Maine man to be sentenced for killing sheriff’s deputy 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine man is due to be sentenced for the first killing of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty in nearly 30 years. 

The state is seeking the maximum life in prison when John Williams is sentenced Thursday for the fatal shooting of Cpl. Eugene “Gene” Cole last year in Norridgewock. The defense is seeking a 40-year sentence. 

Cole’s killing prompted a massive manhunt with more than 200 law enforcement officers pouring into the area in central Maine, along with tactical vehicles and helicopters. 

Prosecutors say Williams was angry over his girlfriend’s arrest and wanted to avoid going to jail himself when he shot Cole. The defense said Williams couldn’t form the intent to kill because he was sleep-deprived and strung out on cocaine and heroin. 

Fed grants will boost lobster research, create new extension 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal program that funds ocean research is going to help establish a push for more scientific work about lobsters in Maine. 

Maine’s congressional delegation says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program has awarded $2 million to support lobster research. The delegation says the projects will address subjects such as migration, growth and maturity of lobsters. 

The grant is spread out among seven awards, four of which will help research performed by institutions based in Maine. One of the projects will be led by Gulf of Maine Research Institute, which is looking into how the industry will respond if lobster catch deceases and operating costs go up. 

Sea Grant also plans to launch a regional lobster extension program that will link the research with industry. 

Canadian hydropower to Northeast hydropower decision tabled 

BREWER, Maine (AP) — Zoning regulators have tabled their decision on a proposed 145-mile (230-kilometer) transmission line that would bring Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid. 

Land Use Planning Commission members agreed Wednesday to continue deliberations at their October meeting. 

A spokesman said it was evident there was a lack of consensus . 

Maine utility regulators have endorsed New England Clean Energy Connect, which also awaits approval from Maine’s environmental agency. 

The project includes cutting through 53 miles (85 kilometers) of western Maine wilderness. 

Opponents concerned over forests and homegrown solar and wind projects are considering pushing for putting the $1 billion project to a statewide vote. 

Supporters say the project would reduce regional electricity rates and carbon pollution. Central Maine Power promises to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives. 

Salmon group says it found dozens of fish farm escapes 

ST. ANDREWS, New Brunswick (AP) — A salmon conservation group says its researchers have intercepted more than 50 salmon it believes escaped from aquaculture operations near a river close to the border of Canada and Maine.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation says the fish were found attempting to enter the Magaguadavic River through a fishway at St. George, New Brunswick. The group says it’s concerned about the possibility of escaped farmed salmon getting into rivers in New Brunswick and nearby Maine. 

The group says the collection of 53 escaped salmon is the most since 2013, when 91 were captured in a live trap at the top of the fish ladder. The fish are euthanized and eventually sent to Canada’s government for analysis. 

The salmon federation says spawning between farmed and wild salmon is dangerous for fish populations. 

Vermont National Guard unit expecting active duty call 

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) — About 2,500 members of a Vermont-based Army National Guard unit have been told they are expected to be called to active duty overseas in 2021. 

The guard did not say where the soldiers from units of the 86th Brigade Combat Team based in Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire would serve, but they would support the U.S. Central Command, European Command and the U.S. Africa Command. 

Vermont Adjutant General Greg Knight says it could be Afghanistan, locations in southwest Asia, the Balkans or elsewhere in Europe. 

Brigade commander Col. Nathan Lord says the soldiers in the unit have trained hard and they are ready to answer the call. 

The last large-scale overseas deployment of the 86th Brigade was in 2010, when the soldiers served in Afghanistan. 

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