Longtime TV newsman Norm Karkos leaves WMTW Fri, 27 May 2016 02:10:30 +0000 Longtime TV reporter and anchor Norm Karkos is no longer working at WMTW, Channel 8, where he spent 25 years of his career.

WMTW assignment editor Tyler Cadorette, contacted Thursday night, confirmed that Karkos no longer works at the station, but said he was not authorized to discuss the issue further. WMTW President and General Manager Dave Abel was not available for comment.

Karkos did not immediately return a Facebook message Thursday night requesting comment. His name does not appear on the station’s news team web page and his official Twitter and Facebook accounts appeared to be taken offline.

Karkos was a weekend morning anchor and a weekday reporter for the station. According to his online Linkedin profile, Karkos started at the station in 1991 and was the sports director before becoming a news anchor.

Karkos is the most recent of a number of news anchors to leave WMTW, a Hearst Television affiliate, in the past several years. In 2013, longtime morning news anchor Shannon Moss was fired from the station after management told her she was not connecting with her audience. Erin Ovalle, who anchored the morning show with Moss, left in 2015 to pursue other professional goals.

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Container shipments through Portland up by more than 1,300 percent since 2011 Fri, 27 May 2016 01:55:17 +0000 The Port of Portland, which lost its container business in the wake of the Great Recession, is thriving once again, with container shipments up by more than 1,300 percent since 2011.

The dramatic increase is largely attributable to Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, the port’s biggest cargo operator, which has grown its refrigerated cargo service by about 20 percent year over year since arriving in Portland in 2013. According to the Maine International Trade Center, container shipments through the port have soared from 7,400 metric tons in 2011 to 105,523 metric tons in 2015.

“We have doubled our capacity and will do it again,” Eimskip President Larus Isfeld told a crowd of 450 gathered Thursday for MITC’s annual Trade Day.

The company, which employs 1,300 people worldwide and 10 in its Portland facility, was recognized by MITC as its Foreign Direct Investor for 2016.

Isfeld said Eimskip is more than halfway to its goal of making weekly calls to Portland by 2020. When it first opened its Portland operation, Eimskip was making 26 calls a year, but it has added five more since, Isfeld said. The potential for weekly shipments will expand its customer base, which now reaches north into Canada, throughout Massachusetts and is approaching New York City, Isfeld said.

He said government improvements to the port – including a crane, a paved space to load, unload and store containers, and the installation of stations where refrigerated cargo units can be plugged in and kept cool – helped Portland compete for Eimskip’s business with ports in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The investment cost about $30 million. The community’s support and enthusiasm, however, were what finalized the deal, Isfeld said.

“The commitment to growth is something we share,” he said. “I have big plans. We have just started. We will grow together.”

Eimskip, which ships everything from Maine cranberries to Icelandic glacial water, isn’t the only reason the port is bustling. Two significant investments at the International Marine Terminal also are boosting capacity at the port.

One is the completion of a Pan Am rail spur, which now connects the port with a 1,700-mile rail network. Shipments started in February to Ayer, Massachusetts, three times a week. The other significant investment is the construction of a cold storage warehouse, which is being built by Americold and should be completed by the end of next summer.

“All of these point to what I call the ‘intermodalism’ of the terminal, and that positions us for even greater growth,” said John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority. Intermodal refers to the juncture of multiple modes of transportation.

Henshaw said two new customers have started using the port terminal because of these upgrades.

L.L. Bean is now sending shipments that previously went through ports in New York or New Jersey to Portland instead, where containers can be stacked in a container yard or loaded directly onto trucks destined for Freeport. Last month, Poland Spring began shipping bottled water from Kingfield to Waterville and then via rail into South Portland’s Rigby Yard. In January, it started shipping pallets of bottled water from its Hollis operation to the new rail line in Portland.

Growth in the port is one reason why Maine’s export numbers outpaced the national average in 2015, said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, MITC’s president. In 2015, Maine exported more than $2.7 billion worth of goods, almost doubling over the past two decades.

