Lobster boat races begin; bragging rights at stake

Maine lobstermen are putting their boat engines to the test as the annual lobster boat race season kicks off.

The first race of the season took place Saturday in Boothbay Harbor. The second race is today in Rockland.

The races are action-packed contests where boats with souped-up engines roar and scream across the water at speeds of 60 mph and more, leaving roostertails and rolling swells in their wake. Spectators line the shores and watch from boats that crowd the race course.

Lobstermen compete for cash, prizes and bragging rights. There are 10 races scheduled this season.


Child appears OK after fall from second-story window

A 5-year-old child fell out a second-story window on Saturday, but appeared to be in good condition, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The child was taken to Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta and was conscious and alert in the ambulance, according to the sheriff’s office.


Baldacci urges Father’s Day visits to state parks and sites

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Gov. John Baldacci reminded residents that state parks and historic sites are free for Maine residents today, which is Father’s Day.

Baldacci says state parks offer the chance to hike and get some fresh air while getting away from television and text messaging. About 2.3 million people visited Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites last year.

In the Republican response, state Rep. Jonathan McKane of Newcastle says Maine voters spoke convincingly on Election Day when they repealed a tax overhaul law supported by legislative Democrats. McKane says it’s the third time in recent years voters have repealed a law passed by the majority party.


Maine ATC celebrates 75th with call for more volunteers

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

While club leaders say current stewardship is in good hands, it is seeking more volunteers.

Trail club President Lester Kenway, who has been a volunteer for the club for 35 years, says the organization has come a long way since its 50th anniversary.

The treadway is protected and all of the trail is now located on public land.

However, he says the club has expanded duties of land stewardship, including corridor monitoring, inventories of rare plants and historic sites and repair of heavily used footpaths.

The group was founded on June 18, 1935.


Beach contest changes name to appease ‘Idol’ producers

The producers of “American Idol” have told the organizers of the 5-year-old Hampton Beach Idol competition in New Hampshire to stop using their name.

As a result, contest organizers have renamed it the Hampton Beach Talent Competition.

When the Hampton Beach Village Precinct created the event in 2005, they put on fliers that it was in no way connected or affiliated with “American Idol.”

But the company that produces “American Idol” sent the precinct a letter last month saying use of “Idol” was a trademark infringement.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the company also requested the precinct stop distributing fliers or any other materials containing the “Idol” mark, or face monetary damages.

The talent competition starts Aug. 20 and runs through Aug. 22.


Sex offender takes church attendance issue to high court

A New Hampshire sex offender is asking the state’s highest court to allow him to go to church with a chaperone.

The case of 35-year-old Jonathan Perfetto of Manchester marks the first time the New Hampshire Supreme Court is being asked to rule on whether a probation condition that effectively bars church attendance violates a person’s constitutional rights to religious freedom.

Perfetto was convicted in 2002 of possessing child pornography. A condition of his probation is that he have no contact with children. A lower court denied Perfetto’s request to attend Jehovah’s Witnesses services with a church elder acting as a chaperone. The state says public safety trumps Perfetto’s religious rights.