Democrats hold slight edge in absentee ballots returned

Republicans continue to keep pace with Democrats, compared with two years ago, when it comes to absentee ballots in Maine.

Figures provided by the secretary of state indicate that, as of Thursday, Republicans had returned 28,803 ballots, compared with 29,565 for Democrats. That gives Democrats a slight edge, 37 percent to 36 percent.

Around this time in 2008, Democrats accounted for 45 percent of early votes, compared with 29 percent for Republicans.

Both parties like to point to any advantage, including early voting.

So far, there have been more than 110,000 requests for absentee ballots for this election in Maine. More than 236,000 absentee ballots were cast in the 2008 election.

Campus Conservatives plan rally for Friday at USM

Campus Conservatives at the University of Southern Maine in Portland will hold a Tea Party Rally at 2 p.m. Friday on the lawn outside Luther Bonney Auditorium.

The Campus Conservatives is a newly formed group that seeks to expose the lack of political diversity on campus.

One of its main goals is to bring the American flag to the campus. There is now just one American flag, the group says, hidden and in mediocre condition.

Former governor King urges voters to reject casino

Former Gov. Angus King is urging voters to reject a statewide ballot proposal calling for a casino in western Maine.

King, who has long advocated against casinos and slot machines, said casinos “sell dreams, and turn lives into nightmares” by causing addiction, lost jobs, broken families and even suicide. His comments appeared Wednesday on the website of the anti-casino group CasinosNo!

Black Bear Entertainment LLC is proposing a $165 million four-season resort and casino in Oxford. Backers say the project would support thousands of jobs, pump millions of dollars into the economy and generate $60 million a year in tax revenue.

King said a casino won’t create the jobs and revenue that its promoters are promising, but will harm Maine’s image.

Dentists to offer free care for needy on Nov. 5

More than 25 dentists from the Greater Portland Dental Society, along with their hygiene and assisting staff, will offer a day of free dental care on Nov. 5 as part of the second annual Dentists Who Care for ME event.

Free cleanings, fillings and extractions will be provided for adults who cannot afford dental care and have no insurance.

The services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis at 15 dental offices from Falmouth to Gorham, at locations to be announced on Friday.

Some patients may be referred to oral surgeons or other specialists, who also will offer free care.

Patterson Dental, a national dental supply company with an office in Westbrook, will provide free supplies to the dentists. Oral B will donate toothbrushes and toothpaste for participants

Last year, more than 100 dentists, oral surgeons, hygienists, assistants and volunteers donated their services to treat 600 people from the Portland area. Dr. Demi Kouzounas, a co-organizer of the event, estimated the value of those services at $100,000.


Man charged with selling drugs behind movie theater

A 20-year-old man was charged with trafficking in drugs and having a concealed knife after being arrested behind the Cinemagic Theater in Westbrook.

Westbrook police arrested Michael Ouellette at 4 p.m. Tuesday after officers saw him conducting what they believe was a drug deal. Police said they seized prescription drugs, marijuana and a knife.


French group will honor a Maine missing soldier

A French group plans to honor a Maine man who has been missing in action since a bombing raid over Normandy, France, during World War II.

Staff Sgt. Robert Birmingham of Winterport was a turret gunner on a B-26 bomber that collided with a German fighter plane on July 28, 1944.

A French group plans to erect a monument at the crash site to honor the crew. It will be marked with the French words for “Died for our Freedom.”

The group worked with a California-based group to find the descendants of the men on the plane. Birmingham’s relatives couldn’t be found until an article was published in a local newspaper.

Four of Birmingham’s nephews told the Bangor Daily News that they’re grateful he will be honored.


Prosecutor says beating death may result in charges

A prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office says a Penobscot County grand jury may be asked to consider charges in August’s beating of a Bangor man who later died.

Ralph “Greenie” Greenleaf, 47, was found unconscious under the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge in Bangor on Aug. 27.

He died in the hospital three days later.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson said the case will be considered for charges.

Bangor police Lt. Tim Reid said police know who was involved in the incident.

A witness told the Bangor Daily News that a group of young people provoked the fight in which Greenleaf was pushed, and he couldn’t put out his arms before he fell and hit his head.


Legislators say Canadian companies working illegally

State legislators from northern Maine say a judge’s ruling against three Canadian logging companies shows that foreign companies have been working in the state illegally.

Justice Allen Hunter approved a final consent decree and order against the Canadian companies, A.D. Logging Inc., B.J. Jalbert Inc., and S.L. Logging Inc., which list their place of business as Fort Kent.

They admitted violating Maine law for failing to show ownership of equipment and were each fined $1,000. Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash says the case shows that Canadian workers are coming over the border to work for a Maine-based company and bringing their own equipment with them. Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake said foreign companies have been breaking the law at the expense of Maine’s workers.