Maine companies sell products to more than 180 countries and territories. Trade supports about 180,000 jobs here, or about one in five Maine jobs, Bisaillon-Cary said.


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John Bird, 73, active advocate in Old Orchard Beach politics, dies Fri, 27 May 2016 01:50:53 +0000 John Bird, a former town councilor in Old Orchard Beach who attended nearly every council meeting and advocated strongly for environmental and conservation issues, died unexpectedly Monday. He was 73.

Mr. Bird served on numerous town committees including the conservation commission and charter commission. He also co-founded the Ocean Park Conservation Society and was still director when he died.

“He was a real public advocate for the citizens of Old Orchard Beach,” said V. Louise Reid, assistant town manager. “He was an environmental expert and dedicated to environmental issues. He was a personal friend to many.”

Mr. Bird was a resident of Ocean Park and cared deeply about the community.

He became active in town politics in the early 1970s. He served two terms on the Old Orchard Beach Town Council and was appointed vice chairman in 1973 and chairman in 1975.

He served stints on the town’s license ordinance revision committee and the town’s Republican Committee. In 2009, Mr. Bird joined the town’s charter commission, and he served as vice chairman of its conservation commission from 2010-2011.

Mr. Bird attended nearly every council meeting and workshop for several years. He was a tall gentleman with the long white beard who spoke softly and eloquently about different agenda items. If he had a question, he was quick to ask the council. When he stood up to speak, people listened.

“As a citizen I always felt that he had my best interests at heart,” Reid said. “He will definitely be missed.”

Another hallmark of Bird’s life was serving as director of the Ocean Park Conservation Society. He co-founded the organization in 1971.

Jerry Gosselin, executive director of the Ocean Park Association, remembered Bird as a passionate advocate for the environment who worked to protect the waterways around Ocean Park, such as Goosefare Brook.

“John was really devoted to the protection and care of the environment,” Gosselin said. “It’s like he took ownership of these waterways by monitoring pollution levels. We are all beneficiaries of his passion for his work.”

Mr. Bird was also a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Both of his daughters spoke Thursday about his love for his family and community.

His daughter Kaleo Bird of Philadelphia said her father was fun, silly and unconventional. She chuckled Thursday while recalling stories of her past. She remembered the years he decorated a music stand with Christmas lights and called it a tree. Another time, Bird brought his daughter a dozen or so varieties of cheese because she didn’t specify how many he should bring. He also collected bowling balls and gave them to her.

“He was just silly,” she said.

Daughter Rebecca Bird of Tacoma, Washington, said her father was supportive, loving and made sure they knew how much he loved them.

Mr. Bird died two days after his birthday. On May 20, he had surgery on his neck and back but was discharged the next day and feeling well. His family said he died of a possible pulmonary embolism. He had a history of blood clots.

The Town Council will hold its next meeting Tuesday. Reid said the council chairman will likely address Bird’s passing.


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Testimony: Clinton was offered in-house email computer Fri, 27 May 2016 01:45:47 +0000 WASHINGTON — State Department officials took pains to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s email practices as secretary, according to newly released testimony by a career agency official.

Clinton was offered a “stand-alone” computer near her office that would let her access the Internet without entering a password or logging into the department’s network as other employees are required to do, the official said.

The official, Lewis A. Lukens, executive director of Clinton’s executive secretariat from 2008 to 2011, said he was told the proposal was declined because Clinton was “not adept or not used to checking her emails on a desktop.” However, Lukens said, Clinton was “very comfortable” using a BlackBerry – even though she would have to leave her office to use the device due to security protocols.

Lukens’ testimony on May 18 came in the first of six depositions scheduled until late June of current and former State Department and top Clinton aides in a civil lawsuit probing whether Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while secretary from 2009 to 2013 thwarted federal open-records laws.

The Lukens transcript was released Thursday, one day after State Department Inspector General Steve A. Linick issued a highly critical, 83-page report on Clinton’s email practices. The report concluded that Clinton failed to seek legal approval for the server arrangement and that if she had, it would not have been granted because of security risks.

Clinton allies had braced for the IG report and findings from a pending FBI investigation into whether the email setup mishandled classified information or violated other federal laws.

However, the ongoing depositions appear likely to keep a spotlight on the matter that Clinton has tried to put to rest in her presidential campaign.

On Friday, Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, is to give sworn testimony in the lawsuit brought by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The lawsuit concerns the group’s 2013 public records request for information about the employment arrangement of Mills’ deputy, Huma Abedin.

In a statement Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the IG report “makes clear that Secretary Clinton and a number of other former Department officials have not been truthful with the American people” and failed to turn over certain emails from personal email accounts.

In his testimony, Lukens, a Foreign Service officer for 27 years who oversaw 110 employees providing administrative support to the secretary, said he never recalled speaking about Clinton’s email address or use of a personal BlackBerry with a direct subordinate, John Bentel, in charge of the secretariat’s electronic communications.

Lukens said that Mills did not ask for Clinton to have a computer in her office, and that he did not think a State email account was set up for Clinton because she did not ask for one.

“At that point, as far as I knew, there was no requirement for her to be connected to our system.”

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Auto Racing notebook: Penske hooked on racing since his first time at Indy Fri, 27 May 2016 01:40:46 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — It was 1951 when Jay Penske scored a pair of tickets to the Indianapolis 500. He was an executive for a metal fabrication company in Cleveland that was sponsoring a few laps in the race, so he brought his 14-year-old son to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Roger Penske, already a car lover, was instantly hooked. He had listened to previous Indy 500s on the radio, but was now seeing it in person for the first time.

“We drove here from Cleveland and got here late and were supposed to go to someone’s home for lunch,” Penske recalled. “Everybody was gone but there was a car there. I got my picture taken with a Cromwell helmet on.”

That day, Penske said, he wanted to drive. And he would come to the track every year after for the next four decades.

“I think the speed here, the sensation of the track, and if you love cars like I did in those days, it was a place you wanted to be part of,” Penske said.

From that first trip to the speedway to present day, Penske has missed just six Indianapolis 500s. There was 1995, a year after Al Unser Jr. won the race for Team Penske, when his cars failed to qualify. Then he took a five-year hiatus when IndyCar split from CART and Penske remained with the series that was not welcome at the Indianapolis 500.

There have been precious few low points for the billionaire team owner whose influence stretches across both IndyCar and NASCAR. As Penske celebrates his 50th year in racing, during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, the mark he’s left on the motor sports community is unrivaled. In an Associated Press survey of the 27 living winners of the Indy 500, Penske fell just four votes shy of longtime track owner Tony Hulman as the most important non-driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“He’s been there such a long time, he prepares things to such a significantly high level of professionalism,” said 1996 winner Buddy Lazier.

He wanted to be a race car driver. His father wanted him to be an entrepreneur, and his son spent time in military school learning the discipline and standard of excellence that he maintains today at age 79.

Penske indeed briefly dabbled in auto racing and was quite good. But he had a job at Alcoa and couldn’t get the time off needed to properly race. So he retired from racing in 1965. He was trying to buy a Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia, but General Motors didn’t want to give a franchise to a race car driver. Using a loan from his father to buy his first dealership, Penske had to step away from racing to focus on earning back the funds needed to repay dad.

“I had to make a pretty good business decision at that point: Do I continue racing or do I go into business?” Penske said. “I think I made the right decision, because I was able to have the experience as a driver, understood what it meant to have reliable and great cars, and was able to bring that into our team a few years later. From that point, we never looked back.”

NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, NASCAR’s longest race of the year. Truex turned a lap of 192.328 to take the top spot from Joey Logano.

Logano, who had the top qualifying time in the first two rounds and won the All-Star race last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway, will start alongside Truex on the front row. It is the fifth time this year Logano has started on the front row.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth.

FORMULA ONE: Champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time Thursday in an eventful first practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix, a race he has not won since 2008. Hamilton is chasing a third straight title and fourth overall but trails Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by 43 points.

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Hiker who died on Appalachian Trail didn’t know how to use compass Fri, 27 May 2016 01:40:00 +0000 Buried among the mountain of information amassed during one of Maine’s most extensive missing person searches is this detail: Appalachian Trail through-hiker Geraldine Largay did not know how to use a compass.

Largay’s remains were found more than two years after she disappeared July 22, 2013, on a section of the trail in Franklin County. Until the Maine Warden Service released its 1,500-page report Wednesday, much of what had happened to her remained a mystery.

Of all the indications in the report that Largay, 66, wasn’t prepared for the nearly 1,000-mile hike that eventually claimed her life, the fact that she was trekking through a remote wilderness but didn’t know how to use a compass is among the most startling.

“That would be a recipe for disaster,” Roger Guay, a retired game warden, said Thursday night.

A compass was found with her belongings at the campsite she’d fashioned in the woods while she was lost, but a reference on a missing person report in the case file, and a summary from an interview with Largay’s friend and hiking companion Jane Lee, said Largay didn’t know how to use the compass.

Lee told an investigator “(Largay) did not know how to use a compass. She didn’t know if Geraldine even had a compass,” the report said.

An inventory list in a missing person report in the case file said Largay left her SPOT GPS device behind in a motel and “has compass but does not or won’t use it.”

Guay said a compass is an essential tool for anyone out in the woods. “You can get caught in heavy fog and you can get off the trail,” he said. “You don’t venture into the wilderness without a compass. You’ve got to have that knowledge.”


Guay was involved in many searches during his 25 years with the warden service, but said he is not qualified to speak about specifics of Largay’s case. However, there is one thing he is sure of: “In this corner of the world, it is a lot easier to get off track.”

An excerpt from a missing person report in the Maine Warden Service case file on Geraldine Largay shows she did not use a compass.

An excerpt from a missing person report in the Maine Warden Service case file on Geraldine Largay shows she did not use a compass.

The items in the Largay case file include excerpts from a journal that Largay kept during her last weeks alive in the rugged woods of Franklin County, and paint a grim picture of the worst scenario for a through-hiker of the 2,184-mile trail that begins on Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends on Mount Katahdin in Maine. Largay, of Brentwood, Tennessee, who went by the trail name “Inchworm,” was hiking the second half, and had started in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

She had covered about 950 miles and had about 200 to go. But she was in what’s considered the most treacherous part of the trail. People familiar with hiking and search and rescue along Maine’s section of the Appalachian Trail say it takes only a few missteps for a hiker to get lost.

Things that Largay did, such as hike alone, leave her GPS locator in a motel, stay in one place after she got lost, and not use her compass, all decreased the likelihood that she would be found, despite what has been described by wardens as the most extensive search of its kind in the state’s history.

Largay was reported missing on July 24, 2013, after she didn’t appear at a designated meeting place with her husband, George Largay, the previous day where the trail crosses Route 27 in Wyman Township.

A memorial for Geraldine Largay was assembled at her final location, in the rugged woods of Franklin County.

A memorial for Geraldine Largay was assembled at her final location, in the rugged woods of Franklin County. Photo from Maine Warden Service report

In October 2015, her remains were found in her sleeping bag zipped inside of her tent at a campsite she had set up about 2 miles from the trail on U.S. Navy land in Redington Township. She died from a lack of food and water, according to the medical examiner’s report, released in January.

Largay’s journal showed she was alive on Aug. 6, 2013, and possibly later. The warden service had scaled back its extensive search two days earlier, though it continued searches with trained dog teams and thorough grid searches. A private contractor working for the Navy stumbled across her campsite on Oct. 11, 2015.

Guay believes the warden service did all it could to find her.

“It’s tough when you have cleared all the logical areas,” Guay said. “It’s a tough call to make; no one likes to make it. You kind of come to a point, statistically, where you’re spinning your wheels.”


Every year, about 28 Appalachian Trail hikers get lost in Maine, Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service said shortly after Largay was reported missing.

Searchers find lost hikers within 12 hours 95 percent of the time, and within 24 hours in 98 percent of the cases.

The release Wednesday of the warden service report answered questions about what had happened to Largay, and highlighted how ill-prepared she was for the grueling hike.

She was hiking the Maine stretch of the trail alone, after Lee, her friend and trailmate, had to leave because of a family emergency. Largay was relying on her Samsung cellphone to keep in touch with her husband, who met her every few days with supplies. After she got lost, she tried texting her husband, but because there was no cellphone service, he never got the messages.

Warden Roger Guay points out a dangerous area along the hiking trail at Gulf Hagas to fellow Warden Pat Dorian in 1995. Guay, who retired after 25 years with the Maine Warden Service, has been involved in more searches for missing people than he can count. He said hikers have to be prepared, to stay alive and to help searchers find them.

Warden Roger Guay points out a dangerous area along the hiking trail at Gulf Hagas to fellow Warden Pat Dorian in 1995. Guay, who retired after 25 years with the Maine Warden Service, has been involved in more searches for missing people than he can count. He said hikers have to be prepared, to stay alive and to help searchers find them. Press Herald file photo/John Ewing

“Over my career, I would usually get a call at least once a summer from a family member who had been in cell contact with their hiker and had lost contact with them,” Guay said. “I would ask, ‘Where did you lose contact?’ and it would be, ‘Oh, the Maine border.”

Shane Vorous, who operates the Stratton Motel with his wife, Stacey, said Thursday that they try to tell hikers where they are likely to get cellphone service and where known dead zones are along the Appalachian Trail.

“As far as cellphone coverage, we do know a lot of where the coverage is and where it isn’t. And when we have people stay here, we try to help them understand where it works and where it doesn’t,” Vorous said.

Both Vorous and Guay were adamant that every hiker should carry an emergency locater beacon, which, when activated, transmits a hiker’s location using satellites, allowing rescuers to find them. Largay apparently didn’t have one.

“The best thing you can do is have an ELB,” Guay said. “It’s pretty cheap insurance when you are hiking big sections of the trail like that.”

Lee, who hiked the trail with Largay until they reached Maine, told investigators that Largay had become lost or had fallen behind several times, and Lee had to backtrack to find her.

The report also said that Largay had a poor sense of direction, got flustered easily, and was scared of the dark and of being alone.

All of those issues are heightened when hiking alone.

“What you would have happen (if you hiked with someone), is the calming effect that you’re not alone. If you’ve ever been lost, it adds to panic very easily,” Guay said.

He said that when someone is hiking alone and gets lost, they often switch their focus solely to survival and not enough on helping themselves be found, as Largay apparently did when she set up her camp and waited for a rescue.

Guay said when people get lost, they should find an open area and try to “catch an eye” from the air by making a fire or spell the word “help” with fir boughs. The report documented attempts that Largay made to start a fire at her campsite.

“All of those things are critical. Unfortunately, if you’re not moving and you’re not trying to help yourself be found, (rescuers) would have to come right onto you to find you,” Guay said.

Members of the recovery team that brought Geraldine Largay's remains and effects out of the remote woods walk past a body of water near the mountains of Franklin County. Doug Dolan of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club says, "Maine has some of the most rugged terrain on the Appalachian Trail."

Members of the recovery team that brought Geraldine Largay’s remains and effects out of the remote woods walk past a body of water near the mountains of Franklin County. Doug Dolan of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club says, “Maine has some of the most rugged terrain on the Appalachian Trail.”


Largay’s final journal entry was for Aug. 18, though the warden service said it isn’t sure if the date is accurate.

During the extensive search after Largay’s disappearance, searchers with dogs came close to her campsite, once coming within about 100 yards of where her remains were found.

Adam, who led the warden service search effort, said shortly after Largay disappeared that the search was “mystifying.”

“We’ve done a lot of tactics that would normally produce results by now,” he said on July 28, 2013. “Why, all of a sudden, did she disappear?”

At the time of her disappearance, it was believed, because of a tip that turned out to be false, that she had made it to the Spaulding lean-to – a 9-mile hike from the Poplar Ridge lean-to that she had left around 7 a.m. on July 22. Extensive grid searches in the weeks immediately after she disappeared were to the west of where she was found, warden service maps showed.

Guay said wardens try to never let it enter their heads that they might not find someone, because that is the most difficult reality they have to face.

“It’s hard to tell a family we’ve done all we can do for now until a new lead shows up,” he said. “It’s the hardest thing to deal with as a game warden.”


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Bulletin board Fri, 27 May 2016 01:38:39 +0000 American Legion Post 188 (Staples Crossing) will hold baseball tryouts on Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at Marshwood High School in South Berwick.

Students attending Marshwood High, Berwick Academy and Traip Academy are eligible to play for Post 188. This also covers all players living in the towns that are eligible to attend these public schools but may attend a private school.

For more information, contact General Manager Shawn Gillis (, 475-6007) or Manager Bob Quintal (, 351-5528).

The Westbrook High softball team, in coordination with the Maine Cancer Foundation, will be passing a hat to collect money at its final regular-season game Friday in hopes of making a significant contribution to the foundation.

Westbrook plays Thornton Academy at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Westbrook Little League Complex on Bridge Street

To support the fundraising efforts, visit the Westbrook softball Facebook page or call at 464-0002.

]]> 0 Thu, 26 May 2016 21:40:43 +0000
Obama to make history at Hiroshima Fri, 27 May 2016 01:31:54 +0000 HIROSHIMA, Japan — Convinced that the time for this moment is right at last, President Obama on Friday will become the first American president to confront the historic and haunted ground of Hiroshima.

Here, at this place of so much suffering, where U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb that gave birth to the nuclear age, Obama will pay tribute to the 140,000 people who died from the attack seven decades ago.

He will not apologize. He will not second-guess President Harry Truman’s decision to unleash the awful power of nuclear weapons. He will not dissect Japanese aggression in World War II.

Rather, Obama aimed to offer a simple reflection, acknowledging the devastating toll of war and coupling it with a message that the world can – and must – do better.

He will look back, placing a wreath at the centopath, an arched monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park honoring those killed by the bomb dropped on Aug. 6, 1945. A second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days later, killed 70,000 more.

Obama will also look forward.

Hiroshima is much more than “a reminder of the terrible toll in World War II and the death of innocents across the continents,” Obama said Thursday.

It is a place, he said, “to remind ourselves that the job’s not done in reducing conflict, building institutions of peace and reducing the prospect of nuclear war in the future.”

Those who come to ground zero at Hiroshima speak of its emotional impact, of the searing imagery of the exposed steel beams on the iconic A-bomb dome.

The skeletal remains of the exhibition hall have become an international symbol of peace and a place for prayer.

The president will be accompanied on his visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – a demonstration of the friendship that exists between the only nation ever to use an atomic bomb and the only nation ever to have suffered from one.

It is a moment 70 years in the making. Other American presidents considered coming, but the politics were still too sensitive, the emotions too raw.

Even now, when polls find 70 percent of the Japanese support Obama’s decision to come to Hiroshima, his choreographed visit will be parsed by people with many agendas.

There are political foes at home ready to seize on any hint of an unwelcome expression of regret.

There are Koreans who want to hear the president acknowledge the estimated 20,000-40,000 of their citizens who were among the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There are blast survivors who want Obama to listen to their stories, to see their scars – physical and otherwise.

There are activists looking for a pledge of new, concrete steps to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

There are American former POWs who want the president to fault Japan for starting the war in the Pacific.

Obama will try to navigate those shoals by saying less, not more.

The dropping of the bomb, he said Thursday, “was an inflection point in modern history. It is something that all of us have had to deal with in one way or another.”

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